"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
August 1, 1999
IN THIS ISSUE:
CAMPBELLITE CLAIM TO INFALLIBILITY SHOULD SERVE AS HEADS UP TO BAPTISTS
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN HEBREWS 2:9
BOUQUETS AND BRICKBATS
By Wayne Camp
A BIBLICAL STUDY OF THE NATURE OF THE
NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
[Originally published, February, 1986]
In the July 1999, issue, we considered this subject but did not complete it. Without review, we present the remainder of the article. I encourage the reader to note how the universal-church-men disagree on what composes their various church concepts. It is indeed interesting.
“And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Since we have previously considered this verse we will briefly point out that the word church is used in the abstract, generic, or institutional sense here. “My Church” and the “churches of Christ”, describe the same kind of institution—local visible bodies. “The husband is the head of the wife” does not infer a universal, invisible couple composed of all the couples in all the ages.” “Let us make man (note the singular) in our image, after our likeness; and let them (note the plural) have dominion over the fish of the sea, etc.” (Gen. 1:26). Man is in the singular and is used in the generic sense. It plainly means, “men in general” for God said, “let THEM have dominion.” There is as much ground to argue for a universal man as a universal church.
Consider this: “When your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them” (Amos 4:9). Surely none will argue that one single palmerworm devoured all those trees and vines! Would any be so foolish as to argue that a universal, invisible, palmerworm destroyed these orchards and vineyards? Surely not! Palmerworm is here used in the generic sense and does not suggest a palmerworm that is different in nature to a great number of palmerworms. The palmerworm is “a caterpillar that suddenly appears in great numbers devouring herbage” (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1973, P. 826). “Your young men have I slain with the sword” (Amos 4:10). Did he mean all were slain with one single sword? Did he mean that they were slain by a universal sword? Sword is used in the generic sense, as is church in Matt. 16:18.
I CORINTHIANS 12:27-28
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular, and God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
Can you believe that Scofield gets all three of his churches—(1) local, visible, (2) universal, visible, and (3) true, universal and invisible—into these two verses? He says that verses 12-18 and 31 refer to the true church that is composed of all the saints from the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ till the first resurrection. He says the church in verse 28 refers to the universal, visible church.
This book is addressed to “the church of God which is at Corinth” (I Cor. 1:2). In Chapter 11, Verse 18, Paul says, “When YE come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among YOU.” There is no way any person could make this a universal church,
visible or invisible. In the same personal manner Paul says, “YE know that YE were Gentiles carried away with dumb idols” (I Cor 12:2). To the same folks he says,
“Now YE are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (V-27).By what authority could anyone, without a change of addressee—”the church of God which is at Corinth”—change the antecedent of “ye” and “you” from the members of “the church of God which is at Corinth” to a universal church. These members could regularly, “come together in the church”, but members of a universal visible or invisible church could never “come together in the church”.
These verses deal with the church in its local, visible sense and Scofield resorts to PERVERSION and WRESTING when he puts all three of his churches in them.
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
Thayer applies this Scripture (V-22) to the universal, visible church, i.e. “the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth.”
Scofield applies it to his “true” church, which he says is “composed of the whole number of regenerate persons from Pentecost to the first resurrection.”
Dale Moody says; “It is the body of Christ, the world-church composed of all true believers, past, present and future” (Christ and The Church, Eerdman’s 1965, P.36). Moody has three churches also:
“The house-church or local congregation.” (Ibid. p.35).
The city-church composed of all the members of all the churches in a given city. He writes: “It was as if one spoke of the church which is in Louisville; although the church meets in more than six hundred congregations” (Ibid. p.36).
“The world-church composed of all true believers, past, present, and future” (Ibid. p.36)
Is it not absolutely incredible that these Universalists would all have us believe in the universal church? Yet, the more I read after them the more I see that they don't know for certain what they want us to believe.
Just as the “church of God which is at Corinth” is a local visible body of baptized believers which could be “gathered together” (I Cor. 5:4), and could “come together in the church” (I Cor. 11:18), could be told: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (I Cor. 12:28), the church of Christ which was in Ephesus (Rev. 1:11; 2:1) can and is also, called the body of Christ in Eph. 1:22-23.
“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”
Let's consult our Universalists again before seeing what kind of church is here intended.
Mr. Scofield says that this is the “true” church, the universal, invisible church. Mr. Thayer says that this is the universal, visible church. Mr. Moody holds that it is the world-church.
What kind of church can declare and make known the manifold wisdom of God? The local, visible assembly of Jesus Christ is the only church that can hear, speak, work, labor, hate, uphold truth, etc. (Matt. 18:15-18); Rev. 2:1-7; 1 Tim. 3:15). The universal invisible church does not speak, hear, teach, baptize, support missionaries or pastors, hate the deeds of false teachers, or do anything!
The church that makes known the manifold, wisdom of God is a local, visible, body that can speak and teach. There is no universal church, visible or invisible in Eph. 3:10.
EPHESIANS 5:23, 25, 27, 29, 32
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the Saviour of the ‘Body’” (Eph.5:23).
Mr. Thayer holds that the church and body in this verse is the universal, visible church “the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth.” He affirms the same for verses 27, 29, and 32. Scofield takes the position that this is the “true” church that is composed of all the saved “from Pentecost to the first resurrection.” Moody advocates that it is his world-church “composed of all true believers, past, present, and future.”
Here Paul uses the simile to explain the relationship that exists between Christ and each of his local New Testament churches.
Is “the wife” used in a universal or ageneric sense? Is this a big universal visible wife? Is she the mystical universal, invisible wife composed of all the wives that have ever existed? If not, why not?
No one would be, I hope, foolish enough to take the position that we have a universal invisible wife. One never knows, however.
The idea in this verse is that wherever you find a married couple, that local visible husband is the head of that local, visible wife. Even so with Christ and the church. Wherever you find a local, visible body of baptized believers in whose midst Christ dwells by his Spirit,. you find Christ and a local, visible church of which he is head. He was the head of each one of the seven churches of Asia; he walked in their midst and held their pastors in his hand. To this local, visible church Paul wrote: “Ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22). “Ye” refers to the saints at Ephesus (Eph 1:1) who composed the local church at Ephesus (Rev. 1:11, 2:1).
(TO BE CONTINUED)
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Campbellite Claim to Infallibility Should Serve as a Heads-up for Baptists
On page three of Campbellism—Its History and Heresies, a book adapted from a series of articles published in The Baptist Examiner, the author wrote,
Campbell, in a practical sense, had the attitude that his own understanding of the Scriptures was infallible and that other groups or "parties" should be united on the basis of his position. His plea for others to "accept the Bible" and, follow it meant that they were to follow his own understanding of the Bible and dismiss their understanding of it. His whole movement was based upon the presupposition that everyone else was wrong and he was right. And so when anyone opposed him, they were opposing "truth." When anyone refused union with his movement, they were refusing "Christian union." And thus developed a trait of Campbellism which still exists. Campbellites often talk of "unity" and make a plea for others "to unite on the Bible." But when "uniting on the Bible" is defined, it always comes out that the Campbellite understanding of the Bible is what all must accept.
It was with Thomas Campbell that the Campbellite claim to infallibility, so loudly echoed at the present time, had its origin. Campbell claimed that "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; and where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent." Certainly, this is an ideal toward which everyone should strive, but it is a claim to absolute infallibility to affirm that this is actually realized in every phase and detail of faith and practice. No Christian should ever knowingly or willfully disobey Scriptures, but how many enlightened Christians, conscious of their depraved nature, would claim to be in absolute, perfect harmony with the Word of God on every point? James says, "For in many things we all stumble." (Jas. 3:2, ASV).
We Landmark Baptists would do well to take heed lest we manifest the same attitude. We too are prone to classify as heretics those who do not see every line of Scripture exactly as we do, even our own brethren. While in this wilderness journey, we may beat our chests and blow our trumpet and proclaim that we have arrived at perfection in our interpretation of Scripture. Let us humbly confess that we could be wrong. I suspect every one of us will be somewhat surprised when we get to the judgment seat of Christ and learn that we were not as perfect in our understanding of God’s word as we thought. I, for one, look forward to the millennium when we shall go up to Jerusalem and the Lord will teach us his ways more perfectly. Isaiah 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Of course, some Landmark Baptists do not believe that applies to us. In fact, about 40 years ago I heard one Landmark Baptist preacher say that we would be doing the teaching and those who were not in scriptural churches during the church age would be taught church truth. He admitted he had no Scripture for this but, after all, with some of us, that really makes little difference. If we think it and believe it, it must be true. What we can’t find in Scripture or in history, we “just accept by faith.”
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HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN HEBREWS 2:9,
JOHN 1:29, AND ROMANS 1:16
By Wayne Camp
I recently received the following letter. It has a very valid question concerning three Scriptures. The young man who wrote the letter is having trouble with the doctrine of particular redemption. My answer follows his letter. Since there may be others who read this paper, or visit our WebSite and read it there, who have the same problem, I thought I would share my answer to his question with the readers.
I am an 18-year-old male who just graduated. I am trying to figure out whether to believe the five points of Calvinism or not. I have read your web page and I accept 4 of the points. The point I'm stuck on is limited atonement. How do you explain verses like Hebrews 2:9, John 1:29, and Romans 1:16? I would appreciate any help you can give me because I'm confused.
As I told you in my first answer, I was ready to get into my truck and leave town for a time and I forwarded your letter to two trusted brethren, who have responded to your question. Now that I am back home and have had a little time to catch up, I will try to answer your question myself. If time allows, I may also deal with II Peter 3:9 with which many have the same problem. I will take the Scriptures you have listed first and in order.
First, however, let me point out that we must always interpret Scriptures in the light of their context—their immediate context, the context of the book in which they are found, and in the context of the whole analogy of faith, or the entire written Word of God. I will try to do this as I deal with these verses.
Andrew, I am not trying to overwhelm you with Greek but it is important to this discussion to note that in the Textus Receptus the word man is not found. The expression isuper panto" geushtai qanatou (for everyone, or for all he might taste death).
The word PANTOS is the from the word PAS which rarely, if ever, means every person in the world. It usually means “all of a particular group”, or “the whole of a group.”
Charles H. Spurgeon, in a sermon on the limited atonement wrote, “...the whole world has gone after him” Did all the world go after Christ? “then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.” Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan? “Ye are of God, little children, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one”. Does the whole world there mean everybody? The words “world” and “all” are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely that “all” means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts—some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile ...”
C. H. Spurgeon from a sermon on Particular Redemption, copied from Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon.
Spurgeon gives several examples of the use of all that prove it does not necessarily imply every last thing or person. Matthew 3:5-6 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. It is evident that “all Judaea” and “all the region round about Jordan” does not include every last person. Rather, it means great numbers of those people were baptized of John in Jordan. We know that “all” is not the totality of the people from those areas for in the very next verse some are mentioned whom John refused to baptize. Matthew 3:7-8 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.
Consider this verse also. Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. Note “all that Jesus began to do and teach.” Yet we read in another place “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25).
It should further be noted that in the book of Luke to which Luke is referring in Acts 1:1, the first miracle of Jesus is not mentioned as well as several other early acts of his life. So Luke uses the word all to refer to a great number of things Jesus did but it is not intended to be all-inclusive.
Now, keeping in mind that man is not in the Textus Receptus but simply the word PANTOS meaning “all” of a particular group. Of whom is this particular group composed? Consider the context and you will see that they are composed of the following:
All of those who shall be heirs of salvation. Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
All of those many sons whom Christ shall bring to glory. Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
All those whom he has sanctified once for all by his sacrifice and whom he is not ashamed to call brethren. Hebrews 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.
All those children whom the Father has given to him. Hebrews 2:13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
All the spiritual seed of Abraham of whom he laid hold in the covenant. Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
All his brethren and people for whom he made reconciliation. Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
It is abundantly evident that Heb. 2:9 is not saying that Jesus tasted death for every last person in the human race but he tasted death for all the children whom the Father had given him. Compare this with John 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. God gave to Christ power over all flesh. Note the purpose of his giving him this power. “that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” The “many” whom the Father had given him and for whom he has secured eternal life is the same “many” sons whom he will bring to glory and the same children given him by the Father.
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Andrew, the word world is like the word all. Rarely does it mean every last person in the human race. Let me give some examples.
Consider the concern of the Pharisees that there was no stopping Jesus for the world had gone after him. John 12:19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him. Had every person in the human race gone after Jesus? These Pharisees had not. In fact, the majority of the world of that time had not gone after him, but a great number of people had and this worried the Pharisees. World in this verse simply means a great many, but not necessarily even a majority.
Consider another use of the word world. John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Note that he does not merely offer life to the world. Nor does he make life possible for the world. He, in fact, giveth life unto the world. But, there are many individuals in the world who do not, and will not, have the life of which Jesus is speaking. 1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. Jesus gives eternal life to the world of believers. The unbeliever does not have life. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
There is a world whose sins Christ has taken away. It is the world of the elect. The unbeliever will die in his sins so Christ did not take his sin away. John 8:21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Apparently their sins were not taken away when Jesus took away the sin of the world.
The world, in some cases, refers to the Roman Empire only. Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. Here we have the word all and the word world in one expression. Yet, we know that “all the world” could not possibly include every last human being. Many were already dead. Others were yet unborn. And, there were parts of the world that were yet undiscovered. Therefore, we must conclude that “all the world” is limited in it scope to just the Roman Empire. Caesar Augustus did not have the authority to tax outside his empire.
In a similar fashion Paul wrote of how the faith of the church in Rome was spoken of throughout the whole world. Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Surely, in this case, no one would argue that every person in the world, every person in the entire human race, was talking about the faith of the church in Rome. The “whole world” that was speaking of the faith of the church in Rome is probably limited to the “whole world” of sister churches and fellow Christians and it is doubtful that every last Christian in the world would be included in the number. The “whole world” in this verse certainly does not include any that had died already and were in the torments of hell. Nor would it include those who were in heaven. And, it would not include those folks in the parts of the world that were yet undiscovered. It does not seem likely that the “whole world” in this verse would include every last human being in the world of the lost. Therefore, we must realize that Paul used the expression “whole world” in a very limited sense.
There are cases in which the world is the world of non-elect as opposed to the world of the elect. John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. Here Jesus refuses to pray for the world of the non-elect. He prays only for those whom the Father had given him. This prayer extends beyond those who were with him at the time to all that would ever believe on Christ. John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. God has given to Christ an innumerable multitude of persons who are not included in the world for whom Jesus would not pray.
Andrew, I have hardly scratched the surface of Scriptures that show that the word “world” rarely, if ever, includes the entire human race. When it is used of men, it is usually used to indicate the aggregate of all of a particular group and not of the entire human race.
When we read John 1:29 we must ask ourselves, “Of what world is John speaking?” Whose sin is taken away? Is the sin of every last person in the universe taken away? Or is the sin of the elect taken away? Many die in their sins. Many suffer in eternity for their sins. One whose sin has been taken away could never be cast into hell or God would be unjust to punish him for sin that had been taken away. The “world” of John 1:29 is the world of the elect whose sin debt Christ paid in full. It is the world of the “many” whose iniquities Christ bore and who are justified by his blood. Isaiah 53:11-12 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Andrew, note that the many whom Christ shall justify are the same folks whose iniquities he bears. The pronoun their points back to many. Note: Christ does not justify all men for many are now condemned and shall never be justified. But, Jesus will justify the many whose iniquities he bore on the tree.
For whom did Christ lay down his life? John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. The redeemed will be in heaven and will sing of redemption by the blood of Christ. Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. The sheep for whom Christ laid down his life are the many for whom he gave his life a ransom. Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Here again we have the Greek word PAS. As I pointed out in the study of Hebrews 2:9, this word rarely, if every, includes the entirety of the human race. Its scope is determined by its context. In this case, the deciding contextual consideration is in the same expression. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to “every one that believeth.” Note the limitation placed on “every one” or “all.” It includes only those who believe. None who persevere in unbelief are included in the “every one.”
The next task in understanding this verse in relation to particular redemption is to learn who will believe. It is evident that every last person in the human race will not believe so the “every one” does not include the entire human race.
Who then will believe? Those who will believe are those who receive the faith of God’s elect. Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness. Andrew, all men do not have faith, especially the faith of God’s elect. 2 Thessalonians 3:2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
Who will believe on Christ? It is his sheep, given to him by the Father, who hear his voice, and, to whom he gives eternal life. John 10:26-27 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Not all men, the entirety of the human race, are of his sheep so not all men will hear his voice and believe. In fact, none but his sheep will ever believe on him. John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. So, when Paul declares that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation “to every one that believeth” he knows perfectly well that only the sheep will actually believe. Here we have a verse that shows the limitation of the “to every one that believeth” in Romans 1:16. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to the sheep of Christ because they are the ones who believe and none else. John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Who will believe the gospel? Those who have been ordained to eternal life believe the gospel. Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Again we have a verse that shows the limitation of the “to every one that believeth” in such verses as Romans 1:16. Those who are ordained to eternal life believe.
Believing the gospel is the same as coming to Christ. Who will come to Christ? All those who have been given to him by the Father will come to him. John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Therefore, it is those who were given to Christ in the covenant of grace who will come to him. They will all come and not one of them will be cast out. The “every one that believeth” in Romans 1:16 are limited to those who come to Christ and those who come to Christ are limited and inclusive of those given to Christ by the Father. It is for these that Christ made atonement. John 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Andrew, there are many other verses that I could cite but I will refer but to one more passage. 1 Corinthians 1:21-29 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
This is a rather lengthy passage. I have underlined the specific things I would call to your attention. Note first that God’s purpose in the preaching of the gospel is to save them that believe. This harmonizes with the verse under consideration. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The effectual call is also set forth in the passage showing that the called Jews and Greeks see Christ as the power and wisdom of God—they believe on him. This is the effectual call, or as some call it, irresistible grace.
The elect are also referred to when Paul shows the kind of people whom God has chosen. Not many wise men are chosen, not many mighty are chosen, not many noble are chosen and they are, therefore, not called effectually so they do not believe on Christ. But, God has chosen the foolish, the weak, the base, and the despised so that no flesh may glory in his presence. The elect are the called and the called believe and the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.
Romans 1:16 does not contradict the doctrine of the limited atonement. Rather, when harmonized with other Scriptures it can only compliment it. Jesus laid down his life for the sheep. The sheep hear his voice and believe on him and he gives them eternal life. They were given to him and it is they who come to him. Those who never believe are not of his sheep and he, therefore, did not lay down his life for them. He did not bear their sins. He does not justify them. They are not of his seed and therefore he did not render satisfaction for them.
The worth and value of Christ’s atonement is infinite but it is limited and particular in its purpose—the salvation of the elect.
What Christ has redeemed he must have. Justice demands it. If his redemption is universal, his salvation is universal and all men, without a single exception, will be saved. Since, according to John 17:2, the purpose of his atonement is limited to those given him by the Father and they will all be brought to salvation and glory. John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Andrew, I must close for now. I look forward to hearing from you and will be glad to answer your questions about other Scriptures that may trouble you. I already have a study on II Peter 3:9 from which you may gain something. If you would like a copy of it let me know.
May God bless you as you study his word.
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Bouquets and Brickbats
WEST VIRGINIA:I have greatly enjoyed reading your many articles on various matters related to the Lord's church. Obviously, you do not just accept the status quo, but you demonstrate a noble Berean spirit and try to promote this Biblical approach among other Baptists as well. This is very good, and it is in keeping with what we are taught in I Thessalonians 5:21, which says, "Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good."
As you might have noticed, one Baptist writer recently made a statement to the effect that any church which believes in the doctrine of the invisible, universal church is not a Landmark Baptist church; yea, not even a Baptist church. This made me wonder if any of the churches in the genealogy of this writer's church believed in the doctrine of the invisible, universal church, or were they all local church-only in their ecclesiology? If they were not all local church-only in their ecclesiology, then it would seem that this writer's church is not a true church, at least by his own standard. If his standard would be applied to the rest of our churches, I believe it would disqualify every single one of them from being true churches. Thankfully, the Bible is our only standard, and the opinions of men have no authority at all!
My simple question to you is, “Must a church hold to the local-church-only position and reject the doctrine of the universal church in order to qualify as a true New Testament church?” Let this question be honestly answered as well by every Landmark Baptist living today! The answer to this question will greatly affect the current church succession controversy.
Another question that needs to be candidly asked and honestly answered is, how can we claim churches in our respective genealogies who did not hold to the local church-only position or reject the doctrine of the universal church and, at the same time, disown and/or "unchurch" churches today who do not subscribe to the local church-only position or reject the doctrine of the universal church? There are too many inconsistencies in 20th century Landmarkism, and these inconsistencies cannot just be swept under the carpet. Rather, they must be objectively and truthfully dealt with and squarely faced.
May God bless you in your labors for the Lord!
Editor’s Note: This brother has asked me and all other Landmark Baptists the following question:“Must a church hold to the local-church-only position and reject the doctrine of the universal church in order to qualify as a true New Testament church?” I plan to answer that question in the next issue when I will be continuing the study on Baptists and the Nature of the Church.
TENNESSEE: Here is my new address. Please continue to send me my copy of your paper.
CALIFORNIA: No need to reply but I just wanted to thank you for the recent GP&P. I read it front to back and the work you did on "Ecclesiological Dualism" was excellent. The only kind of church that can "work" is the only kind as defined in the scriptures—the local, visible assembly. Lord bless.
OHIO: Your web site was an inspiration to me in putting ours up.
OKLAHOMA: We enjoy receiving your paper, and would like to continue receiving it after we move.
WASHINGTON: I never thought that I would ever read ANYTHING from one of our baptist chures as I have read here, you talk about the Promises Keepers being of the devil. I here to tell you that I beleive and I am a save god and jesus loveing person as well as my churh which is a southern baptist church. I would think jesus is woundering what on earth is going with the Pilgrims Hope Baptist church. I am a promises keeper and will contiue to be, what I have learned is no where what you have printed.
I also am a promises keeyperw key man in our church in charge of the mens group I also pratice what I have been taught by the promises Keepers juat getting back from tocama at which I for the first time had my son there he's 35 years old and has commited to start doing a better job rasing his children in a godly home. Now if you concider this of the devil than I think you are being led by the devil to try and convence people against the promises keepers in which jesus said would happen in his attempt to turn people away from god. I may not be a learned man of gods word but I taken all my disciple's ship classes,by Avery t. Willis,Jr. Now if you want to say he is from the devil than I think you had better take a better look at your salvaion.
A Follower of our lord Jesus christ.
USA: Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I just finished your article on the Promise Keepers and wanted to add an “Amen!” to your words. Before I became a Baptist I was in a bible church that was heavy into this sort of thing. I was a part of the prayer rally at our nation’s capitol. Washington was my first and last Promise Keepers. I was very uncomfortable with the men on the platform. I found out from a national park service rep that they had estimated the crowd at over one million (though the news media did not report this, I had this first hand). This brings me to my biggest problem with Promise Keepers. They have you promise or enter into a covenant with God on 7 points of which I am sure you are aware, so people who are covenant breakers by nature are led to promise to God those things in which they will surely fail. So I am quite sure that nearly one million men were led to sin if you consider that each one will break at least one of their points. I prefer to let yea be yea and nay nay. So I rally behind you and this and say Forward brother Forward!!
ILLINOIS: I just wanted to let you know how much of a blessing your newsletter and WebSite are to me. I have been checking out different denominations for a while now, trying to discern truth from error. God has led me, by His providence, to a small country church where the gospel is faithfully proclaimed and I am so thankful. It is a Missionary Baptist Church and in studying history and doctrine, I see that in their spiritual forebears, such as Waldenses and Particular Baptists, they have a great heritage. It is a blessing to finally rest in Christ alone. Amen!
Would you please put me on your mailing list for your newsletter?
LOUISIANA: Would you please put me on your mailing list for The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator? My sister and her husband have been lending me theirs to read. May the Lord continue to bless your efforts.
PENNSYLVANIA: Thank you for the many years that you sent us your Newspaper. We will be traveling around the country for the next two years and are trying to cut back on many things—to include mail. Please no longer send us The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator.
GEORGIA: Please remove my name from your mailing list.
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This page was last updated Friday, March 04, 2011