"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.IV No.X Pg.4-5,8b
May 1942

Cracking Little Baptists Nuts

W. Curtis Porter

Elder W. H. Little of Jacksonville, Texas, presents in the Orthodox Baptist Searchlight, March 10, 1942, fourteen "Baptists Nuts For Campbellites To Crack." He says he has presented twelve of these "nuts" to "three able Campbellite preachers" and "one promised he would gladly" crack them, but Elder Little has waited for three months and no reply has come, and he is wondering why. Well, I am sure I am unable to tell him why. It may be that he has all Campbellite preachers scared, or it may be that the Campbellite nut cracker is as faulty as the Baptist nuts. And it may be that there are no such things as Campbellite preachers." At least, I have never seen or heard any. So fearing that no such preachers exist to crack these "Baptist nuts," I have decided to use the gospel nutcracker on them and let Elder Little and his people see what is on the inside. Since these "Baptist Nuts" were gathered and shipped to the Orthodox Baptist Searchlight by Elder W. H. Little, I think I have appropriately called them "Little Baptist Nuts." And there is another reason why the adjective "little" should be used to describe them. That reason will become apparent as we proceed. So let us give them a little rap with the gospel hammer. God said: "Is not my word like a hammer hat breaketh the rock in pieces?" Jer. 23:29. As the word of God, like a hammer, can break the rock in pieces, I have an idea that it can also crack a few Baptist nuts. And now the nut cracking starts. We will start with number one.

"1. Where and by whom was the gospel first preached? Mat. 3:1, 2; Mark 1:1-4; Luke 16:16."

From the outward appearance of this nut it is evident that Elder Little thinks the kernel is this: "John the Baptist first preached the gospel." This is shown to be his idea by the application he makes of the references given. Mat. 3:1, 2 tells that John preached in the wilderness of Judea; Luke 16:16 says the kingdom of God was preached since the days of John; and Mark 1:1 speaks of "the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ." But do these indicate that John was the first to preach the gospel? Paul says in Gal. 3:8: "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham." Abraham lived a long time before the days of John the Baptist, but the gospel was preached to Abraham. Furthermore, referring to Israel on their way to Canaan, Paul says the gospel was preached to them. "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them." Heb. 4:2. So here again the gospel was preached before the days of John. This cracks the nut, for according to Little, John must be the first to preach the gospel; otherwise, his whole system falls. But what is meant by Mark's statement concerning" the beginning of the gospel?" Mark 1:1. It was simply the gospel in preparation. The next verse shows this clearly. It was preached in promise in the days of Abraham. And it was preached in fact on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. John never did preach it that way. But we are ready now for the second nut, which is very much like the first one.

"2. If by Peter on Pentecost, as all Campbellites teach, tell us when and how Peter came into possession of 'remission of sins' or salvation. Was Peter saved by hearing himself preach? And did he baptize himself and thus give himself the new birth?

Just suppose the Campbellites, whoever they are, should admit that Peter baptized himself, that would be no worse than the fellow did who started the Baptist Church. The first Baptist Church of which we have any record was begun in 1607 by John Smyth. Benedict's History of Baptists, p. 304. And this Mr. Smith baptized himself by pouring. Vedder's History of Baptists, p. 137. So the hull off this nut flies up and hits Elder Little in the eye. And as to when and how Peter obtained remission of sins, it is evident that he did not get it before he was baptized, for he evidently was baptized by John (Acts 1:21, 22), and John baptized "for the remission of sins." Mark 1:4. So if Little got remission of his sins before he was baptized, he didn't get it the way Peter got his.

"3. What use or purpose did our Lord have for John's baptized disciples or converts? Luke, chapter 1."

This nut is easily cracked. According to Luke 1:17, John's work was to "make ready a people prepared for the Lord." And one thing he did in getting them ready and prepared for the Lord was to baptize them "for the remission of sins." Mark 1:4. And Jesus took some of these very ones and gave them the great commission that sent them into all the world, not to preach John's baptism, but to "baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Mat. 28:19) or "in the name of Jesus Christ." Acts 2:38. John's baptism was not "in the name of Christ." Acts 19:1-5. So he had another use for them than to preach the baptism of John.

"4. Was any one baptized in water between the cross and Pentecost?"

Yes, five thousand men, besides a multitude of women, were baptized between the cross and Pentecost by the pastor of the Baptist Church in Jerusalem. You will find the record of this in the next verse after the one that mentions the Baptist Church in Jerusalem. If you don't know where to find that, write to Elder Little for the information. My! My! This nut didn't even have a shell on it, and the kernel was rotten.

"5. It is admitted by Campbellites that the church at Jerusalem was composed of John's baptized disciples or converts, and to deny it, it to deny the Bible, and that the inspired apostles lived and died with John's baptism and no other, and that our Savior had John's baptism and still has it and will come back to earth with it and no other. How do you evade the plain fact that the three and five thousand added to the one hundred twenty disciples in the Jerusalem church did not also have John's baptism"

I don't know what Campbellites will admit. They can speak for themselves. But I do not admit the "the church at Jerusalem was composed of John's baptized disciples." A few of them had been baptized by John, but three thousand right there on the day of Pentecost were "baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." Acts 2:38, 41. John never did baptize anyone "in the name of Christ" as is clearly shown in Acts 19:1-5 when some who had only the baptism of John had to be "baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." V. 5. Remission of sins, for which baptism was performed, was first preached "in the name of Christ" at Jerusalem, not in the wilderness of Judea. Read Luke 24:46, 47 and Acts 2:38. And while the apostles lived and died with John's baptism (at least some of them did), because they were baptized while John's baptism was in force, yet they, through out all their ministry under the great commission, taught their hearers to "be baptized in the name of Christ." Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5. That smashes this nut into tiny fragments. So the idea that the eight thousand had John's baptism is not a "plain fact" and does not need to be "evaded."

"6. Since the church at Jerusalem had John's baptism and the churches of our day, known as the Church of Christ, do not and will not have John's baptism, how dare any Campbellite to claim their church or churches to be a sister church to the one at Jerusalem."

The conclusion reached in this "nut" is derived from a false premise in the preceding one, for only a small part of the Jerusalem church was baptized by John. But in order for Elder Little to have a shell for this nut, we will just grant that he states it correctly. Then we will just turn the nut over and let it crack under its own weight, after this fashion: "Since the church at Jerusalem had John's baptism which was for the remission of sins,' and the churches of our day, known as Baptist Churches do not and will not baptize for the remission of sins,' how dare any Baptist to claim their church to be a sister to the one at Jerusalem?" Selah!

"7. We learn from Mark 14:6-9 and Mat. 24:14 that John's gospel and baptism were to continue to the end of the world, and we learn from Paul, Rom. 1:16, that he preached the same gospel that John preached, thirty years after John had preached it and twenty-seven years after Pentecost. John's gospel was prospective, pointing to the cross; Paul's gospel and ours of today is retrospective, pointing back to the cross."

It is strange how Baptist preachers can learn from certain text things that are not even mentioned or hinted at in the texts. Mark 14:6-9 and Mat. 24:14 say nothing about "John's baptism and gospel." Yet from these passages Elder Little learned that John's gospel and baptism would continue to the end of the world. What a vivid imagination he has! Neither does Rom. 1:16 say a word about Paul preaching the same gospel John preached. But Elder Little learned it from this text. This nut is so little that it seems strange that any Baptist preacher would ask anybody to crack it. But the fact is that Elder Little cracked it himself before he turned it loose. Note his language: "John's gospel was prospective, pointing to the cross: Paul's gospel and ours of today is retrospective, pointing back to the cross." Well, then, they are not the same, unless prospective and retrospective mean the same. "Pointing forward" and "pointing backward" must mean the same if John and Paul preached the same gospel, even according to this little Baptist preacher. So he handed this nut to us with the shell already cracked and the kernel ruined. If the apostles preached the same baptism John preached, why did Peter refer to the word which began in Galilee "after the baptism which John preached" ('Acts 10:37)? Why did he not say: "After the baptism which we all preach?" The language shows conclusively that the apostles did not preach the baptism which John preached.

"8. Will some wise Campbellite please tell us how they learned that the gospel and baptism that John preached and administered ended at the cross?"

I don't know just how the Campbellites learned that, but I imagine they learned it, at least in part, by the fact that the only recorded case of John's baptism being administered after the cross was nullified by the apostle Paul when he re-baptized the twelve men at Ephesus. Acts 19:1-5. I have an idea that Paul knew pretty well what to do in the case, and if John's baptism had still be valid, he would have accepted it at Ephesus. Paul's action on that occasion fully shatters this "little Baptist nut."

"9. I have been convinced for most forty years that no Campbellite on earth believes that the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were a part of God's inspired word, so now I have it by seemingly good authority that one of their leading preachers and debaters said, It made no difference what Mark 1:1 said, because Mark was not inspired anyway." All can see that the so-called Church of Christ' preachers are a fine set of gospel preachers. If the true gospel of the Son of God could be personified and they were to meet it in the road, they would not know what it was."

This doesn't even seem to be a nut; perhaps, it started out to be a nut, but it failed to mature. It doesn't even need to be cracked. But it matters not to me how many "leading preachers and debaters" of the Campbellites say that Mark was not inspired, nor on how "seemingly good authority" Elder Little received the information. They would be just as far wrong as a bunch of Baptist preachers who have been saying that Mark 16:16 is not inspired. Elder Little, do you know of any Baptist preachers who say this? Church of Christ preachers may not be such a "fine set of gospel preachers," but I guarantee if they were to meet in the road a "personified gospel" which was carrying a Baptist Church under one arm, they would know that it was not the gospel of the Son of God, for a Baptist Church is nowhere mentioned in all that gospel. That is more than any Baptist preacher I have heard of would know.

"10. How can you claim to have obeyed your Lord in baptism, at the same time denying the baptism that your Lord has?"

I think a man could reasonably claim he had "obeyed his Lord in baptism" if he had obeyed the baptism his Lord commanded. Well, my Lord, through his apostles, commanded me to "be baptized for the remission of sins." Acts 2:38. That is the way I was baptized. But Elder Little was not baptized according to that commandment. Can a man "obey the Lord" without "obeying his commandment?" John also baptized "for the remissions of sins" (Mark 1:4), but my Lord had no sins to remit; so his was an exception to the usual practice of John. Mat. 3:15, 16: But Baptists baptize "because of the remission of sins." Christ was not baptized that way; neither did he ever command any one else to be. So I ask Elder Little: How can you claim to obey your Lord in baptism when you have not received the baptism your Lord received, and neither have obeyed the Lord's commandment to be baptized "for the remission of sins?"

"11. If Christ and the apostles were here today, what church could they affiliate with on their Baptist baptism?"

I am certain Christ would not affiliate with a church which he did not establish, of which he is not the head, and concerning which he said not a word of endorsement in the New Testament. So he could not affiliate with the Baptist Church. Furthermore, the Baptist Church would not allow the apostles to affiliate with them, for every one of the apostles were baptized "for the remission of sins." Elder Little and his brethren would require them to give an experience of grace, be voted on by the church, and then be baptized "because of the remission of sins," for it is a fact that not one of the apostles ever had what my friend calls "Baptist baptism." They would be perfectly welcome to affiliate with the brethren where I preach, for they were all (except Paul) baptized by John who made them ready as a prepared people. But neither Elder Little nor any of his brethren were ever baptized by John. We could not accept them; they will have to do what Paul required the twelve men at Ephesus to do.

"12. Would it not be a little embarrassing to you so-called Church of Christ' folk to reject membership to the God of heaven and the inspired apostles or else have them to submit to baptism at your hands?"

It would be "a little embarrassing" to me, even if I were a member of a Baptist Church, to talk about "the God of heaven" having membership in any church, much less one his word knows nothing about. Christ is the head of the church (Col. 1:1) Christians are members of it (1 Cor. 12:27), and God sets the members in the church (1 Cor. 12:18). But, God is not a member of it. I think Elder Little ought to be a "little" embarrassed for sending in such a nut to be cracked. But the God of heaven could not obtain membership in the Baptist Church without being

baptized by a regularly ordained Baptist preacher. Do not get uneasy, though, for he will never seek membership in it.

"13. If all saved people are in what you call 'The Church of Christ' as you teach, how do you harmonize Rev. 7:9, where John said he saw a great multitude of blood washed saints which no man could number. Is it possible that no man can number the membership of the so-called "Church of Christ?"

"Is it possible" that my friend thinks the membership of the Church of Christ is no larger than its living membership? The Church of Christ has existed for more than 1900 years, and membership through all the centuries would make a vast throng. Besides all these, the righteous people of past ages were redeemed by the blood of the lamb too. Heb. 9:15. So an innumerable multitude can be there without including any of the present denominations in the religious world.

"14. Do you not think and will you not admit that a little common sense thinking, coupled with a right division of the word of truth on the part of your preachers would be a great asset to your people?"

Yes, I think that a "little common sense thinking" and a "right division of the word" on the part of anybody's preachers would be a great asset. But no amount of common sense thinking and right division of the word will ever make the Bible say: "The Baptist churches salute you." Rom. 16:16.

I am glad for the privilege of cracking these "little Baptist nuts" for my friend. When he undertakes to eat the kernels he will find them bitter. I shall be glad for some one to send him the container that holds the cracked nuts (this issue of the Bible Banner). Three years ago I cracked a cluster of Baptist nuts for him in a public debate at Troup, Texas, and as a result a number of Baptists, including the daughter of a Baptist preacher, were "baptized for the remission of sins." Many others will do the same thing as soon as they learn that Baptist nuts are not made up of gospel elements.