Wow, it’s been over two months since my last post. Just the other day I was thinking it had only been a few weeks…
I’d like to comment on a post by a pastor and apologist I highly respect named James R. White of Alpha and Omega ministries. I don’t always agree with him, but I appreciate his ministry and apologetic work, particularly in the area of theological debate.
On the Reformed Baptist Fellowship website he published a post entitled “Why I Am So Thankful to be a Reformed Baptist” . Now, there’s nothing wrong with being thankful to be a part of your church, association, or denomination. I have no problem with that on the surface of it. In the post he mentions the following reasons for being so thankful:
1. He gets to meet and minister with some of the best preachers and teachers he knows of.
2. He has the honor and privilege of ministering in sister churches all across the landscape, and is encouraged by the spirit of unity and faith.
3. But the main reason he cites as being thankful for being a Reformed Baptist is the work the Lord has called him to in apologetics, that is, in providing a reasoned defense of the faith to those who are skeptical of it or who outright oppose it.
He then goes on to list several false religions and cults, such as Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness Pentacostalism, etc. and how he has defended Christian orthodoxy with regard to the Trinity, the inspiration and authority of the Bible, the Crucifixion, the person and work of Christ, all because of the consistency of “our faith”. All well and good, except….such Christian orthodoxy is not the product of a small sliver of Baptist churches who designate themselves to be “reformed”. In fact, I daresay all of these doctrinal truths were ironed out long before independent Particular or Reformed Baptist churches came to the fore, or the 1689 2nd London Baptist COF was written.
Therefore, shouldn’t the title of the post simply be “Why I Am So Thankful to be a Christian”? I don’t see what being a Reformed Baptist has to do with this, do you?
But then Dr. White brings his post to a conclusion by stating the following:
“So the next time you eye the big fancy church down the road on your way to your Reformed Baptist church, consider this: the value of the consistency of divine truth, the treasure of having a firm foundation upon which to live a God-honoring life, is truly priceless.”
Did you note how he went from cults and false religions to the “big fancy church” down the street? How are these connected? Isn’t the big fancy church down the street a Christian congregation of blood-bought sinners redeemed by grace, just like the small Reformed Baptist church? Does such a church not have the body of truth Dr. White has been so thankful to defend against its opponents? This kind of statement is indicative of a certain mindset among some RB churches and brethren that needs to be repented of. A cloak of suspicion need not be cast upon other churches or ministries, nor does the Reformed Baptist need to be held up as the one with a corner on the truth.
I don’t mean to malign Dr. White’s motives, I’m sure he was attempting to encourage his brothers and sisters in Christ who serve the Lord in RB churches. I simply want to point out how an unhealthy mindset can take advantage of intellectual blind spots. Keep defending the faith, Dr. White, only do so as a thankful Christian!