Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 4, 1962

"Now It Is Different"

Bill Fling

The Standard Manual For Baptist Churches by Hiscox, in explaining why the Baptists vote on prospective church members, makes an interesting admission:

"It is most likely that in the Apostolic Age when there was but "one Lord, one faith, and one baptism," and no differing denominations existed, the baptism of a convert by that very act constituted him a member of the church, and at once endowed him with all rights and privileges of full membership. In that sense, 'baptism was the door into the church.' Now it is different: and while the churches are desirous of receiving members, they are wary and cautious that they do not receive unworthy persons.... and their reception is decided by a vote of the members." p. 22. (Emphases mine throughout, BF.)

This is a striking confession for a church that claims to "go by the Bible." A certain thing was truth in Bible times, but now it is different, say the Baptists. It is certainly an embarrassing admission.

The Baptist Manual is not alone, however, in claiming that "Now it is different."

Most denominational scholars know that in the days of the Apostles, baptism was immersion, church music was singing (without instruments), and there was just "one faith", and "one church". In admitting these truths, they then offer the feeble defense, "now it is different".

Many preachers today know that in Paul's time there were no institutional orphan homes, missionary societies or any other organization subsidized by the churches. They know also that no church ever became a sponsoring church for a brotherhood work which it alone could not carry out. As brother Bill Humble so aptly stated, "there is no New Testament example in which a church ever planned a work beyond its local responsibility and received help from other churches to carry it out." (Ancient Faith in Conflict, p. 243) How do intelligent men who claim to "go by the Bible" explain such doings? Their answer, "There is no pattern." Or to say it better, "Now it Is different."

The one thing all of these groups have in common is: they never explain just why it is now different.

Inspired scripture is "profitable for doctrine" (2 Tim. 3:16) which we cannot "go beyond" (2 John 9) as long as it "liveth and abideth forever." (1 Pet. 1:23) So why, oh why, should it now be different? Or even more pointedly, why should we even want it now to be different?