I am truly seeking to exercise self-control in responding to two items that appeared today in my RSS feed. The first is a very sad example of what happens to someone who once showed promise but who, for reasons only known to him and to God, has become an enemy to anyone who would follow Jesus’ own prayer, “sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17), so that one would seek to handle that word aright (2 Timothy 2:15). This particular writer’s refusal to become a workman of the Word has led, over the past few years, to his becoming a clear warning to all who would handle sacred truth but who would refuse to love that truth (2 Thess. 2:10-12).
Along the same lines a former “Reformed Baptist” posted the following under the title, “Rome v. Baptists: Is One Really Superior to the Other?”
When I speak of a Baptist tradition, I am speaking broadly of a basic doctrinal paradigm which reduces Christianity to a personal thing – a matter of merely personal salvation which ordinarily happens apart from any material means (i.e. the ministry of the Church in Word and Sacrament); says that one only becomes a member of the church because one has been saved outside of her rather than being saved by God through her (which is the historic Reformed position); therefore reduces the church to a mere collection of like-minded individuals, the sacraments to mere memorials of what is absent and badges of profession rather than sacred signsof what is present and actual means of grace; and thinks it is ok to break away from the rest of Christendom by claiming that they alone possess true Christian Baptism and therefore think it permissible, good, and necessary to re-baptize anyone not baptized in an age of accountability. This is what I mean by the term Baptist.
I am exercising restraint in that I find this description so utterly inaccurate that I am truly amazed that someone would have the temerity to post it publicly. But I must be disciplined and stay focused on what is truly important at this point in time. The above straw man is only the beginning of the post. Another wonderful example is found in these words, where again the old canard of the Anabaptists is thrown out:
No matter how loudly they may want to protest that they are not of the same mind with their forefathers here, they cannot get away from this underlying issue: they have taken baptism away from the church catholic and presumed the right to claim it for themselves. This is a material deviation from both Reformed and historic Christian orthodoxy.
Later the same writer tried to unruffle a few feathers with these calming words: “I believe that both faithful Baptists and faithful Romanists are my brothers, and therefore, I see neither side as being any worse than the other, just as I see neither as any better.” Yes, well, that helps a lot. All of this is in the context of denying to Reformed Baptists the title “Reformed.” You see, for these folks, “Reformed” has nothing to do with your view of God, your view of the gospel, your view of the atonement, your view of Scripture. No, those things are irrelevant. They have a completely different list to work from in defining “Reformed.” Of course, in the end, they are force to call “Reformed” men who mock the Reformers and their gospel and their proclamation and the entirety of the Christian faith just because they happen to hold to a particular sacramentology, while at the same time denying me not only the term, but identifying my belief as “heresy.” Do I see any evidence such men have seriously considered, with an iota of fairness, what we have to say? Not at all, as the above ridiculous description evidences.
The key issue is whether Jesus Christ as King of His church gets to determine the nature of that church and the New Covenant. I say He does, and I say I am being consistent not only to apply the same hermeneutic to all of Scripture but to apply sola scriptura to the teachings even of the Reformers themselves. In fact, I would suggest it is very unReformed to do otherwise. So with that, despite the overwhelming desire to say much more, I provide you with a less than five minute discussion of the New Covenant from the baptism debate: