Do you wonder what are the distinctives of Reformed Baptists? Below is a brief outline of the Reformed Baptist distinctive convictions. Grab a PDF copy here.
- Sola Scriptura – The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience (1689 LBCF 1.1). This is our high view of the Scriptures. Hence, we believe in all of the Scriptures, that is Tota Scriptura**.(1 Corinthians 4:6, 2 Timothy 3:14–17, 2 Peter 1:19–21, Matt. 22:31–32)
- Solus Christus – Our confidence is in Jesus Christ’s blood and righteousness alone for salvation. This is the Center of the Reformation Distinctives. (John 14:6, Acts 4:11–12, 1 Timothy 2:5)
- Sola Gratia – Grace secured redemption without reference to works. We are guilty sinners and we have a Gracious God, and “salvation belongs to anyone who acknowledges that apart from Christ, they can do nothing” (John 15:1–8, Ephesians 2:8-10, Rom. 9:14–18).
- Sola Fide – We are declared righteous by God through faith alone2. The sinner obtains that righteousness by the instrumental cause or means of justification, which is faith. (Ephesians 2:8-10, Galatians 2:15–16, Habakkuk 2:4)
- Soli Deo Gloria – It is the motto that grew out of the Protestant Reformation. The goal of creation and redemption is to the glory of God alone. All the other Solas and all areas of life should redound to the glory of God (Isaiah 42:8, Isa. 43:6–7, Romans 11:33–36).
- Total Depravity – The fall of Adam affected the totality of man’s person3. We can only put Amazing back into grace once we realize the extent, the depth, the severity and the misery of the fall ( Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:18–25; 3:9–23; 7:18; 1 John 1:8–10).
- Unconditional Election – Election is not based on foreseen faith or works4. The logic of unconditional election is that if men are truly and totally depraved, then God’s work of salvation can only be accomplished and applied in us by His Divine initiative ( Romans 8:28–39; Ephesians 1:3–14; 2:8; 2 Timothy 1:9, 10).
- Limited Atonement – Redemption was accomplished by Christ for the elect only5. This is the extent of the atonement (John 6:37–39; 17:6–12; Romans 5:8–10; 1 John 4:9, 10; Revelation 5:9, 10).
- Irresistible Grace – Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is efficacious for the elect. God is able to overcome man’s resistance that they may willingly come to Christ ( John 10:3, 4; 11:38–46; Galatians 1:15; Revelation 22:17)
- Perseverance of the Saints – God preserving work will, by grace, complete and secure what He began in regeneration of the elect. None of the elect will from grace (Luke 22:31-32, Phil. 1:6)
- Godliness in Worship – Regulative Principle of Worship6 (Deut. 12:32, Exod. 20:4–6), the LORD’s Day as a Christian Sabbath (1 Cor. 16:1–2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10)
- Godliness in Preaching – Primacy of preaching. Both exposition and application emphasized (2 Tim. 4:2)
- Godliness in Instruction – Publishing what we believe the Bible teaches7. Hence, Confessional. Confessions contain the summary of what we believe yet they are subordinate to the authority of the Scriptures. Check here for more details about the need for Confessions (1 John 4:2-3, Rom. 10:9-17, 1 Tim. 3:16, Deut. 6:4).
- Godliness in Family – Parents are to instruct (catechize) and discipline their children in the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Proverbs 22:6). We use the Baptist Catechism and the Baptist Larger Catechism.
- Godliness in Behavior – Maintaining a good conscience before God and man (Acts 24:16), pursuing holiness, righteousness, faith, love and peace (2 timothy 2:22, Hebrews 12:14). The Moral law as the normative principle and way of life. (Rom. 2:14–15, Rom. 13:8–10; James 2:8,10–12, Deut. 10:4, Matt. 5:17–19; Rom. 3:31).
- Christ-centered interpretation of the Bible – Jesus’ person, work, kingdom and the covenant in His blood is the theme of the Bible (Luke 24:27, Hebrews 9:15). This is the unity of the Bible, it has many parts yet One message (Isa. 42:1; 1 Pet. 1:19–20, Acts 3:22)
- Law / Gospel distinction – Law8 commands, condemns, and points us to Christ. The Christ of the gospel alone saves9 (Galatians 3:12, Matthew 5:17–20, Gal. 3:19-24)
- One way of salvation – Christ has saved all the elect throughout all the ages. If anyone are to be saved, it is only through looking forward to the promised Messiah (OT saints) or looking backward (NT saints) to the Messiah’s finished work on the cross (John 14:6, Acts 4:11–12, 1 Timothy 2:5)
- Optimistic view of history – Jesus Christ is now seated upon His throne at the right hand of the Father, the KING of kings and LORD of lords ruling over all. He will soon come again in power and judgment (Ephesians 1:20–23, Ps. 89:19–37, Daniel 7:13–14,).
- Biblical Church Practice – Ordinances for believers only10. Church discipline lovingly exercised (Matt. 28:19–20; 1 Cor. 11:26).
- Biblical Church Freedom – The state is not to intrude into matters of conscience (Romans 13).
- Biblical Church Government – Elders and deacons. The local congregation chooses its leaders10. This is what we believe the biblical form of Church Government (1 Tim 3, Titus 1: 5-11)
- Biblical Church Growth – Gospel proclamation to the world. Repentance and Faith demanded of all (Matt. 28:19–20, Mark 1:15).
- Biblical Church Ministry – Priesthood of all believers12 (1 Peter 2:9).
- Biblical Church Foundations – Orthodox, Evangelical and Autonomous13 and we believe in the Local Church as the visible manifestation of the Invisible (Universal) Church of Christ ( Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2, Acts 2:41–42)
There you go! You may notice that there are some overlaps between the points, that is consistency. James White says that to be a Reformed Baptist is to be consistent (Why Am I a Reformed Baptist?). But why do we have these distinctives? Why is it important? Sam Storms is helpful in this statement,
“We have no desire to be different for being different sake. That’s not the purpose of these distinctives. We don’t want to just stand out in a crowd and take a position that is contrary to others...We really do believe that these distinctives make a difference in how we live and how we minister. … I’m not suggesting for a moment that in calling them ‘distinctives’ that other Christians don’t believe them. I hope and pray that most do. We’re not unique in our emphasis on these points, but we do emphasize them — that’s the point!
If you hold to the Reformed Baptist distinctives above, please comment below if I missed any of our significant distinctive.
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
Note: This post is a reblog with minor revisions from Reformed Baptist Fellowship. A Reformed Baptist is primarily not a denomination but a Theological Persuasion.
- Check here for the overview of Reformed and Calvinistic.
- This is an imputed (not infused or imparted) alien or forensic righteousness. Justification is perfect, a declaration from God’s throne that man is righteous by virtue of Christ’s perfect righteousness alone. It is a one-time event.
- We agree with Martin Luther that man‘s “will comes from the devil and from Adam.”
- A Calvinistic understanding of Salvation: We reject all man-centered understanding of salvation.
- She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matt. 1:21 cf. John 10:11,14-18,24-29; Acts 20:28; Isa. 53
- As opposed to the “Normative principle” which states that what is not forbidden is allowed. Our worship service is built around the Scriptures read, preached and sang.
- We hold to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689. Additionally the Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian and Chalcedonian creeds express our understanding of orthodoxy.
- We recognize the “Three uses of the law.” First, the law serves as a guide to society in promoting civic righteousness (civic). Secondly, the law convicts sinners and drives them to Christ (pedagogical). Thirdly, the law directs Christians in holy living (normative).
- Law and Gospel are in both Old and New Testaments. The gospel is the promises of God to His elect.
- Infant baptism is alien to the practice of the New Testament. Likewise, immersion is the proper mode of baptism.
- “A particular church, gathered and completely organized according to the mind of Christ, consists of officers and members; and the officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the church.”
- The local church is a spiritual family where relationships are to be open and honest. All matters are handled in charity and patience. Only through every-member participation can individuals grow in grace and love.
- Watch here for complete details of Baptist Distinctives by Bro. Ezekiel.
5 thoughts on “The Five Points of Reformed Baptist”
Great summary. Thanks for putting this together. Very helpful.
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I adapted this from Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog with minor revisions brother.
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Soli Deo gloria!
Praise GOD! Let me know brother if my needed i-update or change.
Thanks for posting here Brother Jeff Chavez.
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