Friday, August 29, 2008

Andrew Fuller Conference: The English Calvinistic Baptists of the 17th Century, An Overview- Dr. Malcolm Yarnell

although Baptists are a people of the Book, we must look at their history to see their context among congregations

those who would become General and Particular Baptists came to an understanding of believer's baptism while in communion- then the separation took place over Reformed theology (which wasn't a clean break)

Exemplar: Christopher Blackwood (1605-1670)

-was a Conformist early on
-left the parish church for a General Baptist church after his conversion to Baptist views on baptism
- became a pastor at that church but left when his co-pastor declared that he believed in universal redemption

- in his treatise on divine worship ("The Storming of Antichrist"), he explained that believer's baptism is worship after the commands of Christ
- argued that Presbyterians, Independents, and Congregationalists could learn from one another without compromising on baptism
- lived in Ireland during the persecution, though he cried out for his persecuted brethren in England
- pure worship, liberty of conscience, importance of the local church were his main concerns

Blackwood's 6 marks of a Christian church ("6 Marks Ministries"...?):
- regenerate church membership
- agreement and covenant
- right dispensing of the Word and sacraments
- profession of the faith
- ministry (faithful oversight)
- church discipline

- said paedobaptism tears down the difference between church and the world
- held a Calvinistic understanding of the Lord's Supper
- held a Biblical view of church discipline, which was for the benefit of both the disciplined and the church

- the use of the 5 points in finding how "Calvinistic" a 17th Century Baptist was is very difficult (I would have liked to hear more about why this is the case)
- was primarily a pastoral theologian who had an invitational and duty-faith/duty-repentance way of preaching
- was not as concerned with the ordo salutis as he was in preaching grace and salvation in Christ alone
- affirmed predestination of both salvation and reprobation, although his view was different than Calvin's (I would have liked to have known more about the differences)
- was ultimately motivated to exhort Christians to proclaim the Gospel rather than the 5 points
- free proffers of grace and well-meant offer of the gospel exhorted men to come to Christ

(It was interesting to have Dr. Yarnell as the first speaker, and his presence there was encouraging. I certainly benefited from his contribution! He must have learned a lot about how Particular Baptists were concerned about both the glorification of God and evangelism! Yarnell is the one who wrote about Calvinists in the SBC back in 2006. Tom Ascol gave some helpful critiques on his blog, and there was a brotherly interchange. Yarnell was also alongside Dr. Ascol as they sought the passing of a resolution on regenerate church membership at the SBC annual meeting this year; it passed but was weaker than they had hoped. And no, Yarnell didn't wear a cowboy hat to the conference...)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home