Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reasons Not To Join A Reformed Baptist Church

On a cassette tape in my basement, I found a 20-minute broadcast of James White giving reasons not to join a Reformed Baptist Church. This temporary link to the broadcast will only work for about another five or six days:

Reasons Not To Join A Reformed Baptist Church

This link to the same broadcast should work after the above link ceases:

Reasons Not To Join a Reformed Baptist Church

Now, I’m not a Reformed Baptist, but I definitely agree with the points James makes.


FM483 said...


I listened to James While’s audio regarding why one may not choose to belong to a Reformed Baptist Church. Whenever I listen to anyone else speak about his or her denomination or sect, I always compare it to Confessional Lutheranism and ask myself if what they are offering provides me with any greater blessings and benefits.

Based on this audio it is clear that Reformed Baptists share much with Confessionl Lutherans. I would most likely be able to attend such services since they are Word centered and I delight in hearing God speak. The differences with what James White was describing and what I am accustomed to in Confessional Lutheranism seems to revolve around the proper roles and distinctions between Law and Gospel. It seems that the Reformed Baptist(RB) preaching concentrates upon the Law of God and the sinfulness of man. Don’t get me wrong- all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Listening to James speak reminded me of several theses of C.F.W. Walther in his treatise “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel”,especially Thesis VIII:

“In the fourth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the Law is preached to those who are in terror on account of their sins, or the Gospel to those who live securely in their sins.”

And Thesis IX:

“In the fifth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when sinners who have been struck down and terrified by the Law are directed, not to the Word and Sacraments, but to their own prayers and wrestlings with God in order that they may win their way into a state of grace;in other words, when they are told to keep on praying and struggling until they feel that God has received them into grace.”

When I go to a Confessional Lutheran service, my worship revolves around not only listening to the pastor apply the readings to my life, but to primarily RECEIVING the blessings and gifts won by Christ FOR ME. Especially the forgiveness of sins as announced by the pastor as the representative of Christ in the Absolution and in, with, and under the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper. I definitely hear God’s Law, which does it’s work of convicting me of my sins, but also hear the clear words of the Gospel: I have been reconciled with God on account of the perfect life, sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I receive all the blessings of my inheritance as an adopted child of God. The gift of faith in Jesus allows me to receive all the rich blessings of God In Christ. I am perfect and wear His Robe of Righteousness, while remaining a sinner in this lifetime. I am “simul justus et peccator”. After each service I am refreshed and reminded of my status as an adopted child of God, forgiven all my sins: I can now be a blessing to others through my various vocations in life.

Frank Marron

Ric said...

I love the drawing of James White you posted there! Too cool!

PhilThreeten said...

James - Any chance you can summarize the points? Having trouble downloading...

James Swan said...


I think a strong church should emphasize Law/Gospel. In my church there is a reading of the law, early in the service, and then a proclamation of the Gospel in both the hymns and sermon.

I am very aware of this distinction when i visit other churches, or more accurately, i'm looking for it to see if this distinction is missing.

In regard to the audio link, I find Dr. White's comments more a comparison/contrast with the current variety show approach of the modern day evangelical churches- some of these churches are more like the Johnny Carson Show than actually churches.

I know Dr white, and i know his passion for the Gospel- I know he is dedicated to it being preached.

James Swan said...

ric- the cartoon was from Dr. White's website.

phil- I just don't have the time to summarize the points, other than what i just mentioned to Frank.

L P Cruz said...

I absolutely agree, seems to me that in an RB Church, you get to hear about your problem but not the solution to your problem!

This is a Law centered church, Law/Gospel is not in focus. In fact, I hardly heard JW mention Jesus.

All the reasons for not joining such as a visitor will not like the music, will hear about sin etc they are fine. But one central reason why I will not join an RB church in the way JW put it is that I won't get to hear about Jesus - the dier and doer of what i could not do.