Primitive Baptists, Roman Catholics, and the Making of a Religion of Doubts

Primitive Baptists, Roman Catholics, and the Making of a Religion of Doubts

Can we say what the Palmist David said? “Come and hear all ye that fear God and I will declare what He hath done for my soul!” [Psalm 66:16]

Some people have assurance of salvation that should not have it; and some other people have too many doubts that SHOULD have assurance.

Some of this earth’s sweetest people, some of the very “salt of the earth” are among those called Primitive Baptists. But don’t take offense that when I tell you that your religious traditions are carried to the point of being in conflict with the Word of God, then put away those traditions.

THE FULL TITLE that you see on the front cover may seem a bit strange. But facts are still facts. Generally, not all, but probably most Primitive Baptists make a RELIGION of their doubts just as do those in that FALSE church we know as the Roman Catholic Church, which Primitive Baptist recognize as the harlot false church of the book of Revelation. Both otherwise differing groups of people have maintained that IN THIS LIFE one cannot have the full assurance of his or her salvation. One must only HOPE for it, but it is impossible to “KNOW SO” Now if you really believe it is impossible, and NOT at all in God’s will, then you are NOT going to be looking and expecting any large degree of ASSURANCE in faith, for it is PART OF YOUR RELIGLION that it is not available while you are in the flesh. A view, as I say, of Roman Catholics and perhaps most but not all Primitive Baptists.

Do I have your attention? Or have I caused you to “turn me off” already?

Being reared a Primitive Baptists myself, I have a burden that they come to fuller truth on this subject.

Now please don’t be guilty of “conclusions” and being critical of saying, thinking I am talking Arminian mindset that allows a assurance” based more on false d on real experience with the Lord. Some who are being presumptuous, basing assurance something THEY did, on false doctrine, should NOT have assurance. While some, even among the Primitive Baptists, who deny full assurance, should have more of it than the do, if they have had real dealings in faith with the Lord. It is possible that they assume this stance with heavy doubts due to tradition and what others say around them. That part of their religious testimony CAN be more a matter of TRADITION than of any real scriptural basis. You need to consider that possibility.

Be assured that I understand the matter of doubts, and also it being carried so far that it becomes a strong tenet of Primitive Baptist doctrine, though somewhat perverted. I understand that we “see through a glass darkly” and that the flesh is “weak,” and often overcome. But the spirit, the quickened spirit of the New Man is to have dominion over the flesh. Can we not look in faith for VICTORY in Christ? Must we cater to DOUBTS more than our ‘living by faith”? “The JUST shall live by faith.”

Years ago, and still today, in England the closest thing to “a Primitive Baptist” was and is a member of the group, saints, called “Strict Baptists.” Of this group, J. C. Philpot was a minister, living from 1802 until 1869. Most Primitive Baptists who are well-read, know of his ministry and his many writings. He had a good balance on the subject of “assurance,” teaching it was a Pearl to be sought after, but that it was like a wedding ring-it did not MAKE the marriage but it was a witness to the marriage. He advocated praying for the Pearl, and recognized that it is one of the benefits and sovereign rights or gifts from our Savior.

Then, too, there is John Newton, an Anglican minister who is the author of that most accepted hymn, “Amazing Grace.” He also wrote of the subject of full assurance, and he, like J. C. Philpot, was well-balanced on the subject.

The first time I really felt a burden that the extreme of this subject was a perversion, was several decades ago when I heard that a Primitive Baptist minister had refused church membership to a man reared a Methodist, simply because he stated he had full assurance. Now it would have indeed been biblical and within reason if this pastor had questioned the candidate who had applied for membership in a Primitive Baptist church. He could have questioned the man to determine if the man was trusting in something he had done for salvation, as may have been the case with the man. Or, the man MAY have had real dealings with the Lord, may have “heard His voice,” and followed Him, just as the Lord Jesus speaks of His sheep doing? But no! It was quickly assumed that the man was not a worthy candidate, for the pastor simply said, about full assurance, “We don’t believe that here.” And rejected the plea of the man. In other words, if a man-regardless of his experience-has full assurance, then that of necessity and absolutely means he can’t be a bonafide Primitive Baptist.

In my own Christian experience, I was brought to go prostrate myself in the dust, as it were, at the foot of the cross, something like Pilgrim was brought to do, in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. In my experience, as I came to that point, I was like Queen Esther who was to appeal and present her case on behalf of her people, the Jews, before the king. Had the king felt NOT to even hear her request, she could have been killed. But she had said, “If I perish, I perish.” That was the way I felt in going to the cross. “If I perish, I perish,” but if I was to perish, I knew and felt that God would be just, for I did not deserve mercy. But if I was to perish,I would perish at the foot of the cross. Right at that moment, all I can say is that faith came down. And with that faith came full assurance. God Himself spoke ineffable peace to my heart. My burden was rolled away. How could I then say anything other than that the Lord had received me and spoken peace to my heart-yes, peace AND assurance. “My sheep hear My voice, and they follow Me.”

But alas, not long after this blessed experience, I, too, started having doubts. After all, I too, had been present when so many others spoke of not going beyond “a hope,” which, it seems, is often too much like a mere wish, like you hope to go to town next week. Rather the hope in the Bible is a LIVELY hope, a lively full expectation, a looking forward IN FAITH which is the very antithesis of “just HOPING you will make it.” How can you have FAITH and live by it and be full of doubts continually at the same time? Doubts do not feed faith. If perpetual doubt is a religious tenant or test to you and you think in your heart you can never go beyond that, then it is unlikely that you ever will, and you WILL not without God’s deliverance.

But I began having the “traditional doubts” But I fully believe the Lord delivered me. First, I did not know exactly what the blasphemy of the committing of the unforgiveable sin than I feared being “presumptuous” with full assurance. While I was thinking that my blessed experience MIGHT just be the imaginations of my mind, I was brought back to that recent experience when the Lord had spoken His peace to my heart and soul. Did the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit involve attributing a WORK OF GOD to something OTHER than God, be it to the flesh or to the devil? God forbid that I should be guilty! How could I think the voice of the Shepherd was other than His voice to my soul? So I began putting away this “religion of perpetual doubts.” How could I walk by faith and doubts at the same time? How could I THANK THE LORD for His peace if I was never ASSURED of it? After all, “Now faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for [expected], the EVIDENCE of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1).

To be consistent, many Primitive Baptists must say, in quoting the 23rd Psalm, instead of saying, “The Lord IS my Shepherd,” they must change it to, “I hope the Lord is My shepherd.” I am NOT saying he NEVER has such doubtful thoughts, but that should not be the ESSENCE of his Christian life. When Job said, “I KNOW that my Redeemer liveth, and that He SHALI stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh SHALL I SEE GOD” Cob 19:25, 26) THAT, dear child of God, is faith, that takes faith, not doubts. Such faith drives away doubts. But again, too many Primitive Baptists, to be consistent with the religion of doubts would have to always insert, “I HOPE I shall see God; I HOPE my Redeemer liveth” etc. Let me point out that true lively HOPE and expectation is NOT opposed to faith and assurance! But a wrong definition of “hope” IS opposed.

Oh, we all love “Amazing Crace.” None of us sing in church, “Amazing Grace, that I hope saved a wretch like me.” No, we sing, “Amazing grace, that SAVED a wretch like me.” There is a difference. That hymn by John Newton speaks of a positive faith, certainly a good measure of assurance if not FULL assurance. Same thing can be said of MANY hymns in the Primitive Baptist hymnbooks! So I am NOT proposing any “new doctrine,” or any “false doctrine,” but only what is TRUE and biblical.

And what do you think the apostle John meant when he said, “I write these things that ye may KNOW… “? Or who speaks more plainly of the sovereign, electing grace of God than the apostle Paul? And yet he said, “I am PERSUADED, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, SHALL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD” (Romans 8:38-39). And in the verse before, verse 37, he says, “Nay, in all these things WE ARE MORE THAN CON QUERORS through Him that loved us.” This is a positive statement of ASSURANCE AND FAITH. And there are many, many more!

Finally the writer of the book of Hebrew says in the faith chapter, “. . . Without FAITH it is impossible to please Him [God], for he that cometh to God must believe that He is a re- warder of them that diligently seek Him.” And in verses 37-38 of the 10th chapter, the writer says, “Now the just shall live by FAITH: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. BUT WE ARE NOT OF THEMM WHO DRAW BACK unto perdition, BUT OF THEM THAT BELIEVE TO THE SAVING OF THE SOUL.” And back up even further, to verse 35 which says, “Cast NOT away therefore your confidence…”

May you rely on the Scriptures, the Holy Word of God, and where it conflicts with your traditions, then put away your traditions!

Someone has pointed out to me that people have doubts because they FEAR they are too wicked for God to have mercy on THEM. Well there are times for this in the experience of a child of God, but we are to look inward just long enough to cause us to flee to Christ for mercy and assurance. He promises to NOT turn us away, no matter what our past sins, when we are repentant and we hunger and thirst after righteousness. We are to examine ourselves, “whether we be in the faith.” But, then, we are to “make our calling and election SURE” That does not mean we must make it into an established fact, but that we must “be sure of it.” We cannot ever do so unless we flee to Christ in faith, and receive ALL goodness at His hand. Our faith honors Him. Our doubts do little but keep our eyes on ourselves perpetually within, without looking to Him in faith. Think on these things. If we “hear His voice,” we dare not attribute it to His enemy! To hear His voice is to “follow Him.”

I will close with that. I say, just study your own Bible and study the old English hymns that have been such a blessing for hundreds of years. Make not an idol even of your “doubts.” Even while still in the flesh on this earth, it honors God to have enough faith to ASK Him Faith expects an answer. “Wait on the Lord” and PRAISE HIM from whom all blessings flow

– Glen Berry

John the apostle said, “These things write we unto you, that your joy may be FULL.”

Do you believe THIS in faith?: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to FORGIVE us our_sins, and tocleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:9,10)

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Primitive Publications/ Living truth Ministries

4057N, NC HWY. 87

ELON, NC 27244


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