Planting a reformed baptist church if there's already a reformed presbyterian church?

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by Need 4 Creed, May 9, 2013.

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  1. Need 4 Creed

    Need 4 Creed Puritan Board Freshman

    Sorry, that was a quote. But I take your point. However, while they need not be as labour intesnive as the article suggests, they do demmand a lot of work. Even the ones who start small have the demmands of dealing with creshe facilities for young children and so on. You usually end up with an overworked small core.
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  2. Need 4 Creed

    Need 4 Creed Puritan Board Freshman

    I think this may be true for the highlands, too.
  3. Need 4 Creed

    Need 4 Creed Puritan Board Freshman

    Okay, a couple of emerging issues seem to be:

    1) Are there different answers to the original question, depending upon whether or not you are based in the city or a small rural community?

    2) On what grounds is there theological justification for planting a reformed baptist church when there are already reformed presbyterian churches? (e.g. Is it a matter of baptism or the nature of the church
    i.e 'believers only' church?)
  4. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    Its not true at all. I've been to the very Churches that the article is dealing with and he's on point. But this has absolutely nothing to do with Reformed Baptist Church planting. I've never been to a Presbyterian Church plant so I cant say anything about that. I hope someone with more time can give a more detailed answer to this.
  5. JonathanHunt

    JonathanHunt Puritan Board Senior

    Not always true, Jeff. We allow believers who believe their covenant baptism to be the fulfilment of Christ's command into membership, although they wouldn't be allowed to hold office. Just as in most presbyterian churches.
  6. JonathanHunt

    JonathanHunt Puritan Board Senior

    I truly believe that you have to make every judgment on a case-by-case basis. A few years ago a Presbyterian church was planted in the town we used to live in. As members of the only 'reformed' (Baptist) church in town we were not impressed given the darkness in surrounding towns and our perception of the need there. Now there are four churches in the town who are explicitly soteriologically reformed, and three that are (essentially) confessional. There's certainly room for all of them, and a need for them to be in the different corners of the town they are, but they would probably be more effective as three or two fellowships rather than four.

    The only thing I would venture is that in a small rural community where there was a genuine church (preaching the truth) I would not start another one, but rather seek to strengthen the one that existed, whatever secondary issues I had.
  7. Need 4 Creed

    Need 4 Creed Puritan Board Freshman

    While reformed churches may not have all the extra baggage that the contemporary churches have, it is naive to think that there is not more work involved in the early stages of a church plant.

    However, let us not be sidetracked by focusing on practicalities and instead focus on the theological justification.

    Even if it could be argued that a church could be planted without demmanding larger resources (finance, people, fabric etc) this still does not answer the question from a theological perspective.
  8. Need 4 Creed

    Need 4 Creed Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Jonathan.

    "in a small rural community where there was a genuine church (preaching the truth) I would not start another one"

    I was listening to a reformed baptist podcast, it was on church planting. It seemed to argue that the justification for planting a reformed baptist (when there was already a reformed presbyterian) was on the basis that the reformed presbyterians were not a 'true church' (this was not stated explicitly but implicitly). By that I mean, the definition of a 'true church' seemed to be things like 1) 'regenerate membership' (i.e believers' church) and 2) baptism of believers only.
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  9. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    I know several families in different Reformed Baptist Churches that passed two or three Presbyterian Churches to drive a little over an hour to the nearest RB Church until one was planted near there homes. This is how important this issue is to some people.
  10. Need 4 Creed

    Need 4 Creed Puritan Board Freshman

    I can understand it, I've been credobaptist all of my Christian life. Although moving towards confessionalism has somewhat softened my fixed credobaptist position.
  11. Brock Organ

    Brock Organ Puritan Board Freshman

    As an RB currently in happy "exile" with a local PCA church, it's a key issue for me, and not an academic point. I do disagree with my dear Presbyterian friends on the baptism issue; and agree with my RB brothers it is not secondary; BUT, I receive a gracious, generous, warm and genuine Christian fellowship from many presbyterians: for example, a presbyterian pastor is my seminary mentor, we read, study and discuss Edwards and Bonar together, and a presbyterian chaplain is giving me a start in jail ministry. I thank God for their loving support and genuine personal interest in me, and pray that I would be only a blessing to them and their churches, faithful and kind to repay their trust, and never return their love with strife, division and competition.

    So, in arriving in a new area, I think my preference would be to help the existing church first.

    Kindest Regards!
  12. Brock Organ

    Brock Organ Puritan Board Freshman

    As I almost always do, I forgot to include "thank you all for the other responses in this thread, they are very helpful to me and give me great food for thought" in my earlier post ...

  13. Heath

    Heath Puritan Board Freshman

    I vote YES!

    Here is how that exact scenario played out in my city and in my church and a few reasons why having a RBC matters:

    Over the last 20+ years in my city (Auburn, AL) there has been at least one or more RP churches. Over the years as baptists have become convicted of reformed teaching you have had two options, go PCA or stay in a non-reformed BC. Both have happened and both were good in some ways.

    In the BC you then tried to hold to teaching you believed while dealing with different teaching and congregational opposition to your views. It was something you had to deal with and it put you in a situation where you were a light in a BC in some ways. I'm not suggesting that you were not being fed, indeed you were, but it was always in a place of, at the very least, mild friction. As believers it was an opportunity to attempt to help others come to a reformed understanding but it was not the brotherhood and fellowship of a RBC.

    In the RPC you were able to sit under reformed teaching but were limited by conscience from church office and even some lower level leading roles. You were also restricted from church membership by conscience and were left a bit on the outside because of withholding your children from infant sprinklings.

    So, in our case, two professors in the EE department at AU began to realize that they were in these two positions. One in the RPC and one in the BC. They began praying and thinking that a RBC might be possible.

    The entire story of the forming of our church is a bit long to post here but the short story is that they formed a church, called a pastor and we have now been a church for ~8 years the best my mind currently recalls. We are a thriving church still in the beginning of some things but we were instantly a complete church in terms of fellowship and foundational theology. We get new visitors and members that mostly come seeking a RBC but a lot that are simply seeking "good biblical teaching" that they have not been able to find easily elsewhere. There are a few that would still describe themselves as non-reformed (not ant-reformed) and we are working on being a better church for the kingdom everyday.


    And as that all was happening my story was playing out as follows. I was saved in college 13 1/2 years ago at this point. I had grown up Methodist but had no real knowledge to look back on, even though I had attended sunday school and church regularly. My friends at college that were Christians were Baptist and so I began attending a BC and the Baptist student center. I was baptised and joined the BC. Skipping a lot, a few years later I found myself working with youth at a BC in the next town and still active and on leadership in the Baptist Student Center in AU. I am honestly uncertain how it began but as I began to see things from a reformed perspective there was a bit of controversy at the Student Center over the subject. Nothing major but it was clear that there were opposing views between one of the campus ministers and a tiny but growing group of students that had become reformed. I confronted some of the other students who had come to the reformed perspective independently from me about this rift as I didn't really have any solid footing in reformed theology and had only been seeing that there were huge differences between what I believed and what was being taught in some cases.

    For several reasons my time working with youth at the out of town BC was coming to an end and I was about to start attending the BC I had been a member of for several years before when the others at the Student Center who were a bit more solid in their reformed theology and understanding told me they had just started attending a brand new church plant that was RB. I would not have attended a PCA church at this point for sure. For one, I wouldn't have really known what I was looking for theologically because the reformed word as well as the calvinist word were still not in my head. I had no idea at the time that there were differences in Presbyterian or BCs and the two "obvious" choices were actually both on the liberal end of the spectrum. All that to say I went with them to the new church plant. I actually remember going to a meeting at one of the founder's homes on July 4th. It was a Godsend to say the least.

    There are many more facets to the story but for brevity sake I will say that had there only been RP churches and non-reformed BCs I would likely have never attended a reformed church.

    If you have any specific questions about how anything else played out please let me know.
  14. Steve Paynter

    Steve Paynter Puritan Board Freshman

    To put the counter-argument, baptism isn't a secondary issue as a Baptist. Paedobaptists can travel to the nearest Paedobaptist church for the rite for their children and the children of others in the church who might be so inclined, yet take out membership in a RB church with no other practise to distress them. In contrast, a Baptist in a paedobaptist church has to regularly witness "baptism" being administered to those with no faith, and witness those who have not come to repentance and faith being declared to be a member of the covenant of grace. This grates upon the Baptist's sensibilities.

    In many ways baptism is a secondary matter; but like the question of women-ministers, it is one which so shapes a church that it is difficult for those with different views to function together. Some secondary matters just get in the way more than other secondary matters.

    Having said that, I agree, in some situations the differences have to be overlooked. In my experience, many factors go into choosing a church, and it is often a matter of compromise.
  15. Need 4 Creed

    Need 4 Creed Puritan Board Freshman

    This idea of baptised infants being included 'in the covenant' and being 'members of the visible church' strikes at the heart of ecclesiology. It raises the issue of who belongs to the church? And what is the church?

    I guess true baptist church theology would argue that the presbyterian theology of the church falls short of the New Testament revelation and therefore this alone would justify the establishing of a baptist (or as they would see it N.T) church.

    In reformed baptist teachings about church it is not uncommon to hear the phrases 'true churches' or 'churches established on N.T principles' of 'Churches fully commited to the teaching of the bible'.
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  16. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I just read that Afghanistan has 48,000 mosques but not a single church.
  17. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    The author is either ignorant or mistaken. We started with a rented school auditorium, some banner signs, a round trip plane ticket for a preacher and some wicker baskets from the hobby store for the collection. The first major purchase was some choir robes, the next capital expense was folding chairs after we changed to a larger location. Folks donated folding cribs that they no longer needed; that took care of the infants and toddlers.
  18. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    What's the connection between Wagner and McGavran? I remember reading an article by McGavran where it seemed like he was praising himself for having started the Church Growth movement.
  19. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    Is your Church the type of Church being described or is more of a tradititional PCA Church w/o a band?
  20. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    Why wouldn't a Baptist be confident about baptism by immersion? I'm not interested in having a debate about the subjects of baptism or mode (considering the issue has been debated in the past) but I would never say that paedobaptist are not confident in the practice of infant baptism (and whatever comes with it) even if I believe it's being read into scripture. To a certain extent we are all confident about our beliefs even if we disagree with one another. I would say confidence as a Christian is extremely important. So to make a long story short I don't think we have to have a debate on whether we (Baptist) are confident in what the Bible says, and you will probably be disappointed to see that we are confident.
  21. Need 4 Creed

    Need 4 Creed Puritan Board Freshman

    Most of the answers, unless I'm mistaken, seem to be of a pragmatic nature and not theological.

    Are we saying that living in the context of denominations forces us to be pragmatic in these matters: i.e different denominations exist and we cannot change that therefore must accept it?
  22. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    I'll be happy to provide you a theological reason. I disagree with paedobaptism and Presbyterian polity. I believe the Reformed Baptist interpretation of the Scriptures in these areas is correct. If a given geographical area is lacking a solid Reformed Baptist Church, planting one will meet a need for those who are like minded theologically.

    Denominations do exist because of sin. But which side is willing to wave the white flag and surrender? We believe what we believe because we are convinced that belief is right. It becomes a matter of conscience.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S4 using Tapatalk
  23. Need 4 Creed

    Need 4 Creed Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks, for your response.

    So, is the 'sin' of wrong administration of baptism and 'church polity' (in the baptist's view) a greater sin than schism? Or to put it another way, is the catholicity and unity of the church less important than organising ourselves in away that lets us govern ourselves and baptise in the way we see fit?
  24. John Lanier

    John Lanier Puritan Board Junior

    I would have to vote "maybe" but it is not available. To me it depends on the Presbyterian Church. Some Presbyterian churches allow Baptists to be members, partake of the Lord's Supper, etc. Others do not allow either. In the first circumstance, I would say no. In the second, I would say yes, the plant should be considered. I would also consider the condition of the non-reformed Baptist churches in the area. Baptists are really good at over-saturating an area. The population of the town I live in is approximately 6,500 and there are 120 baptist churches within a 15 mile radius. None of these are Reformed however.
  25. Need 4 Creed

    Need 4 Creed Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks John.

    Incidently, which presbyterian denominations would not allow baptisst to become members or partake of the Lord's supper?
  26. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    Depends on what you mean by 'band'. Of course, we started with a piano in the school auditorium. Now we have a couple of organs, and a piano at most services, but occasionally supplement with a brass quintet or string quartet, or a violin, or a harp, or some combo of such instruments supplemented by percussion. I've seen some guitar, but it's been acoustic. An attempt to push Christian Contemporary for one service didn't end well, but it ended.
  27. John Lanier

    John Lanier Puritan Board Junior

    As far as I am aware, only the OPC and PCA among reformed Presbyterian denominations allow credobaptists with unbaptized children to become members.

    In regards to the Lord's Supper, I think it is up to the local session. My wife and I have been denied the table at a RP church for our baptismal views but allowed access in others.
  28. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Agreed. While there are undoubtedly many plants of the type described in the article, in my opinion the author needs to get out more. A lot of the church plants with which I'm familiar are basically family-integrated whether they are part of the FIC movement or not. (The ones I'm most familiar with aren't part of it.) Those and others with which I'm familiar also have nowhere near the type of sound equipment he mentions. Some basically have no sound equipment at all.

    Also, most don't have a fraction of that kind of $$ invested in them either although it certainly does exist. Recent plants I'm familiar with probably don't have 20% of the cost that was quoted there, ($175,000) and some wouldn't have anywhere near 10% of the cost. Not every church plant aims to be the next Saddleback or Willow Creek. Social media also helps get the word out more quickly and cheaply than the more expensive methods (advertising, etc.) that were common in the past.

    What others here have mentioned is apropos as well. Many leaders (perhaps especially in denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention) will prefer to plant new churches rather than fight with entrenched error (in doctrine and practice) in dysfunctional existing churches. Unfortunately, too many pastors in the latter end up being little better than hirelings that are subject to the whims of a few powerful and influential members. Church discipline is often practically impossible in those kinds of churches. Some of those types will plot for years if need be to get rid of a pastor who doesn't cater to their every whim. I know Presbyterian ministers (PCA and OPC) who have had to deal with similar situations as well.

    Other pastors will go into existing churches that are in danger of closing the doors or have been in steep decline and will essentially "replant" them. I have a friend who has done that several times. In those cases, they already have facilities.
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
  29. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    And some PCA and OPC congregations will strongly discourage if not outright prohibit convinced credobaptists from joining. In the OPC I think it's up to the session, if I recall correctly. (One OPC pastor told me he was going to have to bar one family from the table unless they presented their children for baptism. They finally had them baptized before that step had to be taken.) Also, If I recall correctly in the PCA that kind of stance is technically not allowed, but I know of ministers who will discourage it and will try to find a Baptist church for them instead. I'm guessing the ARP will admit antipaedobaptists too. The churches that have their origins in the Continental Reformation will tend to bar Baptists from the table and membership.
  30. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    It does indeed strike at the heart of ecclesiology. The two positions are essentially irreconcilable unless everyone agrees to disagree, as with the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. (And there they only baptize "babes in arms", from what I understand.) Baptists and Presbyterians are not agreed on the very definition of the church.

    With regard to sin which I think you've mentioned, that cuts both ways as well. The WCF asserts that it is a sin to neglect or condemn baptism, which in context includes infant baptism. In our tolerant age, many Presbyterians seem to regret that language, however.
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