Conversations: "I'm not a Baptist. May I join your church?"
Wednesdays, October 22 and 29, 2008
Hear the October 22 session: "My
Hear the October 29 session: "How I
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
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?
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.
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.