"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.VI No.VII Pg.6-7a
February 1944

Honoring God's Word

W. Curtis Porter

Religious people generally do not show the proper respect for the word of the Lord. If men were just willing to take what the word of God says about a thing, and let that be final, it would be a long step away from present conditions and toward the unity that ought to exist in their religious world. But too many opinions and ideas of men have been injected into religious thought, and this has hindered many from accepting the truth in its purity. Minds are warped and twisted over spiritual matters because of the doctrines and commandments of men. It is hard--almost impossible--to get men to give up human opinions and just accept the truth as it is revealed in the word of the Lord. Ideas inherited from religious ancestors have too much weight, and what God says is too lightly ignored, for men to be what they ought to be in religion.

Cornelius certainly had the right attitude as revealed in his language to Peter. He said: "Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God." Acts 10:33. Whenever you find men who are willing "to hear all things" that God has commanded or taught it is an easy matter to convince them of the truth. Too many are unwilling to hear. They would rather take what grandfather said about it than to take what God said. Consequently, it is very difficult to show them the truth in its purity. Paul commended the Thessalonian brethren in the following manner: "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." 1 Thes. 2:13. It is possible, as we see from this statement, for men to receive the word of God as though it were the word of men. The brethren at Thessalonica had not done that--they had received it as the word of God. Men receive the word of God as the word of men when they put it on the level with human testimony and regard it as of no more value than what man would say about it. On the other hand many men will receive the word of men as if it were the eternal word of God. They will accept what man says in preference to what God says. Such is not properly honoring the word of God. When professed friends of the Bible refuse to believe its statements they are receiving the word of God as the word of men. We should let God be true but every man a liar who disagrees with the word of God. No other course shows proper respect for the word of the Lord. To accept something in religious faith and practice which God has is no way sanctioned, and to reject the things he has authorized, is a lack of respect for the word of God.

With this thought in mind I ask you to take a look at the following quotation from a Baptist preacher:

"We are not to look to the Baptist denomination, nor to denominational leadership, nor to Boards and Committees for programs, but we are to look to the Holy Spirit, the One and only One authorized to initiate and supervise them. That's the order of the Scriptures, and the Scriptures should be honored by us Baptists."-W. Lee Rector in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight.

"I am willing to agree, of course, that the "Scriptures should be honored by us Baptists." In fact, they ought to be honored by all men. But the trouble is that "us Baptists," along with many other religious people unknown to the Bible, have not "honored" the Scriptures. If they had, there would not be any of "us Baptists" in the world, nor many other religionists that we have among us, for the Scriptures do not say a single word about "us Baptists." You may search it from cover to cover and find nothing of the kind. So if "us Baptists" were to honor the word of the Lord, we would cease to exist as such and become simple Christians. The Scriptures do speak of Christians. In Acts 11:26 we are told that "the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." And Agrippa said to Paul: "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Acts 26:28. And Peter declared: If any many suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." 1 Pet. 4:16. But you cannot read in the Scriptures that "the disciples were called Baptists" anywhere nor at any time. Nor can you read where any one was ever "persuaded to be a Baptist." Neither does any inspired writer ever say: "If any man suffer as a Baptist, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." In view of all of this, if the Baptists were to honor the Scriptures, they would cease to be Baptists and become simply Christians. But they may tell us that they are Christians already--Baptist Christians. But whoever read in the Scriptures anything about "Baptist Christians?" Were the disciples ever called that? Or was any man ever "persuaded to be a Baptist Christian?" Or did any New Testament writer ever say: "If any man suffer as a Baptist Christian, let him not be ashamed?" No, you can't find any such denominational handle attached to the word Christian anywhere in the word of the Lord. So a man cannot be a "Baptist Christian" and at the some time honor the word of the Lord. If he honors the Scriptures, as he should, he will be forced to give up his denominational name. He must become a Christian, not a Baptist nor a Baptist Christian.

Furthermore, if "us Baptists" will "look to the Holy Spirit" to "initiate and supervise" our programs, there won't be any Baptist denomination," nor "denominational leadership," nor "Boards and Committees" to initiate programs for the Baptist Church. After all, where did the Holy Spirit, the one authorized to initiate and supervise" our programs ever say anything about the "Baptist denomination" or "Baptist Church?" There is no need to twist around about this. We would just as well face the question and get it over with. Can you read in the Scriptures anything about the Baptist Church? If so, where? I know many Baptist preachers who would pay a big price for just such a Scripture. They have been hunting for it for a long time and have never found it. So if you can find it, I think you can sell it at a fancy price to a lot of Baptist debaters. A few years ago while in debate with H. A. Thompson, -Missionary Baptist, at Weatherford, Texas, I pressed upon him, in response to a question he had asked me, to read Rom. 16:16 to the audience. He hesitated to do so, but under pressure he finally read it, but he read it this way: "The Baptist churches salute you." This was the worst blunder he could have made. Everyone who knows anything about it knows that it reads: "The churches of Christ salute you." But he was so terribly pressed to find something in the Bible about the Baptist Church, and so anxious to get it over to the audience that the Baptist church is mentioned in the Bible, that he actually misread it, deliberately reading into the text what it does not say. And I exerted so much pressure upon him that he read it correctly, thus revealing to the audience his deliberate dishonor for the word of God. No man, not even among "us Baptists," has the proper respect for the Scriptures when he thus deals with inspired statements. So when Baptists reach the point where they will honor the Scriptures the Baptist Church will cease to exist. There just isn't any such thing mentioned in the Bible.

And since "the Scriptures should be honored by us Baptists," we may wonder why they will not honor what the Scriptures say about the plan of salvation. They have long taught sinners to pray through to salvation. According to such it is through "agonizing prayer" that they reach the point of "trusting faith" at which the Lord bestows salvation "without works." But when Ananias, a man sent by the Lord to tell Saul what to do, came into the presence of Saul he found him down engaged in prayer. What did he tell him to do? Did he tell him to go right on and pray through to salvation?' Not Ananias. He wasn't a Baptist preacher; so he did not give that sort of instruction. Instead he said to Saul: "And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Acts 22:16. The word "arise" means to "get up." So instead of telling a sinner to "get down" or to "stay down" and pray through to salvation, he told him to stop his prayer, to "get up" and "be baptized and wash away thy sins." But Baptist preachers and "us Baptists" generally will not honor that statement of Scripture. Another Baptist debater, C. A. Smith, whom I met on different occasions some years ago, told, during our discussion at Maysville, Ark., of an incident that occurred in a Baptist meeting. A number of mourners were down at the altar trying to pray through to salvation. They invited Christians to come to the altar and talk to the mourners. A certain man, a "Campbellite," he called him, came to the altar and kneeled down beside one of the mourners and quoted to him the language of Ananias: "And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins." The Baptist brethren, according to C. A. Smith, took that man by the nape of the neck, the seat of the pants and kicked him out of the house. How is that for "honoring the word of God?" Had those same Baptists been present when Ananias came to Saul and told him what to do, they would have treated Ananias the same way. But there were no Baptists in the days of Ananias, and so he did not get kicked out of the house. All these, and many other things now practiced among the Baptists, will have to be given up if they ever reach the place where they will "honor the Scriptures" as they should do.

And how does the following sound as coming from a Baptist preacher?

"Christian people, those who really want to follow Christ, do not put your trust in man-made denominational systems. Follow Christ. Away with this religious paganism and idolatry. Back to God and his word. Away with authoritative creeds, rituals, forms, ceremonies, organizations, etc. Accept the Bible as your only guide, and follow Christ, and him alone."-Ben M. Bogard in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight.

This is about the finest sermon I ever heard from a Baptist preacher. It sounds just like a gospel preacher calling denominationalists back to the Bible. Think of it! A Baptist preacher calls on people not to put their trust in "man-made denominational systems!" Even Baptist preachers will admit that the name Baptist is a denominational name and the Baptist Church is a denomination. So their system must be a "denominational system." And since God never said a single word about it in all of his divine revelation, it certainly is not "God-made" and must be "man-made." Thus it must be a "man-made denominational system." And Bogard calls on people to turn away from such. If his people take him seriously, the membership of the Baptist Church will be greatly diminished. And Bogard actually calls upon people to throw away their human creeds. But his people adopt Hiscox's Manual, Pendleton's Manual, and even Bogard's Baptist Way Book" to govern them in the activities of their churches. To follow Bogard's instruction the Baptists will have to throw these things away. But I think such would be a fine thing to do. Just consign them to the rubbish heap, the bonfire, or any place to get rid of them, and do as Bogard says: "Accept the Bible as your only guide." That would certainly be honoring the Scriptures, and I do wish Board and his people would let their practice catch up with Bogard's preaching along this line. And whenever they do this and "follow Christ, and him alone" they will never be led thereafter into the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church or into any other "manmade denominational system" but into the church of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mat. 16:18; Acts 20:28; Rom. 16:16), for which he died (Eph. 5:23-27), and in which are found all the saved and redeemed of earth (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:23). May the Lord speed the day when Bogard's advice along this line will be followed.