What am I?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Holos, Feb 19, 2020.

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  1. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    Howdy,

    I'm curious as to what denomination/camp really fits me best, and I thought there could be some filial wisdom here. The more I know about and read them, I LOVE most puritan writers and thinkers, but not exclusively...I love things about Luther and Calvin (and myriad others of reformed times) but not all by any means. I'm "Calvinist" if what you mean by that is God is completely sovereign, that I know I'm pretty awful but redeemed b/c of Him and not me, He is in control of everything, and will be glorified always no matter what. So I'm "reformed" but not sure what camp I fit in exactly.

    I go to Southern Seminary (starting 2nd of 6 year family/married/working-man plan) and only really have lived as a devoted follower of God about 3 years now, so I have limited amounts of time in reading and education. I definitely don't agree with all the SBC traditions, but found it to be mostly agreeable. I considered Dallas Theological Seminary, but I hate Dallas and it seemed pricey. I considered Westminster and Covenant....but I'm not a Presbyterian leaning person from what I know (grew up going to a SBC church) and definitely don't agree with paedo-baptism after studying the subject....but I loved their work with the ESV study bible; same with Reformed Theological Seminary about paedo. So with limited knowledge about all seminaries, cost factors, and liking some books by some of their staff, I picked Southern. After initially wanting to leave after one semester (talked out of it by couple mentors) I'm glad I'm here and know God brought me here. I also don't believe in "covenant" theology necessarily, at least in terms of it being used to justify baptizing babies (again, forgive me but this may be limited understanding). To be blunt, I'm not 100% sure what covenant theology precisely is, especially versus dispensationalism.....end times/eschatology is not a thing I have studied yet at school or in life with limited free time with work and family taking up so much of my life(appropriately so), so I'm still working on that topic.

    Ok, all that being said, here's some more dividing/defining lines I can see being helpful (sorry for sporadic-ness of thoughts here). And when I say "see ya" I mean only in terms of where I settle/see myself agreeing most with, zero condemnation truly, just trying to figure our where I fit, and I know some just won't on these issues. *Also not expecting a "perfect" church, just want to be most aligned. (thanks for putting up with LONG post and my ramblings, please read on):

    -I like the KJV but use ESV/NASB pretty exclusively. I think the KJV is beautiful and strong, but just not for me as primary. (see ya Independent or Fundamental churches/baptist churches)
    -I want to be a pastor-theologian one day.
    -I believe only believers should be baptized, but don't condemn others for believing in paedobaptism. (still, see ya most conservative Presbyterian churches)
    -I believe alcohol should be enjoyed as a good gift from God, but not to be abused; but nor should it be banned like Southern does. (possibly see ya many SBC churches, although the more I know, most SBC staff/pastors drink responsibly...so there's that)
    -I believe in right exegesis of scripture, NOT eisegesis, esp in sermons. (see ya "liberal" denoms)
    -I like music with instruments, hate most "christian" modern songs, and love hymns more...but prefer ultimately a balance. I love Sufjan Stevens version of "Come Thou Fount" for example. (see ya Church of Christ)
    -Pastors should be men (see ya most Episcopal/Methodist churches in America and "liberal" denoms)
    -marriage is one man and one woman (see above)
    -I don't think Saturday is the holy day (see ya 7th day adventist church - at least from my understanding of them, that's a dividing line that's not for me)
    -I feel sorry for and completely disagree with seeker friendly churches, man-centered theology, and think many churches are just social clubs. (see ya so many nondenom churches)
    -I also think charismatics have great community aspects, but disagree with the way most if not all Pentecostal churches worship (see ya Assemblies of God, Pentecostals, etc)
    -the prosperity gospel IS NOT the biblical gospel

    So......that's about most of what I can come up with. I know a little about Reformed Baptists, but again not convinced it's right if they do paedo/covenant theology. Also not sure if I'm amillennial, postmil, etc.....I'm reformed, conservative, exegetical in nature, want to submit to Scripture and not myself, want lively but orderly worship, community where people serve/disciple/love one another but aren't legalistic jerks either. And that's something that bugs me about many SBC churches....great preaching and theology, but terrible worship and practical living out....too many are "jerks". So, I need help....what am I?
     
  2. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    While I see that you are in seminary, are you in a good church?
     
  3. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    Good question. Yes, we have a healthy church we attend. Took a LONG time to find a healthy non-seminary SBC church that fit what we wanted....which is another reason I am unsure if SBC is for me, for life and for post-degree endeavors. (Have to do SBC church to be able to afford seminary since I pay 100% out of pocket).
     
  4. W.C. Dean

    W.C. Dean Puritan Board Freshman

    You sound like you'd fit in well at a conservative Reformed SBC church. Check out the Founder's Ministry. Also don't worry about views on baptism when considering seminary. No seminary will shove their view down your throat. The problem you might have with the SBC is that their official doctrine says that only those baptized in immersion as believers are allowed to be members and take communion, so if your stance isn't as hardcore as theirs, that's something to consider.
     
  5. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    Who even are you?
     
  6. W.C. Dean

    W.C. Dean Puritan Board Freshman

    I have better and simpler advice than I had before. Read the 2nd London Baptist confession of faith. I guarantee you'll at least mostly agree with it. Find a church that subscribes to it.
     
  7. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    Yeah, that may be where I'm headed...a I enjoy Founders. Also love Voddie Bauchum, knew him from Texas a little bit actually, he does some stuff with them. More good points you bring up...membership, baptism, communion...other sticking points for me I forgot.
    • Membership - I don't know where I fall on membership I guess, I think formal membership is a bit pointless; have seen it utilized turribly (charles barkley voice) and inefficiently in my experiences. People aren't going to be holy b/c of a piece of paper they signed, only if they're Gods and abiding with Him. If someone goes to a local church, you can "discipline" and disciple them regardless if they signed a piece of paper....don't like that argument.
    • Communion - there are 3 modes in regards to baptism as professed by Southern Seminary, and from what was told to me...closed, close (most SBC churches in Louisville), and open (where we are now - for professing believers). I'm an open guy. I don't like them saying you have to be baptized for communion, it's a church tradition not regulative command in scripture. To me, I'd give communion to anyone professing to be a believer (esp someone at church I know or have seen and know their fruit) regardless of baptism. Communion is for professing believers In my humble opinion, that should be only regulation. Should they as a believer be baptized? Yes. But maybe they need to be walked through that, not shamed/left out of a community of believers b/c of it.
    • Baptism - I think everyone professing Christ should be baptized. Ideally they'd be baptized in a river as Jesus was....and I agree baptize means dip/dunk/immerse and I love the imagery. But I'm also not going to tell someone professing in Christ, with obvious fruit that their baptism wasn't sufficient if they were sprinkled; and wouldn't make them be re-baptized to be a member.....oh human traditions....
     
  8. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    I concur
     
  9. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    Exactly. Not to be existential, but I would say I'm a child of God learning from believers.
     
  10. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Sophomore

  11. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Graduate

    Brother, before you do anything else, learn covenant theology. It's at the heart of the Reformed/Biblical doctrine of salvation. If you don't understand covenant theology, then you don't understand soteriology. Also, if you don't understand covenant theology, you definitely haven't understood the arguments for paedobaptism. Finally, if you don't understand covenant theology, you don't understand historic Baptist theology (including their doctrine of baptism).

    I'm being blunt, but I don't mean it in an uncharitable way. I speak as one seminarian to another. This is Reformed theology 101. My three year old knows her Shorter Catechism questions on the covenant of works.
     
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  12. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    In your application you stated that you fully subscribe to the LBC 1689. Is this true?
     
  13. Regi Addictissimus

    Regi Addictissimus Completely sold out to the King

    What are you? You are very early in your theological development. I say that with no intentions of being rude.

    My advice would be to spend some serious time learning covenant theology and a Reformed systematic theology. Start with Jonty Rhodes Covenants Made Simple and Berkhof's Systematic. Even better, buy a copy of the Westminster Standards. Read it cover to cover with a pen and highlighter in hand.

    I was going to ask a similar question as @KMK. I am curious as well because you wrote that you are unfamiliar with covenant theology. If you fully subscribe to the LBC, you should have a basic understanding of the covenants.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
  14. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the tip. Maybe you could help me out with #3??
     
  15. Regi Addictissimus

    Regi Addictissimus Completely sold out to the King

    What is it that you need assistance with on number three?
     
  16. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the beaconing info and encouragment. Just so many places to "start" with really learning and understanding Christian belief/theology. Definitely near the top end of my list, may need to bump up. And I believe we are to be blunt with one another and share truth/light, so I appreciate your candor immensely.
     
  17. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    Feels like I'm missing something...yes I adhere to and believe that confession.
     
  18. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    Exactly! I wholeheartedly agree, hence me reaching out for help, insight, instruction here. Not rude whatsoever, it appears me trying to be transparently sharing is making that obvious, which is the point. Glad you shared. I've started reading Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics, enjoying it much so far. As far as covenant theology, perhaps I just don't know all the terms yet, or am getting them mixed up? To not sound more ignorant maybe I just completely misunderstand it....but I know Baptists don't believe in baby baptism, and it's not in LBC, but my friends who say they are covenant theology adherents say circumcision = baptism, so they baptize babies. Wondering if I have that way way wrong??? Perhaps so...

    I will note those books and tackle them soon, thank you much for the suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
  19. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    A couple of things:

    You are correct, Baptists do not adhere to paedobaptism but rather, credo baptism. However, that is not the only part of covenant theology and CT does not necessitate paedobaptism. The LBC is Covenant Theology though they changed the article on Covenants.

    Also, it is not communion equalling baptism in the paedobaptist viewpoint. Baptism replaced circumcision in their viewpoint. Hope that helps.
     
  20. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    The original point of the post - figuring out truly which denomination I most adhere with
     
  21. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm sorry I used the wrong term.....I meant circumcision, not communion. I'll go back and change that post....apologies
     
  22. gjensen

    gjensen Puritan Board Freshman

    Brother, start by serving where our Lord has placed you.

    If the SBC is helping to pay for your education, it would seem that you would have some loyalty to them.

    Study your copy of the LBC and the catechism. If you are interested, put some effort into the Westminster and Belgic Confession. Read some of the Founders journals on their website.

    Take your time. This does not happen overnight, and this is not a race. Serve where you are.
     
  23. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    This is some of the best advice I have seen here.
     
  24. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    Henry,
    You need to go back and read the London Baptist Confession which you say you "wholeheartedly agree with" - I don't see how that can possibly be the case and yet you say the following in your original post.

    You said,

    "So......that's about most of what I can come up with. I know a little about Reformed Baptists, but again not convinced it's right if they do paedo/covenant theology."

    The Confession is "the" confession of faith for Reformed Baptists.

    You say you are baptistic and reformed, but you do not clearly affirm covenant theology.Most worringly of all you write this, "To be blunt, I'm not 100% sure what covenant theology precisely is, especially versus dispensationalism" How can you possibly say that and affirm "wholeheartedly" the 1689 London Confession?

    Someone who claims to wholeheartedly believe in the doctrine of the Confession of Faith must not only understand covenant theology but affirm it. It may be a different covenant theology from Presbyterianism, and you may not understand the difference, but that is not what you have written.

    I ask these questions with no spite. I just can't understand where you're coming from.
     
  25. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    Agree.

    Thank you kindly for the words of encouragement and advice here.
     
  26. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    In fairness, I have to fight a kneejerk reaction when I hear "Covenant Theology" because I immediately think Westminster and not London.
     
  27. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    Then I don't have a usage for CT as others on this board may have; which I admitted to in a prior reply. I believe in the covenant of grace if that's what it means. I do not believe in CT as believing that circumcision = baptism, which is what my limited terminological understanding of CT is. I have friends, mainly Presbyterian reformed guys, that say they are adherents of CT and that's their support for paedobaptism, and why they argue with DTS grads who believe in dispensationalism. So these terms.....well I apparently either have confused them, or have used them in the wrong light....but no, I don't believe my beliefs of the LBC are off or wrong. I do believe the LBC...that's the root of the Baptist F&M we sign off as students to.

    It's like if someone asks "are you Calvinist?" I say it depends, what's your definition. I could have, and perhaps should have, been more clear about what I thought it means based on some reactions initially here. Does that make sense? I truly hope so
     
  28. Holos

    Holos Puritan Board Freshman

    See, I have no idea what you mean by this. But would love to learn! While I have believed, most churches never delve into these things, so I'm ignorant with deeper theological terms/names/understandings....
     
  29. gjensen

    gjensen Puritan Board Freshman

    I would encourage you to continue exploring the reformed faith. It has a breadth and depth that surpasses what you are used to.

    And follow some of the conversations here. All of the men and women here make helpful contributions. I learn a lot from them.
     
  30. BLM

    BLM Puritan Board Freshman

    I'd say you're confused...is it possible you entered seminary prematurely? I really don't intend that to come across as rude...but seriously...have you ever considered the possibility you may have rushed things a bit?

    The men and women in local churches that voluntarily associate with the SBC are the ones who are indirectly subsidizing your education with their tithes and offerings, correct? While sympathetic to your situation, I think it might be somewhat disingenuous if you joined a SBC church in order to save a buck while at Southern.
     
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