Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 11, 1954

Religious Views In The News

Charles M. Campbell, Louisville, Kentucky

"Beautiful Bible Baptism" is the appealing way the Baptists of a local group publicized their practice in a recent newspaper display advertisement.

That baptism as commanded by Christ and performed by the apostles and other first century Christians was beautiful will hardly be questioned by anyone who accepts the facts and comprehends the significance regarding the doctrine as recorded in the New Testament. Symbolically Christ's supreme sacrifice on cruel Calvary and his triumph over the closely guarded tomb are more vividly portrayed than any artist could paint them or any uninspired penman could describe them. One is to be "buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:4.) "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." (Col. 2:12.) Truly, the very act of baptism is beautiful.

Moreover, the act of baptism is to be performed in the awful names of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Certainly this adds greatly to the solemnity and serves to intensify and enhance the impressiveness of the awe-inspiring act.

However, baptism has a design; it is for the purpose of obtaining a certain and specific objective. It is for, in order to, the remission of sins. "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38.) This, the obvious and undeniable end to be obtained through baptism, the Baptist denomination relentlessly and incessantly denies. To the Baptists, the mere mention of the baptism for the remission of sins is repulsive and reprehensible and creates within their camp such consternation as bitter and beligerent blasphemy would not ordinarily provoke. To them baptism is only "an outward sign of an inward grace" and is not in any sense essential to one's salvation. It is necessary to obtain admission into the Baptist Church but not to enter into the celestial city of the eternal king whose life's blood is intimately associated with it and whose last commission to his chosen apostles commanded it. Christ said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." The Baptist denomination reverses the order and declares: "He that believes is saved and should be baptized, if he feels like it."

Notwithstanding, their scholars have often disregarded their theological tenets and given the support of their scholarship to the truth which the lesser lights among them have so vehemently and vociferously contested and condemned. For example, Horatio B. Hackett of the Newton Theological Institute, in commenting upon the very scripture which has been such a bone of contention with his brethren, said: "This clause states the motive or object which should induce them to repent and be baptized. It enforces the entire exhortation, not one part to the exclusion of the other." (Commentary on the Acts of Apostles, ed. 1872, page 69.) Many other such comments could be adduced. But to what extent? The vast majority of the Baptist denomination, like most of the religious world, has been taught to give a sectarian scoff to the very thought of baptism being essential to the salvation of the soul. So the voice of their own scholars dies on the ethereal waves of the centuries over which they have been borne to us and fade into meaningless jargon on the age worn pages which they labored to produce.

Incidentally, the "mode" of baptism as practiced by the Baptist denomination of the present was not always characteristic of them. Their founder, John Smyth of Amsterdam, Holland, "baptized himself by affusion in 1608. Such was the origin of modern Baptists, according to the most noted historians among them. They, as most of the rest of the religious world, could simplify it all by simply obeying the gospel of the Lord and allowing him to add them to his church. Such is the way of God's word and the only hope of humanity.