Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 8, 1949

Was Christ A Baptist?

J. P. Lusby

Christ was not "a Baptist." John did not baptize him to make him such. Christ himself says he was baptized "to fulfill all righteousness"—not to make him a Baptist. (Matt. 3:15)

Christ did not receive "Baptist baptism" from John; for all Baptist preachers declare that "Baptist baptism" is because of the remission of sins. But Christ could not have been baptized because of the remission of his sins, since he had no sins to be remitted. (Heb. 4:15) Neither was he baptized with the baptism that he himself authorized, for that baptism was unto the remission of sins. (Acts 2:38). So, even if John the Baptist had been preaching "Baptist baptism" (which he hadn't), Christ did not receive it. And since it takes this to make a Baptist, it is perfectly obvious that Christ was never a Baptist.

When John hesitated to baptize him, Jesus said, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." This statement shows that Christ's baptism was an exception. No other was ever baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Neither will there ever be another. The "now" in that statement gives the key to its significance. When Jesus explained this to John, "then he suffered him." John allowed it, he permitted it, he made the exception.

The Name "Baptist"

In speaking of one of his Baptist brethren who had declared that the name Baptist Church" is not scriptural, Dr. L. D. Foreman in the Missionary Baptist Searchlight says, "He misunderstood, or he willfully misrepresented facts by saying that Baptists are named after John the Baptist. This is far from right. It isn't John the Baptist's church... Jesus was as much a Baptist as was John, and why should any think it derogatory to name the church Baptist, since Christ was a Baptist?"

That is arguing in a circle. We have already seen that Christ did not receive "Baptist baptism". Therefore, he was not a Baptist; the argument is pointless and shows how desperate is the cause of him who would make it.

In fact, Baptist scholars some years ago translated the title "Baptist" right out of the Bible. In the American Bible Union translation, made by Baptist scholars, the expression "John the Baptist" is rendered "John the Immerser." So intent were these men on emphasizing the action of baptism that they did not realize they were sawing off completely the limb on which the Baptist church was hanging its argument for a name!

Church During The Personal Ministry

Dr. Foreman errs when he says the church was in existence when Christ said to his disciples, "I will build my church." (Matt. 16:18) He asserts that Christ "simply meant he would dome up or finish" his church. Now if Christ "simply meant" that, why didn't he "simply say" it? Was he not "simply" capable of "simply" saying what he "simply" meant? He said, "I will build." That expression is future, and can never point to the past. If the Baptist Church was in existence during the personal ministry of the Lord, it cannot be the one Christ was talking about; for he said of the church, "I will build" it.

"The point is," Dr. Foreman continues, "that Jesus referred to these very people who had repented of their sins, trusted the Lord Jesus Christ, and received Baptist baptism, as his church. It is the Church of Christ, that is, Christ owns it, but the name of it is Baptist." Now that is a fine assertion; but we wonder where the Doctor got his information. Is there one word in all the Bible that ever speaks of Christ's church as the "Baptist Church"? Did God ever call it that? Did Christ? Did any apostle/ Did any angel in heaven/ Is it not the truth that no one ever called any church a "Baptist Church" until many hundreds of years often the days of Christ and the apostles.

Commission to Baptist Church

"Another reason I am a Baptist," Dr. Foreman avers, "is because Jesus gave the Great Commission to the Baptist Church." If so, it is more than pressingly strange that the Lord did not say he was giving that command to the Baptist Church. If so, it is also more than passingly strange that the Baptist Church has been so extremely careful not to carry out the charge. For there is not a Baptist preacher on earth who will preach exactly what the Great Commission says without any explanation or apology. Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Where is the Baptist preacher or the Baptist Church that will so declare? Is not it one of their cardinal doctrines that "he that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved"? If a Baptist preacher preached the Great Commission as given by Christ, he would be discharged from the Baptist Church.

Chain Of Existence

The last reason Dr. Foreman gives for being a Baptist is "because Baptists are the only people on earth who have a continued chain of existence from the days of John the Baptist until the present time." He makes the assertion, "Scholars and historians attest to this fact." The plain truth concerning this is that neither scholars nor historians attest to any such thing. This is ground that has been covered too many times and with too much thoroughness for one to—come at this late date and try to occupy it. The more able Baptist scholars gave up this dream two generations ago. One by one, their competent historians and preachers have abandoned the old position. Those who cling to it at all now are men who are still caught in the framework of the Baptist thinking of a hundred years ago. And even they use the old slogan more as a party rallying cry than as any serious attempt to state historical facts.

There are three expressions in which Dr. Foreman and his brethren glory which are not found in all the Book of God. Those expressions are, "a Baptist," "Baptist Church", and the plural "Baptists." Now if these expressions can be found, we can depend on Dr. Foreman or some other Baptist to find them. And until these expressions are found, there is not one Bible reason why any man on this earth should want to be a "Baptist" or a member of a "Baptist Church." Why not simply obey the gospel of Christ, and be a Christian? That is a name in which Peter says we are to glorify God, (I Pet. 4:15. 16). It is also the exact name which was given to the early disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 11:26)