Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Primitive Baptists and Creedalism

As a Primitive Baptist I am often asked regarding my adherence to various historical creeds of the Christian faith. Many assert that apart from affirming the Second London Confession of 1689, or the Fulton Confession of 1900, etc., one cannot be considered an "Old Baptist." But is one's claim to being an Old Baptist beholden to one's allegiance to the historic creeds of the last few centuries?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why Primitive Baptists are NOT Calvinists

Primitive Baptists are very commonly regarded as "Calvinists" by those who know a little bit about our beliefs. This is no doubt due to our affirmation of the doctrine of salvation by grace (TULIP) which embraces the biblical concepts of election and predestination.  Cautionary words regarding the use of the term "Calvinism" notwithstanding, I would say that while PBs and Calvinists (of the Westminster Confession of Faith / Second London Confession sort) share some beliefs in common, their respective theological systems are radically different in a number of very important ways. In the interest of helping people clearly distinguish between the two, and at the risk of painting with too broad a brush, I would categorize the differences as generally falling into the following categories:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Is "Limited Atonement" Problematic Terminology?

I cannot count how many times I have heard ministers who claim to believe in the five points of grace (TULIP) point out that the phrase "limited atonement" is either unfortunate, inaccurate, or otherwise less-than-ideal in describing the atoning work of Jesus Christ. This disclaimer seems to have become de rigueur among many who claim to teach  salvation by sovereign grace. For the most part I believe those who distance themselves from the phrase "limited atonement" fall into one of three categories. They are either purveyors of non-grace theology, baseless pontificators, or copycats.

Three Arguments in Favor of Limited Atonement

Limited Atonement - almost universally rejected by professing Christians today.

In a recent internet dialog I was asked to provide some examples of where I see the doctrine of limited atonement revealed in the scriptures. I believe there are numerous verses in the bible that support the doctrine of limited atonement, but I provided these three as good examples.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Primitive Baptists Rightly Divide Preservation and Perseverance

In a recent internet discussion I was asked, "Could you clarify your beliefs on Perseverance? It sounds as if you don't believe that children of God will persevere in this world." I provided the following response:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Was Solomon a Child of God?

Solomon the idolator was also an elect child of God saved by grace.

Some time ago a Christian brother recounted a conversation he had with a NeoCalvinist minister. After bringing up Solomon as an example of a Child of God that clearly did not conform to the Lordship Salvationists doctrine of total commitment, this brother was surprised to hear the minister suggest that "we don't really know for sure if Solomon was a child of God."

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sheep, Goats, and a Quote from William Gadsby

William Gadsby (1773-1844)

I don't know much about Particular Baptist Minister William Gadsby but I stumbled across this quote from him today and thought it was spot-on and as true today as it was in his time: 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Steve Lawson - Almost Saved

In this video blog TETH examines Lawson’s concept of the “almost saved” and finds it to be at great variance with the teaching of salvation by sovereign grace taught in the bible.  A full transcript is found below with teth commentary in blue.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Adrian Rogers on Freedom, Depravity, and Salvation by Choice

Adrian Rogers speaks of man's ability to choose good.
In this short video commentary, Teth examines the teachings of Southern Baptist, favorite-son Adrian Rogers. As usual some of Rogers affirmations are good, but it is not long before Rogers begins asserting philosophical conjecture that is completely out of line with the testimony or scripture regarding man in his natural state. A biblical examination of Dr Rogers’ perspective is both revealing and embarrassing for those who would promote a “salvation by choice” soteriology. Teth commentary is provided below.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Antinomianism and the Doctrine of Salvation by Grace

One of the most common accusations leveled against Primitive Baptist's is that their teaching on eternal salvation leads to antinomianism. Those who level this accusation seem to be completely unaware that the apostle Paul believed the preaching of salvation by sovereign grace would regularly produce this reaction.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Atonement is NOT "Sufficient for all but Efficient for the Elect"

Sufficient but Efficient... That Seems Right, but is it True?

It seems that very many Christians in this day and age would agree that the atonement of Christ is: "Sufficient for all but efficient for the elect." In many Christian circles, the mere recitation of this “truism” sends heads-nodding and elicits pious affirmations, as though all within earshot had just entered into the veritable Holy of Holies of Christian doctrine. So universally esteemed is this statement that seemingly no evangelical, whether Arminian or Calvinist, dares to question it as the absolute bedrock of atonement truth. That being the case, I want to make this point as clearly as possible:"Sufficient for all but efficient for the elect" theology is self-contradictory, because if the atonement is only efficient for the elect, then it is insufficient for the non-elect, for want of efficiency. It is therefore FALSE.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Gospel is NOT a Well-Meant Offer of Salvation to All of Humanity

Primitive Baptists do not believe that the gospel is a well-meant offer of salvation to all of humanity (WMO). The primary reason is because the atonement was both explicitly substitutionary (Isaiah 53:5) and utterly effectual (Hebrews 10:14). By explicitly substitutionary we mean that the Lord Jesus Christ died for a particular people (John 10:11), chosen before the foundation of the world in the covenant of election (Ephesians 1:4-5) and none other in any way shape or form (John 10:26). By utterly effectual we mean that Jesus Christ met all of the conditions of the covenant of salvation and that all of God's children will be in glory with God based on the work of Jesus Christ on their behalf plus absolutely nothing else. (Colossians 2:10)

What does Paul Mean When He Refers to "Saving Some" in I Corinthians 9:22?

For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (I Cor 9:19-22)

What does Paul Mean by "Saving Some"?

In a recent dialog with a fellow believer I was asked:  What does Paul mean in I Corinthians 9:19-22 when he talks about "gaining all the more" and "saving some?" At first blush, this statement seems to indicate that Paul believed he might land more souls in glory if he did his work as an evangelist better in the ways he describes. Can Paul be suggesting that his performance in ministry could alter the number of God's elect who will be saved?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Finally Alive by John Piper

A few years ago I was given the book Finally Alive by John Piper as a Christmas present. This book was in many ways instrumental in underscoring in my mind some of the unscriptural assertions made by the NeoCalvinists. Piper's work is a gospel-means polemic whose premise is best summarized by the following quote:

Monday, May 6, 2013

What is Meant by "Called" in Romans 8:30?

Primitive Baptists are often incorrectly conjoined with Calvinists. I am often asked to explain how we differ. In a recent discussion this key point of distinction came up. Consider the testimony of scripture:

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)
I have heard this passage taught by Calvinists as an unbreakable, golden chain of events that happen for all of God's elect, and we as Primitive Baptists heartily agree. But this observation is accompanied by unavoidable logical ramifications. Consider the following questions:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

PreMillennial Math

Charles Ryrie defined Dispensationalism by the following three precepts:

  • A clear distinction between God's program for Israel and God's program for the Church.
  • A consistent and regular use of a literal principle of interpretation.
  • The understanding of the purpose of God as His own glory rather than the salvation of mankind.

It is the second principle above, the principle of literal bible interpretation, that Dispensationalists use to defend their belief in a literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:4-6). It is on this basis that they level their most strident attack at differing eschatological views. Those who would deny the literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth are accused of "not believing the bible" and "over spiritualizing the text of scripture to conform to their system." At first blush this would seem to be quite a forceful argument. It strongly implies that Dispensationalism stands in the purity of literalism, and that all other viewpoints spiritualize the bible to the point of unbelief. But does this strict literalism hold up under close scrutiny? Or is Dispensationalism guilty of precisely the same "spiritualization" of time in interpreting the text of scripture?  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


In a recent internet dialog with a Roman Catholic, I was asked to give an example of where the Roman Catholic Church's (RCC) tradition was not in keeping with the testimony of scripture. There are numerous examples in RCC doctrine from which to choose, but the first that came to mind was that of purgatory. Given that I was repeatedly pointed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) as an explanation of what this RC believed, I thought it might be beneficial to provide a critical commentary regarding that teaching.  You will find the CCC's statement on purgatory below, with teth's commentary in blue. I have embedded the footnotes directly below text for easy reference.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Right Division: A Key Concept in Understanding the Scriptures

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, 
rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Tim 2:15)

One of the fundamentals of the Christian faith is that the word of God must be rightly divided to be properly understood. This means understanding each passage so that it reconciles with the immediate context (line upon line) as well as the over-all biblical context (precept upon precept). Only when the meaning of a passage is reconciled to both considerations is it rightly divided. 

Apart from a right division, the bible's statements regarding the various facets of a number of biblical topics would be flatly contradictory. Right division resolves the "contradictions" that arise out of plain meaningism and establishes God's people in the bedrock truths of the Christian faith.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Calvinism is a Red Herring

red herring (n) - the invoking of "Calvinism" in any theological discourse.

Having scoured the internet for several years as a means of gaining a broader understanding of the popular theological notions found in modern Christendom, I have arrived at a very solid conclusion: Calvinism is a Red Herring. In fact I would make that even stronger. I would go so far as to declare that this conclusion is utterly unassailable. I submit for your consideration the follow reasons:

John Piper - Jesus Doesn't Love Everybody the Same

NeoCalvinism is the increasingly popular form of evangelical irrationalism that embraces both God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in the matter of eternal salvation.  Stated another way, this system simultaneously embraces both particular redemption and the well-meant offer of salvation to all of humanity (WMO).  Since these two precepts are so evidently contradictory, NeoCalvinism attempts to reconcile the two by positing that God has two types of love – love for the sheep and love for everyone else.   Rather than reconciling the two, two loves theology ends up undermining the WMO.  We have recently posted an article dealing with the irrationalism upon which MacArthur’s Two Loves of God theology is founded.  In the following video, we find John Piper grappling with the same issue.  Our analysis seeks to draw out the irrationalism in this system by highlighting the ramifications of these statements on particular redemption and the WMO.

Monday, January 14, 2013

How PBs Differ from the American Baptist Association (ABA)

Primitive Baptists are often asked how they differ from other Baptist groups.  While there are many doctrinal issues on which we agree with our ABA brethren, this brief post endeavors to demonstrate our doctrinal differences with the American Baptist Association (ABA) by focusing attention on the aspects of their doctrinal statement we believe to be at great variance with the teaching of the scriptures.

Friday, January 11, 2013

How PBs Differ from the Southern Baptist Convention

Primitive Baptists are often asked how they differ from other Baptist groups.  While there are many doctrinal issues on which we agree with our brethren in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), this brief post endeavors to demonstrate our doctrinal differences with the SBC by focusing attention on the aspects otheir doctrinal statement we believe to be at great variance with the teaching of the scriptures. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Primitive Baptist FAQ

The following FAQ is a work in progress.  Currently it combines the FAQ written by Elder David Pyles (available at www.pb.org) with one written by Elder Lasserre Bradley, Jr. (available at www.marchtozion.com).  It is my intent to augment this FAQ in the near future with additional content from PB Elders as time permits and hopefully to arrange it into categories such as:  The Scritpures, Salvation, The Gospel, Church Practice, etc.  I hope to make those changes here in the coming days as time permits.