Monday, February 27, 2012

Print Page What's in a name?

Baptists have a long rich history which is seldom taught in Baptist churches any longer. I believe that is one of the reasons why churches, schools and organizations are removing Baptist from their names. Instead of embracing Baptist as a name, which represents centuries of persecution because our ancestors stood for Biblical truth, the name is thrown out to remove possible offense and get more people in the church.

As already mentioned the removal of Baptist is taking place at all levels. It happens with churches. It is not uncommon to hear a Baptist church remove Baptist from their name and replace it with something like Community, the name of the street they are on or city they reside in. It is also happening at the college and seminary level. For example Northland Baptist Bible College became Northland International University on April 7, 2009. Change is also taking place at the conference/convention level. In 2008 General Baptist Conference became Converge Worldwide. Also, as I type this, there is talk of the Southern Baptist Conference changing their name, some wanting to remove the name Baptist.

So what are the dangers of removing Baptist from your name? As Ernest D. Pickering in his pamphlet Should We Abandon The Name "Baptist"? put it:
Many who are forsaking the Baptist name today claim they can still hold all the Baptist distinctives without employing the name. My response to that is based on a good many years of observing  the ecclesiastical scene. Baptist churches that change their name (1) already have weakened Baptist convictions and have been slipping toward a broader position for years, and (2) will only see that process hastened by the change of name.
For example with Northland since the change you can see how the school has dropped previous convictions and have shifted over to the more liberal side. We must educate our church members on the rich Baptist history. I find the This Day in Baptist History devotionals a great place to start.

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