A guide to church fellowship

This guide is issued for the use of churches which are in agreement with the 1966 Affirmation of Faith, entitled We Believe. It was considered desirable for the following reasons:

The Affirmation was prepared as a contemporary Particular Baptist Confession to promote the interests of truth and unity among those of like-mind. It was hoped that this would result, under God, not only in closer mutual appreciation of the Doctrines of Grace, but also in closer agreement in the area of practice. This guide seeks to further that end, not by fostering a mere mechanical uniformity as such, but a considered agreement arising from a careful and prayerful study of Scripture. For God’s Word is our primary source of instruction.

Much material on the subject of church order and practice has appeared from Particular Baptist sources in the past, but it is not now easily accessible to churches. This book is an endeavour to fill the gap and provide a summary of the wisdom of the past and a new appreciation of our own tradition and of the work of the Holy Spirit among us in more recent study.

We suspect that the requirements and pressures of the pastoral office are not appreciated by the christian public as they ought to be. There is a need of increased understanding and spiritual insight so that the work of the ministry may be better supported and encouraged. It is further hoped that the ministers themselves will be moved, through this guide, to a more zealous and faithful discharge of the duties given to them by the great Head of the church.

As Dogmatic Theology may be said to pertain to the being of the church, so Practical Theology relates to the well-being of the church. It is therefore our belief that this guide, although by no means exhaustive, can contribute to the effectiveness and spiritual well-being of our churches.

This guide is presented by the National Strict Baptist Assembly to the churches as worthy of serious study and use. It is divided into three sections:-

1. Worship — the church’s response to the God’s glory and grace.
2. Discipline — the ordering of the life of the church according to the biblical pattern.
3. Witness — the responsibility of the churches in the world.