The Baptist paradox(ex)

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Alcott, May 3, 2004.

  1. Alcott

    Alcott
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    I would like to do a poll about this subject, but in order to focus it, some pre-poll input is needed.

    I don't know if anyone else has thought to call this subject the "Baptist paradox," but it's the observation of Baptist churches, organizations, and especially "evangelists," put so much emphasis on making a public decision for Christ, having an "invitation," which at 'revivials,' 'crusades,' or camp meetings can get very emotional with a lot of response. And then all the 'rejoicing,' shouts of "Amen!" to these decisions or applauding (same thing with a little different method), and the "right hand of Christian fellowship." THEN, so many sermons, so many articles, so much "advice" of questionable quality, and it seems we do everything to convince people who have 'known Christ' for a long time or short time, to re-examine that, or make a "redidication," or a request for prayers to "seek direction"; and these also are normally met with unquestioned commendation from the present assembly.

    So it seems we try to convinced the unsaved they must get saved, the saved they must question that, or at least 'rededicate' or seek further guidance. And this does result in many people being baptized for a 2nd time saying "I didn't really know what I was doing the first time."

    If being a Christian is a growth process, then we are going to have periods when things seem to be settled or 'in holding,' and then there are times when further growth comes in splurges. I don't think having a new learning or perspective means we must be condemned by our dumbness and we need another-- a "real"-- dose of spirituality. But Baptists do love to see "decisions" and we always want to commend whatever the decision is... probably knowing later it will be questioned both by those who make it and those in position to see the 'results.'

    Were you baptized a 2nd time (or even more)? Is an annual or biannual rededication a common thing for you or those you know? Have you seen young people come back from 'camp' or some meeting with many of them making new decisions, including a 2nd or 3rd salvation decision, or "surrendering [my] life to Christian service", knowing this was just some emotional chain reaction? These are some of the questions that may be on the poll, along with others brought up.
     
  2. gb93433

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    What you have stated is seen many times in America. Take a look at Baptist Churches in Europe and former communist countries. Friends of mine who have pastored there tell me it is very different.

    I have asked questions of those who have come from other countries and also those who have gone from here to there. Commonly I hear that Americans want it quick and are rather gullible. Americans are not known for checking it out first.

    I am not a big invitation man but I have seen cases where people have truly accepted Christ at that time. The common complaint I hear from some of the staff is that they could not tell when the sermon ended and invitation began so they could get ready. My thought is that the invitation should be directly related to the sermon. Every time God speaks to me he wants me and my application. He wants me to take action on being obedience. He does not manipulate and neither should we.

    When Jesus spoke to His disciples he said, "Come follow Me." That is a direct invitation and command. Do we not have the right to command people to follow Jesus. Moses did when he preached. The prophets did when they preached.

    Acts 26:28, "Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian."

    If that isn't persuasion what is it? Persuasion is good for the right things.
     
  3. rsr

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    Alcott said:

    Totally outside my experience. This is more a Pentecostal tradition than Baptist, I think. But then, I'm old.

    No.

    Sometimes. Never including a second salvation experience. "Surrendering life to Christian service" is perhaps sometimes an emotional reaction, but often is a lifelong commitment.

    Perspectives from an eight-year camper at Falls Creek Baptist Assembly.

    Your mileage may vary.
     
  4. Kiffin

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    I was baptized a 2nd time (though techinally the first since I was not converted the first time) It is curious that I do not see mutiiple (re)baptisms in church history or even it being common in Acts. It seems to be common for most Baptists today.

    I am not sure what you mean. I believe the Lord's Supper is the rededication ordinance and believe it should be celebrated every Sunday and do not think true reformation will occur among Baptists until the Lord's Supper takes a more central role in our worship.

    Yes, I have seen it and this appealing to emotions at Church camps needs to be curtailed.
     
  5. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    As mentioned above I think that it is primarily and American phenomena. As an American missionary living in Europe now I see both sides. When it happens here it is in church plants that keep a strong American influence.

    I see inherent dangers in the whole thing. People get to the point where every time something goes wrong they go through the whole thing hoping it will "take" this time.
     
  6. Alcott

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    That is essentially the paradox I am referring to. Using all kinds of pressure and emotionalism to get people to make a decision for Christ, emphasizing they will be eternally saved, so no need to be concerned with the salvation issue any more... then use those same tactics to try to cast doubt on the decision made a month, a year, or 10 years ago.

    I know first-hand about this stimulating the response and emotional reactions. Years ago there was an evangelist coming to our town who was to hold a 'crusade' at the local high school and I was one from my church asked to be a couselor during the crusade. To do that it was required to attend a seminar where we were instructed not only in answering the basic questions about salvation, baptism, rededications, et al; but also in that all of the counselors were to make our way to the front during the invitation; but not all at once, rather trickle down one at a time as if we were coming in response to the altar call in order to encourage other people who were 'considering' going forward. I didn't particularly like the setup at the time, but I didn't spend my time questioning it after I agreed to be involved. But now I am quite sure I would not consider doing that kind of thing.
     
  7. gb93433

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    What you have stated is exactly the reason we must disciple new believers. I have never seen a person who was discipled ever seriously question their salvation. They see the fruit of their salvation and walk with Jesus.

    If we did not feed and care for a new baby it would die within a short time. I believe we have a lot of baby Christians in churches today who have not gotten past the initial salvation experience.

    If a young man is a fast runner and tells someone he wants to run track but never competes he will never get to experience a victory. If we are never encouraged to be obedient then we will never see how God works in our life personally and how we can trust His word.

    If we do not encourage others to be obedient by helping them to grow such as Jesus did with His disciples then we are disobedient to scripture.
     
  8. Trotter

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    Amen, gb!

    WhenI came to Christ, I was given a $4.99 gift Bible and a book, "Christian's Surviival Guide". And that was it. No mentor. No follow-up. No direct instruction. Nothing. And how much did I grow spiritually for the first several years of my Christian life? Nada, zip, zero.

    No matter how or when a decision is reached, if we allow that person to fall throught he cracks, they will fall right out of the back door. An ember grows cold and dies if it is not fanned into a flame, and the same goes for those fresh decisions.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     

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