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Defining “Reformed Baptist” (again)

March 23, 2015 1 comment

by Tom Chantry

Do Reformed Baptists exist?

That’s a question I’ve seen again recently – this time from a self-proclaimed Federal Visionist. Consider that: here is someone who denies sola fide yet worries that churches like mine which don’t baptize babies might self-identify as “Reformed Somethings.” We live in a strange world, don’t we! It is one thing to hear a strictly confessional Presbyterian or Reformed pastor arguing that we are outside the proper definition of “Reformed,” but it is quite another to hear it from those who – by any sane definition – are much further outside that circle.

Before we can answer whether Reformed Baptists exist, we must first identify what that designation means. “Reformed Baptist” is a term – albeit a compound term – with a definition and a history. Understanding that history is necessary if anyone is going to understand what the first word in the term means. While a number of useful brief definitions exist, I intend to address the question from the standpoint of history.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

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The Doctrine Defined, Explained and Proved

September 26, 2014 1 comment

What is election as the term is used in the Bible? Election means a choice—to select from among-to single out-to take one and leave another. If there are a dozen apples in a basket and I take all of them there has been no choice; but if I take seven and leave five there has been a choice. Election, as taught in the Bible, means that God has made a choice from among the children of men. In the beginning God set His choice upon certain individuals, whom He gave to His Son, and for whom Christ died as their substitute, who in time hear the Gospel and believe in Christ to life everlasting. Let us amplify by raising three very pertinent questions.

1. WHO DOES THE ELECTING? Who chooses the persons to be saved? If men are chosen to salvation, as the Scriptures affirm, who does the choosing? There must be a selection or universalism. The language of Scripture seems peculiarly definite in reply to this question. #Mr 13:20 speaks of the ELECT, whom He ELECTED, rendered in our version, “The elect’s sake whom He hath chosen”. The word election is associated with God not with man. God is the CHOOSER, His people are the CHOSEN, and grace is the source. The theology, that God votes for us, the Devil votes against us, and that we cast the deciding ballot is entirely outside the pale of Scripture teaching, and is almost too ridiculous to notice. #Joh 15:16 2Th 2:13 Eph 1:4

2. WHEN WAS THE ELECTING DONE? For the answer we are shut up to the Scriptures. But the BIBLE answers with sunlight clearness. In #Eph 1:4 we read that “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world”. The expression, “before the foundation of the world is found in #Joh 17:24, where it speaks of the Father’s eternal love for the Son, and in #1Pe 1:20, where it refers to the eternal determination of the Divine mind concerning the death of Christ. There are many similar expressions. ELECTION IS ETERNAL! #Re 13:8 2Th 2:13 2Ti 1:9

3. WHY WAS THE ELECTING DONE? Was it on the ground of something good in the sinner? Then nobody would have been elected for there is none good. Holiness is not the cause but the effect of election. We are chosen that we should be holy not because we are holy (#Eph 1:4). Nor, as we have already seen, is election in view of foreseen repentance and faith. Election is the cause of repentance and faith and not the effect of these graces. To say that God chose men to salvation because He foresaw that they would repent and believe and be saved is to attribute foolishness to the infinitely wise God. It is as if the president should issue a decree that the sun must rise tomorrow because he foresees that it will rise; or as if a sculptor should choose a certain piece of marble because he foresaw that it would make itself into the image he wanted. We challenge any Arminian to raise these questions and get his answers from the Scriptures.

Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part I-Bible Doctrine of Election

Papists invent distinctions between words in order to continue in their worship of images

August 13, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The Papists in opposing this pure doctrine, gain nothing by their distinction of julia and latria.

2. The distinction of what is called dulia and latria was invented for the very purpose of permitting divine honors to be paid to angels and dead men with apparent impunity. For it is plain that the worship which Papists pay to saints differs in no respect from the worship of God: for this worship is paid without distinction; only when they are pressed they have recourse to the evasion, that what belongs to God is kept unimpaired, because they leave him latria. But since the question relates not to the word, but the thing, how can they be allowed to sport at will with a matter of the highest moment? But not to insist on this, the utmost they will obtain by their distinction is, that they give worship to God, and service to the others. For “latreia” in Greek has the same meaning as worship in Latin; whereas “douleia” properly means service, though the words are sometimes used in Scripture indiscriminately. But granting that the distinction is invariably preserved, the thing to be inquired into is the meaning of each. “Douleia” unquestionably means service, and “latreia” worship. But no man doubts that to serve is something higher than to worship. For it were often a hard thing to serve him whom you would not refuse to reverence. It is, therefore, an unjust division to assign the greater to the saints and leave the less to God. But several of the ancient fathers observed this distinction. What if they did, when all men see that it is not only improper, but utterly frivolous?

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 12-Henry Beveridge Translation

A Brief Definition of Calvinism

March 24, 2014 2 comments

Every so often I will get an email or comment on my blog, that will seek to warn me of God’s impending judgment, if I continue to use the term ‘Calvinism’ to describe my theological views concerning scripture. This email will invoke 1 Corinthians 1:11-13 against me and state that we are not to divide ourselves into different sects by being followers of certain men of whom God called out. Now I do agree that it is divisive to separate into different groups and claim to be this man’s disciple or that man’s disciple. This is what Paul was addressing in the letter to the Corinthians. Nevertheless, those who send these emails have no understanding what it means when I use the term ‘Calvinism.’

There are three definitions that one could use when using the term Calvinism. In a short Pdf by Ben Dally he identifies three concepts that people think of when the term ‘Calvinism’ is used:

“To begin, “Calvinism” represents different things in the minds of different people. For some, the term denotes simply what is contained in the writings of John Calvin himself, primarily as expressed in his final edition of The Institutes of the Christian Religion, his expansive biblical commentary, and his other treatises on various subjects and pieces of correspondence. To others, Calvinism is primarily to be understood as the doctrinal system espoused by those who deem themselves the “Reformed” churches in distinction from Lutheranism, Anabaptism, and other progeny of what might be loosely grouped together under the term “Protestant.” This generally coherent doctrinal system (though certainly not entirely uniform in every detail), as expressed in various Reformed formulas and confessions, is primarily acknowledged to have been derived from the teachings of John Calvin. Perhaps its most general (and most well known) formulation was composed at the Synod of Dort in 1618, in response to the Five Points of Arminianism derived from the teachings of Jacobus Arminius and his followers. A third and perhaps the most broad definition of Calvinism, according to B. B. Warfield, is “the entire body of conceptions, theological, ethical, philosophical, social, political, which, under the influence of the master mind of John Calvin, raised itself to dominance in the Protestant lands of the post-Reformation age, and has left a permanent mark not only upon the thought of mankind, but upon the life-history of men, the social order of civilized peoples, and even the political organization of States.” 5 Obviously there is great overlap among these three definitions; however, for sake of clarity and for the purpose of this article, Calvinism will be defined in accordance with the second definition given above, most popularly known as TULIP, the “Five Points of Calvinism,” or the doctrines of grace. We will briefly define and expound these points and then trace some of the practical implications of these basic Calvinistic propositions.” 1

 

I also use the second definition of Calvinism given by Dally in the quote above. To me Calvinism is a theological system and not merely an idolatrous term that seeks to provoke men to bow at the altar of a certain man. As one who identifies themselves as a Reformed Baptist, I hold to much of what Calvinism teaches. Calvinism could easily be called Augustinianism, Paulinism, or Christianity. When I use the term Calvinism I am not bowing down to a man, who was a great theologian, but rather identifying my theological convictions over and against erroneous views which have arisen within Christianity known as Pelagianism, Cassianism, Arminianism, and Roman Catholicism.

 

Augustus Toplady stated concerning Calvinism:

“Time has been when the Calvinistic doctrines were considered and defended as the Palladium of our Established Church; by her bishops and clergy, by the universities, and the whole body of the laity. It was (during the reigns of Edward VI, Queen Elizabeth, James I, and the greater part of Charles I) as difficult to meet with a clergyman who did not preach the doctrines of the Church of England, as it is now to find one who does. We have generally forsaken the principles of the Reformation, and Ichabod, or ‘the glory is departed,’ has been written on most of our pulpits and church-doors ever since.” 2

 

Charles Spurgeon stated concerning Calvinism:

“I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.

There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it.

But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.” 3

 

So for those who do not know what the term ‘Calvinism’ means, I suggest they download the Pdf below and read Dally’s definition of the term.

 

(1) A Brief Definition of Calvinism by Ben Dally

 

(2) The Doctrine of Predestination by Loraine Boettner-Quoted from the preface of Zanchius’ Predestination Pg. 16

 

(3) A Defense of Calvinism by Charles H. Spurgeon

The Meaning of “Alone” When We Confess Grace Alone or Christ Alone

February 24, 2014 4 comments

“Even Roman Catholics believe that salvation is by grace… that is not the issue…and never has been … the issue is that salvation is by grace ALONE. In other words, Jesus is not only necessary but sufficient to save us to the uttermost.”

 

Read the rest here.

What is Faith?

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Faith is the confidence of things hoped for. They were persuaded of them and embraced them. They took them to their hearts, the promises of God, as if they were fulfilled. Faith became to them the substance, the confidence, the grounds of the thing that they hoped to obtain. Now, without faith it is impossible to please God. “For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

B. H. Carroll—The Faith that Saves—Triumphant Faith