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Holy Conversations: "I'm not a Baptist. May I join your church?"
Wednesdays, October 22 and 29, 2008

Hear the October 22 session: "My experience..."   MP3

Hear the October 29 session: "How I feel..."    MP3

On Wednesday, October 22, and a week later on October 29, the congregation gathered for “holy conversations” on the subject of church membership and baptism. Of particular interest in these sessions was the question of whether we should re-baptize Christians of other denominations who wish to join our church.  Every conversation requires both talking and listening. Holy conversation requires doing this in the most respectful way possible. On October 22 we listened to the experiences of people who have come to First Baptist from other Christian traditions. On October 29 we talked about how we feel about the possibility of changing our membership requirements. Please note: we are not talking about changing our baptismal practices—we will continue to baptize believers by immersion as we always have.

Questions sure to arise are: What do we mean by “believers baptism”? Is immersion the only acceptable mode? What do we do to prepare children for baptism? How do we teach non-Baptists our ways?

We did not vote in these sessions: only talking and listening. We will use the coming months to continue these conversations in private and seek God’s wisdom through prayer. If any change is to be made in our membership requirements it will be discussed by the deacons at their monthly meetings and ultimately brought to the church for a vote.

Whether or not we change our current practice, I am hopeful that these conversations will deepen our understanding of church membership and baptism.  Perhaps we will approach both with more intentionality, and, if possible, even more reverence.

 —Jim Somerville

 
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