"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
May 1, 2002
For the purpose of speed, pictures, if any, do not load with text pages. At the point a picture was in the printed paper, a link will appear for those who wish to see the pictures. Simply click on the link and picture will load.
In this Issue:
UPDATE AND DEADLINE ON CORRECTIONS TO SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH DIRECTORY
THE ONLY SCRIPTURAL BAPTIST CHURCHES ON EARTH ARE SELF-CONSTITUTED
STORM TAKES DOWN GIRLS’ NEW HOUSE
QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE GRACIOUS ATONEMENT
Bouquets and Brickbats
THE WAY OF SALVATION BY A. W. PINK
UPDATE AND DEADLINE ON CORRECTIONS TO SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH DIRECTORY
I want to express my appreciation to those who have sent and who continue to send new and corrected listings for the new directory of Sovereign Grace Baptist Churches. Even today, May 24, 2002, we have received more updates.
We must set a deadline for these and I have set July 1, 2002, as the deadline for updates and corrections. If you have not done so yet, please go to this URL and check your listing and other listings in your area.
DIRECTORY OF SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST CHURCHES
If you find errors, churches that are not listed, or churches that no longer exist that are listed, please notify us. We would like this to be as nearly correct as is humanly possible and your cooperation will further that goal.
With all the changes that take place, we know we could never produce one that is completely up to date for there are daily changes.
If you want your e-mail listed or the church’s URL listed, please include that.
THE ONLY SCRIPTURAL BAPTISTCHURCHES ON EARTH ARE SELF-CONSTITUTED
By J.C. Settlemoir
In this article I gladly take up this proposition: The only Scriptural Baptist churches on earth are self-constituted!
First, I will argue that this is the only method of constituting a church expressly stated in the Word of God and, consequently, there is no other method of constituting churches. Anything added to what is taught in the Word of God and claimed as essential doctrine is merely a tradition. In Mt 18:20 our Lord said: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” I understand this to mean these who gather together in Christ’s name have submitted to every command of Christ and the gospel, including repentance, faith, baptism and have the desire to carry out the commandments of the NT. When such disciples covenant together a new church exists!
Even though a church constitutes with the improper idea that some other things are, or may be necessary to the act, yet they are still constituted, if they do covenant together according to this Word of the Lord. Any church that is constituted in accordance with this text is a scriptural church and this is, in reality, the only way churches can be constituted! The Lord Himself in Mt. 18:20 cuts away the non-essentials as well as traditions leaving the essential of church constitution.
Mark well what the Lord did not say:
He did not say: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—with approval from a presbytery—there am I in the midst of them!”
He did not say: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—with church letters granted for the purpose—there am I in the midst of them!”
He did not say: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—as a mission of another church—there am I in the midst of them!”
He did not say: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—as an arm of another church—there am I in the midst of them!”
He did not say: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—authorized by another church—there am I in the midst of them!”
He did not say: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—mothered by a mother church—there am I in the midst of them!”
He did not say: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—with organic church succession—there am I in the midst of them!”
He did not say: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—with the recognition of other churches—there am I in the midst of them!”
He did not say: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—with an ordained elder— there am I in the midst of them!”
He did not say: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—with anything you choose to put in this blank—there am I in the midst...!”
Yet, this is what the “mother-daughter” theory demands! Their theory demands that they be allowed to add something to the word of Christ, which cannot be found in word, precept, or example in the Word of God.
In a constitution it is what the saints themselves do which Christ promises to honor! He promises to indwell those who gather together in His name, and this is the essence of constitution. Because it is a covenantal relationship between Christ and those who are submitting to his will, it cannot be what some other church or group does that constitutes them a church. Christ promises to bless them with His indwelling—when they “gather together in His Name.” And when He takes up his place in such a gathering that gathering is a church, as much so as any church that ever existed on earth! This promise is made to those who gather together in His Name, i.e., with His authority, in obedience to His will, who submit to His doctrines and His ordinances! He instantly, when they covenant together, constitutes them a church for this is His unconditional promise! He does not promise this to presbyteries, associations, or “mother churches” but only to those disciples who covenant together in His name. It follows then—
EACH CHURCH IS A
DIVINELY ORGANIZED SOCIETY
J. R. Graves quotes Professor Curtis with approval:“Each separate Church, then, is recognized in Scripture as a divinely organized society, having its own special prerogatives and relations independently of all other bodies, and for the employment of which it is answerable to the Head of the Church alone.” [Intercommunion, p. 33].
Keach says“For hath not one regular Church as great Authority from Christ as another.” [Glory of A True Church, 1697, Quoted in Polity, by Dever, p. 81]. The authority is not from another church, according to Keach, but from Christ! This is a Divine institution and it is organized with Divine authority and there is no other method by which to constitute a scriptural church!
Hiscox says:“This authority is derived directly from God; not from states, nor princes, nor people; not from its own officers, nor its members, not from any other source of ecclesiastical or civil power or right. But Christ ‘is head over all things to the church,’ and also as of right, ‘the church is subject to Christ.’” [The Baptist Church Directory, Hiscox, 1859. Pp. 16-17].
Each assembly is the place where Christ places His name, and it is there that he chooses to be and it is there that He dwells! Notice it is in “the midst” of those who “gather together” where He records His name [Ex. 20: 24]! He will come to them. He will bless them! He is in the midst of them. These are all divine actions! It is never what you do, and what you authorize, but what He does! The Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation of all true churches. He is the Head of all true churches. He is the one who is in the midst of every one of His churches and He is the only one who can constitute a church! This is the only way a church can be constituted. It is a divine act and not a process that constitutes a church. Thus, it necessarily follows that:
CHURCH PERPETUITY IS THROUGH SELF-CONSTITUTED CHURCHES
Would you willingly take a position on church constitution that absolutely unchurched thousands upon thousands of Baptist churches in the last three centuries? Would you take a position that precludes the most famous and well-known churches in history from being true churches of our Lord Jesus Christ? A position that would put thousands and hundreds of thousands of the most illustrious Baptist brothers and sisters out of the church? A position which would make it certain that not a single church in the land could have any confidence that it is a true church of Christ?
Surely no one would take such a position! Every thinking man recognizes that such a monstrous position is fatally flawed, no question about it! The thought is repugnant. It cannot be entertained for one moment. Something is desperately wrong with any position that leads to such a conclusion!
Yet this is exactly what the brethren do when they contend that one church must give authority for another to constitute. The “mother-daughter-authority” if essential to church constitution, effectively defrocks Baptist churches of all stripes, past and present, the full spectrum!
To reveal the predicament to which this false theory compels them, it is only necessary to demonstrate the churches of History practiced self-constitution. If proof can be given for this assertion then it is clear that church succession is only through churches that were self-constituted. This is easily done! We do this by showing some of the most significant Baptist churches in History were self-constituted.
1. Sandy Creek Church which is the “mother” of thousands of churches, including some of the most noted SGLMBC in America.“As soon as they arrived, they built them a little meeting house, and these 16 persons formed themselves into a church, and chose Shubael Stearns for their pastor, who had, for his assistants at that time, Daniel Marshall and Joseph Breed, neither of whom were ordained.” [Benedict’s Hist Bapt. II, p. 38].
Every church that traces its history to this church is not a church, granting the “mother-daughter” position! Will they dare to do it?
2.“This church [Second church, Newport, RI] originated in 1656, when twenty-one persons broke off from the first church, and formed themselves into a separate body.” [Benedict, Hist Bap. P. 467, 1848, edition]. The reader will understand that churches which “break off” do not get church authority to constitute!
3.“With regard to the constitution of churches. ‘Any number of members that live at a distance too far to assemble with ease, with the body of the church, at their monthly meeting, having first obtained leave from their church, have a right to petition any ordained minister of the same faith and order, with what helps he chooses, being approved of by the members, to look into their stability; and if found ripe, to constitute them a church, describing their boundary and allowing the privilege to any member who lives near to the said limits to join which of the churches he pleases.” [History of Va. Baptists, Semple, p. 71].
The reader can easily see that the authority, in the view of these churches, was not in the church or churches granting letters, it was not in the ordained minister, and if not in them, then where was it?
4. “In the spring of the year 1701, several Baptists, in the counties of Pembroke and Caermarthen, resolved to go to America; and as one of the company, Thomas Griffith, was a minister, they were advised to be constituted a church; they took the advice; the instrument of the confederates follow...” [Benedict, Hist. Bapt. II, p. 2]. This is the Welsh Tract church. Keep in mind that advice is not authority! Furthermore, this church did again self constitute or re-constituted itself a few years later. At no time in their history did they seek nor obtain “church authority.” What this does for multitudes of Baptist churches, the reader will be able to gauge.
5. The Church at Oyster Bay.... “Several persons baptized upon profession of their faith; some by ordained ministers from Rhode Island; some by Mr. Weeks, residing in the place, and some by Thomas Davis. In the year 1748, a considerable number of those baptized persons agreed and concluded to settle themselves in a regular church order, according to the rules and patterns of the New Testament. Accordingly they appointed the eleventh day of July, A. D. 1748, and then met; and with fasting and prayer, they were solemnly incorporated. A church covenant, in writing, was subscribed by men and women then present, to the number of twenty-eight; John Stephens and Thomas Davis being called to assist therein. In the year 1750, they, by their letter and messenger, Daniel Underhill, proposed to the Association of the baptized churches for admittance and union with the Association; which was, after inquiry, granted, and their said messenger received.” [Phil. A. Minutes, p. 23]. Whence the authority of this church?
6. “. . . The habits of the Baptists in New England and of those in Virginia respecting apparel were also much at variance. Mr. Leland and others adhered to the customs of New England, each one putting on such apparel as suited his own fancy. This was offensive to some members of the church. The contention on this account became so sharp that on the 25th of July, 1779, about twelve members dissented from the majority of the church and were of course excluded. The dissenting members formed themselves into a church, and sued for admission into the next [Culpeper—JC] Association, and were received.” [Semple, Hist. Va., p. 234-5]. Can excluded members form a church? The Culpeper Association had no idea that “mother-church-authority” was essential to constitute, or they would never have received this church. Were these churches ignorant on how to constitute a church? How is it that these early Baptists in these associations did not require these churches to get “church authority?” How could they approve of self-constituted churches?
7. Hill Cliffe Church. “The result of these struggles was the departure of about thirty members of the church [at Hill Cliffe] who took with them the books belonging to the church. The remaining members obtained new books, and leaving out the names of the departed ones, constituted themselves a church, entering their names in the new roll.” [Hist. of Bap. Ch. At Hill Cliffe, p. 83]. How many churches trace a history through this church!
8. In about the year 251 Novatian was excluded from the church of which he was a member at Rome. “Novation formed a church and was elected bishop. Great numbers followed his example and all over the empire Puritan churches were constituted, and flourished through the succeeding two hundred years.” [Robinson, Eccl. Researches, p. 126, Q. By Ray, Baptist Succession, p. 189]. Can excluded members form churches? Can men form churches without authority from another church? These brethren who dote on “mother church authority” have their homework cut out for them now!
Let me also make it clear that I am not at all suggesting that these few churches were self-constituted and that all the others were constituted by a “mother church.” Far from it! I contend there never was a church constituted with mother-Church authority, in the sense now contended for, until modern times! Let those who so teach prove it, if they can. Our leading men and writers will testify to what I am saying. Thus we turn to them.
LEADING BAPTISTS BELIEVED IN
We can further show that the essential of church constitution was that of the group constituted by statements from our leading men.
J. B. MOODY
“Whatever the circumstances or cause of their scatteration, if they chose, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, they congregated and organized on the voluntary principle, and elected their own officers. Any Baptist church can divide; or any part of it for a good reason can pull out and organize when and where it pleases, because individual liberty is not destroyed or impaired by church membership. The churches of Judea, Samaria, Galilee, etc., thus organized, were recognized by the mother church and by the apostles and Christ. This is a golden mark.” [J.B. Moody, My Church, p. 58]. Is this not good Landmark Baptist authority?
“Each particular church, is a body of Christ complete in itself, and absolutely independent of all other religious organizations.”
“This is so evident upon the fact of the Scriptures I see not how to make it more manifest.
“The proof given that the very word ekklesia (an assembly) denotes a complete church, equally implies its independency, i.e., that it is dependent upon no other body for its existence or self-perpetuation, or the discharge of all the functions and trust of a Church of Christ.” [New Great Iron Wheel, J. R. Graves, p. 134].
Graves forces upon his reader this great fundamental fact of Baptist polity—a church“...is dependent upon no other body for its existence or self perpetuation...” Thus, churches so constituted, in Graves’ mind, are scripturally constituted!
But lest some doubt, I give another from Graves: “Nor can I learn, from any source, that your ministers [Methodists] and members covenant with Christ and each other for the maintenance of His worship, doctrine, and ordinances, the teaching of His word...” [Ibid. p. 134]. Graves, then, believed that if those Methodists who were saved, submitted to scriptural baptism at the hands of a Baptist church, and “would gather together in Christ’s name,” and purpose to follow all the doctrines and practices of the NT they too could become a true church of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Once again Graves quotes Mt 18:20 thus: “Christ said, where two or three are gathered in my name [authority], there am I in the midst of them.” [Ibid. P. 135]. Where did the Old Landmarker himself, believe the authority for church constitution was to be found? In a sister church? In the Ministry? In an association? No! He opined it was in Christ and quoted Mt. 18:20 to prove it! Was Graves a Landmark Baptist or was he a Neo-Landmarker?
To Be Continued Next Issue
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The LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. Nahum 1:3
Click here to see picture of Girls' Blown-down house at New Children's center
STORM TAKES DOWN GIRLS’ NEW HOUSE
By Wayne Camp
Only days after it was completed, a storm packing high winds, hit at the new land where we are building the children’s center. In the past we have rented places for the center but just about the time the buildings would be improved and gardens were growing the owners would decide they did not want to renew the lease when it was up. In March of 2001 when we had to move the children again, we set about trying to buy land and build a permanent home for the children. The land has been purchased and we owe one more payment of about $3400. (We have to say “about” because the exact amount we will have to pay depends on the value of the dollar against the Thai bath at the time we make the payment.)
With the permission of the person from whom we bought the land, a few months ago we began construction on new houses for the boys and girls. The girls’ house was finished first and it was taken down by the storm (See picture, Page 1) just a week or so before the children were to move. We were blessed that no one was in the house when the storm came. Several people had been working on it but were working on the boys’ house when the storm came up and were in a small frame building out of the storm when it blew the house down.
This has put a new burden on our Thai finances. We have been blessed by some who have already come to the rescue with special offerings especially for the Children’s Center. We have sent money this week (May 15) to get the work moving again and will send more this next week. Bro. Anond is out of town preaching in a couple of churches in the jungle villages and I cannot reach him as this is being written. Hopefully I will be able to give some concrete dollar amounts of our extra needs by the time this is published.
We know that God has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm and that this was true when this storm brought down this girls’ house. It will be rebuilt lower and stronger this time. Changes have been made on the boys’ house also to make it stronger. Thank God, the girls had not moved in and none were hurt.
We must continue with the regular monthly support of the work while we are also rebuilding and building the necessary units to get the children moved. If any churches or individuals feel led to send extra support or an offering to help with this work it will certainly be appreciated. If we can just get the bare necessities to move the children built now, we hope to start permanent structures of a combination of masonry and wood during the next dry season which will start about October 1, 2002.
God willing, and as it is planned now, Bro. Bill Lee and I will be departing for Thailand about October 28 or 29, 2002. He will stay for about two and one-half weeks and I will be staying until February 28, 2003. As authorized by the Pilgrims Hope Baptist Church, we will be starting the Sovereign Grace Baptist School of Theology. While Bro. Lee is there, in collaboration with Bro. Anond, we hope to stake out the perimeters of the permanent structures for the Children’s Center. If God continues to provide for this, we hope the concrete foundations and slabs can be poured during this next dry season. Then one permanent section of the over-all structure can be built at a time as the Lord provides the funds through his people. The bamboo buildings that are being built now will not be wasted. There will be uses for them until such time as they must be demolished. Bamboo buildings usually last only about 5 years before they need extensive repairs, especially the leaf or grass roofs. The more permanent components of the buildings will be used in other structures.
If any have questions concerning the information in this article please feel free to call me at (901) 876-5015. Or you may call Bro. Bill Lee at (662) 226-2715.
Click here to see another picture of the storm damage
The folks in the picture are from some of the churches. They and others have provided free labor on the buildings. In fact, on the day of the storm, there were thirteen members from the new church at Pa-ban gnam helping with the work.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind (Psa. 18:9-10).
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QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE GRACIOUS ATONEMENT
By Wayne Camp
(Part 2 of a multipart Message)
COULD CHRIST HAVE SUFFERED MORE AT MAN'S HANDS?
DESPISED AND REJECTED
From the manger to the grave our blessed Saviour endured the “contradiction of sinners against himself” (Heb. 12:3). He was “despised and rejected of men” (Isa. 53:2-4). He “came unto his own and his own received him not” (Jn. 1:11). When given a choice they chose Barabas over Jesus (Matt 27:20-26).
The hatred that the natural man has for God was revealed against God's Son. When he healed a man with a withered hand “they were filled with madness” and conspired to murder him (Lu. 6:11). The world hated him because of his unrelenting testimony “that the works thereof are evil” (Jn. 7:7). He said to his disciples: “If the world hate you, ye know at it hated me before it hated you” (Jn. 15:18) There was no legitimate reason for man's hatred of one who “went about doing good” but Jesus declared: “They hated me without a cause” (Jn. 15:25). The “carnal mind is enmity against God” and that enmity was certainly felt by our blessed Lord.
Hating Christ led men to slander him if they could. Those who accused John the Baptist of being demon possessed accused Christ in these terms: “Behold a man gluttonous, and a wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners” (Matt. 11:19). They declared that he cast out demons “by Beelzebub the prince of devils” (Matt. 12:24). Though they could find none who could name a sin that he had actually committed, they still accused him of being a sinner (Jn. 9:16). In fact, they said: “We know that this man is a sinner” (Jn. 9:24). One of the most painful things one can experience is a slanderous lie. It is no wonder that one who bore false witness against his neighbor was to be executed under the Law of Moses. This, however, did not stop the slander against our sinless Saviour.
His discourse on the good shepherd caused many to slanderously declare: “He hath a devil, and is mad” (Jn. 10:20). When asked why they took up stones to stone Christ, they falsely charged him with being blasphemous (Jn. 10:33).
This slander amounted to much more than idle gossip. At times vituperative and scurrilous malignities spewed from their mouths like vomit from the mouth of a person with a concussion of the brain. “And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him” (Lu. 23:10).
While in his deepest sorrow and suffering Jesus was mocked, taunted, and ridiculed by men. They robed him, crowned him with thorns, put a reed in his hands for a sceptre, bowed their knees and “mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews” (Matt. 27:29). As he taught on faithfulness and pointed out that one cannot serve two masters, the covetous Pharisees “derided him” (Lu. 16:14).
Herod and his men of war, after trying to get him to perform some miracle, “mocked him and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe” before sending him back to Pilate. While our Saviour was suspended on the cross and was enduring the suffering and shame due us, “the people stood beholding, and the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God, and the soldiers also mocked him” (Lu. 23:35-36.)
When Jesus healed the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda he performed that miracle on the Sabbath. The Jews, seeing the healed man carrying his bed, warned him that what he did was unlawful since it was the Sabbath. When they found out that Jesus had healed him they began to “persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him” for healing this man on the Sabbath (Jn. 5:16). When Jesus told them that this was doing his Father's work “they sought the more to kill him” (Jn. 5:18). These people hounded him like a criminal. They harassed him constantly as he carried on his ministry. They were like a plague hounding his heals.
Jesus was the victim of repeated conspiracies. A number of these plots are mentioned in Scripture. The Pharisees “held a council against him, how they might destroy him” (Matt. 12:14). “The priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death” (Matt. 27:1). The elders, chief priests and the scribes sought to incriminate him in some way (Lu. 22:66). These religious leaders of Israel were set in their desire for the death of Christ “and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus” (Lu. 6:11).
How our Saviour must have suffered as these efforts were constantly being renewed against him. Paul once declared: “I die daily.” This was certainly true in a sense of our Saviour. Hardly a day passed that someone did not desire his death and conspire with others to bring it to pass.
BETRAYED BY A FRIEND
Well did David write in prophetic Psalm: “It was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have born it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company” (Psa. 55:12-14). This is Christ speaking through the prophetic pen of David. The Man, Christ Jesus, speaks of one of his close acquaintances and companions in life as the betrayer. Matthew writes: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him” (Matt. 26:14-16).
While Christ knew what Judas would do, it still caused him to lament the atrocious and outrageous crime. That a friend, and Jesus did call him a friend, could betray the sinless Son of God can only be understood by those who know the depths of the depravity that lurks in the heart of every son of Adam.
“And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come?” (Matt. 26:49-50). Luke records it: “Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” (Lu. 22:48).
It is hard to imagine, it is impossible to imagine the sorrow that Jesus knew as a human being at this moment. From feigned faith and pretended discipleship one who has been daily in his presence turns to a murderous betrayal. “It was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have born it” (Psa. 55:12). One has commented:“It is remarkable that the Lord, who endured the other unspeakable sorrows and agonies of his passion in perfect and marvelous silence, allowed his grief at this one alone to escape him” (Treasurey of David, Vol. III, p. 29). Spurgeon wrote: “Reproaches from those who have been intimate with us, and trusted by us, cut us to the quick” (Ibid. p.19). Again, says Spurgeon: “Our Lord had to endure AT ITS WORST the deceit and faithlessness of a favoured disciple ... It was fiendish treason for such a one to prove false-hearted. There was no excuse for such villainy” (Ibid.). An avowed enemy could have done this same thing to Christ and it would not have been nearly as grievous as when one so close did it.
FORSAKEN BY HIS DISCIPLES
“And they all forsook him and fled” (Mk. 14:50). Jesus had warned his disciples of this. “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad ... Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said ALL the disciples” (Matt. 26:31-35). Yet they ALL forsook him and fled. Left alone to face the ordeal ahead. Left alone to endure the contradiction of sinners. Left alone in the hands of the persecutors without even one disciple to receive some of the punishment that would be handed out by this bloodthirsty mob.
DENIED BY PETER
“Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Matt. 26:34).Yes, Peter boldly declared that he would die with the Saviour before he would deny him. But here comes a damsel to the fire outside the palace and she says to Peter: “Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all saying, I know not what thou sayest” (Matt. 26:69-70). On the porch another lady sees him and says to those around: “This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man” (Matt. 26:71-72). Bold Peter has lost his bravado. Finally another said to Peter: “Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech betrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew” (Matt. 26:73, 74).
He was yet another source of grief for the Son of man. What must have been in his eyes as he “looked upon Peter” after his third denial (Lu. 22:61)? It was not enough that an avowed enemy deny knowing Christ: now one of his own elect denies even knowing him. Despised by the world, betrayed by a friend, and now denied by one of his elect. How our Saviour suffered even at the hands of his beloved!
BRUTALIZED BY BULLS
“Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round about. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion” (Psa. 22:12-13). Jesus was not merely slapped around a little bit. The scribes, Pharisees, priests, and elders bellow around him like a herd of angry bulls. The rulers of Israel and the soldiers of Rome, like Bulls fattened and ferocious from the pastures of Bashan, full of fury and strong with hate, lunged to and fro in their desire to mutilate the Messiah. With their cruel tortures they would seek to stamp out his life. Our Lord Jesus, naked, unarmed, and unresisting was as if he had been cast into a stampede to be trampled upon by a raging herd of bulls.
They gaped upon him as if to literally devour him with their mouths. As ravening beasts they would seize him and tear him to shreds. They lacerated his back and pulverized the flesh upon it with the Roman scourge (Matt. 27:26). They stripped him naked and then threw a scarlet robe on his shoulders. They platted a crown of thrones and crushed it down upon his head (Matt. 27:27-28) as they mocked him by bowing before him in feigned worship. They spit all over him, one of the deepest insults and highest humiliations you could put upon anyone (Matt. 27:30). Taking the reed that they had placed in his hand as a scepter they beat him upon the head with bullish force (p. 30). They slapped his face with open palms and brute force and repeatedly spit upon him (Matt. 26:67-68; 27:30). They pulled his beard off his beaten and bruised face by plucking it out by its roots (Isa. 50:6). Their beatings were so ruthless and brutal that he did not even look like a human being any more. “As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than and man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isa. 52:14). It is hard to imagine that this living, breathing hunk of bruised and pulverized, thorn-crowned and spit-coated flesh is really a human being. In fact, he is the sinless Son of God in the hands of God-hating sinners.
CRUCIFIED ON A CROSS
Will our blessed Lord suffer more at the hands of these bulls of Bashan? Yes! Now they lead him like a condemned animal to the slaughter (Isa. 53:7; Lu. 22:52). Arriving at Calvary they strip him naked again, divide up his garments and cast lots for his robe. Laying him upon that cross they spike him to it by driving large nails through his hands and his feet. What excruciating agony must have racked his body as that Roman soldier drove those nails into his hands and feet and then into the wood of the cross. Could a more exquisitely painful engine of torture have been found for our Saviour?
Now his torturers and tormenters lift that cross up and let it drop into its hole. It hits bottom with such force that every jointed bone in his body is jerked from its socket. Listen to the Saviour's description of this part of his suffering: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture? (Psa. 22:14-18).
Come with me to Calvary, Dear Reader. Let us cast our mental tents upon that scene of suffering. Imagine, if you can, the brutalized, pulverized, spit-and-phlegm-coated, bloody and bleeding body of our Saviour suspended by cruel nails on a cross. His bones are out of joint; his tongue is swollen from thirst; his head is crowned with thorns; his body is racked by excruciating pain. Body and soul he has become a mass of misery, the full essence of agony. He doesn't even look like a human being, does he?
I ask you now, as that scene is upon your mental visions, “Could man have done more to our Saviour?” What else could have been done by man to increase the value of our Lord's blessed sacrifice? Let the disciples of Anselm tell us what more man could have done to Christ to increase the value, worth, merit, and dignity of the death of our blessed Saviour.
(To be Continued Next Issue)
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Bouquets and Brickbats
ARKANSAS: I appreciated your antidote regarding the definition of terms in the Bouquets and Brickbats. I have encountered various folks that have had the same difficulty distinguishing between unconditional election and unconditional salvation. Some who fall into this category are Primitives. Others are students of John Gill who nonetheless misunderstand him.
Interestingly, those who hold to universal salvation also believe in their own form of unconditional salvation.
It was good to see Bro. Huffman's name in the paper. I'm sure he didn't disappoint this person when called about this question.
ILLINOIS: I have a question about your article about the Sandy Creek Church and Shubal Stearns. I have heard of both of them and I know what a separate Baptist Church was, but, what is a “six-principle” separate Baptist church? What are the “nine rites?” You can explain or direct me to a source that will explain.
EDITORS RESPONSE: The “six principles” of the Six-Principle Separate Baptists are those found in the first few verses of Heb. 6. the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
The nine rites were baptism, the Lord's Supper, love feasts, laying on of hands, washing feet, anointing the sick, the right hand of fellowship, kiss of charity, and devoting children. All nine rites were looked up as ordinances to be observed by the churches.
The brethren of the Philadelphia Association, for the most part, would not fellowship with these folks because of their irregularities. They called their “devoting of children” “dry christening.”
Glad you asked. I do intend to deal with these in a future article.
TEXAS: I really enjoy your paper and was especially glad to read the article on Shubal Stearns and the Sandy Creek church and their use of women preachers.
ALASKA: I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator. I really have enjoyed your writings on Old Landmarkism and other articles on the church. I know you get a lot of flack so I want to encourage you to keep up the good work.
The recent article by Bro. J. C. Settlemoir was very good and well documented. I also truly enjoyed reading your first article on the Sandy Creek Church and Pastor Shubal Stearns. It was an eye-opener since I come from a background of and once held to the extreme Landmarkism that some brethren hold now.
Your paper is like a light in a tradition-blinded world in which many Baptists live. Keep up the very good work. I look forward to more articles on the Sandy Creek church.
ALASKA: The February 2002 issue of The GP&P that recently arrived was another great issue of the paper. I was wondering what the nine rites practiced by those churches led by Shubal Stearns are. Sounds to me as if they may have added seven ordinances to the two Jesus instituted by their being called rites.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Please see the information I gave the writer from Illinois. Again, I do intend to deal with these nine rites in a future article in this series.
CALIFORNIA: Please note the change of address for your mailing list, and thank you for your paper! It is a regular blessing, and I look forward to enjoying it at our new house.
WWW: Sorry, But you are a real nut case ! I spent valuable time reading your criticisms of others and their ministries.
Do you not know MERCY ?
It is freely offered to you and shouldn't it then be passed on by you?
I don't expect answers to those questions. In fact I don't want you to answer those questions or this email. Please just consider carefully the meaning and practice of real mercy.
May God's spirit reach you and may you be changed through the power of His loving spirit.
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THE WAY OF SALVATION
By Arthur W. Pink
What must I do to be saved? Saved from what? What is it you wish to be saved from? Hell? That proves nothing. Nobody wants to go there. The issue between God and man is SIN. Do you wish to be saved from it? WHAT IS SIN? Sin is a species of rebellion against God. It is self-pleasing; it is the utter ignoring of God's claims,—being completely indifferent whether my conduct pleases or displeases Him.
Before God saves a man, He convicts him of his sinnership. By this I do not mean that he says with everybody else, "Oh yes, we are all sinners, I know that." Rather do I mean that the Holy Spirit makes me feel in my heart that I have been a life-long rebel against God, and that my sins are so many, so great, so black, that I have transgressed beyond the reach of divine mercy.
Have you ever had that experience? Have you seen yourself to be totally unfit for heaven, and for the presence of a Holy God? Do you now perceive that there is no good thing in you, nothing good credited to you account, that all the way through you have loved the things God hates and hated the things God loves?
Has the realization of this broken your heart before God? Has it made you mourn that you have so despised His mercies, misused His blessings, broken His Sabbaths, neglected His Word, and given Him no real place at all in your thoughts, affections and life? If you have not yet seen and felt this personally, then at present there is no hope for you, for God says, "EXCEPT YE REPENT, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH" (Luke 13:3). And if you die in your present condition, you will be lost forever.
But if you have been brought to the place where sin is your greatest plague, where offending God is your greatest grief, and where your deepest desire is now to please and honor Him; then there is hope for you. "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which is lost" (Luke 19:10). And He will save you providing you are ready and willing to throw down the weapons of your warfare against Him, bow to His Lordship, and surrender yourself to His control.
His blood can wash the foulest clean. His grace can support and uphold the weakest. His power can deliver the tried and tempted. "Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day salvation" (2 Cor 6:2). Yield yourself to Christ's claims. Give Him the throne of your heart. Turn over to Him the regulation of your life. Trust in His atoning death. Love Him with all your soul. Obey Him with all your might and He will conduct you to heaven. "Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
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This page was last updated Friday, March 04, 2011