of the SBC congregations I grew up in, they all gave lip service to the Baptist Faith and Message, but that was about it.I didn't know. I thought they're not a confessional church. I guess many churches are confessional.As a Southern Baptist I can say this simply isn't true. The vast majority of Baptists throughout history and today are creedal or confessional.
I think that the main advantage to being connected to a denomination is that there is, generally speaking, a much more honest statement about biblical doctrine on the the surface of it all.I'm really just curious... I am in the PCA and have been for about two years now. I know it's more than just a Christian "gang" but is the point essentially to have the higher courts to appeal to & that's about it?
I’m glad the EPC exists, especially for many of those congregations now leaving the PC(USA). Better they have a place to go than form a new denomination. The EPC is clear on the essentials of the gospel and offers a degree of accountability and cooperation. I was in the EPC for 16 years and found them supportive of my ministry, without requiring me to compromise my own distinctives.As was pointed out the EPC leaves female ordination up to the local church and presbytery. That being said (and as a member of the EPC), I would rather see conservative men stay in the EPC and help bring it back to a complimentarian state vs. saying "oh well they are liberal now, forget them."The issue of female deacons is absolutely a reason to remain distinct. Distinctions and convictions are important and worth remaining separate over. Abandonment therefrom for the sake of unity ends in apostasy. See generally PCUSA. Ought the Baptists and Presbyterians form one denomination? No one would be able to agree on who is to be baptized. One side would "lose" and then be subjected to a practice that they clearly are convicted is unscriptural. I'd rather keep the separation.
A church practicing biblical discipline will not receive a member who "jumps ship" or is under discipline in another congregation or church court. NAPARC member denominations at least should function in this way.As far as the idea that certain denominational structures help with local church discipline, I disagree. All to often people will just jump into a similar denomination without regard for any authority structure within their old denomination. Theoretically this should not happen, but more often than not it is the practical outcome when people disagree at the local level.
I had a friend who was OPC for years and left on bad terms when the "appeals process" didn't work out his way.
I understand you are aware the PCA has a denominational seminary (Covenant Seminary), somewhat that came through the RPES so I take this to mean starting a brand new one.Glenn Ferrell
For example, it would be difficult for the PCA, OPC or URC to form a denominational seminary or college today;
The PCA inherited Covenant Seminary and Covenant College when they received the former RPCES denomination into their larger group. My comment has to do with forming a new denominational seminary.Can you elaborate on this?
I have a generally positive opinion of Mid-America Seminary, and have been impressed by some recent graduates I've known. Though heavily influenced by the URC, I'd not consider it a denominational serminary....I know that the URC utilizes the Mid-America Reformed Seminary for pulpit supply. (We had one of their students in our church this summer - very good!)
As a 20-something that just joined a Reformed denomination, I can tell you that I am having the same problem with my friends too. It breaks my heart because I know if they persevered for two Sundays (and actually stayed when they are invited for lunch or Sunday school) they would love it here.It just seems like so much of what happens in many denominations is almost self-defeating exercises in rote processes. I mean, if I am trying to persuade my 20-something pals to join a Reformed denomination, what is the benefit to sell them on? Higher courts and that's it? That's good but until you have been through an ugly fight in a church, it's hard to explain how helpful your fathers and brothers can be.
There are two reasons why love marked by obedience is important. First of all these are issues of life and death. People have put their faith in what the Church preaches, often times at great sacrifice. They have built their lives on what they believe is the genuine gospel-that sincerely trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sin and for eternal life will prove to be a realized hope. What we place in their hands and engender in their hearts must be real. To accomplish this a true church must faithfully fulfill all of her mission by training, encouraging, and directing true disciples of Jesus Christ. We must hold each other accountable to the marks of authenticity that Christ expects in the life of his church and his disciples.
When we speak of the "true marks" of a church, Mr. Calvin described two as being essential, and a third he described implicitly as necessary for having a true church:John 15:17
17These things I command you, that ye love one another.