Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why did you leave the Baptist church? (Conclusion)

So to answer in brief, I left the Baptist church because:

1) I had friends that shepherded me well from the Presbyterian tradition.
2) I am no longer in agreement with the doctrine of the Baptist church, particularly their system of doctrine or lack of such, their view of the church, of worship, of the doctrines of grace, and of children. I find myself instead drawn to the confessionalism of the reformed covenantal church.
3) I am drawn to and convinced by the historical background of the PCA and likewise concerned about certain historical facts re: the SBC.
4) These shortcomings manifest themselves in a lack of regard for theological training, weak standards in ordination (if they even have ordination...the last church I served at didn't), and eventually the increasing moral and ethical failure of many of their pastors.

In contrast, the PCA, though flawed in its own ways, is confessional in its theology, rooted in history; has a theology that is consistent with Scripture throughout; has a form of government (plurality of elders) that takes man's sinfulness seriously and seeks to guard the peace and the purity of the church; embraces the history of the church and descends from men such as Calvin, Beza, and Knox; and recognizes the moral failures of its pastors as aberrations to be addressed and not simply "the way things have always been".

Most of those for whom this is written are somewhere in the greater baptist church. My intent was not to offend. To the contrary, I hope you will test what I have said and see for yourself if you aren't already keenly aware of these problems in the Baptist tradition. Don't be content with poor theology and feel-good worship. Test your church and your pastor to see if they are faithful to the Scripture. Question those things that are not biblical. Do so humbly and in submission, but question them nonetheless.

If you are on the bubble and considering changing over yourself, I suspect baptism is the last big hurdle. I offered a brief defense in an earlier post in this series. I am considering beginning a series just on this subject. However, if you want to discuss it in more depth, I'd encourage you to post in the comments section. There are others reading that will also be able to help you as you struggle with this. If you can't post publicly, by all means send me a private note. I'd be happy to help you think through it.

To my Baptist brothers that are fighting the good fight, please don't take discouragement from this series. I haven't said anything you don't know to be true yourself (ok...maybe the infant baptism part). Hang in there and continue to minister to your people. But if they despise you and send you away late one night after Wednesday evening worship, maybe it will finally be time to come home. We stand ready to receive you. Won't you come? Won't you come? (haha...couldn't help that last bit.)