Baptists Have No Say

Chronicle and Echo/September 24, 1984

Baptist leaders in Britain have no say over what goes on in the Jesus Fellowship community.

Although the Fellowship church at Bugbrooke, with an officially registered congregation of 470, is affiliated to the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland, the actual Jesus community is not.

The Rev. Bernard Green, the Union's new general secretary, said: 'While we cannot interfere with the affairs of the church, we have no say whatsoever in the affairs of the community.'

'The community is administered by its own board of trustees and is answerable only to those living in the community full-time and is not answerable to the church meeting,' he said.

Mr Green hopes to set up a meeting with the Bugbrooke Pastor, Mr Noel Stanton, and his colleagues in the 'not too distant future.'

The general secretary says he is aware of complaints against the community, and aware also of the community's defence.

'We have tried to listen to the people who have complained and we have talked to the Fellowship leaders as far as we are able.' , 'It is extremely difficult in our situation to reach the whole truth, We are still open to all sides of the situation and we are concerned about the good name of the Baptist denomination and the cause of Christ.'

The Jesus Fellowship is also a member of the Evangelical Alliance, an inter-denominational organisation established in the 19th Century.

Alliance general secretary Mr Gordon Landreth said there had been 'quite a bit of discussion' before the Fellowship's membership application had been accepted.

The Alliance's main concern had been over whether the group was completely exclusive of whether it had intended to have Christian fellowship with other religious groups and churches.

'They expressed an intention of having fellowship with other churches and we saw no reason to doubt their good faith,' he said.

'The Jesus Fellowship may have rather stronger disciplines than some other local churches. That was one area where some people were unhappy, but it did not prevent us from allowing them to join.' Mr Landreth added.

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