Inherent contradictions in the Baptist 'distinctives'

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Matt Black, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    This has bothered me for a while now. Let's take the following together:-

    #1.Soul liberty - the freedom for the individual to interpret Scripture for him/herself.

    #2. Sola scriptura - not necessarily officially a Baptist distinctive but in practice it is - that Scripture alone is supreme in all matters of faith, doctrine and practice

    #3. Congregational autonomy - that each local congregation is free to set its own rules in matters of faith, doctrine and practice.

    #4. Baptism and communion as 'ordinances' only - no sacramental effect.

    #5. Believer's baptism only.

    OK, let me pose the following scenario - what if an individual, acting on #1 and #2, arrived at the view that infant baptism and baptismal regeneration and the Real Presence were warranted from Scripture? Or, extending that by adding in #3 for good measure, what if a congregation en masse reached the same conclusions? What then? Ah, but if you say "Oh they're not Baptists really then" then you are denying their soul liberty and congregational autonomy and therefor denying that #1 and #3 read in conjunction with #2 actually exist within the Baptist polity.

    So there is a fundamental contradiction between the above distinctives...
     
  2. Nomad

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    I'm no apologetics expert, but I'm sure that church/individual autonomy is assumed to occur within certain theological givens. There are boundaries to independent thinking, even for Baptists. That doesn't mean that the "distinctives" are logically contradictory.
     
  3. Keith M

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    If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    ;)
     
  4. Joseph M. Smith

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    This is akin to the question of what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object!

    Soul liberty means more than a person believing whatever s/he wants. It means a careful examination of the sources of truth -- which you have posited in this question. I would say that such a person would, if he were logical and responsible, then want to remove himself from a Baptist affiliation.

    But congregational autonomy is all about freedom from hierarchical control. A congregation might arrive at these unBaptistic conclusions and withdraw; or, if it were excluded from affiliation, would be just as autonomous as it ever was, unchanged. Their freedom is not violated. But, as Nomad said, to fly the Baptist flag is to observe some boundaries. (Oh, Lord, forgive me my mixed metaphors.
     
  5. DHK

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    1 Corinthians 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    If you want to be a Baptist be a Baptist.
    That is soul liberty.

    If you want to be a Caltholic be a Catholic.
    That is soul liberty.
    But if you want to be a Catholic don't remain in a Baptist Church. A couple of distinctives that you failed to mention deal with separation.
    DHK
     
  6. Johnv

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    No baptist distinctive can negate another baptist distinctive. But no distinctive can exceed the limits placed on it by another distinctive either. I don't see this as a contradiction.

    The distinctive of soul liberty does not permit one to reject the believer's baptism. The distinctive of a believer's baptism does not limit the distinctive of soul liberty, where believer's baptism is not at issue.
     
  7. Linda64

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    THE FIVE
    BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES:

    1. WE ACCEPT ONLY THE NEW TESTAMENT AS OUR AUTHORITY IN ALL MATTERS OF FAITH AND PRACTICE.

    2. WE BELIEVE THE CHURCH IS TO BE MADE UP OF SAVED BAPTIZED BELIEVERS.

    3. WE BELIEVE IN STRICT SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.

    4. WE BELIEVE IN THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER.

    5. WE BELIEVE IN THE AUTONOMY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH.


    The explanation of these 5 Baptist distinctives can be found here:

    http://www.baptistinfo.com/define.shtml#DISTINCTIVES

    Originally posted by KeithM:
    Amen KeithM! [​IMG]

    I see no contradictions in the above 5 Baptist distinctives.
     
  8. Chemnitz

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    Hmmm... and I guess over half of Scripture doesn't count according to Baptists. And here I thought they adhered to Sola Scriptura which by definition means all of Scripture NT and OT are the sole norm of teaching and practice. Or maybe accepting the OT as normative is a matter of Soul Liberty.
     
  9. Linda64

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    Before you jump to the conclusion that Baptists only use the New Testament, read the explanation, then read the information on this link:

    http://bible-truth.org/doctrinalstatement.html

    We reject that God is giving supposed "new" Revelation, believing that God forbids any adding to or taking away of the canon of Scriptures. (Rev. 22:18-19) We do not accept any authority over the New Testament Church, but Christ Himself, including any hierarchy to include popes, modern day prophets, or councils of churches.

    http://www.baptistinfo.com/define.shtml#DISTINCTIVES
     
  10. nate

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    I didn't think Baptist held to 5 rules if you will. But yet you guys are saying you can't be Baptist if you believe as a church in Real Presence? Doesn't suggesting that they are not Baptist violate the following rules Soul liberty and Congregational autonomy?
     
  11. Matt Black

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    Exactly my point. Now I don't mind if the Baptists here who believe in the distinctives come out with a bit of intellectual honesty and admit that at the very least the distinctives act as some kind of 'checks and balances' on each other eg: like the US Constitution, or limit each other in some way.

    And Linda, I take the point re the use of the NT but the stance does stray dangerously close to the Marcionite edge there.
     
  12. Chemnitz

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    Then why do you only state NT in the distinctive? Why not state Scripture? If you do not mean what you say, DON'T say it.

    Matt is right you guys are skating a thin edge. In fact, I know of Baptist who have fallen over the edge. They have never read the OT because they believe that it has been replaced by the NT.
    To an outsider it appears that you have changed the canon. If you haven't maybe you should consider changing the wording of the distinctive.
     
  13. Jim1999

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    I think you are reading the Independent Fundamentalists viewpoint, and we all know that it is quite different to the norm.

    The purpose of the Baptist distinctives was to determine commonality and not assertion that Baptists would be tied down. The original distinctives includes the Bible; all 66 books.

    Besides, all those scripture references given have reference to the Old Testament, the only scriptures the New Testament churches possessed, until the New Testament letters were fully circulated and accepted into a canon of scripture.

    For example, the group I served under is called a Fellowship. We all agreed to doctrines in common and this helped to define who we were. It did not prevent us from being Calvinists, Arminian, pre or a-mill, or somewhere inbetween.

    There is a reason the word "distinctives" was used; distinctive characteristics; peculiar to baptists in common.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  14. Bro Tony

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    Number 1 in Linda's above thread is not a Baptist distinctive. (And I have read the explaination). Been in the Baptist church for 47 years and never have we exclude half of the Scripture. We are people of the "whole counsil of God".

    Bro Tony
     
  15. Matt Black

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    Thanks Tony, that's a relief!
     
  16. BobRyan

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    Amen brother!! I no some COC guys that have no problem dumping scripture as Linda recommends but I have met very few Baptists that take that approach to God's Word.

    In the NT the OT is quoted "authorotatively" and in Acts 17 we see that even NON Christians use it to "validate" What the APOSTLES say!!

    Those who think that Trashing the Word of Christ does Him honor - are missing a few days of actual Bible study brother!

    I differ with Matt on his views in many areas but I am glad to see that even he does not go so far as to trash the 66 books of scripture and downsize the Word of God to just the NT!

    (Having said that I suppose a certain someone could take offense here. )

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  17. BobRyan

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    Priesthood of all Believers - so that "The Holy Spirit of truth leads you into all truth"??

    I am not a Baptist but I have always found them to be correct on this point.

    "NO scripture is a matter of one's OWN interpretation but Holy Men of OLD (OT) moved by the Holy Spirit SPOKE from GOD"

    I am not a Baptist but have always found them to be correct on this point. (At least in the case of those that do not slice and dice the Word of God down to exclude the OT scripture)


    Here I would concurr with you that Acts 15 does not "appear" to show this model. It appears to be a central organization passing judgment to be given out to the entire church once representatives from the remote regions have gathered and prayerfully debated the subjects in dispute.

    I am not a Baptist but have always found them to be correct on this point. Peter concurrs with them saying that Baptism IS NOT merely the sacramental "touching of magical/sacramental waters on the flesh BUT AN APPEAL to God for a clean conscience"!

    No "magic powers for priest" allowed here. No magic in the water. No marking the soul by the Priest. All of that RC paganism rejected by the Baptist and So though I am not one - I see them as being Biblically correct here.

    I am not a Baptist but have always found them to be correct on this point. It makes sense from Acts 2 telling the listeners to hear, believe, repent and then be baptized -- just as we see in Romans 10. Confess and believe and THEN is salvation given!

    Not only that - but Baptists ALSO teach full water Baptism just as was practiced in the first century.

    They are right there "as well".

    (Again - I am not a Baptist - but I see their stand as being correct in these areas).

    Indeed. Or they "imagined themselves to be infallible' or they "imagined that praying to the dead was ok" or that God could be doubted when HE says He created the world in 6 days etc.

    Many things possible with sinfual man. God never said that the sinner could not be "self deceived".

    IN Matt 7 God states explicitly that this is very possible.


    Well as I said - I agree with you to some extent on the lack of support for congregational autonomy - but even in the Baptist model the wild doctrines of 'The one' are subject to the authority and leadership of the local congregation for church discipline.

    In Paul's letter to Timothy we see that the whole reason Timothy is left behind at Ephesus is to squash the efforts of "Some" to promote bad doctrine in the church.

    Only in the degree to which you want to claim "autonomy" is the direction of the Holy Spirit instead of "unity in the body of Christ". You are right to insist on the Bible model of Church leadership. But you have done nothing to show a Bible problem for Baptism, or "sola scriptura" or the other points I have shown here as being Bible based.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  18. Linda64

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    Since nobody seems to want to read the explanation of the 5 Baptist distinctives--here they are:

    BTW--the NT does NOT replace the OT. The NT is the FULFILLMENT of the OT. The word "testament" means "covenant".
     
  19. BobRyan

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    I thought we all agreed that this is what you were saying in the first place.

    As contrasted to the actual Bible facts of Acts 17:11, Acts 15:22, 2Peter 1:, 2 Tim 3:16-17...

    When the NT endorses "scripture" it is speaking of "The Holy men of OLD"

    AS it turns out -- So trustworthy and authorotative is SCRIPTURE that EVEN the non-Christians in Acts 17:11 are BLESSED for relying upon it to TEST the Apostle's (not simply swallow whatever the Apostle says and EDIT scripture to fit!)

    Any - that is just more of the NT that some people out there might want to ignore and gloss over.

    Who knows.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. Jim1999

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    In all fairness, the British Baptists show these 6 distinctives:

    1. The Lordship of Jesus; 2. The supremacy of the New Testament; (3) Regeneration the basis of church membership; (4) the right of private judgement; (5) Separation of civil and religious entities; and, (6) baptism by immersion. Mr. Spurgeon modified this list to allow for open communion and church membership to be entirely of the immersed.

    It is important to note that it is the "supremacy" of the New Testament and not solely the New Testament. The Old Testament is to be understood and interpreted by the New Testament.

    Cheers,

    Jim

    Baptist preacher from 1945-1995, and serving in 3 different baptist conventions.
     

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