Reformed Baptist = Oxymoron?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Javilo, Apr 2, 2010.

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  1. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Feel free to quote me on this: :deadhorse: :deadhorse: :deadhorse: :deadhorse: :deadhorse: :deadhorse: :deadhorse: :deadhorse:
  2. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Fair enough; having sat through a church history class taught by a Baptist (undoubtedly from this group) who tried to explain the difference between General and Particular Baptists and was absolutely awful in doing so, I somewhat understand the frustration. But the group that Mueller is responding to also views the church as a voluntary association of adult believers where the sacraments are called ordinances and not "means of grace," along with a view a discontinuous (in some sense) view of the covenant of grace. Thus, the issue is not merely one of a disagreement on baptism. As Bill Brown and I agreed on another thread, the issue is actually a disagreement on other areas of doctrine (the nature of the covenant, the nature of the church) and baptism is more a fruit of that difference.

    But, for the record, I am quite fond of Reformed Baptists. I like you, I really like you! :)
  3. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Bigoted? I'm not bigoted. Some of my best friends are paedo baptists. But, despite the fine historical work by Drs. Muller and Clark, as long as "Reformed" includes the likes of Karl Barth, the PCUSA, and some of the most "progressive" voices in American Protestantism . . . I won't feel too bad being excluded from the "club." I'm a (PB) Baptist. Which, although it might not get me into Marrow Man's heaven ( :) ), Lane Keister says that if I ever change my baptism views, the PCA would take me.

    Frankly, after five mispent decades in the braod evangelical movement, I don't take much offense at being denied the use of sectarian subcategories. I have tons of experience homogenizing everything. When I hear "Reformed" my mind runs to Princeton seminary, Barth, neo-orthodoxy, John Frame, van Til, James Daane, R. Scott Clark, the contemporary "goddess" movement in the PCUSA, Westminster Seminary, a lawsuit at Erskine, R.C. Sproul, RCA's Robert Schuller, Calvin, gay emphasis/diversity week at Calvin College, Jonathan Edwards, Jack Rogers, nominal Protestantism in Grand Rapids, wars over EP, and the "Five Points" . . . all mixed up in one homozenized soup.

    * Tim, no offense intended. You are one of my absolute favs. Your integrity and scholarship impresses me, especially for an Erskine guy. :)
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  4. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder


    No offense taken. I'm an Erskine man. The "r" is for Reformed. ;)

    Your point about what constitutes "Reformed" in the mind of some is well put and well taken. We have lost the fight the second we include Barth and his legacy into the fold. But this isn't restricted to "Reformed" -- it is always amazing how Calvin is marshaled to the side of anyone who holds any position as proof they are right. True enough, ia Baptist of the sort Mueller describes would have been run out of Geneva. What would Calvin have really thought of a Barth?
  5. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner


    Sorry for the typo (I do know how to spell it).

    in my opinion, the energy of the Reformed respecting brand infringement would better be directed at the so-called "new Calvinists" than "Reformed Baptists." Talk about evangelifish! In many cases, you could give just about any braod evangelical a copy of R.C. Sproul or Piper and they would proclaim themselves "Reformed."
  6. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

  7. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Boy, have I found that out. As I've continued to reform in my doctrine I realize how impotent my theology has been. A low view of God (and His holiness), deficient orthodoxy, twisted soteriology, private interpretation of scripture; I'm sure it's only been by God's grace that my faith hasn't been shipwrecked. Sproul, more so than Piper, has been an asset to my reforming faith, but he is not the epitome of Reformed Theology, nor do I believe he would want that title. Confessionalism has helped me ground my belief system in something greater than my vacillating mind.
  8. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Bill, I only wish more Presbyterians were that committed to biblical confessionalism.
  9. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    Hay, watch who you call a moron there.

    But yeah, I think I might be an "Otherwise Reformed Baptist". That's going in my signature line. :D

    And finally: {eyeroll}

    Hope that answers your question. :)
  10. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    Wow. Never seen this before. :rolleyes:
  11. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    Like it or not what we call ourselves does have significance. It connects us to our own heritage, to our past. Being a Baptist is a loaded term that communicates what you believe on certain issues. These categories helps us to communicate our beliefs and give some credence by not standing independently on our own with a bible in hand. I do not think it is wise to just call ourselves a Baptist; particularly in light of the fact that the term by itself holds little meaning, because of the large wide variety of Baptist out there. I think Reformed Baptist should call themselves Particular Baptist because it connects us to the roots of our own past and gives I think a better description to what particular Baptists specifically believe. Even with the reformed Baptists there is no concrete standard confession of faith. We need as a whole try to create a standard unity that we could all draw from. Reformed also has it own sets of historical confessional meanings that should be respected and not high jacked, assuming that we want to be respected as well.

    Totally agree
  12. John Lanier

    John Lanier Puritan Board Junior

    How about Strict and Particular Reformed Congregational Covenantal Calvinistic amillennial Baptists falsely called Anabaptists not to be confused with General Arminian Antinomian Dispensational Semi-Pentecostal Baptists?
  13. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    Most Reformed Baptist churches subscribe to the 1689 LBC. I believe the 1689 LBC to be a "concrete standard confession of faith." Is it perfect? No. It's a man made document, just like the WCF. However, I do believe it is the most faithful explanation of what RB's believe. As far as Particular Baptist vs. Reformed Baptist; I defer to the Reformed Baptist moniker. Particular Baptist seems to be a UK term. Reformed Baptist seems to be the American equivalent. I have no problem keeping it that way.
  14. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    I wish it was as simple as that...but as you noted, terms can be loaded but some have lost there meaning. Placing "Particular" before Baptist does very little in the wide world of evangelical thought since the term "Particular" has lost its meaning.

    I think John is on to something, "How about Strict and Particular Reformed Congregational Covenantal Calvinistic amillennial Baptists falsely called Anabaptists not to be confused with General Arminian Antinomian Dispensational Semi-Pentecostal Baptists."
  15. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    First of all, holding to the 1689 LBC has not official been established as a requirement for being classified as a Reformed Baptist. It is a general trend and a good trend. I subscribe to it myself. The problem is in relation to concrete terms. There is no uniformity established to this process of subscription. Also most of us hold to the RPW as well. However it has not been an established requirement for being called an Reformed Baptist as well. Personally I like to see the leaders carrying this title to get together and establish a required uniformity towards a confession of faith and views of worship for the sake of establishing a clear message of unity. Second of all, historically, particular Baptists was also a title applied here in the US. Reformed Baptist as a title didn�t emerge until recent times, like mid to late 1960s. Therefore implying that Particular Baptist can be applied both here in the USA and in the UK, just as it was established prior to the falling out of this usage in the 19th century and eradicated by the 20th century here in the US.

    The term �particular� is still being used in relation to the atonement today. At least I still use the term. It is a good description it which we can historically connects ourselves to. And at the same time not try to peddle our thoughts as new or inventive, which from a history of doctrine perspective can be quite dangerous. New titles or names have many times put into question the orthodoxy of a given movement, regardless if they claim to be Christian. I just recommending a recovery of our own roots and establish a unity in what we practice and confess together; instead of the different messages and options in what makes up a RB, which can be confusing for those that do not know any better. I would recommend if we are to use the term reformed, then it should be applied not as reformed in the context of the established tradition of the Council of Dort, but instead a reform of present Baptist churches, which theologically would be categorically different then assocating directly with Dort; which is why are Reformed CRC, URC, and so brothers are becoming increasingly frustrated with us, because of their own usage of the term and us trying to redefine the term in relation to the historical reformed tradition compared to a Baptist position. With this said, then we may even possibly consider writing are own confession of faith and catechisms to go with it.
  16. Kiffin

    Kiffin Puritan Board Freshman

    How about "London Baptists"?

    I think it has a ring...
  17. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    We're Baptists, not Presbyterians. There is no ecclesiastical authority, outside of the local church, that can determine what a church calls itself. Reformed Baptist has come to describe confessional subscription and a covenantal view of scripture. Reformed Baptist seems to have more gravitas than Particular Baptist in the United States. Organizations, such as ARBCA, are carrying the Reformed Baptist label internationally. It's not a matter of which Baptist label is better. The fact is that Reformed Baptist has come to describe the majority of confessional and covenantal Baptist congregations in the United States. There are plenty of Calvinistic Baptist churches that are neither confessional nor covenantal. The Founders Movement has plenty of these congregations, so does Sovereign Grace, Free Grace, and some Primitive Baptist churches. The reason Reformed Baptist appeals to me is that it emphasizes early confessional Baptist faith and practice, and highlights our place among other denominations within the Reformed community.
  18. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    I can dig it. lol

    Can we get a list of these names so we can vote on'em?

    Covenantal Baptist
    Confessional Baptist
    Particular Baptist
    Strict & Particular Baptist
    Confused Baptist
    General Baptist
    Regular Baptist
    Grace Baptist
    Old School Baptist
    Primitive Baptist (I like it, it makes me think of Baptists who camp or spend time outdoors)
    Calvinistic Baptist

    Please add.
  19. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I think we could all be more Reformed and more sanctified.

    ---------- Post added at 01:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:08 PM ----------

    Sovereign Grace Baptist?
  20. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    No, but full subscription to the BCF is required for a church to join ARBCA. And they have issued a position paper affirming the RPW. Now they aren't the only RBs out there but they are the largest association of them.
  21. waynedawg

    waynedawg Puritan Board Freshman

    This is very true!
  22. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    Could you be a little less ambiguous brother. Such lack of specificity! :p
  23. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    I know we are not Presbyterians; however should this stop us from gathering together as an association of churches to establish categorically the meaning of terms of what makes someone a Reformed Baptist? Baptist theology does not prevent us from gathering together as a council to discuss such things within our associations. Words do in fact have meaning and we must apply the reality of such. Therefore applying the need for us to be able to apply a definitional defense for why we call ourselves what we call ourselves in relation to a objective, vs. subjective, view of history. One or two churches cannot apply such a defense, but needs to be done by such as the ARBCA, which I think they have been doing to a degree. I would be hesitate to call myself a Reformed Baptist because the early confessional Particular Baptists did not call themselves reformed purposely to my knowledge. There was a clear separation from the reformed tradition as a community. I think this reality should place into our minds the question of what the term reformed historically refers to and if the 17th century Baptists would associate themselves with us. My argument is, as hopefully I have made, one based on the meaning in history.

    Associations like ARBCA developing such definitions are not giving them ecclesiastical authority concerning the practice of the local church. Churches, however, should not be seen standing alone locally and need to be connected to some body like an association. It also implies there needs to be established a sense of common definitions for the sake of communication, so that those outside and inside our traditions will not be confused over what is believed and practiced as the representative. Departure from what then is classified should result in removal from the association, which an association does of the right, for the sake of a defense of orthodox and plain communication. We may not like the idea of being removed from an association, but it should not be a local church alone that decides theologically what to call themselves in the scope of a broader theological context in relation to the teaching of scripture and doctrine in a systematic and historical fashion. There needs to be communicated in union the one faith that we all share and every church that has a similar title for themselves should want to join together for the sake of continuing the proclaimation of the gospel.
  24. nasa30

    nasa30 Puritan Board Sophomore

    As has been said before, you will only get what you are looking for by forming a presbyterian Credo church. Little p presbyterian. ARBCA is the closest thing out there right now. The group that has the authority to remove another church from the association means that the local church has placed themselves under their authority. Little p presbyterian.
  25. ReformedChapin

    ReformedChapin Puritan Board Freshman

    A group of friends of mine came out of Calvary Chapel. As you can imagine most (excluding me) are credo. The funny thing is that I tell them I don't consider them reformed, and many of them don't make a big deal out of the title either. Many of them are still struggling with the Dispensational vs covenant issue anyways. I think most people (credo) are just trying to be faithful to their biblical convictions the terms will vary sporatically.
  26. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Baptist Classics: Shurden on Philadelphia Baptist Association
  27. Bald_Brother

    Bald_Brother Puritan Board Freshman

  28. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    OB...Original Baptist
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