Your cheatin’ heart will make you weep,
You’ll cry and cry and try to sleep;
But sleep won’t come the whole night through,
Your cheatin’ heart will tell on you!
Since some people continue to twist and distort my words in public forums, let me AGAIN clarify my views on Baptists.
Dr. Owen is so misunderstood. It’s enough to make one weep. And he’s not the only one. No one’s more misunderstood that Tim Enloe—unless it’s Kevin Johnson.
Dave Armstrong’s another tragically misunderstood individual. Just lately his fellow Romo-bloggers have been beatin’ on him somethin’ terrible. Yes, Dave is the Grand Mufti of Martyrdom.
What could these lovable and loving guys done to be so misunderstood? Couldn’t just possibly be anything they said?
Continuing with Dr. Owen:
I have stated more than once in this forum that I am a great admirer of Charles Spurgeon, John MacArthur, and John Piper.
Yes, he has. And that’s not all he’s said. Why, only the other day he also said:
When Baptist sectarians (even those disguised as Presbyterians) declare that the Church of Rome is not to be viewed as Christian, they are simply showing their true identity as illegitimate children, who were not born of the Protestant Reformation.
In Classical rhetoric this is known as the captatio benevolentiae: “to curry favor.” You butter up your audience with a throwaway argument, with ingratiating pleasantries to soften them up.
The idea is to anesthetize the patient before inserting the needle. If your audience should take offense, you revert to the initial disclaimer: “Oh, but didn’t you hear me say all those swell things before?”
If you want to know where some men really stand on an issue, you need to listen for one particular word. It all turns on where that one word appears in the sentence or the paragraph. I’m referring to that all-purpose conjunction otherwise knows as “but.”
Everything before the “but” is just so much static. The “but” has this wonderfully retroactive power to negate everything said before the “but.” The mark of an agile politician is the strategic placement of the “but.”
My polemics are focused upon those who claim that Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Anglicans who were baptized as infants have not yet truly received Christian baptism.
Actually, this is the very first time I’ve seen his polemics “focus” on that claim. Every other time the focus of his polemics was on those who deny the validity of Catholic baptism, period.
In my experience, the argument is not that Catholic baptism is invalid because it’s infant baptism, but because it is administered by an apostate church. That was the argument of Southern Presbyterians--who obliviously believed in the general validity of infant baptism.
Now, it’s possible that some Baptists also regard infant baptism as invalid, but when they’re arguing against the validity of Roman baptism, that’s not the argument I’ve head them use.
4. There is a big difference in my view between Evangelical Baptists and Mormons. Orthodox Baptists profess the faith of the visible Church, as it is summarized in the Nicene Creed and other accepted symbols. They do not reject the doctrine of the Trinity, as it has been maintained in the Catholic faith through the ages. Their baptisms are therefore true baptisms, which bring them into union with the visible Church. Whether they like it or not, when a Baptist is validly baptized, they are not baptized into their local congregation, they are baptized into the Catholic Church. Mormons do not receive a baptism which brings them into unity with the Catholic Church. So I have sufficient warrant to identify Baptists as fellow Christians (i.e., members of the visible Church), whereas I lack such a warrant in the case of my Mormon friends.
Note, once more, the skewed emphasis. For Dr. Owen, the only value of an evangelical profession of faith is that it validates baptism. Saving faith is not the thing; ritual is the thing.
5. My polemics against Baptists in various essays, are directed at their maintaining of certain views that I believe to be serious errors: 1) the sectarian rejection of the validity of Roman Catholic baptism, and usually all infant baptisms;
How is it sectarian to reject the validity of Catholic baptism? As a church officer in the PCA, Dr. Owen is a sworn subscriber to the Westminster Confession. When this 17C document says that “some church have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan” (WCT 25:5), are we to suppose that the church of Rome was not in play?
2) a pietistic approach to spirituality which places the emphasis upon a person’s level of sincerity when professing the faith for the first time, as opposed to the objective promises of God sealed in the sacrament of baptism;
The promises are promises made to believers.
3) the disregard for the Fathers, Creeds, and collective wisdom of the Catholic Church through the ages which is characteristic of many Baptists;
I don’t know of any Reformed Baptists who disregard the collective wisdom of the Catholic church. What they disregard is its collective folly.
4) the ugly manifestations of spiritual pride and superiority which seem for some reason to be especially characteristic of Baptists who call themselves “Reformed,”
Not to mention the ugly manifestations of spiritual pride and superiority which seem for some reason to be especially characteristic of those who call themselves “Reformed” Catholics.
and which often leads to an obsession with attacking fellow believers in the Arminian and Roman Catholic traditions.
Not to mention the “Reformed” Catholic obsession with attacking fellow believers in the Reformed Baptist and Presbyterian traditions.
Dr. Owen is also assuming that Catholics are fellow believers.
As to Arminians, Arminians attack Reformed theology while the Reformed attack Arminian theology. If Dr. Owen finds theological debate so very distasteful, why does he himself indulge in it with such intensity and frequency?
This obsession is plain for all to see in the blogs of certain persons, and gives the distinct impression to many of us that in “Reformed” Baptist theology the Five Points of Calvinism, more than the Nicene Creed, summarizes the heart of our Faith.
Since Presbyterians don’t content themselves with the Nicene Creed, but have the Westminster Confession; since Lutherans don’t content themselves with the Nicene Creed, but have the Formula of Concord; since Anglicans don’t content themselves with the Nicene Creed, but have the Thirty-Nine Articles and since Roman Catholics don’t content themselves with the Nicene Creed, but have councils and encyclicals without end, why should Reformed Baptists content themselves with the Nicene Creed?
The Bible, and not the Nicene Creed, is our rule of faith. The Nicene Creed is no substitute for the Psalter, or Romans, or Isaiah, or Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—to name a few.