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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3)
There are many men today in the ranks of fundamentalists who are advocating that we need not concern ourselves with the "peripheral" issues that may keep us from winning this world to Christ. We are not to "do battle" over the less important issues. They say that these six fundamentals are enough:
1. Inerrancy of Scripture
2. Deity of Christ
3. Virgin Birth
4. Substitutionary Atonement
5. Bodily Resurrection
6. Bodily Return of Christ
These men seem to be more kind and sympathetic toward those of us whose convictions go deeper than the "essentials." These men give the impression that we are doing great harm to the cause of Christ because of our narrow-minded views about what we believe.
It seems that we are standing in the way of something "big" and "glorious" that is about to happen in the fundamentalist movement.
I have difficulty in determining exactly what threat we pose to these men who seem so upset over what we believe and teach. I did not feel that kind of pressure twenty years ago. In those days we preached "Baptist Distinctives" without fear of favor. But today we hear:
"Don’t shoot your own soldiers."
"Don’t fight each other."
"We are brothers."
"Let’s work together."
"Don’t be a rabble-rouser."
Some have even indicated that this divisive element is caused by Satan!
This really confuses me. There may be some others that are also confused. Either what I believe has changed, or else there are men today who are bent on providing leadership that will lead fundamental Baptists in a different direction.
Let’s examine that thought for a minute. What will we have if we are able to unite all fundamentalists who believe in the six essential fundamentals? We would have:
I certainly do not believe that all the people in the above-mentioned churches are lost. Personal salvation is not a denominational matter; however, getting such a crowd together will require some strong compromise on the part of many of us. What "peripheral" issues will have to be silenced? What are some of the issues that will have to be put aside?
Eternal Security of the Blood-bought Saint
This has always been a major issue that has caused division. Is it "peripheral?" Absolutely not! It has to do with the purpose of God as seen in the cross of Christ! To doubt the eternal security of the saint is to doubt the saving and keeping power of the blood of Jesus Christ!
The book of Galatians deals extensively with the very subject of eternal security. Paul said that any other gospel was one that had been perverted! Is the book of Galatians "peripheral?"
The world has not shown its favor toward Baptists who have taken a stand on the subject of baptism. Any student of church history knows that it has cost Baptists a great deal to stay true to God’s Word on this subject. But it may be that "fundamentalists" have backed away from the great Bible truth!
Is baptism "peripheral?" If so, why did Christ put it in the Great Commission? Obadiah Holmes and John Clarke did not seem to think it was a "peripheral" issue, as they were publicly beaten in New England because of their stand on baptism.
Does any kind of baptism satisfy? Do many Baptists anymore preach about "alien" baptism?
The Local Church
One crowd of "fundamentalists" preaches the universal, invisible church; the other crowd preaches the visible, local church. Is this a "peripheral" issue? Acts 20:28 says that Christ gave His life for the "church." I wonder if He did not know it was just a minor issue?
The ministries around us today which feed off the local church would starve to death if Christians were taught the biblical position of the local New Testament church!
The Lord’s Supper
That beautiful ordinance of the local church! Is the meaning of the Lord’s supper "peripheral?" Can we honestly shove this ordinance aside and consider it a "minor" issue? Did Christ not leave it here for us so we would not forget His death?
"How can two walk together except they agree?" The "middle of the road" fundamentalists are asking us to surrender some strong convictions! They want us to approve of their fellowship with those who believe differently than we do. They want to deny us our convictions and at the same time retain their own. They want to have men in their pulpits who a few years ago were "outside" the camp of fundamentalists and then preach at us because we will not do the same.
I honestly do not know what "they" want us to do. I personally am getting a little tired of the "browbeating" from the "great preachers" of today! I am tired of them using every opportunity to take "pot shots’ at other preachers, and then pretend that they are so kind and loving.
There are hundreds of good men across this nation who take a separated stand and refuse to go along with the compromise for the sake of bigness. Wouldn’t it be great if God gathered all these men together in Biblical unity?