Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (February 6, 2023)

As we continue looking at the “Questions and Answers” article written by Elder Tim McCool, we examine some issues regarding the practice of the church. Primitive Baptists do not have Sunday Schools; why not? We sing a cappella instead of with instruments; why? Etc.

Hopefully these questions and answers will help us understand what the Bible says about these matters. I hope they help you as they have me!

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

Q16: What are Primitive Baptists’ position on Sunday schools?

A: Like missionary societies, there is no biblical precedent for Sunday schools and the church was never instructed to have them. Bible study is expected out of church members and is not limited to a formal church setting. Scriptural example dictates that such activities are conducted in contexts other than formal church worship (Acts 2:46; 17:17; 20:20). There is nothing in scriptures to indicate that worshippers, either in the New Testament or the old, were ever segregated by knowledge, age, sex, marital status, or any other criterion. Instead, all worshipped in a common assembly. Jesus himself charged the first preachers to feed the lambs (little ones), as well as the sheep (Jn. 21:15) in the context of the general assembly. We are told that childrens’ understanding can exceed that of the wise and prudent (Mt. 11:25; 21:15), and that God has ordained praise in the utterances of babes (Mt. 21:16). Accordingly, Jesus rebuked His disciples for denying admittance of children to His presence (Mt. 19:13-15, Mk. 9:36-37, Mk. 10:13-15). Hence, it should not be assumed that children are incapable of receiving proper instruction from the general assembly. The modern practice of denying children entrance to church sanctuaries is very much against the spirit of the scriptures. However, Primitive Baptists do advocate a better position than Sunday schools, that of parents, whether single parent homes or otherwise, instructing their children in their homes on a daily basis, which provides much more instruction than 1 hour per week. The church cannot take the place of the parental responsibility of teaching in the home (Eph. 6:4).

Q17: What is the Primitive Baptist view of the scriptures?

A:Primitive Baptists view scriptures as the divinely inspired word of God and as the sole rule of faith and practice for the church. It is also believed that the scriptures have been divinely preserved over the ages, and that the 1611 King James version is the proper English translation of the scriptures. Paul claimed that all scripture is given by inspiration of God (II Tim. 3:16). Accordingly, Jesus said that scripture cannot be broken (Jn 10:35). Such infallibility could only occur in writings under the power of plenary (full) inspiration. The apostle Peter said, …no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophesy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (II Pet 1:20-21). Hence, scriptural prophecy is void of any private opinions of the writers. They were actually moved by the Spirit of God when writing. Furthermore, the psalmist David declares, The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times…Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever (Ps. 12:6-7)

Q18: Why do Primitive Baptists refer to their preachers as elders?

A: The scriptures offer two alternate titles for preachers – bishop and elder (I Tim 3:1-7, Tit 1:5-9, I Pet 5:1). The importance of using scriptural titles is emphasized by Jesus’ condemning the Pharisees for taking aggrandizing titles to themselves (Mt 23:5-12). The term reverend is used only once in the scriptures where it has reference to God (Ps 111:9). We are therefore unworthy to wear this title. The term apostle is clearly used by the scriptures to mean a minister who is an eyewitness to the sufferings and resurrection of Christ (Acts 1:1-3, Acts 1:21-26, I Cor 9:1, I Pet 5:1). Also, apostles were granted special powers not possessed by ordinary elders (Acts 8:18, II Cor 12:12, Heb 2:3-4). Any man claiming this title for himself today does so in error.

Q19: Do Primitive Baptists have schools for training ministers?

A: Primitive Baptist elders are called by God and chosen by the individual congregations from among male members who have demonstrated a calling and proven to be faithful to the church and its principles. All Primitive Baptist elders are expected to be educated in the Word of God and have frequent contact with other ministers about questions of scriptural interpretation and other matters pertaining to the church (2 Tim. 2:2). The Apostle Paul taught Timothy as a father instructs a son, laboring and serving together in the gospel (Philip. 2:22). This system of education is preferred above ministerial training schools because:

a. Elders in the New Testament were primarily self-educated in the scriptures.

b. Elders in the New Testament learned under the direction of the Holy Spirit and other elders rather than academicians.

c. The system makes the scriptures themselves to be the curriculum.

d. The elder learns in the same setting in which he is expected to teach. Congregations taught by these elders will be expected to have the discipline to educate themselves in the Word of God. The elder should therefore prove himself to have the same discipline.

e. The system is less vulnerable to the widespread propagation of error so commonly found when numerous ministers are trained under the same teachings of heretical academicians.

Q20: Why do Primitive Baptists wash feet?

A: because Jesus commanded it (John 13:14-15). Although it is not an ordinance as the Lord’s Supper and baptism, it is a practice set forth and commanded to be observed.

Q21: Why do Primitive Baptists require baptism by immersion?

A: The example set by Jesus is clearly one of baptism by immersion. Mark described Jesus’ baptism with these words: And straitway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him (Mk 1:10). “Coming up out of the water” clearly cannot be by sprinkling or pouring. John baptized in Aenon because there was much water there (Jn 3:23). An abundance of water is not needful for sprinkling or pouring. Accordingly, the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized in a body of water (Acts 8:36). Paul explains in Rom 6:1-5 that baptism represents a death, burial, and resurrection. Nothing about pouring or sprinkling depicts these events. Immersion obviously does. Finally, the Greek word for baptism (baptizo) means immersion.

To be continued. . . .