What is a "Reformed Baptist?"

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Rob Lambert | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Aug 30 2018 3:16 PM

Is there a book in Logos which explains what a "Reformed Baptist" is and what is the difference is between a plain old run of the mill "Baptist" and a "Reformed Baptist?"

I have looked and looked and can't get a straight answer. 

If there isn't a book then can somebody just explain the difference in plain english?

Thanks

Rob

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 30 2018 3:20 PM

Have you tried searching Google?

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Robert Neely | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 30 2018 3:23 PM

What Is the Reformed Baptist Church?

In order to understand the Reformed Baptist Church, we need to answer two preliminary questions: 1) What does it mean to be Baptist? 2) What does it mean to be reformed?

To be Baptist is to be part of a church or denomination that, broadly speaking, holds to adult believer baptism (typically by full immersion) following a credible statement of faith as the only biblically acceptable way to administer the sacrament of baptism as commanded by our Lord in his Great Commission (Matthew 28:19–20). This is the view called credo-baptism (“believer” baptism), which is held over against the view of paedo-baptism (“infant” baptism) that is commonly practiced by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and many continental Reformed churches.

Baptists also generally believe in the autonomy of the local congregation over the more hierarchically-structured denominations such as Roman Catholicism (which is based on an Episcopal model of church government) and Presbyterianism (which is based on a Presbyterian model of church government).

Within this broad category there are many different types of Baptists who hold various views on soteriology (doctrine of salvation) and ecclesiology (church structure and governance). Some fundamentalist Baptist groups hold that the King James Version of the Bible is the only true, inspired version of the Bible in the English language. Other Baptist groups are so theologically liberal that they fall outside the boundaries of what is generally accepted as orthodox. All this to say that Baptists come in many different shapes and sizes, but nominally they are all unified on the doctrine of adult believer baptism.

Baptist history is also a bit difficult to trace. There are some Baptist groups that claim the Baptist tradition can be traced in an unbroken line back to New Testament times, somewhat akin to the Roman Catholic tradition of papal succession. Others claim that while there was not an unbroken chain of Baptist churches going all the way back to New Testament times, there was a continuity of Baptist forms of faith going all the way back to the earliest beginnings of the church. The most commonly accepted view holds that Baptist tradition is traced back to the English separatist movement of the early 17th century. The English separatists were a group of individuals who were unsatisfied with the changes made during the English reformation, which was part of the larger reformation movement sweeping the continent, and hence they separated from the Church of England. From this separatist movement, two strains of Baptists emerged—General Baptists and Particular Baptists. This leads us to our second question noted above: What does it mean to be reformed?

Generally speaking, to be reformed means to flow out of the Protestant Reformation movement of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Reformers were those who protested against certain abuses within the Roman Catholic Church. It is often said that the Protestant Reformation had both a formal cause and a material cause. The material cause of the Reformation (i.e., the particulars of the dispute) was over what became the doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. In other words, the debate centered on the question of how a man is made right (justified) before God. Rome’s basic answer to that question is that grace, faith and Christ are all necessary, but they are in and of themselves, not sufficient. The Reformers argued that grace, faith and Christ are both necessary and sufficient.

The formal cause of the Reformation was the question of authority. What is the ultimate authority for the Christian in matters of faith and practice? For Rome, the answer is both Scripture and tradition. However, since according to its dogma, the Roman Catholic Church is the source of both Scripture and tradition, as well as the infallible interpreter of both, the matter of authority essentially boils down to the Catholic Church alone. The Reformers believed that the Scriptures alone were the sole infallible rule for Christian faith and practice; hence the Bible is the ultimate authority in these matters. All other lesser authorities—church councils, synods and other such declarations—are only authoritative insofar as they conform to Scripture.

Inasmuch as Baptists are Protestant, they are reformed in this general sense as noted above. However, there is a more specific sense of the word ‘reformed,’ and this is more germane to our discussion. Reformed in the more narrow sense refers to those groups that follow in the theological footsteps of John Calvin—in particular his doctrine of salvation. This is what separates the General Baptists from the Particular Baptists. The General Baptists are so called because they hold to a belief of general atonement—Jesus died to make all men, in a universal sense, savable. Particular Baptists hold to the Calvinistic understanding of salvation that believes Jesus died only for the elect, and He died to actually secure their salvation, i.e., particular atonement. Reformed Baptists flow out of this Particular Baptist stream.

Today there is no official Reformed Baptist denomination, but there are several federations of Reformed Baptist churches, such as the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America (ARBCA). Most Reformed Baptist churches subscribe to the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) as their doctrinal standards; the 1689 LBCF is essentially the Westminster Confession of Faith reworded as it pertains to baptism. Some notable Reformed Baptists in history are John Bunyan, William Carey and Charles Spurgeon.


Got Questions Ministries, Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2002–2013).

Posts 150
Rob Lambert | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 30 2018 3:39 PM

Robert, 

Wonderful and helpful reply.  Thank you very much.

PetahChristian,

I did and got nowhere fast.  Thank you for that suggestion though.

Thanks all again,

Rob

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William Gabriel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 30 2018 3:58 PM

Sounds like Robert‘s second to last paragraph is pretty good. Reformed Baptist would generally be Calvinist in soteriology while the general view is Arminian. A guy like John Piper is a pretty good example of this style of baptist. They’re pretty close to Presbyterians, but have a different view of the Covenant.

Posts 636
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 30 2018 3:59 PM

Robert Neely:

the 1689 LBCF is essentially the Westminster Confession of Faith reworded as it pertains to baptism. Some notable Reformed Baptists in history are John Bunyan, William Carey and Charles Spurgeon.


Got Questions Ministries, Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2002–2013).

Chapter 7 is the most different, as it pertains to Covenants.  Dr. Samuel Waldron has a wonderful book, A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Confession of Faith, and he points out the differences.  More modern reformed baptists are James White, Sam Waldron, Tom Nettles, Tom Ascol, and others.

https://cbtseminary.org/cbts-faculty/ 

https://founders.org/ [Scroll to bottom to see people]

http://reformedbaptistmn.org/what1.html 

Posts 395
Robert Neely | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 30 2018 4:06 PM

And you can check out this list

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Reformed_Baptists 

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 30 2018 4:10 PM

You have provided an excellent analysis of the topic, but I had to smile at your two questions—especially the first

Robert Neely:
What does it mean to be Baptist?

Ask that question of a dozen Baptists and you will probably receive at least 18 different answers Stick out tongue Wink

Posts 1392
James Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 30 2018 7:20 PM

Rob Lambert:
can somebody just explain the difference in plain english?

Take it from the "reformed baptists" themselves...

http://www.1689federalism.com/

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Posts 122
Tony Walker | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 31 2018 6:48 AM

I hope this is taken lightly, but it made me think of a story... :)

Though I am still not as up to speed as I'd like to be on theological matters, a decade ago I was very ignorant. I was working at a printing company and we got a new plant manager. He was a very nice Christian man. He told me he was a Presbyterian. (I was raised in a fundamental Baptist church, and he had married a woman that was a former fundamentalist). After we became comfortable with one another and saw that we could joke with each other and not get offended he told me one day:

"Tony, What do you call an educated Baptist?"

I said, "What?"

Mac said, "A Presbyterian."

lol

So a few years later I texted him:

"What do you call an educated Presbyterian?"

"A reformed Baptist"

:)

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Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 4 2018 7:34 AM

Well, I grew up a Baptist, but became a Methodist.  So,...

Just kidding.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 636
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 4 2018 8:04 AM

James Taylor:

Take it from the "reformed baptists" themselves...

http://www.1689federalism.com/

Not all reformed baptist hold to the 1689 Federalism.  James White, Sam Waldron are two examples.

Posts 636
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 4 2018 8:06 AM

Tony Walker:

So a few years later I texted him:

"What do you call an educated Presbyterian?"

"A reformed Baptist"

Nice! Wink

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 4 2018 9:06 AM

Michael Childs:

Well, I grew up a Baptist, but became a Methodist.  So,...

I wasn't going to say it, but you farce me. My father, his father, his father… were Methodists. Then, I learned to read the Bible. Now, I am a Baptist Stick out tongue

Posts 150
Rob Lambert | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 4 2018 9:56 AM

Guys, this is a wonderful help to me....and I felt stupid asking the question.  Thank you....

Rob

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JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 4 2018 3:10 PM

Rob Lambert:

Guys, this is a wonderful help to me....and I felt stupid asking the question.  Thank you....

Rob

Thank you for asking. I appreciated the answers

If all threads sharing different theological views were like this one . . . 

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 4 2018 6:01 PM

JohnB:
If all threads sharing different theological views were like this one .

Be kinda Christian like, eh Wink

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Kevin Wang | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 4 2018 11:25 PM

Rob, the 1689 federalism link is very helpful. The Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America also has a publishing ministry at http://www.rbap.net . Many worthwhile books there. 

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Robert M. Warren | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 5 2018 4:56 AM

Jack Caviness:

JohnB:
If all threads sharing different theological views were like this one .

Be kinda Christian like, eh Wink

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