Nathan Finn on Reformed Baptists

Tim Brister —  July 19, 2010 — 8 Comments

Nathan Finn has written a helpful four-part series on being Reformed and Baptist that I would like to commend to you.  While those with a historical consciousness and theological acumen understand the symbiotic nature of being Reformed and Baptist, there will always be those within the SBC who will attempt to present the two as mutually exclusive alternatives.  To that end, Finn has given us some great commentary:

* Part 1
* Part 2
* Part 3
* Covenantal Credobaptism

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  • http://classicalarminianism.blogspot.com/ William Birch

    If I’m not mistaken, it isn’t just those within the SBC who speak of the seeming inconsistency of being “Reformed” and Southern Baptist. Calvinist theologian Richard A. Muller and other Presbyterian and Reformed persons also think and proclaim it. (Though I have little room to speak, since I am a five-point Classical or historic Arminian and presently Southern Baptist.)

    • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

      That’s correct, and Finn brings this up in his first post. However, I would agree with the conclusion to his third post:

      “Many Reformed pedobaptists may have qualms with the idea of a Reformed Baptist. And many Baptists who in principle reject certain Reformed distinctives may ditto those qualms (including many Calvinistic Baptists). But neither of these positions changes the fact that, if defined theologically, there are many Baptists who embrace Reformed distinctives less pedobaptism and a hierarchical or connectional ecclesiology. They have an established confessional tradition and a history that dates to three centuries before the name Reformed Baptist came into vogue a couple of generations ago. They launched the modern mission movement in the English-speaking world and established themselves as the dominant Baptist movement in North America. They influenced the confessional tradition among virtually all non-Arminian Baptists and advocated theological education for those who were shut out from the system by tradition or opportunity. And after a few generations in the wilderness, they are experiencing a comeback, both in their formal and informal manifestations–which, by the way, is why this discussion keeps coming up!”

      • http://classicalarminianism.blogspot.com/ William Birch

        Yes, that was good indeed, and I’ve long wondered whether such a limitation on the word “Reformed” was necessary. In your opinion, what do you think of Classical Arminians (i.e. those who hold to Arminius’s theology, not semi-Pelagians) calling themselves Reformation Arminians? Do you think that label is viable? You won’t offend me, so please speak your mind.

        • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

          William,

          I honestly don’t know what to think about “Reformation Arminians.” I guess that’s because one does not typically relate the Reformation to Arminius, if you know what I am saying. I do think, however, it would be a good move for those who are historically Arminian to distinguish themselves from other non-Calvinists who are more inclined to semi-Pelagianism.

  • http://classicalarminianism.blogspot.com/ William Birch

    Yes, I agree, on both counts. Arminius and those who follow his thought today want to distance themselves from the semi-Pelagianism that is so rampant in many (even and mostly American) pulpits (SBC pulpits as well). Many of us are thinking that by applying this name, Reformation Arminians, we may call semi-Pelagians back to Reformed teaching on Total Depravity / Inability, and man’s desperate need for the prevenient grace of God (no one can choose to receive Christ apart from His grace).

    James White recently mentioned that one cannot be Reformed without at least holding to Unconditional Election, and that is why I asked your opinion. I also realize that holding to Apostasy is a problem for any Classical Arminian within the SBC.

    Anyway, now I’m rambling. Thank you for your responses. God bless.

    • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

      William,

      I think the issue with the SBC is that is moving from a methodological consensus and striving for theological consensus, which is going to be a real challenge. In other words, in previous years your SBC credentials were determined by the programs you were involved in, how much you gave to the CP, and stuff like that. The upcoming generation is less interested in branding and programs and more on theological conviction and biblical ecclesiology. This is both a very positive development and a scary one at the same time. It is much easier to ear the cloak of unity if we are all wearing the same jersey.

      Thanks for commenting, and I hope that such cordial conversations can take place on the blogosphere though we have theological differences. Grace and peace.

  • richard

    Are you Reformed Baptist as James White’s of Alpha and Omega ministry?

    I am a non Calvinist Baptist here.

    Do you have thread discussing the TULIP?

    Thanks

    • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

      Richard,

      Non-Calvinists are welcome here at P&P, but I haven’t had a blogpost discussing the TULIP in a long time. Although I am Reformed and Baptist, you will not find many threads focused on Calvinism or TULIP unless warranted.