The BF&M and Communion

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The BF&M and Communion

Postby Matt Richard » Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:32 am

According to this, over 52% of Southern Baptist Churches practice the Lord's Supper in a way that requires less of participants than what the Baptist Faith and Message sets forth.

http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=53

Why is this not an issue?
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Haruo » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:15 pm

Oh, how awful. ;-)

I can't quite imagine how the messengers let that slip through.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:00 am

Matt Richard wrote:According to this, over 52% of Southern Baptist Churches practice the Lord's Supper in a way that requires less of participants than what the Baptist Faith and Message sets forth.

http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=53

Why is this not an issue?


Ed: Matt, I would suggest that this is because the pattern for the vast majority of SBC churches was established prior to the inclusion of these "Requirements" in the BF&M.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:58 pm

I guess it does make a difference since the BFM2K expressed itself as a creed. It just doesn't say how the requirements are to be enforced.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Neil Heath » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:57 pm

I suspect the BF&M is totally irrelevant to most churches unless they need to use it as a club on someone. They do what they want to do and never consider whether it "fits" into someone else's idea of what a Baptist church is or does.

I also suspect many church members don't know of its existence, much less what it says--unless again, their pastor has used it to make an issue of something.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Haruo » Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:33 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:I guess it does make a difference since the BFM2K expressed itself as a creed. It just doesn't say how the requirements are to be enforced.

Maybe you get demerits at the Judgment if you didn't follow it.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tom Parker » Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:47 pm

The 2000 BF&M CREED is only used for hurtful things in SBC life.
Don't sign it and lose your Home or International Missions job.
Don't sign it and you can not teach at one of the 6 seminaries.

There are plenty of folks willing to make you pay (help you lose your job) if you do not follow the parts they feel strongly about.

And wink wink some would say it is not a creed.

Go and figure.

It is all about CONTROL!!
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Haruo » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:32 pm

It is all about CONTROL!!
Well, if God's not going to do his bit to keep folks in line, surely somebody's got to...
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:39 am

Article VII of the Baptist Faith and Message—in both its 1963 and 2000 versions—lists baptism as a "prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper." It also says the Lord's Supper is for "members of the church."


Does this mean that the BFM 1963 and 2000 should both be interpreted as advocating "Closed Communion?" At least for the 1963 document, that is a new one on me. And it appears that there are for totally Closed Communion churches in the survey. Althought it appears that 39% of SBC churches would deny Communion to most of the members of my church. Obviously the SBC churches I knew in the midwest thankfully didn't fit the SBC norm.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Sandy » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:12 am

There is a continuing misconception, and perhaps a bit of deliberate misrepresentation, of the role of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, or any prior Baptist Faith and Message for that matter. The document has been adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention as a statement of faith which applies to the institutions and agencies it operates. So Tom is correct in that those who want to work for those agencies and institutions, primarily the six seminaries and two mission boards, must be in agreement with it. That's nothing new, though. There are state conventions and associations that have also adopted the BFM2000 as their statement of faith, and institutions and agencies that have done so as well. There are some churches which have adopted it. But there's no denominational enforcement of it in the churches, because the churches are independent and autonomous, and adopting it as a statement of faith is not prerequisite to cooperation with the SBC.

In any of the SBC churches to which I've belonged over the years, prior to serving communion, the pastor has explained the symbolic meaning of participation, and what the church believes about participating in it, and asks those present to search their own hearts and make their own choice. I think the BFM statement reflects common belief among Southern Baptists, which is essentially the purpose of it. Specific practice from church to church is not the point.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:19 am

So Sandy, it really doesn't matter if the official statement of the SBC on Communion differs widely from the practices of most of the local churches?? If Baptists believe in bottom up doctrine then shouldn't the national statement reflect what the churches do?

This is why I think the Convention/Messenger system is out of wack. It seems to come up with positions and decisions that don't actually reflect the practice or beliefs of the churches it serves.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tom Parker » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:17 am

What I believe some folks in the SBC want is for someone to be in total agreement with the 2000 BF&M or you are absolutely not wanted and you must go even if it requires firing you.

Sarcasm alert--Someone or someone(s) in the SBC must root out all of these folks, churches, etc who are not died in the wool believers in the 2000 BF&M CREED.

Sadly there are folks in SBC life who are always on the lookout for anyone who they "feel" is out of step with the 2000 BF&M and then if possible all heck will break loose.

What has happened to the SBC that I used to love so dearly?
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Sandy » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:30 am

Tim Bonney wrote:So Sandy, it really doesn't matter if the official statement of the SBC on Communion differs widely from the practices of most of the local churches?? If Baptists believe in bottom up doctrine then shouldn't the national statement reflect what the churches do?

This is why I think the Convention/Messenger system is out of wack. It seems to come up with positions and decisions that don't actually reflect the practice or beliefs of the churches it serves.


The BFM doesn't always reflect the practices of the churches because it is not an annual statement, and the position on communion has been more or less the same since at least 1963. It very well could be that it is now time to change it so that it is more in line with what the churches are doing. But the BFM2000 is not binding on independent, autonomous churches. It is only binding on the institutions and agencies that directly relate to the SBC as it gathers in annual meeting once a year, and the executive committee the rest of the time. The fact of the matter is that the practices of the churches with regard to communion reflect a very wide diversity of practice when it comes to communion. The SBC does not determine that by a statement of faith. So what is reflected in the BFM is what was agreed upon by the convention in 2000 to apply to the denomination's agencies and institutions. Contrary to what Tom, and a lot of others believe, there is wide latitute in interpretation.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tom Parker » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:49 am

Sandy:

You said:" Contrary to what Tom, and a lot of others believe, there is wide latitute in interpretation."

Sandy, I know it will surprise you but I think you are wrong. Just the other day I was blogging someone in the SBC world and he said he was in favor of firing anyone who works in SBC life who does not conform to the 2000 BF&M and think there are plenty more folks in SB life just like him.

The 2000 BF&M has been, is being, and will continue to be used to exclude people.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Haruo » Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:02 am

Tom Parker wrote:Sandy:

You said:" Contrary to what Tom, and a lot of others believe, there is wide latitute in interpretation."

Sandy, I know it will surprise you but I think you are wrong. Just the other day I was blogging someone in the SBC world and he said he was in favor of firing anyone who works in SBC life who does not conform to the 2000 BF&M and think there are plenty more folks in SB life just like him.

The 2000 BF&M has been, is being, and will continue to be used to exclude people.

But of course your blog experience confirms Sandy's statement. There is wide latitude in interpretation of <i>the proper role of the BF&MY2K...</i> with one end of the spectrum, not lacking in population, thinking it should be legal litmus paper.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tom Parker » Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:09 am

Haruo:

I keep wondering when the SBC is going to find a way to stamp someone who has conformed to 100% ofthe 2000 BF&M so anyone else can tell if someone has been stamped or not and make it easier to exclude "him."
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:15 pm

Well over the years the whole thing seemed more bizzare to me all the time. Why have faith statements that are binding on denominational staff which don't reflect what the churches actually do/believe? I can see value in expecting denominational employees to conform to what their churches believe. I can see no value to a faith statement that noone has to believe but the denomination employees and that such a statement is different from the actual practices of most of the churches.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby johnfariss » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:25 pm

Tim,

You wrote, "Why have faith statements that are binding on denominational staff which don't reflect what the churches actually do/believe? I can see value in expecting denominational employees to conform to what their churches believe. I can see no value to a faith statement that noone has to believe but the denomination employees and that such a statement is different from the actual practices of most of the churches." If I had to take a guess on why such statements are often ignored by local churches, I would say there are several reasons for it. One, already mentioned, is that relatively few laypeople are aware of it, and not all pastors are concerned with it. The second is that it is a historical development. Local church autonomy is given lip service in the 2000 version while calling itself an "instrument of doctrinal accountability," which I agree with Tom (and others) that it makes the 2KBF&M into a creed, although without obvious or automatic enforcement proceedures. But even while that is "fact," most SBC churches are still grounded in the earlier understanding of various BF&M statements in which church autonomy is a reality. Furthermore, our "historical DNA" tends to emphasize a grassroots approach rather than an institutional or organizational one, in which contradictions are simply ignored rather than conformed to or changed. This is why there has been no action to your question, "If Baptists believe in bottom up doctrine then shouldn't the national statement reflect what the churches do? "

All this adds up, as Tom & Neil suggest, to its use as a club, but only when it is a significant isssue by someone in or wanting more control.

BTW, the church I serve is in the majority, for once. We observe Communion monthy, any with a saving relationship with Jesus are invited to participate, and I pointed say we have no communion police who will check up on you.

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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Sandy » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:24 pm

Tom Parker wrote:Sandy:

You said:" Contrary to what Tom, and a lot of others believe, there is wide latitute in interpretation."

Sandy, I know it will surprise you but I think you are wrong. Just the other day I was blogging someone in the SBC world and he said he was in favor of firing anyone who works in SBC life who does not conform to the 2000 BF&M and think there are plenty more folks in SB life just like him.

The 2000 BF&M has been, is being, and will continue to be used to exclude people.


It is the statement of faith for the Southern Baptist Convention and its agencies and institutions. That would include the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, the Executive Committee offices, Lifeway Christian Resources, Southern, Southwestern, Southeastern, New Orleans, Midwestern and Golden Gate Seminaries, the Annuity Board and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. As a result, employees of those entities and agencies are required to adhere to it as a matter of policy. But these entities have always had a statement of faith, reflecting the convention's wishes, to which their employees have been required to agree, and individuals who were not in agreement were excluded. Most of them used the current edition of the BFM at the time, Southern Seminary had its Abstract of Principles, and there's always been a vetting process for denominational employees that reflected the wishes of the convention.

There are some state conventions which have adopted it as their statement of faith, and require employees of their entities and agencies to sign it. There are some associations which do that as well, and some individual churches which have adopted it as their own statement of faith, but that's all up to them. The SBC doesn't require state conventions to adopt the BFM2000 to be in full cooperation, nor could they do so under their own bylaws.

Employment in "Baptist life" has always been subject to the opinions and whims of people who find themselves on influential, powerful committees, or in places where they have some kind of a say in who gets what job, at least, in the cooperative entities owned and operated by the SBC and the state conventions. And there are places where certain influential individuals are in a position to help determine who gets certain "prominent" pulpits, but only because the churches involved allow them to do so. There's been a lot of exclusion in SBC life over the years, involving a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons, both prior to and since the conservative resurgence. I don't think adherence to the BFM2000 is any more exclusive than any other de-facto method that's been in the SBC for decades.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tom Parker » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:44 pm

Sandy:

I see nothing in Baptist life used to exclude people like the 2000 BF&M has been. It was the finishing masterpiece of the CR folks!!

But they still have people they want to exclude.

When all is said and done will there even be three SB that can agree not to exclude each other?
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby David Flick » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:08 pm

Tom Parker wrote:Sandy:

You said:" Contrary to what Tom, and a lot of others believe, there is wide latitute in interpretation."

1Sandy, I know it will surprise you but I think you are wrong. 2Just the other day I was blogging someone in the SBC world and he said he was in favor of firing anyone who works in SBC life who does not conform to the 2000 BF&M and think there are plenty more folks in SB life just like him.
    1) Tom, Sandy's wild notion that there is a wide latitute in interpretation of the 2000 BF&M is a boatload of baloney cheese. Of all the confessions of faith ever used or created by Southern Baptists, the BFM2K is the narrowest and most restricted interpretation.

    2) It's a long complex story that can't possibly be recounted here, but I was fired from my position as DOM of the Grady Baptist Association in Oklahoma because I took a public stand against it's adoption.

The 2000 BF&M has been, is being, and will continue to be used to exclude people.
    You're absolutely correct!
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tom Parker » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:22 pm

David Flick:

I have often wondered how many volumes it would take to detail the many folks like yourself who lost their ministerial jobs due to the CR.

The CR folks always try and say there was only a few people.

It has always been a part of their marketing the CR.

I've said it before and will say it again the effect of the CR are being felt even as I type these words.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:58 pm

Tom Parker wrote:David Flick:

I have often wondered how many volumes it would take to detail the many folks like yourself who lost their ministerial jobs due to the CR.


Many others paid the price that David did. I was trying to get to this in a round about way. The only reason to have a confession on a national level when the churches are not bound to follow it is to have power over denominational employees. The folks I saw pay the price were people like David as well as college and seminary professors among others.

And by the way there was no "CR." The fundamentalists even co-opted history and now even moderates use the term at times. It was a Fundamentalist takeover.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tom Parker » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:08 pm

Tim:

My heart breaks for every man, woman, missionary that was hurt by and continues to be hurt by the Takeover. I do not know how the folks who harmed these people can even look in the mirror.
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Re: The BF&M and Communion

Postby Tim Bonney » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:27 pm

Tom Parker wrote:Tim:

My heart breaks for every man, woman, missionary that was hurt by and continues to be hurt by the Takeover. I do not know how the folks who harmed these people can even look in the mirror.


Because they are deluded into thinking that if they believe their right the ends justify the means. Sad indeed.
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