Opinion: Are local Baptist churches wholly autonomous?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    http://www.abpnews.com/www/2469.article

    Opinion: Are local Baptist churches wholly autonomous?
    By Beth Newman
    Published June 12, 2007

    A philosopher once said “the meaning of a word is its use.” He didn’t mean that a word can mean anything but rather that words can mean different things according to their context. I remember arguing with a former professor about this. I offered the word “circle” as having a singular meaning. Doesn’t it always refer to something round and, well, circular? His response: “What about a women’s circle?”

    Similarly, how do we understand the word “autonomy?” When applied to the church, is autonomy a kind of individualism drawn large, another version of “me and Jesus got a good thing going?” So understood, autonomy contradicts the Scriptural vision that the oneness of the church is the will of God (Eph. 4:4-5).
     
  2. Sober_Baptist

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    Local church is not answerable to anyone but the Lord. Physical entity.
    Universal church is spiritual entity only, hence the difference.

    SB
     
  3. JustChristian

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    That's what I learned when growing up in the SBC. That's no longer the case, however. Churches are answerable to their association and the convention. They can be kicked out for ordaining women, supporting homosexuals, etc.
     
  4. David Lamb

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    Don't local baptist churches in America decide whether to join (or remain in) an association of churches? That is certainly the case in the UK. For example, In 1971 Michael Taylor addressed the annual assembly of the Baptist Union of Great Britain with these words:

    “I am not troubled or surprised that he [Jesus] doesn’t know everything or sometimes makes a mistake, or gets angry, or doesn’t have all the gifts, or betrays himself as a child of his time. However remarkable his life, I think I must stop short of saying categorically: Jesus is God. So first, Jesus is a man like you and me, and second God is present and active in Jesus as he is present and active in us all.”

    This led a number of churches to withdraw from membership of the Union, just as many years before, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and his church had done.

    I am also rather puzzled as to why a church that wanted to ordain women (to use your example) would wish to be part of an organisation like the Southern Baptist Convention, which presumeably is against the ordination of women.
     
  5. Salty

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    I have a question. Suppose there was a church in your association ( I assume you are still SBC) whose pastor was a known child molster? Would you want that church to be in your association?

    So who determines who is part of the association? The association does.
    One other thing, does the Association "kick out" a church, or do they simply withdraw fellowship?
     
  6. JustChristian

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    What's the difference?
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    If they were "a known child molester," wouldn't the pastor be arrested and charged, no longer the pastor?

    Probably. If the pastor has abused members of his congregation or community, other churches need to help that church and community heal. The last thing a Christian should do is reject those who are broken, needy and suffering.
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    I realize that you are asking a different question, but I'm somewhat distressed that there is now another member with the same name (except for a space between the words) posting at BaptistBoard. I think this has the potential to cause great problems.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    Autonomous is self-governing . Period.
    (auto=self, nomos=law)

    It does not mean no affiation, no cooperation, no unity with other brethren, no dismay over an evil practice or false doctrine.

    A church is NOT autonomous if there is a denominational or conventional hierarchy that establishes "rules" or "laws" that the church must obey.

    Our church adopted the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession as a statement of faith. We may/may not cooperate with others who espouse the same beliefs, but if some organization said we HAD to, they would then be "ruling" over our church . . and we would back away.
     
  10. JustChristian

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    All I did was register. I wasn't aware of this concern.
     

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