The Founder’s Ministry

January 31, 2013

RickPatrickBy Dr. Rick Patrick
Senior Pastor
Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
Hueytown, Alabama


Martin Luther founded the Lutherans. John Wesley founded the Methodists. The views of John Calvin are foundational to the Presbyterians. In the same way, historians consider our Baptist founder to be Englishman John Smyth, who recovered the doctrine of believer’s baptism in 1609 by first baptizing himself and then baptizing his small group of followers in Amsterdam.

Acknowledging Smyth as our denominational founder does nothing to diminish the role of our Lord Jesus as the Church’s One Foundation, nor does it deny the rich heritage of the Anabaptists dating back to 1525 in Switzerland, whose sacrifices remind us of our place among the Radical Reformers rather than the Magisterial ones. Neither does Smyth’s role as founder ignore the influence of later Baptists whose various tributaries joined our main stream, and whose contributions are certainly welcome today.

However, when considering the place of John Smyth in Baptist life, for obvious reasons, there can be no Baptist tradition more traditional than his, and there can be no Baptist founder more foundational than him. This is not to say that Baptists today will agree with Smyth at every single point any more than Lutherans will agree with Luther, but the basic gospel of our Baptist founder clearly deserves to be recovered in our churches.

After Smyth’s death in 1612, a confession of over one hundred articles was published entitled “Propositions and Conclusions Concerning True Christian Religion.” Whether written by Smyth just prior to his death or reduced to writing by his followers just after, this confession most clearly expresses the traditional Baptist doctrine of our founder.

While the headings are added, the quotes are verbatim, and article numbers are cited:

DENIAL OF INABILITY

That God created man with freedom of will, so that he had ability to choose the good and eschew the evil, or to choose the evil and refuse the good, and that this freedom of will was a natural faculty or power, created by God in the soul of man. (Art. 14)

AFFIRMATION OF FREE WILL

That Adam sinning was not moved or inclined thereto by God, or by any decree of God but that he fell from his innocency and died the death alone, by the temptation of Satan, his free will assenting thereunto freely. (Art. 15)

DENIAL OF INFANT GUILT

That infants are conceived and born in innocency without sin, and that so dying are undoubtedly saved, and that this is to be understood of all infants under Heaven, for where there is no law there is no transgression, sin is not imputed while there is no law, but the law was not given to infants, but to them that could understand. (Art. 20)

DENIAL OF REPROBATION

That as no man begetteth his child to the gallows, nor no potter maketh a pot to break it; so God doth not create or predestinate any man to destruction. (Art. 25)

AFFIRMATION OF FOREKNOWLEDGE VIEW OF PREDESTINATION

That God before the foundation of the world hath determined the way of life and salvation to consist in Christ, and that he hath foreseen who would follow it, and on the contrary hath determined the way of perdition to consist in infidelity, and in impenitency, and that he hath foreseen who would follow after it. (Art. 26)

AFFIRMATION OF GENERAL ATONEMENT

That Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and that God in His love to His enemies did send Him; that Christ died for His enemies; that He bought them that deny Him, thereby teaching us to love our enemies. (Art. 28)

How can we best call Baptists to return to the traditional beliefs and doctrines of our Baptist founder? How might we promote the traditions of our Baptist heritage so as to return our denomination to its doctrinal moorings? Perhaps an organization committed to the recovery of these traditional Baptist beliefs espoused by our founder might be appropriate. To avoid confusion with any other group not based upon the beliefs of our singular founder, we might consider adopting the name The Founder’s Ministry.

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Robert Vaughn

Rick, a few observations.

If you accept the English Separatist theory of Baptist origins, you still might do better to claim Thomas Helwys as founder rather than John Smyth. The party that followed Smyth stayed in Holland and eventually joined the Mennonites. Thomas Helwys maintained separation, returned to England and had lasting followers who identified as Baptists. These appear to be the fountainhead of English General Baptists.

It was the English Particular Baptists, not the English General Baptists, who have a more direct historical influence on the Regular Baptists who flow into the Southern Baptist Convention.

If you wish to recover the doctrines of founder John Smyth, will you include his view of falling from grace? (e.g. proposition 79 “…he that speaketh a word against the Holy Ghost (that is) that after illumination forsaketh repentance and faith in Christ, persecuting them, trampling under foot the blood of the covenant; returning with the dog to the vomit; that such shall never be pardoned, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.”)

In the final analysis, it matters not the doctrines of John Smyth (General Baptists) or John Spilsbury (Particular Baptist), but the faith once delivered to the saints by the apostles and prophets.

    Rick Patrick

    Nicely put, Robert, and I will certainly disavow Smyth’s insecurity of the believer, just as other denominations have also varied from the views of their founders. I yield as well the point that it was Helwys who maintained such views and influenced English Baptists.

    Having said that, we don’t call it Helwys and Smyth, do we? That’s like Roebuck and Sears. John Smyth is indeed our founder, and I think we should acknowledge this founder and his doctrines as a genuine and significant Baptist expression–even if we do not embrace every single one of his points.

      John H. Gregory

      Brother Patrick, I do agree with your suggestion (except for loss of salvation), I do agree that we should take a stand in this which will aid
      all of us who are true traditionalists, & NOT Calvinists or Arminiansts.
      I have been advocating the Biblicist or Traditionalist position for over
      50 years as a Baptist. A clear & strong statement is needed, hopefuly
      aiding in the eradication of the Calvinistic influence!

        Rick Patrick

        Thank you, John. I like the way you frame this issue eliminating both the extremes of Calvinism and Arminianism. That kind of language is not going to be very helpful going forward–even if we use words like “modified.”

        I agree that our mainstream Baptist position, whether known as Biblicist or Traditionalist, finds its basic root in the doctrines of our founder John Smyth, as presented above. I contend this is what most Southern Baptists believe.

        Although it will not come easily, we must develop an accepted vocabulary to describe our position and identify ourselves theologically. In this effort, we will be opposed by both the Calvinists and the Arminians, because they believe their little spectrum is essential for describing salvation doctrine.

        The Traditionalist Statement, with its ten articles, proves otherwise.

          Matt

          Sure, right: Arminians will oppose you. Tell yourself (and Roger Olson) that if it makes you feel good. Stating Dr Lemke on SBC Today on 3/13/12 (grey box): “The General Baptists were first chronologically, with leaders such as John Smyth, Thomas Helwys, and Thomas Grantham. . . . These Baptists may not have had access to most or all of Arminius’ works, but they were in agreement with many points of his theology.” If you’re in the General Baptist (Arminian) stream, that’s ok.

Adam Pace

It would seem that either your knowledge of Smyth’s history is incomplete or you are being intentionally misleading. First, Smyth baptized himself. Is that what we are supposed to emulate? Worse, Smyth eventually renounced his self-baptism and most of his former beliefs and joined the Mennonites at Amsterdam. He began his preaching career as a Puritan-trained Calvinist. So if you really want everyone to emulate him, you are asking them to be quite unstable in their beliefs. If you want a General Baptist on whom to ground your argument, look to Thomas Helwys. This is no comment on the theological assertions made in the confession you quoted. It is to question your argument that if Smyth believed it we should, too!

    Rick Patrick

    Adam,

    Thanks for chiming in. The disclaimer below from my original post addresses your concern. We need not follow Smyth’s self-baptism, or for that matter his pouring, in order to acknowledge his recovery of believer’s baptism and his indisputable role as our founder:

    “This is not to say that Baptists today will agree with Smyth at every single point any more than Lutherans will agree with Luther, but the basic gospel of our Baptist founder clearly deserves to be recovered in our churches.”

      Alan Davis

      Rick,

      Smyth really was a bit eccentric and unstable in his life actions. He was a Baptist for less than two years and his mode and method of Baptism is extremely important to note. I would denounce his method and mode just as quick as i would baptizing an infant. The great difference being that at least he denounced infant Baptism and believed in only believer Baptism but got that all wrong. He was not really Baptized at all. The fact he denounced, by his actions, his baptist faith seems a bit unstable. You have pricked my interest though and I am reading more about Smyth. Interesting article.

Robert Vaughn

Following up, I found online Helwys’ Declaration of Faith of English People remaining at Amsterdam in Holland. Whether accurately or not, the Society of Evangelical Arminians call this confession “The First Baptist Confessioin.”

    Rick Patrick

    Perhaps Smyth’s confession would have been published earlier than that of Helwys if only Smyth had not been so busy dying.

    I am less concerned with the timing of the first Baptist confession than I am with the timing of the person who first recovered believer’s baptism, practiced it, started a church and became our founder.

      Robert Vaughn

      Smyth did publish a confession earlier, actually, in 1609. So, then, the Society of Evangelical Arminians’ conclusion that Helwys’ confession was “The First Baptist Confession” was evidently based on other considerations than just whether Smyth was busy dying while Helwys wrote his confession — perhaps that they thought Helwys was actually a Baptist and Smyth was not.

      You write that you are less concerned with the timing of the first Baptist confession than with the timing of the person who first recovered believer’s baptism, practiced it, started a church and became the founder. I’m not sure why you chose to quote from “Propositions and Conclusions Concerning True Christian Religion” since John Smyth had the earlier confession in 1609 that would seem to meet the criteria for which you are seeking. Nevertheless, if we’re looking for the first to practice believer’s baptism, we can look in the New Testament. If we’re looking for who first recovered it, assuming it was lost, we could go back nearly another 100 years to the Continental Anabaptists.

        Rick Patrick

        Perhaps I should have used Smyth’s earlier 1609 confession to highlight his views.

        If your premise is true and the Arminians viewed Helwys as the first Baptist rather than Smyth, I would have to wonder about their rationale. Neither immersed, and Smyth clearly came first. It would seem that Helwys’ primary advantage is that he lived.

        If indeed the Arminians acknowledged Helwys as the first Baptist, it does not mean the Traditionalists have to do the same thing.

        Everything following “nevertheless” assumes I am asking a different question. I am not asking if anyone else ever baptized the right way in the Bible or in church history. I am asking, “Who is regarded as the founder of the Baptist denomination?”

        If the answer is John Smyth–which by the way, is in fact the prevailing view among historians–then his traditions are the earliest Baptist traditions.

          Robert Vaughn

          Rick, I want to try to stay to not introducing more historical material, as I mentioned below. But since we’re already discussing this about the confessions, I’ll make a few more comments.

          First, John Smyth’s 1609 Short Confession can be found in the Historical Documents at ReformedReader.org

          I can only speak to what I think is the rationale of the Society of Evangelical Arminians re Helwys and Smyth. We must remember that neither of these men was ever in a church that was called a “Baptist Church”. Both were members of the same separatist church that came to understand the idea of believers’ baptism, so Smyth really has not priority of Helwys there (i.e. in time or chronology). Smyth sought union with the Mennonites, dies, and his followers unite with them. Helwys goes back to England and there are churches that are eventually identified as Baptist that descend from them. So I would think that is part of their rationale. Like any of the rest of us, they are not free from bias. So, the fact that Helwys is fairly easily identified as an Arminian (e.g., he held original sin) while Smyth is not (e.g., he denied original sin) probably helps them lean toward him.

          Finally, while a number of Baptist historians may speak loosely of Smyth as the first Baptist, I would be interested to see if any one of them would affirm that Smyth was “the founder of the Baptist denomination” without dozens of caveats. The only folks I’ve known heretofore who make that statement without caveats are Church of Christ debaters.

randallcofield

Rick,

Should we also return to Smyth’s traditional belief and doctrine of Inherent Righteousness?

    Rick Patrick

    Randall,

    Thanks for chiming in. The disclaimer below from my original post addresses your concern:

    “This is not to say that Baptists today will agree with Smyth at every single point any more than Lutherans will agree with Luther, but the basic gospel of our Baptist founder clearly deserves to be recovered in our churches.”

    We need not follow Smyth’s doctrine of inherent righteousness, or for that matter his self-baptism, in order to acknowledge his recovery of believer’s baptism and his indisputable role as our founder.

Stephen Beck

“How might we promote the traditions of our Baptist heritage so as to return our denomination to its doctrinal moorings?”

Considering Smyth was only ‘moored’ to his Baptist beliefs for a couple years as one “stop on an evolving theological rollercoaster” (http://www.baptisttheology.org/TheologyofJohnSmyth.cfm – SWBTS’ Dr Duesing’s review of Lee’s bio), I’m not sure this is something we want to do, despite whether or not Smyth was historically first to dunk himself.

    Rick Patrick

    I suppose we must treat Roger Williams the same way. Perhaps we should no longer consider Brown University the first Baptist college in America. After all, Williams moved through Baptist doctrine on his way to other views as well.

    Is it appropriate to purge from history all the contributions of Baptists who later embraced other theological principles? Or can we not accept what they accomplished as Baptists independently of their later convictions?

    Whatever the case, Smyth’s so-called theological roller coaster was nearing the end of the ride anyway, as he died in 1612.

John H. Gregory

Hello Matt! The only issue I have with Arminian Theology is the loss of salvation. Calvinism & all
of its five points is what I do NOT agree with on any ground. Nor will I ever. I have many friends
& some relatives that are Calvinists. I hold no ill will or wishes against any one or any group.
But I will NOT allow any one to preach Calvinism in the local Church that my family & I attend.
God bless,
John Gregory

    Matt

    Well, you’ve found the website for you then!

    Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers)

    John,

    While we would agree with some of the Arminian positions we would also disagree with the basis of Arminian theology. It is the same basis we disagree with Calvinism. It is the basic concept of Augustinian theology that charges that we are guilty of Adams sin. While we are born with the nature and environment to sin we are not guilty until we transgress.

John H. Gregory

That is a big YES!
God bless,
John G.

gcalton

I guess now according to this article when a church asks, “Are you a part of that founders group?” We can answer, yes!

    Rick Patrick

    Nice. As long as you clarify that it is not Founders (plural) Ministries, but THE Founder’s (singular possessive) Ministry.

    My general soteriology is clearly in line with that of the earliest, and therefore most Traditional, Baptist.

jimmiedon

But Rick as any one knows who knows Baptist History, John Smyth was not the founder of the Sovereign Grace Churches. In fact, he wasn’t even the founder of the General Baptist by himself. He just happens to be the first one listed, and, while we honor his commitment to Baptist truths like religious liberty, we know he was wanting in many areas. In fact, if you will bother to check it out, you will find that the General Baptists of North Carolina were not very evangelistic or missionary. The Regular Baptists and the Separate Baptists who were both were very calvinistic (really Sovereign Grace) and very evangelistic and missionary minded, and their churches were blessed in both the First and Second Great Awakenings. It is also with the Sovereign Grace Southern Baptist Churches that the Lord was pleased to launch the Great Century of Missions.

In fact, you will find it interesting to note that the first convert of the modern missionary movement was won to a decisive commitment to Christ by the hyper calvinism, Dr. John Thomas, a Chirurgeon (archaic for Surgeon) who went insane with joy at the prospect of his first convert being willing to go all the way and be baptized. For that reason the five point calvinist (as Dr. Danny Akin called him), William Carey baptized Krishna Pal. Five point calvinist George Whitefield would stop in the middle of his Great Awakening Sermons and say to the sinners, “You cannot weep for yourselves. I will weep for you.” He would then proceed to weep profusely over such recalcitrant hearers.

My ordaining pastor, Dr. Ernest R. Campbell, who would tell you that he was a hyper calvinist, a supralapsarian, was the founder and first president of the American Race Track Chaplaincy (cf, Who’s Who in Religion, 2nd edn. Chicago: Marquis Pubs,, 1977), once witnessed to a member of my family until rears ran down the man’s face. Dr. Robert G. Lee thought so much of Dr. Campbell that he put it in his will that Dr. Campbell should preach his funeral. While there were about five preachers to do the job, the only one that Dr. Lee took care to make sure he did the job was Dr. Campbell. Dr. Campbell had some great evangelistic sermons and was a soul winner par excellence. Calvinism’s compelling compassion best describes Ernest Campbell along with Dr. John Thomas, William Carey, Andrew Fuller, Richard Furman, Silas Mercer and Jesse Mercer, George Whitefield, Rev. Luther Rice, Basil Manly, Sr., James Petigru Boyce, E. C. Dargan, Curtis Vaughan, and a host too numerous to list here.

    Rick Patrick

    jimmiedon,

    Thank you for tracing the accomplishments of many later Calvinistic Baptists. I had them in mind when I wrote this statement in the original post:

    “Neither does Smyth’s role as founder ignore the influence of later Baptists whose various tributaries joined our main stream, and whose contributions are certainly welcome today.”

    By the way, in your final paragraph you mention Dr. Campbell ministering to a family member until “rears ran down the man’s face.”

    I would very much have enjoyed seeing such an extraordinary sight.

      jimmiedon

      Rick, surely, you recognize a type when you see one. Tears was the reference. I type at a high rate of speed and in reviewing, especially when tired as I was when I wrote the above, I miss such errors.

Mark

Rick, are you equating Baptist (American, English, etc.) with Southern Baptist?

    Rick Patrick

    Mark,

    Not equating so much as going back to the earliest Baptist source or root–regardless of nations and their denominations. There were Baptists in what is now America before either the Southern Baptist Convention or America existed.

    I’m discussing the earliest Baptist tradition. As our founder, Smyth’s theology is foundational, and his tradition is the earliest Baptist tradition possible.

Rick Patrick

For the alternative view, which claims my premise is based on Wikipedia, see this link below and then consider my reply to their Wikipedia complaint:

http://pastorhistorian.com/2013/01/31/john-smyth-not-the-founder-of-baptists/

“This reformed reader website–not Wikipedia–affirms Smyth as the Baptist founder: http://www.reformedreader.org/smyth.htm

Bruce Gourley, Executive Director of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, clearly agrees.

Leon McBeth in “The Baptist Heritage” (as well as in lecture notes) identified Smyth as our founder.

Tom Ascol himself writes: “This issue of the Founders Journal not only acknowledges but celebrates the beginnings of modern Baptists in England in 1609. John Smyth was the pastor of that first Baptist Church.” Here is the link: http://www.founders.org/journal/fj76/fj76.pdf

I could go on but what’s the use? More than Wikipedia and yours truly affirm John Smyth as our founder. It is the majority view among Baptist historians.

However, unconfirmed reports indicate that Oliver Stone disagrees.”

    Steve Weaver

    Hey Rick,

    I responded to your comment on my blog. But just to clarify here: I didn’t claim your premise was based on Wikipedia. I simply said Wikipedia is wrong at this point. Sorry for the confusion.

      Rick Patrick

      Thank you for your comment both on your blog and here. I also appreciate your proposal of Helwys as the better candidate, along with your admission that he too only recovered believer’s baptism without getting the immersion part right. It would seem that if Smyth were disqualified for this reason, than Helwys would be as well.

      I also admire a man willing to stand by his convictions and not simply “count the noses” of all the historians who view Smyth as our founder.
      I will admit, however, that I am comforted in my position by the academic credentials of all these historians whose noses I am unworthy to wipe.

        Steve Weaver

        I’m reminded of Wm. Loyd Allen’s statement that sorting out Baptist origins is “like trying to untangle a snarled fishing line in the dark.” There are a lot of moving parts and theological variables that make pinning down a single founder virtually impossible.

          Rick Patrick

          I agree with the moving parts, but some of us clearly find it easier than others.

          This is a conversation worth having.

    Robert Vaughn

    Rick, even Baptist historians who claim Smyth as the “founder” do not think it is all that simple or clear. For example, in Baptist Beginnings McBeth writes, “”The story of Baptist beginnings, however, is surprisingly complicated; and not everyone agrees on the conclusions” and further notes his belief that “Baptists came into existence as two distinct groups (emphasis mine, rlv), with somewhat different beliefs and practices, but with believer’s baptism in common.” Perhaps a more relevant issue would be whether your church and Southern Baptists in general can find their origins to John Smyth.

      Rick Patrick

      Robert,

      My response at 1:07 PM did not post directly below yours but was pushed down to the bottom, where, one could argue, all of my opinions truly belong anyway.

rhutchin

“That God created man with freedom of will,…and That Adam sinning was not moved or inclined thereto by God,…”

So, was the freedom of the will affected by Adam’s sin? Are we to fault the Calvinists for asking that question?

“That God before the foundation of the world hath determined the way of life and salvation to consist in Christ, and that he hath foreseen who would follow it…”

No problem for the Calvinists here unless you ask questions about depravity and its affect on people.

These statements are somewhat childish and do not get into the tough issues. So, are you advocating that Baptists stay on a diet of milk all their lives?

    Rick Patrick

    Well, now, if the statements in question are “childish” then let me simply remind you they belong to our Baptist Founder, John Smyth.

    It is fair to say that neither Smyth nor I are advocating a diet of milk for Baptists all their lives, although it is an excellent source of Calcium, both nutritious and delicious.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Calvinism itself somewhat childish as well. One way it is childish is that it simply makes up a bunch of superfluous conjecture. Calvinism is the steady diet of milk that refuses steak when offered. I see no tough issues or important questions Calvinism tackles.

Ben Stratton

Rick,

Here’s the problem with your view that John Smyth is the founder of the Baptists:

1. It is widely regarded that Smyth baptized by pouring. If this is true, then he held to believer’s baptism, but not believer’s immersion. Therefore there’s not a doctrinal connection to Southern Baptists because we insist on believer’s immersion.

2. There’s not a single Southern Baptist church that traces it’s historical linage back to either Smyth or Hewlys. So there’s not a historical connection to Smyth or a doctrinal connection to Smyth.

Let us claim Jesus as our founder for He founded the first New Testament Church. (Matthew 16:18) And long before John Smyth there were people like the Anabaptists, the Waldenses, the Petrobrusians, etc. who practiced believer’s baptism.

    Rick Patrick

    Ben,

    Thanks. If you notice, I did acknowledge the contributions of the Anabaptists as early forerunners, as well as the accomplishments of later Baptists. I have also yielded the issue of mode, while highlighting the importance of recovering believer’s baptism rather than infant baptism.

    You began with “Here’s the problem with YOUR view…”

    With respect, the problem with your view is that my view is not merely mine–it is the majority view of Baptist historians, and one I join a long line of people in embracing.

      Ben Stratton

      Rick,

      We can argue over the views of Baptist historians all day long, but the reason question is: Why regard John Smyth as the founder of the Baptists? Why?

      1. He wasn’t the first to baptize only believers. Why not regard Balthasar Hubmaier, Conrad Grebel, or Michael Sattler as the founder? They baptized only believers long before John Smyth.

      2. He probably didn’t baptize by immersion, so the doctrinal connection to modern Baptists is weak at best. Even if you are willing to overlook immersion, why not look to the Anabaptists instead?

      3. He wasn’t the first Englishman to baptize only believers. There were Anabaptists in England long before 1609.

      For proof please see John T. Christian’s History of the Baptists, volume 1, chapter 15 – The Baptists of the Reformation Period in England – http://www.pbministries.org/History/John%20T.%20Christian/vol1/history_15.htm

      4. He didn’t start a church that lasted. There are no churches in existence today that have a historical connection to him. If you say, well he did start a believer’s baptism church – it still wasn’t the first one. See #1 and #3.

      I would be interested in your answers.

      Ben Stratton

      Rick,

      We can argue over the views of Baptist historians all day long, but the reason question is: Why regard John Smyth as the founder of the Baptists? Why?

      1. He wasn’t the first to baptize only believers. Why not regard Balthasar Hubmaier, Conrad Grebel, or Michael Sattler as the founder? They baptized only believers long before John Smyth.

      2. He probably didn’t baptize by immersion, so the doctrinal connection to modern Baptists is weak at best. Even if you are willing to overlook immersion, why not look to the Anabaptists instead?

      3. He wasn’t the first Englishman to baptize only believers. There were Anabaptists in England long before 1609. For proof please see John T. Christian’s History of the Baptists, volume 1, chapter 15 – The Baptists of the Reformation Period in England – http://www.pbministries.org/History/John%20T.%20Christian/vol1/history_15.htm

      4. He didn’t start a church that lasted. There are no churches in existence today that have a historical connection to him. If you say, well he did start a believer’s baptism church – it still wasn’t the first one. See #1 and #3.

        Rick Patrick

        Ben,

        Concerning all the historians who identify John Smyth as the first Baptist or the Baptist founder, I will let them speak for themselves. I can only speculate about a possible Anglocentric historical bias.

        Admittedly, my argument more or less assumes they are right about Smyth, and then draws the conclusion that if he is our founder, his views represent the earliest truly Baptist tradition.

        However, I would never quarrel with the Anabaptists. We can all agree that they’ve suffered enough. If you prefer that we point to Hubmaier, Grebel or Sattler, I believe all of my conclusions concerning the earliest Traditional Baptist theological viewpoint remain intact as compared with the Calvinism of those who tortured these Baptist Founders or of the Particular Baptists who came along a century later.

        Either way, my theological view is well represented among the earliest Baptist tradition.

        Robert Vaughn

        Good points, Ben. I can see no reason for historians to prefer John Smyth over those who believed similarly and practiced believers’ baptism prior to him unless we’re just determined to pick an Englishman who is readily identifiable (or some other underlying presupposition).

Ron F. Hale

Rick,
According to your Founders Journal source … there it is … black print on white paper: “John Smyth was the pastor of that first Baptist Church.”

Dr Ascol did say prior to this: “The questions of how and when Baptists got started have provided enough fodder to sustain family feuds across all our history no matter when you mark our beginnings. This issue of the Founders Journal not only acknowledges but celebrates the beginnings of modern Baptists in England in 1609.”(Issue 76, Spring 2009)

Enjoy dealing with the fodder on Friday, my friend!

Randy

Baptists did begin in 1609 but I would never say John Smyth is our founder. Jesus Christ better be our Founder or maybe we should go back to Rome because we are falling in the Roman Catholic argument that Baptists are man made churches and therefore illegitimate. As has been stated, English Particular Baptists and not the General Baptists are the ones who had a direct influence on American Baptists.

    Rick Patrick

    Regarding your statement concerning Jesus as the founder of the church, consider this from my original post:

    “Acknowledging Smyth as our denominational founder does nothing to diminish the role of our Lord Jesus as the Church’s One Foundation…”

    To claim a denominational founder brings no shame and need not invoke Roman Catholicism either. The examples I gave in the very first paragraph included Luther, Calvin and Wesley. Furthermore, if it is wrong even to speak of any founders other than Jesus, then certainly any organization making reference to a plurality of founders in the group’s name deserves a similar rebuke.

    Finally, my article is not concerned with comparing the relative influence of General Baptists and Particular Baptists upon any other Baptist group in any other nation, America included. Rather, it seeks to identify the doctrinal position, especially the soteriological position, of the man most historians consider to be our Baptist founder.

    If indeed our earliest founder is John Smyth, then his theological tradition is the earliest Baptist tradition as well. Therefore, because his principles generally line up with my own, it is fair and historically accurate for me to describe my view as Traditionalism.

Les

Well written article Rick. I’ve learned from your article and the comments. One thing it reminds me of is that all of us, Reformed and non-Reformed, have “founders,” if you will, who were not perfect in their theology (and surely in their practices) and we can glean many good and agreeable things from them and jettison other things where we disagree…and be still not tarnished by them.

Thanks,

Les

    Les

    Clarification: “and surely in their practices” would better read, “and surely not in their practices either”

Adam Harwood

Great article, Rick.

Add Dr. James Leo Garrett, Jr., to your list of Baptist scholars who identify John Smyth among “the earliest group that can be properly given the name ‘Baptists.'” See Garrett’s theological profile of Smyth in his massive study entitled _Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study_ (Mercer, 2009), 23-31 (quotation on page 23). Of course, what does Dr. Garrett know about Baptist history? (I say that with tongue firmly planted in my cheek.)

Blessings, brothers.

In Him,

Adam

Dean

Rick, thank you for your article. Many evidently want to rewrite history. Some would have us to embrace the Particular Baptist while ignoring the General Baptist. All books of Baptist history worth reading will have a great deal of attention given to both the Particular and the General. However, Smyth is recognized again and again as the founder of modern Baptist. McBeth in The Baptist Heritage on page 32, “A capable theologian and writer, Smyth’s main claim to remembrance is that he founded the first identifiable Baptist church of modern times, in Holland about 1609. Helwys was baptized by Smyth. Surely Smyth is at the fountainhead of Baptist history.

Robert Vaughn

Yes, many names could be added to the list of historians who agree. Perhaps we should just add up all the Baptist historians who ever existed and just weigh them and see which side is heaviest. ;-) But, of course, we know that is fallacious reasoning. The greater importance of Smyth’s “Propositions” seems to be just that in it some have found their version of what it means to be Baptist and want to be associated with it. Yet, intriguingly, this document was probably written to show that the Smyth division of English believers held the same beliefs as the Mennonites with whom they wished to unite — and possibly was not even written by John Smyth. Previously cited James Leo Garrett in his four century study says, “Whether ‘Propositions and Conclusions concerning True Christian Religion,’ consisting of 100 articles, was written by Smyth just prior to his death or was framed subsequently by his followers is a matter of dispute.” (p. 29). It would seem more consistent, if one wants to claim Smyth as the founder of Baptists, to cite material from his 1609 confession — which is the date used for his “founding” — rather than a document written after he had rejected his “Baptist” position and “Baptist” baptism. It (the 1609 short confession) still serves in holding free will, a general atonement and denying original sin, and does not clearly deny the security of the believer (so far as I can tell).

To me, claiming John Smyth as the founder of Baptists, at least any modern American ones, would be like claiming by great-grandfather’s second cousin is my great-grandfather. He may have said and done some great things I like — maybe more than my real great-grandfather — but it doesn’t make him my great-grandfather.

Rick Patrick

From the same article, McBeth makes two significant observations:

1. “The first General Baptist church, led by John Smyth, was founded in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1608/09.”

2. “The Particular Baptists came into existence a generation later than General Baptists.”

At this point, I am less interested in tracing our influences across the ocean than I am in identifying the very first Baptist, whether General or Particular.

If John Smyth and the General Baptists were indeed first, then theirs is clearly the earliest Baptist tradition possible. Thus, I would argue, such Traditionalism deserves to be recovered, even if Particular Baptists have, in the meantime, made their significant, yet later, contributions.

Matt

In regards to Olson’s comments against the Traditionalists, it’s more that he doesn’t understand why you just won’t call yourself semi-pelagian. Why take the term in an offensive manner if that’s what you are? Olsen wrote, “For a long time I’ve been stating that most American Christians, including most Baptists, are semi-Pelagian, not Arminian and not merely non-Calvinist.”

    Rick Patrick

    Matt, I am indeed offended by any other term than Traditionalist, or, if someone absolutely prefers, Biblicist, Mainstream Baptist, etc.

    You ask, “Why take the term in an offensive manner if that’s what you are?” From my perspective, Matt, you must understand that’s like saying, “Don’t be offended if someone calls you a jerk if you really are a jerk.” Consider this run down of options:

    CALVINIST: Some have said all Baptists are Calvinists of a sort, but I have problems with the way most people define at least four of the five points. Strike One.

    NON-CALVINIST: This is like telling a Redskin fan they are a Non-Cowboy fan, or like telling a Democrat they are a Non-Republican. We can do better than defining people by what they are not.

    ARMINIAN: There is some baggage here, notably on the possibility of losing one’s salvation, along with the initial assumption of Adamic guilt. See the comments by Tim Rogers above.

    SEMI-PELAGIAN: This assumes that man initiates the process of salvation, while God carries it the rest of the way, in contrast with my view that God initiates the process of salvation by means of the drawing of the Holy Spirit through the gospel, to which drawing God has endowed man with “response ability.”

    None of these names work. However, I do like the name Traditionalist. It is accurate theologically–pointing to the Traditionalist Statement. It is accurate culturally–pointing to that time in the mid-Twentieth Century from which our “Traditional” worship services take cue. Finally, it is accurate historically–since the views line up with those of the earliest Baptist tradition possible, the one held by our Baptist founder John Smyth.

      Matt

      Regarding your classifications:

      Calvinists: Who says that all Baptist are Calvinists of some sort? Is there a specific theologian or historian who says this?

      Non-Calvinists: You are a non-Calvinist, but it’s an unhelpful term. Four to five point Calvinists are the ones that theologically would be included in the Calvinist camp. I can’t think of a single three pointer.

      Arminian: You believe in prevenient grace in the Wesleyian sense, don’t you? Would you not be some sort of 4 point Arminian of the Remonstrant sort in that you believe “once-saved-always-saved”?

      Semi-pelagian: You believing man has ability on his own ontologically and legally to respond to the Gospel and a semi-pelagian believing so leaves little room to distinguish you and a semi-pelagian, in my opinion.

      Overall, who cares that you’re offended? I don’t mean it in Christian disrespect. I mean it in the sense that semi-pelagianism typically carries a bad connotation. But if that’s what you are, even if you don’t recognize it, that’s ok. On the historical spectrum, you are closer to the Arminian / semi-pelagian side. There’s no denying that, even if you trace your history back to Smyth, on the one hand, of 50 years worth of SBC life, on the other.

      And why take offense on your side? This issue clearly is an obsesssion. You deny every once’s worth of Reformed and Calvinistic doctrine. That’s ok – Calvinism isn’t the Gospel! But don’t say you’re something entirely new unrelated to some blending of Arminianism and semi-pelagianism.

      You see, the term Traditionalist is a historical classification, not a theological one, as it says nothing about your soteriology, anthropology, Christology, etc. On the spectrum between Pelagius and Augustine, you’re clearly closer to the Pelagian side. Again, I don’t say that to offend. I think most readers, even lay people like myself who have a little knowledge of historical theology, recognize where you lean.

        Rick Patrick

        Matt,

        As to applying the label of Calvinist to all Southern Baptists, consider this:

        http://sbcvoices.com/albert-mohler-why-all-southern-baptists-are-calvinists/

        Maybe Dr. Yarnell can explain why I disaffirm both sides of the Calvinism – Arminian spectrum:

        http://www.baptisttheology.org/documents/neithercalvinistsnorarminiansbutbaptists.pdf

        You want to label me as Arminian or Semi-Pelagian, even though I have clearly disaffirmed and distinguished my position from these other two.

        It’s putting me in a box, lumping and dumping, just a small step away from calling me names on the playground. And you don’t seem to have a problem with it based on this gem: “Overall, who cares that you’re offended?”

        Who cares, indeed. Obviously not Matt. How about I make a deal with you? If there is another term you prefer to Calvinism that uniquely defines your views, I’ll use it, provided you agree to use my preferred term that uniquely defines my views when referring to me. That term is Traditionalist.

        In fact, the Traditionalist Statement is largely based on the idea that as long as we remain in the Calvinist-Arminian frame of reference box, we will never accurately describe Baptist soteriology. Forget the five points. Give me the ten articles.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        But he rejects semi-pelagianism, Calvinism, Arminianism, etc.

        The man can decide what he is and where he leans.

        The assumption here is that there is no grid beyond a 5th century or a 16th century grid.

        This is false. It isn’t Rick’s problem, it is yours, What you can not do, is tell someone they are what they are not. There is nothing remotely Pelagian or Augustinian about Rick’s view.

        There are spectrum beyond these, both biblical and historically speaking.

        I think all the terms are only helpful or unhelpful as they are given content. Calvinism has content, Arminianism has content, Pelagianism has content, and the Traditional Statement has given Traditionalism content. As such, the label works whether or not it is liked by its detractors.

        I still say the beef with the Traditionalism/Traditionalist labelhas little to do with important matters such as theology or history, but rather something petty, like the label being absent some dead theologian’s name.

          volfan007

          Amen Rick….and amen Johnathan.

          Matt, once again….in you….we see the reason why so many of us are not very happy with the Reformed crowd. Arrogant….rude….condescending…I mean, you’re insisting on calling us something that we are not….what if we called you a hyper Calvinist? and, we continued to call you that, even though you pointed out why you’re not?????

          David

            Matt

            First, it’s the internet. I can call him what I want based on what I’ve read in theology. Personally, I think Roger Olson is right on. He’s more knowledgeable than any of us, in my opinion. Let’s not get ourselves all upset about comments people make from people we don’t know. Who’s the one who’s publicly asking for those he doesn’t know to call him what he wants? Look at his involvement on this website and his comments on SBC Voices. He frequently makes 30-40 a day when the issue of Calvinism comes up. This issue is constantly on his mind. I’m a lay person who’s happened to have read some theology in my spare time. To be offended that someone he’s never met calls him a semi-pelagian is a bit much, if you ask me. You can call me what you want, Vols Fan. You can call me a hyper-Calvinist. Having read about it, I don’t think that’s what I am, but I’m not personally offended. What kind of Christian man gets personally offended by a person he’s never met? You called me rude, arrogance, and condescending. Ok. Oh, well! I’ve never met you, never will, and just don’t get too upset when free speech is involved, even from Christians. Is Rick Patrick personally sinned against when people call him anything other than what he wants? I don’t think so. He’s made this his hill to die on.

          Matt

          Earlier, you said Calvinism is childish. Now you say it has content.

          And who said his view had anything Augustinian in it?

          Concerning the context of Traditionalism, to the casual observer who has even some knowledge of the views, it appears either semi-pelagian or Arminian in what it denies and affirms. The five major points that Rick Patrick lists for Smyth can be affirmed by either semi-pelagians or Arminians but not by anyone in an Augustinian view. He appears to be an Arminian who affirms once-saved-always-saved in what he affirms and denies.

            Matt

            Also, if no one is born legally guilty, then why are Cain and Able making sacrifices?

            Johnathan Pritchett

            It has content, yes. Childish content.

            Better?

            “God exists” is a statement Christians, Jews, Muslims, and general theists can all affirm.

            So?

            Roman Catholics believe in the Trinity and that Jesus is Lord just like you do. Does that make you a Roman Catholic?

            Okay then…

Robert Vaughn

Rick, it seems that you may wish to have your cake and eat it too! ( As do most of us :-) ). When you refer to traditionalism in a strictly Southern Baptist sense, you want what is most common, most influential, or the majority view, to be “traditional” — not that which was first in time. But when you are talking about the English Baptists, you want the “traditional” view to be that which is first in time rather than the majority view, or the view with the greatest influence on us.

I’ll stop introducing further discussion of our history, since I see this is really more of a polemic discussion about Calvinism vs. Traditionalism vs. Arminianism genre post. But as a “parting shot”, let me mention the opinion of the man often considered the first Baptist historian. Surely his being first is worth something. Thomas Crosby, after discussing whether it was true that John Smith baptized himself, concludes: “But enough of this. If he were guilty of what they charge him with, ’tis no blemish on the English Baptists; who neither approved of any such method [i.e., se-baptism, rlv], nor did they receive their baptism from him. (The History of the English Baptists, Volume 1, pp. 99-100)

    Rick Patrick

    I’m more of an ice cream fan. Still, I find it ironic that the same reformed people who believe in “preaching the gospel to yourself” are so scandalized with the notion of “baptizing yourself” when there is no one else around to do it.

      Robert Vaughn

      I’m with you on the ice cream vs. cake soteriological debate. But do you like chocolate or vanilla (or, God forbid, something else)?

      As to the reformed people who believe in “preaching the gospel to yourself” I must say I am confused. I’m sure there is a context for this, but I’m not aware of it.

        Rick Patrick

        Chocolate forever!

        As for the whole “preaching the gospel to yourself” issue…

        Chapter Three of Jerry Bridges “The Discipline of Grace” is titled “Preach the gospel to yourself.”

        Here’s a link to a short article discussing it:
        http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-shelf-life-on-preaching-the-gospel-to-yourself

        Of course there is always the Pied Piper himself:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWZKbA-svxA

        For a critical review of this gospel sanctification approach, see “The Truth About New Calvinism” by Paul Dohse:
        http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Calvinism-History-Doctrine-Character/dp/B005U5K9W4

          Robert Vaughn

          Chocolate, Amen! Now as good Baptists we must decide whether to divide over the brand. ;-) Over here the best is Bluebell Dutch Chocolate made in Brenham, Texas.

          Thanks for the info on “preaching the gospel to yourself.” One link I viewed said it “means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life.” That sounds ok to me on its face. But I expect there is probably a lot of context behind all this that I am not inclined to look at to and am not interested enough to think about. The sights also did not define the gospel as simply as I would — how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (not saying they don’t believe that, just that I didn’t see them mention it in defining the gospel.

          Preaching the gospel to yourself is not biblical terminology as far as I can tell and it sounds faddish to me.

Alan Davis

I know we have a long and tiring list of Baptist historians who say that Smyth was the founder of the Baptist Church. I still do not understand how though since he believed in believers Baptism but not by immersion. Is it not one of the markers of true Baptist (not the only marker) that we Baptize only believers and only by immersion? I guess a question might be who carried forth the markers of being Baptist including believers Baptism by immersion? That would seem to be the first Baptists to me. But hey I don’t have all the sheep skins some do (not to diminish their qualifications). And I have heard this about Smyth for years and it is fine if he stays right there in the history books with me. Just a thought.

Rick Patrick

Your “long and tiring” list is my “long, inspiring” list. To me, the enormously significant part is the triumph of credo over paedo. Perhaps that is why the list of men with sheep skins has gone with Smyth.

My pet peeve is a different one. I just wish the man knew how to spell his last name.

Chris Twilley

When we talk about the SBC though, when we look to 1845 at the convention that “formed” the Southern Baptist Convention, one will find that 93 delegates met and every one of them came from churches that had the 1689 Baptist Confession as their doctrinal statement. Here are the “founders” of the SBC. It is a great statement. As I study the life of Benjamin Keach and others who wrote it, I am encouraged and inspired by the fidelity to the comprehensive teaching of Scripture.

    Rick Patrick

    IF the SBC in 1845 was formed in such a way as to promote a completely Calvinistic convention, and IF Baptists generally are rooted in a theological system other than this Calvinistic one, THEN it would be a praiseworthy thing to REFORM the Southern Baptist Convention in order to promote the recovery of the gospel initially proclaimed by our earliest Baptist founders–whether John Smyth or the Anabaptists.

    In such a view, Traditional Southern Baptists are the True Reformers, theological descendants of those who were persecuted to death by the Calvinists.

Randy

Rick, I do appreciate you bringing this topic up and is an interesting discussion despite the fact I disagree with most of what you state. If we reform the SBC back to John Smyth or the Anabaptists then we will be classical Arminians and have no regard to how we do believer’s baptism since they both poured and immersed. We would have to throw away the BFM if that is so since it certainty has Calvinistic theology in it as well as affirms Immersion only. I have great appreciation for the Anabaptists and John Smyth but they represent a time of transition when Baptist beliefs were not solidified in my opinion.

    Rick Patrick

    Perhaps I should have disclaimed from the start any notion that the thing I appreciate about John Smyth was his practice of affusion. The six issues I specifically embraced in Smyth include his views on inability, free will, infant guilt, reprobation, foreknowledge and general atonement. One simply does not have to embrace every single aspect of a founder’s theology, ministry practice or lifestyle in order to follow him as a founder.

    We would NOT have to throw away the BFM in order to follow Smyth’s six views above, since the BFM is written broadly enough to include all six.

    I find it interesting that you view the Anabaptists and Smyth as a time of transition, while I view it as a birthplace. I also think the Anabaptist doctrines were quite solidified. Since they were willing to die for such beliefs, it is fair to say they held them without wavering.

      cb scott

      “One simply does not have to embrace every single aspect of a founder’s theology, ministry practice or lifestyle in order to follow him as a founder.”

      Rick,

      I am extremely glad you made the above statement in your comment. Yes, happy indeed.

      For had you not, some of our brothers who follow a particular Reformer who ministered for a while in Geneva might begin to think that the best way to deal with some of us who do not sit so very closely to the front row when his theological works are read is to tie us to a post and set us on fire.

      Again I say thank you, Rick. You may very well be a life saver.

      Les Prouty (@HaitiOrphanProj)

      Rick,

      I’m also glad you made this statement, “One simply does not have to embrace every single aspect of a founder’s theology, ministry practice or lifestyle in order to follow him as a founder.”

      That’s what Cs have been saying for a long time and to have the idea validated by you may very well help discussions going forward.

        Rick Patrick

        Les,

        Admittedly, those of us who trace our theology from Smyth have to overlook the fact that he poured water over people’s heads, while those who trace their theology from Calvin have to overlook his role in taking the lives of people who disagreed with him about God.

        We can agree to disagree about such minor little things.

        Les Prouty (@HaitiOrphanProj)

        Rick, that reply was right on cue as I expected that reply.

        Nevertheless, the principle stands. as you said,

        “One simply does not have to embrace every single aspect of a founder’s theology, ministry practice or lifestyle in order to follow him as a founder.”

        Note ministry practice and lifestyle. Anyway, have a blessed Lord’s day.

        cb scott

        Les Prouty,

        You would have been far more convincing, closer to the truth, and revealing that you actually know what is going on in SBC life if you had stated your statement thusly:

        “That’s what ‘some’ Cs have been saying . . . “

          Les Prouty (@HaitiOrphanProj)

          cb scott,

          Of course you are right about “some.” My statement stands refined. Not every C has written or spoken on the issue to be sure.

          Thanks brother for the correction.

            cb scott

            Sly, Les Prouty, but no cigar.

            The reference was to many who have “written or spoken” on the issue and you know it.

            There are many who seek to turn the SBC into what it never has been.

            Of course, you are not part of the SBC so it really does not matter to you as it does to some of us who actually know what is going on in many places within the convention.

            Les Prouty (@HaitiOrphanProj)

            cb scott,

            I don’t know what you’re talking about. I originally said, “That’s what Cs have been saying for a long time…”

            I should have written “some Cs.” It’s that simple. No attempt to be sly.

            I don’t know how to quantify “many” vs “some.” Originally I didn’t have “many” in mind, unless you’re a mind reader and could see my mind’s intent even when I couldn’t. :)

            And it does matter to me since I am ordained to preach by the SBC. I care alot.

            Have a good day.

            cb scott

            Well Les,

            What I am about to say to you does not mean I don’t like you or believe you are going to fry in hell for all eternity. I have nothing against you as a person and could hang out with you anywhere, I reckon.

            However, since you do believe in infant baptism and have a contrary belief about the Lord’s Supper from that which is both biblical and Baptist, I would ask you to cease to claim ordination as a Baptist preacher and just be what you are, a Presbyterian.

            There is nothing wrong with that (Being a Presbyterian), but there is no honorable way to be both.

            cb scott

            BTW Les,

            The SBC did not ordain you. Some Baptist guys who where not taking their responsibility very seriously did that to you.

            They did both you and the local Baptist church you served a disservice.

            Les

            cb scott,

            No worries brother. I can feel the love.

            “However, since you do believe in infant baptism and have a contrary belief about the Lord’s Supper from that which is both biblical and Baptist, I would ask you to cease to claim ordination as a Baptist preacher and just be what you are, a Presbyterian.”

            Yes, I believe in infant baptism, and adult baptism, and I can sprinkle, pour and immerse. Being an elder in a Presbyterian church does not preclude that last one. Heck the subject of this post, Rick’s founder, “…baptized by pouring. If this is true, then he held to believer’s baptism, but not believer’s immersion,” according to Ben above. I’m in good company with Smyth on this practice, right?

            As to my view of the Lord’s Supper being contrary to the bible, why I don’t know what you mean?

            And I cannot renounce my ordination dear brother. I would have to first be shown where my views preclude me affirming my ordination.

            “There is nothing wrong with that (Being a Presbyterian), but there is no honorable way to be both.”

            Of course there’s nothing wrong with being Presbyterian. I’m extremely happy to be a Presbyterian and a Baptist. Sorry I’m not honorable in your view.

            Les

            Les

            cb scott,

            “The SBC did not ordain you. Some Baptist guys who where not taking their responsibility very seriously did that to you.”

            Brother I was a recent MABTS grad when that ordination took place a long time ago as I assumed my first full time charge after seminary. They took their responsibility very seriously cb. It wasn’t until 5 years later till my views changed.

            “They did both you and the local Baptist church you served a disservice.”

            I think that’s debatable.

            Les

            cb scott

            Well Les,

            All I can say is you slept through most all of your classes at Mid-American. That was, and as far as I know, is a pretty good school.

            And again, the SBC did not ordain you. The SBC ordains no one.

            Les

            cb,

            “All I can say is you slept through most all of your classes at Mid-American. That was, and as far as I know, is a pretty good school.”

            Nope. Did not sleep through any of them in fact. And it was and still is a good school.

            “And again, the SBC did not ordain you. The SBC ordains no one.”

            Oh, forgot to address that above. I know. The local church did. A SB church. A good church too.

            Les

            Rick Patrick

            Les,

            You wrote: “I’m extremely happy to be a Presbyterian and a Baptist.”

            Did you mean to say a Presbyterian and a former Baptist? Or do I understand that you believe they are compatible rather than mutually exclusive?

            The reason I ask is that I am beginning to encounter some PresbyBaptist ideas here in SBC life and I wonder how prevalent is the notion that one does not have to choose between the two, but can be both simultaneously.

            Les

            Hey Rick.

            You asked, “Did you mean to say a Presbyterian and a former Baptist? Or do I understand that you believe they are compatible rather than mutually exclusive?”

            No I didn’t mean to say former Baptist. Do I think they are compatible? Maybe you tell me. Looks like you have some Baptists in your past (your founder Smyth) who poured?

            I suppose it depends on how one defines “Baptist.”

John H. Gregory

Regardless of who started the SBC, I am an SBC Member because of our stance concerning

Biblicistic or Traditionalistic Theology instead of those others that I will not mention. The concepts
& statements that we have as Traditionalists go back further than The other positions that I will
not mention. That is why I am a Southern Baptist. If & when the SBC goes into any other
‘ism’, I will argue against that move. And if the change occurs, I will leave.
John H. Gregory

John H. Gregory

Brother Matt. While going over all the statements from all the brothers, I ran across one of your
remarks that I would like you to expand. You ask a question: “Also, if no one is born legally
guilty, then why are Cain & Abel making sacrifices?” Surely, you know the theological & Biblical
answer to that question! Would you please explain, 1. What do you mean by the question?
2. Why do you think they were making sacrifices, & 3. If you do not know why Cain & Abel were
making sacrifices, why don’t you know?
I am NOT asking inorder to start trouble. I am just seeking clarification.
God bless,
John G.

    Matt

    A bit loquacious in your questions, John. Why would I not know why they’re making sacrifices why would I not know why I don’t know? Well, if I didn’t know why, then I probably wouldn’t know why I didn’t know why. You might want to think through question 3. Surely I would know the answer? Well, I ask I’m asking Traditionalists, and perhaps i should articulate the question better – where would Cain and Abel get the idea of making sacrifices for sin if they’re not legally guilty? Why are sacrifices introduced in the narrative without individual sin recorded in Genesis 4?

Mary S.

I’ve often wondered where the Traditionalist Christians come up with the “FOREKNOWLEDGE VIEW”. It’s certainly not a legitimate interpretation of Romans 8. What text(s) do you base it on?

    Matt

    I’m unsure which 5 positions Smyth articulates, and that Traditionalists would affirm, are novel to their exegesis.

John H. Gregory

This is for Brother Matt. Sorry for being garrulous. First, Cain & Abel got the idea to make sacrifices from their parents Adam & Eve and God Himself. In Genesis 4:6-7 God asks Cain
why he was upset. Cain Knew that a blood sacrifice was needed. & he refused God’s way.
Of course Cain , Abel, & all the rest Knew that they were guilty! And they all knew that the way
of reconciliation was faith in the shed blood of that sacrifice. And I know that YOU know that.
That is why I ask the question. What I do not know is where do you get the idea that Cain & Abel did not know they were guilty? And why were sacrifices introduced without individual sin being
mentioned? Because their parents were sinners & their parents told them & instructed them.
Even God asked Cain why he (Cain) was angry. God had revealed to all of them that a blood
sacrifice was necessary. That is why I am asking you the purpose of your question.
I may be loquacious & garrulous, but I am also confused. Please, if you will be so kind to
educate me concerning these things. I am NOT trying to be arugumentive.
God bless,
John G.

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