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. 3 Craigsville, WV August 2006



By Elder Robert “Bob” Glenn Dickerson, Jr.

10-5-1930 to 1-12-14




“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23).

Our previous Article of Faith dealt with the doctrine of original sin; the total depravity of the entire human family. Having concluded with the Apostle Paul, the truth of this doctrine, that the whole world is under sin (Gal. 3:22), we must consider what means (if any) man can use to remove himself from the condition and resulting damnation of sin, which is his by nature. Many remedies are recommended by the religious world today, and we shall examine them in light of the testimony of the inspired word of God.

By Free Will? Many (yea, most) people believe that man can simply exercise his free will and believe in God and His Son, and believe in God's way, and thus free himself from sin. But we noted that the death of Adam was not only corporeal but also in being dead to spiritual life and knowledge, cast out from the presence of God (Gen. 3:23, 24). Belief in God for salvation is not the belief one makes with the natural mind, but is spiritual belief that must be made with the spiritual mind. It is faith without  which we cannot please God (Heb. 11:6).

Thus, Jesus affirmed that we must be born again. Faith is a fruit or result of this new birth (Gal. 5:23; Eph. 2:8). We do not believe in God in order to be born again (I John 5:1; I Cor. 12:3), but we believe because we have been born of His Spirit. We have no free will to exercise until God gives us spiritual life in the new birth (John 6:44; Phil. 2:13).

(2) By Self-Reformation? Many think that by mending their ways and turning from the sinful way of the world, they can so reform their lives as to make themselves acceptable to God. But God's word declares that man cannot change his nature from evil to good. See Jeremiah 13:23, Proverbs 20:9, Matthew 12:43-45. Jesus declared, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).

(3) By keeping the law? The Jews believed that salvation was in the keeping of the law of Moses. But although they lived as a nation for 1500 years under the law, we have yet to find one person, other than Jesus, who has completely kept the law and never transgressed even one teaching of it (See Gal. 3:10; James 2:10). Just one transgression brings the whole curse of the law upon us.

(4) By works? Many ask, "Can I not find salvation by my good works?" Not unless all your works are perfectly good and there has never been one mistake in your life. Eccl. 7:20. And then what could you offer to God for your nature of sin? Isa. 64:6; Gal. 5:19-23. The Bible clearly teaches that the works of man have no part in our eternal salvation. Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5; Romans 9:11, 16.

(5) By doing the best I can? "I know that I make mistakes, but I do the best I can and I am sure God will take that into account and save me" is the cry of many. God didn't say you must do the best you can; but He said "be perfect" (Matt. 5:48). If we have done all we were told to do, we are yet unprofitable servants (Lk. 17:7-10). Only complete holiness can stand before a just and holy God (Ps. 5:4,5).

(6) By worldly wealth and fame? Neither community respect nor this world's riches will open Heaven's gate. I Tim. 6:17; Prov. 11:4.

(7) By education? Six thousand years of the history of man shows that education has not changed human nature one whit. Where our early ancestors fought with clubs, we fight with atomic bombs. Education has improved our abilities and livelihood, but has not changed the sinful nature of man. The Apostle Paul was one of the most highly educated men of his day. Hear him on Romans 7:24 and Philippians 3:8, 9.

(8) By Baptism and Church Membership? Joining the church won't make you a Christian any more than sleeping in a garage would make you an automobile. Consider Simon in Acts 8:12-23 and others: I Timothy 1:19, 20; Acts 5:1-11.

Now, what conclusion can we reach? Simply that there is no effort that man can put forth that will bring salvation for himself. (Rom. 8:8) Truly, if there be any salvation it must be as David declared, "Of the Lord" (Ps. 37:39; see also Jonah 2:9). Our Lord said it plainly: "Ye must be born again". The whole world, despite 6,000 years of civilization, still stands guilty before God (Rom. 3:19). As long as we sin we have no hope in ourselves (John8:34). But read John 8:36.

“There is nothing man can do to save himself.” Yes, there is hope, and that hope is in Jesus Christ our Lord and the sacrifice He made on Calvary's cross. And before you think there is something you must do to make that sacrifice effective for you, ask yourself one question. Since it has been nearly 2,000 years since our Lord died on Calvary, what could anyone do today that could change or enlarge the ones Christ died for?

No, there is nothing man can do to save himself. And think about it just a minute: if man could have saved himself — if there was something that we sinful Adams could perfoun that would save us from the eternal condemnation of sin, then why would God have sent His beloved Son to suffer and die if there was another way? When you consider the fact that God had all knowledge and all wisdom, He certainly would know if there was any other way of salvation. And He would not have sent His Son to suffer the ridicule and afflictions of men, and to die in agony upon the cross if salvation could have been attained in any other way. The very fact that He did suffer and die upon the cross declares beyond question that there is no other way of salvation (Isa. 59:16).