Which Kind of Baptist Are You?

It is simply not true that Reformed and Baptist can’t go together.  There is a significant stream of Baptist history in line with the magisterial Reformation.  It runs from the Westminster divines to the English Baptists known as ‘Particular Baptists’ who adopted a revised form of the Westminster Confession called the Second London Confession (1689).  This stream was the dominant one feeding the early Baptist movement in America.

 

However, it is true that not all Baptists are Reformed.  Some in fact, are downright heretical.  It’s true today.  It was true at the beginning of the Baptist movement.  There is a polluted stream that runs through the English Baptists known as ‘General Baptists’ and finds its headwaters at a man named John Smyth (1570-1612).  Timothy George writes in Baptist Confessions, Covenants, and Catechisms (Nashville: B&H, 1999), p. 6:

[Smyth] rejected the classic Reformation doctrines of original sin, election, and justification.  Article Ten of his Short Confession is a clear denial of the doctrine of justification by faith alone.  Indeed, one would be hard pressed to find anything in this article which could not have satisfied the Roman Catholic theologians at the Council of Trent!

 

That article reads:

10. That the justification of man before the Divine tribunal (which is both the throne of justice and of mercy), consists partly of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ apprehended by faith, and partly of inherent righteousness, in the holy themselves, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, which is called regeneration or sanctification; since any one is righteous, who doeth righteousness.

 

Don’t be that kind of Baptist!

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2 Comments to “Which Kind of Baptist Are You?”

  1. does rejection of any Reformed Baptist doctrine equate to condemnation to hell ? conversely, does belief in and adherence to Reformed Baptist doctrine equate to one who is truly of the elect and therefore blood-redeemed and heaven-bound ?

  2. No, I wouldn’t equate ‘Reformed Baptist’ with ‘elect’. Rejection of Christ results in condemnation, not rejection of a particular confession. However to reject (intellectually and existentially) certain doctrines (such as justification by faith alone) is also to reject Christ and be condemned (cf. Galatians).

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