This is not a straight forward question, because unlike the Strict and Particular Baptists, the Reformed Baptists do not have a definite set of teachings which distinguish them as a group. Having said that, there tends to be some common teachings shared by most Reformed Baptists—to name a few, plurality of elders and a low to moderate view of sovereign grace. In a personal conversation with Baptist historian Dr. Kenneth Dix, he put forward the view that the Reformed Baptists is a movement which began in the late 1950’s, with men who tried to merge Presbyterian and Baptist teachings. However, I believe the movement began much earlier, during the latter part of the 19th century, and under the ministry of C. H. Spurgeon.

Charles Spurgeon

Indeed, Spurgeon not only embraced moderate views of sovereign grace, he also introduced an odd form of plural eldership to the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Most Reformed Baptists revere Spurgeon as one of the greatest champions of their heritage.

Of course, eighty years before Spurgeon preached at the Tabernacle, the church was overseen by the distinguished John Gill. Dr. Gill was the pastor for 51 years, during which time he published many valuable works, including an entire body of divinity and a complete commentary on the Old and New Testament scriptures.

John Gill

His teachings became the threads which bound together the group of churches which would later become known as the Strict and Particular Baptists. He stood against low and moderate views of sovereign grace, holding high the banner of full and free salvation through the TriUne Jehovah. He also stood against a plurality of elders, defending the biblical and historic view that a church should be overseen by a pastor with deacons. On both of these teachings, the Strict and Particular Baptists agreed with Gill.

Concerning the subject of sovereign grace, the Strict and Particular Baptists were unanimous in their condemnation of what became known as “duty faith” and the “free offer”. These false teachings are based on moderate (distorted) views of sovereign grace. Not only did Spurgeon subscribed to them, but so do the Reformed Baptists today. This is one of many reasons why the Reformed Baptists are not the standard-bearers for the Strict and Particular Baptists.

Well, that’s probably not how the Reformed Baptists view it. I know for a fact many Reformed Baptists have commandeered Strict and Particular Baptist chapels in England. They seem to justify the takeover by arguing they may not share the same name, but they are nevertheless one and the same in doctrine. To be fair, I suspect their problem is ignorance, not dishonesty. They are largely uninformed on the heritage and history of the Strict and Particular Baptists, and ill-informed on the theological issues that separate the two groups.

I’ve taken the time to explain this background, because the gospel seed we hope to sow in the Philippines will be in line with the teachings of John Gill. To our knowledge, there are very few churches (if any) in the Philippines that are organized around these doctrines. Yes, we know of many Arminian Baptist churches; and we are familiar with not a few Calvinistic Baptist churches; and we are aware of some Reformed Baptist churches; but we do not know of many (if any) Baptist churches which actually preach the unadulterated gospel of the TriUne Jehovah.


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