Pinoy Preacher List # 5

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In this special installment of this series, Delighting Grace list down pastors who are bloggers. They might not have online sermons but writes entries on a blog to share their insights.

Zigfred Maceren Diaz – Pastor Zigfred is the senior pastor of The Master’s Community Fellowship based in Cebu. He is the admin of a FB group, Baptist Theological Forum. He was featured in this blog as he tackles some Baptist erronious belief in his paper. He blogs at Life Hacks for Polymaths.

Enriqueto Alleje Sabio – At the heart of Metro Manila, Pastor Entiqueto leads Sovereign Mercy Evangelical Church. He works as an artist with his wife at MMS Music and Arts studio and also a technical director over Fun Guys Studio, a game development company. You can read his post on Sovereign Mercy Evangelical Church and on Reformed Exegetes Society.

Jezreel Notarte – Pastor Jezreel shepherds Way of Life Baptist Church. He blogs his sermons notes, thoughts and experiential learning over his blog.

If you have miss out the previous installments here are the links:

Pinoy Preacher List #1,

Pinoy Preacher #2, 

Pinoy Preacher List #3

Pinoy Preacher List # 4 

Would you like to help me grow this list? If you know pastors or preachers who are Calvinistic or Reformed and has sermons online, please do e-mail me at nitoymgonzales@gmail.com.

Unveiling Baptist Brider Heresy: Delighting Grace Interviews Zigfred Diaz

lfcma6vThis is the second part of my interview with Zigfred Diaz, author of the paper, Battling Baptist Bogus Beliefs. After discussing the Baptist successionism or Landmarkism, Zigfred Diaz focuses on the Baptist Brider teaching. In this teaching which is common to independent fundamental Baptist or Bible Baptist (as they are called here in the Philippines), the true Brider of Christ, who He will marry on the marriage supper for the Lamb in heaven is the Baptist church. Stranger as it may sound, these Baptist group teaches it on the pulpit and in Sunday School. So Zigfred get into the bottom of this and what he unveils is quite surprising.

  By the way, if you haven’t read the first paper on Baptist successionism you can download it here free. Also read the complementary interview with that paper by clicking here. If you want to read the second part, you can download it on the link provided at the end of this interview.

Delighting Grace: Good to have you again pastor. For the record please tell us what’s your motive behind writing a paper about Baptist Brider? 

Zigfred Diaz: Before I get into that, thanks for featuring one of my theological paper again in your blog. You know one of the problems of academic writing is that in most cases only in a few instances will it ever have mass penetration. So I am grateful once again for this opportunity as this will enable a lot of our Baptist bretheren to know about this issue.

Having said that, let’s jump right into the question shall we ? My motive for writing a paper on Baptist Brider is the same as my motive for writing my paper on Baptist successionism/landmarkism. First of all, having come from an independent fundamental Baptist background I am very much familiar and concerned about this false doctrine. I have somehow put it in my “To Do list” (and I have a thousand items there including papers to write hehehe) a long time ago. I am glad that this opportunity came for me to write it. I am very much concerned that a lot of my friends within independent fundamentalists circles has been blindly following that doctrine and a lot of my fellow pastor friends has also been blindly propagating it for whatever reasons they might have. Because I am out of that denomination now (I now pastor a Southern Baptist Church with a decidedly Reformed bent), I can now freely speak freely on certain matters that has been bothering me. (that is why I got out of the independent fundamentalists Baptist group in the first place) It is my hope and prayer that I might be able to shed light on this issue.

Secondly, this is in compliance with my requirements in my ecclesiology and eschatology subject at Veritas International University where I am currently doing my degree in Masters of Divinity majoring in Christian Apologetics. I always love to hit more than two birds with two stones so my writing this paper is one of those moments that I have done exactly just that. When I was going through the course work in my subject on ecclesiology and eschatology, I thought to myself what more better opportunitycan I findfind to write about these two subject areas than in the Baptist Brider issue ? So I am thankful to the Lord for giving me this opportunity.

Delighting Grace:  So from the Landmarkism/Baptist successionism now you are tackling Baptist Brider heresy. So what’s the connection of this subject to Landmarkism?

Zigfred Diaz: Baptism Successionism/Landmarkism is the foundational basis for the Baptist brider heresy. Without it there would be no Baptist Brider heresy. Baptist successionism/landmarkism is a result of poor and unscholarly historical research that forces the issue that Baptist as a denomination can trace an unbroken lineage back to the time of the New Testament church. This distortion of historical facts has resulted into some kind of Baptist elitism that looks down on other denominations resulting to this false and heretical doctrine of the Baptist Brider heresy wherein it is taught that that the local independent Baptist church is the bride of Jesus Christ and that only members of a true local independent Baptist church will be married to Jesus Christ in the Marriage Super of the Lamb as described in Revelation chapter 19. The reasoning behind this of course stems from the claim that “Baptist” is the one true church (the exclusion of all other denominations) and hence is the one true bride of Christ.

A preposterous variant of this false doctrine even teaches that non Baptist denominations will just become “waiters” or “servers” in the marriage supper of the lamb. (Honestly speaking this is so hilarious that I could fall off my chair laughing at the thought of this) The Baptist Brider Heresy has no basis whatsoever in Scriptures and is based on the errors of Baptist Successionism/Landmarkism which in turn has no historical basis whatsoever.

Delighting Grace:  Is the time and process in writing this differ from the previous one?

Zigfred Diaz: Before I answer this question let me just say that I love academic research and research in general. Research helps me learn new things and helps all of us get to the bottom of the truth. Research takes time and the process in most research is more or less the same especially in comparison with my previous paper as they are somewhat related and intertwined subjects.

Since I have already done research and has written a paper on Baptist successionism/Landmarkism which is the foundational core of the Baptist Brider doctrine, the time it took to research and write the paper on this is much lesser. With regards to the process, as mentioned it is more or less the same. This time however I did not go to the Baptist Theological Forum to gather data or information about this issue. I already personally know  that a lot of Baptist especially independent fundamentalists Baptist, hold on to the doctrine. I did engage in private conversations with some people I know in order to verify if the Baptist Brider doctrine they hold on to is the same with what was said in the materials that I will cite in my paper and if there are any variants to the said doctrine. I did already hear several messages from the pulpit advocating the Baptist Brider position when I was still in independent fundamentalist Baptist circles. But that was a long time ago.

In order to have a good and quality research I need to validate the information.Through private conversations with people I personally know, I validated that what I heard before and what I read about what of people hold about the Baptist Brider heresy were more or less the same.

Delighting Grace:  I read the paper and I just can’t believe what I’m reading. Are these Baptist Brider believers not employing sound interpretation and common sense. How did they end up with this messy doctrine?

Zigfred Diaz: That is a very good question.Considering that a lot of these Baptist Briders hold on to unsound interpretation and a lot of the doctrines they hold on to are unscriptural, lacks logic and even defies common sense, in some way I am not surprised anymore. Let me just say this bluntly, sadly common sense is not so common in a lot of doctrines I have encountered in several Baptist denominations.  

When I was still within independent fundamentalists Baptist circles it was very ironic that we were asked to always bring our Bibles in church and one of the reasons for this we were told is that so that we can check if what the pastor is preaching is truly from God’s Words and that somehow he got the interpretation of Scriptures right. However anybody who questions the interpretation will somehow be branded as some kind of a rebel or to use their term “touching” or going against “God’s anointed.”This kind of dictatorial and despotic rule is probably one factor why Baptist Briders ended up with such messy doctrine. (And not only the Baptist Brider Doctrine but other doctrines as well including issues in soteriology, KJV Onlyism, Baptist successionism etc. issues that I have written papers on, I am really serious about turning “Battling Bogus Beliefs” into a book soon).

Nobody dares to question the pastor as he is God’s anointed. It would be good if you have a pastor who really studies the issues, follows what God says and what He really means by what He says and uses sound logic and critical thinking when dealing with certain doctrines and issues. But if you have  a pastor who merely parrots the garbage that is being fed to him in conferences and by other fellow pastors then you have a big problem and the result is churches and denominations that end up with messed up doctrines such as the Baptist Brider heresy. And because nobody dares question the pastor this has produced a kind of anti-scholarship attitude. This kind of attitude has certainly fueled the proliferation of unscriptural, logically unsound and “messy” doctrines as you would call it. In the future I look forward to doing research on Baptist ecclesiology more particularly power structures in Baptist churches and its relation to theology and theopraxy. 

Delighting Grace: Another thing that struck me and I find offensive is calling other non Baptist believers to be “servants” in the marriage supper of the Lamb because they dont belong to a Baptist church. Isn’t that similar to a Mormon teaching on how they treat  white and black skinned people and also Jehovah’s Witnesses 140,000 teachings?

Zigfred Diaz: Well in some sense it is similar to those doctrines. Similar in a sense that certain groups of people are treated a certain way because of a particular doctrine but that such doctrine is based on an erroneous interpretation of Scriptures. The only difference is that in the case of the Mormons and the Jehovah’s witnesses the discriminatory treatment is an actual or experienced reality already considering that Mormons follow certain church policies in dealing with dark skinned people (which critics brand as racial discrimination and which officially the Mormons deny) and in the Jehovah’s witness case only the 144,000 are allowed to partake in the communion.

In the case of Baptist briders there is no actual “discriminatory” practice since the “discrimination” so to speak will supposedly happen in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. There is however a “discriminatory” attitude. The Baptist Brider heresy has produced an elitist attitude and there is no doubt that those who hold on to such attitude do not have much fellowship with other Protestant denominations or even other Baptist denominations. (Just ask pastors in interdenominational local ministerial groups how many Baptist are there or how many Baptist participate in interdenominational evangelistic activities and you will know what I am talking about).

This kind of attitude is doing so much damage to the body of Christ as a whole because instead of us uniting in things that we have in common, those who hold on to Baptist Successionism/Landmarkism and the Brider doctrine have produced an elitist, separatist attitude which in reality has really no Biblical and even historical basis.

Delighting Grace: Another thing I observed in the paper is the use Matt. 16: 18 just like the Roman Catholics Church as the basis of the foundation of their church. Is there any difference between how Baptist Brider proponents and RCC in handling this verse?

Zigfred Diaz: In some sense there is no difference in how Baptist Brider proponents and the Roman Catholic Church handle Mathew 16:18. Both groups are spot on wrong on how they interpret the verse. If we must point out the difference, the difference is probably how and why each of them are wrong. The common and foremost error committed by both groups is of course a wrong interpretation of Scriptures.

For Baptist briders when Jesus Christ said he will build his church they believe that what He established was to use their exact term, a “local New Testament Baptist church.”  This error is based primarily on faulty logic. It is the logical fallacy of equivocation. It is such because since Baptist Briders also hold on to some kind of Baptist Successionism/Landmarkism andin that doctrine one of the foundational things they hold on to is that they believe that since Jesus Christ was Baptized by John the Baptist hence he is a Baptist (just as when somebody is baptized a Roman Catholic, then such person is Roman Catholic) I extensively discussed in my paper the logical fallacy of this reasoning.

On the other hand as mentioned, aside from mainly a wrong interpretation of Scriptures,the Roman Catholic’s error is also some kind of historical theology and for ordinary Roman Catholic most definitely a church history error. Too much emphasis is given on the Apostle Peter. Let me quote from a paper I also wrote on this, but I will not dwell on this much considering this is not the main subject of this interview. It is entitled “Probing Peter’s Papacy:An examination of Roman Catholic and Protestant views on Mathew 16:13-20.” We could discuss more of this in another interview. Anyway here it is:

The strength of the Roman Catholic view is also its weakness as too much emphasis and importance is being given to the Apostle Peter. As discussed in the first Protestant view, Peter himself never referred to himself as “the rock” upon which the Church is built but constantly referred to Christ being the chief cornerstone. While admittedly, the Apostle Peter is always mentioned first in Scriptures and regarded widely as the outspoken leader of the apostles, nowhere in Scriptures can we read that the other Apostles gave the highest regards for Peter just like what the Roman Catholic Church has conferred upon him. Carson in the Expositor’s commentary rightly describes Peter as “first among equals.”  But take note that it was not only Peter that is regarded as the leader among the Apostles. Aside from the fact that the Apostles seemed to “rule” over the church as a group together with other elders, James the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ who was not one of the original 12 and the Apostle John were regarded by the Apostle Paul as the “pillars” of the early church in Galatians 2:9. The Apostle Peter and James seemed to be the lead facilitators in the first church council, the council at Jerusalem and it was James who gave the closing statement and a seeming final judgment on the matter at hand. When Peter was imprisoned and released by an angel, he sent word to “James and to the brethren” about his release. (Acts 12:17) Let me add further that the early church fathers points to James as the First Bishop of the first Christian Church, the church at Jerusalem.”

Delighting Grace: Again thank you for answering some questions. So please invite our reader to download Battling Baptist Bogus Beliefs part 2 which is about the Baptist Brider heresy.

Zigfred Diaz: You are most welcome I invite you all to download my paper dealing with Baptist Bogus Beliefs. This time tackling the Baptist Brider doctrine. Please share this with everybody you know who holds on to this erroneous doctrine. It is really my heart’s desire that this doctrine by refuted and that pastors will stop teaching it in churches as it has done so much damage to the body of Christ and to all of us Baptist collectively. You can download it here.

Delighting Grace: So guys download the free paper and share it to people trap in this false teaching. As Zigfred Diaz will tackles another issue, Delighting Grace will hopefully cover it also.

Debunking A Myth: Delighting Grace Interviews Zigfred Diaz

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Long held claims of believers should be questioned and verified. Left unchallenged, it will eventually breed legalism and anti-intellectualism that will bring reproach to the church . Pastors and preachers our duty is to do research for facts to back up those claims. Pastor Zigfred Diaz did just that and he shared what he uncovered about Baptist Successionism. Baptist successionism, perpetuity and landmarkism are claims by some (but not all) Baptist specifically by Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) or Bible Baptist (which they are called here in the Philippines).  DG connected with him and he answered some of our inquiries about this controversial subject.

Delighting Grace: Please tell us who you are and your background.

Zigfred Diaz: Actually I wear several hats at the same time so to speak. But among the things I do is that I pastor a Southern Baptist Church (Reformed), I am also a lawyer, entrepreneur, senior manager, financial planner, investments specialist.  My full profile can be seen at my personal blog at: http://www.zdiaz.com/about/

Delighting Grace: Whats the reason why you wrote something about Baptist successionism?

Zigfred Diaz: I grew up in an Independent Baptist Church. We were taught Baptist Successionism since I was a kid. For a long time I’vebelieved it to be true. However as I matured both in my spiritual life and in my thinking there were some things about it that really did not make any sense logically nor does it seemed to be backed by the Scriptures and even the evidence. I soon read materials on the matter but was not able to really dig deeper. I wanted to investigate the matter further but it seems that time has not permitted me. Although I pastor a church, I do feel that my particular calling is to equip the saints through teaching and writing as I consider both as God’s gift to me wherein I can be a more effective minster to the body of Christ.

In order to be more effective in that one, I decided to enroll at Veritas International University, School of Apologetics where I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Divinity major in Christian Apologetics. The areas of theological studies that I am very interested on is Apologetics, church history, textual criticism and biblical archeology. I took the subject  “Church History” last summer. We were required to write a 25 page paper on our chosen church history subject. Since the subject on Baptist Successionism piqued my interest, I decided to do research and write about Baptist it.

I actually chose that particular topic for three reasons. First, because most church history books are focused on the main story of Christianity with Baptist church history being only some sort of a sub-topic. There are books and articles written on it, but I feel that more research can be  and should be done on the subject. Secondly because I wanted to counter the wrong teachings of Baptist Successionism, Perpetuity and Landmarkism since it has caused so much damage to the body of Christ and to Baptist church history as it has produced a group of elitist Baptist who think they are right when in truth is that what they hold on to is based on false claims. Not only that, I also want to counter this wrong teaching because it has produced a lot of Baptist Christians who do not even know how to think and evaluate critically and logically this matter and to do research to see if what is being claimed is backed by the evidence.

Delighting Grace: What do think are the reasons why some of our Baptist brethren hold on this teaching?

Zigfred Diaz: Mainly because of a lot of those who hold on to this is misinformed and because of other factors which I will discuss later. This teaching is very popular among independent Baptist, missionary Baptist, primitive Baptist and some Southern Baptist. As I mentioned I come from an independent Baptist church. The ironic thing about most Independent Baptist is that they tell you to bring your Bible to church to check if what your pastor is saying is true. But what’s funny is that if you start to question things, you either get told to shut up or you will branded as a “rebel”, “backslider”, “liberal” and all the other beautiful adjectives that could possibly be labeled to you. :-D. I am sad to say that a lot of these churches seem to promote some kind of anti-intellectualism.

So in a lot of these churches when people start to question Baptist Successionism, they get criticized for questioning it. So they will just back down and will be forced to swallow whatever they had been fed. Few of us who could not take it anymore eventually transferred to other Baptist groups. However I know a lot who chose to remain on the inside but they do have sincere questions and doubt about certain issues like Baptist Successionism. However I think they would not want to bail out of the group considering that they already have friends and family there.  It’s hard to uproot somebody growing up in the culture. So in this sense I understand why some people chose to remain in there and continue to somehow “swallow” the wrong things taught to them when in reality they have some doubt and objections about it. It is indeed hard to be ostracized by the majority in these groups who believe in Baptist Successionism.

Delighting Grace: What are the reactions of people when they hear or read your paper regarding the Trail of Blood?

Zigfred Diaz:  The Trail of Blood is the most popular work on Baptist Successionism hence when I wrote a paper against it, it really caused quite a stir. Well thank God I haven’t encountered any violent reactions that has led to physical harm :-D. But I’ve been called the beautiful adjectives that I mentioned.  We Filipinos are of course none confrontational and when I met those from my former denomination they of course did not mention their objections to what I have written. However I know that a lot of them have expressed displeasure because of what I have written.  I know this because I am administrator of a Facebook group named “Baptist Theological Forum” which has currently more than 2,000 members from different Baptist groups mainly from the Philippines.

A lot of my friends and acquaintances from my previous church and denomination are there and they have definitely read what I have wrote as I posted it there. Some of them do tell me that they find my paper interesting. The greatest blessing I receive is that that there are those from my former denomination that tell me that I am right. Those from independent Baptist churches who I do not know personally and I have engaged with in the forum, do fight tooth and nail for Baptist Successionism. I do take the time to answer them and show them what is wrong with it and how the Trail of Blood is based on false claims, half truths and even outright lies.

Delighting Grace: Read the paper you have written. Its short and its spot on. Will you consider publishing this paper?

Zigfred Diaz: Thanks. Yes I am considering publishing it. However most seminaries and organizations only accept publication from people on the inside. So I have yet to find a seminary or organization that accepts publications from people outside their organization. If there is one do let me know and I will publish it in that journal. Our seminary still does not have a journal but if it will have one in the future, I will publish it there.

Delighting Grace: Please tell us the process in writing Battling Baptist Bogus Beliefs.

Zigfred Diaz: First, I asked my professor if I can write about the subject then he gave me approval and asked me to submit a list of references that I will be using. Next I read books, articles, write ups etc. on the subject from both sides and carefully evaluated the arguments and the evidences of both. Afterwards I went to the Baptist Theological Forum and other Theological chat groups and asked other pastors regarding the subject. That was really very helpful because part three of my paper would not have been completed without me doing such. For quite some time,  I was asking a lot of Baptist who claims to have an unbroken lineage of their church to the New Testament church to give me a copy of such lineage.  To my surprise nobody wanted to give it to me not even some persons and groups who claimed they have it. So that really fueled my confidence that such lineage either does not exist or that they were unsure of its accuracy.

Finally somebody in the Baptist Theological Forum gave me their church lineage and another pastor, a personal friend of mine was kind enough to give me their church lineage. I actually used those two lineages in my paper and  I back check the references given if they were true. Well for those who have not read my paper you will have to find out the answer :-D. Actually the part I liked most in my paper is that last part where I debunked the church lineages that was given to me. I liked that part because I had fun searching for the references and checking if what is being said there is true or not. It is really fun and exhilarating to uncover the truth.

Delighting Grace: Wow. How does a Christian avoid falling to errors like Landmarkism?

Zigfred Diaz: Christians must not just swallow immediately whatever is being taught to them. God gave us brains to think. Not to use it properly is a grave insult to Him. We must critically evaluate properly anything that is thrown at us. We must think logically and check if whatever is being claimed is backed by the evidence. Not only that we must learn the tools on how to do to scholarly research and evaluate truth claims. Each discipline has its own tools to do proper research. Historians have the historical method, Anthropologist have ethnography and other social science tools, Archeology has archeological principles and methods, Textual Criticism has rules and even pastors must follow the basic rules of exegesis to properly interpret Scriptures ! 

Above all there is the basic principles of logic. This is not “worldly” knowledge as some Baptist groups would want us to think. The source of all this knowledge is God. Further in this century, information is freely and readily available. When I did research in my paper to back check the references in the church lineage that was given to me, I mostly searched for those references online. They are all freely available in the internet ! We must learn to utilize these resources properly. All of these are gifts from God.

I teach critical thinking at a Christian High School and I wish that this subject is also taught in Bible schools. I am very much dismayed and flabbergasted that even pastors share fake news in Facebook! If these pastors believe in fake news which is just so easy to check online,surely they will have a hard time discerning fake news from the past ! The Trail of Blood and the claims of Baptist Successionism, perpetuity and Landmarksim are fake news from the past. Christians especially pastors should learn to be discerning. We are God’s people and we have the Holy Spirit with us who will teach us all things. We should be the most lucid and  discerning thinkers.

Delighting Grace:  Where do you go from here pastor? What are you’re plans in the future concerning this issue?

Zigfred Diaz: Actually I plan to write a book someday with the same title. (I like the title.When I write papers, I usually take time to whip up a fancy title) It will be a series of books discussing Baptist bogus beliefs. I have two topics now for this series of books. The first volume will deal with Baptist Successionism and the second volume will be on the issue of KJV Onlyism, also an issue close to my heart as a lot of my brethren in my previous denomination still hold on to this wrong belief.  (I have written a paper on the logical fallacies of KJV Onlyism) I will think of more topic as time goes by.

By the way, books countering Baptist Successionism are now a bit dated and historians dealing with the subject are aging or has gone home with the Lord. For example Dr. Leon McBeth who wrote “The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness” published in 1986 was one of the most comprehensive and accurate work on Baptist Church History. In his book he discussed the issue of Baptist Successionism perpetuity and landmarkism. He died last 2013. McBeth was distinguished professor of Church History  for 45 years at Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary and has served as chairman of the Texas Baptist Historical Committee Baptist Convention, and as president of the Southern Baptist Historical Society. He also experienced being a pastor in several churches. McBeth was considered the foremost Baptist historian in the 20th century.

Former Baptist Pastor, renowned church historian and seminary professor,  Dr. James Edward McGoldrick author of “Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History” is now in his senior years. His book, published in 1999 is one of the main reference for my paper and is the probably the only book to date that counters point by point and directly the work of J.M Caroll’s Trail of Blood.

These great scholars used by God needs to have somebody pick up where the left off. We need more scholars researching the subject so that  false claims will be countered and that the true Baptist Church History will be known by the generations to come.

Delighting Grace: Thank you pastor for your time. Please invite our readers to check out and download your free paper Battling Baptist Bogus Beliefs.

Zigfred Diaz: Sure! I was planning to put it up in Academia but if I do that, the journals won’t allow me to publish with them. So I am a bit reluctant. That is why I have only one published worked in Academia. I have a lot of papers that I haven’t put up in Academia dealing with several subjects from  Anthropology, Archeology and Theology.

Anyway, you can all download it in this link. Please feel free to share it without asking for my permission. The truth needs to come out on this issue freely!