THE BAPTIST CHURCHINTRODUCTION
The Baptist Church is one of the major Protestant forces in the United States, with at least twenty-seven denominations reporting an approximate membership of 29 million in 1983 (the largest among Protestant denominations in America). There are about 95,000 local Baptist churches in America, each independent of each other. Interestingly, in 1965, it was reported that the largest Baptist membership outside of the United States could be found in the Soviet Union, where there were approximately 512,000 Baptists. (Merits Students Encyclopedia, II:566) As a church, or organized churches, the Baptist Church had its beginning in Holland and England in the early 1600s.
THE HISTORY OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH
With the 16th century Reformation and its scattering effect across Europe, a number of slightly different convictions of faith began to be preached. In Germany and Switzerland, we find "Pedobaptists," who baptized infants and children (cf. Lutheran and Reformed Churches); "Anti-Pedobaptists," who opposed infant baptism; and "Anabaptists," who rebaptized adults once baptized as children.
"The Anabaptists were the left wing of the Reformation and held to a literal application of the Word of God in social matters; they were communistic and pacifistic, opposing capital punishment, oaths in court, the holding of public office, and payment of taxes and interest; and they rejected infant baptism as unscriptural. They insisted upon the separation of church and state, and defended this belief heroically, to the point of fanaticism and martyrdom. Under persecution they spread all over Europe. Some fled to Norway, others to Italy, Poland, Holland, and England." (Handbook of Denominations in the United States, Mead, 8th ed., p. 35)
The Anabaptist faith had a great deal of influence upon the heritage of the Baptist Church.
A. John Smyth.
1. John Smyth was the leader of a group of British Separatists which had fled to Amsterdam, Holland, to escape religious persecutions under James I. While in Holland, they met and lived with a group of Mennonites (followers of former Anabaptist leader Menno Simons). Smyth was completely taken with the Mennonite's teachings of the sole authority of the scriptures for mans faith and practice, that baptism was the believers privilege, that church and state should be completely and forever separate, as well as other of their teachings.
Upon accepting these views, "Smyth rebaptized himself and his followers in the Anabaptist, or Baptist, faith and organized the first English church in 1609." (Handbook of Denominations, p.35)
2. Later, because Smyth tried to make his followers Mennonites, he was excommunicated, and died in 1612. With persecution waning, Smyths people drifted back across the English Channel, and in 1611 established another Baptist Church, this time in London.
B. Roger Williams and John Clarke.
There is still dispute among Baptists over when and by whom the first Baptist Church in America was established. Many scholars ascribe this recognition to Roger Williams at Providence, Rhode Island, in 1639. In 1641, John Clarke established another Baptist Church at Newport, Rhode Island.
C. Theological Heritage Of The Baptist Church.
1. The first two Baptist churches which were established (Holland and England) were "General" Baptist churches. This is, they believed in a general atonement for all, thus rejecting Calvinism's limited atonement.
2. The first "Particular" (British) church dates back to 1638. The Particular Baptists were Calvinistic in theology. A third body, the Immersion Baptists, broke away from them, and in 1644 wrote a confession of faith which was very Calvinistic.
3. The first two Baptist churches in America were Particular, or Calvinistic, churches. Certain Calvinistic principles continue to be the theological standard for most Baptists today.
D. Chronology Of Baptist Church History.
-[See The Hiscox Guide For Baptist Churches, p. 141-148, a reprint from Robert G. Torbets A History of the Baptists (Revised), 1963].
1. 1525 - Swiss Anabaptists broke with Zwingli.
2. 1609 - First English General Baptist church formed in Holland under John Smyth.
3. 1611 - Organization of first General Baptist church in England by Helwys and Murton.
4. 1638-39 - Organization of the first Baptist church in America; at Providence, RI, by Roger Williams, or in Newport, RI, by John Clarke.
5. 1644 - London Confession of 1644; Calvinistic.
6. 1677 - The Confession of 1677 (Second London Confession), a revision of the Westminster Confession.
7. 1742 - The London Confession of Particular Baptists (1689) was adopted by the Philadelphia Association, and by adding two articles, it became known as the Philadelphia Confession.
8. 1833 - The New Hampshire Confession was written to combat the Arminianism of Freewill Baptists.
9. 1845 - Division over slavery and the nature of denominational organization. Southern Baptist Convention organized at Augusta, Georgia.
10. 1925 - "The Baptist Faith and Message" adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention.
11. 1947 - Formation of the Conservative Baptist Association of America.
12. 1963 - "The Baptist Faith and Message" was revised by the Southern Baptist Convention.
CONFESSIONS AND DECLARATIONS OF FAITH
I. THE MAJOR BAPTIST CONFESSIONS OF FAITH.
A. One Universally Accepted Confession Does Not Exist Among Baptists.
1. "Among Baptists, as their churches are independent, it is optional with each church to have a declaration or not, as it may think best." (Baptist Church Manual, Revised, Pendleton, p. 43)
2. "Baptists have attached less importance to creedal statements than most other denominations. Nevertheless they, too, have some historic documents which they respect and use, but to which they are not bound." (The Hiscox Guide for Baptist Churches, p. 18)
B. The Major Baptist Confessions Or Declarations Of Faith Include:
1. The London Confession of Faith (1644). Issued by seven Baptist churches.
2. The Second London Confession (1677). Strongly Calvinistic.
3. The Philadelphia Confession (1742). Same as the Second London Confession, plus two articles.
4. The New Hampshire Confession (1833). Mildly Calvinistic.
5. Abstract of Principles (1859). Adopted by the Southern Baptist Seminary in 1859, and by the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1950. A Baptist interpretation of the Westminster Confession.
6. The Baptist Faith And Message (1925; revised in 1963). Adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention.
II. THE USES AND PURPOSES OF CONFESSIONS OR DECLARATIONS OF FAITH.
A. They Provide A Consensus Of Opinion For General Instruction.
1. "That they constitute a consensus of opinion of some Baptist body, large or small, for the general instruction and guidance of our own people and others concerning those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us." ("The Baptist Faith And Message," Tract form, p. 4)
2. "That they are statements of religious convictions, drawn from the Scriptures, and are not to be used to hamper freedom of thought or investigation in other realms of life." (Ibid., p. 4-5)
1. 1 Corinthians 1:10 - It is certainly true that we are to all speak the same thing.
2. Acts 2:42 - The "apostles teaching" (gospel) provided the basis for unity and instruction in the early church, not a humanly devised declaration.
3. Galatians 1:8-9 - If declarations of faith declare what is in the Bible, are they not superfluous as tools of instruction?!
B. They Are Guides In Interpreting The Bible.
1. "That the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Confessions are only guides in interpretation, having no authority over the conscience." ("The Baptist Faith And Message," p. 4)
2. "As there is such a diversity of opinion in the religious world, it is eminently proper for those who appeal to the Scriptures as the fountain of truth to declare what they believe the Scriptures to teach." (Baptist Church Manual, Pendleton, p. 42)
1. Ephesians 3:3-5 - By reading the word of God, we can understand what it teaches, and therefore, correctly interpret it.
2. 1 Corinthians 4:6 - Do not such confessions crystallize divisions among people, rather than unite them?
C. The Supremacy Of The Bible.
1. "The Bible contains the revelation of God to man. It is the supreme standard of faith and practice. Whatever conforms to this standard is right - whatever deviates from it is wrong." (Ibid., p. 41)
2. "Primitive Christianity drew up no Confessions of Faith." (W. D. McGlothlin, former professor in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, quoted from his book Baptist Confessions of Faith, intro.; in "Church Origins," p. 6, Bill Crews)
-Colossians 3:17 - Where is the Bible authority to write Confessions of Faith? There is none!
BASIC DOCTRINES GENERALLY HELD BY ALL BAPTISTS
-Taken from Handbook of Denominations, p. 37:
1. The inspiration and trustworthiness of the Bible.
2. The Lordship of Jesus Christ.
3. The inherent freedom of each individual to approach God for himself.
4. Salvation through faith by way of grace and contact with the Holy Spirit.
5. Baptism is immersion, to place one into the Baptist Church (infant baptism is rejected).
6. Independence of the local church.
7. Complete separation of church and state.
8. The immortality of the soul.
9. The ultimate triumph of God's kingdom.
COMPARING SOME BAPTIST DOCTRINES WITH THE BIBLE
I. DOCTRINES CONCERNING SIN AND SALVATION.
A. The Sinful Nature ("Sin Nature") Of Man.
1. "We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; being by nature (emp. mine - jrp) utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil (emp. mine - jrp); and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defence or excuse." ("The New Hampshire Confession," III; Baptist Church Manual, Pendleton, p. 46)
2. While rejecting total hereditary depravity (classic Calvinistic position), it is taught that a sinful nature is inherited, which causes one to choose to sin. So, a sinful nature, not sin itself, is inherited.
3. "Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence; whereby his posterity inherited a nature and an environment inclined toward sin, and as soon as they are capable of moral action become transgressors and are under condemnation." ("The Baptist Faith And Message," III, p. 10)
1. Mans "sinful nature" is no more inherited than is mans "holy nature"!
-Romans 5:19 - If we all inherit a sinful nature through Adam, then we all inherit a righteous nature through Christ!
2. Man has a "sinful nature" when he serves sin in his life.
a. Romans 6:16-17 - Our nature is sinful when we serve sin. Our nature is holy when we serve righteousness. Neither of these natures are inherited (cf. v. 12-14).
b. Ephesians 2:1-3 - Men are "by nature children of wrath" when they walk according to the course of this world (v. 2), are disobedient to God (v. 2), live in the lusts of the flesh (v. 3), and do the desires of the flesh and mind (v. 3). Sin is ones nature when he lives in sin.
3. We are not born with a "sin nature." Children are role models for kingdom citizens, therefore, it is inconceivable that they have a "sin nature" - Matthew 18:3; 19:14; Ezekiel 18:20.
B. Regeneration (The New Birth).
1. "We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and newness of life." ("The New Hampshire Confession," VII; Baptist Church Manual, Pendleton, p. 49-50)
2. "Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. ("The Baptist Faith And Message," IV, p. 11)
3. Because man's nature is sinful, he cannot even believe, until God regenerates his nature by a supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit. After this regeneration, which gives man the ability to believe in and obey Christ, he can have faith and repent, thereby being saved.
1. The new birth is simultaneous with conversion.
-John 3:3-5 - The new birth (out of sin, into righteousness) has two elements:
a. Water: Baptism - cf. Titus 3:5.
b. The Spirit: The Holy Spirit revealed word, the gospel - cf. Ephesians 5:25-26; 1 Peter 1:22-23.
c. When one, by faith in Christ, obeys His word and is baptized, regeneration or purification of the soul occurs!
d. 2 Corinthians 5:17 - At the moment we are in Christ, we are new creatures.
2. Sinners were told to believe, not wait for the Holy Spirit in order to be able to believe! - cf. Acts 16:30-32; 8:5-6.
3. If a man cannot obey God until God regenerates him, and God never regenerates him, whose fault is it that the man is lost? This Baptist doctrine, in effect, makes God responsible for mans damnation!
C. Salvation By Faith.
1. Faith and Repentance.
a. Both are brought about by the Holy Spirit.
"We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God;...." ("The New Hampshire Confession," VIII; Baptist Church Manual, Pendleton, p. 50)
1) 2 Cor. 7:10 - Repentance is prompted by godly sorrow for ones sin.
2) Rom. 10:17 - Faith is produced by contact with the word of God.
3) By use of the word He revealed, the Holy Spirit produces faith and repentance within man.
b. Faith and repentance are inseparable.
1) See the above quote from "The New Hampshire Confession," VIII.
2) "Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace." ("The Baptist Faith And Message," IV, p. 11)
1) Faith and repentance are separate actions, both of which are necessary for salvation.
a) Faith - Heb. 11:6; Jno. 8:24.
b) Repentance - Acts 17:30.
c) Acts 11:21 - Believe, then turn to the Lord.
2) It is possible to have faith (believe) and yet not repent - Jas. 2:19; John 12:42-43.
3) Therefore, faith precedes repentance, not vice versa. It is an impossibility to repent (change the mind) before faith is present in the mind!
2. Salvation by faith only.
a. "Simply believe on Him as the one who bore your sin, died in your place, was buried and was raised for your justification." ("Gods Simple Plan of Salvation," Ford Porter; Tract distributed by The Bible Baptist Church, Clearfield, UT)
b. "We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in him is justification; that justification...is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemers blood;...." ("The New Hampshire Confession," V; Baptist Church Manual, p. 48)
a. We are not justified by faith only - James 2:24.
b. Saving faith is an active, obedient faith - cf. Matt. 7:21; Rom. 6:17-18; Gal. 5:6; Heb. 10:37-39; Jas. 2:20; Acts 16:30-34.
c. In describing salvation "by faith," the Bible never says it is by "faith only".
d. Faith only (without works of faith / obedience) is:
1) A dead faith - Jas. 2:17, 26.
2) Incapable of demonstration - Jas. 2:18.
3) The faith of demons - Jas. 2:19.
4) A barren, unfruitful faith - Jas. 2:20.
e. Acts 10:34-35 - There are "works of righteousness" we must do in order to be acceptable to God. Compare this with the statement from "The New Hampshire Confession" (above, # 2. b.).
D. The Plan Of Salvation.
-(Taken from "A Visitor's Guide To Layton Hills Baptist Church, S.B.C.," under the heading, "What The Bible Teaches About Salvation.")
1. We are sinners (Romans 3:23), and the punishment of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
2. Jesus provided the payment for the wages of sin through His death (Romans 5:8).
3. Jesus is the only way to escape punishment for sins (John 14:6).
4. We must apply Romans 10:9 to be saved (confess and believe).
5. This is accomplished through:
a. Repentance (Luke 13:3b).
b. Belief (Acts 16:31).
c. Confession of faith (Matthew 10:32-33).
6. The results of salvation are:
a. New life (2 Cor. 5:17).
b. Eternal life (Jno. 3:16).
1. We must indeed understand we are sinners, and that because Jesus paid the price to redeem us from sin, He is the only means of escape from sins (# 1-3 above).
2. Yes, Romans 10:9-10 must be obeyed to be saved, but Baptists assume this is the complete and final (only) instruction given to the sinner for salvation. It is, in fact, a general statement of the sinners responsibilities in order to receive salvation.
3. Plan of salvation:
a. Hear the gospel of Christ - Jno. 6:44-45; Rom. 10:17.
b. Faith in Jesus as the Son of God - John 8:23-24; Romans 10:9-10.
c. Repentance of ones sins - Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30; Acts 2:38.
d. Confession of ones faith - Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9-10.
e. Baptism for the remission of sins - Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16.
4. After initial conversion, faithful life to Christ - Acts 2:42; 2 Cor. 5:17.
E. Water Baptism.
1. Subjects: Believers, Christians.
a. "Baptism is to be administered to those, and to those only, who have exercised and professed a saving faith in Christ; that is, to believers. This saving faith presupposes repentance for and a turning to the Lord with full commitment of heart." (The Hiscox Guide for Baptist Churches, p. 86)
b. "Baptism is the first thing after (emp. mine - jrp) a person is discipled to Christ." (Baptist Church Manual, Pendleton, p. 94)
a. Membership into the Baptist Church.
-"The spiritual change of the new birth constitutes Christian fellowship; but to secure church fellowship, that change must be confessed in baptism." (The Hiscox Guide for Baptist Churches, p. 39)
-"Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper." ("The Baptist Faith And Message," VII, p. 13)
b. A ritual emblem whereby ones faith is confessed.
-"Baptism is also a confession of faith. The symbolism of that sacred rite teaches the great cardinal doctrines of the gospel,...." (The Hiscox Guide for Baptist Churches, p. 89)
-"Baptism is, therefore, a symbolic proclamation of two of the three prominent facts of the gospel - the burial and resurrection of Christ."
"Baptism also expresses, in emblem, the believers death to sin, and resurrection to newness of life." (Baptist Church Manual, Pendleton, p. 75)
3. Necessary To Be Obedient But Not To Be Saved.
-"Baptism may not be essential to salvation, but it is essential to obedience." (The Hiscox Guide for Baptist Churches, p. 87)
4. Its Efficacy: What Baptism Does For A Person.
-"But as an act of obedience to Christ, the reception of this ordinance usually brings light, joy, and comfort to the soul....Baptism, therefore, is an act of obedience, and as such brings the candidate into a more intimate and exclusive fellowship with his Lord; but it possesses no power in itself to remit sin, to change the heart, or to sanctify the spirit." (Ibid., p. 87-88)
1. Subjects: Repentant believers.
a. Acts 8:35-37 - Belief must precede baptism.
b. Acts 2:37-38 - Repentance came before baptism.
c. Acts 18:8 - Hear gospel, believe, then baptized.
2. Purposes Of Baptism:
a. Through it, Christ Provides forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God.
1) Matthew 28:19 - It places one into a relationship with Deity.
2) Mark 16:16 - It is essential to be saved.
3) Acts 2:38 - Necessary for the remission of sins and for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
4) Acts 22:16 - By it sins are washed away.
5) Romans 6:3 - It puts one into Christ.
6) Romans 6:3 - It brings one into contact with the death of Christ (the benefits of His death - His saving blood).
7) Romans 6:4 - Through it, we die to sin.
8) Galatians 3:26-27 - It is the action of faith by which we "put on Christ."
9) Colossians 2:11-13 - At baptism, the sins of the flesh are put off, as we receive the circumcision of Christ, and are buried with Him.
10) 1 Peter 3:21 - It saves us, through the resurrection of Christ.
b. At baptism, the Lord adds us to His church (the body of the saved).
1) 1 Corinthians 12:13 - Baptized into one body.
2) Acts 2:41, 47 - Added by the Lord to the church upon receiving the word and being baptized (v. 41) - Upon being saved (v. 47).
c. A symbol, not of a past occurrence, but of what actually happens when one is baptized.
1) Romans 6:4 - Just as Jesus died, was buried, and arose from the dead, in baptism, we die to sin, are buried with Christ, and raised to live in newness of life. This happens at the moment of baptism (cf. Col. 2:12-13).
2) Titus 3:5 - It is the "washing of regeneration" through which Gods mercy saves us (cf. Heb. 10:22; Acts 22:16).
3. Its Necessity.
a. See "Purposes Of Baptism": Since baptism is connected with our forgiveness of sins, we cannot be saved without it.
b. Acts 10:48 - Water baptism is a commandment from God.
c. Hebrews 5:8-9 - Since Christ will save those who obey Him, how can we reject His commandment of baptism and still be saved?
d. To receive salvation, we must obey every commandment Christ gives us.
4. Its Efficacy: What Baptism Does For A Person.
a. See "Purposes Of Baptism."
b. Baptism is presented as the step of faith by which one comes into the actual possession of the spiritual blessings Christ provides.
F. The Impossibility Of Apostasy.
1. True Believers Endure To The End - Those Who Do Not Are Only "Superficial Professors."
a. "We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special providence watches over their welfare, and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." ("The New Hampshire Confession," XI; Baptist Church Manual, Pendleton, p. 54)
b. "All true believers endure to the end...." ("The Baptist Faith And Message," V:12)
2. Once Saved, Always Saved. Or, It Is Impossible For Sinning Christians To Be Lost.
a. "One who is born again cannot become unborn. One saved by grace will not be lost by works....a Christian cannot lose his soul." (The Ruin of a Christian, John R. Rice, p. 29; quoted in Workbook on Denominational Doctrines, I, p. 25, J. Curtis Manor)
b. "...Once a person has in faith invited the Lord Jesus Christ into his life, he is eternally saved; he is always a part of Gods family; he is ever a citizen of Gods kingdom, it is impossible for him to be lost." (A Laymans Guide to Baptist Beliefs, Harold L. Fickett, Jr., p. 126-127; Ibid.)
1. Apostasy - "A standing away; a falling away" - 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Thess. 2:3.
2. True believers, by sinning, jeopardize their souls:
a. Acts 8:12-13, 18-24 - Simon was a Christian in danger of perishing (v. 20). He was in the bondage of sin (v. 23) because his heart was not right before God (v. 21).
b. Galatians 2:11-14 - Because of his hypocrisy, the apostle Peter "stood condemned" (v. 11). He was not walking according to the truth of the gospel (v. 14).
3. Christians can so sin as to lose their souls:
a. James 5:19-20 - A Christian's soul can need saving from death!
b. 2 Peter 2:20-22 - One who has escaped defilement, is again overcome in sin. He "turn(ed) back" from the holy commandment.
c. Luke 8:13 - Those who hear and receive the word, can believe for a while, yet in time of temptation "fall away."
d. For more Bible teaching on the possibility of apostasy, see: 1 Corinthians 9:27; 10:12; Galatians 5:2-4; Hebrews 3:12-13.
4. The impossibility of apostasy doctrine began in the Garden of Eden, when the devil told the woman "Ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4), although God had told Adam and Eve, "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." (Gen. 3:3)
5. The Christians salvation is secure when he/she lives by faith - 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2 Peter 1:5-11; John 8:31-32; 10:27-29; 1 John 2:3-6.
II. DOCTRINES CONCERNING WORSHIP.
A. The Lords Day Is To Be Kept As A Sabbath.
1. "We believe that the first day of the week is the Lords Day, or Christian Sabbath; and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations, by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public; and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God." ("The New Hampshire Confession," XV; Baptist Church Manual, Pendleton, p. 57-58)
2. "The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance by refraining from worldly amusements, and resting from secular employments, work of necessity and mercy only being excepted." ("The Baptist Faith And Message," VIII:14)
1. Deut. 5:2-3, 12 - Sabbath observance was given exclusively to the nation of Israel.
2. Colossians 2:14-17 - Sabbath observance was abolished, along with the rest of the Old Testament law.
3. Acts 20:7 - Probably met at night due to having to work during the day.
B. The Frequency Of The Lord's Supper.
1. Monthly Observance.
- "There is no scriptural rule as to the frequency with which, nor the time or place at which, it shall be observed. The primitive Christians evidently kept the feast daily. Subsequently it came to be a weekly service, at each public assembly. By some it is still so observed. Some churches observe it quarterly, some bimonthly; but with our people it has come to be a general custom to have the Communion monthly, and usually on the first Sunday in the month." (The Hiscox Guide for Baptist Churches, p. 96)
2. Baptist Defense Of This Position.
a. No scriptural rule regarding frequency (see quote above).
b. Human custom and judgment determining factor.
c. The reasoning used:
- "This is not so often as to impair its sanctity by frequency, and not so seldom as to allow it to pass out of mind and be forgotten." (Ibid.)
1. Acts 2:42 - Indicates regularity, not occasional observance.
2. Acts 20:7 - Purpose of assembly on the first day of the week was to break bread.
a. On which first days should we partake of the Lord's Supper?
b. Necessary Implication.....every first day! (cf. Exodus 20:8)
3. 1 Corinthians 11:24-26 - Its frequency does not detract from its sanctity nor its meaning!
C. The Use Of Instrumental Music.
1. Documentation unnecessary, since all know that instrumental music is used by the Baptist Church in its worship.
2. Defense of its use:
a. It was used in Old Testament worship - cf. Psalm 150:1-6.
b. There are instruments of music in heaven - Revelation 5:8.
c. The Bible doesnt say not to use them.
1. The music authorized in Christian worship is vocal music -- Singing. - Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; et al.
2. There is no New Testament passage authorizing instrumental music as a part of our worship to God.
3. The defenses answered:
a. They also burned incense, sacrificed animals and observed feast days in Old Testament worship.
1) Consistency is demanded here - Galatians 5:3.
2) Instrumental music in OT worship was authorized! 2 Chronicles 29:25.
b. Heaven is a spiritual realm, therefore, these cannot be literal harps, trumpets, etc. Otherwise, we have physical things in a spiritual realm!
1) Rev. 5:8 - Consistency demands that one also have "bowls of incense" in his worship!
2) There are many things in heaven which are not on earth, i.e., the throne of God (Rev. 4:2), the twenty-four elders and their thrones (Rev. 4:4), the four living creatures (Rev. 4:6-8), Christ (Acts 7:55), the Father (Rev. 3:21), the Holy Spirit (Rev. 4:5), etc.
3) Point: God has not authorized the use of instrumental music in worship on earth!
c. Neither does the Bible say not to baptize infants.
1) "It may be laid down as a principle of common sense, which commends itself to every candid mind, that a commission to do a thing authorizes only the doing of the thing specified. The doing of all other things is virtually forbidden. There is a maxim of law, that the expression of one thing is the exclusion of another." (Baptist Church Manual, p. 81)
2) "In application of the principle laid down....it will not do to say, we are not forbidden, in so many words, to baptize infants." (Ibid., p. 83)
3) The silence of the scriptures does not give consent, it prohibits! (Heb. 7:13-14)
III. DOCTRINES CONCERNING THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST.
A. The Kingdom.
-Particularly the kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ." ("The Baptist Faith And Message," IX:14)
-Agreement on this general definition of the kingdom, although the specifics will show the Baptist disagreement with the word of God - John 3:5; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:6, 9; John 18:36.
B. The Coming Of The Kingdom.
1. The Coming Of The Kingdom Is Future.
-"Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and Gods will be done on earth." (Ibid.)
2. The Kingdom Will Be Established On Earth With Christ As King When He Returns.
1. Mark 9:1 - The Kingdom Was Established In The First Century.
2. The Kingdom Of Christ Is His Church:
a. Acts 20:28 -- Revelation 5:9-10 - He purchased His church with His blood. But, He purchased a kingdom with His blood. Therefore, they are synonymous.
b. Colossians 1:13 - This entrance into the kingdom is not in prospect, but a reality at conversion.
c. Revelation 1:6-9 - Christians are a kingdom, and John was a partaker in the kingdom.
d. 1 Corinthians 15:23-26 - When Jesus returns, He will not bring the kingdom to earth, He will deliver the kingdom up to God in heaven!
ORGANIZATION OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH
I. CONGREGATIONAL ORGANIZATION.
A. Congregational Autonomy:
1. "This church is an antonymous body, operating through democratic processes under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In such a congregation members are equally responsible. Its Scriptural officers are pastors and deacons." ("The Baptist Faith And Message," VI:13)
2. "Baptists say, with the New Testament before them, that the action of each local congregation of believers is final." (Baptist Church Manual, p. 112)
1. 1 Peter 5:2 - Congregational autonomy (self-governing).
2. Acts 14:23 - Each church was separately organized, with its own elders.
B. Officers Of The Church.
a. Only one pastor is necessary in a Baptist congregation.
b. He has the task of feeding and caring for the church.
-"A pastor is a minister, but a minister is not necessarily a pastor....The pastor is the poimen, who feeds and leads and cares for the flock. The pastor has the care of a church; the minister is a preacher, and may or may not have the care of a church." (The Hiscox Guide for Baptist Churches, p. 57-58)
c. They are elected by the congregation.
-"Churches secure their pastors by election, as the free choice of the people, in each individual church." (Ibid., p. 59)
d. "In apostolic times, bishop, pastor, and elder were terms of equivalent import." (The Baptist Manual, p. 100-101)
a. Chosen by free vote of the church.
b. Generally serve for three years.
c. Serve needs of the members and administer the affairs of the body.
3. Other Officers.
-"In addition to those church officers described in the New Testament, others have become necessary as church life in modern times have become more complex." (Ibid., p. 74-75)
-"...the other offices which have been added to meet the changing needs of the churches." (Ibid., p. 70-71)
a. Board of Trustees. Care for the financial affairs of the church, property, etc.
b. Board of Christian Education.
c. Variety of committees.
d. Clerk, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Moderator, Church School Superintendent, Employed Staff.
e. These are elected, except for the employed staff.
a. Plurality of elders (pastors) - Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5.
b. Feed or shepherd the flock - 1 Peter 5:2; Eph. 4:11.
c. Pastors - Elders - Bishops - Different terms to refer to the same person and work - 1 Peter 5:1-3; Eph. 4:11.
d. Must meet Biblical qualifications - 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9.
a. Must meet qualifications - 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
b. No time limit placed upon their service (until the need they serve is met).
c. They are not administrators with oversight, but servants who serve the needs of the congregation under the direction of the elders or pastors.
3. No other offices set forth in the New Testament church.
A. Voluntary, Advisory Boards.
-"Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner." ("The Baptist Faith And Message," XIV:17)
-No evidence of such bodies being organized and maintained in the New Testament church.
B. Purposes Of Associations.
-"Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christs Kingdom." (Ibid.)
-The local congregation is sufficient to do the collective work authorized in the New Testament. If not, where is the Bible authority for associations? (Col. 3:17)
The Baptist Church grew out of the Reformation Movement, and although some were opposed to Calvinistic theology, most Baptist churches adopted a modified form as central points of their doctrine. Its doctrines concerning sin, salvation, certain points of worship, and some of its organization do not harmonize with Biblical precedents. Many good, sincere people need to be taught the errors of the Baptist Church.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. When and where did the Baptist Church have its beginning?
2. Who was John Smyth? What was his contribution to the formation of the Baptist Church?
3. Where were the first Baptist churches in America started?
4. What were General Baptist churches? Particular Baptist churches?
5. When was the Southern Baptist Convention organized?
6. To what extent are confessions of faith used in the Baptist Church?
7. Name two major Confessions of Faith which where written in America.
8. Review the major doctrines of the Baptist Church.
9. What do some Baptists believe is inherited from Adam? How does the Bible say we obtain sinful natures?
10. According to Baptist doctrine, how does regeneration take place? When does the new birth actually occur?
11. Why may we say that faith occurs before repentance?
12. Answer the "salvation by faith only" doctrine with Bible passages.
13. What is the plan of salvation according to Baptist doctrine? Answer it from the Bible.
14. What are the Baptist beliefs surrounding baptism? Answer them.
15. Why do you believe a Christian can fall from grace and be lost?
16. Is the Lord's Day a Sabbath? What is it?
17. What kind of music is authorized in the New Testament for worship?
18. Is Christ's kingdom in existence today? How do you know?
19. Who are pastors in the Bible? Deacons? Are there other Biblical offices?
20. Are congregations authorized to form associations?