Thought for the Morning
Fundamentalist Baptist Doctrine, Part 1
Article One: "Of the Scriptures"
Nothing is more heartbreaking than when a truly born again saint is lured by Satan into the snare of Christianity. It is a terrible thing to happen, and yet we see it happen all the time.
In the middle of the night, not long ago now, God woke one of his children, a sister named Jill, who had been taught the same truths I had been taught as a youth but who is now ensnared by Satan. She has fallen from life in the Spirit into the abyss of fundamentalist Baptist religion. God impressed this sister to contact me, and she did. That contact opened a door for me to reason with her concerning the things of the Spirit that she has left behind and to point out the errors of those whom she now trusts to guide her soul.
After several passionate attempts to reason with her and to plead with her to reconsider the choice she had made, the correspondence ended with no fellowship between us. Jesus and I tried, but Jill, as yet, remains unwilling to repent.
This Thought for the Morning begins a series on the fundamentalist Baptist doctrines which this sister has embraced as gospel. This series is taken from excerpts of the last letter I wrote to her, to which I never received a response. Solely for her benefit, I had taken much time to study carefully what she is being taught so that I could explain to her as gently and as thoroughly as I could the danger her soul is in. Recently, when I came across this correspondence, I thought that although my labor for her soul appears to have been in vain, it might still profit someone else in the Lord. Motivated by that burning hope, I offer for your consideration the following series of thoughts on fundamentalist Baptist doctrine.
Pastor John Clark
After visiting the web site of your church and carefully studying its foundational doctrines, I prayed this morning for you and for me, and for all God's children everywhere.
For the time, if ever, that you might want to consider these things in depth, below are some of the doctrines of the men that you look to as elders in the faith. I found these teachings on the web site for your church, under "Articles of Faith". I am sure your teachers don't know that these are bad things, but hopefully, the comments that I have added along the way will help you to understand why Jesus does not approve of these doctrines.
Other than that, and with another plea for you to try to remember the feelings of being truly born of the Spirit of God, I can only ask Jesus to care for you as only he can. Bye for now in the deepest love of Jesus.
Excerpts from Articles of Faith for the Central Baptist Church:
I. "Of the Scriptures . . . We believe that the Bible was written by men supernaturally inspired; that it has truth without error for its matter; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age, the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man; the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions should be tried. 1. By "The Holy Bible" we mean that collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, which as originally written, does not only contain and convey the Word of God, but IS the very Word of God."
(1) God's people will never be united as long as they try to make the Bible "the true center of Christian union". Trying to do that has produced nothing but division and controversy among those who are trying to serve Christ. The Bible was never intended to "lead men into all truth"; it cannot do it. Jesus said the holy Ghost would do that (Jn. 16:13), and he told us that the holy Ghost would "teach you all things" (Jn. 14:26). He taught me, Jill. He really did teach me. The "true center of union" of the body of Christ is the Spirit that Jesus purchased for us with his blood, and he did that so that we may be in perfect harmony with one another, as he and the Father are one.
(2) The Bible is not "the supreme standard" of anything in the kingdom of God; Jesus is the supreme standard by whom "all human conduct, creeds, and opinions" will be measured. We must be careful not to honor the holy Bible so greatly that in our hearts, it encroaches into Jesus' sacred place.
(3) The Bible is not the Word of God, Jill. It never claims to be. Doesn't it seem reasonable for me to ask how it is, if someone truly believes the Bible to be "the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man", that he can also believe the Bible is something it plainly proclaims Jesus to be?
Dear Jill, think about it. You know that Jesus has helped you through the years. You know of times when you didn't know what to do, and then the Spirit that you have from God showed you God's will for you. You cannot possibly believe what your pastor teaches about the Bible: that the Bible is the "only revelation of the will of God to man", that it is the "complete revelation of the will of God to man", and that it is "the final revelation of the will of God to man." That isn't your experience, Jill (or even your pastor's, if he would admit it). You cannot think these things about the Bible, Jill. I won't let you. I'll go down with the ship trying to rescue you from elevating the Bible to the place that belongs to no one but Jesus.
These are just some of many things the Bible teaches about the Word of God:
- The Word of God is "alive and sharper than any two-edged sword".
- The Word of God was "in the beginning with God, and was God."
(c) The Word of God will ride a white horse, followed by the armies of heaven, and then reign on earth a thousand years (Rev. 19).
Jill, wise men do not ask, "What is the Word of God?". Instead, they ask, "Who is the Word of God?"
(4) Finally, to say that the Bible is "the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man" is implicitly to deny the precious work of the heavenly Spirit that is leading, guiding, and revealing the will of God to the saints (and some sinners) constantly. To say that the Bible is "the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man" is to deny the living work of Christ with his people and to cling to the dead letter instead. Jill, when Paul wrote, "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life", he was referring to the Bible as "the letter". The Word gives life; the Bible, taken as one's only and final guide, kills.
It was to such men as the ones who devised this Article of Faith that Jesus gave this warning: "Search the scriptures; in them ye think ye have eternal life. And they [the scriptures] are they which testify of me, and ye will not come to me that ye might have life" (Jn. 6:39-40). You have that life, Jill. You are not handicapped to know nothing about your Father but what you can understand from the scriptures.
Next Time - Article Two: "Of the True God"