Basic question: Are Baptists Protestant?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    I'm sure this has been covered before on this board. I've not quite been here a year, and I know I've seen several discussions within the context -- or occasionally not so much within the context -- of others threads, and there seems to be a wide variety of opinion and most definitely disagreement as to the answer to that question. It came up again today on a thread in Baptist Theology and Bible Studies, so I thought I'd open up a thread where it can actually be discussed -- again and perhaps ad infinitum.

    Most Baptists I've known in the nearly 21 years I've been a Christian, saved in a Baptist church, are very particular about which terms they use to apply to themselves. That includes me. I don't particularly mind being called an "evangelical" as long as the one using that terminology doesn't think that applies to me on the basis of the Charismatic movement. I despise the term "ecumenical" for obvious reasons. I do not wish, nor do I wish my church, to be lumped in with the heretical liberalism that dominates that movement. I've often heard the debate over whether or not we're Protestant or not, and here's my view. Feel free to share yours, but please support it with facts and links, as I have below.

    First, what is a Protestant? Obviously, the Protestant movement began during the time of the Reformation in the 1500's. The defining moment may be considered Luther's nailing his 95 Theses to door of the cathedral at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. As the name of the movement implies, these groups -- and there were more than one, Luther being simply the most famous 400 years later -- "protested" certain doctrines and practices in the Catholic church. Among the things they protested were the sale of Indulgences, salvation by works, and papal authority. The initial concept was to reform the Catholic church, not separate from it.

    Denominations that can truly be called Protestant would have to include the Lutherans, quite obviously named for Martin Luther, who was their leader and director, for all practical purposes. Then there were the Episcopalians, who began when Henry VIII started the Church of England after not having a divorce granted by the Pope. It would be unfair, however, to say that was the Church of England's only problem with Catholic teaching, and had Henry not made the declaration to separate, it would have happened eventually anyway. These groups are truly Protestant in that they protested the Catholics and would go on to start their own denominations.

    Now with these fact in mind, let us address the question at hand: Are Baptists Protestant?

    Baptists dating back to before Luther have a long heritage of disagreement with the Catholic church. It can be demonstrated that the first Baptists may have grown out of the Novatain church movement of the mid-third century, though I admit there isn't a direct genealogical line that can be unequivocally drawn from the Novatains to the Baptists. Nonetheless, as ecclesiastical hierarchies began to form and submit to the leadership of the Church at Rome, there were groups who remained independent. They spoke against such errors that had entered into that growing organization such as baptismal regeneration. It is from these groups which have always been separate from Roman Catholicism that are forefathers to the modern Baptist movement.

    There are these facts to consider regarding similarities in the teachings of the Novatains, and the Baptist church when first identified specifically "Baptist" in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
    • The Novatain movement, as a distinct line of protest commenced in the year 251 AD.
    • The Novatain churches derived their separate, distinct denominational name from a member of the church at Rome in the third century AD, that church having been organized during the life time of the Apostle Paul. It is these churches that can be specifically identified as those who disagreed with and remained separate from Rome.
    • In relation to their doctrine, the Novatain churches were far more Baptistic than Protestant, requiring baptism by immersion as the outward sign of conversion, therefore being distinct in requiring a statement of faith before offering baptism.
    • In an early reflection of today's automous churches, the Novatain churches agreed in asserting the power, rights and privileges of the local church over any presbytery or overarching authoritative bishopric. This is distinctly a Baptist trait, even today. It is not commonly known to be a Protestant characteristic.
    Although Baptists have disagreed with Rome, they have never been a part of the Catholic church as were other Protestants, and as is shown here, much of the teachings of the Baptists to the traceable dates in the 15th and 16th centuries were evident long before Luther and others felt compelled to first reform, then depart the Catholic Church. Nowhere in their history can Baptists be found to be part of or in alliance with Rome. They have always been independent.

    It has been said truthfully that if you take all the Baptist doctrine out of Protestant churches than you will only have Catholic doctrine left. Therefore, let me say that I personally feel that the term "Protestant" should not be used to describe Baptists. We have never been in accord with the Pope or Rome. Our lineage can be followed back before the Roman Catholics began.

    Now, if you wish to throw away the true and historic meaning of "Protestant" and say that is simply means "non-Catholic", than I suppose I might be one. However, this is honestly a tremendous stretch and a complete revision of the world. I say that we have "Baptists" and "non-Baptists", thus keeping the positive focus on true Christianity.
     
    #1 thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 17, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2014
  2. JamesL

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    Good, informative presentation. I would have to agree.

    I have preferred to be called believer. But as far as a line of separation between persuasions, I acknowledge that I am Evangelical.

    As for Evangelicals being mis-associated with Charismatics, I also agree that the two are not synonymous. I am a charismatic believer, in that I do believe the "sign" gifts are still bestowed upon believers today. But I shudder to think that I would in any way be called by a name that would associate me with that brand of hokey-pokey called the Charismatic Movement.

    As for Protestantism, I have long shied away from anyone labeling me as such. Protestants are so called because of their protest, specifically against the Roman Catholic Church. I have never been held in the shackles of Rome, nor have I been persecuted by Rome. I care nothing about anathemas thrown at me by Rome, nor do I care to reform that sect.

    Rather, I would say the I am a protestor against Protestantism. I would not have known the gospel had it not been for Protestants. I would not have understood the nature of justification, or the deity of Christ, or some really important aspects of grace, had it not been for Protestants.

    But I had to protest against Protestants, understanding from scripture that they severely misunderstand the breadth of salvation, as do Catholics and most other sects. This narrow understanding of salvation has led most every sect to develop a position based not on Sola Scriptura, but something I call Dimidium Scripturae, or "half of scripture"

    The most prominent disagreements between believers relates to Soteriology - what must I do to be saved?

    If the scope of salvation were understood more widely, most of these disagreements would disappear. Saved relates to two aspects of going from one condition to another. Saved from and saved to. you might say that being saved FROM danger is also being saved TO safety

    Scripture uses "saved" (and related words) in a number of ways, dealing with many aspects of God's grace toward mankind - saved from spiritual death, saved from physical death, saved from a guilty conscience, saved from shame, saved from chastening, saved from losing rewards, saved to eternal life, saved to an eternal inheritance, saved to rewards, saved to peace with God, saved to fellowship with God.

    Some of these aspects can be lost, some cannot. Some require faith and some do not. Some require faithfulness and some do not.

    But instead of seeking to understand the breadth of salvation, Protestants are content with a narrow view that requires little investigation. The doctrinal structure is set in place long before the scriptures are consulted. The inclination is toward argument and condemnation, rather than an honest look at scripture

    The scriptures are used to support a doctrinal structure, rather than the doctrinal structure being based upon the teachings of scripture. And any scriptures found to disagree with the system are either altogether ignored, interpreted out of context, or twisted in order that the system remains intact.

    It is pride at its worst, to dig our heels in the ground, refusing to investigate the claims of our "system" against the written word of God. Instead, we should strive to be like the Bereans (Acts 17:10-11) who searched the scriptures daily to see whether the things Paul and Silas spoke were so

    I've been asked before whether I'm Catholic or Protestant. I always answer "Neither one"

    I am a believer. I have a living hope in Christ, and I can give an answer to every man as to the reason for that hope. How many Bereans are there on this board? Probably not nearly enough
     
  3. Rippon

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    Evangelicals are Protestant. So there you are.
    Okay...
    I don't get your reference to "400 hundred years later." Please explain.
    Yes,they are.
    There were no Baptists before Luther's time.
    You mean the late 16th and early 17th centuries =1590's-1612 or so.
    When you use the term "other Protestants" you are associating Baptists with the nomenclature of Protestant.
    If Baptists were "traceable" to the late 16th and early 17th centuries(because I think you got your centuries mixed up) how could they have been "long before Luther"?
    What would happen if you took all Protestant doctrine out of Baptist churches? Answer? Nothing. Baptists owe a great debt to their Protestant forbears.
     
  4. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    Not necessarily, and as I've offered linked support for my post, I'd appreciate you doing the same, otherwise, why should I bother reading anything you say?
    Sorry. Should have been 500 years ago. But I would have thought anyone could have figured that reference, even if I did inadvertently put him 100 years too early.
    You linked proof?
    Your linked proof?
    No, I mean exactly what I said. Petr Chelčický, a 15th-century Bohemian reformer, taught most of the beliefs considered integral to Baptist theology. (Wagner, Murray L (1983). Petr Chelčický: A Radical Separatist in Hussite Bohemia. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-8361-1257-1.)
    So you say. But the phrase regards the reference to other Protestants in my post, not to say "other Protestants" as though Baptists are.
    They weren't limited to your incorrectly reference centuries, because as I should in my post -- with link support, which you have not provided -- the teachings of the Baptist denominations goes back long before Luther.
    We are Protestants' forebearers, so kindly respect your elders.
     
  5. Rippon

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    You called yourself an Evangelical. An Evangelical is Protestant.
    An isolated person who had some matching beliefs with AnaBaptists and latter day Communist theory does not a Baptist make. You have a weak link there.
    That is the fiction you subscribe to.
    You have that backwards. You as a Baptist need to appreciate your Protestant heritage. If not you take many of your beliefs for granted.
     
  6. JonC

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    I can see it both ways. We have an identity (based on theology) in both protestant and pre-reformation churches. But I see your point, what forms our distinctiveness is pre-reformation. Luther described these groups as aligning themselves with the Protestants during the Reformation, but that they were not really a part of them (he considered them heretics) as they departed in belief. I guess you could say that these groups became a part of the Protestant Movement at the Reformation, but not of Catholic origin. Perhaps the question would be (if you are speaking of groups and not beliefs) whether or not Baptists were non-protestants who benefited from the Reformation or Protestants who benefited from pre-reformation “Baptist” doctrine.
     
  7. HankD

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    This one isn't.

    HankD
     
  8. Rippon

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    Are you an Anabaptist or Roman Catholic?
     
  9. JonC

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    If you were a true Protestant church immediately following the Reformation (which would exclude Baptist specific doctrine) and you later became Baptist (adapted doctrines which were taught pre-Reformation but rejected by the Reformers) would you still be Protestant? If it could work this way then could it work the other way (pre-Reformation “Baptists” adapting Reformed views)? Obviously Anabaptists were not a single group, nor were they the only Radical Reformation movement. But still, you are speaking of the Radical Reformation. “Anabaptist” had their forerunners.

    Does it not make sense that Baptists benefited from both the Reformation and the Radical Reformation (which did incorporate pre-reformation doctrine)? Is it lineage or doctrine that determines our identity? But since we are to consistently look towards Scripture and correct what we find as error, finding our identity in Christ, does it matter?
     
  10. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    There's a lot of room for debate on that one, and I'd disagree. Are you saying that Evangelicals were "born" when Protestants were? That's ridiculous.
    Your opinion. Provide proof to back it up, otherwise it is invalid.
    Again, provide support, preferably linked support, otherwise it is an invalid opinion.
    I have no Protestant heritage. I have a Baptist heritage. Your opinion has no support, just your words. Convince me.
    Hardly. As I said, my beliefs are based in second- and third-century churches, not 16th century "reformation" that declined to deny unbiblical teachings like infant baptism and failing to confirm the testimony of the professed believer before allowing baptism to take place.
     
  11. go2church

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    Generally speaking sure. Why? Does it make a difference in your practice today? Baptists have a long rich history, without latching on to very loose strands of this group or that group being "baptist" except in name.
     
  12. righteousdude2

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    My Point on this Topic!

    I am neither Protestant, nor Baptist, or Calvinist, or Armenian, or religious!

    I have been born-again, and that means I have a relationship with the Father, and that makes me an heir to the throne, as the Bride of Christ. A Child of the King of King! I am more than that anything this world can label me as, because I am now a Child of God!

    Protestant, Baptist, Calvinist, Armenian. Those are things the world uses in order to classify us!

    I am a peculiar being now that I am His! I am the salt to the world, the light upon the hill. I am more than a label the world gives in order to define me and my beliefs to fit their understandings!

    Those other words are mere attempts to classify me. I am no longer able to be defined in the eyes of this world, because until they know Jesus as Lord and Savior, they can not truly know or understand what God has done within this body of flesh and soul! The Word says, they can't understand because they do not have or possess the spirit of a born-again person! Only when they are born-again will they know what we have that sets us apart from the world.

    Thanks for this topic. It is a great one. And I appreciated sharing my view! :wavey:
     
  13. Rippon

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    Let me solve your riddle. Are you a Lithuanian agnostic?
     
  14. saturneptune

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    Don't know and don't care. It has nothing to do with this thread. Sometimes before one posts, it is good to have basic knowledge of the subject. The question is, are Baptists Protestants?

    Here is what makes Catholics, Protestants, and Baptists distinct. Here are the three church models

    Catholic: Universal, visible church
    Protestant: Universal, invisible church
    Baptist: Local, visible church

    Aside from that, one does not have to write a novel on church history where the facts do not pertain to the thread. Christ promised to preserve His church. Who preserved it from the Apostles to the Reformation? Does anyone here believe it was the RCC? Local NT churches preserved the church, either direct ancestors of Baptists or churches of like faith and order. Baptists existed alongside the RCC and did not come out of it like Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and the like. One can see the leftovers by attending any of these services, especially the Episcopalian. There are creeds, confessions and chants.
     
  15. righteousdude2

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    Thanks Brother!

    I like what you said by sharing the differences between the big three among religions! God bless!
     
  16. Rippon

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    Yes,they are.
    Thanks for your flawed model. First of all Baptists are among the Protestants. Secondly the Christians among all of the above are part of the Universal Church.
    Of course. For the most part scattered congregations of Roman Catholic derivation had His own people among their number. Outside the RC communion there were very few so-called independent local churches.
    The above is fiction.
    More fiction.
    Yes,we can thank the Lord for the early Creeds and Confessions. And since the Reformation the Calvinistic creeds and Confessins of faaith have been a boon for His people.
     
  17. saturneptune

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    Whatever you say, it seems some people are experts at codifying fiction. If one thinks the RCC is part of God's model of a NT church, then maybe one should join their club and cult, and irritate the fire out of posters on the Catholic chat board.
     
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Invisible.....?!?
     
  19. Rippon

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    Yes,you are.
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Baptist.......local & visible? Maybe by you. Here they are quite extinct. What do you mean by local and visible?
     

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