Going Forward letter, 4/27/06

This is the letter that was emailed to TBC reversing the agreement that Scott and Jason had entered into with TBC to have a further congregational meeting on May 4th. At this point, Jerry had joined Don B., in resigning in protest over Scott’s and Jason’s “abuse of Biblical authority.”

In this letter, Scott and Jason inform the congregation of the decisions they are unilaterally making – in open defiance of TBC’s Constitutional Requirements to maintain 3 or more Elders and to engage the Congregation as the “final authority” in all such matters.

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From: SCOBROWN@aol.com
Subject: Letter to Trinity Baptist Brothers and Sisters
Date: April 27, 2006 10:58:14 AM EDT
To: SCOBROWN@aol.com

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As you know, Trinity Baptist Church is under a severe time of testing.

We as elders want you to be assured that we accept our responsibility to lead the church with clear direction. We would like to inform the congregation of a number of decisions we have made and to clarify our positions on some of the controversies.

We believe that it is very important that we lead decisively to unify the church.

Last Sunday evening we elders agreed to have a heads of household meeting with the three men who left the church. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, and with pressure from without and within, we make poor decisions that would have a bad effect. This was one of those situations.

It is our belief that a meeting of this nature would result in greater disunity and broken relationships that would take years from which to recover. We made a mistake in agreeing to this. Please forgive us for reversing this decision and for the confusion it has caused. But we are convinced that this is best for fulfilling our calling to love one another and protect from deeper divisions and disunity in the fellowship.

Here are some of the concerns of the people who have recently left the church. This is not a comprehensive list, nor is this a complete treatment of the issues, but it is designed to give you our views in the shortest form possible. We could spend hours developing each point.

1. The Law, Theonomy, and Christian Reconstructionism

We resonate mostly with the statement on “The Law” in the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689. You can be assured that the teaching at Trinity Baptist Church will be largely consistent with this confession. We realize that there are multiple views of the law and will encourage everyone to demonstrate charity toward those who hold them. We may, from time to time, have speakers who hold any of the other persuasions regarding the law. We will simply ask them to respect our doctrinal positions while they are with us. Click on the following link for the text for the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689:

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/bcof.htm

2. “Family reformation” as a pillar
In our founding documents (currently posted on our website), we present nine “pillars” of our ministry. One of them is “Family Reformation.” When the pillars were written, we felt that it was legitimate to include priorities that are important in our day, as well as the particularly biblical ones. Family reformation and expository preaching are in this category. We do not feel strongly that this remain a pillar, nor do we feel that it is necessarily out of place among the other pillars.

3. Legalism in the church
First, we are thankful for all feedback and criticism and questions on what we have said or written. Second, we can discuss particular issues in detail as you wish. But in general, our position is that where scripture speaks explicitly, we should obey, and also when the application of clear biblical principles is obvious. When cultural propositions for education, manhood and womanhood, church structure, and discipleship are up for consideration they should be compared and found consistent with the Biblical truth in that area. Following are articles that describe our understanding of subject of legalism.

Here is an article by Jeff Pollard on our church web site:
http://www.trinitybaptist-church.org/equip/Articles.php?ArticleID=83

Here is an article from the Ravi Zacharias web site:
http://www.rzim.org/publications/essay_arttext.php?id=9

Sunday School and youth groups
We believe that it is wrong for churches to spend the best of their time and resources on programs that are not found in scripture either by command, pattern or principle, particularly to the exclusion and detriment of family discipleship. We acknowledge that all churches have shortcomings, ours included, and we intend to walk in charity toward our brethren who use these practices.

Women in college
We believe that we should prepare our daughters to fulfill their biblical roles as mothers, keepers at home, and helpmeets. This may or may not include some form of college, but whatever the particular case, the method should be consistent with the biblical vision of womanhood, the biblical requirements for education, and the biblical obligations for headship and protection.

However, church elders are not given authority to rule on the practical outworking of this, since the father is responsible, not the church. Fathers must make these choices based on their own understandings, and our job is to make sure that they understand what is explicitly taught in scripture so that they can make good decisions. It is not legalism to make observations about educational opportunities and compare them with scripture.

Entertainment.
It is our desire to use scripture to help us be discerning about how we use our time, what our eyes see, and what our minds dwell upon. We intend to teach the principles and to avoid extra biblical rules, leaving specific application of the biblical principles to the family or individual. We may, from time to time, make commentary on the specific features of entertainment opportunities we think need to be considered. This will continue to be our pattern. Please see various articles Scott Brown has written on the subject at http://www.scottbrownonline.com. (See various blogs from December 05, January and February 06).
Public education.

We are in substantial agreement with the “CHRISTIAN EDUCATION RESOLUTION” Submitted Jointly by T.C. Pinckney and Bruce N. Shortt To The 2004 Annual Meeting Of The Southern Baptist Convention April 26, 2004. For more information, click on the following link

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/hslda/200406/200406030.asp

4. League of Grateful Sons quote
This concern was raised to the elders, and after careful consideration and many hours of discussion, it was determined that a retraction is not warranted.

5. Vision Forum
Trinity Baptist is an independent entity with no jurisdictional or organizational connection to Vision Forum. However, we do have an appreciation for Vision Forum and the ministry of Doug Phillips. Additionally, Scott Brown is a VF board member and also is the Director for The National Center for Family Integrated Churches, which is a ministry wing of Vision Forum. We may, from time to time, participate in Vision Forum conferences, recommend resources and invite Doug Phillips to speak at Trinity.

6. Patriarchy
We are in substantial agreement with the following:

This article “The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy” is from the Vision Forum web site:
http://www.visionforumministries.org/sections/home/doctrine/tenets.asp

Dr. Al Mohler is a defender of the principles of Biblical Patriarchy and he has recently written this piece:
http://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2006-03-01

We realize that there are other issues that we need to address but we hope that we have clarified some of the things that will help us go forward together with clear direction and in unity.

We desire to continue in the things we have begun and to be always reforming.

Scott Brown
Jason Dohm

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