Jul 13, 2011

Responding to Mark Green


Mark Green has left a few comments in my last posting. I have responded to his comments in the comment section. But, his last comment deserves a reply via an editorial posting.

Mark said:

"First of all, I never said I was an Old Baptist. I may have grown up in the Church, but I never joined."

One wonders why Mark never obeyed the Lord in being baptized and becoming a member of a local church? I suspect that his Hardshell ideas are the cause.

Mark said;

"I supposed I took what I was brought up with too literally. You shouldn't join a church to reform it."

I guess he was not brought up to take baptism and church membership seriously either. I grant that joining the church should not be for the purpose of reforming it, but once in a church, and discovering errors in it, should he not work towards repentance and reformation? Does he not know that the first Hardshells considered themselves "reformers" and even adopted, for a short time, the name of "Reform Baptists"? Alexander Campbell also considered himself a "reformer." But, even though Mark doesn't feel like he should join the Hardshell church with the intent of reforming it, he nevertheless believes the Hardshell church needs to be reformed! He believes, however, that he should seek its reformation as a non-member. Here is what he said next:

"Too many things of the world have found their way amongst the Old Baptist. Divorced women are now allowed to remarry. Women speak during conferences. It amazes me the things that I have seen change in my short lifetime. I never thought I would see a Primitive Baptist church yard sale or even a cookbook. They even have baptismal pools. Gone are the days, in some Old Baptist churches, when a preacher like Elder Mills would break the ice on a pond to baptize a new member in living water. There are even churches who use individual communion cups because they are afraid of catching something from their brethren."

This is interesting testimony about the Hardshell church by one who was reared up in it. He says that the Hardshells have changed in many things. But, the Hardshells claim that they have remained changeless over the past 180 years! I will not address the particular issues Mark addressed. What I will say, however, is that he seems to "strain at a gnat" while "swallowing" the proverbial "camel." He ought to see how the Hardshells need to reform in more serious errors, like the no means view of regeneration and of the view that says unbelievers will be saved.

Mark said:

"Anyway, on to your points. Why are you worried about the eternal salvation of other people? If Jesus needed man's help to save his people, he would have let Peter go with him and be nailed to the cross."

"Worried" is probably not the correct word. We out to "be anxious (worried) about nothing." (Phil. 4: 6) Concerned for the salvation of others? Yes. Desirous of the salvation of others? Yes. Why is he not? Has he not read all the verses in scripture where the men of God showed a deep concern for the salvation of others? Did not Paul say - "my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved"? (Rom. 10: 1) Paul said that Christians ought to imitate him. So, why does Mark and the Hardshells not imitate him in this? Further, did Paul not say that he "could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren" if it could save them? That he was "in great heaviness" and in "continual sorrow" about their salvation? (Rom. 9: 3, 4) Sounds like he was deeply concerned for the salvation of his unbelieving Jewish brethren. Did not Paul say to the Galatians that he "travailed (was in pain) in birth until Christ be formed in them"? (Gal. 4: 19) Did he not say, regarding their salvation, that he was "afraid" for them? (Gal. 4: 11)

Mark wrote:

"When Jesus said the work is finished, I believe he meant what he said. He saved his people, and all of them will live in heaven and immortal glory with him."

Salvation is not only in the past. Salvation is a continuous work, not in every respect a completed action. God is still saving people and so that work is not yet finished. Yes, he finished one aspect of it, but not the totality of it. Further, what does "saving" his people mean? Does it include saving them from idolatry and from unbelief and impenitence? Does this "saving" not include their conversion?

Mark wrote:

"You say I use human reasoning, and that may be true, but I am human after all."

Yes, of course, you are human, but we are told to "lean not on your own understanding." (Prov. 3: 5) What does that mean? Paul said that "the world through its wisdom knew not God." (I Cor. 1: 21) When Paul spoke of "casting down reasonings (imaginations)" (II Cor. 10: 5), what was he condemning but human reasoning as pertaining to finding out the truth of God?

Mark wrote:

"I'm glad I don't have to depend on me, you, or some other human being for my salvation."

Why are you glad? Because it gives you an excuse to bury your talent? An excuse not to witness to your neighbors? Did the salvation of God's people "depend" upon the death of Christ? And, did the death of Christ not depend upon "humans" putting him to death? But, I thought you said that salvation doesn't depend upon humans? Did Christ have to be born for us to be saved? Did his birth depend upon Mary the human? God depends upon us, not because he needs us, but because he has ordained it this way. I heard Sonny Pyles say one time that "sheep make sheep." Do you disagree with him? In Acts 26: 18 the Lord made the salvation of the Gentiles to depend upon Paul's missionary labors. God would use him to open the eyes of the lost, to turn sinners from the power of Satan unto God, to be the means of them receiving inheritance among the sanctified.

Mark wrote:

"Why do you continue to quote the flawed works of men? I don't remember reading the London Confession in the Bible."

I cite these old works to prove that the "Primitive Baptist" are not really "primitive" at all. Surely you know this. I do believe the scriptures should settle our controversies and my writings against Hardshellism are filled with arguments and proofs from scripture. But, when I am addressing their claim to being "original" I will cite the ancient records. Did not the PBs profess allegiance to the London Confession throughout the 19th century? Why do they not now generally do so? Of course confessions are not in the bible, but if they are right they will be based upon the bible. The old London confession gives the scriptures that uphold their views on each particular article.

Mark wrote:

"Men have a tendency to stray from the truth."

Is that not true with the "Primitive Baptist" denomination? Is it not true of you? Is it not a reason why you ought to be in a local church where elders and members can watch over you for your good?

Mark wrote:

"It's fine to read the works of Old Baptist writers about the Bible and Bible truths, but I believe you should always be judging what they say against what the Bible has to say about the matter."

You think I disagree with that? But, you here say it is okay to read the Old Baptist writers but earlier you chastised me for citing them. Is that not contradictory? Also, did Paul not cite authors from outside of the bible?

Mark wrote:

"You know, when my dad was told his cancer was terminal, he didn't shed a tear, he didn't worry about himself and what he was facing. His worry was for my mother and the Church."

You chastised me for "worrying" about the salvation of others, but it is okay for your dad to "worry" about the Church? Was his worrying only in regard to their temporal condition?

Mark wrote:

"He lay on his death bed worrying about how the Church was not standing for what it had stood for down through the ages. The Bible says there will be a remnant standing for the truth when Jesus returns, and that remnant is getting smaller all the time."

Who do you think this "remnant" is? The "Primitive Baptist" church? If so, then you are at least a Hardshell in sentiment. Do you not think that God will use the means of grace to insure that this "remnant" remain faithful to the Lord? Is this "remnant" not the elect? Why is this remnant "getting smaller all the time"? Could it be due to thinking it is the Lord's work and not in any way your work too? Are you "worried" about it getting smaller?

Mark wrote:

"I'm not a Bible scholar, and I haven't read as many old books as you have. I just try to make it through life hoping and praying that I am one of the elect."

Hoping that you are one of the elect? Do you not know?

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