Saturday, 18 June 2016

Baptist and Independent, Independent and Baptist

I have admired the Independent churches in Wales for their convictions, their principled positions on Christian doctrine and truth, for high moral courage and ethical practices.

Now I have been comfortable with the label "independent Baptist" or even "Independent Baptist". And it all depends on how the term "independent " is defined. What do I mean by independent?
It is a very important question for me.

I believe in being a Baptist who is independent of a state or the state controlled church, the Church of England, the Anglican communion, the rule of bishops and prelates, priests and pontiffs. I believe in being independent of a centrally controlled ecclesiastical bureaucracy. I believe in the autonomy of the local church, assembly and community of believers, who should not allow outside worldly and carnal influences to interfere with their church life and practice. I wish, therefore, to be independent of social influences from wealthy patrons who think that their status and money should dictate church policy and practice.

Leadership should arise out of spiritual authority and gifts of grace, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The church fellowship's power and hegemony should come from divine blessing and never from wealth, privilege, position and status. The fellowship of believers should attempt to manifest the rule and reign of Christ.

There are churches that belong to an Oxbridge college or their minister's living may be in the gift of landed gentry, a corporation or an aristocrat, and he or she may have no Christian or faith community beliefs. I would wish to oppose these restrictive and unhelpful arrangements in order to encourage biblical principles of sound doctrine, sacrificial living, generous independent giving,  and loving relationships with Gospel values which promote care for the needy, the poor, the weak, the sick and the suffering, sinners without the Saviour. He was no respecter of persons, and we should follow Him as faithful disciples, not self serving hirelings.


Johli Baptist said...

So there have been clergy without a true calling and experience of conversion, ministers devoid of the Holy Spirit. I wish to be completely independent of this sort of ecumenism, which allows ministers to operate without the spiritual resources and gifts from God. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Johli Baptist said...

I am against a hierarchical system of church practice where the people of God are under those who Lord it over the flock and dictate the way things are done without recourse to the church meeting and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The congregation should be independent of outside influences and pressures as they could be unhealthy, unhelpful and unkind.

It would be unfortunate for a church fellowship if it is dependent on external outside leadership which interferes with internal growth and development.

Johli Baptist said...

For clarification, partnerships, projects and proclamations of the Gospel, the Good News of salvation in Christ, can be tremendously worthwhile and edifying. I am a supporter of the Hornchurch Passion Play, which may seem inconsistent with my ecumenicosceptic stance. Every project needs to be evaluated on its own merits. And the HPP really delivers! It makes the passion narrative come alive and as a result people are brought closer to God and sometimes converted, soundly saved. It is without doubt very spiritually beneficial to God's people far and wide, way beyond the Hornchurch area.

Johli Baptist said...

There is,of course, in this independency, a danger of discouraging church unity, and living in a pious cocoon which does not engage or relate to everyday life. We must therefore take heed. We must endeavour to scratch where people itch and ensure that we are welcoming, warm and winsome. Church unity is important because the Lord wishes His children to love one another, to contend earnestly for the faith and to experience the abundant life of Christ in fellowship and in mission.


River Stour