Evangelistic outreach and missions is of prime importance to the church. But neither the Westminster Confession (WCF) nor the Second London Baptist Confession (2LCF) gives much expression or emphasis to the church’s responsibility to take the gospel to all the nations. The chapter “Of the church” (WCF, ch. 25; 2LCF, ch. 26), is an exposition of the nature of the church universal and local, its authority, its institution, its membership, its government, its worship, and its fraternal relations. But the chapter offers no clear and comprehensive summary of the church’s duty to publish the gospel outside the four walls of its sanctuary.
Reposted from It Is Written.
Should we allow minors into the membership of the church? Most evangelical churches would, without hesitation, answer this question affirmatively. Those that practice infant baptism believe the Bible warrants the inclusion of the children of believers into the membership of the church de jure. On the other hand, many Baptist churches today pressure young children to “make a decision for Christ” and accept such decisions or professions of faith without careful reflection on credibility.
Every organization is prone to forget why it’s there. People come and go, the founders pass away, the culture changes. Sometimes an organization can wake up and find it’s lost its way. Other times, the organization never wakes up.
The YMCA started in London in the 1840s as a Christian outreach to young men in the inner cities during the industrial revolution. Now, the YMCA is a gym with a robust after school youth program.
Baptist fundamentalism began as a protest movement against theological revisionism and apostasy. Within one generation, the movement’s various flavors fractured over the issue of secondary separation. In some quarters, the mission drift is so extreme that evangelicals have long been considered ” the enemy,” rather than modern-day heresy and compromise.
So, mission drift happens.
On that note, here are some short reflections for pastoral ministry from Jesus’ interactions with the Sanhedrin’s representatives during the early portion of Passion Week. They’re about “mission drift,” too.1 It’s not a new thing.
This isn’t about Lordship Salvation. It’s about whether you actually reverence Jesus Christ as Lord in your heart and give Him allegiance in your life. On Palm Sunday, the crowd said Jesus was its King. They lied. How many pastors are lying? How many professing Christians?
"If we unpack all of what Scripture teaches about the local church, we’ll find that church membership is in fact in every nook and cranny of the New Testament. In that light, I want to focus on just one aspect of how Scripture talks about the church—the images of the church—and consider how these metaphors support and inform our understanding church membership." - 9 Marks
Baptism really isn’t a difficult topic, but it’s become difficult by all the history, tradition and baggage associated with the different interpretations of this ordinance. It’s a beautiful ordinance, and it’s too bad there’s so much misunderstanding about it!
Here’s the bottom line; baptism doesn’t “do” anything to you or for you. It’s a picture of what the triune God (Father, Son and Spirit) has already done in a believer’s life. This means it’s only for repentant, professing believers – not infants.
There are good reasons why the Baptist position on baptism is correct, but that’s not my goal, here. Instead, I just want to look at what baptism means. What significance does baptism have? What does it mean? What spiritual truth does it convey? How does it convey this truth?
One good place to go is the Book of Romans.
In Romans 5, the Apostle Paul gives us the classic comparison between Adam and Christ; the two great representatives for humanity (Rom 5:18). We’re born belonging in Adam’s camp; the first man who disobeyed God and brought ruin to creation and to himself. We’re all fruit from the poisonous tree that is Adam; his disobedience was the fountainhead that poisoned the well, and that’s why you and I are born as sinful people who belong to Satan, not God. As Paul wrote, Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial death leads to justification and eternal life for everyone who repents and believes – which is what Paul explains next (Rom 5:19-21).
With that context in place, we now turn to our passage. Paul writes: