Church Freedom-October 16, 2013
- We need to understand church freedom.
- We need to remember we are in the “Free Church” tradition.
Free to Follow Voluntarily
- Early Baptists were concerned with the nature of the Church.
- This is the idea behind Believer’s Baptism.
- Emphasis on Local Church and Universal Church.
-Universal Church-all Christians.
-Local Church-Individual Churches
Free to Govern Obediently
- Baptists wanted no outside control of local churches.
- Responsibility must be present.
- Baptists do practice democratic church polity.
- Baptist churches are free to govern autonomously.
-They can plan their own style of worship.
-They can determine their own membership.
-Map their own mission strategy.
-Call their own ministers.
-Elect their own ministers.
- Local Churches do not work together with common goals/projects.
Free to Worship Creatively
- There is no “Baptist” way to worship.
- Laity are involved in worship.
- Baptism and communion/Lord’s Supper are the only two ordinances. Ordained by Christ Himself. Matthew 20:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25; Romans 6:3-4)
Free to Minister Responsibly
- Should be inclusive-all races, gender, classes.
- All members are ministers!
- Jesus is our model-Philippians 2:7
- For Baptists the individual is always central, but the individual is always in community.
- When Baptists determined to baptize only people who have personally something that all Christians need: they formed the church into an intentional faith community.
- While other churches attempt to discern the will of the Lord for them in other ways, Baptists try to do so by allowing all members to share in the decision-making process.
- Baptists believe that, because all believers are priests, it is the duty of all church members to determine the forms of worship that are most appropriate and meaningful for their congregation.
- Because all believers are priests, all are called to participate in the ministries of the church. Ideally, each member should participate in the ministry(ies) for which she or he has some gift.
- Church Freedom like Soul and Bible Freedom needs RESPONSIBILITY!
- We must guard this freedom, teach it, stress it, practice it, or we will lose it.