Friday, January 18, 2013

Light Under a Bushel: A word or two on Primitive Baptists

As a serious Christian, it is my duty to God and also my duty before men to rightly divide the Scriptures and to preach the word both in and out of season. Whether or not its mainstream, popular, or in the world's definition "thriving" I still need to uphold it. After careful study of Scriptural beliefs and the denominational summaries accordingly, I found myself at the doorway of the Primitive Baptist Church. A little historical background is that we were always the rebellious ones refusing to go with the winds of change brought into the dwelling place of God that is found in mainstream churches. We refused Constantine and his corrupt Alexandrian text for a Bible that was hand picked by many. Next we rejected the Roman Church for addition of popes, priests, cardinals, musical instruments, and infant baptism. As many maintream Baptists today, we practice believers baptism and baptism by immersion. We've gone by many names in the span of our existence, such as Donatists, Novatians, Paulicans, Albigeneses, etc. the most common being Anabaptist. Now if you were to look up people by these names now, they would have disagreements with us, but these are labels our people no longer identify by for the most part. Life didnt begin in the 21st century people. In the 1830's, there was a split in the Baptist Church regarding foreign mission work. The New Baptists were those who supported the idea, and we, the Old Baptists, were once again reticent and refused. Despite popular belief, this doesnt mean we oppose preaching the gospel. We are still very aware of the command in Mark 16 and the reprisals throughout Scripture on preaching the gospel to every creature. Yet the motives that other denominations have, that those in foreign lands would not get to heaven if our preaching didnt get there, is what we oppose. God did a perfect work in choosing his people from before the foundation of the world and Jesus Christ, a perfect Savior, did a perfect work of redemption without any means of man. You might turn around and ask "What's the point of preaching if everyone is already chosen?" Simply, it's to educate the children of God of their salvation that they may have the hope of Christ here as they live on earth. So you have that historical blip in which we now assume the name "Primitive" Baptists, which means original or first rather than the modern connotation of backwards. This history could go either way on being profitable or not, and maybe other denominations have more, but thats my best understanding of our story. We PB's believe in a perfect Savior who died to redeem all of his people from every kindred tribe tongue and nation. We support the doctrines of grace, that is that man is completely separate from God via the fall of Adam and cannot be reconciled to God, that God chose a portion of mankind (many not few) from before the foundation of the world, that his grace truly is irresistible, and that God will PRESERVE all his sheep, differentiating from Perseverance which is also dependent on man. In our practice, we follow that we believe to be the New Testament example. Most of our churches do not have worship accompanied by musical instruments of any kind and instead the congregation rises up with one voice and makes a melody in their heart to the Lord by the singing of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Unlike many denominations, we typically do not offer such programs as Sunday School, Youth Group, or any other groups segregated by age, gender, marital status, or any other identity that is unique about an individual child of God. Instead, everyone congregates together in an integrated fashion in one place and teach and admonish one another. Likewise, parents are firmly given their scriptural duty to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Our elders are trained, yet not on a collegiate level. There is scarcely a man of God called to preach in our churches that has participated in "seminary". Our mode of choosing pastors is that a man from the congregation (and yes, no female preachers) expresses his desire to preach and begins speaking at his home church and local churches until it is decided that he is to be ordained by the laying on of hands by a presbytery, which in my best definition, is a group of elders. I realize a lot of what is said here is unique and uncommon and may stir questions and discussions, and I am open to that. Yet many my try to yell and scream at me about being too, well, "primitive" in my approach, which not be ugly but that can often be interpreted as having little support for your own position. Just my humble opinion.

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