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Are 'Baptist' and 'Biblical' synonyms?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by gb93433, May 25, 2005.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    Jun 26, 2003
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    FIRST-PERSON: Are 'Baptist' and 'Biblical' synonyms?
    Wednesday, May 25, 2005
    By Ed Stetzer

    ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--Young leaders. Some folks find them hard to understand. Wasn’t giving them positions of leadership -– such as service on committees -– enough to challenge them, make them happy, get them involved?

    But now it appears the issue was bigger than that. Jimmy Draper has helped us to see that there is not a long line of gifted young people waiting their turn to serve in positions of leadership in the SBC. If we take a closer look at the reasons, we find that the issues which matter to younger leaders are theological and missional. Theologically, they want “Baptist” and “biblical” to be synonyms. Missionally, they want Baptists to find new ways to reach our communities and the world.

    Emerging leaders in Southern Baptist life are, well, not liberal. There might be a few bad apples out there, but it would be rather odd for them to stick around in a denomination known for its serious commitment to theology, evangelism, preaching, etc. Quite the contrary -- many of them have been trained in our fine seminaries and have deep convictions that Scripture is authoritative and sufficient, and they are ministering accordingly.

    It’s interesting. As a denomination we’ve spent more than two decades telling young leaders that we must take the Bible seriously. Should we be surprised that they do? When younger leaders question some long-held traditions, we should not be surprised -- they are the result of the theological resurgence. The young leaders I know passionately believe the Bible, and they enthusiastically embrace our faith statement (and, to be fair, those are the circles in which I run).

    Thus, the issues that are driving younger leaders away are not theological; they are cultural and missional. They are tired of being told that dress, worship style and traditional practices are biblical mandates when they are found neither in the Bible nor in the denomination’s faith statement.

    There is a gap between our talk and our practice -- we say it’s all about theology and mission, but it appears to be more about doing things a certain way, a way based more on 18th century practices than first century Scripture.

    Young leaders talk about cultural relevance. From what I hear at some conferences, older leaders are worried about what that means. Young leaders want ministry options that move beyond the models they inherited. Young leaders have determined that, in many cases, the models of the past are no longer effective (and the baptism stats seem to verify this), so they’re hungry to see new expressions of biblical church and ministry that are effective in reaching their community. They want to be missionaries in this North American mission field. In short, they want to be missional.

    In essence, we’re talking about their desire to be Christians who are living in a mission setting. As a result, their expressions of biblical worship use diverse music, preaching styles, dress, etc. It’s not about hipper clothes and cooler music. It’s about being God’s missionary where He has placed us now, not 50 or 500 years ago.

    They want to be in the type of convention that Bob Reccord talked about in the first column in this series -- a convention that welcomes all kinds of scripturally sound missional churches: traditional churches, purpose driven churches, emerging churches, churches that meet in homes.

    If you are concerned about the influence of some theologically aberrant younger leaders, the answer is not to call all young leaders back to hymns, suits, and the King James Bible. Instead, it’s to create venues where young leaders -- and some not so young! -- can learn biblically sound innovations and methods.

    The conservative resurgence accomplished its purpose, and we have a group of young leaders committed to biblical theology and missional ministry. We must not now fight for our traditions as if they were our doctrine. They aren’t the same thing.

    Younger leaders want to lead churches that are theologically sound and missionally committed. If they don’t find the SBC to be biblical and missional, they will find their own fellowships, and we will be the weaker for it. We had a theological resurgence, but young leaders want a missional resurgence, too. They want “Baptist” and “biblical” to be synonyms, and they want to get busy reaching the world!

    Ed Stetzer serves as director of research at the North American Mission Board. A missiologist, he is the author of several articles and books on missional ministry.

  2. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick <img src=/532.jpg>Banned

    Nov 12, 2000
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    Older folks must listen to and respect the younger folks. On the other hand, the younger folks need to listen to and respect the elders as well and realize that they have been through many things in life and have some wisdom to impart. In other words, everyone needs to spend more time in prayer, Bible Study and evaluating if indeed the old and new traditions of Missions are Biblical and, if they are, go with it. On the other hand, we must be careful in our youth not to dive headlong into an empty swimming pool by embracing those things which might appeal to our generation or make us feel good, but lead to destruction.

    Joseph Botwinick
  3. Gold Dragon

    Gold Dragon Well-Known Member

    Feb 24, 2005
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    Non Baptist Christian
    One of the problems with calling any group "biblical" is the temptation to apply the converse idea that others who disagree with them for biblical reasons are not.
  4. MNJacob

    MNJacob Member

    Jul 8, 2003
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    Go Ed. My church evangelism professor.
  5. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg New Member

    Nov 19, 2004
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    Although I am an IFB rather than a member of an SBC church, I agree with the points in Ed's article.

    To put it briefly: "If it's 'Baptist,' it ought to be 'Biblical.' If it's 'Biblical,' it ought to be 'Baptist'!"

    Why any congregation that calls itself Baptist would want to implement a practice that is blantantly unbiblical is beyond me.

    I believe the majority of problems Baptist congregations have do not stem from a practice that is blatantly unbiblical. IMHO most problems come from the fact that, as Jesus so appropriately put it in Matthew 15:9, "But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

    In other words, just because past generations of Baptists may have held to a certain practice does not, by itself, mean that that practice is necessarily biblical. Nor does it necessarily mean that practice is unbiblical. Nor does the fact that one Baptist congregation does something(s) different than yours mean you are biblical and they are unbiblical. (It could be that NEITHER congregation's practice is biblical!)

    Change, by itself, is neither good nor bad. It depends on not only what it is being changed FROM, but also what it is being changed TO.

    Methodology may change through the years. Sunday School was unheard of prior to around 1800, and even then, what were known as Sunday schools were not what we think of them as being today--they were schools held on Sundays for those children who worked in the factories (esp. in England) Monday through Saturday for the purpose of teaching them how to read and write.

    I read nowhere in the sermons of, for example, C. H. Spurgeon, where he makes any mention of his being involved in a radio or TV ministry. Why not? Were they unbiblical? No...neither medium was invented during his period of ministry.

    Those who authored the London or New Hampshire or Philadelphia Confessions of Faith never had anything to say about a church using a PA system or a bus ministry. Unbiblical? Of course not--they weren't available to them in their day.

    We neither need to be so yoked to practices of the past that we cannot change some methods in order to reach people today.

    Most churches never had a web site twenty years ago. Now some do. Is the fact that 20 years ago they didn't use that method of outreach therefore make a church's use of a web site unbiblical?

    On the other hand, we should not be so naive to assume that "new" or "different" always equates to "better." Remember the hoopla about "New Coke" some 15-20 years ago? It was "new," but obviously the public did not find it "better." [BTW, I wonder how much a can full of "New Coke" would sell for on eBay today?!!? :eek: ]

    'Nuf said!
  6. Loren B

    Loren B New Member

    Jul 10, 2000
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    Culturally Relevant? Love not the world .... pretty well sums up the problem that this admonition envelopes. The problem comes in when "culturally relevant" trumps biblical separation from the things of this world.
  7. exscentric

    exscentric Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    May 24, 2004
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    ""New Coke" some 15-20 years ago? It was "new," but obviously the public did not find it "better.""

    Well now, I'd say your memory may be a tad shallow there sonny! I was worken on a commodore 64 and I plum ruined my 40 character wide dot matrix printer printin my letter of complainet to them young whipper snappers that took away my coke! Wasn't bad nuff they offered us trash, but they took away the good stuff so's we'd have tu try the junk!!!

    Wasn't that moren about 30 yer ago?

    An as fer ebay, I'd guess Antiques Road Show would be a better place to go :)

    Yuke, that stuff was bad.
  8. FrankBetz

    FrankBetz Guest

    That is why we started the IFB movement, to GET AWAY!! from the "mommy" known as the sbc.

    Politics and church DON'T mix, but that doesn't mean politics shouldn't be preached, against!

    Young people want to obey the Lord, most political organizations want you to obey them!!
  9. Scott J

    Scott J Active Member
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    Apr 25, 2001
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    The answer to the title is absolutely NO.

    Baptists should be biblical but sadly it has gone from an accusation, to a description, to a label.

    You can't even define "Baptist". Some "Baptists" teach easy believism (not biblical), some teach KJVOnlyism (not biblical), some have women leaders of men (not biblical), some are ecumenical beyond scriptural bounds (unbiblical), some have married homosexuals (unbiblical),....

    The point is that there are many people who call themselves Baptists that are not biblical... and some who call themselves something else who are biblical.
  10. billreber

    billreber New Member

    Apr 14, 2005
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    A couple of months ago, our youth pastor addressed out church council about the yout working with the local Union Gospel Mission to get poor, underprivileged children to go to a week-long camp. Our church would have no cost to do this, but might "end up with more families to minister to".

    Would you you believe there was an argument about whether or not we should do this? The reason? "We don't have enough people to miniuster to more families".

    What an unbiblical statement from a Baptist church council! If God is moving us to do somethong, He will provide the resources to do it. We ARE doing this outreach this year. Now only God knows what the results will be. Whatever the outcome, we are obeying God in reaching out.

    "Baptist" = "biblical"? Not always. Because we are still sinful humans who need to DAILY turn to the One True God Who came to earth and died for us, Jesus Christ.