Reformed Baptist Fellowship

The Five Points of Reformed Baptist Churches

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on January 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

A brief out-line of our distinctive convictions

I REFORMATIONAL

A. Sola Scriptura  –  The Bible is the complete, closed and clear authority in all matters of faith.

B. Solus Christus  –  Our confidence is in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

C. Sola Gratia  –  Grace secured redemption without reference to works.

D. Sola Fide  –  We are declared righteous by God through faith alone(1).

E. Soli Deo Gloria  –  Goal of creation and redemption is God‘s praise.

II CALVINISTIC

A. Total Depravity  –  The fall of Adam affected the totality of man’s person(2).

B. Unconditional Election  –  Election is not based on foreseen faith or works(3).

C. Limited Atonement  –  Redemption was accomplished by Christ for elect(4).

D. Irresistible Grace  –  Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is efficacious for elect.

E. Perseverance of the Saints  –  God will, by grace, complete what He began in regeneration of the elect.

III PURITAN

A. Godliness in Worship  –  Regulative Principle of Worship(5), the Lord’s Day as a Christian Sabbath.

B. Godliness in Preaching  –  Primacy of preaching. Both exposition and application emphasized.

C. Godliness in Instruction  –  Confessional and catholic. Publishing what we believe the Bible teaches(6).

D. Godliness in Family  –  Parents are to instruct (catechize) and discipline their children in the Lord.

E. Godliness in Behavior  –  Maintaining a good conscience before God and man.

IV COVENANTAL

A. Unity of the Bible  –  Many parts yet one message.

B. Christ-centered interpretation  –  Jesus’ person, work and kingdom is the theme of the Bible.

C. Law / Gospel distinction  –  Law(7) commands and condemns. Gospel saves(8).

D. One way of salvation  –  Christ has saved all the elect throughout all the ages.

E. Optimistic view of history  –  Jesus Christ is now King ruling over all. He will soon come again.

V BAPTIST

A. Biblical Church Practice  –  Ordinances for believers only(9). Church discipline lovingly exercised.

B. Biblical Church Freedom  –  The state is not to intrude into matters of conscience.

C. Biblical Church Government  –  Elders and deacons. The local congregation chooses its leaders(10).

D. Biblical Church Growth  –  Gospel proclamation to the world. Repentance and Faith demanded of all.

E. Biblical Church Ministry  –  Priesthood of all believers(11).

(1) This is an imputed alien righteousness. Justification is perfect, neither waxing nor waning.
(2) We agree with Martin Luther that man‘s “will comes from the devil and from Adam.”
(3) 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
(5) 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.
(6) We hold to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689. Additionally the Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian and Chalcedonian creeds express our understanding of orthodoxy.
(7) We recognize the “Three uses of the law.” First, the law serves as a guide to society in promoting civic righteousness. Secondly, the law convicts sinners and drives them to Christ. Thirdly, the law directs Christians in holy living.
(8) Law and Gospel are in both Old and New Testaments. The gospel is the promises of God to His elect.
(9) Infant baptism is alien to the practice of the New Testament. Likewise, immersion is the proper mode of baptism.
(10) “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.” We recognize no greater authority than the local church.
(11) 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.

Adapted and Developed by Pastor David Charles

This content is available as a PDF by clicking here.

  1. David – excellent outline of what RB churches are and strive to be! This would be a great outline for a series of messages for our pastors to preach to their people.

  2. These are the same five points that Dr. Barcellos used in his 2003 message http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=5180314513

  3. I would hold these highly, but all these great statements without emphasizing love could lead to legalistic ideology. We reformed baptist have been known for sterness and criticalness (most not all). We must learn to teach and preach “speak the truth in love” and with “patience”. Have we just become the clanging symbols? Do people point to us and say “that is what knowledge looks like without love”. We must have a sixth point:
    VI. We endeavor to love with all Knowledge and discernment.

  4. I just want to clarify my previous statement. Love and patience should not be a subtext (11) at the very bottom of the list. I guess I am thinking that it needs to be proclaimed loudly at the beginning to change how people think about reformed baptist. God Bless.

  5. Mark – “We reformed baptist have been known for sterness and criticalness (most not all).”

    Mark with all respect, I take issue with the claim that most (though not all), Reformed Baptists have been known for “sternness and criticalness.” I have heard this accusation often lately, especially for the past 5-8 yrs. It may have been true that certain RB men were stern and critical. This I do not deny. Such men should repent. But I take issue with the fact that such men then labor others as stern and critical. If you were. OK. Repent. But don’t assume everyone else was also. I have been a RB for 15 yrs. It have preached in a dozen RB churches, and now know 50+ RB pastors. IT is NOT true that most of them are stern and critical. This is a falsehood that needs to stop. In addition, I fellowship with 20+ non RB pastors. Some are Stern and critical. I suspect no more or less than RB pastors. Let us be careful with our words and accusations.

    Mike Waters
    Heritage Reformed Baptist Church
    Ohio

  6. oops…

    labor = label

  7. @mike
    You stated you’ve heard the accusation often lately. I think that is the point. Sometimes perceptions and stereotypes follow certain groups for a reason. They may be incorrect but they are there nonetheless for a reason. As ministers of the gospel a call to preaching the truth in love is valid. However it is also true many statements can flow from ignorance or antipathy.

  8. “Sometimes perceptions and stereotypes follow certain groups for a reason” So true.
    Perhaps they follow us because slander is a particularly stubborn sin. Best defense against it is a blameless life.

  9. As powerful a teaching tool as this is, I must point out two items.

    III A (b) “the Lord’s Day as a Christian Sabbath” stands in contradistinction to Hebrews 4:1-13 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%204:1-13&version=LEB). As a Christian, my “Sabbath” is not set in a day as by obedience to the Law but in the righteousness which is by faith in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ unto the Father imputed to me by His grace alone. Colossians 2:16-23 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians%202:16-23&version=LEB) would seem to indicate setting such obligations upon the Church is at best an error & at worst, a denying of the reality of the fulfillment which is Christ. However, & this is an important point, while setting it as an obligation on others is an error, if one should, in Christian liberty, be impelled by the Holy Spirit to honor one day above another, he does not sin (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2014:5-10&version=LEB).

    Footnote (7): We recognize the “Three Uses of the Law” … This “application” of the Law only works if there is a division of the Law into Moral, Ceremonial & Civil – a division which stands hermeneutics on its head & imposes a structure which is not present in the Law of the Covenant of Moses. For the Israelite who was under the Mosaic covenant, ALL of the Law was moral & every violation was rebellion against God, ALL of the Law was civil & every violation for which the perpetrator was found guilty was punished by priest & king, judge & jury … the people carried out the civil (social) judgment lest God punish all for the sin of some (or even one). ALL of the Law was ceremonial as the violation of any of the Law required a ritualist response to attain to worship within the defined community under the covenant.
    To pick up the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy & Numbers and read naturally demonstrates the continuity & singularity of the structure of the Law. A thing was right, good & commended because God said. A thing was wicked, evil & condemned because God said. Generally, reasons for God’s statements are not given because obedience was to be established in a right response to the character & nature of God, not in the reason & intellect of man. The epitome of this “proof” is in Jesus’ statement of which are the greatest of the commandments. The first was drawn from Deut 6:5 & the second from Lev 19:18 … read the chapters in which those commands are written & tell me if you see a division between Moral, Ceremonial & Civil.

    In both of these cases, we have an erroneous interpretation of Scripture leading toward a legalism which is not necessary or desirable … a situation which can be resolved without jettisoning any more than that which is absolutely addressed thereby bringing both the confession & our practice into plumb with the revelation of our Lord & Savior.

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