Baptists want a catechism

Another example of  Baptists wanting what Lutherans have but have  neglected in order to be more like Baptists:  Some Baptist leaders are saying that what their churches need in order to address decreasing attendance and to combat religious illiteracy is a catechism! [Read more...]

Liturgical Baptists

A principle of the evangelical church growth movement is that worship should change to reflect the culture–right?  So some Baptists in Russia have adopted Eastern-Orthodox style liturgy, complete with incense and icons.  Also a church government with bishops and archbishops.  (So if the culture likes to worship that way, would church growth advocates adopt it over the contemporary styles they favor, but are perhaps growing stale?  You Baptists, is there any theological reason why you could not worship like this?  Calvinist Baptists couldn’t, of course, given the Calvinist theology of worship, but how about the rest of you?) [Read more...]

A Lutheran Among Calvinist Baptists

In another contribution to the “Why can’t there be Lutheran Baptists” discussion, Christopher Jackson, a Lutheran attending grad school at the Southern Baptists Theological Seminary, a haven for for Calvinist baptists, weighs in.   He says there are indeed Lutheran influences at SBTS, as well as some students converting to Lutheranism.  He then blames his fellow Lutherans. [Read more...]

Update on “Why Calvinist Baptists but not Lutheran Baptists?”

That post we had the other day about why there can be Calvinist Baptists but not Lutheran Baptists turned out to be part of a very interesting discussion in the Christian blogosphere.  Superblogger Joe Carter wrote a post summarizing the various points in the debate.  (He scored us the winner.) [Read more...]

Can there be “Lutheran Baptists” or other non-Lutheran Lutherans?

Southern Baptists are currently embroiled in a controversy over “Calvinist Baptists.”  David Koyzis and Collin Garbarino over at the First Things blog are asking if there can be Calvinist Baptists, why can’t there be “Lutheran Baptists”?

After all, Lutherans were flexible about allowing different kinds of church polities.  Calvin is associated with Presbyterianism.  One might think that Luther’s theology would be more adaptable.  When it comes to soteriology, says Mr. Garbarino, Calvinism and Lutheranism are pretty much the same anyway.  (He adds in a parentheses:  “I know some people will disagree with that last statement, but those people are wrong.”)

Read David T. Koyzis, Calvinist Baptists, But No ‘Lutheran’ Baptists?  and Collin Garbarino,   Why We Don’t Have Lutheran Baptists  and help them out with this question.  Let me begin. [Read more...]

Lent for Baptists

As I keep saying, I don’t intend this to be just a Lutheran blog, so please bear with me, those of you who don’t make a big deal about the church year, in today’s Ash Wednesday theme.  I offer you this, though, an article by Jim Denison on why his fellow Baptists could find celebrating Lent helpful and meaningful.

Read the whole article, linked below, which includes some interesting historical background:

“Lent” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon or Teutonic word “lencten,” which means “spring.” As strange as it is to Baptist ears, it’s easier than quadragesima, the Latin term for the period (meaning “40 days” or more literally, “the 40th day”). Greeks called this season tessarakoste (“40th”).

As its names imply, Lent is a 40-day observance that occurs each spring. (The 40-day period excludes Sundays, which are to be weekly celebrations of the Resurrection.) Why 40 days?

Jesus fasted in the wilderness and was tempted for “40 days and 40 nights” (Matthew 4:2). As he used these days to prepare for his public ministry, so we use them to prepare for his resurrection and to minister in his name through the rest of the year.

In addition, the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness for 40 years of purification before entering their Promised Land. The world was flooded for 40 days during the time of Noah, washing away the evil that had infested it. According to tradition, Jesus’ body lay 40 hours in the tomb before the Easter miracle. All these facts led early Christians to set aside 40 days before Easter for spiritual preparation and purification. . . .

Lenten observance began very early, as both Irenaeus (died A.D. 202) and Tertullian (died A.D. 225) refer to it. It was originally very brief, a 40-hour fast, growing eventually to a week. By A.D. 325, the Council of Nicaea recognized 40 days of Lent.

The author gives several reasons why Lent is relevant for Baptists.  Some of them I question, but I appreciate his last one:

We need a period each year for intentional spiritual introspection and contemplation. John R. W. Stott said that he required an hour a day, a day a week, and a week a year to be alone with his Lord. We need a time every year for spiritual renewal. Just as students need a Spring Break, so do souls. Lent is a wonderful season for such renewal: as the physical world is renewing itself, so should the spiritual.

via Associated Baptist Press – Opinion: Lent for Baptists.

A Spring Break for the soul!  I like that.   Not to be confused, of course, with Mardi Gras!


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