Chapter XXVIII Two Decisions Facing The Church

January 27, 2017

Chapter XXVIII Two Decisions Facing The Church

On Saturday morning Paul and Mary talked about the church as they drank mate together. Paul asked, “Could it be that we are Baptists and just haven’t realized it?” Mary responded with a different question. “If we put the name Baptist on the church, does that we mean that we all become Baptists?” “Perhaps” said Paul. “These are questions we need to ask Dr. Alvarez tomorrow. You remember he said that he was going to give us the opportunity to ask questions tomorrow.”

The next morning there was a good group of people gathered in the Alvarez living room. First they talked about the need for a bigger meeting place for their church. No decision was made about that. After singing a few hymns Dr. Alvarez led in prayer and asked for God’s direction regarding decisions the church needed to make. Then he said, “In the past there were several undecided about whether they wanted to ask Ralph to be our pastor. Before we discuss calling the church a Baptist church, I want to ask if there are still some who are still undecided about Ralph.” The silence was an indication that there were no more questions.

Then Dr. Alvarez said, “Now I’m ready to take your questions regarding the wisdom of putting the name Baptist on our church.” One of the ladies asked the first question. She asked if putting the name Baptist on the church would make it easier to get people to come to the church. Dr. Alvarez responded by saying, ”Some are already asking what kind of church we have. Without a name we have no identification. As it is, we are just known as an evangelical church. That doesn’t tell people much because there are a number of churches that go by that name, but they don’t all teach what the Bible tells us. For me, it will be much easier for people to know what we are if we say ours is a Baptist church.”

One of the men asked if the Baptists would help pay some of the expenses, like the pastor’s salary or the rent on a meeting place. “No” said Dr. Alvarez. “Baptists don’t work that way. They don’t have a hierarchy that has control over the churches. Every church is independent. If we want to, we can have fellowship with other Baptist churches of like faith and practice. Sometimes churches do form an organization between them so they can be the owners of a camp or something. Churches can be members of the organization if they want to. If they are, they are asked to send delegates to their meetings so they can vote on decisions that need to be made. The organization has no control over the churches. We are just talking about putting the name Baptist on our church. That will identify what we teach. If we don’t teach what Baptist churches teach we won’t be living up to our name. As I see it, our church is already a Baptist church. We just don’t have the name Baptist on the church.”

Someone else asked: “Sometime in the future could we take the name Baptist off of our church if we want to?” “Certainly” said Dr. Alvarez.

There was further discussion. Then Dr. Alvarez said “Next Sunday we are going to vote on two things. First will be whether we want our church to be called a Baptist church. If you say ‘no’ to that then we don’t need to vote on calling Ralph to be our pastor, because he has told us that we won’t accept it unless it is a Baptist church. If you vote ‘yes’ then we will vote on calling Ralph. I want you to go home and pray about it so you can come next Sunday with peace in your hearts about how you should vote.”

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