Despite its flaws, warts, and faults, I remain a part of what has been called historically the free church movement of Baptists, which is expressed in various denominations (National Baptists, Southern Baptists, Primitive Baptists, etc).
Perhaps I should add here the fact that pastor friends of mine from different denominations have been inviting me to join their denominations. In fact, on Thanksgiving day, a pastor friend of mine, from another denomination, once again, invited me to join his denomination. But alas, I remain a Baptist. Why? I remain Baptist because of what has been called the Gainsborough Principle, which says, “The Bible is final, but human understanding of the Bible is never final or complete of finished.” In other words, “free and faithful.”
Or what Luthern church historian Martin E. Marty, in his 1983 Christianity Today seminal article “Baptistification Takes Over,” emphasizes as freedom, choice, and voluntarism in matters of faith, of the Baptist identity.
Sadly, however, many Baptist denominations have moved away from the Baptist identity of being “free and faithful.”
At any rate, I’m a Christ follower by conversion, which is my identity first and foremost, and it is what unities me with all Christ followers throughout all of church history, confessing Jesus is Lord, despite our denomination ties.