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What is a Reformed Baptist Church? (3 essays)

by Pastor Lars Larson, PhD line

          We are a reformed Baptist church. What is it to be reformed?   First, the term “reformed” speaks to five general principles and beliefs that were held by the Protestant Reformers of the 16th and 17th century. They are commonly identified by five Latin phrases or slogans that emerged during the Protestant Reformation, each containing the word “sola”, being translated in English as “alone” or “only.”  They are as follows: Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria.  These five expressions are translated as the following: by Scripture alone, by faith alone, by grace alone, Christ alone, and glory to God alone.  These are the main tenants and principles that were espoused through the Protestant Reformation. 
           But second, the word “reformed” also speaks to a subgroup of the Protestant reformation.  There were a number of groups of Christians who were all Protestant, but each differed in some important ways from one another.  There were the Lutherans in Germany and later in Scandinavia, the Anabaptists of the Netherlands (and elsewhere), the Dutch Reformed Church, the Huguenots of France, and the Reformed Christians of Switzerland.  When we say that we are reformed, we are identifying ourselves principally with the reformed movement that took place in Switzerland under the leadership of John Calvin.  Another name for reformed Christianity is Calvinism.  When we say that we are reformed, we are affirming five doctrines which the Bible teaches regarding God bringing salvation to us.  They are frequently referred to as the doctrines of grace.  These are (1) the total depravity of man, (2) God’s unconditional election of the lost to be saved, (3) the definite atonement of Jesus’ death for His people, (4) the irresistible grace of God in His calling to salvation, and (5) the final perseverance of the true believers unto their full and final salvation.  And so, in summary, when we say that we are reformed, we are affirming our understanding of the Christian faith with the five “solas” as well as the five doctrines of grace.
           But in addition to being a reformed church, we are a Baptist church. We affirm the biblical truths stated above, but we also affirm other truths of importance, which distinguish us as Baptists. These include (1) the biblical teaching of baptism of disciples only by immersion only, (2) a regenerate church membership, and (3) the spiritual nature of the kingdom of God. There are three essays linked below which address these subjects.

What is a Reformed Baptist Church?
(1) A Regenerate Church Membership

What is a Reformed Baptist Church?
(2) Baptism of Disciples Only by Immersion Only

What is a Reformed Baptist Church?
(3) The Spiritual Nature of the Kingdom of God