Thursday, February 16, 2006


I began this blog as a way to better communicate with the people of Cornerstone. I realize that there will be others who read here as they peruse the blogosphere and some who check out the blog before attending church. That being said this entry is more for the people who attend Cornerstone each week and are active in the life of the church. Independent Baptists are a diverse group. There are those who claim this title and believe that they alone are the bride of Christ. I am not that arrogant. There are those who by nature are reclusive and want to do their own thing. There is a crowd that holds to the doctrines that the Independent Baptists hold true with a strong stance against any type of mingling with other denominations or groups.

In reality, I guess I am an Independent Baptist by default. When we decided to come to Four Corners and begin a church I grappled with the idea of claiming any denominational name. In this area, being an Independent Baptist puts you in a ultra conservative camp that I do not feel comfortable with. On the other hand, I have friends who are Baptist in doctrine but do not want people to associate them with the negative side of Baptists. For example the Disney Boycott of bygone years. (This would make for a difficult start in West Disney) On the other hand I believe that people want to know what they are getting into. They need to know that the church’s doctrine is sound.

I am a Baptist, not because of denominational reasons, but because of the doctrines (teachings) that Baptists traditionally hold. I want people to know that when they come to Cornerstone that we believe that the Bible is the complete inspired word of God. I want people to know that we believe that salvation is in Christ alone. That we believe in a literal heaven and hell. That we believe that the church is God’s tool for taking Jesus to a lost world. These are important things when deciding on a church. I want our church to be known as one who has strong convictions about important things.

I am independent because I do not want to be tied too closely with any group that exerts outside control over the local church. I want our church to have the freedom to choose where our missions dollar is spent and the freedom to join or leave any group without any fear of reprisal. It is amazing to me that some denominations exert more control over the church than the people in the local congregation. They move pastors from church to church like pawns on a chess board. They require exorbitant franchise fees from the local church that, in my opinion, hamstring the local church. (Sometimes fees in excess of 10% of all offerings going to the headquarters.) I am independent because I believe it is the biblical model for doing church and that it is the healthiest way for our church to run.

I guess that labels will always come with consequences. There will be people who see that we are an Independent Baptist church and put is the camp of the extreme. For Cornerstone, the emphasis is on the independent and the when the label Baptist is known for fighting global warming (like Rick Warren and some other Southern Baptists) more than sharing the good news of salvation, then we will have the independence to change the name to protect the innocent.