Embracing My BaptiCalviMethoCostalism

I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church. In adulthood I adopted a more Reformed approach to Theology. Right after college I married a beautiful charismatic girl named Jessica Lee. We currently attend a United Methodist fellowship together as a family of four.

I guess you could call me a BaptiCalviMethiCostal. That is, if labels mean anything (I don’t believe they mean much).

Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the different streams of tradition that all end up converging at the same cross. Across the Christian spectrum, there may be many different inclinations towards modes of baptism, communion, and church government. Yet there is also unity in this traditional diversity, just as there is unity in diversity in the very nature of God. Most all Protestant denominations (and many Catholic streams too) grip most tight the same basic doctrines as essential:

Sinfulness of man, Deity of Christ (Trinity), Salvation only through His cross, His physical resurrection, Inerrancy of Scripture, etc.

I always admired the historical friendship of Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. Both men were prominent revivalists during America’s First Great Awakening. Both men were involved in public doctrinal debates during this time, especially over the biblical doctrine of predestination. They were on polar opposite sides of the theological spectrum on some issues. Many believe this strained their longtime friendship, but not if you look at their own words towards the end:

Around this time of controversy, Whitefield was asked this question, “Do you expect to see John Wesley in Heaven?”

“No,” was his reply.

But then Whitefield continued, “John Wesley will be so close to the Throne of Glory, and I will be so far away, I will hardly get a glimpse of him.”

Whitefield died in 1770. Wesley was the primary speaker at his funeral. He shared these words about his friend, George Whitefield, from the pulpit:

“Have we read or heard of any person since the Apostles, who testified the gospel of the grace of God through so widely extended a space, through so large a part of the habitable world? Have we read or heard of any person who called so many thousands, so many myriads, of sinners to repentance? Above all, have we read or heard of any who has been a blessed instrument in His hand of bringing so many sinners from “darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God?”

There are real traditional distinctives that shouldn’t necessarily be ignored. But there is a greater truth still that unites all manner of sinful men under the same banner of the slain Lamb of God.

So it is with me.

I’m sure there will be many brethren from the Lutheran, Anglican, Charismatic, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist persuasion and more that I will never see in heaven because of their close proximity to the throne. And if I only currently open my eyes I may also see leaders in those same diverse traditions who preach with bold apostolic fervor the gospel of grace and power in Christ.

So I embrace my BaptiCalviMethoCostalism. There is enough room for all of these and many more at the foot of that one horrible and wonderful cross.

Bryan Daniels

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

45 thoughts on “Embracing My BaptiCalviMethoCostalism”

  1. I wrote about this a while back. I get all mixed up when I think about denomination. I am currently callying myself an “accidental baptist.” Had I known it was a southern baptist church I would not have tried it, but dang if I don’t seriously meet Jesus there. I have elected for simply “Jesus Lover” and am considering getting it tatooed on to myself as a thirtieth birthday present.

    http://accidentaldevotional.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/jesus-lover/

  2. Love this. My 2 favorite parts: “Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the different streams of tradition that all end up converging at the same cross.” and “There is enough room for all of these and many more at the foot of that one horrible and wonderful cross.” I feel the same way. I hate all the different denominations. I hate getting asked which one I am because I don’t really have an answer. I usually just reply, “I love Jesus.” I grew up Southern Baptist but never felt comfortable there. I’ve tried Anglican, Assemblies of God, Open Bible and now Non-Denominational. My answer is still the same though. I love Jesus.

  3. Thanks for sharing this post today, and especially the quotes from Wesley and Whitefield. I got saved into a charismatic / non-denominational church, but a few years later in Bible College, was introduced to many different streams of Christianity, and came to embrace the doctrines of grace espoused by one of my favourite authors – the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon.
    Since then, I have come to a great understanding of and appreciation for the greater body of Christ. I am now pastoring in a Foursquare Gospel Church (a pentecostal denomination) that adopted Augustine’s creed, which I have also embraced. He said:
    “In essentials, unity.
    In non-essentials, liberty.
    In all things, charity (Christian love).”
    If we take this approach, I think we can learn a lot from one another!
    Blessings to you and your readers today Bryan…

    1. The problem is of course who decides what the essentials are. Annihilationism and women ordination come to mind. Some see these are no big deal, some will die on theses respective hills.

  4. Reblogged this on New Life and commented:
    St. Augustine said that when it comes to the doctrines of the Christian faith: “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity (Christian love).” I pray that you’ll be blessed and challenged by this blog from “Chief of the Least” today…

  5. I often wish we didn’t have to have the labels. Couldn’t we all be “The Way” as in the NT and it all be simpler? My 12yo will ask me, “Are Catholics christians?” (just an example). Some are some aren’t. Not every person sitting in the pew of my beloved Baptist church is a Christian. Sometimes things just get too complicated.

  6. I loved this post. I always tell people that my wife and I had a RomanBaptiCostal wedding! She grew up Roman Catholic, received Christ at an Evangelical coffeehouse, and became a part of the Catholic Charismatic Movement in the 70’s. I grew up Italian Pentecostal and met her in a Conservative Baptist Campus Ministry. We then worked in AG and independent charismatic churches. Now we pastor a Southern Baptist church. It’s amazing how God simply ignores our labels to accomplish His goals. We need to follow His lead.

  7. Spot on! Right on the mark! Hit the nail on the head! If I could think of a few more expletives I’d add them. God doesn’t care about all the nonsense (!) that separates denominations. There’s just one thing…and you said it plainly several times in this post. The “grace of the Gospel and the power in Christ”. Adding the Whitfield/Wesley quotes was good!
    Well done again!
    ~streim~

  8. I’m less concerned about members of ‘other’ denominations who are doing what God commands than I am about the members of my own church who look into a mirror and turn away, immediately forgetting what they look like. (James 1:22-25)

  9. I love what a former professor of mine said. 2 Things: 1) “These are just different regiments in the same army” and 2) “When Jesus comes back, he’s coming for a bride, not a harum. Somehow God is going to bring all these groups together.”

  10. I really appreciated this post. So often, we allow our disputable doctrinal differences to divide the Body of Christ rather than unite around the essentials. Blessings to you.

  11. As a Catho-Presby-Bapti-Costal, Like your approach! Would that we would be one as He and the Father are one!

  12. Really like that you used the Whitefield/Wesley example and didn’t just throw out the same ol’, “We should all get along” deal that gets thrown around far too trivially. Personally I like that there are Catholics and Charismatic Catholics. Progressive Baptists and Conservative Baptists. Even in our divisions there are divisions.

    I like it because it is a reminder to me that we’re all vastly different. That God is so infinite even billions of people seeking Him can’t fully grasp Him and agree upon who He is and how He acts over the course of thousands of years.

    It keeps me humble…and not in the nice, fun, gentle way. But in the I become judgmental, and it is often then I am reminded through God’s grace that I get it wrong often. And that we all do. All believers engage in life giving behavior and death oriented behavior. Willingly and unwillingly. We’re all beautifully imperfect that way.

    (Quick note: A friend of mine has convinced me, without trying to convince me, that living as a Christian isn’t about being right or wrong at all. It’s about life or death.)

    Enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Always wondered aboutyou lot. One god and at least 30,000 cults to worship him.
    And it is often suggested that atheists are confused.
    Hmmm, really?
    Go figure.
    Even your man god was critical of the divisions during his supposed brief tenure. And did you lot learn anything? Nope, not a freaking thing.

  14. Ha ha! Love this. I was born and raised Catholic, got saved into a nondenominational Navy chapel, returned to Catholicism for a time, played piano/organ and led music at various different churches through the years. I’ve been part of a lot of different ones. 🙂 I now attend a wonderful non-denominational church and I like it there very much. Wonderful blog…thanks!! 🙂

  15. I think people who are truly desiring to follow Christ and be holy as He is holy will care nothing for labels. Besides “My disciples”, even Jesus’ disciples were never given a label by Him! 🙂 My goal isn’t to find fellow Baptists or fellow Methodists or fellow [insert label here]; rather, my goal is to find fellow Christ-followers and Bible-believers, so I can build a support network of people who will encourage and hold me accountable to the path I *want* to walk, but often get lured away from.

    I wasn’t always like this, though. In fact, it was a very recent time that I pranced around with my non-denominational nametag as though being non-denominational was some holy, hidden secret to unity and everyone else was missing out. In reality, I hardly could have been more divisive! 6_6

    This was a good post. The core of it (loving your fellow Christ-follower in spite of different theologies) is something God is still working out in me but I am so grateful to be at the point in this process where I can see that He has brought me a looong way. 🙂

  16. Great post friend. I too share similar background. When people ask me what I believe I say Christian as according to Acts. Then they say what denomination I smile and saw a hybrid. Using your terminology I would be a baptipentareformist…scratch that baptipentareformologist sounds better : )

  17. Grew up Baptist, migrated to a Bible Church, married a Copt and now worship in a Anglican church. I’ve found all the Christian traditions enrich my faith as long as I stay Bible-focused.

  18. I’m a big Wesley fan, which is why my journey has led me to Methodism, and I respect and learn from other traditions because truth resides in the loving and merciful heart of God, not any particular faith tradition. Thanks for the helpful post.

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