Grace Baptist Parochialism?
“Are you one of those narrow-minded Grace Baptists that thinks only Grace Baptists will be in heaven?” “No,” I replied, “I don’t even think all the Grace Baptists will make it!” They laughed which was a good thing. It was, after all, only a joke.
There are those, however, who act as though they believe the ‘P’ in GBP stands for parochialism. They envisage a people with a siege mentality with drawbridges up. They caricature us as lacking sufficient gospel magnanimity or spiritual sensitivity to engage with Christians from other groupings.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a convinced Baptist. I believe that Baptist ecclesiology most nearly conforms to the New Testament pattern. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be one. That’s where I stand.
Further, Grace Baptist Partnership is obliged to operate within certain charitable parameters. That means that there are some things – such as using our charitable assets for the benefit of projects which don’t line up with our statement of faith – we simply cannot do as an entity.
That being said we recognise that there are other genuine Christians and true churches that don’t dot every i and cross every t the way we do. We love them and seek opportunities to assist them.
For instance, in recent years, in my private capacity I have spoken to numerous individuals and churches about Biblical church planting. Whether those listening were Anglican, Brethren, Congregational, Presbyterian or Independent I have sought to be warm and winsome in manner as well as uncompromising in message.
One example would be my friend Will Dobbie from Redeemer Church, Croydon. Here’s what Will had to say. “I found our meeting immensely useful and stimulating. It was especially encouraging to come across such warm help from someone outside of my own ‘tribe’. And Barry’s advice has played no little part in the immense growth and fruit in Redeemer Croydon since launch.”
Please pray that we will continue to be magnanimous in all our dealings with other Christians. Please ask the Lord to help us maintain our convictions even as we engage those who may not share them. Please pray that wherever God’s people meet today the truth will be upheld and love will be displayed.
Warmly in Christ