Friday, February 1, 2013

The Uncertainty and Confusion of Baptist Beliefs (reposted)

Question - What does a Baptist believe?

Answer - Anything he wants.


Some time ago I found a blog, “Junker Jorge,” and began following.  It is written by a former faith-pastor from the Word of Faith (WOF) crowd who has seen the light and repented of the heretical teachings of this man-centered Christian aberration.

In this particular blogpost he revealed that he had returned to his Southern Baptist roots. He did offer at least one good thing that he could say about the WOF crowd “…those guys are all pretty much on the same page. There are extremes, but you can visit most any Word of Faith church in the whole world and hear the same teaching. Faith, confession, healing, prosperity.”

But he also droped the bomb on the Southern Baptists with this stinging indictment: “The Southern Baptist Church is so splintered up that I don't even know what one Baptist church believes from the next one because they are so different from each other in doctrine and worship style. There are many, many factions and belief systems. I had always thought that Baptist was Baptist, but I found out that that is not the case.”
Well Jorge was right. I have been a Baptist most of my life and served in a pastoral capacity for six years and other full-time ministry for thirteen years. And I can attest that it is much worse than Jorge thought (or at least worse than he described). He was generally right in his implication that, in most denominations, the name is a fair descriptive of their doctrines or core belief systems. Not so among Baptists. There are Arminian Baptists, Calvinistic Baptists, liberal Baptists, Free-will Baptists, conservative Baptists, ecumenical Baptists, separatist Baptists, Seventh Day Baptists, charismatic Baptists, Reformed Baptists and non-denominational Baptists (those are the ones who are ashamed of the name, “Baptist”). I heard one young woman describe herself as a Buddhist Baptist. There are even some Snake-handling Baptists. The only thing that connects them all together is the single common practice of baptism by immersion.

Having said all that, I want to acknowledge Junker Jorge’s accurate observation that the SBC is fractured and is being ripped apart from within. A couple decades ago the SBC, under the leadership of Adrian Rogers, avoided a major split over liberalism. But trouble in the SBC remains as is evidenced in this article I posted last year titled Ashamed to be Baptist.

All the different Baptist conventions, conferences, and associations certainly have their variety of distinctions but I think a growing problem that is even more troubling occurs when pastoral leadership within a local church cannot agree on doctrine. It is not uncommon in multi-staffed Baptist churches to find both Arminian and Calvinistic pastors. And, often in those churches, because of theological or ideological differences and in the name of unity or tolerance, you are likely to find weak doctrinal statements and tacit endorsements of heresies such as contemplative prayer, spiritual formation, mysticism, New Age philosophies, WOF practices, and dominion theology.

Some Baptist churches that have historically declared themselves to be separatist, fundamental, non-charismatic, and Bible-believing Baptist Churches, under the care of infirm pastors, are increasingly enticed and confused by a spiritual smorgasbord of “easy-believism,” “decisional regeneration,” ecumenism, humanism, and the charismatic movement.

Possibly attributed to the wide and rapidly growing influence of church-growth programs and Christian leaders like Rick Warren, there has been a drifting away from orthodox biblical doctrines and practices for a long time. Nevertheless, the responsibility for protecting the flock from doctrinal error is clearly on the shepherds and the weapon they are to employ is the Word of God. The Apostle Paul gave very succinct instructions to Titus, “Speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). If the shepherds can’t spot the poison, the sheep will get sick or die.

I wish I could say we Baptists were all on the same page. As for Junker Jorge, Praise God for his deliverance and his courage to get out.





2-25-09

6 comments:

Stan McCullars said...

Having everything from Mark Dever to Rick Warren in the same denomination makes you wonder.

Anonymous said...

I was talking to a woman yesterday who used to go to my church (Baptist). Now she goes to another church in town. She said they like it better because the preacher wears levis and they have drums and guitars. Ohter than that, the basic belief are the same.

But I know the church she is attending now teaches baptismal regeneration. That is exactly the point you are making here. Most baptists I know are ignorant on doctrine.

Stan Mealth

waynedawg said...

Wow - As a S. Baptist I couldn't agree more with your post. We are a splintered bunch and I guess I have never really thought about all the different variations within the shell.

Coram Deo said...

For Ralph, and Jorge, and WD (when you have an hour or so to kill).

Whatever Happened to Christian Unity?

In Christ,
CD

Ron Livesay said...

Truth always takes precedence over unity. In John 17, Jesus spoke of unity, but it is interesting to note that unity must be based on truth (sound doctrine). "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17, NKJV). "Peace if possible; truth at all costs." (Martin Luther)

Eddie Eddings said...

When you "break it all down" everything has to be qualified today. Even when you tell someone, "I am a follower of Jesus" or "I just believe the Bible". If someone told me that, I would have questions. That's why labels (Calvinist, Arminian, Pentecostal, Baptist, Catholic, etc.) help crystalize thought. Help - not define entirely.