Unity or Purity?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by 12strings, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. 12strings

    12strings
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    In another thread, MorseOP said this:

    To which EARTH, WIND, & FIRE said this:

    Question: How does this work itself out in real life? Does it mean we cannot be members of a church unless they line up completely with us theologically? What is the dividing line?
     
  2. Sevenzedek

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    I believe the dividing has already been made by those who were quoted above. This is not to say that they have a biblical one. I firmly believe in the doctrines of grace, but that does not mean that those who have Arminian convictions cannot be Christian. Believing one way or another on this issue is not heresy.
     
  3. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Nobody said they were not Christians. Dont start that rumor. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  4. Sevenzedek

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    Starting a rumor would be unfortunate. Perhaps redefining "unity" as used in the context of the quote would be helpful.
     
  5. 12strings

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    Exactly... neither were saying that...I believe they were saying they would rather go to a fully reformed baptist church than one that had a mix of arminians and calvinists.
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I think anyone who knows me knows thats my preference....I've gone on record in the past as saying that....YES.
     
  7. Sevenzedek

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    On this we could be united:

    1 Corinthians 15:3-4
    For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

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    That was actually the scripture I used that started the whole conversation.

    "And that common ground is Christ has died, Christ has risen & Christ will come again"
     
    #8 Earth Wind and Fire, Sep 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2012
  9. Sevenzedek

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    I am sorry. I must confess that I have conducted myself unwisely. Please forgive me. I have entered a conversation I have not confirmed. I have drawn inferences where I shouldn't have.

    Proverbs 18:13
    13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it,
    it is folly and shame unto him.
     
  10. MorseOp

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    This is a great question. Thank you for asking it.

    How does this work out in real life? It depends on the nature of the relationship and the interaction involved. Let us say you have a relationship with a person (in real life; not virtual), and you also have a sharp theological disagreement. Do you turn every conversation into a debate? If you want that relationship to continue you probably would not want to go that route. You can respect the other person while disagreeing with their position. I know a number of people who are theological opposites of me. Some are friends while others are acquaintances. Our differences are well known. We have debated and discussed them and still see things differently. To the degree we both want these relationships to continue we both choose the position of "respect without compromise."

    As far as church membership goes, I think it depends on the church. In our church you can join the church even though you may disagree with some points of doctrine. For instance, we will let an Arminian join our church, but they must agree to submit to our understanding of the scriptures on the subject of election and predestination. By submit I mean that they cannot teach or advocate Arminianism or anything contrary to Calvinism. Church officers/teachers are held to a higher standard. An Arminian would not be able to hold church office or lead any type of teaching ministry, but they are welcome to be members of the church. Of course, it goes without saying that a person must provide a credible profession of their faith in Jesus Christ.

    I hope this helps.
     
    #10 MorseOp, Sep 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2012
  11. Michael Wrenn

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    Given that, I would ask this: Why would any Arminian wish to be a member of such a church? Conversely, why would any Calvinist wish to be a member of any such Arminian church?
     
  12. Michael Wrenn

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    This thread kind of relates to a situation I have been thinking about but have just encountered in a practical way: I was Episcopalian in the late 80's for a few years. There were several small churches within a 50-mile radius -- not growing but stable, all things considered. Since the significant changes in the PCUSA and TEC that have happened lately, I wanted to see if I could find out the status of these Episcopal Churches, and also those of the PCUSA and the UMC. What I have found is sad and rather shocking. A few of those small Episcopal churches have closed their doors, four or five others are sharing a supply priest, and another had its priest retire a few months ago and have not had a service since; they were averaging about 13-17 in attendance. I talked to a member the other day; this little church is in my wife's hometown. This man excitedly asked me if I knew anyone who might come and be a supply minister for them. He said they were a very conservative congregation. It just struck me at the time that here was an older, conservative congregation struggling to keep their little church alive, not agreeing with the direction of the national church, but not wanting to give up their small church. They seemed not to have any options; they obviously want to remain Episcopalians. Their little church is beautiful and has a long history. I really felt sympathy for them. And there are many more churches like this all around here. I know of one small Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) out in the country that is presently being served by a Baptist Association director, and by two retired Methodist ministers!

    These people don't know what to do; they just want to keep worshiping in these small churches that have been their home churches for many years. I asked one member what they did about money that has to go to the national church; he told me they give as little as possible -- I guess they have to pay their assessments (this is a presbyterian church).

    Anyway, if you were in that situation, what would you do? Would you do like these members, or would you likely not continue to worship there?
     
  13. MorseOp

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    Well, if the Arminian is an informed, and convinced Arminian, it would seem counter-intuitive for them to seek out membership in a Calvinist church and vice versa. It has been my experience that Arminianism is the default position for most people who have not studied the issue. Therefore, they do not even know they hold to Arminian doctrine. We have had such people visit our church and feel at home with us. They want to join the church and are introduced to what we believe when they either A) read the doctrinal statement B) listen to the preaching long enough C) ask one of the elders.

    Sometimes a Christian may be in a geographic area in which there are no like-minded churches within a reasonable distance. There may be other providential reasons that keep them from attending a like-minded church. In that case a Calvinist may attend a "mild" Arminian church without it vexing his conscience too much. At least he is with the body of Christ on the Lord's Day. Not every Arminian church overtly embraces Arminianism. Some do. It takes wisdom to discern the difference. The same goes for an Arminian, although the Arminian will have less of a problem finding a like-minded church in their area than the Calvinist.
     
  14. Van

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    I think we have three kinds of local assemblies, some clearly Calvinistic, some clearly Arminian, and some where the "what we believe" statement is vague. The "believe like a Calvinist but preach like an Arminian" variety.

    I would not join and would leave a church that precluded me from teaching what I believe is the gospel of Christ. However, on the other hand, I would not be "factious" and present views in opposition to the leadership of the assembly. So if we teach and preach in areas of common agreement we can work together, as a body with each part having our measure of faith or sphere of responsibility within the body.

    In sum, we should not present what we believe is mistaken for the sake of unity, and we should not disrupt the unity of the body to push our own agenda.
     
  15. Earth Wind and Fire

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    The motto of the Moravian church is: "In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, love
     
  16. mont974x4

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    Check out 2 John. God places truth above unity. The issue is, of course, where do you draw the line. In 2 John the line drawn concerns false doctrine related to Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done.

    The problem is the Church, at least here in the West, has bought into the liberal lies of redefinition. We have let them define love for us and that has led to pastors places a spirit of unity in place of unity of the Spirit. Truth is not allowed if it offends.
     
  17. 12strings

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    So to resurrect a mostly dead thread...would it be better for you to attend a Baptist church that believes theses essentials...but was non-calvinistic in theology, if they understood your positions and allowed you to join there?

    We had a converstation at our church with some former Nazarenes who believe you can lose your salvation...we explained our Baptist church's position, and that we would be teaching from an eternal security perspective, but that if they were fine with that, we had no problem with them joining our church, even if they never change their mind on that issue.
     
  18. Jerome

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    The problem is when the number of dissenting members grows large enough to overturn the church position.
     
  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Are you asking me specifically or everyone in general?
     
  20. mont974x4

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    That points us to a leadership problem. Too many pastors are unwilling to take a hard stance and make people angry. They are more afraid of offending men that they are of offending God.
     

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