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. 


The SBC Website makes the following statement regarding salvation:

"Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification." (SBC Website)
Since salvation is the result of an everlasting covenant wherein God chose a people in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), and since the intercessory work of Christ is in fulfillment of that covenant (Hebrews 10:14), and since not all men are included in that covenant (Matthew 25:41), and since the Lord's work on behalf of his people was both monergistic (Rom 5:19) and utterly effectual (Hebrews 9:12), it is therefore both unscriptural and illogical to "offer" salvation as a take-it-or-leave-it-proposition to humanity. The gospel is not an "offer" of salvation to all of humanity. It is a proclamation of the finished work or Christ on behalf of his people, accompanied by the assurance that those who believe it have eternal life and the admonition to walk in obedience to the Lord.

"Regeneration, justification, sanctification and glorification" is most certainly not salvation "in its broadest sense." Salvation also includes foreknowledge and predestination (Romans 8:29). This omission from their definition of salvation's broadest sense is highly suspect given that it obscures election and covenant salvation, both of which undermine the SBC's religion of well-meant offers and universal atonement.

God's Purpose of Grace

The SBC Website makes the following statement regarding election:
"Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. …All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end." (SBC Website)
Here election is defined in terms of its subsequent, downstream effects, but it is not defined in terms of what it actually is. Election is God's act of choosing a people in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) not based on their will or their works or any foreseen good in them (Romans 9:13,16) indeed there was none to be found (Psalm 14:2-3) but rather solely upon God's sovereign pleasure and mercy (Titus 3:5).

Primitive Baptists are not fond of the term "perseverence" with regard to the eternal security of the believer. We prefer instead to use the biblical term "preserved" in reference to the eternal security of God's people (I Thessalonians 5:23, Jude 1). The difference being that preservation is a work that is done by God, wherein perseverance is a Spirit enabled act of man. 


Clearly there are major doctrinal differences between Primitive Baptists and Southern Baptists on the matter of eternal salvation and election. We do not question either the sincerity or the profession of faith of these SBC brethren, but rather ask that all who call upon the name of the Lord search the scriptures daily to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11).  

1 comment:

  1. When J. I Packer claims that election is not part of the gospel message (Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God), he relegates the doctrine of election to the “hidden God” who we need not know. Besides the God who has already elected a sinner in Christ or not, there is a false god offering Christ to sinners.

    Instead of a propitiation in which Christ is offered by God to God to bear the sins imputed to Him, the true nature of propitiation and imputation is not supposed to be told. It is not so much a matter of doubting how much God the Holy Spirit can teach a sinner about propitiation and imputation, but rather a desire that the truth of the matter not be known.

    It’s as if Packer is being more cautious and prudent than God. Of course we don’t know who is not elect. But we do know that God has an elect, and that Christ only died for that elect, and if we leave that out, we must also leave out the whole matter of a past imputation of sins to Christ.

    “Bearing sins” becomes a very flexible metaphor, in which the reality and success of the bearing are to be determined by the Holy Spirit convincing the sinner. If the Spirit fails to convince a sinner, that sinner will bear for himself the sins Christ bore for him, including presumably the sin of not being convinced by the Spirit.

    The false gospel has two Gods, one wanting to save all sinners. The false gospel also cannot have a righteousness which was completed at once in the past by Christ. The false gospel can have an alien righteousness, but in the Augustinian sense that it’s God doing the work of righteousness by grace IN the elect sinner.

    You can have a false God-righteousness, you can have a false election, you can say that God delivers faith to the sinner, and still have a false gospel. Because if the message is not about what Christ did by Himself outside the elect sinner, if the gospel is not about sins imputed once and taken away once, then justification becomes a theoretical footnote, and assurance depends on regeneration making you different from other people.

    And instead of telling God’s elect that Christ is coming a second time not to deal with their sin, preachers still have people doing the dealing. Deal with your sins, or God will deal with them for you, is not a message about what Christ has done.