Together for the Gospel
(But apparently only to a certain point...)
I posted a brief question on the Heidelblog:
So does someone who does not hold to every point of doctrine in the Reformed confessions be considered “Reformed”. More to the point, can a credobaptist not be truly Reformed?
The question led to a full response from R. Scott Clark titled: Who or What Defines “Reformed?” (Updated)
The posting itself was pretty gracious. The comments that followed, not so much. Scott did say this which I found amusing:
Thus, the short answer to Arthur’s question is that yes, one must hold to every point of doctrine in the Reformed confessions in order to be Reformed. One might have Reformed sympathies or predestinarian sympathies or covenantal sympathies and the like and not be Reformed. I don’t know what Baptists who sympathize with us on certain points should call themselves. I wouldn’t presume to tell them.
So in the same paragraph he says he wouldn't presume to tell us what we should call ourselves, and yet says that we cannot, or at least should not, refer to ourselves as Reformed. Many of the following commenter's exhibited a incredibly graceless lack of charity and maturity in the responses, including the virtual outright labelling of Baptists as heretics. See comments from ZRIM and from dvopilgrim. What is glaringly lacking in any of these comments is any sort of Biblical defense of their position. These two commenter's use the blog equivalent of mudslinging to avoid a substantive discussion.
In other words, to be considered "truly Reformed" we can Reform the church this far (i.e justification and soteriology), but no further. The same sort of attitudes that prevailed in Romanism (Shut up Luther, these questions are settled!) show up in those who insist that we dare not question infant Baptism because to do so negates our Reformed credentials. To that I say: "Hooey!"
It is NOT blindly holding to the Reformed confessions without question that makes one Reformed, whether one holds to the Three Forms of Unity or the 2nd London Confession. I mean let's get past "My confession is more Reformed than yours". Being Reformed ought to be about getting back to the basics of the Reformation, and the Reformation was not about infant baptism (although it probably should have been since they left that doctrine un-reformed). Being Reformed is about the Gospel. That is what he Reformation was really about, was it not? The recovery of the Gospel of justification by faith alone and the authority of Scripture alone? The Five Solas of the Reformation are just that. Sola infante baptizo and Sola presbyterio ecclesio are not the sixth and seventh Solas, unless I missed the memo.
So what are we allowed to call ourselves? I guess we could call ourselves Calvinistic Baptists. But Calvin baptized infants (he also burned heretics at the stake but that is another story!) Or we could go old school and call ourselves Particular Baptists. Hey, tell you what, I am going to call myself a Reformed Baptist and I don't much care if some paedobaptists think that my holding to the Biblical doctrine of believer's baptism sets me outside of the Reformed circle of trust. With all of the assaults on the Gospel from all quarters, we should spend a little less time labelling each other as un-Reformed.