'ROPE OF SAND'

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Salty, Dec 19, 2003.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    In Frank Meads "Handbook of Denominations" he mentions the following about Baptists:

    1. They are bound together by an amazingly strong "rope of sand"

    2. "Two ordinances (rather than sacrements)"

    3. "These doctrines never have been written into any official Baptist creed for all the churches"

    4. "Technically, there are no such things as Baptist denominations"

    5. "There is no age reuirement fro membership"

    Any comments?
     
  2. rsr

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    On the whole, I agree.

    1. They are bound together by an amazingly strong "rope of sand."

    This board, I suggest is an example.

    2. "Two ordinances (rather than sacrements)"

    No argument there. The Zwinglian (or Calvinist, depending on your bent) tradition is still strong.

    3. "These doctrines never have been written into any official Baptist creed for all the churches"

    There is no Baptist "creed." There are a number of confessions, which have been treated with varying degrees of respect.

    4. "Technically, there are no such things as Baptist denominations"

    Technically, true, because the local church is autonomous. Or should be.

    5. "There is no age reuirement fro membership"

    So far I as I know, this is true on the whole, though each church is free to make its own determination. (I add that I think the trend among some churches to accept very young children as "members" is just asking for trouble — paedobaptism in disguise.)
     
  3. pinoybaptist

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    What is a "Rope of Sand" ?
     
  4. Debby in Philly

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    Rope of Sand - the unofficial, not written down and voted on, invisible thing that makes us Baptists. Baptist denominations are really only pooled resources for missions and education. Not for setting creeds or absolute rules - scripture does that.

    "Blest be the tie that binds."
     
  5. Doc Yankum

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    Please,allow me to confess my ignorance. I have been a Baptist for 56 years and I have just now heard of the rope of sand. I always thought that the invisible thing that makes us Baptists is "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

    I am honest in my desire to learn more of this rope of sand. Perhaps it is something I already believe under another term.
     
  6. Debby in Philly

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    Actually I had never heard the term before, I was just guessing! [​IMG]
    Anyway, Doc, I think that what you said is correct also. [​IMG]
    We Baptists are the most loosely connected but firmly bound together group I know of. I guess that's why "rope of sand" is a pretty good description.
     
  7. Bethelassoc

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    Here's how a dictionary defines it:

    Rope of sand - something of no cohession or fiber; a feeble union or tie; something not to be relied upon.
     
  8. rsr

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    Yep. Except the opposite is demonstrated on this board. We disagree on soteriology, eschatology, etc., but here we are.
     
  9. pinoybaptist

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    Can I rightly say perhaps that the "rope of sand" that binds us together would be "

    The Blood that Jesus shed for me
    Way back at Calvary
    The Blood that gives me strength from day to day
    It will never lose its pow'r.

    God bless y'all !!
     
  10. Doc Yankum

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    Not trying to be argumenative, but the definition offered by Bethelassoc is inconsistant with the comments made by Pinoybaptist. From the definition I have no confidence in the rope of sand, but I can attach my hope to the blood that Jesus shed.
     
  11. pinoybaptist

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    Yes, you're absolutely right, doc.
     
  12. rsr

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    An amendment on No. 2:

    While baptism and the Lord's Supper are universally accepted as ordinances, hymn singing has in the past been treated as an ordinance, and footwashing continues to carry that designation among some Baptists.
     
  13. Baptist born Baptist bred

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    The rope of sand has been used by many Baptist Theologians and Historians to describe our method of cooperation. Here is a portion of an article written by Dr. Draper.

    "What is a Southern Baptist? This question is a natural outcome of our first inquiry. We as Southern Baptists embrace the uniqueness and essentials listed above, but move further into the Southern Baptist distinctive of cooperation. We do what we do together. We do what we do together voluntarily. No one coerces us. We are bound together in what my predecessor, James L. Sullivan, called a "Rope of Sand with Strength of Steel." To cooperate means that we gather around the essentials listed above and put aside our personal agendas to accomplish the mandate of God for our lives."

    The rope of sand means that we voluntarily choose to cooperate, yet there is nothing forcing us to continue our cooperation. Our cooperation is based on the essentials of the faith, but even more so on the things that make us distinct from other denominations. Our doctrine of the church has generally been the doctrine that sets Baptist apart.
     
  14. Baptist born Baptist bred

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  15. Salty

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  16. Squire Robertsson

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    I agree calling that which binds us a "Rope of Sand with Strength of Steel" is a good non-theological description. We can talk theologically amougnst ourselves. But to those on the outside, a rope of sand is an apt term. Though, they have a tendency to see the strength of steel.

    [ April 16, 2006, 02:44 AM: Message edited by: Squire Robertsson ]
     
  17. TCassidy

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    State and national associations are not bound together by church law but rather they cooperate voluntarily. "Rope of sand" is a very apt description of that voluntary association and cooperation. R. V. Clearwaters, my pastor, teacher, and mentor used the phrase quite regularly when he was the power behind the Minnesota Baptist Association.

    I think the term was coined by George Whitefield when he said "Works? Works? A man get to heaven by works? I would as soon think of climbing to the moon on a rope of sand!"

    So we do use it a bit differently than the man who coined the phrase but it still works. [​IMG]
     
  18. Salty

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    Using the term "ROPE OF SAND" certainly is an interesting way to introduce someone to the Baptist faith
     
  19. Joseph M. Smith

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    I love pointing out to my Baptist students at a Methodist seminary how different our polity is -- that this "rope of sand" (as explained above, a light touch of voluntary cooperation focused on missions) is actually so much more effective than connectionalism. Connectional churches that assess congregations for mission money are subject to the same thing we are all facing today with our taxes: how to wangle the numbers to get by with paying less. But we Baptists, at our best, have actually competed to see who can give away the most money to missions! (Although I see that ethos dying away these days).
     
  20. Tom Butler

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    Technically, the Southern Baptist Convention exists for only two or three days a year, at its annual meeting. That's why it's called a convention.
     

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