It has been asked, what is the Georgia Association of Confessional Baptists (GACB) and what is its purpose?
The Georgia Association of Confessional Baptist Churches, affectionately called GACB for short, exist to encourage our member churches in the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our aim is to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to return to the sound teachings summarized in the great confessions of the Protestant Reformation, especially as put forth in the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.
The purpose of GACB is more explicitly described in our Constitution as follows:
1. Advance Christ’s kingdom by providing a fellowship in which churches of common confession may find mutual encouragement, assistance, edification, and counsel, and may participate in cooperative efforts, home missions (such as planting and establishing confessional Baptist churches), foreign missions, ministerial training and publications all of which are often beyond the scope of one local church.
2. Provide a forum of fellowship and helps for men and churches who are learning about Confessional Calvinism.
3. Record the history of Confessional Baptist Churches in Georgia, in order to commend a faithful heritage.
Meetings and Fellowship
In church history there have been times where theological controversy has challenged orthodoxy. Should particular issues come to a local church those elders/leaders might choose to bring the matter to the assembly for discussion and perhaps advice in how they might deal with the controversy.
The Pastor’s Fraternal, normally scheduled in March, is one of the means where we encourage and help “those men and churches who are learning about Confessional Calvinism”. Normally, the Pastors Fraternal will be a time of topical sermons and biographical sketches of influential historical figures in Baptist life along with discussion and, of course, good fellowship.
The General Assembly, normally held in September, is the means where the member churches gather “for mutual encouragement, assistance, and counsel.” This is also the time when individual churches may bring proposals for a variety of cooperative efforts.
- For example, a church may have an opportunity to plant a church (domestic or international) but lacks the funding or personnel to proceed. After making their case for assistance other churches in the association may choose to help.
- Another example, perhaps a church has a gifted brother who desires to obtain more theological training. His church would be given time at the General Assembly to make the case for financial assistance. Again, if other churches are able and desire to be part of sending this man to seminary they would have the opportunity. The ‘sending’ church would maintain oversight for the man, but other churches might choose to help with his support while in school.
Prayer meetings, normally do not have a formal schedule and will occur a couple times a year when men from member churches agree to meet at a given time/date. Usually a few weeks’ notice will be given. During this time the men will spend a few hours in prayer for the local churches, matters they feel are relevant, and/or burdened for.
It is important to note that we are an association of churches. We should make the distinction between a denomination and an association. Our understanding of the local church is best described in the 1689 London Baptist Confession, Chapter 26, Of The Church, paragraph 15 where it states, “messengers assembled, are not entrusted with any church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any churches or persons; or to impose their determination on the churches or officers.” Messengers, of course, refers to an associational meeting where individual churches send ‘messengers’ from within their own congregations.
An association is a plurality of churches and we think, is as valuable as a plurality of elders. We have seen men who have no accountability struggle. Just so, we believe that churches who have no fellowship or ‘communion’ with other churches may, at times, struggle with issues that other churches have already resolved successfully (or at least have learned valuable lessons from their own struggles).