Thursday, May 7, 2009

Return to the Blogosphere: Baptist Distinctives

If anyone missed me, they can stop their mourning. I'm back. My absence was mainly due to being overloaded with finals and that I had chosen a topic that required a good deal of work on my part and I never got around to it. I still hope to get around to the animal topic but I need to do some research on what goes on so I can have some sort of coherent application. Hopefully that will be possible this summer. No promises however. I do want to dialogue on this issue so anyone who has strong feelings on the issue with stuff for me to read should fire their ammo at me.

For my return to the Blogosphere, I want to choose a subject that used to make me roll my eyes in boredom and smirk in cynicism. I want to blog on Baptist Distinctives. When I was in college at Liberty University (which, though not officially baptist, is full of them), I refused to allow anyone to call me a baptist. I looked around me at the republican political machine that called itself a Christian University with a Baptist pastor as the head of this monster and I wanted nothing to do with it. I was "nondenominational" and certainly not a Baptist. It was not until a couple of years ago, in a Baptist History class at NBS, when I began to appreciate the Baptist heritage and begin to be comfortable claiming it as my own. Ironically, most of the problems I had with Liberty and the Baptists in the SBC and GARB were really deviations from what being a Baptist historically means. In effect, I was the Baptist and those who claimed it were pseudo-baptists.

I am still uncomfortable calling myself a Baptist but this discomfort is unrelated to what being a Baptist really means. In my exit interview with NBS I said that I thought we should drop the "Baptist" from the name. Why? Because a) Pseudobaptists everywhere have distorted the name and the name now gives a connotation that I feel does not represent what NBS really is, and b) there is nothing about being a Baptist that requires designating yourself as such. It's funny, I grew up in churches that were nondenominational and would never call themselves Baptist churches because they were independent churches, and proud of the fact. They were basically Baptist in theology and practice, just not in name. What's so funny about this? This is a very Baptist attitude! They refused to be called baptists, basically, because of their baptistic perspective on denominationalism.

In this next set of blog posts, I will examine what have come to be called the Baptist Distinctives. I like these dinstictives, but I do have problems with them as well. I will seek to explain each in turn, give the rationale for each distinctive, explain how this works out practically, and offer a critique of each to point out the problems and difficulties that each present. As always your feedback is appreciated.

I'm back baby....

3 comments:

Pat Park said...

Matt,

I look forward to this dialogue. A church history class a couple of years ago left me feeling more baptist than my baptist brothers, so I look forward to your thoughts.

Pat

Bren said...

i think i had this class with you. i remember a lot of people rolling their eyes in that class. it was interesting learning the history behind how the distinctives came abt, though like with many classes i've taken there, i could not tell you verbatim what those distinctives were (my darn memory is slowly defecting on me). it will be interesting for you to refresh my memory on this and show how you came to the conclusion you did regarding why being baptistic in nature does not require one to be labelled baptist. welcome back.

Sabrina said...

welcome back. i'm interested to learn how i might be more baptist than i thought (though i cringe at the connotations implied with that label).

About Me

My photo
Tacoma, Washington, United States
"It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt." Fyodor Dostoevsky. I'm a Northwest Baptist Seminary graduate (MDiv) and current student (ThM). I plan on someday going to Africa and teach Bible and Theology at a Bible College or Seminary level. I hope to continue my studies and earn a PhD, either after I go to overseas for a few years or before. I'm a theological conservative, but I like to think outside of the box and challenge conventional thinking and consider myself a free thinker. I am currently serving in my fourth year as a Youth Pastor at Prairie Baptist Fellowship in Yelm Washington. My blogs will reflect my thoughts on both seminary and ministry life, though not (of course) exclusively. I enjoy literature and occasionally try my hand at writing stories and poems. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..." Paul

This Day in History