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WHAT IS A

Reformed Baptist Church

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At Salem Reformed Baptist we hold to two major theological branches:

REFORMED   BAPTIST

​     WHAT IS REFORMED?     

We are Reformed because we adhere to the great doctrines of the Reformation. We stand on the shoulders of those who brought the truths of the Bible back to the church during the Reformation. The Reformed doctrines can be summarized with the slogans: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Sola Fide, and Soli Deo Gloria. Also known as the Five Solas.

THE FIVE SOLAS

I. SOLA SCRIPTURA
Scripture Alone

IV. SOLA FIDE
Faith Alone

II. SOLA GRATIA
Grace Alone

III. SOLUS CHRISTUS
Christ Alone

V. SOLI DEO GLORIA
Glory of God Alone

I. SOLA SCRIPTURA

Scripture Alone

Scripture alone stands as the formal principle of the Reformation and the foundation of all theology. The Bible alone is sufficient to save and sanctify Christ’s church. The Scripture alone is sufficient to feed Jesus’ flock and make them more like Christ. The Scripture is over the church.

II. SOLA GRATIA

Grace Alone

God’s grace alone, not human goodness and effort, saves sinners. Grace calls us (Gal. 1:5), regenerates us (Titus 3:5), justifies us (Rom. 3:24), sanctifies us (Heb. 13:20-21), and preserves us (1 Pet. 1:3-5). By grace alone God breathes into sinners the breath of eternal life.

III. SOLUS CHRISTUS

Christ Alone

The center of all the solas is Christ crucified who unites all in Him. Christ alone, not the saints, the angels, the ministry and rites of the church, or our good works, acts as our Mediator, Redeemer, and Savior (1 Tim. 2:5).

IV. SOLA FIDE

Faith Alone

Faith alone, not our works or faith combined with works, is the instrument by which the sinner is justified from the guilt of all sin and counted righteous by God. Faith is the instrument of our justification and it is a gracious gift of the triune God.

V. SOLI DEO GLORIA

God's Glory Alone

This sola is the capstone of the other solas, connecting God’s one purpose for creating this world and humanity in it. As with the other solas, it speaks of God first and rightly notes that He is the highest object of praise, worship, and devotion. This universe is His, and we are made for Him. The history of the universe is the story of God’s self-celebration. All glory be given to our triune God alone. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).

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THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE

Another fundamental aspect of Reformed theology is the belief and proclamation of the Doctrines of Grace (also known as the Five Points of Calvinism). These five points are:

I. TOTAL DEPRAVITY

This teaches that nothing that a sinful person does is ever completely good. Sin has pervaded every part of our physical, mental, and emotional makeup so that there is nothing about us that remains untouched by sin. It refers to man’s total inability to come to Christ and believe in the Gospel by his own effort. Man is dead in transgressions. Sin has separated us from God’s gracious presence.

II. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION

If the condition of the human race is as bad as the biblical doctrine of depravity indicates, then salvation must originate with God. It must be a work of the triune God, accomplished and applied by Him without any assistance on our part. It speaks of God’s sovereign and merciful election. What happens in an individual’s salvation is determined by the prior decision of God, who established the decrees of salvation in Christ before the world began. “Unconditional” indicates that this decision is made apart from anything God might foresee in the sinful creature. If election were based on anything that the sinner might be or do, then ultimately salvation would depend on human merit.

III. LIMITED ATONEMENT

The atonement had a specific object in view, namely, the salvation of those whom the Father had given the Son before the foundation of the world, and that it was effective in saving those persons. Thus, it would be better to call this doctrine Definite Atonement, or particular redemption. Particular Redemption signifies that the death of Christ has saving efficacy for the elect, and for the elect only. Christ made satisfaction for sin when He died on the Cross, offering Himself as the perfect substitute for God’s chosen people. Jesus Christ died for His people and not a drop of His blood was wasted. He didn’t die for people in hell. Our Savior’s death was a powerful and efficient death.

IV. IRRESISTABLE GRACE

The benefits of the atonement must be applied to the elect. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, whose inward operation enables sinners to repent and believe in Christ. In addition to the outward call of the gospel, made to everyone, the Holy Spirit issues an inward call. This inward calling is made only to the elect and inevitably draws them to faith in Christ. God’s calling is certain. When the Holy Spirit awakens the person and gives him spiritual ears, he hears the voice of the Great Shepherd and comes to Him.

V. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

This doctrine has two parts: 1) God preserves His people; and 2) because God preserves His people, they will persevere unto the end. The saints are simply the people of God, those whom God considers holy through the work of His Son. The perseverance of the saints really is the preservation of the saints, for their perseverance depends on God’s preserving grace. Those who were bought by the blood of Christ belong to God. Nothing can separate the elected ones from the love of God. Those who were chosen will grow in grace and holiness.

​       WHAT IS BAPTIST?       

As a Baptist church we hold to the “Baptist Distinctives.” Some of the major distinctives of our church as it pertains to being Baptist are:

I. THE ORDINANCES

We believe that the ordinance of water baptism is to be done through immersion on those who have shown fruits of conversion. The Lord’s Supper is for believers who are members of a local church.

II. THE IMPORTANCE OF CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

We follow the New Testament's stress on the importance of church membership. The members are those regenerated by the Spirit and in union with Christ through faith and repentance.

III. THE CENTRALITY OF THE SCRIPTURES

We hold to both the inerrancy of Scripture and the sufficiency of Scripture. This 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.

IV. THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH

We believe that Jesus has given the keys to the whole church (all the members). The elders (pastors) lead and teach the church members in how to exercise their Christ-given authority.

V. THE AUTONOMY OF LOCAL CHURCHES

Each congregation is a fully independent church, which considers itself accountable directly to Jesus Christ rather than intermediately through an earthly organization such as a Convention, Synod, or Presbytery.

VI. EVANGELICAL IN MISSIONS

We believe that the Gospel of Christ must be proclaimed to all the nations, making disciples and establishing and strengthening local churches.

​       REFORMED BAPTIST HISTORY       

The Reformed Baptists follow a long line of godly Christians throughout church history. In the early 17th century, Baptists in England developed along two different theological lines: General Baptists and Particular Baptists.

 

The General Baptists were so-called because they held to a general (or universal) atonement, which maintains that Christ died for all men alike, making a general provision for all on the condition of faith. This is the same universal atonement of Arminianism. Early General Baptist leaders included John Smyth and Thomas Helwys.

 

The Particular Baptists (Reformed Baptists) were so-called because they held the particular (or limited) atonement. The Particular view of the atonement is that Christ in His death undertook to save particular individuals, referred to as the elect. This position is the same limited atonement of classic Calvinism. Some early Particular Baptist leaders included Benjamin Keach, Hanserd Knollys, and William Kiffin. John Bunyan, William Carrey, Andrew Fuller, and Charles Spurgeon are well known Reformed Baptists.

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