Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why Not Lutheran Baptist?

Bingo! I've had the same thought as I've grappled with those who only affirm the Five Points of Calvinism and attach the adjective 'reformed' to themselves.  I've blogged about this before (see tab entitled 'reformed theology') and don't need to repeat that information.  If you are new to this discussion you would do well to see the link to Richard Muller's fine article, "How Many Points?"

Darryl Hart has chimed in with a thoughtful piece Why Not Lutheran Baptist? to answer this question. He reviews the recent skirmish between James White and R. Scott Clark over the use of the adjective, 'reformed.'  Clark takes a pretty traditional view on the use of that term.  White caricatures that position. 

Yesterday I came across another post at the Confessional Outhouse on the same topic. Steve Zrimec does a good job illustrating the difference between those who affirm a particular confession (i.e. many reformed Baptists) and those who subscribe to a confession (i.e. confessional Reformed folk).  A Confessionalist By Any Other Name.  To affirm a creed or confession falls short of binding oneself to it and the propositional truths contained therein.  To subscribe to a creed or confession is to sign one's name on the dotted line and profess before the church that this document is a faithful summary of Scripture.  Furthermore, one is binding himself to teach within the bounds of such a document.  So the difference between a Reformed Baptist pastor who follows Spurgeon and a minister in a reformed denomination is a lot larger than one might think. 

I'm not casting stones at my reformed Baptist friends nor am I suggesting that they find a new title.  I love them dearly and enjoy their company.  What I am suggesting is that we think carefully about how we apply the term 'reformed.'


Ken e said...

What about Reformed Anglicans? I attend an Anglican church as you know in Singapore and our services follow the book of common prayer.

I don't agree with Scott on this, because he does differ with other Calvinist like John Frame on different issues like the Charismata, because even Frame says there were differing even in the Westminster Assembly even on the third person's activity in the church today!

I have read Scott's work and it's brilliant, but it's his opinion and he is very opinionated though and he is not infallible as Holy Scripture is and he isn't infallible in Reformed Theology also.

I have attended your services and loved them as you know and when Mei and I are back here full time we will be there. But are you saying that only Presbyterians can be Reformed?


Dave Sarafolean said...


No, I'm not going quite as far as Clark. I'm only saying that 'reformed' in a historical sense is a much more fully orbed term than is commonly used today.

The Thirty Nine Articles are 'reformed' because they were written by confessional Presbyterians but also because they largely affirm the theology of the WCF (soteriology, sacraments, covenants, etc).

I once saw an ad for John Piper's church in Christianity Today advertising for pastoral staff. This is how he described his church: "Reformed in soteriology, Baptistic in Polity, Charismatic in Affections." If only everyone was as upfront when they describe themselves as 'reformed.'