I have failed miserably trying to explain this when asked. It has been utterly embarrassing. Why do I stumble when trying to explain it? Because the answer is multifaceted, and I am a relatively new member. However, I do believe all who are members should be able to explain what it is, and hence my reason for this post.
So, while I would like to be able to articulate it into a four sentence quip, I found that it may not be something that can be reduced to a quick pithy statement.
So, what is a Reformed Baptist Church and why did I join one? I joined a Reformed Baptist Church because of what they believe and teach. As you know from my first post, Why Sit We Here Until We Die? I was hungry and needed to be in a church that didn’t just use the Bible as a prop, but relied on the Bible for all of its teachings.
The Reformed Baptist Church I joined like most Reformed Baptist churches have the following in common:
Believes and teaches that the Bible is the all sufficient and authoritative Word of God. The Bible is God-breathed. It is inerrant, infallible and is the revealed will of God. Deuteronomy 29:29. The Bible, and the Bible alone is how we know God, and it instructs us on how we should live, and how we should behave in the church. I Timothy 3:15, II Timothy 3:16,17
Believes and teaches that salvation is by Grace alone (Sola Gratia) through Faith alone (Sola Fide) in Christ alone (Sola Christus) according to Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura) for God’s Glory alone (Soli Deo Gloria). These Latin phrases are known as the five Solas that sum up the heart of the Reformed belief.
Believes and teaches that God is Sovereign, that all things are under his rule and control, and that nothing happens without his direction or permission. God works all things out according to the counsel of his own will. Ephesians 1:11
Has a Statement of Faith that codifies what the Scriptures teach. Our is the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. This statement of faith is historical and subscribed to by many churches.
Is Calvinistic, that is subscribes to the Doctrines of Grace or better known as the 5 Points of Calvinism, or TULIP – Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and the Perseverance of the Saints. These points are explained in my What I Believe post.
The Reformed Baptist church is not reformed from something, but found it necessary to distinguish itself from Baptist churches that no longer hold to these long held beliefs, that no longer hold the Bible as its final authority and guide for how we live, that no longer preach the whole counsel of God but have yielded to what is culturally pleasing and man-centered, that no longer have a real fear of God, nor have a real appreciation of our rich church history that began in the book of Acts.
If as according to some sources, all Baptist churches’ began with the same reliance on the doctrines of the Apostles; the preaching of repentance from sins, and believing on Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and being baptized by immersion upon a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. But as time would have it, and we got further and further away from the apostles, splits and divisions occurred.
Here are a couple of other resources that I found helpful, What is a Reformed Baptist? by Hammer and Nail blogger, Eric Carp, and What is a Reformed Baptist Church? by Pastor Jim Savastio, Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville.
Unfortunately, explaining it isn’t pocketable. However, I remember once when I told someone that I belong to a Reformed Baptist Church, his response was something to the effect “Oh, you believe the Bible.” For me, that really says it all.