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Home arrow Writers arrow J.S. Newman arrow Who Are The Primitive Baptists? Chapter VI
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Written by J.S. Newman   

PREDESTINATION-- CONTINUED.

Paul said: "But with many of them (the Israelites) God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness." 1 Cor. 10: 5.

If every act of man was purposed, then the Lord fixed it so that His people had to "lust after evil things," to be "idolaters," "commit fornication," "tempt Christ," and to "murmur." All of this abominable wickedness we are asked to believe is a part of the eternal purpose in Christ, which, if true, had to occur just when it did and just as it did, and not only so, but if it was a part of the Lord's eternal will or purpose then when the Lord's will was done He "was not well pleased." Again, if the above was a part of the counsel of God, and He works all things after the counsel of His own will, as Paul affirms, then God was not well pleased with what He worked according to His own counsel and will. Paul said: "Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted." 1 Cor. 10: 6. If all things were purposed of the Lord, then the Lord predestinated for the Israelites to lust after evil thing's, and the same eternal purpose of God in Christ was for Paul to say? "Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them;" "Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed;" "Neither let us tempt Christ;" "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured." Paul concludes by saying: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Cor. 10: 11.

While we are lovingly and tenderly admonished in the above exhortations to do right, which is God's revealed will, we are unblushingly asked to unquestionably believe that the secret, immutable will of God was for them to do just as they did, which, if true, the people could not have done right, for the very good reason the Lord purposed for them to do wrong. The Spirit inspired and influenced Paul to say, "to the intent we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted." We are also asked to believe that the same Spirit had secretly fixed it so that some of the people should "lust after evil things as they also lusted." James said: "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members." James 4: 1. The wars and fightings mentioned in the text are forbidden in God's revealed will, but we are asked to believe that it was a part of God's secret will for the children of God to have the wars and fightings condemned in the text. Indeed, we are asked to believe that while the Lord had secretly and unfrustratably decreed for the above wrongs to occur among His people He also purposed for James to rebuke His children for doing as He had purposed, willed and wanted them to do. If it is right for the children of God to NOT war and fight each other, is it not strange that the Lord would fix it so His people could not do right? Paul said: "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Gal. 5: 15, 16; The above is an expression concerning God's revealed will; which is obeyed just as often as it is decreed in God's secret will, and is also disobeyed as often as it was decreed. So if the children of God bite and devour one another they are doing, as God fixed them to do, If they do not bite and devour one another they are doing as God predestinated for them to do.

The doctrine of the absolute predestination of all things is the most unconscionable doctrine I have ever met with. It dresses up with a medley of clothing. If its outer clothes are clean and neat its underclothes are filthy and ragged. There is absolutely an out of sight underground current about the doctrine that is obnoxious and uninviting. When the doctrine is undressed we have a loathsome, unhallowed, unpalatable spectacle to offer the dear children of God. The babble and incessant loquacity of some of the children of God over the unlimited predestination of all things presents an aspect that is not at all inviting.

James said: "My brethren these things ought not so to be." James 3: 10. If the "things" referred to in the text that "ought not so to be" were some, or a part of the all things predestinated, then the Lord by purposing it fixed it so that what "ought not so to be" had to be. If the eternal fixedness of all things be true, then the God of all grace fixed it in the ancients of eternity that what ought not so to be had to be, and the same eternal Spirit of God inspired James to say, "My brethren, these things ought not so to be." So we can see, according to the predestination of all things, that God purposed these things to be, while the Holy Spirit moved James to say that these things ought not so to be.

Paul said: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world." Titus 2: 11, 12. From this text we observe several things. First, grace bringeth salvation; secondly, grace teaches us, or the saved, first, to deny ungodliness, secondly, to deny worldly lusts, thirdly, that we should live soberly, fourthly, that we should live righteously, and fifthly, that we should live godly in this present world. Many of the Lord's people do not at all times deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly and righteously in this present world. Peter did not deny ungodliness when he denied the Saviour by saying: "Woman, I know Him not." Luke 22: 57. The grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness of every kind--sin in all its phases-while we are asked to believe that the eternal God secretly fixed it so His people could not do as the grace of God teaches them to do. We see, according to the doctrine, that the Lord fixed it in His secret and eternal will for the people to do wrong, also in the same purpose the Lord fixed it so that Peter must tell the people to do right. So, according to the theory, the grace of God must fail to get the people to do as it teaches them to do, because the Lord had fixed it so they could not do what grace taught them to do.

Paul said: "Let no man deceive you with vain words." Eph. 5: 6. As many of the Lord's dear children are deceived by vain words it must be, as deception is a thing, that the Lord so purposed. If the Lord purposed for his people to be deceived, do you think it is possible for what the Lord purposed to be not to be? Do you think the Lord purposed for the people to be deceived and also purposed for Paul to tell them to allow "no man" to do what He predestinated for the man to do? If the Lord purposed for a man or people to be deceived, do you think that it is possible for that man or people to avoid being deceived? If the Lord decreed for the man to be deceived, the man simply could not help himself without frustrating the eternal purpose of God in Christ. The man, or people, had to be deceived and Paul had to tell the man, or people, to let no man do what the Lord purposed for him to do. If what the Lord said in His revealed will was what He wanted and He purposed that His revealed will should be violated, then the predestination of God kept Him from getting what He wanted. If the secret will of God contains all the Lord wants, and this will cannot be violated, and it is decreed in this secret will for a man, or people, to be deceived, then His revealed will must be violated--a man, or people, must transgress in order for the Lord to get what He wanted.

Again Paul said: "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine." Titus 2: 1. Many of the children of God are doctrinally unsound. If unsoundness is a thing, and all things are predestinated, then such as are unsound could not be sound, or speak the things that become sound doctrine, for the very good reason that the Lord fixed it so that they had to be unsound. If the doctrine that I am now combating be sound the people had to be sound or unsound. If it was fixed for them to be sound they could not be unsound. If it was fixed for them to be unsound they could not be sound. So it was absolutely impossible for such men as were unsound to speak the things that become sound doctrine without thwarting the purpose of God.

John said: "And the Spirit and the Bride say come." Rev. 22: 17. Some of the Lord's people disobey Him in not icing the church, and in various other ways. If the purpose of God fixed it so that all who do not obey Him could not obey, or come, is not the Spirit impressing or influencing men to do what He does not want the people to do? If the Lord wanted the people to come and He fixed it so they could not come, then the Lord fixed it so He could not get what He wanted. If the Lord predestinated all things, and disobedience is a thing, and we know it is, then the Spirit is powerless so far as being able to cause one of the Lord's children to obey that the Lord purposed should disobey. If the Holy Spirit says to a man, "Come," and God has decreed that the man should not come, then it is a very clear fact that the Spirit's work in saying "Come" is in olden rebellion and conflict with the purpose of God, seeing that the Spirit says come and the purpose of God has fixed it so he, or they could not come.

If it is true that God has purposed for so many of His people to obey Him and a definite number to disobey Him, then it is a fact that the Spirit of God could not have caused one of the number to obey that He had purposed should disobey. So the absolute predestination of all things renders the Spirit and grace of God powerless in every case of obedience on the part of the Lord's people. If anyone should deny this, then I ask you the question, do you think the Spirit or grace of God could cause a thing to be different to the way God predestinated for it to be? If you say the Spirit and grace of God did not want the man to obey, then you say that the Spirit and grace of God had no desire in the matter, or else the Spirit and grace of God wanted the man to disobey.

If the Spirit of God causes a man to want to obey, and the Lord has predestinated for him to disobey, is it not a fact that God is arrayed against Himself in His work? And is it not also true that the man might have obeyed if the Lord had not decreed otherwise? If God's predestination fixed it so he had to disobey and his disobedience was a sin, is it not true that God caused that man to sin, seeing he had to do just what God purposed and what God purposed was sinful?

Jesus said to His disciples: "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Matt. 16: 6. Jesus was not warning His disciples against anything that the Pharisees and the Sadducees might have believed that was the truth. The disciples did not at first understand what Jesus meant, and of course according to the predestination of all things it was so fixed that they should not understand for the time being. Just as soon as the purpose of God relative to the disciples NOT understanding what the above text meant was consummated "Then understood they how that He bade them not to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Matt. 16: 12. The Pharisees believed in absolute predestination of all things and tried to harmonize the doctrine with free will in an Arminian sense, while the Sadducees were non-resurrectionists and "free willers."

If God eternally purposed in Jesus all things that come to pass, then the people had to believe as they did. So we are asked to believe that according to the purpose of God some believe one thing and some another.

Paul said: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." 1 Cot. 1: 10. It is a fact that the Corinthian brethren did not all speak the same thing, "For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?" 1 Cot. 3: 4. And not only so, but there were divisions among the Corinthian brethren, "For whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal and walk as men?" 1 Cot. 3: 3. We cannot be consistent and believe that a merciful God had purposed all that the Corinthian brethren did. If so, then the Lord fixed it so that Paul must tell them to do right and at the same time fixed it so that they must do wrong.

Paul said: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lust thereof." Rom. 6: 12. This text is an exhortation to God's people to do right, and I am quite sure that many of His people have not heeded the advice of Paul. If all things were predestinated they could not have obeyed the injunction of Paul, as it was otherwise fixed. We are asked to believe by the purpose of God that they had, or must disobey the exhortation. It is perfectly clear to my mind that such is not the predestination of Israel's God. Paul preached predestination just as it should be preached to day. He said: "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren." Rom. 8: 29. In this text we have a clear, lucid and concise distinction given between the foreknowledge and predestination of God. All that He foreknew are those that He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world. God purposed the eternal salvation of poor lost and ruined sinners, and nothing can hinder what God has purposed to be. The salvation of sinners by grace exclusively is the immediate, direct and irresistible work of God in Christ since the foundation of the world. God purposed that Jesus Christ should make an atonement for His chosen and foreknown people, which he did, and this atonement immutably secures the eternal salvation of all for whom it was made. To deny this is to deny the purpose and wisdom of God in making the atonement. God purposed to redeem sinners and in the fullness of time Jesus came and redeemed all the foreknown and chosen.

Paul said: "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Eph. 1: 7. God purposed to reconcile His people to Himself, and this He did. "For if, when we were enemies, were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Rom. 5: 10. It is plainly taught in the Scriptures that God also purposed for all His people to bear the "image of His Son" and this image He causes them to bear. He purposed to keep them by His power and He is not slack concerning what He has purposed or promised.

"Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." Rom. 8: 30. Paul said nothing about God predestinating sin or any of its long chain of evils. As Paul nowhere preached any such doctrine, do you think a man can preach as Paul did on the subject and say that God predestinated all things good and evil? If Paul preached the truth on predestination and did not once say that God purposed sin, do you think it right for you or I to go further with predestination than Paul did? If you preach the doctrine of the absolute predestination of all things good and evil, and the Scriptures nowhere positively say so, how can you positively prove that God did what you positively affirm He did ?

Paul said again: "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." Eph. 2: 5. If the above texts are not a clear, concise and unmistakable elucidation of what Paul believed on the subject, then no one has any means of finding out what Paul did believe on the subject of predestination. If Paul believed the doctrine of the absolute predestination of all things good and evil he kept it to himself, or at least it is not recorded, and we simply have no way of proving that Paul believed the doctrine that I know of. Paul said: "Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good." 1 Thess, 5: 21, I for one am not willing to even try to prove that Paul believed in predestination of all things, as he never said he did, and none of the other New Testament writers ever said he did.

Again, Paul said: "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being. predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." Eph. 1: 11. Paul would have us understand, as well as the saints at Ephesus, that we obtained the inheritance upon the principle of divine predestination.

Peter said: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1: 3-5. This is evidently the inheritance unto which all the heirs of the eternal purpose of God were righteously appointed, and each heir is absolutely sure to obtain his blood bought, incorruptible inheritance, for it was so decreed in the counsel of His will."

It will not do to say that Paul did not preach all that was necessary to be preached on the sublime subject of predestination. If Paul preached all that was necessary on predestination and did not preach that God purposed all the wicked acts of men and devils, we should emulate his conservative example. Paul said: "And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house." Acts 20: 20. What Paul preached on predestination was profitable, and he preached all that was profitable. He did not preach predestination of all things good and evil, he kept back nothing that was profitable, therefore predestination of all things good and evil is unprofitable.

Paul said again: Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." Acts 20: 26, 27 As Paul nowhere said or preached the doctrine of the absolute predestination of all things good and evil, and as he declared all the counsel of God, therefore the absolute predestination of all things good and evil is no part of the counsel of God.

Paul said again: "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add afflictions to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that [ am set for the defense of the gospel." Phil. 1: 15, 16, 17. Paul Preached the gospel as it should be preached today, "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." He nowhere preached the predestination of all things good and evil, hence the doctrine is no part of the gospel of the grace of God. If the doctrine of the predestination of all things good and evil is a part of the gospel, and as Paul was set for the defense of the gospel he somewhere in his writings would have defended it. The profound silence of Paul on that subject conclusively demonstrates that it is not the truth, and therefore no part of the gospel of peace.

Again Paul said: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim. 2: 16, 17. The Scriptures plainly mention every point of the doctrine of God our Saviour. The Scriptures nowhere say God has purposed all things good and evil, therefore the doctrine mentioned is not profitable, and as the doctrine of God our Saviour is profitable, the absolute predestination of all things is no part of the doctrine of God our Saviour. As the Scriptures abundantly teach us that preaching the gospel is a good work, and as Paul said and preached all that was right for him to say on the subject of good works, and as he nowhere said that he believed that God had purposed all things good and evil, therefore I conclude that it is not a good work to preach such a doctrine.

Paul said: "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again." Titus 2: 9. We know that some servants have disobeyed their masters and have not pleased them well in all things. This we are asked to believe is a part of the counsel and predestination of God. The Spirit of God inspired Paul to give the young men good advice, while the same Spirit we are taught to believe had secretly fixed it so the young men must reject that which was told them and do wrong. "Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." V. 10. When the saints of God do what the Scriptures tell them to do they adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. We are also asked to believe that when a man lies, steals, bears false witness, gets drunk, commits fornication, murders, or commit any other sin, that all of this was predestinated and goes to make up the clothing to adorn the predestination of God. Joshua was once clothed with filthy garments (Zech. 3: 3) but the filthy garments did not belong to Joshua. Let us take the filthy garments mentioned off of the doctrine of predestination, for they do not belong to it.

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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.