A question for FIEC?

Paul Levy

It's been too long since I've baited FIEC.

John Stevens, Andy Patterson, Trev Archer and Richard Underwood are the four wise men of FIEC. All four were local pastors doing a great job and got promotion to become directors of FIEC (come on lads you know I'm smiling!). FIEC has undergone something of a revolution and are fond of telling us lots about it - here, here, here and here!

FIEC are part of Affinity so it's been great to get to know John Stevens and Richard Underwood through that. Trev Archer is very good value. The only one of the four I don't know is Andy Patterson. Lots of good things seem to be going on and it's full steam ahead.

My concern is that FIEC is a Baptist independent group of churches which in theory would like to welcome paedo Baptists but are not being  realistic about the problem this causes.

John Stevens writes the below.........


''I am keen to see a renewal in the UK of paedo-baptist independency. FIEC was founded on a non-sectarian basis to embrace churches irrespective of their position regarding baptism, and we were never meant to be a Baptist association. Independent paedo-baptist churches were devastated by liberalism in the 20th Century, leading to the massive decline of congregationalism, accompanied by the rise of conservative evangelical Anglicanism which provided a home for some. As the Anglican church becomes less conducive for conservative evangelicals there is a need for new independent paedo-baptist churches to be established, and also for existing independent Baptist churches to be able to welcome others, including perhaps gifted gospel ministers, who in conscience hold to paedo-baptist convictions for biblical reasons. It would be a tragedy if FIEC were unable to fulfil its historical goal of uniting gospel churches regardless of their convictions on the practice of baptism. According to our founder, E J Poole-Connor, the defining characteristic of an "Independent Evangelical Church", was its willingness to welcome into membership all those who loved the Lord irrespective of their position on secondary matters. ''


The question I have is, 'Is there a congregation within the FIEC in which someone who is a conscientious believer in infant Baptism could pastor?' They would preach on it, would refuse to do dedications and seek to instruct parents in his congregation that they should baptise children?  I think if the four directors were honest they would say those congregations don't exist. I realise there are some Congregational churches where there are Paedo Baptistic ministers but whether they would be willing to preach on it and refuse dedications I somehow doubt.

The myth of a dual practice church in reality doesn't exist. The two views can be held within a congregation but not in leadership. I can imagine there will be emails to the contrary but I would want to ask 'Can consistent Baptists put up with a consistent Paedo Baptist as their minister, preaching, proclaiming it, refusing to do dedications and encouraging parents to baptise their children? '

There is an alternative route and that is to say this is a secondary issue and it doesn't matter. Heavyweights in both corners of the ring disagree; the times are too desperate so let's not really talk about it. I believe that way is called conservative evangelical Anglicanism.

Ok, I think I've offended enough people. Come FIEC directors, what's the name of the church where you can be a consistent Infant Baptist in your affiliation?