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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
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 Your Are Here: Bridge / Galley / Ask The Pastor / Question
Ask the Pastor
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clear.gif - 808 Bytes There are so many churches out there these days and would like to find which is right for my family and I. I am having a hard time and was wondering if you would tell me if you consider yourself to be one of this type of Baptist church, and why?
    1. Primitive Baptist
    2. Particular Baptist
    3. Strict Baptist
    4. Sovereign Grace Baptist
    5. Reformed Baptist
    6. Landmark Baptist.

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 We do not consider ourselves to be any of those. We are an Independent, Fundamental Baptist church. Our church does not belong to any organization, association, convention, or fellowship that has some sort of president, council, or any hierarchy that has any authority over local churches. We are independent because there is no hierarchy system found in the New Testament, and there is no authority in the New Testament that exists between Christ, Who is the Head of the church, and the church itself. We are Fundamental because we hold to the absolute authority of the Scriptures and the use them as our only rule for faith and practice.

 Having briefly looked at the doctrinal statements/webpages of the groups you mentioned, here are some immediately obvious disagreements we would have with them.

 Primitive Baptists believe in using alcoholic wine at the Lord's Table; they believe that foot-washing is a Scriptural ordinance that should be kept by the church; they do not use musical instruments. They are also Calvinists, which means that they believe that God arbitrarily chose everyone that is to be saved, and chose for everyone else to go to Hell. They believe that Christ only died for those specific people that God chose to save, and that everyone else that is condemned to Hell not only can not choose to be saved, but the offer of salvation has never been extended to them and the sacrifice for sin was not paid for them.

 The Particular Baptists are also strong Calvinists, as are the Strict Baptists and the Sovereign Grace Baptists. Reformed Baptists would also fall into the Calvinist category, and they also believe that believers are still under some aspects of the Old Testament Mosaic Law. They would tend to be Covenant Theologians (very similar to Presbyterians). which tends to make them Postmillennial or Amillennial in their view of future events, and also tends to blur the lines between Old Testament Israel and the New Testament church.

 Landmark Baptists believe that in order for any local church to be legitimate, it must be able to document and trace it's roots back to Jesus Christ and the apostles. Thus, unless a pastor can prove that his church was started by another church that was started by another church (etc. etc.) that was started by a church that was started by one of the apostles sent out by the church in Jerusalem, then his church is illegitimate, all its baptisms don't count, any churches it has started are illegitimate, etc. Apparently many of the old Landmark churches were also Calvinist churches, but I don't know that this is necessarily still true today.

 In a nutshell, the first five groups you list are strong Calvinists, which is a doctrine that the Bible does not teach. God loved the world (John 3:16); Christ is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world (John 1:29); He died for all (II Cor. 5:14-15); and the closing cry of the Scriptures is Whosoever will may come ( Rev. 22:17). Needless to say, because I reject the doctrine of Calvinism, I can not consider myself to belong to any of the groups you have mentioned, nor would I chose to join with one of them.

 I do believe strongly in the local church, and I believe that churches should start churches and that only a church has the authority to baptize someone. However, I do not believe, as the Landmark Baptists do, that you have to able to trace your lineage directly back to Christ. For one thing, for many of us it would be impossible to attempt. Secondly, how would you really know that everyone in your succession was truly saved and/or Biblically baptized even if you could trace it back? I have known of pastors who got saved later in life after years in the ministry. Does that mean that anyone that pastor baptized before his conversion now really isn't baptized, and that if they baptized a man who eventually became a pastor himself that everyone that man baptizes really isn't Scripturally baptized? I don't think that makes any sense.

 Independent Fundamental Baptist. That would be my recommendation. Check each church out, however, for you will find a variety of beliefs and practices among Independent Baptists. Because they are Independent, that allows for more "liberty", and so they can vary. For example, many Independent Baptists lean towards Calvinism, but many, thankfully, do not.

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Pastor Dr. Mark Montgomery
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