What We Believe
Questions and Answers: What Do Primitive Baptists Believe?
Excerpts from the book, Questions and Answers: What Do Primitive Baptists Believe?
by Elder Charles Taylor.
by Elder Charles Taylor.
A Brief History of Primitive Baptists
To understand our history you must know the proper meaning of the word PRIMITIVE as it denominates the Baptists. According to Webster's Dictionary, Primitive describes that which is "of, or existing in the earliest time or ages; original." So to understand what the Original (Primitive) Baptists believe you must discover what Baptists believed from the very beginning. As you study the questions and answers addressed in this book, you will begin to understand the doctrines and practices to which the majority of Baptists subscribed before the period 1828-1842. We believe the Original Baptist teachings are identical to the doctrinal beliefs held by Primitive Baptists today.
There was a major division among the Baptist churches during the period from 1828-1842. Up until that time the majority of Baptists stood together on doctrinal beliefs. Unrest sprang up in some quarters because of differing opinions on the true meaning of such subjects as particular redemption, election, effectual calling. Some Baptist ministers began to preach that eternal salvation was based on a general atonement and was offered to every man of the Adamic race and every man was given a free will to exercise in determining his final abode. Mission boards began to be formed to send men to preach the gospel as a means of salvation. Those who held the views of general atonement providing only the opportunity for salvation, based on man's acceptance of an offer of salvation were first known as New School Baptists but later took the name Missionary Baptists. The beliefs these Baptists hold are referred too as Arminian beliefs, because they subscribed to the doctrinal teachings of James Arminius, a staunch opponent of John Calvin. Those who remained faithful in the Bible's teaching of the Sovereign Grace of God were first known as Old School Baptists and later became known as Primitive Baptists.
They held to the original teachings of Ephesians 1:4-11; Romans 8:28-31.Our Articles of Faith include The Three-Oneness of God; His Self-Existence and Sovereignty; The Total Depravity of the Natural Man; The Eternal, Personal; Unconditional Election of all the members of the body of Christ; The Special and Definiteness of the Atonement; The necessity of a Spiritual Birth in order to worship God in Spirit and in Truth; The Sovereign and Efficacious Operation of Divine Grace upon all the Vessels of Mercy; and the Baptism of Believers by Immersion. According to historical records, Dr. John Clark, a physician, constituted the first Baptist church in America in the year 1638 at Newport, Rhode Island. The first Baptist association in America was organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1707.This all means nothing to the individual except the Holy Spirit reveals Christ in you the hope of glory. Then and only then will you find yourself in the believer's ranks. What is the basic difference between Primitive Baptists and other religious societies?
The basic difference is that Primitive Baptists believe in salvation by grace. There are really only two positions that a person can have on this matter. One is that salvation is by grace, and the other is that salvation is by works. It cannot be a combination of both. The salvation under consideration is what Scripture calls eternal life. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5: 24). Jesus proceeds in the next passages to speak of two resurrections. Verse 25 speaks of the dead in trespasses and sins hearing the voice of Jesus and coming forth to everlasting life. These are the same dead referred to in Ephesians 2:1. We know that nothing short of God's Grace is able to raise the dead. A person may say that he believes in salvation by grace, but if he sets forth any act of man's will, such as repentance, faith, baptism, or hearing the gospel as a condition for obtaining it, then this position must be put on the works side. Primitive Baptist believe that salvation is of the Lord, that it is by His grace, and nothing needs to be added to it. We do believe that good works accompany eternal salvation. This is sometimes termed works salvation. It is very simple to believe that the dead cannot perform any work. It is only when a person becomes alive that works begin. This work does include repentance, faith, baptism, and hearing the gospel. These works are not done in order to obtain salvation; rather, they are done because of salvation. This is the main difference! Most other religious orders believe there is something the individual must do in order to be saved. We believe the work of saving is entirely God's gracious act rendered out of pure love. Paul told the Philippian brethren to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do according to His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12-b, 13). With God being in us, it is He, after all who is doing the good work. He will get the glory, and honor, and praise. Let us give to God that which is due His high and holy name. Salvation is not an offer! It is an assurance to all who were given to Jesus Christ by the Father (See John 6:37).
What do Primitive Baptists believe about the fall of man?
The Bible teaches that Adam willfully transgressed the law of God and therefore plunged himself and his posterity into a state of guilt and corruption. (Rom. 5:12-14). Paul wrote to Timothy that "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression"(1 Tim. 2:14). The word deceive means to make a person believe what is not true; to mislead. This bears out the above statement: Adam being fully knowledgeable of the judgment of God willingly partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam seemed to be the responsible party to this act. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:16, 17). However, Gen. 3:1-3 shows that Eve was also knowledgeable of God's decree. She was deceived by believing the serpent who told her, "Ye shall not surely die" (Verse 4). Further, the serpent told Eve their eyes would be opened and "Ye shall be as gods." When she said "that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." Here are the three categories into which every sin fits and which have plagued humanity since that fall: appetite, pleasure, and wisdom. Satan deceived the woman, but Adam was not deceived! He ate knowing full well the consequences. You may ask if there are any who are exempt from this fall? "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude (likeness) of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come" (Rom. 5:14). The whole Adamic race was in the loins of Adam when he sinned. Therefore: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23), also "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). This death is explained in Ephesians 2:1: "For you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Natural death is a separation from all things including the senses of touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste. Primitive Baptists further believe that it is impossible for man to recover himself from this state of sin into which he has fallen. We simply cannot reach out to any object to take hold of it because we are dead. So it is spiritually; we have not the ability to reach out to God. We are separated from Him because of sin making us dead to God. "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:11-12). Man is totally depraved. The corruption extends to every part and faculty of his being. Man cannot recover himself from this state into which he has fallen. He must be given life in order to move!
How do Primitive Baptists support their view of Unconditional Election?
Primitive Baptists believe that just as God had a covenant people which He chose out of the seed of Abraham, He also has a covenant people chosen in Christ Jesus. Unconditional election signifies that God chose a people in Christ and that choosing was not conditioned on any good which they would do. But, he determined their final condition based on what Jesus Christ would do for them. Let us study carefully some passages found in Ephesians chapter 1: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world..." The word chosen in the Greek is eklegomai. It is made up of two primary Greek words: 1) ek; a primary preposition denoting origin (the point from where and when motion or action proceeds); from out of place, time or cause; literally of figuratively, direct or remote. 2) lego; to lay forth, i.e. relate in words usually of systematic or set discourse. From these two Greek words we find the word chosen denotes that God from out of place, time, or cause did lay forth a systematic or set plan for our Salvation. Ephesians 1:4 gives us a divine expression by God concerning our election, or choosing us to glory. If indeed this was from before the foundation of the world (and it was), then it could not be because of any good thing in us. But, being chosen in Christ, our Salvation is based upon His righteousness being substituted for our lack of righteousness.There was also a purpose for this systematic, or set way: "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph. 1:4-b). We could never stand before Him justified in our lost and ruined condition inherited from our first father, Adam. Being dead in the ruins of sin, we were unable to do anything. If we were to ever be made holy and without blame, the doing of it must be a condition met in Jesus Christ. Therefore, God unconditionally elected a people and gave them to Christ. He further determined that these same people would be holy and without blame before Him in love. Some people say election is not fair! But what if God had chosen to leave you in a condition of eternal separation? (This was God's sovereign right). Would this be fair?
That system which sets anyone in a state of righteousness is said to be by grace which is called unmerited favor. Someone has asked the question, "What do you do with the passage found in II Peter 1:10?" This certainly merits our attention. "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence..." If this were the end of the statement, without any qualifications, then it would seem that something must be done on our part to assure this election! But we find the writer did not end the passage upon these words. He added, "...for if you do these things, ye shall never fall" (verse 11). "For so and entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." The phrase "...for if ye do these things..." refers to the former verses 5-7. "Add to your faith..." We notice that faith is presupposed! "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it (faith) is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). If we have faith already existing, we are born of God. By adding to this faith, we assure ourselves that we are chosen (elected) of God. Otherwise, grace would have ceased and works would be the means instead of the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. One more passage before leaving this question. Paul wrote to the brethren at Thessalonica: "knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God" (1 Thess. 1:4). Again, we are pointed forward to find the qualification for this knowledge: "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, But also in power and the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance, as ye know what manner of men we among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples (examples) to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia" (1 Thess. 1:5-7). These brethren were fulfilling that grand purpose stated in Ephesians 1:4-b: "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Only this adding to faith and practicing a holy walk before men by example will assure us of our election. But let the word of God again stress the fact that when we find these things abounding in ourselves, we have already received the effects of election. This is called unconditional election. May God establish this in your heart and minds. Only this will give you joy and peace through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
What is the position (belief) of Primitive Baptists on Predestination?
The teaching of Scripture is that God has chosen a great number of people and predestinated (predetermined) them to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28-30). While some may object to this doctrine because they say it is unfair, Primitive Baptist rejoice in it. They see that except for predestination, the whole human family would have been doomed forever. Predestination is not that which condemns a man or places him in a ruined condition, but it is the very way in which he is removed from such a state. Predestination does not deal with what (things) but with whom (people). It is the great purpose of God to lift a people up from sin and corruption and make them like unto Jesus Christ. That is glorious!" For whom he (God) did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son." Two words here need our attention! 1) Foreknow is made up of two words: fore and know. The word fore (pre) indicates a former time. The word know as given by Webster (when used in a Biblical or legal usage) means "to have sexual intercourse with. v.i. 1. to have knowledge. 2. to be sure, informed, or aware." 2) Predestinate is again two words: pre (before), and destine (determine). So when we put the two words together, it simply means to determine something beforehand. Therefore, the application of Romans 8:29; God determined beforehand that we would be conformed to the image of His Son. "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27). That image was righteousness and true holiness. Upon the disobedience of Adam that image was forfeited or lost. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. Through Him, we regained that image. His righteousness was imputed again to those who were given Him in the covenant of grace. Paul tells us to "...put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:22-24). "If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him" (I John 2:29). And "...he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous" (I John 3:7-b). Even so, God has predestinated that we should again have that image which was lost in the fall. "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (I Cor. 15:47-49). Isn't it wonderful that God not only foreknew us, but also predestined us that we would rise in His likeness, His image of righteousness, and true holiness? We shall be like Him, for we shall know Him as He is.
Predestination is not spoken of in the Bible as being on the negative side. i.e., God did not predestinate any to Hell. When all died in Adam, all were then vessels fitted to destruction (Rom. 9:22-24). As has already been stated in the question on unconditional election, God, out of mercy, elected to bring some from the state of death unto life: "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)..." (Eph. 2:4-5). Those vessels fitted to destruction willingly and willfully continue on that path. God does not force them in that way. They are alive and free in the area of sin but are dead unto the things of God. Before caring for the things of God, the individual must be given life. God is active in that area! Now to consider predestination in this light, we see God in a special, loving relationship with those whom He chose in Christ Jesus our Lord. He is the Alpha and the Omega. To Him be all honor, glory, and praise for ever and ever. Amen.
Didn't Jesus die for the whole human race?
This question, like many others, could be answered with a short, compact statement which would be sufficient for those who are taught the truth of God's sovereign grace. Jesus said that He came into the world to do the will of His Father, and this being that He should have all (the elect) who were given Him before the world began (John 6:37-39). Jesus came to save His people from their sins and certainly he accomplished that (Matt. 1:21; Rom. 8:33, 34). He died for His sheep (John 10:15). He died for sons, for the sanctified, for the brethren, for the church, and for the children (Heb. 2:9-15). He saw the travail of His soul and was satisfied (Isa. 53:10-12). However, for the benefit of those who for some reason or another have not been instructed in the truths of God's sovereignty and grace, we will let the Holy Scriptures speak. Listen to the words of Jesus: "Marvel not at this: [Jesus had been speaking of those who are spiritually raised from the dead state of nature] for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28-29). This is commonly referred to as being the general resurrection and is the same as that spoken of in I Thess. 4:13-17 and also in I Cor. 15:50-55. However, the proof text which answers this question is found in the wording of John 5:29b "...they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." The wording of this phrase could result in a misunderstanding of the true meaning of salvation by grace. To some who believe in a work's doctrine, the stress would be put on "...they that have done evil." However, scripture proves scripture! The reason for anyone doing evil is based upon the doctrine of total depravity. Paul explains it best in these words: "Wherein in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind: and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others" (Eph. 2:2-3). The term by nature, is that human nature in which we were all clothed by natural birth. Except that nature be changed in regeneration, there is no hope for any of Adam's posterity. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)" (Eph. 2:4-5). Out of all of Adam's posterity God chose to redeem and save some for eternity through the effectual work of Jesus. (Please read Eph. 1:4; John 6:37-39; Matt. 1:21;Rom. 8:33-34; John 10:15.) Jesus said to some: "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do" (John 8:43-44b). Pray over these things! If Jesus died for all persons, then without exception, all shall be in heaven! He did not fail in anything which was determined for Him to do! We will be discussing this further in answering the question, Do Primitive Baptists deny that Christ died for the world?.
Do Primitive Baptists deny that Christ died for the world? (This is known as the doctrine of General Atonement.)
Primitive Baptists do not believe in the doctrine of General Atonement. To do so would be to deny all of the above scriptures which declare that Christ died for a particular people who were given Him before time began. He did not fail in one thing! We repeat again: If Jesus died for all persons, then without exception, all shall be in heaven! However, we know this will not be the case. This would embrace the doctrine of universalism which states that none shall be lost eternally. The doctrine of General Atonement simply puts the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ without strength. It teaches that salvation is only an offer. If this be the case, it leaves no alternative except to believe that Jesus died for some whom He is not able to save. "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." (Isa. 53:10-11a). This alone justifies the words of Jesus on the cross when He cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30). He had finished the work of redemption for the sins of His people. (See Rom. 8:28-33.)"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation" (II Cor. 5:17-19). The Greek word for world as used in this passage was Kosmos, and meant "...an orderly arrangement." We could never be reconciled (made friendly) to God without an orderly arrangement. This arrangement was not made as an afterthought. It was planned by God before the world began and pertained to a particular people who are called the elect (those chosen in Christ). This sheds a brighter light on the words spoken by Jesus to Nicodemus: "For God sent not his Son into the world (Kosmos) to condemn the world (Kosmos); but that the world (Kosmos) through him might be saved" (John 3:17). Jesus came among God's own people to pay the sin debt for them.They, along with the whole of humanity, were already condemned by the sin of Adam! So Jesus Came to "...save his people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). "He that believeth (present tense) on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18). Only those who were reconciled unto God were those for whom Christ died. They are the world of God's elect.
How do you know that all of the elect will respond to the call of the Spirit?
This is what is known as the doctrine of effectual calling. Paul addressed this subject clearly in his epistle to the Roman Church. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified" (Rom. 8:29-30). All of this is spoken of as if it had already been done. The terminology is placed as past tense. This all took place in eternity before time began. God is the only one who is able to speak of things not yet done, as though they had already been accomplished. What God has determined cannot be annulled. He changes not! "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isa. 46:9-10). He foreknew all whom he will call. The revealed intention of God is that all of these shall be conformed to the image of His son. That final image will only be completed at the final resurrection. Then we shall rise in His likeness. No one would deny that the resurrection call is effectual (John 5:28-29). We will then be completely free from sin and be transformed into the righteousness and true holiness of Jesus Christ. God's calling is also effectual in time to those whom He chooses to bring out of darkness into His marvelous light. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). Jesus is saying that His will and the Father's will is in complete harmony. Peter also testified to this: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Pet 2:9).To those who would seek to find inconsistencies in God's word by pointing to the Jews whom God also called, we will only say, "You have not rightly divided the word." "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day" (Rom. 11:7-8). The apostle Paul begins the chapter by saying, "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew" (Rom 11:1-2a) He continues in this great purpose of God: "For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" (Rom. 11:15). Paul places a finality on the doubting minds of men by saying, "As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom. 11:28-29). If these disobedient Jews were beloved at any time, they are still beloved! God's will shall be done in the army of heaven and among inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, "What doest thou?" Satan is continuously striving to disprove the greatness and love of our sovereign God. Yet, he can never prove that God has either failed or that He has changed. God is effectual in all His works and ways! This includes His calling. In time and in eternity the vessels of mercy whom He hath afore prepared unto glory do answer Him.
Do you not then teach that some might want salvation, but can not have it because they are not one of the elect?
I suppose this question will have to be first dealt with by asking a question in return: Who is it that is endowed with the ability to have a desire? Certainly the dead have no desires! This is a simple deduction. Then it must be one who is alive that has the ability to desire anything. Therefore, if any person desires salvation, it is an evidence of life! "...except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3b). To desire to be in the kingdom surely indicates that one has seen the beauty of that kingdom and believes it does exist. "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24b). Furthermore, a person does not pass from death unto life spiritually except that he is one of God's elect. Again, I ask you to read Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4-9. We could close the subject here and it will be believed by the spiritual person who thinks rationally concerning God's work in salvation. The person who desires to have salvation—already has it, but like Nicodemus, that one does not understand the ramifications of God's plan. Like the rich young ruler who came to Jesus, one needs to be told what to do in order to enter into life.Let us examine the other element of Adam's race. First, they are termed them that perish. Speaking of hearing the gospel: "the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness" (1 Cor. 1:18). We know there is only one group of people to which this could apply: the unsaved, those dead in trespasses and sins! To this group the word of God means nothing! It is foolishness to them! Only after God has dealt with man spiritually, does he change his mind about the word of God. The natural mind can learn the wisdom of the world, but cannot discern the wisdom of God in Spiritual things. These are called "...vessels of wrath fitted to destruction..." (Rom. 9:22). Man in his natural state is dead in sins and is already in a perishing condition. In this condition he does not desire salvation. Only that one who is born of God has the desire of Salvation. This knowledge alone brings peace.
Why do you preach if you are already sure that all of the Elect are going to be saved in Heaven?
The Scripture tells us that the gospel is good news. It is good news because it reveals what God has done for us through Jesus Christ our Lord. "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins" (Isa. 40:1-2). The word double used in this passage is kaphal in the Hebrew and means "...to fold so as to put out of sight." This comfort is a prophecy concerning the coming Messiah. If you continue on through verse 3, it prophesies of John the Baptist. This is the gospel which declares that instead of receiving a double portion of punishment, heavenly Jerusalem has had her sin-debt hid from sight by the blood of Jesus Christ. There are two other passages which use the word double: (First) Isaiah 61:7 which is speaking of the bringing in of the Gentiles, "For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them." (Second) Zechariah 9:12 (again speaking of the King riding upon an ass having salvation): "Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee." The word for double used in both of these passages is Misneh' and translated document. Isaiah 40:2, 61:7, and Zechariah 9:12 together, say that God hath folded the document which declared us guilty! Then some would ask why Primitive Baptists preach the wonderful gospel of good news? This is what the quickened sinner desires to hear! The Apostle Paul surely was right when he declared, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:16-17 ).Ephesians 4:11-16 gives a clear definition for the purpose of preaching the gospel. (Prophets and Apostles) "For the perfecting of the saints; (Evangelists) for the work of the ministry; (Pastors and Teachers) for the edifying of the body of Christ: (purpose?) That ye henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Verses 12, 14, 15). The gospel gives growth to the body by the edifying of itself in love. This is why Primitive Baptists preach! The beloved doctrines of Grace are the only words that will bring the Children of God unto perfection. When they learn what God did for them they eat and grow in knowledge.
Don't you believe that the preaching of the gospel is God's ordained means of bringing eternal salvation to the sinner?
The purpose of preaching has already been discussed in the foregoing Question, "Why do you preach if you are already sure that all of the Elect are going to be saved in Heaven?". We do not believe that the preaching of the gospel is God's ordained means of quickening sinners to eternal life. It seems that the Apostle Paul's letter to Timothy answers the question fully. He was speaking of God, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (II Tim. 1:10). This is clear that eternal salvation was given us by God through Jesus Christ who abolished death. Also it is clear that the gospel was the means by which the light shined on the life (salvation) which was given through Jesus Christ our Saviour.Next, let us examine John 3:6-8. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Here we find the natural man and the Spiritual. The natural is first and then the Spiritual. So Jesus said to Nicodemus, "...Ye must be born again." The natural man knows nothing except by the spirit of nature. In order to see the kingdom of God it was necessary for Nicodemus to have that change from nature (see verse 3). Then Jesus compared the Spirit with the Wind, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." Jesus preached the gospel to Nicodemus. But before He preached we hear Nicodemus confessing, "...Rabbi (or Master), we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." (John 3:2). When it is seen in this light, verse 3 is clarified and can be classed as a statement rather than setting a condition. The point is that the natural spirit in Nicodemus could never discern the things of God. So his eyes must have been spiritually open before confessing that Jesus came from God. Therefore, the preached word did not give life; life preceded action! Let us go to the words of Jesus at another time and to some who did not believe. At Capernaum Jesus was speaking to some who had been fed natural food and were still following Him. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled" (John 6:26b). Then He spoke of meat which perisheth and meat which endureth unto eternal life, "...which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:27b-29). Regeneration gives eternal Salvation. Deaf ears do not hear the gospel.
If preaching the gospel is not God's ordained means of bringing eternal salvation to the sinner, how then do you explain I Corinthians 1:21 and other passages like it?
The text reads, "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Please notice that the one saved by the gospel is already a believer! The text does not say, "to save them that will believe." This would put it in the future tense. It simply keeps it in the present tense by saying, "them that believe." Let us go back and put things in proper perspective. "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness…" (1 Cor. 1:18a). One who is a present believer is not the same as them that perish. These last to whom the preaching of the cross is foolishness cannot and will not hear the gospel to their saving! "…but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" This flows so gently into the text (verse 21) until it would be foolish not to understand, "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Until those who take the gospel to be foolishness are regenerated (born again), they will never receive the gospel message. How then, can the preaching of the gospel be God's ordained means of bringing eternal salvation to the dead alien sinner? "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (I Cor 2:11). May God open the hearts of those who are confused.
Why do Primitive Baptists Not Send Out Missionaries?
Please read 2 Tim. 1:9-10 for two important facts: (1) Speaking of what God has done, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, (2) which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:" The question as to why Primitive Baptists do not send out missionaries, really must be answered with a question: What is the purpose of sending missionaries? If the answer is to save souls for heaven, I believe the above Scripture states that God hath saved (given eternal life), and only those who are saved are able to respond to the message of Christ being preached. If the answer is to make disciples of those who God has given life, then every Primitive Baptist preacher is a missionary, or to use the Biblical term, an evangelist. If a poor sinner has hearing ears, then that person has already passed from death unto life and shall not come into condemnation eternally. (Please study Eph. 1:4-6; 2:1-8).Primitive Baptists believe stronger than most that the gospel should be preached. We also believe in going wherever the Holy Spirit leads rather than being sent by a mission board. The purpose of preaching the gospel has already been stated in this lesson, but let us go further. "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" (Eph. 4:11-14). Nothing is said in these verses about saving souls for Heaven! It all declares that every office mentioned here is for the purpose of edifying the body of Christ! One of the most moving sermons preached by the Apostle Paul was to the elders whom he summoned from Ephesus as he journeyed to Jerusalem. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). We believe that preachers' appointments are made by God.We find recorded in Acts chapter 8 an account of Philip being in Samaria. Stephen had been stoned to death and a man named Saul had consented to his death. Saul made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women he committed them to prison. Therefore, the Twelve were scattered abroad and went everywhere preaching the word. Philip had great success in Samaria and the people gave heed to the things preached. Verse 26 begins with an angel appearing and telling Philip to go down into the desert. Philip obeyed and was led to a man of Ethiopia. He was told to get into the chariot and he obeyed! The Ethiopian was reading from Isaiah, "he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth" (Isa. 53:7). Philip began there and preached unto him Jesus. Philip did not make a child of God; rather he preached the gospel of good news to one whose heart the Lord had opened. By all standards Philip would not have been sent by a modern mission board. He had just recently been chosen as one of the seven deacons. His name was first on the list. He probably would have been chairman of this board of deacons. Nothing has been said about him being called into the ministry. We can see where a decision by the Mission Board to send Philip on this mission would have conflicted with policy making. But contrary to the ways of men, God made a way for His higher purpose for Philip's life. The preaching of Philip had fallen on hearing ears and the eunuch went on his way rejoicing.We do find in the book of Acts where certain men had been sent out by the church at Antioch. The church acted under the auspices of the Holy Ghost. "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia" (Acts 13:2b-4). Although the church at Antioch sent them, they did not direct them as to where they were to preach. They went wherever they were directed by the Holy Ghost. Great success was given them.We find these same men later going and strengthening the churches. "And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5). We continue to follow those men of God in the early church, and they ever prove the fact that they did not save one soul for eternity. However, they preached to those whom God had quickened and the direction of their lives were changed. They were saved to the church kingdom. The gospel surely did shine a light on that which God had already done. They were gathered into the assembly of the saints.Primitive Baptists do not support foreign mission boards, but we will support men of God who forsake houses and lands, father and mother, home and loved ones in order to preach the gospel to poor sinners who have been quickened to life by the Holy Spirit and have their ears opened to hear the good news of what Jesus had done for them! Those who are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1) have not the faculties to act and therefore, cannot have the desire. LET US GIVE THE GLORY TO GOD! He will not share His glory with another! "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Cor 1:21). We can readily see those who are believers are the only ones who understand this wisdom of God. Evangelism will never make a child of God! But preaching will bring children from darkness to light.
Why are your ministers called Elder?
We often hear the word Reverend applied to one who is a preacher. This is not a Biblical name for man who is made of flesh and blood. The name reverend is used only one time in the Bible. (Psa. 111:9) "He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name" (Psa. 111:9). This certainly is not speaking of man! No man can redeem one soul from hell. How dare this name be used in reference to man even though he be sent to preach the word of God. The answer given is from I Tim. 5:17 "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." There has been much debate on what ministers should be called. There are other words used in the New Testament which denote the ministers which were recognized in the early church, one of which is Bishop. Paul writes, "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:" (Phil. 1:1). Paul tells Titus to ordain elders in every city "as I had appointed thee" (Titus 1:5). In verse 7 he calls these same elders also bishops. Their purpose: "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may by sound doctrine both to be able to exhort and convince the gainsayers" (Verse 9). In I Peter 5:1; they are called elders. Peter tells us they are not to be lords over God's heritage. They are to be examples to the flock. Paul exhorted the elders to feed the flock of God over which the Holy Ghost "...hath made you overseers." They are to feed the church of God which he has purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28).They are also called preachers. "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?…" (Rom. 10:14-15a). In other places they are called ministers. Paul explains that a ruler (one set over the word) is the minister of God to them for good. "For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing" (Rom. 13:6). In all these places the terms used above are synonymous. Nevertheless, they speak of one who is sent to tend the flock of God and preach the word rightly.
Are Primitive Baptists Protestants?
The true church of Jesus Christ was established before the religious institutions of men bearing the name Christian came into being and has been somewhere in the world since that time. The true church was in existence long before the Protestant Reformation, so it cannot really be called a Protestant Church. Hassell's Church History states twelve characteristics of the Apostolic Church. We will deal with some of the more evident characteristics which set us apart from Protestantism.(1) They believed in a Regenerated membership. This is one of the general beliefs of most denominations. Primitive Baptists need proof of our stand. We believe that in order to act upon the proposition of Salvation, the New Birth (regeneration) must take place. John 1:13: "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Certainly this is self-explanatory to the rational mind. Regeneration is a prerequisite of Repentance, Acceptance, Baptism, or any other act which brings us into the will of God.(2) They believed in a baptized membership. Baptism, is from the Greek word baptizo, "meaning to put into or under water, so as to entirely submerge or immerse." It never means pouring or sprinkling. Until the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, there were people known as Montanists, Tertulianists, Waldenses, Albigenses, United Brethren of Bohemia, and Lollards; who were known as Ana-Baptists (or re-baptizers) because they did not acknowledge the scripturalness or validity of infant baptism, and therefore, baptized those who joined them on a profession of faith. The first authorization, by a Roman Catholic Council was made at the Ravenna Council, 1311, for the substitution of sprinkling or pouring for baptism. They left it to the choice of the officiating minister. Concerning infant baptism: (Hassell's Church History, page 271) "For since in these very young children baptism could not be a profession of personal faith, it could only lead the masses to suppose that it acted as a charm, and that the child was more safe in case of death, a view carefully cherished by the clergy. Thus arose the belief that all, even infants, dying without baptism, would be lost: The first known instance of the baptism (sprinkling) of infants of even one day old, was A.D. 256 in North Africa. These ideas slowly and gradually pervaded the ‘church', so states the historian Neander. (Page 451 Elder Hassell's Church History). In accordance with all recorded history, especially the Bible (the written word of God), Primitive Baptists stand where the Apostolic Church stood on the question of baptism."(3) The Lord's Supper. According to the record of the Scriptures, those who were baptized believers came often around the Table of the Lord, and commemorated the sufferings and death of their precious Redeemer, and used common wine to represent His blood shed for them. The two practices of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, or Communion, were called ordinances of the Church. These were strictly observed. Only those people who were regularly baptized were admitted to the Table of the Lord to partake of the Bread and Wine. Acts 2:46 records these as "...continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart" Acts 20:7 tells us that Paul and the Apostles came together to break bread. The Church is also admonished not to admit those who were guilty of some sins: "...if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat" (I Cor. 5:11b). Paul admonished each one to examine himself before partaking of the Lord's Supper (I Cor. 11:26-34). In some religious congregations infants and/or unregenerated persons are allowed to take Communion. This was clearly forbidden in the early Apostolic Church. This is not practiced by true Primitive Baptists. This practice is another mark which sets us apart from protestant bodies. If others desire to rebel against God's commandments, that is their privilege. However, it does not mean that God approves of these practices.(5) The independent or congregational polity or government of each local body, subject only to the headship of Christ. This has been the cause of much error. When there is a ruling body over a number of churches, it violates the rights of the individual body. Primitive Baptists have always taken the standard of the autonomy of each church congregation as being supreme under God. Too much power can be ruinous.(6) The complete separation of Church and State. [This was the cause of much of the persecution of the early Church by Rome.](11) The sending forth of the ministry by the Holy Spirit, and their going wherever the Lord directed.Upon examination of the other marks of the Apostolic Church, it is self-evident that Primitive Baptists stand upon the precepts taught throughout the New Testament. Some of the other characteristics will be discussed as we proceed through the questions with which we intend to deal.
What do Primitive Baptists believe about Biblical giving?
In order to answer this question properly we need to see: (1) What does God's Word say about Biblical giving? (2) Is this still in effect today? In finding the answer to Biblical giving, let us go back to God's dealing under the Old Testament. The first giving to God that we find in the Bible is Cain bringing of the fruit of the ground and Abel bringing the firstlings of his flock and their offering them unto God (Gen. 4:3-4). Very early in the history of man, there has been the idea of giving from those who were mindful of God's mercy. This giving came to be called offerings. When Noah came forth from the Ark, he took from the clean beasts and clean fowls and built an altar where he offered them unto God. "And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake..." (Gen. 8:21a). God was pleased with this offering or giving. During the lifetimes of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob they offered from time to time sacrifices to God. As the law had not yet been given, these were for the most part free-will offerings to God. It was not until the law was given to Moses that a certain amount was required by God. Let us look at one exception. We find that a specified amount was mentioned in Gen. 14:20 when Abraham met Melchisedec as he returned from the rescue of Lot: "...and he gave him tithes of all." This is mentioned in the book of Hebrews 7:1-2: "To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all" This man who followed God by faith practiced giving and tithing even before the law was given.Leviticus 27:30 gives what is called the law of the tithes: "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD." (Being holy simply meant it was set aside for the Lord). "The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God..." (Ex. 23:19a). Of the animals which were brought to the Lord, they were to bring the first of the flock. These were to be without blemish or spot. (God gave His only begotten Son for us). Why should we offer to Him only that which is left over? Many people say this was under the law! They say it is no longer required for we are under the liberty of Grace! THINK!!! Abraham paid tithes in Melchisedec before the law was given! He gave through faith! "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all..." (Rom. 4:16).Let us look at what God teaches in the New Testament. Is this tithing still in effect today? Jesus admonished the Scribes and Pharisees in this way: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done [tithe of your mint, anise, cummin], and not to leave the other [judgement, mercy and faith ], undone" (Matt. 23:23). According to the teaching of Jesus, they were not excused from giving a tenth of their material things. Paul wrote, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come" (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Also "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not" (2 Cor. 8:12). Not only are we not excused in withholding from God in our tithes and offerings, Divine Scripture gives us a rule to be used in our giving. We are to lay this aside on the first day of the week (Sunday) according to how God has prospered us! Many times God's people accuse God of not providing. This accusation is often shown in the form of our giving! The flesh says, "I am not able." God says, "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (II Cor. 9:6-7).
What does the Bible say about the support of the ministry?
God's Word is specific in instructing the congregation as well as giving instructions to the minister (Elder). "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward" (I Tim. 5:17-18). There are three thoughts in this passage: (1) The congregation is not to withhold from the Elder a portion of their harvest; (2) The Elder is admonished to apply himself so as to obtain the greatest yield from his labors; (3) That which is received by the minister (Elder) is called a reward. Great salaries (so-called) have sometimes persuaded the minister to covet the congregation which paid the most. When these teachings are kept in proper perspective, God will bless both congregation and minister. Paul wrote many things to the Church at Corinth because they lacked in understanding. "Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel" (I Cor. 9:13-14). Paul continues by saying he has not used these things lest the gospel becomes a thing of boasting on their part. (Please read I Corinthians 9 entirely).Lastly, Paul admonishes Timothy concerning preaching on this subject: "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (I Tim. 6:17-19). The rich young ruler who came to Jesus was told what he must do in order to enter into life. He had kept the law (so he thought), yet he had not been willing to communicate or distribute to the poor. He was a covetous man who trusted in material things. As we answer the question as to what Primitive Baptists believe about Biblical giving, we dare not stop short of Scriptural teaching. Neither do we dare go beyond what God's Word teaches us. May we ever endeavor to follow these teachings trustingly and God will make us able.
Is it true that Primitive Baptists participate in washing feet at communion?
It would be sufficient just to say yes and go to the next question. My reason for making this statement is that many have a watered down answer which they believe to be scriptural. It has been stated by many that this did not mean a literal washing. They say it can be done by giving something to the needy and hungry. There are others who say this was done because of their feet being tired and also being dirty from wearing sandals. These reasons are neither scriptural nor logical.(1) As to giving to the needy and hungry, Jesus first provided these things before this night of nights. He fed thousands on two different occasions. He taught by precept and word the blessedness of giving. He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, caused the deaf to hear, among many other things for those who were in need. After having done all of this, "He poured water into a basin, girded Himself with a towel and began to wash the disciples feet and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded" (John 13:5). If this carried the meaning of simply doing another good deed, why did not our Saviour just remind them again to continue in these things?(2) As to the idea of washing their feet because of tiredness or being dirty from wearing sandals, this is simply a fabrication. Certainly, it was a custom of hospitality that was done during this period. Satan is deceitful enough to use something which is feasible in order to deceive those who consider it beneath their dignity to wash their brother's or sister's feet. This certainly sounds logical! But let us ask the question, "Why were not their feet washed as they entered the room? Or, certainly before eating supper?" Instead, it was after supper that this was done! "He (Jesus) riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself" (John 13:4). We need to be careful lest we belittle the intentions of our Lord in our striving to justify our fleshly desires to remain in the bracket of the worldly wise.After Jesus had finished washing their feet he sat down and began to talk to them. He said, "Know ye what I have done to you?" (John 13:12b). This is needful yet today. We need to strive to understand why Jesus did certain things. In understanding we will find ourselves more and more fashioning our lives to conform with His. Jesus told them, "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you" (John 13:13-15) The example, as explained by Jesus, was to show humility: "The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him" (John 13:16b). He also said that "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." There is happiness found in imitating the life of Jesus.Let us look at another phase of this passage. Peter asked a question which is very revealing. "Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter" (John 13:6-7). He was speaking of a later day when Peter would need this lesson. Then Peter made one of his famous rash statements: "Thou shalt never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." What an humbling statement this was for Peter. He loved the Lord and became very humble and willing for not only his feet to be washed, but his hands and head also. Peter did not want to be put away from fellowship with Jesus. Obedience would be needed when they were left to carry out the work of the kingdom to which Jesus had appointed them. A failure to be obedient now would continue to be a pattern in the lives of these whose work was very important. To fail in this part would mean failure in a more important part. When preaching the gospel and teaching the things of the kingdom would put their lives in danger, they would need to be obedient and believing that protection comes from the Lord. If obedience to the washing of feet could not be observed, what would be the outcome when they must stand before kings and the Gentiles? Does this have anything to do with our lives? Certainly it does! Cowardice can become a pattern in our lives just as living on the edge between falsehood and truth can become a pattern. So will obedience become a pattern when practiced in small things. When greater tasks become our lot in life, the muscles of obedience which were exercised in small things will cause us to continue in faithfulness. Jesus was saying to Peter, "If you do not carry on in this part, I cannot use you in times when obedience is of the essence." Jesus was looking to other times when boldness would be needed by these Apostles. We find the first of this recorded in the book of Acts. "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice..." (Acts 2:14). Among those who had followed Jesus throughout this time, Peter was the first to be obedient to the Holy Ghost. The sermon which followed was so convicting that at the end Jews who had been foremost in the persecution of Jesus cried out to Peter and the rest of the Apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). This was the beginning of that part to which Jesus was referring on that last night before going to the cross.One other thing of distinction which we need to observe before ending this answer. If we knew that we were speaking to our loved ones for the last time, would we not speak of things which we felt would be of great importance in their lives? Jesus loved us far greater than we are able to love our family and friends. I believe He spoke of things which would be of importance to their carrying on the work to which they were appointed. By participating in the Last Supper, it was important that they understood that this was to show forth His death and suffering until He comes again. In the washing of the feet, He showed that humility was very important in the lives of servants who carry on the Master's work. Obedience is very important if we are to be faithful to Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. If there is no humility nor faithfulness in our lives, we certainly have no part with Jesus. He will not use us in His kingdom's work. Our lives will be void of the joy and happiness which is to be found in Him. Peter realized what this darkened side of life would be without Jesus. He cried out in the greatest act of obedience, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." Let us know of a surety, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." May God bless us in obedience to do whatever Jesus commands us to do.
Do Primitive Baptists actually believe they are the only ones going to Heaven?
While it may be that this view has been misconstrued by someone who did not have proper understanding, it has never been the Biblical view of Primitive Baptist teaching. There have been different views drawn because of interpretation of God's Word. Each view may have been drawn by individuals who desired to justify a particular human belief. If the view stated in the question is held by any who call themselves Primitive Baptists, it is because of ignorance. They have either failed to study God's word or willfully and with prejudiced minds misinterpreted [and/or with malice aforethought misrepresented. skb] it. There are also those who through ignorance reject the doctrines of sovereign grace and have gathered such things which they think justify their darkened minds and hearts. We need to measure our beliefs by God's Holy Word! Jesus told the Pharisees to "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). Also, we are told that Scripture is sure; "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:20-21). If an interpretation is to be made either pro or con, we must be careful that the same Holy Ghost who moved holy men to write it also moves us to the right interpretation of God's meaning."After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter" (Rev. 4:1). The scene which follows describes the praise to God who sat on the throne, (ch. 1:2-11). As we continue we hear a new song which declares, "for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;" (Rev. 5:9). "and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;" (Rev 5:11 (KJV). Some might say this was not Heaven, but only heavenly places. Regardless of this (which does not change God's word), we will have to admit they were all redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. If they were redeemed, they shall be in the eternal glory of Heaven! I ask you the question, "Does this mean that all of these countless millions were Primitive Baptists on earth?" Preposterous! There are people in our own country who have never heard of Primitive Baptists. So we refer to the statement made by the one who composed these questions. "One's doctrinal views or church affiliation has nothing to do with his eternal destiny." In order to further examine what the Scriptures say about our eternal destiny, let us look at the Question, "H2>Doesn't the belief that your destiny is in the hands of God and that you can do nothing about it cause you a great amount of anxiety?". Answering this question will help us understand that it is not whether you are a Primitive Baptist or of some other religious order. However, understanding what Primitive Baptists believe should direct your church affiliation. To know the truth and stay in error is sin!
Doesn't the belief that your destiny is in the hands of God and that you can do nothing about it cause you a great amount of anxiety?
No! On the contrary: Just to know that God cares about His elect people gives rest and peace to the soul. When one understands rightly the doctrine of total depravity and that condition being our state when we are born into this world, it is a comfort to know that only God can change that condition. Our destiny would have been Hell had God not changed that destiny! "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonor?" (Rom. 9:20-21). Man was made of clay, and unless God mold that lump into a vessel unto honor, our destiny is forever doomed. "What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?" Rom. 9:22-24). It does not take any imagination to find the truth declared concerning our destiny in the above message from God! Verse 23c tells us that the vessels of mercy were before prepared unto glory. If this be the case, it was not an afterthought on God's part. The destiny of His elect people was a well-planned affair!Paul writes in the Ephesian letter that God the Father chose us in Christ the Son before the foundation of the world. He declared at that time that we would be holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 1:4). Verse 5 tells us that he predestinated us (pre-determined our destiny) to be adopted as children by Jesus Christ to Himself all because of His good pleasure! He has made us accepted in the beloved Son (Verse 6). We are told, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" (Eph. 2:4-5). At that time we were without hope, and without God in the world, but now we are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13-14).There are many things which could be said in answer to this question. However, in conclusion, let us go to the words of Jesus Himself. "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:39-40). After all this proof of the sovereign work of God who saw all things and predetermined that His elect would be with Him in Glory should we be anxious about where we will spend eternity? NEVER! We should just feel abundant peace!
For what purpose were the Scriptures written?
Someone has said, "The Scriptures are meant as a blueprint to show us how to get to Heaven." For a number of reasons this is not a true statement. First of all, Paul wrote to Timothy advising him to continue in the things which he had learned. "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 3:15). Paul continued by saying, "...it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness..." Rather than being a blueprint to show us the way to get to Heaven, it is the inspired word of God telling us how we should conduct our lives here on the earth. The Scriptures will throughly (thoroughly) furnish us unto all good works. For every situation, or trial in our lives, there is a solution to be found in God's inspired word.Scripture says: "for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so, [meaning by the same reasoning] the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (I Cor. 2:10-11). Jesus told us, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come" (John 16:13). In conclusion to these things concerning the purpose of the written word, we are brought to the knowledge of the impossibility of understanding the written word without the Holy Spirit being our interpreter. So, therefore, it is to instruct the child of God in doctrine and righteousness. The written word was not intended to give life, nor was it intended to be used as a road map to Heaven.Is the word the means by which we are born again?
In order to answer this question we need to know the difference between causes and effects! Understanding the written word does not cause one to be born again. However, understanding the written word is the effect of being born again! This word is not the same as The Word when spoken of in the Bible. EXAMPLE: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). The word here is not capitalized and is referring to the written word. On the other hand, John wrote: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). This Word is speaking of Jesus Christ. He is the only Saviour of men! If this then be true, the written word has no power to save in the eternal sense. However, we do believe there is deliverance (saving) through the written word. When rightly understood, it will deliver (save) us from error in this life. There is nothing better for the child of God to study than the written word of God. There is no other book to which we can turn that will speak to the heart things which God intended us to know by way of instruction. The word of the Gospel is good news to that one who is laboring under the load of sin and guilt. Conviction of sin is proof of life.Let us look at some other passages concerning the purpose of the written word. "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (I Cor. 10:11). Paul is speaking of sins committed by the children of Israel. He is instructing us (upon whom the ends of the world are come) that we will be saved from destruction by refraining from the same sins. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope" (Rom. 15:4).Jesus used the written word in combating the temptations of Satan while in the wilderness. "It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God...for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Luke 4:4, 8). By prophecies which were written, Jesus was revealed to those who were looking for His appearance on earth. "As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" (Luke 3:4). There are many, many more references which prove the purpose for the written word of God. However, the written word will never save us for Heaven, but it will save us from evil things which confront us everyday of our lives. So let us study to show ourselves approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth, "...for it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Tim. 3:16, 17). In order to understand this word we must first be born again! Understanding is the effect of being born again, not the cause!
Do Primitive Baptists believe in preaching the gospel to sinners?
Yes! In fact, the only people in the world interested in the gospel of grace are poor, needy sinners. A person must be made sensible to sin by the Holy Spirit. A person must be born again in order to receive the gospel message. Jesus was criticized by the Pharisees as He sat down to eat with Publicans and sinners. "And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:31-32). Paul wrote to the Corinthian brethren saying, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Cor. 2:14). In the prayer of thanks from Jesus to the Father, He thanked God that these things were hid from the wise and prudent, and were revealed unto babes. "...I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight" (Matt. 11:25b-26). The idea projected by many religious orders is that God uses the Gospel to quicken (give life) to those classed as sinners. The words of Paul to Timothy states that God hath "...brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:" (II Tim. 1:10b). The purpose of the offices of the Gospel is for the perfecting of the saints; for the edifying of the body of Christ, so that we might grow in knowledge of Christ and His Church (Eph. 4:11-16). A sinner is one who has been made knowledgeable of his sins. One who is dead in trespasses and sins will never see himself as a sinner without the giving of life. As those who are quickened to life, Primitive Baptists strive to follow in the steps of Jesus: we strive to recognize those so quickened that we might preach to them the Gospel of their salvation.
Do Primitive Baptists call upon men to repent and believe?
Yes, the burdened sinner ought to repent and believe the truth. This is the only way in which he will ever find relief from his burdens and find peace to his soul. Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). In coming to Jesus in repentance, the sinner is told the steps to take in order to fulfill all righteousness. This counseling of the Gospel (when followed) will save him from the distress felt, and it will save him from error and confusion. This is the context of Paul's admonition to the Church at Rome: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9). (Please continue reading the remainder of Rom. 10.) Verse 16 of this passage reveals that "But they have not all obeyed the gospel..." And verse 17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." The above is a modifying clause based upon faith (or believing) that Jesus Christ is the answer to all the needs from that of Eph. 2:8. It is that faith exercised! It carries the same meaning as Paul's admonition to the Roman Church of not being ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. "for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith (of Eph. 2:8) to faith: (that which is exercised)" (Rom. 1:16-17). Again we are reminded of the saving involved in believing and obeying: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). Also on the day of Pentecost, they were told to repent and be baptized. "...Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ..." "And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation" (Acts 2:38, 40). This was not meant to convey the idea of an eternal saving, but rather, saving themselves from the error of a generation that was in rebellion against God. In discussion of this question you will be led into other Scriptures which will lock together the truths of God's word. There can be no peace to the sinner except he repent and believe the good news of the Gospel proclamation. We are saved for Heaven by the grace of God in regeneration! We are saved from error by repenting of our sins and believing, not only on Jesus, but in Jesus as our only hope. This was the message of John the Baptist, it was the message of Christ in His first sermon, and it is the message of Primitive Baptists. We call upon quickened sinners to repent and believe!
Where did the Primitive Baptists get their name?
The true Church has been known by several different names since Christ set it up during His earthly ministry. In centuries past those who made up the Gospel Church have been known by the names of Christians, Donatists, Waldenses, Albigenses, Ana-Baptists, and others. The following statements were taken from Church History by C. B. and Sylvester Hassell, pp. 335-336. "The earliest Confession of Faith denominated Baptist was published in Switzerland in 1527." "In 1633 the first Particular or Predestinarian Baptist Church was formed in London, and in 1639 another; and in 1644 there were seven of these churches in London, and they then published a predestinarian Confession of Faith. In 1656 sixteen churches in Somerset and the adjoining counties published a similar Confession. In 1677 and in 1688, and again in 1689, was published the fullest and most esteemed Baptist Confession of Faith, in 1689 the ministers and messengers of above a hundred churches in England and Wales meeting in London for that purpose, and, as they say in their prologue, 'denying Arminianism.' This Confession is published in this volume [Hassell's Church History], and adopts, on the subject of predestination, the strong language of the Westminster (the most esteemed Presbyterian) Confession. The great majority of Baptists in England and America (those called the Particular Baptists in England, and those called Regular or Calvinistic or 'Missionary' Baptists in America) still profess to adhere to this old London Confession." "...from 1633 to the present time (1886) the most of those called Baptists have professed to be Predestinarians.""The first Baptist Missionary Society was formed in Kettering, England, Oct. 2, 1792. Andrew Fuller was chosen and remained its secretary till his death, traveling almost continually through the British Isles, and pleading for the mission cause, and charging the society nothing for his services" (Page 341, Hassell's Church History). "Mr. Fuller admitted these views were different from those held by the Baptists during the most of the eighteenth century. His views were essentially the declaration of the Roman Council of Trent which state that Divine commands necessarily imply human ability just as though man had never fallen" (Page 339, Hassell's Church History). Andrew Fuller and William Carey are considered to be the fathers of Missionary Baptists. Around the year 1832 there was a division in the Baptist family in America. Those who insisted on establishing mission boards, and other unscriptural societies in the church became know as the New School or Missionary Baptists. Those who continued to walk in the old paths were known as Old School or Primitive Baptists. The word Primitive simply means: "of early times; of long ago; first of the kind; very simple; original." The name was more or less interpreted by many as meaning that we were backward and ignorant. It was placed upon us by those who wanted to improve on the things taught by the Holy Scriptures. It is the sincere desire of this writer that all who are interested in the truths of God's word will study prayerfully the explanations to the twenty-four questions and that you will measure this exhaustively with all other references to which you will be led in your study. It is my belief that when you have exhausted every avenue of God's word that you will have a solid background for our belief of what the word teaches. The name of Primitive Baptist is not the most important thing! Rather than this, it is the doctrine of God's word. May God open your minds and hearts to the embracing of this doctrine.