More accurately, 'Should this Calvinist church be denied membership in the local association?'
Tom Ascol called attention to the recent case of a Calvinist church in Kentucky being denied membership in the local Baptist association for being too Calvinistic.
The Kentucky paper, Western Recorder, reports the story (though you have to get to p. 3 to read it).
Associated Baptist Press does as well.
I don't see anything from Baptist Press but maybe they will get around to considering this to be news one of these days, especially since the BP boss man, Frank Page, has listed the theological divide of Calvinism and non-Calvinism as the number one challenge confronting the SBC today.
ABP has this quote from the association:
“Our concern in the initial stages of our investigation revolved around the fact that Pleasant Valley Community Church’s confessional statement is one that (is) Calvinistic in nature,” the newspaper quoted from a recommendation by the association’s credentials committee. “It affirms the doctrine of election and grace.”
“While we know the doctrine is not heresy, we do recognize that it is vastly different than the majority of churches within the DMBA,” the statement noted.
An associational pastor who supported the church's application for membership was quoted in the Western Recorder:
“In my dealings with the pastors from this church, I experienced good fellowship (and) good cooperation. These men love the word, they preach the gospel; … they are taking the gospelApparently, the brethren and sistren of the association were persuaded far more by the former than the latter. The vote against acceptance was 104-9.
around the world,” Rager told the Western Recorder. “I didn’t see any reason they shouldn’t be in the local association— whether their theology is reformed or not. I thought they would be of great benefi t to us.”
The church's confession of faith is a sprawling document, more a confession plus someone's musings, that makes mention of not only the historic expressions of Calvinistic doctrine but also Mark Dever, John Piper, and Santa Claus. Perhaps the church could rename the document an annotated confession of faith with bonus commentary about this that and the other.
Baptist associations are sometimes odd things. A few bombastic pastors can wield a lot of influence and perhaps there is more to this than is reported; however, I don't see a lot of profit in keeping this church out of a local association. The church remains a member of the SBC and the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
My answer to the question posed in this blog title is, "No."