Cults, Sects, And Dogmatism                 

Acts 28:22

            When men cannot refute our doctrine, or choose not to pay the price of being decidedly committed to the message of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ, their only weapon is slander. One of the surest ways to raise suspicions about a preacher, a church, or a religious group is to refer to it as a “sect,” or a “cult.” That immediately congers up images of horror. This has been one of satan’s ploys since the beginning. When the Jews came to visit Paul in prison, they said, “Concerning this sect, we know that it is every where spoken against.” Do not allow such slanders to scare you or make you feel uneasy in standing firm against the tide of human opinion. Let men call me sectarian, cultic, and dogmatic, or scandalize my name if they must. I rejoice to walk in the company of a great multitude, though scandalized and always in the minority in their day. Yet, I am not, in the least, daunted by the fear of standing alone against all the opinions of men. Here are three things I affirm with every fiber of my being. They are not rash, youthful, novice opinions, but the deliberate statements of thoughtful judgment and consideration.

            First, THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION PURPOSED BY GOD THE FATHER, PURCHASED BY GOD THE SON, AND PERFORMED IN CHOSEN, REDEEMED SINNERS BY GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT (Eph. 1:3-14). I do not care for the nickname, but that which men call “Calvinism” is neither more nor less than the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The biblical doctrines of Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints are not merely logical points of theology, but vital gospel doctrines, clearly revealed in Holy Scripture (Rom. 3:9-19; 5:12; Eph. 1:4-6; Heb. 9:12; Psa. 65:4; John 10:28). To deny these blessed, gospel doctrines is to deny the faith of Jesus Christ.

            Secondly, ARMINIAN, FREEWILL, WORKS RELIGION IS NOT CHRISTIAN, BUT ANTICHRIST RELIGION. This is not my opinion, but that which the Holy Spirit has clearly revealed in Holy Scripture (Gal. 1:6-9; 5:2, 4; Col. 2:23). Those who deny the accomplishment of redemption and the certain salvation of the redeemed deny that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. “This is a deceiver or and an antichrist” (II John 7). If Arminianism is embraced as Christianity, then Mormanism, Campbellism, Russellism, and Romanism must also be embraced. In that case, the reformation was a horrendous mistake, our forefathers died for nothing, and the sooner we all unite with Rome the better!

            Third, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL WHO BELIEVE THE GOSPEL TO DO WHAT WE CAN IN THESE DARK DAYS TO MAKE IT KNOWN TO ALL MEN. Confess the faith of Christ before men. Let those who preach, preach it with boldness, clarity, and distinctiveness. The souls of men, the glory of God, and the truth of God are at stake. Let us be found faithful! God requires no more and we can give no less than faithfulness.

BAPTISM IS FOR BELIEVERS ONLY                Acts 8:36-37

            A friend wrote to me the other day asking, “Where is a single verse to be found in the Bible that forbids the baptism of infants?” Immediately, I thought of a local fiasco in which men and women had their pets “baptized” at a special service held at one of the local “churches” called “a pet dedication service.” So I wrote to my friend, “The baptism of infants is forbidden in the verse just below the one that forbids animal baptism!“ Once men and churches allow the practice of anything not expressly forbidden in the Scriptures, there is no end to the inventions they will make and incorporate into the worship of God. It takes no more than a visit to a Roman Catholic or Episcopal Church to confirm that fact.

            The basis of our faith and practice is not what the Bible does not say, but what it does say. It is as much a denial of the authority of Holy Scripture to introduce non-biblical practices into the worship of God as it is to openly deny the Scriptures (Rev. 22:18-19). Baptism (immersion) is to be administered to believers only (not believers and their children) for these two reasons:

1.      The Scriptures forbid the baptism of any who are not believers (Acts 8:36-37).

2.      All who were baptized in the New Testament were immersed as a personal profession of faith in Christ and identification with him, his people, and his gospel (Rom. 6:4-6).

There is absolutely no evidence in the Word of God that John the Baptist, our Lord Jesus Christ, or any of his disciples ever baptized any children. And baptism was always performed where there was plenty of water, by immersion. Baptism is a burial, or immersion; and it takes a lot of water to bury an adult.


Don Fortner