Can one be credo-baptist, sacramental and covenantal?

Discussion in 'Credo-Baptism Answers' started by steadfast7, Feb 5, 2009.

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  1. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    Hi all,

    I was raised Presbyterian but am not convinced on paedo-baptism. I find the credo position to be much stronger, and in my experience, having been baptized upon confession, appreciated the meaningfulness of the act much more. However, in terms of a high view of the sacraments and covenantal theology and amillenialism, I still side largely with my Presbyterian brothers.

    I've never been a member of a baptist church but from what I gather, they tend to be largely dispensational, and view the sacraments are merely ordinances? Is there a reason why the theology falls under this particular system?

    By joining a Baptist church, would I have to let go of Covenant theology and amillenialism? Are there any denominations which operate under a "credo-Presbyterian" system?

  2. charliejunfan

    charliejunfan Puritan Board Senior

    No you would not have to let go of Covenant theology all together, just the federal family...which...maybe you don't hold to anyway....

    There are many good "covenant" baptists out there, I was one awhile ago. I can't speak for all Reformed Baptist churches but I have noticed that there is a fear of logical conclusions in them, and then you have the (in my opinion) faulty church government.
    If I were you (and if I were a Reformed Baptist still) I would just stay in the Presbyterian church as a baptist. Be like John Gill as opposed to James White and the like.
  3. ReformedChapin

    ReformedChapin Puritan Board Freshman

    I had this question myself. :cool:
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
  4. rescuedbyLove

    rescuedbyLove Puritan Board Junior

    Me, too.

    It may be hard to find, but there are Baptist churches like that.:gpl:
    Mine is.

    Yes, they do.

    No, look for reformed baptist churches in your area. You'll have to look at different websites and see what they believe. See if they hold to the LBCF.
    But if you can't find anything...many people who are convinced credos go to Presbyterian churches if they can't find a reformed baptist church.
  5. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I hold to Covenant Theology. I also believe that the husband is the head of the family as it is stated in Corinthians. I don't know any Baptist that doesn't believe that as Charles seems to indicate. I am not going to have much time this weekend to be on the board but I will be more precise with your answers during the beginning of next week.

    And Charles is not making much since to me in his post above by pitting John Gill and James White against each other.

    Welcome to the board Dennis.

    You will see blue lettering titled 'signature requirements' in the bottom of my post, in my signature. Click on that and follow its instructions. Thanks.
  6. rescuedbyLove

    rescuedbyLove Puritan Board Junior

    What do you mean? What do you think is faulty?

    -----Added 2/6/2009 at 02:15:18 EST-----

  7. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Let's try and stay focused on the original questions.

    Here is a thread discussing Presbyterian and Congregational Ecclesiology.

    Stay on topic. Thanks
  8. ManleyBeasley

    ManleyBeasley Puritan Board Junior

    I sure hope so. I am.:)
  9. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    I see that you're in Thailand. My counsel to you is proceed deliberately in studying your theology, and carefully about investigating confessional or Reformed Baptist churches. I am not knowledgeable about Reformed Baptist congregations in Thailand.

    To answer your earlier question -- yes, it is possible to be a Baptist and hold to covenantal and sacramental. Baptist covenant theology would separate with Presbyterians over infant baptism and who is included in the New Covenant. Also, Baptist shy away from the term "sacrament", mostly as a reaction against Roman Catholicism. The term "ordinance" is used instead, but it takes on the same connotation as sacrament. The sacraments observed are baptism of believers and the Lord's Supper.

    A wise course of action would be to read some books from the Reformed Baptist perspective. I am leaving for work here in a few minutes, but I'll be happy to PM you some resources when I return.

  10. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor


    Baptist churches are not dispensational by definition, either.
  11. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Just a suggestion to the Baptist moderators:

    Maybe you'd like to move this thread to the "Credo-answers" forum? Reduce the chances of the "answers" offered muddying the water, instead of clarifying.
  12. coramdeo

    coramdeo Puritan Board Sophomore

    SBC Reformed

    Being new to the board and not yet very adept at searching previous post, I don't know if it has come up before but are you'all aware that those holding reformed Baptist views may not be limited to looking for "Reformed Baptist" churches? There is a movement in the SBC called the Founders Ministries which is seeking to return the denomination to its "reformed roots".
    See Founders Ministries | Home .... there are SBC churches holding to the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 or the like.
  13. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Hubby went to Westminster Seminary, we came to a PCA church as Baptists (actually our second PCA, attended one in another state in the 90's). Know of one PCA elsewhere that is half Baptist.....if you want sound doctrine it is often the best/only option.

    Reformed theology IS covenantal theology. We are amil as well.

    Our Baptist experience up here in the Northeast ( Pa-NJ) is somewhat negative, they seem into hype and generally a Dispensational pre trib rature mindset.

    We have no problem with the paedo baptism approach in our is seen as a symbol of covenantal promises to the child (circumcision), and not as saying the child has given evidence of being regenerated. In our Baptist church background it is the Romans 6 symbol of death and resurrection and and they wait until evidence of regeneration/professing faith. The Presbyterians are not saying the kid is born again so it isn't problematic for a Baptist, at least for us it is not.

    You can't be an elder in good Presbyterian circles as a credo, but you can be a very happy member. I would not make baptism your defining doctrine for membership, the other Reformed doctrine is far more vital if you can't find a Reformed and Baptist church locally.
  14. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks for the feedback Brothers. You're right Bill, here on the mission field, there aren't a lot of Reformed Baptist Churches, or highly specific denominations, to choose from. I'm actually in a church planting situation and trying to figure out my theology and how it is applied in a missions context.

    Now I seem to recall from seminary days that there was an important distinction between ordinance and sacrament, that it's not exactly interchangeable. Perhaps some clarification on this would help a lot.

    The whole concept of confessional faithfulness is another issue that we grapple with on the mission field. Do we impose a Western framework on indigenous Christians, or give them freedom in forming theology within their own cultural communities? That's a whole other topic though, probably not appropriate for here.
  15. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    Apart from the Baptist framers preferring the word "ordinance" to "sacrament", the 1689 London Baptist Confession is considered Reformed and Covenantal. It also de facto precludes dispensationalism.

    Some would suggest that the word ordinance implies a Zwinglian view of them being strictly memorial in nature. However, the word "ordinance" does not demand this limitation. It has been my general experience that Reformed Baptists see the ordinances as real instruments of grace and communion with our God.
  16. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Good idea.
  17. refbaptdude

    refbaptdude Puritan Board Freshman

    As a Reformed Baptist pastor I hold to everything you listed above. A good book that you might find helpful is "More Than A Symbol - The British Baptist Recovery of Baptismal Sacramentalism" by Stanely K Fowler

    Steve Clevenger
  18. JoeRe4mer

    JoeRe4mer Puritan Board Freshman

    Just a quick question, what is the distinction you are making between John Gill and James White?
  19. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    Most Baptist churches are largely dispensational and most of them do not see baptism and the Lord's Supper as a means of grace.

    If you join a Reformed Baptist church, you would not have to let go of Covenant theology and amillenialism. There are Reformed Baptists who believe in both.

    The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 says that the Lord's Supper is for the spiritual nourishment and growth of the believer and it is to be a bond and pledge of our communion with Him. This confession also says that when believers partake of the Lord's Supper, they spiritually receive and feed upon Christ crucified and all the benefits of His death. In Baptist churches that are dispensational, you would not hear this kind of teaching about the Lord's Supper.
  20. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I am trying to understand the use of the word "covenantal" here -- seems like it could be used in two ways. One would be to distinguish yourself from the rather disjointed view of history that appears in dispensationalism. The other would be the recognizing that God works through covenant families -- thus God had Abraham (and all his male descendants) circumcised and "thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant."

    I think I could see how you could hold to a credo-baptist position and reject dispensationalism, but for a lot of reasons that would be beyond the scope of this thread, I'm not sure you could reconcile the second meaning of covenant with a credo-baptist position.
  21. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks J for that important distinction. As a credo, I would not view a parallel continuity between the Abrahamic covenant with the new covenant. It just seems to me that if the New Covenant is in Christ's atoning blood, then it is the privilege of professed believers only. By covenantal I mean the traditional reformed theology of a two-fold works-grace system that ties the Bible together.

    Does anyone know why Baptists in North America have been traditionally dispensational? I'm just trying to see if there is some logical connection between the two. Do we just have Scobie's Study Bible to blame for that?
  22. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Whether one disagrees with dispensationalism or not, I don't think it's necessarily accurate to state that "Baptists in North America have been traditionally dispensational." Baptists were here long before dispensationalism became popular or even existed as a formal system. Actually dispensationalism seems to have initially caught on with certain Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Episcopalians in the 19th century, although there were some Baptists like J.M Pendleton as well. The best answer is probably that the rise in popularity of dispensationalism (and the Scofield Bible) roughly coincided with the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy in the USA, with many of the "fundamentalists" becoming dispensational. The Niagra Bible Conference which was held from 1876-1897 was a major factor with both movements.

    There was a split over eschatology and other issues in the very early days of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church as well, with what became the Bible Presbyterian Church being officially premil (although not dispensational, at least according to my understanding) and not opposed to the use of the Scofield Bible. The founders of Dallas Theological Seminary were not Baptists either.

    Now, why most dispensationalists eventually became baptistic, well whatever other problems they may have had with their theology, it seems that they became convinced of the teaching of the Bible on that issue. :) But we're getting a little :offtopic:

    Edit: I can't figure out why Niagara Bible Conf. above is repeated twice and I've been unsuccessful in trying to fix it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2009
  23. A.J.

    A.J. Puritan Board Junior

    The man who wrote FAQ on the Reformed Baptist View of Baptism says you can be a Baptist, and be covenantal and sacramental at the same time. In the part of the world where I live, there are Reformed Baptists who hold to Calvin's view of the Lord's Supper, and are convinced that the 1689 Confession's view of that "ordinance" is inadequate.
  24. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    NOTE: This is a credo answers only forum.
  25. A.J.

    A.J. Puritan Board Junior


    I'm sorry. Thanks for the reminder.
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