Defining our terms. (A Work in Progress)
Sometimes, Primitive Baptists use terms are unfamiliar to our audience, and by doing so, unknowingly create confusion. Here is a short guide to the terms you might encounter and how they are used in our articles, discourses and sermons.
A cappella (Italian for "in the manner of the church" or "in manner of the chapel") music is specifically solo or group singing without instrumental sound or a piece intended to be performed in this way.
Primitive Baptists sing hymns from the heart without mechanical accompaniment. An excellent article on the subject can be found here: MUSIC END (See also Lead Singing)
Adoption The spirit of adoption. The adoption, that is, the redemption of these bodies in Romans, Chapter 8.
Absoluter Generally used to describe one who believes in the doctrine of the absolute predestination of all things. That is, that God decreed that all things that come to pass were pre-decided by God, and that man, as a result "can't help it" nor can he change that which will be. This is also known as fatalism and following this doctrine to its logical conclusion you find it must teach that a) God is the author of sin and b) that man has no free will. We find both of these positions to be inconsistent with holy scripture and deny them outright.
Another Order Usually refers to a group or system of belief that is not Primitive Baptist. Rather than name or call out a particular religion or system, we use the phrase to say that "our friend Joe belongs to another order."
Arminianism or Arminian The term is generally used by Primitive Baptists to label the doctrine of means salvation promoted by Jacobus Armininius, specifically, that man must participate in his eternal salvation.
We often say "the Arminian position, or the Arminians believe” or similar language. We aren’t suggesting there is a group or ethnicity called Arminians. We use the name as a wholesale term to identify those opposed to the doctrines of grace defined in the covenant of redemption. While there is a country called Armenia, use of this term (with a slightly different spelling) points only to those who have ascribed to the beliefs of Jacobus Arminius.
Here is a link to the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arminianism
Ask for a Home To present oneself for membership by way of baptism (new converts), letter (from another recognized church, proclaiming current membership in good standing) or by relation, meaning one who was previously baptized in an Old Baptist church but one no longer in existence.
Association In the United States, many Primitive Baptists Churches in a region would gather annually under the banner of an "association" name, rotating the meeting's hosting duties among the member churches. Originally, associations were purposed to report new members, deaths, news among the churches and so forth. They were also useful in putting down any heresy running through the area. They are not designed to hold any power or authority over any member church.
Call for the Peace of the Church Prior to conference, the church inquires for the peace of the church as a way of determining whether there are outstanding personal issues requiring discipline that are hindering church peace.
Calvinist or Calvinism A follower or believer in the 5 points of Calvinism promoted by reformer John Calvin. (See also TULIP).
Carnal Mind Being in a state or condition in eminity toward God. Not born again.
Change the Order of Service To move from singing to prayer and preaching in an orderly manner.
Come Before the Church Usually is a matter of discipline of a member where the steps of Matthew Chapter 18 have been followed. Unable to resolve a matter between members puts this final conflict resolution before the congregation.
Communion (also called the Lord's Supper) This semi-annual event is one of the two ordinances given the New Testament church by Christ, the other being water baptism. It is conducted by an ordained minister and served by deacons to baptized believers of like faith and order. It is a close, not closed, communion, in that members of other Primitive Baptist churches may take part. The communion elements represent, but only in a symbolic manner, the body (bread) of our Lord as it was broken for us, and the blood (pure, unleavened wine) which he shed on our behalf. The ceremony is solemn and focuses primarily on His death.
Conference A periodic business meeting to deal with finances, bills, repairs, upkeep of the building, donations, calling of officers and church matters of discipline. Membership roles are adjusted in conference, adding new members and granting dismissal for those moving to other established churches. Traditionally, most churches follow a specific pattern similar to Robert's Rules of Order to ensure all things are done ‘decently, and in order.’
Converted A change in one's lifetime, often dramatic, brought about by the revelation of new information. Many ask, for example, was Saul of Tarsus (Paul) born again on the road to Damascus or converted to the truth of Jesus? Many times in the scriptures, we read of those whose lives are changed, even though they have shown evidence of being a child of God for sometime. That is an indication of a conversion to the truth.
Covenant of Redemption In that God chose a people before the foundation of the world, whom He chose to save from their fall in Adam, having pre-known them, He agreed by covenant in three to predetermine their eternal destiny, call them into life while they are in their earthly bodies, justify them by His shed blood and after this life, glorify them where they will be fit to inhabit eternal heaven with Him eternally.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Dead Alien Sinner aka Natural Man While it sounds like something out of science fiction, it's a term used in early English to define a person who had not been born again; an enemy to God - one who was Dead - that is, still in their fallen state in Adam; an Alien - no desire to serve God and in fact considered an enemy; and a Sinner, which we are all in Adam. The term is still sometimes used for the sake of emphasis, so that in redundancy, there is no doubt about the condition of the subject. Everyone is clear on the person under consideration: He's Dead, he's an Alien, and he's a sinner.
Depravity or Total Depravity This is another term we often use to say in one or two words what would normally take several paragraphs to state. The term doesn't appear in scripture, but the doctrine is clearly taught. In a nutshell, it means that Adam died in the garden and put himself, and all that would be born after him in a condition alienated from God, none of us able, capable or desiring of restoring or reconciling ourselves. Dead in trespasses and in sins, an an enemy to the just and holy God and creator. The greater meaning in the description is that God must provide restoration and only He can.
Dry Lander or Dry Land Baptist A person who, while in agreement and fellowship with Old Line Primitive Baptists has never come forward to join the church through water baptism.
Elder A biblical term or title for an ordained preacher. This, and the term Bishop are the only two descriptive terms authorized by scripture for a minister.
Elect (Also: God's children, His People, His Sheep, His Beloved) The Elect (Luke 18:7; Titus 1:1) are a people chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), the same people given to the Son to save or give eternal life to (John 17:2; 10:27-29), the same, called "sheep" for whom Christ died (John 10:11, 15).
Election --the choice or decision of whom God would save. This election occurred before the foundation of the world, was an election of individuals (out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation), and was unconditional on our part or not because of any good thing foreseen in the creature.
Exercising When a young man is believed to have a gift and calling to preach the gospel, he is asked by the church to ‘exercise’ that gift by introducing services. Usually, he will bring a passive of scripture before the church and expound upon it for ten or fifteen minutes. As he grows in his knowledge, gift and delivery, he may be afforded more time in the stand. When he reaches the point the church believes his gift ought to be confirmed by other churches, he is given license or liberty to preach wherever he may be called upon, his own church family having expressed confidence in his understanding of the doctrine. One who is exercising may be called a licentiate, or be referred to as liberated unto the gospel.
Foot Washing An element of the communion service practiced by most churches. It is as described in the 13th Chapter of John's gospel and for those who participate, it is a heart melting and humbling act that reminds us of our status in this lifetime. It is celebrated by members only, as is our communion.
Grace Unmerited favor bestowed upon an unworthy individual.
Gospel Salvation - Gospelly Saved. A salvation in this lifetime, resulting from the knowledge of what God has done on your behalf. To come to a saving knowledge of the truth doesn't grant you the new birth, but only indicates that you have the new birth. It doesn't make you a fruit tree, but reveals that you are a fruit tree, and can now bear fruit. See also converted.
Kingdom Perhaps by calling it simply the church Kingdom, or gospel Kingdom, we could put to rest all other arguments and disagreements the world has about the timing and place of such. Many in the so called religious world believe Christ's kingdom to be future, on this earth, after His return. We do not. Rather we know we are living in the Kingdom now, and all verses in scripture that describe this kingdom point to that fact. When/Where?
King James Translation (Bible) 1611 The overwhelming majority of Primitive Baptists, believe, rely upon, study and preach from the King James translation of the scriptures. They believe this book to be protected and most free from the error of man's opinion and flavoring. Why the King James?
Foreknowledge - Foreknow - Foreknew Romans 8 - The act or ability to forsee, or foreknow an event.
Laying on of Hands Among the religious world, this speaks of miraculous healing. We find the scriptures use the term in the act of Ordination of an Elder or Deacon - the two authorized offices in the New Testament Church. While there is nothing mystical in the laying on of hands, it does convey a symbolic link back to John the Baptist. An orderly baptized and ordained minister or group of ministers will lay hands upon the subject during an ordination prayer, symbolizing the unbroken chain back to the banks of the river Jordan.
Lead Singing (Song Leader) Usually a male member of the congregation, hopefully with some knowledge of music or timing, starts a hymn while facing the group. The purpose is to control the pace and tempo of a song, by beginning in the proper pitch and if possible, marking time by hand movements to ensure the crowd sings as one. This is a tradition and a help to the church that is of course not mandated as a condition of worship.
Lining or Lining out a Hymn Traditionally, small groups could not afford to provide hymnals for everyone to have their own during service, so the song leader would line out a hymn by reading each line of the song to be sung in the tune required and the congregation would follow, holding the last note of each line sufficient for the song leader to recite the next line. In this way, only the song leader required a hymnal and everyone could partake in the singing. It is still practiced in some churches to uphold the tradition or during protracted handshakes at the end of services.
Lord's Prayer This is the prayer in John, Chapter 17, which Jesus made on behalf of His beloved children. The world teaches the prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 as the Lord's prayer, but we refer to that as a model prayer. The high priestly prayer in John 17 reveals much about the mission of Christ and love for His own.
Means or Means Salvation We have abbreviated a position over the years to the simple words above. To say that means or no means are involved in the eternal salvation of man is a short cut manner to define a position on one side or another. Means - money, missions, men, machines, devices, opportunities to hear and receive the gospel. No Means, on the other hand indicates that God does not require men, money, missionaries, machines or even the preached word to bring His children from a death of trespasses and sins to a new life. Means salvation has come to be salvation resulting from man's efforts, most often, preaching.
Moderator of a periodic conference or business meeting. Usually the Pastor unless designated otherwise. In extended church meetings lasting several days and involving other churches, an Elder is sometimes designated to serve as Moderator to ensure order and timeliness in the services.
Non-Elect While not specifically a bible term, this shortcut is used to describe those who are not included the the covenant of redemption described in Romans 8:28-30. They are the wicked, the depraved sinner, whose state and condition in Adam is never changed. They are left in their fallen condition and have no desire, love or interest in the eternal God. See also: Dead Alien Sinner and Wicked
Order of Service Singing, prayer, preaching, closing hymn, during which an invitation to unite with the church is afforded, right hand of fellowship and dismissal prayer. Our ‘order of service’ changes slightly as one travels from region to region but usually is 30 minutes of congregational singing, beginning at 10:30 AM on a Sunday morning. At the end of 30 minutes, the order is changed and the congregation takes this opportunity to stand and stretch while singing the last song before prayer and preaching. Most will call for prayer requests at this time. Whether the prayer is before the last song or after is up to the discretion of the invidual church.
Old Line, Old School Baptists See Primitive. These names we take on ourselves to portray our dedication to the Old Paths, the old ways, the conservative position of the church, indicating that she does not change with every wind of doctrine or new idea that surfaces in society.
Ordinances of the Church Baptism, by full immersion, conducted by an ordained Elder. The second ordinance in which the church participates is the Lord's Supper or Communion.
Pastor Call While each church does this differently, the church periodically reaffirms an Elder as their called Pastor to oversee the flock. The calling of a new pastor would take place during a church’s conference as well. Each church determines whether they insist upon a unanimous vote or simple majority to call or retain a Pastor.
Publish the Doors Open This phrase is often heard at the end of a sermon. The pastor announces the doors of the church are open for the reception of members. In truth, the doors of the church are always open for this cause, and "to publish" is merely remind those in the audience of the opportunity.
Predestination Predestinate means to foreordain or determined beforehand, and, as used in Scripture, speaks of God’s purpose or determination before the foundation of the world to adopt a people into the family of God (Ephesians 1:5), determining beforehand that they would be conformed to the image of God’s dear Son (Romans 8:29-30). In Scripture, the words predestinate and predestinated have nothing to do with the idea of fate or that all things are fixed by God without any consideration of the acts of men, but have to do with God’s salvation of His children.
Primitive A name historically claimed to be given to us by our detractors. In the 1800s, all Baptists were of one mind. Some began to drift toward missions and Sunday schools and the like, bringing about a division - Old school and New school - in their belief and practice. Those not subscribing to the new methods were labeled old fashioned and "primitive." We wore the name as a badge of honor, preferring the term to mean "original, or first."
Regeneration A bible term found in Titus 3:5 (and also once in Matthew) Tts 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
We use the term inter-changeably with the new birth or being born again.
Right Hand of Fellowship During the closing hymn, the congregation may walk the floor in an orderly fashion to offer one another the ‘right hand of fellowship.’ Shaking hands in this manner allows us to contact, and express our love for one another.
Sister Churches A Primitive Baptist church is described in feminine gender, and refers to other autonomous Primitive Baptist churches of like faith and order as "sister" churches.
Time Salvation (also called Gospel or Worldly Salvation, Knowledge Salvation) It's clear that the scriptures teach more than one aspect of salvation. We make the distinction between "eternal" salvation, where all of the work has been performed by God, and "time" salvation, which is based on man's here and now participation. Every time the word salvation is mentioned in the bible, one must rightly divide to determine if the subject under consideration is eternal, or timely. For example, when Paul speaks of the ship-wrecked crew and passengers, that these must abide in the ship to be saved, he's not referring to their eternal salvation, but to an immediate saving of the flesh or situation.
TULIP A five point doctrinal acronym used by many Calvinists, Dutch Reformed, Christian Reformed and some Primitive Baptists. Most Primitive Baptists take a different position on the letter P, making it to be Preserved, rather than the Calvinist version which cites the P as Persevere. Generally, we are in agreement with the first four points.
T Total depravity.
U Unconditional Election
L Limited Atonement
I Irresistible Grace
P Preservation of the Saints
Types and Shadows A term used to depict the present truth of the New Testament that was partially hidden in the Old Testament. For example, Joseph represented in many of his actions a Type of Christ. Abraham's offering of Isaac is a fore-shadowing of the sacrifice of God giving his Son.
Wicked (Also known as the non-elect) The un-regenerate person, whose state or condition described in scripture is un-saved.