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"The Wading Pool" - Questions from the Newly Reformed discuss What's the difference between being Reformed and being a Calvinist? in the Information and Introductions forums; This ocured to me when reading the "Favorite Non-Reformed Theologians" thread. I typically associate two. Some people were saying "well, he's a baptist, not reformed". ...

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    What's the difference between being Reformed and being a Calvinist?

    This ocured to me when reading the "Favorite Non-Reformed Theologians" thread. I typically associate two. Some people were saying "well, he's a baptist, not reformed". I thought that since there were reformed baptists, a baptist could, well, be reformed.

    Any thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post
    This ocured to me when reading the "Favorite Non-Reformed Theologians" thread. I typically associate two. Some people were saying "well, he's a baptist, not reformed". I thought that since there were reformed baptists, a baptist could, well, be reformed.

    Any thoughts?
    Thanks for asking. I was wondering the same thing myself.
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    I think the last time this was discussed the consensus was that "reformed" before "baptist" is one thing, and "reformed" on its own is another. Reformed Baptists are just that -- Baptists who have become reformed. But they are still distinct from reformed churches.
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    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    I think the last time this was discussed the consensus was that "reformed" before "baptist" is one thing, and "reformed" on its own is another. Reformed Baptists are just that -- Baptists who have become reformed. But they are still distinct from reformed churches.
    How so? I mean, besides infant baptism and ecclesiology.

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    Bottom line (with apologies to Andy Griffith's "What it was was football"):

    Calvinists who are Presbyterians like the name Reformed. They like it a whole lot. They like it for themselves. They like it only for themselves. They don't want to share the sandbox, the baptistry, or the name "Reformed" with their Baptist brethren. They get very very angry when Baptists use "their" name in vain, like calling themselves "Reformed Baptists." They huff and puff and hurl words like "only Calvinist soteriology" and "credo baptist heresy" to show how angry they are at the Baptists.

    Baptists used to be Reformed. They were Reformed for a very very long time. When the Presbyterians cheated on Calvin and flirted with the Unitarians, the Baptists won the election and limited the atonement just like Calvin's children, Francis Turr-a-something and Teddy Bee-saw. But the Baptists started doing bad things and they fell into some very very bad habits. Lots of them became army-men or armenians or something.

    Then some of the Presbyterians discovered RPW (Revolutions Per Week??? - or something like that. I think it is "per week" because they believe in the sabbath every week and like to celebrate their sabbath eating heavily seasoned food since they say it isn't a real sabbath without lots of salters). Like the Baptists, the Presbyterians were always starting brand new small groups, ususally after something called a skizum (which I think is a special church word for what married grown ups call a divorce).

    Well the Baptists started saying that since they liked DOGs as much as Presbyterians, they were Reformed too. In fact, they knew Latin and said they were "always reforming" (something about being "smelly reformanda") just like the Presbyterians. But the Baptists used too much water and spoiled the covenant pie. The Presbyterians said the right recipie was to use only a little bit of water at a much earlier stage and that Baptists were hairy tics and they treat their children like pay-guns .

    So, if you read the Puritan Board, and you are a Presbyterian, you get to be Reformed, Calvinistic, and maybe even EP (extra salters? or extra psalty?). You can eat Post Tostees, be post-millennial, and put down post-modernism. If you are a Baptist, you get to be Calvinistic but not Reformed because Baptists spoiled the covenant pie by using too much water.

    Some Presbyterians like to share and will loan the Baptists the name "Reformed" if they promise to only use it for their so-terror-ology. They say that "Reformed" is a "world and life view" that adds Calvin's so-terror-ology to a kind of exclusive contract with Jews and everybody else (called a covenant) ruled over my elderly men and using only a very very little bit of water.

    Anyway, after almost a year here, that's the best I can do to 'splain it all.

    [If you want a more academic explanation, use the search function and find some of Dr. Clark's excellent posts on the subject. BTW, I'm OK with calling myself a Calvinist. If I ever adopt presbyterian polity, the WCF, and infant baptism in addition to my soteriological Calvinism, THEN I will start using the "Reformed" descriptor. Due to the differences on ecclesiology and the ordinances/sacraments, it is probably too confusing to use the same term for both groups.]
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    The answer probably depends on who you ask.

    I think the real difference is the difference between a half a dozen eggs and six eggs.

    I don't believe a person is a Calvinist if they are not Confessional in the sense that they have a comprehensive, catholic understanding of the Scriptures and the doctrines related to salvation, the Church, etc.

    I agree with R. Scott Clark who calls some Predestinarians to distinguish them from those who have submitted to the authority of a Reformed Church and her Confession.

    One of my regular challenges here is having to figure out whether or not an application is going to be approved from someone who is not really Confessional in any real sense but the Admins believe that he/she would be teachable on that point. We're not really interested, though, in Predestinarians that have created their own personal Confession of the Scriptures and then come in and regale everyone with their understanding that is, after all, "...what the Scriptures teach as opposed to your Confessions...."
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcFadden View Post
    Bottom line (with apologies to Andy Griffith's "What it was was football"):

    Calvinists who are Presbyterians like the name Reformed. They like it a whole lot. They like it for themselves. They like it only for themselves. They don't want to share the sandbox, the baptistry, or the name "Reformed" with their Baptist brethren. They get very very angry when Baptists use "their" name in vain, like calling themselves "Reformed Baptists." They huff and puff and hurl words like "only Calvinist soteriology" and "credo baptist heresy" to show how angry they are at the Baptists.

    Baptists used to be Reformed. They were Reformed for a very very long time. When the Presbyterians cheated on Calvin and flirted with the Unitarians, the Baptists won the election and limited the atonement just like Calvin's children, Francis Turr-a-something and Teddy Bee-saw. But the Baptists started doing bad things and they fell into some very very bad habits. Lots of them became army-men or armenians or something.

    Then some of the Presbyterians discovered RPW (Revolutions Per Week??? - or something like that. I think it is "per week" because they believe in the sabbath every week and like to celebrate their sabbath eating heavily seasoned food since they say it isn't a real sabbath without lots of salters). Like the Baptists, the Presbyterians were always starting brand new small groups, ususally after something called a skizum (which I think is a special church word for what married grown ups call a divorce).

    Well the Baptists started saying that since they liked DOGs as much as Presbyterians, they were Reformed too. In fact, they knew Latin and said they were "always reforming" (something about being "smelly reformanda") just like the Presbyterians. But the Baptists used too much water and spoiled the covenant pie. The Presbyterians said the right recipie was to use only a little bit of water at a much earlier stage and that Baptists were hairy tics and they treat their children like pay-guns .

    So, if you read the Puritan Board, and you are a Presbyterian, you get to be Reformed, Calvinistic, and maybe even EP (extra salters? or extra psalty?). You can eat Post Tostees, be post-millennial, and put down post-modernism. If you are a Baptist, you get to be Calvinistic but not Reformed because Baptists spoiled the covenant pie by using too much water.

    Some Presbyterians like to share and will loan the Baptists the name "Reformed" if they promise to only use it for their so-terror-ology. They say that "Reformed" is a "world and life view" that adds Calvin's so-terror-ology to a kind of exclusive contract with Jews and everybody else (called a covenant) ruled over my elderly men and using only a very very little bit of water.

    Anyway, after almost a year here, that's the best I can do to 'splain it all.

    [If you want a more academic explanation, use the search function and find some of Dr. Clark's excellent posts on the subject. BTW, I'm OK with calling myself a Calvinist. If I ever adopt presbyterian polity, the WCF, and infant baptism in addition to my soteriological Calvinism, THEN I will start using the "Reformed" descriptor. Due to the differences on ecclesiology and the ordinances/sacraments, it is probably too confusing to use the same term for both groups.]
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    Last edited by DMcFadden; 06-18-2008 at 12:22 PM.

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    There is a difference between "Reformed" and "Calvinistic." I heard one Reformed brother label John MacArthur/Master's Seminary/dispensational Bible churches as "Calvinists but not Reformed." I think what he was saying is that these Bible churches are calvinistic in the sense that they believe in the 5-points of Calvinism, but are not Reformed in the sense that they are dispensational.

    On the flip-side, the PCUSA would be Reformed but not Calvinistic. That is, they are Reformed in worship (RPW) and eschatology (amil), but soteriologically, they do not hold to the 5-points of Calvinism.

    So one can be a 5-Point Calvinist and not be Reformed, and one can be Reformed and not be a 5-Point Calvinist.

    This is what my friend was saying to me. I'm still floating his words in my mind and still chewing on it with my teeth. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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    I'll need to check the references, but I believe that Calvinist was first coined to distinguish those who believed a certain efficacy of the sacraments without going to the extremes of Luther on the one hand or Zwingli on the other. So, initially, a Calvinist wasn't a name for a particular stance on soteriology, rather on the sacraments.

    I agree with Rich, it depends on who you ask. But history is the delimiter of some of these distinctions and it's perfectly fine to do so. I seem to recall a certain "upstart" within the PCUSA who wrote a book saying that the term Christian could not be applied correctly to liberal "evangelicals" who took doctrine out of the gospel, said miracles didn't happen, and said that the Bible could be believed on some points and not others.

    Distinctives will always be there no matter how much we don't want them to apply to us, or how much we want them to apply when they shouldn't.

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    I'll also add that I think the title Reformed needs to be linked to a covenantal understanding of Scripture over against a non-covenantal view, which is probably why Dispensational calvinist's would not apply the term to themselves.

    In Christ,

    KC
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    Quote Originally Posted by servantofmosthigh View Post
    On the flip-side, the PCUSA would be Reformed but not Calvinistic. That is, they are Reformed in worship (RPW) and eschatology (amil), but soteriologically, they do not hold to the 5-points of Calvinism.
    According to this definition Lutherans and United Methodists would also be Reformed because they are not dispensation or Calvinistic but have traditional, liturgical services.

    I don't think the PCUSA follows the RPW.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kceaster View Post
    I'll also add that I think the title Reformed needs to be linked to a covenantal understanding of Scripture over against a non-covenantal view, which is probably why Dispensational calvinist's would not apply the term to themselves.

    In Christ,

    KC
    And for Presbyterians, covenantal understanding is under the Covenant Theology. For us non-dispensational Baptists, we use the term "reformed" knowing we differ from our dispensational Baptist brothers, but we also disagree with our Presbyterian brothers who view O.T. Israel is the N.T. church in both physical and spiritual continuity, whereas Reformed Baptists only see the spiritual continuity. (More can be said on this matter in another thread.) And then there's the new group of Baptists that developed in the 90's who hold to the New Covenant Theology - also distinguishing themselves apart from the dispensational Baptists and from us Reformed Baptists who are more covenantal (but, again, distinct from the covenantal concept of the Presbyterians).

    So to say that the term "Reformed" should be linked to the covenantal understanding of Scripture is true, but the question is from who's covenantal understanding (the Presbyterians', the non-dispensional Baptists', or the NCT Baptists).
    Last edited by servantofmosthigh; 06-18-2008 at 06:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by servantofmosthigh View Post
    There is a difference between "Reformed" and "Calvinistic." I heard one Reformed brother label John MacArthur/Master's Seminary/dispensational Bible churches as "Calvinists but not Reformed." I think what he was saying is that these Bible churches are calvinistic in the sense that they believe in the 5-points of Calvinism, but are not Reformed in the sense that they are dispensational.

    On the flip-side, the PCUSA would be Reformed but not Calvinistic. That is, they are Reformed in worship (RPW) and eschatology (amil), but soteriologically, they do not hold to the 5-points of Calvinism.

    So one can be a 5-Point Calvinist and not be Reformed, and one can be Reformed and not be a 5-Point Calvinist.

    This is what my friend was saying to me. I'm still floating his words in my mind and still chewing on it with my teeth. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
    Basically this is it; one can call oneself a "5 point Calvinist", yet deny covenant theology and be hard-core dispensational. Church government and the RPW are also a big part of it.

    However, I would beg to differ with you regarding the PCUSA. A good majority of the leadership even deny basic truths of the Scriptures; how would this be "reformed"? In addition, I am not aware that few if any PCUSA congregations would abide by the RPW. Again, we need an operational definition of the RPW, but I doubt very many PCUSA pastors would clearly tell you that they abide by it.

    A good number of PCUSA members have to be liberal to the core. If they weren't, why aren't they in the PCA (which broke off from them in 1973), the OPC, the ARPC, RPCNA, or any of the other conservative Presbyterian denominations?
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    Quote Originally Posted by R Harris View Post
    However, I would beg to differ with you regarding the PCUSA.
    Um, I'm not the one saying this. I said that that was what a friend of mine had told me. And I concluded that his words were still milling in me.
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    Reformed = Calvinist + Covenant Theology + Confessional

    The Presby types would add ecclesiology + paedobaptism as implied in the word Reformed. Therefore they sometimes refer to themselves as Truly Reformed (TR) to the chagrin of Reformed Baptists.

    This definition of Reformed excludes dispensationalism. Also, though presby in ecclesiology, by the same definition the PCUSA cannot be considered Reformed.
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    This subject has been practically beaten to death here over the past couple of years. But because of the casual use of the term "Reformed" or even "Calvinist" to refer to only the 5 points, especially with the revival of Calvinistic soteriology over the past 50 years, it is something that requires regular debunking. It's not uncommon to hear Baptists and even charismatics described as "Reformed" today with no qualification. When I was a Presbyterian I was one of the main one's here doing the debunking. My views on this haven't changed now that I am a Baptist.

    Here's probably the best and most accurate short explanation I've heard about whether Baptists are Calvinist or Reformed from someone who apparently had an appreciation for church history and precise definition. I don't know whether it was on this board or another one, but I recall recently a man recounting when he was 9 years old asking his Baptist pastor if they were Calvinists. If I recall correctly, this was in a GARBC church or something similar in the Midwest about 40 years ago, and the pastor was a Dutchman. His answer was that "We are Calvinistic but we are not Calvinists." That's basically my answer too at this point and is why you'll see me use the modifier Calvinistic when referring to Baptists who embrace the doctrines of grace but seldom Calvinist and rarer still "Reformed Baptist" unless it is in reference to someone who is denominationally a Reformed Baptist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gomarus View Post
    Reformed = Calvinist + Covenant Theology + Confessional

    The Presby types would add ecclesiology + paedobaptism as implied in the word Reformed. Therefore they sometimes refer to themselves as Truly Reformed (TR) to the chagrin of Reformed Baptists.

    This definition of Reformed excludes dispensationalism. Also, though presby in ecclesiology, by the same definition the PCUSA cannot be considered Reformed.
    Truly Reformed most often is used in contrast to those who are looser subscriptionists and have more of a broad evangelical outlook within churches like the PCA, who have sometimes been referred to as Barely Reformed or Broadly Reformed.
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    Some on this board prefer to known as "particular Baptists" rather than Reformed Baptists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gomarus View Post
    Reformed = Calvinist + Covenant Theology + Confessional

    The Presby types would add ecclesiology + paedobaptism as implied in the word Reformed. Therefore they sometimes refer to themselves as Truly Reformed (TR) to the chagrin of Reformed Baptists.

    This definition of Reformed excludes dispensationalism. Also, though presby in ecclesiology, by the same definition the PCUSA cannot be considered Reformed.
    Jim,

    This is much I was trying to get at with my only partly tongue-in-cheek, but certainly cheeky, description in my earlier post. In my mind the problem comes because the word has a range of meanings and people take it VERY personally when you use it differently than they do.

    I would posit that Reformed in the fullest sense = Calvinist + covenant theology + paedobaptism + presbyterian polity + confessional.

    Those of us who are soteriologically Reformed lack too many of the indicia to be Reformed without significant misunderstanding.

    However, if you argue that "Reformed Baptist" is a compound word that takes its meaning from the combination of words rather than from their separate meanings (e.g., Watergate is NOT a gate that passes water; a butterfly is not a fly drenched in that delicious yellow dairy product), one could probably justify the usage, but not without objection from the truly Reformed. In this sense, "Reformed Baptist" would denote a credo-baptist who may have congregational polity yet holds to soteriological Calvinism. The Baptist modifier would, in this case, SUBTRACT much of the connotative associations of the normal sense of "Reformed."

    A "Reformed Baptist" = Calvinist + credo-baptism + confessional (+ differing ideas about covenant theology + "typically" congregational polity).

    As you can see, the semantic range overlaps a good deal between "Reformed" and "Reformed Baptist." However, insofar as the polity MAY be significantly different and the view of baptism IS significantly different, I now side with Dr. Clark in objecting to the term being used for Baptists at all. It is just too confusing. Efforts to define Calvinistic Baptists as "particular Baptists" or some historically attested name suffers, in my opinion, for a different reason. When it comes to theology, the Calvinistic Baptists read Reformed theology done by Presbyterians, skipping the parts about polity and baptism.

    Me? I'm a Calvinistic Baptist pure and simple (light on the pure and heavy on the simple, please).
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    One could make the case that the Baptists are the ones "truly reformed" because they "reformed" ecclesiology. The Early reformers just reformed the theology of the church and salvation.

    This is what I was told by a founders Baptist member who is dispy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by servantofmosthigh View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kceaster View Post
    I'll also add that I think the title Reformed needs to be linked to a covenantal understanding of Scripture over against a non-covenantal view, which is probably why Dispensational calvinist's would not apply the term to themselves.

    In Christ,

    KC
    And for Presbyterians, covenantal understanding is under the Covenant Theology. For us non-dispensational Baptists, we use the term "reformed" knowing we differ from our dispensational Baptist brothers, but we also disagree with our Presbyterian brothers who view O.T. Israel is the N.T. church in both physical and spiritual continuity, for Reformed Baptists only see the spiritual continuity. (More can be said on this matter in another thread.) And then there's the new group of Baptists that developed in the 90's who hold to the New Covenant Theology - also distinguishing themselves apart from the dispensational Baptists and from us Reformed Baptists who are more covenantal (but, again, distinct from the covenantal concept of the Presbyterians).

    So to say that the term "Reformed" should be linked to the covenantal understanding of Scripture is true, but the question is from who's covenantal understanding (the Presbyterians', the non-dispensional Baptists', or the NCT Baptists).
    Without devolving into the finer points of this issue, I would simply ask whether or not it is fair to "adopt" a term, and then change the definition to suit? As I wrote before, that was Machen's beef with the liberals. They chose the name Christian, but they seriously detached themselves from everything that term means, or rather, used to mean. The term will become useless to the point where we now have to say truly Reformed versus merely Reformed.

    I'll give an example. We have a certain section of the population who are pro-choice while at the same time argue for animal rights. They think saving baby polar bears is a distinctive "human" responsibility while killing babies is not contrary to that same responsibility. They're changing definitions of what is human responsibility.

    The same is true of every group that would call themselves Reformed this or Reformed that, while never stopping to contemplate what the definition of Reformed is. Therefore, it is unfair to distinguish a Reformed Baptist from a Reformed Presbyterian, because the word Reformed is not understood the same way.

    Let's look at the phrase Reformed Baptist versus Reformed Presbyterian. Baptist and Presbyterian are being used as both noun and adjective in the phrase. These words are nouns because they name a group of particular individuals, but they are also adjectives because they describe a particular genus within the species of Reformed. (It stands to reason that there should not be a species within the genus and this should correspond to anything having to do with the people of God or the Elect. Essentially, the people of God are one without any distinction.) Reformed is also both a noun and an adjective. It is a noun because it, too, names a particular group of individuals, but is also an adjective because it is describing the kind of Baptist or Presbyterian named group. Because this is true, the meaning of the term is lost. It is lost because the definition of Reformed is not the same in both phrases.

    It would be one thing if we were referring to Baptists or Presbyterians in the same way as the phrase, "reformed alcoholics," but, obviously we're not. Reformed means something. And for the word to mean anything it needs to be as concrete an idea as possible.

    I know what the answer to this is. We join together without distinction. But because the fundamental difference between the two groups is the very reason there are two groups, then one must defer the definition to the other, or drop titles altogether. I vote for the latter in a perfect world. But because Paul said that there will always be delineations or denominations (I prefer those words over factions), I think we'll all have to define ourselves in the strictest terms possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcFadden View Post

    I would posit that Reformed in the fullest sense = Calvinist + covenant theology + paedobaptism + presbyterian polity + confessional.

    Those of us who are soteriologically Reformed lack too many of the indicia to be Reformed without significant misunderstanding. . . . The Baptist modifier would, in this case, SUBTRACT much of the connotative associations of the normal sense of "Reformed."

    A "Reformed Baptist" = Calvinist + credo-baptism + confessional (+ differing ideas about covenant theology + "typically" congregational polity).

    . . . I now side with Dr. Clark in objecting to the term being used for Baptists at all. It is just too confusing.

    . . . Me? I'm a Calvinistic Baptist pure and simple (light on the pure and heavy on the simple, please).
    Thanks Dennis. Although I use the term Reformed Baptist, I understand what you are saying and by-and-large agree with your points.
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    Reformed = Calvinist + Covenant Theology + Confessional
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonoftheday View Post
    Reformed = Calvinist + Covenant Theology + Confessional
    Okay, new question. What's the difference between Covenant Theology and being Confessional?

    Sorry - my vocabulary in all of this is horrible, I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post
    Sorry - my vocabulary in all of this is horrible, I know.
    Mine is too. I just let other people ask the questions so everything thinks I'm wise . Seriously, though, there are a lot of big words and labels and definitions that will probably take me a long time to understand. You're not alone!
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    Quote Originally Posted by R Harris View Post

    A good number of PCUSA members have to be liberal to the core. If they weren't, why aren't they in the PCA (which broke off from them in 1973), the OPC, the ARPC, RPCNA, or any of the other conservative Presbyterian denominations?
    Mostly because they are married to the institution and to their physical buildings and are not willing to submit to the clear teaching of Scripture on the roles of Women in the Church.
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    This is an historical question, for it is events and beliefs during and since the Reformation that give words like "Reformed," "Presbyterian," "Baptist" (and even "Protestant") definitions at all. In light of that fact, I would submit that to know what the "Reformed" system of theology is, one need simply look to the Reformed confessions. After all, terms like the above have always been defined in and by churches, and confessional standards by nature are simply what the respective churches have declared their belief systems to be.

    With this algorithm of defining "Reformed," of course there will be differences at some finer points between, say, the Westminster Standards, the Three Forms of Unity, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Savoy Declaration, some of the confessions and catechisms drafted during the first generation of the Reformation, etc. Of course, some will still argue on both sides as to whether the 1689 London Baptist Confession belongs under the same heading as those above. But other than that one issue, realizing the confessionally-defined nature of Reformed theology has a simple answer that clarifies the questions like whether, say, cessationism is required to be "Reformed," whether an alleged "four-pointer" can be considered Reformed, to what extent Covenant Theology is a necessary part and parcel of Reformed theology, whether the Regulative Principle is essential, or the question of whatever else needs to be added to the "equation" to consider someone or their system of beliefs "Reformed."

    The only reason those doctrines and others in the first place are considered specifically in light of each other at all, or presumably grouped together in an "equation" as such, is because they have all been confessed together by like churches. So rather than being answered in a point-by-point, subjective, essentially arbitrary way, and in turn creating meaningless terms like "high Calvinist," "low Calvinist," "Truly Reformed" and "Broadly Reformed," the question is really quite simple if one recognizes the inherently historical and ecclesiastical nature of how the term was and is given meaning at all, and in light of that, simply looks to the standards confessed by what have been the Reformed churches since the sixteenth century.
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    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonoftheday View Post
    Reformed = Calvinist + Covenant Theology + Confessional
    Okay, new question. What's the difference between Covenant Theology and being Confessional?

    Sorry - my vocabulary in all of this is horrible, I know.
    Covenant Theology references the system of viewing scripture in terms of continuity rather than discontinuity (e.g., as opposed to the dispensational approach which views the Bible in terms of its discontinuities and administrations). Those who hold to traditional covenant theology quite often see infant baptism as the continuation/NT expression of the OT form of circumcision. Issues of sabbath, for example, are also viewed as applying to both testaments.

    "Confessional" refers to subscription to one of the standard confessions, in this case to one of the Reformed confessions. Some denominations with a "Reformed" heritage (e.g., PCUSA) are not very strict in their subscription or have modified the confessions to drop things that they believe to be offensive or outdated. There are all kinds of nuances separating, strict from "good faith" adherance. However, the point is pretty clear: do you submit yourself to the Bible and the agreed upon interpretations of it in the confessions or do you take an autonomous approach.
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    MW
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    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    I think the last time this was discussed the consensus was that "reformed" before "baptist" is one thing, and "reformed" on its own is another. Reformed Baptists are just that -- Baptists who have become reformed. But they are still distinct from reformed churches.
    How so? I mean, besides infant baptism and ecclesiology.
    Ecclesiology is part and parcel of being a "church." If Baptists hold a different ecclesiology, then it follows that they are "distinct from reformed churches."
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    Just to make the waters a bit more muddy. The term Reformed Baptist has been adulterated also. A Pastor friend of mine wrote a blog defining what a Reformed Baptist was. The five points of Reformed Baptist Churches « Reformed Baptist Fellowship This of course made some Baptists upset because they wanted to be included but they were dispensational (denying Covenant Theology) or had problems with one of the other points.

    The term Reformed Baptist is a rather new one in church history. It was developed around the time that Ernest Reisinger was starting to work with Banner of Truth Trust by bringing good Puritan and Reformed writings back to the American Churches. He was the first ordained Preaching Layman in a Presbyterian Church. He was undecided about his position concerning baptism when he was ordained to preach. But he became a credo baptist as time went on.

    It has been thought by some that Ernie's close association with Banner of Truth and the Baptist position somehow made the two terms come together.

    So Historic Baptist theology was being rediscovered during this time. Dispensationalism had taken over much of the church in the mid 1900's. And it is not the Historic Theology of the Reformers. It denies Covenant Theology and formed a new basis of hermeneutics and how others looked at portions of scripture. Not all of the Bible was for everyone. Dispensationalism taught that there were portions of the Bible that was written for the Jews and portions written specifically for the Gentiles and other portions that could be for both. This was foreign to Covenant Theology and very unbiblical. Ernie helped in a major way to get the Church back on track by being a representative for Banner of Truth and promoting Covenantal thinking in the American Church. Even some Presby's took up with this dispensational teaching.

    Actually the Puritan Credo Pastors in the 1600's were known as Particular Baptists. They did hold to a Covenant Theology much like the Reformers but more closely to a Covenant Theology that was taught by John Owen and Samuel Petto. The New is not the Old renewed. It is New.

    These Baptists also adhered to the same soteriology of the Reformers. All 5 points. But their ecclesiology was not Presbyterian either.

    There are Baptists today who call themselves Reformed Baptists because they hold to the 5 points of Calvinism. But they are not Covenant Theologians. Some have developed a new theology called New Covenant Theology. It denies the Covenant of Works and tends to be antinomian in some ways.

    The term Reformed (as it has been used in Church history) has been prostituted in the Presbyterians understanding. It has lost some of its defined power because of those who wish to be called reformed when in fact they are not according to them. I am a Reformed Baptist as it is known in Pastor David Charles blog. But more accurately I am a Particular Baptist that holds to the 1689 LBCF.

    When Matthew McMahan challenged me on what Reformed meant when I joined the board, I was slightly offended because he said I wasn't reformed. I just said he wasn't reformed enough. I was ignorant about what he meant. I was thinking of Luther, Zwingli, Bullinger, Bucer, Calvin, Bunyan, Owen, and all those during the time of the reformation and thinking that I was following their teachings. But some would say that Luther and Melancthon are not Reformed.

    I guess it depends on what you are referring to when you say Reformed. The time period or a system of doctrinal understanding. According to the Presbyterian's those who are reformed are those who are confessional paedo's and have an ecclesiology that lines up with their understanding of how a church organism should be and work. Ok, I can live with that.

    But boy if you are a Baptistic New Covenant Theologian and you want to be called a Reformed Baptist, you are going to far. We all have our pet names and we want to protect them.

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    Because the term "Reformed" speaks as much to hermeneutics (CT) and ecclesiology (presbyterian polity) as soteriology (5 pts.), that is why so many of our Presbyterian sisters and brothers rankle at the (mis)appropriation of the term by Baptists who do not share the ecclesiology. In the case of people like John MacArthur, the hermeneutics, ecclesiology, AND view of baptism are all different. You can see why so many of them go apopletic.
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    I haven't read the whole thread, so forgive me if i am being repetitive.

    I think the difference between Reformed and Calvinist would be that those who are Reformed are confessional, while one can be a Calvinist without being confessional.
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    Quote Originally Posted by larryjf View Post
    I haven't read the whole thread, so forgive me if i am being repetitive.

    I think the difference between Reformed and Calvinist would be that those who are Reformed are confessional, while one can be a Calvinist without being confessional.
    Exactly. As Rev. Winzer articulated above, Reformed theology has always been confessionally defined, namely by the Reformed churches.

    The term "Calvinist," on the other hand, is more subjective anymore. Should it simply refer to an adoption of the "five points," as it most commonly does? Ultimately, in order for it to be used in as historically objective a way as the term "Reformed" is properly used, it would have to be taken to simply refer to Calvin's own system of beliefs. But it is highly doubtful that that will ever come to be its broad use. That's one reason that, like I remember Rich also saying in a past thread, anymore I essentially never even describe myself as a "Calvinist" to most people, but simply as a Christian who subscribes to a Reformed confession. If people are familiar with the term "Calvinist," and ask me if it is what I believe, I'll tell them so, but not without elaboration on what that really means, including the fact that it's not really even defined by Calvin (or any other theologian) per se, or by a few isolated elements of doctrine.
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    If I were to answer, and I am, I would do so thusly:

    Calvinism is a subsect of Reformed Theology. Reformed Theology is a broader term that includes soteriology, which is held to be Calvinism, but also other things as well.

    In order to be Reformed, one must be a Calvinist, but this is only a part of the whole that comprises the Reformed position.

    In being a Calvinist, one only affirms the Reformed soteriology; only one aspect of the whole. It is possible for the Calvinist to affirm other positions, not directly related to soteriology, and counter to the Reformed position, i.e. Dispensationalism.

    Logically, all Reformed are Calvinists, but only some Calvinists are Reformed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenas View Post
    If I were to answer, and I am, I would do so thusly:

    Calvinism is a subsect of Reformed Theology. Reformed Theology is a broader term that includes soteriology, which is held to be Calvinism, but also other things as well.

    In order to be Reformed, one must be a Calvinist, but this is only a part of the whole that comprises the Reformed position.

    In being a Calvinist, one only affirms the Reformed soteriology; only one aspect of the whole. It is possible for the Calvinist to affirm other positions, not directly related to soteriology, and counter to the Reformed position, i.e. Dispensationalism.

    Logically, all Reformed are Calvinists, but only some Calvinists are Reformed.
    That is indeed accurate in light of the contemporary usage of the term "Calvinist." But how do you think it came to simply refer to the doctrines of grace? Was it ever used in a more "proper" (technically speaking) sense, namely to essentially refer to Calvin's system of beliefs at large? And either way, do we know when it first came to be used at all, either in that "proper" sense or else in its now-common soteriological sense?

    Those questions I think would be interesting to know for the sake of history, but not much more really; for even if it were hypothetically the case that it currently was used by people to refer to Calvin's system of beliefs at large, I would not typically offer the term to describe my theology to people, since even if the content of Calvin's belief system and that of one or more of the Reformed confessional documents are essentially one, nonetheless the content and authority of our beliefs of course are not derived from any theologian, but rather by the Church (and so by implication, her confessions) as God's appointed messenger. And while "Calvinist" of course refers to one person, the term "Reformed" describes our theology in a way consistent with that principle.
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    And to muddy the waters a little further it bears pointing out that many of those who currently use the label Reformed for themselves have nonetheless departed (some of them admittedly) from the Reformed view of the civil magistrate and his relation to the church.
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    Quote Originally Posted by danmpem View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonoftheday View Post
    Reformed = Calvinist + Covenant Theology + Confessional
    Okay, new question. What's the difference between Covenant Theology and being Confessional?

    Sorry - my vocabulary in all of this is horrible, I know.
    Modus Ponens my friend.
    If A (CT) then B (Conf.); B is the case, therefore A. Simple law of modus ponens.

    In lay man's terms:
    If you affirm A, it doesn't mean that you are or are not confessional. However, depending on the confession, e.g., Westminster, Heidelberg, etc., if you are confessional you are most likely CT. Again, it depends on the confession.
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    After having read Dr Sproul's book, What is Reformed Theology?,
    Reformed Theology is composed of several major parts:

    1) catholic (universal with other Christian groups) on some basic doctrines
    2) evangelical (Gospel centered)
    3) evangelical (Scripture alone)
    4) justification by faith alone (Christ's righteousness alone)
    5) covenant theology (framework for understanding the whole of Scripture)
    6) the "five points of Calvinism"

    "Calvinism" in popular terminology is either:

    1) all the above doctrines plus distinctives, especially relating to Church government (including church discipline), view of the sacraments, the Ten Commandments as a rule for life, etc. or
    2) reduced to the "five points" only

    That's my understanding of it right now- Reformed theology is really the broader category, unless one is only using it to refer to the "five points."
    Last edited by Scott1; 07-04-2008 at 05:31 PM.
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    Post RE: Succinct Response to Scott1

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott1 View Post
    After having read Dr Sproul's book, What is Reformed Theology?,
    Reformed Theology is composed of several major parts:

    1) catholic (universal with other Christian groups) on some basic doctrines
    2) evangelical (Gospel centered)
    3) evangelical (Scripture alone)
    4) justification by faith alone (Christ's righteousness alone)
    5) covenant theology (framework for understanding the whole of Scripture)
    6) the \"five points of Calvinism\"

    \"Calvinism\" in popular terminology is either:

    1) all the above doctrines plus distinctives, especially relating to Church government (including church discipline), view of the sacraments, the Ten Commandments as a rule for life, etc. or
    2) reduced to the \"five points\" only

    That's my understanding of it right now- Reformed theology is really the broader category, unless one is only using it to refer to the \"five points.\"
    Most of the evangelical world tends to find out about the Reformed faith under the sobriquet of "Five-point Calvinism." I know that was the case for me. Personally, I don't think it is Reformed theology per se, albeit it is a match to the flame. When I was in a Calvary Chapel (which hasn't been for years), I've come to realize that most of the theology involved in Dispensational-evangelical theology tends to contort the system of theology. So even if an everyday Christian does discover the Five points as a sort of catalyst for a further inquiry into the mind of God. It wasn't until the complete paradigm of Reformed "Covenant Theology" that fully transformed my view of God, the Church, the visible signs of the sacraments (as sign and seal [most evangelicals miss the final mark as "seal"]), etc. For anyone who wants to have a cursory view of the Presbyterian model, see Sean Michael Lucas's On Being Presbyterian (published by Presbyterian & Reformed, 2001). There are, of course, other works by other Reformed traditions, e.g., The United Reformed Church or Reformed Episcopalian (though I am not a huge fan of their church government), and the Reformed Baptist Church.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmartinez83 View Post
    For anyone who wants to have a cursory view of the Presbyterian model, see Sean Michael Lucas's On Being Presbyterian (published by Presbyterian & Reformed, 2001).
    Lucas' book is indeed excellent; especially the chapter on worship, but also just in its comprehensive survey of Presbyterianism as a whole for the layman.

    Also, I should have further clarified something I had said above. Referring to the term "Calvinist," I said, "I would not typically offer the term to describe my theology to people, since even if the content of Calvin's belief system and that of one or more of the Reformed confessional documents are essentially one, nonetheless the content and authority of our beliefs of course are not derived from any theologian, but rather by the Church (and so by implication, her confessions) as God's appointed messenger." Ultimately, of course, it is solely Scripture from which the full "content and authority" of our beliefs are derived. But likewise, we understand (unlike much of broad evangelicalism today) the Church to be "God's appointed messenger" for communicating and proclaiming the content and authority therein - and never an infallible messenger of course, but the messenger nonetheless.
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