What is your opinion on whether someone can disagree with infant baptism and still be Reformed?
I knew we were going to get into baptism eventually. What are we talking about when it comes the word Reformed? The Reformation.
What comes out of the Reformation? You’ve got the five solas and that which holds the solas together, which is the Reformation view of the sovereignty of God. This is true whether you’re reading Luther or Calvin, and you see it all the way through the Reformers. You see it in Luther’s Bondage of the Will. When it comes to the sovereignty of God, the doctrine of election, and all those “tall grass” doctrines people don’t like to get into, Luther says, “This is the centerpiece of the Reformation.” This is Mr. “justification by faith” saying, “No, no, the centerpiece is election, God’s sovereignty, and God’s decrees.”
So to be Reformed is to have a classical understanding of who God is, as well as an orthodox classical understanding of Christology, which both come from the creeds. There are also the solas from the Reformers and an unmitigated commitment to the sovereignty of God and the decrees of God.
Being Reformed affects a certain hermeneutic so that you will eventually have a covenantal view of Scripture and a covenantal hermeneutic. Do you carry that covenantal hermeneutic all the way through to baptism, like the Presbyterians or the Congregationalists of old? Or do you stop short and have a believer’s baptism view?
To have a believer’s baptism view was perfectly within the bounds of the Reformation, and I think it’s within the bounds of being Reformed. So I’m of a mind to be inclusive on the baptism issue when it comes to being Reformed.
For Further Study: See What Does It Mean to Be Reformed?
This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Stephen Nichols and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.