Series on Fundamental Faith 



As noted previously, this is 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. 


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




Established July, 1966

An Earnest Appeal to a

Closer Observance of Gospel Truth

Vol. XLI No. 9  Craigsville, WV  March 2007



By Elder Robert “Bob” Glenn Dickerson, Jr.

10-5-1930 to 1-12-14


Article X:


"Keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you" (I Cor. 11:2).

Paul instructed the church at Corinth to "keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you" (I Cor. 11:2). They are to be observed by the church until our Lord shall come again (I Cor. 11:26). There are but two ordinances of the church authorized in Holy Writ, although the institutions of men name many others. But we are bound by God's Word to recognize only that which He has established.

Baptism: This was introduced by John the Baptist under the command of God as an outward sign of an inward fact (Matt. 3:6). It is to be performed in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; because our salvation rests in the performance of the work of salvation by each of the persons in the trinity (Matt. 28:19). It is a symbol of the death, burial, and resurrection of the believer with (in) Christ; and a symbol of the burial of our old life of self-service and the resurrection unto a new life in His service (Rom. 6:3-4). It is not the washing away of sins, but the answer of a good conscience toward God (I Pet, 3:21). Valid baptism depends upon a proper administrator, a proper subject, and a proper mode.

The Lord's Supper: I Corinthians 11:20; given in Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:19-20; Mark 14:22-24; I Corinthians 11:23-30. Also called communion (I Cor. 10:16). The wine and unleavened bread represent the blood and body of our Savior. They are not the actual body and blood, for Christ only died once (Heb. 10:10, 12, 14). When Jesus presented the wine and bread to his disciples, He was yet flesh and blood. Obviously in saying "This is my body," He was saying this is the representation of my body; a physical reminder of my sacrifice for you. As wine contains power where grape juice does not, and as leaven is used in scripture as a type of sin, only wine and unleavened bread can truly represent the body and blood of our Lord. His blood is powerful to the remission of all of the sins of all the elect; His body was holy and without sin. The Bible does not tell us how often we should administer this ordinance, but does advise us of the sacredness of the occasion, and the manner in which it should be administered (I Cor. 11:34).

Many Primitive Baptist churches (especially in the southern United States) also include in this article, the statement that "We believe the washing of the saint's feet is an example to be kept." We read in John 13:1-17 of the actions of our Lord while here on earth in washing the feet of His disciples. Then He said (John 13:15), "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." This instruction comes with a promise: "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17). The testimony of God's children over the decades is that they have found a sweet, joyful blessing in their hearts in this service as well as in following all the Lord's instructions.

Concerning baptism, we have stated that three things were essential to constitute a valid baptism: A proper administrator, a proper subject, and a proper mode. Under the heading of our next article we shall consider the scriptural teaching concerning a proper administrator. Here we wish to consider the proper subject and the proper mode.

True Water Baptism is only by Immersion: The word translated "baptize" in our King James translation is from an original Greek word meaning to "dip, plunge, or immerse." History records that there was no other form of baptism for many centuries in tne early church. The symbolism of baptism picturing a burial and resurrection demands immersion as the only proper symbol (Rom: 6:4). Examine these scriptures: Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:5 (why go to the river if sprinkling would suffice? each town had a well of water); John 32:3 (who would need "much water" to sprinkle?), Acts 8:36, 38 (why would it be necessary for both to leave the chariot and go into the water just to sprinkle the eunuch?). Even John Wesley, John Calvin and the other advocates of sprinkling admitted that immersion was the only true meaning of the word in the scriptures, and that sprinkling was substituted later in history by the Roman Catholic Church. Man has been given no authority to change the ordinances of God, and any so-called baptism other than immersion is not baptism according to the practice of John the Baptist and the apostles. (Note: not any immersion will suffice however; there must be a proper administrator and a proper subject).

Only True Believers are Fit Subjects for this Ordinance: Acts 8:12, 36, and 37. True believers are those who have been born of the Spirit of God (John 1:12, 13) and thus have repented and believed in Christ (Rom. 2:14; I Cor. 12:3). Baptism was restricted to these (Matt. 3:7-8; Acts 2:41; 10:47). Nowhere does the Bible mention the baptism of even one infant. The baptism of an entire household as mentioned in Acts 16:15 does not indicate that there were any infants in the household, but rather that all were believers. The requirement for baptism is quite clear: "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest" (Acts 8:37).

The Lord's Supper to be restricted only to members of the Church: The Lord's Supper is a church ordinance, and thus obviously intended only for members of the church (I Cor. 11:18¬20). Only those who have been born again have any right or interest in communing with Christ; and- these should follow the example of our Lord in submitting to baptism and thus taking up the cross to follow Him.

How can a disobedient child observe this hour of communion with God? Again, there are restrictions placed in the scripture as to the partaking of this supper (I Cor. 5:11; 11:29). The church can only discipline those within her body; not those without. To admit any and all to partake of this supper would be to destroy church discipline, which is designed to protect the unity and purity of the church. Again, history records that the early church limited this ordinance to her members. It is well to note that it was only with His disciples that our Lord observed this supper, and that it was only upon the disciples that He performed the humble task of washing their feet. In summary, only those who have received a valid baptism and have remained in good standing with the church are authorized to partake of this ordinance of the church.

The ordinances of the church are NOT essential to eternal salvation: Those who would make eternal salvation dependent upon baptism or any other church ordinance would, in so doing, nullify God's election and calling, and the power of the blood of our Savior. For 4,000 years of the history of mankind, from Adam to John the Baptist, these ordinances did not exist, yet God saved His people for Heaven and immortal glory. Simeon, in Luke 2:25¬32, declared that he had seen his salvation and was ready to die; although this was some 30 years before John began to baptize. The thief on the cross received the promise to be with Christ in paradise, and it is quite obvious that he had no opportunity to partake of these ordinances (Luke 23:43). "Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9). See further I Corinthians 1 : 17; and compare Acts 22:16 and I Peter 3:21.