Over at “Cowboyology,” Clint Humphreys has posted an interesting take on the Baptist wing of the Reformed Renewal we’re experiencing today. A former Professor of New Testament at Toronto Baptist Seminary, Clint now pastors Calvary Grace Church in Calgary, Alberta. Looking at the landscape of Reformed Baptists, he identifies five streams and suggests that most contemporary Reformed Baptists will fit into one of them. They are:
The Neo-Evangelical Stream.
Leading Example: John Piper
Characteristics: Calvinistic convictions arrived at from within the broad mainstream Neo-evangelical ethos.
The Dispensational Stream.
Leading Example: John Macarthur
Characteristics: Calvinistic conclusions arrived at out of the generally ‘3-4 point Calvinist’ circles of ‘Dallas’ dispensationalism.
The Fundamentalist Stream.
Leading Example: Spiritual heirs of TT Shields
Characteristics: Distinguished from other Fundamentalists by Calvinism and at times non-Premillenial eschatology. Yet still Fundamental in ethos and association (cf. Paisley in N. Ireland, Bob Jones University, etc.)
The Reformed Baptist Stream.
Leading Example: Al Martin, Tom Ascol
Characteristics: Often connected with Presbyterians, possessing the same view of the Law’s implication for Christian living, particularly in the form of Sabbatarianism, and 10 commandments as normative for Christians.
The New Covenant Reformed Baptist Stream.
Leading Example: John Reisinger
Characteristics: Derived from the Reformed Baptist stream, but broke away from those circles over disagreement about Sabbatarianism and the relation of the Law to the
Christian. Tended to emphasize a more Christocentric view of the Law (i.e. Law is fulfilled in Christ entirely, therefore the idea of Sunday as equivalent to a Jewish Sabbath is incorrect). Can draw from Progressive Dispensational circles as well as other eschatological perspectives.
To this list I would add one more:
The Actually Presbyterian Stream. These are people who are Presbyterian by conviction but who have not been able to find a God-honoring Presbyterian church in which to plant themselves. Instead, they joyfully attend Reformed Baptist churches, even while harboring hopes of someday being able to get their children baptized “properly.” John Piper’s church saw some much-publicized controversy about this group of people and many Reformed Baptist churches have plenty of closet Presbyterians attending (even if not as members). I’ll grant that this stream does not represent Reformed Baptist convictions, but it does represent a significant number of Christians within these churches.
Clint admits “There is often overlap between these different streams, and many Calvinistic Baptists would not be associated with any of them in a formal way. However the influence of the various teachers in these streams has had a significant impact within the broader Reformed Renewal of the 20th and early 21st century.”
I’d be interested in your feedback on these. Do you feel these are legitimate categories? Are there any missing? Which do you feel apply to you (if you are Reformed and Baptist)?
The comments section at Clint’s site is well worth perusing as there is some interesting discussion to be found there.