Sunday, November 22, 2009

A thought on R. Scott Clark's definiton of "Reformed"

R. Scott Clark, an ordained minister in the denomination of the church my wife and I currently attend, stated a while back that basically, only paedobaptists are "Reformed".  In doing this of course he claims that credo-baptists (those who baptize only those who profess faith) are thereby not Reformed.  I realized, re-reading the conversation there, that Clark essentially makes the same mistake that Ergun Caner made a few years back when he stated (paraphrasing): "I'm not a Calvinist or an Arminian, I'm a baptist."

Both Clark and Caner make a category error. The term "Baptist" defines one's view on baptism, not on soteriology. Likewise "Reformed" defines, not one's view on baptism, but one's understanding of the the five solas, and a covenantal understanding of soteriology. Now, Clark might argue that a "covenantal understanding of soteriology" requires a paedobaptistic viewpoint, but the formers of the 1689 London Baptist Confession would surely disagree. Also, consider that Rome had a paedobaptism, and it is Rome from which the Reformers ~reformed~ the church. 

Are not both Caner and Clark educated enough to know a fallacy when they state one?

24 comments:

  1. I'm not sure what category mistake I'm supposed to have made but the Reformed churches have taught and required belief in paedobaptism since the beginning of the 16th century. No one, until the modern period, would have been allowed to deny infant baptism and join a Reformed church or even come to the Lord's Table. The church order of Dort (1619) required that one "profess the Reformed religion" in order to come to the Lord's Table and the"Reformed Religion" meant the Heidelberg Catechism, which children were required to memorize, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort.

    I wrote a book to make this case. I hope you'll take a look at it.

    Until very recently, the word "Reformed" denoted a theology, piety, and practice not just a soteriology.

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  2. Pastor Clark, thank you for reading my post.

    You wrote: "Until very recently, the word "Reformed" denoted a theology, piety, and practice not just a soteriology."

    I wonder, exactly, what difference in piety, practice and theology (apart from paedobaptism of course) one would find between those who hold to the 1689 London Confession and say, Keach's catechism, and that of the Westminster Confession on which they were based?

    You've indicated previously that you don't consider church polity as definitional of the moniker Reformed, yet you hold to paedobaptism as something that is. Yet between Reformed, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations there exists great disparity in more than simply church polity. Firstly each of the three denominations has its own confession(s), each has its own governing authority, etc. There is also a varied understanding of covenantal theology within the various groups you allow in your "Reformed" umbrella. Also, it is clear that these three groups didn't agree on the meaning and nature of baptism especially in regards to covenant theology. Therefore it is clear that 'Reformed' cannot apply unilaterally to one group or the other but is equally applicable to all of those bodies that formed from the Reformation with intent to Reform the church. Thus mere "soteriology" is not what we who consider ourselves Reformed Baptists have in common with other Reformed groups.

    I would like to suggest that therefore, that apart from infant baptism, and by that I mean the specific view that sees baptism as the New Covenant counterpart to circumcision, paedobaptist Reformed share nearly all else in common with credobaptists of the 1689 stripe. A Robust covenant theology exists in baptist circles yet they take the very same view on baptism that you and most Presbyterians take on communion and using nearly the same argumentation.

    Just as most Reformed and Presbyterians argue that children are not the proper subjects of the Supper on the basis that they do not meet the conditions of "discerning the body", so Baptists also believe they're not the proper subjects of baptism on the basis that they do not meet the conditions of "believing". There is, in fact, far more Scriptural foundation for the Baptists claim on this point than that of the Presbyterian or Reformed.

    These Dutch Reformed and the Presbyterians do not believe that withholding the one thing Christ himself called "the New Covenant" from their children in any way hurts them, Baptists likewise do not find any Scriptural basis for believing that refusing baptism until profession, as seems to be the overwhelming testimony of the New Testament.

    With all that said I want to reiterate my claim. Just as Ergun Caner declared he wasn't a "Calvinist or Arminian but a Baptist", your claim that Anglicans, Dutch Reformed and Presbyterians are Reformed but Baptists are not, is a similar category error.

    While I would certainly agree with you that the term Reformed denotes much more than soteriological agreement, I believe you short change those of us who consider ourselves Reformed Baptists, lumping us together perhaps with those who, while having a Calvinistic soteriology, have a non-covenantal understanding of redemptive history.

    Humbly,

    Micah Burke

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  3. Also...

    "The church order of Dort (1619) required that one "profess the Reformed religion" in order to come to the Lord's Table and the"Reformed Religion" meant the Heidelberg Catechism, which children were required to memorize, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort."

    Soooo... Wesminster folks are left out?

    Micah

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  4. No, the Westminster folks are not left out. The WCF was not written when the Synod of Dort met. I was only addressing the original intent of the Synod of Dort -- which included Anglicans by the way but which did not include any Baptists even though there had been particular Baptists since about 1611. The same is true of the Westminster Assembly (see below).

    The few Anglicans at Westminster did not have a different theology of baptism or a different theology of the covenant than the Independents or the Presbyterians. They all, however, had a different hermeneutic and a different covenant theology than the Baptists of 1644.

    Reformed folk read the history of redemption rather differently than Baptists. We see a greater continuity between Abraham and the new covenant. We juxtapose Moses and Christ, not Christ and Abraham.

    As a consequence, we regard our children as Christians and as baptized persons. Baptists, of course, do not regard our children as Baptized persons nor do they regard those of us who've not been re-baptized as Baptized persons!

    That's a huge matter. According to the Baptists I'm not a Christian. That's no small thing.

    The different approaches to hermeneutics and to covenant theology (which is of the essence of the Reformed faith) produces a different view of covenant children and of the nature of the means of grace (which is at the heart of our piety).

    There is a good case to be made and that has been made to say that the WCF, when it speaks of the great sin of condemning Baptism, is speaking to and about the Baptists who had just adopted the 1st London in '44.

    In any event, Heidelberg Catechism #74 is explicit that infant baptism is required by the Word of God, Anyone in a Reformed church who refused to baptize his child would ordinarily be subject to discipline.

    "74. Are infants also to be baptized?

    Yes, for since they belong to the covenant and people of God as well as their parents, and since redemption from sin through the blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit who works faith, are promised to them no less than to their parents, they are also by Baptism, as the sign of the Covenant, to be ingrafted into the Christian Church, and distinguished from the children of unbelievers, as was done in the Old Testament by Circumcision, in place of which in the New Testament Baptism is instituted."

    The catechism contains no explicit Q/A on predestination or the extent of the atonement but it does contain an explicit doctrine of infant baptism. If one is judging Reformed theology by the Heidelberg Catechism, one would have to say that infant baptism is more important to them than some of those doctrines (which are doubtless essential to the Reformed faith) by which some latitudinarians define Reformed theology, piety, and practice today.

    I hope you'll take the time to read the book, Recovering the Reformed Confession and get a more complete picture than I can give here of what I mean by 'theology, piety, and practice."

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  5. Thank you for responding:

    I was only addressing the original intent of the Synod of Dort -- which included Anglicans by the way but which did not include any Baptists even though there had been particular Baptists since about 1611. The same is true of the Westminster Assembly (see below).

    And yet it was Westminster divines that helped the Baptists draft their confession, and in fact used the WCF as the basis.

    Reformed folk read the history of redemption rather differently than Baptists. We see a greater continuity between Abraham and the new covenant. We juxtapose Moses and Christ, not Christ and Abraham.

    When you say "Baptists" who are you referring to? Do you believe this is true of those who call themselves Reformed Baptists, and if so, which have you spoken with on this topic? Of those who call themselves Reformed Baptists, I know of none who "juxtapose Christ and Abraham" as you claim.

    Now there are certainly many Calvinistic Baptists out there without covenant theology, and it is possible that you have encountered them, but please do not lump all Baptists in together as those who hold one form of eschatology or covenantal understanding.

    As a consequence, we regard our children as Christians and as baptized persons. Baptists, of course, do not regard our children as Baptized persons nor do they regard those of us who've not been re-baptized as Baptized persons!

    Baptists do not assume anyone is a believer until the profess belief. We find from the overwhelming evidence of the New Testament that individuals are to believe and be baptized, Baptists in general do rebaptize those who were baptized into a church without the gospel, ie: Roman Catholics, Mormons, etc. and rebaptize those who though baptized as infants in Anglican or Reformed denominations come to faith in Christ later. For we do not see New Testament evidence of infants being baptized in the New Testment but rather see a consistent pattern of profession and baptism. Some might rebaptize those who, though believers all their life, become baptist after wards.

    That's a huge matter. According to the Baptists I'm not a Christian. That's no small thing.

    I'm sorry sir, that's completely untrue.

    The different approaches to hermeneutics and to covenant theology (which is of the essence of the Reformed faith) produces a different view of covenant children and of the nature of the means of grace (which is at the heart of our piety).


    To quote Keach's Bpatist Catechism: "Q. 95. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption?

    A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption are His ordinances, especially the Word, Baptism, the Lord's Supper and Prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.

    Q. 98. How do Baptism and the Lord's Supper become effectual means of salvation?

    A. Baptism and the Lord's Supper become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them or in him that administers them, but only by the blessing of Christ and the working of His Spirit in them that by faith receive them. "

    I think there's substantial parity between the Reformed/Presby understanding of the sacraments and that of the Baptists of 1644/89.

    I have some questions regarding paedocommunion, but I'll save them for another time/post.


    Thanks again for your response. I will in fact read your the book.

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  6. Isn't it misleading to say that Westminster Divines "helped" to draft the LBC? Yes, the LBC borrowed from the WCF. No question but that's a little different from saying that the divines actively helped to write the LBC --which denies important parts of the Reformed faith.

    All Baptists, whether of the LBC type (which were orginally called Particular Baptists) or of the "General Baptist variety and even the Anabaptists implicitly or explicitly deny that we're in substantially the same covenant of grace as Abraham. They do not understand nor do they confess that when Peter said, "The promise is to you and to your children" it was a re-statement of the Abrahamic promise. With the exception of some of my friends in the ARBCA, I don't know of any Baptist who understands that the new covenant is new relative to Moses and not Abraham. The new covenant is a fulfillment of the promises to Abraham but it is not substantially new. There was infant initiation under Abraham and there is infant initiation under Christ. The Baptist view is that the new covenant is so new, so eschatological that infant initiation cannot be carried over. They break the substantial unity of the covenant of grace.

    This is not my argument, this was the argument of ALL the Reformed churches in the 16th and 17th centuries against both the Anabaptists and the Baptists post 1611.

    The rest of your response makes my case for me! You have well illustrated the fundamental disagreement between Reformed theology and Baptist theology. We don't presume the necessity of faith before baptism. Just as it was not necessary under Abraham, so it is not necessary today.

    This is why Reformed churches didn't and shouldn't today admit Baptists as members. We lack the fundamental unity of faith to be in one communion.

    This was your original complaint, was it not?

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  7. Micah,

    Good post. Dr. Clark didn't answer your challenge to his claim that Baptists regard him as a non-Christian. I find that quite absurd and untrue. Indeed, I find it odd that an expert in historical theology would make such a uncharitable and inaccurate generalization about Baptists.

    Most of us are prepared not only to treat him as a brother (assuming he's made a credible profession of faith), but we're also willing to view his church as a "true church" despite the fact that he administers Triune baptism to the infants of believer. He, on the other hand, treats Baptist congregations as "sects" and denies that they are "true churches." I find that a bit sectarian.

    Dr. Clark gives the impression that it's more important what the 3FU say about a subject than what the Bible says. Granted, the Reformers were not anti-traditionalists. But they were concerned to keep tradition in its proper place, as subordinate to Scripture.

    Micah, it seems that you're willing to let those of us who confess the 1689 LBCF use the label "Reformed" since we do, after all, qualify it by adding the appellative "Baptist." I think that's linguistically, historically, and theologically good sense. Thanks for the post.

    Your servant,
    Bob Gonzales, Dean
    Reformed Baptist Seminary

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  8. I’m sure the story is quite familiar to those who have posted.

    In Differences in Judgement about Water-Baptism no Bar to Communion, John Bunyan completely opposes Dr. Clark’s stated position, yet, from the opposite vantage point. The question facing Bunyan was who was allowed the privilege of partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Indeed, Bunyan was responding to those interloping Particular Baptists who had caused dissension among his flock.

    Kiffin, Danvers, et al, held that communion properly belonged only to the credo-baptized. And that Bunyan’s acceptance of paedo-baptized Christians to the Lord’s table constituted an unpardonable breach of NT polity.

    Bunyan’s response strikes me as timely:

    “And even now, before I go any further, I will give you a touch of the reason of my publishing that part thereof which you so hotly oppose. It was because of those continual assaults that the rigid brethren of your way, made, not only upon this congregation, to rend it; but also upon many others about us. If peradventure they might break us in pieces, and draw from us disciples after them. Assaults, I say, upon this congregation by times, for no less than these sixteen or eighteen years. Yea, myself they have sent for, and endeavoured to persuade me to break communion with my brethren; also with many others they have often tampered, if haply their seeds of division might take”

    And: “I say not that baptism hath any absurdity in it, though your abusing it, hath them all, and many more, while you make it, without warrant from the word, as the flaming sword, to keep the brotherhood out of communion, because they, after your manner, cannot consent thereto.”

    And, finally:
    “I own water baptism to be God's ordinance, but I make no idol of it. Where you call now the Episcopal to side with you, and also the Presbyterian, &c. you will not find them easily persuaded to conclude with you against me. They are against your manner of dipping, as well as the subject of water baptism; neither do you, for all you flatter them, agree together in all but the subject. Do you allow their sprinkling? Do you allow their signing with the cross? Why then have you so stoutly, an hundred times over, condemned these things as antichristian. I am not against every man, though by your abusive language you would set every one against me; but am for union, concord, and communion with saints, as saints, and for that cause I wrote my book.”

    Though I would, frankly, hesitate to claim Bunyan as a “Baptist”—though, indeed, he “owned [credo-Baptism] to be God’s ordinance”—I don’t think his work is that much different, in principle, from a Presbyterian minister’s hypothetical publishing of a treatise against his more rigid paedo-baptist brethren entitled, Differences in Judgement about Paedo-Baptism no Bar to Communion.

    For Bunyan, the “fundamental unity of faith” among Christian brothers fundamentally excluded the mode and timing of baptism. That is not the case for all of us.

    But, it is an instructive episode in the relationship between “Reformed” Baptists (not to say, “Reformed Baptists”) and their Presbyterians brethren in Christ.

    There is surely something of worth to be learned from Bunyan’s staunchly-Calvinistic, pro-credo-baptistic position that allowed for diversity of confirmed belief about baptism among his own flock of sheep—and which roundly condemned such Baptists as would stir up the brethren in dissension on the topic.

    At the very least, I hope that Dr. Clark will lay aside his manifestly false belief that “Baptists” deny his Christian profession of faith.

    I'm sure I'm on the wrong side of both divides at this point, but there it is.

    God bless.

    cks

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  9. Thank you Mr. Burke for taking this subject head on. I've listened to Dr, Clark many times and others from the paedobaptist view and I'm beginning to wonder what is going on with them(0r really Dr.Clark). I love the many wonderful confessions and adhere mostly with the LBC, but when it comes down to the be all end all, Sola Scriptura is where I hang my hat!I worry for Dr. Clark that he loves being so polemic and divisive so that he can say I'm better than you at the end of the day and I will only worship with my kind of people. Too bad I like what he has to say on a lot of other issues and have benefited but on this I think he is causing more harm than good. I know his response might be to say that we are the problem and if we continue on this slippery slope of misunderstanding the covenants we could end up being Anabaptists or something worse. Well whatever, having a right view of Scripture and being able to defend and exegete it from not only the Old but also the New Testament, actually that might even be more proper come to think of it! Remember we interpret the Old in light of the New, not the other way around. Do you know where I learned that from? You guessed it, Westminster Theological Seminary and all those wonderful biblical theology scholars there! I know traditions are hard to let go of, but for your sake and many others in the body of Christ, and the glory of Christ, please let it go. I'm worried that you are sounding no different in many regards than Roman Catholics. Please forgive me if this was uncharitable or arrogant, I do not have the pedigree beside my name as you Dr. Clark and I am in no way able to argue with you when it comes to an academic nature but I love Christ and His people and I think we do Him a disservice with all this. Keep on serving Christ like the many great Reformed heroes minus the baptism debate. God bless to you Mr. Burke and you Dr. Clark

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  10. Sorry Ynottony, I don't welcome your comments here.

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  11. Is a member of the OPC or URC, who was baptized as an infant but not as an adult, welcome to receive the Lord's Supper in a "Reformed Baptist" Church?

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  12. David,

    I can't speak for all Baptists. As the pastor of a Reformed Baptist church, I can say that we welcome paedo-baptist brothers who've made a credible profession of faith to the table.

    I would also be open to allowing a PB brother become a member of my church if (1) he wasn't divisive, (2) he'd studied the issue of infant- vs. credo- baptism but remained unconvinced in conscience of the Credo-Baptist position, and (3) had no suitable church home alternatives in the area.

    Your servant,
    Bob Gonzales

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  13. I forgot to add the two limitations. PBs who became members of our Baptist church would have all the privileges and responsibilities of church membership but would not be able to (1) hold office or (2) vote on a doctrinal amendment dealing with the subject of baptism.

    Bob G.

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  14. Dr. Gonzales wrote:
    "Good post. Dr. Clark didn't answer your challenge to his claim that Baptists regard him as a non-Christian. I find that quite absurd and untrue. Indeed, I find it odd that an expert in historical theology would make such a uncharitable and inaccurate generalization about Baptists."

    Dr. Clark's belief to the effect that "Baptists" deny his Christian profession of faith is utterly foreign to me, despite my upbringing--in the home of a significantly Arminian, dispensationalist, Southern Baptist pastor!

    Perhaps Dr. Clark can begin, then, to imagine my bewildered dismay that he can paint with so broad a brush as to state, unequivocally, with such apparent certainty that "Baptists" do not consider him to be a Christian.

    As a staunchly Reformed Southern Baptist, with a healthy belief in a covenantal history of salvation, and whose Calvin library spans not a few bookshelves, I find his statement to be woefully uninformed.

    By the mouths of multiple witnesses, perhaps Dr. Clark may allow the truth of the matter to sink in: "Baptists" do not deny his profession of faith.

    Thanks for your judicious words, Dr. Gonzalez. They resonate with me quite strongly.

    cks

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  15. I like Jason's point about Sola Scriptura and would like to see a consistent hermeneutic and proper exegesis on each scriptural support for paedobaptism that could be debated by both sides one scripture at a time so that traditions will be exposed and truth will reign.
    the RB position on the covenant of grace goes back to Adam and not just Abram/Abraham. This would show that there was no sign of circumcision then and with Abraham it was credo circumcision in old age!

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  16. It seems to me that all of this comes down to the definition of the Reformed faith as if it were just an 'ism'. The Reformed faith is bound up with a particular ecclesiastical tradition, its symbolic documents, its practices and its history. While I will readily acknowledge that Reformed Christians have much in common with their 'Reformed' Baptist brothers, we must recognize that anti-paedobaptism has not been tolerated within the Reformed ecclesiastical tradition dating back to the first Reformers.

    'Reformed' Baptists are welcome to argue that tolerance of paedobaptism is a pointless shibboleth, but the Reformed tradition does not regard it in such a manner. If 'Reformed' Baptists truly respect the Reformed theological tradition they will be honest about the places where they differ and respect the fact that Reformed Christians, while acknowledging that they have much in common with 'Reformed' Baptists, do not regard them as being within their theological and ecclesiastical tradition.

    If they do not they are in danger of becoming like the kid in the playground who defines himself as your best friend and complains when he finds that you do not view your relationship in quite the same manner. Having your identity defined from without for someone else’s purposes is never pleasant. You are effectively effaced and silenced by the imposition of the other.

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  17. And, as regards the claim that Baptists do not regard paedobaptized Reformed Christians as Christians, I can't say that I have encountered that view, although I have experienced many Baptist and Reformed churches. My father is a 'Reformed' Baptist pastor and, although the pastor must subscribe to the 1689 Confession and the teaching position of the Church is defined by that confession, elders can chose to subscribe to the Savoy or Westminster instead (there is a Presbyterian elder in the church). Those with strong paedobaptist convictions who manifest a clear personal faith are permitted to partake of the Supper.

    Whether such a position is entirely consistent or not (I am not sure that it is consistent to permit people that you do not regard to have been validly baptized to the Supper - and the church my father pastors would regard paedobaptisms as neither valid nor permissible), one must appreciate the expression of Christian charity that it represents.

    That said, to deny that paedobaptists have been baptized at all is a very serious claim to make. Baptism is a mark of Christian identity and to deny that someone has received that mark when they believe that they have cannot be regarded as a small thing. Nor can it be regarded as a small issue when 'Reformed' Baptists effectively deny the infants of Reformed Christians the gift that Reformed Christians believe is held out to them. There are big issues at stake here and Baptists should not be surprised that the Reformed tradition will not budge on this issue and will continue to treat paedobaptism as a sine qua non of Reformed identity.

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  18. Interesting discussion and comments. Regarding "baptism is a mark of Christian identify", true I suppose, but it's simpler than that really. Whether in NT times or now, baptism is the visible confession of faith Christians make. The PB have had to "invent" another rite of passage, "confession of faith", completely foreign to the scriptures, to bring Christians fully into the visible church as confessed members. That speaks volumes as well.

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  19. Keep in mind, in light of this discussion, that R. Scott Clark also accuses Paedocommunionists of being Baptists. Yikes! Figure that one out!

    Also, though he will fiercely deny it and claim I'm confused on the sacraments, it sure seems to this Reformed Baptist that Dr. Clark is speaking out of two sides of his mouth. When he talks about paedobaptism he says "Treat our kids like Christians" and when he talks about paedocommunion he says "Don't treat our kids like Christians". I realize that Dr. Clark has a reason for making the distinction between the sacraments, I just don't think its a good one and so his call to recognize children as Christians is muted by his desire to bar them from the table, which in my view is inconsistent (perhaps Confessionally Inconsistent?).

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  20. Mark,
    I kinda agree with what you're saying here, with reservations. I don't think Baptists fail to 'treat their children like Christians', maybe some do, but even the Reformed accept that the Gospel much be preached to all sinners, believers and non alike. Baptists simply withhold the seal of the New Covenant from children until they understand what they're hearing and make a profession of faith. If Padeobaptists would focus on arguments that actually made sense (federal headship = circumcision = baptism in the NC) rather than accusing baptists of not loving their children and the like, they might gain more traction.
    As for the inconsistency between baptism and communion (note, some baptists will allow their children to commune before they're baptized lol), I think the paedocommunionists have a point, there seems to be a discrepancy between applying the sign of baptism vs the one thing actually called "the New Covenant in my blood". Either way, I don't see that this is much of an issue and find the fight over it to be somewhat silly.
    Micah

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  21. Have any of you ever tried to join a Baptist church? If you do not have membership in a Baptist church of the same or similar denomination, Baptists will insist that you be re-baptized. It is highly hypocritical for Baptists to criticize a Dutch Reformed denomination or one of its ministers for upholding the doctrinal standards of that denomination while at the same time giving open endorsement for the sort of militant theology of landmark Baptists and so-called "calvinistic" or "particular" Baptists.

    Dr. Clark is simply stating the obvious. Baptists are Baptists because their view of the covenants and the sacraments is Anabaptist, not Protestant or Reformed.

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  22. Charlie:

    I am a member of a sovereign grace fellowship baptist church and your assertions are not correct. We accept folks into membership who give a credible confession of repentance and faith as long as they've been baptized as believers, ie. post conversion. We certainly would not accept the "militant theology of landmark Baptists".

    Interesting distinction you're raising there saying Baptists aren't Protestants! Since the PB tend to insist on including paedobaptism in the definition of "Reformed", I can agree we don't fit into that term, but not Protestant either ?!

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  23. Charlie:

    Just visited your blog. According to your banner I am "Reformed". I certainly do subscriber to "five solas of the Reformation and to the five points of Calvinism".

    Does that mean I'm Protestant too?! :-)

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  24. Charlie,
    As a former baptist (I recently switched sides and joined a local URC), I can tell you that what you say is overly generalized. As the former member of a Calvinistic, Baptist church, we did not demand rebaptism from other beleivers-baptism based churches. If you were baptized as a child, most baptist churches will require rebaptism. That's simply part of their understanding of what constitutes church membership. I think Baptists, however, recognize Presbyterian, Anglican and Methodist churches as "true churches", where as RS Clark was saying that Baptist churches are not.
    No 'Reformed' or generally Calvinistic baptist church I know of gives endorsement to Landmarkianism, and rather find it to be schismatic.
    The argument from the Reformed Baptist perspective is that the Gospel itself defines a true church, vs the application of the sacraments. But still I believe this is an inconsistent application of Covenant Theology which Reformed Baptists claim to uphold. Their understanding of CT is much closer to Reformed, but not fully so.

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