So.....What Is A "Reformed" Baptist?
Since this is such a nuanced question I will start by saying much of what I have to say is from my own point of view (as read in Scripture) as to what I associate with the word "reformed". The Reformed Baptist Theological Review has a very good article that you can read here. I am not saying that I agree with everything that they have come to conclude (especially their conclusion about the Lord's Day) but I especially like their emphasis on the Second London Baptist Confessional.
So what do I consider a "Reformed Baptist"? For starters my definition will be different from that of many others. I praise God that I am a Baptist, who holds to the Scriptural teaching of immersion of the believer, the priesthood of the believer, and the inerrancy of Scripture to name a few. But when we think of the word "reformed" there is always some negative connotations that come to many traditionalists minds. The first would be the sprinkling of infants. Though many of the early Reformers held to this practice it was not the main premise of the Reformation. So what was the main premise of the Reformation? Most would agree - Luther's conclusion on Justification by Faith along with Scripture alone (sola Scriptura) being all sufficient and totally authoritative regarding all faith and practice (as opposed to Rome's view of the Church being the final authority). Also, as you read the writings of Calvin and some post-Reformers like that of Edwards you find a strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God in all things - including conversion. Their emphasis went far beyond a mere intellectual agreement with some facts that concluded with a formulated prayer, rather they held to the notion that man was utterly fallen and completely unable to understand, receive, or comperehend the Good News of the Gospel outside of the working of the Holy Spirit - Eph. 2:9 - "not as a result of works" - NASB I Cor. 1:30 - "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus". Do we hold to these truths as essential - I certainly hope so. So, in essence, many of us would be "reformed" in regards to the main premise of the Reformation.
Gene Edward Veith in the edited book "Here We Stand" said it brilliantly when he concluded that the main battle today in evangelicalism is not the "secondary issues" that many have squabbled over for so long. He stated:
Veith hit the nail right on the head with that synopsis of modern day evangelicalism. Are we really fighting for the Gospel that our Lord entrusted us with? Do we cling to God's sovereignty in all things and completely trust His character and Word? Do we hold to the exclusivity of the Gospel as being the only way to redemption? These are all things the Reformers held to very dearly. So if you answered yes to those questions, then I would have a strong persuasion that you are a "reformed" Baptist or one that is reforming. I do not think that I am a Baptist because of my eschatology or view on Israel's future fulfillment in Scripture. I also do not consider myself "reformed" because of a persuasion concerning infant baptism (of which I do not hold to). Rather, I would like to consider myself a Baptist who is constantly reforming into the image of Christ!