Series on Fundamental Faith 

Forward 

Over the next two or three months, we will attempt to publish weekly, a work by Elder Robert “Bob” Dickerson (dec.), from the “Gospel Appeal” (A monthly publication, of which elder Dickerson was editor for 30 years) on the fundamental principles of gospel faith, as was advocated by our forefathers, and to set forth the principles of “Fundamental Faith” as believed by  the Church, from apostolic times down to this present hour.

 

Elder Dickerson has ably delivered these fundamentals from the Articles of Faith (AOF), of the Baptists as set forth in the London Confession of Faith (1644), and the Philadelphia Confession of Faith (1742), for us to examine and compare with the AOF, we all might see posted somewhere in the churches we now attend.

 

Hopefully as we read these AOF, and the thoughts of Elder Dickerson on them, we will find that they are supportive of the principles stated in the AOF we as Primitive Baptist stand for, and believe are in harmony with the gospel as established by our Lord Jesus Christ, and preached “to every creature which is under heaven,” (Col. 1:23) by His apostles, and those whom they ordained, by the laying on of their hands.

 

So, as we read the thoughts set forth here, by Elder Dickerson, let us “examine ourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5), and see how our walk in the truth today compares with the “Fundamental Faith,” which was believed and practiced by those who have labored in the faith before us.

 

            The following is used by permission of: “The Primitive Baptist, The Christian Pathway – Gospel Appeal.”

 

GOSPEL APPEAL

 

Established July, 1966

An Earnest Appeal to a

Closer Observance of Gospel Truth

Vol. XL No. 12 Craigsville, WV June 2006

FUNDAMENTAL FAITH

 

By Elder Robert “Bob” Glenn Dickerson, Jr.

10-5-1930 to 1-12-14

 


 
INTRODUCTION

 

We begin in this issue a series of articles based on the "Articles of Faith" held by the Primitive Baptist churches. These Articles of Faith may vary in their wording from one section of the country to another, but in essence are the same as those proclaimed in the London (England) Confession of Faith in 1644 and the Philadelphia (USA) Confession of Faith, September 25, 1742. These are the items that our forefathers in the faith felt were essential in the belief of the local church. It was never intended that these Articles of Faith should replace the Scriptures, or be considered as superior to the Scriptures. Rather they are an attempt to make a simple statement of the principle doctrines found in the pages of the Bible.

 

In listing the reason we believe the Bible to be God's inspired word, I have drawn on external evidence to supplement the claims of the Scripture writers themselves. Having proved that the Bible is God's inspired word and the only rule for faith and practice, I have sought no other source to support the remaining articles other than the Bible. What Primitive Baptists believe and practice is based on the Bible.

 

ARTICLE I:

 

            WE BELIEVE THE SCRIPTURES OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS ARE THE WORD OF GOD, AND THE ONLY RULE OF FAITH AND PRACTICE.

 

"Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:21). 

           

By the Scriptures we mean the Old Testament (Genesis to Malachi) and the New Testament (Matthew to Revelation). We do not mean the Apocryphal books, the book of Mormon, the edicts of the Popes or of any religious council. God is the author of every book in the Bible, but He is not the author of any other book. The Bible is the fullness of the written revelation of God to men (Jude 3).

           

Wherever the writers of the Old Testament mention the subject, they testify that God is the source of their words; for example, Jeremiah 32:1; and 36:1 and 2. The New Testament writers recognized the entire Old Testament as inspired: Hebrew 1:1; II Peter 1:21; I Peter 1:11; Luke 24:44; John 10:35; and Acts 1:16. The multitude of references to the Old Testament Scriptures by our Lord in His public ministry, and the multitude of references by the writers of the gospels to the Old Testament Scriptures clearly declare that these writings are the inspired word of God. And when the writers of the New Testament refer to their work, they invariably denote it as the inspired word of God: II Peter 3:15, 16; Galatians 1:11, 12, 16, 17; and Ephesians 3:5.

           

The Scriptures are so inspired by God that not only the ideas contained in them are God's ideas but so that the very words recorded are God's words: II Timothy   3:16;   I Peter 1:11, 12;   Exodus 4:15 and 19:6; and I Corinthians 2:13. This refers, of course, to the original writings in Hebrew, Greek and Chaldaic (Aramaic);   but of   all   the   translations   available  today the King James Version does most accurately present God's word in the English language. Romans 15:4; I John 1:4 and 2:1; II Timothy 3:16-17; and John 20:31 tell us the purpose of the Scriptures: They are addressed to the people of God (Eph. 1:1) and are given for their comfort and instruction (I Thess. 4:18; II Tim. 3:16).

           

The Scriptures are sufficient. No other writings are necessary for the child of God or the church of God. The Scriptures are the ONLY rule for our belief and for our practice. This is evidenced by the following facts: (1) God is the author of these books and no other; therefore these contain the full revelation of His will to us. (2) The word "testament" indicates a will; this is the will of God setting forth the full disposition of His estate (the Kingdom of Heaven). (3) The testimony of the ages is that for every problem in the life of the individual child of God and of the church, the answer is found in the Bible. (4) The Scriptures are given that the man of God might be "perfect" (II Tim. 3:16-17). The word "perfect" here means complete. We could not be more than perfect, therefore these Scriptures are sufficient. See also Luke 16:29-31; II Peter 1.19. 11'.Isiah 8:20     Revelation 22:19; and Galatians 1:8-9.

           

We do not need either priest nor scholar to interpret the Scriptures. The Scriptures were written by the Spirit of God and are interpreted to us by that same Spirit which is within the heart of every regenerated child of God (I Cor. 6:19). Also, Scripture interprets Scripture. Our understanding of any one passage must of necessity agree with the whole body of teaching of the Scriptures (II Pet.1:20-21; Acts 15:14-15).

           

We have shown above that the writers of the Bible clearly claimed inspiration. But how do we know their claims are true? The external evidence of history and experience clearly testify that the Bible is God's inspired word; and we see that by the following:

(1)   The opposition of Satan, who has attempted in every century to destroy the Bible and prohibit the publication of any portion of the Scriptures, and yet the preservation of these Scriptures through the years despite the formidable opposition of Satan and of men clearly shows the providential hand of God. No other writings are available from many of the periods of Bible history. These  writings  alone have survived innumerable obstacles because God has preserved them.

(2)   The unity of the Scriptures — 66 books by some 24 different authors written over a period of 2000 years and yet not one conflicting statement is made. They all blend together perfectly with one central theme to the entire Bible — Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the only Savior of sinners.

(3)   The nature of the writings in their Godly attitudes; the majesty of the style of those books written by unlearned men; the complete truthfulness that would list all the bad with the good; these are characteristics not found in any other writings on earth.

(4)   The adaptability of the Bible to all ages. Here are writings ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 years old; yet today the world's best seller year after year. The Bible answers our every problem today just as easily as those of the people of Bible times.

(5)   The revelation within the Scriptures of things that man could not possibly know; only God could know.

 

(6)   The fulfillment of the prophecy of the Scriptures; hundreds of predictions concerning men and nations fulfilled to the letter by men who were either ignorant of them, disbelieved them, or tried their best to avoid them. The hundreds of predictions of the Messiah completely fulfilled in Christ Jesus. No other book has a record of being 100% right.

 

(7)   But the greatest evidence of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures to the regenerated child of God is the testimony within. The Spirit of God within testifies (when hearing the Bible read or expounded) that this is truly God's word. Upon no other writings does it leap for joy and so certify the truth of the words recorded. The Scriptures record our Christian experiences.

And what does all this mean to you and me? That we should study the Bible more than any other  book.  That it should be the guiding light of our lives. That we should seek for the strength and comfort the Bible gives and should pattern our lives according   to the  teachings  of the Bible.   And that we should ever live in recognition of this truth: The Bible is always right (because it is God's word); and whenever we or our church differ with the Bible, we are wrong. Our Lord said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35).