Illustrating the difference between what Primitive Baptists believe and Calvinism.
There are some teachings in which Primitive Baptist are similar to those of Calvinists; however, the True Church was never part of the Catholic Church as was John Calvin (1509-1564), a Catholic priest who desired to reform that church. And, although our Baptist forefathers protested some of the same things that Calvin and Luther did, they were not part of the Reformation of the 16th century. Thus, Primitive Baptists are not accurately called Protestants.
The Church of Jesus Christ had never needed to be reformed in the sense of the Protestant Reformation, for they held to the doctrines of grace preached by them long before the sixteenth century. The Divine Providence of God led the Reformers to see the errors of Catholicism, and it took the grace of God for them to stand up for their convictions and I am thankful for their God given courage. Nevertheless, the bodies of believers identified with the Reformation did not come to the whole truth, but went from one extreme to the other. In my opinion, they went from one ditch to the other, and as I often heard Elder Oba Cummings say, â€œIf I am going to be in a ditch, then one ditch is just as good as the other.
The doctrine now identified widely as Calvinism is not the truth as taught by the Scriptures, as there are many erroneous doctrines that Calvinists profess, some of which being:
1) Calvinists teach the absolute predestination of all things.
2) Calvinists teach that God predestinated some persons to hell and some to heaven.
3) Calvinists teach the perseverance of the saints, not the preservation of the saints. (There is a vast difference.)
4) Calvinists teach that God predestinated all the elect to hear and respond to the gospel.
5) Calvinists teach that God has a different way of saving persons not able to hear or respond to the gospel, such as infants, idiots and Old Testament saints who lived before Jesus.
6) Calvinists teach that the gospel is Gods ordained means of eternally saving His elect; therefore, eternal salvation is a process and comes through: a) preaching; b) hearing; c) believing; and d) persevering during life on earth.
In Galatians 1:6-9, the Apostle Paul warns against those who preach another gospel differing from the apostolic gospel. Calvinism is â€œanother gospel.â€ Although we agree with some points (identified by many by the acronym TULIP) of Calvinist other gospel, we do not believe those points of doctrine in the way that professed Calvinists do.
In counter-distinction to the points set forth above, I present the following as to what makes us Primitive Baptists and not Calvinists:
1) We do not believe that God predestinated all things that come to past.
2) We do not believe that God predestinated any person to hell, but that God rescued many from hell's certainty.
3) We believe that perseverance -- holding out faithful until the end -- is taught by the Scriptures and that all saints should endeavor to do so, but the fact remains that not all do; nevertheless, that shall all be preserved for their home in eternal heaven.
4) If God had predestinated all of the elect to hear the gospel, then all the elect most certainly will all hear it. If that was true, it certainly follows that the confusion of todays religious world makes it mandatory to identify the true gospel among many being preached. Does the gospel mean simply the act of confessing Jesus Christ as the Eternal Son of God, as taught by large numbers of Christian groups today?
The Apostle Paul said that there is only one gospel and that any who preach another gospel (which is not another) should be anathema (cursed). So, unless willing to accept that God has left out of His predestination all Catholics, Methodists, Charismatics, and others that do not believe the Scriptures like the Calvinists, one must conclude that Calvinists preach what Paul called another gospel.
5) We believe that God has only ONE WAY of saving sinners regardless of whether one be an infant, an idiot, an Old Testament saint or a New Testament saint, and that is through the finished work of the Lamb of God in fulfilling the law of God to a jot and tittle, and the bearing of the sins of all those were given to Him by the Father in the Covenant of Grace. Only this way assures that all Spiritual Israel will be saved.
6) We do not believe that all of God's elect will hear and believe the one and only true gospel, as there are multitudes of God's elect who die every day that have not even heard the gospel as man preaches it. But all shall know Him, from the least unto the greatest, because their salvation is not in the hands of the preacher.
Eternal salvation is not progressive, such as in the case of a process; rather, it is an instantaneous act by the Holy Spirit quickening the dead sinner from death unto life. There is a lot of difference between hearing the voice of the preacher and hearing the Voice of the Son of God, and thus many will be saved in spite of what they believe, whether Catholic, Methodist, Charismatic, Calvinist, Primitive Baptist, or of no religious affiliation.
In summary, we believe that no person will be saved because he or she heard the preacher, repented, confessed, or believed; rather, all are saved in the very same way, by the sovereign Grace of a Covenant keeping God.