Sunday, January 13, 2013


    Reformed Baptist churches claim they differ from one to another. That is the public facade.
    These are excerpts from a typical 25 page constitution of a Reformed Baptist church, which, in addition to a separate membership agreement hidden from public view until such time when and if you are deemed a suitable candidate, are required to be affirmed and signed as legally binding contracts.
    A Reformed Baptist church views itself not only as an ecclesiastical entity, but also an organizational entity, affirming that "The Bible alone is absolutely binding upon our consciences". However, the 25 page constitution and membership agreement, etc., are also binding, so therefore it is disingenuous (if not deceptive) to imply that "the Bible alone" is their only standard of faith and practice.
    In fact, Reformed Baptists make much of man made rules, regulations, and discipline in the name of "preserving and protecting" their organization to supplement the Bible's "inadequacies" relative to the church organization, commonly and euphemistically called the "body of Christ", whose authority and power in such an organizational business model, is vested in the leadership solely.
    So much for the so-called "reformed, protestant freedom of conscience" and "rights of the individual". This is minimally at best a congregational model, but rather very similar to the Druckerite, fascist, "fuhrer" style of top down leadership. Where the congregation becomes involved is usually at the "suffrage" and behest, request, permission or direction of the eldership, and rarely on its own initiative. For example:
Excerpt A):
The Authority of Our Polity Commitment.
The Bible alone is absolutely binding upon our consciences, as our final and ultimate authority in all ecclesiastical matters. Yet, it is proper and necessary for any organization to set forth clearly what its purposes are and the principles by which those purposes will be pursued. The reasons for this are as follows: a) it promotes harmony and cooperation founded upon righteous order; and b) it provides defense against misunderstanding on the part of those outside who question the principles by which the church operates. Therefore, we are committed and bound to follow this Constitution conscientiously. We are never at liberty to violate it at whim or to ignore its provisions and requirements, lest we be brought to confusion and chaos, for God is not the author of confusion but of peace (1Co 14:33).
Excerpt B):
The Interpretation of Our Polity Commitment.
From time to time, questions may arise as to whether an action, contemplated or taken, is in accord with this Constitution or in violation of it. In such cases, the elders shall attempt to resolve the matter privately to the satisfaction of all concerned. If they are unable to do so, the question shall be resolved by congregational suffrage as a matter of corporate church business at a regular or specially called congregational meeting for that purpose.
Excerpt C):
The Preservation of Our Distinctive Ecclesiastical Identity. 
Since preservation of our ecclesiastical purpose is also essential to our continuation as a true church, we must take care lest we forget what we are designed to be and to do as an organization.
Excerpt D):
Furthermore, in order to achieve our perseverance in our distinctive ecclesiastical identity.
We hereby commit ourselves to transmit our heritage, embodied in our Confession and this Constitution. To this end, each member of the church shall be furnished with a copy of our Confession and Constitution and is expected to review each of them annually. It is expected that the regular preaching will be thoroughly biblical and therefore, consistent with and at least, indirectly expounding our Confession of Faith. In addition, the elders shall be responsible every five years, beginning five years from the adoption of this Constitution, to plan the public ministries of the Word so that no fewer than ten messages in the Lord’s Day morning services be devoted to a review of our Confession of Faith. These messages will focus on the importance of the Confession of Faith, a summary overview of its entire contents, and the biblical basis of its teachings that are under greatest contemporary attack. In like manner, no fewer than twenty Adult Classes will be devoted to our Confession and Constitution.
Excerpt E):
Awareness and instruction alone, however, will never suffice
to transmit our heritage unimpaired. Constant vigilance and open, unashamed affirmation on a regular basis are essential. Without these, the things we now hold dear will someday be matters of indifference and then someday will be lost altogether. Therefore, each member shall reaffirm in writing his or her commitment to our Confession and Constitution at the time this Constitution is adopted. These written reaffirmations will be kept in our church records. Subsequent reaffirmations shall be made every five years at a congregational meeting following the public teaching on the Biblical themes of the Confession and Constitution. Hopefully, each member will continue to affirm his or her basic agreement with the Confession and Constitution. However, those who cannot affirm their basic agreement with these documents ought to transfer their membership to another church where they will be in greater agreement or face exclusion from this church.
Excerpt F):
Written Application and Interview.
A person who desires to become a member of the church shall apply to the elders by submitting a completed, membership application form.
Excerpt G):
Previous Church Affiliation.
If the applicant is or has been a member of another church, efforts will be made to determine the person’s standing in that church and his or her reasons for leaving.
Excerpt H):
Congregational Consent and Commitment. 
In the stated meeting of the church at which a person is to be received into membership, he or she shall be asked verbally to affirm his or her commitment to Christ and to the Confession and Constitution of this church.
Excerpt I):
Regular and temporary members are required to attend all the stated meetings of the church.
Excerpt J):
Implications of Termination.
The elders may, at their discretion, disclose to other churches the circumstances under which a person’s membership was terminated.
Excerpt K):
Closed Communion.
We welcome to partake of the Lord’s Supper with us all those believers, and only those believers, who are members in good standing of churches holding to the essential doctrines and disciplines of historic Protestantism.