Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Why the name Primitive Baptist?
A: Primitive Baptist ancestors have been called by various names over the ages. The name Primitive Baptist became popular in the early 1800s when the term “primitive” conveyed the idea of originality rather than backwardness. Accordingly, Primitive Baptists claim to maintain the doctrines and practices of the original Baptists, who are claimed to be the New Testament church. “Primitive” also conveys the idea of simplicity. This well describes the Primitive Baptists, whose church services consist of nothing more than preaching, praying, and singing. Even though the name “primitive” can convey a negative impression, it also has some benefits; one being that it provokes interest and questions.
Q2: What is the basic difference between Primitive Baptists and other religious orders?
A: This is likely the one question which is asked most frequently of Primitive Baptists.Primitive Baptists believe that eternal salvation is by the Grace of God ALONE (Isaiah 53, Acts 4:12, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 6:37-39, John 17:2-9, Romans 8:28-39, II Corinthians 5:21, Luke 1:9-15, Galatians 2:16, Hebrews 9:12-15)The reader should examine the remainder of this document to become acquainted with Primitive Baptist practices. The Abstract to the Doctrine of Salvation will introduce the reader to Primitive Baptist views on doctrine. The Black Rock Address of 1832 will acquaint the reader with the circumstances which lead to the division between Primitive and other Baptists.
Q3: What do Primitive Baptists believe is the role of God the Father in salvation?
A: In making a covenant with God the Son and God the Spirit, God the Father foreknew, elected, and predestinated an innumerable host out of all mankind before the foundation of the world to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28, Ephesians 1:3-6, Ephesians 1:11, I Peter 1:2, John 6:37-40, John 17:2).
Q4: What is the role of God the Son in salvation?
A: God the Son came to earth to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21), to suffer the wrath of God for their sins in their place (I Peter 3:18), and to redeem (buy back) those whom God the Father had previously chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:7, John 6:37-40, Matthew 1:21, John 10:27-30, John 17:2-3, Titus 3:6, Hebrews 9:12-14, I Peter 1:1).
Q5: What is the role of God the Spirit in salvation?
A: God the Spirit promised to enter the heart of every person whom God the Father foreknew and whom God the Son redeemed, giving the “new birth” (Titus 3:5, John 1:13, John 3:1-8, John 6:63, I Peter 1:1), and also to guide those children in their understanding of the word of God (John 16:13). According to the scripture, this “new birth” is not given because of any action of our own, but by His mercy and grace.
Q6: What is my role in salvation?
A: If you have been born again by His Spirit, it means you are included in God’s purpose and your role is to give God glory in your life because of the life He has given you (Ephesians 2:1). This involves repenting of sin, embracing His truths, confessing Him, following His instruction, and joining His church (Acts 2:38, Psalms 119:105, Romans 10:9, Revelation 4:11, I Peter 3:21).
Q7: Must I “accept Christ” in order to be saved?
A: No. The words “accept/accepted/accepting” occur 12 times in the New Testament in reference to salvation. Not ONCE does it mention that you are to “accept Christ”, which is a phrase that was coined around 100 years ago. However, as one already born again, the Bible declares that “in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, IS ACCEPTED with him” (Acts 10:35). Like the “sinner’s prayer”, and other terms not found in the Bible, the idea of “accepting Christ” arose through years of distortions and mis-teaching of the fact that God’s children “receive” the Spirit into their hearts by volition of the Holy Ghost (John 1:12, John 3:27, Romans 8:15, I Corinthians 2:12, II Corinthians 11:4, Galatians 3:2, Colossians 2:6). But you can accept the gospel (II Corinthians 11:4), the good news of your salvation, which declares the truth that CHRIST has MADE US ACCEPTED (Ephesians 1:6), which involved no work of our own! If you have received the Lord’s gift, then you are required to repent and be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).
Q8: If Primitive Baptists believe in election, then why did Jesus have to die?
A: Election and predestination are merely the terms used by God to describe what He did in appointing the innumerable host of His children to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). In order for this to be accomplished, someone had to suffer the penalty for the sins of His people. God’s wrath must be satisfied on all mankind, including those He chose (the elect). Only one Man could do that - Jesus Christ. He suffered the penalty of sin in our place (Acts 17:3, II Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:6, Hebrews 9:12-28), which had to occur in order for the innumerable host of His children to be housed in heaven.
Q9: 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 upon 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” (Matthew 16:16-18, Ephesians 2:20).
Q10: Is election/predestination something to be afraid of?
A: No. It is essential to understand that no one would be saved it if were not for God electing a people, Christ dying for their sins and the Spirit making them a new creation (Romans 3:10, Psalms 14, Psalms 53). Interestingly, ALL of the first churches embraced election as part of the good news that was preached to them (I Thessalonians 1:4, Ephesians 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 Thessalonians 1:4), the Ephesians (Acts 19, Acts 20, Ephesians 1, Ephesians 2), the Philippians, the Corinthians, etc. The Apostle Peter taught this truth (Acts 2:38-41, I Peter 1:2, II Peter 1:10). Furthermore, Jesus Christ taught it (Matthew 24:12, Matthew 24:31, Luke 4:25-27, Luke 18:7, John 5:40, John 10:27-29, John 15:16, John 17:2-3).
(More to Come....)
Special thanks to Elders Tim McCool, David Pyles, Lonnie Mozingo, Jr., Michael Gowens, and Louis Culver for permission to use this list of frequently-asked questions about the Primitive Baptists.