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Within the Southern Baptist Convention there is a great controversy over Calvinism and Arminiamism.  I only use these because in the end they are the extreme side of both ends.  I know that my little bit will not help the debate, but it will be my two cents nevertheless.

Calvinism is based partly on the teachings of John Calvin, a reformer; born in 1509 and died in 1564.  I am not a follower of John Calvin, nor would I call myself a Calvinist, but neither am I an Armenian.  Just to get to the nitty gritty of the matter Calvinism teaches the sovereignty of God in salvation, and there is no Biblical problem with that.  No one can be saved except the Spirit of God draw an individual to God (John 6:44).

The problem with this belief is when it is carried to the extreme by living as though there is no human responsibility in taking the message of the gospel to the lost of the world.  We are commanded by Jesus Himself to “go into all the world…”  Many of those who have fallen into this lie will say that this is spoken only to the disciples, or apostles of Jesus and has no merit for today’s believers.  I guess the rest of Scripture, then, has no merit for us.  That is the only conclusion one can reach with that belief.

The extreme calvinist will tell you too that God only sent Jesus into the world to die for the elect; thus the title of this post.  According to Strong’s Concordance “world” is from the word “kosmos, cosmos” which takes in all of creation, the universe, and every thing and everyone upon planet earth.  Especially those made in His image and after His likeness, but He does not leave out the rest of His creation.  The extreme calvinist will also deny the freewill of man.

Yes God is sovereign in salvation of mankind.  No Christian can deny that and believe Scripture; however, one cannot deny that Christ came and died, was buried, and rose again from the grave, that “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  To deny that is to deny the Scripture as well.

It is my understanding that the extreme of Arminianism is that an individual can of his/her own will decide to be saved.  The logical conclusion of that is; if one can on their own merit decide to be saved, in their own time, place and way; then, they could at any time, any place, and any way they choose decide not to be saved as well.

What amazes me about the sovereignty of God is that God saves by His discretion and grace; and that His will is and will be done no matter what we may say or do.  The sovereignty of God, and the freewill of man are both taught in Scripture.  To deny one or the other is to deny the Word of God.  They work together to accomplish the will of God on earth and for His glory.

In the end neither one of these man made soteriologies are going to get anyone to God or heaven;

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

As Baptist we need to agree that the Scriptures are true; and that we do not understand all there is to know about God, His sovereignty, or His salvation by grace.  We are called to trust and believe on His Son, His death, burial and resurrection.

Let us get together, and get it together.

-Tim A. Blankenship

To give some background for the above title I will tell you that my wife, some of our family and I attended an ordination to pastoral ministry in a Primitive Baptist church on Saturday.  It was a blessing to see our son ordained into the ministry with the questions and the pressure that was put on him.

I decided there that I would not be considered a good candidate for the Primitive [Old] Baptist beliefs, or ordination.  My answers to many of those questions would have been rejected flat out.  The questions as to “Who does God love?” and their acceptable answer for that question is “Only the elect”.  According to my Bible we are told that God so love the world, that He gave His only Son.

Any way the thing that really caused me to question is the title statement, “Not all the elect will hear”, and I took that to mean the gospel.  Does that mean the “elect” as they call them will be in heaven anyway?  Again according to Romans, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17); that means they will hear.  God will send a messenger to his “elect” that they might hear.

I do not call myself a “Calvinist”.  I do believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation.  It is solely a work of God; and somehow by grace God gives enlightenment and life for faith, and the faith, to hear, believe and receive eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ.

But “Not all the elect will hear”.  That puzzles me.

-T.A. Blankenship

Some of you who come here are probably more in the know than I on the proposed “name change” or whatever you want to call it of the Southern Baptist Convention.  I, myself, have no problems with the Southern Baptist Convention name.  Why change it?  How many times has that been asked?

It seems to me we are proposing the change for those who hate God and Jesus Christ to call attention to the idea that we are willing to change to get them come and see what we are about.  Now, that could just be a gross misstatement, or mis-understatement; if anything to me it is understated.   It says to me that we are willing to change our name that we might just be willing to change some other things in order to accommodate the masses.  Now I probably will be unable to attend the convention in New Orleans in June, but I know some of you, at least, will do the right thing and vote against the “change”.

By the way keep in mind that ABC television has a new show coming out that is called the GCB, about what I understand to be about professing Christian women who are nothing more than hypocrites.  Mockery of Christ and His own.  GCB for ABC means Good Christian B_ _ _hes (the word for a female dog).  Used in that context I refuse to use the term.  I find it very disrespectful to women of any class.  Even if some do not mind being called “female dogs”.

It has been some time since I posted here at ALL THINGS BAPTIST, but I think this is about as Baptist as you can get.

-T.A. Blankenship

“It is not expected that we should give a church history in this limited essay. All that will be done is to glance at the existence of the church in each successive century ; and we shall only be able to notice where the true church flourished in one or two places at the same time. . . . Owing to the different languages of those nations where the followers of Christ have lived. and to the asperities of their opposers, the church has been known by the name of Baptists, Anabaptists, Wickliffites, Lollards, Hugonots, Mennonites, Hussites, Petrobrusians, Albigenses, Waldenses, Paulicans, etc.; and to oppose image worship, infant baptism, transubstantiation, and the unwarrantable power of the Pope, have ever been characteristics of this people. . . . 
We should keep in mind that nearly every question has two sides; and while the controversy between us and the pedobaptists respects church origin, we are happy to have their full concession that they are recent dissenters from the Roman Catholics; and that the Baptist church is not only the true church of God, but that for her ‘it is easy to trace a succession of witnesses for Jesus Christ against His rival at Rome.’” 
(The above quote is from “The Convert’s Guide to First Principles” by Israel Robords, pastor of the First Baptist Church of New Haven, CT.  It was published in 1838, to instruct a large number of new converts in the church from a recent revival.  The quote is from pages 78, 79, 97, and 98 of the book.  Notice that in 1838 you have a New England pastor referring to a Baptist “succession” and a “true church.”  This is just further proof that J.R. Graves and the Landmark movement did not teach anything new in Baptist history.  A special thanks to Bro. Steve LeCrone for finding this important quote.  Note: The last sentence of the quote includes a phrase from Brown’s Bible Dictionary, p. 152. ) 

The following quotations were sent via email from Ben Stratton of the group list Landmark Southern Baptist.

“God’s Word is plain.  A Baptist has only to read and obey.  He need not be a scholar, or a philosopher, though he may be both.  He has no trouble to explain away what is written.  He can read it and go by it without embarrassment.  He can afford to be plain, simple, straightforward and obedient, knowing if there is anything wrong about the teaching of the New Testament, he is not to blame for it.  I am a Baptist because John was, Jesus was, the apostles were, the first churches were, and all the world ought to be.”  J.B. Gambrell

(James Bruton Gambrell (1841-1921) was a Baptist leader around the turn of the last century. He pastored churches in Mississippi and Texas, served as President of Mercer University (1893-1895, editor of the Baptist Standard (1910-1921) and President of the SBC. (1917-1921). )

“As to the Christians commonly called Baptists, we are convinced that they have, more than their brethren, preserved the ordinances of the Lord Jesus as they were delivered unto the saints. . . the claim ought not to be filched by the church of Rome, but should be left to that community which all along has held one, Lord, one faith, and one baptism.  This body of believers has not been existed into temporal power, or decorated with worldly rank, but has dwelt for the most part in dens and caves of the earth destitute, afflicted, tormented, and has thus proved that it is of the house and lineage of the Crucified. . . . It would not be impossible to show that the first Christians who dwelt in this island were of the same faith and order as the churches now called Baptists.  The evidence supplied by ancient monuments and baptisteries still surviving, would be conclusive in our favour were it not that upon this point the minds of men are not very open to argument.”  Charles Hadden Spurgeon

(C.H. Spurgeon {1834-1892} was a noted English Baptist preacher, author, and editor.  The above quote is from his sermon “Looking For Our Spiritual Roots” delivered at the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle in London, England.  Notice that Spurgeon believed the origins of modern Baptists were found in the Anabaptists.  He also believed that Baptists / Anabaptists had existed in England since the earliest days.)

May those who call themselves Christian and Baptists be forever dependent on the Lord and His Word, and not new fangled, man made ideas that distract from Him and His Word.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The following is a quote from L. R. Scarborough.  I received it from the Landmark Southern Baptist Group and Ben Stratton whom I thank for sending this.

2. Another way by which the fountains of truth and life of our churches can be poisoned is by doing violence to the ordinances of Jesus Christ, in depreciating their value and emasculating their testimony. This is done when a Baptist church receives baptism administered at the hands of some other organization than a Baptist church. If a Baptist preacher admits into the fellowship of his church Christians who have received baptism at the hands of pedobaptists, without requiring them to be baptized by a Baptist church, he violates the truth of God and is guilty of a heresy in ecclesiology which will eventually ruin the testimony of the ordinances and vitiate the witness of Christ’s churches. Such practice eats at the very heart of the life of Christ’s churches. Such a practice will not only injure the life of the church practicing it, but will eventually poison the fountains of truth in all of our churches

A pastor of one of the leading churches of Texas told me recently of a member from another Baptist church in Texas seeking admittance on a letter from this church, but when questioned as to her baptism she reported that she came to this other church on the baptism from a certain Campbellite church and had not been required to be baptized by this Baptist church. This pastor tells me that he promptly refused to admit this woman into the fellowship of his church. I think he did right.

There lies at this point a great danger and we should guard the fountains of truth from the poison that will come by the emasculation of the ordinances of Jesus Christ.  L. R. Scarborough
(L.R. Scarborough [1870-1845] was president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1914-1942 and president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1938-1939.  You will notice that Scarborough believed that baptism was only valid when it was administered at the hands of a Baptist church.  The quote is from his article “Poisoning the Fountains of Truth” which was published in the January 1922 Southwestern Journal of Theology.  I am also glad to hear that this article was republished in the most recent Southwestern Journal of Theology, “Baptists and Unity.”  A special thanks to the good folks at http://sbctoday. com for making us aware of this quote.)
It is of the utmost importance in the day which we live to continue to maintain doctrinal integrity in our preaching, polity and ecclesiology
-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

Baptists Are Drifting…

The word “Drift” according to the MERRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY means “to float or be driven along by wind, waves or currents 2: to pile up under the force of the wind or water”

The following is an email from Ben Stratton from the Landmark Southern Baptist list:

Baptists Are Drifting From the New Testament Pattern in Doctrine and Polity

Some Baptists are drifting from these orders because they are failing to teach believers to “observe all things whatsoever” Christ has commanded.  Luke tells us that the first church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.”
The New Testament records that believers were accepted into church members by baptism. . . Scriptural baptism is the door into the visible Church of God.  A believer coming from another denomination must be baptized to be a member of a Baptist church.  The proper way to enter a building is through the door.  Baptism symbolizes identification  with a (the) faith.  It is important that one believe in Christ; it is also important what ones believes about Christ.

Administering the Lord’s Supper to non-Baptists is also a departure from the New Testament pattern.  The Lord’s Supper is a family affair and is to be partaken by those of the same faith and order and in good regular standing with the church.  The New Testament substantiates this stand.

Being liberal may make one popular with man, but adherence to the scripture will make you popular with God.  Let us as Baptists join with Jeremiah in seeking the old paths of doctrine, polity, and morality.  J.V. Bottoms, Sr.

(J.V. Bottoms, Sr. was the longtime pastor of the Green Street Missionary Baptist Church in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.  He was the first person to graduate from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary once blacks were allowed to attend there.  The above quote appeared in the American Baptist” newspaper in 1978.  This paper was the official organ of the General Association of Black Baptists in Kentucky.  It is interesting to note that in the 1970′s many of the black Baptist churches in Louisville were much more doctrinally sound than their white counterparts. )

Are Southern Baptists drifting? In many ways we are. We are drifting away from sound doctrine concerning Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Leadership qualifications, and away from church discipline.
We are drifting toward a crashing falls of destruction, and God will use others who are still standing for the truth, holiness, and glorifying the name of Jesus.

Let’s stand on Jesus and the Scriptures, expose the vile and wicked acts, and language of those who would lead others astray.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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