Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Believer's Daily Remembrances by James Smith

Courtesy of Johnny Farese:

The Believer's Daily Remembrances by James Smith

We will remember Thy love. - Song 1:4

What subject is so sweet as the love of Jesus? The goodwill of His heart towards us, which He fixed on us sovereignty, immutably, and eternally.

Let us remember this love of Jesus, for it is sufficient to fill us with joy, peace, and love. Oh, how it condescended to look upon us, come and die for us, and now to dwell with us! What benevolence it has and does display, giving everything that is necessary for life and godliness.

How it dignifies its objects, raising them to glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life. Let us remember His love; to comfort our hearts amid changing friendships; to encourage our souls in seasons of darkness; to produce confidence in times of trial; to inspire with fortitude in times of danger; to beget patience when burdened and oppressed; to reconcile the mind under bereaving dispensations; and to produce zeal and devotedness in the Lord's cause and service. Oh, love of Jesus! be Thou my daily subject and constant theme!

Beloved, let us remember His love, if we forget everything beside; there is nothing so sweet, so valuable, so excellent as this!

God only knows the love of God;
Oh, that it now were shed abroad
In this poor stony heart!
Give me to know this love divine,
This heavenly portion, Lord, be mine;
Be mine this better part!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thankfulness by Pastor Jim Savastio

I am not a big fan of William Shakespeare’s works (so sorry to disappoint!), but some years ago I was struck by a line from King Lear.  The line occurs as Lear is praying down a curse upon a woman to be childless or if she must bear a child that the child would grow to be the source of unbearable sorrow.  It is his desire that the cursed woman would learn the painful lesson, “…how sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.”  Imagine loving and providing for a child every day only to find sullen silence or grumbling complaint. A grievous discontent that you had not given enough or given the right things.  That the room was too small, the clothing out of style, the meals, though abundant not good enough for them.  How the ingratitude would grieve the heart of any mother!
Imagine now being the recipient of the loving and tender care of an Almighty God.  To be daily surrounded with innumerable benefits.  Imagine, moreover, that the blessings that you enjoy go beyond the manifold provisions and safety and the enjoyment of friends and family and love and laughter and music.  Imagine that you have been delivered from the guilt and burden and consequences of your sins!  Imagine, if you will that, in union with Jesus Christ, you have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places!  If you are a Christian you do not have imagine any of this. It is your life!  What would you expect to be the general daily disposition of the one who is such a debtor to mercy?  Joy?  Thankfulness?  Contentment?  Trust?  Of course!  But is it the case with you? Has the sharpness of the serpent’s tooth made its way into your mouth? Have you found yourself wondering in your life what you have to be thankful for?  Have you found the distresses and disappointments of daily life looming so large that they overwhelm the felt knowledge of God’s goodness to you?  If ever there is to be imbalance in our lives, if ever there is to be a choice in regard to what our minds will dwell upon, if we will choose that which will overwhelm all other things–let it be the blessings of God in our lives.  May we live in the light of them that a thankful song will be our companion all the days of our life.
Jim Savastio, Pastor
Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reformed Baptist Church Government Part 1

Reformed Baptist vs Presbyterian Church Governance
by Elmer Wiebe 
I was recently asked to describe the differences between the Reformed Baptist and Presbyterian forms of church government and how they are scripturally established. 
First of all, we will define terms for a clearer understanding and see the contrast between the two governments.  The term 'Presbyterian' refers to the form of government that is used by a church or a group of churches. It derives its meaning from the Greek word 'presbuteros,' which is used throughout the New Testament in connection with the rule of the church, and is usually translated 'elder.' A Presbyterian church governs its congregation by both teaching elders (the pastor) and ruling elders (mature Christian men in the congregation gifted accordingly). Together they make up the 'Session' and join with 'Sessions' of other regional churches in their denomination forming a 'Presbytery.
The role of the elders or session in each church is to promote and protect the purity and peace of its members. Its rule is of an ecclesiastical (pertaining to the church) and spiritual nature. Those ordained have been charged to watch diligently over the flock in their care by being a good and humble example, by teaching, exhorting, and encouraging the congregation with sound doctrine, by praying continually for its people, by visiting the sick, by administering the sacraments, by disciplining the disobedient and unrepentant, and by governing the worship service and church gatherings in a manner which reflects the love and care of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.
Presbyterian churches find their roots in Scotland during the Reformation of the mid 1500's. John Knox, a disciple of John Calvin, helped reform the churches in Scotland to this form of government.
Presbyterian church government is in contrast to two other forms of church government, Hierarchal and Congregational. The hierarchal form was and is seen most clearly in the Roman Catholic church, where there are many different ranks of office, each rank subordinate to a higher rank, and headed by the pope. Congregational churches, on the other hand, are separate and autonomous from each other in rule. Reformers believed that the sole head of the Church was Christ Himself, who works through offices which He has clearly instituted in His word, and not a single leader on earth. They also believed in maintaining a sense of unity and purpose with other churches, especially in matters of appeal and denominational policy."

You may read more about presbyterian government and the duties of the elders by referring to the VPC session page or the PCA Book of Church Order.

The Reformed Baptist view consists of autonomous local churches similar to the example given throughout the New Testament as the early apostles visited local autonomous churches. These Reformed Baptist churches usually operate in a two eldership format.

Acts 6:1-6 bears this out. It records the institution of the office and details its nature. The apostles were overburdened with work and were faced with a difficult situation. It was necessary to sort out priorities; while the temporal needs were important, and could not be neglected, they could not lay aside their duties in the Word of God. Their proposed remedy was very simple. They charged the church with the task of choosing trustworthy men, able to fulfill the task. These were the first deacons, given the responsibility of administering this temporal distribution after they were ordained into office by the apostles.
 We need to make several important points. 1. The apostles recognized aspects of their own duty other than the ministry of the word, but could not perform them because of human limitations. 2. They expected the congregation of disciples to choose the seven men who would meet the qualifications and perform the task well. 3. The apostles did not relinquish their responsibility, only delegate it; i.e. they did not establish a group of men to be overseers of the temporal things of the church, as a separate and equal entity. Rather they established a group of men who would perform this function in subjection to them. From its beginning, this office was intended by the apostles to be a serving office under the authority of the spiritual office in the church. Deacons are never rulers, but always servants.
The responsibilities of this office are basically two: the first is to carry out the benevolence work of the church. In vs. 1, this was the original circumstance which brought about the institution of the office; meeting the daily needs of widows out of the finances of the church. Benevolence is primary. Notice that the deacons did not set policy, only carried it out. At the discretion of the spiritual leaders, they performed this necessary task-they were the hands of the apostles in helping those who were suffering.
Their second task is to manage and implement the temporal business affairs of the church: finances, building maintenance, local ordinances, etc. Too often, this is viewed as the primary function of deacons, but it is not. It is important, but ought not to displace benevolence.
These are the gifts given by our Lord Jesus Christ to his beloved church. Let us receive them with thanksgiving, praying that these men might serve Christ and his church well.


1 Peter 5:5-6
5 Likewise, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What is a Reformed Baptist Church? Part 2


What is a Reformed Baptist Church?
By Jim Savastio, Pastor
Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville

Someone may be saying, “I understand all of that, but what practical difference can be seen in Reformed Baptist churches?”  How does  this theology work itself out practically? Let me say at the outset that numerous truths concerning the marks of true churches are not here dealt with. All true churches must be marked by such things as love for Christ, the presence of the Spirit of God, sincere and earnest love for the brethren, and heartfelt prayer and devotion among God’s people. My purpose here is to lay out the practical
differences that exist in our particular churches.

Reformed Baptist congregations are distinguished by their conviction regarding the sufficiency and authority of the Word of God. While all true Christians believe in the inspiration and infallibility of the Word of God, all do not believe in the sufficiency of the Bible. All true Christians believe that the Bible was “breathed out” by God and that it is infallible and without error in all of its parts. To deny this is to call God a liar, and hence, to lose your soul.

But while all true Christians believe this, all do not seek to regulate the life of the church in every area by the Word of God. There is a common belief, whether it is clearly stated or not, that the Bible is not a sufficient guide to tell you “how to do church.” This is behind much of what we see in the modern church growth movement, and it is founded by and large upon a belief that the Bible is silent regarding the nature and purpose of the church. It is for this cause that many feel the freedom to “reinvent the church.” For some reason, many believers seem to argue that God has  no principles in His Word concerning the corporate life of his people!  In these days, the clarion cry of all Christ-appointed shepherds of sheep needs to be that of the  prophet Isaiah: “To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them.”

Reformed Baptists have a conviction that the Bible and the Bible alone tells us what a church is (see 1 Tim. 3:15).  The Bible and the Bible alone defines the offices of the church.  The Bible tells us their number (two—elders and deacons),  their qualifications, and their function ( See Acts  20, 1 Tim.3,  Titus 1,  Heb. 13, and 1 Peter 5).  The Bible is a sufficient guide to tell us what worship is and how it is to be given (see Deut. 12:32, Lev. 10:1ff; John 4:23,24), as well as who can be a church-member, and what is required of those members.

The Bible is also sufficient to tell us what we are to do as a church, how we are to cooperate with other churches, how we are to send out missionaries, train men for the ministry, and a host of other things related to God’s will for His people. Paul told Timothy that the God-breathed scriptures would make the man of God complete, and that it would thoroughly equip him for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). Can words be any more plain? If  this text does not  teach us to have confidence in the Bible and to look to the Scriptures for everything that God calls the church to do, then what does it teach?  We have plenty of conservative churches in our day who believe the Bible, but not enough who are defined by the Bible!

Reformed Baptist churches are distinguished by an unshakable conviction that the church exists for the glory of God (Eph. 3:21, 5:26, 27 and 1 Timothy 3:15). Because the church exists for the glory of God, the worship of God and the Word of God are central to its life. We have seen far too much at the present hour to indicate that the measure of a church is seen in what it has to offer man—the typical questions asked of a church are “Does it meet ‘felt needs’?” “Is it fun, is it relaxing, is it entertaining?” “What are its kid’s programs?” “Is it a place to meet people?”

But we believe that churches need to be far more concerned with the smile of God than with the smile of man, and that a suitable counter-question might be, “Whose house is it, anyway?”  The answer is that the church is God’s house and not man’s. It is the place where He meets with His people in a special way.  However, this does not mean that it is to be a dull, grim, unfeeling, insensitive place.  The place where God dwells is the most glorious place on earth to the saint and it is an oasis to the thirsty soul of a sinner seeking the grace of God.  However,  the place of God’s dwelling is also solemn and holy. “How awesome is this place—it is no other than the house of God and the gate of heaven,” was Jacob’s exclamation in Genesis 28.

It is this conviction that explains the reverence and seriousness with which we approach the worship of God. Reformed Baptist churches are distinguished by their conviction that the local church is central to the purposes of God on the earth.  We live in the time of the “para-church.” We live in the day of   independently-minded Christians who floats from place to place without ever committing themselves to the church.  This “Lone Ranger” attitude is not only spiritually dangerous, but it is thoroughly contrary to the revealed mind of God.

While many have rightly diagnosed the failure of the church to do its mission, the answer is not to abandon the church, but rather to seek its reformation and its biblical restoration. The church alone is the special dwelling place of God upon the earth (Eph. 2:22).  The great commission of the church is fulfilled as preachers of the gospel are sent out by local churches to plant new churches by means of conversion, baptism, and discipleship. Many well-meaning organizations are seeking to take upon themselves the task that the living
God entrusted to His church.  To whom has God entrusted the missionary mandate?  To whom did God give instructions for the discipleship and encouragement and shaping of believers?  To whom did God entrust the equipping of the saints and the training of men to lead the next generation? If the  all-sufficient Bible answers that all these are the responsibilities of the local church, are we free to ignore it in light of the status quo?  Do
we simply throw up our hands and admit that these things just won’t work?  Or do we take up our duty with courage, believing in the justice of our cause?  May God help us to embrace our identity!

Reformed Baptist churches are distinguished by their conviction that preaching is foundational to the life of the church.  How is God most often pleased to save sinners?  How is God most often pleased to exhort, challenge, and build up his saints?  How is Christ most powerfully displayed to the mind and heart?  It is through the preaching of the Word of God!  (1 Cor. 1:21; Eph. 4:11-16 ; 2 Tim. 4:1ff)

Therefore, as Reformed Baptists, but more  particularly as serious, biblically-minded Christians, we reject the trends of our day  toward shallow teaching, cancelled preaching services, the giving of the services of worship over to testimonies, movies, drama, dance, or singing. The Word of God is to be central in the worship of God.

Paul warned of the day that would come when professed churchman would no longer tolerate sound doctrine.  He stated that according to their own desires they would heap up for themselves teachers who would tickle their itching ears.  The apostolic command thundered forth to Timothy, that in the midst of such mindless drivel he should “Preach the Word!” (2 Tim. 4:1ff).

We abominate lazy preaching and unfaithful shepherds who will not feed the sheep. The condemnation of the Word of God is clear to such: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to  them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” (Ezekiel 34:2).

Reformed Baptist churches are  distinguished by the conviction that salvation radically alters the life of the convert.  It is tragic that such a thing needs to be mentioned.  We live in the day of decisionism. The idea is that  you pray a certain formula prayer and are therefore declared to be saved.  It matters not whether you break with sin or pursue holiness (Heb. 12:14).  You can  live like hell and go to heaven!  What a bargain!  Many popular Bible teachers claim this as a great defense of the grace of God.  We see it clearly as a “turning of the grace of God into licentiousness” (Jude v. 4). When Paul describes the conversion of the Ephesians in chapter five he uses the greatest antonyms in the human language—you were darkness but now you are light in the Lord.  And in 2 Cor. 6:14 Paul asks the rhetorical question:  “What fellowship has light with darkness?”   The Jesus we proclaim is a great Savior.  He does not leave His people in  their lifeless condition.  We proclaim the Jesus who came to save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). We proclaim the biblical truth that if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17).  We proclaim the Jesus who came to make a people zealous for good works (Titus 2:14).  We reject as unbiblical the modern notion that a man can embrace Christ  as Savior and reject his Lordship. The word of God nowhere teaches that Christ can  be divided.  If you have Christ at all, you have received a whole Christ—Prophet, Priest, and King.

Reformed Baptist churches have a conviction that the Law of God (as expressed in the Ten Commandments) is regulative in the life of  the new covenant believer (see Jere. 31:31-34  and  1 John 2:3,4).  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:19 that, “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, keeping the commandments  of  God is what matters.”  We assert to this antinomian (lawless) age of Christianity, which makes no demands on its “converts,” that God’s way of holiness has not changed.  The law written on the heart in creation is the same law codified in the Ten Commandments on Sinai, and the same law written on the hearts of those who enter into the New Covenant.  The Apostle John tells us that if we claim to know God and yet do not keep His commandments, we are liars and the truth is not in us.  Jesus  told His disciples that the way in which they would demonstrate that they truly  loved Him was by obeying His commandments. Jesus tells us in Matt. 7 that many professing Christians will find themselves cast out on the last day because they were “ practicer's of lawlessness” who did not do the Father’s will (i.e. obey His commandments).

Among the laws of God none is so hated as the thought that God requires believers to give of their time to worship him and to turn from worldly pursuits.  In recent years many have leveled an unrelenting attack upon the Fourth Commandment.  The  Presbyterian pastor and Bible commentator Albert Barnes once wrote, “There is a state of things in this land that is tending to obliterate the Sabbath altogether.  The Sabbath has more enemies in this land than all the other  institutions of religion put together.  At the same time it is more difficult to meet the enemy here than anywhere else—for we come into conflict not with argument but with interest and pleasure and the love of indulgence and of gain.”

We agree with John Bunyan, who said,  “A man shall show his heart and life, what they are, more by one Lord’s Day than by all the days of the week besides. To delight ourselves in God’s service upon His Holy Day gives a better proof of a sanctified nature than to grudge at the coming of such days.”

Modern man is so addicted to his pleasures, his games, and his entertainment that the thought that he must give them up for twenty-four hours to worship and to delight in God is seen as legalistic bondage.  It is a particular grief to see those who profess to love Jesus Christ shrink from turning from their own pleasures. To God’s people, who love His law and meditate upon it to the delight of their blood-bought souls, such a commandment is not bondage, but a precious gift.

Reformed Baptist churches are distinguished by a conviction regarding male leadership in the church.  Our age has witnessed the feminization of Christianity.  God created two sexes in creation and gave to each different corresponding roles. While the sexes are equal in Creation, the Fall, and Redemption, God has nonetheless sovereignly ordained that leadership in the home, the state, and the church is to be male.  It is our experience
that those whose minds have been unduly influenced by this generation find our worship, leadership, and family structure to be jarring.  When the Bible speaks of husbands and fathers leading the home (see Eph. 5,6, and Col. 3) it is not culturally conditioned.  When the Bible speaks of men leading in prayer, teaching, preaching, and serving as elders and deacons (see 1 Tim  2 and 3), we must bow with submissive and dutiful hearts.  Culture must not carry the day in the church of Jesus Christ!  

Reformed Baptist churches are distinguished by a conviction regarding the serious nature of church membership.  We take seriously the admonition of Heb.10:24,25 to  “…stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” We take seriously the duties and responsibilities of  church membership.  In other words, membership actually means something in Reformed Baptist Churches.  There ought not to be a great disparity between Sunday morning  and evening and mid- week.  The same
membership is expected to be at all the services of the church.  It is impossible to share in the life of the church in the manner which God intended and to willingly absent yourself from its public gatherings.   We recognize that few churches would make such a demand, but biblical churchmanship presupposes such  a commitment to God, your pastors, and your brothers and sisters.

In closing let me seek to apply these things to our hearts.  First of all, a word to my fellow Reformed Baptists.   Let us  see the importance of our distinctives.  I urge you not to surrender them to the pressures to conform to modern Christianity.

To those who are considering joining such a church, I encourage you to count the cost. Realize that you are committing yourself not only to a local body, but to these distinctives as well. If you are a Christian your only excuse for leaving a church committed to such principles is to find one that is more biblical—not less.

To our children, I would say that our greatest desire is your conversion to Christ.  But after that great transformation we long to see you embrace these biblical truths and  to exceed us in your biblical convictions and practices!  This, then, is what we mean when we say that we are Reformed Baptists.  If these truths have echoed in your heart as biblical, it is our desire that you will seek out a safe place for the feeding and nurturing of your never dying soul.

If you believe in a church like this and live in the Huntington, West Virginia area and are interested in learning more about the future church plant in this area, contact: 

Dale Anderson II

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What is a Reformed Baptist Church? Part 1

What is a Reformed Baptist Church?
By Jim Savastio, Pastor
Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville


Some years ago a number of churches began  to emerge, calling themselves “Reformed Baptists.”  Since then the elders and members of these churches have been asked time and again such questions as, “What is a Reformed Baptist?” and “What are you trying to reform?”  Many find it difficult to answer such questions in a concise and effective manner. Some simply say, “We are what Baptists used  to be!” While this statement is certainly true, for most modern people, believers and unbelievers alike, it explains very little.  It is, therefore, with the goal of  helping both tongue-tied Reformed Baptists and their sincere questioners that this booklet has been written. In it I propose to answer the question “What is a Reformed Baptist church?” in a way that is both brief and substantial. In seeking to answer the question three things will be discussed: First of all I will address the difficulty of the question; secondly, a definition of the  terms will be given; and finally, the key
distinctives of Reformed Baptist churches will be articulated.


The answer to the question, “What is a Reformed Baptist church?” is difficult for two reasons.  In the first place, it is difficult to answer because the terms Reformed and Baptists are often seen to be at odds with one another.  Many theologians, both Reformed and Baptist, would say that such a title is a misnomer.  Some claim that it is not possible to be both Reformed and Baptistic!  Though Baptists have been and can be Calvinistic, it is said, they are not and cannot be Reformed.  The reason for this charge is simple:
Reformed theology is almost always associated with paedo-baptism (infant sprinkling). Many who are Reformed in their theology view this perspective as the sine qua non of the Reformed Faith. Secondly, the subject is difficult because there exists an ever-widening gulf between churches that call themselves Reformed Baptists.  The term has not been copyrighted and, thus, there exists no definitive statement regarding who can lay claim to the title.  You will find that no two Reformed Baptist churches walk in lock-step.  Some churches call themselves “Reformed Baptists” when all they mean by that is that they hold to the so called "Five points of Calvinism" and that they immerse believers.   Other “Reformed Baptists” hold to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 in its entirety, while yet a third group of “Reformed Baptists” hold to but a few of the articles. And although most Reformed Baptists hold to a Biblical and Puritan view of the Lord’s Day Sabbath, there are some who reject the doctrine as legalistic.  In addition, Reformed Baptists churches differ in regard to their understanding of the exact application of the Regulative Principle of worship (the conviction that the Bible alone dictates the worship and life of the church), in regard to who is invited to the Lord’s table, to Bible translations, hymnals, the structure of prayer meetings, ministerial training, the nature of the pastoral office, denominations, and associations, etc., etc.

I must, therefore, explain the parameters of this study.  Since the term “Reformed Baptist” is not copyrighted or patented (we could perhaps wish it were to avoid confusion!), I must define what I mean when I am using the term.   The heart of this study will center around churches that adhere to the 1689 Confession in practice as well as in theory.  This will settle beforehand such controversial issues as the so-called “Law and Grace Debate,” the issue of the Regulative Principle, and the doctrine of the Lord’s Day Sabbath.  To adhere
to the Confession in practice as well as in theory is to have such doctrines an integral part
of that truth “most surely believed among us.”


Two questions will be answered under this heading: 1) What do we mean by Reformed? and 2) What do we mean by Baptist?

What We Mean By “Reformed”?

We have taken the name “Reformed” deliberately, and we have done so for two reasons. First of all, it helps to explain something of our historical and theological roots.  There is a body of theological beliefs that is commonly  referred to as “The Reformed Faith.”  Such Biblical truths as sola fide (justification by faith alone), sola gratia (salvation by God’s grace alone), sola scriptura (the Bible alone  is the basis for faith and practice), solus Christus (salvation through Christ alone), and soli deo gloria (the fact that God alone is to receive glory in the salvation of sinners) are the hallmarks of the Protestant and Reformed Faith.  The Reformed Faith is perhaps best known for its understanding that God is sovereign in the matter of man’s salvation.   That is to say, that God has, before the foundation of the world, chosen certain sinners for salvation.  He has done so sovereignly and according to His own good pleasure.  The Reformed Faith teaches that, in time, Christ came and died for the sins of the elect—those who were chosen before time began.  It teaches that in conversion the Holy Spirit, working in harmony with the decree of the Father and the death of the Son, applies the work of redemption to the elect. (see Ephesians 1:3ff)

Therefore, when we say that we are Reformed we are saying that we embrace, as biblical, that system of theology known as the “doctrines of grace”:  doctrinal truths that set forth the total depravity of man, the unconditional nature of  election, the limited or particular nature of the atonement (that is that Christ shed His blood specifically for the same people that the Father elects and that the Spirit regenerates), the irresistibility of the effectual call, and the perseverance and preservation of the saints.  But the Reformed Faith touches on
far more than these basic truths regarding God’s glory in salvation.  The Reformed Faith is concerned with God’s glory in the church, in society, in the family, and in a life of holiness. The Reformed Faith as a high and God-centered view of  worship.  The Reformed Faith embraces a high view of  God’s law and of His church.  In this “Reformed” tradition are the great names of Church history.  John Calvin, John Knox, John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress), John Newton  (author of “Amazing Grace”),  the famous Bible commentator
Matthew Henry, the great evangelist George Whitefield, the great American theologian Jonathan Edwards,  Adoniram  Judson, William Carey, C.H. Spurgeon, A.W. Pink and a host of others all held tenaciously to the Reformed Faith.  We must underscore, however, that we hold to these truths not because great men of church history held to them, but because Jesus and the apostles so clearly taught them. Out of this theological understanding came the great Reformed confessions and creeds— the Synod of Dort, The Savoy Declaration, The Westminster Confession of Faith, and The Heidelberg Catechism.  The Confession of Faith held to by Reformed Baptist churches is deeply rooted in these historic Reformed Documents (in most places it is an exact word for word copy from the Westminster and the Savoy).  For these historical and theological
reasons we lay hold of the title “Reformed.”

But we also use the term “Reformed” in a  second way: We are seeking to reform ourselves and the churches of  our generation back to the Bible.  The vast majority of announcements from mainline denominations concerning the reformation of the church in recent days have been to move it away from its biblical and historical roots to that which is man-centered and culturally pleasing.  There is a reformation going on in our day.  It is an attempt to change the nature of the church  from the House of God to the House of Entertainment.  Sinners are  being coddled rather than convicted.  God’s power and majesty are things of a bygone era! Reformed Baptists are making it their aim and ambition to come more and more in line with the Word of God.  In this sense Reformed Baptists churches are not static.  We do not claim to have arrived.  We want to go back again and again to the Scriptures, so that we might continue forward to “finish the race” in a way that is pleasing to God.  We do not want to do things because the Puritans did them or because other Reformed churches do them, we want to do what we do because we see it in our Bibles. “To the law and to the testimony” (Isaiah 8:20) must be upon our banners! As modern-day reformers, Reformed Baptists are seeking to call all churches everywhere to repent from their man-centered ways, their man-pleasing worship, and their shallow theology.  We are, if need be, willing to stand as a lone “voice in the wilderness,” calling the church of Jesus Christ to its Biblical beauty and uniqueness.   It is our desire to see all churches have a “zeal for God’s house eat them up.”

What We Mean By “Baptist”

The name Baptist is a form of verbal shorthand for us to convey certain truths.  First of all, we are using it to state the Biblical truths concerning the subjects and the mode of baptism.  When we speak of the subjects of baptism, we refer to the truth that baptism is for believers only.  We as Reformed Baptists owe a great debt to our Paedo-baptist brethren.  Their writings have shaped us, challenged us, warmed us, and guided us again
and again.  We count them as our dear brethren.  However, the Bible is not silent about the issue of baptism.  The fact that baptism is for believers only is the clear and, we believe, indisputable teaching of the Word of God.  The subjects of baptism are not to be discovered in Genesis (though it is my contention that a correct understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant proves believers’ baptism and demolishes infant baptism!), but in the Gospels and in the Epistles.  Baptism is an ordinance of  the New Covenant which must be understood in the light of  New Covenant revelation.  I assert as clearly and as plainly as I know how that there is not one single shred of evidence in the pages of the Old or New Testament to support the notion that the infants of believers are to be baptized. Every single biblical command   to baptize and every single biblical example of  baptism, as well as every doctrinal statement regarding the symbolic nature of baptism, proves that it is for believers only. I would strongly encourage you to take up your concordance and examine every text—along with its context—in which the word baptism and its cognates are used.  As you do so, ask yourself such elementary questions as, “Who is being baptized?” “What does baptism signify in this text?” and, “Of whom are these things true?” By “mode” we are referring to the fact that baptism is properly and biblically administered by immersion.  The common Greek word for immersion or dipping is the word used in our
New Testaments.  The argument that the word has an occasional historic example meaning ‘to pour’ or ‘to sprinkle’ is surely special pleading.  There are perfectly good Greek words meaning ‘to sprinkle’ and ‘to pour.’  In fact, there are numerous occasions in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT) where the Greek words for immerse and sprinkle are used in the same context but with their distinct and separate meaning intact. (Such as the instances of the priest dipping his finger in blood and sprinkling an object—
see Lev. 4:6, 4:17, 14:16, 14:51, and Num. 19:18 for a few examples). Secondly, the name Baptist is meant to convey that only  those who are converted and baptized have a right to membership in Christ’s church.  This is often referred to as a regenerate membership.  A careful reading of  the NT epistles shows that the Apostles assumed that all the members of Christ’s churches were “saints,” “faithful brethren,” and
“cleansed by Christ.”  Sadly, many Baptist churches of our day are more concerned with having a “decisioned membership” and a  “baptized membership” than a regenerate membership.  It is the duty of the pastors and people of true churches to ensure, according to the best of their ability, that no unconverted person makes his or her way into the membership of a church.

If you believe in a church like this and live in the Huntington, West Virginia area and are interested in learning more about the future church plant in this area, contact: 

Dale Anderson II

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The need is to Preach the WORD.....

The need of the World is for churches to PREACH the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST. Often in todays society and for many years the church has attempted to draw people in with movies, skits, entertainment, toe tapping and hand waving music, games, choirs, special musical programs and many different ministries. May I ask where the preaching is? Where are the churches who have people standing in the aisles and a crowd outside pushing to get in for a message on Repentance? How is it that Jesus and his Apostles got the peoples attention? The New Testament has a clear presentation of preaching and compassion, not 'God loves you' or 'ask anything in my name and I'll give unto you because I don't want you to be poor and needy'. For example, Jesus was poor and needy, the Apostle Paul suffered through prisons, beatings and health issues, the Apostle Peter was crucified upside down on a cross, the Prophet Isaiah was sawed in half, the Apostle Judas betrayed Jesus and committed suicide and the Apostle Stephen was stoned to death. Let's not forget Emperor Nero who used Christians as torches throughout Rome to light the highways at night, can you imagine the wailing pain with being dipped in hot oil, nailed to a pole and lit on fire? Can you imagine the amount faith required to not deny Jesus and go quietly to the executioner? I tell you today these people had true faith, God doesn't guarantee a pain free walk, a rich life style, perfect health, new houses, expensive cars or an easy life. If it is as simple as "name it and God will give it to you" then there would be no suffering in this world. We do know the Apostles as converted men still suffered and Jesus Christ suffered as a human and God so we too will suffer no matter what most Televangelists will say.

I am afraid that in many cases in America (and in the World elsewhere) the salt has lost its savor. Pastors no longer preach against sin, the preaching is watered down to a basic: 'God loves you!' Well I am telling you today unless we (the church) do our job and follow the basics laid down before us by Christ and His Apostles, The America and the world we know now will have less of an interest in getting right and be more interested in what they think is right. This isn't about politics, albeit important but not more important than the WORD of GOD! We are dealing with peoples souls not a membership at the local library. If people don't understand that they are living in open rebellion to God from the moment they come into this world and God HATES SIN and sinners are on the Express train to eternal punishment, how can they repent? They may agree with you that they are a bad person sometimes but does the thought of sinning terrify them? Does it terrify you? Does it terrify me? Do we understand that one wrong thought, one angry reply, one lie, one moment of inappropriate anger is enough to send you to Hell for eternity? Do they understand that they do have hope in only one person named Jesus?

Ladies and Gentlemen people need only the Bible to be preached in the church and for Christians to evangelize full time. "What is your ministry?"  is an often asked line by some groups and I am telling you the only ministry God called us to is to take His Word to all peoples, every second of every day and to pray for others until our knees our stiff and our mind is numb. Now I am not saying that their can be no other ministries of the church but the preaching needs to be forefront and if it is then we need to measure "ministries" for their Biblical content. 

In a nutshell:" The need is to Preach the WORD, not remind the planet 'God loves you!'"

“One of the most popular beliefs of the day is that God loves everybody. No matter how a man may live-in open defiance of Heaven, with no concern whatever for his soul’s eternal interests, still less for God’s glory, dying, perhaps with an oath on his lips-notwithstanding, God loves him, we are told. So widely has this dogma been proclaimed, and so comforting is it to the heart which is at enmity with God we have little hope of convincing many of their error. The writings of the church fathers, the Reformers or the Puritans will (we believe) be searched in vain for any such concept.” ~ A.W. Pink

If you believe in a church like this and live in the Huntington, West Virginia area and are interested in learning more about the future church plant in this area, contact: 

Dale Anderson II

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Starting the year off right, with C.H. Spurgeon

If you don't have Evening by Evening, I highly recommend it based on the reading for January 1.

"We will be glad and rejoice in thee." 
Song of Solomon 1:4

"We will be glad and rejoice in thee. We will not open the gates of the year to the dolorous notes of the sackbut, but to the sweet strains of the harp of joy, and the high sounding cymbals of gladness. "O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise unto the rock of our salvation." We, the called and faithful and chosen, we will drive away our griefs, and set up our banners of confidence in the name of God. Let others lament over their troubles, we who have the sweetening tree to cast into Marah's bitter pool, with joy will magnify the Lord. Eternal Spirit, our effectual Comforter, we who are the temples in which thou dwellest, will never cease from adoring and blessing the name of Jesus. We WILL, we are resolved about it, Jesus must have the crown of our heart's delight; we will not dishonour our Bridegroom by mourning in his presence. We are ordained to be the minstrels of the skies, let us rehearse our everlasting anthem before we sing it in the halls of the New Jerusalem. We will BE GLAD AND REJOICE: two words with one sense, double joy, blessedness upon blessedness. Need there be any limit to our rejoicing in the Lord even now? Do not men of grace find their Lord to be camphire and spikenard, calamus and cinnamon even now, and what better fragrance have they in heaven itself? We will be glad and rejoice IN THEE. That last word is the meat in the dish, the kernel of the nut, the soul of the text. What heavens are laid up in Jesus! What rivers of infinite bliss have their source, aye, and every drop of their fulness in him! Since, O sweet Lord Jesus, thou art the present portion of thy people, favour us this year with such a sense of thy preciousness, that from its first to its last day we may be glad and rejoice in thee. Let January open with joy in the Lord, and December close with gladness in Jesus."