fundamentalism 5: seperation vs cooperation
5/18/2006 11:44:00 PM
By now, I am beginning to sound like a broken record or something. My last 5 posts minus the lighthouse have been about fundamentalism. This should be the second to last one.

After I wrote about the two extremes that can kill missions, I recalled reading some stuff in the Baptist Faith and Message on Cooperation that seemed to follow the same line of thinking as I do when I speak of the lowest common denominator for doctrine. Here is Article XIV of the BFM (emphasis mine):

Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.
The SBC has prided itself on cooperation, and will cooperate cross denominationally so as long as it does not violate conscience or compromise loyalty to Christ or His Word. These phrases are somewhat ambiguous, but I think what it is saying is cooperation is ok if doctrine isn't placed aside, and in the case of the SBC, that would be the BFM.

The IFCA under section two of its doctrinal statement says:

Ecumenical Evangelism is that effort to promote the gospel by bringing fundamentalists into an unequal yoke with theological liberals and/or Roman Catholics and other divergent groups.
While the language is a little more blunt that the BFM, It seems to be saying the same thing, although groups like the IFCA would consider people who reject dispensationalism liberal. I don't think that some fundamentalist and Southern Baptist are all that different in their approach, but the major difference is in how strict their doctrine is. The SBC doctrinal statement seems to be more compatible with a wider variety of churches while the IFCA does not.

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