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Signposts: Why I’m a Baptist

Russell Moore - Signposts

Published on 10/07/2016

In this episode of Signposts, I reflect on what being a Baptist has meant for my Christian life, and why I am still one today.Listen using the links at the bottom of this page, read the transcript below, and subscribe to Signposts to get new episodes automatically when they publish.____________Below is an edited transcript of the audio.In this episode I am responding to a listener who asked me the question why I am still a Baptist—specifically, is there a set of reasons why I would be committed to the Baptist expression in the church and the Baptist tradition within the churchThat’s a good question. The reason it is a good question is I was somebody who was reared in a Baptist church but in a largely Roman Catholic community. My family had two distinct sides: one side of the family was evangelical and the other side of the family was Roman Catholic, so I grew up with a deep appreciation of Roman Catholics—my mother’s side of the family was Catholic and really an important part of my life and of my development, as were the people in my community who were my Catholic friends and neighbors.In late adolescence and the early years of college I really tried to figure out where I was in terms of my identity within the church, and so I saw a lot of really ugly things that went on within Baptist churches and so there was a time were I was, as I think many people do, searching for the place where I could get beyond all of that. So I spent some time really looking into Presbyterianism and Catholicism and Methodism and Lutheranism and various other Christian denominations and one of the things I very quickly discovered was that there is no romantic way out from human depravity. All of the churches and all of the communions are made up of people who are sinners and all are going to have tensions and problems and ridiculous things that go on.As a matter of fact, when one looks at the New Testament one of the great blessings is the revelation that church life has always been filled with these sorts of divisions and struggles, right back to the Church at Corinth, the churches in Galatia and Thessalonica and elsewhere—there is consistent rebuke that is coming to churches for the immorality or divisiveness or fighting or apathy. All of those things are present there and they are present in every single communion.So I work with people of all different traditions, people who are other evangelical protestants in other denominations, Presbyterians and Lutherans and Bible church people and what have you, and I work with in kind of a circle beyond that with other protestants along with roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. One of the things I find is when we are honest with one another, we all have problems, every one of us have problems in terms of our church traditions, that’s what it means to live in a fallen world. But I spent some time investigating all of those things and I ended up a convictional Baptist and not because I was assuming those things. I came back to what I believe are biblical convictions about the church. So here’s what I believe and why I still am in the Baptist tradition, and that is in no way a castigation of people who are in other traditions and other communions. I think one of the reasons why God has allowed the church to have these different voices within different denominations is precisely because of the way that those emphases remind the rest of the body of Christ about certain essential points.Richard Mouw has a book coming out where he talks about different denominational traditions almost as monastic orders within the Roman Catholic church. What these monastic orders would do is each of them would have a particular area of emphasis that would carry that forward for the rest of the church and the same tends to be true within our denominational life. So, Lutherans as Mouw put it, have taken a monastic vow to remind the rest of the church that j...

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