Grace Primitive Baptist Church
We are thankful for your interest in the beliefs and practices of Grace Primitive Baptist Church. What is presented here would also be descriptive of most other Primitive Baptists in America and elsewhere, though anyone researching them should be aware that there is more than one body of people going by this name. It is also the case that the general media presents as much misinformation on Primitive Baptists as it does fact. We are happy to have this opportunity to offer an accurate description of ourselves.
While the word “primitive” is commonly taken to mean “crude,” the primary definition of the word is actually “original.” This is the intended meaning in “Primitive Baptist.” With rare exceptions, Primitive Baptist churches will be very similar to Baptist churches in their original form of bygone years. The name “Primitive” has been in use over a century. Prior to this, the same body of people were commonly known as “Regular Baptists.” Of course they are as all “Baptists” in that they baptize by immersion administered to professing believers.
This similarity with Baptists of the past does not derive from any policy of following humanly-contrived tradition. Such a policy would actually be very unbiblical (Mk 7:7-13). Rather, the similarity derives from a common approach to the Bible. A typical Primitive Baptist today interprets the Bible much the same as Baptists of former times, and for this reason, they arrive at near-identical conclusions. First and foremost in their method of interpretation is the principle that the Bible should be the sole rule of faith and practice for followers of Christ. Primitive Baptists believe the Bible to be a Divinely-inspired and inerrant book, and also believe it to be a complete specification of the spiritual needs and obligations of man (2Tim 3:16-17). For this reason, they are not content to simply call the Bible their supreme rule, as is done by many other Christians. Rather, it is to them their only rule dictating doctrine, church practice and all other aspects of spiritual life. Creeds, commentaries, etc. may be recommended as useful guides to the Bible, but only the Bible itself has authority.
This view of the Bible will explain why the church practices of Primitive Baptists more closely imitate those of the New Testament than almost any other denomination (1Cor 11:2, 2Thes 2:15 & 3:6). In particular, their music is purely vocal and hymn-based; they worship together, both young and old, in a common assembly; they baptize by immersion administered to professing believers; they commune with real wine and unleavened bread; their churches are strictly self-governed; they train ministers through an apprenticeship system rather than seminaries, and their foreign evangelism is coordinated through local churches rather than mission boards or societies.
This strong adherence to New Testament pattern does not necessarily apply to things pertaining only to the physical or natural needs of man. Such needs may be better served in the modern world than in the times of Christ and His Apostles. However, the spiritual needs of man are no different now than ever, and regardless of the times in which we live, those needs are completely met in Christ and His Word, neither of which have changed. The New Testament church was of course designed in the infinite wisdom of God. It would then follow that any departure from the precepts and precedents set by Christ and His Apostles must entail some loss of effectiveness toward accomplishing proper Christian goals. To suppose that we have a better way than God of worshiping, teaching children, training ministers, evangelizing, etc, is either to make ourselves wiser than God or to deny that the Bible is His inerrant and sufficient word. It implicitly charges the Holy Spirit with either ignorance or oversight.
With respect to doctrine, Primitive Baptists are also like historical Baptists in that they are committed to what is commonly (though errantly) called “Reformed Doctrine.” Though Primitive Baptists may differ from popular variations of Reformed Doctrine on a few technical points, they are at agreement with nearly all of its major tenets. This doctrine affirms without qualification that men are saved by the grace of God. For this reason, Baptists have preferred to call it the “Doctrine of Grace,” as it is truly the only variant of Christian doctrine that teaches salvation by grace without qualification.
While scriptural proof of this doctrine is varied and abundant, it readily follows from the fact that the Bible clearly and repeatedly teaches that unsaved men are averse to all spiritual things, including to Jesus Christ Himself (Mt 12:33-35, Jn 8:43-47, Jn 10:25-29, Rom 8:5-8, 1Cor 2:14, etc.). This being the case, a man will come to Christ only when his heart has been changed by God in an unmerited, unsolicited and irreversible act of grace. It must be unmerited because all men are deserving only of condemnation (Rom 3:10-20). It must be unsolicited (Jn 1:10-13, Rom 9:15-16) because no unsaved man would seek it, or at least not in ways acceptable to God. It must be irreversible (Jn 6:37-40, Rom 8:29-30, Eph 1:3-5); otherwise, Satan would surely reverse it. This gracious Divine act is done in what the Bible describes as being “born again” or born from above. Faith, repentance and obedience are the fruits and confirmations of this Divine act, not the causes of it. Hence, a man does not believe in order to be born again; rather, he is born again in order to believe (Jn 3:3, Eph 1:19-21), and his belief is therefore the joyous confirmation to himself and others that he is the recipient of God’s saving grace.
While Primitive Baptists believe salvation is altogether by the grace of God, and is in no sense the result of human obedience, yet they strongly affirm that human obedience is to be the result of salvation. God’s grace freely endows a man with spiritual life and ability, and with this ability comes the highest form of responsibility. God’s saving grace powerfully disposes the heart to faith, repentance and obedience, which are to be done, not to earn salvation, but to show gratitude for salvation that has been freely given.
Not only do we believe these doctrines to be biblical, but we also think they will be corroborated by the personal experiences of those who love Christ. If such is the case with you, and you earnestly desire to praise Christ for His saving grace in faithful accordance to the specification provided in scripture, then we hope you will be pleased to come and worship together with us!