Baptists' nuclear option...

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Some lives never make sense until we realize the man can't get out of his nuclear reactor mode. The choices of such men concerning their religion only begin to be comprehensible when we understand this man is one of the many today who can never get far enough away from the indignities he suffered being raised Baptist. The simplicity of the Biblical Christian faith his father and mother subjected him to as a child is so embarrassing he can't seem to do enough to heal his humiliation.

He keeps running and running away, almost always toward that first choice of the superstitious man with a tender conscience—sacramentalism. Typically, these men start transitioning by becoming Presbyterian. If their new Presbyterian pastor and elders are themselves former Baptists also, the man may find his sacramentalist itch scratched sufficiently that he's able to stay in his new church. If his new pastor and elders are historically Reformed, though, and have read the Reformers, after a little while the man will not be able to stand the Reformed church's fencing of the Lord's Table and he'll start to howl in anger over...

how "Baptist" his pastor and elders are. He wants sacraments! He wants sacraments now! He wants sacraments for his kiddos! He wants sacraments every time he worships! He wants sacraments without any warnings! Now, are they gonna give them to him like he wants or not? Because if the answer is "no" he's outta here.

Honesty would be better served by such reactors moving directly into the sweet home of every sacramentalist which is always Rome.

If the grazed woodlot (which is neither good woodlot nor good grazing) of Jeff Meyers and Peter Leithart's Romanist vapors and mists have started to wear on you and you find yourself wishing for the forthrightness and simplicity of true Roman sacramentalism, I'd recommend you do what a young father of our church did about a decade ago. He grabbed his family and jumped into Rome, explaining to his small group as he left that he wanted his children raised in a church where the sacraments actually "do something."

Meanwhile, those of us who are truly reformed are still here where we've been for five centuries, now. John Calvin explains it:

[The] papists made idols of the sacraments. And from all time, Gentiles have followed that path, for when they performed their ceremonies, they attached to them the full confidence of their salvation. And then there are the Jews, who had confidence in their sacrifices as if they acquired righteousness in this way.

Today the papists think there is salvation only in the water of baptism....

Now the sacraments must not diminish God’s grace or the power of the Holy Spirit or the substance of what is figured. For example. We have the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is called ‘our washing’ (Titus 3:5), and that he is. Now if we think we are cleansed of our filth by the water of baptism, the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ loses the honour which must be attributed to it.

Such, therefore, is to pervert completely the use of the sacraments and make idols of them!

If we think we are made righteous when we come to the Lord’s Supper, when we take a piece of bread and a drop of wine, what becomes of our Lord Jesus Christ’s passion and death, to which the sacrament refers us? For it is said, ‘This is my body which is given for you; this is my blood which is shed for the forgiveness of your sins’ (Luke 22:19; Matt. 26:28). We must, therefore, in keeping with our low estate and weakness, be led to the true substance of the sacraments and place our complete confidence in them and find rest there. (John Calvin, Sermon on Genesis 2:9)

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!