Monday, August 22, 2016
Churches That Take Baptist Off the Sign
In a day when many churches are removing Baptist from their name, we will continue to call our church a Baptist church. The purpose of a name is to identify something, and names in the Bible have great meaning and significance. Ambiguous names such as Crosspoint, Such and Such Christian Fellowship, or Adventure Church leave people scratching their heads as to what those churches believe.
At one time it made sense for a church to simply be called “the church,” when it was the only church in a particular city. The word "church" alone was probably enough to indicate a congregation of Christians. Later, the Baptist distinction was needed to differentiate biblical Christians from Catholics and Protestants. We don’t call ourselves “The Church at Tempe” today because that wouldn’t tell people much about our church. Not only that, but Faithful Word Baptist Church is not the only church in Tempe.
Many churches that have generic sounding names are in fact affiliated with a denomination, but when we talk about non-denominational churches, we are referring to all churches that don’t have an identifier in their name. You will often find something in the fine print somewhere about an affiliation, but churches will downplay that connection in order to attract people of other faiths.
We are an independent Baptist church, so we are not part of a denomination, but Baptists have traditionally believed certain fundamentals of the faith, so the Baptist label is a way to indicate that we believe those same truths. When someone walks into a Baptist church, he or she can at least count on a few things:
· All Baptists believe in baptism by immersion.
· Al Baptists believe baptism is for believers.
· All Baptists will at least give lip service to the fact that our doctrine should be based on scripture alone.
· Virtually every Baptist believes in the eternal security of the believer.
Non-denominational churches, on the other hand, will usually avoid taking a stand on much of anything so that everyone will feel welcome. This type of church has the backward philosophy of bringing the world into the church rather than going out and evangelizing the community through door-to-door soul winning. We want to reach the unsaved, but church should be geared toward the saved.
It’s not just the unsaved that feel comfortable in the average non-denominational church, but also people from other factions of Christianity. Unity is great within a local church, but we don’t need unity with everyone in the world. Church should be an assembly of born-again baptized believers that are in agreement because its members believe the same on the most important doctrines. We are not supposed to fellowship with people who are called “brother” yet are living in certain sins or are blatantly disregarding Bible doctrine.
There are a few churches out there that do not have "Baptist" in the name but are still great churches. I’m not saying that a church has to be called "Baptist" to be right with God. Calling our church "Baptist" is a preference as opposed to a conviction, but I believe it is beneficial to keep that identifying label. Not only does it help like-minded believers to find our church, but it will also cause people who promote false doctrine to avoid it.
It’s hard enough to find a decent Baptist church, but once you venture outside of the Baptist umbrella, it’s a jungle out there, folks. Finding a good non-denominational church is liking looking for a needle in a haystack. Looking for a church with Baptist in the name is a great starting point, but the right kind of church will usually add more adjectives to their website and other advertisements to help describe what they believe. Not only are we Baptists, but we are independent, fundamental, King James only, soul-winning Baptists. And these days we should probably add to that description that we believe salvation is by grace through faith, plus nothing, minus nothing. Those who would disagree with any of these specifics should remove the name Baptist off of their sign because we aren’t the ones who have changed.
Here is a sermon to go with this article.