A Baptist pastor and gracEmail subscriber asks: “What practices and doctrines do you see in Baptist life and teaching that are not matching up to the Word of God?”
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Baptists (like many other Christians today) generally lack an appreciation of the ongoing, present-day power and will of God to perform miracles and to bestow so-called “miraculous” spiritual gifts, as well as the realities of spiritual warfare in which Christians are all involved (1 Cor. 1:4-7; 12:4-11; Eph. 6:12). The one-man pastor system, common among Baptists, is a poor substitute for the leadership of multiple pastors (shepherds-teachers) which we see in the New Testament (Acts 20:17, 28; Phil. 1:1; 1 Peter 5:1-4). The one-man system overworks the pastor, leaves the people untended if not unfed, and leaves the pastor vulnerable to his own blind spots which joint leadership can easily correct.
To an outsider, the Southern Baptist denominational power-struggle of the past several decades appears inconsistent with the spirit and teaching of the Son of Man (Matt. 20:20-28), contrary to apostolic doctrine (Phil. 2:3-11; 1 Pet. 5:3; 3 John 9-10) and spiritually draining to Baptists who wish simply to be Christians.
Although the New Testament does not require weekly Communion, it allows and perhaps even suggests it (Acts 2:46; 20:7). Baptists would benefit by making Communion a more-frequent occurrence. Finally, because Southern Baptists are so numerous, and because their churches often provide services from cradle to the grave, it is easy for Baptists to forget that they are only one part of a widely-diverse body of Christ, and to live their lives in isolation from other Christians whose fellowship could enrich their own lives and understanding. Baptists do not think they are the only ones going to heaven, but they sometimes forget that they are not the only Christians now residing on the earth.