From Faith Pulpit, Fall 2014. Used by permission, all rights reserved.
One of the ironies of the Reformation is that though the Reformers had separated from the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformers attacked other groups of the time for separating from them. The Reformers had solid reasons to justify breaking the unity of Christendom in sixteenth-century Europe, mainly their proclamation of salvation by grace through faith and not of works as opposed to the works-righteousness system of the Roman Church. However, the Reformers were not willing to allow that right of separation to a third group in the Reformation, a group I call the Sectarians.
“I’ve heard a professor put it this way before: if you put a gun to my head and said ‘Deny the deity of Jesus or you’re dead,” by God’s grace I would hope to respond by saying ‘pull the trigger.’ If you put a gun to my head and said ‘Deny the pre-tribulational return of Jesus Christ or you’re dead’ I would say ‘Put the gun down and we’ll talk.’ Some truths really are worth dying for.”
"Let’s give earnest heed to Jehu’s words, ringing out to Jehoshaphat as this godly king walked disorderly: 'Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD?' Sadly, moving in the realm of the New Calvinism puts one in that unenviable position."
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.