"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Good and Bad Baptists

I wrote in a previous post that a Restorationist/Baptist reading of Church history is wrong. I wanted to clarify that a bit in this informational post. In re-reading that old post, I did not want to paint all Baptists with the same brush. I see two historiographies used by Baptists (and to some measure all Protestants) and only one of them can claim to be orthodox. The first is what I would call Restorationist. You may have heard of "The Trail of Blood." Consult the illustration below.
The graph attempts to claim a lineage with a collection of heretical groups (such as Montanists) who were persecuted and claims they were the true church stretching back to Christ himself. The church is seen, then, dying and resurrecting every few years with a very few number in the true church, but most lead astray by Catholics and Protestants (These Restorationists would reject the label Protestant.)

The second historiography claims common lineage with other Protestants, and, before 1517, the pre-Council of Trent Catholic Church. These Baptists tend to be Reformed Baptists, claiming a heritage in Zwingli's Reformation in Zurich, and thus claiming to be "Reformed totally", rather than keeping infant baptism and a few other Reformed distinctives.
All this to say, a historiography that claims commonality with the Reformed movement and other orthodox Christians through the centuries should be the accepted orthodox view. To claim otherwise is dangerous as

1) It disbelieves Christ's claim to be with the church in all ages. (Matt 28:20)

2) It associates with heretical groups that may even be anti-Christian (i.e. not orthodox on the Trinity, diety of Christ and more important issues than if they dunked infants)

3) It separates from other true Christians in a claim on orthodoxy that is based on a particular doctrine of baptism, rather than on the person and work of Christ, something I think is important. Not that other doctrines are not important, but they are not the grounds for orthodoxy and common cause in the gospel.

That's just my two cents.

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