Brothers, teach your people what Baptists believe…

Dear church leaders

I know its almost the end of the year and people are trying to find ways of lightening the load, but there is at least one more big thing that needs consideration.

I believe it is of vital importance that we as a church leaders decide and ideally agree on some form of study and discussion of the proposed new Baptist Union Statement of Faith by the members of the church. This statement has been officially tabled for discussion by all the churches of the Baptist Union, the hard copy documentation was sent out by the Baptist Union and it is expected that every church, read, think, discuss, suggest possible improvements and send delegates as a church to finally vote on this at next year’s Baptist Union Assembly to be held in Port Elizabeth in October 2017. It is hoped that the process of fine-tuning the statement will be taken in earnest by all the churches now, such that, by the October’s Assembly next year, the final form of the document is complete already, as churches have interacted with it and are in the loop as to it’s final form.

Thus, I would like you to consider how we can do this?

I think, and there may be other alternatives, that one of the ways would be to have church Bible studies take this as their discussion material in the first half of 2017. Consider an official church ‘kick-off’ event with the material available and such that new people can easily plug in and find a group and get going. Sadly, the document does not yet have verses attached for each affirmation.  That is still planned, so this will not make the study ‘ready to eat’ as it were, but maybe, if you decide to do this (and I really hope you will), you can record the verses used and send them to the Theological Forum Committee (TFC) for inclusion.

Everything’s on the web and you’ll find…

  1. the preamble (which is a motivation as to why we need a new statement after 92 years) here
  2. the proposed statement of belief here
  3. the powerpoint files here which show a page by page comparison between the 1924 statement and the 2016 statement and a powerpoint of the statement itself
  4. the email address for recommendations and suggested improvements to this 2016 draft statement TFCchairman@baptistunion.org.za

I am convinced that we as Baptists have arrived at a pivotal moment in history. This statement of faith seeks to define what we have always believed and never written up adequately. It defines what is meant by the word “Baptist.” If you’re not convinced, read the preamble – it will blow you away as to the quiet threat that Baptist churches face.  Dr. Kevin Roy, church historian, past-lecturer and pastor said this recently about this proposal, “I believe that this is the most significant thing in Baptist history in the last 30 years.”

Please give this your earnest, prayerful and studied consideration.
Yours in Christ

Lance Laughton
BNA Area Co-Ordinator

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