‘It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…’ (Acts 15:28)

Dear friends,

As we write this message, the nation is going to the polls to elect a new government. As in any democracy, the result depends on the decisions made by those who choose to exercise their right to vote. If we choose not to vote, we have no right to complain if we don’t like the result!

There are similarities and differences with the decision-making process typical of Baptist churches. As a non-hierarchical organisation in which the responsibility for making key decisions – ranging from choosing chairs to calling a minister – lies with church members, some people mistakenly think that we too are a democracy. In fact, that is only partly true. The Baptist Union’s Declaration of Principle states that ‘…our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ… is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and… each Church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His laws.’ In other words, the responsibility of the Church Members’ Meeting is to prayerfully seek God’s guidance in our decision-making. We are a theocracy, rather than a democracy! Perhaps the best biblical example of this approach occurred at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, where Jewish Christians considered whether Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus needed to adhere to Jewish practices. They arrived at a conclusion based on what ‘…seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…’ (verse 28).

If you are committed to supporting the life and ministry of DGBC and would like to know more about becoming a church member as a practical expression of your faith in Jesus, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch, and ask for a copy of the Baptist Basics leaflet on Church Membership (or look it up here: – https://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/464303/Baptist_Basics_4.aspx), and feel free to attend our Church Members’ meeting at 7.30pm on Wednesday 17th July as an observer.

Meanwhile, as our new government settles in to office, we pray for them in the words of the BU’s post-election day prayer: –

God of all nations, we lift up to you our newly elected leaders and government officials. Grant them wisdom, integrity, and a spirit of service as they undertake their duties. May they be guided by a commitment to the common good, justice, and the welfare of all citizens.

May they govern with compassion, humility, and a deep sense of responsibility towards the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

With our love and prayers,
Matthew and Pauline