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Monday, June 19, 2006

Articles of Faith

I have been recently working on the development and adoption of a statement of faith for our church. I was not aware that we already had one, but when the church was established, Articles of Faith were adopted (in 1791). Some of our more interesting articles are as follows:

Point 12
We believe that none but regularly baptized members have the right to commune at the Lord's Table.

Many years ago the practice here was informally changed by the Pastor, but there has been no formal change. Since I became the Pastor we have practiced a form of close communion in violation of the Articles of Faith. This is evidence of the little value people today commonly place on statements of faith. Needless to say, we will shortly revise our Articles of Faith to coincide with our current practice. We do not wish to speak from both sides of our mouth.

Point 11
We believe that no minister has the right to administration of the ordinances, only such as are regularly baptized, called and come under the imposition of hands by the presbytery.

I am not even sure if I qualify to administer the ordinances under this existing article even as the Pastor. I was ordained by my home church. I was examined by elders and deacons. And the ordained men of the church placed hands on me and prayed for me during the service. But I am not sure this qualifies as "the presbytery." Needless to say, we will have to address this issue as well.

In my meetings with the pulpit committee, I was asked if I endorsed the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 (which I do), so my assumption was this statement of faith was established already in the church. I will take the blame though; I should have pressed the issue since I favor the active use of Statements of Faith in the local church.

Seth and Brent, do you local churches have and use statements of faith? Which ones?

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