Cled E. Wallace
Some time ago the Baptist Standard published a list of reasons by Otis L. Spurgeon, a Baptist pastor, on the subject of “Why I Am a Baptist.” He advises the readers of the article to “Put Me In Your Bible.”
A careful reading reveals to me more denominational pride than New Testament truth. If Jesus intended that His disciples be called “Baptists” and proudly parade about under that name, then there ought to be clear evidence of the fact in the New Testament. You are invited to take a look at some of the evidence that the Baptist Standard thinks is worth pasting in the Bibles of its readers.
“Because it is a fact that the first gospel preacher was a Baptist (Matt. 3:1; Mark 1:1-5; Luke 16:16).”
“It is a fact” that John was called “the Baptist” or the Baptizer or immerser. It takes a good deal of party pride and sectarian zeal to see in John the sort of Baptist preacher the Baptist Standard delights in.
We do not deny that John immersed people, and for a period was the only person who did, and was, therefore, known as “the Baptist.” Dr. Armitage, a Baptist historian, says, “John was his proper name, and the term ‘Baptist,’ added by the inspired writers, is a title of office” (History of The Baptists, p. 30).
Perhaps the Standard will explain why no one else was ever called a “Baptist” in the New Testament.
“It is a fact that Jesus was baptized in Jordan by a Baptist minister (Matt. 3:13-16; Mark 1:9).”
It is true that Jesus submitted to baptism at the hands of John the Baptizer or Immerser. That John was “a Baptist minister” in the sense that term is used in the Baptist Standard is a clear case of sectarian hallucination. How would it sound to say that, “Jesus was baptized in Jordan by an Immerser minister?”
“It is a fact that the apostles were baptized by a Baptist minister (John 1:32-40; Acts 1:21-22).”
Evidently they did not consider “Baptist” a religious name, for they did not call themselves “Baptists,” nor did anyone else ever call them that while they lived. It did not occur to any of them that they should be called Baptists because John the Baptizer immersed them. Mr. Spurgeon has on denominational spectacles.
“It is a fact that the first church organized was composed of baptized believers (Matt. 10:1; 18:17; Acts 8:36; 11:17).”
There is nothing said about a church being organized in Matthew 10:1. Here is the way it reads: “And he called unto him his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal all manner of disease and all manner of sickness” (ASV).
At this time all these 12 were unbelievers in the death and resurrection of Christ. No “baptized believers” were ever called “Baptists” in the New Testament. No one was called “Baptist” except John, and he was unbaptized.
“It is a fact that 3,000 converts on the day of Pentecost all joined the Baptist Church which Christ organized (Acts 2:41, etc).”
Mr. Spurgeon seems to be reckless with facts. It is nowhere said that 3,000 converts on Pentecost “Joined the Baptist Church.” “The Baptist Church” is not mentioned in all the New Testament. The term is not found in any history written prior to the 16th century.
Peter, on Pentecost, commanded convicted inquirers to “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins” (Acts 2:38 ASV). Baptist ministers who write for the Baptist Standard do not talk that way now. Peter is nowhere called a “Baptist” in the New Testament.
“It is a fact that Paul, the apostle, was a Baptist (Rom. 6:4; Eph. 4:5).”
The New Testament does not say that Paul “was a Baptist.” Romans 6:4 does not say so. It reads, “We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death” (ASV). The third verse says Paul was “Baptized into Christ Jesus.” Can a man be saved out of Christ? Ananias told Paul to “arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). Baptists do not preach that way now. No, Paul was not a Baptist.
“It is a fact that the apostles taught that every church member should be a regenerated person (Acts 2:38, 41; 10:43, 48).”
Dr. John D. Freeman, of the Baptist and Reflector, says that Judas was a member of the first Baptist Church, made so by the Lord Jesus Himself, and he was not a regenerated person, so Dr. Freeman says.
The apostles taught that “as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). People are not saved out of Christ, and they do not get into Him before baptism. This is not Baptist doctrine, even if the New Testament does teach it. In the New Testament people became members of the church in the same way and at the same time they became Christians.