Are Presbyterians Real Christians?

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Rob Fall's picture

understand Baptist polity.  For many of us, eligibility to participate is not only matter of salvation but also of obedience.  We would hold baptism is the first step (or is one of the first steps) of obedience after salvation.  Also, it depends on how a given church regulates participation in it's Lord Supper service.  Does the church practice:

  • open
  • close

or

  • closed

In my opinion (putting of my Baptist rabbi's yarmulke), I'd say the church made a mistake by having a Presbyterian minister preach a Lord's Supper service when they knew he would not be able to partake of the elements.  Further, many Presbyterians are Christians.  I say many because it would be difficult to see a member of the apostate United Presbyterians as being saved.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Andrew K's picture

Rob Fall wrote:

understand Baptist polity.  For many of us, eligibility to participate is not only matter of salvation but also of obedience.  We would hold baptism is the first step (or is one of the first steps) of obedience after salvation.  Also, it depends on how a given church regulates participation in it's Lord Supper service.  Does the church practice:

  • open
  • close

or

  • closed

In my opinion (putting of my Baptist rabbi's yarmulke), I'd say the church made a mistake by having a Presbyterian minister preach a Lord's Supper service when they knew he would not be able to partake of the elements.  Further, many Presbyterians are Christians.  I say many because it would be difficult to see a member of the apostate United Presbyterians as being saved.

Precisely the problem. Jones here might claim to understand, but he certainly doesn't do justice to, the incredibly wide variety that exists among Baptists on... pretty much everything.

A Presbyterian is never really going to get this, though, without first-hand experience. It's just a different culture.

Ron Bean's picture

Is the Presbyterian a disobedient brother from whom you should separate?

Isn't the host pastor in sin because he's sharing his pulpit with a disobedient brother?

Is God more pleased with Baptists than He is with Presbyterians?

Where will these two be at the Bridal Supper of the Lamb?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Andrew K's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

Is the Presbyterian a disobedient brother from whom you should separate?

Isn't the host pastor in sin because he's sharing his pulpit with a disobedient brother?

Is God more pleased with Baptists than He is with Presbyterians?

Where will these two be at the Bridal Supper of the Lamb?

I consider the Presbyterian is a wrong (not strictly disobedient) brother, whose errors manifest themselves in the deliberate inclusion of unbelievers into the New Covenant body. This inclusion has the unfortunate effect of endorsing a mixed-congregation and linking family descent to New Covenant status, which may encourage false assurance, among other things.

Those errors will limit the extent of cooperation; but beyond that, regarding God's pleasure, I think we can safely say that God is pleased with some Baptists more than some Presbyterians and he's pleased with some Presbyterians more than some Baptists. Wink

I don't really advocate closed communion for that matter, either. I'm more with Bunyan than Kiffin here.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Andrew K wrote:

 

Ron Bean wrote:

 

Is the Presbyterian a disobedient brother from whom you should separate?

Isn't the host pastor in sin because he's sharing his pulpit with a disobedient brother?

Is God more pleased with Baptists than He is with Presbyterians?

Where will these two be at the Bridal Supper of the Lamb?

 

 

I consider the Presbyterian is a wrong (not strictly disobedient) brother, whose errors manifest themselves in the deliberate inclusion of unbelievers into the New Covenant body. This inclusion has the unfortunate effect of endorsing a mixed-congregation and linking family descent to New Covenant status, which may encourage false assurance, among other things.

Those errors will limit the extent of cooperation; but beyond that, regarding God's pleasure, I think we can safely say that God is pleased with some Baptists more than some Presbyterians and he's pleased with some Presbyterians more than some Baptists. Wink

I don't really advocate closed communion for that matter, either. I'm more with Bunyan than Kiffin here.

What's the difference between wrong and disobedient?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Quote:

What's the difference between wrong and disobedient?

Quite a bit actually.  If someone is obeying God to the best of their knowledge, but you believe their understanding is deficient or incorrect, you will consider them wrong, but they may not actually be disobedient when it can be your understanding that is wrong.  At a minimum, it can mean completely unintentional sin vs. presumptuous sin.  Unintentional sin is still sin, but that doesn't necessarily make it refusal to obey.

That doesn't mean we don't draw lines and separate based on what we understand, but it will mean a difference in the way we treat those we are in disagreement with.  Some don't want to obey the bible, and are OK with disobeying God.  Others are just as serious as you about obedience, but a different (maybe faulty, maybe not) interpretation leads them to different practices and conclusions than you.  You can't work together with them, but they may be no more disobedient than you are.

I suspect that in the end, we will all find out how deficient we were in our understanding, and that no group (baptists included) has all the right interpretations of scripture.

Dave Barnhart

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

Quote:

 

What's the difference between wrong and disobedient?

 

 

Quite a bit actually.  If someone is obeying God to the best of their knowledge, but you believe their understanding is deficient or incorrect, you will consider them wrong, but they may not actually be disobedient when it can be your understanding that is wrong.  At a minimum, it can mean completely unintentional sin vs. presumptuous sin.  Unintentional sin is still sin, but that doesn't necessarily make it refusal to obey.

That doesn't mean we don't draw lines and separate based on what we understand, but it will mean a difference in the way we treat those we are in disagreement with.  Some don't want to obey the bible, and are OK with disobeying God.  Others are just as serious as you about obedience, but a different (maybe faulty, maybe not) interpretation leads them to different practices and conclusions than you.  You can't work together with them, but they may be no more disobedient than you are.

I suspect that in the end, we will all find out how deficient we were in our understanding, and that no group (baptists included) has all the right interpretations of scripture.

So Dave, what's the difference between the sincere Presby and the sincere Mormon. After all, many Mormons are just as serious (if not more so) about obedience, just faulty interpretation leads them to different practices and conclusions.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Andrew K's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

dcbii wrote:

 

 

Quote:

 

What's the difference between wrong and disobedient?

 

 

Quite a bit actually.  If someone is obeying God to the best of their knowledge, but you believe their understanding is deficient or incorrect, you will consider them wrong, but they may not actually be disobedient when it can be your understanding that is wrong.  At a minimum, it can mean completely unintentional sin vs. presumptuous sin.  Unintentional sin is still sin, but that doesn't necessarily make it refusal to obey.

That doesn't mean we don't draw lines and separate based on what we understand, but it will mean a difference in the way we treat those we are in disagreement with.  Some don't want to obey the bible, and are OK with disobeying God.  Others are just as serious as you about obedience, but a different (maybe faulty, maybe not) interpretation leads them to different practices and conclusions than you.  You can't work together with them, but they may be no more disobedient than you are.

I suspect that in the end, we will all find out how deficient we were in our understanding, and that no group (baptists included) has all the right interpretations of scripture.

 

So Dave, what's the difference between the sincere Presby and the sincere Mormon. After all, many Mormons are just as serious (if not more so) about obedience, just faulty interpretation leads them to different practices and conclusions.

 

The Presby is worshiping the true God and the Mormon isn't, for one.

But you know, I know I'm likely wrong about something. Hopefully not as important an issue as Baptism, but humility and probability suggest to me I'm not right about everything. Am I then in sin?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

So Dave, what's the difference between the sincere Presby and the sincere Mormon. After all, many Mormons are just as serious (if not more so) about obedience, just faulty interpretation leads them to different practices and conclusions.

I don't really have much to say here, as Andrew pretty much nailed it.  I might add that Presbyterians do not have extra-biblical "scriptures" that are considered to be the same authority as (or higher than) the Bible, as the Mormons do.

I do have a question for you though.  Are you saying that from your perspective Presbyterians and Mormons are guilty of the same level of error?  Your question may have been completely hypothetical, but it sounds as if you put Mormons and Presbyterians in the same category, and thus are answering the question that constitutes the thread topic with "No."

Dave Barnhart

Greg Long's picture

I will say this...I love the Nacho Libre picture at the beginning of the article! Smile

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

No, I don't equate the two at all. However, I think we have created a false dichotomy between disobedient and wrong. On things where scripture is unclear, I can understand agreeing to disagree (like eschatology doctrinally speaking and many areas of praxis), but in areas where scripture is clear (like substitutionary atonement or mode of baptism) I don't understand how we can say that disobedience is anything other than - well, disobedience. I was trying to show the fault that I think exists in that line of reasoning by substituting Mormons for Presbyterians. As it was described so far in this thread, it fits. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Even on a practical level, it's easy to see that wrongness and disobedience are not the same thing.  When you tell your child to do something, but you later have to tell them, no, you are doing it wrong, you will (or should, IMHO) see this as completely different from the child saying, no, I'm not going to do that.  The same would apply to adults in a work situation that in spite of supposedly "clear" instruction, need to have further training to do something correctly, even when they had every intention of doing it the right way from the start.  Equating wrongness to disobedience then is frankly unhelpful (and wrong -- maybe I should be calling it disobedient!).

Most of us like to call the scriptures that are behind our thinking "clear," but the differences that have given rise to various denominations over the years, even among those who claim "sola scriptura," should tell us that clarity is maybe not all we claim it is in every situation.  Again, I'm not saying that we shouldn't stand and/or separate on what we believe, nor should we claim that all such differing beliefs are valid, but calling such differences disobedience, when it is abundantly obvious when talking with those that have such difference that that is often not the case, is just as bad as characterizing either end of the calvinism/arminianism debate as fatalism or pelagianism.  It's intentionally pejorative and often quite inaccurate.

Dave Barnhart

TedG's picture

I'm a Presbyterian (PCA), and like most PCA leaders I know, I was raised a Baptist. I was immersed at about age 12, so I am not in the same situation as Mark Jones. But I do sympathize with his article. Conservative Presbyterians and conservative Baptists are similar in their veneration of scripture. In certain key areas such as sacraments and the covenant, the two groups have reached fundamentally different conclusions. Those differences are by no means insignificant. In fact, the doctrinal divide is profound. However, I have never encountered a Presbyterian elder who would even consider denying the precious means of grace to a fellow believer who happens to be Baptist even though he is well aware that the Baptist does not have the same theological view of the Lord's Supper. And to be fair, most Baptist ministers I know do graciously invite my infant-baptized colleagues to the Table. I hope that is true of a majority of Baptist leaders, but I have no way of knowing. Andrew is correct when he referred to Presbyterianism as a "different culture." As a Christian who has lived and experienced both worlds, I can attest to that fact. In heaven, those contradictory cultures will beautifully merge!

DavidO's picture

Ted, welcome.  One of the issues that may impact this whole discussion is that many Baptists (at least the un-reformed variety) don't view the sacraments (they'd prefer ordinances) as a means of grace, but rather pure memorial.  If one's faith is not strengthened and the spirit encouraged in the participation and observance, then it isn't as big a deal to deny the elements. 

Greg Long's picture

DavidO wrote:

Ted, welcome.  One of the issues that may impact this whole discussion is that many Baptists (at least the un-reformed variety) don't view the sacraments (they'd prefer ordinances) as a means of grace, but rather pure memorial.  If one's faith is not strengthened and the spirit encouraged in the participation and observance, then it isn't as big a deal to deny the elements. 

This idea that a low view of communion leads to denying participation to others seems to imply that only those with a low view of communion will deny it to others, and that is simply not the case.

This quarter at our church I am teaching a class on Wednesday nights called Exploring Other Faiths, where we learn about other religions/denominations by touring their places of worship, listening to a lecture about the faith by one of their religious leaders, and attending a religious service. Last week we met with the priest of one of the largest Catholic churches in the area. When one of our class members asked if we should partake of the Eucharist at Mass (I think our class member was asking if we were expected to partake, because of course we weren't going to partake, but the priest misunderstood and thought he was wanting to partake), the priest kind of hemmed and hawed a bit but basically said no we shouldn't because it is supposed to represent the union true believers already have in what they believe the Eucharist means. In other words, if you're not Catholic and you don't believe that it literally becomes the body and blood of Christ, then don't partake.

So Baptists aren't the only ones who deny the sacraments to others, and I don't think the root cause of denying them is because we view it as merely symbolic. Plus, at our Baptistic church we practice open communion, and anyone who professes faith in Christ is welcome to partake, including (gasp) Presbyterians.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

JohnBrian's picture

Sorry to take so long to catch up in this thread and thank you TedG for joining the conversation.

Let me give some background to this post:

My parents were/are BMM missionaries (father is with the Lord). I, a brother-in-law, and my son-in-law were ordained in SBC churches. My brother was ordained in the PCA (a much more difficult process - Baptists will ordain pretty much anybody!) and is the Executive Pastor at New City Fellowship in Chatt. TN, a multi-ethnic church. My 2nd daughter is the married Bapt. My 1st daughter is a single Pres., who worked at 1st Pres. in Columbia, SC for 7 years, and is now in grad school at Wheaton. She worked for both Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas. For the few years we all lived in closer proximity we occasionally got together at Fuddruckers for good food and good theological conversation (what we referred to as #FuddTheo).

Recently my wife and I visited my brother's church and observed covenant baptism (the 3rd time for me). As a Bapt. I understand the Pres. approach to the Covenant and have no problems with it. The 1st time I observed covenant baptism I thought it looked remarkably like the many baby dedications I had observed my father perform. My brother told me that Pres. refer to baby dedications as dry baptism!

During the service I wrote the following, intending to tweet it, but it was too long:

For only the third time in my life I observed covenant baptism this morning. Even tho a Baptist I commit today to pray a dedicatory prayer over each of the grandchildren the Lord grants to me the first time I hold them in my arms.

My 1st daughter asked me what I would do in the future if/when she marries and has children, were they to have them baptized as infants. I assured her that I would support them in that decision.

Andrew K wrote:
I consider the Presbyterian is a wrong (not strictly disobedient) brother, whose errors manifest themselves in the deliberate inclusion of unbelievers into the New Covenant body. This inclusion has the unfortunate effect of endorsing a mixed-congregation and linking family descent to New Covenant status, which may encourage false assurance, among other things.

I don't consider the Pres. wrong on this issue, just different. I don't see that they include unbelievers in the body anymore than Bapt. do, as there are countless folks in Bapt. churches who are "professing but not possessing" believers. If you were to ask a number of Bapt. about their salvation you might observe that they say more about their decision than about Christ. In my former church I had a deacon who stated that he had been a Christian all his life.

In the past year my current pastor decided to ordain a seminary grad who was leaving our church to take a high school teaching job. In my conversation with the young man I understood him to say that he would be willing to accept for membership someone who had a pre-conversion baptism without requiring post-conversion baptism. He thought such was not an expression of unity!

I told him it was fine for him to hold that view, but that he could not be ordained a Bapt. while holding that view. The 1st ord. council rejected him on that and the fact that he wasn't heading to the pastorate. My pastor then called a 2nd council that did approve his ordination. I wrote a letter to my pastor explaining that I would absent myself from church on the Ord. Sunday so as not to be seen to endorse the ordination.

So while I empathize with the Pres. view of Covenant Baptism and would not withhold communion from a Pres., my Bapt. ordination demands post-conversion baptism for church membership.

Jim posted this sentence from the article above:

Quote:
Kudos to John Piper ("he who would valiant be") for trying a while ago to allow Presbyterians into membership in the church where he ministered.

It's easier for a Bapt. to join a Pres. church than for a Covenant baptized Pres. to join a Bapt. church! 

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DavidO's picture

Greg, my point was that a low view may be a factor in play, not the key to the whole issue.

I don't think that invoking Catholic practice in this case is an apples to apples either, as their official dogma is there is no salvation outside the church, period.  So it's no surprise they won't let the Baptists eat their bread and drink their wine.

Andrew K's picture

I don't consider the Pres. wrong on this issue, just different. I don't see that they include unbelievers in the body anymore than Bapt. do, as there are countless folks in Bapt. churches who are "professing but not possessing" believers. If you were to ask a number of Bapt. about their salvation you might observe that they say more about their decision than about Christ. In my former church I had a deacon who stated that he had been a Christian all his life.

Naturally I agree that Baptist churches have unregenerate members. That's not really the issue, as only God knows the true identity of the elect.

The practice of Baptist is (should) be to admit members into the body only once they have made a credible profession of faith. That is, since the New Covenant is something God does, in regenerating and giving a new heart, we should not be admitting people into the body by giving them the New Covenant sign when they are unable to give evidence of belonging to such, since you are thereby certainly presuming to give unregenerate individuals New Covenant status.

Thus there is a real, theological difference between the two positions that goes beyond the superficial one of merely having a mixed church: that of seeing the New Covenant itself, which the body attempts as closely as possible to reflect, as mixed (Presby) or unmixed (Baptist).

I love my Presby brothers, being far closer to them in most areas than the majority of Baptists, but I disagree with them here. And this is a disagreement that my forebears and their forebears considered very important.

TedG's picture

I love my Presby brothers, being far closer to them in most areas than the majority of Baptists, but I disagree with them here. And this is a disagreement that my forebears and their forebears considered very important.

I certainly don't wish to launch a debate regarding infant baptism. This web site is operated by Baptists, so I feel very much like a guest in someone else's home. Most of us have firm convictions on this matter, and a comments thread won't persuade anyone of the merits of our respective positions. My goal in posting is just to give a glimpse into the Presbyterian mind set and to encourage close fellowship among Bible believing Christians. I live in a city where most evangelicals are doctrinally Baptistic and where there is little reformed presence. About 900 attend our worship services on Sunday morning, including more than 100 college students. The overwhelming majority of members and regular attendees do not have a Presbyterian background. Our liturgical worship and doctrinal positions are completely foreign. They are primarily attracted to the church because of its strong Bible teaching. Most struggle with our position on the sacraments when they first begin to attend. The leadership endeavors to be compassionate and understanding with them. Most of those who remain in the church for a period of time eventually switch positions, but we do not force the issue. We have a few wonderful families who have declined baptism for their children. Though we disagree, we accept and love them. They are active members--sing in the choir, teach children's Sunday School, join small groups, etc. We are sad that they are missing important Biblical truths, but we accept where they are in their spiritual journey knowing that God has not revealed everything to any of us in this life.

On the surface, it may appear as if our baptismal practice is little more than a baby dedication, but we believe that there is something much deeper at work. As a result, many of us have lumps in our throats when an infant is baptized. I have watched crusty old elders wipe tears streaming down their faces as the minister proclaims the words of baptism. We share the convictions of men like Calvin and Luther who believed that salvation is often a process, not just a moment in time. The senior pastor of my church recently prayed this prayer when the one month old child of a friend was baptized: "Our Father....this baptism is a dramatic statement that this child belongs to You--not to the world....We pray that You will work in her heart. Even now as we pray as a congregation, give her a new heart. May she NEVER know a day that she does not love and serve Jesus Christ."

James K's picture

The WCF actually demands infant baptism because of their faulty covenant views, and imply that those who don't practice it are in sin.

Further, presbyterians add even more confusion to this discussion by denying children the right to the Lord's supper.

Are they or are they not really children of promise?

Full covenantists don't bother with consistent theology, the WCF divines figured it all out or it didn't really matter too much.

Scripture demands baptism by immersion after (and not to bring about) salvation.  Any position other than that is sinful and divisive.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

TedG wrote:

The senior pastor of my church recently prayed this prayer when the one month old child of a friend was baptized: "Our Father....this baptism is a dramatic statement that this child belongs to You--not to the world....We pray that You will work in her heart. Even now as we pray as a congregation, give her a new heart. May she NEVER know a day that she does not love and serve Jesus Christ."

How sad that your pastor doesn't love obedience to Christ as much as he does his tradition.  His prayer is false and should have been publicly rebuked as lacking merit.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

JohnBrian's picture

Thoughts on Baptism, Communion, and Reformation21

I am fully aware of the logic of the closed communion position. It has a certain force of moral clarity to it. If we believe that baptism is only the immersion of believers, then let’s act like it! However, in this matter I choose to give clear expression to catholicity. If I believe that my Presbyterian friends are my brothers, united to the same Lord with me, than I ought to act like it.

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Ron Bean's picture

Knowing that I'm accountable to God for my actions, I'd want a clear Biblical mandate for forbidding another member of the Body of Christ the joy of joining with me as we remember the Savior Who died for both of us!

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

TylerR's picture

Editor

I was very disappointed to read this from Chantry, a Reformed Baptist:

Obviously “Baptists” are those who believe that true baptism is the immersion of those who have professed faith in Christ. Other baptism, whether of infants who can make no profession or by some other mode than immersion, is not regarded as pure baptism in the New Testament sense. That this is what it means to be “Baptist” is scarcely controversial.

This is absolutely, complete and totally wrong. One is not a Baptist because of one's position on immersion. One is a Baptist because of his stance on the purity of the local church; namely, regenerate and immersed church membership and all that entails. 

This goes far beyond mere, "you sprinkle babies, I immerse adults . . . meh" difference of opinion:

  • Who can be a member of a local church?
  • What does baptism actually do? 
  • When did the church begin? (no, this is not a dispensationalist thing)
  • What is our only infallible guide for matters of church polity? The NT alone, or the OT too?

I love and respect Presbyterians. There are a lot of great Presbyterian folks out there. I bear them no ill-will. I just think they're absolutely, completely wrong on this issue. 

I am also disturbed by the repeated use of the phrase "closed communion." In Baptist circles (perhaps non Reformed Baptist circles?) "closed communion" is a watered-down Landmark position, which holds that only (1) saved, (2) immersed, (3) members of a local Baptist church may participate in the Lord's Supper. What men keep calling "closed communion" throughout this thread is actually "close communion." 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Andrew K's picture

TylerR wrote:

I was very disappointed to read this from Chantry, a Reformed Baptist:

Obviously “Baptists” are those who believe that true baptism is the immersion of those who have professed faith in Christ. Other baptism, whether of infants who can make no profession or by some other mode than immersion, is not regarded as pure baptism in the New Testament sense. That this is what it means to be “Baptist” is scarcely controversial.

This is absolutely, complete and totally wrong. One is not a Baptist because of one's position on immersion. One is a Baptist because of his stance on the purity of the local church; namely, regenerate and immersed church membership and all that entails. 

This goes far beyond mere, "you sprinkle babies, I immerse adults . . . meh" difference of opinion:

  • Who can be a member of a local church?
  • What does baptism actually do? 
  • When did the church begin? (no, this is not a dispensationalist thing)
  • What is our only infallible guide for matters of church polity? The NT alone, or the OT too?

I love and respect Presbyterians. There are a lot of great Presbyterian folks out there. I bear them no ill-will. I just think they're absolutely, completely wrong on this issue. 

I am also disturbed by the repeated use of the phrase "closed communion." In Baptist circles (perhaps non Reformed Baptist circles?) "closed communion" is a watered-down Landmark position, which holds that only (1) saved, (2) immersed, (3) members of a local Baptist church may participate in the Lord's Supper. What men keep calling "closed communion" throughout this thread is actually "close communion." 

And I don't think Chantry would disagree with you. But when he discusses "baptism," due to his sacramentology--which you do not hold--he is most certainly assuming the importance of all those things you mention here as background to the superficial and obvious differences under consideration.

JohnBrian's picture

Furthermore, I worry about the critical ecclesiastical question which arises when good Christians of pedobaptist convictions find themselves not only visiting Baptist churches, but seeking to join them. Of course none of us believe in compulsory baptism, but do we really wish to say that the Christian people who have been providentially placed in our churches may never enjoy the full benefits of membership? I do not find the spirit of the New Testament in such a position, and I reject it. I would argue instead that we ought to receive those who disagree with us on the matter of baptism just as we ought to receive those who differ on other matters which are not, as our confession puts it, “errors everting the foundation.” (1689 Confession, XXVI:2)

I'm not sure I understand Chantry here.

If he is saying that we (as Baptists) should not withhold membership from those who have pre-conversion Baptism, but not post-conversion baptism, then I heartily disagree.

It is that very issue that Piper's church dealt with a few years ago (see Jim's link above) and which my church dealt with a few months ago in regard to ordaining a young man who held that view.

in this thread on 09/30/14 at 12:17pm I wrote:
 In the past year my current pastor decided to ordain a seminary grad who was leaving our church to take a high school teaching job. In my conversation with the young man I understood him to say that he would be willing to accept for membership someone who had a pre-conversion baptism without requiring post-conversion baptism. He thought such was not an expression of unity!

I told him it was fine for him to hold that view, but that he could not be ordained a Bapt. while holding that view.

 

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dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

TylerR wrote:

I am also disturbed by the repeated use of the phrase "closed communion." In Baptist circles (perhaps non Reformed Baptist circles?) "closed communion" is a watered-down Landmark position, which holds that only (1) saved, (2) immersed, (3) members of a local Baptist church may participate in the Lord's Supper. What men keep calling "closed communion" throughout this thread is actually "close communion." 

Tyler, at least in some cases, the way I have seen or heard about closed communion being exercised, even your point 3 would be insufficient, as the requirement was being a member in the local church serving the communion.

Interestingly, I was at the 9Marks Southeastern conference just last month, and when asked about communion, all 5 baptists and the single presbyterian speaker mentioned that they ask partakers to be saved, baptized, and a member in good standing with their own (not necessarily the one serving the communion) local church, but did not limit it to strictly their own denomination.  The differing views on baptism would affect the ability to join their churches, but not to take the Lord's supper.  The conference was actually on church membership, which all 6 speakers believe is extremely important, but since many churches practice open or semi-open communion, this was the first time I can remember hearing that membership was a requirement (outside of the "closed" case) for taking communion.

Dave Barnhart

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