I have recently met people who are Reformed Baptist. However, I'm having a hard time understanding what their major beliefs are, especially in comparison to other Baptists. The Wikipedia article gives a good overview of the history of the group, but doesn't summarize the major theological beliefs.

Do they still hold to the defining Baptist tenet that only adult baptism is valid? Are there other major differences between them?

  • I'm not qualified to answer your question, but I do suggest you simply get a doctrinal statement from both denominations (assuming each one has such a document) and compare them. You can also ask a minister or pastor in each denomination about what some of the differences might be. If you're able, treat 'em to lunch while you're discussing things together! Don Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 0:34

2 Answers 2


Both the 2d London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 (often called "the 1689" by adherents) and the 1689 Federalism site provide great resources on this inquiry.

In short, the main differences between a "reformed" baptist and a "general" baptist are:

  • monergistic vs synergistic views of salvation
  • a generally Calvinistic (ie "reformed") view of the state of man and the doctrine of God (typically shown in the acronym TULIP) vs a typically Arminian view of God and man
  • a strict view of credobaptism (which, while similar to other baptists, also sets RBs apart in that child "dedications" are rare (though not considered heretical))
  • a very strong view of the church universal, and as displayed in local bodies
  • an understanding that there are Christians in other denominations (which separates RBs from Landmarkists or "Grand Ole Church" baptists)
  • a staunchly-held view of the regulative principle of worship (RPW) which manifests most commonly in highly-esteeming the public reading of God's Word, the centrality of preaching God's Word, public prayer, and an eschewing of the "latest and greatest 'church ideas'" in favor of conservative views of dress, music, translations used (though I have never heard of a KJVO RB church, the tendency is to favor formal equivalence translations to all others in most scenarios)
  • a rejection of Dispensationalism as both inadequate and aberrant in its teachings, especially with regard to eschatology and the so-called "church age", and its typically-attendant love of charts and graphs outlining when and where biblical prophecies are being fulfilled
  • 1
    Thank you, Warren! This is a much better detailed and more helpful answer than mine.
    – JRystedt
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 18:09
  • @JRystedt - happy to help :)
    – warren
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 18:14
  • I like your answer, but there are a few things that are confusing. When you say "monergistic vs synergistic views of salvation", which is Reformed and which is "general Baptist"? And for your other points, are they things that a Reformed Baptist church has that others do not, or are they commonalities? I think that the phrases need to be less ambiguous before I consider accepting this well-researched answer. Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 19:18
  • @Thunderforge - had "general" and "reformed" backwards in my preface to the bullet points. The points listed are those that Reformed Baptists hold, compared (on some bullets) with what is more likely to be accepted or common amongst non-RB churches
    – warren
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 20:30

Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) is the primary distinguisher between reformed and traditional Baptists.

Most Baptists tend to be "Arminian" (or synergistic) in their Soteriology. That is, they tend to affirm that people have free will in respect to choosing Christ for salvation.

Reformed Baptists tend to be "Calvinist" (or monergistic) in their Soteriology. That is, they tend to reject that people have any free will in respect to choosing Christ for salvation.

  • what "other aspects of Calvinism" would you say Reformed Baptists "reject"? So far as I know, having been one for my whole life, the only aspect outright rejected is paedobaptism
    – warren
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 17:45
  • @warren Coventalism, Sacramentalism, paedobaptism, and amillenialism are the most prominent aspects of confessional Calvinism that Reformed Baptists usually reject.
    – JRystedt
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 17:51
  • Reformed Baptists do not as a whole reject amillenialism: in fact, most are either amillenial or postmillenial from everything I have read and seen over the past 30+ years. I also think you are confusing "sacramentalism" with "sacramentology" - RBs affirm that the sacraments are means of grace, but, with Calvin, reject their salviffic value. RBs also hold to Federalism (also known as Covenentalism).
    – warren
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 18:05
  • 1
    @warren thank you for the correction, Warren. I am pleased to see that many Reformed Baptists are closer to traditional Protestantism than I realized. I apparently have been around the wrong "Reformed Baptists". I will edit my answer to reflect this.
    – JRystedt
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 18:07

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