To the one from whom much was despoiled and plundered, the gaze of God goes most directly, and the holiest help He gives. ~Marie Hosdil~



Monday, March 30, 2009

What Is A Reformed Baptist ~ And Who Cares Anyway?

In one of his caustic letter to me a while back, my brother taunted me by asking me what I thought a Reformed Baptist was. I was a Reformed Baptist before my conversion to the Catholic Church, and as he does with converts to the Catholic Faith, he accused me of not being what he is in the first place.

I stopped by the web site for his local church and found it contained a page called “What Is a Reformed Baptist?” Apparently, that question is asked quite often. The reason is that the word “reformed” usually indicates a position closer to that of the Reformers, who practiced infant baptism and a more “covenant” approach to salvation. But Baptists, on the other hand, are known for their “believer’s baptism” as I discussed in my “Confessions of a Triple Dipper” piece last week. So there appears to be a conflict between the words “reformed” and “Baptist.”

Well, conflict is as common as Bibles in Protestantism, so this apparent oxymoron is of no concern to me. What I believed, before discovering the faith once delivered to the Apostles and kept by Divine Intervention and Promise in the Catholic Church, was easily summed up in the TULIP of Calvinism, minus infant baptism, plus believers baptism. That is what is explained in many words on my brother’s church’s web site.

Ok, so what difference does it make anyway? Even his belief system has changed over the years as has the beliefs of most Protestants who go through life listening to this Pastor, reading that book, learning that Greek word or studying some historical fact. The majority of Protestants are influenced by a variety of sources and find that their beliefs develop as a result of those influences. Nothing in Protestantism is certain or authoritative since there is no authoritative teaching office in Protestantism. It’s every person for themselves.

I remember sitting in Patrick Madrid’s van on a corner in Granville, Ohio. We stopped at the stop sign and Patrick says, “Here we are, a monument of the failure of Protestantism. Indeed, every corner of the intersection had a prestigious looking church on it. There was a Methodist Church, a Lutheran Church, a Presbyterian Church, and a Baptist Church; all preaching God’s Word straight from the Bible. None of them could agree what that Bible said about the basic tenants of faith. If Protestantism were a movement of the Holy Spirit, there would be agreement rather than chaos. The Reformers themselves would have been in harmony with one another and able to write a unified Protestant Creed. Instead, just a matter of years after the outbreak of the Reformation, even the original Reformers themselves called each other heretics and refused to break bread together!

So what’s in a name? I can interpret a label like Reformed Baptist one way, and some other person can interpret that label another way. Whose to say? In fact, I sat down with the yellow pages the other day and made a list of some of the church names I found that leave one scratching their heads as to what these groups are all about. There are probably fine people in all these churches. There may even be amazingly faithful believers in each of them. But I see the names of these organizations indicative of the loss of authenticity and authority in the ecclesial organization of the Protestant world. Here is a sampling.

Genesis the Church
Rainbow Ministries
Catalyst Church
Center Stage Church
Jesus First Church
People’s Church
Without Walls Christian Center
Church on the Green
Touch of Grace Fellowship
Greater Friendship Baptist Church
Mosaic Bible Church
House of Destiny
As the Spirit Leads Christian Fellowship
Intimacy with Jesus Church
Latitude Life Center
Real Life Christian Church
The Journey
Upon This Rock Christian Church (uh, I don’t think so)
Antioch Church of God in Christ
Dream Center
Higher Height Ministries
Another Level of Faith

These are, of course, some of the most obscure names in the yellow pages. There are hundreds, even thousands of other more typical names like First Baptist Church, etc. But even among the main denominations there is disagreement and division. As I grew up, the one thing every Baptist Church was going to go through at some point in time was a split. Even the people who were once known as this Baptist Church or that Methodist Church eventually ended up splitting and coming up with some other name for the defecting group.

So there, I explained what a Reformed Baptist is. But I’m sure it is meaningless to most and confusing to many and a very good example of the fractured nature of Protestantism.

I’d like to refer you to the article that came before this one where I discuss the beauty of Apostolic Succession in action and the joy of being where the faith was given with authority. I was a Reformed Baptist – But from now on I give thanks for the grace of being Catholic.

3 comments:

Macile Hooper LeJeune said...

I have not had much time to read blogs lately; I have a hard time keeping up with emails. But things are going to change. I had a nice talk with my dear dr this morning, because he just happened to see me giving blood for my quartly A1C for Diabetes. He said he is proud of me ... taking charge of my own life. Now, that does not mean ... locking HL out ... of my heart and mind ... nor out of our house. I just made up my mind that he is not going to push me around; control every aspect of my life ... and tell me when I can or cannot do things.
He is learning. Been really nice lately ... and how I pray ... that James White 'gits the picture' one of these days. xxxooo
DIEU TE BENISSE!!! Cajun Sissy

Anonymous said...

Most Reformed Baptist churches that I know (I was a member of one for over 25 years)practice the most dastardly deeds imaginable upon its' members. Their false teachings concerning "eldership rule" has resulted in destroyed marriages and broken family relationships. The website:

www.wickedshepherds.com

goes into great detail on this matter. I speak from sad experience, having been INfected as well as AFfected by their diabolical acts.

Leah

Bob D'Aurelio said...

On the "Paul's Men" podcast, edition 52, we address this issue with the first of a new segment called "Ask Father". (Bite size chunks of Apologetics with Fr. Jay McPhillips) With 35,000 confused but mostly sincere churches out there I hope our Protestant brothers and sister pause to wonder what is wrong with this picture? The Catholic Church has been there from the get go. Check it out at www.paulsmen.com

Bob D'Aurelio
Paul's Men