Distinctive

Rock Baptist Church is an evangelical church.  That’s where we begin as we define ourselves to guests.  We are very aware of the problems with that term – most notably that its definition has become somewhat broader in recent generations than it used to be be.  Perhaps we need to add terms like ‘classic’ or ‘historical’ to our self-defined term ‘evangelical.

When we use the term, we mean that it is the ‘evangel’, the good news of Jesus Christ, which defines us in the first instance.  At least that is our hope, our prayer and our intention.  It is the good news of Christ, revealed in the Scriptures, of the Triune God’s plan to save a people from sin and death and judgement for himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  That’s a lot to pack into a single sentence.  Perhaps you’d rather view of more comprehensive ‘Statement of Faith.’  This wonderful good news from God for all of humanity is the foundation upon which we build, it is the flag around which we rally, it is the fence by which we promote truth and refute error.

But, whilst we are never less than evangelical, we are more than evangelical.  As with every congregation, we seek the Scriptures and reach conclusions about how God would have us structure church life to his glory.  To that end, we are a deliberately, thoughtfully, decidedly, joyfully Reformed, Independent, Baptist church.

We say so because we believe that unity is best fostered in an atmosphere of doctrinal clarity rather than ambiguity.  It is by defining the doctrines which shape us as a Christian community at Rock that we see clearly what holds us together and where the limits of toleration lie.

To further this drive for clarity, and more importantly to edify ourselves in God’s Word as we considered these key parts of our worship, we have recently enjoyed a short sermon series on the Sacraments – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  These are now available for download here and here.

In addition to these ecclesiological distinctives, we are also sometimes asked about our understanding of what the Scriptures teach about unity with other churches and about women’s ministry in the church.  If you want to find out more, this sermon on 1 Tim 2 will help you better understand our position on women’s vital role in the congregation.   Furthermore, on matters of unity and women’s ministry in the church, we share a common position with our fellow FIEC churches articulated in documents here (on unity) and here (on women’s ministry).

For guests wanting to find out more about Rock Baptist Church, we hold regular church membership classes.  Do ask Mike Partridge or Sarah Ackroyd for details of the next course.

Confident in God’s Word

Just occasionally some ‘celebrity’ pastor says something which is so profoundly wrong that it becomes worth highlighting simply as a means of better understanding what’s actually true.  And now is the turn of the Rev Steve Chalke.  Chalke has recently made a video in which, in an attempt to defend the place of the Bible in the church, he seems to depart entirely from a traditional evangelical view of Scripture.  Here’s the video – but please don’t just watch this video.  Do read on to the good stuff below!

Restoring Confidence in the Bible from Oasis UK on Vimeo.

In response, Dr Dan Strange of Oakhill College has written very helpfully in a post on the Oakhill blog.  It’s worth reading in full.  In addition, the FIEC has filmed an interview with Dan which clarifies the issues.  Put together, Dan’s words are a wonderful corrective and help us evangelicals take confidence in the Bible.

 

Thomas Cranmer and the Book of Common Prayer

Even we Christians in the Free Churches can appreciate the wonderful work under God that Thomas Cranmer achieved through the creation of the Book of Common Prayer.  Here’s a wonderful cartoon overview if you’re not familiar with that part of British church history: