« UPDATE: James White On You, sir, must be silenced! by Peter Lumpkins | Main | Is Reformed Baptist an Oxymoron? (part II) by Peter Lumpkins »

2010.07.26

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

John Daly

In order to not confuse today's "Reformed" with the classic use of "Reformed," could we rightly call ourselves D.o.G (gone) Baptists? Or to spell out, Doctrines of Grace Baptists? Try fitting that on a t-shirt!

Tim Rogers

Brother John,

That way you guys would have your own D.o.G pound at the convention. :)

Brother Peter,

Am I reading Finn correct that the New Covenant movement is Reformed but denies the continuation of the 10 commandments? Also, if one were to take Dr. Finn's position, would one be right to say that all SB were Landmarkers because we believe things that the Landmarkers believe?

Blessings,
Tim

peter lumpkins

John,

I'm actually unsure where the full solution lies. You make a very good point: In order to not confuse...the classic use. Employing "Reformed" with "Baptist" does, in fact, unravel the "classic" use of the term. I find it interesting Dr. Finn apparently does not see this as an objection with teeth.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Tim,

As for what Dr. Finn was implying about "New Covenant Theology [Baptists] I really do not know. I know a few who embrace NCT (SBC Impact seems to have the lion's share so far as the internet goes ;^) But I'm not familiar with a working network of NCT Baptists.

And, I think you're suggesting that because Finn, et al argues that one may legitimately be described as "Reformed" even if the term is stripped of its classic meaning, the SBC may be legitimately described as "Landmark" even if the SBC does not embrace all that historic Landmarkism embraced. Or to employ Dr. Finn's usage, even if the SBC does not embrace Landmarkism in the "fully historic sense of the term.” If this is what you are suggesting, Tim, I think you have a very good point.

With that, I am...
Peter

Ron Hale

Peter,
Thanks for your article. I've got a question(s). Do you know of any example of a "Reformed" SBC congregation calling a non-Calvinist pastor when they begin searching for a new pastor upon the retirement or departure of their reformed pastor?

Once "reformed" are these congregations open to calling either a "reformed" or non-Calvinist pastor? Would the leaders of Founders Ministries send both non-Calvinist and reformed resumes to Founder Friendly congregations as they search for a new pastor?

Tim G

Ron,
Founders has set up Resume and Church opening site so as to make sure no non calvinist go to any of their churches. This is in and of itself interesting.

Craig Daliessio

What I wonder is why try to infiltrate the SBC? If they believe that strongly in a Theology out of line with their convention...why not form their own convention? Or is it about co-opting the already existing machinery?

Darby Livingston

Peter,

I think you're right about reformed baptist being an oxymoron. Would the term baptist presbyterian be helpful? No. And I don't find the term reformed baptist helpful either. I think some baptists have co-opted the reformed label because they believe some similar doctrines. The question is, How many individual doctrines can one jettison from the traditional understanding of reformed and still maintain the label? To me, just believing in the doctrines of grace is not enough to call oneself reformed. That's why I think baptists should just call themselves baptists, whether they hold to a Calvinist soteriology or not.

Darby Livingston

Craig,

I don't think there's an evil conspiracy of folks trying to infiltrate the SBC, unless of course you think John Broadus, James Boice, J.I. Dagg and other founders of the SBC were infiltrating their own invention. Perhaps it's just there has always been room for disagreement among how the doctrines of grace work out in the SBC?

John Daly


I would glady simply label myself as a Baptist but then I get 20 questions as to what kind. Perhaps Sovereign Grace Baptists would prove to be a fair moniker? Free Will Baptists get their soteriological designation and I want one too :)

Craig Daliessio

If a Reformed Baptist falls in the woods was it supposed to happen?

Les Puryear

Craig,

I have said this on my own blog. Personally I think the reason so many reformed pastors are involved in SBC churches is because we have 45,000 churches from which they can find a job, reduced tuition at SBC seminaries, and foreign missionaries who don't have to raise their own support.

Les

Craig Daliessio

Well there ya have it. It's like discovering you are 1/16 native american because you get minority scholarships.

Darby Livingston

... and personally I think the reason so many non-reformed pastors are in SBC churches is because we have 45,000 churches from which they can find hot chicks and awesome potluck dinners.

Scott Shaffer

A better term would be Particular Baptist. Most so-called Reformed Baptists are only reformed in their soteriology, and even then many who choose this moniker aren't five point calvinists. Their ecclesiology usually isn't reformed, and their view of the sacraments/ordinances isn't. Some are even dispensational. Scott Clark from Westminster California has a lot to say about this over at his blog: http://heidelblog.wordpress.com/2008/04/24/who-or-what-defines-reformed/

Steve Lemke

For starters, any Baptists who claim to be Reformed should go back and apologize to the early Baptists who were persecuted, imprisoned, and martyred by the leaders of the Reformation. At least they owe these early Baptists an explanation.

Thoroughgoing advocates of Reformed theology are not Baptists, but are some variety of Presbyterians. This is why the Particular Baptists were known as Separatists -- they separated from the Presbyterians and the Westminster Confession at key points. Those who call themselves Reformed Baptists do believe in a few Reformed doctrines (particularly related to soteriology) but disagree with others (hence retaining the Baptist nomenclature). So, in fact, they are not fully Reformed. I try to make this distinction by saying they are "Calvinistic" (i.e., affirm some aspects of Calvinism) as opposed to "Calvinists" (i.e., affirm all or most of Calvinism).

Furthermore, the term "Reformed Baptists" truly is confusing because the "Reformed" has nothing to do with Baptists, but with the reformation of the Catholic church. Therefore, using "Reformed" adjectivally before "Baptist" is rather misleading. They are not Baptists who have reformed. The irony of the term is (a) they call themselves "Reformed," and yet they reject key doctrines of Reformed theology, but (b) they call themselves Baptists, yet they find that term to be so insufficient in describing their own beliefs that they feel they must add a modifier. So it seems that they are neither fish nor fowl. Perhaps going back to "Particular Baptists" would be a more adequately descriptive nomenclature.

peter lumpkins

Darby,

I think your point is a good one: "baptists should just call themselves baptists" (compare Dr. Lemke's final paragraph above)

Les,

Thanks for the engagement you've given this subject. With Calvinists such as yourself not a non-Calvinist I know has difficulty cooperating. As for your point about jobless young pastors, I'd be interested if you have data for your reasoning, or is it just a 'gut' observation from your standpoint? Did you deal with this in your series? If so, I missed it...

Scott,

Thanks for the link. Note Dr. Finn mentioned the Westminster boyz who have a difficult time accepting the "Reformed Baptist" moniker. Also, while I think "Particular Baptists" may be workable (see Dr. Lemke above), as you point out, not all Calvinists embrace the outstanding mark of "Particular" Baptists (i.e., "Particular" or "Limited" Atonement).

Dr. Lemke,

Thanks for your contribution. I did a quick scan of my dictionaries and historical theologies before I posted this. To a tee, every single one referenced one of three theological traditions in protestant Christianity: The Reformed tradition, the Lutheran tradition, and the Anabaptist tradition (i.e. Baptist, nonconformist, or Free Church). The sense I gained was, while there may be some rough edges, each tradition possesses fairly definitive lines. Hence, your point seems right that "the term "Reformed Baptists" truly is confusing because the "Reformed" has nothing to do with Baptists, but with the reformation of the Catholic church."

With that, I am...
Peter

Les Puryear

Peter,

Anectdotal. Personally heard more than one "reformed" pastor make the statement. That was back when I was self-identying myself as "reformed" and none of my "reformed" friends ever straightened me out.

Steve,

God bless you, brother. You hit the nail on the head. I wonder why the reformed baptist history professor at another seminary didn't mention this?

Les

peter lumpkins

Ron,

Read Tim's reply. I do not know if FM does such a thing. My 'gut' is, they most certainly would not.

With that, I am...
Peter

Craig Daliessio

Can someone give me more information about the hot chicks? I graduate in May...I hadn't considered the pastorate but with those sort of perks...

Eric Opsahl

I attend a Reformed Baptist church, we send many missionaries thru the IMB, as such we support the SBC financially. My fellow members love to evangelize. Didn't the early Baptist church or a portion of it, hold to reformed doctrine? I just designbuildings, I'm not an historian, so don't hammer me on this if not true.
Eric

David Benjamin Hewitt

It is my understanding that the label "Reformed Baptist" is employed by those (including myself) who hold to a few things.

1.) Reformed Soteriology (ie TULIP)
2.) Covenant Theology as opposed to Dispensational Theology
3.) Fully subscribe to the 1689 LBCF.

There are a few notable groups of Reformed Baptists out there, such as ARBCA. In increasing numbers, there are Southern Baptists who are returning to their theological roots who are identifying themselves that way, though I would say doing so only sometimes accurately. Just because someone is a Calvinistic Baptist (TULIP) doesn't mean they are a Reformed Baptist (TULIP + Baptist Covenant Theology + 1689 LBCF).

Anyway, that's the breakdown as I've seen it.

And Dr. Lemke -- perhaps Dr. James Renihan, Dr. Richard Barcellos, and Dr. Sam Waldron would be a few people who might be able to offer a well informed comment or two about the matters you raised. I'd also have think that the framers of the first and second London Baptist Confessions might beg to differ with you about the term "Baptist" having nothing to do with "Reformed."

sdg,
dbh

Tim Rogers

Brother Craig,

You have to remember that "reformed" chicks are not hot. Why? They were providentially chosen not to be hot. However Non-Reformed chicks are hot? Why? They get to choose whether to be hot or not. :)

Blessings,
Tim

A.M. Mallett

How much of a non-Presbyterian presence was there at Dort?

peter

Eric,

Thanks. As I mentioned earlier, Calvinism has an undeniable presence in both Baptist history in general and Southern Baptists particularly. Even so, the "Reformed" designation is relatively new to the SBC context as Dr. Finn rightly suggests. There is a major exception to this (within SB context) with which I will deal in part II.

David,

The last time I looked, the ARBCA had between 60-70 churches affiliated with it, hardly a "notable" group, given the number of Baptist churches in existence today. Comparing the ARBCA with the SBC alone, it has about 1/10th of 1% of the Baptist population.

And, I agree: I'm sure Drs. Renihan, Barcellos, and Waldron would have plenty to say as self-designating "Reformed Baptists".

With that, I am...
Peter

peter

Tim,

Does you wife know you are talkin 'hot chicks' with Craig? I do have your cell, you know.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter

A.M,

Dort had a few Anabaptists there, I'm told. They were in the holding cell until after the vote; then T. Beza hung their bodies from the gate directly in front of the castle door. Their heads were sent home to the wives.

With that, I am...
Peter

(just kidding...)

Tim G

Peter,
Here is the link for you and Ron concerning the issue of helping Pastors etc. They do and do more!

http://www.founders.org/search.html

Craig Daliessio

Wait...I was talking about making a Krystal run. Where were you going with this Tim? : )

Ron Hale

Tim,
Thanks, I did follow the link. Yes, it seems that FM would not be open to non-Calvinist pastors serving their Churches. The following is said when looking for an interim pastor ...."If your church is looking for an interim pastor, we suggest that you contact nearby pastors on the Founders friendly churches list to see if they have anyone they can supply or recommend who is nearby."

A Southern Baptist Church usually is encouraged to contact their local Associational Director of Missions or someone that handles church leadership at the State Convention office, or several wise retired SBC pastors in their association.

So it seems we have a growing group within us that has their own list of churches, ministers, polity, meetings, leaders, etc .... and they are not open for their non-Calvinist Brothers to serve their churches.

This is shocking!

peter lumpkins

Bennett,

My deepest regret for the confusion. I simply forgot the "moderation" was "off." The comments when written were assumed to be "moderated." Hence, neither should have been published. Consequently, I unpublished yours as well.

As for "putting replies" under the comment to whom the replies refer, this particular thread style (sequential) does not do so. If you will note, however, the comment is labeled at the top, "A" said in reply to "B."

Thanks.

With that, I am...
Peter

D.R. Randle

Les,

If you remember, you claimed that this is what Justin Nale and I stated over on your blog, yet such was not the case (Justin's comment is halfway down, mine 4th from the bottom, and yours is next to last). And you even said at the time that you knew such an accusation would be offensive, yet that did not stop you from hurling it.

What both of us said was our reasoning for desiring to pastor an SBC church was because we grew up in the SBC, loved the SBC, supported the CP of the SBC (in my case, I have led my Church to support the CP, the IMB, and NAMB far more than they were previously doing), and finally because we were in agreement with the BF&M 2000, which is what binds all of us together confessionally (not Reformed v. non-Reformed views) in cooperation (just as was the intent of the 1925 and 1963).

You may have some anecdotal information, but it certainly didn't come from the sources you claimed it arose from on your blog.

Bennett Willis

Sounds good to me. The clarification on the replies was appreciated. I had noted the header but had not really understood the header. :)

Steve Allem

"For starters, any Baptists who claim to be Reformed should go back and apologize to the early Baptists who were persecuted, imprisoned, and martyred by the leaders of the Reformation. At least they owe these early Baptists an explanation."

Well stated Dr. Lemke. It is curious that the "Reformed Baptists" in the SBC today date their roots to English Baptists of the 1600's rather than the first Baptist of the 1500's, i.e. the Anabaptists. While this may raise the hackles of the FM crowd, I believe our true roots are in Anabaptist history and not English Baptists.

Anabaptists were, in fact, called radical reformers because they were wanting a complete break with the Catholic church as opposed to a partial one which other reformers found advocated. Even more ironic is that, to my understanding, more Anabaptists were persecuted and killed by the other reformation sects then by the catholics. Such a tragedy.

Therefore, to the point of Peter's post, the moniker of Reformed associated with Baptist is truly an oxymoron of the highest degree. The Anabaptists did not want to reform the Catholic Church, they wanted nothing at all to do with the Catholic Church. I agree with Dr. Lemke that an apology is in order to the early baptists by those wanting to call themselves Reformed Baptists today.

D.R. Randle

Steve Allem,

I think Dr. Lemke would be hard-pressed to agree with you that Southern Baptists find their root in the Anabaptists, especially since his own faculty at NOBTS teaches in opposition to that view (or at least they did when I graduated from there). The scholarly consensus among Baptist historians today (regardless of soteriology) views the Baptist movement resulting in the SBC as having come out of English separatism, a product of the Reformation, not the Anabaptist movement. This is the view that has been taught in our seminaries now for decades and likely Dr. Lemke first learned under H. Leon McBeth at Southwestern Seminary (who was certainly NOT Reformed, must less a Calvinist).

That's not to say that Anabaptists didn't influence the Early Baptists, but those same Baptists in England early on declared the Anabaptists to be anathema.

Steve Allem

"but those same Baptists in England early on declared the Anabaptists to be anathema."

Point taken D.R. about Dr. Lemke, I did not mean to speak for him.

The quote above supports my position and post.

D.R. Randle

Steve,

I'm not sure what you are saying - perhaps you can clarify. Are you saying that the quote, "but those same Baptists in England early on declared the Anabaptists to be anathema" supports your position that "our true roots [SBC?] are in Anabaptist history and not English Baptists"?

If this is what you are saying, I'm not sure how that contributes to your view.

A.M. Mallett

Dort had a few Anabaptists there, I'm told. They were in the holding cell until after the vote; then T. Beza hung their bodies from the gate directly in front of the castle door. Their heads were sent home to the wives.

With that, I am...
Peter

(just kidding...)

I am guessing the hounds were ticked off at their Presbyterian masters for denying them a good chew. ... and of course I am just kidding

Steve Allem

D.R.,

The quote supports the position that the Anabaptits were persecuted as much if not more by other reformers then by Catholics. Sorry for the confusion.

While I'm here let me also modify my verbiage by substituting 'beginnings' instead of 'roots' in reference to Anabaptist heritage. I don't subscribe to every theological position they held, but I do applaud them for standing to make a complete break from the Catholic grip rather than just a moderate one. They paid a dear price for their convictions and their influence should be acknowledged more regarding our Baptist tradition today.

D.R. Randle

Steve,

Perhaps I did not word that sentence regarding anathema correctly. There were a group of English BAPTISTS who early on declared the Anabaptists in England to be anathema. They didn't persecute them, they simply declared that they sharply disagreed with them, enough to declare their views anathema.

The Anabaptists were certainly persecuted, but not by the Separatists and those Baptists clearly sought to distance themselves from the Anabaptists (and they sought to show that they were of a separate movement and not derivative of the Anabaptists). Those Separatists who did distinguish themselves from the Anabaptists formed the root from which the SBC grew.

I think the Anabaptists should be applauded, but all this talk about the Reformers and persecution is really irrelevant when it comes to historic Baptist theology. It was a barbaric time and while Baptists were able to avoid being violent and rightly pushed religious freedom for all, they too have unfortunate histories (like almost always being on the wrong side of slavery).

Tim G

Ron,
I think shocking is the appropriate word. They are on one hand desiring to be SBC and yet on the other, they want to change and not cooperate.

It is a takeover move in structure and desire. It is a threat to all the SBC has, is, and will be.

It is also interesting to note that nothing REFORMED in reference to these guys has ever grown or maintained for much length of time.

Yep, it is shocking!

D.R. Randle

Tim,

Let's remember that you are speaking about your brothers and sisters in Christ here. You've seemed to misplace some important facts in your accusations. In order for any church to affiliate with the Founders, they must adhere to some historic Reformed confession. Thus the confession of these churches is what binds them from hiring non-Calvinists. The BF&M was purposefully held open in regard to soteriology to allow for both Calvinists and non-Calvinists to cooperate together. Thus, either could qualify to pastor SBC churches. But, only Calvinists qualify to pastor Churches with Reformed confessions. Hiring a non-Calvinist at a Reformed Confessional Church is like hiring a guy at an SBC church who doesn't affirm the BF&M. Founders isn't pushing this, the Churches it serves are.

As for the accusations regarding lack of cooperation and takeover, I would strongly disagree. The Founders have had nothing to do with the shift in theology in the Seminaries. They have had absolutely nothing to do with the shift at Southern. It came about because James P. Boyce chose to write a Reformed confession for the Seminary's faculty. And as the Seminaries go, so goes the convention. That's a truth the SBC has experienced over and over again.

Ron Hale

D.R,
I want to see if I'm clear in what you're saying. Are you saying, that if, a Southern Baptist (non-Calvinist) congregation calls a Calvinistic pastor and he "reforms" them and they become a Founders Friendly church and adopt Calvinistic Confessions --- are you saying by principle, they cannot call a non-Calvinist SBC pastor to serve them? <><

peter lumpkins

D.R.,

I realize you were not commenting to anything particularly I've written here. However, a couple of your remarks to Tim deserve response.

First, you deny Founders "pushing this"; instead you assert the Churches it serves are. To the contrary, D.R., to qualify as a Founders-friendly church, Founders insists on allegiance to one of three other confessions, all of which are, from Founders perspective, much more Calvinistic or perhaps "Reformed" than the BF&M. Hence, to suggest it only exists to serve the congregations to which it appeals is hard to accept.

Second, you further deny Founders have had anything to do with the shift in theology in the Seminaries, including "absolutely nothing" to do with Southern's shift. Instead you suggest the shift at SBTS came about because "James P. Boyce chose to write a Reformed confession for the Seminary's faculty."

D.R. please. You actually expect one to accept your bald assertion that Founders has had nothing to do with the Calvinist shift at SBTS when, A) One of Founders original 4 charter members has been pushing Founders' agenda as theology professor for the last decade--Tom Nettles; B) President Mohler remains a staple in Founders Ministries vision and has been since before his presidency. Come on, brother. Some of us are admittedly dumb. But I won't admit guilt to being that dumb.

But to top that off, you expect us to accept that the change at SBTS came because of Boyce's AP? So, Founders Ministries has nothing to do with the shift; Al Mohler had nothing to do with the shift; and Tom Nettles had nothing to do with the shift. Instead it was Boyce's genius in writing a "Reformed" confession (for the record, not only did Boyce probably *not write* the AP, so far as I know not a single Founder designated himself as "Reformed"; hence, a bit of anachronistic juggling going on here.

With that, I am...
Peter

Scott Slayton

I have not done a survey on this, but it seems to me that most Southern Baptist guys who call themselves "Reformed" do so because "Calvinist" is such a loaded term. I suspect that there are two reasons why it is so loaded. The first is that it has been terribly misrepresented both by those who disagree with it and by those who have taken Calvinistic theology to unbiblical conclusions. Also, if I were to ask every commenter in this forum for their definition of Calvinism, I would likely get a wide variety of answers. Because of this, "Reformed" is an easier label to wear, even though it has its own difficulties. Just an observation.

D.R. Randle

Ron,

First, not all churches who are in the Founders movement "changed" because of some Reformed pastor. Quite a few were planted and chose to affiliate with the SBC. Second, if an autonomous Church chooses on its own to change its Confession, then it has the right and obligation to call someone to pastor who agrees with that Confession. To do otherwise would defeat the purpose of changing the Confession. Interestingly, those liberals who rose up during the 50's - 90's signed the BF&M and Abstract while not adhering to it. Not adhering to the Confession chosen by the Church or organization is essentially lying, which is what those liberals were doing. I imagine most here would agree.

Steve Allem

D.R. Randle said "And as the Seminaries go, so goes the convention."

I think the Conservative Resurgence would prove that to be an incorrect statement.

I also wouldn't rely on that statement holding true regarding the future either, if I were an FM'er.

D.R. Randle

Peter,

1) The fact that Founders requires a secondary Reformed Confession for being Founder's-Friendly has nothing to do with the point that Founders isn't orchestrating some takeover. It simply serves the Churches that are Reformed, becoming Reformed, or have a desire to become Reformed in their soteriology and more.

2) You really need to do your research before commenting about how Southern shifted toward Reformed theology. You see professors don't elect other profs - trustees do. Thus, it is not true at all that Nettles was the driving force behind the move to Calvinism at Southern (BTW, he is a HISTORY prof, not a theology prof). He didn't even get there until 1997 - virtually the same time as the Tom Schreiner, Bruce Ware, and several other Calvinist faculty, and after Danny Akin and Dan Hatfield, who had much more influence over the direction of Southern than did Nettles. The trustees rightly used the Abstract as their standard, thus again it was the Abstract which defined the school's theology, regardless if you believe it or not.

SIDE NOTE: Let me give you an example of the above. Grant Osborne was slated to become the first conservative theology professor appointed under Mohler. But he was voted down by the conservative Trustees because he could not sign the Abstract. David Dockery was chosen instead because he could sign. The Trustees hoped to design the change around the very structure Boyce had chosen - his confession. All the above is historically verifiable - not mere speculation and opinion.

3) Finally, as for Boyce not writing the Abstract, you are technically correct. He charged Basil Manley to write it and then was part of the revision team (though it is often referred to as Boyce's Abstract because it was his vision). When the Seminary was constituted, it then became the official Confession of Faith of the Seminary and the standard by which the faculty were held. And yes, go ask Jerry Vines, they did indeed use the Abstract as described above. Again this is all verifiable. You can choose to believe otherwise, but there is plenty of evidence to back up what I am saying. Just go read it for yourself. I can post links if necessary.

D.R. Randle

Steve, surely you would agree that much of the need for the Resurgence was because of what was being taught in the seminaries. And it is equally true that the Resurgence was cemented in the Seminaries. Once the shift was made in the Seminaries the Resurgence was solidified.

Job

To Steve Lemke and Steve Allem:

Modern Baptists are not descendants of the Anabaptists, who had very different doctrines and practices from modern Baptists, including some who were "Pentecostals", some who became monastics and others who developed cult-like apocalyptic beliefs and behavior. (It is not unfair to assert that separation between church and state and believer's baptism were the only things that Anabaptists and Baptists have in common.) The Mennonites and Amish can accurately claim to be descended from the 16th Anabaptist movement, but not modern Baptists.

Modern Baptists - both Particular and General - are the descendants of the Separatists from Anglicanism in the 17th century. As a matter of fact, the General Baptists - Thomas Helwys and similar - were first and the Particular Baptists came later.

It may suit polemical purposes (against Calvinists perhaps?) to assert that free will Baptists came from the Anabaptists and Calvinistic Baptists came from the Separatists, but it is not one supported by historical fact. If nothing else, it is more honest to assert that both Particular and General Baptists came from the Anabaptists. It is still wrong, mind you, but at least it is more honest.

The comments to this entry are closed.