Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 14, 1959

A Baptist Editor-In-Chief In Error

Dudley Ross Spears, Cookeville, Tennessee

The Editor-in-chief of The Baptist Examiner, Mr. Bob L. Ross, has written a series of articles entitled, "The Church." Although he has written many true things, his articles contain several grave errors that I would like for the reader to study. Common to those in error is the inconsistency of stating a Bible truth and then turning about to contradict themselves. This, Bob L. Ross has done.

1. In a discussion of Matt. 16:18 ("And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.") Mr. Ross well says, "Now Christ speaks to Peter and His words evidently mean that a mere stone, such as Peter's name signified, would not be the foundation of the Lord's church, but the Rock — Jesus Christ Himself — would be that great boulder upon which the church would be built." Notice the last phrase, "upon which the church would be built." A few sentences later, the same writer says, "See that church on Pentecost, meeting together after the ascension of Jesus Christ. He had built His church and now it had been left on the earth to fulfill the commission He had given to it." From the meaning of verb tenses used by this author, it is plain that our Lord had not built His church at the time He had spoken to Peter, but also that by Pentecost it had been established, Bob L. Ross being judge. This certainly is not a "Baptist" position and it is surprising that a Baptist would write this.

2. As I mentioned, one in error invariably tells a Bible truth and then turns about to contradict both the truth and himself. Listen to Mr. Ross do so. From the fifth installment of the series on "The Church" printed February 7, 1959, under the sub-title "False Theories As To The Church's Origin" Mr. Ross endeavors to tell us when the church began. He assures us that it did not occur on Pentecost in this article, but long before. He quotes the entire passage from John 1:36 through verse 51 and stoutly affirms, "Here was the beginning of Christ's calling out His assembly. Those called out had been baptized by John the Baptist and were thus 'prepared' for composing the Lord's 'ekklesia'." In truthfully discussing the promise of our Saviour, viz. that He would build the church, Mr. Ross proves that the church had not yet begun, but now he has the church started two or three years before this event. Was ever a man so mixed-up about any Bible subject?

Mr. Ross thinks that when Christ ever called upon people to follow Him, there He began the church for the word "church" is the English translation of the Greek word "Ekklesia." However, the only two instances of the appearance of "Ekklesia" throughout the entire Gospel records are Matt. 16:18 and Matt. 18:17. How then can Mr. Ross get the church before the appearance of the word. That Jesus called people to follow Him means the establishment of the church is absurd. In Mark 3:13, Jesus went up into a mountain and "calleth unto him whom he would; and they came to him." Does this mean our Lord established another church? According to Mr. Ross it would. And everytime you find Jesus "calling" people to Him, that would mean by Mr. Ross' reasoning that another church began! But inconsistency is enough to charge Ross with, much less absurdity. Mr. Ross could never unravel the web of contradiction he has woven about himself.

3. Did the church begin on Pentecost or during the personal life of Christ? Mr. Ross in contradicting himself has both times for the establishment of the church. I believe he was right the first time and will prove it.

A voice of prophecy uttered the promise, "Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste." (Isa. 28:16.) After this precious corner stone had been tried and laid, Paul said: "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." (Eph. 2:20.) To let us know that Christ is the only foundation ever to be laid, He also said: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 3:11.) According to the prophetic promise, the stone (Christ) had to be a "tried stone." Christ was tried when rejected and crucified. He was buried in a new tomb and for three days the trial continued, till on the third day He came forth triumphantly a risen Christ. Paul said: "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." (Rom. 1:3,4.) Therefore, after the resurrection of Christ, the "precious corner stone" had become "a tried stone" and was laid "in Zion" as the foundation for the church Christ promised to build. (See Matt. 16:18). That Jerusalem was the place for this beginning is seen from the fact that Christ commanded His Apostles to "tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49.) Luke says further that Christ "commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but 'wait for the promise of the Father'." (Acts 1:4.) Jesus referred to this occasion as "the beginning." "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning in Jerusalem." (Luke 24:47.) Years after Pentecost, Peter, who announced the terms of the remission of sins, reflected back through the years and called Pentecost the "beginning." "And as I began to speak (to the household of Cornelius, first Gentile convert) the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning." (Acts 11:15.) When both Christ Jesus our Lord, and Peter the Apostle refer to Pentecost as "the beginning" enough has been said. Who are we to argue? Why would Editor Ross argue? When such men argue with the Scriptures it certainly is a reflection upon their attitude toward the Holy Scriptures. The Bible is right and men are wrong when they contradict what it says as well as what they have said themselves.