With this article I will launch into a study of the documents of the Primitive Baptist Church. I believe that the documents we will consider are common in the Primitive Baptist churches across the country and with few exceptions are similar in wording and intent. While there are certainly variations in the language that is used the beliefs behind them are the same as they are all founded in the truth of scripture.
If you are reading this post and not a Primitive Baptist I welcome you to continue to read. While you may not be familiar with these documents they express what I and other Primitive Baptist believe. Please take time to read this post and others that will follow each week and learn more about what Primitive Baptist hold to in our churches.
What are the Church Documents?
Most churches have three man made documents that were written when the church was constituted and have been held to since that time. These documents are 1) The Articles of Faith 2) The Church Covenant and 3) The Rules of Decorum. Each of these documents serves a unique purpose as we will explore below. However, none of these documents replace the role of Holy Scripture in the governance of the church.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
The scriptures are and always will be the only rule of faith and practice for the Primitive Baptist church. These documents simply express what the church believes the scriptures teach.
The Role of The Articles of Faith
The Articles of Faith are the most important of the three documents that the church possesses. The Articles of Faith play the role of plainly and simply stating the basic tenets of what the church believes. Each “article” expresses a core belief and then is supported by the scripture attached to it. The role of The Articles of Faith is to simply and straightforwardly express the truths that the Primitive Baptist church believe. The Article of Faith will be examined more thoroughly later in this series.
The Role of the Church Covenant
The role or purpose of the Church Covenant is to define what living as a church member should look like from day-to-day. It also serves the purpose of defining the responsibility of the members. Often the church covenant will include items such as giving to the church, supporting other church members in times of need, not missing the communion service, and other basic items. The Church Covenant is a promise between members as to how they will live in the church.
The Role of the Rules of Decorum
One of the more commonly used purposes for the Rules of Decorum is to establish the process for handling the business of the church. Any organization is going to have to make decisions, and the Rules of Decorum provide a standard operating procedure for the church in order to efficiently and orderly handle the business necessary. Furthermore, this document provides instructions for how to handle situations of disorder in fellowship and practice among the membership. A church at times must handle discipline matters among the membership and this document provides the method to do so.
In further articles we will explore these documents in more depth but hopefully this serves as a sufficient introduction to them and a defining of the purpose of each.
May the Lord bless you this week!!