What is a Reformed Baptist?
We are glad you are here and are curious about our church. When you hear the word "reformed" before "Baptist," sometimes you get the aforementioned question. My first response usually is, "It's what Baptists used to be!" In short, a Reformed Baptist Church is an independent Bible-believing congregation committed to historic Christianity specficially, and particularly, historic Baptistic principles.
"Oh, so you're a Baptist church then!"
Yes, we are Baptists, and we're in the South, but we're not part of the Southern Baptist Convention. We're different. The formal doctrinal basis, (secondary to the Bible), of Reformed Baptist Churches, is the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. We are historically in the Baptistic tradition. When it comes to baptism, we believe in the baptism of believers only. We believe that only baptized believers should be members of our congregation.
The problem arises when you consider the number of churches in Cleveland County NC who call themselves "Baptist," but are not that kind of Baptist at all. That is no slight, but simple reality that relfects the same thing across the country. Tragically, "Baptist" churches, like other churches, have been subjected to the erosion and dilution of Biblical convictions. Those dilutions include a radical departure from Biblical leadership, the way in which money is handeled for gain and irresponsibly tied to debt, the abuse of women in positions ordained only for Biblically-qualified men, and so many other departures from what historically Baptists have stood for. We are Baptists in the tradition of John Bunyan, Benjamin Keach, and Charles Spurgeon, to name a few.
While many are satisfied with eating "goat food," there is a remnant of sheep who hunger for the Bread of Life and from experience, have been sickened by the man-centered worship found in so many "Baptist" congregations today. The names of great Reformers like Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli and others are again beign revered as those God was pleased to use to restore the Gospel truths of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The writings of their godly successors in the Puritan tradition, John Owen, Thomas Goodwin, George Whitfield, and Charles Spurgeon have begun again to be treasured as Biblically true inheritances rich with admonition and encouragement to follow Jesus Christ alone.
So, what exactly to you believe?"
Many give too high a view to secondary issues when choosing a church. The first and most important thing to consider when choosing a church family to yoke oneself to is what they believe. How diligent have you been for the protection of your family's spiritual growth in researching and studying not only the doctrinal and theological positions of your church, but line upon line, verse upon verse, validated those positions with God's Word whether they are to receive an "amen!" or an "oh my?" At Covenant Reformed Baptist Church, every candidate for membership is given a copy of our church By-Laws, Constitution, and Confession of Faith to which they are asked to confirm by God's Word before joining. In summary, what we believe can be briefly summarized as follows:
Reformed Baptist congregations are distinguished by their conviction regarding the sufficiency and authority of the Word of God. While all true Christians believe in the inspiration and infallibility of the Word of God, all do not believe in the sufficiency of the Bible. All true Christians believe that the Bible was "breathed out" by God and that it is infallible and without error in all of its parts. To deny this is to call God a liar.
But while all true Christians believe this, all do not necessarily seek to regulate the life of the church by the Word of God. There is a common belief, whether it is clearly stated or not, that the Bible is not a sufficient guide to tell you "how to do church." This is behind much of what we see in the modern church growth movement, and it is founded upon a belief that the Bible is silent regarding the nature and purpose of the church. It is for this cause that many feel the freedom to "reinvent the church." For some reason, many believers seem to argue that God has no principles in His Word concerning the corporate life of his people. In these days, the clarion cry of all Christ-appointed shepherds needs to be that of the prophet Isaiah: "To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them."
Reformed Baptists have a conviction that the Bible alone tells us what a church is (see 1 Tim. 3:15). The Bible alone defines the offices of the church. The Bible tells us their number, their qualifications, and their function ( See Acts 20, 1 Tim.3, Titus 1, Heb. 13, and 1 Peter 5). The Bible is the guide to show us what worship is and how it is to be given (see Deut. 12:32, Lev. 10:1; John 4:23,24), as well as who can be a church-member, and what is required of them.
The Bible is also sufficient to tell us what we are to do as a church family, how we are to cooperate with other churches, how we are to send out missionaries, train men for the ministry, and a host of other things related to God's will for His people. Paul told Timothy that the God-breathed scriptures would make the man of God complete, and that it would thoroughly equip him for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). If this text does not teach us to have confidence in the Bible and to look to the Scriptures for everything that God calls the church to do, then what does it teach? We have plenty of conservative churches in our day who believe the Bible, but not enough who are defined by the Bible!
Reformed Baptist churches are distinguished by an unshakable conviction that the church exists for the glory of God (Eph. 3:21, 5:26, 27 and 1 Timothy 3:15). Because the church exists for the glory of God, the worship of God and the Word of God are central to its life. We have seen far too much at the present hour to indicate that the measure of a church is seen in what it has to offer man. The typical questions asked of a church are "Does it meet 'felt needs'?" "Is it fun, is it relaxing, is it entertaining?" "What are its kid's programs?" "Is it a place to meet people?"
The question we ask in light of how church is often seen by prospective members is, "Whose house is it, anyway?" The answer is that the church, the spiritual body of believers, is not a roof with four walls and a floor, but the living spiritual temple of God. It is the place where He meets with His people in a special way because He dwells in us. However, this does not mean that it is to be a dull, grim, unfeeling, insensitive gathering place, far from it. The place where God dwells is the most glorious place on earth to the saint and it is an oasis to the thirsty soul of a sinner seeking the grace of God. However, the place of God's dwelling is also solemn and holy. "How awesome is this place-it is no other than the house of God and the gate of heaven," was Jacob's exclamation in Genesis 28. God's house is not in need of numbers as Jesus said, "Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).
Many well-meaning organizations are seeking to take upon themselves the task that the living God entrusted to His church. To whom has God entrusted the missionary mandate? To whom did God give instructions for the discipleship, encouragement and shaping of believers? To whom did God entrust the equipping of the saints to? If the Bible answers that all these are the responsibilities of the local church, are we free to ignore it in light of the status quo? Do we simply throw up our hands and admit that these things just won't work or do we take up our cross with courage, believing in the justice of our cause? May God help us to embrace our identity as the church of the living God!
FIC | Family Integrated Church
We are a Family Integrated Church, which simply put; is a church family that is absent of the common age-based ministries. CRBC was established to integrate, not segregate. The Bible, not tradition, is clear about who is "called" to disciple children - parents. We believe the modern day youth ministry failures work against God's plan for discipleship in the church.
HOW? WHEN? WHERE?
We teach parents to evangelize and disciple their children and their neighbors through hospitality (opening up their homes to their neighbors), family worship, catechism and discipleship. Instead of placing the burden on "paid professionals," to do the "worth of the ministry," we equip the saints to do it, as the Bible clearly demonstrates is God's will for the church. Jesus said, "A pupil is not above his teacher, but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40). Brethren, whoever educates a child is discipling that child. We encourage parents to take an active role in helping their children make Biblical choices and use Biblical discernment regarding education whether their children are home-schooled, attend a Christian school or public school. While we cannot win life's race by running out of it with our heads in the sand, we can be salt and light as Christian teachers, students, and parents and win some to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:22) no matter where we find ourselves.
Characteristics of a Family Integrated Church
At CRBC, families are the center of discipleship. Psalm 78, Deuteronomy 6, and Ephesians 6 confirm the Biblical description of families - not classes, not programs, and not even pastors. That places Christian families as the center of spiritual training of children and young people. While age integration is our conviction, FIC is not our banner nor do we desire to be known as "the family church." Our conviction is to promote a Biblical foundation and source for the equipping and encouraging of believers with the Word of God. We are not choir-centered, pastor-centered, or program-centered. CRBC is Christ-centered as He alone is our hope. We believe that as we sit as His feet to hear His voice; we should do so together, not segrated by age groups, but as a family - the family of God.