Home > Brandenburg, Separation, Standards > What Do You Think Scripturally of Clarence Sexton Speaking at the National Fundamental Baptist Fellowship Meeting?

What Do You Think Scripturally of Clarence Sexton Speaking at the National Fundamental Baptist Fellowship Meeting?

I don’t know Clarence Sexton.  I heard him preach one time.  I’ve received his paper for many years.  I hope the best for him.  However, I’m judging this based upon Scripture.  I think it is an appropriate situation for us to consider, analyze, and explore.  This is very public, so it doesn’t stand as a whispering campaign and innuendo.  We don’t want whispering and innuendo here.  Let’s rely on Scripture for our evaluation.

Is the FBF consistent with its historic belief on separation by having Sexton?  Is Sexton consistent with his position on separation by fellowshiping with the FBF guys (I realize it is a fellowship of men, not churches)?  What does the Bible say about either?  I’d like us to discuss this.  To do so, let me bring in some thoughts.

  • Is inerrancy a separating issue?
  • Is the Bible only inerrant in the original manuscripts?
  • In the statements of the Lord in the NT, do we have the very words of Christ (ipsissima verba) or merely the voice of Christ (ipsissima vox)?  Is that a separating issue?
  • Is Scripture clear on the nature of the church?  Is that worth separating over?  Is mixed swimming actually mixed nudity?  Is mixed nudity a separating issue?
  • Has Clarence Sexton ever taken a stand against Jack Hyles?  Did he ever separate from Hyles?
  • Tom Messer and Clarence Sexton are both on the BIMI board of trustees.  Tom Messer fellowships with Southern Baptists (Jerry Vines).   Evidence (more than three witnesses) says that Tom Messer knew about Bob Gray (child molestation) and covered it up.  Does that matter?

Are these two groups really being true to what they believe?  I think this is enough to consider with regards to a real-life situation and the teaching of Scripture on the doctrine of separation.  If we are not going to apply what we believe here, do we really believe any of what we say we believe about ecclesiastical separation?

  1. cathy
    June 13, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    I have heard Pastor Sexton preach many times in the distant past. I thought it was interesting about the last point you brought up about Tom Messer and Bob Gray. The reason being, is there is a man on staff at Crown that was a former staff member at Fairhaven that I told about John Price and his advances towards me. My pleas of help were ignored and played down and thus I left Bible College, when I found out his buddy was being hired.

    So the irony that Sexton will associate with Tom Messer and Bob Gray and also have on staff a member that was notified about a predator and the accusation was ignored, makes me really question this man (Clarence Sexton) role in the ministry.

    I’m not saying that Sexton approves the above behavior, I am saying his choice of friends are questionable. That is scary for a layperson when they are considering a godly leader.

  2. June 14, 2007 at 6:37 am

    Quite frankly, I want to stay as far away as possible from anyone who was in leadership at Trinity at the time of all this. The church and her leadership had the responsibility to “rebuke before all” the elder who was guilty, and they did not.

    On the issue of “mixed swimming” I will relate a question I gave to someone in Bible college about this. This brother was from a more “progressive” and “loving” church than I was. I asked him if it would be proper for the youth minister at his church to have the teenage boys and girls to play in his living room, jump on each other, and play with each other wearing only their underwear. He said that of course it would not. To which I replied, “I guess that adding water makes it okay, then.”

    Ecclesiastical separation has never been the strong point of the “big names” in so-called “Fundamentalism”. Hero-worship is the norm.

  3. Gary Johnson
    June 14, 2007 at 8:44 am

    I would agree that all the points you listed are valied to separate over. If more of the “smaller named preachers” would seperate from these “big name preachers”, the big named ones would fall by the wayside. How many of the big named preachers have you ever heard take a strong stand on the more controversial issues, such as marriage as was covered last month. The Lord’s churches would be better off without these big names and all their conferences they hold trying to help us “little guys” do the Lord’s work better. As Art Dunham pointed out, there is much hero worship, which is making much of man, and the Lord is not glorified in that.

    Thank you for letting me vent this morning. Job 32:19,20

  4. June 14, 2007 at 10:55 am

    I believe you all make valid points and interesting. Thanks. Good seeing you again Bro. Johnson. Thanks Art. Good point, Cathy.

  5. Anvil
    June 14, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    So for those of us who aren’t as connected as some of you, how do all of these points fit in? Does either Clarence Sexton or the FBF promote mixed swimming? Does Mr. Sexton take a different stance on the “nature of the church” than the FBF? There is a still a qualitative difference between using the KJV as the only acceptable translation and being KJV-only (there may be different reasons behind those positions). Maybe both the FBF and Mr. Sexton have already discussed this point.

  6. cathy
    June 14, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Pastor Brandenburg,
    I really do appreciate you pointing this out about Pastor Sexton, when I was getting ready to leave Indianapolis and move to Chesterton to be apart of Fairhaven four years ago, I was reallly pressured by friends to consider Pastor Sexton’s church. The reasoning was that Dr. Voegtlin was too hard core, had too strong of a personality, hard nosed and such. All the reasons I was told not to go to Fairhaven, was many of the reasons that attracted me to the place. What I knew in Bible College, was Preacher, may be hard core, but he does it out of love, and what he does say is often said with the utmost humility. I need a leader that is not afraid to take a stand, and not be intimidated by me.
    Thanks for your article, it really validated what I expected four years ago.

  7. June 14, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Anvil,

    Here’s the connection.

    Calvary Lansdale is represented on the speaker gauntlet in the FBF. They practice mixed swimming. I believe Clarence Sexton would say that is mixed nudity.

    The FBF would make a big break from Jack Hyles, but did Clarence Sexton ever make a break from Jack Hyles. He may have “floated” away from him, but did he publically separate. Maybe he did, I don’t know. I do know he fellowshiped with those who did not break from Hyles.

    I never said anything about the KJV, but I would think that Sexton believes in perfect preservation, so it seems this is a move away from that being a separating issue with him. He’s fine with those with Bibles with errors.

    Vox is taught at Maranatha and Calvary Lansdale, again represented. This relates to those speaking and what the FBF accepts as non-separating. Sexton is moved into that.

    Sexton is tied into Gray, among others, through Trinity and Messer, and how does that set with Bob Jones, Detroit, etc. in the FBF crowd.

    I could have included more than ten others, and I barely touched on things.

    What does separation as it has been practiced by the FBF and then as it supposedly was practiced by Sexton mean anymore to them?

    I threw just a few issues out there

  8. June 15, 2007 at 4:58 am

    I really like Sexton’s sermons (in his monthly letter and books), but I have noticed a distinct lack of separation with who he has let speak as Guest preachers in his church or college. Lee Roberson is somewhat ecumenical. While I do appreciate much that Ian Paisley stands for, I would have a problem letting him preach at my church or college – he is not a Baptist, but a Presbyterian; there are some differences – and I do not recall reading any public warning about those differences. He also has/had Ed Reese as a teacher (at his college, I think). He is the one who put out the Reese Chronological Bible, plus many 30 page biographies of various preachers – some of them quite ecumenical and definitely not people we would endorse (Billy Graham and some others – don’t have the list handy right now – Sword of The Lord endorses this series, but just doesn’t publish or advertise the few ones they have a problem with).

    I just find these overall stands contradictory.

  9. Thomas Ross
    June 16, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    What about repentance? Denying repentance is a false gospel (Luke 13:3), and those who preach a false gospel are accursed (Galatians 1:8-9). Many in the Hyles crowd deny the doctrine of repentance, and a much greater number deny it in practice, and the Sword of the Lord has officially rejected repentance (see the pamphlets they publish on “repentance” and on “Lordship salvation”), rejecting the stand of John R. Rice. But I guess Paul was too narrow minded when he said Galatians 1:8-9 under inspiration; nowdays we know that one can deny the gospel and still be OK to preach with, as long as one holds to other more fundamental teachings, like being part of the same fellowship or assocation (1 FBF 3:4; 6 Macc 6:6).

    • Jimmy
      June 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm

      Repentance does not mean that one must remember every sin that he committed and ask forgivness of each individual sin, no, it means to turn to Christ. It means to repent of rejection of that loving Saviour, which in turn makes one sorry for their sins which they turn from as sanctification through the Holy Spirit begins to rule in their life. It is GRACE without ANY works or it is not grace at all.

      • June 19, 2010 at 11:53 pm

        Jimmy,

        That’s a strawman the size of a Macey’s day parade float.

        With your, and I mean your, definition of repentance, a Hindu could repent and still be Hindu.

  10. June 18, 2007 at 7:45 am

    I agree with Brother Ross. What about repentance? The so-called “gospel message” of Hyles, etc is no better than the seeker-friendly silliness of Rick Warren.

    They both deny the change that is mandated by true repentance.

  11. June 18, 2007 at 10:20 am

    That is why we need to preach against both extremes – one is no better than the other.

    Question: I thought the Sword of The Lord had done an about face with Shelton Smith (ie. once Curtis Hutson passed on). Have they reversed their stand on repentance again with the new editor?

  12. June 20, 2007 at 9:24 am

    I think the gospel is a major issue, a separating one, and the gospel is being perverted IMO at an epidemic level. Not everybody in “fundamentalism” is not on the same page on the gospel.

  13. Walter Skinner
    July 13, 2007 at 7:17 am

    I must vehemently disagree with the innuendoes, insinuations, and outright falsehoods purported here.

    I am NOT a member of FBCH – never have been. However, I have a drawer full of Jack Hyles’ sermon tapes. I and my family have visited FBCH numerous times and I attended the Pastor’s School in 1979. I am NOT out to make enemies or incite fellow Christians with inflamatory remarks. I only wish to relay what I believe to be the truth.

    As I mentioned, I’ve listened to untold hours of Jack Hyles’ sermons. I’ve read countless hundreds of them as well. Jack Hyles was a man of God, pure and simple. It appears that some sought to ‘out’ him for what they believed his sermons to say. Though they got some mileage out of it, it wasn’t enough. A disgruntled Robert Sumner (disgruntled because Jack Hyles supported Curtis Hutson to edit the Sword Of The Lord rather than Robert Sumner…Dr. Hutson was John R. Rice’s hand-picked successor & Sumner a usurper) apparently wanted to get back at Dr. Hyles and thus, found willing accomplices in Victor Nischik, George Godfrey, Walt Handford, Voyle Glover, and D.A. Waite…among others.

    It’s interesting to note that Nischik’s wife, Jennie accused her husband of extramarital affairs and once claimed to have caught him in bed with another woman….but nothing is made of that. Nischik has not, to my knowledge, denied her allegations. But let Nischik accuse Dr. Hyles of adultery and it’s a given that he did it. All based upon stones thrown by a handful of persons of, at best, dubious character and questionable motives.

    Anyone who has taken the time to thorougly research this matter will quickly find that the FBI, the County Prosecutor for Hammond, and the Hammond Police Department found nothing in their investigation of the accusations of ethical misbehavior, misappropriation of funds, indiscretions (sexual and otherwise), and immoral conduct on the part of Jack Hyles (Northwest Indiana Times, May 19, 1993). These are people who are as thorough as can possibly be found in investigatory matters. This is especially true of the FBI. Had there been one iota of inappropriateness found, they’d have pushed for a bill of indictment against Dr. Hyles from the first moment.

    It should be noted as well, that WJBK’s ‘documentary’ entitled “Preying From The Pulpit” has been debunked as the blatanltyl ratings grabbing attempt and disengenuous piece of yellow journalism it was by the Northwest Indiana Times in the article “Baptism By Innuendo”, May 19, 1993.

    These articles can be found online. In addition, Wikipedia has extensive information including some heated editorializing by its editors regarding some posted material on its website that sought to demonize Dr. Hyles. One of the editors comes out and clearly says that he isn’t a Baptist, is not a fan of Hyles, FBCH or HAC…his only interest is to make sure both sides are presented, which he clearly says has not been done.

    Now as to this position that Dr. Hyles did not preach repentance, I’ve heard and read his references to the necessity of it hundreds of times. Someone is sadly mistaken.

    I find it sad that this goes on. Long after Dr. Hyles passed away. And some of the dirt is being dished second, third, fourth, and…..twentieth hand by people who claim to love the Lord. People who have not bothered to research the matter but readily repeat what they heard. I believe they call that gossip. Gossip is a form of lying because it is only what others have said and likely bears little resemblance to the truth. How very , very, very sad.

  14. July 13, 2007 at 8:54 am

    Thanks Mr. Skinner for reading our blog. I don’t need to know one thing about Jack Hyles relationship with his employees to know that he is disqualified from the ministry. You should consider his son, Dave, the cover-up. I could point you to numerous messages that were blatant false doctrine. In the end, his view of repentance is seen in the unbelievable statistics, interviews with those dealt with in an unscriptural manner, the manner in which Hyles’ people characteristically deal with the lost, and on and on. He was clearly a promoter and strong advocate of easy-prayerism. I’m not surprised that he has his apologists out there. He still had a huge following and still does. You clearly are lacking in discernment if you don’t see the problems with Hyles.

  15. July 13, 2007 at 10:47 am

    Now as to this position that Dr. Hyles did not preach repentance, I’ve heard and read his references to the necessity of it hundreds of times. Someone is sadly mistaken.

    Using the term and preaching what the Bible does about repentance are two different things. I know some Hyles graduates that very much redefine what “repentance” is – repentance is, to them, turning from their unbelief to belief – but the Bible’s definition is repentance from sin – a change of mind resulting in a change of conduct. If the life is not changed, there was no repentance.

    Saying a prayer isn’t salvation. Getting your “fire insurance” isn’t salvation either.

    …Oh, you don’t want to go to Hell, do you? Repeat this prayer after me… Don’t worry if you don’t believe Jesus is the only Saviour and that you do not believe He resurrected from the dead, just ask God to save you. God said if you called upon Him He would save you. Did you call upon Him? God didn’t lie, did He? You must be saved now… (Yes, I know of a pastor in the States who used this exact approach with my sister’s neighbour while she stood by and listened to the conversation – obviously there was a little more to it, but the person did not believe in Jesus nor in his resurrection, but was encouraged to say a prayer anyway. This man was told that he did not have to turn from (ie. repent of) his sins in order to be saved (in the conversation he quite clearly revealed he was a drunkard and a fornicator), that God did not want him to change anything in his life – then right after “getting saved”, the pastor is telling him he now needs to get baptized, to identify publicly with Jesus and as a picture of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection – of course the man had a problem with that! He did not like to be told he needed to do something now – so he told the pastor to leave and not come back. Saved, eh?)

  16. July 13, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Mr. Skinner,

    Vehemence is not an argument. Bill Clinton has his vehement apologists. So does Barry Bonds. And when we posted, we knew that Jack Hyles did as well. You visited Pastor’s School 28 years ago? I grew up in the world of Hyles. You visited numerous times? I was a member of his church. You have his tapes? I listened to him in person.

    And as a boy, I was enamored with Jack Hyles. Loyalty, I understand, is a doctrine with the Hyles apologists. But loyalty is important to me as well. We might say that in this discussion, loyalty is inescapable. You are loyal to Hyles. I am loyal to Scripture. Are we sadly mistaken about Hyles’ position on Repentance? Then explain why he called the doctrine of repentance, as clearly taught in Scripture, the enemy of soul winning. Explain why, in Personal Evangelism class at HAC, we were taught that all that was needed for a person to be saved was to pray a prayer? Explain why we were taught to tell people that all they needed to do is pray this prayer, and they could go out and do whatever they wanted… they could go commit adultery, or murder somebody… and they would still go to heaven. Such a deal!

    Mr. Skinner, how much of Jesus must a person believe in if they are to go to heaven? One part? One fourth? One half? Do we get to bargain on this? Devils believe. Do they get to go to heaven? Or do they forget about the right part? Does “confessing with the mouth the LORD Jesus” mean confessing that Jesus is Lord? Or can a person deny the deity of Christ and yet be saved? Mr. Skinner, try to answer that question.

    As far as the well-documented Hyles family immorality, Mr. Skinner, it doesn’t surprise me that you have your head in the sand on that one. I remember as a teen ager — 16 years old — reading Jack Hyles’ response to the allegations listed in Robert Sumner’s paper. In fact, Mr. Skinner, my church held a Preaching Conference soon after Sumner’s allegations surfaced. At that conference, Jack Hyles and Curtis Hutson preached. After the service concluded, Hyles and Hutson met in my pastor’s office to discuss how the allegations should be dealt with. My understanding was that Hutson strongly encouraged Hyles to answer the allegations publicly. I remember eagerly looking forward to Hyles’ answers to those allegations, and I remember anxiously devouring every word he said. And I remember my disappointment as I read and realized that he did not answer anything. He instead used diversions and innuendos and escape tactics. Mr. Skinner, was there a door, or not? Hyles said (quoting from the best of my memory), “I am sitting in my office right now. I cannot see a door in my office that goes to Jenny Nischik’s office.”

    Mr. Skinner, the most devastating proof against Hyles is his own squirming to escape the charges. But of course, there is plenty more. Do I need to parade it all out here? I don’t think so. The clear-headed know the truth. The Hyles-a-holics will refuse to hear.

    Which is why the Hyles-a-holics are doomed to face many more embarrassments at the hands of their graduates.

    Mr. Skinner, we love the Lord, which is why we speak the truth on this issue. Loving the Lord means exposing wolves, especially when they dress in the shepherd’s costume.

  17. Joanie
    July 26, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    You are all ridiculous. I love Pastor Sexton. He is an awesome preacher of the gospel. Thousands have been saved in his ministry that the Lord has let him start. You are all pretty judgmental. That is pretty funny considering that God is the one who is going to judge the sin in EVERYONE’s life. I just think it is ridiculous that you all would make a web page about this.

  18. Bruce the Bible lover
    July 27, 2007 at 4:51 am

    I agree with Joanie. Practice the “mote and beam” principle from the Bible, then write your blog!

  19. July 27, 2007 at 11:31 am

    How about we take what Joanie said and substitute another name… say Billy Graham.

    You are all ridiculous. I love “Billy Graham.” He is an awesome preacher of the gospel. Thousands have been saved in his ministry that the Lord has let him start. You are all pretty judgmental. That is pretty funny considering that God is the one who is going to judge the sin in EVERYONE’s life. I just think it is ridiculous that you all would make a web page about this.

    Do you still agree with your statement? Bruce the Bible lover, do you still agree with Joanie?

  20. Sam Hanna
    July 27, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    I have a big problem with FBCH let alone the morality of Dr Hyles. In their recent magazine they claimed 25,000 baptisms for the year 2006 (and also in 2005) which is a target set by their Pastor. Yet on their website they state that their church holds 7,500 people and only has one Sunday morning service. Now, bearing in mind that in 2003 there was a sizeable church at FBCH and the HAC students also attend where have all these 50,000 converts gone who were baptized?

    If it was just a matter of egotism on behalf of FBCH, I would let it go but the more serious point is that 50,000 souls are running round Indiana believing they are going to heaven because they have been under the water at FBCH and the majority are probably on their way to hell. This we should all have a big problem with!

    Re Clarence Sexton – I think he should watch who he hangs out with as the FBF contain a lot of Neo-Evangelicals like the Bauder/Janz crowd and he is only giving the rabid anti-KJVites there credibility.

    As I am from UK, I don’t condemn him for hanging out with the Free Presbyterians as they are the only ones taking a stand for the KJV and the old paths of Biblical separation and as 95% of their ministers and congregations are Baptistic this issue should not be a big deal for Sexton.

    I would urge caution on the Baptists with a capital “B” here on the issue of separation. America is blessed with many Baptist churches but in many parts of the world IFB do not exist or are carnal and the true churches taking a stand are Presbyterians or other non-Baptists. I have used the example of N.Ireland but I could also have mentioned much of Africa, Korea or Singapore. I would separate on inerrancy and the KJV but not on the subject of baptism as it is not a question that goes to the heart of the gospel whereas believing that the Bible today is the very Word of God is a basic fundamental. Before I get shot down here one illustration. I have attended Dr Ian Paisley’s Annual Conventions many times and on the platform were speakers like Dr Sexton, Dr Rod Bell etc. The issue about baptism never arises as it is a conference about Fundamentalism and for believers so a Baptist like Drs Sexton/Bell are not facing any issue of compromise on the subject of Baptism in those services. However, if Dr Paisley was to start sprinkling babies or to start using the NIV and claiming that today we don’t have the preseved text, then Drs Sexton/ Bell would face an issue they should separate over.

  21. July 27, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Doesn’t matter who the preacher is or how “successful” they may be, if they are doing wrong, they are wrong. Sin or compromise isn’t justified just because someone is a big name preacher.

    Speaking about Matthew 7:1 – look at the whole context. We are not hypocritically judging him, we are Scripturally judging him and his ministry – which we are commanded to do.

    1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

  22. July 27, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    I’ve enjoyed the discussion. It’s nice to read other people’s imput. Sam,  I’m going to write about this kind of subject in the near future on my blog, What Is Truth.  I’m not going to blow you out of the water, but I can show why the inconsistencies on separation occur.  Just one question though:  where does the Bible itself teach that the Gospel is the only issue of separation?

  23. Sam Hanna
    July 27, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Kent, I respect the view that it is only right to fellowship with churches/pastors who share the same convictions rights across the board eg eschatology, baptism etc. As I intimated, I don’t share that view and I believe it is fine to fellowship and exchange pulpits with men who believe in historic fundamentalism within the boundaries where no offence is given by eg. preaching in areas that we disagree. This is especially true and needed, I believe, in these days when the remnant is shrinking because of the great global apostasy.

    You can get yourself in problems by trying to be too clever on these things e.g. David Cloud (who I respect) states on his website that he will not preach in Bible Presbyterian Churches in Singapore because they are paedobaptist yet he shares a platform with them at the Dean Burgon Society Meetings and carries their literature and articles on his website. Br Cloud will speak at IFB churches in Singapore which may be KJV and Baptistic but in my opinion have much weaker standards on music and dress than the Bible Presbyterians.

    Just to clarify, I do believe that we draw the lines of separation tighter than the simple gospel (although I believe that encompasses a lot more than most think). My personal definition of separation is to fellowship and work with believers on a para-church level who hold and practice to the historic Biblical Fundamentalist Faith. That would include opposition to CCM, non-KJV translations etc but would not include eschatology, baptism etc. Others may disagree honourably but I remain unconvinced. However, I await your blog contribution.

  24. Sam Hanna
    July 30, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    I note there is some misconceptions as to Dr Ian Paisley’s theology on this and other blogs.

    Ian Paisley is the son of a Baptist Pastor and his church in Belfast still, although Presbyterian in Government, only allows baptism by immersion and holds the communion service every Sunday morning in accordance with Irish Baptist tradition. The Free Presbyterian Church that he founded was born out of the apostasy of the Baptist Union, Irish Presbyterian, and Episciopal tradition. As such, Ian Paisley and the founding ministers agreed to put aside any difference on baptism and allow every member and local church to follow their own conscience on the issue. This has resulted in probably around 90% plus of the churches and ministers in reality only practicising baptism by immersion. This arrangement may not please every IFBer here but worked well for them as they sought to stand together against the belligerent terror campaign of Roman Catholic terrorists for the last 40 years.

  25. July 30, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Sam, I have a lot of respect for Ian Paisley in a number of ways. You sound like you have a problem with him right now, based on the link that you gave in a comment under another post. There are a few people that I respect a lot, but I would still choose to separate from them. Ian Paisley would be one.

  26. Bobby Mitchell
    July 31, 2007 at 6:48 am

    “As I am from UK, I don’t condemn him for hanging out with the Free Presbyterians as they are the only ones taking a stand for the KJV and the old paths of Biblical separation and as 95% of their ministers and congregations are Baptistic this issue should not be a big deal for Sexton.”–Sam Hanna

    Sam,

    You are very wrong. There are some very strong, solid Baptists in Ireland. Ask Joel Grassi about them. He just got back from teaching and preaching there. We, as a church, support one. BTW, they are separated from the Presbyterians because of their unscriptural position on baptism.

  27. Sam Hanna
    July 31, 2007 at 8:40 am

    Hi Bobby,

    I assume you are talking about some of the new churches planted by IFB churches like your own. I don’t dispute that there may be a few of these that have sprung up in recent years but they are a relatively recent and small phenomenon.

    As someone, who was born and bred there let me assure you that for the last 55 years it was the Free Presbyterians (pretty much alone) who took a militant public stand for the KJV, against the Church of Rome, sodomy, the Great Theological Apostasy etc. Ian Paisley’s dad came out of the Baptist Union as he was on of the very few separatists left in the Baptist Movement in Ireland which has historically been small. He formed a small independent Baptist Church which later became the Free Presbyterian Church in Ballymena after Ian Paisley had a 4 week gospel campaign there in the 1970s and 400 people were saved. The Free Presbyterian Church in Ballymena has stayed true to its baptistic roots and only baptises by immersion. I have no great dislike of most of the Irish Baptists as the older memebrs have good standards but they are historically a relatively benign and passive bunch and most have now capitulated to CCM and modern Bible versions especially among the young.

    Ian Paisley called the Pope the antichrist to his face, has lived the last 40 years with 24 hr armed police protection, went to jail for 6 months after protesting outside an ecumenical Presbyterian Meeting so I don’t think in all fairness you could compare these new IFB churches to him and claim that they are “better” or more “scriptural” when that has still to be established.

    Frankly, I would question any IFB church (that claims to represent what you do) where have they been for the last 55 years. If you were to question any person on the street, or media representative who are the militant fundamentalists in Ireland the only ones they could think of and they truly hate would be the Free Presbyterians. Those are the facts.

  28. Steve
    August 7, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Innuendo, half truths, false accusations, outright lies–how does any of this help the cause of Christ? I am a member of Temple Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN where Dr. Sexton has been pastor for 19 years. God has greatly used him to lead this ministry far beyond what we could ever imagine. Our goal is and has always been to reach the lost and train the next generation of soul winners. There are now graduates of Crown College on most continents and in every state of the US faithfully serving God. I say this not to glorify any man but to praise God for what He is doing. Can I ask you what you are doing for God besides impugning the good names of men God has used and is using today? How many folks are being saved as a result of what you are doing? How many young people are being taught to rightly handle the Word of God through your efforts? Just some food for thought. I’m praying for you.

  29. August 7, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    So – it’s okay to compromise and disregard separation in some areas, as long as we are doing much for the Lord? Oh, I thought we were to be faithful in all things! How naive I’ve been…

  30. August 7, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for pointing out our error, Steve. Please help me to know…

    1) That the idea of Sexton speaking at the FBF meeting was innuendo.
    2) That it was a half truth.
    3) That it was a false accusation.
    4) That it was an outright lie.

    Tell us which one, and we’ll gladly make a correction.

  31. August 7, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Based on professions of faith, isn’t Joel Osteen right now the ultimate champion, and then close to him would be Rick Warren? I’m asking us to judge Scripturally in this matter. I can be thankful for any number of things that Clarence Sexton has done that are absolutely fantastic and I am thankful for every one of those, as I am for everything that Billy Graham has done for the Lord that is Scriptural, but when we go to judge, we use the Bible to prove all things. It isn’t going to be a big scale in heaven in which we get to outweigh the bad with the good. God gives the increase.

    And this is teaching men to handle God’s Word properly, yes. And we are doing that, all of us here at Jackhammer. With that out of the way, perhaps we could deal with the issues in the post please. Thank you, Steve.

  32. Thomas Ross
    August 8, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    Please note that the issue of baptism by immersion is not at all the only issue-believer’s baptism is. The Greek Orthodox “baptize” infants by immersion–and stuff communion wafers in their mouths to boot. I am thankful for correct things Free Presbyterians believe. However, by subscribing to the Westminster Confession, they are officially putting their seal to a false gospel of salvation by baptism. They therefore must be separated from. Please note the comments proving that baptismal salvation is the WCF and other Reformed confessional doctrine in the comments on the post, “The Place to Start in Evaluating Music” of July 11, 2007.

  33. Sam Hanna
    August 8, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Thomas

    Free Presbyterians opt out of the WCF exclusivity on paedobaptism and have done so since their inception. You must be fair on these issues. I realise that baptism is a major issue for you but as I said above there are times I believe and in circumstances when in para-church organisations it is acceptable to fellowship with men who take a bold militant stand for the Lord on the core doctrines of the faith.

  34. Thomas Ross
    August 8, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    Article 6a of the Free Presbyterian church of Ulster confession states:

    Baptism — The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, under Christ the Great King and Head of the Church, Realizing that bitter controversy raging around the mode and proper subjects of the ordinance of Christian baptism has divided the Body of Christ when that Body should have been united in Christian love and Holy Ghost power to stem the onslaughts and hell-inspired assaults of modernism, hereby affirms that each member of the Free Presbyterian Church shall have liberty to decide for himself which course to adopt on these controverted issues, each member giving due honor in love to the views held by differing brethren, but none espousing the error of baptismal regeneration.

    Below this, it affirms:

    These Articles, together with the Larger Catechism, , the Shorter Catechism, and The Westminster Confession of Faith, form the Subordinate [that is, subordinate to the Bible-these other documents are not said to be subordinate to the material above it I just quoted] Standards of the Free Presbyterian Church.

    Thus, one has “liberty” to accept the heretical false gospel of salvation by baptism, of baptism as a seal and means of conveying grace, taught in the WCF and its catechisms, as long as one does not adopt the Lutheran/Catholic version of baptismal salvation, namely, strict baptismal regeneration. The articles also do not give “liberty” regarding the notion of baptism as a sacrament, although they do give “liberty” on the mode, etc. of baptism. While I am thankful that very many Free Presbyterians do not believe the WCF and its catechisms, or John Calvin, on the doctrine of baptism, would the apostle Paul give “liberty” regarding a false gospel? How much less would he affirm a document teaching a false gospel as a “subordinate standard” for his church?

  35. Thomas Ross
    August 8, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    By the way, baptism is not only a major issue for me, but it is a major issue in the Word of God, and thus a major issue to the God of heaven. Those who reject Biblical baptism reject the counsel of God, Luke 7:30.

  36. Steve Hadfield
    August 10, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Amen to the above, Brother. Ian Paisley is a champion of the faith and no doubt many so-called “fundamentalists” are critical of him because of sheer ministerial jealousy. Same goes for Brother Sexton. My hat goes off to him for inviting Paisley to his men’s conference last year.
    Paisley has more integrity in his big toe than many of the independent Baptist charlatans I’ve had the sore displeasure of associating with. You want to see a man who has stood true in the face of apostasy and remained faithful to the Lord and fearlessly declared “the whole counsel of God” throughout his ministry and you’ve got an Ian Paisley. Name one who has stood as he has over the past 50 years and never changed his position for the sake of compromise and you’ve got an Ian Paisley. May the Lord in this day of apostasy raise up many more like him!

  37. August 11, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Steve Hadfield,

    Why not answer the actual post? Your whole comment is a red herring. The question isn’t even whether he has more integrity than charlatans. It’s like saying that a balloon has more air in it than a rock. Who cares? Jesus walked 70 miles for proper authority for his baptism. Where do Protestant denominations get their authority? And then, he says that mode of baptism doesn’t matter. I can be happy about many of Ian Paisley’s stands. I can proclaim that. But that doesn’t mean that I should fellowship with him. What does that say about the truth of baptism, an ordinance that comes directly from heaven? Who are we to say that it doesn’t matter, and that mode, authority, and subject of baptism doesn’t matter?

    You say that he hasn’t compromised. Didn’t he just compromise with the recent decision that he made to get along with the Irish Catholics after years of saying “no” to that action? Isn’t he obviously compromising on mode and subject of baptism, so that everyone can get along in his denomination? Isn’t that compromise, especially if he believes that the Scriptural mode is immersion and the Scriptural subjects are believers?

    Ian Paisley says he believes in preservation.  What good does that do if you fellowship with those who attack preservation of Scripture more than anyone else?  And now Clarence Sexton does the same?  If someone were to deny inerrancy of Scripture, would that be enough apostacy for you?  Is nudity enough of a separating issue for you?   And then what do you say about Brother Ross’s posts?  I think these are legitimate questions he poses.

    Are you Baptist, Steve?

  38. Sam Hanna
    August 11, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Steve,

    I don’t think you quite understand what I am trying to say here. I respect the past of Ian Paisley but I firmly disagree with the hideous compromises he is engaging in now such as funding Sodomite parades so he can be in power in N. Ireland.

    http://www.ivanfoster.org/article.asp?date=7/29/2007&seq=1018

    I am glad Br Kent has picked up on this and other aspects of the current situation in N.Ireland. I also am against Ian Paisley hanging out with the FBF/BJU Crowd of today who are firmly anti-KJV (although they pay lip service to their “love” for its “unsurpassed beauty”). As such, I also now disagree with Clarence Sexton doing the same as it only gives credibility to these people that stand against what we stand for. These people, like Mike Harding, will hang out with the rabid anti-KJV, pro-CCM gang like Tim Jordan at Lansdale and will not separate from them no matter what Dr Sexton stands for or preaches to them.

    Where I part ways from Br Kent and Bobby Mitchell here is that I do not see the doctrine of baptism as one that prevents me having fellowship on a para-church level in forums like the Dean Burgon Society, Congress of Fundamentalists with paedobaptists. This is limited by the fact that all must understand the limitations in respect of doctrines such as baptism and no one promotes a doctrine of baptism that they all disagree upon. I think it is entirely possible to stand together for an issue like the Preserved Text at meetings without the issue of baptism having to be dealt with.

    One problem I have in drawing the lines of separation as tightly as they do is where do you draw the line? If I may illustrate – a lot of Fundamentalists here, in my experience, believe that inter-racial marriage is somehow a “sin” or that the antichrist will be an apostate Jew. I don’t happen to agree with either of those interpretations but if they are old-fashioned Fundamentalists and stand on the KJV, anti-CCM etc should I separate from them on the basis that there is no such thing as “minor” doctrines. Another issue for me, as a British national, living in the USA is that I don’t agree with the “celebrations” in some churches on the 4th July for the “American Revolution” or “Rebellion” as I can see no Biblical justification for it. Do I separate from those who “celebrate” this? Again, I don’t agree with those southerners who argue that the Civil War was justified as I don’t see a Biblical mandate for their actions.

  39. Sam Hanna
    August 11, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Thomas,

    I am somewhat exasperated at your comments re the WCF – no Free Presbyterian that I know believe that paedobaptism has any part in the salvation of any person. If you have any evidence of this, please adduce it.

    Protestants in N. Ireland hold strongly to the WCF as it states quite clearly that the Pope is the antichrist which is a big thing for them as they have had to face 30 odd years of Catholic Terrorism (much of it sponsored by American Governments and Corporations who raised millions in dollars and weaponry and channelled it to the IRA) to murder Bible-believing Christians in their homes. Protestants also are proud of the Reformed heritage that has taken a strong and militant stand against Rome for centuries (pretty much alone) and do not believe that Martin Luther walked past the First Baptist Church of Wittenberg on his way to nail his 95 Theses. You may diasgree with their interpretation of historical events, but please do a little bit of thinking outside your IFB American box before you write off as heretical those who were burning at the stake so you could have the KJV Bible we both cherish.

  40. Thomas Ross
    August 12, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Dear Sam,

    I am very glad that all the Free Presbyterians you know reject the teaching of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms on the doctrine of baptismal salvation. I have demonstrated that Calvin and Reformed theology generally believed in a form of baptismal salvation in the July 11 post, “The Place to Start in Evaluating Music.” You would need to refute that section if you wish to deny these simple facts. I simply reproduce below some of the heresy taught in the WCF/and catechisms:

    “Baptism . . . is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of [one’s] ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins . . . by the right use of this ordinance the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost” (Westminster Confession, Article 28)

    The Westminster Shorter Catechism likewise states that “outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are . . . sacraments . . . which are made effectual to the elect for salvation . . . sacraments become effectual means of salvation . . . a sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ and the benefits of the new covenant are represented, sealed, and applied unto believers. . . . The sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord’s supper. . . . Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s. . . . infants of such as are members of the visible Church are to be baptized.” (Questions 88, 91-95)

    The Westminster Larger Catechism affirms that “the sacraments become effectual means of salvation. . . . A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his church, to signify, seal, and exhibit unto those that are within the covenant of grace, the benefits of his mediation. . . . Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself, of remission of sins by his blood, and regeneration by his Spirit; of adoption, and resurrection unto everlasting life; and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church, and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s. . . . infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized. . . . The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long . . . by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace . . . as those that have therein given up their names to Christ . . . as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.”

    Traditional Reformed theology holds to a false gospel, albeit an anti-popish one. Seventh Day Adventists are vehemently anti-Rome as well (as are Muslims, for that matter), but that hardly justifies their false gospel–the (good) anti-Rome declarations in the WCF, etc. do not justify their false gospel.

    I don’t know whether Luther walked by a Baptist church on the way to posting his 95 Theses (which, actually, anathematized all who were AGAINST indulgences, if you actually read them—they were ONLY against the abuse of indulgences), but there certainly were such churches around—yea, such Baptist churches have been around ever since the days when Christ said “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” as the following quotes demonstrate:

    1.) Cardinal Hosius (Catholic, a member of the Council of Trent, A. D. 1560): “If the truth of religion were to be judged by the readiness and boldness of which a man of any sect shows in suffering, then the opinion and persuasion of no sect can be truer and surer than that of the Anabaptists since there have been none for these twelve hundred years past, that have been more generally punished.” This Catholic prelate, living at the time of the Reformation, admitted that the Baptists had been around since A. D. 360; of course, allowing them an origin any more ancient would make his position very uncomfortable. 2.) Mosheim (Lutheran, A. D. 1755), said, “The true origin of that sect which acquired the name of Anabaptists, by their administering anew the rite of baptism to those who came over to their communion . . . is hid in the remote depths of antiquity, and is consequently extremely difficult to be ascertained.” 3.) Dr. J. J. Durmont & Dr. Ypeig (Reformed writers specifically appointed by the King of Holland to ascertain if the historical claims of the Baptists were valid), concluded in A. D. 1819 that they were “descended from the tolerably pure evangelical Waldenses. . . . They were, therefore, in existence long before the Reformed Church of the Netherlands. . . . We have seen that the Baptists, who were formerly called Anabaptists, and in later times Mennonites, were the original Waldenses; and who have long in the history of the Church, received the honor of that origin. On this account the Baptists may be considered the only Christian community which has stood since the Apostles; and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrine of the gospel through all ages.” 4.) Alexander Campbell (founder of the “Disciples of Christ” and “Church of Christ” denominations, A. D. 1824): “I would engage to show that baptism as viewed and practiced by the Baptists, had its advocates in ever century up to the Christian era . . . clouds of witnesses attest the fact, that before the Reformation from popery, and from the apostolic age, to the present time, the sentiments of Baptists, and the practice of baptism have had a continued chain of advocates, and public monuments of their existence in every century can be produced.” See pgs. 83-96, A History of Baptists, John T. Christian, vol. 1 (Texarkana, TX: Bogard Press, 1922), and History of Baptists, G. H. Orchard (Texarkana, TX: Bogard Press, 1987), pgs. iii-xxiv, for the original sources of the quotations here listed, and further information. Quotations and other evidence from non-Baptist or anti-Baptist authors of like effect could be greatly multiplied (e. g., the Reformed writer Leonard Verduin stated “No one is credited with having invented the Anabaptism of the sixteenth century for the simple reason that no one did. . . . There were Anabaptists, called by that name, in the fourth century.” pg. 189-190, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965). Baptist historians naturally affirm their own succession as well. The historical fact that Baptist churches have existed from the first century to the present confirms the truth, established by their Biblical doctrine and practice, that they are the churches founded by the Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently, all other “churches” are guilty of schism and division from the Lord’s true assemblies, and have no Divine authority to baptize, carry on the work of God, or exist at all.

    Please note that the harlot of Revelation 17, the Romish religion (ultimately the one world “church” of the Tribulation period), is a mother. Protestant “churches” are her daughters–they are the daughters of the harlot of Rome, not Christ’s bride, faithful NT Baptist churches (2 Cor 11:2). I am glad that all saints will eventually be in the New Jerusalem, which is ultimately also a bridal metaphor (Rev 21), but that in no wise justifies Dr. Paisley’s (or any other Christian Protestant) rejection of the bride of Christ for daughters of the harlot of Rome.

  41. Sam Hanna
    August 12, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Thomas,

    First of all the FPC’s view of baptism is different from the WCF, SC, LC etc as you clearly recognised from their Articles of Faith. However, you are being a little disengenuous by citing partial quotations from the WCF. Article 28 actually states,

    “Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also, to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.”

    http://www.freepres.org/westminster.htm#chapter28

    Where does this teach baptismal regeneration?

    Q94 of the Shorter Catechism clearly states that baptism is only a sign of salvation,

    “Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,1 doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace,2 and our engagement to be the Lord’s.”

    The Larger Cathechism makes this very clear also,

    Question 163: What are the parts of a sacrament?

    Answer: The parts of a sacrament are two; the one an outward and sensible sign, used according to Christ’s own appointment; the other an inward and spiritual grace thereby signified.

    Question 70: What is justification?

    Answer: Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners, in which he pardons all their sins, accepts and accounts their persons righteous in his sight; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone.

    Question 71: How is justification an act of God’s free grace?

    Answer: Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are justified; yet inasmuch as God accepts the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son, imputing his righteousness to them, and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith, which also is his gift, their justification is to them of free grace.

    Question 72: What is justifying faith?

    Answer: Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.

    In respect of your claims about being descended from the Anabaptists – have you actually read what they believe? Even if it were true that they were dispensational Pre-Trib IFBers (which it is not) that does not establish a casual link between them and you. It certainly does not explain the Great revival of true religion in Europe (and eventually America) which created the conditions for Baptists like CH Spurgeon to emerge from the Anglican Church as Non-conformists.

    I would also caution attacking Luther too much as it is grossly unfair to judge him by the standards of today when we have seminaries, Bibles, Commentaries in abundance. Yes, he got many things wrong but look at what he got right in such a short time and coming out of such total and utter darkness.

    I don’t know where you get this idea that only Baptist churches are part of the Bride of Christ. I am assuming that your definition of this is so rigid that only non-Calvinist, Dispensational IFB Churches are part of this – which would actually mean most of your Anabaptist heritage would be outside the Bride of Christ.

    Just for the record can you define what a “faithful NT Baptist Church” is so we can judge all the churches and Christians of history as to whether they qualify under your definition. I have read 2 Cor 11:2 many times in the Greek and the English but there is no mention of the word baptism in the whole chapter!

  42. August 12, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    Sam, perhaps you would do well looking up the definition of the words sacrament and seal. A sarament is not an ordinance – a sacrament is something that aids in your salvation. Going from my fauly memory: a sacrament is something performed or done that (supposedly) gives grace to the one doing it.

    From The Way of Life Encyclopedia:

    “Today Roman and Anglican Catholics, as well as Eastern Orthodox, regard the sacraments as effective channels of God’s grace and give them a central place in the worship of the church…

    Baptists, as well as others who strive to maintain a New Testament pattern, reject the concept of sacraments. The Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles delivered to the church two ordinances [observances]: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These do not impart grace; they signify and memorialize grace and turn the believer’s thoughts to Christ.”

  43. Thomas Ross
    August 15, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Dear Sam,

    I understand why the truths that the WCF and its catechisms, as well as Reformed Reformational theology in general, teaches a false gospel, is something that you would want to argue against. In light of the massive misinformation that is spread about Luther, Calvin, etc. through fundamental publishers like BJU Press and Beka books (a result of their inter-denominational character—outside the pillar and ground of the truth, the NT Baptist church), it is hard to see what the truth really is. I readily admit that I was deceived about it for years, indeed, for the majority of my Christian life. Furthermore, if you are a Free Presbyterian (this is entirely a guess), you would not want to admit that your confessional statements deny the gospel of Christ, which you, as a regenerate person (I trust), are led by the Spirit to wholeheartedly defend. Nevertheless, facts are facts. Please consider the following points in relation to your reply to my comment.

    1.) The Free Presbyterian confession, as I pointed out in my post, which apparently was misunderstood on your part on this point, does NOT subordinate the WCF and its catechisms to its short statement. The short statement and the other documents are all “subordinate standards” to the Bible is the affirmation made. Therefore the sacramental heresy of the WCF&C (The Westminster Confession of Faith & Catechisms) is binding upon ministers/members of Free Presbyterian religious gatherings. As I pointed out before, the exception made is NOT one of the sacramental theology of the WCF&C, but only of the question of baptism for believers only or infants as well, along with immersion vs. Catholic modes of administering the ordinance. I rejoice that Free Presbyterians often reject the heresy of the WCF&F on the sacraments, but they do so with extreme, and sinful, inconsistency, as they affirm it in their confessional documents.

    2.) Baptismal salvation is a more encompassing term than baptismal regeneration. While (as I proved in the July post referenced twice above in these comments—which, Sam, if you have not carefully read, you really ought to read before you comment further over here) Calvin freely affirmed a belief in baptismal regeneration, and actually said it was a slander to him to deny that he believed baptism regenerated in his refutation (?) of the theology of the Council of Trent (as I proved in the previous post), some more modern Reformed writers reject their Reformational progenitors boldness on their affirmation of baptismal regenerationist heresy, but they still defend a form of baptismal salvation. Consider:
    Catholics hold:

    A literal sanctification/infusion of grace at the moment of the administration of baptism, so that infants are made holy by the sacrament.

    Lutherans hold, following Luther:

    Baptism is the vehicle of the bestowal of saving faith. At the moment an infant is baptized, the infant is given faith through the sacrament, and is justified by faith alone. Thus, at the time baptism is given to an infant, sin is forgiven and the righteousness of Christ imputed, but sanctification (in contradistinction to the Catholic doctrine) is only begun. Thus baptism is essential to regeneration and the means of it, but infants are still “justified by faith alone.” This is a more subtle heresy and damnable lie of the devil than the blatent Catholic doctrine.

    The Reformed who actually believe in the Reformed confessions and Reformed Reformation theology hold one of two views.

    a.) Baptism is the “outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption,” so that “ sacraments . . . are made effectual to the elect for salvation . . . sacraments become effectual means of salvation,” to quote the Westminster Shorter Catechism. However, unlike Catholicism and Lutheranism, it was allowed that the unbaptized infants of believers who had not had the opportunity to have the sacrament administered might be saved, since God was able to regenerate them even without the ordinance (Calvin made no such exception for the children of unbelievers, nor did he offer certainty for the dying infants of all believers—nor even for the children of believers who had not worked hard to get their infants baptized). Futhermore, the saving grace given through baptism might not regenerate at the very moment the sacrament was administered. God might, in connection with baptism, regenerate the infant before, during, or at any point after the sacrament was administered. The sacrament might act like a terrorist sleeper cell and explode into action years after it was administered. Furthermore, to non-elect infants, the sacrament did not convey saving grace.

    b.) Reformed people who didn’t like this view argued that baptism is given to infants because they were already believers, presumptively having been regenerated in the womb as John the Baptist and Jeremiah were (??????). Therefore Reformed young people who had been baptized in infancy never need to come to a point where they repent and believe the gospel. To quote the words of a modern Protestant Reformed writer, it is a “sin against God’s covenant . . . that covenant, baptized, Reformed young people are made the objects of an ‘evangelism’ that treats them as unsaved sinners who must be saved by accepting Christ. If this is what is meant by the conversion of the child, Reformed parents and the Reformed church reject it in the name of the covenant of God sealed to their children in infancy” (pg. 21-22, The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers, David J. Engelsma, South Holland, IL: Evangelism Committee, Protestant Reformed Church, n. d.). (BTW—Englesma is pro KJV/TR and against modern CT Bible versions—and CCM would be entirely absent in his “church”—but he is a heretic with a false view of the gospel).

    The people who published the WCF&C took either view a or b of baptism listed above, both of which are heresy and a false gospel. (There were also those present in the Westminster Assembly who took a more standard Anglican or Lutheran view of baptismal regeneration, who were considered “brothers in the faith” despite this damnable heresy.) Baptism does not in any way convey saving grace.

    3.) Sam, you attempted to argue that the WCF&C taught that baptism was only a sign of salvation, something that Baptists would happily agree with (and something which requires immersion). However, that is not at all what the quotes I gave above proved. Rather, they affirm that baptism not only is a sign of but also seals and conveys saving grace. I was not at all “disingenuous” in my quotes. They were right on. The WCF&C agree with Calvin when he affirmed, “We, too [as do the Catholics], acknowledge that the use of baptism is necessary—that no one may omit it from either neglect or contempt. In this way we by no means make it free (optional). And not only do we strictly bind the faithful to the observance of it, but we also maintain that it is the ordinary instrument of God in washing and renewing us; in short, in communicating to us salvation” (John Calvin, 1547 Antidote to the Council of Trent, Antidote to the Canons of Baptism, Canon #5.)

    Sam, if you want my 52 page paper documenting the baptismal views of the Reformers and of Reformation confessions, simply e-mail me (trkjv2@yahoo.com) and I’ll send it to you. I’m not going to post it here—it’s a little too long. ☺

    You mentioned that we should not be too hard on Luther. However, Luther taught baptismal regeneration, denied the full humanity of Christ by teaching consubstantiation and the associated heresy of the ubiquity of Christ’s humanity (that His human body was omnipresent, so that it could be literally eaten when the Supper was administered), held to Marian heresies, and also denied the inspiration of books of the Bible and questioned others. (For this reason, it is not surprising that theological modernism/rationalism found its roots in Germany—it was a consistent development of Luther’s doctrine—one could call, in a certain way, Luther the father of theological modernism.) Please note the following (mainly extractions from my paper):

    Martin Luther retained the Roman Catholic teaching of baptismal regeneration, including the regeneration of infants through the instrumentality of baptism. He called baptism “a new birth by which we are . . . loosed from sin, death, and hell, and become children of life, heirs of all the gifts of God, God’s own children, and brethren of Christ.” ((Luther, Works, 53:103). The Lutheran Small Catechism affirms, “baptism effects forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and grants eternal salvation to all who believe, as the Word and promise of God declare.” (IV). The binding Lutheran symbol, the Augsburg Confession, states that “baptism . . . is necessary to salvation” and “condemn[s] the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without baptism” (Article IX).

    Interestingly, “Luther gave a new turn to the debate when in his opposition to medieval legalism he made the rhetorical suggestion that beer would meet the case just as well as water [for baptism]: no doubt it would be equally available in his country” (Pg. 134, Baptism, Bromiley; cf. J. de la Serviére, La Théologie de Bellarmine, pg. 356).

    Luther either questioned or denied the canonicity of Hebrews, James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation, as well as several Old Testament books, providing a basis for the rise of theological modernism in Germany a century after his death. In Luther’s preface to James, from his first edition of his German New Testament, he stated that “this epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients . . . I do not regard it as the writing of an apostle; and my reasons follow. In the first place it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works. . . . This fault, therefore, proves that this epistle is not the work of any apostle. . . . [T]his James does nothing more than drive to the law and to its works. Besides, he throws things together so chaotically that it seems to me he must have been some good, pious man, who took a few sayings from the disciples of the apostles and thus tossed them off on paper. . . . In a word, he wanted to guard against those who relied on faith without works, but was unequal to the task in spirit, thought, and words. He mangles the Scriptures and thereby opposes Paul and all Scripture . . . Therefore, I will not have him in my Bible to be numbered among the true chief books.” In a Tabletalk comment in 1542, Luther affirmed, “We should throw the Epistle of James out of this school [Wittenberg], for it doesn’t amount to much. It contains not a syllable about Christ. . . . I maintain that some Jew wrote it who probably heard about Christian people but never encountered any. Since he heard that Christians place great weight on faith in Christ, he thought, ‘Wait a moment! I’ll oppose them and urge works alone.’ This he did. . . . Besides, there’s no order or method in the epistle. Now he discusses clothing and then he writes about wrath and is constantly shifting from one to the other. He presents a comparison: ‘As the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead’ [Jas. 2:26]. O Mary, mother of God! What a terrible comparison that is! James compares faith with the body when he should rather have compared faith with the soul! The ancients recognized this, too, and therefore they didn’t acknowledge this letter as one of the catholic epistles” (Luther’s Works (LW) 54:424). He also said, “Some day I will use James to fire my stove” (Weimer, “Tischreden” (5) pg. 5854, cited in “Luther and James: Did Luther Use the Historical-Critical Method?” by Mark F. Bartling; a paper presented to the Pastor-Teacher Conference, Western Wisconsin District, LaCrosse, WI, April 12, 1983; cf. Jeremiah 36:23-32).
    Luther wrote concerning “the epistle of St Jude . . . he also speaks of the apostles like a disciple who comes long after them and cites sayings and incidents that are found nowhere else in the Scriptures. This moved the ancient fathers to exclude this epistle from the main body of the Scriptures . . . it is an epistle that need not be counted among the chief books which are supposed to lay the foundations of faith. (See Luther’s preface to Jude in his first edition of the German New Testament.) Concerning the book of Hebrews, Luther wrote that the book “does not lay the foundation of faith . . . Therefore we should not be deterred if wood, straw, or hay are perhaps mixed with [sound teaching in the epistle] . . . to be sure, we cannot put it on the same level with the apostolic epistles.” In certain places, Hebrews is, “as it stands . . . contrary to all the gospels and to St. Paul’s epistles” (LW 35:394).
    In Luther’s Preface to the Revelation of St. John (1522), he wrote, “About this book of the Revelation of John . . . I say what I feel. I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic. . . . For myself, I think it approximates the Fourth Book of Esdras; I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it. Moreover he seems to me to be going much too far when he commends his own book so highly—indeed, more than any of the other sacred books do, though they are much more important—and threatens that if anyone takes away anything from it, God will take away from him, etc [Note that here Luther explicitly rejects the warning of Revelation 22:18-19! It goes “much too far”! Is the book of Revelation correct, and Luther in error, when the inspired prophecy warns that for he who add or take away from it (Is not rejecting its inspiration most certainly taking away from it?), “God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book . . . and . . . God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”? Or is Luther correct, and the Word of God in error, so that God goes “much too far” here?] Again, they are supposed to be blessed who keep what is written in this book; and yet no one knows what that is, to say nothing of keeping it. This is just the same as if we did not have the book at all. And there are many far better books available for us to keep. Many of the fathers also rejected this book a long time ago; although St. Jerome, to be sure, refers to it in exalted terms and says that it is above all praise and that there are as many mysteries in it as words. Still, Jerome cannot prove this at all, and his praise at numerous places is too generous. . . . My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book.”
    In his Preface to the New Testament (1522), Luther stated, “John’s Gospel is . . . far, far to be preferred to the other three and placed high above them. So, too, the Epistles of St. Paul and St. Peter far surpass the other three Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke.”
    Luther’s relegation of portions of the New Testament canon to a secondary status is followed by “conservative” modern Lutheranism to this day. Lutheran editions of the Bible in the centuries after the Reformation generally contained their Reformer’s prefaces to the Scriptures along with the books, perpetuating his blasphemies among the following generations of Lutherans.
    The German Bible available to homes in the Missouri Synod in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the Altenburger Bibel (Concordia Publishing House), contained Luther’s introductions to the New Testament books, giving his views about Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation. The laymen therefore were acquainted with the view of [the] Scriptures [of Luther, questioning their inspiration].” The American Lutheran Synod of 1857 (minutes, pg. 334ff) affirmed, “The Lutheran church must leave it uncertain whether Revelation, or any of the other books of the New Testament which were spoken against by a few in the early church, were written by an Apostle or under Apostolic authority. . . . Consequently, it was an unwise, unchristian, and provocative act on the part of [a Lutheran minister] to conceal the actual status of the doubted New Testament books. Thereby he gave rise to rumors which cast aspersions on those who maintain the distinction between canonical books of the first and second rank; whereas in this distinction they were following the earliest church Luther, and the older orthodox theologians” (Quotations from “Luther and James: Did Luther Use the Historical-Critical Method?” by Mark F. Bartling; a paper presented to the Pastor-Teacher Conference, Western Wisconsin District, LaCrosse, WI, April 12, 1983.).
    Luther attacked portions of the Old Testament as well. He said, “Job didn’t speak the way it is written [in his book] . . . One doesn’t speak that way under temptation.” [Luther on Job from the Table Talk, John Aurifaber’s version; LW 54:79.] He affirmed that “The [author of the] book of Solomon’s Proverbs [is like] . . . the author of the book of [the Apocryphal book of] Ecclesiasticus. [He] preaches the law well, but he is no prophet. [Ecclesiasticus] is not the work of Solomon, any more than is the book of Solomon’s Proverbs. They are both collections made by other people. . . . [Concerning the book of] Esther . . . I wish [it] had not come to us at all, for [it has] too many heathen unnaturalities. . . . Daniel and Isaiah are [the] most excellent prophets.” In Luther’s Preface to Ecclesiastes, he wrote, “Now this book was certainly not written or set down by King Solomon with his own hand. Instead scholars put together what others had heard from Solomon’s lips, as they themselves admit at the end of the book . . . In like manner too, the book of the Proverbs of Solomon has been put together by others, with the teaching and sayings of some wise men added at the end. The Song of Solomon too has the appearance of a book compiled by others out of things received from the lips of Solomon. For this reason these books have no particular order either, but one thing is mixed with another. This must be the character of such books, since they did not hear it all from him at one time but at different times” (LW 35:263). Luther stated concerning “Esther . . . [that] despite [the Jews] inclusion of it in the canon [it] deserves more than all the rest in my judgment to be regarded as noncanonical” (LW 33:11). Before Luther attacked inspired books of the Old and New Testaments, instead of trembling before them (Isaiah 66:2), he should have considered more carefully that “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:13; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; Proverbs 30:5-6; Deuteronomy 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19).
    In 1519, Luther exhorted his congregation to “call upon the holy angels, particularly his own angel, the Mother of God, and all the apostles and saints,” although later on he moved away from prayers to angels, Mary, and other dead people. Nevertheless, Luther kept a graven image of Mary in his study his entire life. [cf. Reformation Church History, Lecture 5, W. Robert Godfrey, (Grand Rapids, MI: Institute of Theological Studies); http://www.itscourses.org Luther also believed his entire life in Mary’s perpetual virginity. He taught, “Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . [when Scripture speaks of the Lord Jesus’] ‘brothers’ [it] really means ‘cousins.’” [Sermons on John, chapters 1-4, 1537-39 Luther also taught that Mary was conceived without sin, as Christ was, preaching that “It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin.” [“On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” 1527.]
    Luther also agreed that Philip of Hesse could have two wives to help the prince stop committing adultery; the second marriage just needed to be kept secret. Luther was joined in this immoral counsel by Philip Melanchthon, Martin Bucer, and other lesser Reformers. They stated that “We declare under an oath that it ought to be done secretly . . . It is nothing unusual for princes to have concubines . . . and this modest way of living would please more than adultery.” [Document dated December 10, 1539, Luther's Letters, De Wette -- Seidemann, Berlin, 1828, vol. 6, 255-265.] Luther wrote, “I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture.” [De Wette, vol. 2, 459.] After the secret got out, Luther lied, denying his role in the bigamy. He and the others who agreed to the second wife later were sorry that they had counseled Philip of Hesse as they had done—after they had already been exposed and the Lutheran cause had been damaged.
    General Lutheran antisemitism and widespread complicity in the Holocaust under Hitler is also not surprising, in light of Luther’s affirmations about the Jews, such as: “Let their houses also be shattered and destroyed . . . Let their prayer books and Talmuds be taken from them, and their whole Bible too; let their rabbis be forbidden, on pain of death, to teach henceforth any more. Let the streets and highways be closed against them. Let them be forbidden to practice usury, and let all their money, and all their treasures of silver and gold be taken from them and put away in safety. And if all this be not enough, let them be driven like mad dogs out of the land.” [Durant, 422; About the Jews and Their Lies, 1543; Durant cites as his source Janssen, III, 211-212.]
    The Lutheran view of the Lord’s Supper, consubstantiation, is a well known heresy. The idea that one actually eats Christ’s real human body and drinks His real blood in the Lord’s supper was retained in Luther’s split from Rome. To support the doctrine that Christ’s humanity is actually eaten in the bread of the Supper, Lutheranism also developed the doctrine of the ubiquity of the human nature of Christ, which claims His humanity is omnipresent, rather than localized in heaven at the right hand of God the Father (Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33-34; 7:55-56; Colossians 3:1; 1 Peter 3:22). Since, by definition, a real human body cannot be omnipresent, or in countless numbers of pieces of bread all over the world at the same time, the Lutheran doctrine of ubiquity, invented to defend Luther’s heresy of consubstantiation, denies the genuine humanity of Christ (as does the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation) and so is antichrist (1 John 4:3).
    Luther certainly did not consider Baptists brothers in a common faith. The Baptist doctrine of justification by faith apart from sacraments and their restriction of baptism to believers, as in the New Testament, were great enough evils to Luther and Lutheranism that the Diet of Speyer (A. D. 1529) decreed the death penalty for Anabaptists, and in A. D. 1536 Luther signed a memorandum written by Melanchton assenting to putting Anabaptists to death (cf. 1 John 3:15-16). Luther stated, “The Anabaptists hold tenets relating to infant baptism, original sin, and inspiration, which have no connection with the Word of God , [Consider this declaration of Luther that those with false views of inspiration should be put to death in light of his declarations about numerous New and Old Testament books] and are indeed opposed to it . . . Secular authorities are also bound to restrain and punish avowedly false doctrine . . . For think what disaster would ensue if children were not baptized? . . . Besides this the Anabaptists separate themselves from the churches . . . and they set up a ministry and congregation of their own, which is also contrary to the command of God. From all this it becomes clear that the secular authorities are bound . . . to inflict corporal punishment on the offenders . . . Also when it is a case of only upholding some spiritual tenet, such as infant baptism, original sin, and unnecessary separation, then . . . we conclude that . . . the stubborn sectaries must be put to death.” [(Janssen, X, 222-223; pamphlet of 1536).] The baptismal doctrines of Luther and the Baptists of the Reformation era were radically opposed to one another; so far, was the gospel believed by Baptists from the saving truth that Luther thought they should be executed. Luther lived and died believing that baptism was essential for the receipt of the remission of sin.
    This post is already too long for me to deal with your questions, Sam, about Baptist history and the nature of the church. I would commend to you J. T. Christian’s History of Baptists for the history question, and B. H. Carroll’s Ecclesia on the doctrine of the church, as well as volume four of Landmarks of Baptist Doctrine by Robert Sargent. (All of these, and many other excellent volumes, are available at lvbaptist.org through their online bookstore). I trust, in answer to your question on this matter, that I do actually know what Anabaptists believed from the early centuries of Christian history to the present, having become one of them after I was converted because they were the true churches of Christ, having studied Baptist history extensively in seminary, and having taught a year long course on Baptist history in which the significant majority of our time was spent on pre-Reformation Baptist history. In terms of the doctrine of the church, there is no universal church; a church is a local, visible assembly of Scripturally immersed saints, organized to carry out the Lord’s work. Any institution that abandons congregational church government (as Presbyterianism does) cannot be the church of Christ. Nor can any religious organization that was started after the Lord Jesus said “I will build my church” in the first century. If you want an analysis of the doctrine of the church, which proves why Free Presbyterian assemblies are not churches, please contact me (or Bethel Baptist Church, http://www.pillarandground.org) for Bible study #7, The Church of Jesus Christ.
    Since the bride of Christ is a NT metaphor for the church, the local, visible assembly of immersed saints (Eph 5, 2 Cor 11:2), a Free Presbyterian who is converted despite the WCF&C is not part of the bride of Christ on earth, although he is as certain of the New Jerusalem as any Baptist who, by church membership, is part of Christ’s bride. (It is the Catholic and Protestant heresy, first articulated by Cyprian and repeated by the Reformers such as Luther and Calvin, that “outside the church there is no salvation,” that leads to the false teaching that the bride/church is a soteriological, not an ecclesiological, theme, and thus sees the affirmation that only members of true (Baptist) churches are Christ’s bride as an affirmation that only Baptists are saved, when actually that is not at all what is being affirmed.) The only other “church” in the New Testament than Christ’s pure bride is the Romish mother harlot of Revelation 17 and her Protestant daughters. So believers in Free Presbyterian “churches” should hearken to the voice “from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people,” Revelation 18:4.
    I trust, Sam, that all these things will help you to see the true nature of the church, and the heresies of the Reformers, and thus to separate from their false religious institutions and join with and serve the Lord faithfully in one of His true Baptist churches, separated from false “churches,” for His glory and out of love for Him. If you do this, you will more greatly glorify your Savior and receive a much greater heavenly reward, because we are not crowned unless we strive lawfully, and the place of NT service is the church of Christ, His pure bride that He in a special way loved and died for, not a man-made religious institution God compares to a harlot.

  44. Sam Hanna
    August 15, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Thomas,

    I appreciate the lengths you have gone for your research to reply. However, as I said I believe the WCF is very clear (as was Luther and Calvin) as that a man was only justified by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Also, I think it is unfair to lift quotes from both Luther and Calvin especilaly in their early attempts to come to the light to try and prove they believed in a synergistic faith when they spent their whole lives fighting for the doctrine of justification by faith alone. History will judge their contribution to Biblical Christianity.

    To answer your question – I am now a Baptist in respect of baptism who attended the Free Presbyterians growing up in Ireland. Yes, I was saved and baptised there and your outlandish claims about what they believe has no accord with the reality.

    I also think you need to, with respect, study your history and Bible a bit more carefully before making a statement such as “Any institution that abandons congregational church government (as Presbyterianism does) cannot be the church of Christ. ” In these days of apostasy, I prefer independent local churches but there is no explicit verse in Scripture that states this is the only valid church polity that will be recognised as valid by God. If you have any, please furnish or else desist from acting like Pope Benedict and damning all Presbyterians like Robert Murray McCheyne and Anglicans like Bishop Ryle to hell! I can only assume from your posts that you are not well read in church history and have imbibed one system of church polity as being the only way of salvation.

    The Bride of Christ is the Universal Body of Christ throughout Church history – it has nothing to do with whether a man attends an IFB or Presbyterian Church. You can keep citing Eph 5, 2 Cor 11:2 at random but as the objective reader can discern they have nothing to do with proving that only Independent local churches are the only Bride of Christ which I gather is what you are trying to do. Even by your own admission, saved “Free Presbyterians” are part of the “New Jerusalem” and Rev 21:2 states “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” This is one of only 5 references to a “bride” in the NT and its equates the bride with those inhabitants of the New Jerusalem – as you have made a strong statement of doctrinal certitude what verse have you that demonstrates that only IFB churches are the Bride of Christ? If you cannot, then it is only fair to conclude that you have added to the Gospel and are preaching a false gospel which is what you were originally accusing the Reformers of ironically!

  45. Thomas Ross
    August 18, 2007 at 8:05 am

    Dear Sam,

    Unfortunately, the WCF&C and Luther are very clear that baptism is part of salvation. The quotations I have provided prove that to a superabundance. The fact that the WCF & Luther affirm that justification is by faith alone do not get them out of a sacramental salvation. Luther/Lutheranism teaches that the moment an infant is baptized, the infant is given faith by means of the sacrament, and thus is justified by faith alone without works at the moment of baptism. The Reformed theology holds similarly to justification by faith alone, but to faith and saving grace mediated through sacraments—hence the sacraments are “means of grace” to them. This is still a false gospel. Baptism does not mediate saving grace at all.
    Sam, why is quoting what these men and these theological positions teach “unfair”? Are you being honest when I cite the documents binding on all confessional Lutheranism, from Luther’s day until today, which boldly “condemn [anathematize, condemn to hell] the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without baptism,” in the words of the Augsburg Confession, Article IX? Citing what all Lutherans must confess to be ministers is “lifting quotes” from “Luther and Calvin especially in their early attempts to come to the light”? Why is it that confessional Lutherans believe exactly what I say they believe, and every scholar on the subject knows they believe, but what Free Presbyterians and other fundamentalist whitewashers wish to deny?
    Sam, synergism versus monergism is not the issue. Luther/Lutheranism, for example, would argue that the sacrament of baptism works monergistically in an infant so that the infant is given faith as a gift and is justified by faith alone the moment baptism is administered, thus maintaining both monergism and sacramentalist salvation. Calvin can argue about monergism all he wants but also say that “discourse of the visible Church. . . . Let us learn, from her single title of Mother, how useful, nay, how necessary the knowledge of her is, since there is no other means of entering into life unless she conceive us in the womb and give us birth, unless she nourish us at her breasts, and, in short, keep us under her charge and government, until, divested of mortal flesh, we become like the angels . . . Moreover, beyond the pale of the Church no forgiveness of sins, no salvation, can be hoped for” (Calvin, Institutes, 4:1:4). The truth is that Luther and Calvin held to both justification by faith alone and to salvation sealed and conveyed through the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper. It is false and dangerous to close our eyes to the latter because of their affirmation of the former.
    I also find it amazing that I can document that Luther denied the inspiration of large portions of the Old and New Testaments, his Mariolatry, and other damnable heresies, but you, Sam, can simply write this all off as excusable. Was this also “struggling to come to the light?” Had nobody managed to figure out what the canon of Scripture, even, was before the sixteenth century? Come, now! Who, Sam, is ignoring and twisting facts here? Am I really making “outlandish claims . . . with no accord with reality?” By the way, as documented in Bernard Leeming, “Protestants and Our Lady,” Marian Library Studies, January 1967, pg. 9, Calvin also never denied the pereptual virginity of Mary and argued that the Lord Jesus’ brothers were not brothers but actually cousins.
    Sam, I would suggest that you would do well to read my posts above carefully, the discussion on the previous article in July carefully. I specifically said, “It is the Catholic and Protestant heresy, first articulated by Cyprian and repeated by the Reformers such as Luther and Calvin, that “outside the church there is no salvation,” that leads to the false teaching that the bride/church is a soteriological, not an ecclesiological, theme, and thus sees the affirmation that only members of true (Baptist) churches are Christ’s bride as an affirmation that only Baptists are saved, when actually that is not at all what is being affirmed.” I specifically said that no one is saved by church membership (unlike Calvin, who said that outside the visible church there is no salvation). However, you said that I am “damning all Presbyterians like Robert Murray McCheyne and Anglicans like Bishop Ryle to hell” and I “have imbibed one system of church polity as being the only way of salvation.” Sam, you are defending as great teachers of the faith those who actually DID teach that there was no salvation outside of church membership, ignoring what they said on this subject, and condemning me for believing in this heresy, despite the fact that I specifically disclaimed it in my post. This is not the way to love God with all of our mind.
    By the way, I hope that Ryle and Murray McCheyne did not believe what their own confessions of faith taught about salvation through baptism. May they have happily rejected the doctrine of 39 Articles and the WCF&C, despite being Anglicans and Presbyterians. However, please consider these facts about Anglicanism (sources from my paper on this subject, already mentioned):
    Anglican documents of all sorts followed the position of the Anglican Reformers in affirming baptismal salvation. The binding 39 Articles affirm that as “by an instrument, they that receive baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; [and] the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God, by the Holy Ghost are visibly signed and sealed.” The 1662 Book of Common Prayer, in “The Ministration of Publick Baptism of Infants, to be Used in the Church,” requires the priest to pray, “by the Baptism of thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ, in the river Jordan, [Thou, God] didst sanctify Water to the mystical washing away of sin . . . We call upon thee for this Infant, that he, coming to thy holy Baptism, may receive remission of his sins by spiritual regeneration. Receive him, 0 Lord, as thou hast promised . . . that this Infant may enjoy the everlasting benediction of thy heavenly washing, and may come to the eternal kingdom which thou hast promised by Christ our Lord. Amen.” The form for “The Ministration of Private Baptism of Children” requires the priest to “pour Water upon [the child], saying these words; ‘I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.’ Then, all kneeling down, the Minister shall give thanks unto God, and say, ‘We yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this Infant with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own Child by adoption, and to incorporate him into thy holy Church. And we humbly beseech thee to grant, that as he is now made partaker of the death of thy Son, so he may be also of his resurrection; and that finally, with the residue of thy Saints, he may inherit thine everlasting kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’” It further commends the “baptizing of [a] Child; who being born in original sin, and in the wrath of God, is now, by the laver of Regeneration in Baptism, received into the number of the children of God, and heirs of everlasting life.” While a great variety of issues were debated within the Anglican communion, the communication of saving grace through baptism was a point of general agreement.
    By the way, the Wesley brothers and the Methodist denomination retained the Anglican belief in salvation through baptism, as taught in the 39 Articles, when they left the English state-church to start their own religion. Commenting on John 3:5, Wesley affirmed, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit—Except he experience that great inward change by the Spirit, and be baptized (wherever baptism can be had) as the outward sign and means of it [he cannot enter into the kingdom of God].” He states here that baptism is the means of the new birth. He also declared, “It is certain our Church supposes that all who are baptized in their infancy are at the same time born again; and it is allowed that the whole office for the baptism of infants proceeds upon this supposition” (Wesley, sermon, The New Birth). In his Doctrinal Tracts (pg. 246, 251) he wrote, “What are the benefits . . . we receive by baptism, is the next point to be considered. And the first of these is the washing away of original sin, by the application of Christ’s death. . . . the merits of Christ’s life and death, are applied to us in baptism. . . . infants are . . . proper subjects of baptism, seeing, in the ordinary way, they cannot be saved unless [sin] be washed away in baptism. Infants need to be washed from original sin. Therefore they are proper subjects for baptism.” (cited in chapter 9, The Evils of Infant Baptism, Robert Boyt C. Howell, accessed in the Fundamental Baptist CD-Rom Library, Oak Harbor, WA: Way of Life Literature, 2003). John’s brother, the Methodist hymn-writer Charles Wesley, wrote against the Baptists, “Partisans of a narrow sect/ Your cruelty confess/ Nor still inhumanly reject/ Whom Jesus would embrace./ Your little ones preclude them not/ From the baptismal flood brought/ But let them now to Christ be saved/ And join the Church of God.” (Charles Wesley’s Journal, 18 October 1756, 2:128). The Wesleys only called adults already baptized as infants to conversion because of their heretical Arminian theology. Since they rejected the Biblical truth that once one is saved, he is always saved (Romans 8:28-39), they held that one who was regenerated in infant baptism could fall away and become a child of the devil again, at which time he would need a second new birth.
    Sam, you affirmed that you “prefer” independent churches but there is “there is no explicit verse in Scripture that states this is the only valid church polity that will be recognised as valid by God.” Sam, the WCF correctly teaches the Regulative Principle in relation to our worship, that what is not commanded is forbidden. Where is the verse that explicitly says that God will not recognize archbishops, cardinals, metropolitans, blowing incense on people, wearing special robes, liturgies, etc? The better question is, “where is the verse that commands churches to have a Presbyterian form of hierarchy (or the Episcopal, or the Romish, or the Eastern Orthodox form of hierarchy)?”
    Furthermore, I actually gave you resources that proved exactly what you asked for. Have you already read Sargent’s Landmarks of Baptist Doctrine, vol. 4, having acquired it from lvbaptist.org, or directly from Bible Baptist Church of Oak Harbor Washington? Did you contact Bethel Baptist and already read Bible study #7, The Church of Christ, which proves the necessity of congregational polity? Have you read B. H. Carroll’s Ecclesia or other resources exploding the myth of a universal, invisible church (to allude to a book by Roy Mason, also available from lvbaptist.org, entitled “The Myth of the Universal, Invisible Church Exploded,” which I also commend to you).
    I quote from Bible study #7:
    Within the world of what calls itself Christianity today, people have many different ideas about the structure of the church. There is much confusion on this topic. Thankfully, the Bible is clear. The church of Christ has a congregational form of government. This means that the members of the assembly have ultimate decision making authority, under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the advice of the pastor or pastors. Also, nobody is allowed to join the church of God, or remain in its membership, who has not been born again and whose life does not show evidence of regeneration. Furthermore, Christ’s churches are autonomous: every assembly is independent of every other congregation. No hierarchy tells the church what to do. Where does the Bible teach these things?
    1 Peter 2:5, 9 refers to believers as “an holy __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. . . . But ye are a chosen generation, a __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” Everyone who has been born again is, in a spiritual sense, a priest. He can come directly to God and offer Him the sacrifices of praise, thanks, and a holy life. No believer, including church leadership, has this position of spiritual priesthood any more than every other believer. Church membership is limited to those who are already born again, and are thus spiritually priests. People do not join the church to be saved, but because they already are saved. Notice the membership of the church at Corinth included only “them that are __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ in Christ Jesus, called to be __ __ __ __ __ __” (1 Corinthians 1:2; cf. Romans 1:7; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2). Those who could not testify of their conversion or show evidence of sanctification in their lives were not let into the membership. If “ungodly men . . . crept in unawares [secretly]” (Jude 4) into the congregation, so that some who already were church members stopped living a holy life, or departed from the faith, the church was responsible to remove the disobedient ones from the membership roll. In Matthew 18:15-17, the Lord Jesus explained the steps of this process: “Moreover if thy brother shall __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ against thee, go and __ __ __ __ __ __ __ his fault between thee and him __ __ __ __ __: if he shall __ __ __ __ thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of __ __ __ or __ __ __ __ __ witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, __ __ __ __ it unto the __ __ __ __ __ __: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ and a publican.” If someone in the congregation falls into sin, another member is to deal with him privately about his error. If he repents, no further action is necessary. However, if he will not listen to the private rebuke, then two or three are to deal with the sinning one. If he listens to them, once again, it is all over. If he will not listen to them either, the matter is taken before the entire church. If the disobedient member will still not repent, he is treated like a “heathen man [an unsaved person] and a publican [a Roman tax collector—an ungodly man],” that is, he is removed from the church membership and is treated like an unsaved person. The church members are to “put away from among [themselves] that wicked person” (1 Corinthians 5:13) to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which [they] have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17) and to “withdraw . . . from every brother that walketh disorderly . . . if any man obey not [the Word of God], [they are to] note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed” (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14). This is done to honor and obey God, maintain the testimony of the church to the world, and with hope that the sinning one will repent and be restored to church fellowship (Galatians 6:1; 1 Corinthians 5:4-5; 2 Corinthians 2:6-7). A congregation that allows unsaved people into its membership, or refuses to remove those who are unrepentantly living in sin, and so gets filled up with ungodly people, ceases to be a church of Christ (Revelation 1:20; 2:5; 2:16; 3:3). The true church maintains a membership roll (Acts 1:15; 5:13) of born-again and faithful people.
    No hierarchy tells the congregation of the Lord what to do—only “Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23). Each assembly is autonomous or independent. We have just learned that Matthew 18:15-17 teaches that when someone fell into sin, he is dealt with privately, then by two or three, and then by the congregation. If he does not repent, the church has the power to remove him. The assembly does not need to appeal to the decision of some person or group higher in authority before expelling the sinner from its membership—it could decide on its own, and its decision was final, ratified by heaven (Matthew 18:18-19) with the authority of Jesus Christ (Matthew 18:20). Whoever or whatever can control the membership of an organization has ultimate power over it; since, as Matthew 18 demonstrates, the church body as a whole controls its own membership, it is the highest authority for its own affairs. Other passages of Scripture illustrate how individual churches determine their own courses of action. In Acts 15:22-23, decisions were made by the “whole church,” not the leadership alone. In Acts 6:5, the “whole multitude” of the church membership chose the deacons. The church membership authorized its own church planters or missionaries (Acts 13:1-4; 15:40). In Acts 14:23, the church voted to select its own elders or pastors, for the word translated ordain means “to choose or elect to office by the raising of hands,” [(Cheirotoneo), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, Johannes P. Louw & Eugene A. Nida, New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1989. The Greek-English Lexicon, H. G. Liddell & R. Scott (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), gives the meaning to “stretch out the hand, for the purpose of giving one’s vote in the assembly . . . vote . . . elect . . . by show of hands,” and the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3rd. ed. (BDAG), rev. & ed. Frederick W. Danker (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 2000), states it is “to elect or choose someone for definite offices or tasks, choose,” giving instances of the word in the New Testament and early Christian literature where it is used for “congregations choos[ing] a representative . . . congregations choos[ing] envoys . . . congregations are to elect their own supervisors (episcopoi) and ministers (diakonoi).] as is verified in the only other place the word appears in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 8:19, “was . . . chosen of the churches”). The Bible contains no trace of archbishops, metropolitans, cardinals, a pope, presidents, or any other sort of top-down chain of command. Nor does it refer to any convention, national assembly, ecumenical council, association, world headquarters, or any equivalent body that has the power to tell churches what to do. On the other hand, the Lord Jesus did say, “one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. And call no man your __ __ __ __ __ __ [in the sense of a spiritual office] upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:8-12). While united in love and concern for each other, every church of Christ is organizationally independent of every other church. The Lord’s assemblies are free to choose to work together to promote the work of God in the world, and they often do work together in this way, but no governmental tie or hierarchy binds them together.
    The Biblical doctrine of congregational church government does not exclude offices of leadership in the assembly. The Bible teaches that there are two positions of leadership in the church today: the office of pastor and of deacon. Three Greek words refer to the pastoral office: episcopos, translated overseer (Acts 20:28) or bishop (1 Timothy 3:1), presbuteros, translated as elder (1 Timothy 5:17), and poimen, translated pastor (Ephesians 4:11) or shepherd (1 Peter 2:25). The office of bishop, elder, and pastor are not three different ranks, but three different words for the same position. In Acts 20:17, 28 the “elders” (from presbuteros) are also “overseers” (from episcopos), and they are to “feed,” that is, “shepherd” or “pastor” (related to poimen) the “flock” (poimneon). In 1 Peter 5:1-2, the “elders” (from presbuteros) are to “feed” (from poimen, “shepherd/pastor”) the “flock,” taking the “oversight” (from episcopos, “bishop”) thereof. While the pastors or overseers of the church are not to act as dictators, being “lords over God’s heritage” (1 Peter 5:3), church members should have deep respect for them. Hebrews 13:7, 17 command, “__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith __ __ __ __ __ __, considering the end of their conversation. . . . __ __ __ __ them that have the __ __ __ __ over you, and __ __ __ __ __ __ yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” The overseers are very important to a church. While they are obviously not infallible, we must take what they say very seriously, recognize their wisdom and knowledge of the Scriptures, and obey their godly counsel. Rejecting pastoral guidance is a dangerous business! The position of deacon is one of service to the church and of meeting physical needs; in Acts 6:1-5, seven deacons were chosen to help with the material needs of the congregation so that the pastors could “give [themselves] continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). The word deacon is sometimes translated servant in the Bible (Matthew 23:11; Mark 9:35). The church chooses deacons to help and serve the pastors and church body. Neither the pastor nor the deacon is referred to as a class of “clergy” which is over the “laity,” supposedly the rest of the church. Nothing like the word “laity” or “layman” is found in the Bible, while the Greek word kleros, from which the English word clergy is derived, is found in 1 Peter 5:3, where it is translated “heritage” and refers to the entire congregation! The true church, then, has no “laity,” but is made up entirely of “clergy.” Nor should the pastor or deacon be called reverend, a title only used for God (Psalm 111:9), or Father, for God is our only spiritual and heavenly Father (Matthew 23:9). The two Biblical offices in the congregation do have certain qualifications, listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. These passages are worthy of serious study and meditation. The pastor must be a holy, “blameless” man (1 Timothy 3:1), with knowledge, ability and experience in the study and teaching of the Scriptures (v. 2, 6). He must be the “husband of one wife,” and must be one who “ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity,” (v. 2, 4), so a man who is divorced or remarried (cf. Mark 10:11-12), or who has rebellious and ungodly children, is disqualified (Titus 1:6). Since it is obvious that only a man can be a “husband” (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6), women cannot have the office of pastor (cf. 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34-37). Deacons must also be holy men with obedient, godly families (1 Timothy 3:7-13). The two offices of pastor and deacon are very valuable to the church of the Lord Jesus.
    We have learned that each one of the Lord’s churches is an independent congregation, free from all hierarchy and organizational ties. The members of each assembly, as spiritual priests of God, have the authority to govern the affairs of their church, following Jesus Christ, the only Head of the church. True churches guard their membership, allowing only those who have been born again and show evidence of regeneration in their lives to be members. God has instituted two important positions of leadership in the church: the pastor, also called the overseer, bishop, or elder, and the deacon. These offices have specific spiritual qualifications. Obedience to the Biblical pattern for church government is extremely important if congregations are to give glory to their Lord and effectively serve Him.
    You further affirm, Sam, that “The Bride of Christ is the Universal Body of Christ throughout Church history – it has nothing to do with whether a man attends an IFB or Presbyterian Church.” As proven in B. H. Carroll’s Ecclesia, and Sargent’s systematic theology, there is no such thing as a “universal body of Christ throughout church history.” All 115 times the word “church” (ekklesia) appears in the NT, it refers to a local, visible assembly. The notion of a universal church is a myth, a false doctrine that developed alongside the idea of a state-church and the idea that outside of the church there is no salvation (as, Sam, a study of church history would show you). Not only is there no universal church in the NT, there is none in very early post-Christian material like 1 Clement. Even the metaphors for the church validate this. Bodies are local and visible, not universal and invisible. So are brides. I just married a very local and visible one on June first. What man wants to marry a universal, invisible bride?
    Sam, I sympathize with your view that there is a universal church. I used to believe in that, too, until I studied all the instances where the word “church” is found in the NT, read a systematic theology that favored the universal church position and one that opposed it (Sargent’s), saw that the arguments for a universal church were entirely faulty, and abandoned it. From your comments, I suspect that you have never researched this issue to any extent. (If you had, you probably would not have accused me of believing in salvation by church membership). Doing this research would be a really good idea. I commend again to you the resources I have already mentioned which prove it clearly. If you wish to argue for a universal church, please give us one instance in the New Testament where the word ekklesia MUST refer to something other than a local, visible assembly or a generic use referring to any church in general (like 1 Cor 11:3’s use of “man” as a generic term).
    If you cannot prove your doctrine of the church from Scripture, cannot prove that I have taught salvation by church membership, cannot explain away the Lutheran and Reformed heresy of salvation sealed and conveyed by sacraments which I have documented with extreme copiousness, or any other of the contentions you have made, please retract your statement concerning me that “it is only fair to conclude that you have added to the Gospel and are preaching a false gospel,” and admit that the Reformers were doing this instead. Thank you.
    May the Lord richly bless you, Sam, as, upon studying the Scriptures on the subject, you come to the blessed truth of local-only ecclesiology, and may He bless you as well with accurate views of church and Christian history.
    As an addendum, I have added a study of mine concerning the nature of the bride metaphor in Scripture. I put this together while a member of Lehigh Valley Baptist Church (LVBC). May it be a blessing to you, Sam, and all others who may read it.

    My View on the Bride of Christ, Compiled From Several Compositions of Mine where I Expound upon the Subject.

    From a paper on compromise in the SBC:

    God’s ordained institution for service today is the church, Christ’s ecclesia. This institution is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). It is an assembly of baptized believers, organized to carry out the Lord’s work,13 not a universal, invisible entity. In this dispensation, the church has the keys of the kingdom (Mt 18:18)— it is the visible entity which represents and recruits people for God’s invisible, spiritual kingdom, composed on earth of all the saved. It is represented as Christ’s body, as His temple (1 Cor 3:9-17),14 and as His bride (John 3:29, 2 Cor 11:2).15 It is congregational in polity and absolutely independent and sovereign;16 no centralized body, man, body of other churches, convention agency, civil government, school, nor any other man or institution under heaven has the right to impede her authority. Christ organized her (Mt 16:18) during His earthly ministry out of suitable materials, that is, those converted and baptized under John the Baptist’s ministry (Jn 1:35ff),17 and He gave her the commission to go into all the world, teach the lost how to be saved, baptize the converts, and disciple them (Mt 28:17-20, Mark 16:15-16, etc.). She is properly made up only of true converts, of the saints. This is shown by the fact that one is baptized into the church (1 Cor 12:13, Ac 2:47), and baptism identifies the saint with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in which alone He trusts for salvation (1 Cor 15:1-4, Rom 4:25), and shows forth his personal death to his old life and resurrection to new life in Him (Romans 6:1-14) which occurred at the moment of his salvation (2 Cor 5:17). The metaphors for the church also show her purity; as Christ’s body, only those in Christ can possibly be her members (1 Cor 12:13-27); as Christ’s holy temple, children of the devil, the objects of God’s hatred (Ps 5:5, Rom 8:8, 14:23), are not partakers; as Christ’s bride, she has Jesus as her Husband and Lord, while the unregenerate hate Him.

    footnote #15 in that paper:

    This truth about the church’s existence as the bride of Christ has been a source of much controversy and misrepresentation. The fact that the church on earth is currently represented as an espoused bride does not mean that non-church members are not saved, or that they will not inhabit the New Jerusalem, nor does it discount Israel’s position in her pre-Christian dispensation in a like bridal position. It is the opinion of the pre-millenial, pre-tribulational, and generally dispensational author that the Marriage Supper will occur on earth at the end of Daniel’s 70th week, at which time Israel will be restored again as God’s bride (Hos 2:19-20) upon her national conversion, and she will reign with all the saints during that period of time. In the eternal state, the New Jerusalem is represented metonymically in reference to the whole company of the elect as God’s bride (Rev 21:9). However, among living saints during the church age, only those baptized into Scriptural ecclesiai are part of the bride of Christ.

    from a paper on the Biblical position on Divorce (i. e., don’t do it ever):

    Those who believe that divorce is justified in certain instances appeal to Jeremiah 3:8, and conclude that “God Himself recognized (and thereby taught us) that divorce for the sexual sin of adultery is an option. He taught us this by both precept and example in His own relationship with Israel. What God has taught, let no man deny!”11 The passage presents an apparently strong argument: “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.” Furthermore, Hosea 2:2 reads: “Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband…” How can these declarations be reconciled with the passages mentioned above, that clearly forbid divorce? First of all, we must recognize that the metaphor of marriage when employed to describe the relationship between men and God symbolizes the closeness of communion between the faithful and their Lord. We see in the Old Testament that those faithful to God’s chosen nation, Israel, are pictured metaphorically as a bride or wife. The same holds true in the New Testament for the church, God’s recruiting agency for His kingdom in this dispensation. In the Mosaic economy, as in all ages, salvation has been a free gift to all who believe in Christ, but the special miracles of God, His greatest manifestations, and the fullness of worship was only available in the Old Testament to those that allied themselves with the nation of Israel and could consequently participate in the sacrifices, the Tabernacle and Temple worship, and so on. In the New Testament, the church, the congregation of baptized believers, is God’s chosen institution, and is pictured as Christ’s body (1 Cor 12), and bride (2 Cor 11:2, Eph 5:23-32). The church is also called God’s temple (1 Cor 3:9-17, 1 Tim 3:15)— it is the NT place of God’s special presence. The fellowship of the church with Christ is seen in the NT quotation of Genesis 2:24 in Ephesians 5:31-32; the OT word “cleave,” which deals with the close communion of man and wife in their unique relationship, is translated “joined” from the Greek in Ephesians with reference to the church and her Savior. One does not need to join the church to be saved, but fullness of communion with Christ will not be available to the NT believer who refuses church membership. In contrast to both unscriptural universal ecclesiology which equates all believers with the bride of Christ at this present time and the “future glorified” view that correctly sees the church as a local entity but removes her from a present status as bride, the Bible places the church in a present bridal relationship (2 Cor 11:2, Eph 5:29-32). The same was true for Israel in the Old Testament; her bridal status with God was spoken of in the present tense (Ezekiel 16:8ff, Jer 3:14, etc.). “Cleaving” closeness to God is the present joy of His obedient saints (cf. 1 Cor 3:16-17).
    In the Old Testament, as in the New, one of God’s children could sin and fall away from obedience and His Lord’s chosen institution (cf. Heb 10:25, 1 Cor 5:7, 13). While still eternally secure, such would temporally lose the special fellowship available for the faithful. A backslidden member of a true Baptist church today can leave and join a Methodist church with less strident preaching, and thus, while still reckoned righteous in the sight of God, lose the temporal joy of being part of the bride of Christ. In eternity, however, the New Jerusalem is referred to synechdochically as the bride (Rev 21:2), and all the blood-washed, whatever their degree of disobedience to the Lord or faithfulness to God’s institution during their lifetime, will, free from sin, “cleave” to their God forever. It is God’s purpose that those dead to sin by Christ “should be married to another,” (Romans 7:4), that is, brought into that place of close fellowship, and He will not allow His will to be eternally frustrated. We can see this same working in God’s covenantal promises to Israel; as He swore to Abraham, “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26, Genesis 17:7-8), inherit the fullness of the promised land, and see the fulfillment of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31), which was given specifically to “the house of Israel” and “the house of Judah” (31:31). At the end of the Tribulation, when Israel turns back to God, her Messiah shall come, destroy her enemies, and re-establish the nation in its bridal relationship. A careful comparison of Romans 9:25-27, Hosea 1:10 and 2:23, and Revelation 19 will demonstrate this;12 the marriage supper of the Lamb does not occur in heaven for the church alone, but occurs on the earth at the commencement of the Millennial kingdom with the participation of all the saints. The Supper only commences after the destruction of the great whore (19:2), which is far along within the Tribulation period; we hear that the marriage supper “is come, and His wife hath made herself ready” (19:7) immediately before the second coming of Christ (19:11ff) to redeem Israel, the “wife” in view, who has now turned back to God and received imputed righteousness (19:8)— the church age saints have already been glorified for seven years, so to make them only “ready” at this point is unreasonable, whatever one may have personally experienced about the speed with which women adorn themselves. “Is come” (hlyen) is a futuristic aorist; it “involves the use of the aorist tense to indicate an event which has not in fact happened but which is so certain to happen that it is depicted as though it had already happened.”13 “[H]ath made herself” (htoimasen) refers to the conversion of Israel which had just occurred; it should be classified as a dramatic aorist, “a use for emphasis or dramatic affect… it describes something which has just happened, the effect of which is felt in the present.”14 It was the common belief of first century Jews that “in the day of the Messiah redeemed Israel would be gathered to a great feast, together with the patriarchs and heroes of the Jewish faith”15 (cf. Is 25:6, Mt 8:11-12, 20:21, 23, 22:1-14, Lu 13:28-29, 14:15-24, 22:29-30). Indeed, were the marriage supper in heaven during the Tribulation, rather than in the Millennium when Christ has established His kingdom, the Savior would not be able to drink anything (Mt 26:29, Mr 14:25, Lu 22:18). It is apparent from the Scriptures, then, that God brings the nation He married back to Himself; the separation because of her sin lasts only until the impending future time when, by repentance, “the wife hath made herself ready.”
    We have seen that in the bridal metaphor which relates God and His people separation because of sin, including spiritual adultery, is only temporary. The context of Jeremiah 3:8 supports this as well; the Lord says He “put them away,” yet still affirms “I am married unto you” (Jeremiah 3:14) and foretells her restoration; He is still her husband and Lord, and He will bring her back to Himself. In the immediate context of Hosea 2:2 we see that God promises Israel “I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.” (2:19-20). The Lord both declares that Israel is not His people (Hos 1:9), since they have violated the Sinaiatic covenant, yet they remain His and He will restore them (Hos 1:10, 2:16-20, 3:5, 11:1-11, 13:14-14:9), in accordance with His unconditional promises to Abraham. Isaiah 50:1 and 54:1-17 show God as “husband” still to Israel, without an abiding “bill of divorcement”— because of their sin, God “for a small moment… fors[ook] [Israel], but with great mercies will [He] gather [her]” (54:7). On strictly Mosaic grounds, God could divorce Israel, but “the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was… after, cannot disannul, that is should make the promise of none effect” (Gal 3:17)— the promises to Israel in Abraham and the greater, eternal covenant promises that, by grace, bring a sure (Rom 4:16) and eternal salvation to the chosen, forbade the Lord’s divorce of His people (Rom 11:28-29). These higher principles of grace, expounded by Jesus Christ (Mark 10:1-12) in accord with God’s original design (Gen 2:24), apart from the lower permissive standard (Dt 24:1-4) allowed temporarily because of hard hearts (Mark 10:5), prohibit human divorce, just as they prevent God from putting away His people forever. The child of God, if he finds himself in a marriage to a persistently sinful and adulterous spouse, should act as his Lord commanded Hosea: “Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine” (Hosea 3:1, cf. Jer 3:1). He should follow the precept and example of his God and Savior and seek for reconciliation, not divorce.
    Examination of the relevant passages on divorce in the Bible make it clear that God’s original plan in marriage of one man and one woman for life cannot be violated by the New Testament Christian. Originally instituted in the Garden of Eden and clearly reaffirmed by Christ (Mark 10:1-12) and the apostle Paul (Rom 7:2-3, 1 Cor 7:10-11), sound hermeneutics dictate that less clear passages which involve seeming exceptions to this rule must be interpreted in light of such plain Scriptural affirmations. The fact that God “hateth putting away” (Mal 2:16) is also demonstrated in His restoration of Israel, despite her sinful and backsliding ways. All believers can rejoice in this as another in the cornucopia of Scriptural evidences that God’s faithfulness and unconditional love will bring all of His people home (Jn 10:27-30, Ro 8:28-39, etc.) to be joined to Him as His everlasting and eternal spouse (Rev 21:2), with none put away or ultimately lost— and consequently, out of love for their great God and Savior, and in His power, obey His admonitions to shun divorce absolutely.

    a footnote from that paper:

    Paul does not take his quotes in Romans 9 out of their original context; verses 25-26 deal with the restoration of Israel, as seen in Romans 11, not with Gentiles— the “also” of 9:27 demonstrates this, as does the natural interpretation of Hosea one and two. Some make a distinction between Israel, which is alleged to be God’s earthly wife, and the church, which is then made Christ’s heavenly bride. A close study of the terms employed of both entities will demonstrate their fluidity; for example, 21:9 refers to “the bride, the Lamb’s wife,” while a thousand years after the marriage supper the New Jerusalem is called “bride,” not “wife” (Revelation 21:2). The saints of this dispensation will also “reign on the earth” alongside their Old Testament brethren (Rev 2:26-27, 20:6).

    from a letter to someone on this issue, slightly edited:

    So, is that (what I just stated, essentially the matter above from my paper cut and pasted) a “Baptist Bride” position? Well, you tell me. What that term means depends upon whom you ask. Most people have never bothered to study the Bible on the subject, and just believe what someone else has told them. I have heard a man who is now a missionary under a fundamental Baptist mission board, who believes in a universal church, tell me in all seriousness (to my recollection) that a Baptist Brider is someone who believes only Baptists are saved. Some say that a Baptist Brider is someone who says that only Baptists are raptured. These two views are usually those of universal church advocates who have not done their homework (well, I guess that is obvious— they believe in a universal church!), and since they speak of “the Rapture of the church” and mean all believers, when someone says that only Baptist churches are true churches, they immediately conclude that only Baptists are Raptured— when the Bible teaches the Rapture of church and non-church saints. Others define a Baptist Brider as someone that says that only Baptists are guests at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. I think this is probably an accurate definition of the position. As you can see, I don’t believe that— I don’t think it is in heaven during the Tribulation at all, but on earth at the commencement of the Millennium. My position is, I think, a minority position. I came to it by studying the Scriptures alone, and thought that there was nobody out there that agreed with me. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that a very popular Study Bible, The King James Study Bible,(of which I have a copy) takes the same position. Hmm, perhaps this is what the Bible actually teaches. :-) I also don’t believe that only Baptists are in the New Jerusalem; everyone that is saved can live in there. If any of these are the Baptist Bride position, I am not a Baptist Brider. If a Baptist Brider is someone who says that, on earth at this moment, only Baptist churches are true churches and so only Baptists have a special “cleaving” relationship that comes from membership within God’s ordained NT institution, then I am a Baptist Brider, and have no plans to change unless someone can show me that I am interpreting the Scriptures incorrectly. It seems that many folks have some vague idea swirling around in their heads to the effect of: “Baptist Bride=bad” when they have no idea what the term means in the first place. Now, where do I draw the line and say different views on the bride of Christ are a major issue? Well, while I don’t think it is correct to have Baptists only at the Marriage Supper in heaven during the Tribulation, I don’t think it is a separating issue or a huge deal if someone does believe this view, which I believe is the traditional Baptist Bride model. The Systematic Theology textbooks we used at Fairhaven, those four spiral bound blue books by Robert Sargent (you probably own a copy), advocate a Baptist Bride position. Dr. McNeilly is a “Baptistic Brider”— since he puts the Marriage Supper in heaven and only for the church, he is closer to the traditional Baptist Bride position than I am. I believe that Lehigh Valley Baptist Church generally takes the Baptist Bride view. At the same time, most of the college students at Fairhaven did not really know what a Baptist Bride view was, but thought it was incorrect. It seems like some from Fairhaven take the inconsistent view that the church is local and visible only, but the body of Christ, bride of Christ, etc. are universal and invisible. While this is incorrect, I am not going to pull my hair out and beat someone up for believing this either. When you state in your letter (that I actually got; I don’t know, of course, what you said in the earlier one) that the bride of Christ is the church, and to become a member of the church and so of the bride of Christ one must be immersed, you are then about as much of a Baptist Brider as I am.
    The question of the legitimacy of alien baptism (baptism performed by non-Baptist churches) is often linked to the question of the nature of the bride of Christ, although, strictly speaking, they are different. I believe that baptism must have a proper subject (a child of God), a proper method (immersion in water), a proper purpose (to picture Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and the believer’s death to his old life, burial, and resurrection to new life with Him; not to take away sins), and a proper administrator (the church). To take away any one of these makes the baptism invalid. (By the way, I also believe that the Lord’s supper, as a church ordinance, should be “closed,” that is, for members of the individual church only, although I would not separate from those who hold to a different view. LVBC practices closed communion.) The controversial one of these four today among fundamental Baptists is the necessity of a proper administrator, a NT church. Historically God’s churches have always rejected alien baptism, including alien immersions: the pre-reformation Baptists were heavily persecuted for rejecting Roman Catholic baptisms for centuries— baptisms that were immersion, for Rome did not complete a switch to sprinkling until around the seventeenth century. The Eastern Orthodox Catholics, which split from Rome in the eleventh century, still immerse after the Old Papist manner. Early American Baptists did not just reject the sprinkling of other denominations, but also immersions after salvation from gospel-preaching Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. churches. This is only natural, for if non-Baptist churches can legitimately administer baptism (and the Lord’s supper), they are true churches in every way, for these ordinances were committed to the church alone. I also take the historic Baptist viewpoint that only Baptist churches are true churches and so only they have the authority to baptize. I defend this from the Scriptures at some length in my paper on the Great Commission for last semester’s class on the book of Acts, which I sent you. Most Baptists who hold that the church is local and visible only can agree up to this point, as long as we are in the realm of theory. It is somewhat less popular when put in pratice, though. Why? Well, if:
    1.) God gave the Great Commission and the authority to baptize to the church, not to individuals, and He promised to preserve His churches so that the gates of Hell would not prevail against them:
    2.) The Roman Catholic denomination is not the church of Christ, but anti-Christ:
    THEN we must conclude:
    3.) Catholic baptisms are null and void.
    4.) Protestant baptisms are null and void, because the founders of Protestant denominations came out of Catholicism. As individuals, they had no authority to baptize, and the church they were protesting, as antichrist, has no authority to baptize.
    5.) Nothing has happened since the Reformation to magically make Protestant baptisms valid, so they are still invalid, and will continue to be so unless they humble themselves and submit to baptism under the authority of a Baptist church. This would mean all Protestant baptisms are invalid.
    6.) Baptist churches still have valid baptism, because they are not Protestants, but have been around since the day when Christ, their founder, gave them the authority to baptize.
    In your letter, you asked if one who has not received Scriptural baptism is part of the bride of Christ. My answer: “No.” It was then asked “where the pastor receives his authority for baptism, from apostolic succession, the church, or from the Bible, and how would you feel about fellowship with a church that disagreed with you?” My answer: God, in the Bible, gave the authority to baptize to the church. Baptism is a church ordinance, according to the Bible. There is nothing special about the pastor that makes it so that he can baptize people; he, as an individual, does not have authority to baptize anyone. Here at Lehigh Valley Baptist, Pastor Doug Hammett’s son, who is the youth pastor, typically performs the baptisms, and when he does, he will say something like “I baptize you, my brother/sister, on the authority of the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” and then immerse the new Christian. There is nothing special about him; the church votes that the one getting baptized will be immersed and join the church, and it is his hands that actually plunge the candidate under the water. So, strictly speaking, the pastor does not have the authority to baptize except as it is delegated to him from the church. There is no apostolic succession. Well then, is authority for baptism from “the church, or from the Bible?” I believe this is a false dichotomy; it is like asking someone, “Did you stop your drug dealing operation? Yes or no?” The answer is “both.” In the Bible, God gave the authority to baptize to the church. The Bible states that the church has the authority (see my paper on the Great Commission) to baptize and administer the Lord’s supper. Most Baptists would agree that it is unscriptural to take some bread and grape juice to someone in the hospital to “have the Lord’s supper,” because it is a church ordinance. If someone wanted to do that and said, “Oh, but I am doing it on the Bible’s authority,” he would be wrong, because the Bible does not give him the authority as an individual; the Bible gives the church authority to administer the Supper. In the same way, if someone gets saved, witnesses to some of his friends, who also get saved, and, when they see that the Bible teaches immersion, they all get together and the first fellow dips the others under water in his pool and they vote themselves into, let us say, the “Joe Shmoe church of Boonyville,” they are not a true church and their baptisms are not valid baptisms. It does not matter if they are successful in starting the “St. Joe Schmoe Gospel Movement” denomination that is around for 100 years, starts churches all over the US, and believes what true Baptist churches do (on matters other than authority in baptism— obviously they cannot agree to that!); they are still no church of Christ, and they still are not baptized. They cannot say “we have authority from the Bible,” because none of them ever received the authority from the institution God’s Bible gave the power to, the true, NT Baptist church. There is nothing magical about the word “Baptist” either; if the fellow who dips the other guys in his swimming pool and begins the Joe Shmoe church of Boonyville later decides that independent Baptists are really cool and his church votes to change its name to the “Joe Shmoe Baptist church of Boonyville,” they still are not a true church and they still do not have valid baptism; one does not vote himself into the church of Christ, he is immersed into it.
    What does this mean about Baptist succession? I believe the Bible teaches an actual succession of Baptist churches. Christ gave the Commission to the assembly He started in the first century, and that assembly started other churches, and on we went down to today. Any denominations and organizations that started themselves after the first century, such as the Catholic and Protestant groups, have no justification for their existence in the Bible. Does this mean that we have to know all the ins and outs of the history, so that if we cannot trace a succession back to the first century, we are not a true church? No. God is omniscient, but history is not. We don’t have all the facts about what was happening in the Dark Ages. One might say, “So how do we know that we have Scriptural baptisms today? What if sometime around A. D. 750 everything went sour? How do we know that didn’t happen and make all our baptisms invalid today?” Well, God has promised to preserve His churches (Mt 28:20, Eph 3:21, 1 Cor 11:26, etc.). We know He has done it, because He said He would. He also commands His people to join true churches (Heb 10:25). Therefore, God will make it so that His people will know where the true churches are. I don’t need to worry that LVBC is not a true church because somebody goofed in the Dark Ages somewhere, because LVBC teaches and practices what the Bible says and, as far as we are able to tell, she has a lineage from other Baptist churches. Since God will not make it so that His people cannot tell where His churches are, and if LVBC were not a true church there would be no way to know, she must be a true church of Christ. If, in contrast, one looks at an assembly called “XYZ Baptist church,” which used to be a Presbyterian or Congregational church, a “Gospel church,” etc. and voted to put the name Baptist on her sign, she is not a church of Christ unless her members receive immersion from a real Baptist church. The view I hold is a faith position, one that trusts that God will do what He says in His Word. I think a good illustration of church succession, made by J. R. Graves, author of the book Old Landmarkism and a defender of Baptist ecclesiology in the 19th century, is the way that we come from Adam. Christ, the Second Adam (1 Cor 15:22, 45), died only for those that came from Adam; He did not die for monkeys, fish, etc. So how do I know that I can trust in Christ? How do I know that I came from Adam? Well, my parents were human beings, and so I am a human being, since kinds only reproduce the same kind. Can I trace my lineage all the way back to Adam? No, I cannot. Do I need to do that before I can trust Christ as my Substitute and Second Adam? No, I don’t need to, because I have the guarantee of God’s Word that all men came from Adam. Nevertheless, was there a literal, physical succession of people from Adam to me, without which I would not be eligible to receive the benefits of Christ’s death? Yes. In the same way, I believe it is not necessary to trace a chain-link succession of churches back to the Jerusalem church of A. D. 31 and following to be a true church; if a church believes and practices New Testament doctrine and has, as far as we can see, NT churches for “parents,” she is a NT “Baptist” church with Scriptural baptism. Nevertheless, did she come from a literal, physical succession of churches, without which her baptism would be invalid? Yes. Now, where would I draw the line of separation? If a true Baptist church accepted a handful of people with alien (non-Baptist) immersions, that would not make her no longer a true church, even I believe this line of action is unquestionably harmful. In fact, if that church sent one of these people without Baptist baptism, and that individual baptized others and organized a Baptist church under the authority of the “mother” church that does have Scriptural authority, the church started by the man without true baptism would still be a true church and the baptisms of its members would be true baptisms, because the authority does not reside in the man, but in the church. Even if, for example, a church-sent missionary who physically dips people under water turns out to have a false profession and not be saved (and so, obviously, not have a valid baptism), it does not make all the people he dunked unbaptized— the authority is in the church, and as long as the church is a true church, those people are still baptized. Anyway, I have probably given you enough detail on what I believe. I cannot say I know all the ins and outs of everything your church in —– holds on this issue, although I think I have a general idea. Feel free to share this letter, and my paper on the Great Commission, with Pastor —– or other folks over there who are knowledgeable in the Word. Also, if in whatever I said here there are various conclusions that differ from what they believe there, it is right to stand in line with the church of which you are a member and promote unity in the body of Christ. Fairhaven, for example, while it holds the church is local and visible only, takes a somehat different position, but I did not go around beating a drum with a wooden sign denouncing them draped over my back. Also, if someone can show me that some part of what I have said above is not found in the Scriptures, I will be happy to change— but if this cannot be done, I am not going to change. I tend to think a change is unlikely. I have discussed this matter of actual succession and authority in baptism with various individuals who hold alternative views, some of whom are very knowledgeable and diligent in Scriptural study, and nobody has been able to prove anything else from the Word. The most common argument is not one based on exegesis of Scripture, but on pragmatism: “Well, if there must be an actual succession, then we cannot know if we are a true church or not.” The argument is invalid (even apart from the fact that it is based on uninspired reasoning, not Scripture) because God has promised to keep His churches around (Eph 3:21), and has commanded us to join true churches of His (Heb 10:25), so He will make it so we can tell where they are (Mt 7:7). There is plenty of evidence for actual succession from history outside of the Bible, but even if there were none at all, it would still be the correct position and still be historically true, because it is the doctrine of God’s Word. By the way, historical records seem to indicate that LVBC came through a line of Welsh Baptist succession. Baptist churches were established early in Wales before the Catholics existed, and Papist “Christianity” only arrived centuries after the beginning of the true faith on the island. These Baptist churches appear to have continued up through the time of the Reformation, and after the discovery of America, numbers of these congregations and members moved to the New World and participated in the Philadelphia Association, the first organization for Baptists in the USA. LVBC came from churches out of the Philadelphia Association. However, even if we did not know all this and nobody had ever written books about succession among Welsh Baptists or European Continental Baptists, LVBC would still be a true church for the reasons given above from Scripture.

  46. Tom Pethtel
    September 6, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Do you people not have anything better to do?
    You call yourselves men of God, yet spend every waking hour thinking up stuff to break fellowship over. White washed tombs, den of snakes sound familiar. Get off the computor, repent of the pride in your hearts, and obey the great commisssion. Thousands of people died and went to hell while you sat here with noses in the air and your thumbs up your hind parts playing Gods’ little policemen.

  47. September 6, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    Tom Pethtel,

    So, how’s HAC? And why aren’t you out soul winning instead of looking at our blog? And what business is it of yours where our thumbs are? And before you go to pull the tumb out of mine, shouldn’t you be pulling your head out of yours?

  48. September 6, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    Tom,

    I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

  49. Sam Hanna
    September 7, 2007 at 7:13 am

    Tom,

    Are you “policing” us now? Do you see the irony?

    If you are a HAC student, why do you not deal with the heresy of Dr Schaapp saying that the Pope is a “godly man.”

    Has Mr “Gatorade” Schaap decided to give up soulwinning the Catholics now? Even Jack Hyles stated he was the Vicar of Hell!

    You should read the Epistle of Jude – “contending for the faith” comes before soulwinning at the end of the chapter. Maybe at HAC they haven’t told you yet because they are still baptising this year’s 15,000 quota who will remarkably all die/immigrate/be raptured before next Sunday Morning as only 7,500 (the same number of adherents as two years ago) manage to find their way to the ONE Church Service. Please buy Dr Schaap for Christmas:

    (1) Calculator
    (2) Foxes Book of Martyrs/Hyslop’s Two Babylons
    (3) Gatorade blood thinner
    (4) Sermon oulines in their context textbook
    (5) Practical Hermeneutics for Freshmen

  50. September 7, 2007 at 8:48 am

    :-D Sam

  51. Sam Hanna
    September 7, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    Just for the record, I recently visited Clarence Sexton’s Church and Bible College to check out for myself some of the facts about him.

    He has a portrait of Jack Hyles up as well as Ian Paisley in his College Entrance. I was pleased that while he is an IFB he acknowledged in his gallery of men of Faith the legacy of men like Tyndale etc.

    My overall impression of his church and college was, on the positive side, that they were unashamedly KJV, had very good standards in dress and music, there was a good spirit in their meetings and that the young people were very disciplined, friendly and polite. They also have a first class library and bookshop.

    On the down side, I felt that they played the American Patriot flag too much, tended to be a little “trigger happy” on their appeals and subsequent declarations of salvation and that their academic staff and courses were a touch lightweight for an effective Seminary. Sexton’s books make some good points and his sermons were first class for a former Sword of the Lord guy.

    Overall, I would recommend Crown as a start for any young person entering college but not for Seminarians.

  52. Raymond
    September 20, 2007 at 6:00 am

    Some of the people here who posted messages on this site is not even saved, let alone the people who view it!

    What a “testimony” that you guys are showing to the unsaved people! Justifying men that you believe to be a man of God… If they are really guilty about any accusations or any issues, lest we forget, God will take care of it! HE is still on the throne! Remember, if they have sins that they are justifying in their lives, they will lose fellowship with God… but they are still saved! We are so quick to criticize Pastors… let God deal with them! We are in a faithless generation! We think that we do service by revealing truth about these issues but only an omniscient God knows what’s going on! And that same ominiscient God is the same God who can take care of his Church (in which hell cannot prevail against it). Pastors are still humans, don’t ever expect them to be perfect nor regard them very “highly” in your minds…

    Look unto Jesus! The author and finisher of our faith!

    God will take away the people who are on worthy of his ministry. This postings are just doing more harm than good! If you have issues, go to your local church and discuss it with you Pastor… not just posting here and somewhat feel that our opinion counts. Get back to that OLD TIME RELIGION. They never had this discussion groups before…

    If you haven’t received Jesus Christ as your personal saviour, don’t look at this stream of message and feel how complicated the gospel is… He loves you and died for your sins. He was buried and rose again on the third day to show you that he defeated death and you don’t have work yourself out to get to heaven. Accept that you are a sinner and Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!
    May God bless you on your steps to take…Read your bible and talk to God everyday and you’ll grow sprititually.

    May God help us Christians to look up and to work; For the night is coming.

  53. David Weber
    November 18, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    If Paul were alive today everyone in this post would be spouting and showing their ignorance about his beliefs too. It is amazing to me that everyone knows what God was saying in his Word. Maybe if we would spend more time on our knees(me included) praying for these men, than worrying about what they believe God would be pleased.
    I am a fundamentalist and have been a member of both FBCH and Temple Baptist (thank God for both ministry). I am now a member of a smaller fundamental baptist church in N.C. The most REFRESHING thing is that I don’t and my pastor does not worry about men around the country. We are to do the work of the Lord. My LOCAL church does not concern itself with your Local church. This may be what you all have forgotten. That you are a member of a local church, and I am sure your church is the only one in line with the Bible. This post may seem somewhat attacking to you but it is done in sincerity with Christian love. My prayer is that you will pray for these men that you so despise. You will never see my name on this blog again. I commit to spend that time praying and not typing.
    Again “Speaking the Truth in Love”

    • Elsen Portugal
      October 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      David,

      Yours is the most sensible post I’ve found in this whole series. That is our church’s attitude also.

      EPort

  54. David Weber
    November 18, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    BTW – Right on Raymond!

  55. Christopher Nelsen
    November 18, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    The bible says to beware when all men speak well of you…..based on that portion of scripture I think Hyles might be thankful for this site…..what was the name of this site again?Oh yeah,thats right the “HammerJack”

  56. December 28, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    I guess this discussion is pretty much over by now. So I’ll give the score. Based on the sole rule of sticking to the issue and answering the question, I give the anti-Sexton guys the win! :) Thanks guys.

  57. Curtis Cantrell
    December 28, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Sam Hanna,
    I heard Dr Ian Paisley preach at Ron Bells church in Virginia Beach, VA, USA about 1990. I was in bible college there. This is the first time I have heard his name in many years.

  58. Tony Ruckel
    February 9, 2008 at 9:09 am

    That name is RODNEY BELL. I also attended Bible College TBBC. But Preacher Kent Brandenburg is correct. I often remember one of Kent’s sayings as I travel this life’s road ‘Scripture and Verse helps us see life in slow motion’

  59. February 24, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Also known as “Rod Bell” – he is speaking at the Easter Convention in Dr Paisley’s Martyrs Memorial this Easter Monday.

  60. February 24, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    PS click on my name and join our forum – we want some hot topics, and are prepared to discuss!

  61. March 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    What do you all think of David Cloud’s open letter to Sexton that has been posted on Way of Life?

  62. April 22, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    My Soul! @ Sam’s post on Schaap! Seems like the man thinks that having a huge congregetion and following and the pressure that is produced is an excuse for ANYTHING! I have heard Schaap say some wild stuff, but this is new and repulsive to me. I was ashamed enough when our President at the time (Bush) bowed before the corpse of that deciever. — I know, I know…off topic. :p

  63. Buddy Driggers
    May 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    I am in sheer awe at this web site, the topic and the comments. A friend sent me this link & asked my opinion. I was at first enraged at the sinfulness, but then broken-hearted at seemingly “brothers” statements. As a pastor, I am used to being disappointed by fellow believers, so I am not surprised.
    I did not grow up in a Christian home, so when I was saved, I was on my own. I have always been repulsed by professional Christians, like I read of here. My prayer is that I never become like many of you.

    As a fundamental Baptist preacher, I work with very tough cases in addiction recovery daily. If they can grow past their offensive personalities, opinions & sinful behaviors, then so can many of you.

    Fact- Clarence Sexton is a fundamentalist & an Independent Baptist period
    Fact- He uses, teaches, & believes the KJV in his church & college period
    Fact- Crown College & Temple Bap Ch is doing God’s work
    Fact- Few people on this site understand true historical fundamentalism
    Fact- Men disagree about culture, personalities, philosophy, opinion, & in turn make a mountain out of a mole hill. God knew this was a human tendency, and inspired Paul to write of separation as a last resort, knowing even good men disagree. (ex- Paul & Barnabas; who he commended in a later letter)

    Pastor Sexton’s knowledge & view of Hyles was at a distance & he went on other men’s advice to better inform himself with the controversy. That is what he, personally, told me and about 75 others in a class.
    He knew Bob Gray, & used him to speak, but was in the dark about the crimes & hoped, as many did, for their fallacy, but was let down, as all of us were. The other Baptist & Non-Baptist churches were hurt in Jacksonville because of this, as well as many more churches, for they are still associated by the world with the name of Christ.
    Pastor Sexton simply honors Soldiers of the Cross. He can disagree with some of their beliefs, which he HAS stated publicly (many of you must have missed that one) and still honor their sacrifice and great work for God. This encourages and inspires the young people that even through great adversity, God still works mightily and even can work through each one of these young people.
    Nobody wants to believe that a friend, family member or a pastor would ever do terrible things like that or ANY horrible thing. It is a shame advances were not taken seriously, but I will ask “the former Fairhaven teacher” & his take on the beginning statements. He is a good man and above reproach!
    I am a former member of the Temple Baptist Church in Powell, TN & a graduate of Crown College. My experience there was fantastic. I thank God for what He did in my life & the education I got from that wonderful place. I would go back again & recommend others there. I did not agree with everything they did or taught, but I submitted to the authority. I agreed to place myself under that authority as a student of CC and was made better for it. I still don’t agree with everything, but that is normal. I have an opinion & a brain, so I use it. It’s amazing how many people comment on this site that has no real knowledge of Pastor Sexton or this ministry. Shame on you! I hope you grow past your sinful ignorance. Shame on many of you: the author of this, the editor of this web site, & your patrons.

    I would love to meet many of you some day. Call me, so we can meet up- 828-226-6955 cell- so I can show you first hand of this great place. I only live a few short hours from Knoxville. My second offer is to go to Pastor Sexton’s face, and I’ll take you there. THIS IS BIBLICAL! This is KJV brother!

    I practice martial arts and spar often. My team members & I beat on each other face to face, and then walk out respecting each other a great deal more for what we do know & how we perform. This is what real men do: fight face to face and move on!

    Here are 2 invitations. I doubt any of you will take me up on either. Your “wit” gets you only so far in life. Then God will introduce you to someone like me who is sick of your nonsense and will stand up against your spewings, with your fake, want-a-be pulpits. Either invitation is up for grabs. I’m waiting for your call, but would prefer a face to face.

    I doubt you will take me up on these invitations. Your “wit” would never recover from all that humility, would it!

    Sincerely,

    Buddy Driggers-
    A better man for being a Crown College Alum & Temple Baptist Church Member

  64. May 24, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Buddy,

    I don’t have one single bit of conviction of sin over anything that you said. What did you point out in the actual post that was wrong? Did you notice that most of the post was asking questions? Questions can make one think, to prove all things, to judge whether activity is right or wrong. And we should then use scripture to make that decision.

    Paul didn’t say to separate at last resort. Read through every one of his NT epistles and he talks about separation. Consider Rom 16:17-18; 1 Cor 5; 2 Cor 6:14-7:1; Gal 1:6-9; 2 Thess 3:6-15; etc.

    Anyone of us would be happy for your being a better man for having attended Crown. And none of us mind talking face to face. We’re not required to talk about public issues face to face, however.

    Thanks for coming by.

  65. October 29, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I learned in your “Jack Hammer” blog about the Bob Gray child molestation. May I know if this is really factual? I am pastoring here in the Philippines and few years ago one of our families had migrated to Texas and is regularly attending Bob Gray church in Longview. So I am much concerned about them when I learned it. thank you for your courage to stand on unpopular truth. By the way I got your book on preservation through Dr. Thomas Strouse as he conducts 2x a year masteral course extension in our local church. Thank you for your help.

  66. Brandon B.
    January 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I think everyone needs to stop judging this man! He is a very faithful servant of God. He has some of the strongest faith I’ve ever seen. This man is a true role model for how the Christian life should be lived!

  67. Past member of Temple
    June 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Unfortunately, Brandon B. you are not correct about Clarence Sexton being a role model for Christians. My parents were staff members of his for 5+ years. He is very hard on people, aggressive and unkind behind the scenes. I have personally witnessed him screaming at the lady who was the church secretary, the ladies who were accountants. I have seen him throw tantrums- shouting and slamming things around when he didn’t like the way the Bus Breakfast or other ministry meetings were set up. He had alot of anger issues. Yes, he comes off as very polished and well-dressed etc. in the pulpit, but he is a mean person to people he sees as being “below” him or working for him. I knew several other families that came to Temple Baptist with hearts wide open to serve the Lord and he used them until there was nothing left.

    Only by God’s grace am I still a Christian after having Pastor Sexton present the Christian walk to me.

    • Brittany
      October 23, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      I know this reply is about 2 years later, but I’d like to comment again on this. I personally worked in his office while I was attending Crown College, and have never witnessed such behavior. Even so, why should we be judging somebody for their faults? I’m quite aware that every person has some type of issue, due to none of us being perfect. For everyone to sit and nitpick at every single thing Clarence Sexton does shows absolutely nothing about the Christian life and demonstrates ridiculous character. I appreciate his heart, vision, and love for other people. I’m tired of listening, seeing, and watching everyone’s remarks against him. He has done nothing to draw people away from Christ and has done everything to present the gospel wholeheartedly. When souls are being saved, truly saved, why must we stand back and cast stones? God will judge all of us. So again, we ought not to judge Clarence Sexton.

  68. Dr. Pete Knickerbocker
    April 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Dr. Sexton is a very gracious man. I believe is is not a stone thrower but a peace maker.

    Some of us need to do the same. I have found that the wheel the squeaks the loudest is about to have the biggest problem.

    Let us not pass jugement before time. We will one day be judged with the same set of rules that we judge others by.

    Dr. Sexton is not a great man because he has won so many to the Lord, but because he desires to reflect the Lord Jesus Christ, and has done that. I was a part of that church for 15 months and the Lord used that man to put me back on track.

  69. Born Again Believer
    August 11, 2012 at 9:02 am

    You need to judge yourself by Jesus and his righteousness.

    You need to seek counsel as to the judgment of others Matt 7.

    You bring up Bob Gray, Gal 5 is clear of all our capabilities to entertain such wicked desire, “for what judgment you judge you shall be judged”, we jump on the taboo sins and excuse the acceptable sins, bitterness, hate, disunity among the brother. By the way it is an abomination to God (Jesus) to sow discord among the breathen Prov. 6.

    Scripture is clear that if any man is overtaken in a fault he which spiritual, and I guess this leaves you out, restore, Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted .Gal 6:1 (KJV).

    People like you are stumbling blocks and usually are living in sin when they are pointing fingers at others, and God help you for you will stand before the ultimate judge.

    How many people have you won to Christ this week?

    Have you shared his love and forgiveness?

    Are you like the world of a judgmental spirit?
    No revival – fleshly thinking.

    You are an educated Pharisee, repent and sit with Jesus in his sermon on the mount and may God help you build up and not tear down.

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