What is a Reformed Baptist?
The term "Reformed Baptist" is oftentimes an unfamiliar one in today's Baptist circles. This page provides a brief overview of some of the core beliefs of those who consider themselves Reformed Baptists. Although there is no set definition of the term or requirements for assuming the title, here are a few major beliefs which most Reformed Baptists share:
- The Five Solas – The five "alones" of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries: sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone"), sola fide ("by faith alone"), sola gratia ("by grace alone"), solus Christus ("by Christ alone"), soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone"). These five phrases describe the major beliefs of the Protestant Reformation which contradicted the major teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The intention of the five solas is a theology based on the teachings of Scripture alone rather than church tradition.
- The Doctrines of Grace – Also known as the Five Points of Calvinism, the Doctrines of Grace are the belief that salvation is totally a work of God and not in any way dependent upon any work of man.
- Credobaptism – Also known as believer's baptism, credobaptism is the belief that only those who profess belief in Christ should be baptized by immersion. The contrasting belief is paedobaptism or infant baptism where children of believers are baptized by sprinkling.
- Congregationalist Polity – Polity refers to the governance structure of the church and who has authority. Congregationalist polity, also known as congregationalism, is practiced when the local church is completely autonomous and the authority resides in the congregation. Major decisions are brought before the congregation and voted upon by the members of the church.
In addition to holding to the above listed beliefs, many Reformed Baptist churches are "confessional." The term confessional refers to the practice of having an established confession of faith. These documents state the specific beliefs of the church on major doctrines such as the Bible, the Trinity, salvation, etc. Some popular confessions of faith among reformed churches include the 1561 Belgic Confession, the 1647 Westminster Confession, and the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
In summary, Reformed Baptists take the Word of God seriously. While our beliefs are firmly rooted in the doctrines and traditions passed down from the Protestant Reformation, we also desire to be continually reforming our beliefs and practices to the Word of God.