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ROBERT DAILEY

FREE WILL BAPTIST
Dictionary.com defines free will as the free and independent choice; voluntary decision. It further explains the philosophy of free will as being the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces. Moreover, christianbaptists.com defines their Baptist philosophy on Salvation as it being only through Jesus Christ. Although, the name „Baptist‟ implies that baptism is essential to some process of the Baptist faith, Baptists do not believe that baptism has any part of a person‟s salvation. Salvation is by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, and our faith in what Jesus did on the cross—dying for our sins. So how do these two philosophies come together to produce an entire new denomination. In this paper, I will present to you who started the Free Will Baptist denomination as well as when and where it began and how understanding this denomination is important to those who are as well as those who are not part of the Church of Christ. My first question is… how many of you have heard of or knew that there was a Free Will Baptist religion? Have any of you noticed any in your community? In Charlotte, itself, I could not find any Free Will Baptist church. However, there are a few in the surrounding areas of Rock Hill, Gastonia, York, Matthews, and Clover. Surprisingly enough, the denomination began in 1727 by a group of general Baptists. Currently, they are located mostly in small towns and dominate mostly the southern United States. Their website, nafwb.org, boasts that they have over 300,000 members. The National Association's offices are located in the Nashville, TN. The Executive Office plays a vital role in providing direction to the denomination by correlating national ministries and administering denominational affairs.

So what do these so-called Free Will Baptists believe? Well, interestingly, you may find a few similarities with a religion dear to all of you. First of all, they believe that the Bible is the very word of God and without error in all that it affirms. Free Will Baptists are fundamental in doctrine, that is, they share the historic Christian Faith with all other genuine Christians. They are, as the name indicates, Baptist in doctrine, teaching that immersion—not sprinkling or pouring—is the correct method of baptism. Finally, Free Will Baptists are free will in doctrine. Some Christian groups believe God predetermined who would be saved and lost, that Jesus died only for certain “elect” individuals, and the rest have no opportunity to be saved. In contrast, Free Will Baptists believe God desires salvation for all and sent Jesus to die for everyone. Still, He has given man the freedom of choice to accept or reject Christ‟s sacrifice. Those who put faith in Christ‟s work are saved. Free Will Baptist churches are self-governing, own their own property, and call their own pastors. Yet these independent churches have chosen to work together to carry out various enterprises and programs beyond the scope of the local church. These efforts include several colleges and missions efforts both at home and abroad. The denomination supports missionaries in 20 international locations as well as the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Faith is the condition for salvation, hence Free Will Baptists hold to "conditional eternal security." An individual is "saved by faith and kept by faith." In support of this concept, some Free Will Baptists refer to the Greek word translated "believeth" found in John 3:16 KJV. This is a continuous action verb, and can thus be read, "..that whosoever believes and continues to believe shall not perish, but have everlasting life." The concept is not of someone sinning occasionally and thus accidentally ending up "not saved," but instead of someone "repudiating"

his or her faith in Christ. [1] Thus "once saved always saved" is rejected by the denomination. Many Free Will Baptists believe that once a person has truly turned from his or her faith, it is impossible for that individual to return to Christ (Hebrews 6:4-6) and the person will have reached a point in which God will have ceased to deal with his or her heart, disabling the individual from even desiring to repent (John 6:44, Genesis 6:3, Romans 1:21, 28). Thus Free Will Baptist does not believe that an individual can oscillate between being lost and saved. Free Will Baptists believe that once a believer has abandoned his faith and has lost his or her salvation, there is no more hope for that person. The Apostle Paul consistently warns us in Hebrews that one must "hold fast" till the end. particularly chapters 2:1; 3:6,12-14; 4:1,11; 6:4-8,11,12 & 10:23-39. However, God tells us in Acts 2:38 to “repent and be baptized”. In essence, if there was no repentance then God would not have sent his only begotten son to save the world according to John 3:16-17. What the Bible says about Free Will God determines who is going to heaven ... "And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." -- Acts 13:48 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate.... Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." -- Romans 8:29-30 "Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." -- 2 Timothy 1:9

"He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." -- Ephesians 1:4-5 "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation." -- 2 Thessalonians 2:13 "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned." -- 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

This is important to those who are not a member of the Church of Christ because it illustrates how this doctrine goes against what God has illustrated in his Bible. It is so easy to be deceived by these teachings if you are not aware of what is in the Bible. On the other hand, those who are in the body needs to understand the teachings, philosophies and doctrines of the Free Will Baptist religion so that we may combat them with the Holy Bible. If we don‟t know what they are teaching then we will have an poor chance of winning any of their souls over to Christ.

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REFERENCES www.dictionary.com www.christianbaptists.com www.nafwb.org, National Association of Free Will Baptists Holy Bible, NKJ version