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Things Which Primitive Baptists Cannot Do PDF Print E-mail
Written by J.H. Purifoy   

 Snow Hill, ALA, March 2, 1884. 

Some Things, Which Primitive Baptists Can Not Do, And Maintain Their Identity as The True Church of Christ.

Editors Zion’s Advocate: With your kind permission I wish to present the reader with a practical view of some things that we, as Primi­tive Baptists, cannot do without the loss of our identity as the true Church of God.

1st. Unregenerated persons cannot be received, knowingly, into the membership of our churches, because such are not entitled to membership accord­ing to the teaching of the Scriptures. John the Baptist received and baptized those only who brought forth the fruits meet for, or worthy of, repentance. On the day of Pentecost none were added to the Church, except those who “gladly received the word” and Philip would not consent to bap­tize the Eunuch till he professed to believe, with all his heart, that Christ was the Son of God. All these are examples for our learning that God’s rule and command to His people is, to receive and baptize none but those who give evidence of regeneration. On this account we require of every one coming from the ranks of unbelievers and from other orders of pro­fessing Christians, evidence of regeneration, commonly called, an exper­ience of grace, before we can admit him to membership with us—before we can admit them to the sacred ordi­nances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

2d. We Cannot commune with other orders, nor receive members from them, without baptism or rebaptism, as many call it. Why is this? This is a question that is often asked, and as often answered, but in such a way that the questioner is at a loss, after all, to under­stand our true reason and cause for our procedure and practice in this particular. I shall, therefore give the trumpet such a blast on this question that none can say it was an uncertain sound. I do not say that it will be soft pleasant, and agreeable to many; on the contrary, it will be very disa­greeable and offensive to all who want and seek for popularity and worldly comfort and ease, and say that any church is good enough, if your heart is right.

NOW, the rock bottom reason (our Bible reason,) why we cannot commune with other orders, nor receive members from them without baptism, is because we cannot, in any sense, re­gard them as the churches of Christ. If it can be proven by the Scriptures that they are the Churches of Christ, our practice would not only be con­demned, but would appear most ridiculous and absurd. But if they are not Churches of Christ, then they have no right to the ordinances of the Church; for they, the ordinances, belong ex­clusively to the Church. As we can­not regard them as the Church of God, we are compelled to regard as null and void their baptism, although the form may be correct, and the subject a proper one. Christ is the head of but one body, or church; and He can­not, and will not, recognize any so-called church, founded and set up by man; and no man has the right to be the founder and head of an organiza­tion, and then assume the right to call it the Church of Cod. This principle is recognized in human governments: if a man were to assume to be the governor of a State the same as the lawfully constituted one the State, in her sovereign power, could not recog­nize her lawful representative and the usurper, too. Again; if a man were to assume the duties and perform the functions, in due form of a magistrate when he was not lawfully elected or appointed to that office, all his acts would be null and void. So it is with every organization of men assuming to be the Church of God, when they are not. But, how are we to decide this matter? By the Bible, I answer. Paul wrote to the Ephesians “There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephe. iv. 4, 5). There were many religious sects in the days of the Apostles, and of Christ when in the world; but he, nor they recognized none of them as the Church of God. They were denounc­ed as hypocrites, and called the syna­gogues of Satan, and the children of the devil; and yet those very sects that He so severely denounced, were popular and wealthy, educated and re­fined, and had the wisdom of the world on their side, such as lawyers and doctors and scribes.

But how can we know which is the Church now? By tracing out the Bible signs of the apostolic churches. The first sign we notice is the selection of teachers. They were poor, illiterate men, for the most part, and some of them were common fishermen; but God called them, quali­fied them, and sent them forth to preach. And what was that? it was election, predestination, regeneration, everlasting preservation of the saints. and the resurrection, salvation by grace and not of works, (creature works,) redemption, justification, and sanctification by the blood of the ev­erlasting covenant. All this for His elect, His people, His Church, the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, and none others. The next sign is, that the Church was composed of regenerated sinners; elect sinners, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love, and pre­destinated unto the adoption of children, sinners saved from their sins, and not in them; quickened by the Spirit of God and born of the Spirit and baptized into the membership of the Church, buried with Christ by baptism.

3rd. The next sign is, that the greater number of the saved were selected from among the poor and the despis­ed of earth. “For see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought timings that are; that no flesh should glory in his pres­ence” (1st Cor. i 26—31).

4th. The next sign is, they were few and despised. The Pharisees at Rome told Paul that it was a sect everywhere spoken against; and Jesus said, “Ye shall be hated of all men;” but, “Fear not, little flock,” said he again. “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Where do we find these signs now? Nowhere but among the Primitive Baptists. So then, as few as they may be, and unpopular as they are, we are compelled, with Bible in hand, to declare that they are the only people in organized bod­ies, that God recognizes as His Church on earth today, having Christ as their head, their life, their righteousness, and their eternal salvation. When we take this position, it is not to ar­gue that there are no Christians in other orders. On the other hand, we know there are many such there, but they do not rightly belong there, they belong to us; and God commands them to come out, and be separate from them. They belong to Spiritual Israel, though they now are in Babylonian captivity.

Well, some one may ask, how do we know that other orders are not the Church? We know it be­cause they have not the Bible signs. In the first place, a man, frail, mortal man, stands at the head of each. The Pope is the head of the Roman Cath­olics; Luther of the Lutherans; Calvin of the Presbyterians; Henry the Eighth of the Church of England—the Protestant Episcopal; John Wesley of the Methodists; Andrew Fuller of the New School Baptists; and Alex­ander Campbell of the Campbellites. But where is the man to whom we can look as the head of the Primitive Bap­tists, except the “Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”—the man Christ Jesus?” Then the doctrine and practice of other orders are against them; for all, with hardly an excep­tion, preach a free-will, free-agency, conditional system of salvation; a general atonement, and a chance for the whole human family to be saved, if they will work for it. They know­ingly receive unregenerate people, laugh an experience of grace, and boldly proclaim that if the sinner waits for Christ to save him, he will never be saved at all, flatly denying the Scriptures, which say: “Salvation is of the Lord,” and there is Salva­tion in no other; for there is no other name given among men under heaven whereby we must be saved. The great majority of them denounce the doctrines of election and predestina­tion, as God-dishonoring doctrines, and exceedingly dangerous. Can we regard such as the Church of Christ? But they claim to be the Church, or branches thereof; and demand recog­nition, as such; but does not every one know that such claim is worthless, unless they can sustain their claim by the Scriptures, and that claiming to be the Church, does not make it so? Now, then, if we were to commune with them, or recognize their immersions as valid baptism that would he, in effect, recognizing them as the Church of Christ, and thereby we would rapidly lose our identity as Primitive Baptists and the Church of Christ. I speak advisedly on this subject; for I have seem the experi­ment tried, with most disastrous re­sults.

When the New School Bap­tists separated from the Primitives in order that they might practice the teaching of Fuller, Cary, and others, they lost their identity as the Church of Christ, gave imp that identity, to be­come the followers of men; and today they have drifted so far into the Ar­minianism of Pedobaptists, that, in the distant future they will be absorb­ed by the Pedo-Baptists. Even as it is now, if we had our rights, and the Methodists had theirs, there would be no such order as the New School Baptists; for there are some among them who at heart, belong to us, while the remainder are only immersed Metho­dists, and feed with them in doctrine, out of the same spoon. The Church in order to maintain her purity and integrity in her organized state, must stand alone, as she has been com­manded, in all ages, to do. She could not be hated of all men: sine could not be accounted as sheep for the slaugh­ter, and suffer tribulation, if she were to yield up her fidelity and rigid ad­herence to the old landmarks. Live or die, let us stand to the post of duty, follow Christ, and not man, to the praise of His glory!

 J. H. PURIFOY.

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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.