"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
June 1, 2002
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In this Issue:
WHY I SUPPORT AND RECOMMEND THE MISSION WORK BEING DONE BY BROTHER ANOND PHOOTHAPTIM
THE ONLY SCRIPTURAL CHURCHES ON EARTH ARE SELF-CONSTITUTED
Bouquets and BrickbatsWHY I SUPPORT AND RECOMMEND THE MISSION WORK BEING DONE BY BROTHER ANOND PHOOTHAPTIM
By Wayne Camp
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
2 Chronicles 31:21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.
It occurred to me today (6/1/2002) as I was reviewing some things I have written about the mission work in Thailand that I have never written an article in which I centered upon the missionary, Bro. Anond Phoothaptim. I have given a lot of attention to the work being done but not a lot to the man who is doing the work.
As I think about getting ready to spend four months each year with this man beside me translating and helping me to teach the pastors and young preachers I began to review what I know about him. For four days per week, at least six hours per day this brother will be sitting or standing right by my side repeating every thing I say in either the Lahu or the Thai language. Most Wednesday nights I will be preaching to the preachers and the children atthe children’s center and visitors who come to these services. On Sundays we will be traveling together as I visit and preach and teach in the churches where he will again be beside me translating for me. Therefore, I have been giving a lot of thought to the characteristics of this man.
He is not impeccable; but neither is any other man. The only impeccable man who has ever lived on this earth was the man Christ Jesus “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).
He is not perfect; but neither is any other man except the Lord Jesus Christ. He has his faults and I doubt that anyone will deny that. But, I have my faults just as each person reading this has his faults.
Has he ever disappointed me? On more than one occasion. Until I realized the brethren over there had not known really severe persecution and had not been taught church history so that they could know what our Baptist forefathers had experienced, I was disappointed at Bro. Anond’s (and the other pastors’) reaction to some severe persecution they have endured in the last year. Bro. Anond lived for several months under the threat of death. Even as I write this there are threats on his life. Seven church members at his sponsoring church were victims of extortion. Some of the seven were tied up, a bag placed over their heads, and they were beaten when they refused to give a man a small sum of money that he illegally was demanding. They were deprived of food because they did not have money to buy rice after he seized their money.
I was disappointed that these brethren, including Bro. Anond, could not brace up and endure this suffering without being so fearful. Bro. Lee and I spent several hours preaching and teaching and talking to them about how Christians should react to persecution. I have been pleased that God apparently used the persecution and the teaching we did to strengthen them for Bro. Anond is bracing up better under the present trouble and threats on his life than he did before. In an e-mail I received recently he told me that he had prayed that if it be God’s will that he be killed he was ready and willing to die.
Though I was disappointed at first, I had to remind myself that Paul experienced fear in the face of persecution. It was enough fear that the Lord gave him a special visit on at least one occasion that I remember. Acts 18:9-10 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: 10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
Having said these things, let me tell you some very positive things about Bro. Anond Phoothaptim.
HE IS A TIRELESS HARD WORKER
For four weeks in March and early April of 2001 I spent four weeks with this man. Some days we were together from 5:00 AM until 12 midnight or later. We went from village to village and church to church teaching and preaching the word of God—I preached and he translated. When we would leave early in the morning I often was able to sleep on the way but he had to drive. On the way home at night he would say, “Teach me.” I would teach until I was exhausted even though I may have taught four or more hours already. Then I would sleep and he would drive us back to the hotel in Chiang Mai.
Let me just give you an account of one day. We drove four and one-half hours to one of the churches. I spoke to the congregation. Bro. Anond translated to Lahu, another person translated to Dai, and another person translated to Lisu. After the service, Bro. Anond administered medicine for about two hours. We then ate lunch in this Lisu village. When we got in the truck and left the village, I assumed we would be driving the four and one-half hours back to Chiang Mai and the hotel. Instead we turned north and visited another village. A group gathered at a family’s home and several told me how they were waiting until Bro. Anond or one of the young preachers could come and preach the gospel to them. I think we were there at least an hour. When we left I was certain we would head home and we did go in that direction but not without going to another village and another family’s home where they were waiting to hear the gospel. Finally, about 8:00 PM we were back on the highway toward Chiang Mai. I was about ready to settle back for some sleep and Bro. Anond said, “Teach me about baptism and why we sometimes need to rebaptize.” For the first couple of hours I was teaching and answering questions. Then he said, “Teach me more about the Lord’s Supper.” About 11:00 PM I had to beg off and rest my voice and my eyes. I was asleep until he awakened me in front of the hotel about 1:00 AM.
This is not an unusual day for Bro. Anond except that many times he is making such trips alone. He does not travel as far every day, nor is he out as long but he often contacts me on MS Instant Messenger at 12:00 midnight or later and tells me he has just arrived home from visiting one, two or three churches and preaching to them and, if he has the money for medicine, “doing medicine.”
I fully agree with something Bro. Jack Green wrote in the May 2002 Edition of The Landmark Baptist Messenger. “Our tireless missionary Anond is a native Lahu who was educated in Chiang-Mai, became an architect, and gave that up to do evangelism and missionary work among his own tribal people. He never seems to rest or take a day off, but goes from village to village preaching the gospel and establishing Baptist churches. Thus far, through his evangelism we have seen fourteen (sixteen now RWC) Baptist churches come into existence in these villages.”
Unless he is out of the city in the jungle villages, I have almost daily contact with Bro. Anond via e-mail and MS Instant Messenger. He keeps me apprised of his daily activities. I told him recently that when I come over there to start the school that I will not be able to keep up with him. I will teach six hours four days per week. I plan to spend two afternoons each week with the students answering questions and discussing the word and work of the Lord. But, I have assured him that he will have to go without me some of the time since I do not have the strength to stay with him and work at his pace day by day for four months.
There is not only the daily work with the churches and their pastors. Bro. Anond preaches in four prisons once each month. He recently notified me via e-mail that he had been to the prison and given out 500 Thai language New Testaments that were paid for by folks here in the states. Rather than waiting for his monthly preaching appointment he had worked this delivery into his already busy schedule.
Bro. Anond also teaches the Lahu pastors three days each month and two of these days begin early and go until almost midnight. He teaches that same schedule for the Lisu pastors and another three days he teaches the young preachers who are not yet pastoring.
WHERE HE WORKS
Bro. Anond works in Northern Thailand. He lives in Chiang Mai City,“the second largest city in northern Thailand” (Landmark Baptist Messenger, May, 2002, Edition, P. 1). From Chiang Mai Bro. Anond travels north into the jungle and mountains where the villages and churches are located. (Please click to see map). The numbered triangular markers on the map give the location of several of the village churches. The northern most church in Thailand with which he works at this point is the Bethel Baptist church in the village of Pa Koe. You can stand anywhere in this village and look into Myanmar (Burma) the country that borders on much of Northern Thailand. On the map the number 3 indicates the location of this church.
I recently read in the Online Newspaper that is published in Chiang Mai that there is fighting going on near Pa Koe. At first, the two countries, Thailand and Burma had joined together to fight against a drug cartel. But, when it threatened to turn into fighting between the two countries, the Thai forces were pulled back below the border to keep the drug forces out of Thailand. Bro. Anond also told me of this fighting but said there was no trouble for the church at Pa Koe at this time.
The map does not show the location of all the churches in Northern Thailand that have been started. It is over two years old and more churches have been started since this map was prepared for me by Bro. Anond. It only shows 11 churches and there are now 16. Bro. Anond informed me via e-mail recently that the leader of another village has asked him to come to his village and start a church. This village is also near the border of Burma but is (I believe) west of Pa Koe.
IS HIS WORK SOUND?
No, these churches are not steeped in tradition, as are many Landmark Baptist Churches here in the states. They may not say “Shibboleth” as many of our churches do. But, I can assure you that if you can show them something is clearly taught in the word of God they will generally accept it.
Is the work Scriptural? Bro. Jack Green writes,“Pastors visiting this mission work from America have unanimously said to us, ‘This is the most fruitful and scriptural Baptist mission work we have seen, it is truly a work of the Spirit of God’. To sit in their little cinder block and bamboo churches and hear them sing of the greatness of their Saviour and see the eagerness with which they receive the gospel is truly a blessing to a preacher. They sing the same hymns we sing and believe the same doctrines we believe.” (Landmark Baptist Messenger, May 2002 Edition, P. 4).
To give you an idea of how concerned most of these folks are for Scriptural teaching, let me tell you of a recent thing that happened. I was talking to Bro. Anond about what we would call the Bible School we will be starting this fall. I suggested the name of Sovereign Grace Baptist School of Theology. He told me it sounded good to him and then added, “I must have Scripture.” For his own sake and the sake of the other pastors, he wanted to be certain the name was a Scriptural name.
This past March when we were there, I was teaching something and was quoting the Scripture without asking one of the pastors to read it. Even though Bro. Anond would repeat what I said in Lahu, he stopped me and said, “Very important. Must have someone read it from Lahu Bible and Lisu Bible.” He felt that the point I had made was so important to the people that he wanted it read to them from their own translation.
One must realize that these people do not have a background of Bible knowledge. That is one of the reasons I have felt such a burden from the Lord to start the Bible School this fall. These people are very teachable and I believe we will see great strides as the years pass and they become more grounded in the once delivered faith. It was necessary for Paul and his co-workers to confirm churches they had constituted at another time. On their return from their missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas revisited some of the churches to confirm the souls of the disciples in them. Acts 14:21-22 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
When Paul set out on his second missionary journey with his new missionary companion Silas he again visited some of the churches to further confirm them in the faith. Acts 15:40-41 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
And, yet again they had to further establish churches on the way of salvation. Judaisers who taught that one must be circumcised to be saved had led some believers astray. The Jerusalem counsel resulted in some recommendations concerning this matter and these were delivered and the churches were established in the faith. Acts 16:4-5 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Again, Acts 18:23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.
If these churches and pastors did not need help, I would not be going. So often, as I have seen the Herculean effort that Bro. Anond puts forth to strengthen these churches in the faith, I have been reminded of the words of Paul along this line. 2 Corinthians 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. These were constituted churches with pastors but Paul still had a care and concern for them and did all that he could to help them become more established in the faith.
HE IS ACCOUNTABLE
When I say that Bro. Anond is accountable, I mean that he accounts for all the funds he receives monthly. As I write this I have before me a stack of monthly reports in which he accounted for the money he had received. I will not burden you with them all but will simply give you a couple as examples.
May 10, 2002
I can gotten money 2 times
#1.$ 1,785 usd.
#2.$ 985 usd.
Spent of money:
1. Children Home —----------------- $ 920 usd.
2. vehicles——–------------------------- $ 300 usd.
3. Pastor leran Bible( 3 groups )-----$ 600 usd.
4. Daniel ------------------———--------$ 300 usd.
5. Rathapong-------—–------------------$ 200 usd.
6. Water fee-------------——-------------$ 35 usd.
7. Electricity fee---------------====-----$ 40 usd.
8. Phone fee------------------------——-$ 65 usd.
9. Food fee------------------------——-$ 200 usd.
10.Paid for Hospital( Paid first
can pay back next 2 weeks )--——-$ 530 usd
Total----------------——----------------$ 2,890 usd.
Bro. Anond was short and had to use some of his personal funds to make up the difference of about $120.
On November 7, 2001, he sent this report:
This month I spent of the money.
1. Children center----------—-------- = $ 920 usd.
2. Pastor learn Bible---------—----- = $ 600 usd. (3 group)
3. Gasoline fee------------------—–- = $ 300 usd.
4. Daniel----------------------——–-- = $ 360 usd. (Learning English)
5. Rathapong -------------—--------- = $ 100 usd.
6. My foods------—------------------- = $ 200 usd.
7. Internet fee-------—–-------------- = $ 45 usd. (Need buy inks)
8. Electricity fee------—–------------ = $ 40 usd.
9. Phone fee--------------—---------- = $ 50 usd.
10. Water fee---------------—-------- = $ 35 usd.
11. Report to your fee--------------- = $ 86 usd.
Total--------------------------—-- = $ 2,736 usd.
In October, 2000, I made my first trip to Thailand. In November I received a report that I still have on my computer. Of course, we became very active in the work here at Pilgrims Hope and I have received reports such as these every month since then and still have most of them saved on my computer. Bro. Anond does keep us informed about his activities and gives an account of what he spends and how he spends it.
Recently I raised a question with him about some money he had spent at the children’s center. He promptly told me that he had sent me the information in October of 2001 and had given it to the brethren who were there at that time.
I looked back and found the e-mail he had sent with the exact information in it that I was questioning. He also sent me another copy of it. He is accountable.
BRO. ANOND IS A LANDMARK BAPTIST
Bro. Anond holds to the doctrines of Old Landmarkism. He teaches that the Lord’s Supper is restricted to members of the particular church observing the supper. He believes in the independence of the churches. The Lord’s churches there are constantly badgered and harassed because they have no board or foundation that oversees the churches. The Northern Baptists, the Southern Baptists, and even some Landmark Independent Baptists of which I read on the Internet recently (June 1, 2002) have a mission board. The Church of Christ, an amalgamation of Baptists, Presbyterians, and others are pretty strong in Thailand and they have a board, as do the Nazarenes, and every other group. To our knowledge, the Landmark Baptist Churches of Thailand with whom Bro. Anond works are the ONLY churches that do not have some kind of board that oversees the work of the churches.
In 1997 one of the officials of the Thailand Lahu Baptist Convention board sought to explain why the Lahu Baptist churches needed a board to tell them what to do. Click to see picture.
Recently three of the pastors decided to leave and join one of the “board Baptist” groups. Two have repented and returned to working with Bro. Anond. Both have asked his and the other pastors’ forgiveness for leaving. They have also been received back at their churches that did not leave with them. Of the “board Baptists” they said, “Doctrine not good.” They also said that the first thing they were told is that their churches must give the board that oversees the churches 10% of their tithes and offerings to maintain the office and pay the salaries of the board (I even found this requirement on a WebSite of one of these boards. RWC). The third pastor who left has not returned at this point but has indicated in a letter to Bro. Anond that he may return also.
Due to the restrictions of space, I will stop at this time. After I have spent four months with the pastors and Bro. Anond and Bro. Daniel, I am sure I will be prepared to write another article about the man who is the missionary of the first church that was organized in this work. He was originally called as pastor of the Landmark Baptist Church of Pa Sak. After six months he had such a burden to preach the gospel more widely and organize churches in other villages that they called a pastor and sent him out as their missionary.
God has truly blessed in the Thailand mission work and we want to thank all of those who faithfully support this work. Without your prayers and financial help we simply could not be doing as much as we are now able to do. Because of the growth of the work it has become difficult to make sure that all support is properly receipted and accounted for. It is extremely important to us that all money is acknowledged and is used as the donor intended for it to be used. For these reasons we are asking that all support be sent to:
Central Baptist Church
PO Box 876
Grenada, MS 38902
Pilgrims Hope Baptist Church
2065 Tompkins Lane
Millington, TN 38053
THE ONLY SCRIPTURAL BAPTIST CHURCHES ON EARTH ARE SELF-CONSTITUTED
By J.C. Settlemoir
(Continued from last issue)
(Editor’s note: Last month we continued this message just after Bro. Settlemoir had begun to show the position of leading Baptists on the subject. I decided it would be good to include the witnesses he introduced last month again.)
LEADING BAPTISTS BELIEVED IN
We can further show that the essential of church constitution was that of the group constituted by statements from our leading men.
J. B. MOODY
“Whatever the circumstances or cause of their scatteration, if they chose, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, they congregated and organized on the voluntary principle, and elected their own officers. Any Baptist church can divide; or any part of it for a good reason can pull out and organize when and where it pleases, because individual liberty is not destroyed or impaired by church membership. The churches of Judea, Samaria, Galilee, etc., thus organized, were recognized by the mother church and by the apostles and Christ. This is a golden mark.” [J.B. Moody, My Church, p. 58]. Is this not good Landmark Baptist authority?
J. R. GRAVES
“Each particular church, is a body of Christ complete in itself, and absolutely independent of all other religious organizations.”
“This is so evident upon the fact of the Scriptures I see not how to make it more manifest.
“The proof given that the very word ekklesia (an assembly) denotes a complete church, equally implies its independency, i.e., that it is dependent upon no other body for its existence or self-perpetuation, or the discharge of all the functions and trust of a Church of Christ.” [New Great Iron Wheel, J. R. Graves, p. 134].
Graves forces upon his reader this great fundamental fact of Baptist polity—a church “...is dependent upon no other body for its existence or self perpetuation...” Thus, churches so constituted, in Graves’ mind, are scripturally constituted!
But lest some doubt, I give another from Graves: “Nor can I learn, from any source, that your ministers [Methodists] and members covenant with Christ and each other for the maintenance of His worship, doctrine, and ordinances, the teaching of His word...” [Ibid. p. 134]. Graves, then, believed that if those Methodists who were saved, submitted to scriptural baptism at the hands of a Baptist church, and “would gather together in Christ’s name,” and purpose to follow all the doctrines and practices of the NT they too could become a true church of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Once again Graves quotes Mt 18:20 thus: “Christ said, where two or three are gathered in my name [authority], there am I in the midst of them.” [Ibid. P. 135]. Where did the Old Landmarker himself, believe the authority for church constitution was to be found? In a sister church? In the Ministry? In an association? No! He opined it was in Christ and quoted Mt. 18:20 to prove it! Was Graves a Landmark Baptist or was he a Neo-Landmarker?
“A Church of Christ, according to the Gospel-Institution, is a Congregation of Godly Christians, who as a Stated-Assembly (being first baptized upon the Profession of Faith) do by mutual agreement and consent give themselves up to the Lord, and one to another, according to the Will of God; and do ordinarily meet together in one Place, for the Public Service and Worship of God; among whom the Word of God and Sacraments are duly administered, according to Christ’s Institution.” [Glory of A Gospel Church, 1697, Quoted in Polity by Dever, p. 85].
Keach then goes on a little further and shows that he here means what takes place in Mt 18:20. He says: “In their having the divine Presence with them: Or when the Glory of God fills his Temple.” [Ibid.]. He gives Mat. 18:20 as a footnote which indicates he believed the Divine Presence of Christ was given them when they “by mutual agreement and consent give themselves to the Lord and one to another”. This is the position for which I contend.
John T. Christian
“The distinctive characteristics of this church are clearly marked in the New Testament.
“Such a church was a voluntary association and was independent of all other churches. It might be, and probably was, affiliated with other churches in brotherly relations; but it remained independent of all outward control, and was responsible to Christ alone, who was the supreme lawgiver and the source of all authority.” [Hist. Bap. I, p. 13]. Here we see a church is independent of all other churches, whereas the “mother-daughter” position makes every church dependent upon its mother for its existence. The two positions are poles apart.
Buel H. Kazee
“In this day among Baptists there seems to be a prevailing custom of establishing churches through the ‘sponsorship’ or authority of a ‘mother church,’ a very commendable practice, we think, although not spelled out in the Scriptures; but whether or not this has always been done is certainly another matter. It is very likely that back through history there have been many instances where Bible-believing churches thought that the ordination to preach carried with it the authority to judge confessions and baptize, yea, even to organize churches of these newly baptized converts. It is also likely that through these channels the baptism of many of us has come. For this reason we will need to be reserved in our declarations.” [Ch. & Ordinances, p. 105].
We note Bro Kazee calls the “mother church” a custom! A custom is not a doctrine and should not be treated as such. In fact it is a sin to do so, Mt 15:3, 9. He also says that it is likely that many of our churches and baptisms come through churches which did not follow the “mother-daughter” theory! Are these true churches? Let the reader beware of how he answers lest he unchurches thousands upon thousands of churches as well as his own! How many churches have been reconstituted, which would have been prevented if these brethren had only listened to this old soldier?
In his Treatise of Church Discipline (1805) says:
“5. A number of believers are united together into a particular church, by an act of mutual confederation. ‘Gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God,’ 2 Cor. 8:5.”
“7. When such a number is found in any place, they ought to propose among themselves, or others may propose it to them, to be constituted a church.”
“11. It is this mutual consent, confederation, and union of persons into one body, as a particular church, that makes that church distinct from any other church, and that makes the members of it, members of that church more than of any other, ‘Onesimus, who is one of you; Epaphras, who is one of you,’ Col. 4:9, 12. ‘So we, being many, are one body in Christ.’ Rom. 12:5.” [Quoted in Polity, by Dever, p. 140-141].
Ben M. Bogard
“The first step necessary in the organization of a new congregation or church is for as many as three baptized disciples to agree to meet statedly for worship, for mutual edification and united effort for the evangelization of the world. The object of a church is two-fold, viz., that the membership may be mutually helpful to one another and to work for God’s glory in the evangelization of the world.”
“The agreement to meet regularly for worship and work is commonly called a ‘Church Covenant.’ The word ‘covenant’ means agreement. This covenant should be in writing, lest some misunderstand the terms. When this covenant has been entered into the church is fully organized. This covenant is the organization.” [Baptist Way Book, p. 69].
Keep in mind Ben Bogard was the principal founder of the original ABA churches  that were constituted in this manner. Furthermore, the NABA [Now known as BMA] was originally one with the ABA and only became a separate association in the middle of the last century. Thus, these churches were also constituted on this plan. What does this do for these churches if the “mother-daughter” theory is true? How many of the readers of this paper came out of these churches and consequently, if the “mother daughter” theory is correct, have no baptism and no churches!
Churches and associations when assisting, examining, helping, did not constitute the churches but only recognized them! Church letters for the purpose of organizing do not authorize constitution for these two simple facts: 1] These letters often came from a number of different churches! According to the Authority Theory, you can have only one mother. 2] These churches never had any such theory, as the Authority Theory, in mind when they granted these letters consequently this whole house of cards falls!
But this is not all. The only scriptural Baptists churches on earth are self-constituted because:
DELEGATED AUTHORITY CANNOT BE RELEGATED
But this is exactly what the Authority Theory demands—that the mother church can and does confer upon others a franchise that belongs only to itself! They maintain a church confers “church-ship” on another group! Is this possible? Is this what Baptists taught?
Graves argues this cannot be done. “The independency of the churches is of Christ’s special appointment, and it is our sacred duty to do nothing tending to imperil or contravene it. No one will presume to claim that Christ invested his churches with the power to contravene, at their pleasure, any one of his appointments. Their powers are all delegated, and delegated powers cannot be relegated. A local church cannot confer upon members of other communities any privilege or franchise that belongs exclusively to her own members.” [J. R. Graves, Intercommunion, p. 170]. But church status is something that belongs only to her own members and it cannot be given to any other group on earth! This is quite evident when we consider the following:
A church may dismiss a member to be a member of another church—but they have no authority to make him a member.
A church may dismiss a member to be ordained as pastor of another church—but they have no authority to ordain him pastor of another church.
A church may dismiss an ordained preacher to be the pastor of another church—but they have no authority to make him pastor of another church.
A church may ordain a man to be pastor of another church—but there is no ordination if the church does not call this man, which in effect is ordination.
A church may dismiss a preacher to be a missionary for another church—but they have no authority to make him a missionary of another church.
A church may send a pastor to help in another church’s problem—but they have no authority to settle that problem.
A church may send its ordained men to help another church ordain a deacon—but they have no authority in that ordination.
A church may send its ordained men to help another church ordain a pastor—but they have no authority in that ordination.
A church may assist another church in sending a missionary out—but they have no authority in that missionary work.
A church may send its pastor to baptize for another church—but they have no authority in that baptism.
A church may send its pastor to administer the supper for another church—but they have no authority in that observance.
A church may give an “arm” to another church—but they have no authority in that church.
A church may send its pastor to preach in another church—but they have no authority in that church.
A church may send its pastor to preach in another church’s conference—but they have no authority in that conference.
A church may assist another church in a meeting—but it has no authority in those meetings.
A church may send its ordained men to a recognition service of a new church—but they have no authority to constitute that church.
A church may withdraw fellowship from a sister church—but they have no authority to dis-constitute [disband] that church.
Likewise a church may dismiss members to constitute another church—but they have no authority to constitute another church.
All any church can do in the constitution of another church is to approve or disapprove; vote to fellowship or to dis-fellowship, recognize or refuse to recognize, but they have no power, authority or ability to church or unchurch a group, to compel or prevent. The authority of constitution and dis-constitution belongs to the Lord Himself. It is a divine prerogative and He will not give His glory to another! It follows then: the only scriptural Baptist churches on earth are self-constituted because:
THE IDEA OF A MOTHER CHURCH IS UNSCRIPTURAL
Churches are societies. Societies are not conceived! Societies are not born! They are constituted! Thus the idea of “like begetting like,” and such terms, can only be used in a figurative sense in reference to churches. The term “mother church” is as unscriptural as is the term “catholic church” in the sense used by the Authority brethren. Give the verse that speaks of a “mother church” and right next to it I will find the “catholic church.” Only in modern times has this term “mother” been pressed to these absurd lengths! Only Christ can constitute a church is the teaching of Scripture and History corroborates this teaching was clear to Baptists.
A mother which gives birth to a daughter without a father is an adulteress! Virgins do not have daughters! Some churches have mothered many daughters—but are not yet married according this theory! What kind of teaching is this? Scriptural churches cannot have daughter churches because they are not yet married but are only espoused to Christ, 2 Cor 11:2. So this whole idea of “mother” and “daughter” is not only unscriptural, but it is illogical and ridiculous!
Furthermore, mothers-in-law do not authorize and select the bride for a bridegroom which is what the position of “mother-daughter” theory requires. The bridegroom himself does this selecting, Mt 16:18! Jesus Christ is the bridegroom [Matt. 25:6 and many other places] and He selects the bride. The bride is espoused to Him but no man, church, or society can authorize who is to be His bride, or make that group a bride. He expressly tells us how He makes this selection in Mt. 18:20. Mothers-in-law frequently attempt to enter into this domain, but they do not have the authority to constitute an espousal much less a marriage! Sometimes a mother, wishing to be a mother-in-law, will seek to control such matters but no real man will allow this intrusion into his sovereign affairs. Scriptural churches are selected by Christ never by an over zealous mother-in-law!
If you have a mother and a daughter, surely you have a father. One brother says if you say there is a father that is going too far. But why is this except they perceive the analogy breaks down! They can take an unscriptural idea and push it to such silly extremes but if you suggest it logically goes somewhat further, they can’t take it! The mother-daughter church is not only unbiblical but it proves so much they can’t take it themselves! These brethren have preached up and contended for this “mother-daughter,” this “birthing” and all of this unscriptural tradition that goes with it until they have become entangled in the umbilical cord and it is choking them!
Nor was the idea of “mother church authority” the meaning of our forefathers when they used the term mother in reference to a church. Proof of this is found in the fact that these mothers were self-constituted themselves [See Sandy Creek history]! Mother, when used by Baptist Historians simply meant origin, in the same sense that England is said to be the mother of America, as anyone who consults a dictionary will see. There is no idea of authority here. England opposed the formation of these United States and fought against it, but still she is the mother of our country. Any child should be able to understand this!
We have seen how true churches are constituted according to the Bible. They are self-constituted. We have also demonstrated this is a cardinal Baptist doctrine, proven to be so by our representative writers from many quarters as well as by significant churches so constituted. This position recognizes every Baptist church is a true church if that church covenants together according to the Word of Christ whereas the “mother-daughter” theory is not only unscriptural, it is also illogical and unhistorical. But what is even more shocking, it effectively destroys the church succession that it seeks to preserve!
The only Scriptural Baptist churches on earth are self-constituted!
EDITOR’S NOTE: For those of you who think that Bro. Settlemoir has gone far astray from Landmark doctrine, I would remind you that A. C. Dayton was a close associate and co-worker with J. R. Graves and J. M. Pendleton who led in the move that resulted in the name Landmark Baptist. In fact, Dayton, Graves and Pendleton were called “The Triumvirate of Landmarkism.”
Dayton definitely believed that churches are self-constituted. He wrote,
“But now, as the King has gone to heaven, whom has He left to attend to the business of the kingdom in His absence? Who shall appoint the officers? Who shall receive new members? Who shall depose or exclude the unworthy? Who shall provide and do all that is needful for the purity, the permanence and the extension of the kingdom? He provided for all this before he went, by directing as many of the citizens of the kingdom as could conveniently meet together, to assemble and organize themselves into a ‘Church,’ [Emp. Mine, RWC] (which should in its corporated capacity attend to all these matters. It is this Church which must receive the profession of the faith, determine on its genuineness and administer the baptism.” (Alien Baptism, A. C. Dayton, p. 167).
Bouquets and Brickbats
OKLAHOMA: Thanks so much for your paper. It really is a blessing.
OHIO: Really enjoyed Bro. Settlemoir's article. Dangerously, the Truth makes people free. The next thing you know, churches will be springing up all over the place without "proper" authority. Now wouldn't that be a shame if we saw an explosion of churches?
The next thing you know, you are going to say something just as dangerous like "It doesn't have to have the name Baptist or even Sovereign Grace on the sign to be a true church." We believe this about our ancestors but have a hard time practicing this with our contemporaries. Keep up the good work.
WWW: Brother, I just read your article on the PK web site and was totally blown away, I backed PK for many years, and attended 3 meetings over the years but had no idea that some of the so called elite had such false ideas about all the issues you have brought up. God bless you, and you have my support and prayers.
I am rather shocked how I was mislead in just seeing the surface of things, the great crowds of Christian men coming together, but now I pray that the false doctrine which this is founded on will fall like a rock in water and not do any more harm.
I also pray for you brother, that God will give you discernment and truth to continue to contend for the faith, and that the doctrine of science so falsely called will not influence the minds of Godly men any longer.
Please keep in touch, I don't know if you have a newsletter or the time to e-mail me back but if you do I would appreciate it.
WWW: I just finished your review/comment on "is this hatred" on the PK, J. Bobson, R. Hicks, etc. and I was wondering where and when these comments that your saying these individuals and organization had made? Where are they documented? Where may I read what they said?
You mentioned that Hicks' book is given away by the PK organization. When and where do they do this?
It, as all doctrinal insight can have a slanted bias as one might see it but the points that you raised might have merit if there is a pattern and not just a forgivable instance but, "a man's point of view" , as your comments put it "They teach for doctrines the commandments and psychological babblings of men" which I see it anyone can become tainted as individuals even as yourself feel they are the only true teacher of the faith of Christ." This is the way that common man can become if he views himself as the only one teaching the true word of Christ, and that it in itself is a bad place to be. I teach only what the Spirit of God directs me to, not what the fashions of man want to hear, I'm a child of God wanting to hear from Him for direction and insight to His guidance to the path I follow.
AUSTRALIA (two e-mails): Hello from our church family in Sydney Australia. We are located 20 minutes south on Wollongong in a place called Albion Park Rail. Brother Gary Phillips was my pastor you may know him. Our church's name is South Coast Baptist Church.
We are an independent Baptist Church and I would love to hear from you.
Hello my brother I was reading through your articles today and found them a blessing and very informative. I loved your link on what is a Historic Baptist Church. We are brother in Australia and thank God for his sovereign grace and mercy upon our lives on the Great Commission.
Just thought I'd say hello. God bless you and your work.
WWW: You need to study your Word more! You are the one who is deceived. I am a christian and please remove me from your list. Sorry but I believe in the full Gospel and everything that was done at pentecost...in fact He says greater things will you do because I go to the Father. He also says " but I cast out demons in your name and did all of these things in your name and He will say to YOU I know you not. That is to you ...you need to get saved and filled with the Holy Ghost.
Go back in history and you will see mighty moves of God and people got excited. I don't know where you get your beliefs or teachings but it isn't in God's Word. You probably think Paul carried a King James version, which by the way is about third or forth on the list for accuracy. You don't need my last name but remove TheRev@adelphia.net. You are not of God and are right up there with David Koresh or should I say down there. But you probably don't believe in the Bible's hell either.
Lord,save this man or shut him up from deceiving innocent people just as you did with Anninias & Saphria, I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.
EDITOR’S NOTE TO THE READERS: This fellow is asking me to remove him from my list. To my knowledge he is not on our mailing list for the paper and at this point in time I am not publishing an e-mail version of this paper. We do get some interesting mail from time to time. Also, it is interesting that he uses the example of Ananias and Sapphira. They were not killed for deceiving innocent people. They were killed for lying to the Holy Spirit.
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This page was last updated Friday, March 04, 2011