This is a little something aimed at a certain sub-group of Semi-Augustinian Particular Baptists (sometimes erroneously called "Reformed Baptists"), who are this week complaining across several blogs about how others treat them when all they really want to do is constantly yell about how much more faithful to The Plain Meaning of Scripture they are than anyone else. Why do people have to persecute them so? Is it some kind of crime to so obviously love Truth and the Gospel more than the next guy? They really don't get where all this unreasonable opposition to their program is coming from, it seems.
Fortunately, not all Baptists are like these loud, charity-challenged war-mongers--indeed, most Baptists that I have known in real life (especially those closest to me, such as my mother and grandmother) have been fairly well-adjusted individuals who have shown far more Christlikeness than I could ever hope to have myself. Thankfully, amongst our Baptist brethren the real below-the-belt troublemakers are few and far between. But, because these self-willed few and inordinately proud members are so loud, I felt that this tale from the Synod of Arras in the year of the Lord's incarnation 1025 would be a nice counterpoint. It goes to show that sometimes the divisive and unstable people actually learn something and repent and help the unity and peace of the Body to be restored.
One word of clarification: obviously not every position attributed to these eleventh century malcontents is attributable to the aforementioned sub-group of Semi-Augustinian Particular Baptists, but there are enough similarities to make the account interesting nonetheless. Some of these folks today have serious (but quite unrecognized by them) historical roots in Medieval-era Marcionite, Manichaean, and Pelagian tendencies, so this makes their screechy perfectionistic ranting about everyone else's "compromises" more than a little bit "speck / log"-like.
In the following account, note especially the running themes of (1) denial of physical means of grace, (2) denial of authority outside of their own sect's understanding of Scripture, (3) a rigorist-perfectionism that results in tolerance only for people who think exactly like they do about a very narrow set of issues, (4) the radical dichotomizing of Scripture, and (5) the quite plainly works-righteousness mentality that excludes children from the sign and seal of baptism.
One of the disturbing things about this scurrilous attack on Reformed Baptists is that, unless I’m gravely mistaken, Enloe is, along with a number of his cobelligerents, a member of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals (CREC)?
Now, if you go to their official website, notice what you find:
What confession does the CREC subscribe to?
• Westminster Confession of Faith (1647)
• American Westminster Confession of Faith (1788)
• The Three Forms of Unity:
_ Belgic Confession (1561)
_ Heidelberg Catechism (1563)
_ Canons of Dort (1619)
• The London Baptist Confession (1689)
• The Savoy Declaration (1658)
• The Reformed Evangelical Confession (see Article XII)
Why does the CREC allow both Baptist and Paedobaptist churches to become members of the denomination? Aren’t the two schools of thought based on different scriptural paradigms?
The topic of baptism of infants has been a topic of much discussion and debate in the history of the Christian Church. Although we embrace and support gracious faithful discussions and debate, we also recognize that this particular topic is one which we hope maintains the unity of the Spirit and pursues unity of the mind with like-minded faithful churches. The paradigm difference you mention is part of the larger debate. But within the CREC we share a covenantal paradigm.
For someone who plays up submission to ministerial authority, Tim betrays a brazenly insubordinate and utterly disdainful attitude towards the official position of his own denomination regarding Reformed Baptist theology. What accounts for this highly compartmentalized morality? Did he take his membership vows with his fingers crossed behind his back? You really have to wonder what passes for church discipline in the CREC.