The term “Reformed Baptist” simply defines what we believe and how we ‘do’ church.
- The term “Reformed” connects us to the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, which brought renewed emphasis to biblical truths such as the sovereignty of God in salvation (that people become right with God, not by anything that we do, but by the work of the Holy Spirit producing faith in the hearts of sinners), and the priesthood of all believers (the belief that, because of the death of Christ on the cross, Christians need no human mediators to enter the presence of God).
- The term “Baptist” identifies us with those who believe that baptism is an act of obedience to Christ, symbolizing identification with His death, burial and resurrection, and is to be carried out by those who have turned to Him by faith. Furthermore, Baptists believe that the local church is the fundamental institution through which God intends to accomplish His purposes and that no higher institution has authority over the local church.
Reformed Baptists began in the 1950’s and 60’s as a renewal movement among Baptists in the U.S. and Britain who were rediscovering the importance of the theological heritage of Baptists. Typically, Reformed Baptists are independent, congregational, local churches governed by a plurality of elders and deacons and holding to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.
Our church holds to one of the oldest and most widely used Baptist Confessions of Faith. Like the Savoy Declaration of the Congregationalist churches, the 1689 is a Baptist version of the Presbyterian Westminster Confession of Faith. The Confession can be accessed offsite here.
Why Even Emphasize Distinctives?
On one level, we prefer to de-emphasize distinctives. We are first and foremost Christians and feel ourselves to be very much in union with all who love the Savior. We prefer not to placard our distinctives in church every Sunday.
We are aware however that there is a movement today to get rid of labels and ‘denominations’, as they are seen as divisive and a poor picture of the gospel. However, denominations exist because of sincere differences, not insincere. We believe it is better to be up-front with our differences than denying that they exist. We are Baptists and Reformed not because we believe we are the only Christians, nor because we believe that we have everything right, but obviously, we believe we have some things more right than not, otherwise we would have nothing to say or report except our ignorance. Therefore, we prefer to be honest and thorough about our doctrine and convictions. Doctrine is not a bad word; everyone has a doctrine, even and especially those who decry it.
While holding firm to a detailed Confession of Faith, what we are passionate about is the Gospel of Jesus Christ… [more to come]