What makes a church "Baptist"?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Rosell, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. Rosell

    Rosell
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    This is an issue going on in the church I pastor at the present time. We're three years old, don't use "Baptist" as part of our name and don't belong to any particular Baptist organization.

    However, about two thirds of our congregation came from other Baptist churches, we baptize only professing believers by immersion, we run our church business by Baptist congregational polity and our statement of faith reflects doctrinal beliefs that are compatible with most Baptists. As pastor, I was ordained by a Baptist church, got my undergraduate degree at a Baptist college in PA with a double major in Behavioral Science and Biblical Studies, and graduated with an MDiv from a Baptist seminary. We are a congregation that values its independence and autonomy, and actually exists because politics in Southern Baptist circles encroached on that autonomy. Our mission contributions go to several different places, mostly Baptist.

    From what I've seen here on this board, there are a number of experts who can answer that question. What really makes a church "Baptist"?
     
  2. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    The name on the sign out front?

    Seriously, I don't know why Baptists would be ashamed to let people know that...

    If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck... it should let people (who may not know what a duck looks like) that it is, indeed, a duck.

    Why should people have to ask, "What kind of church is this?"?
     
  3. dianetavegia

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    When we were choosing churches to visit in Cleveland, Georgia when we first moved there, we looked in the yellow pages and found a Baptist church not listed with Baptist churches. They were under 'other'. We chose to NOT visit that church. I'm proud of my Baptist beliefs.

    Diane
     
  4. gb93433

    gb93433
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    As soon as you affiliate with anyone you will subject yourselves to their teachings and ways of doing things.
     
  5. jhickman

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    There are times that I think that not putting Baptist in the church's name is probably a good thing, especially in an area where the only churches that are called Baptist are of the ultra-legalistic, KJVO type. If the new church is trying to reach people who are turned off by that type of church, then I wouldn't blame them one bit for leaving "Baptist" out of the name.
     
  6. Thankful

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    This seems to be the trend. A large free-will Baptist Church in our city recently changed their name and took Baptist out of it. They advertise that they still have the same beliefs.

    Some churches are taking the word "church" out of their name, using "Fellowship" instead.

    If I were looking for a church, I would look for one that has Baptist Church as part of the name and says that it is Southern Baptist.
     
  7. Rosell

    Rosell
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    I'd have to say that probably all of the people who are either prospects or have joined our church since it was founded would never have come our way if we had Baptist in the name, or if we were affiliated with an identifiable Baptist denomination or group. The core group of the church is made up of former Baptists who left their churches because of the encroaching interference of the SBC and of the state convention that they were affiliated with into their church affairs. Those who have joined our church since then either come from Baptist churches and not interested in joining another, or come from another denominational background and wouldn't have looked for a Baptist church. The new Christians who have become part of our church, which I am happy to say outnumber the transfers at this point, wouldn't have been reached by a Baptist congregation.

    For me, its kind of tough, since I've been a Baptist for most of my Christian life. But I'm afraid that Baptist denominational life, and the image that is now projected by using the name, is a hindrance to ministry. The Baptist churches around us, whether they be Southern or Independent, are slowly declining and aging. Some of the people that have come our way have been to them, and found them generally cliquish and unwelcoming. A lot of people who come our way have been out in the world and wounded by it. They've been through divorce, or had children out of wedlock, or had drug or alcohol problems, or drifted from low paying job to low paying job. Sometimes they'll drift in and out of our church for a while, before they are ready to make a committment. And we still have a lot who aren't ready. It takes a lot of understanding and time to minister to people like that.

    From a personal standpoint, I guess I will always be a Baptist, as will many of our members. But I guess our church is probably not "Baptist" as it is being defined in the current culture.
     
  8. Bob Farnaby

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    For me what the doctrinal statement says matters more than the name used.

    Firstly we should strive to be Christian Churches, I belive a correct understanding/following of scripture will make you a baptist anyway ....

    The local church is the key to our service, denominations (strictly there can be no baptist denomination) and associations are useful for fellowship, cooperative witness and mutual support, but must surely be a secondary issue. The creation of any ecclesiastical structure beyond the local church will create the soctrinal and power problems we see in so many of the 'denominations'
    So, in short, if your church is truly scriptural, it will be baptist ...

    Regards
    Bob
     
  9. Bob Farnaby

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    ps ... do not ever let any denominational group get away with saying "We are the baptist church"
     
  10. pinoybaptist

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    I was converted in a Baptist church, learned most of what I believe in now in a Baptist church, hated most of what I hated now in a Baptist church, but, wherever I go, I look for a Baptist church, a solid, non-affiliated, Baptist church.

    I believe the first new Testament church founded on the shores of Cesaria Philippi was Baptist, if not by name, then by teaching and practice.

    Some folks quit Baptist churches because they feel they have been encroached in their personal lives too much by the Pastor, and they may be right, but imho the Pastor was simply trying to make sure that when he accounts for them, his accounting will be short.

    Some churches take the name Baptist off their signs (and then go thru a lot of effort to assure everyone else and the community at large that they are still Baptistic in their beliefs) because they, let's face it, want to attract people in by relying on the name rather than the Name.

    I am Primitive Baptist. I have studied the history of my people, the PB's. I have seen with my own eyes that the sign outside attracts young and old people with PB roots or had PB churches in their town, rather than repelling them.
     
  11. Deacon

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    We removed the "Baptist" name from our sign just last month. We consider it consistent with our church's mission to reach the lost.

    I live in a densely populated area. There are a lot of "Baptist" churches within a short drive. Some are quite good, others are like country clubs for the saved and separated.

    We chose to change our name because of many reports that those we were trying to reach were repelled by the Baptist name. We'd here things like, "I'd never set foot in a "Baptist Church".
    If a simple change in name from XXXXX Baptist church to XXXXX Ministries will help to bring down the barriers then we will do it. "All things to all people..."

    There are plenty of other Baptist Churches around for those Christians that want to church shift or pick the perfect church. We want to grow the kingdom.

    Rob
     
  12. Greg Linscott

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    Whole article here: http://www.faith.edu/pulpits/93_12.HTM
     
  13. Greg Linscott

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    We chose to change our name because of many reports that those we were trying to reach were repelled by the Baptist name. We'd here things like, "I'd never set foot in a "Baptist Church".
    If a simple change in name from XXXXX Baptist church to XXXXX Ministries will help to bring down the barriers then we will do it. "All things to all people..."


    I understand what you are saying... I really do. However, is the answer to water down the name?

    "Ministries?" what does an unsaved person think when he sees a building with "ministries" or "worship center" on the sign in front? "Oh, my, suddenly I feel an urge to realign all my priorities and 'worship'! No more NFL, no more youth soccer, no more going to the lake, no more sleeping in... I'm going to see what's going on at the XXXX Ministries!"

    I submit that a name change often indicates a shift (or at least a downplay) in doctrine and practice. While there is great latitude and diversity amongst churches calling themselves Baptist, it at least gives us a place to start.
     
  14. Greg Linscott

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    Rosell,

    What was the reasoning for not including Baptist in your church's name? Do they identify themselves as "Baptistic?" (not criticizing, just wanting to hear the rationalization)
     
  15. Plain Old Bill

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    A Baptist beleives the Bible is the Word of God and is without error as written in the original manuscripts.A Baptist beleives once a person is saved he/she is then baptized by immersion in beleiver's baptism.A Baptist church is a local New Testament Church and is not a part of a denomination,it may fellowship with other churches ,however it is autonomous.The Bible is the rule of faith.
    Past this there are 500 different kinds of baptists having all kinds of church governments. They go from ultra-conservative to ultra liberal.They call themselves fellowships, associations,or denominations.A Baptist Church is always a LOCAL NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH.
    For further details please check Paul's writing to the churches in the new testament.
     
  16. Matt Black

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    My home church is called Locks Heath Free Church. There are a variety of historical reasons for this, not least the fact that we began as a Congregational Church which was taken over by the Baptist Union of Great Britain in 1980 -see here: http://www.lhfc.org.uk/framer.html

    Even today, there are folks from a large variety of denominational backgrounds here: Baptist, Pentecostal, Brethren, Anglican, charismatic/ restoration to name a few. But we make no secret of what our affiliation is, all our ministers are BUGB-licensed and folks who become members have to assent to our doctrines and beliefs as well as our constitution, which are all thoroughgoingly (is that a word?!)Baptist in nature.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  17. Jeffrey H

    Jeffrey H
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    What really makes a church "Baptist"?

    In my observation and study of history, "Baptist" churches have these common components among both liberal and conservative congregations:

    --Baptism of believer's only.
    --Local church autonomy and governance.
    --Ordains it's own ministers (elders) and deacons.

    There are other important components that could be included such as the Bible, Salvation, etc., but these views can differ greatly among theologically liberal and conservative congregations. In that regard, there are some churches that bear the name "Baptist" that I would not fellowship with.
     
  18. Debby in Philly

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    Our new pastor is highly reccommending that we change our church name, removing the Baptist label. His feeling is that in the city, in a neighborhood that is largely Hispanic and Muslim, the label is a hindrance to putting forth a "welcoming" face to the community.

    But without that name, what do you call it? I agree with Greg Linscott, what does the name "Ministries," or "Worship Center," or "Fellowship," or the pastor's reccomendation, "Community Church," actually mean to an unsaved person anyway?

    On the other hand, a Christian coming into the community might be looking for a Baptist church, because the name is at least somewhat descriptive as to what is going on inside. That's what I'd look for. But I don't know how the unchurched think. Is there "marketing" research on this issue anywhere?
     
  19. er1001

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    Pastor Rosell,Just note in reply to your request.
    Some years ago i had the privilege of helping just such a church as yours get started.Although baptistic in doctrine,we decided that a non-denominal shingle might draw folks from all walks of life.However when we went door to door visiting we were accused of being really baptists in disguise by most we visited.During this time my brother began attending,got saved and was baptized and joined the church.A number of years later we gave in and changed the church name to Baptist.
    A number of years later i moved and joined a baptist church in Maine.My brother decided to drive there also and aplied for membership.The pastor asked where he was saved and baptized,when he told him his membership was rejected without a new decision for Christ and a new baptizism.He called the our former church a renegade church that was started without baptist permission. :confused: :confused: My brother was devastated and went on the another work.
    Saw your question and added a testimony of what some baptists thing of a church started as an independant work [​IMG]
     
  20. Charlesga

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    For me, a baptist church:

    Is congregational in nature

    Has local autonomy

    Believes in the priesthood for all believers and soul competency

    Believes that the separation of church and state is fundamental in supporting religious liberty

    Practices baptism of believers by immersion


    That being said, not all churches that are "baptist" believe/practice all of these.

    Charles
     

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