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Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Mark Fesco, Feb 3, 2006.
Should Baptist's be sepratist and is it a historical distinctive?
Could you please clarify?
What do you mean by "separatists?"
From whom should we separate?
And what do you mean by "historical distinctive?"
By using the term sepratist I mean a group that refuses to cooperate with many denominations because of antithetical doctrines. Such as the Presbyterians and their view of paedobaptism. Should we work with them?
And by a historical distinctive I mean, was this how early baptist's operated?
Hope that clarifies.
To me that begs another question:
Is paedobaptism heresy? Or, is it a secondary doctrine around which we can work for other common interests; say the Gospel itself?
It would seem that the rallying point for all Evangelical Christians is the "Solas" of the Reformation rather than Baptism per se!
Points to ponder!
Anything that is not biblical is a heresy. Granted when one abides under the principal of "Theological Triage" wherein first order issues are most deadly, such as the denial of the incarnation, second order issues being slightly less serious, and third order issues dealing with somewhat trivial matters, I would say that infant baptism falls under second order issues. It is enough to divide us, but it does not designate you as an apostate. You've just not obeyed the Lord's command fully in this area of your life.
Should we let a presybyterian share at the Lord's table with us or should we remain seperate regarding believer's baptism a prereq to Communion?
Are you leaning towards a Landmark Ecclesiology? Would the doctrine(s) of the church be those "first" or "second" order issues that you mentioned above.
What do we do with the early church confessions of faith that talked about, "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" and the "Communion of Saints?"
Just asking no offense intended?
Should we separate over ecclesiology or the Gospel. I know that for some they are one and the same thing and may need to be defined.
I think you need to define your terms better.
What do you mean by "work with them?" Should we, for example, admit them to the Lord's Supper? Or do you mean attend services together? Or do you mean can we be involved in joint activities, such as publishing Bibles?
Seventeenth century Baptists were separatists in the broad sense of the term. Whether you believe they came from the Anabaptists or from the English Separatists (or both), Baptists of that age were by necessity separatists. They all believed in a church made up of only the regenerate, whose symbol was baptism. This was not the same as Roman or Reformed practice, and they stood apart from other churches.
In the early 17th century it would be fair to say that many Baptist groups struggled with the exact formulation of their distinctive beliefs; the number of church splits (even then a staple of Baptist life) testify to that fact. Kiffin and Bunyan engaged in a spirited — and public — debate about the need for baptism for those who had been baptized as infants. (See Bunyan's Differences in Judgement about Water-Baptism, No Bar to Communion). Bunyan's point of view — which seems to be a minority (and has made some modern Baptists view him as not a Baptist at all) — eventually lost the argument, though it would crop up from time to time.
This is particularly true when Baptists were attracting large numbers of converts from the paedobaptist tradition (such as the New Light movement in 18th century New England) or when they were in competition with traditions that did not demand rebaptism (such as the 18th century American Methodists.)