What a Baptist Preacher Would Not, and Could Not do – H.L. Bruce

H.L. Bruce

Several days ago one of the brethren called me to arrange a contact with his grandson to discuss his spiritual condition. I found his grandson to be honest, and one would discuss without prejudice, wanting to do only what was right. This brother who called me gave this information: A few nights before, his grandson had applied for baptism at the local Baptist Church. He wanted (to the extent of his knowledge) to do exactly what was done in the first century. He did not want to join the Baptist Church. He did not want the church to vote on him. He simply wanted to be baptized as men were in the first century. The Baptist preacher refused. He could not be consistent with Baptist doctrine and do only what the Bible said. Such practice did not harmonize with Baptist doctrine and thus could not be tolerated.

An appointment was arranged. We read: Acts 2:47, “…and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” The question was “What did the Lord do with such as should be saved?” The answer was obvious, We had our Bibles open. The Lord added them to the church. They did not join anything. We next read 1 Peter 3:21, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” To this verse we asked: What is accomplished in baptism? Answer no 1. “An answer of a good conscience toward God.” No. 2. “Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh.” No. 3. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” These answers were scriptural; no one can successfully deny them. After giving like treatment to several other passages on the same subject we pointed out from the scripture that before one is saved it is necessary to: hear, believe, repent, confess Christ, and then be baptized. In doing this, one is saved and the Lord adds him to the church. Man can do this without joining any denomination or being voted into anything.

After a reading of the conversion of the eunuch in Acts 8, and discussing more extensively the New Testament plea, I told this sincere investigator that if he so desired, we could baptize him without further delay. When we came to the water I asked him “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son?” When he confessed, we went down into the water, and I baptized him. We did not have to seek authority from anyone. We simply did what was practiced in the first century. We are sure that God is pleased. I have often wondered how a Baptist preacher feels, not being able to assist an honest sinner wanting to do only that which is written in the Word of God.

The local Baptist preacher is tied. He cannot do what God says and be consistent with Baptist doctrine. Furthermore he cannot tell the honest sinner to only do what God says and be consistent with Baptist doctrine. He is tied to a creed and cannot assist any honest and sincere investigator who may come to him and request the Bible only. This example proves that without a shadow of a doubt.

This sincere man was wanting to do exactly what God said, no more no less; but the Baptist preacher was absolutely no help at all. If you are wanting to do what the Bible advises, if you want to use your New Testament for your only concern, a Baptist preacher is without value to you.

I would be afraid to face God in the Judgment if I could not advise and assist people in doing what God says. I believe that I would give up any doctrine that I could not practice without human authority. Is God pleased with such? The Baptist preacher refused—and still refuses.

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Author: Editor

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