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Written by Sylvester Hassell   


Copied from the "Gospel Messenger" and the "Advocate and Messenger"


Adam

Q. Have we any certain knowledge as to the color of Adam?
A. We have not. It is thought that the Hebrew word Adam is derived from the Hebrew words meaning "formed of red earth;" and that, therefore, Adam was a white man with the ruddy complexion of health. As the Jews are traced back, in the Scriptures, through Abraham and Shem and Noah to Adam, the latter must have been a white man. The word Ham, the name of Noah's younger son, is thought to mean "black" or "hot;" he was the ancestor of the people in the southern warm countries of Asia and Africa, Arabia, Egypt, and Ethiopia. The word Ethiopia means sunburnt. In accordance with Acts 17:26, Rom. 5:12, I Cor. 15:22, and Rev. 5:9, nearly all scientists agree that the whole human race descended from one pair, and that the races have been, in the overruling providence of God, brought about by differences, of thousands of years, in climate, temperature, moisture, exposure, and environment. We know from the Scriptures (Psalm 68:31; Acts 8:26-40), and are assured, from experience and observation, that Ethiopians are subjects of Divine grace. No human reasoning can exempt any variety of mankind from accountability to God, and from condemnation by His justice or salvation by His mercy.

Q. What is the meaning of the language of God to Adam in the garden of Eden: "In the day that thou eatest thereof (that is, of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17)?
A. The literal translation is, "In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying, thou shalt die;" that is, as soon as Adam should partake of the forbidden fruit, he should become mortal, or begin to die, and at last, at the time appointed of God, he should die a natural death (Eccles. 3:2, Heb. 9:27). The death of Adam, when he ate the forbidden fruit, was a "death in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1-5); and all his posterity are involved in this death (Rom. 5:12); and, unless chosen, redeemed, and quickened by God, which will be manifested in a godly life unless they die in infancy, they will finally go down into the second or eternal death (II Thess. 1:7-10, Rev. 20:14, 21:8, 22:11).


Atonement

Q. Does the atonement of Christ cover all the sins that the elect commit before and after regeneration?
A. The atonement of Christ is the only real, efficacious satisfaction that has ever been made to Divine justice for any sin; and the very slightest sin not covered by that atonement will certainly sink the perpetrator to everlasting perdition. The sacrifices of clean and unblemished animals in the Old Testament dispensation had no real efficacy in the removal of sin, but were only types and shadows of the atoning death of the spotless Son of God, who by Himself purged our sins, and by His one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified (Heb. 1:1-3; 9; 10); and the New Testament does not give the least intimation that, since the atoning death of Christ, any other real sacrifice for sin has ever been or will ever be made. All sin is the transgression of the law, and deserves the penalty of death, and therefore requires the same atonement (I John 3:4, Ezek. 18:4, 20). God laid on Christ the iniquity of all His people, all classes and conditions, and remembers their sins and iniquities no more, there is no more offering for sin (Heb. 10:10-18). Christ loves us, gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity (Titus 2:14). His blood cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). By the will of God we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. His blood was shed for many for the remission of sins (Matt. 26:28). As the Lamb of God, He took away the sin of the world (John 1:29). By His obedience many were made righteous (Rom. 5:19). He, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21). He saves and washes us from our sins in His own blood, and makes us kings and priests unto God (Rev. 1:5,6). To say that the elect must and can atone, by their sufferings, for their own sins committed after regeneration, belies the word of God which I have thus abundantly quoted; stains the holiness of God by representing Him as accepting an imperfect offering; dishonors the sacrifice of Christ as insufficient to save His people from all their sins; and degrades the Primitive Baptist doctrine far below ordinary Arminianism to the lowest depths of Roman Catholicism, which dares to represent the penance and purgatorial punishment of guilty sinners as more efficacious for their salvation than the atoning death of the holy Son of God. According to my understanding, this is one of the worst errors that have appeared among the Baptists for a hundred years. The atonement of Christ is the central and chief fact of Christianity; and the denial of the perfect sufficiency of the atonement of Christ to satisfy Divine justice for all the sins of all the elect is the overthrow of the entire system of Christianity, and a return to the midnight darkness of heathenism. This recent and most lamentable error arose from an attempt to explain Matt. 12:22-37 and Mark 3:22-30 and Luke 12:10 by Heb. 10:26-31. As I have repeatedly shown in "The Gospel Messenger," nothing but an ignorance that is unqualified to teach can say that blasphemy is sin in general - it is a special sin, the sin of evil speech, and not of evil action, and, as proved by the Scriptures just cited, was committed, not by the disciples of Christ, but by His inveterate, malignant, diabolical enemies, the Pharisees, whom He calls, in that connection, a generation of vipers, having evil hearts and therefore speaking evil things, calling the Holy Ghost an unclean spirit, and He declares that they would never be forgiven for it, and He does not at all intimate that they could themselves ever atone for this unpardonable sin by anything that they could ever do or suffer. As for Heb. 10:1-23 and the whole epistle and the entire Scriptures, and as understood by all the ablest Baptist and Protestant students of the Scriptures up to the present century, the reference of the Apostle in this passage is to the professed but not the real people of God, who were not born of the Spirit of God, but only enlightened in their heads and not in their hearts, having only an intellectual knowledge of the truth (as the false teachers in II Peter 2), and their wilful sinning or falling away was an apostasy from their profession, a renunciation of Christ for Moses, a rejection of the gospel of Christ and banishment from His presence.
 
Q. What is the difference between Andrew Fuller's and John Bunyan's theories of the atonement?
A. Fuller believed in the inconsistency of Christ's having made a general atonement for the whole human race and yet applying its benefits by His Spirit to the elect only; while Bunyan believed, as do the Primitive Baptists, that Christ's atonement was only and efficaciously for the elect.

Q. Have Baptists always believed in predestination and a limited atonement?
A. All who read and knew the Scriptures and were taught of God on those subjects have. In the Dark Ages and just afterwards few had or could read the Scriptures, and they were not enlightened on these points of doctrine.


Associations

Q. Has an Association the authority to sit in judgment and render a decision in church differences?
A. Associations are not mentioned in the Scriptures. The first Baptist Association was formed in Wales, A.D. 1651 more than 1500 years after the death of John the last Apostle, and therefore, associations have no right over the churches; or to render decisions between churches. It would be far better to abolish all associations than to have them rule and ruin the churches, sacred to the Lord Jesus Christ her only head and master. The church is the highest, the last and the only organization on earth authorized to settle differences between its members. (Matt. 18).

Q. Do Councils or Associations have any authority over the churches?
A. None whatever, since the death of the Apostles, the last fully inspired and infallible created teachers of the human race. Any assemblies of men may advise a church of Christ, but they cannot impose their decisions upon her. But if a church, after the humble, loving, and continued labors of gospel churches, stubbornly and permanently persists in departing from the doctrine and practice of Christ and His Apostles, she unchurches herself, her candlestick is removed out of its place, and she becomes a synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:5; 8:9).

Q. How many members and Associations of the Primitive Baptists are there in the United States, and are the Philadelphia and Charleston Associations missionary bodies?
A. The Philadelphia and Charleston Associations have gone into modern, money-based "missions" (some of the oldest and best churches formerly belonging to the Philadelphia Association still remaining Old School or Primitive). No human being on earth knows how many Primitive Baptists there are in the United States; but, according to the latest estimates that I have seen, here are about 126,000 members, about 3,000 churches, about 250 associations, and about 1,500 elders. We have no General Associations or Conventions or Reports.

Q. What is the object of the Circular Letter read at Associations?
A. To set forth and maintain some important scriptural principle or practice. Many of our associations, instead of having a long Circular Letter, have only a short Corresponding Letter addressed to their own churches and to other associations.

Q. Does an Association which is in disorder, make all its churches and their members disorderly, or does an association have power to rule over the churches composing it?
A. Not at all; as the Bible readers know, associations are utterly unknown to the Scriptures; they are modern, human institutions, and, when assuming to rule over its churches or other associations, instead of simply meeting to worship God and edify His people, they are extremely unscriptural and mischievous.

Q. If a church, that is a member of an association, persists, after gospel labor, in a serious error, would it not be proper for the other churches of the association to condemn it, and then cease to associate with it?
A. Yes, unless the unsound or disorderly church purged itself of the error.


Apocrypha

Q. How should we regard the Apocrypha?
A. The old London Baptist Confession of Faith, of 1689, very well says in Chapter 1, Section 3: "The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of Divine inspiration (Luke 24:27,44; Rom. 3:2), are not part of the canon (or rule) of Scripture, and therefore are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings." And the same views of these books are held by the Jews, the Greek Catholics, and all Protestants except the Church of England (or Episcopal Church) which, in her Thirty-nine Articles of Faith mentions the Apocrypha as books "which the church doth read for examples of life and instruction of manners, but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine." The Roman Catholic Church has always highly favored these books, and in the Council of Trent (1545-1563) received them in part for edification, but not for "the establishment of doctrine;" yet the Romish Church, in its translation of the Bible, mixes these books with the books of the Old Testament, and derives from them its unscriptural doctrines of purgatory, prayers for the dead, and the meritoriousness of good works; and in the Apocrypha, as derived from the Persian Zend-Avesta, two-seedism, or dualism, finds its strongest arguments. The Apocrypha is not the Hebrew Old Testament, but is in the Septuagint or Greek Version of the Old Testament. It consists of the following fourteen books: 1st, Historical (First Estrous, First and Second Maccabees); 2nd, Legendary, (Tobit, Judith, Additions to Esther, Song of Three Holy Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon); 3rd, Prophetical (Baruch, Prayer of Manassas); 4th, Apocalyptic (Second Eadras); and 5th, Didactic (The Wisdom of Solomon, and The Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus). These books were written between 300 B.C. and 75 A.D. They are not quoted at all by the writers of the New Testament, and they abound in fictitious stories and doctrinal errors, and they show the workings of the carnal Jewish mind just before and after the coming of Christ.

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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.