Most young Christians, the Young, Restless, and Reformed, and many other young people, are heading into the Reformed school of thought. This is a good thing. But as they enter they are usually unaware of what "Reformed" actually means. Some think that holding to Calvinism makes one "Reformed." Some think that holding to the "5 Solas" makes on Reformed. Those things, and others, are important aspects of Reformed Theology, but they do not form the basis of Reformed Theology. And at it's core, "Reformed" means that one holds to one of the Confessions which underpin Covenant Theology, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith (for Presbyterians) or the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith (for Baptists).
However, what many don't realize is that there are 3 forms of Covenant Theology?
There is actually a Covenant Theology for Presbyterians, a different form of CT for Baptists, and a third, which is a mix of the Presbyterian and Baptist forms.
1. Westminster Covenant Theology
2. 1689 Federalism
3. A freakish blend of 1 and 2. It is sometimes referred to as 20th century Baptist Covenant Theology.
In the video below I'll try to adequately describe all of the views for you, so that you can begin to understand what being Reformed is and why the difference between Presbyterians and Baptists has nothing to do with Baptism, but everything to do with the way they view the Mosiac Covenant vs. the New Covenant. (The Abrahamic Covenant is of great importance as well, but I'll save that for another day)
I seek to study well and confirm all positions before I speak about one. I want to bring correct and unbiased views when I present information. However, every time I put forth someone's theological position, they respond by saying, "that's not a correct representation of the position." Additionally, within each view there are sub-groups which may vary on various aspects. So for the record, I'm posting links so that each position may be able to speak for itself.
The major points that I'm trying to get across are
1. Presbyterianism = One Covenant of Grace with Two administrations (the Mosaic vs. the New)
2. 20th Century RB = One Covenant of Grace with two administrations (with the exception of infant baptism)
3. 1689 Federalism = Two distinct covenants (Mosaic and New; the New being the Covenant of Grace)
The first link connects to the Westminster Confession which posits that there is only one covenant and two administrations.
The second link is from the blog of Brandon Adams who is a scholar and a man of understanding who specializes in 1689 Federalism (as well as all other Reformed topics), and is more than adequate and qualified to communicate what 1689 Federalism (this Historical Baptist view) teaches. Clearly, the 1689 view rejects the Presbyterian view and sees two completely different covenants.
The third link is again from Brandon Adams who contrasts the 1689 Baptist view with the 20 Century Baptist view.
The forth link is posted at Brandon Adam's blog but is an argument from Sam Renihan against the 20 Century view and for the Historic 1689 view.
For more information, www.1689federalism.com is a great source.
Link 1: The Westminster/Presbyterian view posits one covenant and two administrations (paragraph 5 and 6)
Link 2: The 1689 Reformed Baptist View rejects the Presbyterian view of one covenant of Grace with with two administrations
Link 3: The most popular view of the 20th century is the freakish blend of view 1 and 2.
Link 4: A 1689 Federalist seeks to correct a 20th Century Baptist View of Covenant Theology