Are there credobaptist churches who worship in the catholic tradition?

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Scott_Cline

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm a convinced credobaptist who has recently grown disenchanted with contemporaneity and appreciative of tradition. Influenced, among other resources, by T.S. Eliot's Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, I've begun to suspect that forms cultivated within pre-Enlightenment Christendom are more likely to constitute acceptable worship.
My question is whether or not there are credobaptist churches who worship within the tradition of the church catholic?

Something like credobaptist-reformed-Anglican?

I know that the CREC permits churches who are Baptist in every way except that they must accept into membership believers who were paedobaptized in another CREC church.
Would such a church be my best bet of finding what I'm looking for?

Are there other suggestions?

I'm graduating from college this year and plan to move wherever I can find any sort of employment, this spring; I'd love to make that move in light of the right church. Any feedback you can offer would be appreciated!

Grace
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
With respect, I would offer that tradition, per se, is not what constitutes acceptable worship.

Calvin's On the Necessity of Reforming the Church and Gospel Worship by Jeremiah Burroughs are two titles that are must reading on this subject of acceptable worship. Highly recommended.

In short, it is God who determines how He is to be worshiped, and we must have clear warrant from Scripture or otherwise be able to demonstrate by good and necessary consequence all our practice in worship.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
LBC 22 Paragraph 1. The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and does good to all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might.1 But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself,2 and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.

What do you mean be 'church catholic'? Do you mean the Roman Catholic church? Or the church through history? It is one things to say that you prefer 'traditional' forms of worship, but another to say you prefer to worship according to 'tradition'.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Are you saying that you find a "low-church," but liturgically regulated (Worship strictly according to the Word) Confessional-Baptist church is ... lacking something?

What exactly are you hoping to find in a church? (the words "catholic tradition" don't say enough for me to understand you) Vestments? Weekly communion? Common-cup? Church-calendar? Antiphonal responses? Common Prayers? Choir? Candles? Altar boys? Incense? what?...

To be perfectly honest, it sounds to me like you want what so many other Americans are looking for: your own, tailor-made church. The elements you've mentioned are sweeping in their eclectic range. I'm not trying to be ornery, or put you down. It's just what you've said, basically as your "introduction" to the board.

You start with credo-baptism, which is inherently individualistic, and low-church. Then you move to confessional corporatism,
1) you're a 1689er, except that you apparently deny the applicability of 4th commandment (am I right?);
2) you seem to want a liturgy, but oppose the regulative principle (which is essential to Reformed church-order); and finally
3) you want a high-church worship experience, which tends to elevate the "action" (doing church), and downplay the place of preaching.

I'll bet there is something like that out there... where?

Scott, you are not yet out of college. I'm glad you are serious about church, and willing to move to a place where a church is, rather than picking employment, and hoping for a decent church within a hundred miles. That's not the typical 20yr old mindset.

But I seriously think you should try to FIND the established tradition you belong in (or fit best in), rather than creating a new one (basically what you've done). You need to study the theology of the LBC1689. You need to work through it, so that you understand why they wrote what they wrote. Do you even understand why they taught the validity of the WHOLE moral law? Are you self-consciously a New-Covenant Theology guy, or are you against the explicit Sabbatarian position of the 1689 because that's what they taught in the non-confessional church you were/are a member at?

And I'll warn you of another pitfall that I've seen a dozen guys hit, who sounded like you right now. You may think it odd, but I would venture to say that if you do not get soon settled into a Confessional church--Baptist, Presbyterian, or even a Lutheran--you will probably end up in the Roman Church. I am not trying to shock you. I'm telling you what I've seen. If credo-baptism holds you tighter than the "catholic tradition" attracts you, then you may suffer-long by joining a PCA like the one my pastor-friend in Traverse City serves--which is about as liturgical as I have ever seen in Presbyterianism.

But most of the time, this fascination with "traditional forms" ends up weaning a man off of his pure-credo-baptism, which he may continue holding a private opinion on its propriety. But if you get committed to the "truth" of Medieval Catholic worship, your other commitments will eventually "get in line" with your major.

At the risk of alienating you further, may I recommend finding a Confessional Reformed or Presbyterian church? You know, one reason we have trouble attracting modern evangelicals is: we're "too Catholic" for them. They don't want formality, they definitely don't want the Law read, nor do they want Pardon and Assurance, they don't want Psalms sung (and our hymns are too stuffy either), they don't want to encounter the Creed, etc. I'm just saying that you're likely to get more of the "catholic tradition" or perhaps the "best of," in such a church.

Reformers like Bucer and Calvin were determined to put the church back into an Scriptural and Patristic framework that Rome had all but annihilated, by getting rid of Rome's innovations. They weren't about reinventing church, the way the Radicals were trying to do (or the way the a-historical modern hipsters are "emerging" about).

But if you do get there, you really need to commit yourself to actually learning the content of whatever tradition you hope will ground you. You need to submit to SOME tradition, something that has stood the test of time. Because if you don't do that, your self-selected tradition (the shopping-bag selection you indicated in your post) is not likely to be long-lasting. And eventually, the convenience of the Roman-tradition habitually overwhelms folks in your situation. It's the "default" tradition, although some have been know to drift all the way through into Eastern Orthodoxy.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I was in the same place a couple years ago and now am settled in the Reformed faith. God is good to this sinner, who would likely have run off somewhere with candles and incense but for the grace of God.
 

Scott_Cline

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you all for your excellent feedback! I'm afraid that I have--I think--miscommunicated.
Although I'm not unexposed to Reformed theology and literature, I'm afraid that I am somewhat uninitiated in Reformed church life. I'm increasingly disenchanted with the chintzy Christianity I've been part of, and am looking something with roots, something reverent, something--theoretically--apostolic.

I've recently seen what worship is like in some CREC churches--that is what I'm talking about.

Wayne,
I do affirm the RPW (thanks for the book recommendations, though; I'll plan to get to those). I also recognize that this or that element may be done in this or that way, and those ways which were cultivated within Christendom are probably superior to those ways which were cultivated within pop culture. I also recognize that the circumstances of worship are potentially reverent or irreverent; and, again, I have to prefer pre-pop forms.

KMK,
I am not referring to the Roman church in particular, but to the Western church in general (especially the Patristic church, perhaps), considered apart from the uniquely Roman perversions which developed leading up to the Reformation.

Contra_Mundum,
I'm afraid that my current church is not confessional and does not subscribe to the RPW. No, I am not suggesting that such a church would be lacking anything.
*Vestments? Well, some kind of pastoral garment is one circumstance of worship which I could see some sense in. Necessary? certainly not.
*Weekly communion? Yes.
*Common-cup? I'll admit to finding that appealing. Necessary? No.
*Church-calendar? Some of that isn't a bad idea.
*Antiphonal responses? To Psalms? I'd love it.
*Common Prayers? As in Cranmer or V-of-V? Well, they'd be better than the prayers I hear.
*Choir? Appealing for certain occasions, but I'm theologically tethered to congregational singing.
*Candles? Possibly appealing--and arguably permitted, being only a circumstance--but distracting, so I have to say no.
*Altar boys? Um, no.
*Incense? No.
Regarding baptism-- it's an exegetical/theological compulsion. Nothing I can do about it (I tried!). Sorry.
Regarding sabbatarianism, my non-confessional pastor actually affirms it; but, I self-consciously affirm the "modified Lutheran"/NCT understanding of the Decalogue/Sabbath (while rejecting other elements of NCT, and otherwise affirming classic CT).
Yes, I understand the passing and less-than-serious draw to Rome or Orthodoxy... thankfully, when I read Scott Hahn's book, I found myself irate and repulsed, which I take to be a proof of my election ;-)
You're right: a confessional Reformed church may be just what I'm looking for: reverence, Law (within a modified-Lutheran framework, of course ;-) ), Pardon and Assurance, Psalms-singing, a Creed, etc. would all be great.
If we could speak in person, you'd see quickly that I'm no emerging hipster (or any kind of hipster, for that matter). Without giving my depraved self the benefit of the doubt, I really don't think that I'm seeking any inordinate experiece: I want to encounter the Living and Triune God and worship Him rightly. Please understand, I've got an awful lot of chintziness to react against.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Scott:

The CREC churches have taken heat from the larger Reformed community for some of their doctrinal positions. But there's plenty to admire about the way they conduct worship services, and I certainly think you could find Reformed churches outside the CREC that would would be similar to them, and similar to what you describe. Finding one that's also Baptist is perhaps the trickiest part, but this board is indeed a good place to ask. Credobaptist. Weekly communion. Somewhat liturgical. Confessional. Psalm-friendly. That's a tall order in many communities, but maybe not impossible. Depending on where you end up living, you might not find the one perfect church that fits every way you'd do things, but having to give in on a matter here and there is sometimes good for the soul.

A few thoughts:

1. Do consider what a church believes and teaches as well as how it runs the service. The CREC is a prime example of a denomination where I might be quite drawn to many aspects of the typical church's worship service but would have to ask some serious doctrinal questions before joining. You may be drawn to the worship, but be sure to examine more than that.

2. Find a word less confusing than "catholic" to describe what you're looking for.

3. I too think it's wise and admirable that you consider the availability of a good church when deciding where to move. But I would caution you against so admiring some church you hear about that you move there just for the church, especially if you do so without a job. All churches end up having their warts when you get to know them well. You should pick a church carefully. But ultimately the point is to be joined to Christ's people, imperfect as they are, wherever you find yourself. Join a good church because you're enamored with God, not because you've become enamored with that church. Things will go a lot better that way.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Scott,
I'm only a bit sorry that I spoke at length. I could only react to what you wrote, and plainly others were also confused as to what you intended. But for unnecessary force, I do apologize.

On the other hand, I'm not sorry for taking a direct approach, and pointedly asking for clarification. The stakes are too high not to get the true issues out on the table. My "laundry-list" was merely a device to get us talking about whatever the "real" traditions are in play.

My query on your stance on the 4th Command has to do with the exceptions you listed to the LBC1689, specifically chs. 19. Of the Law of God, and 22. Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day. So, in that case my estimate was pretty close. Overall, it sounds as though you have already done a lot of thinking on the issues, more than many who are already at home within the Reformed tradition.

So, while I wish your commitments were closer than they are, I am glad you are not simply on your way through this tradition, on your way to someplace else. We've had people who have found this board after arriving in "Reformed Theology," on-fire for this rich, new stuff, vastly different from the fluffy stuff they knew before--only to have them become convinced that they (and we) hadn't gone far enough.

Trust me, when I said that trajectory would cause old-baptism-convictions to be jettisoned, this board has seen them come and go. Ecclesiology tends to drag sacramentology along with it, and not vice-versa. So, I only suggested settling into a Presbyterian-style church (as a last resort), as a measure I hoped might slow you down, if you were heading down the Roman-Road.

I second everything in Jack K.'s post. Blessings on your finding/settling in at the "right" church, and here on the PB.
 
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