Can one be credo-baptist, sacramental and covenantal?

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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?

thanks.
 

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.
 

rescuedbyLove

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
Me, too.

However, in terms of a high view of the sacraments and covenantal theology and amillenialism, I still side largely with my Presbyterian brothers.
It may be hard to find, but there are Baptist churches like that.:gpl:
Mine is.

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?
Yes, they do.

By joining a Baptist church, would I have to let go of Covenant theology and amillenialism?
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.
 

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.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Dennis,

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.

Blessings.
 

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.
 

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.
 

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 PCA...it 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.
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
Dennis,

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.

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.
 

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.
 

refbaptdude

Puritan Board Freshman
Can one be credo-baptist, sacramental and covenantal?

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
9781842270523img.jpg


enjoy,
Steve Clevenger
 

JoeRe4mer

Puritan Board Freshman
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.

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

cih1355

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?

thanks.

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.
 

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.
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
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.

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?
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
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.

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?

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.
 
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A.J.

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?

thanks.

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.
 
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