Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Baptist

The Center for Baptist Renewal continues a series on an "Evangelical Baptist Catholicity Manifesto" with Article IV, "Baptist Distinctives," from which:
We have deliberately moved in the Manifesto from what we hold most in common with other Christians (the Trinity, the good news of Christ’s life & work) to what we hold in common with other Protestants, to, now, what makes us distinctly Baptist. .... While the canon of “Baptist distinctives” is debated, there are at least five that are readily identifiable and agreed upon by most Baptists throughout space and time: the necessity of personal conversion, a regenerate church, believers’ baptism, congregational governance, and religious liberty. ....

...[W]e should note that while none of these distinctives have theological priority in Baptist life, they do have a sort of logical priority or ordering. An emphasis on personal conversion gives rise to an affirmation of believers-only baptism, which in turn necessarily prompts affirmation of regenerate church membership, a corollary of which is congregational governance. The last distinctive, religious liberty (referred to by some as “soul freedom” on an individual level and “separation of church and state” on a governmental level), arises from the previous four and also provides the cultural and theological context in which they can be exercised to the fullest. ....

We believe that these Baptist beliefs have much to commend them both biblically and theologically. So we do not wish to keep them to ourselves, as it were, but instead to press them home to all willing partners in cross-denominational dialogue. As we have stated previously, we believe that the Baptist tradition is a renewal movement within the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Thus, we commend our distinctives for consideration by the whole church of the Lord Jesus Christ. .... Each tradition has its own unique gifts to offer the whole church. .... [much more]