Puritan Board Freshman
I would also add on top of this that a church denomination without a clear and exhaustive confession is a church that has no means of ensuring unity in its teachings, whether this be within the same local church or within a denomination. The SBC may be deemed "conservative" in many respects, but since their confession does not clearly cover all aspects of soteriology, unlike the WCF and the TFUs, pastors can rightfully hold either to Arminianism or Calvinism as if the two were some minor points of doctrine, and then we have contradictory winds of doctrine within the same denomination, or they decide to avoid discussing the doctrines of grace, which is the same as to avoid preaching certain aspects of the gospel, and must ultimately entail avoiding to preach on certain parts of the Scriptures, ie. Rom. 9, or Eph. 1, etc. Either way, we are back to square one.There exists no such guidlines, but you don't have to torture yourself over a local church thinking that God is calling you to attend it, when this would cause you to disobey his revealed will. Besides, our view of God's Church must extend beyond a local congregation or denomination so that we never end up leaving the "Church," although we may leave a "church" for personal convictions.What guidelines does the Bible give for leaving one church that's "less reformed" (or "not reformed") to join a church that's "more reformed"?
-----Added 1/19/2009 at 06:39:38 EST-----
I totally agree. All pastors are bound to preach according to the confession of their church, or else they are failing to measure up to their ministerial duties. This is always what happens when a local church begins to drift away from its confession, and is not rebuked by a synod or classis, but is rather tolerated for various reasons. Secondly, there is the problem of having ecumenical relations with other churches within the same denomination where the teachings will differ. John Wesley sinned in preaching Arminianism within the Church of England, since his church had a clear and sound confession that taught unconditional election. Now, he was never rebuked by his church, and indeed some denomination (e.i. SBC) will not rebuke pastors who preach Arminianism, but the fact that there are contradictory teachings within the denomination is problematic.A sincere question: if you stay in a denomination that you don't agree with doctrinally aren't you there under false pretenses? Wouldn't this be a 9th commandment violation unless you were open and honest about your beliefs? Would they let you stay if they knew what you really believed?
For those who are Pastors can't you let your leadership know your change in beliefs and can't you and your congregation leave that denom for another? Congregations have been leaving the PCUSA in droves why can't SBC Pastors do the same or join the Founders movement I have heard about? Is the Founder movement within the SBC?
For instance, say that two SBC pastors have a pulpit exchange, one is a Calvinist and the other is Arminian, either they will both have to water down their doctrine on the pulpit so that it be compatible and both churches end up happy, or else their home church will receive some contradictory teachings which will require some correction at some later time. History has shown (both among the Dutch Reformed and the Presbyterians) that when liberals point their head within a denomination, they ought to get kicked out as quickly as possible, or they will contaminate the whole denomination, and then the conservatives will have to leave themselves. This also applies to Calvinists and Arminians too, I believe, since the two are drastically different ways of viewing God and the Scriptures.