What is a Reformed Baptist church?

A reformed Baptist church is a church that is part of a restorative movement returning to the biblical doctrine and practices of the New Testament and the first Baptists in Britain and America.   It is not a movement to create anything new, but instead it's a return to our Baptist roots grounded in the Scripture and reflected in the Protestant Reformation.

Reformed Baptists are nothing new.  What we call "Reformed Baptists" today were known as "Particular Baptists" in Great Britain during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and were called "Regular Baptists" in America before 1850.  In 1845, all 243 messengers who formed the Southern Baptist Convention would today be considered to be from reformed Baptist churches because they shared the same polity, confessions, and doctrine as today's reformed Baptists.  While we have contemporary ministries, Christ Reformed Baptist Fellowship is rooted in the same historic, biblical Gospel that our forefathers held in the New Testament, Protestant Reformation, and the beginning of the Southern Baptist Convention. 

At Christ Reformed Baptist Fellowship, concerned with the state of the modern church, the "Gospel" that is now being proclaimed, and the depravity of our culture, we are intentionally returning to the Old Paths of the historic faith, practices, and the proven, biblical Gospel which has endured both prosperity and persecution. 

First, A Little History about Reformed Baptists

The Catholic Church fell into superstition, spiritual corruption, and moral decay during the Middle Ages.  When the Word of God was finally translated out of Latin into the common languages of the people of Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the people began to see for themselves how far the Church had fallen from Scriptural doctrine and practice.  Movements began to try to reform the Catholic Church to bring it in line with Scripture. This movement to reform the Catholic Church is known as the Protestant Reformation.

When these reform movements failed, the Protestant Reformation birthed new churches such as the Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches in the 1500 and 1600s.  These groups shared a common God-centered doctrine that stressed the sovereignty of God, the power of grace, and the inability of man to save himself. These shared doctrines were summed up in the Five Solas, or Five Alones; Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, and the Glory of God Alone.  These Baptist churches which returned to biblical doctrine and practice of the New Testament were the first to be considered "reformed"  Baptists.

Midway through the nineteenth century, a shift began to take place among Protestant churches.  Their biblical, reformed, God-centered doctrine was replaced with a man-centered focus.  In many denominations, this resulted in becoming unmoored from Scripture and descending into theological liberalism.  In other groups such as Southern Baptists, the focus moved from the glory of God to attracting man, from biblical practice to pragmatism, from discipleship to an emphasis upon decision-making and numbers, and the Gospel was cheapened so that more people could easily "accept" Christ and church rolls could be padded.  The result has been the formation of churches with full rolls and empty pews, many decisions but few disciples, and the substitution of stunts and personalities for the Word of God.

In the mid-twentieth century, seeing the condition of the Church and the damage the modern Gospel was doing to lost souls, some Baptist groups and even churches in the other denominations began to reemphasize the biblical doctrines and practices reflected in the reformation-era Church.  They put the adjective "reformed" to their names as a reaction against the man-centered doctrine of the day and a signal that they were returning to the God-centered doctrine and the Five Solas of the early Baptists.  Christ Reformed Baptist Fellowship stands in this restorative movement.

Reformed Baptists have certain Doctrines and Practices

The Sovereignty of God

God is God. He graciously rules all things for the good of His people and for His own glory.  As God declares in Isaiah:

“Remember this and stand firm,
    recall it to mind, you transgressors,
    remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me,
 declaring the end from the beginning
    and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
    and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
calling a bird of prey from the east,
    the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
    I have purposed, and I will do it.

Isaiah 46:8-11

The Five Solas

The foundation stones of our doctrine are the Five Solas: Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, and the Glory of God Alone.  These are not mere slogans for us, but these are the very heart and foundation stones of all of our doctrine and practice. 

Out of the Five Solas come the five Doctrines of Grace; five declarations about the condition of mankind and God's initiating and preserving grace formed at the Synod of Dort (AD 1618-1619) and used by Reformed groups to summarize God's work in securing His people. In the past, these five declarations were known by the acrostic TULIP. But the declarations lacked clarity and brought confusion. We think a  better summary is:

Spiritually Dead

Unmerited Election

Effectual Atonement

God's Initiating  Grace

Perseverance of the Christian

For more on what we believe, see /about-us/what-we-believe

The Centrality of Scripture

Reformed churches hold to both the inerrancy of Scripture and the sufficiency Scripture.  That means not only do we hold that the Scripture is God's Word, but that it is sufficient to accomplish all that God wants to do in His Church without any other human means.  The careful expositional proclamation of Scripture, therefore, is the center of our worship.  For more about our worship, see  /connect/worship

We are Confessional

Reformed churches hold to a confession of faith.  Our church's confession is the historical capstone of all Baptist confessions; The Second London Baptist Confession of 1689.  While we affirm Sola Scriptura, we recognize our confession to be a trustworthy summary of the Scripture's teaching.  You can find out more about our confession here: /about-us/what-we-believe

We are Covenantal

Reformed churches view the Bible as an unified whole, telling the story of the providence of God in bringing to Himself one People, from every tribe, language, people, and nation through the Covenant of Grace.

We are Biblically Organized

Reformed churches follow the New Testament pattern of having both a plurality of elders and deacons.  Our elders shepherd, oversee, and protect the congregation and ministries of the church, while the deacons serve the church in various ministries.  To see our leadership, go here:  /about-us/our-leadership

We practice Biblical Worship

Reformed churches follow the biblical mandate that God has prescribed how He desires to be worshiped. We follow, therefore, what is known as the Regulative Principle of Worship; we only practice in corporate worship what Scripture specifically commands us to do. Our worship is God-centered, recognizing that He is alone the consumer, object, and focus of worship. Our worship is also simple, stressing the Ordinary Means of Grace: the reading and preaching of the Word, prayer, and observing the ordinances.  For more about our worship services, go here: /connect/worship

We stress Biblical Membership

Reformed churches follow the New Testament's stress on the importance of church membership.  We are held accountable to one another.   Our church is not one where you can join and then hide.  Although we place great importance upon what a church member should do and be, we place no expectation on members that is not explicitly stated in the New Testament.  To find out more about membership at Christ Reformed, look at this page:  /connect/becoming-a-member and our membership classes and membership booklet here:  /resources/membership-classes-and-booklet

We have One Great Emphasis

For from him and through him and to him are all things. 

To him be glory forever. Amen.

                                                                                                                       Romans 11:36

Reformed churches see the chief aim of a life lived coram deo (in the presence of God) to be the Glory of God.  Therefore, we measure our fellowship and view everything in God's Providence through the lens of the glory of God.  As a church, we have intentionally put Christ first in our name to be a constant reminder to us that He is to be First in All Things (Colossians 1:18) and the goal of everything we do is to be His glory.

Want to Know More about Christ Reformed Baptist Fellowship?

/about-us/faq is a great place to quickly find out more about CRBF.

Written by Dr. Karl Ray Minor