Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I’m blessed to be a church planter in the Summit Baptist Association. Martin Jones is a real mentor for me and has kicked my rear end so many times that I’ve lost count. But what God has done through Martin in my life has been nothing short of a miracle!

This Sunday is our annual meeting. Part of the Baptist tradition is that we get together and conduct business…and pass resolutions. Perhaps you’ve heard about some of the Southern Baptist Conventions more “interesting” resolutions such as our boycott of Disney back in the late 1990’s.

Resolutions are not binding upon any church…remember…we believe in local church autonomy. No congregation or any “bishop” or “pastor” in any church or city has preeminence over any other. Each church has as much freedom as any non-denominational church. Nobody from any "headquarters" can call a church and force them to do anything...not even give $$$!!!So for example…the resolution to boycott Disney could not stop any pastor or church member for making their yearly trip to Disney Land…there could be no discipline…nothing…resolutions in some ways can be taken as a bunch of hot air.

It’s amazing then how much controversy they can stir. Last year all kinds Baptists were mad about the Southern Baptist resolution against the use of alcohol...and then all kinds of other Baptists were mad that the first bunch of Baptists were mad about the resolution!

The point of resolutions, I guess, is for us to leave behind a legacy. For future generations to be able to look back and see how “we” generally felt about certain cultural issues of the day. They, I suppose, could even be used to assist a doctrinal dispute within an Association or Convention if such a thing erupted. “Baptists have always believed this…why…look at these resolutions from this date, this date and this date…” And I do see the benefit of such things.

So anyway…I’m going to submit my first resolution this Sunday at the Summit Baptist Association Annual Meeting. I stole the majority of it from a resolution passed at the 1988 Southern Baptist Convention that met in San Antonio I think. As our Association grows and new churches with new church planters come in…I just personally feel that we should once again reaffirm our understanding of and proclamation of the gospel…and make a new church or a new pastor that comes into one of our churches aware of this resolution, if it is affirmed. For me…it is a non-negotiable test of fellowship. If you can’t affirm this (in my opinion) fellowship should either not be offered…or withdrawn. Again…that is MY opinion…and one that I will take in the future. BUT…it is up to the messengers to first review and affirm. This resolution is not itself binding...but could be used to assist in dealing with a heretical pastor or church in the future.

So here it is:

WHEREAS, A major contribution to the demise of many Protestant denominations has been their loss of a clear understanding of, and commitment to, the biblical doctrine of salvation; and

WHEREAS, Some believe that people can be saved apart from the atoning work of Jesus Christ, arguing rather for a plurality of mediators; and

WHEREAS, Some vacillate on the necessity of conversion for all people; and

WHEREAS, Some teach that Jesus Christ did not come to save us, but to let us know that we already live in the arms of God's grace, implying that all people are already saved; and

WHEREAS, Some believe that people will be saved because their good works outweigh their bad; and

WHEREAS, Some believe that hell is not a reality, and its corollary, that all people will eventually be saved; and

WHEREAS, Some believe that the content and mission of the church need no longer focus on missions and evangelism, having abandoned the belief in a conversion theology.

Be it therefore RESOLVED, That we, the messengers of the Summit Baptist Association meeting at Ridgewood Baptist church in Wadsworth, OH, October 21st, 2007, affirm our belief in the biblical truths, that, although we agree that every person possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love, we also believe all people are from birth under condemnation, that is, they are lost; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we affirm Article IV (A) of the Baptist Faith and Message Statement which reads as follows: "Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.", and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we believe that salvation is not analogous to having a positive self image or possessing self-esteem as desirable as these may be; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we affirm our belief in the biblical truth that salvation is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we affirm our belief in the biblical truth that all who are saved are sealed by the Holy Spirit and will never fall away from the state of grace; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we affirm our belief in the biblical truth that those without a personal commitment to Jesus Christ will be consigned to a literal hell, the place of everlasting separation from God according to the Word of God; and

Be it RESOLVED, That because of the aforementioned convictions that all the churches in the Summit Baptist Association give renewed attention to the clarity of the message we proclaim in our communities; and

Be it therefore finally RESOLVED, That each church within the Summit Baptist Association prayerful consider how we may continue to increasingly cooperate and partner together in the planting of new gospel preaching, Bible centered and Christ exalting churches in our area

8 comments:

Zac said...

I think this is a good statement of Baptist doctrine, and I commend you for your part in it. Two questions though:

1) If resolutions aren't binding upon anyone, could it really be used as a test of fellowship?

2) Do you think it will pass? I'm thinking particularly about "OSAS" doctrine, which I remember from my protestant days was particularly controversial.

irreverend fox said...

hey zac!

thanks!

good questions.

this resolution is truly not binding...in other words...a church or pastor does not HAVE to preach the gospel...one does not HAVE to do anything actually…there is no coercion on our part involved.

BUT we don't have to associate with them either. we could, if recommended by our credentials committee and voted upon by the association, discontinue fellowship (ex-communicate) with such a man or church. The entire concept of the SBC, with all it’s mission boards, seminaries, state conventions, local associations and local churches is COOPERATION…it’s all voluntary…on all ends.

so it is not "binding"...each church can do what they see fit to do...and preach whatever they see fit to preach...we can't stop them...we can not remove such a pastor, deacon, teacher...we can not seize the building...we can not do a darn thing...any form of discipline is something an individual or church must willingly submit to...we have no hierarchy at all, none.

but we don't have to continue the relationship either. we can, if we felt so compelled... excommunicate a man or church.

a resolution like this could be referenced during such a discussion if, God forbid, a church or pastor began to teach a different gospel.

And...I'd be shocked if that has ever happened in our association, to be honest with you. The SBA is not a witch-hunting type of association...it's just not who we are...we’re a tolerant bunch…until I joined that is...MUHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!

I think it will pass...I don't know why it wouldn't. As my missionary told me this morning, "it's wordy...", lol, so is everything I say or do! It's wordy but not controversial, I'm sure. We shall see! lol

You really tossed me a curve ball with OSAS...I was like, "what the heck is the OSAS controversy?" lol...I googled it. Once Saved Always Saved is something that is widely held in the SBC and in our local association. It's the common confession...outlined in the Baptist Faith and Message (which is also...not binding...it is a confession but not a creed...lol...) Once Saved Always Saved is not a test of fellowship for me…if that is the only issue a church had with this resolution I couldn’t possibly care less...but that is just me.

Tim said...

Hot air? I don't know about that. I would stay more like long winded.....VERY long winded. Is this the amplified resolution? Is there a shorter more concise version? Just kidding!! The idea sounds great and except for being rather long winded it seems like a good resolution.

irreverend fox said...

lol...

did you talk with Martin today?

lol...

Tim said...

Actually I was thinking this morning and with the exception of the OSAS section and removing the references to "Baptist" this resolution shouldn't be controversial in most A/G churches, Nazarene churches, or Christian Missionary Alliance churches to name a few.

irreverend fox said...

Tim,

exactly...no Bible believer should have any major issue with it...even someone who doesn't completely by into OSAS could live with it I assume.

again...since this is not binding, something like this being accepted does not mean all our churches or pastors need to be in 100% agreement with each word either...it's the spirit of the document, not the letter, that is the issue.

revolution said...

my favorite part of the lifeway survey was that only 3 percent of sbc pastors admit to drinking. sounds like dishonesty and hipocrasy to me.

irreverend fox said...

hey revolution, welcome.

how connected are you with sbc'ers? I would say that no more than 3% of the sbc pastors I know drink to be honest with you. that is a historically strong conviction in sbc churches. why do you doubt the truthfulness of the respondents?