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#36379 Fri May 04, 2007 11:43 AM
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Theo Offline OP
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I have come across TWO different Southern Baptist churches in my area in the last month that prominently feature and use the 1689 London Baptist Confession. This is a *Reformed* document, and furthermore at least one of these churches has a constitution that actually provides for elders to rule the congregation.

The Southern Baptist churches I knew about years ago would have never even known what the 1689 London Baptist Confession is, and they would have considered "deacons" to be the principal officers of the church (other than the pastor.) Is there some trend in the Southern Baptist Convention towards becoming more Reformed, or are these two churches relatively isolated instances? I have to say this has me quite curious.

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Well, as far as SBC churches using the LBC 1689, they very isolated. Ironically, James P. Boyce, first President of the Southern Baptist Seminary, thought this the ideal confession for use in churches and in theological institutions. But many SBCers today see this confession as "divisive" (IX Marks Ministries, for example). Calvinistic SBC churches generally use the Abstract of Principles, many times taking out the "negative" prohibitions in the Lord's Day article. Founders Ministries is a group withing the SBC that promoted the Doctrines of Grace. Reformed/Calvinistic SBCers include Tom Ascol, Tom Nettles, Mark Dever, Fred Malone, and Al Mohler. There are also some 1689 affirming churches that are dually aligned with the SBC and the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (such as the one Richard Barcellos and Sam Waldron are a part of). I hope this helps!


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
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Theo Offline OP
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Marie,

Thanks for the information! I guess when I saw TWO churches using the LBC 1689, I was beginning to hope the Baptists were doing better than some of the Presbyterians as far as being Reformed. I think both of these churches to which I am referring have some ties (through their pastors) to the "Founders", by the way.

I had not heard of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches so I'll go "Google" them and see what turns up.

Again, thanks so much--

Theo

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Theo,

Are you looking for a church? Where are you located?


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
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Theo Offline OP
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Quote
MarieP said:
Theo,

Are you looking for a church? Where are you located?

Marie,

I'll reply to you by PM, but the answer to your first question is "Perhaps." <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/shrug.gif" alt="" />

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Marie,

Has Southern always had a Reformed presence there? From an outsider, it has befuddled me that one of the SBC seminaries could be so different from the others. Would there be any others that you would recommend.

I have a cousin who is marrying a guy who will be attending New Orleans next year. Since I do not see her that often, I'm somewhat afraid to ask but I sense that they may side more with the moderates than the conservatives in the convention. Have the moderates overtook or at least on par with the conservatives in some states? Seems as if they may have in Texas. Instead of constantly fighting for control, I don't see why they do not just become 2 denominations. They are approaching the Catholics in their fondness in calling themselves SBCers. It's all in the name and not any theologies behind it.


John Chaney

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John, no it hasn't. James P. Boyce, the founder of the seminary, as well as most other founders were staunch Reformed Baptists. But then it declinhed into liberalism, mainly due to E. Y. Mullins in the mid-20th century because of his lenient views on what "inerrancy" or "inspiration" meant. In the 60's through the beginning of the 90s, the seminary was rife with liberals (or "moderates" as they like to call themselves). They denied inerrancy and pushed for women in the ministry. There was even a church nearby that was influential in seminary life that was a "jumping off point" for students who apostasized to RCC or UCC or whatever.

The main goal of Dr. Mohler and the other conservatives (there wre some on campus and in the local churches) were used to turn the seminary around in terms of Biblical inerrancy and the proper roles of men and women. The people in the churches were not as liberal as their pastors or those at the seminaries. What happened at Southern in terms of conservative theology happened at other SBC institutions as well.

Which brings us to the Reformed question. Mohler is a Calvinist, as well as others like Russ Moore, Bruce Ware, Tom Nettles, and Tom Schreiner. Midwestern used to have more of a Calvinist atmosphere, but I think there are fewer as more students have been coming to Southern and as several professors there came to Southern.

Sadly, I think that some of the Reformed teachings have gone by the wayside as they don't want to rock the boat of the SBC. There seem to be more outwardly Calvinist students than faculty,. Also, some of the professors have adopted four point Calvinism (like Bruce Ware), which is quite inconsistent IMHO. There is compromise in terms of not wanting to get people mad in the SBC.

Listening to last year's Southern Baptist Annual Meeting was horrible, as many pastors there misrepresented or spoke out against Calvinism. I think either many will leave the SBC or there will be a split of some sort. The first option seems to be the case, and that is one reason I left the SBC.


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
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Theo Offline OP
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Marie,

Thanks for the additional details in your reply to John. I do recall there being a certain amount of debate involving the Caner brothers of the SBC, who are not exactly favorably inclined towards Reformed thought. Did they play a role in the Southern Baptist Annual Meeting of last year?

Also: would a church that had ties to the Founders be able, perhaps, to better stand against any anti-Calvinist trend? Or would those churches perhaps be forced to leave?

Theo

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You might find some of the links on this old thread helpful:

Why are there so few reformed baptist churches?


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Theo Offline OP
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Brad,

Thanks so much for those links. I had a feeling this had probably already been discussed, but had not tried that search. You have been most helpful!

Theo

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Theo:

Within the SBC there is two factions one which is for general atonement and is rabid against anything that smacks of Calvinism. The other are those that hold to Reformed Theology (baptist kind of course). But those that hold to general atonement are greater in numer and are more vocal about ridding the denomination of those that disagree with them. People like the Founders ultimately will be forced into their own denomination.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
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Theo Offline OP
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Pete,

Thanks for your input. I suppose I should not be surprised if the Founder-friendly SBC churches do wind up in a separate denomination; after all, that seems to be what ultimately happens in every denomination where the doctrines of grace become an issue. Either the doctrinal distinctives get watered down and "anything goes" (which seems to be what has happened in Anglicanism) or the Reformed-leaning people wind up separating. There doesn't seem to be a third choice, at least not one that I can recall seeing.

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Being geographically very far away from the US, I should perhaps not say anything about this. But on advice that I got on this Discussion Board I bought Mark Dever's two books: (1) Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, and (2) The Deliberate Church. From what is said about baptism in the two books I concluded that Mark Dever has to be Baptist. However, his discussion about the elders is in my opinion towards the Reformed side. In fact, In "The Deliberate Church" he states a number of things that an elder is not. And he really makes a case for elders being leaders in the church and that care should be taken to select/elect them. It is clear that he writes from a position where in the past elders were not known in the church.

For what it is worth

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The bigger faction within the SBC is with the conservatives and moderate/liberals. Only when the conservatives can root out the moderates will the 'general atonement' conservatives take on the Reformed within the denom. I can't get a clear take on it but the moderates appear to making a comeback, but it might just be in a few states. I think the 'general atonement' conservatives need the Reformed to keep the arguments God centered, not just man's preferences - even in their attempts in keeping it biblical.


John Chaney

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Theo and all

I generally lurk these days but I had to chime in on this one as it is near and dear to my heart. YES there are some reformed SBC churches out there and more pastors. If you'll do a little digging on the Founders site you'll find a state by state list of churches that are 'Founder's Friendly' which generally means the pastor has a reformed view of theology or less often the church itself holds to a reformed confession (the list shows this as well.) I think the 9Marks website (associated with Mark Dever) has a similar list as well that is associated with a map. There are a few other lists as well.

Let me add this little note about SBC polity, you don't MAKE a Southern Baptist Church do anything. The Convention isn't like a Catholic diocese or whatever that has direct authority over the churches, they are all pretty well autonomous and everything is done by majority rule. No official elders as a general rule except in those churches with at least a reformed history of some kind.

The churches in the convention are connected by 'cooperation', more than anything. What that means is that they will have a heck of a time convincing anyone to disfellowship a church even for doctrinal reasons which is why we have churches all through the spectrum from Saddleback to Dever's church in Washington, D.C.

As for a new denomination, I don't know if it will fall out like that or not Pete. These reformed types are pretty hard headed. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


Josh
"...the word of God is not bound."--2 Timothy 2:9
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