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Australian Independent Baptist Newsletter

Pastor and Mrs. BennettMap of Australia

MAY 2004

Dr. David C. Bennett, Editor (DCB)

PO Box 1241 – Dubbo – NSW – 2830 – AUSTRALIA

Phone/Fax 02-6884-2846


Permission is given to forward material contained in the AIB Newsletter.

Purpose: To inform and warn God's people of religious social, and political events in today's world.


Standing unashamedly for the King James Bible

Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) Web Site 18 May, 2004.

The ABWE has been new evangelical for many years. The ABWE website has two missionary reports concerning ABWE missionaries involved in using Roman Catholic Mel Gibson's The Passion for evangelism. There will be some who will say there is nothing wrong in their doing so and they have the liberty to say this but they are wrong. Fundamental churches still supporting missionaries with ABWE should seriously re-consider their support. A true fundamental separatist missionary would not, could not continue with ABWE.

The following articles are from the Regular Baptist Press web site May 17, 2004. The Regular Baptist Press is owned and operated by the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC) which was formed in 1932. I have edited the reports for space. The first report was written by Bernie Augsburger who is the chairman of the GARB's Council of Eighteen. The two reports are written to inform the GARBC constituency of the upcoming recommendation by the Council to the messenger's at the 2004 GARBC conference.


"The Council of Eighteen met in November 2003 and committed a major portion of the three-day session to discussing the partnering relationship with the GARBC. We evaluated the questionnaire, our partnering policy, and the partnering concept as it is perceived nationally. We also explored various options available to us as a fellowship of churches as well as the partnering concept.

Though the former approval system was not initially a part of our association, it began in 1947 and over the years developed deep ties within our fellowship. There have been many wonderful years of ministry together. Over the years it has become increasingly apparent that the approval structure was not as effective as it had been. At our annual meeting in Ames, Iowa, the messengers voted to replace the approval system with the partnering policy. The intent of the partnering relationship was to maintain adherence to the separatist heritage of the GARBC and not to provide for more positional latitude among the partnering agencies."

Now "Realizing that the Association has no authority to dictate the policies and procedures of the partnering agencies, the Association must guard the Scriptural integrity of its own ministries. We believe the best course of action is to repeal the partnering policy rather than deal with individual agencies on a year-by-year basis."

"Because of the affiliation of partnering agencies with other groups that permit a theological diversity that conflicts with both our current and historical separatist position, we feel the partnering system is an unworkable model for our independent association of Baptist churches."

"If the messengers pass the recommendation to repeal the partnering policy, it will enable the GARBC to focus its efforts on providing resources and services for our churches, championing Biblical truth, impacting the world for Christ, and perpetuating our Baptist heritage. It would put the approval of agencies under the responsibility of the churches, rather than with the Association. This would mean no formal relationship would exist between the Association and the agencies."

Editor's Comments to the first report: Today's situation in the GARBC occurred in 1932 with the formation of the Association. The first problem is there is absolutely no Scriptural basis for such. Secondly when an Association or Fellowship is formed it is hard if not impossible to lead a church out when changes occur for very strong ties have been made with the mission agencies and schools.


This second report was written by Pastor John Hartog III, Faith Baptist Church Cambridge, Iowa. Pastor Hartog is also a professor at Faith Baptist Bible Collage and Theological Seminary, Ankeny, Iowa.

"At the GARBC National Conference in Ames, Iowa, in June 2000, the majority of messengers voted (1) to discontinue the old approval system, (2) to adopt the current partnering policy as had been thoroughly explained by the national representative, and (3) to delegate the administration of the new partnering system to the Council of Eighteen."

"In the following months, all but one of the previously approved agencies¼ signed the partnering application form. Then, during the winter of 2002-2003, the conservative Southern Baptists of Ohio announced a partnership with Cedarville University. At the GARBC National Conference in Riverside, California, in June 2003, the Council, in its messenger-delegated role, decided that Cedarville University would no longer be a partnering institution with the GARBC. After the Council announced its decision in a nonbusiness session of the Riverside National Conference, one of the messengers moved that the Council delay its decision regarding Cedarville to reevaluate the partnering questionnaire. The motion was acknowledged and seconded and approved by the majority of the messengers."

"Thus, the Council, in its November 2003 meetings, spent many hours reevaluating the partnering policy. In the end the vast majority of the Council members concluded that fundamentally the partnering policy is unworkable."

"While the Council met during its November 2003 meetings, the executive board of the Northwest Baptist Convention voted to endorse Western Baptist College 'as an educational institution that their member churches should support financially and promote as a preferred college for their young people.' The president of Western, speaking to the executive board, announced that this action would give the college 'the opportunity to enlarge' its 'mission to another constituency in the Northwest' ("

Therefore "the Council members concluded that the partnering policy is unworkable. Some consider the partnering policy to be unworkable for three reasons.


The partnering policy is unworkable because of earlier decisions made by the Council. In the beginning of its implementation of the partnering policy, the Council granted two special allowances. One institution is allowed to exhibit at National Conferences without officially being known as a partner. Another institution is officially known as a partner but was not required to sign the partnering questionnaire. At the time, the granting of these two special allowances was not widely known within the Association. However, as the exceptions became known, especially the latter one, the current members of the Council found themselves in the awkward position of having to explain exceptions that they had not granted."


The partnering policy is unworkable because of the decision made by the messengers in Riverside. The majority of the messengers directed the Council to reevaluate the partnering policy." "Again reasons varied widely, but associational support for the partnering policy, at least as the Council had implemented it, had diminished."


The partnering policy is unworkable because of possible decisions that partnering institutions may make in the future. The partnering policy is inherently flawed because partnering institutions sign the application documents only once."

"The partnering policy and the old approval system do not neatly correspond to independent Baptist church polity. Yes, the partnering policy and the old approval system fit better with independent Baptist church polity than does the convention model, but problems still exist." (Emphasis added)

"Beginning in 1947, it was expected that the approved schools would be wholeheartedly in agreement with the doctrines and practices of the GARBC. The tensions exist, then, between Associational lack of control, constitutional or policy expectations, and varied levels of allegiance between churches and agencies.

Neither approval nor partnering is necessary to Baptist fundamentalism. Even without the denominational machinery of the old Northern Baptist Convention, the GARBC developed into something different from Dr. Robert Ketcham's original vision for a 'free-wheeling fellowship' of churches."

"The New Testament says much about local church polity, but it says very little about parachurch, associational endeavors. The local church is the house of God and pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15); it is a holy temple and habitation of God (Ephesians 2:19-22). The Association, on the other hand, is merely a human arrangement." (Emphasis added)

"The churches, on the other hand, can evaluate schools and mission boards year by year, generation by generation, need by need, position by position."

"The Council recommends to the messengers that they repeal the partnering policy during the 2004 National Conference."

Editor's Comment on Pastor Hartog's report: There is much I agree with Pastor Hartog about but the problem facing the GARBC all stems back to its formation. A loose, and I mean loose, fellowship of local churches is the only thing that can be shown from the New Testament. I wholeheartedly agree when Pastor Hartog says "The New Testament says much about local church polity, but it says very little about parachurch, associational endeavors." There is absolutely nothing in the New Testament that shows the likes of an Association or Fellowship such as the GARBC or BBF. These groups began primarily over separation issues and down through the years they are back where they began. In both camps there are now churches aligned with either or both the Willow Creek Association and Saddleback. Hopefully, this recommendation by the GARBC Council of Eighteen will be a wake up call to many good churches in the GARBC to move out and stay out of all organized associations and fellowships!

AUSTRALIA: Gilgandra Christian Outreach Centre Website (Edited by DCB): COMING EVENTS "The Third annual Combined Churches Unity week will be held from the 1st to the 8th of June. This is a week where the 9 Christian Churches open their services to each other. Each night a different church hosts the evening, worshipping in their own particular style and everyone joins in, participating in wonderful evenings of fellowship,¼ In previous years we have seen up to 120 people gathering each night in the different churches."


"The next Combined Churches Healing service will be held at the Catholic church on the 11th of May at 7pm. The speaker will be Rev Tony Adams of the Presbyterian Church. Service will be led by Don Burrell of the Assemblies of God."

Editor's Comment: Here is a theological mixed bag! You may be assured Gilgandra Baptist Fellowship was not a part of this.

Yours against apostasy and for Biblical Truth,

David C. Bennett, D. Min.

David C. Bennett, Titus 2:13

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Missionaries David and Pamela Bennett

The Bennetts Serving the Lord in Australia Since 1979.

Phone/Fax: 011-61-2-6884-2846

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Address: Dr. and Mrs. Bennett, PO Box 1241 Dubbo NSW 2830, AUSTRALIA

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