Why We Are Not Primitive Baptists (Part 1) - Sonship of Christ; Church Autonomy (associations); Church Government

Why We Are Not Primitive Baptists I. The reason for this study. 1. Since the Minneapolis Church is an independent and autonomous church and not part of a denomination or an association, it is difficult in a few sentences to explain to someone "what kind of church" we are. 2. For that reason, we sometimes will tell inquirers that compared to modern denominations or associations, we are most similar to Primitive Baptists. 3. If we identify ourselves as such to someone, then we usually will briefly explain our differences with the Primitive Baptists (PBs) to give the person a better understanding of the doctrine and practice of our church. 4. This outline and accompanying Bible Study recordings serve to explain those differences. II. An overview of the differences. 1. The Sonship of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ became the Son of God when he was born of the virgin Mary, and not before. We do NOT believe that Jesus was eternally begotten or any such thing. PB churches (at least some) believe that Jesus Christ is the eternally begotten Son of God, meaning He became the Son of God in eternity past by being begotten by God the Father. 2. Church autonomy and independence. We are an autonomous, independent, and non-incorporated baptistic church which is a part of no denomination or association. PB churches are part of an association of churches. 3. Church government. Each local church is to be ruled and overseen by its own pastor (elder, bishop, steward, preacher, overseer), and its only "rules of order" are the holy scriptures. PB churches are ruled (at least in part) by a board or group of deacons in their local PB church and "denominational bosses" (elders of other PB churches), and meetings and church business are conducted according to the Robert's Rules of Order. 4. Interchurch communion. We practice "closed" communion which means that only members of the Minneapolis Church partake of communion together; members of other churches, even churches of like-faith do not take communion with us, nor we with them. PB churches practice "close" communion; members of any PB church can partake of communion with any other PB church. 5. Pagan holidays. We do not observe nor celebrate the pagan holidays of Christmas, Easter, and Halloween corporately as a church, nor as individuals. PB churches (at least some) celebrate at least some of the pagan holidays either corporately, individually, or both. III. Similarities we have with PB churches. 1. We generally hold to the same following beliefs as most PB churches: A. The Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ. B. Sovereign grace, including total depravity, election, predestination, limited atonement, regeneration before faith, unconverted elect, and preservation of the saints. C. Believers baptism by immersion which adds one to the membership of a local church. D. Baptist church lineage. E. King James Bible as the inspired, infallible, and preserved word of God in English. F. Amillenialism (for lack of a better term). G. Expiration of the sign gifts by 70AD. H. Biblical Creation. 2. We generally observe the same following practices as most PB churches: A. Using unleavened bread and wine for communion. B. Feetwashing. C. Acapella singing. D. Informal training of ministers. IV. The Sonship of Jesus Christ. 1. Jesus is the eternal God which was never brought into existence (Joh 8:58 c/w Exo 3:14). A. In His divine nature, He existed and was with God and was God from eternity (Joh 1:1). B. He became the Son of God, not in eternity past, but when “the Word became flesh” (Joh 1:14) when he was conceived by the power of God in Mary’s womb (Luk 1:35). C. Therefore - 1. For that (thing, act, etc.); for that, for it. a. In various senses of for prep. b. By reason of that; for that reason, on that account: 2. Many PB churches believe that Jesus is the "eternally begotten" Son of God. A. In addition to the above cited verses, the definitions of the words will refute this position. i. Eternally – adv. In an eternal manner. ii. Eternal - adj. 1. a. Infinite in past and future duration; without beginning or end; that always has existed and always will exist: esp. of the Divine Being. iii. Begotten – 1. Gotten. 2. Procreated. 1597 Hooker Eccl. Pol. v. xlviii. §5 The only begotten Son of God. iv. Gotten – 1. 1. Obtained, acquired, won v. Procreate – 1. a. To beget, engender, generate (offspring). b. absol. or intr. To produce offspring. c. trans. (transf. and fig.) To bring into existence, produce; to give rise to, occasion. B. Question: How can a being which is infinite in past duration and without beginning be procreated, generated, and brought into existence? C. This heresy of "eternal begetting" or "eternal generation" ultimately means that Jesus in his divine nature had a beginning which necessarily means that he is a begotten or created god. The NASB accommodates this damnable doctrine by translating Joh 1:18 as "begotten God" instead of "begotten Son". V. Church autonomy and independence. 1. New Testament churches are not organized as "perishes" in some hierarchical structure as the Catholic Church is. 2. Nor is there any biblical precedent for churches to be organized into denominations, associations, districts, etc. which have elders or officers directing groups of churches. 3. There is not one mother catholic church according to the scriptures, but rather individual churches (Gal 1:2; Act 9:31; Rom 16:16). 4. Each local church is the whole church, not part of the whole church (1Co 14:23). 5. When Jesus addressed the seven churches of Asia, He addressed them individually and did not chide one for the actions of another, nor commend one for the good behavior of another (Rev 2&3). 6. The head of the church is Jesus Christ (Eph 1:20-23; Eph 4:15-16; Eph 5:23) and it therefore should not be made a creature of the State by incorporating itself as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit corporation or association, but should be entirely separate from the State (Mat 22:21). 7. The PB churches are members of associations and oftentimes have elders from one or more churches governing another church. A. God warns His people against associating themselves with others (Isa 8:9-13; Isa 5:8-10). B. Associate - 1. trans. To join (persons, or one person with (to arch.) another), in (to obs.) common purpose, action, or condition; to link together, unite, combine, ally, confederate. VI. Church government. 1. Each local church is to be ruled by its own pastor (elder, bishop, overseer, steward, preacher, minister) (Heb 13:7; Heb 13:17). A. The one who has the rule of the church is the one who speaks the word of God to them (Heb 13:7). i. He is the one who labors in word and doctrine (1Ti 5:17). ii. It is the elder/bishop/pastor who must be apt to teach (1Ti 3:2) iii. It is the elder/pastor that is the feeder of the church (1Pe 5:2; Act 20:28). B. The pastor/bishop is the steward of the church (Tit 1:7). C. Steward - An official who controls the domestic affairs of a household, supervising the service of his master's table, directing the domestics, and regulating household expenditure; a major-domo. D. One minister can perform all the duties of rule in the church and he doesn't need a board of deacons, elders, or trustees to assist him or control him (Tit 1:5; Luk 12:42). 2. PB churches are oftentimes ruled and controlled by deacons, and church business is conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order. A. Deacons were only ordained for one purpose: serving widows' tables (Act 6:1-6). i. They were ordained for "this business" (Act 6:3). ii. Nowhere in scripture are deacons given the rule of the church. B. The scriptures alone should be used to govern the church, both in doctrine and in practice (2Ti 3:16-17; Psa 119:105). C. There are no Robert's Rules of Order in the scriptures.
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