Friday, January 20, 2006

freewill baptist are not baptists!

A recent event has brought to the front a problem I foresaw at the onset of my pastorate. Would we accept a letter of membership from a freewill baptist Church. The answer is no. Below is a snipet of a letter I sent to a fellow member concering such

taken from thier stament of faith:

9.Perserverance - We believe that there are strong grounds to hope that the saved will persevere unto the end, and be saved because of the power of divine grace pledged for their support.

We believe that any saved person who has sinned (whether we call him a backslider or sinner), but has a desire to repent, may do so and be restored to God's favor and fellowship.

Since man, however, continues to have free choice, it is possible because of temptations and the weakness of human flesh for him to fall into the practice of sin and to make shipwreck of his faith and be lost.

This was taken from their Treatise.
There are strong grounds to hope that the truly regenerate will persevere unto the end, and be saved, through the power of divine grace which is pledged for their support; but their future obedience and final salvation are neither determined nor certain, since through infirmity and manifold temptations they are in danger of falling; and they ought, therefore, to watch and pray lest they make shipwreck of their faith and be lost
We believe that a saved individual may, in freedom of will, cease to trust in Christ for salvation and once again be lost. This we hold in distinction from those who teach that a believer may not again be lost.

Although they say salvation by grace, the quote above from them teaches is salvation by works. It is the same heresy believed by the Pentecostals, Campbellites, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Nazarenes, Mennonites and many others.

My biggest problem is that they believe that you can lose your salvation. This makes the good news not so great.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. (John 10:27-30)

Must Christ die again, over and over?
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (Rom 6:8-10)
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Heb 10:10)

Additionally they have a form of Church polity in which they look up to a larger group for actions and discipline. This in not baptistic and a carry over from their catholic-lite heritage.

The district association, in this plan, is the body which deals directly with the local church and would be the first level of appeal from the local church. It is also the body to which the local church delegates its authority to ordain and discipline ministers

They also have the issue of a “third ordinance” that does not correspond with the symbolism of the Lord’s Supper and Scriptural Baptism. The foot washing may shoe humility and service, but it does not represent the death of Christ as the other two do. This so called ordinance has proven to actually cause sin as people will primp and fawn over their feet when there is to be a foot washing service. They tend to become vain are worrisome over the condition of their feet.

The Free Will faith was actually started in the 170 hundreds and kind of has a Church of Christ/ Disciples of Christ ring to it as you will see that two men started tweo groups and they bonded to gather like Stone and Campbell did.

In 1702, settlers in Carolina wrote a request for help to the General Baptist association in England. Though no help was forthcoming, Paul Palmer would labor among these people 25 years later, founding the first "Free Will" Baptist church in Chowan, North Carolina in 1727. Palmer organized at least three churches in North Carolina After 1755, missionary labors conducted by the Philadelphia Baptist Association converted most of these churches to the Particular Baptist positions of unconditional election and limited atonement. By 1770, only 4 churches and 4 ministers remained of the General Baptist persuasion. By the end of 18th century, these churches were commonly referred to as "Free Will Baptist", and this would later be referred to as the "Palmer" line of Free Will Baptists. The churches in the "Palmer" line organized various associations and conferences, and finally organized a General Conference in 1921. While the movement in the south was struggling, a new movement rose in the north through the work of Benjamin Randall (1749-1808). Randall initially united with the Particular or Regular Baptists in 1776, but broke with them in 1779 due to their strict views on predestination. In 1780, Randall formed a "Free" or "Free Will" Baptist church in New Durham, New Hampshire. By 1782 twelve churches had been founded, and they organized a Quarterly Meeting. In 1792 a Yearly Meeting was organized. This northern line (the "Randall" line) of Free Will Baptists expanded rapidly

As “true Baptist” we hold to a simple but effective statement of faith

1. A New Testament church is a local, visible assembly orCongregation of immersed believers.

2. The first such New Testament church was started by the Lord JesusChrist during His earthly ministry, and churches like it have existedin the world ever since that day.

3. The Great Commission was given by the Lord Jesus Christ only tothe New Testament church.

4. Catholic and Protestant churches do not qualify as New TestamentChurches because they preach a false way of salvation and/or practicea false way of baptism.

5. The practices of alien immersion, open communion, and pulpitaffiliation should be rejected

(Pro 22:28 KJV) Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.


Anonymous said...

Don't know how you got "works" out of four statements that don't contain either the word or synonyms.

I understand your concern about losing salvation. I disagree with you on ths point as there are several New Testament references to a sin that cannot be forgiven.

I understand the allure of The Devil's Doctrine, once saved - always saved, but scripture doesn't support it.

First, Catholics are not Christians...
Then, not all Baptists are Baptists...
Where does it end?

Jason Sampler said...


For fear that I might encite any readers of this blog, I will do my best to temper my comments. I have neither the time, nor the desire to give a step-by-step refutation of Landmarkism. That's already been done. However, I am surprised at your outright pride in being a Landmarker. Do you actually think Landmarkism is THE Baptist position? What of Gill, Fuller, Owen, Boyce, Dagg, Broadus, Spurgeon, Strong, Mullins, Conner, Hobbs, Erickson, Garrett, Grudem, Grenz, Demarest, George, Dockery, and others? All great Baptist theologians; none are Landmarkers.

That you quoted Proverbs 22.28 in support of your position is quite disturbing. Do you actually think the author of this verse was arguing for Landmarkism? Do you really believe you have listed the 5 Landmarks of the Baptist faith? #2, come on? Was that the First Baptist Church of Jerusalem?

Although I am not a proponent of open communion, do all who practice open communion lose their "Baptistic-ness"? What of Spurgeon?

And do you honestly think eternal security/perseverance is essential to being Baptist? If so, you are right, Free-Will’ers are not Baptists. However, you overlook the fundamental aspects of what make some one/church Baptistic:

1. Biblical Authority (and the dependence upon the NT alone for ecclesiology).
2. Lordship of Christ.
3. Regenerate church membership.
4. Discipline
5. Right practice of the ordinances.
6. Congregational polity led by single or plural elders and served by deacons.
7. Stance on religious freedom.

Those are the 'landmarks' of Baptists. Would I let a Presbyterian preach in my church, probably not. However, the reason is not because I think he is an invalid minister (per Landmark doctrine), but because of his theology towards baptism and a few other things. Do I think he is a valid minister? Yes, but you must say no. Don't let D. James Kennedy know he's not a valid preacher.

I have empathy for your position. There was a time in my younger years when I first started PhD work that I was sympathetic to Landmarkism. However, I have grown to see it's errors and would encourage you to investigate as well.

Do you deny an invisible, universal church? Better check BFM1963 and 2000, because they clearly affim a universal church. Do you affirm an historical succession of 'Baptist' churches from the time of Jesus? If so, maybe you should read James McGoldrick's damning critique of historical successionism in his work "Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History."

Well, that is enough for now. I do hope that my tone is not taken as condecending or mean. I just honestly find it hard to believe that academically intelligent people still claim Landmarkism. I am hopeful for some fruitful dialogue on this issue. I look forward to hearing from you and continuing this conversation.