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#50415 Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:19 AM
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Robin Offline OP
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Well it's been a fun ride until recently, now I find myself in search of a new church. Up 'til now I have taken church membership just about as seriously as the covenant of marriage! But no longer. In it's founding documents, the PCA describes "membership" as stictly voluntary (perhaps owing to prior experience with the liberal PCUS), and advises that individuals and churches can leave the PCA whenever it seems good to them.

My PCA church has:

* Adopted an increasingly "Anglican / Orthodox" style of worship. This past Advent season the pastor even admitted to not knowing what the colored candles of the Advent Wreath represent (and it's hard to know really, since Googling it brings up several dozen possibilities), yet we light them anyway because it's a beautiful tradition.

* Ignored the very real threat posed by teachers of the Federal Vision by not "rocking the boat." Our delegation to the last General Assembly simply toured the beautiful city of Charlestown instead of participating in "that business stuff."

* Not dealt appropriately with a minister who has "covertly" led studies of N.T. Wright's theology (Anglican, FV) because he wasn't acting "in an official capacity" when doing so.

I have been a member of three Presbyterian churches. The first two were basically run by one family or one person in spite of the Presbyterian model. No "rules" were broken, but the intent of the Presbyterian form of government is to prevent this kind of thing. It obviously doesn't work as intended.

I'm not inclined to simply go to one of the other PCA churches in town. I'm rather disenchanted with the PCA entirely, and with Presbyterianism in general. The very specific and extremely detailed Westminster Confession of Faith is apparently not specific enough to prevent whole denominations that claim it as their doctrinal standard from going completely off the rails in both doctrine and practice.

I did manage to find a Reformed Baptist church locally, though, and am enjoying a friendly e-mail exchange with the pastor in which I bring all my "Presbyterian sensibilities" and compare them with Reformed Baptist ones. It has been cordial, helpful, and educational so far. I'm "almost persuaded" to become a Baptist! And I must admit to being much more open to their semi-congregational form of government as well.

Prayers for wisdom and purity of heart are needed and welcome!

~Robin

Robin #50418 Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:53 PM
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Annie Oakley
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I sympathize with your dilemma Robin. One thing that comes to mind is the question of rebaptism. Will this new church require that you be rebaptized in their church before admitting you to membership or not?


The Chestnut Mare
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost.
- - - -JRR Tolkien "Lord of the Rings"
chestnutmare #50419 Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:44 PM
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Robin Offline OP
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Originally Posted by chestnutmare
I sympathize with your dilemma Robin. One thing that comes to mind is the question of rebaptism. Will this new church require that you be rebaptized in their church before admitting you to membership or not?

Yes ma'am, that's a BIG issue for me. Baptism must be a one-time thing, since Christ died "once for all." Being rebaptized would be like putting Him on the cross a second time!

For me personally it wouldn't apply since I was baptized by immersion in a Baptist church as a preteen, but the theology of the question matters a great deal.


Robin #50421 Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:42 PM
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Robin

I am a Reformed Baptist myself; however I may be in the minority of those who are of Reformed Baptist persuasion.
In that I personally would not have a problem with a Reformed Paedo-Baptist being admitted into member-ship. However, that is provided they agree first that they respected the Church beliefs concerning Credo-Baptism. This to me is important because if they do not agree to this, unity in the body may be compromised.
If I remember correctly John Bunyan (Pilgrims Progress) had similar beliefs.
Basically the reason why I would allow someone like yourself into membership with that one caveat is because I have found that I have more in common with many Reformed Paedo-Baptist like yourself, than I do with Baptists of Arminian persuasion.
Unfortunately like I said earlier, I am probably in the minority with this view, so your discussion with the Baptist pastor could prove to be very valuable.
I actually have a Paedo-Baptist friend who attends the same Church I do. He told me that although he cannot become a member. He is ok with that mainly because he is very happy with the worship, sermons and the way the Church is going.
Tom

Tom #50422 Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom
I actually have a Paedo-Baptist friend who attends the same Church I do. He told me that although he cannot become a member. He is ok with that mainly because he is very happy with the worship, sermons and the way the Church is going.
One of the crucial questions that needs to be addressed is: Since he is not a member, which is applicable to all who are non-members because they will not submit to the requirement of rebaptism by immersion, then in all likelihood admittance to the Lord's Supper is denied. This is the case in the majority of such cases. Is it true in your friend's situation, i.e., as a non-member, is he denied the sacraments. And if so, how could he be "ok with that"???

Of course, if like most Baptists he considers the Lord's Supper to be a simple "remembrance" (ordinance) and not an actual sacrament where grace is given to true believers, then I could understand if he has little concern.

The other issue, which we have discussed here is the sad reality that if a local church denies membership to someone who has given a credible confession of faith and recognized to be so by the elder(s) because of the requirement to be immersed in water even though the applicant has already been baptized, and even as an adult, then de facto, the church's position is that the person is relegated to the same status as one who has been excommunicated (non-communicato), aka: barred from fellowship with the saints and the sacraments instituted by God for the saints because of either unrepentant sin or errant in doctrine or both. scratchchin


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Robin #50425 Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:04 AM
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Robin Offline OP
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I should think that Reformed Baptists would have a higher view of the Lord's Supper than merely "a remembrance" as many non-Reformed might. Thanks for that, Jeff... It's a reminder to me to ask about "means of grace" in my discussion with this pastor.


Pilgrim #50427 Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:08 PM
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Tom Offline
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Though your questions are certainly worth mentioning, I can only speak for the Church I attend.
Admittance to the Lords Table in the Church I attend is based on confession of faith, not on whether someone is baptized or not. The applicable Scriptural warning of taking the Lord's Supper in an inappropriate manner are read every time we celebrate the Lord's supper.
The elders of the Church are actively lovingly involved in the lives of all attenders, regardless of whether they are members or not. This is understood by all and is not optional, for anyone who attends.
Tom

Robin #50430 Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:17 AM
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Tom Offline
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Originally Posted by Robin
I should think that Reformed Baptists would have a higher view of the Lord's Supper than merely "a remembrance" as many non-Reformed might. Thanks for that, Jeff... It's a reminder to me to ask about "means of grace" in my discussion with this pastor.

Perhaps the following will be helpful.

http://www.spurgeon.org/catechis.htm#Q74

Tom

Tom #50434 Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:33 PM
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Most here know my story of how I became a Reformed Baptist this past year.The church I attend is a member of ARBCA. Most ,if not all of these member churches require baptism by immersion for membership, have "open communion", which allows Christians(those having made a profession of faith) and who have examined themselves per 1Cor.11:28 to partake. We also do see The Lord's Supper as more than an ordinance even though that is what it's called in the Baptist Confession of Faith.


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Robin #50436 Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:39 PM
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Robin Offline OP
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I looked them up on the web... sadly, no ARBCA churches in Florida. But I wonder how many Founders-type churches in the SBC are members or would become members.

Robin #50437 Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Robin
I looked them up on the web... sadly, no ARBCA churches in Florida. But I wonder how many Founders-type churches in the SBC are members or would become members.

Don't know, but I have heard about another Reformed Baptist movement called F.I.R.E.
I am not sure you remember a former Baptist pastor member here, by the name of Brett Lovitze(sp?). I believe the Church he pastors is a member of F.I.R.E.

Tom

Robin #50440 Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:29 PM
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Annie Oakley
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Yes, Bret Lovitz aka Brother Bret, belonged to FIRE for 9 to 10 years and left just last year.


The Chestnut Mare
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost.
- - - -JRR Tolkien "Lord of the Rings"
Robin #50441 Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:37 PM
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Annie Oakley
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What are your thoughts about St. Andrews ?


The Chestnut Mare
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost.
- - - -JRR Tolkien "Lord of the Rings"
chestnutmare #50442 Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:34 PM
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Robin Offline OP
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If it weren't 90 miles away from home I'd consider it. The closest (truly) Reformed church to me that Baptist church. I arrived a little early for Sunday school to find a group of men studying Calvin's Institutes!

Robin #50444 Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:46 AM
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Tom Offline
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Originally Posted by Robin
If it weren't 90 miles away from home I'd consider it. The closest (truly) Reformed church to me that Baptist church. I arrived a little early for Sunday school to find a group of men studying Calvin's Institutes!

So far, that sounds like a good Church.

Tom

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