Can a Baptist become a Presbyterian and still be a Baptist?

Discussion in 'Ecclesiology' started by rbcbob, Jul 20, 2009.

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  1. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    On another thread the following exchange took place:


    I realize that the Reformed Baptist churches are bound together by a common confession, but I would like to see more effort to bind together in more visible ways for outreach and fellowship together. I'm not sure what the best ways to accomplish this would be, perhaps others can contribute some application.

    The best way? Become Presbyterian.

    That raised a question in my mind. Is Presbyterianism defined, first and foremost, as a form of Church Government with things like baptismal mode a secondary issue; and if so then might a conscience Baptist become a Presbyterian, properly defined? Or to put it another way, can there exist such a thing as a non-paedobaptist Presbyterian?
  2. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    There are non-paedo Presbyterians, but strictly speaking, a Baptist cannot remain a Baptist and be Presbyterian. Presbyterianism is a form of church goverance, among other things, which Baptists reject. I suppose a Baptist with no Baptist church in his area can join a Presbyterian church, but if there is no change of conviction, they will remain very much a Baptist. Rich was a member of a Baptist church in Okinawa but he was not a Baptist by conviction, so it cuts both ways.
  3. louis_jp

    louis_jp Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't know, but if it's possible, sign me up!
  4. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    I agree. Historically Baptists have understood that the elders of a local congregation are the highest constituted HUMAN authority over a church. Associations can tend to be a half-step toward Presbyterian government but however appealing that may seem it still goes beyond the Bible.
  5. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Bob, associations are not necessarily a "half-step toward Presbyterian government." ARBCA does not supplant the scripturally-bound authority of the local church; neither does the SBC, GARB, CBA, or the ABA among non-Reformed denominations. Associations exist for missions and equipping. Let one of these associations try and act like a presbytery and you'll have a revolt on your hands.
  6. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    Wow, am suprised a Bapist Church let a Presbyterian, keeping in mind most baptist requirments for membership.
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    My understanding is that "Presbyterian" is a denominated as church government by a plurality of elders. That's where the name comes from so that would be an essential.

    Whereas reformed theology might be defined as a minimum of:

    Historic, reformed, biblical presbyterianism might be:

    A "hybrid" might accommodate and even be a good place, but it would not be the original.
  8. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    I'll have to let Rich speak for himself on that one.
  9. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    There are plenty of Presbyterians who were baptized after their confessions of faith. (If that's the requirement you're thinking of.)
  10. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    There were some practices of associational church displine done on pastors from time to time, which I think would be similar to the Presbyterian model. I sited one yesterday with Robert Morris, but it was a pastoral issue and not a general congregational problem. Another case much earlier was with Thomas Selby about a disturbance, but I do not remember the full details. This of course is done by the churches address or if there is a clear confessional breach with respect to a congregation.

    On a side note, I do think many SBC churches instead of acting in accordance to their free power in the association does whatever the SBC tells them, which is a clear distinctional difference between a general association and a denomination. This is also reflected by the use of SBC materials.

    -----Added 7/20/2009 at 01:47:44 EST-----

    Not just that, but also through immerson. I have even seen a few that says that you sign off in agreement to the core beliefs of the church.
  11. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    WOW! That's quite a statement and in my experience is patently untrue. I have never heard of a SBC church following blindly what the SBC says. I know that the powers that be, as limited as they are, wishes that the churches would toe the line. They are often pulling the hair from their respective heads because churches won't follow them. As to SBC material, it may be used or not. My church uses material from different entities on a regular basis, but maybe I'm just a rebel!

    As for as an association disciplining a church, they only thing that they can do is disfellowship themselves from the church. The SBC did just that at its last annual meeting in Louisville when it disfellowshipped itself from Broadway Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas because of church's stand on homosexuality.
  12. John Lanier

    John Lanier Puritan Board Junior


    Most SBC churches that I was familiar with had no clue what went on at the convention level and definitely weren't run by it.
  13. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    Generally speaking, local churches don't know what is going on at the convention, and the convention likes it that way. Why do you think that some of the agency heads (chiefly Dr. Morris Chapman of the Executive Committee) are against the Great Commission Resurgence? Because it (the GCR) is calling for more financial accountability! Still, we have two SBC seminary presidents, Dr. Mohler and Dr. Akin (who wrote the GCR) leading the way. It is a most interesting scenario!
  14. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    I was talking about in ths past with regard to displine, like the 1700s. Where the assoication actually had power to to excommunicate a pastor if some herersy was taught. There were also cases when a entire church was denied membership to an association or was removed from the association as well during that time.

    Good for the SBC for finally taking up ground and doing the right thing in Texas. But as far as their materials, I have had pastors tell me that they had to use Lifeway materials because it was Southern baptist. In one case there is a lifeway associate within the church. So I guess it varried on region or where you go on that issue. Im just going by my own experience and my current frustrations that I have within the SBC, which are many. I just want to pull of my hair, so I guess the feeling is mutual. And I have been in the SBC for about 20 years with the exception of 6 years being else where. I have seen what happens if you dont dont follow in step with the state or national convention if your a pastor, and not over issue of doctrine or confession, but based on style and programs. So I have seen much in blind acceptance of whatever the SBC says in churches and to challenge that is like challenging the Pope of Rome to a Roman Catholic. Church politics can be bloody and a sad thing in our churches, for I have sadly seen to much. The only reason why i am still in the SBC techically is because of the founders movement. Without them i would have left the SBC a long time ago, so I still have hope for reform; but over the horizon I see another fight brewing that will seperate many churches from the SBC or perhaps have an SBC split. i just pray that does not happen.
  15. PresReformed

    PresReformed Puritan Board Freshman

  16. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    I pray it doesn't happen too. As to materials and program, like I said, I'm a rebel. Ditto on the Founders movement.
  17. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    A friend and I were bemoaning the state of the C of S re: the infamous minister in Aberdeen. The funny thing, is if he were to be baptised as an adult (having been christened as a baby), he would be thrown out the C. of S.

    Believers Baptism seems to be worthy of excommunication where an openly gay lifestyle is not!
  18. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    I apoligize for my experience, I may go a little overboard for it. I realize not everyone has had such poor experiences with the SBC as me. I am also sorry if we got a bit off track too.
  19. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    David, we all should be careful painting with broad brushes. Thanks for recognizing that.
  20. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    Not to steal the thread, but I have a somewhat-related question.

    A fellow is ordained a minister in the SBC. After a time he joins a PCA church and is taken under care. What is the state of his SBC ministerial credentials? In particular, is he still permitted to perform marriage ceremonies based on his Baptist credentials?
  21. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    I don't know the technical/theoretical answer to your question. However, existentially, the longer I stay on the PB, the closer I get to becoming one of those Presbyterian cultists and the more disconnected from my Baptist roots. I mean, I've never had my staff in our "Baptist" organization bake me a "Roger Williams" birthday cake! :lol:
  22. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Dennis, perhaps since I wasn't raised with Baptist roots I find myself becoming more and more Baptistic (from a confessional perspective). That's quite a turnaround considering how close I was to jumping ship four years ago.
  23. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Here is a good little piece that I would recommend. I edited it a bit.

  24. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    Thanks Randy. I will give this a careful read tonight (D.V.)
  25. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I would say that the author David Gay is somewhat off the wall in his book Battle for the Church, but he says some good things.
  26. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    I'm with you, Bill, my time here has caused to look deeply into my Baptist roots. As so I remain.
  27. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    For further reading I highly recommend William Cunningham's "Historical Theology," vol. 1, pp. 43-79, where the Council of Jerusalem is specifically discussed and the leading principles of Presbyterianism are clearly explained and vindicated.
  28. Nathan Riese

    Nathan Riese Puritan Board Freshman

    Keeping to the question at hand,

    Can a Baptist become a Presbyterian and still be a Baptist?

    The answer is No. It's not that hard of a question to answer. The reason why it's not hard is because Baptists and Presbyterians are not the same, therefore if one BECOMES the LATTER, then it is no longer the FORMER. Simple. If a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, can it still be a caterpillar? NO! Because it has morphed into something different and does not retain its being a caterpillar.

    Can a baptist (congregationally autonomous, credo-baptist) become a (presbytery governed, paedo/credo baptist) and still remain a baptist? If you're speaking of beliefs, the answer is a simple, "NO"

    If you're asking, "can a baptist join a presbyterian church as a member and still remain a baptist" then the answer is yes. I know of some who have done that. many presbyterian churches are not as strict as to force their members into paedo-baptism, so if that baptist can tolerate the different form of government, then there shouldn't be too much of a problem.
  29. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    So Baptists are anarchists? I thought Baptists were congregational democracies, at least that's what I thought when I was one.

    Presbyterianism strictly speaking is just a form of church government, and it requires a system of courts (not just a single church ... which would be an oligarchy unless there were multiple levels of court). Because a Presbyterian form of government requires the ability to appeal to a higher court, a single church would not have that ability. I have seen some churches that operate governmentally like this ... a session of elders that rule the church, and no denominational relationship to keep the local church in check.

    I had thought that "Baptist" was generally a doctrinal stand strictly on Baptism, not on church government. Do *all* Baptists agree on governmental form?
  30. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    I am sure there is some Baptist church out there that will throw a wrench into my argument, but Baptist churches are congregational. We do not have the hierarchical framework of our Presbyterian brethren. We are not anarchists. We recognize that God has ordained elders to lead the church. The elders answer to scripture and are held accountable by the church. Baptist and Presbyterian polity together would be like water and oil.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
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