Free Will Baptist

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Cutter, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Cutter

    Cutter
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    Recently I was invited to preach at a Free Will Baptist. We had a wonderful service, so much so, that I was placed under consideration to be their Pastor. They set a date for a vote and I asked for the Church Doctrinal Statement and Constitution. When it arrived we were disappointed to find out that they believe that someone that has been saved can become apostate and go to hell. I thought long and hard on the matter and came up with the following illustration (parable) that I e-mailed to them.

    "Bro. *****, I really need your prayers and help understanding something that happened to my brother today. I feel devastated. My father has a man he refers to as his right hand man. He's known him longer than any of us kids and has always trusted him to do what's right by us. He takes care of everything for dad, even driving the family where they need to go. Daddy trusts him to discipline my siblings. One of my brothers gets unruly in the vehicle from time to time, but he has in the past corrected his behavior when he acts up. I just got word from another brother today that he acted up and opened the door, threatening to jump out. I was told this driver, the same man that daddy has trusted all this time, instead of pulling him in, pushed him out and he is dead, lost forever. I am distraught. Please help me understand this! What am I supposed to think of this man now? My brother's gone. I'm devastated! God have mercy."

    "Sorry for the dramatics. It was just a parable.
    When I received the information you sent me yesterday, I was having trouble coming to terms with Article 2, section 1 (H) "The Conditional Security and Assurance of Believers." The part about somebody that was once saved can lose their salvation and be cast into hell.
    I thought deeply about that on the way to work yesterday and these thoughts are what came to my heart and mind.
    In the illustration the Father is God, the Driver is Christ, the vehicle is His grace. Everybody in the vehicle, (His grace), is going to be taken where they need to go, Heaven. They accepted the gift and Jesus has made the way and paid for it with His blood. A gift that can be rescinded is not a gift. The Church Constitution you sent tells me that one of my brothers can get pushed out and that the Driver, Christ, would let it happen. Where does discipline figure into this? Where does the power of the Lord figure into this? If I have to count on my behavior to keep me in the vehicle instead of the Driver, then I believe in a works based salvation instead of the grace and power of God. If pastoring your church requires me to get out of my vehicle and ride in yours, I am not willing to do that. I do not trust your Driver. I choose to ride with my Driver, the One that I can put my full faith and confidence in and the One that will care enough to deal with me when I act up and pull me in, even when it appears I may be ready to jump out. His power and will are greater than mine. If I have to embrace the doctrine that I can lose my salvation in order to pastor your Church, I'm sorry I cannot do that. Thanks for your understanding."
     
  2. donnA

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    A good stand on the word of God, even if it costs.
     
  3. exscentric

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    That is what doctrinal statements are for - to inform all of the churches belief - it did its job quite effectively - it told you what yoiu needed to know. :thumbs:
     
  4. menageriekeeper

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    Cutter, I spent the best part of my teenage years in a wonderful FreeWill Baptist Church that taught exactly the same thing.

    Your illustration, though, presents an extreme idea of what they believe. It is not that the driver does nothing. But that the passenger refuses (pushes the driver's hand off and continues to leap, with full knowledge of the consequences)

    I personally don't such a senario would ever happen, but my years at that church were blessed and our differences in this never made a difference.
     
  5. canadyjd

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    It was good for everyone that you found out when you did.

    Personally, I would favor going to scripture to support my position.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  6. Cutter

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    Maybe it was extreme in saying the driver pushed, but do you not believe that even a mortal man that has been given charge over the children of a Father would do everything in his power to keep the kid in the vehicle, even if it meant his strong arm holding the kid until they reached their destination. If a mortal man would have that much love, concern, and care for a child of the father, how much more are we kept by the power and the love that Jesus has for us. I did not have a falling out with them and do not believe our beliefs will deprive either of us from heaven. It is but a minor disagreement, but a disagreement nonetheless, and one that I would have to adopt to pastor their church and become a member of their denomination. They are wonderful, God fearing people and I thoroughly enjoyed worshiping with them, so it's not a knock against them or their church, it's just that I believe the Lord has the power to keep me, which doesn't mean in any way that I have a license to live after the flesh and do anything that I want to, that's where His discipline comes in. Anyway, I cannot believe that He is not able to keep that which I have commited into His Hands against that day. In my mind and heart, I agree with Paul, and believe He is able.
     
  7. menageriekeeper

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    The problem is not that the Father can't keep that which we've committed, but that we in essence chose to take back upon ourselves that which we formerly gave over.

    This didn't use to be the case with FWB. They are quite varied among themselves and this point most likely wouldn't be a sticking point toward your becoming their pastor. They, mostly, aren't separatists to the point to where they only allow their own to preach in their pulpits. We had a varaity(sp) of Baptist denom preachers come in on different occasions to speak or preach.

    Of course, being as they are "Free Will" they are Arminian in their theology, so if you lean toward Calvinism, you won't be accepted for long. However, FWB's for the most part are an accepting people.

    I was raised Missionary Baptist (saved and baptised in an MB church), attended for a couple of years an SBC church and then went over to the FWB's when I was about 13 and was on again off again FWB for about the next 10 years. (during this time I chose my own place of worship) Even with this background and the knowledge that I didn't believe one who was saved would ever willingly give up such a gift, I was well accepted (even when I spoke my own mind).

    In the end it was legalism issues combined with marriage that caused my final break with them.
     
  8. Allan

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    There is a huge difference between believe what you want, the preaching of a doctrinal position.

    No true pastor would be able to hold to the view of eternal security and preach a message contrary to that pont and on the same token no congration whos doctrinal stance is contrary to eternal security will permit the ardent teaching against such a position which is exactly what will happen if the pastor they choose holds to it. That pastor must preach doctrinal truths and if they choose him to pastor the next logical step of that pastor will be change or set right what is doctrinally wrong first.
     
  9. Brother Bob

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    We had one of our preachers leave us and go to a Freewill Baptist Church. When he preached a sermon for them, they silenced him, because of this very thing. He preached OSAS, of which they rejected.

    BBob,
     
  10. Bible Believing Bill

    Bible Believing Bill
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    Did the church interview you at all? Form your description it sounds like they heard 1 sermon they liked and then decided to have the church vote.

    If that is an accurate description of the events I think church is putting their cart before the horse.


    God must lead this congregation in their search for a new leader, however they must do their part. The congregation should be interviewing potential candidates about their doctrinal beliefs. The church needs to let the candidate know what they expect their pastor to do, i.e. visitation, Sunday school, counseling, etc. Doing this does not take God out of the equation. Doing this will help to clarify God's Will for us.

    If you are a candidate I would beware of any church that didn't do this. A church who jumps at without proper information has probably not put the proper amount of time into prayer concerning a new Pastor.


    Bill
     
  11. Cutter

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    I preached two sermons. We had a one hour meet and greet with the church. They were encouraged to ask any and all questions and this was not touched on. In fact, there were no real theological or deep biblical questions asked. That's why I requested their Constitution and Statement to make sure there would not be any trouble in the future.
     
  12. nunatak

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    Free Will, thats too much.:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  13. Lynn the Baptist

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    Never knew there were so many kinds of different Baptists..must admit I knew nothing about the Free will Baptists..very interesting...
     
  14. Bible Believing Bill

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    Brother you were right on point to request their Consittution and Statement of Faith. The Deacons, Sunday School Teachers, and members should have been asking you about doctrine. The fact that they didn't kind of makes me think that maybe they don't even know their own Statement of Faith.

    For the record I do understand the Free Will's stance on assurance. My church as part of the General Association of General Baptists. General Baptists have the save view of assruance.

    The above is from the General Baptist website. Boiled down to the simplest terms we believe that you can return the Gift of Salvation just as you could return any other gift you are given. God does not want to force salvation on anyone, and he will not force anyone to keep salvation. That is why we are given free will.

    Bill
     
  15. Cutter

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    Clarence Larkin
     
  16. JDale

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    Larkin was a very good Dispensationalist theologian -- but he was not always right. If one takes this kind of extreme view of the discontinuity of God's message, he/she distorts the very Gospel they claim to defend.

    The implication of this view would be that only Jews can apostasize...? Certainly the original audience of the books of James and Hebrews were Jewish Christians, but does that mean that these books of inspired Scripture have no message and no meaning to Gentile Christians?

    I am a dedicated Dispensationalist -- and a Reformation Arminian. The kind of discontinuity advocated in saying Hebrews and James "are not for the Church," does violence to not only the letter but to the Spirit of God's Word.

    JDale
     
  17. JustChristian

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    So you believe that there are entire books of the Bible that don't pertain to us? We can ignore them? I can't accept that. I think that there are messages in the Bible that a lot of people don't WANT to accept. That's true.
     
  18. Nicholas25

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    I am a member of a Free Will Baptist Church. As someone already stated, they do vary. Some teach that one unrepented sin can cause one to die and go to hell. I believe we are saved by grace through faith, but that we have to keep the faith. I do not believe that faith is a a work. Too many Free Will Baptist preachers and teachers speak a "works salvation." I love all born again believers in Jesus Christ, and many times we should focus more on what we agree on, than those things we do not. Obvisouly, it does depend on what we disagree on.
     
  19. JDale

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    Having read your initial post, I think I can now comment more effectively.

    (1) Instead of answering as you did above, you could have responded respectfully, simply explaining that you differed with them on this issue, and removing your name from consideration as Pastor. These people obviously recognized your gifting as a preacher. The tone and tenor of your response demonstrated they were apparently not worthy of a more respectful declining of such a ministry -- in your estimation.

    (2) FWB's DO NOT believe one can "lose" salvation -- but that they may forfeit their salvation.

    (3) FWB's DO NOT teach that salvation is kept by works -- as you contend. We "remain in Christ" just as we CAME TO Christ -- BY FAITH. Forfeiture of that faith, while not "common" among believers, IS possible -- thus the phrase "possibility of apostasy."

    (4) Christ DOES NOT "rescind" His gift of salvation -- but humans can, tragically, discard His gift just as they can any other gift. Man retains his moral agency after salvation, and may cease to "live by faith."

    (5) FWB's DO NOT believe Christ "pushes" ANYONE out of salvation. You attribute to FWB's a view they do not hold. If one forfeits (or, "makes shipwreck") of faith, it is wholly their own choice and fault, as God has pledged ALL we need to persevere in faith. Christ cannot be so falsely charged as you suggest.

    (6) Your insinuation that FWB's are in a different "car" and have different "drivers" seems to carry with it the implication that these folks in this FWB church are not truly saved. Do I read too much into your analogy, or is that what you really believe?

    (7) A final suggestion: Next time you are invited to preach at a church, find out what they believe BEFORE going into their pulpit. That way you will save both them and yourself time, and the need to be straightened out on their doctrinal failings.

    JDale
     
  20. JDale

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    Excellent post -- and unfortunately, your experience gets closer to the heart of many FWB's real problem -- legalism. They aren't alone, but ....

    JDale
     

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