Monday, September 13, 2010

CBF-NC Foundational Document Revisions

Apparently the Baptist blogosphere has been a-buzz about the proposed revisions of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina's “foundational statements." Bruce Prescott weighs in:
Cooperative Baptists in North Carolina are revising their “foundational statements” to delete traditional references to liberty of conscience and “soul competency” and assert the priority and authority of the community in matters of faith. Like the fundamentalists in the Southern Baptist Convention, communitarians within the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are determined to effect change within Baptist churches by redefining the traditional Baptist understanding of the “priesthood of the believer.”

Fundamentalists redefined “priesthood of the believer” to mean “submission to pastoral authority.” Communitarians are redefining “priesthood of the believer” to mean “submission to the authority of your church.”

Both are weary of the conflict of interpretations that are inevitable when finite and fallible human beings are passionate about reading scripture and living faithfully in accord with a revelation whose meaning is inexhaustible.

Both believe they are authorized to replace the Holy Spirit in the mind and heart of the believer. Fundamentalists replace the Holy Spirit with the authority of the pastor. Communitarians replace the Holy Spirit with the authority of the community. Either the pastor or your community serves to legitimate or delegitimate interpretations of scripture.

Neither fundamentalists nor communitarians make allowances for human imperfections. In the real world, both pastors and church communities often oppose valid interpretations of scripture and legitimate movements of God’s Spirit. That is why Baptists, historically, have been the Christian faith’s staunchest advocates for “liberty of conscience” or “soul competency.” Baptists, at their best, have always left room for the “prophets” – those who seem to be born out of due time because they are responding to a divine summons to serve the community in ways that challenge its consensus.

Read the full post: Here.

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