Lig Duncan has responded resoundingly to both sides of the debate about whether he should be allowed to join a Baptist church. He argues that these differences are important and demonstrate a passion for truth that is critical. Here is just some of what he says:
“. . . let me say that this significant difference (on baptism and church membership), far from being fatal to our unity, is precisely one of the reasons that Mark and Al and C. J. and I are in fact “Together for the Gospel.” It is precisely one of the things that makes Together for the Gospel so different and extraordinary. Let me attempt to begin to explain.
The unity of T4G is not a unity in spite of doctrinal differences, in which we gain unity by downplaying doctrine, minimizing ecclesial differences and going with a lowest common denominator. Our unity is instead a unity of respect for the truth and for truth-in-practice, that sees in each other such a dogged commitment to God’s Word in both faith and practice that we want to be together promoting biblical Christianity, even in the points of principle on which we seriously disagree . . .
I would never want to say to Mark or Al, “I will be with you ‘Together for the Gospel,’ as long as you relinquish your Baptist principles or as long as you do not follow your Baptist convictions in church practice.” No, it is precisely their love of truth and their desire to see Gospel truth and love worked out practically in the life of the local church which causes my heart to love them as Jonathan did David.
I love Mark and Al’s deep concern for truth and biblical church practice (even and especially at the points in which they disagree with me). I love the fact that they are not willing to compromise on points of biblical conviction, and yet at the same time they work so hard to promote principled unity. I love the fact that even though they believe me to be in serious error on this issue of baptism, they truly love me, constantly co-labor with me (and invite me to do the same with them), and reach out to numerous other non-Baptist evangelicals regularly, deliberately, nationally, and internationally to build biblical consensus and cooperation among the churches. To know Mark and Al is to know two men of unshakable conviction and broad sympathy, and I deeply value that.
There are actually good reasons why this debate should not be an easy one to resolve . . . “