Defining our terms.  (A Work in Progress)

Sometimes, we as Primitive Baptists use terms that are unfamiliar to our audience, and by doing so, unknowingly create confusion.  Here is a short lexicon or guide to the terms you might encounter and how they are used in our articles, discourses and sermons.

A cappella (Italian for "in the manner of the church" or "in manner of the chapel") music is specifically solo or group singing without instrumental sound  or a piece intended to be performed in this way.

Primitive Baptists sing hymns from the heart without mechanical accompaniment.  An excellent article on the subject can be found here:  MUSIC END

(See also Lead Singing)


The spirit of adoption.  The adoption, that is, the redemption of these bodies in Romans, Chapter 8.


Generally used to describe one who believes in the doctrine of the absolute predestination of all things.  That is, that God decreed that all things that come to pass were pre-decided by God, and that man, as a result "can't help it" nor can he change that which will be.  This is also known as fatalism and following this doctrine to its logical conclusion you find it must teach that a) God is the author of sin and b) that man has no free will.  We find both of these positions to be inconsistent with holy scripture and deny them outright.

Another Order

Usually refers to a group or system of belief that is not Primitive Baptist.  Rather than name or call out a particular religion or system, we use the phrase to say that "our friend  Joe belongs to another order."

Arminianism or Arminian

The term is generally used by Primitive Baptists to label the doctrine of means salvation promoted by Jacobus Armininius, specifically, that man must participate in his eternal salvation.   

We often say "the Arminian position, or the Arminians believeĒ or similar language.  We arenít suggesting there is a group or ethnicity called Arminians. We use the name as a wholesale term to identify those opposed to the doctrines of grace defined in the covenant of redemption.  While there is a country called Armenia, use of this term (with a slightly different spelling) points only to those who have ascribed to the beliefs of Jacobus Arminius.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia article 


In the United States, many Primitive Baptists Churches in a region would gather annually under the banner of an "association" name, rotating the meeting's hosting duties among the member churches.  Originally, associations were purposed to report new members, deaths, news among the churches and so forth.  They were also useful in putting down any heresy running through the area.  They are not designed to hold any power or authority over any member church.

Calvinist or Calvinism   

A follower or believer in the 5 points of Calvinism promoted by reformer John Calvin.  (See also TULIP).

Carnal Mind

Being in a state or condition in eminity toward God.  Not born again.

Communion (also called the Lord's Supper)

This semi-annual event is one of the two ordinances given the New Testament church by Christ, the other being  water baptism.  It is conducted by an ordained minister and served by deacons to baptized believers of like faith and order.  It is a close, not closed, communion, in that members of other Primitive Baptist churches may take part.  The communion elements represent, but only in a symbolic manner, the body (bread) of our Lord as it was broken for us, and the blood (pure, unleavened wine) which he shed on our behalf.  The ceremony is solemn and focuses primarily on His death.

Covenant of Redemption

In that God chose a people before the foundation of the world, whom He chose to save from their fall in Adam, having pre-known them, He agreed by covenant in three to predetermine their eternal destiny, call them into life while they are in their earthly bodies, justify them by His shed blood and after this life, glorify them where they will be fit to inhabit eternal heaven with Him eternally.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Rom 8:30 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.


A change in one's lifetime, often dramatic, brought about by the revelation of new information.  Many ask, for example, was Saul of Tarsus (Paul) born again on the road to Damascus or converted to the truth of Jesus?  Many times in the scriptures, we read of those whose lives are changed, even though they have shown evidence of being a child of God for sometime.  That is an indication of a conversion to the truth.

Dead Alien Sinner   aka  Natural Man

While it sounds like something out of science fiction, it's a term used in early English to define a person who had not been born again; an enemy to God - one who was Dead - that is, still in their fallen state in Adam; an Alien - no desire to serve God and in fact considered an enemy; and a Sinner, which we are all in Adam.  The term is still sometimes used for the sake of emphasis, so that in redundancy, there is no doubt about the condition of the subject.  Everyone is clear on the person under consideration:  He's Dead, he's an Alien, and he's a sinner.

Depravity or Total Depravity

This is another term we often use to say in one or two words what would normally take several paragraphs to state.  The term doesn't appear in scripture, but the doctrine is clearly taught.  In a nutshell, it means that Adam died in the garden and put himself, and all that would be born after him in a condition alienated from God, none of us able, capable or desiring of restoring or reconciling ourselves.  Dead in trespasses and in sins, an an enemy to the just and holy God and creator.  The greater meaning in the description is that God must provide restoration and only He can.

Drylander or Dry Land Baptist

A person who, while in agreement and fellowship with Old Line Primitive Baptists has never come forward to join the church through water baptism.


A biblical term or title for an ordained preacher.  This, and the term Bishop are the only two descriptive terms authorized by scripture for a minister.

Elect     (Also:  God's children, His People, His Sheep, His Beloved)

The Elect (Luke 18:7; Titus 1:1) are a people chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), the same people given to the Son to save or give eternal life to (John 17:2; 10:27-29), the same, called "sheep" for whom Christ died (John 10:11, 15).


--the choice or decision of whom God would save. This election occurred before the foundation of the world, was an election of individuals (out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation), and was unconditional on our part or not because of any good thing foreseen in the creature.

Foot Washing

An element of the communion service practiced by most churches.  It is as described in the 13th Chapter of John's gospel and for those who participate, it is a heart melting and humbling act that reminds us of our status in this lifetime.  It is celebrated by members only, as is our communion.


Unmerited favor bestowed upon an unworthy individual. 

Gospel Salvation - gospelly saved.

A salvation in this lifetime, resulting from the knowledge of what God has done on your behalf.  To come to a saving knowledge of the truth doesn't grant you the new birth, but only indicates that you have the new birth.  It doesn't make you a fruit tree, but reveals that you are, and can now bear fruit.  See also converted.


Perhaps by calling it simply the church Kingdom, or gospel Kingdom, we could put to rest all other arguments and disagreements the world has about the timing and place of such.  Many in the so called religious world believe Christ's kingdom to be future, on this earth, after His return.  We do not.  Rather we know we are living in the Kingdom now, and all verses in scripture that describe this kingdom point to that fact.       When/Where?

King James Translation (Bible) 1611

The overwhelming majority of Primitive Baptists, believe, rely upon, study and preach from the King James translation of the scriptures.  They  believe this book to be protected and most free from the error of man's opinion and flavoring.

Why the King James?

Foreknowledge - Foreknow  - Foreknew

Romans 8 - The act or ability to forsee, or foreknow an event.

Laying on of Hands

Among the religious world, this speaks of miraculous healing.  We find the scriptures use the term in the act of Ordination of an Elder or Deacon - the two authorized offices in the New Testament Church.  While there is nothing mystical in the laying on of hands, it does convey a symbolic link back to John the Baptist.  An orderly baptized and ordained minister or group of ministers will lay hands upon the subject during an ordination prayer, symbolizing the unbroken chain back to the banks of the river Jordan.

Lead Singing  (Song Leader)

Usually a male member of the congregation, hopefully with some knowledge of music or timing, starts a hymn while facing the group.  The purpose is to control the pace and temper of a song, by beginning in the proper pitch and if possible, marking time by hand movements to ensure the crowd sings as one.  This is a tradition and a help to the church that is of course not mandated as a condition of worship.

Means or Means Salvation

We have abbreviated a position over the years to the simple words above.  To say that means or no means are involved in the eternal salvation of man is a short cut manner to define a position on one side or another.  Means - money, missions, men, machines, devices, opportunities to hear and receive the gospel.  No Means, on the other hand indicates that God does not require men, money, missionaries, machines or even the preached word to bring His children from a death of trespasses and sins to a new life.  Means salvation has come to be salvation resulting from man's efforts, most often, preaching. 


While not specifically a bible term, this shortcut is used to describe those who are not included the the covenant of redemption described in Romans 8:28-30.  They are the wicked, the depraved sinner, whose state and condition in Adam is never changed.  They are left in their fallen condition and have no desire, love or interest in the eternal God.  See also:  Dead Alien Sinner  and  Wicked

Old Line, Old School Baptists

See Primitive.  These names we take on ourselves to portray our dedication to the Old Paths, the old ways, the conservative position of the church, indicating that she does not change with every wind of doctrine or new idea that surfaces in society.

Publish the Doors Open

This phrase is often heard at the end of a sermon.  The pastor announces the doors of the church are open for the reception of members.  In truth, the doors of the church are always open for this cause, and "to publish" is merely remind those in the audience of the opportunity.


Predestinate means to foreordain or determined beforehand, and, as used in Scripture, speaks of Godís purpose or determination before the foundation of the world to adopt a people into the family of God (Ephesians 1:5), determining beforehand that they would be conformed to the image of Godís dear Son (Romans 8:29-30). In Scripture, the words predestinate and predestinated have nothing to do with the idea of fate or that all things are fixed by God without any consideration of the acts of men, but have to do with Godís salvation of His children.


A name historically claimed to be given to us by our detractors.  In the 1800s, all Baptists were of one mind.  Some began to drift toward missions and Sunday schools and the like, bringing about a division - old school and new school - in their belief and practice.  Those not subscribing to the new methods were labeled old fashioned and "primitive."  We wore the name as a badge of honor, preferring the term to mean "original, or first."


A bible term found in Titus 3:5 (and also once in Matthew) Tts 3:5 Not  by  works  of righteousness  which  we  have done, but according to  his  mercy  he saved  us, by the washing of regeneration, and  renewing of the Holy Ghost;

We use the term inter-changeably with the new birth or being born again.

Sister Churches

A Primitive Baptist church is described in feminine gender, and refers to other autonomous Primitive Baptist churches of like faith and order as "sister" churches.

Time Salvation  (also called Gospel or Worldly Salvation, Knowledge Salvation)

It's clear that the scriptures teach more than one aspect of salvation.  We sometimes make the distinction between "eternal" salvation, where all of the work has been performed by God, and "time" salvation, which is based on man's here and now participation.  Every time the word salvation is mentioned in the bible, one must rightly divide to determine if the subject under consideration is eternal, or timely. For example, when Paul speaks of the ship-wrecked crew and passengers, that these must abide in the ship to be saved, he's not referring to their eternal salvation, but to an immediate saving of the flesh or situation.


A five point doctrinal acronym used by many Calvinists, Dutch Reformed, Christian Reformed and some Primitive Baptists.  Most Primitive Baptists take a different position on the letter P, making it to be Preserved, rather than the Calvinist version which cites the P as Persevere.  Generally, we are in agreement with the first four points.

T  Total depravity.

U  Unconditional Election

L Limited Atonement

I  Irresistible Grace

P  Preservation of the Saints

Types and Shadows

A term used to depict the present truth of the New Testament that was partially hidden in the Old Testament.  For example, Joseph represented in many of his actions a Type of Christ.  Abraham's offering of Isaac is a fore-shadowing of the sacrifice of God giving his Son.

Wicked  (Also known as the non-elect)

The un-regenerate person, whose state or condition described in scripture is un-saved.