Monday, October 09, 2006

Baptist: What's In a Name?

Recently my good friend Sammy has reminded me that over the last several decades the label "Baptist" has gotten a bad rap. The conotations often associated with Baptist in the larger evangelical community are not always good, though most are probably fair. For there was a period (and in some places it still exists) where Baptists were associated with legalism, fundamentalism, anti-intellectualism, and hyper-conservativism. For some young people today this is all they have ever known of the name "Baptist" and it is like a hazardous warning label to them. While I applaud my brother's bringing this to the forefront of our local church, I am sure he and I have drawn different conclusions about how to respond. I would prefer to advocate the recovery of the Name Baptist than do away with it, and it is my hope in the future weeks to discuss that in more deatil, both why and how.

I am a Baptist, and I make no bones about it...but in throwing that label out there for the whole world to see I am concious that it will be misunderstood. There is nothing Biblical or sacred about the name Baptist and if it became necessary I could abandon the name while still holding true to its principles. But when it is not necessary to abandon the name I wave the banner prouldy, I am a Baptist -- that is, I am a true Baptist! (It is my intention to explain that phrase in more detail in the coming month, so look back for it)


Anonymous Sammy Cabrera said...

I want to recover the word "Baptist" as well, but the word that I really want to recover is church. It is redundant to say Baptist Church because a church by definition is an assembly of believers who have been baptized and who govern themselves under Christ's authority. The local church is by definition baptist. I also think it is redundant to name a church Grace, Fellowship, Bible, Sojourn, Immanuel, Faith, etc. because by definition the church is sojourners who have been saved by grace through faith in Immanuel who gather to learn from the Bible and to fellowship together.

When Greg talked about eldership Sunday night he went right through the five points. It would've been much easier for him to just say that to be an elder at Third Avenue Baptist Church you must be a Calvinist. Why didn't he just say that (remind me to ask him some time)? I can't recall any teaching at 3ABC where I have heard the word Calvinist or Calvinism, but Calvinism is clearly taught. I cherish baptist distinctives and I cherish calvinism and I want people to embrace baptist distinctives with me. And for most evangelicals the name Baptist and calvinism is an unnecessary barrier to them learning about what the Bible teaches concerning those precious doctrines.

I typed more than I wanted to and I have much more I could say, but I don't think this is the best medium. If you want to start a dialogue here , we can. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

As far as I am aware this is th efirst time somebody has brought me up on the blogosphere, thanks. It is also the first time I've ever posted anything.

12:37 PM  

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