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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Ruiz, Nov 20, 2011.
What is the bare minimum you must believe to be considered a Baptist?
The Great Commission essentials!
1. The right gospel - any other gospel is accursed - Gal. 1:8-9
2. The right baptism - any other is not the counsel of God or commissioned - Lk.
7:29-30; Jn 4:1; Mt. 28:19
3. The right faith and order - essentials of orthodoxy - departure is apostasy - 1 Tim. 4:1
4. The right source of authority "ye" - a disciple of like faith and order - no one was self-baptized and no church self-organized in the New Testament.
5. The right history - trail of blood "all the days until the end of the age" - Mt. 28:20
John Smyth, from the famous Smyth and Helwys, is often considered the first Baptist. He Baptized himself the Baptized the rest of the congregation, would you believe he really was not a Baptist?
Yet, I do generally agree with you.
The history of John Smyth is full of confusion. Some accounts say he was later re-baptized and the accounts of self-baptism do not originate with him or his friends but his enemies.
However, the earliest British Baptist Historian claimed that whether he baptized himself or not that was no blemish upon the Baptists of England who never approved of such a thing and never practiced it. This is true of particular Baptists who never came from his congregation.
The Baptists Distinctives (abstracted from the GARBC public domain website)
The Philadelphia Baptist Association, first association in the United States, did not recognize the autonomy of the local church. In many cases, they were considered the Supreme Court of church and doctrinal dispute. Would you say they were not Baptists because they didn't believe in Autonomy?
As well, many churches of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, early in their history, recognized ruling Elders and Pastors as two different offices.
Were they not Baptists?
I would say they are not technically speaking, however I probably wouldn't have a problem with attending all other things equal.
However I wouldn't dispute the "elder" nomenclature as disqualifying as a Baptist body.
An even more intriguing question is - is it necessary to have "Baptist" in the local church legal identity to qualify as baptists?
On that one I am undecided.
Hank, the link does not address the Bap distinctives.
However, the Bap Distinctives was authored by Dr. L. Duane Brown in NY State. Later after many wanted copies of it, he published it thur Regualr Baptist Press. (Dr. Brown is now with the IBFNA ( Independent Baptist Fellowship of North Americia )
To answer the OP:
What is the bare minimum you must believe to be considered a Baptist?
Joining a Baptist church, makes you a Baptist!
Dr. Brown may have authored the B-A-P-T-I-S-T version, but there were non-acrostic versions before then.
When I have been reading and studying Baptist history, I am finding that there are many things that we advocate today that is not necessarily where all Baptists were in history.
I like some of what Biblicist said, especially noting the orthodoxy of Christians and I would add other Christian beliefs (Priesthood of the Believer, Authority of Scripture, etc) would fall into that category.
I think I would include soul liberty, the ordinances, membership, and the orthodox protestant Christian stands on the major issues. Yet, I am curious as to what others say.
would you put being a Baptist before your Doctrines of Grace beliefs?
Personally, I believe they are one in the same. The Particular Baptists were fully Baptist and laid more of a foundation for Baptist distinctions than any other group. I am a Reformed Baptist and believe separating the two would be theologically inconsistent.
However, if you ask other questions like, "do you believe the Gospel is more important than the mode of Baptism", I would agree. I applaud other Christian denominations who faithfully share the Gospel even if they fail to see my view on Baptism. Or if you asked, "Do you believe God's attributes are more important than Baptist Church Polity" then I would agree. While I believe I am right on church polity and it should be important, I believe God's attributes are more important to understand and defend. The open theists are more of a threat to the Christian church than the polity of a number of other organizations.
not to derail this thread but since you mentioned your a Reformed Baptist....do they have church planting programs (you can take this private if you prefer)
Yes, we do. Some push planted, ACTS 29, and other organizations like FIRE and ARBCA have a special network of support.
In terms of how the acrostic, which I like, works out when I'm teaching on it:
B - Believer's Baptism
A - Autonomy of Local Church
P - Priesthood of all believers (not the)
T - Two Ordinances
I - Inspiration of Scripture
S - Saved, baptized church membership
T - Two Offices (Pastor, Deacon)
S - Separation of Church and State
I don't teach individual soul liberty since I am finding it is often abused, along with this erroneous notion of priesthood of the believer. So this is pretty much the acrostic I use.
I guess there is another distinctive - we tend to disagree among ourselves which is manifestly evident from this thread as well as Baptist history.
It is also very inconsistent with Baptist history at large, for only a portion of Baptists were reformed in their thinking or theology. It seems that by that statement you have wiped out more than half of all Baptist history.
To get back to Baptist Distinctives. Here is what I believe constitutes a good list:
1. The Bible is our final rule of faith and 7practice.
2. Regenerated and Immersed membership in the local church
3. Autonomy of the local church
4. Priesthood of the believer.
5. Soul Liberty.
6. Baptism and the Lord's Table are the only two ordinances of the local church.
7. Separation of church and state.
8. Separation ecclesiastically and personally.
No, I haven't wiped out a portion of church history. I don't discount General Baptists at all. However, as a Particular Baptist, I don't see a distinction between my reformed theology and baptist theology.
As for your points:
Separation of Church and State is popular and one that was a distinction in the early churches. Baptists in the 1600's went out of their way to distance themselves from the Anabaptists, showing that they were more peaceful and less focused on magisterial change. I am not sure there have ever been a group of Baptists as involved in the state as we are today.
I do want to know more about #8, if you could explain what your point is with #8.
I mentioned #3 earlier in my post. The Philadelphia Baptist Association, the first in the United States, originally rejected autonomy of the local church. They viewed the association as a type of Supreme Court. Would you consider them Baptists? I do consider them Baptists, so I would not make #3 a key distinctive.
#1 and #4 do not separate us from other Protestants, so I would not see them as a Baptist Distinctive. #6 would include the distinctive of Believer's Baptism, but the two ordinances are not distinctive from other Protestants.
I agree with Biblicist who included the other major elements of orthodox Christianity. I believe that is key to separate us from most anabaptists.
No, I disagree
I had a Presbyterian Pastor tell me that they are just as bad as Baptists, if not worse. He said, "They don't call us split "P's" for nothing."
But, can we add "Potluck Dinners" as a Baptist Distinctive. I think we have mastered that art.