The above title gives us a fair sampling of what the world thinks of the Old School or Primitive Baptist Churches. "Few in the Pew." We hardly know whether to consider that a compliment or another dose of ridicule from those who despise God's little flack. Of one thing we may be sure, however; the world has no idea of what the "Few in the Pew" believe in their hearts, or why they believe it.
"Time stalks County's Primitive Baptists" is a ridiculous statement on the surface, for if any of the sons of Adam would pause to reflect, they would realize well enough that time stalks all men, and that there will come that moment for each of us when time shall be no more, and all earthly things will have vanished away. "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there shall be time no longer." (Rev. 10:5,6) Notice -"Time shall be no longer." The little flock rejoices that they are but temporary citizens upon this earth; pilgrims and strangers passing through a barren land in a journey to heaven their home; to a congregation that shall never break up nor diminish in number. Irrespective of how "Few in the Pew" there are here, there will be multitudes unnumbered there; more than the stars of the sky, or the sands of the sea, and they shall all have one common theme - singing "Worthy is the Lamb."
The carnal mind is enmity against God, (Rom.8:7) thus there continues to be a flow of ridicule towards the "Few in the Pew." If the hearts of worldly men were made bare, we would see why the "Few in the Pew" are despised, rejected, and counted as outcasts in the earth. The sooner the "Few" are gone, the better most will like it. We propose, however, that they not become too excited about the "Few" disappearing altogether, for as one old Elder from this vicinity was once recorded as saying when someone told him, "You Old School Baptists will all soon be dead," he replied, "Maybe so, but when the last one is gone, you won't have time to swap horses." And so we believe that when the last of that "Few in the Pew" of God's elect people are gone, there will be no more time. So long as there is a world, God shall have a witness somewhere. We cannot say with a certainty that they will be called Primitive Baptists, but we can say with a certainty that the "Few in the Pew" left on this globe until our Lord returns will be found maintaining the doctrine and practice the Old School Baptists have always held to, and that is free grace, and nothing but grace. They will all deny works and the duty systems of the free-willers and armmians who so gleefully observe the "Few in the Pew" with disdain and contempt.
Contained in this article were several quotes from Professor Robert Gardner from Shorter College in Rome, Georgia. Professor Gardner is a fine and decent man who has made a thorough study of Primitive Baptists, and has written extensively regarding them. However, in as much as he is a professed arminian, we do not feel that he is in a position to properly pass some observations such as he did on the "Few in the Pew." To quote Professor Gardner, he says, "They really haven't changed much in a hundred and fifty years. It's not an invalid religion. It's just that they are so small." If they are not invalid then they must be valid. Professor Gardner, like all others who have not been blessed to be numbered with the "Few in the Pew," despises the day of small things. But, were we to concern ourselves with number and with the size of our congregations, and attempt to rectify the matter in the flesh, there is no doubt that we could accumulate numbers as well as others. Gardner further predicted that the Progressive Primitive Baptists will continue to grow and adapt. He says, "People have changed and religion modified as time passed." We have no desire to throw stones at the Progressives, but we will note that we cannot, to save our lives, understand how one can be both Primitive and Progressive at the same time. The words are thoroughly incompatible. As to "growing and adapting", we trust that the Lord will continue to add to the church daily "such as should be saved," and any adapting that will be done, the Lord will do for us Himself, and not leave that for our hands. As to people changing, and religion modifying as time passes, we can only say that we had rather see all of our church doors closed than to give up those things we hold dear. There is no question in our mind that those who have been born of the Spirit of God would sooner give up all they possess than to give up the sweet doctrine God has put in their soul. They have no desire to "modify" and they will not change, for they cannot change.
We ask, why should we "adapt", and include Sunday Schools, paid ministers, foreign missions, musical instruments and revise our Articles of Faith, etc. to suit the multitudes, and to bring numbers into our congregations? Were that theory even partially plausible we would have to suggest that it would be best that we seek out the largest religious order on earth and join with them and be done with it. But the Lord has so directed the "Few in the Pew" by the word of His power that they see His church has no need for all the man-made contrivances which seem so necessary to the changing religions and people of this world. Rather, the little flock of God is contented to gather with the "Few in the Pew", sing the songs of Zion, praise their Lord, and observe the ordinances He has given them, and rejoice in the gospel of Jesus Christ their Lord. All such matters as the church growing, or the church diminishing, they leave in the hands of their Sovereign, where it was to begin with.
Volume 2, No. 4
May - June 1988