What does it mean to be a Baptist?

Restoring Integrity in Baptist ChurchesRestoring Integrity in Baptist Churches by John Hammett

This is a compilation of essays written by Southern Baptists about what it means to be a Baptist. There are sections on church membership, church government, baptism, communion, and one essay on the priesthood of the believer. It does a good job explaining what most Baptists, especially those from the nineteenth century until today, have believed.

The book is footnoted throughout, but some the historical scholarship is questionable due to the fact that some authors ignore examples from Baptist history that don’t support their respective points. Also some of the suggestions made for restoring Baptist churches should be ignored. An example from one author is to have church members sign a membership document every three years saying they want to continue as members and those who don’t sign it would be dropped from membership. This is not Scriptural. Nevertheless if one wants to know what what distinguishes Baptists from others, it is a valuable book.


Accepting tradition

Confessing our Faith: why we need the creeds

This Tuesday evening begins a summer series on Church history. We will look at how the Church has fought and defeated heretics throughout history and the documents that have come to pass as a result. Before we can do that, we must establish a foundation. This will be from a Protestant perspective. I know many have been taught that we’re not Protestants, because we were never a part of the Roman Catholic church. But the Protestant reformers viewed themselves as restoring what had been lost, not starting a new movement. Tonight I want us to see why we should embrace Protestant tradition. (more…)

Same Difference

Some might be interested in a guest post I wrote for my friend Mike Bull on his blog.  It is a summary of a history lecture I presented last year on the similarities between Baptists and Presbyterians.  While you’re over there, check out some of the great information he has on his blog.  It will keep you busy for a while.

Are Baptist Protestant?

Recently our church has been studying the London Baptist Confession of 1689.  In addition to gaining a renewed appreciation of the sound biblical stances taken by our forefathers in the faith, I was struck by something they wrote in the introduction.  When speaking of how they borrowed the language of the Westminster Confession, they wrote, ” this we did the more abundantly to manifest our consent with both in all the fundamental articles of the Christian religion, as also with many others whose orthodox Confessions have been published to the world on the behalf of the Protestant in diverse nations and cities. ”  Do you catch that?  These  Baptists are saying that they used the language of the Westminster Confession to show the way they were in the line of other Protestants.  They wanted all the readers of this Confession to know they were Protestant. 

But lest I take that statement out of context, they say it again.   “But [we] do readily acquiesce in that form of sound words which hath been, in consent with the Holy Scriptures, used by others before us; hereby declaring, before God, angels, and men, our hearty agreement with them in that wholesome Protestant doctrine which, with so clear evidence of Scriptures, they have asserted.”  These Baptists are declaring the teachings they profess in the London Confession to be “wholesome Protestant doctrine.”  In other words, justification by faith, the sovereignty of God over all things (including salvation), and the perseverance of the saints, just to name a few, are Protestant (not just Baptist) teaching.

This may not be a big deal to some, but it contradicts the teaching that Baptists are not Protestants.  If you read the rest of this document (as well as the appendix), you get a feel for the spirit of these men.  They were not sectarian; rather they were striving for unity in all possible areas with their Christian brothers.  Oh that the Church today would display such a spirit.