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.

11. We believe that the suffering and death of Jesus Christ was substitutionary for all mankind and is efficacious only to those who believe (Isa. 53:6; Heb. 2:9; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2).
It is a logical impossibility to assert that Christ's death was substitutionary for all of mankind but only efficacious to those who believe.  If it was not efficacious, it was not substitutionary.  A sober reading of Romans 8:29-39 resolves any remaining issue by asserting that if Christ died on your behalf, you will live in glory with God and nothing can separate God's people from the love of God.  Absolutely nothing.
13. We believe in the premillennial, personal, bodily return of Christ as the crowning event of the Gentile age. This event will include the resurrection of the righteous to eternal heaven, and the Millennium will be followed by the resurrection of the unrighteous unto eternal punishment in the lake of fire and that the righteous shall enter into the heaven age (John 14:1-6; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19; Rev. 20:4-6; Rev. 20:11-15; Rev. 21:8).
Primitive Baptists affirm the resurrection of the body and the bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ, but reject the premillennial eschatology of dispensationalism.  Most Primitive Baptists believe that the Kingdom of God is a current reality based on the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 3:2, 4:17, 10:7, Mark 1:15, Luke 17:21, 21:31)  They also tend to stray away from making statements regarding the timing of future events, instead focusing on those fundamental aspects which are known and clear such as the return of Christ in the same fashion with which he departed. (Acts 1:11)
14. We believe that the depraved sinner is saved wholly by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and the requisites to regeneration are repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 13:3-5; John 3:16-18; Acts 20:21; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8, 9), and that the Holy Spirit convicts sinners, regenerates, seals, secures, and indwells every believer (John 3:6; John 16:8, 9; Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Eph. 4:30; Titus 3:5).
The bible is clear that man is dead in trespasses and in sins (Eph 2:1), that the flesh profiteth nothing so far as man's eternal salvation is concerned (John 6:63), and that faith is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) which not all men have (II Thes 3:2).  As a result of these fundamental precepts, it is therefore impossible to posit repentance and faith as requirements (requisites) in order to obtain eternal life.  Primitive Baptists believe that repentance and faith are evidences of regeneration, not prerequisites.  And so it follows that regeneration is the eternal life imparting act of God which precedes the exercise of either faith or repentance in time, even as the Lord taught saying, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth (PRESENT TENSE) my word, and believeth (PRESENT TENSE) on him that sent me, hath (PRESENT TENSE) everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed (PERFECT TENSE, PAST COMPETED ACTION) from death unto life." (John 5:24)
Because the ABA refuses to embrace the fundamental precept that regeneration precedes faith (I John 5:1), and asserts that repentance is a requirement for obtaining eternal life, it is utterly defenseless to the charge of preaching salvation by works, because repentance is undeniably a work of righteousness that man actually does.  Paul said we are not saved by works of righteousness which we have done (Tit 3:5, II Tim 1:9).


  1. I am confused... Do you or do you not believe in salvation through faith?

  2. Thanks for your question. In short Primitive Baptists believe in salvation by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) This means that we are saved by the sovereign grace of God based on the work of Christ on our behalf alone (Romans 5:19) and that the exercise of faith is an EVIDENCE of one's state of grace (Hebrews 11:1) rather than an effectuating requirement of the covenant of salvation (Hebrews 10:14). So when the bible says we are saved "by grace through faith" we believe the scriptures are teaching that you're saved entirely by what God has done on your behalf (GRACE) and that those who believe this testimony are bringing forth the evidence (FAITH) and thus have the assurance (John 6:47) that they are among the Lord's chosen people.

    Your question really gets into the heart of the distinction between PB theology and many other denominations within Christendom. I intend to provide a more explicit answer in the form a blog post later this year.

    Thanks again for your question. May God bless our studies and understanding.