Inclusive or Exclusive?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Dr. Bob, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    “In essentials, unity.
    In non-essentials, charity.
    In all things, Jesus Christ.”
    John Chrysostom A.D. 422


    Some churches are "exclusive" in membership and outlook. One must profess full agreement with every point of doctrine and purpose of the local church or they are "excluded" from either membership, leadership, or service.
    Others are "inclusive", accepting anyone into the local church and its various ministries based solely on one’s personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and commitment to sound doctrine. A person is not excluded from membership because he or she does not agree on every point, allowing for legitimate differences of understanding and interpretation in some controversial areas of doctrine.

    I preached 18 months as interim (I am a state missionary) at a church that was "inclusive", with members holding a wide variety of doctrinal and practical positions within the general framework of true Christian faith. I now am elder at a church strongly "exclusive", demanding fidelity to the 1689 London Baptist Confession, etc. Where the Confession is "generic" (area like on the second coming) we have differences that are allowed. But in all other areas it is very "exclusive" of any who would hold different positions.

    Thoughts? Experiences? Good, Bad or Ugly?
     
  2. donnA

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    I see your quit active today Dr. Bob.
    Your op is very interesting, I look forward to reading more on this topic.
    I think our Church is probably more inclusive, as was our previous church. Although one of the problems we saw in the old church was " commitment to sound doctrine", on the part of members, not the church as a whole or the pastor. many just didn't know what scripture taught, and had opinion, mostly not based on scripture. Once we were told something and asked about scripture and were told they didn't think it was in there. (did I just make sense or not?), their christians belief was admittedly based on what they thought and not scripture.Many problems like this is part of why we sought a new church, as this was not being addressed by the pastor, who is a good man, but weakened by past abuse by a former church.
    I'm sure I'm not even on topic.
    I think I could agree with some of both exclusive and inclusive, but probably more toward inclusive.
    But once I learn more about both that may change.
     
  3. superwoman8977

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    I have attended both types of churches and there are pros and cons within each system. When I was married I attended an SBC "exclusive" church and it was so staunch and proper I couldnt stand it. Now being divorced and the issues in my life I attend a rather "inclusive" church that accepts people of all walks, issues, and holds classes to minister to people like divorce care and AA and Al-Anon because they realize people arent perfect and even not perfect people, some of them still have their faith in the Lord, they also realize that people can change in their lives and can go from one end of the spectrum (running away from the Lord) to the other (running back to the cross)
     
  4. donnA

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    Inclusive can also mean no accountability because 'everyone has a different take on scripture, it means something different to everyone'. Which is one of the possible 'cons'.
     
  5. Jerome

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    The 1689 Confession pointedly declares the identity of the antichrist:

    "the Pope of Rome. . .is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, . . . whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."

    Is fidelity to this specific designation a requirement for membership?
     
  6. donnA

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    Good question. So if someone disgrees the pope is probably not the anti christ they can not be a member of that church, even if they agree with everything else?
     
  7. Deacon

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    I'd say were are generally an inclusive church.
    The church here has believers of all ages, from new-born-in-Christ to the stodgy-in-Christ.
    As a result there is a wide range of beliefs.
    A variety of beliefs is common among new believers.
    As they learn and grow we expect them to conform to our doctrine (but even there I'd say we allow a wider diversity than some).

    However make waves about a divergent doctrine and confrontation is sure to follow!

    Rob
     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    We allow for "an" antichrist concept, as was the meaning in 1644/89. They spoke of the "pope" as an "institution", not an individual (Like Benedict or John Paul II). Spurgeon adapted a couple of words to modernize it and that is what we use.
     
  9. donnA

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    I just don't know how telling people they have to believe a man written document to be church members is biblical.
     
  10. Rippon

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    Many professing Christians would say that they just believe the Bible;and that's that.

    The London Confession for instance summarizes many Bible doctrines with scriptural references.It codifies things in an understandable way.It does not replace the Bible.It is subservient to it.

    Instead of the nebulous "I just believe the whole Bible." A Confession gets specific;and that's very helpful.It's good to be clear.
     
  11. donnA

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    But for a person to have to pratically pledge their allegence to what a man written document says in order to be a church member is not right.
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    The reason the Northern Baptist Convention went to its present liberalism is because they were duped at their 1922 annual meeting into REJECTING a "confession of faith" (general summary of doctrinal interpretation)) and the liberals replaced it by a motion saying "We believe the Bible is all we need for faith and practice".

    Who is going to vote against that?

    Yet it left every liberal to interpret the Bible the way they wanted (for many, interpreting it away) and the convention began its death spiral.

    BTW, SBC observers rushed back and wrote "Baptist Faith and Message" to help codify and avoid the encroachment of liberalism

    To know we agree on INTERPRETING the Bible we MUST have a confession/doctrinal statement of faith.
     
  13. donnA

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    'to know we agree', but for membership in the church? this is like, if you don't beleive what we tell you too you aren't a christian and can't be a member of a church.
     
  14. Jerome

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    Don't people do the same thing with the 1689 Confession?
     
  15. Rippon

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    In a word --No.

    It's kind of hard to twist the words around in the 1689.
     
  16. Dr. Bob

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    Here is an example, as the confession uses the Scripture and helps organize and clarify

    CHAPTER 9; OF FREE WILL

    Paragraph 1. God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.1
    1 Matt. 17:12; James 1:14; Deut. 30:19

    Paragraph 2. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good and well-pleasing to God,2 but yet was unstable, so that he might fall from it.3
    2 Eccles. 7:29
    3 Gen. 3:6


    Paragraph 3. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation;4 so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin,5 is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.6
    4 Rom. 5:6, 8:7
    5 Eph. 2:1,5
    6 Titus 3:3-5; John 6:44


    Paragraph 4. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin,7 and by His grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good;8 yet so as that by reason of his remaining corruptions, he does not perfectly, nor only will, that which is good, but does also will that which is evil.9
    7 Col. 1:13; John 8:36
    8 Phil. 2:13
    9 Rom. 7:15,18,19,21,23


    Paragraph 5. This will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone in the state of glory only.10
    10 Eph. 4:13
     
  17. donnA

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    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/exclusive

    What exclusive equals is that I would be told I wasn't good enough, I was unacceptable to Christ's church, my christianity is unacceptable.
    words like, not admitting, shutting out, no others have a share (judging somes salvation), outsiders (again judging ones salvation), admitting only members(if admittance is refused again judging salvation), not divided or shared with others, excluding soem or most from membership.What this means is, some are determined not to be christians if they do not believe what one particular church says they should, they are determined nto to be 'good enough' for that church. In scripture the 'church' was made up of christians, people who were saved, but today apparently the church is more exclusive then just admitting christians.

    before this thread I didn't know the difference between inclusive and exclusive. Inclusive on it's own is too loose and prehaps too liberal, but exclusive means telling christians they aren't good enough, or in fact according to the defination, that they aren't christians at all and they don't belong in church membership, or is it 'our' church they don't belong in. Because in Christ's church all His people are welcome.
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    The opposite side of that coin is that very few agree on doctrine. True unity is found in doctrine not simply agreeing to get along. And just how far do we take this line of thought you are presenting? Do we allow those who deny Christ because that is their interpretation?

    Another problem is that we have various Sunday school teachers teaching conflicting doctrines and especially contrary to the Pastor. Confessions are an expression of what is found in scripture. Simply dismissing them as a "man made document" as a result has no basis in fact. Again true unity and fellowship is found in doctrine. Doctrine is the basis for for all we do.

    Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them
     
  19. sag38

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    This very issue is one of the defining characteristics of the Emergent Movement and that is an ambiguity as to belief and practice. They refuse to take a stand on anything, except to take a stand on not taking a stand. They are inclusive to the point of making one sick to his or her stomach. In this post modern world I want something that I can grasp hold of and hang on to with dear life. I need defined boundaries that are non-negotiable and I believe the Bible is very clear about some boundaries. I want to know what is right and what is wrong. Again the Bible does a great job at defining what is right and what is wrong. In fact it calls wrong "sin." And, while I want to be loving, tolerant, and open, at the same time, I refuse to open my church to an anything goes, happy go lucky, kind of membership. Sure we want to help the struggling but we won't tolerate the one who wants to justify his or her sin. Either you agree with the basic doctrines or you are not welcome to officially join our fellowship. Attend all you want but we are not going to let you lead, teach, etc. And, if you feel so strongly about what you believe or don't believe that is contrary to what many consider to be simple orthodoxy, then there are plenty of other churches that would love to have you. Go with God's blessing.
     
  20. Dr. Bob

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    Then those who joyfully accepted [Peter's message of salvation] were baptized: and the same day there were added to the disciples around 3000 believers. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine, fellowship, communion and prayer.

    The VERY FIRST characteristic of a church is agreement of basic doctrinal truth.

    Can two walk together unless they agree to?
     

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