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November 12, 2009



Thanks for your perspective on this. In wrestling with the ways that Baptists may engage the wider tradition of the church (as authoritative), I think the more dynamic view is both practical and true to the baptist / free church vision. Thanks for sharing this.

Simon Jones

This is a helpful post. But I think the one thing it misses out is how authority is received by the baptist family. It's okay to say it resides dynamically in a number of places but if no one's paying attention, that authority is not worth much!

I wonder too whether each of the bodies you identify thinks and speaks authoritatively only on behalf of those who put them there or to whom they are accountable but not for anyone else.

For authority to be received, we need to put ourselves under it. I'm not sure that many baptists do that and they watch what happens at council or the assembly or even within their own association structures with a a benign indifference. But were you to tell them that what Council talks about has a bearing on their lives, they'd roll their eyes and say 'yeah, right' and get on with their lives as though Council didn't exist.

andy goodliff

Thanks Andrew and Simon for your comments. Simon I hear your point and recognise it. We need a revolution of thinking that says yes to local church, but also yes to our being united together and subject to one another. I have a strong feeling that Council matters only really to those on it or on fringes of it ... this is sad and reflects the baptist reluctance or indifference to think beyond what is immediate in front of them (largely perhaps a problem that those accredited ministers of the union, have little time for the union themselves)

Simon Jones

I think you're absolutely right, Andy. And I don't know what the answer is. But we have large numbers of members oif our church who aren't really prepared to be subject to one another in any meaningful, discipleship way. All our dealings both within and beyond the churches are business dealings rather than relational ones. You're right that we need a revolution. Good to see McClendon in your next post!

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