By Tim Lubinus, BCI Executive Director/Treasurer
In the last few weeks I’ve spoken with two pastors who have wanted to leave their so-called fundamentalist churches and approached me to consider joining with the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI). They indicted that they were weary of battling over minor issues that have little or no biblical support and wanted to focus on ministry and missions.
Over the years we’ve all heard of churches that separate themselves from other churches over things like using a new translation of the Bible rather than King James Version, the use of drums rather than a piano or organ in worship, having elders instead of deacons, or if they use new music rather than the 1954 hymnal. It’s hard for us to believe that people can argue over issues like these and, even though these baptistic churches and denominations have nearly identical doctrine, history, and practice, they declare that we just can’t partner with people who are so different from us.
Today we are much more sophisticated than these fundamentalists. We’d never look down on people who aren’t like us! For example: if they sing a hymn that hasn’t been modified for today or a sing a worship song written before 1990, if they have Sunday School instead of home groups, if they have deacons instead of elders, if they support the Cooperative Program rather than contribute directly to their own missionaries, if they have a choir rather than a worship team, or if they support Christian education rather than public schools. Hmmmm….
Are we that different than the fundamentalists?
Could it be that we are a new kind of fundamentalist?
I applaud the two pastors who reached out to the BCI and avoided the tendency of some from a fundamentalist tradition to isolate themselves. Many of us can get tempted to look for an elusive purity in our ministry partnerships. We think that if we aren’t likeminded with someone, we can’t partner, cooperate, or learn.
No! We should follow the biblical example to put aside these independent and often prideful desires and instead find ways to partner with others for greater ministry impact. We can do so much more together than we can independently. We know this is true of individual believers; all of us should be in a community called a church. This is also true of churches; we can do much more together than separately.
Question? Comments? Email me directly at TLubinus@BCIowa.org.