Fundamental Baptists: In The Past, In The Present, In Prophecy

By J. H. Melton (1922 - 1995)

And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Spurgeon, and of Maclaren, and of Hall, and of Evans; and Roberts also, and Bunyan, and Milton, and Mullins, and Carey, and Judson, and Knibb, and Newman, and Dargon, and Christian, and Scroggie, and Meyer, and Gordon, and of others also; "who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. AND THESE ALL, HAVING OBTAINED A GOOD REPORT THROUGH FAITH, RECEIVED NOT THE PROMISE: GOD HAVING PROVIDED SOME BETTER THING FOR US, THAT THEY WITHOUT US SHOULD NOT BE MADE PERFECT."

You will recognize immediately that I have paraphrased a portion of this remarkable passage from Hebrews 11.  I trust no violence has been done to scripture. Most certainly none has been intended. History affords abundant proof that Fundamental Baptists are related by faith, by practice, and by suffering to the heroes enumerated in the Bible “Hall of Faith.” It is estimated that in the first three centuries, three million non-conformists were put to death, and in the one thousand years known as the Dark Ages, as many as fifty million may have been martyred for their separatist beliefs. Not all of these were Baptists, but multitudes were.

My subject necessitates that in the beginning of the message that I define "Fundamental Baptists."

I do not believe you can be fundamental without being Baptist. There are those who call themselves "fundamental ecumenicists", or "interdenominational fundamentalists." But some of these groups baptize infants, others teach covenant theology, and all of them believe the church to be a universal, invisible ghost. We need to recognize that so-called "fundamental ecumenism" is little more scriptural than unfundamental ecumenism. And interdenominationalism is unscriptural in its message, classifying such truths as Believer's Baptism, Security of the Believer, and the Pre-millennial

Return of Christ as non-essential teachings of scripture. Interdenominationalism is unscriptural in its method, denying the local assembly to be the only divinelyconstituted agency for the spread of the gospel.

Interdenominationalism is unscriptural in its motive, seeking to unify what it calls the "Body of Christ" instead of calling apart believers into local assemblies. I submit to you that there are seven doctrines which must be embraced if one is to rightly claim to be a Fundamental Baptist, and, I repeat: there is no other "fundamentalism". You ask, "Where did you get the authority to say who is a Fundamental Baptist and who is not?" I answer, "From scripture and from history." The separatist churches in scripture and in history held to these cardinal tenets of the Christian faith. IT IS NOT WHAT YOU BELONG TO THAT MAKES YOU A BAPTIST! IT IS WHAT YOU HOLD TO OF THE WORD OF GOD!

1. Priority of Our Scriptures -- All the Bible is Scripture, and all Scripture is in the sixty-six books of the Bible. The Word of God is the absolute, supreme, sole, and final authority for all matters pertaining to faith and practice of believers.

2. The Person of Our Saviour – No one can be a Fundamental Baptist who does not believe in, adhere to, and contend for the Virgin Birth, the Virtuous Life, the Vicarious Death, the Victorious Resurrection, and the Visible Return of the Son of God.

3. The Plan of Our Salvation – God never has had, does not now have, nor ever will have but one plan of salvation – salvation by grace through faith in the shed blood of the Worthy Lamb, Jesus Christ.

4. The Purity of Our Symbols – "Believer's Baptism" and the Lord's Supper mean today just what they meant in the scriptures, and must not be tampered with or tainted with addition or subtraction.

5. The Preservation of Our Saints – A person is saved forever the moment he or she experiences regeneration. A faith that is conditioned upon "living it out," "holding on to it," is not saving faith. A faith that must be supplemented by baptism, church membership, or “sacraments” for salvation is not saving faith. We are saved by "the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:14). And we are "kept by the power of God" (I Peter 1:5; II Timothy 1:12).

6. The Parousia of Our Saviour – The foremost truth in the Word of God after that of salvation is the imminent, visible, literal return of the Son of God to this earth to reign for a thousand years. Whether one is pre-millennial determines his acceptance or rejection of much of the Word of God. This eliminates a lot of folks who claim to be "fundamental" and a whole lot more who claim to be Baptist.

7. The Pre-eminence of Our ‘Sembly – The local assembly of baptized believers is sovereign, autonomous, and self-governing – not subject to the jurisdiction of an ecclesiastical hierarchy and/or denominational control. This nearly eliminates all others who call themselves Baptist, and leaves the independent, fundamental, missionary, evangelistic, premillennial, Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, Bible-preaching, Bible-practicing local assemblies as the only rightful wearers of the name "Fundamental" and/or "Baptist."

Having defined Fundamental Baptists, let me proceed to discuss their past, their present, and their future.

Look first at Fundamental Baptists in the Past. We are no "Johnny Come-latelys." We have not always been called Baptists. Some have referred to us in language not printable or usable. We have been in existence since our Founder, Jesus Christ, started us. Our past can be set forth in five words: Antiquity, Austerity, Adversity, Activity, and Affinity.

"Antiquity": "that which belongs to or survives from ancient times." We do not claim apostolic succession, but we do claim, with proof, the perpetuity of faith. We do claim, and rightly so, the New Testament apostles as our fundamentalist Baptist ancestors. In I Cor. 12:28, the Bible says, "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles…" And that church He set them in was a Baptist church, believing the same “faith…once delivered unto the saints” that we do; believing in believer's baptism, as we do; believing in the symbolism of the ordinances and the autonomy of the assembly, as we do.

Certain characters in history are named as founders of various denominations: the Campbellites (so-called Church of Christ) with Alexander Campbell; the Methodists with John Wesley (though Wesley never left the Church of England); the Presbyterians with John Calvin; the Martin Lutherans; the Church of England with Henry VIII; and the Catholics with Gregory. The trouble with the Protestants that came out of Rome is that they did not come far-enough out. They are now slipping back into the same pit from which they came.

There is no personality this side of Jesus Christ who is a satisfactory explanation for the origin of Baptists. We originated, not at the Reformation, nor in the Dark Ages, nor in any century after the apostles. Our marching orders are the Great Commission, and the first Baptist church was the one established by the Saviour Himself, as recorded in the sixteenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.

Baptist principles are as old as is Christianity, and we acknowledge no founder but Christ. All great church historians over the centuries are in agreement with this fact. Catholic Cardinal Hosius, president of the Council of Trent, 1545, wrote: "If the truth of religion were to be judged by the readiness and boldness of which a man in any sect shows in suffering, then the opinions and persuasions of no sect can be truer and surer than those of the Anabaptists (re-baptizers), since there have been none for the 1200 years past that have been more generally punished or that have more cheerfully and steadfastly undergone punishment, and have even offered themselves to the most cruel sort of punishment than these people" (Hosius, "Letters Apud Opera", pp 112-113; Baptist Magazine, CVIII, 278, May, 1826).

Methodist John Clark Ridpath
, in his History of the World, states, "In the year 100 A.D., all Christians were Baptists."

Mosheim, a Lutheran, says, "Before the rise of Luther and Calvin there lay concealed in almost all the countries of Europe, persons who adhered tenaciously to the principles of Baptists." Again he said, "The origin of Baptists is lost in the remote depths of antiquity."

Zwingli said in the sixteenth century, of the people we now call Baptists, "They have caused a great disturbance for 1300 years."

Here is another testimony from a well-known man: "The sentiments of Baptists and their practice of baptism from the Apostolic Age to the present have had a continued chain of advocates, and public monuments of their existence in every century can be produced." Who would you think contributed this verification of our antiquity? It was Alexander Campbell, in his debate with McCalla at Washington, Mason County, Kentucky, October 15, 1823. Campbell's so-called Church of Christ, claims to have restored Christianity to its primitive form, but Campbell himself said that Baptists have been here all the time.

Someone may raise the question, “Were these Baptists in all the centuries past independent Baptists?” Again, let the records of the historians speak.

Cardinal Gibbon, in his monumental work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published in Boston, 1854, says, "Such was the mild and equal constitution by which the Christians were governed for more than a hundred years after the death of the apostles. Every society formed within itself a separate and independent republic; and although the more distant of these little states maintained a mutual as well as friendly intercourse of letters and deputations, the Christian world was not yet connected by any supreme or legislative assembly" (Vol. I., 554).

H. E. Dana, for years Professor of New Testament at Southwestern Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, and at his death President of Central Baptist Seminary, Kansas City, wrote: "There is no term in the New Testament which has suffered more distortion of meaning than 'ekklesia.' It is translated into English by the word 'church,' and this word carries with it associations totally foreign to the Greek term as used in the New Testament. It is perfectly consistent to use the term 'church' by way of accommodation in speaking of 'The Methodist Church,' 'The Episcopalian Church,' etc., with the understanding that the usage of the term in this manner is aside from the scriptural meaning. It is entirely inconsistent, however, to speak of 'The Baptist Church,' for no such ecclesiastical organization exists. With all possible emphasis let it be said that there is no 'Baptist Church,' but a multitude of Baptist churches, each one a complete and independent unit within itself. The Baptist definition of 'church' is: a local assembly of baptized believers, banded together for the full performance of the will of Christ" (Manual of Ecclesiology, Central Seminary Press, 1944, pgs. 13, 23).

John T. Christian
, who was professor of Christian History in what is now New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, when he wrote A History of the Baptists, published by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1922, wrote: "A New Testament Church is a company of baptized believers voluntarily associated together for the maintenance of the ordinances and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Such a church is a voluntary association and is independent of all outward control, and is responsible to Jesus Christ alone. In the New Testament sense of the church there can be no such organization as a National or General Council, composed of a number of local organizations. The church in the scriptural sense is always an independent, local organization" (pp. 13, 14).

David Benedict, a Baptist minister who resigned his pastorate and traveled for years accumulating data for his General History of the Baptist Denomination in America, published by Lincoln & Emands, London, 1813, says: "The manner in which the Messiah appeared, His ministry, His death, and all the affairs of His kingdom and people, for many years after He ascended on high, are recorded in the New Testament. His disciples began to congregate into churches. These churches were composed of professed believers who had been baptized by immersion on the profession of their faith. Every church was an independent body, and no one claimed a right to regulate the affairs of another. If they met in council, as they did at Jerusalem, it was to advise, not to give law" (p. 8).

As fundamental Baptists, we are a people of antiquity, perpetuity, and continuity. In every century since the incarnation of our Lord, there have been local assemblies believing and practicing as we do.

"Austerity": “severity of manner of life; harsh discipline; rigorous simplicity.” Most of our churches began on the back side of nowhere. Many times we would have been better-off without any building than the one we started in. But the words of a hymn express our experience: "Does the place you're called to labor seem so small and little known? It is great if God is in it, and He'll never forget His own. Little is much, when God is in it; labor not for wealth or fame. There's a crown and you can win it, if you'll go in Jesus' name." We have accomplished much with Moses' rod, Shamgar's ox-goad, and David's slingshot.

The distinctive mark of our college is its product. The men who go out from this school – they may be boys when they get here, but they are men when they leave – get a burden for a certain area; they go into that area and start knocking on doors. They get a dozen people together, organize, and build a church. They support themselves with secular work as long as – and only as long as – it is absolutely necessary. With denial of the luxuries and even many necessities of life, with "harsh discipline" and rigorous simplicity, they build fundamental Baptist churches on the home mission field (for that is what America has now become), and on the foreign mission field.

"Adversity": “misery; the opposite of prosperity.” Remember, I am dealing now with our past. Fundamental Baptists have always been opposed and oppressed by the State Church – whether Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish. The present attitude of the ecumenicists towards us is typical of their predecessors in history – Luther, Zwingli, and other so-called Protestant reformers who were merciless in their attitude toward non-conformists. But fundamental Baptists have been like the Israelites in Egypt. The more we have been oppressed, the heavier our burdens, the more-cruel our taskmasters, the more we have multiplied. We thrive on hardship. We make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.

I quote again from John T. Christian: "Baptist churches have the most slender ties of organization, and a strong government is not according to their policy. They are like the river Rhone, which sometimes flows as a river broad and deep, but at other times is hidden in the sands. (But) it…never loses its continuity or its existence. It is simply hidden for a period. Baptist churches may disappear (from public view) and reappear in the most unaccountable manner. Persecuted everywhere by sword and fire, their principles would appear to be almost extinct, when in a wondrous way, God would raise up some man, or some group of martyrs, to proclaim the truth. The footsteps of Baptists can more easily be traced by blood than by baptism. It is a lineage of suffering rather than a succession of bishops; a martyrdom of principle, rather than an iron chain of succession, which, while trying to rattle its links back to the apostles, has been of more service in chaining some protesting Baptist to the stake than in proclaiming the truth of the New Testament. It is, nevertheless, a right royal succession, that in every age the Baptists have been advocates of liberty for all, and have held that the gospel of the Son of God makes every man a free man in Jesus Christ."

This old world has never been a friend to grace. God's minority has always been hated as bigots, extremists, and non-conformists.

"Activity":  "the active faculty; nimbleness; agility; the habit of diligence and vigor.” Contrary to the image some would impose upon us (that of "grammatoi idiotoi", totally ignorant and unlearned men), fundamental Baptists have stood in the forefront of every phase of Christian endeavor. Our Fundamental Baptist Hall of Fame includes in its illustrious galaxy of ancestors the leaders in preaching, scholarship, theology, missions, history, religious liberty, and scriptural social reforms (as contrasted with the advocates of the so-called “Great Society,” Lyndon Johnson's totally counterfeit millennium).

The princes of the pulpit have been Baptists! Charles H. Spurgeon, Alexander Maclaren, Robert Hall, Christmas Evans, Evans Roberts, John Bunyan, Jeoffrey King, Douglas Brown, Stephen Oxford, George Fox, Francis Dickinson, F. B. Meyer, A. J. Gordon, Andrew Fuller, and legions of others. Dr. Chalmers said of the English Baptist preachers of his day: "Perhaps there is not a more intelligent community of ministers in our island, or who have put forth to their number a greater amount of mental power and mental activity in the defense and illustration of our common faith."

It is interesting that many of the most avid supporters of education are pastors who lament their own failure to obtain formal training. There is no excuse for anyone failing to do so today. This unique institution, our beloved college, offers preparation and training for the Lord's work to any and all that have enough desire and determination to get it. It is doubtful that you will mean much to the Lord's work without these traits of character – with or without an education.

When you study the biographies of the peerless preachers of history, you find that the greatest of them were fundamental, independent Baptists. In theology (Queen of the Sciences), the names of fundamental Baptists stand tall: Augustus Strong, Alvah Hovey, Edgar Young Mullins, Bancroft, Clark, and others, including some who are yet with us!

Some of the greatest missionaries and missionary statesmen in history were fundamental Baptists! Andrew Fuller (who held the rope while Carey went down into the well of India); William Carey (India); Adoniram Judson (Burma); William Knibb (Jamaica); Joshua Marshman (the first to translate the Bible into the Chinese language); Francis Mason (who gave the Karens their first version); Nathan Brown (who provided the first translation for Japan and Assam); Lyman Jewett (who rendered a similar service to the Telegus); Luther Rice (who organized the first American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society in which churches voluntarily supported Judson and others in a manner similar to ours today). In every mission field of the world, the footprints of fundamental Baptists are seen.

What about Church History? The greatest of all church historians were fundamental Baptists! Albert Henry Newman, Edward C. Dargon, John T. Christian, Robert Tolbert, G. H. Orchard, J. M. Pendleton, David Benedict, etc. And what of biblical scholarship? Who can compare with such as William Graham Scroggie, John A. Broadus, J. B. Tidwell, and others. Unfortunately, my definition of fundamental Baptists excludes a great mental giant, B. H. Carroll, who, except for his incredible post-millennialism, would be numbered with us.

Consider, too, education! The first president of Harvard College was Henry Dunster, who, by his scholarship, enthusiasm, and proficiency, and by the sacrifice of his means and his health for its interest, brought the college into a position exceeding the hopes of its best friends. He lost his office because of his espousal of Baptist views. The largest early benefactors of Harvard College were Thomas Hollis, a wealthy Baptist, and his descendants. Hollis founded the Hollis Choir of Theology, the first in the United States. The fact that Harvard now breeds atheistic intellectuals for our social welfare state does not dim the luster of its noble founders! Brown University was founded by Baptists in 1764, and the charter requires that the president be a Baptist. Rhode Island Baptist, John Clarke, in 1675, was among the first to advocate a public school system.

Then, there’s literature! The literature of the world has been enriched by Baptist writers. Daniel DeFoe, author of Robinson Crusoe; John Foster, the great essayist; John Howard, philanthropist; John Milton, epic poet and statesman; and John Bunyan, the immortal dreamer whose Pilgrim's Progress has been sold in more copies than any other book except the Bible; they were all Baptists. John Milton held the fundamental Baptist principle of separation of church and state, rejected infant baptism, and contended that immersion is the proper mode of baptism:

The bodies of believers, who engage themselves to pureness of life, are immersed in running water” (Christian Doctrine). Milton and Bunyan were fundamental Baptists!

Dare we forget hymnology? It is noteworthy that to the Baptists the world is indebted for the most popular national hymn in our language, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," by Samuel Francis Smith. The hymn is expressive of the patriotism exhibited by fundamental Baptists throughout our nation’s history. Baptists have composed many of our best hymns, a few being: "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," "Blest be the Tie that Binds," "How Firm a Foundation," "Safe in the Arms of Jesus," "Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned," "Shall We Gather at the River," "Almost Persuaded," "On Jordan's Stormy Banks," "My Jesus, I Love Thee," "Holy Bible, Book Divine," "Wonderful Words of Life," "Bringing in the Sheaves," and many, many others.

The most-renowned Baptist distinctives may be separation of church and state and religious liberty!  John Clarke, a pronounced Baptist, secured the charter of 1643 which made Rhode Island a colony with full provision for liberty of conscience; and he was, as has been said, the originator of the free public school system. Statler, before his tongue was torn out and his body burned, wrote his confessions in which he demanded for himself and for all others the right of a free conscience; he was a Baptist. Felix Mantz, who in 1527, for the crime of believer's baptism, was sentenced to be drowned; he was a Baptist. There was Obadiah Holmes, who for meeting to worship in the home of blind William Witter, was whipped by Massachusetts authorities until his body was such a welter of sores that he had to sleep on his hands and knees for two weeks: a Baptist. President Abraham Lincoln and President Jefferson Davis were both sons of Baptist deacons. Lincoln attributed all that he was to a Baptist mother. Davis devoted ground where he was born in Fairview, Kentucky, as a site for a Baptist church; and it is so-used now. The man who snatched the Southwest from Mexico and handed back to the U.S. what is now Texas (if indeed that is still a part of the United States), part of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming, was General Sam Houston, a loyal Baptist. Henry Clay and President Chester A. Arthur were sons of Baptist preachers.

Fundamental Baptists have no cause to blush with shame for anything! Our footprints lead the achievements in every category of Christian history! I am persuaded that time is so short and the Parousia of our Lord so near that no earthly historian will have opportunity to write the deeds of this century. But I trust that when the Divine Chronicler Himself reveals the record of the last half of the twentieth century, He may note that the men of our movement were here! Their footprints are everywhere to be seen – in the pulpit, in the classrooms, on the mission field, in the ministry of music, in Biblical scholarship, in theology, and in their willingness to suffer, bleed, and die for "the Faith."

"Affininty": the last word that characterizes our past. Fundamental Baptists have always had an affinity for the Word of God and the Son of God – so much so that one of the watchwords of the past was, "The Crown Rights of the Redeemer." We have had an affinity for one another in the defense of the inerrancy of scripture and the proclamation of the absolute deity of the Saviour. I remember one of our men saying at a national fellowship meeting, "I have found my people." As Bible-believing churches we have as great an obligation to fellowship together as do the individual members of a local congregation. We must never interpret independence to mean isolation.

So, as fundamental Baptists we salute our illustrious ancestors of the past. We acknowledge our debt to them; and we do not intend to fail them…or Him. Remember what Baptists used to be – and what we still are! That brings us to Fundamental Baptists in the Present.

"…That we should earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). Fundamental Baptists have left their footprints upon the sands of time in every age and in every part of the earth from the days of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ until this very hour of atheistic apostasy, cowardly compromise, and ecumenical ecclesiasticism. So, what of our present state? It may be summed up in three words: Diversity, Unity, and Growth!

First we have "Diversity!"

We do not have any mold to which every pastor and church is forced to conform. We do not have any mortal program to which a pastor must give loyalty so as to have an opportunity. Opportunity in fellowship is not determined by the size of a church or the amount of the offerings.

We have diversity of background. Some have been fortunate to be trained in our independent Baptist churches and our incomparable college here in Springfield. Others have been drawn from “used-tobe Baptists” to this fellowship -- drawn by conviction and heart-hunger for just what they have found. Some have been able to secure education in varying degrees; others have little or no formal education. Some come from noble birth of devout Christian parents. More, I suspect, have been saved out of broken homes of poverty and shame. Our backgrounds are diverse.

We have diversity of size. I do not speak of the difference in the size of pastors, though it must be acknowledged that the girth of our preachers differs greatly, as does the rest of our appearance. Some are handsome (not any excessively so). Most are anything but handsome (and excessively so)!

Our churches vary in size from the largest in the world to very, very small congregations. I do not know of a single pastor of a large church who does not rejoice to serve alongside pastors of the smallest churches.

There is a diversity of method. We do not all do things alike. Some of us yell when we preach; some use a quieter demeanor. Some preach with sermon notes, others do not. Some say "Ah-men," others "A-men." (I'm afraid to say "Ah-men" because some might think I'm a-millennial, and I'd just as soon be accused of being a Democrat!) Some use one type of music, others a different type. Personally, I prefer the type of music that the college choir sings – that which appeals to the soul rather than the feet. But such are matters of method, and we are diverse in method. We are diverse, but we are all scriptural in our diversity.

Secondly, we have “Unity!”

I want to make it absolutely clear that there is a difference between unity and union. We have no organic union. We have no denomination. We have no convention. We have no council of churches. You do not join this fellowship. There isn't anything to join. There isn't any membership. Those who want to voluntarily support our college, our newspaper, and our missionaries are not IN the Fellowship but WITH the Fellowship. They can quit anytime they can get the Lord's permission to – and no one is going into court to try to stop them! We have no popes, no archbishops, no bishops, no executive secretaries, no superintendents, no associational consultants – not one single salaried official to promote a program and seek to coerce pastors and churches; we have no program. We magnify the Word of God and glorify the Son of God. We have no one who aspires to a position of dominance over others. All of our pastors love life too much to become sitting ducks upon which 1500 to 2000 other pastors practice their marksmanship. But we are united!

We are united in message! "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20a). “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). There are no non-essentials! “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Christ's sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). We believe in, adhere to, and contend for every book, every chapter, every verse, and every word of the Word of God.

We are united in mission! And our mission is three-fold:

1) The emancipation of the sinner. The winning of the lost is the end objective of everything we do. “Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” We believe every individual in the world of an accountable age, without Christ, to be lost and hell-bound. Our one passion is to turn men from hell to heaven by way of the cross.

2) The edification of the saint – “Teaching them…” Our task has only begun when we have won an individual to a saving faith in the Saviour. It is then our duty to train that person to win and train others. We teach the Bible, not something about the Bible. Our one subject is “the faith…once delivered to the saints.” We do not accommodate our teaching to people’s morals or lack of morals. We purpose to see every saved person grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3) The exaltation of the Saviour – "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." Fundamental Baptists are united in their purpose to exalt the Person of the Lord Jesus. Christianity is Christ, not merely the teachings of Christ or the works of Christ; it is primarily the Person of Christ.

He was not just a great prophet or a great preacher. He is God manifest in the flesh (John 1:14).

We are also united in method! I previously stated that we are diverse in method, but we are also united in method. Fundamental Baptists believe that the local, Bible-teaching, Bible-preaching, Bible practicing, fundamental, missionary, evangelistic, premillennial, independent New Testament Baptist church is the only institution, instrument, and agency through which the Son of God is pleased to propagate His gospel.

We are going to maintain the unity of message, mission, and method! We are bound together by the cords of conviction, and we intend to continue so-holding to the Word of God that any not in harmony with the Word of God will get as far as possible from us. Our convictions will divide from us those who would divide us.

Thirdly, we have "Growth!" 

We have numerical growth. Although there is no membership” in our fellowship, there is, of course, a ledger of churches contributing support to our missionaries. The number of contributing churches has increased from little more than a hundred to close to two thousand over a period of sixteen years. And the membership of churches within the fellowship has multiplied many times over. This is remarkable in this day of apostasy versus our belief in a regenerate church membership. We do not ask people just to come forward and shake hands with the preacher. We ask those who desire membership in our churches to give testimony to a genuine experience of regeneration before they are received.

We have material growth. Our college has moved from the barracks in which it was once housed into modern, comfortable facilities. Some of the most beautiful edifices in the world are the sanctuaries and facilities of independent fundamental Baptist churches.

Most importantly, we have spiritual growth. We will not allow our numerical and material growth to swell us up with pride. We have elegant buildings, eloquent preachers, skillfully administered organizations, incomparable musicians, and gifted teachers; but we know that we would not have any of these except God had given them. Our dependence is not at all in the arm of the flesh, but in the power of the Spirit of God. We know the peril of success and growth: that when we win our mightiest victories, we are in that moment most-susceptible and vulnerable to attack. We are conscious, as never before, of our utter dependence upon the Holy Spirit. The blessings of the Lord humble us, send us to our knees and upon our faces in humble recognition of and gratitude for the Lord's blessings.

Now, let us consider Fundamental Baptists in Prophecy.

"Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you" (I John 3:13). We are not misguided visionaries. We have no delusions of grandeur; we know what our future is. We have a chart, a map, a prophecy of our future in the same Book that tells of our past and our present. Our future will be characterized by Loneliness, Suffering, and Triumph!

First, regarding Loneliness, there is loneliness for our pastors. Many serve in areas where brethren who love the Word of God and the Son of God are at great distances from each other. In those areas they cannot, they should not and will not sacrifice conviction, principle, and loyalty to the Saviour in order to meet with some ministerial alliance of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. "It's Not an Easy Road;" but it's the right road, and only road.

Secondly, there is loneliness for our missionaries. We have more missionaries in proportion to the number of churches supporting them than any other people on earth. The problem is even more acute for them when they are thousands of miles from home in distant lands. On some fields, we have only one missionary family. The problem of loneliness looms large. Our missionary effort not only excels in quantity but also in quality. Our missionaries are missionaries – not veterinarians, agricultural experts, or dieticians. The one objective of our missionaries is to make disciples, and with those they win to Christ to establish the same kind of local, New Testament assemblies we have here in the States. Methods differ on every field. What is necessary on one field may not be on another; but the end objective is the same. And it's a lonely task.

Lastly, there is loneliness for our churches. Fundamental Baptists are going to be left out of the one-world church and the one-world government. That crowd will not include us. We are not going to become acceptable to Bishop Pike, Bishop Blake, and Bishop Billy, any more than Jesus was acceptable to the Herodians, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees. Neither are we going to become acceptable to the “Great Society,” because we serve a King Who is going to establish His Own Kingdom. In Jesus’ Kingdom there will be no "War on Poverty" because there will be no poverty. There will be no Medicare because there will be no sickness. There will be no increase in taxes because everything will belong to Him, and we are joint-heirs with Him.

Fundamental Baptists have no basis for "fellowship" with Bishop Pike, Bishop Blake, Bishop Graham, Bishop Kennedy, Bishop Sheen, Cardinal Spellman, Cardinal Cushing, Pope Pius, Pope John, Pope Paul or some other pope with a name more fitting his character and relation to history. We have no intention of embracing LBJ, HHH, and the other counterfeit imitators of the True Great Society that only the Son of God can build.

We know better than to expect the counterfeits to open their liberal embrace to us. Our future is one of loneliness. All that is necessary for inclusion in the ecumenical movement is to believe that some stump or river is a supreme being – and such belief leaves us out, once and for all. It's not just that we want to be different, or that we glory in being odd-balls. We are confined within the limits of truth. In the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, the Lord Jesus taught on the "Bread of Life." The Jews said, “This is a hard saying.” What was Jesus reaction? He simply stated the truth again. And in response, "…many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:66-69).

Like Peter, we have no choice. We cannot turn away from the Son of God. But we will not pine away in our loneliness – a separation necessitated by the apostasy of others. We will benefit from our loneliness as did the Apostle Paul in the prisons of Caesarea and Rome, and John on Patmos, and John Bunyan in the Bedford Jail.

We are alone, but we are not alone. Our Saviour said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20b); and “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). We prefer the comradeship, companionship, and fellowship of our Saviour to that of all the Pikes, Blakes, Grahams, popes, priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, denominationalists, interdenominationalists, and ecumenicists by whatever title!

Suffering, too, is in our future! "Yea, and all that will live godly…shall suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12). We expect to be treated as our Saviour was, because we desire to be like Him. We are willing to suffer in body, mind, and soul. Let those who oppress, persecute and afflict us know this: we will not vary from the course set out for us in this Book! We will not be disloyal to the Son of God to make it easier or lighter on ourselves. We may burn, but we will not bend! We will not bow down to the graven images of our day! Dr. Peter Connolly called my attention to a wonderful thought in Hebrews 11: there is a faith that refuses deliverance as well as a faith that brings deliverance. Daniel’s three friends knew both.

The queen offered John Bunyan release from Bedford’s Jail and a return to his little blind girl if he would but cease his preaching. Bunyan stayed in the dungeon. The queen then appealed to his wife, Mary, saying she would give John his liberty if Mary would promise that her husband would never preach again. The brave Welsh woman wept as she exclaimed, "I would rather have my husband's head in my apron than to promise that!"

Adoniram Judson stepped out of a dungeon, blinded by the brightness of daylight due to his long imprisonment. He threw his emaciated hands up to protect his eyes from the glare of the sunlight and exclaimed, "Lord Jesus, when I get to heaven, I want to see the nail prints You got in Your hands for me; and I want to show you these chain marks on my wrists that I got for You."

We are not at all in agreement with Martin Luther's theology, but we admire his courage before the emperor: "The Word of God is not my word; I therefore cannot abandon it: but in all things short of that, I am ready to be docile and obedient. You shall have my blood, my life, rather than a single word of retraction: for it is better to obey God rather than to obey man. It is no fault of mine that this matter creates confusion among you. HERE STAND I! I cannot do otherwise. God help me!"

The Blessed Hope will be our Triumph! “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). I most assuredly do not intend any defeatism or depressive tone to this message. It is by the way of the cross that we reach the throne. There is strength in struggle. Beethoven was deaf when he composed his greatest oratorios. Fanny Crosby was blind when she wrote many of our greatest hymns. LaHome Troy, designer of many favorite children’s toys, had neither arms nor legs. In the early 1930s, Hitler's legions marched in the cold and rain in Munich, chanting, "We may be hungry, we may be cold, but we will rule the world." What the satanically-possessed legions of Germany's false messiah could not do, the armies of the Captain of the Lord of Hosts will do!

Let me say a word to those who oppress us, oppose us, and seek to obliterate us: you cannot be rid of us, anymore than your pompous predecessors could be rid of our Saviour. You may send us to a lions' den, BUT WE WILL BE BACK! You may thrust us into a fiery furnace, BUT WE WILL BE BACK! You may cause us to waste away in your dungeons, BUT WE WILL BE BACK!

Jude quoted Enoch who prophesied, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints" (v. 14). That's US! The vehicle that carries us to the dungeon, to the stake to be burned, to the lion's den, to the fiery furnace is also the chariot that carries us to the Throne Room of the Son of God, from whence we shall return with Him in exalted glory to enjoy forever the commendation of our Saviour for our faithfulness to Him. So pour it on! MORE persecution! MORE denigration! MORE opposition!

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven (THAT'S US) followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean…And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:11-14, 16).

Queen Victoria was present at the singing of The Messiah. She was told that it was customary for the audience to stand when the "Hallelujah Chorus" was sung, but that as reigning monarch, she need not stand. When the great choir began to sing the Chorus, the Christian queen immediately stood to her feet, took the crown of the British Empire off her head, and exclaimed, "Oh, that I could lay it at His feet!"

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus; Life's trials will seem so small, when we see Christ; One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase; So bravely run the race, till we see Christ.”