Jan7TueJanuary 7, 2020 Dr. J. Brad Bailey, Ph. D.
Objection: “It is my belief that if we focus on our Lord, seeking Him and His will through His Word and prayer, we will not need to focus on false teachings and on who is doing what to whom.”
This objection was sent to us from a precious lady in Florida, with no discernable intended malice or ill will. She seems to be simply concerned that too much emphasis can be placed on doctrinal correctness and that this may take away from the message of Christ.
While I sympathize with her concerns, I also understand that the Scripture makes it clear that we must earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3). In Jude’s short epistle, he was greatly concerned that error could creep into the body of Christ so shortly after Christ Jesus had ascended. He was shocked by the presence of error and could not refrain himself from striking back at those who were misrepresenting the Person of Jesus Christ. This misrepresentation left unchecked would have led to a groundswell of costly error.
The Apostle Paul expressed a similar sense of shock when he wrote to the Galatians and said, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel . . . (Gal. 1:6).” Again, he could not remain silent while the very nature of the Gospel itself was being corrupted by the Judaizers. Paul and Jude would both agree that, although silence is golden, sometimes it is just plain yellow.
This is the spirit in which the New Testament Baptist Confession was written. We believe that the Gospel itself is at stake among many professing Independent Baptists. There is, for example, a bizarre timeline that many Fundamental Baptist preachers have advanced that proves this point. I have personally heard the common testimonies of those who have spoken of a salvation experience, followed by a call to preach and then an experience when they are filled with the Holy Spirit. This is a major problem for two reasons. First, “. . . if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Rom. 8:9b).” Second, it elevates the experience of an individual over the truth of God’s Word. Those who claim the aforementioned timeline all wear that testimony as a badge of honor, insinuating that we who have not had that experience are in some way substandard Christians. That is a major soteriological discrepancy.
That is just one example. Consider also that if you love your garden you must hate the weeds. If you love your health, you must hate obesity. If you love your family, you must hate intruders. The love/hate principle is key to the preservation of right doctrine as well. If you love the Bible, you must have a holy hatred of false teaching.
That same principle also applies to the pastor as a shepherd. A shepherd must also be a wolf hater and a wolf hunter. He must scout out the area that he intends to utilize as pasture and make sure that wolves and wolf dens are not present. That is what we simply call pastoral discernment.
So, while this objection is in good spirit, I would admonish you to understand that the New Testament Baptist Confession and all its supporting documents are one way of identifying dangerous trends and doctrines. It also serves as a clarion call to those who have been wandering near the wolf dens for too long. It is the voice of a shepherd, not a rabble-rouser.