December 16, 2017

A Certain Sound (2)

Fred Moritz

Part One This is Part Two

In the first post, Dr. Moritz surveyed the confusion caused by the uncertain sounds that still come out of evangelicalism, even from sources deemed “conservative.” In this post, he surveys the certain sound we try to offer as the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International.

“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Cor. 14:8).

A Certain Sound

The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International has stood for the Word of God and for Baptist Fundamentalism since its inception in 1920.[1] It began as a protest within the Northern Baptist Convention, functioned as a fellowship of preachers within the Conservative Baptist movement, and since the early 1960s has been an independent fellowship of like-minded Baptist individuals. It has attempted to mark out a consistent, Biblical, Baptist, and separatist course. As independent, Fundamental Baptists, we seek to “sound the trumpet” in a way that will encourage Baptist brethren in their service for Christ.

Bible Based

Our doctrinal statement[2] declares our belief in the inspiration, inerrancy, and preservation of God’s Word. Though brief, the statement reflects the clear teaching of Scripture and our identification with historic Bible-believing, orthodox Christianity. Our other theological affirmations flow from the inspired Word and our belief that it is our sole authority in matters of faith and practice. This fellowship has spoken by resolution against the extreme positions in the version debate on at least ten occasions since 1985. Those resolutions are available at the FBFI website. In addition, several within the FBFI frame of reference have written extensively against the aberrant theology of the King James Only position.[3]

Dispensationalist

Because we affirm the sole authority of Scripture in all matters of faith and practice, we recognize its teaching concerning the church. Sections 1 and 9 of our statement affirm our commitment to a dispensational understanding of Scripture. In Ephesians 3:1–11 and Colossians 1:25–29 the Bible unequivocally states that the church is a mystery, not revealed to the world until God revealed it in the New Testament era. God has a future plan for Israel (Rom. 11:2). Israel and the church are distinct entities, and the church has not replaced Israel in God’s plan. Those who are committed to Covenant Theology base their system upon supposed covenants of works and grace, which are not found in Scripture.

Baptist

The sole authority of Scripture leads us to affirm that we are unashamedly Baptists. Our Baptist Distinctives come directly from the Word of God. Because the church is a New Testament phenomenon, the New Testament is the authority for church practice.[4]

Scripture teaches that the members of a New Testament church should be those who have believed the gospel and have testified of their faith in Christ by believer’s baptism— that is, immersion in water (Acts 2:41; 8:38, 39).

The same authoritative New Testament teaches us the truth of the autonomy of the local church. Acts 15 describes the independent yet fraternal relationship between the churches at Jerusalem and Antioch. Paul repeatedly stressed to the Corinthians that what he taught them by apostolic authority was common practice among the churches he planted.[5]

It is the Word of God that teaches the priesthood of the believer (Eph. 3:12; Heb. 10:19–25). This also includes the priesthood of all believers (1 Pet. 2:5, 9).

We affirm that this same inspired, authoritative book teaches us the truth of individual soul liberty. All believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who teaches God’s truth (1 John 2:27), and all will give an individual account to God (Rom. 14:12). “Everyone to whom it [Scripture] comes is bound to study it for himself, and govern his life by it.”[6]

The Bible teaches two ordinances for the local churches, and they are believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We practice these two ordinances in obedience to the command of our Lord (Matt. 26:26–29; 28:19).

We believe in the separation of church and state because Christ established the principle that we live in two realms and have responsibility to Caesar and to God (Matt. 22:21).

Separatist

No one who believes the Bible can reasonably question that it teaches believers in Christ and Bible-believing churches to separate from theological unbelief: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17). Paul warned the elders of the Ephesian church about false teachers (Acts 20:29, 30). The New Testament is replete with clear commands to separation from unbelief.[7] We are imperfect servants of Christ, but we have endeavored to maintain a testimony of separation from unbelief. We know the history of New Evangelicalism and acknowledge that a rift between brethren occurred over this issue. We recognize that Conservative Evangelicals are brothers in Christ. It is a mystery that some of these brethren today, by whatever name they are called, can maintain ministry ties with unbelievers. As Fundamental Baptists we must commit ourselves again to two issues. We must consistently expose and refute false teachers and their doctrine (2 Tim. 2:16–23). We must also consistently maintain the godly attitude that Scripture mandates separatists to exhibit (2 Tim. 2:24–26). We must not neglect or forsake either Biblical instruction.

We must never forget that Biblical separation is at the same time personal separation from sin and the flesh. Several of the separation passages cited teach separation from both false doctrine and the sins of the flesh.[8] Great debates go on about standards for personal Christian conduct,[9] but it is enough to say that the Biblical commands (both positive and negative) in Colossians 3:1–17 and Ephesians 4:17–5:21 are from God and are binding upon believers today.

Conclusion

One brief article cannot address every important matter. Some theological issues need more attention than they have received here. Certainly issues of a philosophy of ministry and preaching need to be addressed. Those topics do receive regular attention in this publication.

We live in confusing and uncertain days. Let us fix our attention on the revealed Word and chart our course by it as we pray “come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).


Dr. Fred Moritz serves as a seminary professor at Maranatha Baptist Seminary and as executive director emeritus of Baptist World Mission.

(Originally published in FrontLine • May/June 2010. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)

  1. Curtis Lee Laws coined the term “Fundamentalist” when reporting on the first meeting of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship in 1920. []
  2. The FBFI Doctrinal Statment is part of its constitution. It may be viewed at: http://fbfi.org/constitution/. []
  3. See the books From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man and God’s Word in Our Hands, both edited by J. B. Williams and Michael D. Sproul; and God’s Word Preserved: A Defense of Historic Separatist Definitions and Beliefs, available from Tri-City Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona. []
  4. Robert Delnay (“The Unnoticed Baptist Distinctive” in Faith Pulpit, Ankeny, IA: Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, February 1987, 1) said, “It is the truth that while the whole Bible is verbally inspired and that the two Testaments harmonize perfectly, in any seeming conflict between the Old and New Testaments, in this age of grace it is the New Testament rule that prevails.” He goes on to say, “The church is not Israel, and those of us who are dispensational have already assented to this basic idea. We have accepted the principle that in any seeming conflict, we take the New Testament rule. Often we have accepted the corollary that Old Testament rules apply to the church only to the extent that the New Testament repeats them.” []
  5. 12 See 1 Corinthians 1:2; 4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 14:33–38; and 16:1, 2. []
  6. Francis Wayland, Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches (Watertown, WI: Roger Williams Heritage Archives, 2003 electronic copy of 1857 edition), 132. []
  7. These include but are not limited to 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Galatians 1:8, 9; 2 Timothy 2:16–26; 2 John 7–11; and Jude 3, 4. []
  8. As examples, see 2 Corinthians 7:1 and 2 Timothy 2:22. []
  9. Peter Masters has addressed this issue among the Conservative Evangelicals. See “The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness” from Sword & Trowel 2009, No. 1. Available at http://www.metropolitantabernacle. org/?page=articles&id=13. []


Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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