How do you tell your Baptist Church is....

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by joey, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. joey

    joey
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    How do you tell your local Baptist Church is one that believes in free will or the Sovereignty of God?

    I have attended a Baptist Church throughout the year and as I gradually learned more about Calvininism I started listening carefully to discover my church's position.

    I cannot think of one thing said that reveals their position. I have noted that there are no general altar calls at all (except for offers to pray for christians struggling with an issue mentioned).

    The only time that there was an altar call for non-believers that I can think of was a "bring a friend or relative" Sunday when the pastor preached a clear Gospel message that most non-christians would be able to understand.
     
  2. annsni

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    You can simply ask your pastor.
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    Ann is correct. The pastor is rarely out of step with the members.

    You might also ask for the church's statement of faith. One caveat. If a church subscribes to the SBC's Baptist Faith and Message, it won't be enough. The BF&M does not take a hard position on the issue. It's statement on election is neutral enough that most any Baptist church can adopt it.
     
  4. Herald

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    Our church subscribes to the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith as our doctrinal statement. It leaves zero doubt as to what we believe.
     
  5. seekingthetruth

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    If you came the church I go to, you would mostly hear the gospel message preached during worship service. However, we don't use quarterlys in Sunday School so the preacher does have the oppurtunity to go more into doctrine. He never mentions Calvinism. He doesn't preach against it, however he does make it clear that Jesus died for every man and that it is God's wish that all would be saved.

    It's funny that my pastor does not preach against Calvinism, but the one and only time I went to a Calvinist Baptist church , they did preach against freewill, as a matter of fact they almost had a militant attitude about it.

    So, in my opinion, if your church was Calvinist I think it would be obvious because the Calvinists churches wear their doctrine on their sleeve.

    John
     
  6. Herald

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    John,

    You're so wrong. We wear it as an accessory so that it compliments our entire wardrobe. I prefer my nice gold Calvinist pin; the one that says, "I'm elect and you're not." ROFL
     
  7. InTheLight

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    I hear ya. I was in a calvinistic Baptist church for about several years before I figured it out. The final clue was when I asked the pastor point blank, "Is salvation something that God does to me or do I have a measure of responsibility?" He hemmed and hawed and answered that the Puritans believed that no one could know if were going to Heaven or not until they died.

    My comments are from my experience so I can't say if they are uniformly true. But coupling comments here on BB along with my experience I offer this:

    Sovereignty of God churches will emphasize the word 'sovereignty'. They will also emphasize the word grace. Typically they will not have altar calls or invitations. They don't use the word "saved". They will have a lot of emphasis on God being almighty, all powerful, and always in control. I remember several times on the way to church mentioning to my wife if the sermon was going to be about God being all-powerful again, and sure enough, it was. I mean, it's a given as far as I'm concerned. I don't need 15 sermons a year about it.

    They have a missions week and then rarely talk about missions throughout the year. You won't hear about the end times or end times prophecy. You will hear the sinners prayer being discounted, you will hear that many people that think they are born again really aren't, you will hear that soul winning is a farce. These are some of the clues.
     
  8. Herald

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    What is this, gang up on the Calvinists? You forgot that we also eat our young, poison the public water supply, and started the Occupy Wall Street protests.

    *rolls eyes*
     
  9. seekingthetruth

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    I knew about eating your young and poisoning the water, but the occupy Wall Street protests suprised me.

    John
     
  10. Herald

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    John, don't turn your backs on us.
     
  11. Robert Snow

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    That is the thing to do. A about a year ago our church called a new pastor. I point blank asked him if he was a Calvinist. He said he wasn't'; I said good. I didn't want to look for a new church.
     
  12. quantumfaith

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    I have respect for the pastors and staff who will clearly define their theological positions and proclivities up front be they calvinist or otherwise. My one experience though to this point in my life was that initially, the pastors position was a bit "shaded" through using the moniker of "historical baptist". I understand the reluctance of some to accept "labels" as we all are sometimes concerned with labels because we often think no ONE label clearly defines us. All pastors and staff should be clear and up front with congregations before a call is extended and accepted.
     
  13. freeatlast

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    You make an appointment with the Pastor and ask him point blank.
     
  14. go2church

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    Ask the pastor. Any pastor who won't answer or answers vaguely should raise suspicions.
     
  15. jbh28

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    That makes you feel qualified to make thisstatement?

    :confused:
     
  16. jbh28

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    Ask your pastor. It may be something the church hasn't taken a hard stand on. Some churches will have a mix, though usually there is a strong leaning in one direction or the other.
     
  17. Skandelon

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    I would hope they affirm both, otherwise you shouldn't go there.
     
  18. seekingthetruth

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    My experience with Calvinists make me qualified to make this statement.

    In our church we never discuss Calvinist or Calvinism, it just doesn't come up.

    But every time i do meet a Calvinist, it only takes about 2 or 3 minutes for him to bring it up. It's one of the first things they say.

    That is why I believe that Joey's church will turn out to be non-cal. Because if it was Calvinistic, the chances are they would have told him so at the very start.

    John
     
  19. CF1

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    Many pastors and churches don't want to emphasize doctrine (like Doctrines of Sovereign Grace). The trend is away from doctrine and toward terms and ideas like "seeker friendly" and "relevance" to connect with people who *think* doctrine is boring, irrelevant, and creates confusion among the average person who can't understand anything very deep.

    Searching for a church that really wants to emphasize doctrine is more challenging than just finding the average typical trendy church, but it's worth it if you can find one.

    Speaking to pastors and churches that like doctrine is easy.

    Speaking to pastors and churches that de-emphasize doctrine can be more uncomfortable for the pastor, because they tend to want to focus on unity at all costs, not things that take a little more to understand.

    So if the pastor wants to talk about doctrine, they will be happy to tell you if they are or are not embracing one or another doctrine.

    If the pastor avoids the question or changes the subject to talk about how unity among members is what they emphasize, then you know they pretty much don't believe
     
  20. Benjamin

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    Ahh, beat me to it. I was like, "Wait a minute, I believe in both; who you been listening to?!"
     

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