What is the Difference Between the Association of Regular Baptist Churches and the American Baptist Convention?
THE GENERAL ASSOCIATION OF
REGULAR BAPTIST CHURCHES AND
THE AMERICAN BAPTIST CONVENTION?
Baptists who desire to preserve their Baptist heritage and faith first struggled within the American Baptist Convention to rid it of modernism, unbelief, and an ecclesiastical machine. The Convention had grown in bureaucratic structure to such an extent that those who were dependent upon it in one way or another were sufficient to win the battle for the modernist-indifferentist coalition.
The battle was clearly lost and the separatist movement began to take shape. Under the leadership of a few fundamental Baptist pastors, including Dr. Robert T. Ketcham, the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches was formed in 1932, with 21 churches. Today there are approximately 1,000 churches. These 1,000 Regular Baptist Churches have been able to send out more missionaries to the foreign fields than the 7,000 churches in the American Baptist Convention. Baptist churches, because of their local autonomy, have been able to keep their local properties, while Convention leaders have moved to change that historic Baptist position.
Baptist churches are continuing to leave the American Baptist Convention. In 1960 the conflict over the Air Force Training Manual and the assertions contained in that Manual that Communism had infiltrated the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. intensified the struggle in Baptist circles because the president of the National Council of Churches was Dr. Edwin T. Dahlberg, a leading minister of the American Baptist Convention.
What is now called the American Baptist Convention formerly was the Northern Baptist Convention which at one time had more than 13,000 churches.
The American Baptist Convention has been a part, first, of the Federal Council, now of the National Council, and also of the World Council of Churches. Its literature, Sunday school lessons, and all of its activities are designed to promote the ecumenical movement and the program ultimately of the one-world church. The American Baptist Convention has honored some of the most blatant modernists in America with high office. The American Baptist Convention promotes in a most powerful way the social gospel, and its leaders have taken their place in the Fifth World Order Study Conference calling for the recognition of Red China. Its Convention has put itself on record in favor of the civil disobedience of sit-in demonstrations in the South. It is also affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance, whose vicepresident. Jakov Zhidkov, is an agent and propagandist for the Kremlin.
The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches is identified as being a part of the independent Baptist movement. In this, all the agencies, institutions, seminaries, Bible institutes, and the like, are independent and not under the direction or control of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. The General Association simply endorses those agencies which it believes to be faithful to historic Baptist principles. The decentralization of the Association, as it is called, is in keeping with the principle of the independence, autonomy, and sovereignty of Baptist Churches. -Other independent Baptist movements have also taken shape as a result of the modernist conflict and these are represented in the Bible Baptist Fellowship, the World Baptist Fellowship, the Baptist Bible Fellowship, and many independent Baptist churches.
The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches has declared itself in fellowship with the American Council of Christian Churches and the International Council of Christian Churches, but only Baptist churches who act independently and individually, authorizing such representation, are in fellowship with these councils. The work' is carried on in a co-operative way with the whole separatist movement in the United States and throughout the world.
The Conservative Baptist Association occupies a somewhat different position. The distinguishing lines can be seen in the fact that the GARBC requires that before a church can be in fellowship with it, it must sever all connections directly or indirectly with the American Baptist Convention, the National Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches.
The Conservative Baptists do not make this demand and a church may be in the CBA and also in the National Council, the World Council, and the American Baptist Convention at the same time. There is therefore an overlapping, and some members of the Conservative Baptist Association are also members of the American Baptist Convention.
Many of the members of the Conservative Baptist Churches do not realize that this inconsistency in position exists, and that there is this overlapping with the American Baptists, the National Council, and the World Council of Churches.
The headquarters of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches is at 608 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, Ill., and a series of leaflets has been prepared by the GARBC dealing with all phases of their activity in the separatist movement and in building true Bible-believing churches.
20TH CENTURY REFORMATION HOUR
Rev. Carl McIntire, D.D., Director
COLLINGSWOOD, NEW JERSEY