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Bible Doctrine with Exhortation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lee Hanks   

Advocate and Messenger, October, 1933

It is conceded by all well informed spiritually minded Primitive Baptists that God is the creator of the heavens and earth. The mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms were all made by Him. There is no life, human or Divine, without antecedent life. He is sovereign over all worlds. No creature comes into existence by chance or upon the principle of evolution. No being created itself. Life precedes action and growth. This is true in the natural and spiritual realm.

God, the Creator, created of all things, and His wisdom and foreknowledge beheld all the action of His creatures. Sin is man's act which he does voluntarily, and in the commission of sin man carries our his own will, and is not influenced or forced to commit sin; therefore, he is accountable to God, and is to blame for all his wicked actions. It is blaspheming to charge sin and wickedness to God as the source or efficient cause of sin. God's attitude toward sin is over-ruling, and His relation toward holiness is causative. God's efficient predestination is what He does, or causes to be done. It is His act. He is the author of what He effectually predestinates. Predestination brings salvation and not damnation. God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation. Many dear Christians have failed to make the distinction between predestination and God's wisdom, or foreknowledge have unintentionally made mistakes, using predestination where they meant wisdom, or foreknowledge. Our fathers did not believe that God is the author of sin, coerced or influenced any to commit sin. God's children in the recreation or regeneration in soul are passive under a physical law. In obedience God's children have divine life, and are active under a parental law,--God giving them the grace and ability to do what He requires of them. This is the doctrine of the fathers. They held that there is an eternal salvation of which Jesus Christ is the author (Isa. 45:17; Matt. 1:21; Acts. 4:12; II Tim. 1:19; Heb. 5:9), and that there is salvation in time for God's living children to work out (Phil. 2:12,13; Acts 2:40); through preaching the gospel (Acts 11:14; I. Cor. 1:21; I Tim. 4:15), and by baptism, etc. This was contended for in the writings of Eld. John Gill, G. Beebe, J. F. Johnson, John Clark, S. H. Durand, F. A. Chick, A. L. Moore, Jas. Dameron, F. P. Branscome, S. F. Cayce, C. H. Waters, J. R. Daily, and perhaps nine tenths of the old Baptists now living. None believe they can obey without the enabling grace of God, but they can do all things He requires through Christ, who strengthens them. While there is much gained by the Christian in obedience, and much lost by disobedience, they praise God for every blessing. They feel that they are to blame for disobedience, and deserve the chastening hand of the Lord. Our fathers and the great body of our people, now living, believe that the church is the only disciplinary body, and that associations have not the slightest authority over churches. Our people, generally, oppose mob-law discipline. Even if a preacher preaches unsound doctrine he should be labored with gospelly as the Scriptures direct (Tit. 3:10), have a fair and impartial trial before he is excluded, or if there be a personal difference Gospel steps should be taken accordingly (Matt. 18). To exclude a servant of God without a trial is mob-law and illegal, and deserves punishment by law. The civil courts of our country will gibe a black criminal an impartial hearing before an impartial jury. The church of God should not be less righteous in her actions than a worldly court. It is dangerous to seek the life of a brother,--vengeance belongs to God and He will repay. The church of God is not a slaughter house to slay good brethren. God's people should be merciful. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Railing against servants of God publicly is a grievous sin, associated with drunkenness, fornication, etc., and the church is commanded to put that wicked person from among them. Saul fell on his own sword.

We need great forbearance and should not use carnal weapons. We should be kind, tender, loving, forgiving, and prayerful, remembering that he that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall prosper. God will fight our battles for us. Let our preaching be done in love. When differences arise, it is not best to harp on them all the time, but labor to see how close together we are. We should overcome evil with good. Let each confess his own faults, get the beam out of his own eye, and "let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from among you, with all malice;" and be kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Can't all true Primitive Baptists do this, and let peace be restored? All make some mistakes. Let us forgive the past, and live for the future. Submitted in love.

Lee Hanks

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.