Baptist churches not true churches?

Discussion in 'Church History' started by mvdm, Jun 15, 2009.

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  1. mvdm

    mvdm Puritan Board Junior

    Scott Clark wrote this on his blog:

    "We would discipline someone if they left OURC and began attending a baptistic congregation or a sect.

    I don’t think that any congregation that denies the administration of baptism to covenant children can be a true church. I don’t see how any baptistic congregation is practicing the “pure administration” of the sacraments. Arguably the best reading of WCF 25 is that that when it says that it is a “great sin” to “contemn” baptism to take it as a reference to the newly organized particular and slightly older regular baptist movements. The first London confession was in ‘44.

    Here's the link {Clark's quote found in 4th to last comment}:

    How the CRC Looked to Machen in 1936 Heidelblog

    Aside from the Protestant Reformed, does anyone here know if any Reformed/Presbyterian churches have held/hold to this position? This question is important for some pastoral/eldership situations I am presently involved in, so some feedback here would be appreciated.
  2. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    Oh my. Machens Warrior Children indeed. And it is Scott Clark and Mark Dever in the ring ready to duke it out :popcorn:

    My PCA in the Metro NY Presbyterian does not hold to this position at all. I know because of somebody thinking of leaving for a Grudemite Church. And we even have Baptists as members who take communion :eek: Of course I realize the PCA is not considered truly Reformed in some camps.

    So you look at Colossians 2 and say baptism is circumcision, a sign of the covenant people. And the next guy looks at Romans 6 and says it is a sign of death and resurrection and union with Christ. I have NEVER NOT ONCE heard a paedo reference Romans 6- not once!!!! And I never in all my former years as a craedo NOT ONE SINGLE TIME heard reference to Colossians 2. Never. Both sides have some work to do.

    Excommunication over this? I assume that is what the word discipline entails? May God have mercy on Clark and Dever and all the rest who seem to be doing great harm with this subject.
  3. Guido's Brother

    Guido's Brother Puritan Board Junior


    The Canadian Reformed churches have often been said to hold to "Our church is the only true church." While there were some who definitely held that position, I think we've moved almost entirely away from that.

    But even in the high days of this way of thinking, as far as I know no one was ever placed under discipline for attending a Baptist church. In fact, when I was a youngster and my Dad was in the RCMP, we were stationed in the Yukon and NWT, where there are no Reformed churches. Our Canadian Reformed church (where we retained our membership) encouraged us to attend a Baptist church. This was in the late 1970s.

    But I do know that in the history of the Reformed churches, the approach that Scott mentions has been found. See here.
  4. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Scott Clark's comments may be tanamount to closing the door after the horse has left the barn. If a member of his denomination flies the coup, discipline will be nothing more than an administrative exercise. Seems as though, with some, the spirit of the Reformation is akin to the spirit of partisanship. I'm not too worried by the esteemed doctor's comments as they are from a distinct minority position.
  5. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Before I majored in Biblical Studies/Theology, my academic career began as a psych major. Sounds like someone who is now an esteemed professor in a Reformed school must have started out in a baptistic church and has undergone what the shrinks call "reaction formation." :lol:

    The logic of RSC's position would mean that none of us on the PB who hail from Baptist/ic churches are part of a valid church. If we are not part of a valid church we cannot qualify to be members of the PB which requires church membership. Oops! Administrators, you better get your pruning knives out now! There are some of us bad seeds even among the ranks of the mods!!! :eek: "Grab the women and chill'ins." "We have a security breach in Sector 2. We have a security breach in Sector 2." "The Baptists are coming . . . the Baptists are coming!!!" :lol:

    Scott's logic is sound, based on his premises. There are others on the PB who disagree in principle with allowing the LBCF to qualify people for membership in this board for much the same reason. If one interprets the absence of baptism for infants as a grave sin, then how can one fellowship with those who not only practice such but teach it?

    If I were to put on my moderator hat (not a good idea now that I have weighed in on this subject), it would be to urge the mods to keep an eye on this thread so that it does not spin out of control into name calling and the like. Differences over baptism are among the most contentious issues we face on the PB.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  6. christianyouth

    christianyouth Puritan Board Senior

    (emphasis added)

    If proper administration of the sacraments is a sign of a true church, and Baptists are not properly administering the sacraments, then it follows that they aren't a true church. Dr. Clark's reasoning is solid there, even if we don't like it.

    But I think it's impossible to establish that a church is false if it doesn't properly administer the sacraments. There are many other commands that are given to the NT church and I don't see why this particular one is an identifier of a true church whereas others are not.
  7. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    In some interviews that I listened to from some members of the founders ministries they said that Presbyterian chruches were 'irregular' churches.
  8. Mayflower

    Mayflower Puritan Board Junior

    If baptist churches are no true churches, than their baptism can also not be valid ?
  9. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Without getting too involved -- The above statement would not follow, for the same reason that Roman Catholic baptisms were historically accepted by the Reformed churches. How much more the baptism of those who preach the true gospel!
  10. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    We have Baptists attending our OPC because he, the pastor, was thrown out of his church because he was preaching reformed theology. We gladly accept him in our church and my pastor would never think of disciplining him on his credo beliefs. My pastor doesn't believe he is fully reformed, but that pastor and his family are fully accepted in our worship. Of course if the Baptist pastor wanted to become a member and hold office in our church, he would have to be paedo. Credo-baptists are our brothers and sisters in Christ not a sect.
  11. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    I agree with McFadden's diagnosis of "reaction formation." It seems to be a common thread among ex-Baptist ex-dispensational Reformed people. One would think that more moderate language is in order, especially since there are more gospel-preaching Baptists in Greenville, SC than in RSC's entire denomination. When a minority like that starts describing others in terms such as "not true churches," the word that comes to mind is "bluster." In some ways, he sounds more "fundamentalist" than the BJU students around here.
  12. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    If Baptists are not a "true church," then my own baptism is invalid since I was immersed in a Missionary Baptist church. But then, I'm not a Donatist.
  13. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    That is very good to hear. This issue actually came up, Wes, during the ARP's General Synod (mentioned by a Canadian minister). We were voting on whether to approve the CRC as a member of NAPARC (not that our voted would have mattered, as you have already secured the minimum number of votes), and someone asked about the "only true church" mentality. We were assure that the CRC had moved away from this -- obviously evidenced by the desire to be a part of NAPARC.

    And, yes, we all voted "aye"!
  14. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Not CRC MM, CanRC...
  15. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    Some of them certainly are :)
  16. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Judging by anecdotal data, America is FULL of irregular churches!!! :lol:
  17. ReformedChapin

    ReformedChapin Puritan Board Freshman

    Where's Dr Clark? I wanna hear some of his comments on this issue.
  18. Mayflower

    Mayflower Puritan Board Junior

    Most reformed churches accept the Roman Catholic baptisms, but not all reformed churches agreed with that. For me that is the most contradicted teaching of many presbyterian churches whom are accepting roman catholic baptism :eek::eek::eek:!!!!
  19. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    blah blah blah..... all the same charges could be said by baptists towards Presbyterians.

    You baby dunkers aren't true churches either it could be said.

    But, who REALLY believes that?

    At least most baptists and Presbyterians alike are charitable enough to call the other one merely "irregular" instead of altogether "invalid."
  20. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    There's only one solution:
  21. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    We also need some EK-LAX (short for Ekklesia lax) for those with constipated ecclesiologies.
  22. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    Not in U.S. South. It was quite the opposite. See Thornwell & Co.
  23. Gator_Baptist

    Gator_Baptist Puritan Board Freshman

    Wow. I didn't know that some Presbyterian Churches took that stance on Baptism. I know that many baptist churches only count a baptism as valid if it occurred after they got saved.

    For those that believe in infant baptism, why is it such a big deal that infants get baptized? Is it because you hold the same view as Calvin on baptism or is it for other reasons?
  24. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Why is it so important? Because we understand it is the command of God as a part of his instituted worship. A cursory reading of the fundamentals of Reformed or Covenant theology will explain the position. You might want to explore the Baptism forum here, or the PaedoBaptism Answers subforum. If after reading some of those threads, you would like to ask questions about the subject, please feel free to use the PaedoAnswers forum, where I am sure many will be more than happy to assist!
  25. Gator_Baptist

    Gator_Baptist Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you very much. I will check it out.
  26. sastark

    sastark Puritan Board Graduate

    The interesting flip side to Dr. Clark's statement is that, if I, as a Presbyterian who was baptized as an infant, were to desire membership at a Baptist church, I would be required to undergo baptism a second time.

    Dr. Clark's statement may be in the minority amongst Presbyterians, but the Baptist-exclusivist view regarding Presbyterians is certainly in the majority among credobaptists.

    "Kettle? This is Pot. You're black."
  27. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    I have the highest respect for Paedobaptists who hold that baptizing their infants is a matter of significant importance. To follow one's conscience is an honorable thing and when I see that in my paedobaptist brethren it warms my heart.
  28. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    It is fine to call the wrong administration of an ordinance "irregular" but to call a church not a true church due to an irregular administration of a sacrament is over-the-top.
  29. sastark

    sastark Puritan Board Graduate

    Unless I misunderstand, what you just said is in contradiction with most reformed theologians, as well as the WCF. The proper administration of the sacraments has long been regarded as a mark of the true church. I suppose the question is: do Baptists properly administer the sacrament of Baptism? Dr. Clark obviously thinks "no".
  30. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Then, again, both baptists and Presbyterians must charge the other with being a false church; which most would see as lacking in common sense.

    I like the irregular versus invalid distinction.
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