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what are the main theological differences between reformed baptist and presbyterian?

Discussion in 'Semper Reformanda' started by bennyk, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. bennyk

    bennyk Regular Member

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    For someone who knows a good deal about this, what are the main theological differences between a reformed baptist church and presbyterian church (theology, and also practice, etc.). Thanks.

    God bless,
    --Ben
     
  2. Cajun Huguenot

    Cajun Huguenot Cajun's for Christ

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    The big difference is how we understand the covenant. The difference in our understanding of covenant is most clearly seen in how we understand and practice baptism (i.e. Paedo/infant baptism verses Believers "only" baptism).

    Later,
    Kenith
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  3. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    ya beat me to it CH!!! ;)


    To add:

    Presbyterians hold dear to Confessions, mainly the Westminster Confession of Faith, and Creeds, ie the Apostles Creed among others, a lot moreso and in a different way than a Reformed Baptist would I believe.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  4. xapis

    xapis Soli Deo gloria!

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    In addition to what's already been said, I would point out the glaring difference in church polity. Baptists are congregationalists (each local congregation is independent and autonomous) while we Presbyterians, obviously, hold to the presbyterian form of church government.

    Thomas Witherow's The Apostolic Church: Which Is It? deals well with this issue, even though it's dated. You can read it online here:
    The Apostolic Church - Which is it?
     
  5. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) Supporter

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  6. kenrapoza

    kenrapoza I Like Ice Cream

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    I think all the above responses are very helpful! A couple other things that I would point out:

    As far as the covenants go, Presbyterians (and the reformation tradition in general) tend to see an essential continuity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. They see the New Covenant as naturally growing out of the Old Covenant in the sense of expansion because of the coming of Christ who was the fulfillment of the Old Covenant types and shadows. The Baptists tend to see an essential discontinuity between the two. That is why the Presbyterians practice infant baptism (while denying baptismal regeneration) and the Baptists only baptize professing adults.

    While the Presbyterians (at least the conservative, confessional ones) hold to the Westminster Confession, many of the reformed Baptists do not really hold to a confessional document. Some of them hold to the 1689 London Baptist Confession, or some other confession, but not always. As such, there tends to be some more variety in reformed Baptist circles, it's not always as tightly controlled. Often times "reformed" Baptist just means holding to the Doctrines of Grace, which would basically make them "Particular" Baptists as opposed to "General" Baptists. Sometimes it means more, like adhering to a form of Covenant Theology or New Covenant Theology.

    Another theological difference that hasn't been mentioned yet is the sacraments. The Baptists hold to a "memorialistic" view of the baptism and communion. In other words, they are ordinances that point to our outward testimony, God isn't really present there in any special way. Presbyterians hold to a "pneumatic" view of the sacraments. In other words, the focus is on the Gospel and what God is doing, it is not about our personal testimony, because we testify to Christ and Him crucified. Presbyterians view the sacraments as signs and seals of the covenant, confirming Gospel promises - they are means of grace whereby Christ ministers to us spiritually.
     
  7. REFORMATA

    REFORMATA Man of God

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    This is a really interesting topic...one that has been on my mind a lot lately. I want to post a sermon by John MacArthur on Israel and eschatology, but my "posts aren't high enough yet"

    But ill surely post it when I am able! Its a swell sermon!
     
  8. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    Wonderful summation ken! :)
     
  9. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    You can always post your link by spelling it out...ie, wwwDOTyadayadaDOTcom.

    Up to you...I guess it depends on the length of the link, etc. :)
    I like MacArthur despite his self-professed "leaky dispensational" tendencies. ;)
     
  10. student ad x

    student ad x Senior Contributor

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    Howdy Reformata,

    Welcome to Christian Forums. I don't know if anyone has said that to you. Plenty of time for a link, no need to get yourself into trouble as a Noob posting links. You can summarize his position from the sermon. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  11. TimRout

    TimRout Biblicist

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    You've already had some great input, but to add my two cents....

    I have Pastored a string of Baptist Churches in my career and I am ordained with a Baptist denomination; but I have also been the Preaching Pastor at a Presbyterian Church for a few months. When you get down to brass tacks, those committed to the doctrines of grace are usually delighted when the guy in the pulpit shares their core convictions. Consequently, aside from the issues of baptism and communion, we never had the slightest hint of conflict. I just brought the Word, and my Presbyterian congregation received it with appreciation. Our Baptist church gladly cooperates with our Presbyterian neighbors. They're a great bunch of saints!
    :thumbsup:
     
    student ad x likes this.
  12. kenrapoza

    kenrapoza I Like Ice Cream

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    Tim that's a real interesting experience! It's good to see that Christian unity. In, which denomination do you hold your ordination, SBC?
     
  13. TimRout

    TimRout Biblicist

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    Hey brother,

    I am ordained with the
    Fellowship Of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada. The Presbyterian Church I briefly served is affiliated with The Presbyterian Church In Canada. This particular Presbyterian group are not especially conservative per se, but the local church I preached at seemed to appreciate the biblically consistent sermons I had to offer. It was a real joy serving with them.