There’s a day event at Carey soon Baptist Church and Leadership. So it was interesting to come across this post from five years ago. Much has changed, Rhetspect has died, or moved on leaving no forwarding address, yet, I think I’d still stand by my dinosaur vision of what leadership ought to mean among a people called Baptist.
Rhett (of the Rhetspect) has a post (Feeling Strangely Warmed) in which he comments:
People, I think usually just end up in denominations, and then often work backwards and try to justify (to themselves as much as anyone else) why they belong there.
Baptists, endearingly, seem to be quite honest about this. There is no major over-arching vision statement or document of beliefs. On most theological issues they give a pretty wide berth. As I have said before, it’s a great ecumenical approach.
Having said that, I find the whole congregational governance thing a bit hard to stomach. It’s just a bit reactionary for my tastes. But perhaps that’s because I was once involved in a Baptist church where we voted on everything down to the copy machine budget.
So first, as a Baptist (not quite, but nearly, life-long) I’ll be – I hope – endearingly honest about this, I am (still) a Baptist precisely because of the congregational and Christ-centeredness of Baptist life. The picture of “voting on everything” simply misunderstands. In an ideal church meeting (which does not exist, see Genesis 3) we would vote on nothing. The Church (the local gathered community of Jesus followers) would pray, discuss, argue, debate, and finally recognise, which way the Spirit is blowing and follow.
In the real world, we often often end up voting. That’s because of contagious heteropraxis [If you don’t understand see Rhett’s Feeling Strangely Warned and substitute “praxis” (doing) for “doxy” believing.] what I mean is that we hear of congregations voting, and our society votes, we’re democratic, so the church copies the world. When we do, we think of Church as “democratic” what a heresy! We should be pneumocratic, governed by the Spirit of Christ. And that’s why Baptists should be Bible centered, because we know the mind of Christ through the Scriptures that witness to him.
So, Rhett (and anyone else ;-) if that’s “reactionary” then I’m an old reactionary – boots and all!