"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.VIII Pg.8-10
March 1944

What The Preachers Tell Us

W. Curtis Porter

We can't always believe what preachers tell us. Many preachers are preaching false doctrine, and in their efforts to uphold false theories and to overthrow the truth, they tell us the strangest things. They become desperate in their desire to find some Scriptural sanction for their teaching, and there is hardly an absurdity that does not come within the reach of what they tell us. So don't always believe what preachers tell us. Too many have made that mistake. Let us examine what they say. Compare it with what the book of God says, and you may find they have not preached the truth. >From time to time I want to take a look at some things preachers tell us and see just what they look like.

Recently a Baptist preacher, in an effort to tell us that baptism is not essential to salvation and to "pump all the water (baptism) out of John 3:5," went through the following motion:

"The terms again says plainly, man has been born once and must be born once more; he must have two births to be saved, and only two; one is past, the other is future; verse 5, - Except a man be born of (both) water and spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'

Are both the water birth and spirit birth future? Then he should have said in verse 3 man must be born twice more; and he said again, once more. Verse 6, That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit,' and to complete the analogy, he could have said that which is born of water is water.

The plain English is the physical birth is a water birth and, no doubt, was so considered by the ancients, and that is exactly what the Savior meant by born of water in verse 5."-J. W. Chandler in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight.

It is true, as this preacher tells us, that Jesus referred to one future birth in his conversation with Nicodemus. He did not say a man must be born twice more, or again and again, but he said; "ye must be born again," once more. However, Jesus did not say a man "must have two births to be saved" and that "one is past, the other is future." This preacher thinks two births are mentioned in John 3:5. The birth of water he thinks is past and the birth of the Spirit is future. But the verse does not mention two births. It is just one birth--a birth "of water and of the Spirit." It is not one birth of water and another birth of the Spirit, but it is one birth involving both water and Spirit. It would certainly be an enlightening piece of information for the Lord to tell Nicodemus and us that a person must first be born of the physical birth before he can enter the kingdom by the birth of the Spirit. Do you suppose some of us were likely to get the idea that a man would enter the kingdom and reach heaven at last who had never been born of the physical birth? To prevent us from reaching such a conclusion do you think the Lord had to tell us that a person who had never been born cannot go to heaven? That would surely be some information. But it is what happened if we are to accept what this Baptist preacher tells us.

And when he "completed the analogy" by saying "that which is born of water is water," he really fixed up things. Remember that he says the birth of water is the physical birth and that when children are born of the physical birth, they are "born of water." At least nearly every human being, according to him has been "born of water." But "that which is born of water is water." So he converts us all into a bag of liquid as soon as we are born of physical birth. And in his efforts to "pump all the water out of John 3:5" he has inflated the whole human family into a bag of water. A man, therefore, is not only likely to "have water on his brain," but his very brain is water, as well as the rest of his physical anatomy. I wonder if that is why we refer to some young whipper-snapper as a "little squirt"? Maybe this Baptist preacher could tell us.

But this is not all that he accomplished by this working of the pump handle. He also, in his effort to "pump all the water out of John 3:5", pumped infant damnation into his system of theology. It is a fact known to the science of obstetrics that water is not always present in the physical birth--that some infants are born of dry birth. In that case, they are not "born of water" and cannot enter the kingdom. All infants, therefore, who are born of dry birth will have to go to hell. Such is the logical conclusion of what some preachers tell us. No, I am sure that is not "exactly what the Savior meant by born of water in verse 5." The Lord's language certainly does not embrace any such absurdities. So why try to "pump all the water out of John 3:5" when there are so many other passages in the New Testament that show the necessity of water baptism? I am sure that even a Baptist preacher could find a better form of religious exercise.

Salvation In Christ

The heading of this topic sounds familiar to people who have been accustomed to hearing the gospel preached in its purity. But it is unusual to find this idea coming from the source from which the following quotation is taken. But here is what a preacher tells us in his own words:

"To be in Christ is to be saved; to be out of Christ is to be lost. There is no middle ground."-Paul Goodwin in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight.

This statement has the real gospel ring. It sounds like preaching done by preachers who adhere strictly to New Testament teaching. This statement of Paul Goodwin reminds me of some statement made by another Paul--the apostle to the Gentiles. He said: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." 2 Cor. 5:17. Also he declared: "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." 2 Tim. 2:10. Thus the apostle Paul tells us that men do not become new creatures out of Christ--they must "be in Christ" in order to be "new creatures." Likewise men do not obtain salvation out of Christ, for it was his desire that men may "obtain the salvation which is in Christ." This all means, of course, that if a man is out of Christ, he is lost. To be saved he must be "in Christ." Certainly there is "no middle ground" --he is either "in" or "out" of Christ, saved or lost. I am always glad to believe what Baptist preachers tell us if they agree with what inspired men have said, and Mr. Goodwin surely did it this time.

But I wonder if he didn't think what his statement did to Baptist doctrine. Remember now that a man cannot be saved out of Christ. Both of these Pauls agree on that point. "To be out of Christ is to be lost." So "to be saved" one must "be in Christ." A man however cannot "be in Christ" unless he "gets into him." And that leads me to ask: How does a man get into Christ? Whatever it takes to put a man into Christ" is necessary to his salvation, for he is "out of Christ" till he gets "into him." Do you know what the New Testament says about it? It mentions just one thing that puts a man "into Christ." Notice the language of the apostle Paul: "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Gal. 3:27. I wonder if Paul Goodwin will agree with the apostle Paul here. What does he say? "Baptized into Christ." No preacher can find anything else in the New Testament that is said to put a man into Christ, and since a man cannot be saved out of Christ, he cannot be saved without baptism. If he can be saved without baptism, he can be saved out of Christ, for he cannot get into Christ without baptism. That principle will stand the test. No preacher has ever been able to overthrow it. So this Baptist preacher will have to give up his doctrine of "salvation by faith only." Faith only does not put a man into Christ--that which puts a man into Christ comes after faith. So this Baptist preacher will have to admit that baptism is essential to salvation or go back on what he tells us.

Then it knocks him out of his "non-essential church" idea. His brethren have always claimed you do not have to belong to the church to be saved--that you are saved out of it. But that idea is blasted now by Mr. Goodwin's statement, for he says a man must "be in Christ" in order to be saved. But how can a man be in Christ? Certainly by being in his body. We cannot be in the literal, personal body of Christ, but we can "be in his spiritual body." Paul tells us that his body is the church. Eph. 1:22, 23. So to "be in Christ" is to "be in his body." But to "be in his body" is to "be in the church." And since to "be out of Christ is to be lost," then to "be out of his body, the church, is to be lost." That puts salvation in the church, right where the New Testament puts it. Read Eph. 5:23: "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: And he is the savior of the body." It is an evident fact that if all men who are saved are saved out of the church (the body), then Christ could not be the savior of the body. Hence, the statement of Paul puts salvation in the church. And Mr. Goodwin's statement agrees. In this matter he has surely told us the truth, even though he may later tell us something that conflicts with it.

A Clean Sweep

Relative to some "good news" which he "was glad to get" Ben. M. Bogard, Editor of Orthodox Baptist Searchlight, makes the following statement in an issue of his paper:

"Elds. Cleates Moore and R. J. Cooper recently held a real revival at Croley's near McKinzie, Tenn. They just about cleaned up all the Methodists, Campbellites and Conventionites--made a clean sweep."

This sounds more like a "clean up campaign" than it does a "revival." Evidently a good work was done in cleaning up so many of the ungodly, for very likely all the Methodists, Campbellites and Conventionites" needed to be "cleaned up." The Bible, of course, says nothing about these brands of religionists, and any community that is infested with them will be greatly benefited by having them all "cleaned up." But the report leaves me wondering if the "sweep" was as "clean" as it should have been, for it implies there were Landmarks (Associational) Baptist left. In fact, I gather from the report that this group of religionists was enlarged--that men were "swept" from the Methodist, Campbellite and Conventionite pile into the Land-Mark ((Associational) Baptist pile. That is not a very "clean sweep," and I cannot see that it helped the community at all, for the same verse of Scripture that authorizes the "Landmark (Associational) Baptists" also endorses the "Methodists, Campbellites and Conventionites." None of them are mentioned in the Bible and all of them exist (if they do) without divine authority. To make a "clean sweep" as it ought to be made all of these groups should be swept away and a group of Christians left in their place. That does not mean, of course, that these people should be destroyed, but that their unscriptural religious systems should be taken away and the New Testament religion given instead. Then we would have a "clean sweep" that would be worthwhile.

If we carefully examine what preachers tell us, we will be able to see that often they not only contradict the word of the Lord, but they contradict themselves. In one speech a denominational preacher will say one thing, and in his next sermon he will deny it by telling us something that is in direct conflict with what he formerly said. As proof of this let us take a look at some quotations that follow.

Jesus Saves Without Help

"If we think we must do this or that in order to be saved, then we evidently are not leaving all the saving to the Lord, we are not fully trusting him, we have not really committed our souls into his keeping, we have not believed in him.

This writer has seen angry men and women leave the house while the preacher was telling this good news (gospel) to the congregation; angry because the Saviour was represented as being a Saviour who needed no help in saving a soul. Man's pride is insulted by this doctrine. To believe in salvation by grace precludes, yea, destroys, the idea of falling from grace; for if the Lord saves at the start without any help, he will carry on the work without help."-Ben M. Bogard in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight.

Before commenting on the above statements, in order that you may see them, close together, I want to offer the following quotations from the same source.

"Our preachers must repent * * * and go to work unstintedly and unreservedly for the glory of Christ and the salvation of souls."-James MacKrell in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight."

"I have told them, You know that souls have been saved by your preaching! "-James MacKrell in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight.

"Bro. Smith was saved through the efforts of our Missionary in Hawaii, Brother E. T. Begley, and became a member of the Baptist Church there. Thus we see a fine product of our wonderful missionary."-Ben M. Bogard in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight.

Let us now compare these statements. In the first quotation Bogard says we must "leave all the saving to the Lord" and that he had preached that the Lord "needed no help in saving a soul." Furthermore, that "the Lord saves at the start without any help" and "will carry on the work without help." Thus it is contended that the Lord saves sinners and keeps children of God saved independent of anything they may do for themselves or of anything that others may do for them. It is all up to the Lord. He saves them "without any help" whatsoever. Man can do absolutely nothing that will help to bring about his own salvation. And no other man can do anything for him that will help in the least, for the Lord "needs no help in saving a soul." I don't think there is any danger of anyone misunderstanding the meaning of all this. But the next group of quotations contradicts this. Mr. MacKrell, another Baptist preacher, says that Baptist preachers "must go to work for the salvation of souls" and that he had told some Baptist preachers: "You know that souls have been saved by your preaching." This is MacKrell against Bogard on the plan of salvation of souls. Bogard says the Lord saves souls "without any help," but MacKrell says preachers must help the Lord, that they must "work for the salvation of souls." Also that souls had been saved by their preaching. Hence souls had been saved by the help of preachers. But not only does MacKrell contradict Bogard--Bogard contradicts himself. In the final quotation Bogard refers to a certain man and says: "Bro. Smith was saved through the efforts of our Missionary." It must be evident, even to a casual reader that if a man is "saved through the efforts" of some one else, then the Lord did not save him without any help. Furthermore, if the Lord "needs no help in saving a soul" but "saves at the start without any help," why have a missionary anyway? Why spend money in sending a missionary to Hawaii or anywhere else? And why maintain a radio broadcast three times daily, as Bogard and MacKrell do in Little Rock, and send out thousands of pieces of literature, at the cost of thousands of dollars each month, when no help can be rendered in the salvation of souls? According to Bogard the Lord needs nothing of the kind, and it is wasted effort, time and money, for they can do nothing that will help in the salvation of any soul. If they can render any service in behalf of the sinner's salvation, then the Lord does not save without any help. All of this plainly shows the inconsistency of Baptist preachers. Their preaching is self-contradictory.

But what does the New Testament say about it? In Rom. 1:16 Paul said: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." And in 1 Cor. 1:21 we read this from the same inspired writer: "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." It is not a question of what the Lord is able to do. I would not undertake to limit his power. If it had pleased him, he could have saved men without the gospel, but it did not please him to do so. Such was not his plan. Hence the Lord is not able to save souls without help and at the same time have the gospel as his power to save, for Jesus is not personally preaching the gospel to men. That is being done by preachers, by human beings, and "by the foolishness of preaching" it pleased God to save men. No man can be saved without the gospel, but the gospel never reaches any man today except through the agency of some other human being. It must come to him in either written or spoken form. Do these statements have to do with the salvation of a sinner? According to Bogard, they do not, for the "Lord saves at the start without any help." Well, then, do they have to do with the salvation of the child of God? No, they cannot refer to that either, if Bogard's position is correct, for the Lord not only saves the sinner without help but he will "carry on the work without help." So I am curious to know just how the gospel is "the power of God unto salvation" and how the Lord saves men "by the foolishness of preaching." Maybe Bogard will see fit to tell us sometime; or if he does not, perhaps some of his preaching brethren will. Surely some of them should be able to work this out or quit preaching.

When writing to the Corinthian brethren Paul said: "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." 1 Cor. 9:22. And James agreed with this in the following language: "Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death." Jas. 5:20. Both of these inspired writers knew they might be of some help in saving men. Certainly they recognized Jesus as the Saviour, and they made no effort to detract from that fact, but they knew that the Savior used instruments and means to accomplish the salvation of souls. And they understood that men could serve as such instruments and that the Lord did not save men "without any help." Jesus himself recognized this principle when he gave Paul his commission to the Gentiles. He said: "Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." Acts 26:17, 18. It is too bad that blundering Ben Bogard was not there to tell the Lord that he "needed no help" in "turning men from darkness to light," or "from the power of Satan unto God." And since he could "save from the start without any help," he need not send Paul "to open their eyes." All of that should be left to the Lord, according to Bogard; but it was not, according to Jesus.

I note also that Bogard said in our first quotation from him: "If we think we must do this or that in order to be saved * * we have not believed in" the Lord. Of course, Jesus said: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Mat. 7:21. Yet if a man even thinks he must do what the Lord said, that is evidence that he does not even believe in the Lord. The man who really "trust in Jesus," according to Bogard, is the man who thinks he can ignore what Jesus said and be saved anyway. In other words, if you want infallible proof that you believe in Jesus, then brazenly deny what he says. That's the best sort of evidence, according to my friend. We must not think we must "do this or that" in order to be saved. However, Paul wrote to Timothy after this fashion: "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for is doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim. 4:16. Do you "think" that Paul was right in telling Timothy what he did? Do you think that Timothy could be saved in "doing this" (what Paul told him)? Paul said so, but if you "think" he was right about it, Bogard says you "have not believed" in the Lord. This puts Paul in a predicament, for he "thought" Timothy could "both save himself and them that heard him" by "doing this." And I judge that Timothy thought Paul was right about it. If so, neither Paul nor Timothy had ever believed in the Lord, according to Bogard, for he said: "If we think we must do this or that in order to be saved, then we evidently are not leaving all the saving to the Lord, we are not fully trusting him, we have not really committed our souls into his keeping, we have not believed in him." Which will you take Bogard or Paul? Paul, the great gospel preacher and apostles to the Gentiles, tells us one thing; Bogard, the great Baptist preacher and debater, tells us something else. We cannot believe what both of them tell us about this. So I think I'll just string along with Paul. You may take Bogard, if you so desire, but I have shown you that he contradicts himself and Paul too.