A CALL FOR REPENTANCE AND A RENEWED COMMITMENT TO GOD-CENTERED THEOLOGY AND SOUND PREACHING AMONG TODAY’S EVANGELICALS
Baptists are the heirs of a rich tradition of renewal and reformation among Christ’s Church. Written in part by the blood of Baptist martyrs, history gives witness of the devotedness of Baptists to particular doctrines that are today long forgotten among our brethren in contemporary times. As with our Baptist forbears of four centuries past, Baptists of this age who defend God’s sovereign nature find ourselves calling for repentance that we may turn our eyes to God and His Scripture and away from the irreverent religious myths of our day.
Foundational convictions of faith that have for ages past marked the unique and peculiar group of Baptists have been abandoned by many of those claiming our heritage. Proving the Gospel effectually preached remains an offense, those still holding to these Biblical, God-centered, and precious doctrines are often ostracized, ridiculed, and marginalized into denominational obscurity. It is the paramount ambition of those holding to the traditional Baptist emphasis on the Doctrines of Grace to not exculpate our own mortal pride, but rather to proclaim the Glory of God over all things.
Trading the sovereignty of God for the sufficiency of man, many of our Baptist brethren in this age find an accurate portrayal of the Gospel as offensive as do the demonstrably lost. Genuine repentance has been replaced by manufactured revivalism. Expository preaching has been replaced by impertinent babbling talks that have more to do with the vain imaginations of man than the sufficiency of Scripture. Reliance upon God to bring down His effectual Spirit during fervent prayer and solemn pleading has been replaced with the latest strategies of marketing from the work of human hands. Regeneration has been replaced with decisionism. Sanctification has been replaced by the Sinner’s Prayer. The Doctrine of Election has been ignored as though unfit for spiritual consumption by either Christian or heathen. Church discipline has been replaced with willful sin, as pastors demonstrate that they often fear mortal man more than Almighty God. Sound doctrine has been replaced with sound systems. A God who victoriously saves all those whom He intends is replaced with a failing deity who can only try his best, hoping the efforts of man can redeem what Christ’s blood could not.
Baptists in agreement with this Declaration of Reformation do not believe these symptoms of man-centered theology are unique to Montana Baptists; Western Christianity as a whole has succumbed to profane notions of man at the center of salvation. Baptists in agreement with this Declaration of Reformation also do not believe that our denominational ties should be strained by our convictions. Just as our first Southern Baptist forbears widely accepted the Doctrines of Grace in such documents as The Abstract of Principles and yet led their fledgling denomination in unity and toward a more-evangelistic future, we desire to do the same. Even concerning those who hold man’s choice and assumed good nature as key to his own salvation, there is more that unifies us than separates us – and it’s around these similarities that we will continue to coalesce.
Finally, Baptists in agreement with this Declaration of Reformation, who earnestly desire the Gospel be properly proclaimed regardless of the sensitivities of sinful man, do not believe that they are themselves above reproach or lacking the need for genuine repentance. May we all be subject to the authority of God’s Holy Word, and may His Spirit equally impress upon us all the need for His grace and convict us of our sin.