In view of the serious consequences that must follow, it is shocking to note the persistent perversion of the gospel of Christ in popular organized religion. Paul was amazed that many whom he had taught the truth should be led away from it by teachers who perverted the gospel and made their perversions look plausible. "If any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than which ye received, let him be anathema." (Gal. 1:9.) The following is taken from "The Messenger of Red Bank Baptist Church," Chattanooga, Tenn., and is a characteristic example of modern perversion of the gospel.
"We trust all who are prepared for baptism will come this evening. We have quite a few who have been approved and have not yet been baptized. Baptism is not necessary to salvation, but it is necessary in order to do all the Master asked of His children. If you are a Christian, you should be a baptized Christian."
It would be refreshing if some of these advocates of justification before and without baptism would give us the name and post office address of even one Christian in the New Testament who had not been baptized. "The Master asked" that proper subjects submit to baptism in order that they might receive the remission of their sins. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." The idea that a candidate for baptism must furnish evidence to a church that he has been saved and then sue for church approval so that he can be baptized is without any warrant whatever in New Testament teaching. It is a clear case of perversion. And we have here the case of some whom the church has already approved for baptism and then the church is putting pressure on them to go ahead and get it over with. They seem to be holding back. Since they are told that they are already saved and "baptism is not necessary to salvation" it is natural for them to consider the matter of no great importance, at least not an urgent one. Besides, you know according to Baptist teaching, they cannot be lost anyhow, if they never do anything else "the Master asked of His children." With all their zeal for propaganda, the Baptists are a queer people. "If you are a Christian" you have already been baptized. There are no Christians out of Christ and out of contact with His death. "Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" (Rom. 6:3.) The Baptists seem to be. He is prepared for baptism who believes with all his heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who repents of his sins, and confesses that Jesus is Lord. The baptism of such a man puts him into Christ where he enjoys the divine assurance of sins forgiven. This assurance is not that of mere feeling, but is the assurance of faith based on the definite promise of God. It is a dangerous doctrine that leads men to think they can trust the Lord and be saved without obedience. "He became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation." (Heb. 5:9.) "He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36.)
"The Messenger" further remarks that: "If you ever trusted the Lord and have not yet followed Him in the ordinance of baptism, you have thus far failed him." And it may be further remarked in the light of some plain texts of scripture that with such a limited "trust" "you have thus far failed" to reach the promise of remission of sins which can be found only in Christ. "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17.) "For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ." (Gal. 3:26, 27.) And in the face of all this Baptists continue to shout from the housetops, "Baptism is not necessary to salvation." The Bible is right and Baptists are wrong.