Repentance and the Baptist Church Constitution

"Does your church constitution have a statement carefully defining repentance?... would your church constitution be an effective guard against having a new pastor or pastors who teach a heretical gospel?"

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Aaron Blumer's picture

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Two things on this: 1. I'm not persuaded that constitutions are all that effective for the sort of prevention Kent has in mind. They can help, but you need both a strong constitution and a strong tradition of paying attention to it. In my experience, both are rare in churches. 2. A clear statement of what the gospel is and what a biblical saving response to the gospel is, belongs in the statement of faith. Even so, it should be a good bit more brief.

I guess I'd add 3., emphasizing sorrow confuses the thing with some likely results of the thing. When we truly see sin for what it is, and what Christ has done for us, and we turn in faith to Christ for salvation, sorrow and joy are both usually part of the experience. But there's a reason Rom. 10:13, for one example among many, doesn't say "Whosoever shall be really sorrowful and call upon the name the Lord shall be saved."

Genuine repentance is part of a believing response to the gospel, but attendant emotions are just that... attendant emotions.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

“Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.”

-Baptist Faith and Message, 2000. 

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

....we might simply note that if the church Constitution defines "repentance" in its Gospel context (mine does FWIW), then we are not only less likely to avoid heresy, but we are also more likely to understand how our repentance ought to look when we sin.  I also agree with Aaron that Kent's statement is a bit too long to be useful.  "KISS" principle, brothers!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.