March 17, 2014
Dear Mr. Dirkes,
...(What) is the number of souls which God has presently entrusted to your care. Just like in 1701, when Welsh Tract Church migrated to the New World, it was recorded they were 16 in number. But, anyway, whether church membership is big or small (and that is according to God’s sovereign pleasure – I Cor. 12:18), it doesn’t matter to me, for I believe God’s flock is always little (Luke 12:32), of which, in the eyes of natural or carnal men who are unable to discern spiritually the works and purpose of God, it is despised. And such is also our case. Nonetheless, we endeavor to serve God joyfully according to the measure of grace He bestows upon us, as He requires us to be “faithful over a few things” (Matthew 25:21).
Firstly, we, known to be as Sovereign Grace, Landmark Baptists, hold firmly to the doctrine of Church Perpetuity. We have this belief that since the day Jesus Christ started His church, this church whom He loves, will continue to exist on earth, doing His will, until He comes back and takes her with Him in glory (John 14:3). There has never been a day since Christ founded His church when there was no Scriptural church upon earth. The church shall continue in existence until He shall come again. We believe that the kind of church which Christ Jesus established is a local, visible assembly. It started at Jerusalem, and then it spread out in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8); from Jerusalem to Rome, from Rome to Wales, and from Wales to America, and from America to the Philippines. We believe the very church is connected with each other. As Tom Ross puts it: “No church could come into existence separate and apart from the influence and authority of the Lord’s church…a church must come from an already existing Baptist church.”
We believe the Lord Jesus promised His church a continued existence in Matthew 16:18 and He also promised His continued presence in Matthew 28:20. We also believe that perpetuity does not apply only to church existence but also to church doctrines. The existence of the Lord’s church will continue together with its doctrines in every generation. The body of truth, which Christ Jesus delivered to His church, will never change. It will always remain to be the old teachings of the early Christian churches and our Baptist forefathers (Prov. 22:28; Matthew 28:20; Acts 2:42; Ephesians 4:5; 2 Timothy 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:15 Jude 3).
Secondly, since we advocate perpetuity of Christ’s doctrine, the handing down of truth from one generation to another, I wonder if the church that meets in the house of an elderly brother in San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines, is of like precious faith and order with the church that meets in a meeting house at Welsh Tract in Newark, Del. USA.
I do not desire to enter into any doctrinal discussions, disputes or arguments as these do not help in any manner. You have set forth the positions that you believe and the course that have been followed. I cannot and do not wish to attempt to change those courses (not that I could for the way of man is not in him that walks to direct his steps) or attempt to usurp myself or my thoughts upon another.
Your desire is to communicate and discover the church at Welsh Tract in Newark Del. USA. If this be so, then I ask, if the assembly that meets here is of the general assembly of the church of the first born? Then she is identical to the church in the wilderness, the church in Babylon, the church in Jerusalem and any other assembly where the Spirit of Yehovah resides with His elect people. You will find here men and women who are carnal sold under sin, those in the bondage of the corruption of the flesh and those who earnestly await the manifestation of the sons of God. We are sinners in hope of glory who will unanimously say that if we be followers of Christ, be followers of us as we are followers of Him. There is leaven in this assembly because the refiner's fire has not yet consumed the wood, hay and stubble of Edom and we have nothing to glory in save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Is there another group that mimics us, then they are a poor and afflicted people also, wretched men who long for the deliverance from this body of death. If we stand, we stand as a testimony of the finished work of Jesus Christ and keep the commandments of God by grace and grace alone. The history does not make us anything but old.
There can be no argument to the eternal nature of the Church of Jesus Christ. She was in Him from the beginning and having eternal life shall forever be in Him. He has manifested a remnant of two or three gathered together in His name as a testimony to his grace upon this earth from generation to generation. This testimony shall remain until the time appointed of the Father when time shall be no more. This is a place of refuge for the strangers and sojourners who wonder through the barren wilderness of this world. It is despised and rejected of the world and hated of all men for His name sake and even though it is visible to the eyes of man because of the earthen vessels afore prepared unto glory, yet the eyes of man cannot see and the ears of man cannot hear the truth of the Spirit within. What the natural man sees in the true church is a little gathering of despised people who shall never amount to anything and what they hear is foolishness. I hope from this you may conclude that I have no time for what is called modern evangelism or any other invention of man. The called out assembly of the house of the redeemed is sufficient in her Lord and such as should be saved are added unto this visible assemble daily.
But this perpetuity, as you call it, cannot be found in the annals of man’s recorded history. All men are liars and the record they leave from generation to generation is resplendent with the arrogant egotistical stories of conquests, suppressions and atrocities of assumed victories and conquests. While these make interesting reading, the church or as you have put it, the spiritual Church, cannot be traced through the prejudicial mind, carnal understanding and tainted written histories of Adam. The testimony of the true assembly is her doctrine and order. The assembly that has been meeting together here for these many years does not care for anything new and exciting. We desire to hear nothing less than the eternal love and unity of God and His people, the perfect sacrifice for sin by the blood of the Lamb who stood as He had been slain from the foundation of the world, the absolute sovereignty of God over all things (nothing excluded), the absolute predestination of all things (excluding nothing), the preservation of His Bride in Him because she is bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh and the manifestation of the sons of God when the time of this habitation is over and the habitation not made with hands is revealed.
As to the confessions of faith; the First London, the Second London and the Philadelphia Confessions of faith all begin with the accretion that the scripture is the only rule of faith and order in the church. By their own words they admit that the confessions of faith are not the rule of doctrine and faith. The Welsh brethren did not adopt the London confessions until the two articles were added which concerned the laying on of the hands of the presbytery and the singing of Psalms (only). I find this writing to be admirable but not infallible. It is a diligent work of man’s attempt to systematize the scriptures and an historical document.
We admit that we are drawn away after the lusts and desires of the flesh and that when that lust is given to conceive it brings forth death yet the blood of the Lamb is the atonement for the sin that dwells within us. We know that if we be of the election according to grace then we are a peculiar people zealous of good works, but this zeal is not of Adam. The works that we have been created in Christ Jesus unto shall be performed because it is God that works in His people both to will and to do His good pleasure. We know that we are vile and weak because of the vanity of the flesh but the Spirit of Yehovah teaches His people the doctrine of the finished work of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah. It is He who causes His children to walk according to His commandments so that no flesh shall glory in His sight. We also know that we have been assigned a station in life and the labours that accompany it. We have been set upon a path to walk, the way has been ordained of old and each step ordered fast and sure by the power and will of Almighty God. We have been assigned this labour in the time of our habitation within the limits set by Him and there is no possibility of our failure or performance in an improper manner. Therefore when we have done all that we have been bid to do, we shall be, at best, unprofitable servants of God.
The doctrine of Jesus Christ is proclaimed by the angel with the everlasting gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. His Word has gone forth and He has not returned unto the throne void but has accomplished all that He was sent forth to do. This is the testimony of Jesus Christ and the hope of His elect whom He has predestinated to be conformed to the image of His glorious resurrected body.
I have attempted to be direct without being harsh. I do not know you any more than you know me. The fact that I stand in the meeting house on the Welsh Tract of land in Newark Del. USA means nothing if I be not a chosen vessel of the Lord and the assembly be not of the election according to grace. The history does not make us a church and my standing and attempting to speak does not make me anointed of the Lord. I am a sinner in hope of glory.
The Banner of Hope
Volume 8, No. 2