Monday, September 15, 2008

Why did you leave the Baptist church? (Part Three: Historical Background)

There's much I could say here, but I think I want to stick to the central point of the role history played in my departure.

As a student of church history, I discovered a richer theological heritage behind the reformed churches. It's as simple as that. The theology of the PCA doesn't just take a dip in the thought of the Puritans and the reformers. It stands in the middle of the stream of their theological thought and baths in it. The study of historical theology in seminary exposed me to most of the major theological traditions, particularly since the Reformation. In discovering them for myself under the tutelage of Dr. John Hannah, particularly, I came to love these doctrines. I loved them because they fed my soul. I loved them because they reflected the most consistent explication of the Scripture that I had yet found. I loved them because they not only had the glory of God as their stated aim, but because this aim was accomplished throughout. I loved them because despite the fact that you can hold them and NOT be charitable or pastoral, being charitable and pastoral is easiest when you hold to these doctrines. I came to love them because I came to be convinced that they are true.

It doesn't really matter, then, does it, what the history of the Baptist church is, except that it isn't this? When I embraced these doctrines as a Baptist it was made clear that I was no longer a Baptist, so I did the sensible thing. I left. And based upon my study of church history, those that made it clear I wasn't a Baptist appeared to me to be right. Reformed Covenantal theology has no place in the Baptist church.

So the part history played in my departure is really best stated this way: I fell in love with someone else's history.

Two more posts and we'll be through!

Next: The results (in my broad experience) of the Baptist theological and historical stance.