Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sun May 25, 2014 8:21 am

William Thornton wrote:Actually, an XComm member said that the move would force dually affiliated churches off the fence and make them choose either the CBF or SBC. Hard for me to imagine that after all these years we would think purifying the convention of dually affiliated churches has any value. Such might be the best growth plan the CBF can envision, though. If that movement were to happen, that would be a CP reduction plan.


There used to be African American churches in the SBC that were dually affiliated with a black Baptist group. That might put them in a bind too if such relationships still exist.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Haruo » Sun May 25, 2014 10:13 am

Have the Southern Baptists heard of Martin Niemöller? Oh dear, I hope I didn't just violate basic local community standards with that reference. ;-)
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Jerry_B » Sun May 25, 2014 10:51 pm

William Thornton wrote:Actually, an XComm member said that the move would force dually affiliated churches off the fence and make them choose either the CBF or SBC. Hard for me to imagine that after all these years we would think purifying the convention of dually affiliated churches has any value. Such might be the best growth plan the CBF can envision, though. If that movement were to happen, that would be a CP reduction plan.


If in fact that is the play, our giving patterns show that we would choose CBF, about 2/1 ratio right now. We allow members to designate their giving, if forced to choose, we most likely would choose the group that is not forcing us to choose. We don't take kindly to ultimatums from those who's continued existence depends on churches like ours giving to them.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby KeithE » Mon May 26, 2014 6:32 am

William Thornton wrote:Actually, an XComm member said that the move would force dually affiliated churches off the fence and make them choose either the CBF or SBC. Hard for me to imagine that after all these years we would think purifying the convention of dually affiliated churches has any value. Such might be the best growth plan the CBF can envision, though. If that movement were to happen, that would be a CP reduction plan.


As a dually aligned church (~90% to CBF vs 10% to SBC), I hope we are given the boot.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Mon May 26, 2014 6:36 am

Jerry B said: "We don't take kindly to ultimatums from those who's continued existence depends on churches like ours giving to them."

The CP ceases to exist without the SBC's CBF-leaning churches? Hardly, although part of the CP's long slow slide downward as a percentage of church offerings is attributable to churches now CBF or dually SBC/CBF.

I wonder why churches like Keith's bother with the SBC at all (and I make no qualitative judgment about his church). Perhaps some in the membership are SBC diehards and wish to maintain support for some aspects of SBC work?

In fact, Keith's church (if I recall correctly) would be clearly in violation of the new definition of "in friendly cooperation" on the basis of the baptism section of their by-laws. As it stands now, there is no constitutional requirement that such a church operate in strict conformity to the BFM but may maintain affiliation at whatever level of support they wish. I don't see a problem with this. The amended definition would draw a line marking the church out of "friendly cooperation" with the SBC; however, a motion to exclude would have to be presented and approved at an SBC annual meeting that specifically names his church. Even if his church had never accepted the non-immersion baptism of a membership candidate, the fact that the church had through their by-laws "spoken against" the BFM would be sufficient grounds for expulsion. I don't like the speech police aspect of the proposed change.

I use Keith's church just as an example. I suppose there are hundreds, thousands of SBC churches in similar situations.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Mon May 26, 2014 8:22 am

Jerry_B wrote:
William Thornton wrote:Actually, an XComm member said that the move would force dually affiliated churches off the fence and make them choose either the CBF or SBC. Hard for me to imagine that after all these years we would think purifying the convention of dually affiliated churches has any value. Such might be the best growth plan the CBF can envision, though. If that movement were to happen, that would be a CP reduction plan.


If in fact that is the play, our giving patterns show that we would choose CBF, about 2/1 ratio right now. We allow members to designate their giving, if forced to choose, we most likely would choose the group that is not forcing us to choose. We don't take kindly to ultimatums from those who's continued existence depends on churches like ours giving to them.


It would be an interesting study to find out the ratios of CBF/SBC support among those churches contributing to CBF which are still contributing to the CP. Most of those that I am familiar with give to CBF out of deference to a few members in the church who want to do so, and if push came to shove, would come down on the CP side of the fence. CBF might pick up another 100 or so "uniquely aligned" churches.

But I don't really see how very many CBF churches could be excluded on the basis of that bylaw proposal if it passes. They have few churches with female senior pastors. Most of them accept the BFM 1963, which doesn't "deliberately oppose" or disagree with the BFM 2000. They would also have to send messengers to the SBC.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Mon May 26, 2014 8:54 am

Sandy said: "Most of them accept the BFM 1963, which doesn't "deliberately oppose" or disagree with the BFM 2000."

But a church that adopts the BFM 1963 could easily be said to be acting contrary to the BFM2000. Some SBC watchdogs make a point that there is only one adopted BFM, the one adopted in 2000. That is the only BFM currently.

I am perfectly comfortable with the idea that any church that adopts the old, former BFM is a church in friendly cooperation, but such a church would be violating the new wording.

I oppose the amendment. It is a can of worms.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Neil Heath » Mon May 26, 2014 1:13 pm

My experience is the opposite of Sandy's on the point of giving to CBF and CP, my own church being a prime example. We have a few folks who still want to support the SBC, and we honor that, as any truly Baptist church should.

All of them are older members, so the amount given to SBC causes will decline each time we have a funeral.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Jerry_B » Mon May 26, 2014 1:45 pm

I don't think the SBC is going away if dally aligned churches are given the boot, it was more of a comment about how the "receiver" of a gift is telling the "giver" of said gift how things are going to work. It hardly seems like a viable long term strategy.

What will it be next time and there is always a next time with fundamentalism?
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon May 26, 2014 4:43 pm

I often have wondered if one of the reasons so many churches in the CBF continue to give some money to the SBC is that it is much easy talking about a church leaving a denomination than it to make that break. For many churches it has just been easier to let people give some money to the SBC than deal with the conflict (short or long) of a clean break.

Right now there are calls within the UMC to split over the issue of homosexuality. People are writing blog articles about some kind of clean break that would lesson or end fighting over liberal and conservative issues.

My past experience with the SBC etc. makes me think that there is no such thing as an easy split or a clean break for most.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Mon May 26, 2014 5:26 pm

CBF has been much more of a "splinter" from the SBC than a "split." At the outset, the vision was to form a group that would re-direct funding back into places where the SBC was taking it out of the CP budget, and re-directing CP giving around the executive committee. There were others, most notably the Alliance of Baptists, who were doing similar, but not exactly the same, kinds of things, organizing formally or informally, and at a lot of cross purposes. Some of the churches were more directed in their efforts, and already had a history of being at odds with the SBC, not only through the "controversy" but even before that. I was in a CBF church in Houston at the time, one in which the lion's share of designated giving went to CBF, and in which there was quite a push to sever ties altogether with the SBC. Eventually they did it, partly because they felt it was best for them, but partly to encourage other CBF supporters to do the same, partly to send the message that they wanted more from CBF in the way of a denominational identity, and partly to send a message to the SBC. Altogether, through that period of time, I think the box score on CBF churches severing ties with the SBC may have flirted with the 150 mark, out of their claimed number of supporting churches at around 1,800.

On occasion, in Virginia and North Carolina, you hear about a church here and there severing ties. But I would bet that if stats were kept, that figure would still be less than 200. If there were a push from the SBC that shoved churches off the fence, my guess, based on what I consider reasonable observation, would be that another 100, at the most, 150, churches would leave the SBC altogether. There would still be fence sitters.

People I know in CBF churches, not a lot, but a representative spectrum, tell me that CBF support is the smaller of the two, and that in most cases, those churches allow the designation out of deference to a few of their church members. The late John Baugh's former church in Houston is considered one of the core supporters of CBF in that association. But under their current pastor, for the last decade, they've become increasingly supportive of the SBC, and their CBF contribution represents less than 5% of their mission giving. They removed the notation of CBF affiliation from their website. If they had to choose, I think I could guess which way they'd go. Of course, on this board, I'd expect individuals to be in churches that, if still supporting the SBC, it's marginal. But if someone did some research overall, I think you'd find that maybe 80% of those that support CBF are the other way around, and would drop on the SBC side of the fence, if forced off their perch.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon May 26, 2014 5:37 pm

Interesting Sandy. The CBF related churches I have connections with are among those who have left the SBC entirely such as my home church Kirkwood Baptist and Second Baptist Church, Liberty, MO. Both gave to the SBC as well for quite a while until the MBC made it too uncomfortable for them to participate. My mother-in-law was died in the wool WMU until the MBC refused to seat the messengers of their church for the usual narrow minded reasons. Now she'd not attend a SBC church to save her life.

I really doubt the current legislation is aimed at a particular group now. I think it is more of a tactic of tightening the control bit by bit.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Mon May 26, 2014 8:17 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:Interesting Sandy. The CBF related churches I have connections with are among those who have left the SBC entirely such as my home church Kirkwood Baptist and Second Baptist Church, Liberty, MO. Both gave to the SBC as well for quite a while until the MBC made it too uncomfortable for them to participate. My mother-in-law was died in the wool WMU until the MBC refused to seat the messengers of their church for the usual narrow minded reasons. Now she'd not attend a SBC church to save her life.

I really doubt the current legislation is aimed at a particular group now. I think it is more of a tactic of tightening the control bit by bit.


I think Kirkwood, Second Liberty, and Third Baptist in St. Louis were all part of the group that severed ties around the time that South Main in Houston made their move public. Third, like FBC Columbia, was dually affiliated with ABC-USA as well, and I don't know if either of those churches still support CBF. As I said, I believe that involved about 100 churches altogether, perhaps as high as 150, but not much more than that. The number of CBF's contributing churches has obviously declined in the last decade, significantly if the budget receipts are an indication. The Baptist General Convention of Missouri, which is the splinter off the state convention made up largely of CBF supporters, received money from 12 churches last year. And I think all of those
have severed ties with the SBC already.

But I agree that this is probably not aimed at any particular group. First, the church in question would have to send messengers. Then the chair would have to recognize a motion to challenge their seating, and require evidence that the church isn't in friendly cooperation. Unless it is a high profile incident, I doubt that can be done effectively.

I'm wondering if that's going to even slide through. Fred Luter is President, and I'm sure if he wants it voted down, that will happen. He's got plenty of supporters who would make any and all kinds of motions to defeat that portion of the proposal.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon May 26, 2014 10:23 pm

I am too far out to know of course. But in other business sessions of church business when it is something kind of technical that doesn't seem to make a lot of difference to most people it often isn't hard to pass. It just depends on who wants i passed or not. I usually see bylaws and standing rules changes fly by a quick vote.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Jerry_B » Mon May 26, 2014 10:50 pm

Don't know about other churches but our CBF giving is over double our SBC giving. Texas though seems to be a bit of an outlier when it comes to this type of thing. With two state conventions, most of the support questions center around are you BGCT or SBTC. When coming to my current church the questions where about which state convention do you support, I can't remember any questions about SBC, CBF.

The BF&M 2000 is a complete nonstarter for me for a multitude of reasons previously discussed. If the SBC is going to push churches to adopt it like they have with missionaries and staff, which they have been thus far been reluctant to do, then it would get interesting.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue May 27, 2014 12:06 am

Jerry_B wrote:The BF&M 2000 is a complete nonstarter for me for a multitude of reasons previously discussed. If the SBC is going to push churches to adopt it like they have with missionaries and staff, which they have been thus far been reluctant to do, then it would get interesting.


I can see that. I never could have subscribed to it even when I was a Baptist.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Tue May 27, 2014 6:44 am

Jerry_B wrote:Don't know about other churches but our CBF giving is over double our SBC giving. Texas though seems to be a bit of an outlier when it comes to this type of thing. With two state conventions, most of the support questions center around are you BGCT or SBTC. When coming to my current church the questions where about which state convention do you support, I can't remember any questions about SBC, CBF.

The BF&M 2000 is a complete nonstarter for me for a multitude of reasons previously discussed. If the SBC is going to push churches to adopt it like they have with missionaries and staff, which they have been thus far been reluctant to do, then it would get interesting.


I keep hearing that "Texas is an outlier" when it comes to CBF. But they sure don't hesitate to search for their leadership there.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby KeithE » Tue May 27, 2014 8:07 am

William Thornton wrote:Jerry B said: "We don't take kindly to ultimatums from those who's continued existence depends on churches like ours giving to them."

The CP ceases to exist without the SBC's CBF-leaning churches? Hardly, although part of the CP's long slow slide downward as a percentage of church offerings is attributable to churches now CBF or dually SBC/CBF.

I wonder why churches like Keith's bother with the SBC at all (and I make no qualitative judgment about his church). Perhaps some in the membership are SBC diehards and wish to maintain support for some aspects of SBC work?

In fact, Keith's church (if I recall correctly) would be clearly in violation of the new definition of "in friendly cooperation" on the basis of the baptism section of their by-laws. As it stands now, there is no constitutional requirement that such a church operate in strict conformity to the BFM but may maintain affiliation at whatever level of support they wish. I don't see a problem with this. The amended definition would draw a line marking the church out of "friendly cooperation" with the SBC; however, a motion to exclude would have to be presented and approved at an SBC annual meeting that specifically names his church. Even if his church had never accepted the non-immersion baptism of a membership candidate, the fact that the church had through their by-laws "spoken against" the BFM would be sufficient grounds for expulsion. I don't like the speech police aspect of the proposed change.

I use Keith's church just as an example. I suppose there are hundreds, thousands of SBC churches in similar situations.


I wonder that too. I could not identify anyone left in our church that demands their contributions go to the SBC.

Not sure most in our congregation are aware of the acceptance of non-immersion baptism in our by bylaws - most probably don’t care. It was a point G. Todd Wilson (ex minister of 23 year now in retirement near Clemson SC) had a stated opinion on but did not emphasize. His viewpoint is given in one chapter of Proclaiming the Baptist Vision: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, ed Walter Shurden (“Why Baptists Should Not Rebaptize Christians from Other Denominations” pages 41-48). Baptism is symbolic (not a requirement to be a follower of Christ) and he would honor the person’s wishes as it is mostly for the participant and family thereof. Biblically, he felt that baptism is most appropriately applied soon after conversion but understood those who wished to use it as an initiation into a local church body. Weatherly Heights Baptist Church (WHBC) has accepted immersed/sprinkled/river baptisms, non-immersion, infant baptisms, and no baptism at all as members and continues to do so with our current pastor David Freeman . They accepted my infant sprinkling baptism in the Evangelical Covenant Church of America - G Todd made that clear in his first visitation the day after we first attended WHBC and I thought good - someone placed more value on substance and people’s wishes than on ritual. Any body that is hyped up over the manner of such ritualistic practices, has too much “Teacher of the Law” in them for me and is only conditionally in “friendly cooperation” with the Church universal (“friendly” only if .......................................).

If the SBC starts rejecting such churches as WHBC, they are the ones not being “friendly”.

BTW, the Covenant Church demands that a pastor conduct any form of baptism a believer wants. I think that is wise. My best friend growing up slipped out of the Covenant Church based on that requirement (he said immersion is the only genuine baptism and I guess still believes that). Today he’s a successful General Conference Baptist pastor (31 years at FBC - Dinuba, CA). Even dogmatic, inerrantists (and occasionally a SBC minister :wink: ) can have good ministry to people and bring people closer to God.

G. Todd Wilson and all our ex-ministers are coming to our 50th Anniversary on June 21-22 and we are going to spend a couple of days with G. Todd and his wife Francis at our friend’s cabin just over the GA line on the 22-23. He is always interesting to talk with.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue May 27, 2014 8:57 am

There is another group of dually aligned churches. In several border areas, it was common for churches to affiliate with both the SBC and ABC. Many of the DC churches were traditionally this way as were MD, DE, some VA, and farther back some IN and OH churches. Single alignment will fly in the face of this tradition.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Tue May 27, 2014 9:23 am

KeithE wrote:Weatherly Heights Baptist Church (WHBC) has accepted immersed/sprinkled/river baptisms, non-immersion, infant baptisms, and no baptism at all as members and continues to do so with our current pastor David Freeman . They accepted my infant sprinkling baptism in the Evangelical Covenant Church of America - G Todd made that clear in his first visitation the day after we first attended WHBC and I thought good - someone placed more value on substance and people’s wishes than on ritual.


When it comes to matters of church "membership," which I personally see as a rather nebulous, undefined concept as far as the scripture is concerned. I do believe that the Bible teaches it is a symbolic testimony of the receiving of the grace of God through faith in Jesus. In most churches that sprinkle, it comes after confirmation. I don't see anything that connects it to church membership, or that defines church membership other than a conversion experience.

That would eliminate infant baptism from the realm of anything more than parental intention to raise the child in the faith, and to teach commitment to Jesus and the church. And that would be part of the problem in determining whether a church was deliberately in violation of the BFM 2000 with such a practice. For the purpose of seating messengers, would the convention even have access to this kind of information? You'd have to get involved in a relatively detailed discussion of the church's position. I would guess that the "acceptance" of Keith's baptism wasn't based on the baptism, but on Keith's testimony of his faith in Jesus. And I think the bottom line is, who makes the determination as to whether the church is violating the provision or not? It would be the credentials committee, normally a ceremonial title for pompous people who want to look important and prominent, but who can't really be trusted with a real job.

It might be a good idea for someone headed to Baltimore to help get that part of the proposal amended, or eliminated. I'm working on a church plant mission project that week, and I don't know if a brand new member could get elected as a messenger that quickly.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Jerry_B » Tue May 27, 2014 11:00 am

Sandy wrote:
Jerry_B wrote:Don't know about other churches but our CBF giving is over double our SBC giving. Texas though seems to be a bit of an outlier when it comes to this type of thing. With two state conventions, most of the support questions center around are you BGCT or SBTC. When coming to my current church the questions where about which state convention do you support, I can't remember any questions about SBC, CBF.

The BF&M 2000 is a complete nonstarter for me for a multitude of reasons previously discussed. If the SBC is going to push churches to adopt it like they have with missionaries and staff, which they have been thus far been reluctant to do, then it would get interesting.


I keep hearing that "Texas is an outlier" when it comes to CBF. But they sure don't hesitate to search for their leadership there.


Outlier in terms of what is the topic of discussion. Here the focus seems to be on state conventions, not international missions. In other states with just one state convention, the questions of international missions do seem to come up more. At least that was my experience in New Mexico. Maybe Missouri and Virginia are similar but I don't know. Texas is a big place, lots of folks and groups so searching for leaders here.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue May 27, 2014 11:03 am

Dave Roberts wrote:There is another group of dually aligned churches. In several border areas, it was common for churches to affiliate with both the SBC and ABC. Many of the DC churches were traditionally this way as were MD, DE, some VA, and farther back some IN and OH churches. Single alignment will fly in the face of this tradition.


It may have changed in recent years but at one time there were quite a few dually aligned churches. Many ABC churches have elimated a requirement for rebaptism in part because of the issues this causes with ecumenical relationships. Often people now join a church because they like that congregation not because of the denomination. So requiring an already baptized adult (even if it was by sprinkling etc.) to be re-baptized can really be embarrassing since the majority of christians are taught that you can only be baptized once.

I could see this as an issue for dually aligned churches for sure.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Haruo » Tue May 27, 2014 2:13 pm

How about conditional rebaptism, like RC canon law allows for. The formula runs something like "If you have not previously been baptized, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." After all, Baptists have generally agreed with the rest of the Church that you can be baptized only once, and the reason for "re"-baptism (anabaptism) is the belief that what was done previously (infant aspersion, to take the most usual example) was not "true" baptism. Of course, this would be harder to justify in a church (some Baptist churches, I believe, are this way) where rebaptism is required to join the local ("only true") church even when coming from another congregation of like faith and practice...
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue May 27, 2014 2:33 pm

If you are in a church that only believes immersion baptism is valid baptism then I doubt people would feel any better about being "conditionally baptized." The doctrine my Church now is that if you do get sprinkled, splashed, or dunked a second time you just got wet. There isn't really any such thing as "re-baptism." I cannot actually peform a rebaptism even if someone asks me to. It is a violation of our Discipline and doctrine.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Tue May 27, 2014 3:37 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:If you are in a church that only believes immersion baptism is valid baptism then I doubt people would feel any better about being "conditionally baptized." The doctrine my Church now is that if you do get sprinkled, splashed, or dunked a second time you just got wet. There isn't really any such thing as "re-baptism." I cannot actually peform a rebaptism even if someone asks me to. It is a violation of our Discipline and doctrine.


I don't think it is so much about the validity of the baptism related to the manner in which it is performed, as it is the view of the act itself. There are churches which believe immersion is the only valid baptism, but also believe it is necessary for conversion and regeneration to occur. That's kind of what you're getting into with the idea of "re-baptism," that the act of baptism itself brings about spiritual regeneration.

As I've always understood it in a Baptist context, it is a purely symbolic act that has no spiritual "validity" attached to it at all, which is why Jesus himself submitted to it. It is only performed following a conversion experience, not prior to it. Somewhere along the line, in Baptist churches, it evolved into a condition of local church membership, though their spiritual ancestry on the Anabaptist side of the family never connected it to that. And it would be that any baptism which occurred before conversion would be a matter of "just getting wet," not the subsequent baptism that followed a genuine spiritual regeneration.

Here's the statement from the BFM 2000. Who would this eliminate if applied according to the bylaw proposal?

VII. Baptism and the Lord's Supper

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.

The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.
Sandy
Sandy
 
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