I am starting to see that in the so called ‘reformed’ rank and file, there are different strains:
Those who think they are reformed but yet are Arminian in their theology. They may pick through some of the tenets of Calvinism and agree with one or two items. They like John MacArthur or Paul Washer type preachers. They may be reforming in their theology, but not quite there yet. All of us started somewhere-I was saved in an Arminian setting. In their reforming, they still may yet refuse to denounce Arminianism as heresy. Most of these people are by and large, credo baptist. They are not confessional, per se. They do not have any polity to speak of. They are independent. They are dispensational. They hold to synergistic salvation.
There is the ‘particular’ credo baptist who ultimately kidnaps the term ‘Reformed’, not really understanding it’s historic meaning. This group holds to many of the reformed tenets, excluding paedo baptism and Presbyterian polity. They generally hold to the London Baptist Confession. I attended a ‘Particular’ baptist congregation earlier in my walk, prior to my coming to the understanding of covenant. These people are fervent for the Lord. They have baptistic polity and in their realm of Christianity, it works for them; this is not to say that this is what God wants, per se, but for the moment, God uses it as He reveals more truth to this group. Like myself, there is only one truth and in God’s perfect timing, he will reveal truth. Eschatologically, most are amillenial, but there are some dispy’s in the movement.
Then there are the liberal Presbyterians; these aren’t much different from the ‘particulars’ except, by default they are Presbyterian, paedo baptist and subscribe to Presbyterian polity, but have no idea what it really means. Many churches have people in their rank and file who treat the local institution as it were a civil rotary club. They cannot help it, ultimately. Reverence and awe are from above. This group subscribes to the WCF, reservedly and see it as a document only. They do not truly acknowledge it for what it is. Granted, it is not inspired. However, the WCF is probably only second to the scriptures in it’s useful worth to the people of God on earth. In regards to music in worship, they sing Hymns primarily w/ some Psalms. Even though the confession calls for Psalm singing, they sing man made, uninspired songs. They are normative in their approach to the Regulative Principle. They are not really familiar with what ‘covenant’ implies and means and have difficulty applying it to the life of the church and their personal walks. Eschatologically, they are generally amil or post mil; many are dispensational.
Then there are the Covenanters. Most of these hold the scriptures in a higher view than the others. They are high church people. They are confessional without reservations. They hold to a strict sabbath day and do not celebrate any man made holidays in the Church of God. They are Psalm singers in corporate worship and outwardly denounce any types of man made songs, that they are unfit for use in the worship of God. They believe wine should be used in the Lord’s Supper. These people see the church of Christ local as their families; they pray together often and share in their trials and tribulations. This is not to say the other groups do not do this, surely they may; but it is not of the same mentality. Eschatologically, these are amil or post mil. None are dispensational. They are paedobaptist. They are Presbyterian by polity. Generally a 2 office system for leadership.