Pastor’s Friday Comments (06.04.21)

A few months ago, I informed you that there were a couple of issues that I felt needed to be dealt with before our church’s transition to new pastoral leadership. While no events or circumstances had made these issues immediately critical, I felt that it was my obligation to lead you through them before a new pastor comes on board. 

In the case of both of these issues, new policies would be more a recognition of where Parkway actually stands, rather than breaking any truly new ground. One issue is how we accept members into the congregation, and the other is a recognition of the larger Christian groups with which we most closely align.

After discussions with staff, the Church Council, and deacons, and with the unanimous consent of those in on the discussions, we will be presenting two proposals for changes to our church’s policies. We will recommend that membership be extended to those who have been members of churches that require a public profession of faith and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, regardless of whether or not they have been baptized by immersion, as is our practice. When new Christians come to us, we will continue the practice of baptism by immersion.

The second change would recognize that it has always been the case that our congregation has aligned most closely with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship at the national, state, and local levels. To avoid any confusion about this, we are formally proposing severing any ties that continue to exist with the Southern Baptist Convention at any of those levels.

On Wednesday, June 23, there will be a called conference during our Wednesday night Zoom call. Prior to that, you will be given a copy of the exact wording of the proposals that will be considered.  The vote on these proposals will be the following Sunday, June 27 during the morning worship service

As I have noted, I believe that these changes truly recognize where we are as a congregation. We have always been open to other expressions of Christianity and recognize that, while Baptists practice a mode of baptism close to that of the New Testament, there are other valid ways of expressing one’s faith and entering into discipleship.

As far as our denominational affiliations go, we can associate at any time with any group that shares our commitment to the love of Christ. But we want no confusion of association with a group that would not affirm our openness to all people. That’s why it is important for us to take a formal step away from the Southern Baptist Convention.

You may have thoughts or questions about either or both of these proposals. I and other church leaders look forward to our discussion. In the meantime, if there are any specific concerns you would like to talk to me about, feel free to reach out to me.