My friend Jason Duesing at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary takes on the quickness with which we often “place doctrines of ecclesiology, eschatology, and perhaps even variances of anthropology on the lowest rungs of what is essential for twenty-first century New Testament Christianity.”
In a paper on Baptist identity, Duesing calls on contemporary Baptists to learn from our Anabaptist forebears about the necessity to conserve a believers’ church. Duesing helpfully disects how the early Anabaptist doctrine of a believers’ church was bound up with the recovery of baptism and the rejection of a church-state union. This is in contrast, he argues, to a magisterial reformation that carried the seeds of its own future corruption with a lack of a regenerate church membership. As Duesing puts it: “A church comprised of an unregenerate membership several generations removed will no longer care about proclaiming such essentials as the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the way to salvation.”
Duesing argues that contemporary Baptists can learn from President Theodore Roosevelt’s call for environmental conservation as a national duty as we seek to conserve an even more valuable resource than the earth: the church. Read the paper here. Here’s hoping for generations and generations to come of churchly conservationists.