The differences between Reformed Baptists and Presbyterians

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Stratiotes, Oct 25, 2013.

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  1. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes Puritan Board Freshman

    Can somebody explain the main differences in the two denominations. I know about the infant baptism. I just dont know much about the Presbyterians beliefs. I assume they are pretty close??? Thank you all.

    Soli Deo Gloria
  2. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    There are also differences in church government (presbyterian church government versus independency).
  3. THE W

    THE W Puritan Board Freshman

    I kicked around the idea of making a thread asking this same question.

    Baptists don't hold to EPAW(exclusive psalmity a capella worship) do they?
  4. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Most Presbyterians also do not hold to those things.
  5. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    As Pergy says most Baptists don't, but some do and I'd say an increasing number are thinking about it. But then again, most Presbyterians are not EP either.
  6. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    the most noticeable difference will be differing views of covenant theology. Infant baptism, a high view of the church, the role of educating children, even church discipline tend to flow from that.

    Church government, the vows and ordinances, part of worship, pertaining to that, also.
  7. ProtestantBankie

    ProtestantBankie Puritan Board Freshman

    The disagreement is fundamentally about the church.

    What the church is, when it started and who should be in it.
  8. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    There is a good tool here on the PB that let's you compare the WCF to the LBC. I believe it is under the reformed confessions tab on the main page.
  9. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Baptists say A-men, Presbyterians say Ahh-men. An observation made from being in one camp, then then moving to the other. :amen:
  10. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Infant baptism, church government, details of covenant theology, and application of the regulative principle are some of the more pronounced differences. How close are they? Despite those differences I say Reformed Baptists and Reformed Presbyterians are rather close. The LBC was intentionally modeled after the WCF so that they could preserve unity and like-mindedness where possible while at the same time making open confession of their differing stances.
  11. SinnerSavedByChrist

    SinnerSavedByChrist Puritan Board Freshman

    This is a nice summary of *some* of the major issues at play. (Presbyterians, please don't throw stones at me)
  12. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Except those from either camp who are learning Greek start saying "ah-main"
  13. THE W

    THE W Puritan Board Freshman

    What percentage of RPCNA and OPC churches do not hold to EPAW?

    What about just AW?
  14. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore


    Some churches do exist that are not EP but are AW, but these are probably rarer among RB's than those that are EPAW! Most folks who go EP also go AW I suppose. There are of course more churches who are force majerure instumentless, as they either have no instument or no one to instrumentalize!

    It should be said that (probably) the finest book contra the use of instruments is written by an RB - John Price 'Old Light on New Worship'.

    In regard to one of your questions - I thought all RPCNA churches were Exclusive Psalmists and acapella? But then again I'm over the pond so what would I know! :). I have no idea about the OPC statitistics, I think San Franscico is EPAW.
  15. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    All RPCNA churches are indeed EP/Acapella. I wouldn't imagine many OPC churches are however. I know 1st OPC in San Francisco is EP, not sure about Acapella however.
  16. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    Generally, the differences come down to personality, intellect, and appearance.

    Presbyterians tend to be thoughtful and intelligent in their formulations, winsome and engaging in their conversations, and healthy in physique with good color and skin tone.

    Baptists tend to be ignorant and dull in their formulations, unexciting and boorish in their conversations, and in appearance they often seem sickly with pasty color and tone.
  17. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    (dull, check; pasty, check; boorish, check)
    Ben! I had no idea I was a closet Baptist...

    (For any who don't know, Ben was most excellently trained at SBTS, whose faculty he admires, and he has many attractive and well-spoken friends from those days)

    One might say things this way: RefBaptist and Presbyterian take different routes, and arrive at basically the same soteriological destination, that is to say holding to pretty much the same core doctrine on matters of Christ and salvation--what must be believed in order to be saved, and what "angle" is best to view those things (the best seats in the house).

    Still, respecting the matter of which route, clearly it is not a matter of indifference. The hermeneutical question "how to read the Bible" plays a significant role in the different conclusions both sides reach. Failure to appreciate the reality that formal agreement on the significance of Sola scriptura is not the same as how one reads the Scripture, is a major reason why I do not "cheer" a person "switching sides" (so to speak) on baptism, without coming to grips with all such a conversion entails.

    Instead, I'm crossing my fingers, wondering if such an individual is thinking as deeply as he should, or if he will end up confused, disappointed, regretful, reversed, or on his way to some other theological (or even religious) camp. It has happened before, right before our eyes.

    So my chief contribution to this thread is an attempt to make it clear that the ordinary differences between the Baptist and the Reformed are NOT cosmetic, even when we speak about the self-conscious, covenantal/confessional RefBapt contingent. The latter obviously have major affinity with the non-baptist stream of this tradition, and I thank God for them.

    But if it was an "easy" matter to convince one from the other persuasion, the division would never have continued for hundreds of years.
  18. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    Ha ha!
  19. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Also don't we Presbyterians wave hello to friends from inside a liquor store?
  20. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Bruce, yes, I am concerned about a change of position on Baptism when due diligence has not been performed on the other theological implications of such a change. I have witnessed individuals flip back and forth more than once because those other theological implications have not been satisfactorily resolved.
  21. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hey, I resent that!

    I'm not boorish...
  22. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes Puritan Board Freshman

    thanks, Bill. That really will help.

    Soli Deo Gloria
  23. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    I'd say none or a small minority for RPCNA, the vast majority for OPC.
  24. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    I was once at an evening bible study fellowshipping with some fine RB brothers. During a break of our study, the pastor asked me, "So is the whole infant baptism issue really enough that you couldn't consider becoming a member at our church?" to which I looked him straight in his eye and without missing a beat answered, "Yes."
  25. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    A Reformed Baptist pastor who would ask such a question displays a lack of understanding of Reformed Baptist doctrine. Does his ecclesiology mean so little to him?
  26. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Nobody has really elaborated over our differences in our form of government. I think understanding the difference is really existential. By that I mean that I never would have really understood the difference that Presbyterian government represents to Independency if I hadn't lived through it for the last few years as an elder, commissioner to three GA's (one as a member of Overtures), and a year as Moderator of Presbytery. The level of accountability is much more acute in Presbyterian government as is the "spread" of Church authority. Presbyterianism can be at the same time incredibly frustrating as well as (mostly) encouraging to consider the work of the "Church" to be universal not merely in an invisible sense but a visible sense.

    I certainly experienced Presbyterianism when I was a Church member in the Southern California Presbytery of the OPC (attending yearly picnics as well as volunteering for Junior and Senior High retreats) but I had only watched or heard of Church court deliberations from afar.

    As I grow older I appreciate the "connectionalism" that Presbyterian Church government provides. It is far more than a voluntary association of liked-minded individuals but often forces together men who sometimes are not like-minded and requires the exercise of the fruit of patience with one another. As our Presbytery multiplied into two Presbyteries about a week ago, I listened to two men with tears in their eyes saddened that each was departing to differing Presbyteries. They had labored together for over three decades for the sake of the Gospel and had often found themselves at not quite 180 degree positions from one another but certainly in disagreement over the years. Yet, together, they had wrestled together. Our form of government had forced them to wrestle over convictions that needed to have some edges taken off. It forced them to wrestle in a way that exposed their pride over how they viewed others who disagreed with them.

    I have also found Presbyterianism to be a very sanctifying influence in my own life. Had I remained in my local body with few responsibilities outside its borders I would never have had the privilege of seeing how my views interact with other Elders in the Presbytery or in the broader Church. I've had the opportunity to examine dozens of men for ordination and licensure over the last few years and have been examined myself. I've gotten in sharpt disagreements over the interpretation of clauses and repented to men with whom I was not gracious (and repented to in return). I've shifted my interest in theology from a focus more purely interested in the facts of the matter to truly caring whether a man can apply theology to the lives he will minister to and desiring to help men along who are struggling to grasp how certain truths are relevant.

    I know it sounds like I'm giving an apology for the superiority of Presbyterianism over Independency. I suppose I can't help it because I'm not only convinced it is Biblical for its Scriptural warrant but for the fruit I see it bear in men's lives and, most importantly, my own.
  27. John Lanier

    John Lanier Puritan Board Junior

    I know one who does. :)
  28. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes Puritan Board Freshman

    Baptism should happen after regeneration!!!
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
  29. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes Puritan Board Freshman

    well now i can learn all of the differences, thank you JM.

    Soli Deo Gloria
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