Saturday, July 27, 2013

Baptist missions controversy

Several years ago, I read the following statement from Mark Green:
"It is worth noting that when the division with the Missionaries happened, it was not Fullerite doctrine that was specified in the Kehukee Declaration, but it was entirely matters of practice. Peddlers of doctrine are notoriously slippery in their terminology. Spinners of words are skilled at their craft. Practice, on the other hand, is much simpler: either he did it, or he did not do it. Practice and doctrine are always related. Erroneous practice will flow from erroneous doctrine, or men will invent new doctrines to justify their pet practices. They are always related, but the practice is much easier to see and to pin down."
I think this is right on the money. Many historians make the "anti-missionary/missionary" controversy about Calvinism. Such misses most of the point. Yes, there were differences on the doctrines of grace, but these were not the driving force of the division. It was practice. Daniel Parker's book  A Public Address to the Baptist Society, and Friends of Religion in General, on the Principle and Practice of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions for the United States of America lays down point upon point about ecclesiology and methodology. This was the grand objection.

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