It suddenly dawned on me two days ago why the Reformers were so hostile to the Anabaptists, and why the various Confessions repudiate both Rome and the Anabaptists. The Anabaptists are even further away from the right view of justification by faith alone than Rome. Yes, that’s right, the Bible believing Anabaptists and their heirs the Baptists and Evangelicals have corrupted sola fide far more than the Pope ever has.
Now that I have your attention, for those that are still here, this is the reason, from a recovering evangelical and Baptist.
For Martin Luther, the Father of justification by faith, a man accounted an apostle by John Calvin, justification was inseparable from baptism. To the last one left reading, it is because baptism is the usual mode of delivery for the remission of sins, the sacramental means of grace. The controversy against Rome was that it undervalued and degraded the gift of justification given in baptism. Justification is a full, perfect, and sufficient pardon and remission of all of our sins, past, present, and future, for those that believe.
By selling indulgences the implication is that the Christian man only has a partial remission, or, a remission that endures only a little while before needing topping-up and refreshment. In other words our justification given in baptism is deficient, and Christ has fooled us by giving us a deficient pardon that must be added to by the works of the Church and the individual himself.
The Bible teaches us, in utter opposition to that, that our justification is for the whole of our lives, to those who do not fall away.
The Baptists take their corruption of sola fide to a far greater extreme. They deny that our baptism as infants is baptism at all, and they deny that we received anything remotely like a full pardon in it. They take away completely what God has given, and say to baptized Christian people that they are outside of Christ and outside of his kingdom, that their churches are not truly churches at all.
At least the Pope did not take away the name of Christian from the baptized, and deny utterly their justification. Compared to the Anabaptists he is a moderate. He merely said that it was deficient, not that it did not exist at all.
The Baptists tell baptized Christians that they may not enter into membership of the Baptist’s churches, or eat the Supper, until and unless they have been submerged as conscious believers, and that justification is unrelated to baptism except by pure coincidence.
Therefore the Nicene Creed is wrong to assert that we acknowledge one baptism FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, and the Apostle Peter must get true learning and doctrine from the submariners, and amend his misleading teaching that baptism into Christ is for the remission of sins, and the Apostle Paul wrote confusingly by saying that all who have been baptized were baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection and newness of life.
Applying this to the present furore within Reformed and Evangelical circles about the Federal Vision, it now becomes clear that those who are persecuting the FV men for corrupting full justification by faith alone are, in fact, the real heretics, because they are, almost to a man, baptistic in their theology and deny that justification is imparted and conveyed in baptism.
They are Anabaptists who deny the justification of the justified, who demand and require a mystical conversion experience, or a decision of some kind, IN ADDITION to simple faith and baptism.