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Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1Th 5:21
...and ask for the old paths, where is the good way... Jer. 6:16

Corresponding Letter of the Salem Association 2008

Brethren of the Primitive Baptist faith:
        There is no greater and more important endeavor that we as members of God's creation can be engaged in than the worship of God. God requires that we worship him in a formal and congregational way (Hbr 10:25), that such worship be decent and in order, and that it be according to the truth revealed in the Scriptures. The Scriptures themselves declare that God has set His word forth as a thorough furnisher unto all good works, and that by following such the man of God may be perfect (complete) in His Christian walk and to all those works which God has defined as good.
        We cannot think that such completeness has no reference to our organizational worship as a church, and that new practices or programs are needed in this day and age for a church to function fully as God intended. God neither overlooked details nor was mistaken in the setting up of His church and the declaration that it would continue unto the return of our Lord. God is not lacking in His design. Everything that is good for church function was placed in it during the foundation of the church, and no man has the right to change that now. No man has the right to claim that the church is lacking in some good work, if that supposed good work is not plainly and evidently prescribed by the Scriptures. To say such is a denial of God's Word.
        As in years gone by, even now we see men among the Primitive Baptists who for either reasons of concern over declining congregations or due to malicious and destructive intent are attempting to introduce new practices and doctrines into the Lord's church. Whatever the motive may be, they are wrong and we will resist any attempt to bring such departures in among us. We do not believe that the simple practices of our forefathers were deficient or that God forgot some device that was necessary to swell the numbers of the church membership rolls.
        We believe that it is good and necessary for God's people to study, discuss, and meditate on the Scriptures at every opportunity, alone or together. It would be to our great benefit if church members would spend more time talking about the things of God and less about the things of the world when they are in each other's company. However, we do not believe that organized Bible classes (often called Bible study services) are to be an activity or auxiliary service in the local church, and such new devices are contrary to orthodox church practice and often a direct violation of I Corinthians 14:34. When the church of God meets together as a body in the capacity of the church, it should be for the purpose of worship.
        We adamantly and strongly believe that it is the duty of parents to train up their children in the letter and understanding of the Scriptures. Every parent should consider it one of the chief responsibilities placed upon them by God, and more diligence is needed in our homes in this very important arena. But we do not believe that it is right nor Scriptural for the church to assume this responsibility from the parents and to so engage in Children's Church or Sunday School. The lambs and sheep are to feed together under the sound of the preaching of the Gospel, and the Gospel minister should be careful to feed them both from the same trough.
        We believe that God's churches should be careful to do the best that they can in helping support the needs of the minister serving the local church, and his family. We believe that God's churches should also be careful to help the poor and needy among them, and even in the local community when possible, and not to neglect such things. As a result it is commanded in Scripture that the church members give of their own financial resources, time, and energy to support the needs of the church. They are not under an Old Testament law of tithing, but are to give as God has blessed them and in accordance to what they feel they can and should do. The minister is not to be in a salary relationship to the church, nor is the minister to be covetous or unwilling to labor with his own hands. It is important that the churches distinguish between the Scriptural duties of a deacon and that of a minister.
        In addition to the church having a responsibility to care for her own minister, we believe the Scriptures to teach that it is appropriate and pleasing to God when an individual church or church member responds to a burden of heart to send a gift to a minister laboring in another location, or engaged in an evangelistic effort dictated by the Holy Spirit directly sending that minister to that particular field. However, there is no Scriptural authority to say that churches are required to support ministers who are not laboring among them, and a minister should not expect or demand such. The Scriptural pattern is for a minister's primary support to come from the field in which he conducts Gospel labor, and the secular labor of his own hands. We reject any and all missionary boards, evangelistic funds, or organizations designed to be a depository of monies for so-called ministerial outreach programs. All of these funds and organizations are a plain violation of the New Testament guidelines, and were not practiced by the Apostolic church.
        We believe the Scriptures to teach that the local church alone has the authority to choose her own officers and to identify those who should be set apart for the office of deacon or minister and be delivered to a presbytery for ordination. We do not believe that any minister or group of ministers has the right to usurp the authority of the church, regardless of the geographical location in which the ordination is taking place.
        We reject the teaching that all regenerate persons will respond favorably to preaching regarding Christ when they hear it. While all of God's children ought to receive the truth of the news of their eternal salvation and would be greatly benefited by it, there are many who will not believe either through the error that is mixed with such preaching, the fear of cultural or familial pressure, the failings of the preacher, or the rebelliousness of sin in their nature. We do believe that every child of God, when born again, is blessed with an intrinsic belief in God their Father and a desire to do what is pleasing to Him. Any of God's children who obey His commands and believe the true Gospel will be blessed with a comfort and fellowship with God that those who are disobedient will not enjoy.
        We reject the teaching that any child of God who has embraced the Gospel and the Lord's church will not or cannot finally abandon it. The Scriptures, and our experience, have many examples of children of God who fell away from the fellowship of the church or of belief and profession of the truth, and whose lives and consciences no doubt suffered for it, but who through pride, weakness, or rebellion did not repent as they should have. We should all be careful and prayerful, lest any of us should become a castaway.
        We reject the teaching that every event that happens in this world is ordained of God to the direct good of the children of God immediately affected. To say such is to define God's providence and the exercise of His complete sovereignty in ways that the Scripture does not. God is sovereign when He overrules some situation for our good, instruction, or blessing; He is just as sovereign when He does not overrule and suffers or allows us to endure the consequences of ours or others' actions. We believe that all the children of God will finally enjoy the perfect good and happiness of Heaven. We believe that all the events of this world are under the sovereign government of God, but that He has made man as a responsible and rational creature able to choose and affect the outcome of many events in this time world.
        We desire that God would bless the churches of this area, and our sister churches, with revival and an ingathering. There are certainly reasons for concern when we see the state of declining churches and an insufficient number of ministers. Our response to these things should not be a panic-induced reaction of change to the doctrine or practice of the church, but should be consistent with Revelation 3:19 and should be a zeal to repent. Brethren, we need to repent. Should we expect God to bless us if we are unwilling to repent and sacrifice the will of the flesh? We need to repent of our lack of prayer in begging God to send laborers into the harvest and to open the eyes of our friends and neighbors to the truth. We need to repent of our paralyzing pride that makes us unwilling to tell those outside of the faith to come and see. We need to repent of our lukewarm attitude when we approach the house of God to worship, and begin to see it as the greatest privilege known to men on earth. We need to repent of our inattention to study and meditation of God's word. We need to repent of our conformity to the world's standards in our homes and our pursuit of fleshly entertainment at the expense of the soul's health. We need to repent of harboring favorite sins. We need to repent of not regularly praying for this great nation in which we live.
        May God bless us to turn towards the Lord with our whole heart, and seek those things which He has revealed in His Scriptures as being pleasing to Him. Let us turn away from selfishness, and from designing men and their attempts to modernize the church of Him who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Brethren, pray for us.

The above statement is endorsed by The Primitive Baptist Page.
Elder Bill Allen

The Primitive Baptist and the Christian Pathway

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