Do you go to and receive support from churches that do not have “Baptist” in their name?
by David R. Cox
The short answer is yes, we do visit for deputation and support purposes churches that do not have “Baptist” in their name. In fact we have several that support us faithfully. If you are Baptist, then why?
The reason is because we find churches which are of like faith and practice as we are, that admit to being “baptistic” in principle, and in which we find a comforting fellowship. We are more Fundamental than we are Baptist, if that makes any sense. In other words, I am more interested that a prospective church has a Fundamentalist, separatist attitude, than the name by which it calls itself.
I reject Baptist dictators as being unbiblical and being un-Baptist.
As I have visited literally hundreds of churches in my missionary career, I find many Baptist churches the opposite of what I understand and believe a New Testament church to be. That is, although they choose to use the name or label of “Baptist”, they are, in my opinion, “unbaptist” in their doctrine and practice. To elaborate here…
- I consider a church to not be baptistic if it treads over soul liberty, and the priesthood of each individual believer. The typical offenses here are baptist pastor dictators that make all the decisions for their members, and refuse to admit that God directly individually in each believer’s life, rather teaching that all important decisions are under the approval and power of the pastor. In one case, a member had to ask the pastor approval before purchasing a vehicle, and the pastor required that a “tithe” had to be given to the church before the car was purchased. This is baloney and unbiblical Baptist slavery.
- The historic baptist position has been a high level of congregational activity in the affairs of the church, and that is not limited to obeying the pastor’s orders, but as in Acts, as the brethren wanted to advance Paul’s missionary work, the leadership rendered their decision making abilities to the general will of the congregation. Equally, Peter instructs the church to choose out from among themselves men for being deacons. These examples would seem to indicate a high level of congregational activity and participation in church government.
- Baptist churches have historically exalted Scripture, and reasoned logic from Scripture over traditions, preferences, or other forces. By that, I mean that churches in the New Testament examined their life’s decisions as a church in the light of what Scripture teaches, and decided a united course of action based on what their understanding of Scripture was. The pastor was never the sole factor in these decisions, but was a leader in the process.
- Baptist churches have therefore ALWAYS refused women leadership and teaching of grown men in their ministries, making women pastors, preachers, teachers (where grown men were present) as an unacceptable practice.
- Baptist churches furthermore have historically sought out Scripture example and principle, and have rejected emotional issues such as is common in Charismatic-Pentecostal churches.
In conclusion, I do not accept any church fellowship simply because they are calling themselves “Baptist”. I believe that is very simplistic from my experiences. I examine a church as to whether I wish fellowship, prayer, and support from them on the basis of their proclaimed doctrine and practice independent of their particular name.
Likewise I do not go to the other extreme of totally ignoring their chosen name. For example, I would not seek fellowship with a Lutheran church (because of their position on the Lord’s Supper), nor with a Presbyterian church because of their position of baptism of babies granting them some kind of salvation assurance. Likewise I consider “Reformed Baptist” churches as a false name, they are simply Presbyterian in doctrine and practice, and they are not Baptist at all.
At times I do not judge correctly the doctrine and practices of a church by their name, but in general, this is my practice, to look at the name, and decide against fellowship with them, and if the particular church name is not clear as to its association (like “Community Chapel”, or “The Church of the Baptist” or something), then I would pursue more information about them.
In general I do not see Bible Churches very different from Baptist Churches except for the name, and I see both groups affiliations and separation positions as being extremely important. In general I do not seek meetings for fellowship from any other kinds of churches.