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What is a Reformed Baptist Church?

“Reformed Baptist” is a term not particularly well-known in evangelical circles. The name indicates both historical roots and distinct theological characteristics.

Historically, a Reformed Baptist identifies with a tradition that emerged directly from the Reformed Protestant movement. During the Reformation in 16th -17th century England there was a group of churchmen called the Puritans. The Puritans were believers who desired to see the church fully reform beyond any vestiges of Roman Catholicism or any other false teaching. There were three primary groups that made up the Puritans: Presbyterians, Independents, and Particular Baptists, which today are referred to as “Reformed Baptists.” They all shared common beliefs in the gospel and reformational doctrines, but the Baptists were set apart by a few beliefs. They believed in a church independent from state control that was governed congregationally and overseen in each local congregation by a group of elders. Also, they rejected the doctrine of paedobaptism (infant baptism). The summation of their beliefs were written down in the 2nd London Baptist Confession of 1689. Adhering to this historic reformed confession of faith is the primary distinctive of a Reformed Baptist. It shares themes and most….

Read the entire article at Gracechapel.

The Covenant of Works

by Jim Butler

The covenant of redemption was pretemporal; the covenant of works was established by God for Adam and his posterity in the Garden of Eden. The Westminster Confession of Faith 7:2 (WCF) gives a helpful summary statement of the covenant of works: “The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.” Though this paragraph is absent from the 2LCF, this should not be understood as a rejection of the covenant of works by the Particular Baptists. The 2LCF refers to the covenant of works in 7:3, 19:6, and 20:1 and thereby affirms its biblical status. Therefore, as confessional Baptists, we must reject the current tendency represented in various theological camps to do away with the covenant of works. One’s view of the covenant of works will affect one’s view of the covenant of grace and the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Like the covenant of redemption, though the precise terminology “covenant of works” is not present in the Bible, the presence of the covenant of works is conspicuous in the Bible. There are several observations that confirm this assertion. In the first place, though the specific word “covenant” (berith) is absent in Genesis 2, the Bible elsewhere demonstrates that the absence of the word does not mean the absence of the doctrine. For instance,…

Read the entire article at FreeGrace.

What is a Covenant of Works?

By Thomas Parr

This is the first post in a series related to my new book on the theology of William Strong (ca. 1611–1654), an influential leader at the Westminster Assembly. Each post will focus on a particular question:

1. What is a covenant of works?

2. Did God make a covenant of works with Adam in the Garden?

3. In what sense is the covenant of works still in effect?

4. How does knowing about the covenant of works affect my life?

Let’s begin with a definition. William Strong conceives of a covenant as an arrangement between two parties,….

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

Particular Baptist Covenant Theology

Sam Renihan

The Particular Baptists emerged from the English Puritan movement within England’s parishes and universities. Several of the first-generation Particular Baptists attended Cambridge and Oxford and began their ministerial careers as priests in the church of England. Lay ministers among the Particular Baptists studied and preached Reformed theology. To the Particular Baptists, a consistent application of Reformed theology yielded congregational and Baptist conclusions. This was the case in their covenant theology, which developed within the unity and diversity of the larger branches of the Reformed covenantal family tree.

The heart of Reformed covenant theology is the substantial distinction between the law and the gospel. This foundational distinction was the basis for the more developed expressions of the legal and evangelical…

Read the entire article at Founders Ministries.

Updated Links: Reformed Baptist and Particular Baptist Links

Over the past year, I have been away from my home and thus, away from my blog. During that time I have received countless emails, from those who follow my blog and website, of which have notified me that many links were broken on my sites. I am putting this post out today to let everyone know that all links, except for the Free Ebooks Page (1), have been fixed or deleted. Those links that were deleted will be discussed below.

Sometimes in life a man must make a decision that will cause him to leave the comforts of his home, in order to better provide for his family. When a job plays out, a job which a man has been used to doing for many years, a man must seek out a job that will make him valuable in other fields of industry. That being said, I chose to go back to driving a big rig or tractor trailer for a year. Now mind you, I had not driven a big rig in 17 years however, I knew that a shortage in this industry would readily provide me with a job and after a year would make me valuable as a local driver. I have driven all over the United States in the last year. I have been in California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Florida; from one corner of the US to another. I have endured: driving in extreme weather conditions, loneliness, being away from family, missing birthdays and holidays, and being away from what I enjoy most; namely: studying theology and updating my blog and website. I have missed interacting with those, with whom I have had discussions concerning theology on the internet. So that being said, I am now back at home and seeking that local driving position. I am asking everyone to be in prayer for me that I will find a local driving job that will provide for my family and allow me to get back to studying the things of God.

Deleted Links

When I left a year ago Reformed Baptists were making strides in recovering a covenantal heritage which had been obscured or lost over time. Articles were being written, sermons preached, and Ebooks made available online, which defended what we believe, concerning faith and practice of that faith within the local Church. Articles which defended believers-only-baptism and that showed infant baptism to be an erroneous position not supported by scripture were only a click away. Sadly, this is not now the case.

I have links on my website from Reformed paedobaptists. Also on my Apologetics page I have links from Catholic Apologists(2) that defend God’s existence. These links, for the most part, were still working and have not been deleted. However, among my Particular Baptists brethren, things have changed quite a bit within a year.

Reformed Baptist, Particular Baptist, Sovereign Grace Baptist (5 Point Baptist those called Calvinistic Baptist) and Primitive Baptist links no longer work. (From now on I will just use the term Particular Baptist because all these branches, of what is known as Baptist, have this doctrine in common; although not all adhere to covenant theology). Articles that argued from a covenantal Baptist position or articles which proved infant baptism to be an erroneous position, not supported by scripture, have disappeared. Some articles which can be found with a search of the internet are no longer free, but one must buy some book in order to gain access to these materials. I am not saying that just articles have disappeared, whole websites which have been up and running for years, of which had free Ebooks from Spurgeon, Pink, Gill, etc… have completely shut down. Blogs that I followed which supported and defended the Particular Baptist position have been deleted. So you will notice, on my sidebar to the right, that my Blog Roll has decreased drastically.

What caused these blogs and websites to completely shut down or what caused articles to be taken down and concealed inside books that require a reader to purchase them? I do not know. Did someone at the top of the ladder fall into sin and have to be disciplined? Did a huge controversy over doctrine breakout in the Particular Baptist movement? At the present time, I have no answers.

The large majority of books or articles, which I thought defended our positions concerning doctrine, I possess within my own personal library. Even though I have much space within my own website to upload these materials, nevertheless to keep from infringing on copyrights, I had no choice but to remove the broken links and just allow what remains on my sites to suffice any student of theology.

So to close, I welcome everyone back to my sites, as the links have been restored or deleted.

God bless,

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

(1) The Free Ebooks page links will be fixed within the next few weeks. I appreciate your patience.

(2) I can hear the critics now. You mean you provide links to Roman Catholic Apologists? Yes, I most certainly do. Most of them defend a Christian worldview from a Classical Apologetics position and have some good articles against: moral relativism, the problem of evil, atheism and the defense of God’s existence, etc… Someone might say, “Well Classical Apologetics is not a good or true apologetic methodology for defending the Christian worldview.” However, this is an in-house debate, even among Protestants themselves. There is not a mutual agreement among Protestant theologians concerning epistemology.

As a disclaimer: Every link on my site is not there because I agree with every position that the writer of the article holds, but is there to provide a student of theology access to topics which will increase his knowledge in all areas of theology. For instance: On my Baptismal Debates Page, I have articles linked which defend a credo-Baptist position. I also have articles linked which either critic the credo-Baptist position or that defend a paedo-baptist position. The reason being, is that a student of theology can read both sides of the argument and decide for himself which position he will take. About 6 months after I came to the knowledge of Calvinism, I made an appointment with a PCA Pastor and questioned him concerning what I was learning. I wanted to make sure that I had a right understanding of the doctrines of grace. This Pastor did not rail on me and tell me that his position was the correct one concerning all that he believed, but instead encouraged me to keep studying and told me that I needed to study baptism and church government and decide whether or not I was going to hold to credo-baptism and congregationalism or whether I was going to hold to paedo-baptism and a Presbyterian form of church government.(a) So I studied both sides of the doctrinal positions and came to a point where I decided that the Reformed Baptist position was the correct one.

(a) The advise of this PCA Pastor was unlike that of the Pentecostal Pastor I sat under after I first got saved. The Pentecostal Pastor I sat under, after I first got saved, was adamant in stating that if I did not hold to every doctrine he does or if I did not interpret every scripture as he does, then I was a heretic. This is brainwashing and was not the signs of a true Pastor of a Church, but instead was the signs of a cult. I have come to realize, through study, that he was holding heretical positions. He even thinks that Martin Luther was wrong concerning being saved by faith alone. He believes, as Roman Catholics do, that salvation is through faith plus works. That was straight out of his mouth.

Why Stay in the SBC?

By Tom Ascol

“Why should we stay in the SBC?” I’ve had that question put to me from pastors, elders, deacons, and whole congregations over the last 30 years. The questioners are always serious about the gospel and biblical church order and most of them would describe themselves as reformed or “reformedish.” The questions increase on the heels of some unfortunate, public pronouncement by a respected Southern Baptist pastor or denominational servant.

“There is not a nickel’s worth of difference between liberalism, five-point Calvinism and dead orthodoxy.”

“Calvinism is worse than Islam.”

“Calvinism makes automotons of people.”

“[Calvinism] is a dagger to the heart of evangelism.”

I could go on, but you get the idea. A Southern Baptist Calvinist could get the impression that he is not welcomed in the SBC and, as another prominent SBC…

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

 

5 Dead Baptist Theologians Every Pastor Should Read

By Jeff Robinson

A few years ago, I had a friend depart Baptist life to join the PCA. When we discussed his rationale for the shift, it became clear to me it had less to do with views on baptism than it did theological heritage. To his mind, Baptists’ confessional and theological ancestry did not quite measure up to that of the Presbyterians.

No question, our Presbyterian friends—of whom I have many—have a strong confessional heritage with a famous roster of names ranging from Calvin and Knox to Hodge, Warfield, and Machen. But Baptists have a robust theological lineage as well. As pastors, we should be reading and engaging noted figures from our past and, as opportunity arises, we should make our congregations aware of our rich confessional, theological, and pulpit legacy.

Toward that end, here are five Baptist theologians from the past I commend as must reading for every Baptist pastor.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Fuller and the Atonement (Part 4): Limited Atonement and Free Offer

Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the seventh post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Fuller’s rejection of the commercial understanding of moral justice was two-fold (at least). One, such a limitation, that is, forgiveness dependent on the enumeration of sins and their commensurate guilt, was impossible by the very nature of Christ’s infinite excellence. Christ’ infinite fullness of worthiness necessarily offered to the Father a complete satisfaction, rendering salvation, especially forgiveness as an intrinsic necessity of salvation, a matter of divine sovereignty, eternally determined, in its application. So, the reason for Christ’s incarnation and his fulfillment of the office of priest as a ransom, reconciliation, propitiation,…..

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

John Smyth

1570-1612

The earliest General Baptist Church was thought to be founded about 1608 or 1609. Its chief founder was John Smyth and it was located in Holland. Smyth’s history begins in England where he was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1594. Soon after his ordination, his zeal landed him in prison for refusal to conform to the teachings and practices of the Church of England. He was an outspoken man who was quick to challenge others about their beliefs but was just as quick to change his own positions as his own personal theology changed. Smyth continually battled the Church of England until it became obvious that he could no longer stay in fellowship with this church. Thus, he finally broke totally from them and became a “Separatist”.

In 1609, Smyth, along with a group in Holland, came to believe in believer’s baptism (as opposed to infant baptism which was the norm at that time) and they came together to form the first “Baptist” church. In the beginning, Smyth was on track with the typical orthodox church position; but as time passed, as was so typical, he began changing his positions. First, Smyth insisted that true worship was from the heart and that any form of reading from a book in worship was an invention of sinful man. Prayer, singing and preaching had to be completely spontaneous. He went so far with this mentality that he would not allow the reading of the Bible during worship “since he regarded English translations of Scripture as something less than the direct word of God.”5 Second, Smyth introduced a twofold church leadership, that of Pastor and Deacon. This was in contrast to the Reformational trifold leadership of Pastor-Elder, Lay-Elders, and Deacons.

Third, with his newfound position on baptism, a whole new concern arose for these “Baptists”. Having been baptized as infants, they all realized that they would have to be re-baptized. Since there was no other minister to administer baptism, Smyth baptized himself and then proceeded to baptize his flock. An interesting note at this point that should be brought to bear is that the mode of baptism used was that of pouring, for immersion would not become the standard for another generation. Before his death, as seems characteristic of Smyth, he abandoned his Baptist views and began trying to bring his flock into the Mennonite church. Although he died before this happened, most of his congregation did join themselves with the Mennonite church after his death.

Taken from:

A Primer on Baptist History

The True Baptist Trail

by Chris

Traffanstedt

 

Source [Reformed Reader]

Fuller and the Atonement (Part 3): Until You Have Paid the Last Penney

Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the sixth post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Though Andrew Fuller asserted that Calvinists in general held the covenantal application view of particular redemption, historically that which he called the “commercial” view has co-existed with it. That view, defended among the Baptists by John Spilsbury [1] (as far as we can discern the first Particular Baptist pastor), Abraham Booth [2], and John L. Dagg [3], contends that the suffering of Christ is a matter of actual measurable justice. The propitiatory wrath set forth by the Father must be commensurate with the degree of susceptibility to punishment for all those that the Father gave to the Son. For them in particular Jesus sanctified himself….

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.