Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (January 30, 2023)

Last week, since it is the beginning of a new year, we began posting a series of questions and answers written by my brother, Elder Tim McCool, pastor of Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church in Echola, Alabama. These questions and answers concern Primitive Baptists, and what we believe about some important biblical teachings. Many people have questions about what it means to be a Primitive Baptist, and these questions and answers from Scripture help define who we are.

Today we are posting the next set of these questions. I hope these are helpful to you in understanding Primitive Baptists and what we believe!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor

Questions & Answers about Primitive Baptists
by Tim McCool
Pastor, Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church
Boyd Road, Echola Alabama

Q8: Are Primitive Baptists Calvinists?

A: No. In the minds of most people, Christianity is divided into two major groups, those who believe eternal salvation depends on your choice (i.e.-“accepting” Christ) and Calvinists (those who advocate the theology of John Calvin). Clearly, there is a plain distinction between Primitive Baptists and those who believe you can “accept” Christ. However, when people hear Primitive Baptists proclaim the doctrines of grace (election, predestination, etc.) they assume that Primitive Baptists are some branch of the Calvinist family. The fact is, Primitive Baptists have never been a part of either group, since they and their ancestors have maintained their identity since the days of Christ and the Apostles. John Calvin was a Protestant Reformer who seceded from the Catholic church and started Presbyterianism. Baptists derive their existence from Christ and the Apostles and as such, predate Catholics and have maintained separate existence even through the Dark Ages, hence the name, “Primitive.” (Matt. 16:16-18; Eph. 2:20).

Q9: Is election/predestination something to be afraid of?

A: Not if you understand that if it were not for God’s electing a people and Christ dying for their sins and the Spirit making them a new creation, NONE would be saved (Rom. 3:10; Ps. 14; Ps. 53). Interestingly, ALL of the first churches embraced election as part of the good news that was preached to them (I Thes. 1:4; Eph. 1). The conversion and baptism of ALL the early church members involved an integral, working knowledge of this fundamental teaching. The Apostle Paul taught this in his FIRST messages to the Thessalonians (Acts 17; I Thes. 1:4), the Ephesians (Acts 19 & 20; Eph. 1 & 2), the Phillippians, the Corinthians, etc. The Apostle Peter taught this truth (Acts 2:38-41; I Pet. 1:2 & 2 Pet. 1:10). Furthermore, Jesus Christ taught it (Matt. 24:12, 31; Lk. 4:25-27; Lk. 18:7; Jn. 5:40; Jn. 10:27-29; Jn. 15:16; Jn. 17:2-3).

Q10: Do Primitive Baptists think they are an exclusive group?

A: It is a common misconception that because Primitive Baptists embrace salvation by grace as plainly taught in the scriptures, they therefore believe God’s chosen people are an exclusive group. On the contrary, Primitive Baptists are the only known group in existence who believe that God has an all inclusive group of chosen, sanctified and redeemed people in every kindred, tongue, people and nation (Rev.5:9). When a believer understands that were it not for God’s choice of a people, then there would be no one in Heaven because of man’s sin (Rom.5:12), it is clear that God did not exclude anyone from heaven. The Lord Himself looked down upon the children of men to see if there were any that would seek Him, and He found none (Rom.3:12; Ps.14:2; Ps.53:2). It was Adam’s choice to sin, not God’s choice, that excluded ALL mankind from heaven, and were it not for the inclusive grace of Jesus Christ, none would be saved. Jesus declared, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden…” (Mt.11:28). The cry of Primitive Baptists is inclusive for all born-again sinners, no matter their age, race, color, creed or background, to take up the cross and follow Jesus as an evidence of Jesus’ saving grace in their heart (Lk.9:23). However, a person who believes that a sinner must invite Jesus into their heart, accept Christ, say a particular prayer, or meet any man-made condition to enter Heaven, embraces a false salvation that is exclusive and not contained in the scripture. Accordingly, any person who does not meet that group’s particular condition is excluded.

Q11: Will all of God’s elect children be saved?

A: Yes, because Jesus said all that the Father gave him would come to him (John 6:37). This is the only plan of salvation that in addition to saving competent people, would also include the salvation of those incapable of receiving the gospel, such as infants (Lk. 1:41; Ps. 22:9; Jer. 1:5; 2 Sam. 12:23; I Kgs.14:13) or mentally challenged persons!

Q12: But what about the person who wants to be saved and is left out by this plan?

A: If you believe the promise of Jesus (Jn. 10:27-29), you understand there is no such person who has ever existed! A person who “wants” to be saved is saved already! (Jn. 1:13).

Q13: What is the purpose of preaching then?

A: Just to name a few purposes: to instruct, comfort (Isa. 40:1-9; Eph. 4:11-16), reprove, rebuke, exhort (2 Tim. 4:2), warn, teach (Col. 1:28), spread the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ alone among all nations (Lk. 24:47).

Q14: What is the purpose of the gospel?

A: To bring life and immortality to LIGHT, but NOT to LIFE (2 Tim. 1:10). The gospel is the information / education / understanding of how you are saved. It illuminates (brightens) what God has already placed in your heart. There is no life to illuminate in a spiritually dead being (Eph. 2:1).

Q15: What is the Primitive Baptist understanding of the Bible’s teaching concerning missionaries?

A: The term missionary is found nowhere in the Bible. The gifts of the church are found in Eph. 4:11. The purpose of these gifts is for the benefit of the saints, or, those who are already born again. Primitive Baptists wholeheartedly believe that gospel ministers must go where directed by the Spirit and not by a mission board (Acts 20:22-23). The call to “save lost sinners”, or the cry of mission work as is common today, whether intentional or not, works to de-emphasize the importance of the local ministry and place the importance of the Christian walk somewhere far away. It causes an individual to lose sight of his or her true “mission”, that of being content with where God has placed them and striving to spread the gospel to those in the area where they have the most influence – their home and their communities. It is noteworthy that Primitive Baptists have established churches in foreign lands, such as the Philippines, Africa and India, to which no organization or board has directed men to go to, other than the Lord.

To be continued. . . .