Thursday, December 6, 2012

Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith Commentary


For those wondering what the Primitive Baptists believe, this short commentary is intended to provide an introduction. The 13 Articles of Faith below are from Harmony Primitive Baptist Church in Donaldson, AR, and are extremely similar to the articles of faith found in other Primitive Baptist churches around the world.

Articles of Faith 

1. We believe in the one true and living God, the Father, the Word, the Holy Ghost.
Primitive Baptists affirm the doctrine of the Trinity which states that there is one God who exists in three distinct personages as revealed in scripture. (Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; I John 5:7) 

2. We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God and 
the only rule of faith and practice. Primitive Baptists accept the King James Bible to be the word of God in English. At the time these articles were written, bible "versions" were no matter of controversy whatsoever among our people. It is for this reason that no explicit reference to the KJV exists in these articles of faith - it was simply understood that the KJV was the bible. (I Timothy 3:16-17, I Peter 1:10-12, II Peter 1:19-21, Romans 15:4) 

3. We believe in the doctrine of election and that God chose his people before the 
foundation of the world On this basis alone Primitive Baptist doctrine is rejected by the vast majority of Christendom. Though belief of this doctrine puts us very much in the minority, we believe that it is so repeatedly and plainly taught in the scriptures that denial of this fundamental tenet of salvation is nothing less than a denial of the clear testimony of the word of God itself. This doctrine is not hard to understand, it is just hard for man's carnal nature to accept. (Ephesians 1:4-6)

4. We believe in the doctrine of original sin. In other words, Adam sinned to become a sinner; all his posterity sins because they are sinners. Adam's transgression was imputed to all of his progeny which is also known as the fall of humanity in Adam. (Romans 5:12)

5. We believe in man’s impotency to recover himself from the fallen state he is 
in by nature, by his own free will and ability. Because man is spiritually dead, it requires the resurrection power of God alone to impart spiritual life. (John 6:44, Romans 3:10-18, Romans 9:16, Ephesians 2:1) 

6. We believe that sinners are justified in the sight of God only by the imputed
righteousness of Christ Since regeneration imparts eternal life (Eph 2:1) and precedes the exercise of faith in time (I John 5:1) it follows that faith arrives far too late to ever account for our justification before the throne of God, which occurred in covenant before the foundation of the world, commercially at Calvary, but only experimentally by faith. Faith lays hold of the preexisting truth of the imputation of Christ's righteousness to his people and is in no sense a causative instrument in man's justification before God. We are justified before the throne of God by the imputation of Christ's righteousness alone. When the bible speaks of our justification by faith it is referring to the evidentiary awareness of one's justification in our experience which is manifest by faith. Faith does not create justification, it receives the truth of a justification that was wrought entirely by Christ alone. (Romans 3:23-24, Romans 5:19, Hebrews 10:14)

7. We believe that God’s elect shall be called, regenerated and sanctified by 
the Holy Spirit. By "called" the scriptures are referring to the direct impartation of spiritual life by God apart from the aid of preachers, bibles, tracts, or any other indirect means. All such means may be profitable to a child of God, but they all presume a living subject in order to be beneficial. (John 5:25, Titus 3:5)

8. We believe that the saints shall be preserved in grace and never fall away.
Preservation not perseverance. (More on this topic.) By this we intend that Christ's work was absolutely efficacious in procuring the salvation of his people and cannot be overturned by any means nor by any actions a child of God may perform in this life. (John 10:27-28, Romans 8:29-30) 

9. We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of Jesus Christ, 
and that true believers are the only subjects of baptism, and that immersion is the apostolic mode. No infants, no sprinkling, no pouring, not by proxy - but baptism by immersion based on the credible profession of faith of a living and willing volunteer. (Matthew 28:19, John 3:22-23, John 22:17-20, Acts 8:37) 

10. We believe that as our Lord and Saviour washed His disciple’s feet, we ought 
to wash one another’s feetThe Primitive Baptists have been much maligned by other orders for their adherence to the Lord's injunction. The language of John 13 is not hard to understand, it's just hard for the carnal heart of man to accept. This verse is every bit as explicit as the Lord's words concerning the Lord's supper. (John 13:14) 

11. We believe in the resurrection of the dead and in a general judgment, and that 
the felicity of the righteous will be eternal and the punishment of the wicked everlasting. Heaven and hell are eternal. (John 5:29, Matthew 25:34,41) 

12. We believe that no minister has any right of administration of the ordinances 
only such as are regularly baptized, called, and come under the imposition of hands by a presbytery.  And thus we do not receive the baptism of those outside the Primitive Baptists because these men administering such baptisms are either not regularly baptized, not called, or have not come under the imposition of hands by the presbytery. (I Timothy 4:14)

13. We believe that none but regularly baptized members have a right to commune at the Lord’s Table. In the same way that the Lord's supper was not offered to all men, the practice of closed communion is most in keeping with the Lord's example and the apostolic practice. (Luke 22:14)


It is our sincere hope that you might find this brief explanation of the Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith helpful in understanding what we believe. In the final mix, what we believe is really of little consequence unless it is founded on the sure footing of the word of God. We would invite you to examine the scriptures to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11) and welcome all who would feel compelled to join us in worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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