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7.29.2005    |    All GodBloggers Are Baptists...
...and Other Random Thoughts. This is the title of Joe Carter's thought-provoking post today. As a Baptist, I can say that Joe's got a good point, though of course I wouldn't go as far as he does and say "all".

Many, if not most bloggers, faith-based or otherwise, tend to be a complicated mix of hermits and hucksters. If you prefer, in the God business, monks and streetcorner evangelists. In short, many of us guys in our pjs in our dens or living rooms (remember the snide put-downs by the mainstream media during Dan Rather's fall from grace last year?), flailing away at the keyboard, publishing God-knows what tripe, in the hopes of attracting at least three site hits daily.

We want to be out there, mingling with our brethren, preaching the Gospel (even if your gospel happens to be how to give Fluffy her flea and tick wash). Yet, for the most part, we keep on keeping on, typing away by ourselves. Now, for us GodBloggers, does that make us Baptists? Well, I am a Baptist, and therefore, in theory, free from any denominational oversight, but I'm pretty certain I'd be blogging were I Episcopalian or Catholic. From Carter's Post:
Many bloggers, of course, will claim that their sites are exempt from denominational oversight. But should that be true? If a Presbyterian minister writes regularly on issues about religion and theology, why should her writing be exempt from denominational authority? Or what if a Lutheran laymen and a Catholic priest hold a regular open debate? Should they not be held to account as if they were writing in a denominational magazine or journal?
For me the answers are as easy as falling off a log: a big, fat, resounding "No!" As in, all Christians should be free from denominational authority, which is, after all, man-made.

But not so fast, Baptist boy says. Even we Baptists adhere to authority, despite what others may perceive. The difference is that we recognize but one Authority, and but a single source: Scripture. Now we come to a point where I've got to put on the brakes. Baptists may be free from the hierarchical blues, but that doesn't mean we allow Devil-worshippers in the tent. We may not recite any creeds (ugh, creeds), but that does not mean we don't believe every single word in the Nicene Creed (most Baptists I've met say they do). It just means we don't use any creed as a denominational test.

The closest we come to a test is that a Baptist will tend to agree with the notion that the Bible is God's inerrant word about His mighty works. Leaving our denomination free to include unreconstructed Calvinists like meself, and a whole bunch of free-range Arminians.

Makes for interesting discussions at Sunday school. And, getting back to Joe Carter's question,
I suspect that most people will answer "no." They would claim that their blogs are not only not churches or ministries but that they are free from congregational authority, even when they are writing about issues concerning their denomination's view of doctrine. So then is my contention true? Are all GodBloggers Baptists at heart?
Yes, indeed Joe. We GodBloggers are Baptists at heart.

Y'all are finally coming around to our way of thinking...

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Blogger Barbara said...

I have to disagree with the comment that 'all Godbloggers are Baptists'. I think (I think) I understand what he was implying. But, still, I do consider what I write to be a reflection of WHOM I serve, and a reflection on the Church I attend. My pastor or church affiliation has no say in 'what' I do post, but, I wouldn't go against what I've come to love in my Church; therefore, I guess I am under some authority, if only of my own making.

5:50 PM, July 29, 2005  
Blogger Jack Rich said...

Barbara, well said.

My way of saying what I think is the same thing is that I bow to the authority of Scripture, which is to say, bowing to its Author: God Almighty.

9:21 PM, July 29, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.