How Much Should we be supporting each other as groups in the Church of Christ?

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by Dachaser, Feb 9, 2019.

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  1. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    This will be carrying along a discussion in the 1689 Federalism thread...
    Basically, how much should Baptists and Presbyterians be supporting each other in regards to say missions work in the field, local church activities and events etc?
    I see both of us teaching the same Gospel, and having the same Jesus, so should be willing and able to support each other.
     
  2. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I see no primary conflicts; in fact, weirdly enough, there is a Reformed Baptist church down the street who generally calls in Presbyterian ministers to preach at their men's conferences. :banana:
     
  3. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    That seems to be a church really following the edict of the scripture to keep the unity of the Body.
     
  4. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    In my country of service I support various reformed paedobaptist groups and preach to them (never contradicting their confession) and we use reformed pedobaptist orgs in partnership to find teachers and I help Reformed pedobaptist posts and churches. We've talked a little about baptism, but so many areas are so bereft of the Gospel I would be glad to help plant a presbyterian church. I've introduced reformed books to the evangeliscal churches I've worked with as well to help push back against Arminian threats and Prosperity Gospel threats.

    BUT.....

    ...most of my American support is all from baptist, since most presbyterians will not cross those waters that divide and support me even though I help out presbyterians overseas many times.

    And that sort of bugs me!
     
  5. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Define "support."

    I would say, generally speaking, unless it doesn't matter if you baptise the children of believers or not, then there can be no real support because that implies unity. This unity is already fatally compromised when some members of the church are not recognised because they have not been baptised properly (basis, mode etc.). That is to say, the visible gospel (sacraments) is then split in two.

    Ignoring our differences leads to the cloak staying rent; reformation requires one body or the other repenting. Even if we support each other, how can we not call each other to repentance? If we do the latter, how far can we go to support each other? If not, then our principles are moribund and should be removed as a impediment to church unity and there should no longer be any barriers placed between us.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Unity means unity in Christ.

    Thus all true Christians ought to support one another. In needy countries and regions this means material and monetary support ought to cross denominational lines sometimes. What a shame when Christians turn away from true needs of health or hunger because of a difference in baptism or secondary doctrines.

    Every time I as a baptist help out a reformed church overseas, I need not call them to repent for their errant baptismal doctrine. If they invite me to preach on soteriology, I preach on their confession and honor their doctrine because I am a guest. They are not heretics or cults that I need to rebuke them every time we meet.
     
  7. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Certainly but how many Christs are there? How many baptisms? Visible unity is already compromised by our confessional statements and ecclesiastical courts on the matter of baptism.

    I would not object to this. That is why I asked for clarification on the proposal for "support." However, as there is only so much money to go around people naturally tend to give to our own churches, or those closest to us in affiliation and doctrine.

    But I eschew denominations and loose affiliations (organisations not churches) because I am a Presbyterian. To me this is an ecclesiastical issue, not a pragmatic one. What is a true church? What are Christians? What is the visible church? Where or what are the boundaries?

    We have ignored these questions so long we have only made matters worse. We have unchurched people who think they are the church because, in their heart, they belong to Christ. It is chaos; it is a mess. It needs to be brought to heel and the divisions need to be healed. I believe it grieves the Holy Spirit and thus I too should be grieved.

    When was the last time you called them to repent for their error paedo-baptism?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  8. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Repent? Or repent for holding to pedobaptism?

    We need not hone in on every secondary issue that divides us. When they've asked I've given them my opinion on baptism. But I try to keep my message on basic issues of the gospel because so many people do not know that.
     
  9. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I agree. But then again, maybe I'm not as reformed as the reformed think I should be reformed.
     
  10. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I changed the original post to erase the ambiguity. But I meant the latter.

    We need not to all the time. And perhaps not everyone feels compelled or sufficiently educated to address the issue. But the division is there and it seriously undermines unity. As I said, ignoring it will not make it go away.
     
  11. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Without any disparagement of Pergy, or others of a different stripe than myself; I don't think it's odd that over here in support-land, churches tend to promote the ministries and services that best align with their convictions, all of them, not just a few. We have limited resources, each church and individual; so it makes sense that we have to decide how to allocate those.

    If my congregation has to choose between P.I.M. (an actual mission over there) which it was supporting before I ever came here to pastor, and which has family connections to this area; and supporting Pergy, while my feelings may be more with Pergy, there are other considerations on the table. It isn't just a matter of whether someone is "worthy" of assistance.

    It's about division of labor, dividing costs, and occasionally a hard decision about which missionary ought to get the few dollars that are available. What are the criteria to be used? Sometimes, we rest in the hope that those who are more precisely aligned with another worthy man than we are will not fail them, while we are busy trying not to fail someone else.
     
  12. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Amen. To our shame. This has gone on for so long, to retrieve it will be almost impossible.
     
  13. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    We are united by the basis though of holding to the same Gospel and the same Lord Jesus, and we should be willing to support fellow members of His Body, and just agree to maintain certain differences in regards to certain doctrines of the faith.
     
  14. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I would not elevate water baptism to the place of division in the Church, just as I hold to a preMil view, but would not be calling out nay holding to A or Post Mil viewpoints.
    My definition for support would be willing to come aside and help out another Christian and/or their Church if need be.
     
  15. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I think that his point was that he would be refused any financial aid or support just due the fact of being a reformed Baptist, and maybe not be seen as being Reformed enough by some.
     
  16. SGW

    SGW Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Perg,

    I think you’ll appreciate this story.

    I recently witnesses the ordination of two Reformed Baptists to the office of elder for the purpose of starting a new church. The ordination took place at a conservative Presbyterian church. A local RB pastor officiated and gave the charge, and the Presbyterian pastor gave the sermon. Both RB and Presbyterian elders layed hands on and prayed for the new elders.

    This all came about as the result of a split at the RB church where the two men had previously been members (one was an elder and the other an intern and elder elect). The RB church was originally to be the sending church until the split occurred. The four RB elders had brought serious charges against the pastor for his involvement in the ARBCA coverup and scandal. The pastor gathered enough support to stay in the pulpit and so all four elders, four of six deacons, and the majority of the members resigned.

    Leadership at the Presbyterian church were there to encourage, support, and even mentor the RB elders. They said it was both their responsibility and privilege to step in and help these men at a time when they really needed it. I commend them for taking this position. It has been a beautiful thing to watch.

    There are well over 50 ex-members of that RB church who have been attending the Presbyterian church since September 2018, many who are preparing to become members.
     
  17. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    Water baptism is a point of division in the church, whether or not you would have it so. Further, baptism, as a sacrament, is, in general, a more critical issue than a view of the end times.
     
  18. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    Of those who are preparing to become members, do they now accept Presbyterian baptism?
     
  19. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    The main problem with Baptists and Presbyterians working together is going to be the food, of course. We Presbyterians have all manner of tasty dishes and desserts, while the Baptists have. . . . . . . . . .casseroles! Heh.
     
  20. Charles Johnson

    Charles Johnson Puritan Board Freshman

    Ecclesiology could also be a big issue. Are the planted churches going to be accountable to a presbytery? I don't mean to disparate those with congregationalist or independent views, but for those who view such as schismatic, there's no way they could in good conscience offer material support to a Baptist mission if there were Presbyterian options.
     
  21. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    This thread (I think) came about because of my response to a post where I said the "Westminster says it is a great sin to not administer baptism and the PCA book of church says it should not be unnecessarily delayed (I assume OPC and like have something similar). I would wonder about their convictions if they supported a Baptist ministry" (spelling corrected).

    I further said "I hadn't considered @Stephen L Smith point of the availablity of people, so with further info I would likely temper what I said. If there wasn't a conservative Presbyterian church in my area, I could see myself attending a conservative Baptist Church, especially a reformed Baptist where there are many things that we would agree on." I am not sure I could become a member, so hopefully not a situation I have to deal with.

    What I am having a hard time agreeing to with supporting a baptist missionary is if we split churches over our understanding of certain covenant understanding that lead to different conclusions on who is part of the covenant, then why would I support creating a church that I could not be a member of? Perhaps it's just the fact that we live in a fallen world, that we even have to wrestle with these questions.

    I do not think the padeos (unhelpfully auto-corrected as "ladies") are trying to be jerks about this. Our confessions are pretty strong on some of these points, and so it does require some thought and not us be blase about the doctrine differences.
     
  22. SGW

    SGW Puritan Board Freshman

    As far as I know it’s mixed with some being convinced and others giving it serious consideration.
     
  23. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    It is the big issue -- getting someone to believe must be followed by nurturing that new-found faith with the means of grace.
     
  24. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator

    It is more complicated than that as it comes down to "good and necessary inference". Further there are some Reformed Baptist churches that are more confessional than some PCA churches. Also, the OPC is coming to appreciate some modern scholarship of Reformed Baptists - eg, in the area of Divine Impassability.
    Yes it gets more complicated in small countries like my own. I know some beloved brethren on the Puritanboard who uphold exclusive Psalmody. But there are very very few exclusive Psalmody churches in New Zealand. I had a confessional paedobaptist pastor in a NZ church (from the USA) say to me how he struggles here with the limited number of confessional Reformed churches here. So there are many situations where Reformed Paedobaptists and Reformed Baptists have to work together. Itis true the 1689 Confession has much in common with the WCF (though I am not denying the real differences).
     
  25. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Your position sounds reasonable...but...

    And the irony is that many of the "Presbyterian" missions do not even know their confessions and my work is more reformed than theirs.

    The problem of limited resources is often merely an excuse. Most Presbyterian churches won't support a baptist...but neither are they REALLy vigorously supporting their own kind, either.

    America is the richest country in the history of the world and yet they still give their scraps to missions. Their missions budgets certainly don't ever get in the way of most churches plans to renovate or change the color of the carpet....in fact, the missions budget is often the first to be cut. Churches rarely tighten their own belts, even as they send letters out to missionaries informing them of decreased support or the inability to continue supporting them despite their own pledges.
     
  26. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    God bless that church. I believe we share enough of the faith that actions like this are not a "doctrinal compromise" but a sign of the unity of our reformed faith. I've been following the sad news and glad these leaving church members have a place of refuge where the gospel is preached.
     
  27. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    You stated that things get complicated in "small countries" like yours...but your country is also relatively free and tolerant.

    Now...imagine places in the Middle East or the Muslim world. I've been to villages where there were 6 known believers in a region of 100,000 people. A man I know walked 10 hours over a mountain to meet other believers and they danced for joy when they met and all worshipped together.

    Was this worship thus a compromise, or a good thing?

    Just imagine these 6 people splintering over baptism when they've got no other Christian fellowship for a day's hike. Imagine them refusing to arrange marriage between their children due to a 2ndary doctrinal issue and remaining single and childless in a sea of intolerant Muslims.

    We are out to plant the flag of Christ, not our particular denomination, first and foremost. We've rendered aid and assistance to Christians without preferring evangelical over reformed believers. The main question is, "Do they need help or not?"

    I believe those who hold to an overly tight conviction over who they can support or not support need to spend a few years in a very unreached area. Then they would see that there is basic unity among all Christians and this unity is mainly spiritual and not institutional through the boundaries of denominations, etc.

    All true Christians are united in Christ. We are brothers and sister. And I believe the unity of believers is commanded and is a powerful witness to the world. We should seek it as much as possible in all our endeavors.

    John 17:
    "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 that they all may be one; as thou, Father, artin me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
     
  28. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator

    Not so with the desserts. Baptists love to immerse the dissert with plenty of tasty whipped cream; in a Paedobaptist dessert you get a stingy sprinkling of cream :lol:
     
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  29. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator

    Yes and No. As New Zealand has become more secular, and the sexual revolution hits us hard, our society is now quite intolerant of Christianity. We do not have something like the first amendment to protect our freedoms. It is noteworthy that Barnabus Fund, an organisation with a noble reputation for defending the persecuted church, is now putting out booklets encouraging Christians in a number of nations (including mine) to be proactive in protecting our freedoms as we could lose them very soon. I have heard tragic news about Christians in Scotland and Canada having feedom under threat. It could hapen here.

    We need to keep asking "define Christian" first. I agree with Dr Lloyd-Jones that the Arminianism of John Wesley was certainly an Evangelical Arminianism. But it is more complicated today due to the influence of Finney. Certainly, all Christians are brothers and sisters in Christ. Defining 'Christian' is the key priority.
    You may find the 1978 Lecture by Doctor Lloyd-Jones on John Bunyan and Church unity insightful. Bunyan argued that unity among Christians is more important than demoninational diffrences. It is noteworthy that Bunyan developed this conviction when he faced severe persecution. This persecution helped his priorites. For this lecture see "The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors" 1978 lecture.
     
  30. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Stephen,

    This lecture sounds very good, do you have a link. Thanks.
     
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