Tag Archive: Religion and Spirituality


Congregational Church Governance

downloadWhat Is Congregational Church Governance?

Polity is how an organization, such as a church, functions—the policies that guide matters such as governance, decision making, structure and leadership. Baptists differ from most Christian denominations in matters of polity. The difference especially is evident in how congregations of Christians are governed.

One major difference between Baptists and many other denominations is that no person or group outside of a Baptist congregation is to have any authority over the church in regard to beliefs and religious practices. Furthermore, all of the members within the church fellowship are to have equal voice in the governance of the church.

Baptist church governance often is termed “democratic.” In a sense it is. In a democracy, all of the people have equal voices in decision making. No individual or group of persons is in control. Such is to be the case in a Baptist church. One way that democratic governance is practiced is that each member of the church has the right to vote on matters at church business meetings.

To many non-Baptists, and even to some Baptists, this seems to be a strange way for a church to function. Putting the governance of a church in the hands of persons who have no special training, education or calling appears to be foolish. Why would Baptists dare to function in this fashion?

Read more….http://baptistdistinctives.org/articles/congregational-church-governance/

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“For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person
—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

Ephesians 5:5 (NIV)

 The ideal of a believers’ church consistently appears in Baptist confessions of faith. Baptist theologians, pastors and other leaders through the centuries have held up no other model than that of a born-again church fellowship. That’s the ideal. But is this the reality?

Is There Evidence of a Decline in Regenerate Church Membership?

The distinguished Baptist historian William R. Estep stated, “Baptists in the United States are perilously close to losing their insistence upon a regenerate church membership.”

Other observers of Baptist life agree with Estep and cite as evidence for this conclusion such factors as the huge number of non-resident Baptist church members and the characteristics of many resident members with their lack of involvement in church life, a low level of financial support, little commitment to evangelism, missions and ministry, and a life style obviously contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

Of course, some of these factors may be the result of conditions other than an unregenerate condition, such as being “backslidden” or perhaps immature as a Christian (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Ephesians 4:11-16). And certainly, numerous church members are wonderfully dedicated followers of Christ. Yet it would seem that these factors would not exist in such abundance if members of churches were truly born again.

Read more…http://baptistdistinctives.org/articles/regenerate-church-membership-in-peril/

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John 9:6-7 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

I read this passage and I wonder how I would react if someone mixed their saliva with some dirt on the ground and put it on my face like this. Ewww! Why didn’t Jesus just heal this guy and be done with it? Why the messy prelude?

If you’ll notice, Jesus did two things. First, He placed mud on the man’s eyes. Then, He told him to go and wash himself in the pool of Siloam. Of course, the man willingly obeyed. If you had some gross concoction smeared on your eyes, wouldn’t you? The mud actually provided the motivation for his obedience.

My point? We don’t always have to understand why we find our selves muddy sometimes. Perhaps if we weren’t muddy, we’d never be motivated to obey! And obedience is crucial to a successful and flourishing walk with the Lord.

Let’s not despise the mud on our face today. We all have times of trial. Let’s use them for an opportunity to be obedient! God is just trying to help us see better!

 

Read more…http://www.worthydevotions.com/

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“Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.”

Joshua 24:15

Is soul competency the primary Baptist distinctive? Some very outstanding Baptist leaders, past and present, seem to indicate that it may be.

“…the principle of the competency of the soul in religion under

God is a distinctive Baptist contribution to the world’s thought….”

–E. Y. Mullins (b.1860 – d.1928)

Baptist educator/theologian
“Out of this principle flow all other elements of Baptist belief….”

– Herschel H. Hobbs (b.1907 – d.1995)

Baptist pastor/theologian

“The concept of the soul’s competency is more than a single doctrine;

actually, it undergirds all the other doctrines of the faith.”

–H. Leon McBeth (b.1931)

Baptist educator/historian

The Meaning of Soul Competency

What does “soul competency” mean? Various terms have been used for this concept, such as soul freedom, freedom of conscience and soul competency. Basically it means the God-given freedom and ability of persons to know and respond to God’s will. Baptists believe that God gives people competency–that is ability–to make choices. Human beings are not puppets or machines.

Baptists emphasize that this ability is not a mere human characteristic, but a gift from God. In creation, God gave to persons the freedom to make choices. The Genesis account of creation makes crystal clear that this freedom carried with it awesome responsibility. We are responsible for our choices. God sets forth the consequences of good and bad decisions. If we exercise our freedom to obey him, we have life. If we use our freedom to deny him, the result is death (Genesis 1—2).

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