I’m writing from Rockford, Illinois, where I am this week attending the General Assembly of ARBCA – the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America. ARBCA represents one wing of the Reformed Baptist movement, the confessional associationalists located in North America. By “confessional,” I mean that our churches are defined according to the teachings of the 1689 Confession of Faith in all its particulars, and by “associational,” I mean that we are convinced of our duty to associate formally with one another for mutual help and support. These concepts are closely related, both in that our confession (in chapter 26, paragraphs 14 and 15) requires association, and in that true association requires the confessional subscription in order that we might commend one another and commit ourselves to one another.
Time spent among the delegates of the ARBCA churches demolishes that set of opinions which I think of as “the Reformed Baptist Myth.” According to this myth, Reformed Baptists have a very narrow understanding of the term “Reformed.” We are assumed to be merely 21st century baptistic evangelicals who happen to affirm some form of what is called “the points of Calvinism.” These points are supposedly all we ever preach about, talk about, or think about. Such is the view of us which is all too common among the ignorant ones of the broader Reformed community. Continue reading