Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Southern Baptist Texan Editorial on Regenerate Church Membership

I really hate to post again so soon and push other posts down the totem pole, but Gary Ledbetter's latest editorial is just that good. Gary gets it. I'm so thankful to see a healthy interest in regenerate church membership from laypeople, pastors, and denominational staffs alike.

10 comments:

Pastor Hilliard said...

I will say that one thing that concerns me in all this "regenerate church" conversation, is that "church member restoration" is missed. The issue isn't that we have saved church members (of course we should) but that we restore (a.k.a. discipline) those the profess to be saved and are in our churches. I honestly believe that saved church members in spiritual rebellion is just as much a problem as unsavedchurch members. This conversation orginally started focused on church discipline (I prefer the term "church restoration") which involves dealng with professing believers in our pews and on our roles. The shift is now on whether we let unsaved people join our church.

Bart Barber said...

Did you read Ledbetter's article? Have you read the Regenerate Church Membership resolution that I'm sponsoring? How can you say that "church member restoration" is missed in EITHER of these sources?

Pastor Hilliard said...

Bart,

I said it is missing in the "conversation". Not the article (which I found to be well written) nor in either resolution. Slow down, breath, and read the comments thoroughly...

Bart Barber said...

Glad to get the clarification.

Jonathon said...

I really loved the article.

I am worried that the convention will pass this resolution because they agree with "Regenerate Church Membership" but that they will not move forward to rectify the situation.

I have heard from some that know it is an issue, will affirm the resolution, but see it as a hill not worth fighting for in their churches.

I am looking forward to hearing the discussion.

Pastor Hilliard said...

Bill Wagner's answer to question 5 on the BP questionaire is the exact reason I said what I did above. I believe he misunderstood the question because we keep stressing "regenerate church membership". Who is going to argue that we should only let saved people in our churches? No one. The issue is church discipline of those who are members of our churches (meaning they professed to be a believer at some point). I understand why he answer the way he did. I think we'll hear much more of this confusion at the convention. We need to focus back on "church discipline" and not "regenerate church membership". To most that will simply be theology talk that goes over their heads.
If we aren't clear on this, the resolution (whatever form makes it to the floor) will fail.

My thoughts for whatever they are worth.

Bart Barber said...

And Les Puryear's is a good example of why we need to beware of making Regenerate Church Membership entirely about church discipline. Presbyterians do not have regenerate church membership—they baptize unregenerate babies into their churches.

Pastor Hilliard said...

Can you explain more about how Les fits in here? I am unfamiliar with his connection. Does he do this at his church? Was he presbyterian? Etc.

Bart Barber said...

You made mention of Bill Wagner's questionnaire. I'm just making mention of Les Puryear's response to the last question asked of him. He stated that he was attracted to the Presbyterians because of their strong practice of regenerate church membership, in his opinion.

Pastor Hilliard said...

But, correct me if I'm wrong, that is not happening in Baptist churches. Listen, I agree that both are important. I simply believe the stress is on the wrong end of the spectrum. And I believe that the resolution could fail if regenerate church membership is the focus. Most won't buy that this is a problem in Baptist churches. Honestly, I don't buy that this is a problem in baptist churches. Church discipline? Absolutely.