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Author: Lance Laughton

Independence and Interdependence: Towards a Harmonization of the Congregational Principle and Associational Relationships

Baptist churches are congregational and therefore decisions made by the congregation are binding on that congregation. But are decisions made outside the congregation, at associational or union level binding on the congregation too?

Baptists have already affirmed “Scripture without error” in 1990, but why have you never seen that affirmation?

On Monday 26 July 2021, Gavin Johnston, Pastor of Randburg Baptist Church and Michael du Toit, the BTC Registrar, dug into the Baptist Union archives. They found some very interesting minutes and a crucial decision that came to the Baptist Union Assembly of 1990. Stranger still, though, the decisions that were made then, were never…
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Doing Theology in Difficult Times: Counsel from Martin Luther to Embattled Believers

One of my all-time super heroes is Martin Luther. He was not merely ‘The Reformer’ and a serious theologian, but he was a real human being – and this combination of heavy-weight theologian and honest-witty-human is that which puts him at the top of my heroes list. He was real – he was a real…
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How has COVID-19 and Lockdown Affected the Implementation of Congregationalism in our Churches

At this time, in the year 2021, we as Baptists have faced a huge challenge to the principle and practice of congregational church government, in that the lock-down has made it very difficult to hold members meetings, particularly for bigger churches. Here are a few of the difficulties: Congregations That Can’t Congregate South Africa went…
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The Role of the Leader in the Context of Congregationalism

Introduction One of the questions that always surfaces in the Baptist Principles class (at BTC) is the one relating to the role of the Pastor in a Church where the Principle of Congregational Church Government is upheld. They recognize that this principle can stifle good leaders and cause much frustration in their ministry. This same…
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What’s missing from our Baptist Principles

Recently, I had opportunity to discuss some finer points of the application of one of the Baptist Principles with a pastor friend. He happened to comment offhandedly, “I really think that our BU Statement of Principles could do with a freshen up and reworking.” I agree. In addition, I see two things missing from our…
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Relief for bigger churches for a weekend

On 30 March, the President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, announced an Easter ‘weekend of relief’ for larger churches from the strict controls on indoor and outdoor gatherings. Until now, smaller churches, have been relatively favoured compared to larger churches in that the capped number of gatherers (100 indoors and 250 outdoors) has not…
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The Necessity of Re-establishing Community

With the ease of lockdown and many churches re-initiating corporate gatherings, the primary task that lies before the church, and particularly her leadership, is the necessity of re-establishing community. What do I mean by the phrase ‘re-establishing community?’ I think churches have largely taken ‘together being-together’ for granted. Oh, yes, we congregants knew it was…
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Pastoring a Non-Online Church During Lockdown

Lockdown has affected every one of us, including churches and the way we pastor them. All religious gatherings, including churches, have been prohibited under the present lockdown regulations at the time of writing. We can either fight this regulation or ask God what he wants us to do within the parameters of it. Many churches…
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Churches are closed but restaurants and casinos aren’t: Are churches being unduly targeted?

This week on Monday night (28 December 2020) the State President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, declared new “adjusted alert level 3” restrictions which included, amongst many other restrictions that, “All indoor and outdoor gatherings will be prohibited for 14 days from the date hereof, except for funerals and other limited exceptions as detailed in the regulations,…
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