A Tough Issue With Primitive Baptist

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by cfolsom, Aug 13, 2002.

  1. cfolsom

    cfolsom
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    Dear Brethren,

    The following is an issue among a lot of Primitive Baptist. I would like to read of your scriptural support for and against it.

    Primitive Baptist, in which I am an ordained Elder, have never supported Sunday schools. I know the arguments. I use to argue for them, being a converted Southern Baptist.

    However, by definition there is a difference between Sunday school and group bible study. I will try and define them as best I can.

    Sunday School.....Seperating by age and gender with an instructor/teacher that is not called of God to rightly divide the word of truth. with the sole purpose to get men, women and children saved. Using material, for the most part, that is not 100% bible and the subject to be taught come from a board or group or an editor in another location other than the church the information is being used in.

    Bible Study.......A group of people, often entire families, coming together for the sole purpose of instruction in God's word, so they might better understand God and to been able to stand fast and not be swayed from the true teachings of Christ. To walk more like Christ by studying HIM and HIS walk while here on earth. At no time is the goal of a proper bible study is to "save" people buy to tach of Christ. Each gathering is overseen by an ordained minister in good standing.

    I am curious of what scripture basis one can use to support Sunday Schools.

    Also, what scripture basis can be used to support bible studies

    AND what scripture can be used to discount both Sunday Schools and bible studies.

    Please take time to think through the answers and give supporting scriptures.

    Changed like Saul,

    Elder Chris Folsom
     
  2. TheOliveBranch

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    I'm curious as to what you base this definition on. :confused: As to finding Bible verses to support this definition, I don't think there will be any.

    We have Sunday school and for the purpose to learn about the Bible. If you want to attend, it is by choice (and for the heart that is right with God, one would desire to be there). Our Sunday School, and at other churches that I have attended, use the Bible as the text. Usually the Pastor teaches, and the children are taught by someone that qualifies to teach children.

    A Bible study is what it's called...a Bible Study. The Bible is the text, taught by the Pastor, or in the case of the women, his wife will teach or an older woman. Again, desire of the heart that is right brings the person in.
    2 Tim 2:15 shows that we need and the reason why to study. Tit2 shows a need to be taught. And, referring to the last verse of the same chapter, sounds like teaching here, also. Is there really something wrong having a Bible study with an unsaved person in order to show him from the Bible the plan of salvation?
     
  3. SaggyWoman

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    Where is it biblical to have pews?

    Where is it biblical to have stained glass windows?

    Where is it biblical to have a podium?
     
  4. Sherrie

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    Really good point SaggyWoman!

    Don't forget:

    Church Vans!

    Nurserys!

    Church restrooms!

    carpet...those dang flowers...bulletins...hymnals....offering plates....those little communion cups ( couldn't everyone just bring their own :D ), hey the pedestal for the pastor to stand at...Wednesday night.....etc.
     
  5. Baptist Believer

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    Once I preached at a church where they only had an outhouse -- and not a nice one at that. Many saints had labored there before our generation and their work was still there for all to see. :eek:

    They were primative Southern Baptists!

    (Sorry about the unpleasantness for our more gentle readers!)

    [ August 14, 2002, 12:59 AM: Message edited by: Baptist Believer ]
     
  6. latterrain77

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    Hi cfolosm! You raise a great point. The real answer is probably the word “convenience.” It is simply easier to have children taught outside of an adult Bible Study. Adults like to engage in “serious” Bible discussion – which would likely only bore and confuse a child. It is not possible for young ones to grasp deep Biblical concepts, which might even do more harm than good in the long run.

    Nevertheless, I agree with you that children Sunday school instructors need to learn more than simply drawing pictures of Jesus & Moses, or using coloring books (incidentally, those “images” of Jesus frustrate me – Exo. 20: 4, Deut. 5: 8, Deut. 27: 15).

    At some point, the children get BORED with the "kiddy" classes, usually when they are in their early teens. At that point, they are probably ready to participate in the adult class (though they will still be lost in mature Bible study).

    Things like church pews, stained glass windows, church vans, and the like – all of it – is meaningless. They have nothing to do with meaningful fellowship, Bible study, or any other substantive congregational activity. These things are "tradition" at best - and "high places" at worst (Matt. 24).

    Even the “church building” itself, is nothing more than a pile of bricks or sticks - a place to meet to come in from the outdoors. Your local Starbucks would work just as well. The only thing needed for a true worship service or Bible Study, is a BIBLE (King James Version please) and two or more people (Matt. 18: 20).

    latterrain77
     
  7. just-want-peace

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    cfolsom:
    Are you saying that ONLY the Pastor/Father/Preacher/etc. are called by God into teaching service?
    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but I've been teaching for some 20 years, and I definitely feel that I was called of God for this task.
    Although, I do agree that there are some that do it just for prestiege, feeling good, nominating comittee pressure, etc, etc, I do feel that most have a call from God for the task!
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    Chris,

    I would say your definitions are a little skewed. First, the SBC has traditionally used their SS program for outreach. That is neither right nor wrong. It is an avenue through which it may be done. It is not the only avenue.

    A SS is not defined so narrowly or negatively as you have here. I define a SS much more as you define a Bible Study group. The exception is that we normally divide people by life context so that Bible teaching addresses them where they live. Face it, teenagers don't need to know the ins and outs of young married life and raising kids. Neither do senior citizens. Since we believe that the Bible addresses every area of life, we divide into groups that focus on every area of life. Nor does the Bible teach that these groups must be overseen directly by an ordained minister. I oversee all our groups so I suppose that might qualify. I do not teach them all. We have some very qualified teachers who understand Scripture and can communicate it very well. These lay people fill the biblical role of ministering in teh body by teaching, exhorting, encouraging.

    PBs have traditionally been a little "old fashioned" which I don't intend as a slam in anyway. They have held to some former ways of doing things, things that worked very well in the culture in which they worked. But NT Christianity is transcultural, that is, it does not address those specific issues such as how we go about it. I remember one church where I suggested we change the name of teh Adult sunday school classes to Adult Bible Fellowship, or Adult Bible Training Hour, or some such thing since Sunday School as a name was associated so heavily with children. That suggestion was met with horror, almost as if I was a liberal. Culture changes and where biblical, we must change with it. I would suggest that your definitions of SS and Bible Study would have not flown well in teh early church.
     
  9. tyndale1946

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    I have been a Primitive Baptist for 35 years. This is just for the record only... True Primitive Baptist have never had Sunday School or Bible Study Groups. You brethren who do, I respect your order and your practices and will not find fault with those other denominations that do. That is your way and we have ours and that is all I have to say!... Now that being said you try to bring those things into the True Primitive Baptist Church then you have a fight on your hands!... I'm also 3rd generation Primitive Baptist!... Brother Glen [​IMG]

    [ August 14, 2002, 09:17 PM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  10. cfolsom

    cfolsom
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    okay, a couple of you given some good answers. However, it's not what I'm looking for.

    I am looking for biblical answers (scripture) for pro Sunday school and pro bible study, as well as, anti-Sunday school and anti-bible study.

    I'm also, asking my Primitive Baptist brethren that visit this board to do the same.

    Let's find out what God's Word has to say about it. If we are truly seeking the things of God then we will be able to talk about this without throwing stones at one another. When we are granted the ablility to see the truth, then we should do what scripture isntructs, right? PB's, in which I'm one, we should not sit down and say we don't do that without giving scripture for our reason. Those who are not PBs, don't sit there and call me backwards and not up to date without supporting it with scripture.

    I'm only seeking the truth. Will you throw a stone at me for that?

    Changed like Saul,

    Elder Chris Folsom

    www.pbsermons.org
     
  11. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    I think your question is a good one. We would all do well to examine our methods and approaches more closely. I believe the church at large has entered into a very shaky building with most modern methods of church building. They are building a house of cards that will all too soon come crashing down.

    As for biblical commands, I think the command is to study Scripture and to live by it. I can't recall a place where the Scripture sets out the proper format for doing so. We know that individual study was encouraged, as was group study (corporate) though the group size is never defined. As well there are clear references to age divisions in teh church (cf. Acts 6, 1 Tim 5, the list of widows). While that doesn't argue for an age divided Bible study approach, it certainly leads to a belief that the church was not one indistinct body with no age distinctions.

    I would argue that if we are to study with a view to living by it, that age related study groups are absolutely necessary. How a passage applies to children, teens, young married, parents with teenaged children, and grandparents, is vastly different. It is very hard to make sufficient application to all those groups in one setting. Therefore, age divided groups service a clearly biblical purpose and to have not have them risks not fulfilling that biblical purpose as well as it could be.

    So the issue as I see it is this:
    1. There is a biblical mandate for study of the word with a view to life related application.
    2. There is no biblical mandate for the format of study.
    3. Therefore, whatever format enables the body to study the Scripture and apply it to life is an acceptable format.

    This does not take the place of corporate worship. I am not suggesting that the church should always be divided. We are still one body. I am simply arguing that there are times when Bible study is best facilitated by age divided, or life context divided, groups.

    I cannot find much that the Bible says, either pro or con, directly related to this issue.

    What would be your biblical objections?

    [ August 15, 2002, 11:01 AM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  12. pinoybaptist

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    Hello, Elder Folsom:

    You know all the Scriptures on why Sunday School, as practiced today, is not practiced within a majority of our people's congregations/churches.
    You also know that the instruction of children and households, outside of the church context, is a responsibility that was given to husbands and fathers, and not to the church.
    You also know the development history of Sunday School.
    Today's Sunday School practitioners and apologists raise up good and noble points about it
    and I agree that there have been strong Christians who were converted and had the seed of God's word planted in their hearts in Sunday School while they were children.
    However, while it may be good in our minds and in our perception, the Scriptural fact is that the bringing up of our children and our families in the Lord is a responsibility placed squarely on parents by the LORD GOD on a 7-day a week, 24-hours a day basis, according to Deuteronomy 6:6-10
    reiterated and reinforced in the Bible many times over as a practice and a tradition which the Lord wants our children and families to pass on to the next generations.
    If Sabbath-day school, or Sunday School, is not a practice of God's people in the Bible, old or new testament, then it is man-made and is in addition to God's Word and ways.
    Now, buses, buildings, microphones, sound systems,pews, chairs, pulpits, podiums, electric fans, air-conditioning, potluck lunches, hymnals, and the like are aids to worship.
    There is nothing in the Scriptures that say worshippers are required to walk to the church, or meet in believers' houses, or preach in the middle of the crowd while they strain their necks and ears trying to see and hear the preacher or climb up trees and high spots (and risk a fall like Euthichius), or sit on the ground and sweat in the heat or shiver in the cold.
    Bible study on the other hand, is a good thing.
    I believe it is a command.
    Believers are told to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord (2nd Peter 3:18) and to be able to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
    But should it be a pre-Worship thing ?
    I don't think so. Otherwise, it will still be the same dog with a different collar (pardon the expression).
    Bible Study is still the province of the parents . It still falls within the same sense of responsibilities that the Lord wants to instill among His people.
    If, however, the pastor or the elder/s, at the behest of households, conduct Bible Studies at given dates and times, I think this falls within the sphere of pastoral responsibility to guard the flock and edify the members.
    Just my humble opinions, all these.
     
  13. tyndale1946

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    I would answer this question but I would only offend those who are not PBs... I highly suggest this thread be closed and not be brought up again. Those who have their Articles Of Faith know what I'm talking about... I suggest we bridle our tongues on these two issues for the peace of all concerned... I'll not discuss this further... You all know The Black Rock Address!... Brother Glen :confused:
     
  14. Elder Marty

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    Brother Glen,

    I am Brother Chris's pastor. I understand what you said about being a Primitive Baptist for 35 years and not having Bible Studies. But I would take issue with the statement that Bible Study has never been a part of the Primitive Baptist Church. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts about this account from 1801. This is from the Autobiography of Elder Wilsom Thompson, a well known and widely read man that was considered to be a prototypical Primitive Bapist preacher before the name "Primitive Baptist" existed.

    This excerpt comes from Chapter Four: Impressions to Preach and First Public Exercising.

    ...."In those days it was common to hold prayer meetings among the Baptists; and in that church a portion of every Sunday and Wednesday was devoted to the prayer meeting, at which we attended to the reading of the Scriptures, giving short exhortations, singing, and reading select sermons and commentaries of some approved authors, and generally some one would propose a text, and those present would give their views on its meaning. I am sorry the Baptists have so generally ceased to sustain this useful practice. I have been as much edified by the exercises of the members as by any sermons I ever heard. And then all the different gifts of the members were brought out; and, being so often together, and religious worship being the object of their social meetings, their confidence and brotherly attachments were cultivated and confirmed. One great advantage was derived from this constant exercise of the brethren's gifts, and it was this: When anything prevented the preacher from filling his appointment, the assembly did not disperse without a religious service, for the brethren would proceed with the meeting by prayer and exhortation, etc. As it is now, when a minister fails in his engagement, no member can be prevailed upon even to pray, and all assembled disperse without worship."......

    Elder Thompson seems to speak of this as being a long standing practice among the Baptists that in his later years, when he penned his Autobiography, seemed to have become a somewhat neglected excercise. I gather from the account that Elder Thompson would have been delighted to see this practice sustained among the Baptists. I find it difficult to believe, that with the respect shown for Elder Thompson, that he was out of order on this point.

    Note that he points out that, in a congregational setting, that they read scriptures, commentaries, and other approved authors and discussed them. If this is not a Bible Study, I do not know how else to define it. This is precisely what we do in the Bible Studies at our church. Actually, we are more conservative than Elder Thompson, as we do not include commentaries and other authors in our studies.

    For all intents and purposes, our Bible Studies are a worship service. The contain all the elements of a standard worship service. We have singing, prayer, and instruction in the word by me(the pastor) or other qualified teacher/preacher. It differs from our Sunday morning service only in that we allow for dialog or discussion. As for a Biblical precedent for such, I would call your attention to the following scriptures:

    1Cor 14:
    29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

    If question and answer sessions were to generally banned in public worship, why would Paul have only said that if woman has a question, let her ask it at home? Why would he not have condemned it entirely? Obviously, Paul actually allows that there might be dialog in public worship and is not condemning it, but simply declaring that it should be done in an orderly manner by limiting the number that speak at a time and so on. Seems that Paul is only condemning unorganized Bible discussions (i.e. studies) not organized ones.

    btw, I am at least a 5th generation Primitive Baptist, but I don't think heritage counts. [​IMG] This is a Biblical question. Does Bible Study = Sunday Schools (which I and most Primitive Baptists object to), that is the question. I answer no! I contend that open discussion of the Bible in the context of congregational worship service is Biblical; rooted in scripture and in Baptist history. I also contend that it is not equal to Sunday School as described in the Black Rock address of 1832.

    Obviously, you do not consider us a True Primitive Baptist Church, or a True Church at all. That is okay. We are not dictating that others should have Bible Studies as we have, we are simply going as we feel the Spirit lead, and trying those Spirits by the word of God.

    just one servant,
    Elder Marty Hoskins

    [ August 15, 2002, 10:49 PM: Message edited by: Elder Marty ]
     
  15. tyndale1946

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    Elder Hoskins I'm sure Elder Folsom isn't as grounded as you and I are on PB History and will not argue the point here. You and I are what is considered as born in the church not having come out of any other. I feel it was out of order to bring it up on the BB when this is a problem among us that should be discussed in private. Those not of us don't understand the issues as they have their own manner and practice. As soon as I study your question in full I will give you my answer in private!... IMHO... Zion is not at rest!... Brother Glen :(
     
  16. Elder Marty

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    Brother Glen,

    I think you misread Brother Chris. I have talked to him, you have not. His post was targeted at the Southern Baptists (and those of other denominations) on this board, as he was once one of them. He was not intending to air dirty laundry. If you will read his first post, he only mentions that Sunday Schools and Bible Studies are an "issue" with a lot of Primitive Baptists.

    I do think that you should have contacted him in private to have been sure of his intentions before you posted.

    I will be happy to hear from you privately on this or any other matter.

    just one servant,
    Elder Marty Hoskins

    [ August 16, 2002, 01:52 AM: Message edited by: Elder Marty ]
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    Glen,

    I think it would be helpful for us all is you did not assume you have the high ground because "those not of [you] don't understand the issues." Did you ever think that perhaps we do understand the issues and find your position to be a-biblical and, for us, not the best way to carry out the biblical commands to study?? That the responsibility for spiritual teaching belongs to the parents is certainly true and valid. But it does not form a normative principle with regard to SS. It is a very weak argument. Part of the father's duty is to make sure that his children are exposed to teaching. It does not all have to come from or be in his presence. That is where a slightly different view of tradition (which you are following) and Scripture (which does not prescribe a method) would be helpful. I am not saying that the way you do it is wrong. I certianly do not think it is the best way to do it. I would never attend a church who did it that way because of the inherent problems in it. I think it is wrong to say that the way we do it is unbiblical when you do not have any Scripture from which to speak.

    I would urge a bit more restraint in some matters of "understanding" issues when Scripture does not speak to it.
     
  18. tyndale1946

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    Brethren I apologize as I seem to have been in error on who this was directed to. Seems Elder Folsom directed this to you Southern Baptist and other denomination brethren whom I have never been a part of... As soon as I remove my foot from my mouth I will leave... Brother Glen :eek: [​IMG]

    [ August 16, 2002, 08:49 AM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  19. Elder Marty

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    Brother Glen,

    Don't leave. My wife tells me that the only time I open my mouth is to change feet. [​IMG] Honestly, I think it is good that we hear from all sides of an issue, expecially, the scriptural support for their view. It tends to make me think and study more.

    just one servant,
    Elder Marty Hoskins
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    BTW, I should clarify, I am not a Southern Baptist (which some probably know). I am an independent Baptist.
     

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