Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Reformed" & "Truly Reformed"

The "Reformed" and "Truly Reformed"

As a Baptist, I have often been amused by the use of the term "Reformed" and even more amused when I see the term "Truly Reformed." This is even more amusing when I see or hear it from a Baptist.

Those terms actually belong to the Pedobaptists (baby sprinklers), and up until a few years ago, you never heard Baptists using them. In fact, when I became a Christian in 1953, there were no "Reformed" Baptist people in the city or state . . . at least that I knew of. That term, I later found, had been used by the Baptist apostates who became Campbellites, following Alexander Campbell in his "Reformation Movement" of the early 1800's. The term was never used by any Baptists of that time other than those who went off into Campbellism.

Then in the 1960s, with the coming of "Banner of Truth" publications, it seemed that "Reformed" began to pop-up on occasion among some Calvinistic Baptists. I even knew a Baptist church or two which added the word in their church name. I recall a book written by Kenneth Good called "Are Baptists Reformed?" It was a "new thing" for Baptists to say they were "Reformed." A lot of explaining had to be done. [There is relatively good history by Mark Sidwell about "Reformed Baptists" groups at this link: The Reformed Baptists.]

To my knowledge, the word was a relatively modern Pedobaptist creation. It was never applied by Baptists to themselves, and I don't recall that it was used by the Puritans. I never found C. H. Spurgeon referring to himself as "Reformed," although there are some web sites today identifying Spurgeon as "Reformed." Just because Spurgeon held some theological views which may also be held by the Pedobaptists does not make him "Reformed."

Now in more recent times we have often come upon another word being added to it -- "Truly Reformed." It seems that "Reformed" is not quite good enough, so they tack on "Truly." That seems to help somehow certify that one is "truly" Reformed. You can prowl around some of the "Reformed" web sites and see what they are defining as being "Truly Reformed." Of course, those using that term to apply to themselves are obviously the "standard" of what is "Truly Reformed."

Nathan Finn, who teaches at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, while he goes along with using the word "Reformed" of some Baptists, nevertheless admits the following;

"It is fair to say, from a historical standpoint, that Reformed Baptists are not Reformed in the fully historic sense of the term because they embrace a Free Church ecclesiology and credobaptism. If there were to be a contest to demonstrate which side can “out-Reform” the other (in terms of embracing historic Reformed distinctives), and if history were the judge, the pedobaptists would win, no question."

Here we are simply Baptists. Not "Reformed" and not "Truly Reformed." We leave those terms with the Pedobaptists who contrived them. As our web site name indicates, we "swat" some of the "Reformed" ideas which were contrived by the Pedobaptists -- whether "Reformed" or "Truly Reformed" -- some of the ideas even adopted by some professing Baptists who call themselves "Reformed."

One church I knew that added "Reformed" to their name later dropped it. I didn't ask "Why?" but I assume that it was too burdensome -- always having to explain what is meant by "Reformed" or maybe even "Truly Reformed" -- like some web sites seem to think they have to explain who qualifies as "Truly Reformed." Maybe before long we will be reading about the "Really Truly Reformed." Where will it all end?

BTW, some entrepreneurs are taking monetary advantage of the situtation. You can get a T-Shirt identifying yourself as "Truly Reformed" for just $22.

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