Why I Am A Regular Baptist
28 February 2013
In January I looked at why I am a Christian. In short, I am a Christian because Christ is the one who has provided the only remedy for sin. All other religions fail because they strive to do good works to appease God. Christianity recognizes that Christ's death on the cross was sufficient to satisfy the righteous demands of a holy God concerning the payment for sin. This is not a universal salvation however, as each individual must recognize what Christ has done and receive Him as Savior. I am a Christian by conversion.
Last month I focused on why I am a Baptist. While I do believe that there are other groups doing a work for God, I believe Baptists have long stood for teachings that are in the New Testament and have been missed by many. It is true that other groups believe in some of the Biblical distinctives of Baptists, but only Baptists have embraced them all. I am a Baptist by conviction.
This month I want to write to you as to why I am a Regular Baptist. Several questions probably arise in your mind. What is a Regular Baptist? How is a Regular Baptist different from other Baptist groups?
A (VERY) BRIEF HISTORY LESSON: Most people are acquainted with the Southern Baptist Convention. Not so many are aware that there was another convention of Baptist churches called the Northern Baptist Convention (NBC). (The organization still exists today under the new name American Baptist Churches of the USA.) At the turn of the 20th century, the NBC had individuals who began to follow the modernist beliefs of that era. As the years went by the traditional fundamentals of the faith were being denied more and more to the point where the NBC was split in its allegiance. It was at this time that various groups separated from the NBC and began their own fellowship. The Regular Baptists began in 1932 with a strict insistence that it would not get caught up in being a convention (whereby property and assets were turned over to the headquarters of the organization) and that churches would agree to a doctrinal statement that would reinforce the fundamentals of the faith before being voted upon in the fellowship.
There are three reasons why I prefer the Regular Baptist fellowship.
A DOCTRINAL MATTER: Regular Baptists have always insisted upon strong, orthodox doctrine. At their annual meetings (both nationally and locally) there is an insistence upon the preaching of the Word of God being the central feature of those meetings. Although there can be some slight differences in minor doctrines and their application, Regular Baptists have held firm in their doctrinal statement which joins them together. For a glimpse of our doctrinal statement, GO HERE.
A PRACTICAL MATTER: Simply put, there is so much more that can be done when churches choose to cooperate together. Smaller churches with limited resources and personnel find that they can have a major impact for the cause of Christ when yoked with churches of like faith. An association of churches gives one a voice in national matters (especially items like chaplaincy). Cooperation with others allows for mutual fellowship and encouragement, especially when the church is facing a difficult time (such as being without a pastor). Aligning oneself in a fellowship also assists families moving into an area that want to join a church that is similar to the church from which they came.
AN ETHICAL MATTER: Sometimes I hear people say they will not join an association of churches because they want their church to be truly independent. While I understand that sentiment, I think they are misunderstanding the thought of independence with the autonomy (self-governing) of the local church. Churches in a fellowship do not surrender their autonomy. As a State Representative of the Minnesota Association of Regular Baptist Churches, I have no say or vote as to what happens in a local Regular Baptist Church in Minnesota. Neither does any other local church have a say in another church's affairs. A local church member has more say or authority than I do because they can vote!
When you think about it, no church is truly independent. We are dependent upon the Lord! We are interdependent upon one another! Read through the New Testament and see how the churches cooperated together.
If you were truly independent, then you would not accept help or cooperate with anyone. You would send your own missionaries (at 100% support), run your own training institution (college/seminary), develop your own benevolent organization to minister to the hurting (mentally handicapped, crisis pregnancy center, etc.), and print your own literature (S.S. material, V.B.S. material, tracts, etc.). You wouldn't cooperate with other churches for conferences (missions or Bible), retreats (men, women, or teens) or pastoral fellowships. You wouldn't help any churches who would have a need if you were truly independent.
My belief in Christianity is an absolute belief and very sure. I am a Christian by conversion. My belief in the Biblical distinctives of Baptists is solid, but admittedly, not as definite as my conversion. I am willing to lay down my life for those beliefs, therefore, I say that I am a Baptist by conviction. But when it comes to which Baptist church I will attend, I admit there is a bit more wiggle room. There are many fine Baptist churches and quite frankly, I would not die for my position as a Regular Baptist. Therefore, I sum it up by saying I am a Regular Baptist by choice.
Where do you find yourself these days? If you are not a Christian, then by all means, receive Him as your Savior (John 1:12) as "today is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. 6:2 ) If you are not a Baptist, then I would strongly encourage you to read through the Scriptures to see what the Bible says about issues such as the authority of the Bible, soul liberty, priesthood of the believer, the autonomy of the local church and separation of church and state. Get involved with and join a Baptist church. And finally, if you are not part of a Regular Baptist fellowship, then I would recommend that you seek out a Regular Baptist church or bring your church into an association of Regular Baptist churches.
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