State Baptist Fellowships

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Dr. Bob, Jun 17, 2001.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    A word of explanation about associations of Baptists in the North. Almost every state has 7+ conventions, fellowships or associations of churches. There is one for Independent Baptists, General Assoc of Regular Baptists, Conservative Baptists, Bible Baptists, General (Swedish) Baptists, Southern Baptists, Reformed Baptists.

    I pastored 14+ years in Wisconsin, as well as grew up and taught college in Minnesota, so have some first-hand knowledge of these two states, and am head of the Wyoming Fellowship of Baptist Churches, a fledgling organization to help our rural state reach its widespread population.

    Regardless of any national convention, association or fellowship with which an independent baptist church may align, they have to vote to become a part of a particular state association.

    The Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches has 100 or so that have united for fellowship. Probably the majority are NOT affiliated with ANY national group! They associate for church planting and fellowship and do not play the national politic game of old conventionism.

    Likewise for Minnesota. And in Wyoming, our seven churches that started our Fellowship have no "national" voice (although one is part of the InterMountain Baptist Fellowship which is 99% Montana state fellowship).

    This creates a problem for identifying an accurate number of churches in any group. But to count "State Fellowships" along with the big national organizations will also create the problem of double counting for some churches.

    Hey, I'm so "independent" I don't even associate with my wife some days . . [​IMG]
     
  2. rlvaughn

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    ON COUNTING BAPTISTS

    Because of their congregational polity and autonomous nature, Baptists are inherently harder to count than most other denominations. Add to that our tendency to divide and multiply, and the statistician has his work cut out for him. Some organizational structures ease the problem. National organizations such as the NBC's, SBC, ABCUSA, etc. gather a number of churches under one roof and provide a common reference point. Other groups (the Primitive Baptists, for example) are united by a common name and theology, making them somewhat nationally recognizable, even though they have no national organization. Independent Baptists, on the other hand, provide the greatest problem in the field of counting Baptists. They have no common name, no encompassing organization, nor even necessarily a common theology. Add to this the fact that many independent Baptist churches can be found listed in several Fellowship directories, and the nightmare has begun.

    How should the state fellowships, such as Minnesota Baptist Association, be counted? There is definitely the problem of double counting, but this is not unique to counting state fundamentalist fellowships. Most of the "national" fellowships have the same problem. A number of churches are listed in BBFI, IBFI, and WBF directories. These fellowships have overlapping and it simply must be recognized and referenced. This problem exists also in counting the National Baptist Conventions. Some churches are related to two or more of these bodies. Even a few churches relate to both the ABCUSA & SBC. Baptist Churches may choose to do their work through several bodies (or none). We recognize this and realize that an accurate count of Baptists is simply not within the realm of human possibility. Even considering that, it is my opinion that Baptists in the United States are actually UNDERCOUNTED, because of the multitude of totally unaffiliated churches scattered all over the country. I have no perfect answer concerning how these state bodies should be categorized and counted. In 1995 the Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches (a state body) had 102 churches; the New Testament Association (a national or general body) had 115 churches. All 13 churches in the NTA directory were also listed in the WFBC directory. If we don't count the state fellowship, 89 churches remain uncounted. Because these fellowships operate independently of any national organization, yet are not really a different KIND of Baptist (are basically the same type of Baptist of those in national fundamentalist fellowships such as FBF & NTA), it is hard to pin down exactly where they should be placed. Who has a good suggestion as to how to deal with this?

    [ June 20, 2001: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  3. rlvaughn

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    HISTORY OF STATE FELLOWSHIPS?

    I am interested in the historical background of the following state fellowships -Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches; Association of Independent Baptist Churches of Illinois; Dakota Baptist Association; Inter-Mountain Baptist Fellowship; Mountain States Baptist Fellowship; Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches of Northern California; Wyoming Fellowship of Baptist Churches; and Independent Fundamental Baptist Association of Michigan. What was the past affiliation of the churches that formed these fellowships? Were they affiliated with the American Baptist Convention, the GARBC, the CBA, etc. before the state fundamentalist fellowships were formed?
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    I wrote the history of the fundamental Baptists in Wisconsin. They were simply a part of the Triennial Baptist mission outreach into the old Northwest Territory.

    After the split into Northern/Southern over slavery, Baptists in Wisconsin were part of the Northern Baptist Convention. Regional associations of churches were established in various parts of the state.

    Many were part of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship whose meetings often preceded the annual meeting of the Convention.

    Dissatisfaction with liberalism within the NBC (now American Bapt. Convention) especially in missions, caused many Wisconsin Baptist churches to support the new Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society, and after WWII, join the fledgling Conservative Baptist Association of America.

    By the mid 60's, New evangelicalism was in total control of the CBA and many of their missionaries. At that time most of the Baptist churches withdrew from ANY national organization and renamed the state association the Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches.

    Some BBF churches have been started or stolen by unscrupulous pastors. Some GARBC churches have been started. Each has a small presence in Wisconsin and small State organization. A number of churches did NOT leave the CBAofA and they, too, have a state organization. Of course, some still remain in the liberal ABC.

    But 100+ independent Baptist churches now fellowship with the WFBC.

    BTW, Minnesota followed a similar pattern from the ABC to CBA to independent. But they salvaged the original ABC State Association and renamed it Minnesota Baptist Association with full control of Pillsbury BBC.
     
  5. rlvaughn

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    Where may the history of fundamental Baptists in Wisconsin be purchased?
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    Dr. Bob (or anyone else who might know),

    Do you know anything about two newer fellowships - Grace Baptist Fellowship, possibly a split from Inter-Mountain, and Indiana Fundamental Baptist Association?
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    In 1994 the InterMountain Baptist Fellowship had an intentional split. The fellowship was not "fellowshipping"! [​IMG]

    Short History: The IMBF was founded in Wyoming with some old ABC and CBA churches to help church-planting and fellowship. My church is a product of that! Wyoming has a very small population, so most work was done in the Black hills of South Dakota and in Montana. It was soon dominated by Montana churches.

    There were 8 IMF churches left in Wyoming, none in South Dakota, and 40+ in Montana. The Montana churches, however, had a division among themselves.

    Montana Group #1 were by-and-large very legalistic, with heavy emphasis on standards on dress (no shorts, etc), music (no taped accompaniment), many had Christian schools and many were firmly in the "Hyles" camp.

    Montana Group #2 were much more oriented to soul liberty, did not have the same emphasis on standards, music, schools, and most were firmly opposed to the easy-believism of the "Hyles" camp.

    Wyoming Group were evenly divided among loyalty to the two different positions.

    The rift became most evident at Camp CastleRock, as the Group #2 pastors and churches were excluded from leadership and some even from ever stepping on the camp grounds! (Real Christian love). [​IMG]

    A meeting was held in the Holiday Inn of Billings. A straw vote to see the "division of the house" on the issues was almost 50/50.

    Over lunch it was decided to:
    *Allow Montana Group #1 (legalist) to retain the IMBF name. They controled Camp Castle Rock and would run it. 2 Wyoming churches joined them.
    *Allow Montana Group #2 (libertarian) to form a new Grace Baptist Fellowship and keep the assets of the IMBF ($50,000.00 earmarked for church planting). One Wyoming church joined them (mine!).
    *Give Wyoming the shaft (no money) since they had no clout!

    So the Wyoming Fellowship of Baptist Churches was formed. It has just six active churches, and is designed to fellowship and help with new-church work. It is just getting on its feet and reaching to the ifb churches in the state.

    I served as the founding President and Mission Director of the WFBC, and as a Board member of the GBF. (Slight bias in this report!) [​IMG]

    ps - all of the $$ of the GBF is loaned out to churches starting or in building programs. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jeff Weaver

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>
    From RLVaughn:

    Other groups (the Primitive Baptists, for example) are united by a common name and theology, making them somewhat nationally recognizable, even though they have no national organization. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Bro. Robert,

    I hate to do this to you, since I know how much you enjoy tracking everyone down, but not all Primitive Baptists, use the name. Some churches in our fellowship are known as "Old School Baptist", (I was a member of a church that used this name). Others use the name "Particular Baptist", e.g., Black Rock Church as in the Black Rock Address is still active, but the sign on the door is Black Rock Particular Baptist Church. Still others use the name Regular Baptist (I know of a few in Kentucky that do this), or Regular Primitive Baptist (a lot in Kentucky and Virginia use this name), and a few use the name Predestinarian Baptist (mostly in Tennessee, and a few in Kentucky). Most of the churches that use these names are independent of associations, but are in fellowship with Primitive Baptists in some way or another. There are a lot of Primitive Baptist churches which commonly use that name, but are legally chartered as Regular Baptist churches, most of those in Appalachia would fall into this category.
     
  9. rlvaughn

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    Yes, Brother Jeff, that needed to be pointed out. I was making a general statement to make a point, but in reality it is too general to be completely true. Another problem with the name is that some who are not in fellowship with what is generally considered Primitive Baptists, also use the name Primitive Baptist. I have a minute of an association in California in which the churches identify themselves as "Regular Primitive Baptist", but they are Regular Baptists of the type found in the Appalachians (Old Regular and Regular) and not in fellowship with the churches most commonly recognized as Primitive Baptist.

    To try to clarify the point I was trying to make (and I hope I don't confuse it more) - when I see a church that is Primitive Baptist (with exceptions of course), I feel like I have a general idea of their faith and practice. When I see an "independent" Baptist church, I have no idea what might be their faith and practice - they might range from very non-baptistic charismatic bunch to KJV-only to Calvinistic non-missionary to easy-believism-get-every-little-child-you can-and-baptise-them. Though Primitive Baptists tolerate a wide range of diversity, there is a core that usually can be counted on as you travel from church to church and state to state.
     
  10. Michael Wrenn

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    rl,

    What would you say that core is?
     
  11. Circuitrider

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rlvaughn:
    HISTORY OF STATE FELLOWSHIPS?

    I am interested in the historical background of the following state fellowships -Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches...What was the past affiliation of the churches that formed these fellowships? Were they affiliated with the American Baptist Convention, the GARBC, the CBA, etc. before the state fundamentalist fellowships were formed?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    rlv, Dr. Bob's history of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches will give you only a partial picture of Wisconsin (it's an excellent history of the WFBC) I am currently the director of the WFBC, having taken over that position about 6 weeks ago.

    There are over 225-250 independent Baptist chuches in Wisconsin. About 100+ are involved in some way with the WFBC, another 50-60 are in the BBF and GARBC groups. However, that leaves a number of churches which do not associate with or fit into any national or state group. Some are just faithful men who are working in their field, while other are those who by personal preference of conviction want to be totally without ties. In any case trying to count or identify these churches is a challenge. As someone said (maybe it was you) Baptists are likely undercounted. :cool: It is hard to believe there are actually more of us than everybody thought. :D Wait until the Methodists find that out! [​IMG]
     
  12. tyndale1946

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    Bro. Jeff... Brother Glen here... What names do Primitive Baptist use that you know of, not the progressives but of the Old School.

    The association that is held on the West Coast is called The Old Line Primitive Baptist Churches Of The West Coast.

    I know a Southern Baptist Church by the name of say Mt. Zion Southern Baptist Church but what of Primitive Baptist. If I was in your part of the country how would I know it was a Primitive Baptist Church till I walked in the door?

    Like you said it may say Regular Baptist but the doctrine was Primitive Baptist how is one to know before hand? There was a group in Arizona called The Trumpet Baptist in 1975 in doctrine Primitive Baptist but where are they now?

    I'm just stuck here at the other side of the USA in San Diego and I hear all these different baptist names but from your post you can not judge a church by its name.
    The church directory won't help because if they are not affiliated with us they won't be listed... Brother Glen :confused:

    [ October 16, 2001: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  13. Jeff Weaver

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    Bro. Glen, since this thread wasn't really about Primitive Baptists, and I don't want to hijack it, I answered you privately.
    Jeff
     
  14. rlvaughn

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    rl,

    What would you say that core is?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    As an friendly outsider looking in: I would say the core is a "Calvinism" that is practical and consistent; and a tenacious insistent on New Testament church order. When I visit a Primitive Baptist Church, I do not expect to be offended by some ridiculous humanistic program, but know that there will be a simple unadorned service of singing, praying and preaching (I use the word simple in the sense of uncomplicated; simple to me is not derogatory, but complimentary. By unadorned I mean not propped up with all kinds of "extras"). These statements are meant to refer to Regular and Absolute Predestinarian Primitive Baptists, but not to Progressive Primitive Baptists.

    As far as the term Independent Baptist is concerned, there is no consistency. When I visit independent Baptist churches, I never know what I will get into! (And I am an independent Baptist). From my standpoint, the term "independent" Baptist is not a very useful term. Different Baptists mean different things when they use the term. The original thought in my post was/is that independent Baptist is not a true category so far as Baptist statistics is concerned.
     

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