"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.V No.I Pg.4-5
August 1942

Baptist Views Of The Church

W. Curtis Porter

The Orthodox Baptist Searchlight, Ben M. Bogard's paper, comes to my address regularly. I read much that is contained therein. It presents the views of Baptists on many subjects. On its pages a number of things have been said about the church. These reflect Baptist views of the church, and I wish to give you a look at a number of these statements. The following statement was made by T. G. Duckworth in the issue of April 10, 1942:

"Then Jesus took from that forerunner's baptism (John a Baptist preacher) and organized his (Jesus') church, not churches. This was the beginning of church organization. Jesus organized his church! Then the devil started to work, and began to cause the falling away. Strife, deception, rule or ruin, and he saw that he could not rule God's church, so he fell out and laid the cornerstone for his churches, which run, into the hundreds of the so-called churches. * * * * * * John was the forerunner of Jesus, sent by God as the first and, permanent trail blazer, that through his work Jesus could come and select material with which he could build that old fashioned' Landmark Baptist Church."

It will be noticed that, in true Baptist style, Mr. Duckworth refers to John as "a Baptist preacher." However, the Bible never refers to him that way. The Bible speaks of him as "John the Baptist." It never calls him "John a Baptist" or "John a Baptist preacher." There is a vast difference between "the Baptist" and "a Baptist." But Baptist preachers must make some sort of show before their people in favor of their existence. So it becomes necessary to call John "a Baptist preacher." This will somewhat keep the blinds over the eyes of Baptists and make them think the Bible sanctions their existence. But we are told that Jesus, using the material prepared by John, "organized his (Jesus') church." It looks strange that, after organizing his own church, he would turn around, if he did, and call it after John" the Baptist church." If he organized his own church, why did he not call it such? Why did he call it the Baptist Church? Well, the fact is, he did not call it the Baptist church, and neither did he ever organize a Baptist church to begin with. Modern day Baptist preachers are guilty of calling it the Baptist Church. The Bible contains not the slightest reference to any Baptist Church of any kind. This fact all Baptist preachers know, but they put on a bold front and refer to the "old fashioned Landmark Baptist Church" which Jesus organized as though the Bible were replete with statements about that church. But what about the hundreds of other churches in the world? This Baptist writer tells us that the devil organized them. He tried to "rule or ruin" the church organized by the Lord, and finding he could not do that, he "fell out and laid the cornerstone for his churches, which run into the hundreds of so-called churches." I am a little curious to know what he "fell out" of. But take it from this Baptist preacher that the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Lutheran Church, and all other churches in the world, except the Landmark Baptist Church, are institutions of the devil. He is the father, the founder, the organizer of them all; and he organized them because he discovered that he could not run the Baptist Church. Yet when you read from the pen of Bogard about the Baptist stealings, Baptist robberies, and Baptist crookedness that are going on in a large portion of the Baptist Church, you would just about decide that the devil is running it and, after all, did not need to organize churches of his own. While Baptist preachers regard all other churches except Baptist Churches as institutions of the devil, they will hook up with them in union meetings and "evangelize" our cities. While they claim to be fighting the devil, they will throw up the white flag and cooperate with him in religious services conducted by churches founded and ruled by him. Of course, if all these other churches are the institutions of the devil, the members of them must be servants of the devil, for they are laboring to build up the very things the devil founded and rules, and the preachers for those churches are the devil's preachers. But Baptist preachers will yoke themselves up with these preachers of the devil in Ministerial Alliances, Pastor's Associations, and union religious services, and go along hand in hand with them in their diabolic work! And in addition to all of this, they will claim that the members of the devil's churches can be saved as well as members of the Lord's church. It makes no difference, they say, what church you belong to; church membership is unnecessary anyway; and you can go to heaven as well in the Methodist Church, founded and ruled by the devil, as you can in the Baptist Church, prepared by John and organized by the Lord himself. It begins to seem, according to Baptist views, that the devil has the advantage of Jesus. Jesus "organized his church, not churches," and had to die for it; but the devil organized hundreds of churches, and did not have to give his life for any of them. Yet any one of those organized by the devil can accomplish as much for the salvation of men as the one that Jesus purchased with his own blood. According to this, the power of the devil far exceeded the power of Jesus. But I suppose Jesus will have the final advantage, however, for he will eventually get all of those in his own church and a big portion of those in the devil's hundreds of churches too. So the devil fails in that the institutions founded and ruled by him will not increase the population of his eternal habitation. His members and preachers will go to heaven eventually despite his rule over them. Another interesting thing in the statement made by this Baptist preacher about churches is, the church he founded" is the old fashioned Landmark Baptist Church." So even all other Baptist Churches except the "Landmark Baptist Church" exist by the authority and will of the devil. If you are a member of the Fundamentalist Baptist Church, the Convention Baptist Church, or any other Baptist Church, except the Landmark, you belong to one of the devil's institutions. The only one of the Baptist churches that Jesus founded is the Landmark. But I make this pledge. If any Landmark Baptist preacher will find in the Bible any mention of the Landmark Baptist Church being founded by Christ, I will show from the same chapter that he founded all other Baptist churches too and that he organized all the hundreds of churches which they claim to be institutions of the devil. Do you know of any Baptist preacher who is willing to try his hand on this?

Another Baptist view of the church is the view of Ben M. Bogard himself. He says in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight of July 26, 1942:

"The home is God's institution and is the most important institution on earth. It should be considered first; it is more important than the church."

I have known all along, of course, that Baptists regarded the church as somewhat of a non-essential. At least, it is regarded as not essential to the salvation of man. But this is the first instance that I remember of hearing it proclaimed that the church is less important than the home. The home, according to Bogard, is superior to the church. It should be given first consideration. Of course, Jesus did not purchase the home with his blood—he purchased the church with his blood (Acts 20:28)but the home is more valuable and important than the church. Jesus said: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." Mat. 6:33. But Bogard says to give first consideration to the home. Jesus exalts the kingdom or church to the place of prime consideration; but Bogard says the home should occupy that place. I suppose Bogard knows more about it than Jesus did! And yet in his paper of May 11, 1942, Bogard makes the following statement:

"The one purpose of the church is to lead souls to Christ. Jesus gave the great commission to the church and the church is commanded to teach all nations and baptize those who are taught.

"The Church is authorized to evangelize the world and baptize the converts. The promise is that the Lord will be with the church to the end of the age."

This might be viewed from the standpoint of "Sectarian Inconsistencies." But it does show the Baptist view of the church. Its "one purpose" is to "lead souls to Christ." Can the importance of a thing be determined by the purpose for which it exists? If the home takes first rank over the church, then it must have a higher purpose than the church. For what purpose does the home exist that is greater than that of "evangelizing the world?" Is the work of "leading souls to Christ" a work of secondary importance? It is according to Bogard's statement, for he says the church must occupy a secondary place. It seems utterly impossible for a Baptist preacher to keep his theology straight. Perhaps I can help Bogard, according to Baptist doctrine, to prove his point that the home is greater than the church. Why not try this method on it? "It is utterly impossible for a person to go to heaven without being a member of some home, but he can go to heaven without being a member of any church, even the Baptist Church. So the home must be greater than the church." This ought to make a good Baptist argument to minimize the value of the church. I pass it on to Bogard and suggest that he use it to prove his point to his brethren. At least, it is better than any argument I have seen him offer on this matter.

Still another Bogard view of the church, which ought to be recognized as a pretty good Baptist view of it, is presented in the following quotation:

"The church is here regarded as a bride. A bride is a lady who has just been married or is about to be married. In 2 Cor. 11:2, 3 Paul told the church of God at Corinth that he had espoused' that church as a chaste virgin to Christ.'

So we see that the church is the virgin bride of Christ; as a young lady who is engaged to be married keeps herself for her prospective husband and is anxious for the wedding to come, even so the church is the virgin awaiting the Lord to come and take her as his bride."—Orthodox Baptist Searchlight, May 11, 1942.

In a previous issue of the Bible Banner I mentioned this position of Bogard which he took in a public debate with me and called attention to the fact that, in the Hardeman-Bogard debate, he tried to prove by Isa. 54 that the church became a widow when Jesus died. I am still wondering how a lady can become a widow two thousand years before the wedding takes place. Perhaps Bogard will tell us some day. So far I have seen no effort made by him to clear up this difficulty. The church, then, according to him, as a virgin, is waiting the wedding day at the second coming of the Lord. On this contention Bogard also claimed in his debate with me that the church is not to wear the name of Christ. Women don't wear the names of their husbands till after the marriage ceremony. So that gives the virgin church the right to wear the name of John the Baptist, a friend of the bridegroom, to whom the church is not married nor ever will be. How much confidence would a prospective husband place in his prospective wife if she, while engaged to him, would insist on wearing the name of one of his friends? If a "virgin lady" should insist on a course like that, during the period of her engagement, very likely the wedding day never would come. The fact is, as stated by Paul, that "the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church." Eph. 5:23. Thus the marriage relationship between Christ and the church does exist. It did exist in Paul's day, and the Baptist view of the matter is an incorrect view.