For Baptist Fundamentalists, “dual affiliation” is a phrase that has been, historically, charged with tension. The term was significant in the events that led to the birth of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC), as well as the beginnings of the Minnesota Baptist Association (MBA) and the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International (FBFI). Over the years, these organizations have rarely intersected with one another in any formal manner, and for many a sense of suspicion has lingered.
Recently, the matter of dual-affiliation was raised in a new context when First Baptist Church in Marshall, Minnesota (where I serve as pastor) sought and obtained fellowship in GARBC associations while retaining its established fellowship in the MBA.
Prompted largely by the Marshall congregation’s actions, over 100 Baptists from Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin gathered September 19 at Fourth Baptist Church (Plymouth, MN) for a panel discussion. The event was billed as “The Future of Baptist Fundamentalism: A Thoughtful Conversation Between Baptist Brothers.”
In September, Central Seminary (Plymouth, MN) is hosting an unusual event: a conversation among Baptist leaders with greater unity across splinter groups as a major goal. I asked pastor Greg Linscott, who has led the effort, to tell us more about this conversation.
A. A few years ago I began to sense the need for First Baptist of Marshall to become connected with a network more national in scope than our longtime historic affiliation with the Minnesota Baptist Association. Our church has established a ministry with S’gaw Karen refugees from Burma/Myanmar. Because of their missionary connections dating all the way back to Adoniram Judson, the Karen tend to default to the ABC-USA when here in the US. But due to significant differences in doctrine and practice, I did not find that an acceptable option.
As we worked to disciple the believers we had influenced, we wanted to be able to familiarize them with churches whose doctrine would emphasize the authority of Scripture and who would be in general agreement with we teach at First Baptist (including specifics such as a young-earth creationist perspective, cessationist position, and pre-trib dispensationalism) but who also had a large enough network nationally that it would be practical to point Karen believers there as they eventually begin to relocate across the US. The GARBC fit those criteria.