How does a non-creedal people set parameters

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Re: How does a non-creedal people set parameters

Postby Peter » Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:25 pm

Ok Ed; as a "good Baptist" I can not tell you and your local community what you and yours ought to do; meaning the General Board can not say what we here at FBC P do in our church. I do feel that as a group we can say that we distance ourselves from churches that are engaging behavior that is not Biblical and that we disfellowship them. If Westboro Baptist Church Topeka were an ABC/USA church (THANK GOD THEY ARE NOT!) would we not discipline them in some way? I would say from your post "Statement on Westboro From ABC-USA" that we have done so (set a limit0 already
Statement About Westboro
webmaster posted on December 10, 2010 15:54

Westboro Baptist Church and Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas, are in the news again. Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, is not and never has been an American Baptist. Phelps’ ordination is not in an American Baptist church, and his credentials have never been recognized by any region of ABCUSA. Additionally, Westboro is in no way affiliated with American Baptist Churches, USA. Westboro is an independent, non-affiliated church.

In light of the increased media attention focused upon the Westboro Church of Topeka, KS, American Baptists want to be clear that we denounce their message and tactics of hate. It grieves us that in bearing the Baptist name they destroy the reputation of thousands of Baptists who daily give themselves in selfless acts of love as followers of Jesus.

“You will know them by their fruits,” Jesus said in Matthew 7:16.

The hostile, angry confrontations created by Phelps and his followers are an embarrassment to the Gospel and the church. Hopefully, American Baptists will distance themselves from ministers like Phelps, not only by words, but by deeds.

“By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35


So, if we as American Baptist feel that some other church/group/community is acting outside the limits of our family rules why should we not impose limits? Limits are simply the family/community saying "You [Individual or group] are behaving in a way we as a family/community feels is outside of the family/community values. You [Individual or group] are allowed to do as you wish but you [Individual or group] can not do them within this family/community."
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Re: How does a non-creedal people set parameters

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:59 pm

Ed: Peter I agree, but how do you and I relate to others in the family who insist on tolerating those we feel are outside of the family values. It has been my experience that as soon as two or more say that something is outside of our family values, others say well we are part of the family and it is you who are outside of our value of non-creedelism.

How do we maintain the family and satisfy all??????????
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Re: How does a non-creedal people set parameters

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:24 pm

I think it is a tough topic for non-creedal denominations. If there is no creed/confession/doctrine that is expected to be believed by the whole how do you know where the outside edges are of the faith group?

For example, could an ABC church be Unitarian Universalist? Or could a church be ABC and deny the divinity of Christ? Is there an outer limit that a church could subscribe to and still be in the family?

Not an easy set of issues to deal with.
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Re: How does a non-creedal people set parameters

Postby Haruo » Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:17 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:I think it is a tough topic for non-creedal denominations. If there is no creed/confession/doctrine that is expected to be believed by the whole how do you know where the outside edges are of the faith group?

For example, could an ABC church be Unitarian Universalist? Or could a church be ABC and deny the divinity of Christ? Is there an outer limit that a church could subscribe to and still be in the family?

Not an easy set of issues to deal with.

I know that fifteen or twenty years ago I saw in the ABC Yearbook that there was at least one (I think maybe two or three) ABC church(es) dually aligned ABC/UUA. Not sure if they're still "in the fold". (I think the ones I recall were in New England.) As I'm sure you all know there are lots of Unitarian Christians, both in the UUA and in other (more "trinitarian") denominations as well as among the unchurched believership. Being Unitarian (in the UUA sense or in the general sense) doesn't necessarily mean denying the divinity of Christ. There are all kinds of other ways of viewing the thing besides Nicene/Chalcedonian Trinitarianism. Probably the easiest to hold and the hardest to prove or disprove in another is to believe, but not dogmatically, in the divinity of Christ, and not to hold it as a test of fellowship.
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Re: How does a non-creedal people set parameters

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:35 pm

Certainly Hauro there are a lot of different ways of looking at the gospel. What I always found challenging when I was a Baptist was trying to decide what the outer limits can/should be. I'd say there ought to be some outer limits otherwise the term Baptist doesn't mean much if it becomes synonymous with "any belief goes." On the other hand without any creed/confession in common some folks want to go the other direction and be very restrictive.

My experience is that what really happens is that each church makes its own "creed" either consciously or unconsciously and woe to the new member or new pastor who comes from another Baptist church only to find out that their new church believes nothing like their last church.
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Re: How does a non-creedal people set parameters

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:25 pm

Ed: Tim, when you where interviewing for a Baptist pastorate did you not ask any questions of the committee, other pastors and/or lay leaders in the association?
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Re: How does a non-creedal people set parameters

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:42 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: Tim, when you where interviewing for a Baptist pastorate did you not ask any questions of the committee, other pastors and/or lay leaders in the association?


The older I got and the longer I was in the ministry the more questions I asked. However that does not mean that all search committees were truthful. It also didn't mean that all search committees understood their on congregation as well as they thought they did.

In some churches I interviewed with the deacons automatically were the committee, in other churches the chair of a church council basically got to pick the committee, in yet another they were elected in an open business meeting. So in more than one church I interviewed with the committee turned out not to be very representative of the congregation as a whole.

That's local church autonomy, or as I think of it, chaos.
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Re: How does a non-creedal people set parameters

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:56 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: Tim, when you where interviewing for a Baptist pastorate did you not ask any questions of the committee, other pastors and/or lay leaders in the association?


The older I got and the longer I was in the ministry the more questions I asked. However that does not mean that all search committees were truthful. It also didn't mean that all search committees understood their on congregation as well as they thought they did.

In some churches I interviewed with the deacons automatically were the committee, in other churches the chair of a church council basically got to pick the committee, in yet another they were elected in an open business meeting. So in more than one church I interviewed with the committee turned out not to be very representative of the congregation as a whole.

That's local church autonomy, or as I think of it, chaos.


Ed: #1. Why even interview with a church where the search committee is made up of deacons only?

#2. I am convinced that the search committee not being representative of the congregation is a two sided coin, good or bad depending how vibrant the congregation is.

And Tim I note you did not respond to my questions about talking to folk outside the church, is there any particular reason?
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