Part I - Missions
The purpose for writing these essays are not to cause any hard or ill feelings. The purpose for writing this is for many reasons. One of the reasons that I am writing this is because I know that I am in a blessed condition for what the Lord has revealed to me or by the understanding that the Holy Spirit has given me in regards to the scriptures. Being raised in a Calvinistic church, I have sat under the teachings and preaching of many Calvinistic or Sovereign Grace pastors. And at first, without knowing, you’d say that the differences between the Sovereign Grace Baptist churches (Calvinistic) and the Primitive Baptist Churches aren’t that many. But, a closer look reveals that there are many differences. What I am writing, is only from the experiences that have been revealed to me in such a short period of time.

Without going into great detail, John Calvin was one involved in the reformation of the church. Before him, were Augustine and Paul. Calvin believed and taught what is commonly referred to today as the TULIP Theory, T – Total Depravity of Man, U – Unconditional Election, L – Limited Atonement, I – Irresistible Grace and P – Perseverance of the Saints. But over the recent years, things have changed. There seems to be a push within the Calvinistic churches, as with many other churches, including the Primitive Baptist Churches, to become more lenient or rely more on what man has done. What an outrage! I’ve heard a “Calvinistic” preacher speak on the faith of Job. This preacher spoke on how much faith Job had and what ordeals and hardships Job persevered through. As I was listening to this, I thought, “Where is the glory to God?” Why has there not been one mention as to who gave Job the faith that he had? Not once, did he mention that the faith was of God and not of Job! We must look at who gives us the faith that we have and that is the Lord God Almighty.

In Galatians 5:22-23 the scriptures tell us what the fruit of the Spirit are. One of the many fruit that we, as a child of God, will exhibit is faith. If we are a child of God and have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, one of the types of fruit that we have is faith. No where do the scriptures tell us that faith is a fruit of the flesh! Faith is not what we have done, but rather what the Holy Spirit has provided His children with. It seems that as time goes by, the more praise and honor man wants to give himself and that it is all of man. Many may say that this is not true but if you take ANY PART of the sovereignty away from God then it is nothing more than an inaccurate erroneous falsehood and could be construed as an Armenian belief.

After listening, studying but most importantly praying and meditating there are several differences that I would like to comment on. First is Missions. Many churches today feel that it is their “duty” to go out and spread the word of God to every creature. Many churches that send missionaries out into the field are ran by a board. This board is a group of men that determine or oversee what financial support to send out and in many cases has restrictions on what can and cannot be preached by these missionaries. In other words, the message they spread must meet a certain criteria, which most of the time puts man in the link of eternal glorification. I am not aware of a board, per say, that is within the Calvinistic churches however, any time you send financial support to another church, there is a sense of “loyalty” as to what can and can not be preached. This is nothing more than man, (which is totally depraved) telling someone what should or is to be preached. Furthermore, if an individual is searching for the truth, the Lord will lead that person where He wants them to be. A side note here, many pastors/missionaries are attempting (in vain) to populate heaven by telling everyone that they need to repent and be saved which, goes against election.

First of all, my question to this is how can a dead man walk much less save himself? The answer, he can’t do either. For we were dead in our trespasses and sin until the Lord breathed life into our soul and were regenerated. This is not speaking of a physical death but a spiritual death. The scriptures tell us in Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;” and also in Colossians 2:13, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” The scriptures, very plainly, tell us that it is God which quickens us, who were DEAD (spiritually) in trespasses and sins. A dead man can’t breathe life into his own soul much less anyone else’s!

Secondly, be saved from what? Eternal damnation? I think not. The scriptures tell us that the Lord has a covenant with His people. A covenant is a form of a contract. A contract that is sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Now, since God has a “contract” with His elect, can God break that contract? NO! One of the things that God can not do is lie. Another is change. If He were to break a contract then God would not be God. And this would be nothing but blasphemous! Can there be additions to a contract once it has been written? NO! So, since there is a covenant between God and His elect, you can not add individuals to this covenant. Hebrews 8:11 tells us that all of God’s elect will know Him, “And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”

Thirdly and last on this topic is a question. Why do those that follow after John Calvin’s teachings go against what he believed and taught? Most “Calvinists” that I have spoken with will tell you that they believe in what John Calvin taught and preached. However, there is one area that goes against his beliefs that is never heard, and that is Calvin’s belief of not supporting a foreign mission. It is quoted in the book titled “Church History” by C.B. and S. Hassell, “The Protestant Reformers, Luther and Calvin, never thought of sending missionaries to the heathen, Luther denouncing with great emphasis the worldly methods of prosecuting missions; and Calvin, in his comment on the final commandment of Christ to His Apostles (Matthew 28:19), saying nothing whatever of missions to the heathen. It is, therefore, admitted in the article on Missions in the second volume of the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, published in 1883, that A CHURCH MAY HAVE A VIGOROUS SPIRITUAL LIFE, AND YET NOT PROSECUTE MISSIONARY ACTIVITY; AND A CHURCH MAY BE ACTIVE IN MISSIONARY OPERATIONS, AND YET BE SPIRITUALLY DEAD.” This comment tells us that John Calvin did not believe in sending missionaries out to preach to every man, woman and child. So this goes against the teachings of a “Calvinistic” Church due to their support of a foreign mission field. One final comment, those doctrines of election and predestination were taught long before John Calvin.

As a closing note on this topic, whatever the Lord desires will take place. There will not be anything that will prohibit the Lord from doing His will. If it is the Lord’s will for a church to be started in a particular place, then the Holy Spirit will lead a laborer or shepherd to lead the flock. It will not be by man’s desire. One thing that should be noted is that there seems to be a concerted effort by not only the Calvinistic churches but also the Primitive Baptist Churches to send missionaries to different parts of the globe. I would like to be clear on the statement that if the Holy Spirit leads a pastor to a foreign field that is admirable. However, if a “missionary” is going to a foreign field why purchase a round trip airline ticket if this is truly the location where the Holy Spirit has lead him? Additionally, if a “missionary” is in this foreign field how can one be ordained as an elder if he has not been tried for a season. The scriptures very plainly tell us that this individual is not to be a novice or someone new to the faith. I Timothy 3:6 gives us one of the qualifications that is speaking specifically about the bishop (or elder) of a church. “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” Why are there those that are quick to go against the words of our Almighty God? Why are there those that are quick to ordain a convert after only a period of a few weeks? The scriptures are clear when qualifying a person as an elder and there seems to be some things amiss.

In the next essay, I would like to comment on the differences between the Primitive Baptist and Calvinistic belief on regeneration. May the Lord bless you and your family.

Part II - Regeneration

I would like to take this opportunity to speak on the second of several differences that the Holy Spirit has revealed to me between Calvinism and what we as Primitive Baptists believe.  Again, this is not to cause hard or ill feelings but what the Lord has revealed to me.  In this essay, I would like to speak on regeneration.

When you speak with a Calvinist about regeneration, they will tell you that they believe in election and predestination.  However, when a Calvinist speaks on regeneration, they will tell you that when a person is regenerated, it will be done so under the voice of a pastor, in church and/or in all cases, done so under the teaching/preaching of a gospel minister.  Their form of regeneration is totally dependent upon them literally hearing the word of God being preached.  In other words, dependent upon man or a mediator.

The scriptures, both in the Old and New Testament, have many cases where Prophets and Apostles were not under the literal preaching the word of God when they were regenerated.  The scriptures also tell us that God calls the elect.  However, we must first know what regeneration means before we go further in this topic.

Regeneration is described as the new birth or when God breathed life into our soul and gave us a condemning heart.  We received this condemning heart from nothing that we have done but rather what God has done.  It is all of God and nothing of man.

A mediator is described as one who intervenes between two parties.  Many religions today base their belief on some form of mediator.  This includes Calvinists, Catholics and many other belief systems.  However, the scriptures plainly tell us in I Timothy 2:5 that there is no mediator between Jesus Christ and man, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” Therefore, it is only God that deals with man and not man himself.

The scriptures tell us on many occasions, where prophets and apostles were not under the voice of an individual preaching the gospel or, in other words, not literally hearing the word of God preached.  In fact, the scriptures are very clear of when, where and in what condition that these individuals were in.

In the book of Genesis chapter 12, the scriptures tell us that God called unto Abram.  Abram was 75 years old when God called him and directed him to Canaan, which he did obey.  Verse 7 tells us that the Lord appeared unto Abram.  No where in these scriptures does it say that Abram or Abraham was under the voice of a pastor, preacher, or gospel minister.  “And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.”  Also, in Genesis 15:1 the Lord appears unto Abram, “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”  Here again, the word of the Lord came to Abram directly from God himself.  The scriptures again, are very plain in telling us that man is not in the channel of communication with our Lord.

The book of Exodus tells us that Moses had not heard the word of God preached and was a fugitive after killing an Egyptian when God appeared to him in the desert.  Then there is Jeremiah.  In Jeremiah 1:5 the Lord tells Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”  Again, no mention of mans preaching.

In addition to these, there are several others that are mentioned in the bible.  What about David?  What about Saul of Tarsus?  Here is another good example where the apostles, or men, chose Matthias to replace Judas.  However, this was not whom God had chose.  Saul was one of the biggest persecutors of the church or any that called on the Lords name.  Acts 9:1 tells us what kind of person Saul was, “And Saul, yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord.”  But again Acts 9 continues by telling us that Jesus appeared unto Saul while on the road to Damascus.  Again, I see nothing that declares man’s link in the message to Saul.

Then we have the twelve apostles where Jesus Christ tells us in John 15:16 that they did not chose Christ but that Christ chose them.  “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.”  Gospel ministers are also called by God.  Luke 10:1-2 tells us of the seventy that the Lord appointed as ministers and directed them into every city, “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”  Just a side note here; remember, this is the Lord directing the preachers, not men directing them as a modern day foreign missionary is directed by a board or group of men.  This is a major difference and where most people are confused or mislead.

The previous examples, set forth throughout the scriptures, are no different than God regenerating the elect.  The word elect is used twenty times throughout the Old and New Testament and means chosen or chosen one.  Chosen by whom?  The scriptures are clear in telling us that it is God that chooses and not man.  Ephesians 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Man can not choose that which is righteous because we are depraved by nature and will be depraved by nature until we drop this robe of flesh.  This has not changed since the fall of Adam and the only way that we are made righteous is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

The election that is done so throughout the Old and New Testament is done so by God and God only.  It is done so by the good pleasure of God, which He claims the right to do so.  It is not conditioned on our faith or repentance but is done so, which shows the sovereignty of God (Sovereignty, meaning totally independent of man.)  God is not dependent on man but rather man is totally dependent on God.  However, faith and repentance are the “fruit” or exercises of a regenerated soul, which shows God’s work or in other words the new creature or the inner man.  Ephesians 1:5-6, 12 tells us that the ultimate end of election is the praise of God’s grace.

By nature, how can we praise God who is righteous and without blame when we are totally depraved by nature?  The answer is, we cannot.  It is totally of God and nothing of man.  Titus 3:4-7 tells us plainly that it is God which regenerates man and not man himself, “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Throughout the scriptures we see where the elect are chosen of God, not man choosing God.  Whether it be the prophets, the apostles, gospel ministers or the elect it does not change.  For God does not change, which Malachi 3:6 tells us, “For I am the LORD, I change not;” If God does not change, then how do so many explain their position on not only these scriptures, but the entire bible?  And if these cases are true (which they are) then how do so many explain Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”  For if Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, then that must mean that He does not change, is not changing, will not change, and can not change.  For if the scriptures were the same in the past, then it must mean that they do not change in the future AND since God regenerated those in biblical times, then God regenerates those in times of today.  May the Lord bless you and your family.

Part III

I would like to take this opportunity to speak on the third topic of several differences between us, as primitive Baptists, and those of the Calvinistic belief.  I pray that what issues are spoken of do not cause hard or ill feelings and are only spoken of in a loving manner.

Throughout the scriptures, we read where God is persistent in His love and faithfulness of those that are of the flock or are the elect.  However, through the Holy Spirit, we know that God is faithful to His children by the covenant that is sealed with the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Even as a child of God, our flesh is prone, by nature, to sin.  Speaking for myself, I know that there are things that I wish I would not have said or said things that I should.  Just as my actions, there are things that I wish I would have done and things that I wish I had not done.  But, as a child of God we have a conscience or condemning heart, that was given to us by God, that weighs heavily on our heart or mind if we act in such a way that is not pleasing to our Lord.

What is revealed in this is that it is God or the Holy Spirit that keeps us or preserves us.  There is a term that is used extensively by the Calvinists that is known to some as the “Five Points of Calvinism” or is more commonly called the TULIP theory.  The acronym “TULIP”, according to the Calvinists, means Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints.  However, I have heard some primitive Baptists speak of the TULIP acronym as well.  Despite their usage of this acronym, there is one prominent difference between their utilization and that of the old-line primitive Baptists.  That difference being Preservation of the saints.

The differences between the word “perseverance” and “preservation” are vast.  The word perseverance come from the base word persevere.  To persevere means to persist in a state or undertaking in spite of counter influences, opposition or discouragement.  Moreover, to use this as in the Calvinistic view of perseverance means for the saint to persist despite the adversary.  Looking at this from this point of view would make one thing that it is dependent upon the saint or man to persevere.  Nevertheless, where is the glory to God?  This statement is and can be directly linked to the beliefs of those from the Arminian belief. (LINK)  Can man persevere or persist at overcoming the daily sinful nature that we experience?  No.  This is relying wholly on man to do something.  And we know that the scriptures speak specifically about the depravity of man.  Here again, this is man leaning on his own strength, desire or will to “save” himself, in an eternal sense, but can not.  Even if the term perseverance of the saints is utilized in the loosest of sense, it still relies on man to persist through difficult situations, which is totally incorrect and unscriptural.

The word preservation comes from the base word of preserve.  To preserve means to keep safe from injury, harm or destruction and is also described as to keep alive, intact or free from decay.  Another meaning is to keep up and reserve for special use.  For something or someone to be preserved would have to come from a party other than themselves.  To use this in the “preservation of the saints,” means that the saints or the elect of God are preserved by God and not by man himself.  There is nothing that man can do to preserve himself or save himself in an eternal sense.  This is all of God and nothing of man.

The word perseverance is used one time in the bible and can be found in Ephesians 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” The book of Ephesians was written by the apostle Paul to the saints or the church at Ephesus.  This section of the sixth chapter is speaking of the complete armor of God and being able to stand against the deceitfulness of the devil.  However, if you will notice further down in verse 20, which is a continuation from the previous three verses, Paul states that he is “an ambassador in bonds.”  An ambassador from where?  Moreover, why does he state that he is in bonds?  First an ambassador is described as an authorized representative or messenger.  Verse 19 tells us that Paul is hoping that utterance may be given to him to make known the mystery of the gospel.  But we ask from whom?  Verse 17 plainly tells us that it is from Jesus Christ.  So now that we know from where or from whom Paul is an ambassador, we must ask why is he in bonds or in bondage.  If a person is in bondage then they are considered to be a prisoner or in constraints.  Ephesians 3:1 tells us that Paul is a prisoner of Jesus Christ.  Does this mean that Paul was in prison? No. Paul was in the spiritual custody of Jesus Christ and not free to do what the lust of the flesh desired or more simply put, constrained from carrying out those lusts.  II Corinthians 5:14 tells us that the love of Christ constrains the elect, or us “For the love of Christ constraineth us;” In other words, Paul was preserved by our Lord Jesus Christ.  No where does it say that he persevered.

Perseverance of the saints came from the Arminian (LINK) creed originally authored in 1610.  Article I of this creed states, “ save in Christ, for Christ sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this His Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end...”  This creed does not state that the elect of God are preserved but plainly exhibits the belief where by man is dependent upon himself to persevere.  Why do all Calvinistic churches believe in perseverance rather than preservation of the saints?  Why do they adopt certain issues that are from the Arminian belief?  Just as the elect are effectually called through the Holy Spirit, the elect are also preserved through the Holy Spirit.  John 10:28 tells us, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  This verse also tells us that we, the elect, are preserved.

According to their own writings, this fifth point of Calvinism bases itself upon two scriptures, Revelation 13:10 and Revelation 14:12 Revelation 13:10 states, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: and he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.  Here is the patience and faith of the saints.”  First, the faith of the saints comes directly from God.  It is not faith from ourselves but from the Holy Spirit.  Galatians 5:22, 23 clearly tells us that faith is a fruit of the Spirit and that it is not of, by or from man.  Secondly, we should read the previous verse, which Revelation 13:9 states, “If any man have an ear, let him hear.”  This is not meant in the literal sense but in a spiritual sense.  God gives us a hearing ear.  Proverbs 20:12 states, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.”  Just as God gives the elect a hearing ear, God is also sovereign in whom He gives a hearing ear.  Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:” And Matthew 13:13, “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”  Thirdly, according to Strong’s Greek Lexicon, patience is another word for longsuffering.  Again, longsuffering (patience) is a fruit of the Spirit and is not something that we find within our depraved selves but is evidence of a person that has been given life by the Holy Spirit or one that hath a “hearing ear.”

In addition, Revelation 14:12, which states, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”  Again, we must see that patience is also longsuffering and is a fruit of the Spirit.  Luke 8:15 also tells us that a child of God will bring forth fruit with patience.  Again, this is evidence of an inner man, “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

Both of these verses state “patience of the saints.”  If an individual is a child of God or saint, they have been given spiritual life, which comes from God.  It is nothing that man has done, completed or sought out but is a gift of God.  Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” If this same individual has been given spiritual life then they are preserved or kept from decay by God.  For if, a person is decaying, then they are dead and do not have spiritual life.  Additionally, these two scriptures plainly tell us that eternal life is a gift of God and that it is not of ourselves.  They do not tell us what we must do to persevere but we are rather “preserved” by God.

The scriptures use the words preserve (30), preserved (16), preserver (1), preservest (2) and preserveth(8) on many occasions, 57 to be exact and here are just a few.  Job 7:20 tells us that God is the preserver of men.  Psalms 121:5, “The LORD is they keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.”  The word keeper also means to preserve.  II Timothy 4:18, “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”  Psalms 97:10 “ye that love the LORD hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.”  Jude 1:1 “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.”

With the scriptures plainly stating that God preserves His elect and not the elect persevering, we should rightly divide the Word of Truth and not base our beliefs on what we do but rather what the Lord has given us, which is a gift that only He can give.  I’m so thankful that we do not have to rely on ourselves to persevere but rather have that comfort and peace knowing that our preservation is in the hands of an Almighty God.  I pray that the Lord will bless each and every one of you. 

Part IV

Lord willing, I would like to take this opportunity to speak about a topic that many outside of our church, or those outside of the primitive Baptists, see as unusual. I know that many of you will agree with me when I say that we do not mind being called unusual or strange when it comes to following after our Lord Jesus Christ. If what I say in this article offends anyone, please forgive me. It is not my intention to offend anyone but rather to write the truth as best I know how.

The topic I would like to speak about is foot washing. There are many today that do not understand what we are doing and why we do this. Many churches today have some form of communion service that will vary greatly from religion to religion. Nevertheless, if we are to worship our Lord, as only He should be, it should be done in spirit and in truth. For the worship that is not done in spirit and truth is unacceptable to God. We read in John 4:23, 24, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” When the scriptures tell us that we must worship Him in spirit and in truth then we should worship in a manner that is acceptable to God. If our worship is not done in spirit and in truth, then why worship God in the first place? And especially when it is not acceptable in the eyes of an almighty God. Many churches say that they worship God in spirit and in truth but when you hear or see some of the forms of worship then one may ask why do they do certain things that are contrary to the scriptures. Additionally, when you add things to the church such as missions, seminaries, Sunday school, tithing and musical instruments in church, the church is adding to that which is written in the bible and can not stand on the truth written in the scriptures. The same goes for churches that take away from what the New Testament teaches. One thing that is talked about more often here lately is the washing of the saint’s feet during our communion service.

I must admit that before the Lord led my wife and I to, I have never participated in a more humbling service as washing the saint’s feet. About a year ago, I had a Calvinist preacher ask me where I went to church. I told him that my wife and I are members of the He said, “Primitive Baptist, they believe in foot washing don’t they?” I said yes. He then asked, “Do you?” I told him, “most definitely. If our Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself and washed the apostle’s feet, what makes you think that we should be any better than Christ Himself? We should humble ourselves and do as the scriptures tell us.”

I wrote this for one reason, and that reason being there are many that claim to follow after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but will not follow after “Thus saith the Lord.” If it is written in the bible, we should follow that and not waiver. From my understanding, we are one of very few that wash the feet of our brothers and sisters. Moreover, those who have not studied or observed this will not understand that this is a service to the brethren, it exhibits that no one is greater than our brother and that it is humbling. I have also come to understand that there are only about half of the primitive Baptist churches in this country that follow after the Lord in washing the saint’s feet. If something is written in the bible telling us that we should or ought to do it, then we better.

During our communion time, we observe or carry out three things that were done in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ. First, we break the unleavened bread to represent the broken body of Jesus Christ. Second, we drink the wine to represent the blood shed for His elect. Thirdly, we wash the brethren’s feet to represent the service we are to have towards our brother.

We read beginning in John 13:4, 5 where after rising from supper, Jesus laid aside His garments and girded Himself with a towel. He then poured water into a basin, washed the feet of His disciples and then wiped them with the towel that was girded about Him. Christ then tells them (in John 13:13-17) “13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” It is these verses where we, as primitive Baptists, attempt to follow our Lord Jesus Christ in washing the brethren’s feet. In these verses, I would like to attempt to explain why we should do as Jesus the Christ.

First, the disciples knew that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and was their Lord and Master. Jesus affirms this by telling them, “for so I am.”

Second, Jesus, who acknowledges that He is their Lord and Master, tells them that if He (humbled Himself and) washed the disciples feet, then they ought to wash one another’s feet. I believe that if the Son of God tells us we ought to do something, we had better do it. A further look at this verse, and more specifically the word, “ought,” has different connotations but also means that we have an obligation or duty to do what we are told. I cannot think of anyone else we should pay more attention to, than Jesus Christ.

There are many verses in the bible that use the word ought, which here are just a few. Jesus told the disciples in Luke 12:12 that the Holy Ghost shall teach them what they ought to say. Acts 5:29, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” How true this verse is, how we ought to obey a holy, righteous, almighty God rather than a depraved, unrighteous creature as man. Paul tells us in the letter to the Romans that the Holy Spirit helps our weaknesses and is our intercessor because we do not know what we should pray for as we ought (Romans 8:26). Ephesians 5:28 tells us that men ought to love their wives as their own body. Is this not an obligation as a husband? Of course it is and is one that does not seem to be followed by very many in this day and time. Those that doubt this should look at this country’s climbing divorce rate. 1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 4:11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” How God could love a wretched creature as man, is beyond my comprehension. If we are a child of God and our eyes have been opened to the truth, then love is a fruit of the Spirit that will be and should be exhibited towards our brethren.

Thirdly, John 13:15 tells us that He, Jesus Christ, has given us an example to follow after and that we should do as He has done. Again, the word “should,” means that we have an obligation that we are to carry out. If we take this further and inquire as to the word, obligation, we see that it means we are bound to do something. If we are told that we should do something, then we are obligated or bound to carry this out.

Fourthly, Jesus tells us that we are to humble ourselves and not put ourselves up on a pedestal thinking that we are greater or mightier than we should. In other words, be lifted up in pride. As previously stated, this humbleness is a service and one that is exhibited by washing the brethren’s feet.

I have read and heard that some say the feet washing was figurative during that time. My answer to this would be so is breaking the unleavened bread and drinking the wine. These too were figurative in the body and blood of Jesus Christ but is ordinances that we follow after. Why do some churches take bits of an obligation or duty, which were spoken by Jesus, and not take it all according to what the scriptures teach? It seems that the biggest reason that churches do not participate in washing the brethren’s feet is pride. Many people go to church with an expectation of what they can get rather than, what they can give. Moreover, in other circumstances, many people attend church as a social gathering. I believe that we should leave our worldly thoughts or our worldly “baggage” at the door when we worship our Lord. It has no place or business when we gather to worship. We should not have our thoughts on anything other than what the Holy Spirit has blessed the speaker to speak about. However, that is another topic. Nevertheless, I believe that pride is one of the reasons that feet washing is not observed in other churches. The bible speaks very much about pride but due to the number of scriptures that speak specifically about pride, I will only use a few to attempt to show what pride is and does to man.

First, what is pride? Pride is described as swelling arrogance and thinking more of ourselves, as we should. Pride is something that we have heard about from our time as a child, to the first day we walk into school until the day we pass from this world. However, pride is something that is not from God but is rather from the depraved, wicked unrighteous nature of man. If pride is a good thing, then why is it not mentioned, in this manner, in the bible? No where does the bible say pride is a good thing but rather just the opposite. 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Proverbs 29:23, “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”

When a person is prideful, what is it that they want to hear? They want to hear things that are pleasant about themselves. They boast about what they have done rather than what God has done. Many times, I have heard some say; they “led someone to God.” This is totally contrary to “Thus saith the Lord.” If a person has been born of the Spirit, God had to first circumcise their heart and open their eyes and ears of understanding before they could understand. This tells us that it is all of God and nothing of man but here again, man is attempting to take credit for something that is totally of God. However, this is another topic.

2 Timothy 4:3, 4, “3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” In this verse, we see where some of the children of God did not nor will not follow after sound doctrine but followed after their own pride. Not only is it their own pride but had teachers with a desire to hear something pleasant (or itching ears). Here again, we see where pride has not only enveloped the child of God but also their so called teacher. How many teachers or so-called preachers, today, would humble themselves to wash the feet of the saints? How many in the church or so-called churches of today would humble themselves to wash the feet of their brethren? It is evident in their actions.

The old saying “actions speak louder than words” has a lot of truth in it. How many people do we know that say one thing and do another? Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Now, good works does not nor will not get a person into heaven because that has been foreordained (Ephesians 1:4). However, our good works are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith that shows others that we are a child of God whereby we can say that it is God that has been merciful and has shown His grace upon His people, who are depraved by nature.

I believe that the scriptures are plain in telling us that washing our brethren’s feet are ordinances set forth by Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, one question we should also ask is whose feet were washed. John 13 tells us that it was the disciple’s feet that were washed by Jesus whereby He also tells them that they should wash one another’s feet. Does this mean that anyone can participate in this ordinance? I believe that the scriptures are plain in telling us that they were believers and not open to just anyone. Just as Christ told the disciples, we should wash one another’s feet.

I know that there are many that do not understand why we follow this ordinance, just as I know there are many churches that do not follow this ordinance, as well. Nevertheless, I believe that the scriptures are plain in telling us that we should and do have an obligation to follow our Lord Jesus Christ in washing our brethren’s feet. I apologize for “bouncing” from topic to topic and hope that I have not confused anyone by this writing. I hope and pray that the Lord will bless you and your family.  

The Differences with Calvinism, Conclusion

We do many things where people outside of our church do not understand why we do certain things. Just as with this, many do not understand why we do not do certain things as well. If there is one thing that I am thankful for, it is the church that the Lord established, which stands upon that rock, and that rock is Jesus Christ. The true church that does not waiver but stands firm on the truth and according to “Thus Saith the Lord.” We know from reading the scriptures that what understanding we have, comes only by and from the Holy Spirit. Many attempt, in vain, to gain an understanding of the bible by “leaning upon their own understanding” rather than leaning upon the Lord for that understanding.

In previous writings, I have attempted to speak on things that the Lord has laid upon my heart to write. Whatever I have written, I know that the Lord placed it in my heart and that it did not come from me. For in this flesh, as Paul stated, there is no good thing. I also know that what is written, is for the glory of the Lord and not the flesh. Unfortunately, there are many in so-called churches today, which would rather give all the glory to the flesh than to the Lord. With this comment, I would like to attempt to write about another difference that we, as primitive Baptists, have with not only the Calvinists but with most of the churches in this world. The difference I am speaking of is the seminary trained pastor or preacher.

While being raised in a Calvinistic church, I noticed that most, if not all, of the pastors were trained and/or taught by one of several different seminaries around the country, if not world. Moreover, if these preachers were not personally trained or taught in a seminary, then they were trained by one who was. Some of these pastors have or had bachelors’ degrees, some with masters’ degrees and some with a doctorate degree. Nevertheless, one thing they all had in common was their training, schooling or teaching in what many colleges call religious studies. Now, I am not saying that they are not a child of God but rather attempt to lean upon their own understanding or understanding from another man rather than waiting upon the Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

In many churches across this land, there are those who fill the pulpit that view this more as a vocation or job rather than what it was meant to be, a workman or laborer. Moreover, these same men are more interested in the salary they are paid rather than speaking the truth or standing on “Thus Saith the Lord.” As far as a salaried pastor goes, this will be saved for another time however, those that see this as a “job” are walking blindly after their own desires, which includes both greed and pride.

First, we know that the scriptures tell us that preachers or gospel ministers are God called. If God chose a people (before the foundation of the world, which HE did), then it is not difficult to understand that God chose or continues to choose a gospel minister. Just a side note here, a gospel minister is not to go out into the world and attempt to populate heaven, nor is he to attempt to make “sheep” out of goats, even though we see this happening, which is done so in vain. The purpose for a gospel preacher is to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, to the saints, or a regenerate child of God, which is to instruct us in our daily lives and walk with the Lord. In other words, it is not to teach us of Jesus Christ but about HIM.

It is written in the gospel of John that Jesus Christ chose the apostles and they did not choose HIM. John 15:16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Additionally, Luke 10:1, 2 tells us of the seventy that the Lord appointed as ministers and directed them into every city, “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” Notice that the scriptures tell us that it was the Lord who chose the apostles AND (gospel) ministers and it was not man who chose or made the direction. If a person believes that the Lord is directing him to preach, he should exercise that calling to see that it is sure. Again, the Lord chose the apostles and ministers and was not decided on by man.

Secondly, did any of the prophets during the Old Testament or the apostles in the New Testament attend any type of “seminary” or training? The answer would be a definite, no. In fact, I do not believe that we can find one single verse telling us that each of the prophets and/or apostles had any similar type of seminary or college training. We have several examples to choose from such as Enoch and Noah, who had no form of training to preach the gospel. Moses, who may have been Egyptian learned, became so prideful (which disqualified him from leading the children of Israel) that God saw fit to hide him in the wilderness for forty years and train him in the desert before commissioning him to undertake the leadership of Israel. Each of the apostles were chosen by our Lord and was “all taught by God” (John 6:45). Additionally, each prophet and/or apostle that is mentioned in the Bible spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, not as they were directed by man.

Thirdly, attending a seminary to be trained on what to speak and how to do this is dishonoring to God. How is attending a seminary dishonoring God you ask? When a man is called of God to preach the gospel, God qualifies him by HIS Spirit for that work. Nowhere do the scriptures say that this person should attend training for it. It is ridiculous to believe that God only calls a man to go to a seminary and leave this matter entirely with that school, to teach him how to preach and then assign him his field of labor. This not only dishonors God but also robs HIM of HIS glory and makes HIM subservient to the intelligence or wisdom of man. In Matthew chapter 16, Jesus Christ asks Simon Peter, “But whom say ye that I am?” Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Christ replies to Peter by saying in verse 17, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church at Corinth, even tells us his method of preaching. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10 goes on to say that it was the Holy Spirit that revealed that knowledge or understanding he had and that it did not come from man or man’s teaching, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” Again, we see so many “churches” that think they are more intelligent than God HIMSELF! If they deny this, then I would ask why do they train people in their own (fleshly) ideas on how a Shepard is to tend to the flock and why do they add things to the worship of God that are unscriptural and anti-Christ. Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” When the Lord tells us that we should ask for the “old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein,” why must man look for ways to add to the scriptures? My answer would be that this shows the filth and depravity of man and how he attempts to boast his prideful nature, lifting himself above an Almighty God.

Fourthly, God never calls a man to preach and then send him to man (i.e. seminary) to be qualified. Human learning does not lead to Christ, nor does it qualify a man to preach the gospel. 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us that the natural man (flesh) can not receive those things which are spiritual. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” If we look a little further in 1 Corinthians 3:19, we see that the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” It is the Holy Spirit who gives a minister of the gospel the understanding of HIS word. Job asks and answers this in Job 36:22, “Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?” Who else can teach (a man) as God can? 1 Corinthians 2: 12,13, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Notice in verse 13 that it is not man’s wisdom that we have understanding but it is the Holy Spirit that teaches us. How can a man, which is of the flesh, teach “spiritual things”? Answer, he cannot!

When we look around us today, we see so many different types of churches and beliefs. Moreover, if we look deeper into these churches or belief systems, there should be certain criteria or marks that are manifested to be a true apostolic church. Of those criteria, there is one mark that deals specifically with the ministry and their qualifications. The qualifications that one should exhibit are plainly laid out in the New Testament and they are to be a “regenerated, Christ loving, God called and God qualified man.” 1 Timothy 3:2-7 gives us the qualifications of a God called minister. “2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

I will make a few side notes regarding the qualifications. The bible is plain in telling us that a minister must be a man and nowhere gives these qualifications in regards to a woman. Verse 2 tells us the “ the husband of one wife,” This verse is specifically speaking of a male and not a female for how can a female be a husband? Further, down in verses 4 – 7, we see the words “his”, “he” and “man”, which is speaking of the male gender. Unfortunately, there seems to be an increasingly number of so-called churches allowing women to stand in their pulpit or take leadership roles. This is totally contrary to the scriptures and not according to “Thus Saith the Lord.”

Notice that the qualifications nowhere state that a gospel minister must be educated or learned. If this were the case, then how does one explain the case for the Apostles Peter and John? The scriptures are clear in telling us that they were “unlearned and ignorant men” If the bible tells us that a gospel minister must be a well-educated (in a worldly sense) man, then why doesn’t it say so? I believe that it does not because if a man is truly God called, then the Lord will give him an understanding of the scriptures, which He sees fit. Now that person who may be called by God to speak must, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. It is also interesting to note that the words workman and labourers are used only in the New Testament.

Now, if God wanted His workmen or labourers to be educated in a worldly manner, I believe the scriptures would have clearly stated so. It seems awfully strange how the apostles and later, the gospel ministers were not given direction by the Lord to “get educated.” On the contrary, the scriptures plainly tell us in both the Old and New Testament that it is the Lord that gives us the understanding we have. Luke 24:45, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,” Ephesians 1:17, 18, “17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;..” 2 Timothy 2:7, “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.”

I have heard many ask, “what is wrong with sending someone to the seminary?” First, we see where the seminary got it’s beginning and why. The first so-called “Christian” theological school was established at Alexandria, Egypt, about 180 A.D., and lasted about two hundred years. The earliest teachers were Pantaenus and Clement, who were “converted” heathen philosophers, and their principal aim seems to have been to teach so-called “Christian” tradition, to transform Christianity into philosophy, to depreciate humble faith and exalt lordly knowledge. It was also to base human salvation upon the natural free will of man, declaring that the first motion from sin to holiness must and can be made by the sinner himself. This sounds no different from what is preached in the Arminian 
(LINK) churches and what is taught in the seminaries of today.

Most seminaries today are ran by a man made board believing and teaching those ideas that are put forth by man rather than God. These seminaries are backed by many different churches of today such as the southern Baptist churches, Pentecostal churches, catholic churches, Methodist churches, and the list goes on. To have an accurate look at each of these churches would take a considerable amount of time however, to shorten this somewhat, we can see that each of these so-called churches began because those “hard shalls” were hard to swallow. And as typical for prideful man, began their own so-called religion and hid behind the Lord Jesus Christ, calling it a “church.”

If one that reads this, can show me where the apostles held a ministerial school, please enlighten this poor wretched sinner. Nevertheless, I do not believe that it will ever be found in the Bible because it is not of God. Just as there has been many other things added to the church even by some who call themselves, primitive Baptist.

In closing, I would like to quote two verses that I believe will knit this attempt to speak of theological seminaries together, John 14:26 and 1 John 2:27. John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Notice that Jesus Christ tells the apostles that the Holy Ghost shall teach them all things and bring all things to remembrance that HE has told them. I believe this to be the same for those who are called to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to HIS elect. In addition, if we look further up in this chapter we see in verse 17 that the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, shall be in us. Therefore, we see that it is not man that teaches the spiritual things to a child of God or to a gospel minister but is only by the Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” In this verse, the anointing that is spoken of is from the Holy Spirit and is plain in telling us that “ye need not that any man teach you:” If the scriptures tell us that we do not need the teaching from man, which it is, then why do so many seek man’s opinion on the scriptures? In most of the churches today, we see so called gospel ministers utilizing the writings of men, rather than rightly dividing the word of truth and placing it into its proper application. In addition, in some churches you will even see the pictures of preachers who lived in years past hanging in and around their church building. This, in my humble opinion, is giving man (or the flesh) and particularly those men, more glory than God HIMSELF! How typical for the depraved flesh seeking to boast itself.

Theological seminaries are not of God and should not be seen as such. There is no scriptural basis for them and only seek to publish man’s (prideful) opinion on God’s Holy Word. I hope and pray that I have not said anything to offend anyone but I believe that the scriptures are clear on this topic. May the Lord bless you and your family.

Brother Todd Nunley