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Scott Shaver

Just goes to show you how easily human nature is corrupted apart from submission to the Holy Spirit. Religion becomes the acceptable cloak and jargon for the promotion of man's multi-faceted egocentricities.

A whole lotta bull has been sold as Bologna under the umbrella of "missions" in recent decades.


Wow. History always repeats itself. Wonder if they were dishonest about their intentions back then, too?

Robert Vaughn

I have been doing some work transcribing Morgan Edwards's Customs of the Primitive Churches for my blog (but got overwhelmed by it). His lesson Of the office of missionaries or evangelists indicates they (at least some of them) put different meaning on the terms missionary and evangelist.

Scott Shaver

Gotten to the point these days that when somebody starts touting "mission" it's a signal to make sure your wallet flap is buttoned down.

peter lumpkins


Very interesting. You mentioned the PBA most probably placed different meanings on evangelists & missionaries. Presumably you mean different meanings than what we place upon them today. "The office of missionaries or modern evangelists is, generally, occasional and temporary... they must be chosen out of those that had been ordained teachers. Their work is, to itinerate on the special errands of the churches."

What I find most interesting of all is comparing the missionary work of both Philadelphia and Charleston with Sandy Creek Separates. The former two associations seemed focused on correct belief and making sure other Baptist churches were doctrinally pure (i.e. strictly Calvinistic and holding to Calvinistic confessions) while Separate Baptists focused on preaching the gospel to the unsaved. Philadelphia's missionary activity of moving in and taking over General Baptist congregations cannot be divorced in my mind from many Founders operatives who appear to have read Philadelphia's playbook page by page.

Robert Vaughn

Peter, thanks for that clarification that I failed to make. Yes, I did not intend to say they (or at least Edwards) were placing different meanings on missionary and evangelist, but different meanings on those words from what we commonly place on them today.

As far as the propriety of proselytizing members from other churches and whether they (the Philadelphia Association folks) preached the gospel to the heathen, I think that is eventually two separate questions. For example, in the winter of 1772-73, David Jones went to preach to "the western tribes of Indians." I think it is unquestionable, though, the differences in outreach one sees between Philadelphia and Sandy Creek.



I agree with your concluding remarks about proselytizing but have an idea that the PBA concluded that the Freewill did not have the Gospel. If that is their conclusion, than they would not say they were proselytizing but proclaiming the Gospel. But to me this raises a very important point. Do Calvinist believe that non-Calvanists can possess the Gospel in truth and saving faith? So I tend to believe that what you've posted demonstrates that for at least the PBA, if you weren't Calvinist, you didn't have the Gospel.


"Do Calvinists believe that non-Calvinists can possess the Gospel in truth and saving faith"?

That is exactly what Mohler proposed in a video he did with DeYoung and others a while back. A "non SBC" audience, btw. He never said such things at the annual meetings, etc.

He asked, "Where else are they going to go but New Calvinism"? That is what they built their movement upon: Taking the true Gospel to SBC churches that did not have it.

They are now backtracking with the unity message and admit we kinda sorta fit in and can be considered saved. How nice!


This is one reason I have major problems with that movement besides all the scandals.



That video you posted doesn't give much hope to those who have left Calvinism much hope then does it? For to go in any other direction, according to that video, would be to leave The Truth.

My now dead in body uncle, 5 POINTER, used to call me Brother Luke. I sure miss that. But now, in light of that video, maybe he was just yanking my chain?(just being snarky, he believed I had the Gospel)

Robert Vaughn

Luke: "Do Calvinist believe that non-Calvanists can possess the Gospel in truth and saving faith? So I tend to believe that what you've posted demonstrates that for at least the PBA, if you weren't Calvinist, you didn't have the Gospel."

My tentative conclusion, based on some answers in their minutes, is that the PBA would have believed a non-Calvinist could possess saving faith, but would have been disqualified as church members on points of doctrine. For example:

"Whether a person denying unconditional election, the doctrine of original sin, and the final
perseverance of the saints, and striving to affect as many as he can, may have full communion with the church?...we adopt, and would that all the churches belonging to the Baptist Association be well grounded in accordance to our Confession of faith and catechism, and cannot allow that any are true members of our churches who deny the said principles, be their conversation outward what it will." (pages 68-69, 1752)

"Whether the assurance of faith be absolutely necessary in order for admission to baptism? The judgment of this Association is: It appears to us, both from scripture and experience, that true saving faith may subsist where there is not assurance of faith. — Therefore, in answer to the second query. That a person sound in judgment, professing his faith of reliance on Christ for mercy and salvation, accompanied with a gospel conversation, ought to be baptized." (page 70, 1753)

[From Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, from A.D. 1707 to A.D. 1807: being the first one hundred years of its existence, as compiled by A. D. Gillette]



Thanks for that info. Very telling. So I am considered to be the "red headed step child".

Based upon what you've included as well as Peter's contention above, the "missionaries" were calvinizing rather than evangelizing. I'm not against discipling the saved but there is a "yuge" difference between evangelizing the lost and calvinizing the saved. I think Peter's point stands.


I suppose it's impossible to determine the theological leaning of NAMB church plant pastors (they probably don't have a checkbox for that on the application), but it sure looks like most of the SBC church plants in my area have young, restless and reformed "lead pastors." It's enough to make me wonder if SBC's current church planting program is more about planting theology than planting churches. Since many of a new plant's members migrate from surrounding traditional SBC churches, they will surely get a dose of Calvinization where YRR leaders are in place.

Eric O

Come on guys......
that was the 1700's.....
Me thinks the religious culture was a bit different back yonder.


It's repeating itself. History always does because we refuse to learn from it. My favorite excuse for Calvin is 'he was a man of his time' as if the Holy Spirit was AWOL in the 1500's.


Speaking of David Platt, is anyone familiar with Lifeway's "Disciples Path Bible Study" materials? Are they another subtle reformed indoctrination like "The Gospel Project"? I guess I'm suspect of anything introduced by David Platt.

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