Versions of the Bible. His church uses the NIV. We have no problem with each other using different versions, however…is this something that would cause dis-unity for a future family one day? Certain methods for soul-winning. My church has always been really big on door-to-door visitation. I see both points. Both my boyfriend and I feel that sharing the gospel is extremely important…we just use different avenues to go about this.
Altar calls. My church has an alter call at every single service. His church only has them occasionally. That leaves me with a decision to decide if a church like his is somewhere that honors God and that I could grow in. I am not opposed to dramatic change in my life. I want to follow the truth of the Bible in every area of my life and I want God to use me to further his kingdom.
My first question is if issues like I listed above are issues that would hinder me in accomplishing either of my spiritual goals. Does a church need to agree with everything that IFB churches believe in order to be a God-honoring church? Is this something that would hinder a marriage in the future? That is my second question.
I want to mention that this is something we are both praying diligently about both personally in daily devotions as well as together. We want God to show us if this is a relationship that should and could lead into a godly marriage where we could both still serve God to the max of our abilities. There are just times when you wish you could audibly hear an answer from God and now is one of those times. I just wanted to see if you had any insight on any of this. I want to begin by giving you a simple answer and then move forward with a fuller explanation.
NO, I do not believe that a marriage to this man would keep you from your divine mission. No, I do not believe these differences will be an issue in your future marriage unless you allow them to be so. The issues you spoke of are a few of the things that make Independent Baptist Churches unique within the family of God. From my experience I see us as a group of passionate Jesus-followers who are concerned for souls, dedicated to Biblical truth, desiring genuine holiness.
However, we can also be overly opinionated, deeply pharisaical, lacking the grace of Jesus. This has lead to hyper-separatism, legalism, and confused congregants who question the spiritual standing of other Christians and ecclesiastical standing of other churches who differ slightly on secondary issues. Also, look up any other Christian leader in the world that is not Independent Baptists and you may find this to be a unique position in the Christian world. So, would I discourage you from going to any of the churches associated with the men listed above? There are clearly many ways to win souls.
My concern would not be in a specific method but in the results of that chosen method. Simply, which church is seeing souls saved? Personally, I like to study many different methods and put to use those methods that seem to bring in the greatest harvest. If the Lord had been more specific about methods I would be more loyal to those methods. Alas, He was not. American churches were introduced to the innovative idea of the altar call during the ministry of Evangelist Charles Finney.
It is not a Biblical method for it is not found in the Bible. It is a pragmatic method used greatly by D. Moody, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham. Sadly, those who have been raised in our churches have been sidetracked by secondary issues and often forget to check on primary issues. Does the church believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, the miracles of the Bible, the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection, and the substitutionary atonement? These are the fundamentals. These are second tier issues but issues that matter more than the three you mentioned.
Unfortunately, we have an entire generation of independent Baptists who are asking the wrong questions because we have focused on the wrong distinctions. I have attempted to answer these questions as if I were speaking to one of my three little sisters or one of my two daughters. I hope it was helpful. I am increasingly receiving more and more of these type of questions and I would love to hear from you. What Biblical counsel would you have given her? Please comment below. The church has grown from a small church plant to averaging over 1, on a weekly basis.
Pastor Josh, this person is a congregant in a church asking a question but do you think you can write an article for people that are going into ministry? Oh my goodness! This blog really grabbed my attention. My husband and I went through and are still sort of going through this issue of sorting out how We feel about church practices.
Not because we just got married but because we just moved. When moving here I wanted the church with the hymns and alter calls and traditional Sunday school. To my ears and heart, you gave her excellent advice. Gary was baptized as a toddler in the Methodist church, then baptized by immersion at 19 in the Baptist church. If Bibles contain the book of John, Acts, and Romans, we have the truth of the Gospel message and the miracles. If you yearn to serve God and love His church and respect each other, you can seldom go wrong in a marriage.
I think she asked the right person! Great Biblical advice. Good job refocusing her to the questions that really matter. Like always, thank you for your strong biblical stand on that which is important. The most outspoken IFB leaders of generations past often focused on minor issues, thus leading some from our generation to do the same. We need to separate from false teachers, but we err greatly when we completely isolate ourselves from men from whom we can learn much, just because of minor differences e.
Will she have issue with them using the NIV or any other version? As far as I know, the wife is accepting of her husbands change. The husband is the head of the home and a good wife will give grace in following, even if the husband changes. At least in this case, the woman knows the differences before marriage. On a personal note, when I met my wife she attended Calvary Chapel. We discussed this and she agreed to follow my lead and also agreed to marry me!
KJV is a deal breaker for me. Maybe not in the beginning of the relationship, but I can never become an integral part of any church that is not KJV only. Not only was I raised that way, but the more I have done my own investigation, reading books, analyzing not only the translaTION, but translaTOR differences NIV, for instance, was translated by a number of atheists and agnostics—can you trust someone to be accurate when they do not respect the source material?
Alternate translations often leave out entire verses. I agree completely. KJV only. Keep this in mind, this passage in Revelation that has been so often mentioned in this comment thread was not word-for-word preserved, but rendered from Greek to Latin, then back to Greek by a man who was trying to make a production deadline. First of all, your claims have been disputed.
I would say that is a far more egregious error than any that you have cited throughout the comment section here. This is, as with most things in life, subjective. However, translation matters TO ME. This is the pharisee formula. There is fear over losing something… in this case, the doctrine of inerrancy of scripture.
Fear then leads to control… instead of treating the original autographs as inspired, we have to believe they remain completely inerrant through the copying, compiling, and translating processes. And arrogance leads to mean spiritedness and contempt. And, for the record, I too believe in divine inspiration—of the original authors. I can not find any biblical basis for inspired copyists, compilers, or translators. The basis is founded, but you are unaware of the situational context.
If he does, he knows where to find me. I also tried to employ passive-aggression more than sarcasm in my reply, but I digress. The fact that you two are pastors is irrelevant to me. I hold all human beings in the same regard. Would my educational status grant more weight to my words? I doubt it. The fact is that we are all Christians, and this is a topic that is near and dear to Christians—pastors or not.
That being said: In some cases, fear does lead to attempts at control. However, you assume that there is a fear—and possibly an irrational fear—that exists among those who choose to believe the doctrine of inerrancy regarding the KJV. As I have pointed out twice now, modern translations have been guilty of confusing Christ and Satan. Again, as I have said before, if you want to choose another translation, then do so. My opinion differs. Maybe I have missed it. Rather, I have seen a rather civil and interesting debate in the marketplace of ideas.
Perhaps you are allowing your own subjective biases to override objective context. I was encouraged to see someone else with that opinion. I am also a definite translation snob. If i ever remarry i was widowed almost 2 years ago , my spouse would have to use the KJV, for the same reasons you cited. Thank you. This is probably an issue of preferences versus convictions.
I think that she should ask herself the question: am I pleasing God with this decision, or myself? Do not settle for less my friend. I appreciate the article. I met my wife through eHarmony and she was from a non-denominational background and I was saved, baptized, called to preach, attended college at and now serve as one of the pastors in an independent Baptist church.
She is one of the greatest Christians I have ever known and has challenged me in some incredible ways to grow in my Christian faith and has made me a better minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And you are exactly correct, they have not been issues in any way whatsoever. There have been some from my IFB roots that have tried albeit with good intentions to make those things issues for me, but they have never been cause for anything more than good discussion between my wife and me.
I truly believe things like that, getting information about things that actually matter, some of those primary and secondary doctrines, will help us get away from always making such a huge deal of such insignificant matters. That means that, even though your answers are right, transitioning may not be the right thing for her to do. I would observe this part of the conversation is often left out, at least in part because entities in a position to advise are vested in their respective positions.
It sounds like more and more people are turning to you as a voice for a third way; may God grant you, and those like you, wisdom in that capacity. I agree with you, brother. That would be my biggest worry, not the altar calls or outreaches or even the music. Revelations is the last word in the Bible before the salutations. List the things they cannot live with and the things they can, if they have more differencs then they should part ad friends before it gets to late. I have sat under your dads preaching for 21 years and I know that if what Pastor wanted was different than your mother wanted, Jesus would have not brought them together.
Thank you for opening up the floor for discussion! It shows the maturity of Proverbs I only hope I can maintain the same spirit throughout my life. I find it interesting that I have read very little Scripture in the responses thus far. Most people are talking of their experiences. Do not get me worng; these are valid to hear and consider but are not a test for truth in and of themselves. Now, I totally understand the principle of major on the majors and minor on the minors. Speak where the Bible speaks; be silent where the Bible is silent.
We also see in Scripture, illustrations and historical data were used in teaching. While it is difficult, I hope to strike the right balance. Simply, this verse alone cannot separate two believers from each other in regards to other doctrines or preferences. The key criterion from this verse is that both be believers. How do we know if we are in agreement with God? From His Word! Personally, I believe there is a doctrine of Bibliology in the Bible. I think it is wonderful that this lady is studying and praying before making such a decision.
A previous commentator mentioned the issue of children—and what an issue! The guy says her pastor or independent Baptist are arrogant? Good luck. I think the only thing going here is luck. Seems to be confrontation already. How sad! Just because someone finds a Pastor arrogant does not doom a future marriage.
They seem wise and willing to seek godly wisdom and advice. I wish them the best. Thank you Pastor Teis for your willingness to tackle issues with honesty and wisdom no matter what the critics want to say, regardless of what direction the criticisms come from. This particular article was a great help in affirming what I had already prayed about and felt in my heart was right. My boyfriend and I have faced very similar issues and thankfully have overcome them. It is completely possible to have a harmonious relationship without agreeing on every little detail, and there is no doubt in my mind that God has brought us together.
Love, love serving God from the SBC where we are unified without requiring uniformity. I couple huge things stand out to me in this article: 1. Is it the only way? He just usurps the pastoral authority of another man. You cannot hope to be right on your other doctrine if your Bible is flawed. The whole tenor of the article is dangerous. He and others like him sadly have turned to pragmatism and results to determine much of what he does rather than taking a hard stand and urging others to do so too. Then it must be OK. Since when are the actions of others our litmus test for determining what matters most to God?
Tremendous response! Set aside the personalities involved and deal with the truth. Love it! Josh, great post. I am blown away that the KJV-only thing is still an issue. The authors were inspired, not compilers, and not translators. It is interesting that issues like this, and specific ministry methods like door-to-door visitation and altar calls also somehow develop sacred status as well. The one thing I know about legalism from living it myself is that it is driven by fear, and fear is a great conflict motivator.
It sounds like a small thing—the difference between a couple of churches with different approaches, but it can be huge. I disagree on the motivation for legalism. I believe that it is tradition, rather than fear, that keeps it in place. I have an extremely legalistic background—although I am not legalistic myself.
Many Ind. Baptists believe that the church should be markedly different than the world in almost all ways. They feel that simply walking through the doors of the building should be like entering a different dimension. The music, fashion, and speech that we encounter in our daily lives have no place within a church. I love the way you write. You weave humor, research, and level-headed conviction. The blog picture seemed to illustrate the difference between other denominations and those who identify as Independent Baptist. That may not be the case, but it looked like the boyfriend in reference was the hipster on the left and the Independent Baptist was the old guy in the suit on the right.
If so, that may be an unfair an inaccurate depiction of the differences young verses old. Truth is timeless. Of course, the lady in the story could have always been dating the older man who attended the liberal United Methodist Church in the area for all we know. Even Independent Baptists have those differences within themselves. Paul spent time in the synagogues and places of discourse but he also went house-to-house Acts The girl in question clearly held on to the KJV for tradition and only recently began to see something about the original text. As first generation Christians, they wanted the Bible that had all the words.
He also drinks alcohol and drank whisky for a Jimmy Fallon skit, so while we can agree and support in some areas we can also have clear disagreements. I suppose I see those three issues in the light of looking at hiring a staff member. I suppose I chose to reply because I became an Independent Fundamental Baptist rather than simply being raised in it.
It was a few years of study and research when I came to positions of scripture that closely represent the Independent Baptist Movement. My positions especially on the Bible were becoming an issue as he and to an extent my girlfriend would try to debate and change my convictions. Even after two years of dating I knew it was best to break off the relationship and wait for someone who closer held my beliefs. The men I counseled with never told me that this young lady was less spiritual or godly. While it was difficult, I knew it was right. It may seem strange and some may think it legalistic but I even asked her dad in our first conversation what his beliefs were about certain issues.
True Baptists need to wake up, and to shake themselves out of their lethargy.
About Our Church
The Lord will soon return to manifest that the present endeavor toward a world church union is nothing more than the foolish reasoning of carnal, deceived mankind, who want world wide union without submission to Christ, nor to His laws. There can be no true unity until there is unity of doctrine and devotion to Christ. True unity must begin within the local assembly, in individuals, and between members. When each and every professing Christian has submitted his will to Christ and to His Word, and has been reconciled to every other brother, then will there be true unity, and this without the necessity of organic bonds.
Many Baptists have been brainwashed into believing that any mission plan is all right. Many have been deceived into breaking fellowship with other Christians and churches simply because they did not follow man-made mission programs, or some other unscriptural plan. These things can only lead to headache, heartache and backache. Baptists awake! For you have been lulled into a dangerous sleep by brainwashers. Now is the time for a clean heart, clean hands, and a clear head, not a brain that is washed of Scripture sense.
Lee Rector First Orthodox Baptist Church, Ardmore, Oklahoma A Convention body assumes that it is made up of messengers; that these messengers bear redelegated authority from the churches; that this redelegated authority may be, and is, transmitted to its boards; that it lives on and on in its boards during the interim of annual meetings; and that its actions are binding upon the churches. It really assumes that it is an extra integrated creation of cooperating churches carrying in itself the authority of the churches.
Now, a Convention body does not err when it assumes that it is a body made up of messengers—that is simply what it is. It does, however, greatly err when it assumes that it lives on and on as a Convention in its boards during the interim of annual meetings; and it greatly errs when it assumes that its actions are binding upon the cooperating churches. These last assumptions are actually unscriptural, being supported by not one scintilla of Bible evidence. The scriptures are dismally silent on Christ delegating authority to the Pope to speak for Him among men, and they are ominously silent on Christ delegating messenger bodies to speak for Him to His churches.
Associations An Association body assumes that it is made up of churches associated in the work of the Lord; that its messengers bear to Associational meetings redelegated church authority; that this redelegated authority may be, and is, transmitted to its committees; and that the will of the churches associated together is officially represented in its committees during the interim of its annual meetings. Now, an Association body errs when it assumes that it is made up of churches.
A local church cannot be a member of anything. Membership implies partness of a whole. The moment a church becomes a member of anything it becomes a part of a larger whole. Then, as touching missionary and benevolent labors, it fuses its will with the wills of other churches making up the larger unit. There is just as much scriptural authority for the unification program of the National Council of Churches as there is for an Association being made up of a body of churches—both enslave churches. Both are extra scriptural matters.
Redelegated authority in Associationism is straight-out Conventionism. Such is human and unscriptural. The burden of proof for the redelegation of church authority to messengers is on the shoulders of them who practice such. But someone argues that an Association is not a body. If it is not a body, then what is it? It cannot be an assembly of churches—yet, there is an assembly, and this assembly is a group of messengers who act like an organized body. These messengers transact business—not for the churches but for themselves. They elect a moderator or a president, and they elect clerks and missionaries, etc.
Since they exercise the function of an organized body, then why should anyone assume that such is not an organized body, then why should anyone assume that such is not an organization. The assumption that an Association is made up of churches and exercises redelegated authority from churches cannot be sustained by the scriptures. The churches of Asia Minor found fellowship in service by sending out messengers—not messengers to a general meeting but to churches and communities to preach the gospel and to raise funds for the poor.
The only assemblies disclosed in the New Testament are local church assemblies. Denominations, Associations, and Conventions are human creations without any expressed divine sanction. The messengers of the 8th chapter of 2 Corinthians were not messengers to a messenger assembly from local churches, but they were messengers chosen by local churches and sent out to witness, just like Paul and Barnabas were sent out from the church at Antioch Acts So far as we can see, there is no harm in brethren from churches coming together for a meeting to find fellowship in the Lord and the study of His Word.
But to go beyond that, dangers are clearly involved. Now, brethren, to write these things as I now do means that I have made a great adjustment in my thinking. I once believed in the red legation of church authority and that missionary and benevolent endeavors could be scripturally projected by a body of messengers assembled from churches.
I have been compelled to surrender these beliefs.
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I have yielded them because I have found that the scriptures do not sanction them. So what is wrong with using our wits in order to get cooperation? To do so, would compel us to apply expediency as a rule of procedure when we know that expediency is a carnal principle and that carnality is against God Rom.
To do so, would compel us to ignore the Holy Spirit of the churches who stands in them in the stead of the Lord Jesus John , 26; ; ; Acts While Christ was in the church in person, He exercised absolute control of its work and we must assume that the Holy Spirit exercises the same responsibility today. To butt in on His responsibility is little short of blasphemy, if any.
To do so, would compel us to ignore the pattern of missionary endeavor set for the churches by the Holy Spirit Acts ; He shows us the method of missionary endeavor by personal example. To do so, would compel us to assume that divine principles are not intended to control the practice of the saints in church life. All doings of a church must be in harmony with Deity. The Lord is God and we must not dicker with that truth.
Finally, a wrong method will in the end destroy a right message. Satan devises false methods in the name of expediency knowing that each false one will in the end sacrifice truth divine. We should look to the Holy Spirit for our message and our method. We should leave our churches free to turn to the Holy Spirit for evangelistic, missionary, and benevolent endeavors. We should indoctrinate our churches on church truth. For years an independent Baptist church was considered to be a church that was not affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, or any of the other organized movements among Baptist churches.
How can one be independent and yet organized into an organization? The very word independent itself means that one is not affiliated, associated, or organized into any body, large or small. As soon as the organization is set up, composed of churches, delegates from churches, or messengers from churches, it is an organization and the churches are not independent, as they are being represented in an organization no matter what it is called.
In fact, the Baptist Bible Fellowship, which declares that it is not a Convention, Association, or organization, argues on the one hand that they are all independent, yet have their different organizations similar to the Conventions, Associations, etc. In fact, many times they make an effort to speak out of both sides of the mouth.
While using newspapers to advertise that they are independent Baptist churches, and condemning the Southern Baptist Convention and other organized bodies, they themselves will condemn those Baptist churches that are really independent and themselves admit that they are not independent. They have never remained but a few months with any group that took Christianity seriously.
Their religion is eating chicken, loud singing, and lamenting and deploring.ramevetizpe.cf/the-orion-deception-the-orion.php
SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN IN FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST CHURCHES
A good many of them, now that they are getting old and looking back and reflecting on the barren paths their undisciplined emotions have led them, deeply wish they had remained with some group that meant business. This is proven to be wrong by F. Donnelson, former head of their Missions Committee, which corresponds to the mission boards of the Conventions, differing only in name, performing the same functions. Another organized Fellowship that prides itself on the use of the word independent is the World Baptist Fellowship. Again, the churches of this organization claim to be independent, but have no use for Baptist churches that maintain their independency, and have no just claim to the word independent as a description of their churches.
As evidence of this, note the following. The World Baptist Fellowship, and if a member of an organization, they are not independent. These churches have no right to the use of the word independent as regards their churches as they are members of an organization and are not independent Baptist churches. Two other organizations have fallen right along into this same error of conventionism although opposing the word convention. In fact, they have practically duplicated every organization that the Southern Baptist Convention has, only changing the names.
Cobb, and published in when the American Baptist Association and the Baptist Missionary Association were one in their organization, we find the following statement which shows that doctrinally, the Associational brethren have gone even further into ecclesiasticism or conventionism than the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. These Associations then are composed of the churches themselves, and if these churches are members of the Association, then they are not independent Baptist churches regardless of their claims.
To a great many Baptists of today, the greatest danger to the independency of Baptist churches is not a particular Convention, Association, or organized Fellowship, but Conventionism as such. This has been true in every case in past years. The greatest danger today is Conventionism itself; the associating, affiliating, or fellowshipping of churches into an organization.
Without fail, these organizations will fall into the hands of corrupt men who will cause the organizations to assert their authority over the churches. This is even admitted. Of course, many churches today will offer the excuse of expediency as sufficient reason to form an organization. Have Baptist churches reached the point to where they believe that the Lord Jesus Christ failed to provide sufficient instructions, sufficient power within His churches, to operate in the 20th century according to the pattern and plan that He laid down in the New Testament?
Do we have to improve on His plan today? In other words, the men who helped to form the World Baptist Fellowship were concerned about the modernism that was prevalent in the Southern Baptist Convention, but they failed to see that it is Conventionism itself that always provides a place for the leaven of modernism to hide, completely out of reach of the churches where it can permeate every facet of the organization, protected by many of the leaders of the organization, and for the most part, completely unknown by the vast majority of the churches until it has completely swallowed up the entire organization.
But how few there are today who recognize the dangers of conventionism itself. Conventionism itself always begins small in little matters, seemingly inconsequential, but they have a tendency to mushroom, and the men who are instrumental in the organizing have no intentions of the organization growing to the extent that it soon controls the churches. That is true of the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention, and each of these other organizations. In relating part of the history of the World Baptist Fellowship, Bro.
Harvey H. Norris had no idea, when he called the first Fundamental Bible School on April 13, , that he was going to start a Fellowship as we have it today. The only purpose he had in mind was to inspire young men and preachers in this section and the world over to contend for the faith and stand for the things of God. We emphasized the premillennial coming of Christ. You have not had the first hard blows. We left the Southern. It gives me something that I believe in accord to the Word of God. Brethren, I have some convictions. And if I were I would be ashamed of myself Amen.
Not because it is a convention, but because of the corruption and self-appointed hierarchy. If you think I am going to stand on a platform with a fellow like this fellow Newton, then you have another whistle coming. How did it start? Norris dreamed of it at the time he started it. The thing began to grow.
Now you know the rest of the history. But instead of being what it started out to be it surpassed even Dr. It started out to be a Bible School once or twice a year. It ended up being a Fellowship to promote a Seminary for training young preachers, giving them a degree, putting them out in the field and just scattering them all over the world Amen.
In other words, it is conventionism itself that is wrong and any organization that is formed will fall by the wayside into conventionism. If it has not yet arrived, it soon will. The late Noel Smith, editor of the Baptist Bible Tribune, magazine of the Baptist Bible Fellowship acknowledges that this movement has already been felt within the ranks of the Baptist Bible Fellowship and admits that this movement is destined to gain sway even in their own organization. The truth was never stated plainer. Ecclesiasticism or lordship over the churches will develop in every case when an organization is formed among the churches, therefore it is the movement of Conventionism itself that is the big evil of our day.
Modernism would never invade the churches if it did not have the cloak of conventionism to hide its labors. Baptists need to get their eyes open to the truth and to separate themselves from these human organizations that will soon dominate their churches, if not in their ministry, in the ministry of a pastor who succeeds them. One more evidence of this misunderstanding as to what it means to be independent and a failure to see the dangers of conventionism itself is the following letter that I received.
We have not published a review because it is contrary to our policy to write adversely of any publication that is largely to be approved, or of any that is produced by people whose principal aims seems identical with ours. We recognize that you have a constant problem with the Southern Baptist Convention. We have suffered through the years at the hands of the Northern or American Convention, and fully understand your feeling.
However, we believe God wants Christian fellowship among individuals and churches. We believe our Baptist people should cooperate as much as possible in undertaking Gospel work. We therefore do not condemn conventionism as such, but only as conducted in many places. We do not believe it right to help destroy a service organization simply because many organizations of similar type have been captured by bureaucrats. Unfortunately, your manual seems to reveal something of a shoulder chip in you on this subject, which we believe you can easily see disqualifies the book for our recommendation.
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We fellowship with the Conservative Baptist Association. However, we are a Convention. My course has been of another kind. Ballard exposing the unscripturalness of the Conventions and the Associations. Since the Baptist Bible Fellowship and the World Baptist Fellowship are very new, [neither was in existence when he wrote the article] they were not included, but the same Scriptures and logic that he used against the Associations and Conventions apply equally to the organized Fellowships. You see, the Baptist Bible Fellowship is no different from Conventions and Associations for the Baptist Bible Fellowship vehemently and vociferously contend that the commission to evangelize was given to New Testament churches and to none other, as do also the Conventions and Associations.
If that is true then we should teach Baptist churches, including Baptist Bible Fellowship churches, to practice what they preach. If we preach one thing and practice another, our position is made precarious in the minds of thinking people. First, let us look at the practice of the Baptist Bible Fellowship, International as compared with their preaching. People are judged by what they do and not by what they say. The Baptist Bible Fellowship, International is a body made up of un-elected pastors.
The Directors of the Baptist Bible Fellowship, elected in their national meetings by these same un-elected pastors, hold within their grasp today the authority to send out missionaries. They approve and appoint the missionaries, designate the number that should go, set their salaries and lay out their fields, make Mission Policies, rules and regulations to which the missionaries must subscribe before being approved, and then appoint Bishops called Mission Directors to control them. The only way the churches are known in it is through their pastors who form these Fellowships, and these Fellowships transact all the business, without church approval, and then call upon the churches to pay for it.
By whose or what authority does the Baptist Bible Fellowship act? By what authority do the Mission Directors operate? Not by the authority of Jesus, because He gave the commission to act in this capacity to New Testament churches Matthew Not by the authority of the Holy Spirit, because His position is confined to New Testament churches to direct them in carrying out the commission of Jesus John ; Acts We are told that these Mission Directors and the Baptist Bible Fellowship get their authority from the pastors that make up the Baptist Bible Fellowship.
Even these pastors themselves deny that the churches have given them any authority, for they two years ago excluded all churches from membership in the Fellowship, and the pastors have not been authorized by the churches to form the Fellowship. They have simply assumed this right. But where in the Bible do the churches or the pastors have the right to commission the Baptist Bible Fellowship or the Mission Directors to act for the churches? There were no such bodies in Bible times and since God sees the ages through, if such a human set-up had been necessary for the churches to carry out the great commission, it stands to reason that He would have told us so.
Therefore all such bodies act without the authority of God, without the commission of Jesus Christ, and without the direction of the Holy Spirit. But where in the Bible do the pastors have the authority for such procedure? Is the Bible the rule and standard of our faith and practice, or do we have a right to make our own rules and set up our own standards? Until I am thoroughly convinced that men have the right to make laws to govern their practices, I am going to contend that the Word of God is the perfect rule by which all of our practice should be squared.
Again, if New Testament churches were commissioned by Jesus Christ to evangelize the world, by whom or what was the Baptist Bible Fellowship, its Fellowship Directors, and its Mission Directors clothed with such authority? There is but one answer and it is just as unscriptural as it is preposterous. Either the churches have the God-given right to re-commit their authority to other agencies, or the pastors have the right to take over and assume the responsibilities of the churches.
Here then is the battle ground. Most Fellowship pastors deny this doctrine in word but in practice utter it in thunder tones. Second, let us examine the unscripturalness of this doctrine for a moment, keeping in mind that there were no such organizations as Conventions, Associations, organized Fellowships, or Mission Directors in New Testament days; that as to creation, they are human in origin; as to authority, they are Episcopal in nature; and as to practice, they are without divine appointment.
They do not claim divine origin, but they do claim divine authority re-committed to them by the churches through their pastors. They do not claim ecclesiastical powers, claiming each church is independent and sovereign, but they usurp authority over the churches by circumscribing their practices to certain rules and stipulations written in their Constitutions and By-laws. I know that I am committing a sin next to the sin against the Holy Spirit when I charge those bodies with being Episcopal in nature. But let us look the facts square in the face.
The Methodist Bishop lays out all the work for the Methodist Societies. In so doing he acts according to certain prescribed laws of the Methodist Conference or Church. The Baptist Bible Fellowship lays out and carries forward the evangelistic work of the churches, particularly in the area of education, foreign and home missions, according to certain prescribed laws of the Fellowship written in the Constitution and By-laws.
The only difference is, the Methodist Conference elects a Board of Bishops to direct the work of the Societies and gives them full authority to act, whereas the pastors of Baptist Bible Fellowship elect a Board called Mission Directors and gives it full authority to act for the churches. And there is just as much Scripture for a Methodist Conference to transact business for Methodist Societies as there is for the Baptist Bible Fellowship to transact business for Baptist churches.
There is as much Scripture for a Methodist Conference to re-commit its authority to the Bishops as there is for Baptist Churches to re-commit their authority to the Baptist Bible Fellowship, the Directors of the Baptist Bible Fellowship and the Mission Directors, or for the pastors simply to assume the authority. The Southern Baptist Convention and the Associations justify their boards and mission organizations on the ground that they are creatures of the churches.
They are hard pressed to find Scriptures they can pervert to justify their organizations, but the Fellowship organizations are just as bad off when it comes to finding Scripture for their practices. Since neither is found in the Holy Bible, neither has a right to assume the Scriptural obligations of the churches.
If the commission was given to the New Testament churches then none but New Testament churches have a Scriptural right to send and approve missionaries. Mission Directors of the Baptist Bible Fellowship are not creatures of the churches; they are a part of the set up of the Baptist Bible Fellowship which is composed of pastors. But if it could be established that they are creatures of the churches, where in the Scriptures do the churches get the authority to promote such organizations?
Church authority extends no further than New Testament sanction. And since the New Testament nowhere authorizes such organizations, for churches to create them would be to ignore the perfect system of evangelization set forth by the Word of God and establish a system all their own. This is what Israel did when they turned away from the worship of God to follow after Baal the Phoenician sun god. But they tell us that these Boards and Mission Directors are justified by the law of expediency.
Yes, sir, if Paul had known that precious law he never would have gone out directly from the church at Antioch, but would have organized a Fellowship of pastors, elected some Mission Directors arid turned the work of evangelization and sending out of missionaries over to them. Then, too, it is strange that God did not reveal the law of expediency to Paul when he was writing his many letters and epistles to the churches. And again it is marvelously strange that Baptists did not discover this law for over sixteen hundred years after Paul was dead.
Yet they preached the gospel all over the known world before there was ever a Baptist Bible Fellowship with their Mission Directors, or a Convention, Association, Mission Society or Mission Board known among them. We are told that we have Scripture for such bodies as Associations, Conventions, Organized Fellowships and such, and 2 Corinthians is the Scripture. But the messengers of the churches in this verse were ministers sent out from the churches to preach the gospel and not to make boards, elect Mission Directors or other substitutes to take the place of the churches.
We should like to know when and where this so-called messenger body met and what missionaries were elected or endorsed, and what other business they transacted in addition to what had already been done by the churches. I highly recommend it to all our readers. In this book Dr. Smith has some things to say about independent Baptists. On page 99 Dr. In this lunatic world today everybody has got to go from one fool extreme to the other - exactly what the Devil wants. According to Dr. Smith hopes that God is not held responsible for independent Baptists.
I pastor an independent Baptist Church. In this capacity I would like to look at Dr. In this first chapter Dr. Smith looks at the Jews as they are today. He sees the Jews so hopelessly divided that it has become impossible for them to even agree as to a definition of a Jew. They are at war with the whole world, and at war with themselves. Smith looks at the Gentiles. In chapter 2 Dr. Smith points out that the Jews, as a nation, were chosen of God by love and grace to be a miracle nation, a separated nation, a peculiar nation, a nation with a land, a nation with a language, and a nation to endure forever.
The nation of the Jews was chosen to teach the Gentile nations of the true God; to write down, preserve and transmit the revelation of God; to save the world from moral putrefaction: to give the world a prophet and King-Priest. Smith points out that the Jews turned from the Scriptures and their mission but that God in His sovereignty will accomplish His purpose in the Jews. Smith begins with the origin of the Gentile nations and shows that their desire has always been to make all nations into one nation. This has always been contrary to the plan of God and has brought chaos.
What happened to the Jew and Gentiles? What went wrong?
I believe that Dr. Smith comes to an accurate diagnosis. They left God out! Judgment and chaos has resulted. The entire 3rd chapter a third of the entire book is devoted to the church. Smith has done an outstanding job. Not only if we are to have revival but if we are going to have survival we are going to have to recognize the truths that are presented in this chapter.
Better and with greater clarity than any other writer Dr. Smith establishes that the church of the New Testament was a local, material, visible, corporate entity. There is not one single indication in the entire New Testament of any other meaning for church. Now, I would like to look at some quotations from Dr.
Genuine New Testament churches today are autonomous and independent of external ecclesiastical authority. What happened to the Jews, Gentiles, and the church? Listen again to Dr. I WILL! Let us look again at Dr. The Fellowship has a constitution. It has officers. It owns property. Through the Fellowship the churches centralize the training of preachers, their missionary work. Smith says the teaching of the New Testament is at war with this kind of thing. We agree! The churches have a vote but are required to submit to the majority rule of the Fellowship or keep quiet.
This is human authority. To be autonomous means to be completely self-governing. It means to have self-determination without outside control. When a centralized ecclesiastical system such as the Baptist Bible Fellowship uses its centralized schools, papers, youth camps, etc.
Shalom Baptist Church, Singapore – Independent, fundamental, bible-believing baptist church
The Lord gave the church and the church only, the authority to send out missionaries. The only organization established and commissioned in the New Testament is the local church. There is not one mention nor hint of any other organization. Search the Bible! One thing is sure.
The proclamation of the great Baptist truths have to be softened and finally stilled in order to maintain unity in the central organization. Does a Baptist church practice open or closed communion? Are openly interdenominational churches that call themselves Baptist to be accepted as such simply because they support the Fellowship financially? May I be permitted to give one more quote from Dr. He tries to justify the existence of the Baptist Bible Fellowship in the following quote. Such things as Sunday Schools and the Wednesday night prayer meeting are in the individual church and controlled by the individual church and do not violate the principles and mission of the church.
Organizations such as the Baptist Bible Fellowship are outside of the church and are a violation of the principle and mission of the church. For years I have been trying to present the position of the independent Baptist. I have desired to be able to present this truth in such a way that Baptists would understand the tremendous importance of the return to the local church. Mine has been a feeble, faltering attempt. It has long been my prayer that one with the ability of Noel Smith would be presenting the position of the independent Baptist. God has answered that prayer.
Smith accomplishes this in his book. Dearmore, M. Formerly Missionary in the Congo, now in Brazil This is a somewhat awkward subject for a missionary, perhaps, but our convictions and actions regarding scriptural mission work should go beyond personalities. Missionaries and churches need each other. A church cannot do scriptural mission work without God-called men who are willing to go. God-called men cannot go without scriptural churches who are willing to send and support. I think the answer should be apparent even without going to the Bible. Millions of souls have not heard the gospel in Africa, Asia, South America, Mexico and the islands of the sea.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. In many instances where the command is given to carry the gospel into all the world, we are reminded that God has all power in heaven and in earth and that this power is available for carrying out the task given.
We know we should do mission work by Bible examples such as Christ, Paul, Barnabas and many others. Even in the Old Testament we find Jonah and other men who were sent to warn men of the wrath of God on sin. This was certainly missionary work. For some people a command is not effective without a threat. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. The church is the watchman to the world today to warn of the wrath of God and the way of escape. I think the parallel certainly holds that the blood of those whom we fail to warn will be required at our hands. Another reason for doing mission work is that reward is promised. Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons for doing mission work is because of the love and mercy of God, because of what He has done for us.
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
Is it still valid? Of course, it is. God deals in eternal verities. Unless God Himself supercedes it we have no right to set it aside. In the case of the tabernacle worship and animal sacrifices, God Himself clearly changed this. Such is not the case with New Testament missions. Note in verse one, it all started with a local church, the church at Antioch. I submit to you that without a local church you cannot have scriptural mission work.
Also, it involved God-called men. Not only were they God-called men, they were church-separated. The churches have been lax today in separating men and examining them morally and doctrinally as to their qualification for the work to which they are to be ordained. Notice the church at Antioch fasted and prayed before ordaining Saul and Barnabas with the laying on of hands. Too many churches today hastily ordain novices. I might insert parenthetically here that since women cannot be ordained to the ministry of the gospel, women alone obviously cannot carry out scriptural mission work.
Women can be wonderful missionary helpers in teaching women and children, nursing, clerical work, etc. To send a woman alone to a field where there is no ordained Baptist preacher is unscriptural and therefore, unbaptistic. Not only were Saul and Barnabas separated and ordained by the church, but they were sent by the church v. After they were sent by the church they were led by the Holy Spirit. Their home church having examined them, had confidence in them and trusted them to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is obvious that a church several thousand miles away cannot supervise the day by day carrying on of the work and this is not the Biblical pattern.
The church can however, and should carefully separate and examine those it sends out and maintain a general surveillance of the work as to its doctrinal soundness. The Bible also gives us a pattern of cooperation of churches in support of missions without organization. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
Not because I desire a gift; but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. In Acts 14 we see that Saul and Barnabas reported back to their home church. And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. Started with a local church. God-called men. Church-separated men. Church-ordained men. Church-sent men. Holy Spirit-led men.
Churches cooperated in their support without organization. They reported back to their home church. We have considered the New Testament method of mission work, now let us consider the message. The message is not just the gospel. The commission to the church is three-fold: 1 Evangelize, 2 Baptize and 3 Teach. If evangelism is pushed to the exclusion of the other two we are just carrying out one-third of the commission.
In other words, churches must be founded on the mission field and grounded in the Word of God. Boards are not even hinted at in the Bible and no examples are given. Christ and the apostles were always gathering groups of people together and teaching them. Boards take away the autonomy of the local church and make it subservient to a man-made organization. Boards take away the glory of the church. Boards misappropriate and waste money. It has been my observation that the older boards become, the more money they waste and misappropriate.
Boards are much more subject to doctrinal error than a local church. They are more prone to compromise doctrinally for financial expediency. What are some of the advantages of boards? None, really, that I know of. Financial security is touted as a great advantage to boards. I believe my God is more dependable than a mission board. If God has called you to a country He will make it possible for you to enter that country without resorting to unscriptural means. Nothing, except our practice of it. Orthodoxy is not a substitute for action. Faith without works is dead.
Faults in Our Practice of the Bible Way Both Real and Imagined We have already touched on one fault, the failure of churches to separate and examine missionaries before ordaining them and sending them out. Churches sometimes send out uncalled, unqualified men. Another problem is failure to trust the recommendation of sister churches concerning missionaries. We trust them in baptism and accept members from them.
Not all of the failures in the practice of the Bible plan of missions fall upon the churches. Many of them can be traced to the missionary. Outstanding among these is the failure to adequately prepare himself for the work. Certainly a truly called missionary will have a burden on his heart for the field and an eagerness to get there, but this should not preclude adequate preparation. God does not fail to call enough people to do His work. It is simply that the financial control is in the hands of the churches and the Holy Spirit and not in some board.
Sometimes a church that sends out a missionary fails to keep herself and sister churches properly informed about the mission work. This may be due to lack of interest on the part of the home church or failure of the missionary to keep his home church informed about the work. One of the most obvious faults in our practice of the Bible plan of missions is failure to adequately support mission work.
Pastors bear a large portion of this responsibility. A church will never be any more missionary than its pastor. A pastor who never preaches about missions is neglecting a large portion of the New Testament. The same can be said for a Sunday School that never teaches about the need for mission work. How can we encourage missionary zeal in our church? Preach on it! Teach on it! Have mission conferences! Have missionaries speak at our church!
Read missionary letters and reports to the church and put them on the bulletin board along with pictures. Pray for missionaries! Support missionaries regularly and faithfully. Take special offerings for missions and make missions personal. Give people an opportunity to give specifically to missions. It has been proven time and again that this will not decrease your regular offerings, but will usually increase them.
Have a world-wide vision, not just the back yard. If you have questions or criticisms, write and make them known. The last failure or fault in our practice of the Bible plan of missions that we would like to consider is that of supporting unscriptural mission work. Many sound independent Baptist Churches support unscriptural work. If we support unsound work, we become guilty also. Wells, Pastor Central Baptist Church, Cincinnati, Ohio What is wrong with an organized Convention, Association or Fellowship of churches? Such an organization is unscriptural!
If God had intended for churches to organize themselves into bigger organizations surely He would have given some indication of this in the New Testament. Organizations such as conventions, associations, fellowships, etc. This kind of effort robs God of His glory. This is the way that God has chosen to be glorified. No other organization can assume this responsibility. If other organizations are built to carry on the work of the Lord then God is robbed of His glory.
Man-made organizations glorify man. Take any organization of Baptist churches you please and give them an honest look. It will be seen that this statement is true. Man-made organizations produce compromise. This is one of the great evils of man-made organizations of Baptist churches. In order to keep unity in the organization each church has to practice compromise!
Churches within the organization that drift away from distinctive Baptist doctrines cannot be censored. Pastors cannot raise their voice in protest to laxity in Baptist principles and doctrines. Nothing must be done to bring any disruption to the organization. Everything is tolerated for the sake of the organization. Sound Baptist churches find themselves identified with the worldliness, modernism, false doctrine, etc.
These groups strive to produce greater loyalty to the organization than to the local church. A pastor that would challenge the organization can be belittled before his own people!! The organization is held up as the only hope of the world. The church is just a minor part. People are indoctrinated to believe that they have a greater responsibility to the organization than to the church. Organizational schools, youth camps, etc.
These organizations take the God-given responsibilities from the church and place them in man-made organizations. The organization controls the indoctrinating of the young people. The organization controls the world-wide missionary responsibility. This responsibility is taken from the church and placed in the mission board of the organization.
The ownership of schools, mission stations, papers, homes for aged, orphanages, etc. The church, instead of being the sovereign, democratic, body that God intended, becomes merely one little voice in a bigger organization that God never authorized. These organizations have always failed! The pages of religious history are littered with the wreckage of these man-made organizations. Every one of them follow the same path that step by step leads them to compromise. The amount of organization needed always increases. The bigger the organization the less important the churches.
The end. These organizations always fail. The promise of God is in the church. Christians and churches learn to rely upon the organization rather than upon God. Actually, although surely not deliberately, the Christian and the Church are taught to put their trust in the organization rather than God. This is not too difficult to do because to be a part of any such organization is to say that the way God has set down is not to be trusted. Generally, to be identified with one of these groups o f organized Baptists leads to being identified with even larger groups; sometimes these are not even Baptist.
The average layman is not kept informed as to the intricate movements and finances of the organizational machinery. Sometimes they are kept unaware that they are part of such an unscriptural, man-made group! These organizations will eventually stereotype their preachers and rob them of their individuality and initiative. One of the greatest evils of these organizations is the idea that the end justifies the means. Invariably they will point at their numbers and finances as justification for the unscriptural, man-made machinery.
Great crowds and large numbers can indicate a number of things. They could indicate a lack of preaching on sin, judgment and hell. They could indicate a lack of preaching on separation for Christians. They could indicate a substitution of some kind of easy decision for genuine repentance and faith. They could indicate a compromising position on great Bible truths. They could indicate that the church has a good program of entertainment that is attracting the carnal and lost. Numbers can be an indication of success.
Now let us look at the other side! An independent Baptist Church believes that the only organization given in the New Testament is the local church. They believe that God has given the church as the means of accomplishing His purpose in this age. An independent Baptist Church, therefore, does not affiliate or identify themselves with any organized Convention, Association or Fellowship.
An independent Baptist Church sends forth its missionaries by the authority of the church and not through an unscriptural Mission Board. These missionaries are supported directly by the churches. An independent Baptist Church cooperates with other Baptist Churches in missions, schools, etc.
An independent Baptist Church refuses to compromise the historical Baptist doctrines for the sake of popular appeal. An independent Baptist Church has to rely upon God and give Him all the glory. True Baptists love the church that Jesus loved and will not have this love and loyalty switched to some man-made organization. An independent Baptist Church is not dictated to nor influenced by any head or headquarters except Jesus Christ. Why is it important that every Bible-believing Baptist join an independent Baptist Church? This would bring revival!