ARE WE FAILING . . . . To Get the Point Across?
ARE WE FAILING.....
To Get the Point Across?
A Message against Apostasy by
Missionary-Evangelist Robert E. (Bob) Patenaude
(To "A People for His Name" Baptist Church, Lipa City, Philippines)
© Copyrighted 2003, 2006, by Robert Edgar Patenaude, as per United States Code, Title 17, Chapter 2, §201(a), §401(a-d) and H.R. 2589.EH, H.R. 2589.RFS
We often feel like we are failing in our ministry to get certain things across to, and understood by, the people whom it seems God has placed under our ministry. Recent discussions with some of the newer members of "A People for His Name" Baptist Church have evoked this message, which I am putting in print. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to follow this up in the pulpit, perhaps not, God knoweth.
I am praying that some more mature Christians in our congregation will take it upon themselves, as a ministry, to relay the contents of this message to those who may require explanations in Filipino. And I extend that prayer in hopes that this pamphlet (and other of our printed works) will be translated in their entirety into dialects of the people of the Philippines.
This is a message about the importance of fundamental truths and standards, and a caution against drifting into apostasy.
I, in my ministry, am engaged in an experiment regarding the application of Bible Truth and the effectual working that the word of God has in them that believe. I believe firmly that:
- 1. God is real. I knew much about Him from age three. I've known Him personally since (I was saved and became His child on) December 6, 1977.
- 2. God has not left Himself without witness (Acts 14:17).
- 3. God can be known and wants to be known (unlike the false Muslim god, 'Allah'). God wants to be known personally.
- 4. God gave His word to man by inspiration in written form (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; etc.). The first writing of God's words, as the Holy Ghost spake to the human writers, are called autographs; the actual originals.
- 5. God remained pro-interested and superintendent in the correct transmission of His words (not just His word in general) into the various common trade languages of men while those words were being copied from the autographs, by soul-winning Christians, through the first and second centuries. And God didn't just sit back and ignore, or hid His eyes, or lose interest in the copying of copies, or in the copying of yet subsequent copies. God remained the Superintendent of the preservation of His words to all generations. See Isaiah 59:19-21, where God promised that the words (individual words!) shall not depart out of the mouth of Jacob's seed until "the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob,..." That's the Second Advent! And see Jeremiah chapter 36 where God not only preserves His words in copies of a manuscript that is deliberately destroyed, but He is able to give addendum to His words in those copies.
- 6. God preserved His words to our generations (the end-time English-speaking generations) in one Book (the Scriptures), the Authorized King James Bible, 1611 (Psalm 12:6,7; Mathew 5:18; 24:35; etc.).
- 7. Every genuine believer-every child of God-has indwelling him or her the very same Holy Spirit Who authored and preserved the Scriptures (Romans 5:5; 8:9, 16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; 6:16; Ephesians 1:13,14; 1 John 2:27; 5:6,7,10; etc.). This is the Spirit of Truth Who preserved the Scriptures as was promised by all three Persons of the Godhead! We can therefore know God and know the things that are freely given and revealed by Him.
- 8. Since we have God's word in our hands, and since we have the Author indwelling our mortal temples, we can each of us be bone fide scholars of the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:15 through 4:4). God has given "evangelists...and pastors and teachers" to these generations of His children "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ:..." (Ephesians 4:11,12). Christians should be grateful for these men and accept them as the gifts of God that they are. Further the children of God should, themselves, by "giving all diligence" in reading of and meditation on the word...
...add to your faith virtue; And to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:5-8)
These are Biblical Christian graces or attributes that require no formal Bible college or seminary. The Christian can have knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ! And where the evangelist and pastors and teachers may be missing, or when they fail, ...
"...the anointing which ye have received of [the Father] abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
(1 John 2:27)
These words were not written just to preachers or those in ecclesiastical (that is, church) authority. This is not written only to the clergy. It is written to and is true of every genuine believer; the most common, the most simple, the youngest, the most feeble believer. And the verse is there, according to verse 26, "concerning them that seduce you." Christians do not have to be seduced by false teachers and antichrists!
So, genuine Christians have the Scriptures of Truth in their hands and the Spirit of Truth in their bosom. And from there we are observing the experiment, or the experiential outworking, of these truths. And they are TRUTHS. So when professing Christians don't read or study their Bibles, and don't even have a desire to read or study their Bibles, what are we to think? When professing Christians never pray and have no desire to pray, what are we to think? When professing Christians don't think it necessary to consistently hear preaching or Bible teaching when it is available for the edifying of the body of Christ, what are we to think? When professing Christians have no desire to be with other Christians in meetings for prayer and intercession for the saints, God's ministers, and for the work of God, then what are we to think? I will tell you what we do think. We think that there are many unsaved church members. We think that there are people on a religious carousel, just along for the ride, who have never been converted to Jesus Christ; never been regenerated (Titus 1:16; 3:5). That's exactly what we think, and know to be the case (2 Corinthians 13:5).
There are hoards of unsaved deceivers who study the Bible with the intent to subvert truth and turn away people from the faith (Proverbs 24:2; 2 Timothy 3:7-13; Acts 13:6-10; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). I mean that there are thousands of Satan's ministers who can quote from memory large portions of the Scriptures and who know quite well the general layout of the Bible, and who have vast reserves of theological expertise with every point annotated and outlined with verses from the Bible, and can produce a dazzling Powerpoint presentation. But they know not God and will go to Hell when they die! (see Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Peter 2:1-3; etc.) And there are also millions of members of churches that are supposed to be fundamental Bible-believing churches who don't ever study their Bible at all. They take cute religious sounding bumper stickers, T-shirts, jewelry, bookmarks and knick-knacks with more seriousness than the words of the living God in that Bible that is collecting dust on their bookshelf or coffee table.
And there are in fact people who hang around or attend our own church-"A People for His Name" Baptist Church in Lipa City-when they feel like it, or after someone pesters them to attend, or when they think they should attend before someone else comes to visit in their home, who should not be taken as genuine Christians. There are in fact people who occasionally pop in at our church to whom we should witness (that is, give them the Gospel) just as if they were people on the street with whom we are not acquainted. Their "salvation" should not be taken for granted. Their "testimony" should not be taken seriously They should not be called "Brother." Why are we kidding or deceiving ourselves?
Why are we deceiving unsaved church members or occasional attendees? Now someone will be offended at these words. Someone will retort, "But you don't know, Pastor Bob, if someone is saved or lost!" My reply is that neither do you know if such persons are saved, and therefore you should not give them a false hope in an effort merely to encourage them to attend the services. They should be encouraged to attend, but not by tickling their ears with a false hope with regard to their soul. If they act like unconverted lovers of this world (see 1 John 2:15-17), then please don't tell them that they are saved. In doing so, you could be in league with the devil himself in the blinding of their minds (2 Corinthians 4:3,4) and in further insulating them from facing their true need. The devil often uses Christians to lend false assurance to unsaved religious people.
Remember that church members are not saved just because they were led through a "sinner's prayer" at some point in their life. If we are dealing with a church member who exhibits no evidences of genuine conversion, then at no time should we refer to such a ritual performed in the past. Don't allow a person to continue to hope in some religious experience he or she may have had in the past, especially when, obviously, their present life shows no evidence that Christ is being formed in them by it (Galatians 4:19). The worldly or reproachful church member should be given the Gospel, plain and simple. See how they react to the truths of redemption. What appreciation do they have for the Cross-work of our Lord Jesus Christ? What does it invoke in their behavior? Salvation is not of works. It is all of grace (Ephesians 2:8, 9). There are, however, attributes of the "divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4) that manifest themselves somewhere, sometime, in the one possessing that divine nature. The divine nature is God's nature, and God Himself has ordained some things for the ones who have been saved by grace (see Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; 2:13; Titus 2:11-13; etc.).
And we should not neglect to mention that there are yet unconverted church members who appear pretty well like saved folks (as sinful man compares one with another, see 2 Corinthians 10:12 and Romans 2:15) but they are not saved. There are those who are very faithful in the services and activities of the church who are around simply because they don't want the shame of not being in church. They would be embarrassed to be questioned about non-attendance, so they attend. Some are regular because of fear. Some are regular because of family or friendships. To many, church is one kind of club or clan. Some are regular because of tradition. Some serve "in the oldness of the letter" (that is, legalistically, see Romans 10:1-4) and not "in newness of spirit." (Romans 7:6) There are those who serve for some reason other than being motivated by the Holy Spirit; the "divine nature."
Problems Which Arise When We Teach the
Doctrine of the Body of Christ
We teach both sides of the Church equation: (1.) the Church which is Christ's body (Ephesians 1:17-23; etc.) and (2.) the visible local church (1 Thessalonians 1:1; etc.). We don't believe that they are synonymous. We don't teach one and not the other. Both are present in the doctrine of the New Testament and they should be distinguished. They should be divided in teaching-rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15), and then the truths and precepts of both should be implemented
But there are problems when we teach these things. We are sometimes counted as some kind of liberals because we teach the unity of the Body of Christ. Those who count us as liberals, however, don't listen to all that we teach. We don't teach the unity (ecumenicity) of earthly churches or denominations or movements. Rather, we do teach what is called ecclesiastical separation. And when you teach Bible doctrine as strong as the Bible commands, people will separate from you! We do teach the historical and Biblical (but not nationalistic or traditional) distinctives of Baptist peoples, including that of autonomy. We do teach that there are local churches which are Biblical and which belong to the Lord, while there are other local "churches" which are devilishly counterfeit.
The Body of Christ is called the Church (Ephesians 1:22, 23; Colossians 1:18). We don't care if this gives a headache to every Baptist successionist or to every Baptist Brider on four continents. The Body of Christ is not the local church, nor is it any conglomeration or amalgamation of local churches either now or in the future. No grouping of local churches by any name or description will become the wife of Jesus Christ in the future. The entire number of regenerated children of God saved in this dispensation of Grace are spoken of as being espoused to one husband (2 Corinthians 11:2, 3), and not any humanly constituted earthly assemblage of people.
Yes, Second Corinthians (see 2 Corinthians 11:2, 3) was indeed written to the local assembly in Corinth. Those who would emphasize this would probably want you to know also that Colossians was written to the local church on Colosse. And that's true. We too want you to know that. It was to be read as well in the "Church of the Laodiceans," and a letter (one not preserved for us) from Laodicea was to be read by the Colossians (4:16). With that in mind, now read Colossians 3:1-4. Do those verses mean, then, that we are "risen with Christ" only if we are water baptized members of a local Baptist church? Do they mean that we "are dead and [our] life is hid with Christ in God" on the condition of being water baptized in the right kind of Baptist church? Do they mean "Christ...is our life" only if the church that administered water baptism to us is in the correct line of succession from Christ and the Apostles? Does Colossians 3:4 being written to a local church mean that "[we shall] also appear with [Christ] in glory" only if we are members of a visible local church-and that of the correct description? The answer to these questions is, of course, NO! Don't you see the mess in to which preachers get when they carry this local church mental conditioning to the exclusion of the Body of Christ of Ephesians chapters one and three?
The individual regenerated children of God in Corinth (yes they were also in a local church, as all believers should be), along with all individual regenerated children of God everywhere, in every period of the "dispensation of the grace of God" (Ephesians 3:2) have by Paul's Gospel ("my gospel" see Romans 2:16; 16:25 with 1 Corinthians 4:15; 9:17; Galatians 2:7; ) been "espoused...to one husband" that they and we may be presented "as a chaste virgin to Christ." This is conditioned upon being in Christ, not upon being a roll member of any earthly church.
The Body of Christ is a singular Church which is spiritual but literal (spiritual and literal are not opposites in Bible interpretation). The body of Christ is the organic unity with the Head, Christ, of all who have been placed in Him by a baptism performed unseen by the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:1-4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27; etc.). There is a spiritual baptism and a spiritual circumcision made without hands (Colossians 2:9-13) and therefore a spiritual Church of which God's children in this age are made members without the need or use of physical ordinances such as water baptism and communion. Study Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,17; 12:13-27; Ephesians 1:17-23; 2:16; 3:6-15; 4:3-16; 5:30; Colossians 1:18, 24; 2:17, 19; 3:15; etc.
Yes, whether we or our Baptist brethren like it or not, we share a unity in our Head, Christ, with genuine children of God in some Bible churches (that is, they are called "Such and Such Bible Church"), in some Presbyterian churches, in some Community churches, in some Plymouth Brethren (and other varieties of Brethren) assemblies, in some Congregational churches, in some "Evangelical" churches ("evangelical" was an earlier name in history for "fundamentalist," but now "evangelical" often indicates loose and liberal; without Biblical standards), in some unnamed Chinese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Kazakh and Russian house churches. And there might yet even be a saved Methodist, or Nazarene, or two. It's hard to figure in our day, but there could be. All truly Blood-washed, regenerated believers, including those who have never been baptized in water or been accepted in any way into a local assembly, share the same standing and position in Christ.
Some Baptists want you to believe that the saved in the "wrong" churches are in the "family of God" but not in the "bride" or in the "body." But the only reference they have for the "family of God" is Ephesians 3:15, which is in the context of the body of Christ. The phrase "whole family in heaven and earth" describes that aspect of the body in which God is "One God and Father of all,..." (4:6). Part of the family (part of the body) is in heaven already, and part of the family (part of the body) is still on earth awaiting the Rapture. But all regenerated believers are "called in one body" (Colossians 3:15, context with vv. 10-11). That's that 'clesia' part of 'ecclesia,' for you proud of heart who will say, "Well, I just believe the KJV and I don't care about the Greek." While all the while you have "Ecclesiastes" as a title of one book in your English King James Bible. God preserved that Greek word for you in the English King James Bible and you are supposed to know what the word means. And so we are presently assembled in Christ (Ephesians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13).
Allow me to backtrack and compare Romans 12:4,5 with 1 Corinthians 12:13. You should highlight or underscore the word "we" in both verses. The Epistle to the Romans was written "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints;..." (1:7). Do you know how many autonomous congregations of believers there were in Rome? Of course, you do not know, nor do we. There could have been a few or many, each having their own bishops and deacons (and even prophets in that period). There is no indication that the epistle was written to a single congregation in Rome. Paul (Saul), himself, was saved outside of Damascus and was baptized in water by Ananias in Damascus (Acts ch. 9). It seems that Paul subsequently was a member of the church in Antioch (Acts. 13:1). Paul was never a member of any local congregation in Rome. But Paul included himself in "one body" with the Roman believers by the word "we" (12:4, 5). Paul did the very same thing-including himself in "one body" with the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 12:13. He identified himself as having been baptized by the same baptism, by the Holy Spirit (not by a preacher), into "one body" with the Corinthian believers, although he was never a member of a local congregation in Corinth.
Now we will face some Baptist preachers who will say that the "Spirit" of 1 Corinthians 12:13 is some kind of emotion or sense of equality or agreement, or something Gnostic like that. But no! "Spirit" is capitalized in your King James Bible, and that "Spirit" is the Holy Spirit of God personally. The Holy Spirit performs an unseen, unfelt Baptism on every person who trusts Christ as personal Savior, experiencing the New Birth (John ch. 3; Titus 3:5).
Somebody recently tried to teach my eldest daughter that 1 Corinthians chapter 12 only has reference to the visible local assembly because of verse 26-"And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it." That attempt at teaching must have been done by an individual who only has a physical vision of things and does not regard the vision of the Almighty (Numbers 24:4, 16), or by someone who believes suffering only occurs where his own (or man's) human emotions are personally involved. To say that the suffering or honoring of one believer doesn't affect the entire Body of Christ because they are not all physically present in one man-made building to experience an emotion is a very earthy and limited view of things. Further, if that person were correct, that this suffering or honoring could only apply within the membership of a covenanted localized assembly, you would have to conclude some pitiful things. For example, you must conclude that missionaries on foreign fields who are not members of the same local assembly back home, never suffer when one of the others suffers, or can never rejoice when another one is honored. And worse, you would be saying that the missionary never suffers when a believer in his mission work suffers, and that he can not rejoice when one of them is honored, because the missionary is a member of a local congregation in his home country and (technically speaking) not a member of a church on the field.
Our sanctimonious Baptist personality and nature doesn't like this in the least. Well, that's too bad for us! And our brethren want to call us liberals for teaching this. Well, that's just too bad for them! This is not merely Protestant or Reformation doctrine-it is New Testament Truth. What Luther, Swingly, Malancthon, Simons and other converted Catholic priests were taught in Roman Catholic seminaries about the Church is actually closer to what the Baptist Briders teach than to what we teach! That is why Baptist Briders love popery and the creation of their little ministerial kingdoms-Holy Roman Baptist Churches. What Luther and Simons and von Zinzendorf discovered about the church, after leaving Rome, was closer to what the Anabaptists believed (unfortunately not close enough). Anabaptists were not Baptist Briders! Anabaptists believed in the organic unity of every genuine believer with the Head, Jesus Christ, by regeneration, not by water baptism or church membership.
A Biblical View of the Church of God (Acts 20:28) Will Not Allow for Ecumenicalism or Fellowship with Unbiblical "Christian" Endeavor.
Now here's a real problem, young Christian! When you learn that all truly regenerated believers are indeed brethren and have the same standing and position in Christ, you want to fellowship in the Gospel with all of them. The problem is, without a Biblical understanding of the doctrine of separation, you forget that people are not Christians just because they call themselves Christians. You forget, young believers and young preachers, that the Scriptures of Truth (your Bible) contain a lot more regarding how to serve and honor Christ in this life than may be permitted in your desire for "fellowship." Your obedience to God as His child and your Biblical stand for Christ and Truth will cause you to be separate from many professing Christians. The ones from whom you separate in our day must greatly outnumber those with whom you may fellowship.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
But some will protest. Second Corinthians 6:14 says, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:..." Young babes in Christ, happy over salvation, are often ready to accept as believers anyone who says, "I'm a Christian." Baptists will all say, "We are Christians." Methodists, Presbyterians and United Church of Christ members will all say, "We are Christians." Evangelicals will all say, "We are Christians." Catholics will say, "We are Christians." Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists will all say, "We are Christians."
Now Brethren, we must face it! Young believers, you must quickly come to realize this! The denominations of Christendom in our day do not preach the Gospel of Christ. Denominational Baptists, Evangelicals, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Methodists, Nazarenes, Pentecostalists, (some flavors of) Brethren, and the others do not preach Christ as the only Remedy. These denominational churches and ministers have apostasized from the positions of their forerunners concerning the Gospel of the Grace of God and the necessity of the New Birth (if their forebears ever preached the truth to begin with). Most can no longer even define the New Birth (regeneration) from the Scriptures, nor is the New Birth evident in the daily lives of their communicants (that is, church members). Most churches are teaching or implying a works method of salvation: "...doing good and helping your fellow man; and one day, God will put you on a scale in the sky, and if your good deeds out-weigh your bad deeds, then you will go to Heaven...and let's just not talk about the alternative (Hell), okay?...'cause, after all, the Reverend Billy Graham is now saying that perhaps, maybe, hopefully, Hell does not really include eternal fire...so just judge not, lest ye be judged...and love is what the world needs today..." Yes, that's exactly what most people in denominational churches think, and you know it to be the case!
Is it possible to find, here and there, an Evangelical or a Presbyterian who knows the Gospel of Christ and has trusted the correct message of Christ and has been regenerated? Yes-certainly. In fact, there are movements of fundamentalist Free and Bible Presbyterians (Northern Ireland; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, for examples) who do not only know the Lord, but are separated, strong, vibrant witnesses for Him. There are even Presbyterians who are strong defenders of the inerrancy and Final Authority of the King James Bible (Ian Paisley in Northern Ireland, for example. See appendices herein for information on the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.). There are also Plymouth Brethren, and other Brethren Christians in our day who are very clear in their testimony for Christ and in their presentation of the Gospel. But don't be led into thinking that there are a great number of these, or that there is a strong move of God among them in this 21st century. The truth still remains that the overwhelming majority of Evangelicals, Presbyterians and "Brethren" (Brethren denominations) and the others are in the darkness of apostasy and worldly end-time Christendom, just awaiting the Antichrist to gather them in to his one-world religious apparatus. And this also describes the condition of denominational Baptists, and even many "independent" Baptists.
Herein you will find a chart and some brief biographical information of some men that God did mightily use (it is undeniable) during the era crossing out of the 19th and into the 20th centuries (1800s into the 1900s). We must be honest, Brethren, and admit that God has used some men who were not Baptists, as well as some Baptist men. And there are, on the other hand, staunch defenders of Baptist distinctives whom God has left on the sidelines, too! And we will go so far as to admit that neither having the correct mode of water baptism, nor autonomy have necessarily been litmus tests for being used by the Head of the Church, Christ, in great periods of revival and breathings of the Holy Spirit upon Christians and their churches. Baptist preachers will often quote or refer to men in history who were "great defenders of the Faith" and "great soul winners" and "great prayer warriors," but who were not Baptists. They use the names of men and tell how God used them, but they are afraid to emphasize that some of them never immersed their converts or, in some other ways, differed from Baptists. These Baptist pastors do not want you to dwell on the truth that "the Faith" doesn't depend on water baptism by immersion. To tell you that weakens their system of control.
But it must be clear that Presbyterians of 2003 (or 2006) are not what Presbyterians were in 1850. Not by a long shot. Neither are Evangelicals, Methodists, Pentecostalists, Nazarenes, Congregationalists, or even Baptists!
Fellowship Based On the Right Bible
One hundred and fifty years ago, all Christians, regardless of label, carried the same Bible. Do you know what Bible that was? It was the King James Bible! Baptist preachers preached from the old King James Bible. Presbyterians preached from the King James, and so did the Methodists, the Congregationalists and even the Lutherans. Now this use of a singular Bible had a great effect on the spread of the Gospel in the British Isles, North America, Africa, and even parts of Asia in that day, particularly China, Korea and Burma. The doctrines of the Deity and Glory of Christ were not weakened, and neither was the doctrine of the efficacy of the Blood of Christ. That meant that wherever people heard the preaching of the Bible in those days, they were more likely than in our day to hear it in purity and simplicity. People hearing the Bible preached were also more likely to hear (or discover on their own with the Spirit's help) the pure substance of the Gospel itself-that is, the sufficiency of Christ and His Work in Redemption. Consequently, a far greater number of professing Christians were likely to have been genuine regenerated believers.
Another effect of the use of a singular Bible (God's preserved Book) among all Christians and their ministers was a higher standard of outward and obvious testimony in all assemblies of the saints. Yes, we believe in the visible assembly of the saints. Yes, the churches were bright and shining lights in that day. People were held by spiritual forces, not by entertainment. Preaching and prayer were loved and cherished. Preachers didn't have to be polished orators, they just had to maintain fidelity to that Book (2 Timothy 3:14, 15). And Christians in the congregations knew what constituted fidelity to the Bible, because there was no confusion about where to find the Bible. Common Christians themselves read the Bible, and its words found their way in to their daily vocabulary and concourse in business, education, diplomacy and law. Those words became a part of the printed and orated matter of their times-newspapers, journals, political speeches and patriotic addresses.
The Baptist farmer discussed a verse of Scripture with the Presbyterian banker and there was no chance of an argument based on differing Bible versions. Oh, they may not have agreed on the mode of baptism had they discussed that. But when they conducted business and needed a verse from Proverbs on honesty, or money, or lending and borrowing or usury, that King James Bible pricked the consciences of both men. They both knew what God's standard was.
Having a singular Bible even made it possible in that day for preachers of varying non-Catholic labels to cooperate in many kinds of city-wide evangelistic campaigns without compromising sound doctrine. Of course, they left the subjects like the mode of baptism and other church disciplines up to the receiving local churches, but the substance of the Gospel of Grace was of little argument. The issues of the New Birth and spiritual revival were agreed upon from the King James Bible. Sadly, such cooperation is not possible in our day without the compromise of the Gospel message itself. The Gospel is not preached in denominational churches at the commencement of the twenty-first century. And we must scrutinize the content of the salvation preaching even in the independent Baptist movement of our day.
The further result, then, of that singular Bible (e.g. in the 1850s) was a higher standard of morality and purity in society. Because they all had the same Text, there was much less confusion regarding the standards of our Holy God. People knew what God said about worldliness, nakedness, adultery, drunkenness, laziness, dishonesty, debt, graft and corruption, cruelty, and the like. When they saw these things, they all had the same words in their minds and hearts from the same Bible. No argument! Conversely, the public knew how to identify genuine piety and spirituality, thrift and honesty, justice and fairness, purity and chastity. Virtually all professing Christian families, regardless of denominational label, had very similar family standards and disciplines. That meant that there would have been fewer incidents of the Lutheran children being led away in to disobedience and shame by the Baptist neighbor's children. Men were expected in society to be the heads of their wives and families (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians ch. 5). Men were expected in society to labor and to provide for their households (1 Timothy ch. 5; 2 Thessalonians ch. 3). Women were expected by society to be shamefaced and modest, to be home preparing the house for their husbands and rearing their children (Titus ch. 2; 1 Peter ch. 3). Women certainly were not ridiculed for being biblical as they often are mocked in our day. Children were expected by society to honor their fathers and their mothers. And no community schoolteacher would have dared corrupt the morals of the children, nor have low-rated the authority of the pupils' parents, knowing that he or she would have been forced to face the parents! And the parents were backed up by sin-hating preachers!
And under the influence of a singular Bible, effeminacy, sodomy, pedophilia and other such wicked perversions and the practitioners thereof were dealt with, as they should have been, with unmitigated condemnation and Biblical punishments. Children were, without argument, "an heritage of the LORD:..." (Psalm 127:3). Children were to be protected from immorality and vice, and Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Congregationalists and others would have given a loud unified "AMEN!" And, by the way, if there were community or public schools, those schools were controlled on the local level by the parents, not by the education bureaucracies, nor by the teachers' unions.
The standards of Bible exposition as well as the obvious Biblical Christian testimony of just about any church in 1850 and its members is so far above (in spiritual quality and outward testimony) that of the most fundamental churches of 2003 (and 2006) that it is ridiculous even to strike the comparison. The standards in the rural congregations of pioneer and expansion America in 1830 to 1870 that depended on the Methodist circuit-riding preachers would put the average independent Baptist congregation of our day to utter shame. The Presbyterian churches of wicked New York City in 1890 believed in Biblical holiness that is seen only in a few rare Blue Ridge Mountain (Georgia, Tennessee, Carolinas) Baptist churches in our day. Those separated Baptist churches will all be gone soon if the Lord tarries His coming. And where you do see outward standards in churches in our day, it is generally among people who believe in a works (self-maintenance) salvation (Holiness, Old-Order Pentecostal, Mennonite, Amish, etc.); where they believe that the length of women's hair (or head covering) and skirts figures into their eternal security. Correct doctrine regarding salvation is not to be replaced by outward forms of holiness. Biblical salvation produces biblical holiness. Dr. Gorden Carpenter (Kansas City) used to say, "God never told us to do holy things; He told us, ‘be ye holy.'"
Interestingly, when there was one Bible-one Final Authority- there was no ecumenical movement (movement for uniting all the churches, eventually with Rome). Nobody felt the need for such a movement. In our day, with more than one hundred English Bible versions in print, people call for "unification"-"ecumenical councils"-and all such attempts to bring Christendom under the control of the Antichrist. Satan has, by his ministers and by deceived Christian ministers, destroyed the faith of "Christians" in God's Book so that he could substitute his own "bible." Another (false) bible to go along with "another Jesus," "another spirit" and "another gospel" (2 Corinthians 11:3).
As a result of the revision committee of 1884 (England) which based its work on the deceitful corruption of the Catholics Wescott and Hort (they introduced the readings of the Minority Alexandrian Text) the Revised Version (RV) began to be quoted by many preachers and writers. You can see this if you read the English and American authors of the turn of the 20th Century. You see it from Bullinger and Torrey and others. Good men, but they erred, thinking that something new must be an improvement. The RV began to pry loose the conviction that the Church already possessed the Final Authority of God. Could His words now be improved upon? Had preachers and Bible teachers been kept from manuscript evidence for hundreds of years that could "shed new light?" This questioning (see the serpent's question in Genesis 3:1) was, and is, a clever Satanic trick! There were great scholarly and godly men (John Burgeon, Shrivener, Wilkinson, others) who wrote great volumes to expose the deception and defend the Authorized Version and its underlying Majority Text, but you know how it is in advertising when you tell people that there's something "NEW" on the market. So you see the RV quoted by writers all the way through the Second World War (1940s).
The Revised Version weakened doctrine. We don't have time to examine each version mentioned herein, but they all have the same source and take the same course-the Roman Catholic course. The next major corrupt Bible came from America - the American Standard Version (1901). This "bible" was popularly quoted by Conservative Baptists and Evangelicals well in to the 1970s, even by many preachers who were then preaching from the New American Standard Version (NASV).
But even though the corruption was being deeply implanted in the Bible colleges and seminaries of all denominations from 1884 and 1901, most people in local churches were still carrying the King James Bible. It is my observation of 20th Century church history that the King James Bible was still the most widely possessed and read Bible in churches of all denominations as well as Baptists on through the Second World War. The common Methodists before 1950 were more attached to their King James Bibles than many independent Baptists are today! So most radio ministries were conducted using the King James Bible, even where the ministers were Presbyterians (Donald Barnhouse, Carl MacIntire) or Lutherans (Walter A. Maier) or Assemblies of God (C.M. Ward) or Wesleyans. The KJV was still used in most pulpits as the standard text.
But by the 1940s, congregations were hearing phraseology from the pulpit that was unknown from the 17th through the 19th centuries. The preachers would read their text from the King James Bible, but then they would often say something like, "A better rendering of that verse would be..." Or, "In the original text, the word is actually..." Or, "Let me cite the new superior RV (or ASV) to get a clearer understanding of this word (or text)...". Or, "The renowned Greek scholar, Dr. Sprocket says that this word should be...". The result was the destruction of the faith that Christians had always had in the written word of God. It was either taught outright or implied by their pastors and evangelists that the Bible they had always believed (and Great Grandmother, Grandmother and Mother had always believed) could no longer be trusted. No longer could Christians find the Final Authority. The pastor who could quote a few Greek words became the final authority in the minds of the church members, instead of the Book in their laps.
Once the Christians' faith in the Book was shaken, convictions and standards began to fall by the wayside. Men's own religious, ethical, rational or moral thoughts became the mean (standard) while accusing or else excusing one another. See Romans 2:15. Worldliness set in. Relativeism set in. The church activities became worldly, and so did the music and youth standards (now even beach and pool parties were allowed with "Christian" teen girls in their bikinis). Apostasy, which was always progressing, but less speedily when men believed they had the written word of God in their hands, was now on a free roll. Or should we say that the apostasy was now actually further energized by a movement toward the total proliferation of Satan's Roman Catholic "bible."
We Are King James Bible believing Independent Autonomous Baptists. You Should Remain King James Bible believing
Independent Autonomous Baptist.
The denominational churches are apostate. They don't have a Bible. They don't have a final authority. The Presbyterian and Reformed denominations are apostate. They have John Calvin's Institutes as their final authority, but not a Bible. By and large they are hyper Calvinist (T.U.L.I.P.) in their theology. They sprinkle or dampen the foreheads of babies and call that "baptism." You will not hear a clear presentation of the Gospel in modern denominational Presbyterian or Reformed churches. They don't have a clear Christian testimony in the world-they have dropped their standards. They have few, if any, personal soul winners. No Bible-no standard-no personal evangelists.
The Methodist denominations are apostate. They don't have a Bible. They don't have a final authority. They have joined the ecumenical movement (National Council of Churches; World Council of Churches; etc.) for eventual reunification with the Roman Catholic Church. They sprinkle or dampen the foreheads of babies and call that "baptism." You will not hear the Gospel of the Grace of God preached in denominational Methodist churches. They don't have a biblical testimony in the world. They don't win souls. They have dropped their standards. No Bible-no doctrine-no standards-no soul winning.
The Congregationalist denominations are apostate. This would include the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. Some are of Reformed theology similar to the Presbyterians. If so, they are hyper Calvinist. Some baptize by immersion, but they don't know why! You will not hear a clear presentation of the redemptive work of Christ in a Congregational service. They have no evangelistic vision for the lost world. They don't have a Bible. They don't have a final authority. No Bible-no standards-no separation from worldliness-no soul winning.
The Lutheran denominations are apostate. Along with Anglicans and Episcopalians, Lutherans are moving full speed ahead for reunification with the Great Whore, the Roman Catholic Church. They sprinkle or dampen the foreheads of babies and they call that "baptism." When was the last time a Lutheran handed you a Gospel tract and asked you if you are saved? You're likely never to meet one! They have no Bible. They have no final authority. They have synods and creeds and confessions, and sacraments, and robed ministers, but no Bible. No Bible-no Gospel-no testimony-no standards.
Some Men God Has Greatly Used
(See the Historical Time Line in the Centerfold)
The following named men are a pretty good representation of the last 100 or so years of the Philadelphian Church Period (1600-1900; Revelation 3:7-13). This is by no means an exhaustive list. Even from among foreign missionaries of that era we could have listed names of many more godly sold-out men. But these men all carried and preached the Authorized King James Bible. God set before these men an open door because they kept His Word and did not deny His name (Revelation 3:7-13).
A point made here is that there are here men of many labels, not only Baptists. Baptists are clearly among them. You are correct to state that some of these men did not practice the correct mode of water baptism. Many of them did not adhere to other historical distinctives that we hold to be biblical, and some of them were in churches with traditional (Protestant) Reformation forms of local church or denominational government that carry Roman Catholic elements. Some had real problems in their interpretation of prophecy and so were not Premillennial.
But even before you read the names and brief descriptions of their work, you need to be reminded that you can find very few men of such spiritual fervor and Biblical integrity among preachers, by any label, in our day. The nature of worship, prayer, evangelism, Christian living standards and spiritual temperament and desire of the men in this list were on a plane much higher than anything we see today, even in our independent Baptist movement today. Any exceptions only prove the rule.
Have a good look at the historical timeline in the centerfold of this booklet and notice the tight groupings of godly KJB-preaching, sin-hating, righteousness-promoting men who were virtually all contemporaries and were together influencing America and England during the development, pioneering and expansion days of the United States. And the ministries of the last grouping of men (Alexander, Meyer, Dixon, Torrey, Morrison, Chapman, Goforth, Bryan, Studd, Robinson, Smith, Riley, Sunday, Morgan, Jowett, Biederwolf, Ironside, Ham, Norris, Roberts, Shuler, etc.) bled well over into the 20th century.
For some of you with an interest in research, and have access to libraries or the Internet, the following will give you enough information to begin your searches.
George Mueller (1805-1885), Plymouth Brethren. Bristol, England. Great man of prayer and faith. He opened a children's home and watched God supply all needs in direct answer to specific prayer.
Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1927), Congregationalist. Born in Lenawe County, Michigan. Pastored the First Congregational Church of Dallas, Texas (1882-1895, 1902-1907) and the Moody Church in Northfield, Massachusetts (1895-1902). Although there has been much controversy about his life, he was a solid in-depth Bible student and teacher, and gave the serious student the Scofield Reference Bible (1909, 1917), which is a great work in Premillennial dispensationalism. He wrote many other books and pamphlets regarding Premillennial interpretation.
Charles Alexander (1867-1920), Of the D.L. Moody movement. Saved at a revival meeting at age 13. Attended Moody Bible Institute (1892-1894). Gifted musician who became a tireless encourager of the great revival crusades of R.A. Torrey and J. Wilbur Chapman.
William E. Biederwolf (1867-1931), Presbyterian. Gifted Pastor, revivalist, expositor. His first church was the Broadway Presbyterian Church in Logansport, Indiana, the state in which he was reared. Late he became a chaplain in the Spanish-American War. After the war, Biederwolf entered a ministry of evangelism in which he was to remain for the next thirty-five years. He was connected to the early spiritual days of the Winona Lake Bible Conference (still in existence today, but rather Neo-evangelical). He was known for a great revival which occurred in 1914 in Oil City, Pennsylvania. Thousands thronged the tabernacle as his preaching brought men, women and young people from all walks of life-rich and poor-to deep contrition. Biederwolf preached...
No one but a child of God can grieve the Holy Spirit; and that is the sad thing about it. Others may resist Him, but only the Christian can grieve Him.
Philip Paul Bliss (1838-1876), of the Moody movement. Preacher. Singer. Though he was only 38 years old when he and his wife were fatally taken in a railroad accident, God had mightily used him. Bliss was saved at age 12 at a revival meeting. Dwight Moody approached him about using his musical gifts for spiritual revival. Bliss surrendered his life to God for this purpose, and began a ministry of music to encourage some of the greatest evangelistic crusades in America's history. With Major Daniel Whittle, Bliss both preached and sang his way across America for three years. The spiritual preacher, A.B. Simpson, was saved under a crusade ministry in which Bliss was involved. He wrote the well-beloved songs, "Almost Persuaded," "Dare to Be a Daniel," "Hallelujah, ‘Tis Done!," "Hold the Fort," "I Will Sing of My Redeemer," "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning," "Once For All!," "Wonderful Words of Life," and many others. Bliss wrote the music for Stafford's "It is Well With My Soul."
John A. Broadus (1827-1895), Baptist. Broadus was one of the most influential Baptist leaders ever in America. He was saved during a revival meeting at age 16. His first congregation (1850) was the Baptist Church at Charlottesville, Virginia. Broadus founded the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky (1858, then KJB and fundamentalist, not named for the Southern Baptist Convention, but because it was in the South), where he taught for thirty-six years. He was known for being able to teach the deepest truths in a way plain enough for all to understand clearly. He said,...
Brethren, we must preach the doctrines; we must emphasize the doctrines; we must go back to the doctrines. I fear that the new generation does not know the doctrines as our fathers knew them.
James Hall Brookes (1830-1897), Presbyterian Pastor. St. Louis, Missouri. To quote the book, The Soul of St. Louis:
The Bible believing church of the Twenty-first century will owe a great debt to a little known St. Louis preacher, Dr. James Hall Brookes. For thirty-nine years, from 1858 to the time of his death in 1897, this soul winning defender of the faith won souls, published books (over eleven on doctrinal issues), and edited a newspaper espousing the views of the Bible believing faction of the Presbyterian Church. (p. 99)
Premillennialism is the Bible doctrine that teaches that Jesus will return to this earth and establish His Kingdom. He will literally reign in Jerusalem for one thousand years. Jesus will return to evacuate all believers from the earth before its terrible judgement (sic) and then He will return in His glory WITH these believers in a victorious reign. The majority of Christians who believe the word of God as it is written accept these doctrines routinely and have James H. Brookes to thank for propagating them. (p. 101)
In other words, Brookes, though a Presbyterian, held the Scriptures in esteem above the Protestant Reformers (Post-Millennialists), and was at the forefront of Premillennial and dispensational Bible teaching (correctly so) in America in the closing days of the Nineteenth century. This significantly contributed to the Revival Era in St. Louis (1870 to 1930).
William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925), Presbyterian. Lawyer. Statesman. Congressman from Nebraska. Thrice Democratic Party candidate for president of the United States. Gospel Preacher. Saved at age 14 in a Presbyterian revival. Bryan was an important part of the crusade ministry of Billy Sunday. Because he was so well known, he could easily draw a crowd to Sunday's pre-crusade rallies and services. There Bryan would preach. He preached on the inerrancy and faithfulness of the Scriptures. He preached the sufficiency of redemptive work of Christ. He preached on the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and why a Bible-believing America should influence the world for Jesus Christ. He preached that sending Christian missionaries to dark lands would preclude sending soldiers (Douglas MacArthur told the American people the same thing at the close of World War II). Bryan preached separation from worldliness. And of course, he preached total abstinence from alcoholic beverages. Bryan represented the State of Tennessee in the famous "Scopes Monkey Trial" (1925) in defense of the biblical account of Creation, against an infidel school teacher, John Scopes, who was incited to teach Darwin's theories as fact. It was against the law in Tennessee in 1925 to teach anything in the public schools that denied the biblical account of Creation. Bryan made the following statement in his speech, "The Prince of Peace:"
The human measure of a human life is its income; the divine measure of a life is its outgo, its overflow-its contribution to the welfare of all. . . . If every word spoken in behalf of truth has its influence and every deed done for the right weighs in the final account, it is immaterial to the Christian whether his eyes behold victory or whether he dies in the midst of the conflict.
B. H. Carroll (1843-1914), Baptist. Historian. Pastor. Defender of fundamentalism and of the Baptist distinctives.
Martin R. DeHaan (1891-1965), Dutch Reformed. Physician. Preacher. Worldwide radio ministry. Great Bible teacher. Also was among the men who founded the Independent Fundamental Churches of America (IFCA). Information on the IFCA can be seen in the appendices of this booklet.
A. C. Dixon (1854-1925), Baptist. Pastor. Evangelist. Pastored Moody Memorial Church and Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.
William Booth (1829-1912), Methodist (Methodist New Connexion); Salvation Army. Born in Nottingham, England. Saved at age 15 and soon became a revivalist preacher. Preached in the open air. In his open-air work he became burdened for the poor he saw in the streets. Organized Whitechappel Christian Mission, London in 1865. This was reorganized in 1878 along military lines and eventually became the Salvation Army. The Church of England was hostile toward Booth and his Army. Many of his preachers were imprisoned for their open-air ministry and for their support of the temperance (anti-liquor) movement.
Thomas Dewitt Talmage (1832-1902), Dutch Reformed Church; Presbyterian. Preacher and writer. Born in Bound Brook, New Jersey, the last of twelve children. Saved at age 18 and united with the Dutch Reformed Church. Pastored Reformed churches until the American Civil War during which he served as a Chaplain. After the war he pastored Presbyterian churches. Great defender of the fundamentalist Christian Faith. Last church was First Presbyterian, Washington, DC.
J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), Methodist. England. Missionary to China. Founder of the China Inland Mission (now called Overseas Missionary Fellowship, which is quite liberalized from Taylor's day). At Taylor's death there were 205 mission stations in China involving 800 missionaries and 125,000 Chinese national Christians.
Sam Jones (1847-1906), Methodist. Born in Oak Bowery, Alabama. Itinerate (circuit riding) preacher. Was a drunken ex-lawyer and ex-school teacher. Saved at age 24. Jones began preaching in 1872. He blasted worldly churches and preachers just as hard as any common worldly professing Christians or lost sinners.
Some Sayings of Sam Jones, Circuit Rider
What is culture worth if it is but the whitewash on a rascal? I would rather be learning my ABCs than sitting in Hell reading Greek.
I believe the Bible just as it was written, and I believe that the whale swallowed Jonah. I would have believed it just the same if it had said that Jonah swallowed the whale. I've got no better sense than to believe the Bible. Call me a fool for it, and I'm a happy fool. I believe every word in the Bible. I accept everything between the lids of the Book. I have good reasons for my faith.
God almighty was four hundred years getting up this Book and every want of the universe can be supplied out of this Book. If I had the billions of men of earth before me I would refer them to this precious Book. Here's a blessed balm for every wound, a cure for every ill. Thank God for this precious Book, divinely written and divinely given to save the world. [Sam Jones was talking about the King James Authorized Version!]
If I understood all about the Bible I'd know somebody wrote it who didn't have any more sense than I have.
I'd rather be a man than a dignified preacher.
I want to be a good man and a good husband, but God keep me from being a "nice" preacher.
A. J. Gordon (1836-1895), Baptist. Saved at age 15. Great pastor and Bible expositor.
I. M. Haldeman (1845-1933), Baptist. Preacher and Bible expositor. Best known for his typological studies on the Old Testament Tabernacle.
Mordecai Ham (1877-1961), Baptist. Pastor in Oklahoma. Prohibitionist (supported the outlawing of alcohol as a beverage). Evangelist Billy Graham claimed to be called to preach under the ministry of Mordecai Ham.
John Hyde (1865-1912), Church unknown. Great man of prayer; known as "Praying Hyde," Missionary to India. Due to a medical condition contracted on his way to the mission field he had severe hearing impairment and so had a difficult time hearing and learning the local Indian dialect. Nevertheless he prayed that God would give him four souls a day. God gave him many hundreds of souls that very same year.
Joe Henry Hankins (1889-1967), Baptist. Saved in his youth. Became a preacher virulent against sin.
Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951), Plymouth Brethren; Captain in the Salvation Army. Pastored the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago for 18-1/2 years although he was never formally ordained and had very little formal education. He published eighty books and pamphlets on Bible themes.
John Jasper (1812-1901), Baptist (Old African Baptist Church). Negro son of a slave. Saved in 1839. Greatly used in revival among the Negro slave population. Negro Christian slaves often their won their white masters to Christ.
Bob Jones, Sr. (1883-1968), Methodist. Saved at age 11. Began preaching in the cotton fields of the South. At times in his ministry he drew crowds of up to 10,000 people. Great defender of Biblical fundamentalism. Founded Bob Jones College, which is now Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina.
John Henry Jowett (1864-1923), Congregationalist; Presbyterian. Born in Halifax, England. Pastored churches in England and also took the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York City in 1911. Later returned to England. While Jowett was pastoring in Birmingham, England in 1917, the mayor publicly stated that it was because of Jowett's ministry that "crime and drunkenness have decreased."
Walter A. Maier (1893-1950), Lutheran. Preached like fundamental Baptists of that era and earlier; preached hard against sin. Radio preacher of The Lutheran Hour broadcast on 1,200 stations. It is estimated that Twenty Million people listened to every broadcast, as 25,000 letters were received weekly. He took no money at all of the contributions to the broadcast. Author of fifteen volumes of radio sermons. Authored a 598-page book on marriage and the Christian home entitled, For Better, Not for Worse.
Personal note: My family used to listen to The Lutheran Hour on Sunday mornings when we were preparing to go to China (1987-1989), and often heard Maier himself by taped recording. One Sunday morning I remarked while preaching, "It's a terrible shame that the clearest presentation of the Gospel message heard on radio this morning in this area of North Carolina was not from a Baptist, but rather from Lutheran Walter Maier!" Needless to say, that independent Baptist congregation was not happy with that statement! But that was the truth!
Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843), Church of Scotland (Presbyterian). Born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Began preaching at age 22. Died at age 30. Was a lover of the Jewish people, and sought their evangelization. God used him to revive churches. In his short seven-year ministry he exemplified what he preached, "Live so as to be missed."
David Livingston (1813-1874), Congregationalist. Scottish missionary doctor and explorer of Africa with the London Missionary Society. First sailed to Africa in 1840 and is credited with opening up missions to the Nile River Valley all the way to Lake Elizabeth, Africa.
F. B. Meyer (1847-1929), Baptist. London, England. Beloved pastor, author, teacher, evangelist. Preached revival. His books have been greatly used of God to encourage men in the ministry, even to the present. Greatly encouraged the efforts of Evan Roberts during the Welsh Revival (1904, 1905), and was personally in attendance at some meetings in Wales to assist and pray where revival was stirring local congregations.
Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899), Congregationalist. Saved at age 18. No formal education. No formal ordination to the ministry. Used in great open-air and tabernacle revivals in the USA and Britain. Pastored in Chicago. It is estimated that one million souls came to Christ under Moody's ministry, including many other men whom God would greatly use, such as J. Wilbur Chapman.
Ira Sankey (1840-1908), Congregationalist. Served with D.L. Moody in evangelistic crusades in the United States and Britain. Gifted preacher and musician.
J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918), Presbyterian. Great preacher, personal and crusade evangelist, and song writer. Trained Billy Sunday.
William Ashley (Billy) Sunday (1862-1935), Presbyterian. Born in Iowa. Professional Baseball player. Saved in 1886 under the preaching of Harry Monroe, a street and mission preacher of the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, where Sunday played for the Chicago White Socks baseball team. God called Sunday to preach and he gave up a fine salary as a professional sportsman to accept a very small stipend working with the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA, which at that time was truly fundamentalist Christian and truly evangelistic). Sunday worked with and trained under the Presbyterian evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman from 1893 to 1895 before launching out on his own evangelistic ministry. He held huge citywide crusades in which a million souls professed Christ. He preached hard against sin, especially against the production, sale and use of beverage alcohol.
Henry Morrison (1857-1942), Wesleyan. Evangelist. George Whitefield Ridout wrote of Morrison:
Dr. Morrison looked like a prophet. He was built that way. In a crowded church auditorium or tabernacle, when he would appear, people would think and say, "Behold the prophet cometh!" It was as a prophet he preached. To him the pulpit held the preeminence; not for him the round table and its empty questions; not for him the forum and its discussions; not for him the symposium with its intellectual conceits. His call was a prophetic one. As a prophet he stood up, as a prophet he proclaimed; as a prophet with a prophet's passion, he poured forth the message from on high.
"Fighting" Bob Shuler (1888-1965), Baptist. Peak of his ministry was in the 1920s and 1930s (Same period that saw the peak of Billy Sunday's ministry). He was jailed for "free speech" when preaching against corruption and organized crime (especially in the labor unions) in Los Angeles, California. Strong defender of Biblical fundamentalism. Also preached to expose the excesses and perverted doctrines of modern Pentecostalism (then becoming the first wave of the present Charismatic movement), especially that of the flamboyant female preacher (show-woman) Amie McPherson.
Jonathan Goforth (1859-1936), Presbyterian. Canadian fundamentalist Missionary to China and Korea. Great man of prayer and faith. Promoter of worldwide missions.
Reuben ("Uncle" Bud) Robinson (1860-1942). Holiness; Nazarene. Saved in 1880 in a mountain camp meeting. No formal education. Stuttered badly. He prayed,...
"Oh Lord, give me a backbone as big as a saw log and ribs like sleepers under the church floor; put iron shoes on me and galvanized breeches, and hang a wagon load of determination in the gable-end of my soul, and help me to sign the contract to fight the devil as long as I have vision and bite him as long as I have a tooth, and then gum him till I die, Amen."
Robinson traveled over two million miles and preached 33,000 sermons.
Rod "Gypsy" Smith (1860-1947), Salvation Army. Actually born in a gypsy tent. Saved at age 15. As a teenager began preaching to crowds of 100 to 1,500. Preached 70 years in Scotland and the USA.
Edward Cronin (1827- ? ), Plymouth Brethren. England. Great man of prayer and faith. Extraordinary Bible expositor. Fundamentalist and defender of Premillennial Dispensationalism.
Charles Thomas Studd (1860-1931), Plymouth Brethren. Born in England. His father, Edward Studd had been saved during a Moody-Sankey crusade in England in 1877, and was faithful in teaching the Scriptures to his family and setting the example of worship and holiness. Charles was saved in 1878 at age 18. Missionary to China (with the China Inland Mission of J. Hudson Taylor for whom he organized a band of helpers and accompanied them to Taylor's mission), India and Africa.
Some Sayings of C.T. Studd
If Jesus Christ died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.
Forward ever; backwards never.
Some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell.
Reuben Archer Torrey (1856-1928), Congregationalist. Saved at age 18. Educated at Yale Seminary. Educator, pastor, author, world evangelist. Man of prayer and holiness. Promoter of direct personal evangelism. His books on personal work and ministry are still used widely today, mainly by Baptists and fundamentalist Bible church Christians. Torrey pastored the Chicago Avenue Church (now Moody Memorial Church) from 1894 to 1905.
G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945), Congregationalist. Leading preacher and writer in England. Ordained in 1889. He once said,...
The devil's methods of opposition are those of alliance and antagonism, and the only serious one is the first. Let us beware of it. Don not let us imagine that we can take into our fellowship and enlist under one banner men who simply affirm truth about Jesus, unless in their lives there is an absolute loyalty to the Lord Christ. Antagonism is the creation of force for the Kingdom of God. Put a man in prison for Christ's sake, and the earthquake will surely follow, and the work will spread.
When after already in the ministry for some years, he examined and questioned his faith. He said, "The only hope for me was the Bible...I stopped reading books about the Bible and began to read the Bible itself. I saw the light and was back on the path." He became a mightily used conference speaker in the United States and Canada, as well as in England.
J. Frank Norris (1877-1952), Baptist. Pastored two large churches in two different states at the same time (the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas and the Temple Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan; 1,500 miles apart). Removed both from their respective liberalizing denominations (Southern Baptist and American Baptist, respectively). Great defender of the King James Bible. Fighter against the liquor establishment. Street preacher; soul winner.
W. B. Riley (1861-1947), Baptist. Stalwart leader of fundamentalist Baptists in the northern states when the denominations such as the American Baptist Convention were descending into liberalism and modernism.
Charles H. Spurgeon (1835-1892), Baptist. Began preaching at age 16. At age 25 he was preaching at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, to crowds of 5,000 people, but preached to closer to 10,000 people per week.
Robert Sheffey (1820-1902), Methodist. Known as an exhorter. Never united with a Methodist conference, as in the early years they had refused to license him due to his lack of formal education. When it became obvious that God was using him to organize very fruitful circuits and camp meetings, the Methodist leaders offered him a license, in order to claim the credit for his ministry. Sheffey refused the license, seeing it unnecessary to do the work of God and to be in His will. Sheffey was known for a deep and consistent life of prayer. He believed that God would answer very specifically, and that God would control the very elements and all living beings to provide answers to prayer. For this he was considered an eccentric even in his, a more spiritual era. Sheffey's attention to the mountain camp meetings and circuits in the Appalachian Mountain region of the United States can be said to have contributed to the fact that that area remains a bastion of Bible-centered Christians, families and churches.
Charles Finney (1792-1875), Presbyterian. Saved in 1821. Anti-Mason. Although considered to have some peculiar ideas on sanctification and perfectionism, was used mightily of God in what is known as the Second Great Awakening period of revival (early 1800s). President of Oberlin College in Ohio.
Peter Cartwright (1785-1872), Methodist (Methodist Episcopal). Born in Virginia. Saved in a camp meeting at age 16. Circuit-riding preacher. He once warned General Andrew Jackson (future U.S. president) that Jackson would go to Hell just as quick as any other man if he didn't repent. Labored on $30 to $50 per year.
A Dance Becomes a Revival
It was a Saturday night in an inn on the road through the Cumberland Mountains (Eastern Kentucky/Western Virginia) in the spring of 1820. A crowd of settlers from the vicinity were gathering for the Saturday night dance. All was jollity as the company took off their wraps, the floor was cleared, and the old fiddler tuned up his fiddle. In a far corner of the room sat Peter Cartwright, prominent Methodist circuit rider of Kentucky. On his way home from the general conference in Baltimore night had overtaken him near this inn. The host had warned him of the dance and said that he could not promise him much quiet for rest. However, since the next inn was seven miles on, and it now dark and the road strange and dangerous, he had decided to stay.
As Cartwright sat as inconspicuously as possible in his corner he was pleased to note that the company was quite respectable and that little drinking was going on. However, as the music struck up and the dance began he felt very much out of place. Methodists were opposed to such worldly amusements, but the public room of the inn was the only room heated and lighted and he must stay or go to bed.
As he sat meditating he resolved to find some way to invite all of these people to a service the next day. As he was about to approach the host and ask permission to use this room for the service he was surprised to see the most beautiful young lady in the room approaching him gaily with an inviting smile on her face. She paused in front of him and with a graceful bow addressed him.
"Sir," she said, "you should not be sitting here all by yourself. We are a friendly people and would like to have you enjoy the evening with us. Come and dance this dance with me."
For an instant Peter was taken aback. He did not know what to do. Then he resolved on a desperate experiment. He arose and bowed to the young lady. She moved to his right side. He grasped her right hand with his and they moved to the middle of the floor. All of the company seemed pleased and with smiles all around made place for them. The fiddler was about to strike up, but holding up his hand to restrain him Peter quietly addressed the whole group.
"Friends," he said, "I am grateful for the kind way in which you have received me. I am thankful to this charming young lady for her courtesy. However, for many years I have never undertaken any matter of importance without asking the blessing of God upon it. So now I desire to ask God's blessing upon this kind and beautiful young lady, and upon all of you people who have treated me so kindly. Let us all kneel down and pray."
Quickly Peter dropped to his knees and started to pray. His fair partner tried to get away but he held on to her right hand tightly and she too fell upon her knees. At first all of the company were astonished and stood looking in amazement. Then some knelt. Others stood watching. Some fled out of the door. Meanwhile the preacher prayed with all of his might for the whole company and that the converting power of God would fall upon all of them.
As Cartwright prayed some began to weep and some to pray aloud to God for mercy. His praying concluded, the preacher arose and began to exhort the whole group to turn to Christ for salvation.
As a result of this daring venture of Peter Cartwright thirty-two people were organized into a church with the landlord of the inn as leader.
Evan Roberts (1878-1951). Calvinistic Methodist. Revivalist; Prayer Warrior. Unassumed leader of the Welsh Revival which peaked in 1904, 1905. The revival was said to be the result of "The Four Points": (1.) You must put away any unconfessed sin; (2.) You must put away any doubtful habit; (3.) You must obey the Holy Spirit promptly; and (4.) You must confess Christ publicly wherever you go.
American Bible Society (1816)
In America, the first Bible societies were local. The first was formed in Philadelphia in 1808. In eight yearsthere were more than 100 such local and independent organizations across America. On May 8, 1816, 60 men representing 35 of those societies met in New York to organize the American Bible Society. They were from various denominations, but the Baptists spearheaded the organization. Their sole objective was "encouraging a wider circulation of the Holy Scriptures without note or comment."
How could representatives from various denominations cooperate in those years in an organization "spearheaded by the Baptists?" It's very simple: in those years they all had the same Bible. These denominations no longer have the same Bible, in fact, there are now just about as many new English bibles as there are denominations!
How the Enemy Worked in the Nineteenth Century
The following is from America in Crimson Red, The Baptist History of America by James R. Beller:
There were three matters that divided what was called Christianity in the 19th century: The Bible, the baptism, and the imputation. With the forward march of Christianity throughout America in the war for souls, satan stood up with all his might to thwart the message of salvation.
The Baptist people as usual, would be his main target. He would once again attempt to discredit the written word of God, corrupt baptism, and destroy the Gospel order.
During this time 1800-1850, the devil had his knife right at the heart of the gospel: imputation. This doctrine separates the Gospel of the grace of God from the false Gospel of works.
The first device used in obscuring imputation involved a corruption of the word of God by the infamous Augustine. From Titus 3:5 Augustine replaced the phrase "washing of regeneration," as it was preserved in the Itala Biblia, with the phrase "laver of regeneration." Augustine set in motion the heresy of baptismal regeneration by equating water baptism with regeneration Water baptism became the "door to the church." The reformers borrowed this doctrine. Luther and Calvin claimed water baptism (the christening of an infant) was "a means to grace." And so water baptism became an initiation into the "church." This has always been the best device to cloud the issue of imputation.
In order for the adversary to destroy the tremendous work of God on the American frontier the confessions and creeds that stated the doctrine of imputation had to be called into question. A set of "anti-movements" would fulfill the tasks.
There were two "anti-movements:" "anticonfession" and "antimission." They both led to divisions among the Baptists. How it happened may be outlined in this fashion:
- The Great Revival in the West from 1792-1801.
- The Controversy over Calvinism.
- The "anticonfession" movement with Barton Stone and the "Christians" in 1804.
- The "antimission" Baptist movement in reaction to mission societies from 1814 to 1842.
- The "reformation" of Alexander Campbell in reaction to both "anticonfession" and "antimission" movements which created divisions among the Baptists from 1820 to 1830.
History is One Thing, But What About Right Now in 2003 (2006)?!
If you are ever looking for a local church to join (If you are saved, you should be involved in and dedicated to the work of a local assembly.), where will you find a biblical church in 2003 (or 2006)?
- 1. Where will you find a church that adheres to and defends the inerrancy of the King James Bible, the preserved words of God in English. What kind of church would it most likely be?
- 2. Where will you find a church that believes and practices the right division of the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), teaching the Scriptures from its own dispensational divisions, even where such interpretation broadsides tradition? Where will you find a Premillennial, pre-tribulational (rapture), dispensational Bible-teaching church? What label would most likely be on such a church in these last days?
- 3. In what kind of church would you hear the preaching of the all-sufficiency of Christ, His redemptive work (Cross; Blood; Resurrection); His merits (Righteousness) for the salvation of every sinner? In what kind of Church will you hear preached God's offer of free Salvation by Grace, without any admixture of works (religious or otherwise-and without hyper-Calvinism)?
- 4. Where will you most likely find a church that adheres to the following biblical distinctives?
- a. The Scriptures as the sole and final authority for faith, practice, Christian living, and everything else.
- b. The strict and unquestionable autonomy of local congregations, where the local church itself gets the will of God and decides on its own affairs without any higher earthly authority, denomination or hierarchy.
- c. The priesthood of every individual believer. That there is no earthly order of priests over men; Christ is our High Priest. Every believer has free and unlimited access to the Throne of Grace and can confess sins directly to God and get prayers answered without being hindered by any mortal sinner, regardless of his religious or ecclesiastical position.
- d. Two ordinances: water baptism of professing believers only by immersion (not at all necessary for salvation of the soul, but a fitting testimony); the Lord's supper (not affecting the salvation of the Christian at all, but merely typical or symbolic, for "remembrance.")
- e. Individual soul liberty. Every soul has the right to believe and act according to his own conscience before God, and realizes that he answers only for himself before God.
- f. The separation of church and state. That neither the ministers of God or God's churches should accept license or approval from human or civil government(s) or magistracies to conduct and carry out that which God has already, by the Scriptures, called and commissioned them to perform.
- g. Two offices for God's churches: Elder and deacon. The presiding elder is the Bishop or pastor. "Bishop" is a local church office, not a supra-church hierarchical office.
- 5. In what kind of church will you most likely find Christians who are genuinely interested in bringing the lost and unconverted to Jesus Christ for salvation by personal evangelism or soul winning?
- 6. In what kind of churches today are you most likely to find Christians who believe in the primacy and vital nature of the home in society; where Christians believe in the home as the first institution and authority structure established by God; where fathers are the head of their homes and where wives understand the importance of their role?
- 7. In what kind of church will you most likely find Christians who believe in and practice separation from the world and its ungodly fashions and amusements; having a desire to keep a testimony unspotted by the world for a clear testimony for Jesus Christ and His regenerating work in the children of God?
In the United States, when looking for a church that remotely resembles what has been described above, there would be an 85% or more chance that it would be an independent Baptist church. There would be a 10% or less chance of it being a Bible church. There would be a 5% or less chance of it being some kind of a Brethren church.
When we say "Bible Churches," in the United States we are usually speaking of churches that are practically undistinguishable from Baptist churches in doctrine and practice. During a service, if you had never seen the sign outside, you would think you are worshipping in a Baptist church. One church that has faithfully supported our work over the years is called "Calvary Bible Church." Another is called "Grace Bible Church." These kinds of churches are "Baptistic," holding the same distinctives, but somewhere along the line, someone may have gotten discouraged with having to answer the question, "And what kind of Baptist are you?" Perhaps another Baptist church in the same community had a bad testimony. So someone decided that they would take the name "Baptist" off the sign to clear the testimony. I don't agree that that is the best way to do it, but then I believe in the autonomy of that local church to make its own decision on the matter.
There were no churches anywhere in the world that labeled themselves "Baptist" before the latter part of the 16th century at the very earliest. The earliest one ever discovered in England was around 1635. Before that time, Christians and congregations that adhered to what we call "Baptist distinctives" were called by many various names. If they could be Baptist before 1600 by any other name, then they can be Baptist now by some other name, if we are not utter hypocrites in our treatment of church history. A mind that says, "A Lollard in England in 1350 was a true Baptist, but we can't fellowship with a Bible church preacher with identical doctrine in 2003 (2006) because he uses the wrong name" is an unstable one...other issues not being compromised, of course.
If you consider only the characteristic of standing for the inerrancy of the King James Bible, then 95% or more of those churches in the United States would be independent Baptist churches. There would be a few Bible churches, a few Brethren churches (of some kind) and a Presbyterian church or two, and an Old-Order Holiness church or two thrown in to the mix.
What about churches in the Philippines that adhere to the distinctives and characteristics listed above? Frankly, we don't know of more than a handful of churches that even come close to them. But obviously, the churches that might come close would be (by my observation over the past five years) independent Baptist churches by 99% or more.
What About "A People for His Name" Baptist Church in 2003?
(Note: This booklet had originally been written in 2003 for use by "A People for His Name" Baptist Church in the Philippines.)
Does this mean that we endorse much about the current nationalist Baptist churches in the Philippines? No. And we want it to be clear that the independent Baptist churches in the United States are not on the spiritual plane where they once were and where they ought to be either. We don't even believe that "A People for His Name" ("APFHN") Baptist Church has attained a consistent upward spiritual climb. It could, and it should, but it hasn't. Some individuals in our church are growing, and building, and glowing brighter. Some families are making spiritual gains. For these gains we are grateful to God and we give Him all the glory. But our church, as a church, is in an upward and downward rolling movement right now.
"APFHN" Baptist Church has had more in-depth Bible instruction in the past three years than most churches have in fifteen or more years. Some churches never get so much. Our church has had some great victories in the Bible, winning over Catholic/Pagan-inspired Filipino culture. Our church has had seasons of potentially genuine spiritual revival. We have not, however, had the determination to follow through. Our church needs not only to be more faithful to the prayer meeting, but it needs to really love prayer. Three years ago, we were enjoying many cottage prayer meetings-people were excited about them. God was blessing our spirits and the time spent became very fruitful. We have seen very little of that lately.
"APFHN" Baptist Church still lacks focus as a church. To some, it is not really important if the church continues as a church, or not. At least I sense this. Our attentions and our ambitions are scattered from hither to thither. Who in our church will stand and say, "I for one am (or we for one family are) convinced that God wants a Bible-preaching and teaching Church firmly established on the principles with which we set out three years ago." (?) Who among us has a desire to see the Holy Spirit use our congregation and set it afire for souls in the surrounding barangays and in the city proper?
A Biblical church can not be an exclusive club of certain families and individuals. God won't bless that mind set. A Biblical church will be outgoing in evangelism and desire to expand its number-not for the sake of numbers and not with gimmicks and programs, but with compassion for the lost and a warm-hearted zeal to see the unconverted delivered from darkness and condemnation. A biblical church will just keep on getting the Gospel out to more and more souls. A biblical gladly receives new babes in Christ without fear that the old circle of folks might have to accept new faces, new ideas and the meeting of new needs. We need to be genuinely concerned about each person who visits our services, and we need to have a vision of each one coming to Christ and growing to the level of the most mature of our number. We need to see it happening with our spiritual eye. We need to, in this regard, call those things which be not as though they were. We as a church need to undertake evangelism, believing that God can and will save the lost; that there are souls who will hear and believe the Gospel.
Those who have learned need to decide that they will be teachers of the unlearned or less learned. This requires sacrifice of time, rest, entertainments, and sometimes money. But "unto whom much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:48). "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." (1 Corinthians 4:1, 2) Those who have had the benefit need to pass it on freely and joyfully. They need to pray over this and sit down and make a plan just how it is to be carried out. They need to survey the younger members of the church whose English skills do not allow them the benefit of easily learning from non-Filipino missionaries. Three years ago our evening classes consisted mostly of students who had superior English skills as a result of their good education and professional training. At present we have classes of students mostly of those who have never had the same advantage in language. It's difficult for them, but several have been faithful in attendance, and it's just unbelievable to me that now we don't even have the benefit of a translator, let alone teachers. We have bundles of books and boxes of cassette tapes from teaching over the past three years. They are mostly just sitting here gathering dust and cobwebs. Oh, how I am praying that God will either raise up from within our church (this is best) or send a Filipino man in who will study the material and re-teach much of it to others in Filipino. Are others important?
The following appendices are not an endorsement of Presbyterianism or Presbyterian Churches, Bible Churches, Brethren Assemblies, raw Protestantism or other forms of church government or order. These appendices do not constitute any recommendation on our part of membership in churches governed according to just any model discussed in them. We include these appendices...
- (1.) so that you may study comparisons between Baptist churches and churches of professing Bible-believers that differ in government and form. Also see our booklet The Spiritual Republic.
- (2.) to suggest, in all honesty, that there is sometimes a credible degree of fundamental or orthodox doctrine believed among non-Baptist churches, ministers and members, even where (we would consider) the model for how the congregations are governed is not necessarily a New Testament model. This means that they deserve to have their testimony heard with regard to their saving faith in Jesus Christ.
- (3.) to suggest that there be often found among congregations of a different governing model (Protestant, Reformed, Presbyterian, Bible or Brethren for examples) genuine believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I want to place here some words that you will see later under the appendix covering the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. It words well this third thought.
Let it be said, at the outset, that the most important thing is that one be a member of that Church which is made up of true believers-those who are born again, and whose sins have been forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (Matthew 16:16-18).
No particular Church on earth dare arrogate to itself the claim that it alone comprises the true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
While we do not agree, dispensationally, that Matthew 16 is referring to the Body of Christ, the Church of this current dispensation, let it here be accepted by way of illustration to emphasize the Church which Christ is building on Himself today (see 1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Ephesians 4:11-16), and of which He is the Head (Ephesians 1:17-23).
It is important that we learn to fellowship or cooperate...or separate...based on the correct issues. The issues must be studied more particularly. We trust that these appendices will provide a primer for your continued study. Lets be spiritual (obedient to the Holy Spirit as per His words), not emotional or traditional over these issues. And let us not come to these matters with the preconceived ideas, restrictions or tolerations of our mentors (or benefactors). Let's pray and practice what we preach about the inerrancy, preservation and authority of God's written word.
Regarding the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster
(Not to be confused with the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland)
The Free Presbyterian Church (FPC of Ulster, or Northern Ireland) describes itself (as a denomination) as being...
"...a group of Bible-believing Protestants whose Presbyterian roots go back to the great Reformation of the 16th century."
In its own literature and on its own Internet web site ("Welcome" page as viewed as late as September 27, 2003) the denomination claims to be (in their arrangement of words)...
Fundamental in Doctrine
Evangelical in Outreach
Sanctified in Behaviour
Presbyterian in Government
Protestant in Conviction
Separatist in Practice
The denomination claims the Reformers' [1500s] motto: "The Scriptures Only."
Before we go further, we would agree that there is a foundation of "fundamental" (or "orthodox") doctrine in that of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. Most of the "Fundamentals of the Christian Faith" are evident in their teaching. These would include (my list):
One God; the Triune Godhead; the Deity of Christ; the Virgin Birth of Christ; the Sinlessness of Christ; the Miracles of Christ; the Vicarious or Substitutionary Sacrifice of Christ including the efficacy of Christ's Blood; the Bodily Resurrection of Christ from among the dead; Salvation by Grace through Faith apart from works; the literal realities of Heaven and Hell (eternal reward for the redeemed and eternal torments for the lost); a resurrection and judgment.
The Free Presbyterians claim to adhere to the Westminster Confession of Faith drafted as a fairly unified confession by Presbyterians in the late 1600s. The "Fundamentals of the Christian Faith" as named above can be said to be found in that confession. One "Fundamental", however, that is very weak in the Westminster Confession of Faith regards the Blood of Jesus Christ. This is no small matter to Bible believers!
The Westminster Confession of Faith uses the word blood only three times. All three times are in Chapter 29, Of the Lord's Supper. The word blood is used only to describe the antitype of the wine used as one of the elements in the Lord's Supper (Communion). At no place in the parts of the (Presbyterian) Westminster Confession of Faith dealing with the Sacrificial work of Christ for redemption did the drafters ever use the word blood. At no place covering the Mediator, justification, adoption, saving faith, or assurance of grace and salvation is the Blood of Jesus Christ given due importance. The word blood is absent altogether from those chapters. The death of Christ is stated as being necessary, but Christ's Blood being shed is not. Christ is spoken of as the fulfillment of the Old Testament types and symbols, even of the lamb. The shedding of the lamb's blood or of the Lamb's Blood, however, is never mentioned.
Weakness on the doctrine of the efficacy of the Blood of Christ in the Westminster Confession of Faith is, perhaps, one of the contributing factors to the weakness of this doctrine in the ministry of people in the United States like Dr. John MacArthur of southern California and his "Grace to You" ministries. Dr. MacArthur is a product of a Reformed Church upbringing which is heavily dependent on the Westminster Confession. And we mention Dr. MacArthur, because his radio ministry can be heard in the Philippines and other places in Asia. "Grace to You" has a correspondent address in Manila. Christians who are interested in maintaining a strong doctrinal position must examine these issues in men's ministries before becoming enamored and attached to the men and their very attractive ministries.
We know that there are people affiliated with the Free Presbyterian denomination (of Ulster) that do believe in and boldly preach the necessity of the shedding of Christ's Blood for the remission and forgiveness of sins. We have listened scores of times to "Let the Bible Speak," the radio ministry of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster (by short wave broadcast to East Asia). Their radio preachers preach the Blood! They believe in the efficacy of Christ's Blood being shed. So there are obviously Free Presbyterians who are more fundamentalist than the Westminster Confession of Faith. It is clear that the Westminster Confession is used to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the Presbyterian Christians to whom you are talking. Be aware also that there are also other very real problems in the Westminster Confession of Faith besides the issue of the Blood. Election and predestination are real problems in that confession, and so is its position on the Second Coming of Christ. When dealing with Free Presbyterians (or other Presbyterians of like faith and order), don't hold them to the Westminster Confession, but rather hold them to their motto: "The Scriptures Only." The Scriptures themselves teach the necessity of the shedding of blood.
The Bible Presbyterian movement or denomination (based in the United States and not affiliated with the Free Presbyterians) currently has a project to re-examine and revise the Westminster Confession of Faith. Perhaps they will note and correct the deafening silence in the Confession on the issue of the Blood of Jesus Christ. They should also correct the hyper-Calvinistic sections, but them doing this is highly unlikely.
There are also published and proliferated Baptist confessions of faith dating all the way back to the 16th century, and earlier. There are earlier Waldensen (Anabaptist) confessions and others. There are 20th century confessions, the most prolific of these perhaps being the Southern Baptist Convention's statement of faith and practice. It is called The Baptist Faith and Message. The Southern Baptist statement has been the model adapted even by (supposed) independent Baptist groups such as the Baptist Bible Fellowship (Springfield, Missouri), with only slight modifications. Many Baptists who are devoted to (enamored with) John Calvin's Institutes (Calvin's five points, T.U.L.I.P.) often accept the Philadelphia Confession of Faith of the 18th century. The Philadelphia Confession is similar to the Westminster Confession in its positions on Christ's Work, justification, adoption, the will, faith and repentance, election, predestination, and other areas. The Philadelphia Confession, however, "corrects" Westminster on subjects like the Church, church government, offices, ordinances, affiliations, and so forth. So it is a Calvinistic Baptist document rather than a Calvinistic Presbyterian one.
Our question is: if you have an inerrant, preserved Bible, then why do you need such a long drawn-out formal confession of faith? If we hold to "the Scriptures only," then why do we have to declare that we also adhere to such-and-such confession? Our local church, "A People for His Name" Baptist Church, does have a statement of Declared Doctrines... . It's not very long, and there is nothing in that statement that is not subject to being removed or revised if found to be in contradiction to the Scriptures. Further, we never tell people or imply that we believe the Bible according to our statement of declared doctrines. Nor would our exposition of Scripture be bound to that document. No, it would be the other way around. We don't even consider our published statement as necessity to the carrying out of what God called us to do. But we do believe that the Scriptures are necessary.
Statement of Faith of the Free Presbyterian Church (Denomination) of Ulster
(as found on the FPC Internet web site.)
1. The Absolute Authority and Divine Verbal Inspiration of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God.
2. There is but one living and true God, and in the Godhead, there are three Persons, equal in power and glory, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
3. The Eternal Sonship, Virgin Birth, and Deity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
4. The personality of God the Holy Spirit, and the absolute necessity of His work in Regeneration and Sanctification, and His Infilling of the Indwelt Believer for power to live and witness for Christ.
5. The Substitutionary Death of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Resurrection as the only way of Salvation through Faith.
6. God has appointed besides the Word and Prayer the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
6a. Baptism -- The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, under Christ the Great King and Head of the Church, realizing that bitter controversy raging around the mode and proper subjects of the ordinance of Christian baptism has divided the Body of Christ when that Body should have been united in Christian love and Holy Ghost power to stem the onslaughts and hell-inspired assaults of modernism, hereby affirms that each member of the Free Presbyterian Church shall have liberty to decide for himself which course to adopt on these controverted issues, each member giving due honor in love to the views held by differing brethren, but none espousing the error of baptismal regeneration.
6b. The Lord's Supper -- The Lord's Supper has been appointed by our Lord for Remembrance of Him in His work as Saviour. Its purpose to the child of God is for strengthening, and putting a visible difference between the redeemed and the unregenerate. This Sacrament will be observed once each month in every Free Presbyterian Congregation, or more frequently as each local congregation shall decide.
7. The visible and personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8. These Articles, together with the Larger Catechism, the Shorter Catechism, and The Westminster Confession of Faith, form the Subordinate Standards of the Free Presbyterian Church.
Our Comments on the FPC of Ulster Statement of Faith:
- 1. It is noted that in their statement on the Authority and Inspiration of the word of God (article #1), the words "in the original writings" are not found. This is, therefore, a better statement than many Baptist statements of our day on the subject of the Scriptures. Please see APPENDIX 3., where you will see the words "The Free Presbyterian Church uses only the Authorized Version (KJV) of the Bible." Yes, we must commend this position. It is not as strong, perhaps, as our position, but lets be honest! It is a stronger position than that of many among Baptists with whom we still labor and fellowship. "Absolute Authority" would suggest to me that the Westminster Confession of Faith is an unnecessary stumbling block to these Presbyterians.
- 2. Articles #2-5 are identical to Baptist wording on the same subjects. These are common "Fundamentals of the Christian Faith."
- 3. Article #6 calls [water] baptism and the Lord's supper "sacraments." Bible-believing Baptists do not like the word sacrament because it means "channel of holiness (sacredness)" or "means of grace." The Bible nowhere teaches that you can obtain either holiness or grace through any humanly-performed ordinance. Water baptism is a picture only for testimony purposes. Communion is a picture only for "remembrance" purposes.
- 4. I simply love the statement on "mode and correct subjects" of water baptism in Article #6a. The FPC is a little confused here, evidently. Water baptism seems to be important enough to call it a "sacrament" (Article #6), but not important enough for the church to take a stand on the mode or on the fitting candidates. As a dispensationalist I am amused. The Apostle Paul himself wrote directly about water baptism only one time, and in that passage (1 Corinthians ch. 1) he said, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel:..." The Gospel itself is the means of grace (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18), and water baptism is not a part of the Gospel! If being a Baptist is the fulcrum pin or center, I weigh more toward the Bereans than toward the Presbyterians on this subject, when taking the words of the FPC statement. It looks, though, like the FPC could get along with either the Baptists or the Bereans on this matter. Their statement tends, interestingly, to lean toward Individual Soul Liberty (a Baptist distinctive!) and, thank God, it rules out baptismal regeneration (salvation by or connected to water baptism).
- 5. The statement on the Lord's Supper (Article #6b.), other than calling it a "sacrament" (it is not a sacrament), is no different than most Baptist statements on the same.
- 6. Yes, Christ will personally and visibly return (Article #7.). Some of the Free Presbyterian ministers may possibly have been taught correctly by Brethren and Baptists with regard to the Rapture, the Tribulation period and the Millennial Reign. We know that some of them fellowship with Bob Jones University, which is Premillennial in doctrine. This FPC statement is probably left general enough, however, to accommodate the Presbyterians who are still strong Covenant Theologians and Amillennialists (believing in only two covenants-works and grace; not believing in a literal 1,000-year Millennial Reign of Christ on Earth).
- 7. Article #8 states that there are Catechisms and Confessions, along with the Statement of Faith printed here that form "the Subordinate Standard." They mean, we think, subordinate to the word of God. We hope so, because the Westminster Confession of Faith is certainly in error, Biblically, where it deals with election and predestination. It makes Calvin the Final Authority! Again, let's hold the Presbyterians to the standard, in their own words, "the Scriptures only," and "The Free Presbyterian Church uses only the Authorized Version (KJV) of the Bible."
- 8. Then if we can keep the fellowship around Christ and His work, and not around Calvin and his intellectualism, there might be opportunities for genuine Christian fellowship. Cooperation in the ministry may be a different story altogether.
The Stand of the Free Presbyterian Church [of Ulster]
(as found on the FPC Internet web site)
There are many churches and denominations in the world. How is the Free Presbyterian similar to, or different from other churches? The Free Presbyterian Church is:
Fundamental in Doctrine, believing in the divine authority and verbal inspiration of the Bible, and the great fundamental doctrines of grace it contains. The Scriptures alone are the supreme authority in matters of faith and practice. The Free Presbyterian Church uses only the Authorized Version (KJV) of the Bible. (Underscoring ours for emphasis)
Evangelical in Outreach, in obedience to the great commission of Christ to "go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel". A virile program of Gospel preaching, missionary endeavour and radio ministry is actively pursued with the great objective of leading people of every class, colour and creed to an experimental knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
Sanctified in Behaviour, encouraging its members to lead godly lives in obedience to God's Word, that will be testimonies of holiness and righteousness, in a world increasingly plagued by lowering moral values.
Presbyterian in Government, being ruled by elders and deacons chosen from the people, by the people, to serve the people. The Free Presbyterian Church stands for a born-again membership and the ministers, elders and deacons are men genuinely born-again by the Spirit of God, and dedicated to the extension of the Kingdom of Christ.
Protestant in Conviction, gladly taking its stand alongside the great Christian leaders of the Protestant Reformation. The twin pillars of Protestantism, namely a positive witness for Christ, and a protest against error, are cherished and defended.
Separatist in Practice, believing and practicing the doctrine of Biblical separatism. In accordance with this, the Free Presbyterian Church has no association with the modern Ecumenical or Charismatic movements, nor will it fellowship with any church which has departed from the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God.
Who Are We?
The Free Presbyterian Church (FPC) is a group of Bible-believing Protestants whose Presbyterian roots go back to the great Reformation of the 16th century. Our motto is that of the reformers: "The Scriptures Only." (Underscoring ours for emphasis)
Believing the Bible to be the verbally inspired and infallible Word of God, we hold it to be the final authority for all our belief and practice. We acknowledge the Bible's revelation of God as One who is absolutely sovereign, preaching that "salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:10). As Presbyterians, we adhere to the exposition of Scripture doctrine that is set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Articles of Faith of the Free Presbyterian Church
We are part of a growing Presbyterian denomination that is serving the Lord with more than 75 churches in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Spain, Germany, Canada, and the United States.
What Is Our Message?
Very simply put, "we preach Christ crucified" (1 Corinthians 1:23). This is the message of God's Word that every soul needs to hear. Therefore, Christ is central to all our preaching. We believe that salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and that the love of Christ is the Christian's motivation for holy living.
Thus, we have a message of grace and salvation for guilty souls and hope and encouragement for burdened souls. Many have never discovered the peace, joy, and assurance a truly Christ-centered ministry can bring.
We invite you to come and learn for yourself the glorious fullness that there is in Christ, "the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6).
Points of Emphasis
We encourage God's people to an earnest and serious study of God's Word, as it is the direct revelation of His will and the source of spiritual growth and strength.
Believing that prayer is the life of the Church, we stress the vital importance of the prayer life of the Christian, seeking to foster the sense of our total dependence upon God alone.
In these days of great spiritual apathy, we pray continually that God would once again send a gracious revival to His Church.
What do we mean by "Free" Presbyterian?
Contending that God's people are "separated unto the gospel" of Christ (Romans 1:1), we are free from all association with liberalism or ecumenism. Specifically, we are separated from the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, and every other form of theological compromise that would undermine the truth of Scripture.
-----------End Statement of Stand --------
Our Comments on the Stand of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster:
- 1. As Bible-believers, we certainly can appreciate the Free Presbyterian adherence to being "Fundamental in Doctrine," "Evangelical in Outreach" (we take that to mean that they produce personal soul winners, and we think that they do produce some), "Sanctified in Behavior" (few Baptists are such in our day), and "Separatist in Practice" (will not cooperate with liberals and modernists). Bible-believing Baptists say, "AMEN."
•2. Being "Protestant in Conviction," if meaning what is stated herein, "a positive witness for Christ, and a protest against error, are cherished and defended." is shared by Baptists. Baptists do not generally call themselves "Protestant" because we do not believe that our historical roots are as shallow as the 16th century in Europe. In other words, we believe that there were Christian congregations adhering to baptist-like distinctives all the way back to the times of the Apostles. Nevertheless, we do believe in the "twin pillars." We do believe in a positive witness for Christ, and we do cherish and defend protest against error.
•3. Being "Presbyterian in Government" is probably not a homogeneous characteristic even among Presbyterians themselves. We also believe in the Biblical offices of elder and deacon. Baptist elders are called and ordained preachers, never simply managers or "lay" leaders. And since there could be more than one ordained minister in one local Baptist congregation, especially in a large congregation, I suppose that you could call that a "multiplicity of elders." Baptist ministers, generally speaking, are ordained by (the authority being) the local congregation itself. The examination for fitness of the ministerial candidate is often carried out by a presbytery of elders (previously ordained pastors, evangelists and/or missionaries) invited by the church to sit. A large congregation may have within itself a number of ordained men adequate to serve as a presbytery for ordination purposes. A small congregation may need to invite ordained ministers of like faith and order from other local churches to, along with its own minister(s), form a presbytery for the purposes of ordaining a man. That presbytery (see 1 Timothy 4:14; the only time the word is used), recommends the candidate to the congregation for ordination, or suggests otherwise. The congregation then has the authority itself to act on the recommendation of the presbytery. What we as Baptists do not accept are supra-church presbyteries (e.g. denominational presbyteries) that, in hierarchical fashion, rule and discipline local congregations. Baptists hold that the highest authority of church order, rule and discipline is the local congregation itself, under Christ, the Head (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 5:23; etc.), and the Holy Spirit the Administrator (1 Corinthians ch. 12; etc). We believe in the absolute autonomy of each local congregation. Since there is no apostolic succession, there is no hierarchical rule. Baptist congregations do have the liberty to fellowship with other local congregations (regardless of name), and to cooperate with others in New Testament practice. No congregation or association of congregations, however, may set themselves up over any single local church or its ministers for any reason.
•4. Under Who Are We? The Free Presbyterians state once again their motto: "The Scriptures Only." This, by the way, is not unique to any Presbyterians. This was also a motto of John Wycliffe, a Lollard (primitive English Baptist) by association, who used the Latin "Sola Scriptura." So, let's hold the Presbyterians, Free or otherwise, to this motto. The problem is that Free Presbyterians say that they "adhere to the exposition of Scripture doctrine that is set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Articles of Faith of the Free Presbyterian Church." That confuses the issue of Final Authority. Does that mean that the Scriptures must mean what the Westminster Confession of Faith says they mean? That question is why we must hold them (and ourselves, and any others) to "The Scriptures Only." Adherence to the Westminster Confession of Faith as a rule for the exposition of the Scriptures would prevent me from ever joining or having serious cooperation with a Presbyterian church.
- 5. We wholeheartedly agree with the content under What Is Our Message? And we also concur with the FPC Points of Emphasis.
•6. I suppose that if "free" means what is stated under What do we mean by "Free Presbyterian"?, then we could be said to be "Free Baptists." Yes, I kind o' like that! "Contending that God's people are "separated unto the gospel" of Christ (Romans 1:1), we are free from all association with liberalism or ecumenism. Specifically, we are separated from the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, and every other form of theological compromise that would undermine the truth of Scripture." Yes, in that sense we are "Free Baptists."
Who We Are
(Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland as found on their Internet web site)
From time to time, we meet with those who ask about the position, doctrine and practice of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The following is an answer for such enquirers, and also to commend the Church to those who may be interested in joining her fellowship.
It has become common nowadays to hear people say, "What does it matter which Church one belongs to? They all worship the same God anyway. They just do it in different ways." The assertion falls easily from the lips, but what has the Bible to say on the question?
Let it be said, at the outset, that the most important thing is that one be a member of that Church which is made up of true believers - those who are born again, and whose sins have been forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (Matthew 16:16-18).
No particular Church on earth dare arrogate to itself the claim that it alone comprises the true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. To say, however, that it does not matter which particular Church one belongs to is not true. Scripture requires us to "prove all things", to "hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The choice of one's Church does matter. Plainly, a Church that does not, for instance, proclaim a pure Gospel, or that practises what is inconsistent with the Word of God, does not deserve our support, for Christ requires the Church to teach "all things whatsoever I have commanded you".
Our concern, therefore, should be to support a Church that comes nearest to the New Testament pattern, which is the divine blue-print for the Church of Christ in this world. If we turn to the Bible we shall find that certain fundamental principles are laid down for the conduct and government of the Church on earth. These principles are not optional - for us to take or leave as we please. They are stamped with the divine imperative. We are, therefore, bound to adopt them. The Church that does so most faithfully comes nearest to the New Testament model, and is the Church most worthy of our allegiance and most likely to promote our spiritual welfare. If we do not take the Holy Scriptures as our standard, in this as in other religious questions, we will go very far astray in our choice. God, let it be remembered, is not the author of confusion; He is the God of order, and His Word cannot sanction contradictory doctrines and systems.
The Word of God tells us that no flesh is to glory in God's presence; if any glory, he is to glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:29, 31). What is enjoined here with respect to the individual Christian may with equal propriety be expected of a body of Christians. There is no room for boasting. No Church on earth is so sound as to be free from imperfection.
With the above preface in mind, we would submit that the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland shows by her doctrine and practice that she is a rightful and respectable member of the universal Church of Christ. But such a generalisation may be made of other Churches. We must, therefore, be more definitive; we must enquire more particularly into the characteristics which constitute a faithful Christian Church.
What are her attributes? First, she acknowledges none but the Lord Jesus Christ as her Head and King. Then, she takes the Word of God as her doctrinal foundation, and shows a determination never to permit any human writings or traditions of men to encroach upon the unique place of Scripture, as the standard of her faith and practice. She preaches the Word and administers the sacraments, her government and discipline according to the mind of Christ. What is of the world, or of man's invention, is not permitted to adulterate her worship. Of course, the more faithful she is to the voice of Christ, the purer she will be.
These are the basic principles for which our great Protestant Reformers, Calvin and Knox, contended, and it is in line with these principles that the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland stands
------End "Who We Are" Statement of the FPC Scotland-----
Our Comments on the Statement of Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland:
- 1. Good. Excellent reading. As far as it goes, any Bible-believing Baptist could use the same terms if writing with regard to adhering to the Baptist distinctives. We recommend that you read the full statement again and again. But remember this: that the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland also adheres to the Westminster Confession of Faith, and will gladly say that the Westminster Confession is the rule for exposition of the Scriptures. The Westminster Confession of Faith is solidly Five-Point Calvinistic-T.U.L.I.P. So when the FPC of Scotland says- "...she takes the Word of God as her doctrinal foundation, and shows a determination never to permit any human writings or traditions of men to encroach upon the unique place of Scripture, as the standard of her faith and practice."- well, we must hold them to this!
- 2. Many Baptist preachers, especially Baptist-Briders should read this statement: "No particular Church on earth dare arrogate to itself the claim that it alone comprises the true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. To say, however, that it does not matter which particular Church one belongs to is not true. Scripture requires us to "prove all things", to "hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21)." Yes, that's good.
- 3. Free Presbyterians also have this problem with calling Baptism and the Lord's Supper "sacraments." We have already commented on this under APPENDIX 2.
What is the doctrinal position of the [Plymouth] "Brethren"?
(by Shawn Abigail, writing for a Plymouth Brethren Internet web site)
A number of doctrines and positions generally characterize the "Brethren". Again, this should not be taken as applying to every "Brethren" church or every individual who fellowships in one of these churches. Very briefly stated, the doctrines and positions are:
* verbal, plenary inspiration of the original manuscripts of the Bible
* pretribulational, premillenial and dispensational
* non-charismatic, but recognizing the "non sign" gifts
* no salaried ministry. Gifted brothers minister as they are able. Gifted sisters will often minister among each other at ladies Bible studies, conferences, etc. However, we do not believe in an "every man" ministry (that is to say, we believe that every believer has a ministry but not every believer is called to be a preacher), but only ministry by those who are gifted
* church government by a plurality of elders who meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1
* some have deacons to attend to physical ministry (e.g. taking care of the chapel). Deacons are not in a decision making position.
* often, the meetings are unstructured. This is especially true of the breaking of bread (communion service), but can also apply to Reading Meetings and Open Meetings
* clear evangelistic witness
* most open assemblies hold a middle of the road position with respect to election and free-will. Some can be found at either extreme. Most exclusive meetings hold to election.
* most hold to the doctrine of Eternal Security
* believers baptism by immersion. A significant number of brethren in the "non-open" assemblies believe in and practise Christian household baptism.
* eternal sonship of Jesus Christ.
-----End Doctrinal Position of the Plymouth Brethren-----
Our Comments on the Doctrinal Position of the Plymouth Brethren:
- 1. The Plymouth Brethren, as you can see from Shawn Abigail's writing, are very similar to independent fundamental Baptists.
- 2. In general, we would have no problem having Christian fellowship with Plymouth Brethren. Most of their assemblies hold to the wearing of a cloth head covering by the ladies. These believe in a "double covering" of hair and cloth. They practice this during meetings only, and do not associate it with salvation in any way. I suppose that if you ever want to fellowship with Plymouth Brethren in their assembly, you would just have the women in your family to wear a scarf, bonnet or other head covering. Well, it's at least something that is modest. But if a Brethren woman insists on wearing a head covering during worship in the assembly on Sundays, and then wears her pantsuits, miniskirts, tight jeans or shorts, exposing her thighs on Mondays, she (first her husband) needs to be rebuked for utter hypocrisy.
- 3. Shawn Abigail's list states a Plymouth Brethren belief in verbal, plenary inspiration of the original manuscripts of the Bible. The problem is with the "original manuscripts" which no Plymouth Brethren have ever seen! A famous Plymouth Brother, John Nelson Darby, completed his own English translation of the Bible in the 1800s, and many in their movement, especially their intellectuals, like to use that in the study. The Darby translation is a Textus Receptus derivative, but it is not the Bible God uses universally. The King James Bible is well able to correct Darby's version. Actually, every Plymouth Brother I have ever met carried and preached from the King James Bible. Nevertheless you will remember that many Baptist statements of faith also say exactly the same thing about "inspired in the originals," and other such nonsense. Actually we know Plymouth Brethren who are strong defenders of the King James Bible. If you meet Plymouth Brethren (there are some in Manila and other Asian cities, by the way), you just have to ask the same questions about the preservation of the words of God that you would have to ask to any Baptist. It is important to know their position clearly before cooperating with them in Christian endeavor.
- 4. Plymouth Brethren generally have their Church (Body of Christ) position correct, as well as their understanding of eschatology (prophetic events). Many are not quite as dispensational as we are, but their study of dispensations and prophecy is better than that of most independent Baptists.
- 5. I have never met a hyper-Calvinist Plymouth Brother, but there could be some. Be Careful. Ask the right questions. See Calvinism and Arminianism - One-sided Theologies? By C. H. Mackintosh in these appendices.
- 6. I have never met a Plymouth Brother who does not believe in eternal security.
- 7. I think you can discern from the remainder of the statement the close relationship Brethren have with Baptists. We have known people of Plymouth Brethren background to be heavily involved in Baptist churches if they are in localities where there are no Brethren assemblies. One English Baptist historian told me that in England, Brethren who become Baptists make the finest deacons. We had a Plymouth Brethren couple, Michael and Mary Haigh, attending our Baptist church in Florida when I pastored there. Brother Michael was sound in the faith, a good Bible student and an excellent teacher of the lives and ministries of the Old Testament prophets. I never had any regret having Brother Michael fill the pulpit for me in my presence or in my absence. Some of the greatest books available on the Person and Work of Jesus Christ and on other Bible themes have been written by Plymouth Brethren. Although they are well educated and many seem to have a gift for writing (most Baptists evidently don't!), Brethren tend to be spiritual rather than intellectual, a trait for which we should be grateful. The quality of their evangelistic literature (e.g. the substance of their Gospel tracts and pamphlets used for soul winning) is usually far above what most independent Baptists are producing and distributing these days.
- 8. Although not mentioned in Shawn Abigail's list, each Plymouth Brethren congregation is independent and autonomous, just as are Bible-believing Baptist churches.
- 9. I'm certain that Plymouth Brethren would claim, as do Baptists, that there have been Christians and congregations that have adhered to their distinctives all the way back to the times of the Apostles. They are probably correct. And if God were to resurrect many of the men that Baptists claim as Baptists who lived before and during the Dark Ages, we must wonder if they wouldn't join Brethren assemblies, and not Baptist churches.
- 10. Of note, "Word of Life" ministries, based in Schroon Lake, New York is a Plymouth Brethren founded and based ministry. Brother Jack Wyrtsen, Director, is from a Plymouth Brethren background. "Word of Life" has been undeniably used of the Lord in the United States in years past. We witness that worldliness has set in more recently. Their work in the Philippines is quite large. We have observed, unfortunately, the tendency toward worldliness in the "Word of Life" operation, and we do not know what particular stand on the Scriptures that ministry does or does not take.
- 11. The point being that although we might very joyfully be able to fellowship with many Plymouth Brethren as brothers in Christ, cooperation with them in the Gospel ministry may be another matter altogether.
Calvinism and Arminianism - One-sided Theologies?
C. H. Mackintosh
We have lately received a long letter, furnishing a very striking proof of the bewildering effect of one-sided theology. Our correspondent is evidently under the influence of what is styled the high school of doctrine. Hence, he cannot see the rightness of calling upon the unconverted to "come", to "hear", to "repent", or to "believe". It seems to him like telling a crab-tree to bear some apples in order that it may become an apple tree.
Now, we thoroughly believe that faith is the gift of God, and that it is not according to man's will or by human power. And further, we believe that not a single soul would even come to Christ if not drawn, yea, compelled by divine grace so to do; and therefore all who are saved have to thank the free and sovereign grace of God for it; their song is and ever shall be, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth's sake".
And this we believe not as part of a certain system of doctrine, but as the revealed truth of God. But, on the other hand, we believe just as fully, in the solemn truth of man's moral responsibility, inasmuch as it is plainly taught in Scripture, though we do not find it amongst what are called "the five points of the faith of God's elect".
We believe these five points, so far as they go; but they are very far indeed from containing the faith of God's elect. There are wide fields of divine revelation which this stunted and one-sided system does not touch upon, or even hint at, in the most remote manner. Where do we find the heavenly calling? Where, the glorious truth of the Church as the body and bride of Christ? Where, the precious sanctifying hope of the coming of Christ to receive His people to Himself? Where have we the grand scope of prophecy opened to the vision of our souls, in that which is so pompously styled "the faith of God's elect"? We look in vain for a single trace of them in the entire system to which our friend is attached.
Now, can we suppose for a moment that the blessed apostle Paul would accept as "the faith of God's elect" a system which leaves out that glorious mystery of the Church of which he was specially made the minister? Suppose any one had shown Paul "the five points" of Calvinism, as a statement of the truth of God, what would he have said? What! "The whole truth of God"; "the faith of God's elect"; "all that is essential to be believed"; and yet not a syllable about the real position of the Church - its calling, its standing, its hopes, its privileges!
And not a word about Israel's future! A complete ignoring, or at best a thorough alienation, of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David! The whole body of prophetic teaching subjected to a system of spiritualizing, falsely so called, whereby Israel is robbed of its proper portion, and Christians dragged down to an earthly level - and this presented to us with the lofty pretension of "The faith of God's elect"!
Thank God it is not so. He, blessed be His name, has not confined Himself within the narrow limits of any school of doctrine, high, low, or moderate. He has revealed Himself. He has told out the deep and precious secrets of His heart. He has unfolded His eternal counsels, as to the Church, as to Israel, the Gentiles, and the wide creation. Men might as well attempt to confine the ocean in buckets of their own formation as to confine the vast range of divine revelation within the feeble enclosures of human systems of doctrine. It cannot be done, and it ought not to be attempted. Better far to set aside the systems of theology and schools of divinity, and come like a little child to the eternal fountain of Holy Scripture, and there drink in the living teachings of God's Spirit.
Nothing is more damaging to the truth of God, more withering to the soul, or more subversive of all spiritual growth and progress than mere theology, high or low - Calvinistic or Arminian. It is impossible for the soul to make progress beyond the boundaries of the system to which it is attached. If I am taught to regard "the five points" as "the faith of God's elect", I shall not think of looking beyond them; and then a most glorious field of heavenly truth is shut out from the vision of my soul. I am stunted, narrowed, one-sided; and I am in danger of getting into that hard, dry state of soul which results from being occupied with mere points of doctrine instead of with Christ.
A disciple of the high school of doctrine will not hear of a world-wide gospel - of God's love to the world - of glad tidings to every creature under Heaven. He has only gotten a gospel for the elect. On the other hand, a disciple of the low or Arminian school will not hear of the eternal security of God's people. Their salvation depends partly upon Christ, and partly upon themselves. According to this system, the song of the redeemed should be changed. Instead of "Worthy is the Lamb", we should have to add, "and worthy are we". We may be saved to-day, and lost to-morrow. All this dishonors God, and robs the Christian of all true peace.
We do not write to offend the reader. Nothing is further from our thoughts. We are dealing not with persons, but with schools of doctrine and systems of divinity which we would, most earnestly, entreat our beloved readers to abandon, at once, and for ever. Not one of them contains the full, entire truth of God. There are certain elements of truth in all of them; but the truth is often neutralized by the error; and even if we could find a system which contains, so far as it goes, nothing but the truth, yet if it does not contain the whole truth, its effect upon the soul is pernicious, because it leads a person to plume himself on having the truth of God when, in reality, he has only laid hold of a one-sided system of man.
Then again we rarely find a mere disciple of any school of doctrine who can face Scripture as a whole. Favorite texts will be quoted and continually reiterated; but a large body of Scripture is left almost wholly unappropriated. For example, take such passages as the following, "But now God commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). And again, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2). So also, in 2 Peter, "The Lord ... is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (chapter 3:9). And, in the very closing section of the volume, we read, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely".
Are these passages to be taken as they stand, or are we to introduce qualifying or modifying words to make them fit in with our system? The fact is, they set forth the largeness of the heart of God, the gracious activities of His nature, the wide aspect of His love. It is not according to the loving heart of God that any of His creatures should perish. There is no such thing in Scripture as any decree of God consigning a certain number of the human race to eternal damnation.* Some may be judicially given over to blindness because of deliberate rejection of the light (see Romans 9:17; Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12; 1 Peter 2:8). But all who perish will have only themselves to blame. All who reach Heaven will have to thank God.
If we are to be taught by Scripture we must believe that every man is responsible according to his light. The Gentile is responsible to listen to the voice of creation. The Jew is responsible on the ground of the law. Christendom is responsible on the ground of the full-orbed revelation contained in the whole Word of God. If God commands all men, everywhere to repent, does He mean what He says, or merely all the elect? What right have we to add to, or alter, to pare down, or to accommodate the Word of God? None whatever.
Let us face Scripture as it stands, and reject everything which will not stand the test. We may well call in question the soundness of a system which cannot meet the full force of the Word of God as a whole. If passages of Scripture seem to clash, it is only because of our ignorance. Let us humbly own this, and wait on God for further light. This, we may depend upon it, is safe moral ground to occupy. Instead of endeavoring to reconcile apparent discrepancies, let us bow at the Master's feet and justify Him in all His sayings. Thus shall we reap a harvest of blessing, and grow in the knowledge of God and His Word as a whole.
A few days since, a friend put into our hands a sermon recently preached by an eminent clergyman belonging to the high school of doctrine. We have found in this sermon, quite as much as in the letter of our correspondent, the effects of one-sided theology. For instance, in referring to that magnificent statement of the Baptist in John 1:29, the preacher quotes it thus, "The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the whole world of God's chosen people".
But there is not a word about "God's chosen people" in the passage. It refers to the great propitiatory work of Christ, in virtue of which every trace of sin shall yet be obliterated from the wide creation of God. We shall only see the full application of that blessed Scripture in the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. To confine it to the sin of God's elect can only be viewed as the fruit of theological bias.
* It is deeply interesting to mark the way in which Scripture guards against the repulsive doctrine of reprobation. Look, for example, at Matthew 25:34. Here, the King, in addressing those on His right hand, says, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world". Contrast with this the address to those on His left hand: "Depart from Me ye cursed [He does not say 'of My Father'] into everlasting fire, prepared [not for you, but] for the devil and his angels". So also, in Romans 9. In speaking of the "vessels of wrath", it says "fitted to destruction" - fitted not by God surely, but by themselves. On the other hand, when speaking of the "vessels of mercy", it says "which He had afore prepared unto glory". The grand truth of election is fully established; the repulsive error of reprobation, sedulously avoided.
WHAT IS AN INDEPENDENT FUNDAMENTAL CHURCH?
By the Independent Fundamental Churches of America (IFCA)
(as found on the IFCA web site)
Local churches have been in existence since the time of Christ. Groups of believers gathered together to form local congregations. Through the years some churches have identified with various denominational groups. However, there have been independent churches during each period of church history. Such churches continue to flourish throughout many parts of the world today, effectively ministering God's Word.
What are the distinctives of an independent, fundamental church? Here are the biblical criteria for such a church.
A Church That Is Independent
The churches established by the first century apostles of Christ began as independent churches. They were free from outside control over the affairs of the local church. Each local church was a self-governing body, chose its own officers (Acts 6:1-6), and exercised its own discipline (1 Corinthians 5:13). Internal problems were handled by the individual congregation (1 Corinthians 6:1-5). Preservation of pure doctrine was the responsibility of the local assembly (1 Timothy 3:15; Revelation 2:14, 16).
Following this pattern, today's independent church depends upon the Holy Spirit's direction (Acts 13:1-3), chooses its own name, government, and programs. It is free to call its own pastor and invite into the pulpit any speakers it deems sound in the faith.
Another important characteristic is the liberty enjoyed in the matter of missionary support. Independent churches are free to seek God's direction in supporting those ministries they find acceptable. The primary aim of all missionary and evangelistic effort is personal salvation and discipleship through Christ.
The independence of a church simply enhances its dependence upon the Lord. Each church looks to Him for the provision of its every need. This encourages prayer, faith and spiritual growth among its members.
An independent church is not only self-governing, it is also self-supporting through the free-will offerings of its constituents (1 Corinthians 16:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
A Church That Is Fundamental
A fundamental church is one that stands for the historic fundamentals of the faith, upholding biblical authority versus human theories. To be fundamental means to believe in and proclaim those beliefs such as:
* The verbal plenary inerrant inspiration of the Bible
* The virgin birth, absolute deity and sinless life of Jesus Christ
* The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to provide salvation for all
* The person and work of the Holy Spirit
* The reality of Satan and his destructive work today
* The personal and bodily return of Jesus Christ
* The bodily resurrection of all men; some to eternal life and some to everlasting punishment
A Church That Is Bible Centered
An independent fundamental church emphasizes the use of the Bible in the regular church services. The Bible is revered as the guide for daily Christian faith and living. The pastor preaches directly from the Bible in his pulpit ministry. The educational program of the church is likewise centered in the Bible and is designed to develop biblical values and standards by which to live. Sunday school teachers instruct from it. Teaching materials are based on it. Youth programs utilize it.
A Church With Distinctive Emphases
In addition to the things already mentioned, there are five additional distinctives of independent fundamental churches.
A Unique Church Membership
A personal experience of the new birth is a prerequisite to church membership. Independent fundamental churches require testimony of one's salvation before membership.
Observance of Two Ordinances
All who are truly born-again are invited to remember the Lord at the communion table regardless of church membership. All believers are encouraged to follow the biblical teaching regarding water baptism as a testimony to their faith in Christ.
Financial support for the local church is received from the free-will offerings of those attending in accord with 1 Corinthians 16:1,2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.
Independent but Not Isolated
Independence does not mean isolation. Independent churches try to obey the "one anothers" of the Bible to develop a spirit of interdependence. According to the Scriptures, all who have trusted Christ as Savior belong to the "body of Christ" (Ephesians 1:22-23). In a spirit of oneness, many independent churches are involved in a vast network of fellowship, such as IFCA International.
Spiritual Unity of All Believers
The body of Christ transcends all earthly denominations and organizations (Ephesians 1:22,23). It is composed of all who have trusted Christ as Savior, regardless of organizational affiliation (1 Corinthians 12:13). Independent fundamental churches strive to be loyal to Christ and His Word rather than to any organization. They seek to establish, preserve, and expand local churches according to the New Testament pattern (Matthew 28:18,20; Acts 13:3,4).
---End WHAT IS AN INDEPENDENT FUNDAMENTAL CHURCH?---
Our Comments on WHAT IS AN INDEPENDENT FUNDAMENTAL CHURCH (IFCA):
- 1. As a whole, then, the churches that identify as Independent Fundamental Churches of America are practically indistinguishable from churches which label themselves as "Baptists."
- 2. These churches recognize the full independence and autonomy of each Biblical local church, and that this distinctive has been evident among Bible believing churches all the way back in history to the Apostles of our Lord.
- 3. The distinctives that we call "Baptist Distinctives" are believed by Independent Fundamental Churches, indicating that they are not only Baptist Distinctives, but that they are Bible Distinctives of the Lord's churches, whether or not the label "Baptist" is present. The ordinances are the same, although some Baptists argue for "closed communion" (that only members of a particular local church may partake of the Lord's Supper with that congregation, and only as administered by that church). Interestingly, churches that say they believe in "closed communion" rarely ever observe communion. It is so rare as to make no difference at all with respect to the point they claim to make.
- 4. The Independent Fundamental Churches of America, it seems, do make a Biblical distinction between the Body of Christ and the local church. Note their section, Spiritual Unity of All Believers. With this we agree.
- 5. We do not see here any stand on the King James Bible. We will learn that there is no stand from APPENDIX 8., WHAT WE BELIEVE. But please return to read the section A Church That Is Bible Centered. In the main body of this booklet we have written that standards of personal separation from worldliness dropped dramatically when the faith of common Christians in their King James Bible (especially from the 1940s on) was attacked and battered by ministers in the pulpit. When people lose faith in God's Standard Book, they begin to look more endearingly toward the world. "Oh, the world's fashions are not so bad." This is because fidelity to the words of God has ceased to be so good to them. This is why the issue of WHICH BIBLE(?) is an important issue to the Christian life. The IFCA says that it "emphasizes the use of the Bible in the regular church services." WHICH BIBLE? THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. The IFCA says, "The Bible is revered as the guide for daily Christian faith and living." WHICH BIBLE? THEY ARE NOT THE SAME! The IFCA "pastor preaches directly from the Bible in his pulpit ministry." WHICH BIBLE? THEY ARE NOT THE SAME! The IFCA says that its "educational program of the church is likewise centered in the Bible..." WHICH BIBLE? THEY ARE NOT THE SAME! The IFCA says that its educational program "is designed to develop biblical values and standards by which to live." The biblical values and standards of WHICH BIBLE? The values and standards of the NASV and NIV and Good News Bible and Living Bible are clearly not the same-nowhere as high as those of the King James Bible! Sunday school teachers instruct from it. WHAT IS "IT" ? WHICH BIBLE? THEY ARE NOT THE SAME! "Teaching materials are based on it." WHAT IS "IT" ? WHICH BIBLE? THEY ARE NOT THE SAME! "Youth programs utilize it." UTILIZE WHAT? WHICH BIBLE?
Thus when you attend the functions-check out the youth meetings- of an IFCA church, you will usually see sheer worldliness in dress (modesty is gone), jewelry and makeup, demeanor, deportment (shamefacedness is unknown), the use of language, music, boy-girl relationships (handling, hugging, piggy-back rides, etc.), attitude towards parents and other authority, ambitions and future plans, affections and outlook on life, the Christian graces of prayer and Bible learning, whether or not to witness-or how it is carried out, and every other issue. And this worldliness is precisely why we just don't put our own family in these kinds of churches! No Bible-No godliness or God-wardness. You may label us as "Pharisees" if you want to, but what is happening to your young people, my professing Christian friends? WHICH BIBLE(?) is still important to the proper rearing of your young people, to the godliness of your home, to the testimony of your church and to the future of your nation!
WHAT WE BELIEVE
(As found on the Internet web site of the
Independent Fundamental Churches of America)
Section l. Articles of Biblical Faith
Each and every person, church, or organization, in order to become or remain a member of IFCA International, shall be required to subscribe to the following articles of faith:
- (1) The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally inspired Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and Godbreathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12-13). (Underscoring ours for careful notice)
(2) The Godhead
We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-coeternal in being, coidentical in nature, coequal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections (Deuteronomy 6:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
(3) The Person and Work of Christ
a. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that he might reveal God and redeem sinful men (John 1:1-2,14; Luke 1:35).
b. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for all mankind as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice, and that the sufficiency of this atoning sacrifice to accomplish the redemption and justification of all who trust in him is assured by his literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24-25; Romans 4:25; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Timothy 4:10; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 Peter 2:24 and 2 Peter 2:1).
c. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our high priest, he fulfills the ministry of representative, intercessor, and advocate ( Acts 1:9-10; Hebrews 9:24; Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2).
(4) The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
a. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that he is the supernatural agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption ( John 16:8-11; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13-14).
b. We believe that he is the divine teacher who guides believers into all truth; and, that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit ( John 16:13; 1 John 2:20,27; Ephesians 5:18).
(5) The Total Depravity of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam's sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; and, that man is totally depraved, and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 3:22-23; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3,12).
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
(7) The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers
a. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever ( John 6:37-40; John 10:27-30; Romans 8:1,38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; 1 Peter 1:5).
b. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word; which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh ( Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
(8) The Two Natures of the Believer
We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit; and, that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural (Romans 6:13; Romans 8:12-13; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord; and, that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations is commanded of God (2Timothy 3:1-5; Romans 12:1-2; Romans 14:13; John 2:15-17; 2 John 1:9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
We believe that it is the obligation of the saved to witness by life and by word to the truths of Holy Scripture and to seek to proclaim the gospel to all mankind (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20).
(11) The Ministry and Spiritual Gifts
a. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowment of all his gifts; and, that the gifts of evangelists, pastors, and teachers are sufficient for the perfecting of the saints today; and, that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles gradually ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established ( 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12).
b. We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accord with his own will, for the sick and afflicted ( John 15:7; 1 John 5:14-15).
(12) The Church
a. We believe that the Church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born again persons of this present age (Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2).
b. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures ( Acts 14:27; Acts 20:17,28-32; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11).
c. We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control ( Acts 13:1-4; Acts 15:19-31; Acts 20:28; Romans 16:1,4; 1 Corinthians 3:9,16; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7,13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
d. We believe in the ordinances of believer's water baptism and the Lord's supper as scriptural means of testimony for the church age ( Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man's responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to his purpose. Three of these - the age of law, the age of the Church, and the age of the millennial kingdom are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture ( John 1:17; 1 Corinthians 9:17; 2 Corinthians 3:9-18; Galatians 3:13-25; Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:2-10; Colossians 1:24-25; Hebrews 7:19; Revelation 20:2-6).
(14) The Personality of Satan
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the fall; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and, that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire ( Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:2-11; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
(15) The Second Advent of Christ
We believe in that "Blessed Hope," the personal, imminent, pretribulation and pre-millennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for his redeemed ones; and in his subsequent return to earth, with his saints, to establish his millennial kingdom ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Zechariah 14:4-11; Revelation 19:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10).
(16) The Eternal State
a. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment ( Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29; John 11:25-26; Revelation 20:5-6,12-13).
b. We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord ( Luke 23:43; Revelation+20:4-6; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; Philippians 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
c. We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious misery until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment ( Luke 16:19-26; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 1:6-7; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 20:11-15).
Section 2. Movements Contrary to Faith
Ecumenism is that movement which seeks the organizational unity of all Christianity and ultimately of all religions. Its principal advocates are the World Council of Churches and the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
b. Ecumenical Evangelism
Ecumenical Evangelism is that effort to promote the gospel by bringing fundamentalists into an unequal yoke with theological liberals and/or Roman Catholics and other divergent groups.
NeoOrthodoxy is that theological movement which affirms: the transcendence of God, the finiteness and sinfulness of man, and the necessity of supernatural divine revelation of truth; but, while using evangelical terminology, seriously departs from orthodoxy: in accepting the views of destructive higher criticism, in denying the inerrancy of the Bible as historic revelation, in accepting religious experience as the criterion of truth, and in abandoning important fundamentals of the Christian faith.
d. New Evangelicalism (NeoEvangelicalism, New Conservatism)
These terms refer to that movement within evangelicalism characterized by a toleration of and a dialogue with theological liberalism. Its essence is seen in an emphasis upon the social application of the gospel and weak or unclear doctrines of: the inspiration of Scripture, biblical creationism, eschatology, dispensationalism, and separation. It is further characterized by an attempt to accommodate biblical Christianity and make it acceptable to the modern mind.
We believe that these movements are out of harmony with the Word of God and the official doctrine and position of IFCA International and are inimical to the work of God.
Section 3. Covenant of Faith
In subscribing to these articles of faith, we by no means set aside, or undervalue, any of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments; but we deem the knowledge, belief and acceptance of the truth as set forth in our doctrinal statement, to be essential to sound faith and fruitful practice, and therefore requisite for Christian fellowship in IFCA International.
---------End IFCA "What We Believe"--------
Our Comments on "What We Believe" by the IFCA
- 1. The IFCA, like the Plymouth Brethren and most Baptists, has a problem with this "in the original writings" nonsense. No IFCA preacher or church member has ever seen the "original writings" one time in his life! They have no idea in the world whether the "original writings" were inspired unless they believe God from a Book that is not the "original writings!" Are there any of their preachers who believe in Scripture preservation; in the inerrancy of the King James Bible (or any Bible that they can hold in their hands)? We don't know for sure, but we feel that there must be some that have been exposed to the issue of Final Authority and Bible preservation. We would guess that there are among them a few who are King James men, and who probably stay in trouble constantly with the remainder of them over this issue.
- 2. We agree with the position of the IFCA churches on the doctrine of the Church (see #12 of their statement), as far as it goes. And we are not peculiar Baptists in this agreement with them. Most Baptists that we fellowship with in the United States would in fact agree with this position. Their position on the local church is sound. Their position on autonomy is correct, as is their position on the "ordinances" (not "sacraments" as say the Presbyterians).
- 3. The IFCA has a good statement on Dispensationalism, as far as it goes (though it is probably not as far as I would go) and I'm sure from seeing this that there are probably among them some very good students of Scripture (when they use the Scripture-2 Timothy 3:15-17).
- 4. The IFCA has its eschatology (doctrine of last things) correct.
- 5. The IFCA statement on Movements Contrary to Faith is very good, as far as it goes. Note that the IFCA condemns Neo-Orthodoxy, and correctly so, for "accepting the views of destructive higher criticism,..." The IFCA is confused here. It is higher criticism that destroys the faith of Christians in the King James Bible. It is higher criticism that produced every English Bible version since 1884. If you ever see an IFCA Bible church pastor or member carrying, for example, an NIV, ask him why he has succumbed to higher criticism, when his doctrinal statement tells us that Neo-Orthodoxy is "contrary to faith." Then refer him to Romans 10:17 in your KJV.
We have been familiar with some men in western Missouri who are in fellowship with the Independent Fundamental Churches of America (IFCA). If there are no IFCA churches or ministers close by them, they often gladly fellowship with independent fundamental Baptists. When the Baptists don't object (Briders object!), IFCA pastors will often joyfully cooperate with the Baptists in evangelism and other projects. We have often seen IFCA pastors and members and Baptist pastors and members at each other's revival meetings and other functions.
We would say, therefore, that the churches of the IFCA in the main are no different from independent fundamental Baptist churches in doctrine. Their doctrine is the same (But be careful about WHICH BIBLE they preach.). Their church order is the same. Their worship is the same. They characteristically (by observation) do not have strict teaching on holiness, public modesty and Christian demeanor, or personal separation from worldliness. We believe that these are still important issues, and that they affect the fruitfulness and credibility of our testimony. Many "Baptists" don't really care any more. Thousands of Baptist churches are just as worldly as what we have seen among IFCA churches and in their Bible school, Calvary Bible College.
The IFCA is closely affiliated with Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, Missouri. Many excellent Bible teachers matriculated through that college. Many outstanding pastors, evangelists and missionaries have in past years ministered in the Calvary chapel. Problem: When we viewed the Calvary Bible College Internet web site this week (September 28, 2003) we noticed the worldliness and lack of godly standards that have crept into the college. The lack of separation from modern fashion was obvious. The college was probably financially broke and felt it needed to attract more students, or something like that, so it lowered its standards. The standards of the young people as displayed on the Calvary web site did not exemplify proper instruction to young women on the issues of purity, modesty and shamefacedness (See Titus chapter 2). Again, No Bible-No Final Authority-No Standards-No Separation from the world. That's exactly how it works.
What Bible version is used at Calvary Bible College? Who knows. We know that their doctrinal statement is one and the same with the IFCA. That statement takes no stand on Bible preservation; no stand for the King James Bible. It condemns Neo-Orthodoxy while condoning and accepting the results of higher criticism. I am only guessing that many of the students at Calvary still use and stick with the King James Bible. But I am sure many students will be seen carrying NIVs. It's a shame!
Like is the case in some other Bible colleges and seminaries, there may be one or two old strong King James men hanging in there trying to hold back the tide of apostasy from completely destroying the fundamental nature of the school's doctrine and standards. Yes, it would be better if they "come out from among them and be...separate," and begin training KJV preachers in local KJV churches. But, they are to be admired for having the courage to swim up stream in an environment hostile to old-fashioned Christianity.
So, regarding fellowship: I'm sure that there are genuine Christians among the IFCA churches. The percentage would be roughly similar to that of Baptist churches. Are there men among the IFCA with whom we could fellowship? Around the work of Christ-certainly. We would probably see them head for the hills, however, when the discussion gets on the issues of "Which Bible," or separation from the world. Do we consider their churches un-Scriptural because they do not carry the Baptist label? Not in the least! Many "Baptist" churches, carrying the label, are not nearly so Scriptural as some are among the IFCA! But of course, how can any church, institution or preacher really be called "scriptural" if he doesn't have the Scriptures?
So, regarding fellowship: I'm sure that there are genuine Christians among the IFCA churches. The percentage would be roughly similar to that of Baptist churches. Are there are men among the IFCA with whom we could fellowship? Around the work of Christ-certainly. We would probably see them head for the hills, however, when the discussion gets on the issues of "Which Bible," or separation from the world. Do we consider their churches to be un-Scriptural because they do not carry the Baptist label? Not in the least! Many "Baptist" churches, carrying the label, are not nearly so Scriptural as some are among the IFCA! But of course, how can any church, institution or preacher really be called "scriptural" if he doesn't have the Scripture.
Harold Sightler, Oliver B. Greene and I.M. Haldeman
Quotations from Baptist Pastor
Dr. Harold B. Sightler (1914-1995)
Regarding the Doctrine of the Church
From Dr. Sightler's Message, "The Church: A Body."
... The church is a body-a very distinct body. Not a worldly body, no, but a very different body, a very peculiar body of people we are. Not just anybody gets into this body. This is not to say that anybody could not. I sincerely believe in a "whosoever will" gospel. And it is not the will of God that men perish, but it is the will of God that men become saved and get into the body. ... All those who are saved are placed into the body by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This one baptism puts us into one faith, one Lord, one baptism which we call the baptism with the Spirit of God which places us into this body of which I'm talking about in this hour-"The Church: A Body." (p. 2)
When I speak of the church, I speak of the local church first and foremost and primarily. But I, also, speak of the world church. I mean the entire body of Christ, world around, past and future, one great body. ...the church is not divided, not at all. Every born-again man is a member of the same body I am a part of. He may not call himself a Baptist. I prefer to call myself a Baptist. He may not necessarily call himself a Baptist, but if he is a born again believer in Christ, he is part of the same body of Christ. There is only one body of Christ. Yes, one body. I am a Baptist by choice, and I recommend that you be a Baptist. But I feel it is naive to imagine we Baptists are the only ones truly saved. I think it would be presumptuous to even entertain the thought. I would not so preach. I believe there are Presbyterians who love the Lord as devotedly as you do. And there are others in other denominations who no doubt love the Lord. If they are truly born of God's Spirit, they are in the same body you and I are in. In heaven, God is not going to have the Baptists in the north, the Methodists in the west, and the Pentecostals in the south, and the Episcopalians on the east. Oh, no, in heaven everybody who gets in (and you get in by the blood of the everlasting covenant) is in one body. And in heaven there won't be Baptists and Methodists or Presbyterians, but only saved people. Only born-again people will go to heaven. And a man may be a Methodist or Baptist and not go to heaven if he is not born of God's Spirit. By being born of the Spirit, you are a part of this one body I am talking about in this hour, "The Church: A Body." (pp. 3, 4)
... the church is an organism fore-ordained from the foundation of the world by almighty God Himself. This is a very essential reality you must consider and you must come to recognize about the church if you believe in the prosperity of it, in the permanence of it, and in the perseverance of it. ... In the mind of God the church in its conception was a totality, was a unit-and is a unit, unbroken, undefiled-a unit in the mind of God foreknown and foreordained from the foundation of the world. ... (p. 19)
... The only organism I know of that you can honestly say was fore-known from the foundation of the world is the church. Every part of it was fore-known and fore-ordained from the foundation of the world. In other words, from the mind of God it was a unit. It is a unit now, and it shall ever be unit. (p. 21)
Every once in a while those fore-known get converted, but not one ever converted has ever been lost. There's never a break-down in the church. There is never a believer severed from the vine. There is never a back-door revival in the church. Never! There is never a believer who has traveled the broad road to hell. But every believer is born of God's spirit, child-placed and child-trained into the body which God ordained from the foundation of the world. So I say to you the church is an organism. Fore-ordained in the mind of God since the world began. This makes your head swim. I can't say I understand all that. Yet I believe the church was fore-ordained of God. (pp. 21, 22)
... Only one institution, only one organism is purchased by the precious blood of Jesus as a lamb without spot or blemish. (p. 23)
Now, guess what that organism is? It's the church. We're blood washed. We've been redeemed with a price and the price is the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without sot or blemish. Oh! What a price for my redemption. ... And those for whom He gave His life for ransom are the church, those fore-ordained in God's mind who are in this organism we call the church. Christ died for us upon the cross. (p. 23)
... So, the church is the organism for which Jesus died, purchased in His own blood. (p. 23)
The church is an organism formed by the work of the Holy Spirit of God. This church is brought together in the ministry of the Holy Spirit of God down through the years, moving quietly but surely, inviting, convicting, giving birth to everyone who will obey the gospel call; the church is being brought together through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. (p. 23)
... this organism, the church, will be lifted up to heaven as the bride. In the final consummation one day it will go marching in. Every born-again one is the bride of the bridegroom. You accept this, don't you? ... (pg. 29)
To summarize, Dr. Sightler clearly taught both sides of the Church equation: (1.) the spiritual Body of Christ, the True Church; and (2.) the local assemblies as being also Biblical and necessary to Christian growth.
Quotations from Baptist Evangelist
Dr. Oliver B. Greene
Regarding the Doctrine of the Church
Excerpts From Various Commentaries Written by Dr. Greene
All True Believers Are Members of Christ's Body;
All True Believers Have a Definite Ministry.
(Corinthians, p. 399)
The Holy Spirit is here [1 Cor. 12:12ff] using the human body to illustrate the one true Church and its functions. I believe the local assembly is ordained of God; I believe the local assembly is included in His program; and I believe every born again person should unite with a local assembly. But the Church of the living God is ONE Church, of which Jesus is the head and the foundation, and all born again, blood-washed believers are members of that ONE Church. Our present Scripture points to the invisible Church of which Jesus is the head, but it also has to do with the local church to which Paul directs this letter. (Corinthians, p. 400)
He is the HEAD (Eph. 5:22, 23)
He is the FOUNDATION (1 Cor. 3:11)
He is the BODY (1 Cor. 12:12) (Corinthians, p. 400)
To me, [1 Cor. 12:13] is crystal clear and easily understood. Perhaps that is because I am not looking for proof of a denominational stand. I am not trying to prove anything, I am not defending any denomination. The Word of God simply states, "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body." We know this does not refer to water baptism, because it very clearly declares, "by one Spirit." This, then, is a spiritual baptism.
Positionally we were baptized into the body of Christ at Pentecost. The Church was foreordained of God, but that has nothing to do with the free will of man. The Church was known of God before the foundation of the world. (God is sovereign; He knows the end in the beginning, and everything between the beginning and the end.) Therefore, on the Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the New Testament Church, the Church as a whole was baptized into the body of Christ.
I believe [1 Cor. 12:13] has a twofold meaning: It points back to Pentecost when the entire Church was baptized in the Holy Ghost, and it also refers to the moment of conversion when the individual is born of the Spirit, baptized into and united with the body of Christ by the miracle of the Holy Ghost. According to the Scripture, there is no such thing as New Testament Christianity apart from the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that baptism occurs the moment an individual exercises faith in Christ and is born again.
There is no longer the Jew (the chosen one) and the Gentile "dog," as it was before the coming of Christ and during the days of His earthly ministry. NOW it makes no difference whether we be Jew or Gentile, bond or free. All who believe, all who trust in the finished work of Jesus, are baptized by ONE Spirit into ONE body.
(Corinthians, p. 401)
We believers are the body of Christ. We represent Him in this earth; ... (Ephesians, p. 139)
In connection with [Eph. 4:4-6], please read John chapter seventeen in its entirety. Study it carefully, and hear the cry of the Lord Jesus as He begs for oneness in the body-the church. ... (Ephesians, p. 141)
... According to [Eph. 4:4-6], there is one body . . . there is only one True Church. There are saved people in many denominations; there are born again people in many local assemblies-but all born again people belong to the one true church-the body of Christ-One body. All born again people are members of that body, and when one member suffers, the body suffers. (Ephesians, p. 142)
... --one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism! And my precious friend, that is not a baptism in a church baptistery . . . it is the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Each and every one who belongs to the one body has been baptized by the one Spirit, called with the one true calling which is by the Holy Ghost. We have received the one Lord because we have been drawn to Him by the Holy Ghost (John 6:44). (Ephesians, p. 143)
... "The Church" in [Col. 1:18] does not refer to the local assembly, but to the redeemed body of faithful sons of God-those who have salvation through His precious blood. In the previous verse Paul has shown Jesus Christ to be the Head of the Church: He is the image of God, and is therefore divine. ... (Colossians, p. 57)
At the very outset of this epistle Paul says, "You turned to God from idols, to wait for His Son from heaven whom He raised from the dead" (1 Thess. 1:10). The divine union between true believers and the Lord Jesus is such that whatever Christ as Head of the Church does or experiences, He carries the members of His body (the Church) with Him. The Christian dead are "dead in Christ" (verse 16) and therefore have the divine guarantee that in due time they will be raised and glorified in Christ (II Thess. 1:2; II Tim. 2:11). (Thessalonians, p. 139)
Dr. Greene's teaching agrees with Dr. Sightler's. Few independent Baptist pastors would disagree that the work of these two men has been a powerful positive influence in the movement in the past two or three generations. The following, from Dr. Haldeman, shows that Dr. Sightler's and Dr. Greene's positions are not something new to Bible-believing Baptists.
Quotations from Baptist Pastor
Dr. I.M. Haldeman (1845-1933)
Regarding the Doctrine of the Church
Excerpted From Dr. Haldeman's Book on the Church
The word Church is the Greek word Ecclesia, "The called out."
Doctrinally, the Church is a body of persons called out by the power of God, to faith in a Crucified and Risen Christ, having had wrought in them by the Spirit and the Word, the nature of the Risen Christ, indwelt by the Spirit, made members one of another, and linked by that Spirit to the Risen Man in the Heavens.
This is the Church.
1. Historically, the Church had no existence before the resurrection of Christ.
2. The Church had no existence when Christ was on the earth. The Church was yet future.
3. The resurrection of Christ was the beginning of the Church.
4. The Church, doctrinally, was alone fully revealed to Paul.
5. The Church is the NEW MAN.
6. The Church is the Body of Christ.
7. The Church is prospectively the Bride of Christ.
8. Ministry in the Church is a gift from the ascended Lord to his Body on the earth.
9. The Church is to assemble for worship, and that worship, is to be in the breaking of Bread.
10. The Church meets officially on the first day of the week.
11. The Church is a building.
[Dr. Haldeman is not speaking of man made edifices, but of that which is built without hands by the Holy Ghost].
12. The Church, considered in assembly relations, is presented to Christ as a virgin.
13. Jesus is now the absent Bridegroom, preparing a place for the reception of the Bride.
14. He will come again for the Church.
15. He will present her to himself.
16. He will marry the Church as his wife; marriage signifies union; ...
17. The Church will be taken away before the Tribulation.
18. The Church will be taken out of the world secretly.
19. The Church will come back from Heaven with Christ in glory.
20. The Church will be associated with Christ in the rule of the age to come.
21. The Church will sit with Christ in the Judgment.
22. The Church will come down in the Eternal state, into the new earth, to dwell in, and be the Tabernacle of God.
 2 Corinthians was not only written to the (local) church in Corinth, but was also written to "all the saints which are in all Achaia:..." (2 Corinthians 1:1). This spreads the recipient list out to many, many believers, irrespective of their local church affiliation.
 You should be made aware of, and warned about any Baptists who teach that the Rapture (translation) at the end of the Church Age will be restricted to members of certain local Baptist churches. We have met Baptists who actually teach that if you are not a member of a church of which they approve (of course!) that you will be left to endure at least half of Daniel's Seventieth Week. Such teaching, however, is a very extreme form of Landmark-ism (Landmark Baptist) that denies much solid New Testament teaching about God's purposes for the current age in contrast to His purposes for the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7-the Tribulation period).
 James R. Beller, The Soul of St. Louis, (Arnold, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 1998).
 James R. Beller, America in Crimson Red, The Baptist History of America, (Arnold, MO: Prairie Fire Press, 2004), pg. 363, citing Thomas Armitage, Addresses and Other Matter, (New York: American and Foreign Bible Society, 1882), pg. 5.
 ibid, pp. 370, 371