Sunday, February 15, 2009


[The following is subject to much amendment and refining.]

The sad part of the term "baptist", is that it is associated with so much, and used so ambiguously. When used people think of "the baptists", but "the baptists" is a name applied to a broad and diverse range of people with varying beliefs. All evangelicals that do not baptize infants (kids fine, but not infants) are "baptists", using the proper definition of what the term designates!

There are "baptists" who are as different from one another as Roman Catholics from Conservative, Confessional Presbyterians. In fact, Reformed Baptists ("RB's") typically differ from Presbyterians only in that RB's reject (1) paedobaptism and the teachings associated with it, such as assumed/presumed regeneration of believers' children as unbiblical, anti-evangelical, and contrary to Christ, and also, (2) the failure of to recognize that the New Covenant has a discontinuity from the old, the law written on the heart of believers, and that community being composed only of such inscribed individuals (which is biblical), (3) the dominionist-like "magisterial" elements of the Westminster Confession. RB's also reject the remnants of Roman Catholicism found in Presbyterianism through the "continuity" sought with the Anglican's Church's 39 articles, which themselves sought to preserve a "Continuity" with the Church's thoroughly Roman past. (4) RB's also reject the remnants of Roman Catholicism in Reformed camps in the form of remaining Sacramentalism, especially in the form of "administering" the fuzzily-defined "means of grace": RB's, unlike Presbys-through-Rome, are perfectly willing to just sit-down and break bread in remembrance of the Lord (though still taking it seriously, of course), without the presence of the supposedly needed "properly ordained minister" to "administer" [God's] grace. In government, however, RB's are usually (for all practical purposes) Presbyterian without the addition of a bunch of supraecclesial levels beyond the individuals congregations, that is, they associate, not denominate (ARBCA is the exception--its Constitution describes a denomination, not an association), but they don't necessarily allow congregationalism's disorderliness. (That said, there should be elements in any and every Church's organization and relationships that would probably be deemed "Congregational" by most.)

There are also Arminian baptists, not a few stemming from anabaptist roots. There is the factious and proud arminian "Landmarkism" (a schismatic sect), such that there are groups called "Landmark Baptists" (another name is "Missionary Baptists"). There are "Southern Baptists", but this group is a great admixture of opposing views, goods, heresies...its historical teaching roots are in the Reformed Camp, as documentation shows, but with the waning of those doctrinal roots it has become not only the largest, one of the most mocked groups ever to call itself Christian: thankfully there are faithful ministers therein, however, striving in the good fight for the faith to overturn its departures. (Such as those who write for and Founders blog.)

I write this because the term "baptist" is now associated with much disorderliness, nonsense, and what is outlandish. Unthinking, anti-intellectual, ascerbic-preaching, etc.. But it would be like accusing, throwing-together, all "paedobaptists" and giving them ridicule because the pope of Rome bedecked with glass lady-slippers, elaborate dress, (anyone want a jewel-studded chaucible, i.e. poncho, anyone?), and a gold and jeweled emperor's scepter makes for one of the most entertaining displays worthy of mockery ever to "grace" the human experience; a man claiming to be Christ's substitute and representative on earth, the Man who "had no comeliness", supposedly represented by that lavish and pompous head of that notorious and odious-to-the-sheep institution. Why would those who proclaim that there is no other name by which we must be saved than Jesus's be associated with those who teach that for salvation all who have the opportunity to know about the Pope must submit and be subject to the Pope? Why would those who preach the truth, that Christ is the head of the Church, not only in Heaven, but on Earth, be associated with he who declares himself the Church's earthly head?

So why, then, do people group "the baptists", when similar chasms of difference exist between certain groups? Why would the RB's who love and yet have mutual support with their Presbyterian brethren (though often RB's are also despised in one way or another by Presbyterians, example here) be grouped with the factious and ridiculous offshoots of Landmarkism? Why would the ambiguous heterodoctrinal Southern Baptist Convention be altogether associated with either of those?

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