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Believers' Church

The believers' Church is a doctrine theological of Evangelical Christianity that teaches that one becomes a member of the Church by new birth and profession of faith. Adherence to this doctrine is a common feature of defining an Evangelical Christianity church.

HistoryEdit

This doctrine has its origin in the Radical Reformation within Anabaptism.[1] The Schleitheim Confession published in 1527 by the Swiss Brethren, a group of anabaptists, of which Michael Sattler, to Schleitheim is a publication that spread this doctrine.[2][3] In this confession, the believer's baptism after a profession of faith is placed as an essential theological foundation.[4] In 1644, the 1644 Baptist Confession of Faith published by Baptists churches will do the same.[5] In 1916, the Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths published by Pentecostal churches also as well as the churches of charismatic movement.[6][7][8][9] In 1967, the Believers' Church Conference is established at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky in the United States, and will be held every two or three years in a different Evangelical bible college.[10][11]

Adherence to the doctrine of the believers Church is a common feature of defining an Evangelical church in the strict sense.[12][13]

DoctrineEdit

A widely accepted definition of characteristics is that of the American historian Donald Durnbaugh, who summarizes the doctrine of the believer's church in seven points[14][15][16][17][18][19][20]:

  1. Voluntary membership in the church. One becomes a member of the Church by new birth and profession of faith. The baptism, reserved for adolescent or adult believers (believer's baptism), is a symbol of this commitment.
  2. The Church is a fraternal community of mutual aid and edification.
  3. Charity and service in the church are an expression of a healthy Christian life.
  4. The Holy Spirit and the bible are the only bases of authority in the Church. Some non-biblical religious traditions must be rejected.
  5. Willingness to return to the fundamentals of the Early Church.
  6. A simple structure of the Church.
  7. Faith in the Church as the body of Christ.

The doctrine of the believers’ Church should not be confused with the free church, which is a concept designating the separate churches of states.[21][22] Some Christian denominations that can be identified in the free church movement do not adhere to the doctrine of the believers’ Church.[23][24][25]

Further readingEdit

  • Barry L. Callen, Radical Christianity: The Believers Church Tradition in Christianity's History and Future, Evangel Publishing House, Kenya, 1999

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sébastien Fath, Du ghetto au réseau: Le protestantisme évangélique en France, 1800-2005, Édition Labor et Fides, France, 2005, p. 378
  2. ^ J. Philip Wogaman, Douglas M. Strong, Readings in Christian Ethics: A Historical Sourcebook, Westminster John Knox Press, USA, 1996, p. 141
  3. ^ Donald F. Durnbaugh, The Believers' Church: The History and Character of Radical Protestantism, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2003, p. 65, 73
  4. ^ William H. Brackney, Historical Dictionary of the Baptists, Editions Scarecrow Press, Canada, 2009, p. 21
  5. ^ Michael Edward Williams, Walter B. Shurden, Turning Points in Baptist History, Mercer University Press, USA, 2008, p. 17
  6. ^ Douglas Jacobsen, Thinking in the Spirit: Theologies of the Early Pentecostal Movement, Indiana University Press, USA, 2003, p. 195
  7. ^ John H. Y. Briggs, A Dictionary of European Baptist Life and Thought, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2009, p. 322
  8. ^ Keith Warrington, Pentecostal Theology: A Theology of Encounter, A&C Black, UK, 2008, p. 164
  9. ^ Roger E. Olson, The Westminster Handbook to Evangelical Theology, Westminster John Knox Press, USA, 2004, p. 259
  10. ^ James Leo Garrett, Baptist Theology: A Four-century Study, Mercer University Press, USA, 2009, p. 534
  11. ^ Paul Basden, David S. Dockery, The People of God: Essays on the Believers' Church, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2009, p. 333
  12. ^ Religioscope, Sébastien Fath, À propos de l’évangélisme et des Églises évangéliques en France – Entretien avec Sébastien Fath, religion.info, France, March 3, 2002
  13. ^ Donald W. Dayton, Robert K Johnston, The Variety of American Evangelicalism, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 1997, p. 155
  14. ^ Philip LeMasters, Discipleship Between Creation and Redemption: Toward a Believers' Church Social Ethic, University Press of America, USA, 1997, p. 2
  15. ^ William H. Brackney, Historical Dictionary of the Baptists, Editions Scarecrow Press, Canada, 2009, p. 86-87
  16. ^ George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, Volume 5, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2016, p. 222
  17. ^ Howard A. Snyder, Signs of the Spirit: How God Reshapes the Church, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 1997, p. 40-41
  18. ^ William H. Brackney, Historical Dictionary of Radical Christianity, Scarecrow Press, USA, 2012, p. 51
  19. ^ Sébastien Fath, Du ghetto au réseau: Le protestantisme évangélique en France, 1800-2005, Édition Labor et Fides, France, 2005, p. 366, 378
  20. ^ Donald M. Lewis, Richard V. Pierard, Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History & Culture in Regional Perspective, InterVarsity Press, USA, 2014, p. 297
  21. ^ Donald F. Durnbaugh, The Believers' Church: The History and Character of Radical Protestantism, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2003, p. 8
  22. ^ John Howard Yoder, Theology of Mission: A Believers Church Perspective, InterVarsity Press, USA, 2014, p. 147
  23. ^ George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, Volume 5, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2016, p. 222-223
  24. ^ Donald F. Durnbaugh, The Believers' Church: The History and Character of Radical Protestantism, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2003, p. 4-5
  25. ^ John Howard Yoder, Theology of Mission: A Believers Church Perspective, InterVarsity Press, USA, 2014, p. 148