Does RBF Believe in Reformed Theology?
At the outset, it is important to note that some define reformed theology as narrowly as the doctrines of grace, whereas others define it as broadly as an entire theological system, in which case it becomes a systematic grid by which the entire Bible is to be understood. We will briefly look at the broad definition to determine doctrines associated with reformed theology in which we agree and those in which we do not. (The following will be a very basic overview of theological positions. For more detailed information on our doctrinal positions, please visit our doctrinal statement page).
1. RBF believes in the 5 Solas of the Reformation–Scripture Alone/Faith Alone/Grace Alone/Christ Alone/Glory of God Alone.
2. RBF believes in the 5 Doctrines of Grace (AKA–TULIP) as defined in passages such as Romans 8-9, Ephesians 1-2, and John 6-10.
3. RBF does not believe in the teachings of the covenants in reformed theology, which sometimes even bears the name, covenant theology. The differences are outlined below:
A. We believe in a literal, historical, grammatical method of interpreting the Bible and not what is sometimes called a redemptive, historical method of interpretation.
B. Therefore, We believe in a distinction between Israel and the church and cannot find one text in the Scriptures where “Israel” is definitively referring to any other people-group besides ethnic Jews (This statement excludes the occurrences where “Israel” is being used as the other proper name for Jacob). The blessings, promises and judgments of the OT were given to a specific group of people at a specific time (Deut. 27-29; Is. 9-11). More often than not, Israel was distinguished from the other nations in the judgments of God (Amos 1-2; Zech. 9:1). Moreover, Romans 2:28-29 and Galatians 6:16 make perfect sense if the Apostle Paul is simply differentiating between believing, ethnic Jews and unbelieving, ethnic Jews.
C. We also believe the Bible teaches that baptism is an act of immersion for those who have professed faith in Christ and repented from their sin. For instance, the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20 associates making disciples and teaching commandments with baptism. Furthermore, the combination of faith and baptism is also found in Acts 8:12; 18:8.
D. We believe that, although Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of God during His first advent, He will physically rule from Jerusalem when He comes again (Zech. 14:9ff; Rev. 20:4).
E. RBF has substantial agreement with the Westminster Confession of Faith and the 1689 London Baptist Confession, yet these documents do not serve as governing authorities for the Church, since only the Scriptures can fulfill that role in the Church.
In conclusion, there are many essential doctrines of Christianity found within reformed theology, but Scripture alone must dictate the content of our faith and be the standard of our practice.