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Why I’m a Baptist

posted Oct 10, 2016, 12:30 PM by First Baptist

 

 

“Baptist” is one expression of the global Church. There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of others. So, why “Baptist”?

 

I am a Baptist not merely by upbringing (although I did attend a Baptist church as a child), but I am one by choice or conviction – and it’s a choice or conviction that goes deeper than what I (or we) think about baptism.

 

As I mentioned in conjunction with yesterday’s baptism, I believe HOW we practice baptism (only believers, by immersion) is the practice most faithful to the Scriptures. But, again, it goes deeper than that.

 

Virtually every denomination offers something important to the global Church. For example, Lutherans are passionate about justification by faith alone and the difference between law & gospel. Pentecostals & Charismatics remind the Church about the critical role of the Holy Spirit. Roman Catholics connect us to the historic Church and are steadfast in resisting the changing winds of culture.

 

What about Baptists?

 

Baptists tend to emphasize the need for PERSONAL repentance & faith in Jesus Christ. Perhaps more than any other denomination, we remind the Church that we don’t enter into Christ’s kingdom nation-by-nation or family-by-family, but rather as individuals who have put their trust in Christ.

 

It then follows from this that only believers would be baptized.

 

And so, it’s our emphasis on the need for PERSONAL repentance & faith in Jesus Christ that leads me to be a Baptist.

 

This doesn’t mean, however, that “Baptist” needs to be in our name. I tend to think that having “Baptist” in our name is an unnecessary and artificial barrier to our reaching lost people in today’s culture. This wasn’t the case 50 years ago when FBC was formed, but it probably is today. If this is indeed true, we might consider changing our name.

 

Separate too is our denominational affiliation. In other words, our affiliation with American Baptist Churches USA is a completely separate decision as well. We needn’t have “Baptist” in our name to belong to the ABC/USA. 

 

There’s always a tension between respecting tradition and being open to change. It also takes a lot of wisdom & maturity to distinguish between values/beliefs that go to the heart of who we are and those that are peripheral. May God grant to us such wisdom & maturity.

 

Pastor Dan

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