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"THINGS WHICH BECOME SOUND DOCTRINE"

TRUTH FROM TITUS FOR TROUBLESOME TIMES

"For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."

TITUS 1: 10 - 11

"But we have the clear proof that they are not viewed as atoning sufferings; because, instead of suffering in the place of others, so that they should not have one drop of that cup to drink, others are associated with the Lord here in them... When men [the thieves crucified with Christ] are wounded too, when Christ is the companion with them not a substitute for them then atonement is not wrought nor the judgment of condemnation endured."

- John Nelson Darby

"When I get rich I am going to have 3 homesone in a winter apartment on Washington Heights, N. Y. City, one at Crestwood, one at Sorrento, Italy. I shall then have duplicates-triplicatesof everything in the way of belongings which I especially valueworks of reference for serious studies; my favorite books, prints &c. I shall live in N. Y., Nov.-February; Sorrente, March-May; Crestwood, JuneOctober. In N. Y. I shall have a large lecture room in the Carnegie Institute, &hold forth to all & sundry who may come for biblical instruction say 3 afternoons & 3 evenings in the week. At Sorrento & Crestwood I shall write booksun peubut mostly loaf and invite my soul."

- C I Scofield

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

TITUS 1: 16; 2: 1

INTRODUCTION

THOSE BACKSLIDDEN BAPTISTS

he modern Baptist is a schizophrenic. He is a paradox. A walking contradiction. He is one person on paper and another person in practice. He professes to know God, to defend the faith, to subscribe to certain doctrines, yet when his actual lifestyle is examined, he is discovered to be a practical atheist, rebellious against God, disobedient to Scriptural truth and authority and reprobate unto every good work.

FUNDAMENTAL BAPTISTS

Take, for instance, the modern Fundamental Baptist. His official position is that Calvinism is heresy because it limits the love of God to a select few. Yet when Dr. Jack Schaap repeatedly preached before many multiplied thousands that God hates everyone, and posted said theology on his church's website, modern Fundamental Baptists - Paul Chapel and R. B. Ouellette, to their great credit, being the notable exceptions - across the country scarcely blinked an eye. Indeed, those lesser lights who vocalized objections were at times savagely denounced for having a "critical" attitude towards this great "man of God" and for "sowing discord".

The modern Fundamental Baptist is a literalist who defends every jot and tittle of God's Word. Except of course when it comes to actually applying what the words mean when understood in a literal, grammatical sense. If, for instance, the Scriptures happen to utilize the possessive case to denote Sunday, if they say "the Lord's day", signifying sanctification and possession (Revelation 1: 10), the grammatical significance of the possessive case is overlooked so that he may still watch his alcoholdrenched football games between Sunday church services.

The modern Fundamental Baptist opposes any alteration to God's Word. Yet he vehemently insists upon superimposing his Dispensational preconceptions onto Scripture and vehemently denounces those who refuse to accept his impositions. And if, somewhere, the Word of God should fail to support his particular preconceptions, he simply resolves this little problem by inserting a "gap", a "parentheses", as he calls it, into the text, even when there is not a single iota of textual support to justify said "parentheses". And this he ridiculously describes as "rightly dividing the Word of truth".

The modern Fundamental Baptist stands for the local church and laments bitterly the abandonment of the assembly. Yet he is at the exact same time a rabid NFL enthusiast who idolizes the very football teams who are actively influencing people to be on their couches or at the football stadium on Sunday, rather than in a house of worship. He wears their hats and their shirts and even sings their praises them from the pulpit. Some of them are, after all, born-again Christians.

The modern Fundamental Baptist opposes contemporary worship styles and separates from leaders who promote it. At least so long as they are outside of the particular church fellowship which he participates in. But if they happen to be within said fellowship circle, or if they happen to be old Bible college acquaintances, the matter must of course be viewed in an entirely different light. In those instances, it is of course necessary to exercise Christian charity and brotherly love.

REFORMED BAPTISTS

But let's be fair here. Broadly speaking, the Reformed Baptists are no better. Peter Masters has been entirely accurate in his description and denunciation of them. The Reformed Churches today are simply the same old New Evangelical churches dressed up in a new intellectualism. The modern Reformed Baptist looks so slick carrying his ESV and wearing his new Calvinism to church on Sunday morning. He sounds so sharp and polished with his sophisticated new vocabulary, talking about Augustine and Pelagianism, the Westminster Confession and the Synod of Dort, quoting John Piper and R. C. Sproul and the Institutes of the Christian Religion and smoking his new cigar to the glory of God and blowing so much theological smoke in your face that you can't see just how utterly carnal, materialistic and worldly he really is.

As I said, Peter Masters has been entirely accurate in his description and denunciation of them. The Reformed Churches want to associate themselves with the Reformers and the Puritans for no other reason than that they now hold to Five-Point Calvinism, just as though there was nothing more at all to the faith of the Reformers and the Puritans than Soteriology! But just try to get them to practice the practical piety of the Reformers and Puritans. Just tell them once that Spurgeon publicly opposed the popular music of his day and called it the devil's music. Just try preaching a hellfire-and-brimstone sermon against sin and unholy living instead of offering a verbose apologetic discourse on Creationism or the bondage of the will. All at once the sirens are wailing and you find yourself arrested and imprisoned by the Christian Liberty Police under charges of legalism!

"BIBLE-BELIEVER" BAPTISTS

And what can be said about that notorious heretic Peter Ruckman and the current infestation of "Biblebeliever" Baptists that hasn't already been said about Fundamental Baptists? The same problems, the same sin, the same apostasy are all there among them throughout, only multiplied to the third power and sprinkled generously with the most ridiculous heresy that Satan could devise to disgrace the Lord Jesus Christ. The "Bible-believer" Baptists associated with Peter Ruckman, Brian Donovan, Sam Gipp, Bill Grady and Gail Riplinger are the enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3: 18 - 19) and a disgrace to the Saviour. They pose a greater threat to the Baptist faith than theological liberalism ever did, simply because they present themselves as "Bible defenders" and strive to bully and intimidate those who reject their extremism into submission, or at least silence. So to those who congratulate themselves for being "Bible-believer" Baptists, we answer with James that the devils also believe and tremble (James 2: 19). We encourage them to read the entire Epistle of James again and to repent of their wicked perversion of truth.

So in short, we say that - broadly speaking - the modern Baptist is a man without integrity. He does not live according to principle. Indeed, he has no principles. He lives by relativism. Doctrinal relativism, moral relativism and spiritual relativism. He is as carnal and materialistic and worldly as the day is long, and, therefore, according to the plain utterances of Scripture we say unequivocally that he is the enemy of God and of the cross of Christ (James 4: 4; Philippians 3: 18 - 19) and is to be sharply rebuked (Titus 1: 10 - 14) and utterly separated from in obedience to Scripture (Romans 16: 17; II Thessalonians 3: 14) until such time as he humbles himself under the mighty hand of God and repents of his wickedness (I Peter 5: 6 - 7).

THE BACKGROUND BREAKDOWN


It is well worth investigating the origins of this Great Baptist Backslide. It didn't happen overnight. Sometimes we hear good men expressing the view that the downward spiral of our times began in the 1960s, but this is true only in terms of the external breakout. Beneath the surface, the cancer had already set in long ago. It's roots went back into the nineteenth century, not just to Darwinism or Marxism or Unitarianism or Cambellism or theological liberalism, but to the Downgrade Controversy, to the Oxford Movement, to the Puseyites, to the Romanizing homosexual Anglican Cardinal named John Henry Newman, to Westcott and Hort and to John Darby's infiltration of and hypnotic influence over the newly-founded Plymouth Brethren movement. From there it hit the bloodstream through the Scofield Reference Bible and successfully spread throughout the vast majority of the body of Christ.

It shouldn't surprise us, really. After all, those were modern times. It was the dawn of a new era. Science was making remarkable new discoveries. Technology was advancing at an unprecedented rate. And Christians felt that Christianity must make some strides of progress as well. The old landmarks were no longer wanted. The intensive, in-depth, thorough doctrinal teaching of the Puritans, those "things which become sound doctrine" (Titus 2: 1) were being discarded. People wanted some new revelation, something different, something modern, some new discovery, some fresh interpretation, something more advanced, more slick, more sophisticated than those gloomy, hateful old Puritans had understood.

And along came gainsayers. Along came the vain talkers and deceivers. Along came the liberals and the modernists. Along came the Downgrade Controversy. The cumbersome old theological books and wordy confessions of faith, the intricate, in-depth, thorough, laborious and burdensome works of Owen, Sibbes, Gill, Edwards, Rutherford, Burroughs, Henry, Bunyan, Simons, Hubmaier and Baxter were to be discarded and replaced with a bare minimalism, the lowest common denominator. From now on, even among conservative Christians, allegiance to a few essential Fundamentals would suffice as a common ground for fellowship. It was within this historical context that the novice, pedobaptist and heretic John Nelson Darby appeared. What brilliance he displayed, what a mastery of Scripture he exhibited for a man so recently converted! What insight for a mere babe in Christ! And it all fit so perfectly within the context of this wonderful new world, this modern nineteenth century! With Charles Darwin dividing secular history up into geological ages, what better response from Christianity than to divide the Bible up into Dispensational Ages? Perhaps the obvious harmony between Darbyism and Darwinism has something to do with the curious footnote found in the early pages of the Scofield Reference Bible which states that "the first creative act refers to the dateless past and gives scope for all the geologic ages". In the Scofield Reference Bible, Darby and Darwin had shaken hands.

This new Christian minimalism, this bare Fundamentalism, decked out with its shiny new hermeneutic, laid the foundation for everything that we see today in terms of Christian apostasy. It set the precedent for the popular view of our day that sneers at any attempt at meticulous Christian obedience and mocks the earnest efforts of sincere Christians who strive to incorporate the entire body of Christian duty into a practical application to the life as "over-piety". It is no wonder then that the New Evangelicals of the twentieth century - who sired the Reformed Churches of the twenty-first century - emerged from within the ranks of Fundamentalism.

I. THE PURITANICAL PURPOSE


The shift away from historic Puritanism and Pietism to a bare Fundamentalism is well worth our consideration. There are serious questions to be asked. Was this progress? Was this an advancement of the Christian faith? Or was it a regression? Did the early Fundamentalists have the right idea in trying to pursue a broadly inclusive unity centered around the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith? Or were the Puritans correct in pursuing their ideal of an all-encompassing Christian obedience - purity of doctrine, purity of heart and purity of practice purity in every category of Biblical application?

In order to answer this question, we must understand the purpose of God in redemption. The modern Baptist has a great deal of concern about soulwinning and evangelical outreach, but without bothering to consider what God's great purpose in soulwinning and evangelical outreach really is. He is satisfied that God purposed to redeem men out of love and compassion and mercy or - if he is more Calvinistic that God purposed to redeem men for his own glory. And that is as far as he goes. God's Word goes further. Titus 2: 11 - 14 shows us further facet of God's purpose in redemption: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

There it is in plain language. Why did Christ give himself for us? Why did he redeem us? So that we could be merely Evangelical or Fundamental? So that we could be mere "Bible-believers"? So that we could merely be soulwinners or "defend the Fundamentals" or "defend the King James Bible" and still be as carnal and materialistic and worldly as the day is long?

No. No. A thousand times, No. The Scriptural affirmation is unequivocal. He gave himself for us, he redeemed us so that he could purify us. Let me make this very clear. Puritanism isn't something that originated four or five hundred years ago in England or in Geneva. Puritanism originated in the Covenant of Redemption in the secret counsel of the triune God before the foundation of the world. It is older than the hills. It is God's eternal purpose concerning his redeemed people. It is his purpose in saving you. You were not saved just so that you could be merely Evangelical or Fundamental or a "Bible-

believer". God saved you to purify you, and if you are born again, you have no business being anything less than a downright Puritan, striving to purify yourself, even as he is pure (I John 3: 3).

II. THE PROMISE PREACHED


We notice that at the outset of Paul's Epistle to Titus he speaks of this promise as being made " before the world began". In other words, before God created anything (the angels were created within the six days of Creation, and not before, as plainly declared in Exodus 20: 11), he promised to give eternal life to all that would believe in his only begotten Son, the Messiah whom he would send to be born of a virgin and purchase redemption with his shed blood on the cross of Calvary. Who did he promise this to? The angels were as yet uncreated. He alone existed, eternal, immutable, uncreated, immortal, invisible, God only wise (Exodus 20: 11; I Timothy 1: 17).

God made this promise to himself, within himself, in the Covenant of Redemption established between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. He gave unto his Son (John 6: 37, 39; 17: 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 12, 24) all those whom he would draw unto him (John 6: 44, 65) according to his foreknowledge (Romans 8: 29; I Peter 1: 2) and promised righteousness and life for them through the God the Son's blood atonement and bodily resurrection (Romans 4: 16 - 5: 10) and the quickening agency of God the Holy Ghost (I Peter 3: 18; Romans 6: 3 - 4; Ephesians 2: 1 - 10). John Owen states it like this: "The will of the Father appointing and designing the Son to be the head, husband, deliverer, and redeemer of his elect, his church, his people, whom he did foreknow, with the will of the Son voluntarily, freely undertaking that work and all that was required thereunto, is that compact (for in that form it is proposed in the Scripture) that we treat of."

And again:

"For the accomplishment of this work, the Father, who is principal in the covenant, the promiser, whose love 'sets all on work,' as is frequently expressed in the Scripture, requires of the Lord Jesus Christ, his Son, that he shall do that which, upon consideration of his justice, glory, and honor, was necessary to be done for the bringing about the end proposed, prescribing to him a law for the performance thereof; which is called his 'will' so often in Scripture."

This promise, made before the foundation of the world, is, according to the Apostle Paul, to be manifested through preaching (Titus 1: 1 - 4). This was the great heartbeat of the Apostle Paul, and one which he understood as a divinely-imposed responsibility and debt (Romans 1: 14 - 16; I Corinthians 1: 21 - 24; 9: 14 - 18; Titus 1: 1 - 4). It is the New Testament emphases. The modern Baptist prefers to emphasize soulwinning, that is, one-on-one evangelism, but this is not the primary emphases of the New Testament. Now I did not say that one-on-one soulwinning is excluded, ignored or repudiated by the New Testament. Indeed, we have instances of one-on-one soulwinning in the example of Christ addressing the woman at the well of Sychar in Samaria, and of Philip leading the Ethiopian Eunuch to the Lord. But in terms of primacy, the honor goes to preaching. Preaching is the great emphases of the New Testament, not one-on-one soulwinning. It was through the divinely-ordained ministry of preaching that the multitudes were converted to Christ over and over again, the conversions through preaching sometimes numbering in the thousands (Acts 2: 41; 4: 4). The Apostle Paul distinctly identifies preaching as God's chosen method of conversion in I Corinthians 1: 21 - 24.

III. THE PROTECTING PREACHER


But preaching is not to limited to mere Gospel exhortations or invitations. Preaching is for the benefit of the converted as well as for the unconverted. It is not only the means by which God has chosen to save them that believe (I Corinthians 1: 21 - 24), it is also the means whereby false doctrine is opposed and the flock of God protected against error. This is the clear implication of Paul's Epistle to Titus. These false teachers had entered in and were seducing whole households. This was the very reason that the Apostle Paul had left Titus at Crete to begin with. He was to ordain elders or pastors who would be sound in the faith and capable of exhorting and convincing the gainsayers (Titus 1: 5 - 9). Titus himself was to engage these seducers and to rebuke them, not gently or tactfully or diplomatically, but "sharply" (Titus 1: 13 - 14). In contrast to the gainsayers, vain talkers and deceivers, he was to preach those "things which become sound doctrine" (Titus 2: 1).

IV. THE PROTECTING PRESBYTERY


It is important to note here that the Apostle Paul instructed Titus to ordain pastors. There is an idea circulating today among modern Baptists that the local church ordains pastors. But this is not the model presented to us here by the Apostle Paul. The local church calls a pastor who has already been ordained, but it does not itself ordain anyone. The New Testament model is that ordained pastors ordain pastors. This is the unquestionable implication of Titus 1: 5 - 9, and it is the implication of I

Timothy 4: 14, where the King James Bible uses the word "presbytery". This word "presbytery" is a good, Biblical word, and it is no threat to Biblical Baptist doctrine, if understood correctly in the light of Scripture, so there's no reason to be afraid or disturbed because of it. It simply refers to a group of pastors or elders who have agreed to ordain a proven candidate to the Gospel ministry. It is simply the same office that we today usually identify with the terms "pastor" or "elder". These words may emphasize different aspects of ministry, but they all refer to the same office. They are all good, Biblical titles, and no one ought to sneer at another brother in the Lord who uses a different one of them.

It is also worth noticing that the Apostle Paul positively and authoritatively gave Titus a commandment to ordain pastors. In other words, he never suggested anywhere that if a man felt called to pastor he ought to just go ahead and do it, regardless of whether or not an ordained pastor or group of ordained pastors had ordained him. In contrast to the vain talkers and deceivers, the New Testament model is that the pastor is to be an ordained man, that is, a man ordained by an ordained pastor or group of ordained pastors. He is not to be a freelancer, operating according to his own impulses. He is to be investigated and assessed very carefully by an ordained pastor or a group of ordained pastors. He is to be a proven man.

Now obedience to this simple Biblical principle would have saved the Church a great deal of trouble over the centuries. What is one of the greatest red flags concerning the ministry of John Calvin and the Institutes of the Christian Religion? The fact that he was still a novice when he wrote them. He was still a new convert. However gifted he may have been, he had no business taking it upon himself to teach the great, wide body of Christ. He ought to have waited and followed the Biblical pattern. This would have prevented much mischief and confusion that has plagued the Church since his books first went to the press. Now this is equally true of John Nelson Darby. I say unequivocally that it was an outright sin for Mr. Darby to minister in the capacity that he ministered and to take it upon himself to propound theories and write books and initiate a whole new system of hermeneutics when he was still a babe in Christ (if he was truly saved at all), a novice who had no business setting himself up as a teacher. It was pure arrogance, it was outright pride and it was blatant rebellion and sin for him to do so. There were multitudes of Godly men whom he ought to have submitted himself to and learned from before he ever set pen to paper. At least in Calvin's situation, we can allow some measure of sympathy through the extremity of the times and the scarcity of Gospel preachers as a result of Romish persecution. We recognize too, that William Farel shares some of the blame for rushing him into the ministry too quickly, when he was not yet mature in the Lord, and we wonder what greater benefits the Church might have reaped from a man of Calvin's intellectual gifts, if only he would have tarried awhile and waited on the Lord, until maturity could season his talents. But with Darby, there is no excuse whatsoever, and his entire ministry and the hermeneutic that he invented stand condemned and rejected because of his sin in this matter.

We could list others as well. We think of Ellen White. We think of Gail Riplinger. Heretics who have taken it upon themselves to lead the flock of God, to influence the body of Christ on a grand scale, when they were never ordained and were never qualified to be so. Oh, what a bitter harvest of heresy, what a foul crop of dissension and discord the Church has reaped because of her stubbornness and rebellion in this matter! Brethren, if we cannot erase the past, let us at least profit from its example, and avoid like the plague those freelancers who, in the future, would take it upon themselves to teach the flock of God without being first proven and ordained to do so by a godly, ordained pastor or group of ordained pastors! Obedience to this simple command may yet save future generations from whatever terrible plagues of heresy and error that Satan would seek to entangle them with.

CONCLUSION

Brethren, the Baptist faith of today is but a flickering and shameful shadow of its former self. It is a complete and total disgrace. It is lamentable to see the blind ignorance, the raw heresy and the extreme, inexcusable hypocrisy which is circulating throughout this denomination of Believers and multiplying like a virus. But God has given us precious wisdom in the Epistle of Titus, by means of which, the former glory may yet be reclaimed and new victories won for the cause of Christ. Let us carefully heed its instruction, apply its truth and speak only those "things which become sound doctrine".