Tuesday, April 17, 2007

MY opinion on continuation/succession

I presented a series of posts on various views of Baptist origins, attempting to present these views fairly without inserting my own views and opinions. Whether I accomplished this will be for the reader to decide.

It does not follow that I have no opinions on the subject of Baptist origins. Here are a few of them.

I believe in a continuation of the New Testament faith from the life of Christ to the present.

I believe that at present such as view is not historically demonstrable.

I believe in said continuation based on my interpretation of certain Scriptures (e.g. Dan. 2:44; Matt. 16:18; 28:18-20; Eph. 3:21) and not based on history.

I believe that attempts to force the promise into an ecclesiological system -- such as chain-link succession -- can be detrimental to the churches holding the New Testament faith. I believe the Scriptures present the promise of continuation but not exactly how God would do it. To become dogmatic on the
how is to go beyond the Scriptures.

I also have the following idea on tracing continuation/succession.

The study of Baptist history begins with Baptists in the present and attempts to follow them backwards as far as possible. I believe this is good and proper. But I believe the tracing of the promise of Jesus to be always with His church would properly begin in the New Testament and move forward. If I were doing this (though I don't have the time, means, or skills), I would begin with a New Testament study formulating the identity of the New Testament church. It might look something like this -- a body that would have a view of God as sovereign and creator; which sees the sacrifice of Jesus the Son of God as efficacious and atoning (including rejecting works for salvation and salvation totally of grace); which holds to the sufficiency of Scripture, with emphasis on the New Testament, as the rule of faith and practice; which understands the church as a gathered body of immersed believers, and holds the ordinances to be without any saving power; and maybe a couple of other things. Then I would begin looking for this kind of visible representation of the New Testament faith from the N.T. and progressing through history.

Just an idea on which I've been thinking.

1 comment:

Bro. Matt said...

Well, I guess that this is more or less what I've thought for a long time. Not sure if it's identical, but it's very close. Thanks for all the work on this.