Progressive Dispensationalist and Reformed Baptist

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by aleksanderpolo, Aug 2, 2007.

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  1. aleksanderpolo

    aleksanderpolo Puritan Board Freshman

    This thread comes from the observation that many "Reformed" baptist holds a radically different view of the New Covenant vs the Old Covenant. For example, in their view, if I am not mistaken, the New Covenant is:

    1. Completely internal, only made with the elect.
    2. No one knows who are in the New Covenant, as no one knows who are the elect.
    3. There is no covenant sign of the New Covenant, because not all who receive a physical sign (e.g baptism/communion) are in the New Covenant in any sense.
    4. The visible church cannot be called the Covenant community, as not all baptized into the visible church belongs to the New Covenant.

    At what point can someone still claim to be "Reformed" or holding "Covenant theology"? For example, can a progressive dispensationalist claim to be a "Covenant theologian" or "Reformed"? If no, what disqualify him? Is there a historical sense of the term "Reformed" or "Covenant theology" that we should follow? :cheers:
  2. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Reformed Baptists do not claim to be "WCF Reformed", nor do we wish to be considered such. We are Reformed in the sense that we part with Arminian-Dispensational Baptist churches on the doctrines of grace and the systematic theology we use to interpret scripture. We are not looking to embrace the WCF-Reformed view of C.T. I think WCF Reformed believers would do better not to consider Reformed Baptists as trying to be like them. We're not. There are too many theological barriers between us that can never be recnciled.
  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Russell Moore's book *The Kingdom of Christ* is an exploration into this area.
  4. aleksanderpolo

    aleksanderpolo Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for your reply. I am wondering if most of us on the board will consider Bunyan as Reformed. I am certainly undecided on this matter. Perhaps the word has a broader meaning than I originally envisioned?

    You mentioned Arminian-Dispensational Baptist churches. Let's leave the Arminian part aside, I am wondering what an average baptist in the progressive dispensationalism camp believes regarding the difference between the New and Old Covenant. Are you familiar with that? And in what way is it different from your view? I am curious. Thanks.
  5. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    I know we've had threads dealing with this before. I think John MacArthur is a progressive dispensationalist.
  6. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I know dispensationalists of any stripe have a bad rap (and some of it justifiably), but I ran across a quote by Robert Saucy that should be placed in every Reformed seminary:

    "A Response to Understanding Dispenationalists by Vern Poythress," GTJ 10 [1989]: 145.


    The eternal state cannot be the focal poont of these national aspect of salvation, contra Hoekema, because in the regeneration, all persons know God, and thus do not need the mediatorial function of national Israel.

    Saucy, "A Rationale for the Future of Israel, JETS 28 [1985]: 439.


    The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism, 28.
  7. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Here is a small portion of an article that may be of some interest here. It is a look at Covenatal Baptist teaching. There are differences in Reformed Baptists like there are in Some Presby's. We are bi-covenantal and do not hold to the seven dispensations of dispensationalism. I do not claim to be Reformed in the Presby sense but the term Reformed Baptist is a rather new term that indicates that we are closer in line with Confessional people who hold to a view of Covenant Theology.
  8. aleksanderpolo

    aleksanderpolo Puritan Board Freshman

    Interesting, can I take it to mean that they deny the typological function of the Mosaic covenant? Is it the key to how progressive dispensationalist understand the Old Covenant?

    So in this scheme, circumcision is really tie up to the national/temporarial aspect of the Old Covenant. Again, I am wondering if a progressive dispensationalist will agree with this, and how is this view different from progressive dispensationalism... And how do you view what Paul is talking in Romans 4, is he talking about circumcision in relation to the national covenant? Or is he talking about circumcision in relation to justification by faith?
  9. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    We have discussed this in the other thread you alluded to. Paul is talking about circumcision in relation to justification by faith alone in Romans 4. Paul is not giving a complete exposition on the promises made to Abraham in Genesis chapter 17. Go back and read what Rich and I are discussing.
  10. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    No, the argument presupposed the background. There are verses in the prophets that are hard for amillennialists, especially the "spirituality of the church" type, to handle. These include what appear to be the prospect of "conversions" in the eternal state (Zechariah 14, Psalm 72). Hoekema tried to get around that and Saucy is rebutting him.

    I have no idea. I am not a progressive dispensationalist. I don't know how they would handle it.
  11. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    Perhaps it would help to note that Baptists weren't really reformers. They would be "formers," perhaps. They saw no value in trying to change what existed, but rather sought to build according to what they saw in God's Word. This would help to understand why the theology of Reformed Presbys is different from the theology of Reformed Baptists.
    As for progressive disp., MacArthur may fit most of the trappings, but he doesn't label himself as such. He doesn't even label himself as dispy because there is so much confusion as to what that actually means these days. Progressives see a future for ethnic Israel. The sign of the NC would be the circumcision of the heart, which is only observable in one's obedience to Christ.
    Romans 4 - I might get this wrong - I think Prog Dispys would claim that Abraham's physical circumcision was clearly a result of his salvation (heart circumcision) and a sign of his covenant with God. In obedience to God Israel took the sign of the covenant that was temporal, but had spiritual ramifications. In this there is a two fold Abrahamic Covenant, spiritual/temporal. The NC, on the other hand, is a spiritual covenant with temporal ramifications.
    Feel free to correct me if I got the PD perspective a bit tweaked. I haven't looked at it closely for a while.
  12. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    MacArthur's not PD.... sounds close sometimes, but he's not.
  13. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    You hit the nail right on the head aleksanderpolo. I am still looking for a New Testament justification that teaches Baptist for "Believer's Only" and not also for their children and households:

    The Baptist has to cut out the phrase "your children" to make their interpretation correct.


  14. puritan lad

    puritan lad Puritan Board Freshman

    The issues that you outlined in the New Covenant are not unique to the New. They were true in the Old Covenant as well. Not everyone who was circumcised and made a child of Israel was elect (The Pharisees, King Saul, Achan, etc.). The same holds true in the New Covenant. Not everyone who partakes in the New Covenant are elect (Judas Iscariot, Simon Magus, etc.). God's covenants has cursings as well as blessings.
  15. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    It is interesting how the WCFer sees the LBCer's view of the New vs. Old as 'radically different'. That seems to be the same charge from the Dispy Baptists as well. We are not 'radical' IMO, we are more 'middle of the roaders'. We see continuities and discontinuities.

    I assume that we started calling ourselves 'reformed', not for the Presby's benefit, but for the benefit of other Baptists. We like to distinguish ourselves from the Dispy norm.
  16. aleksanderpolo

    aleksanderpolo Puritan Board Freshman

    Let me try to summarize what I have learned from this thread, and what I would like to know more:

    It seems to me the biggest difference between a progressive dispensationalist and a Reformed baptist is that one believes in a separate future for the physical Israel, one does not.

    What I would like to probe futher is this: The difference between the Old and the New Covenant from a progressive dispensationalist's point of view and from a Reformed Baptist's point of view. For example, do they both see the Old Covenant as primarily physical/temporal, while the New Covenant as spiritual/eternal? Do they both see the circumcision as a physical sign for the physical/temporal blessings, and baptism as a sign for the spiritual/eternal salvation?

    Hope this clarify the question a bit.
  17. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan


    No. The Baptist would include "your children" as long as they were part of the "as many as the Lord our God shall call." This would, of course, mean that they responded in repentance and faith before we baptized them. We would claim that paedo-baptists cut out the "as many as the Lord our God shall call" in favor of the "your children." We like to include the entire description.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2007
  18. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan

    The "average baptist" probably isn't in any camp because they have no clue what you are talking about. Now, as far as progressive dispensationalism is concerned, I took a class from Craig Blaising, who wrote the original book Progressive Dispensationalism. From what I remember, the New Covenant replaces the Old (Mosaic) Covenant as the administration of the Abrahamic Covenant. Thus, they would still see physical promises necessary for the physical descendants of Abraham in some pre-eternal state, but in the eternal state, all is equal.
  19. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    Just like the paedo cuts out "in your flesh" out of Gen. 17 to make his interpretation correct.;)
  20. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    Peter just finished giving the general call for all to repent. This call is given indiscriminatly to adults and children alike. It is no bar for children to be baptized.

    Grace and Peace,

  21. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    Exactly! Repent and (then) be baptized. Don't repent... don't be baptized.
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