Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 10, 1950
NUMBER 14, PAGE 14-15

"On Being Real Baptists"

C. A. Holt Jr., Mount Pleasant, Texas

"There never was a day in the history of the people called Baptists when it was more important that our people know our distinctive doctrines than now. There never will be too many Baptists, but there are altogether too many Baptists among us who do not know why they are Baptists, —Baptist Standard.

Editorial Note: The trouble is that we have too many so-called Baptists preachers who do not know why they are Baptists, trained in seminaries that do not know the meaning of the name Baptist, and seem not to care. --Lockland Baptist Witness.

The above, although short, presents a number of things worth considering. I can fully endorse the statement that the Baptist people, especially, need to learn the real truth about the Baptist church and its "distinctive doctrines." I am sure that if they could really see it in its true light, they would forsake it immediately and forever, to obey the truth. In order to help our Baptist friends (and I do have hundreds of friends and relatives who are Baptists—all good people) learn their "distinctive doctrines" and some other important facts along this line, I want to review some of the things in the above article.

1. "There never was a day in the history of the people called Baptists . . . " Baptist history is quite interesting. Of course, it doesn't take too long to learn about their short history for such a church has been in existence only since the year 1607. That is several years this side of the close of the New Testament history and the founding of the New Testament church. Hence, no informed student expects to read of their "history" in the New Testament. Mr. Benedict, who was a Baptist himself, says in his "General History of the Baptist Denomination" that, "The first regularly organized Baptist Church of which we possess any account, is dated from 1607, and was formed in London by a Mr. Smyth, who had been a clergyman in the church of England." (page 304) Thus does this historian state the facts regarding the beginning of "the people called Baptists." With him agree all candid and scholarly historians. Truly Baptist people ought to know this. Recognition of this fact would help them to see that the Baptist church is not and could not possibly be the New Testament church it was founded centuries later by John Smyth and not by Christ. (Matt. 16:18) Remember that every plant not planted by the Lord shall be rooted up. (Matt. 15:13) Furthermore, "except the Lord build the house (the church, I Tim. 3:15) they labor in vain that build it." Ps. 127:1) Just think of all the labor and money put into building up and carrying on churches that the Lord didn't build and doesn't recognize. All such is vain labor and will be the means of many being eternally lost.

What about it with you, neighbor? You had better be sure.

2. " ...when it was more important that our people know our distinctive doctrines than now." Do you see the full significance of this statement? It is a fatal admission for "our distinctive doctrines." Now if it is so important that Baptist people know "our distinctive doctrines" why is it not necessary for all people to know them? Furthermore, just where would the Baptist Standard and the Lockland Witness recommend that we look for "our distinctive doctrines?" Surely they would not be so bold as to affirm that such is to be found in the New Testament. If so, in just what way are they "our distinctive doctrines?" Why would they be any more the "our distinctive doctrines" of their Baptist church than "our distinctive doctrines" of the Methodist church, of any other denomination? One can read (?) of the Methodist church in the same verse of scripture that mentions the Baptist church—and, of course, neither are even mentioned in God's book.

By the expression "our distinctive doctrines" the Standard shows the purely sectarian and human origin of Baptist doctrine. Can one fail to see that "our distinctive doctrines" distinguishes them and sets them apart from all others? This is the very cause and essence of denominationalism. A denomination is "an organized body of believers, distinct in name, doctrine, and practice from all others." (See Webster). This proves the Baptist church to be a denomination of first-rate order. By their "our distinctive doctrines" they are distinguished from all other denominations. The Methodist, by their "distinctive doctrines" are set apart from others, and thus it goes throughout the denominational world.

Let me ask the Standard and the Witness a question: Are "our distinctive doctrines" necessary to salvation? If not, what good are they, what purpose do they serve, except to keep up division? If "our distinctive doctrines" are necessary to salvation, will those who (Methodist, Presbyterians, etc.) have not accepted them be saved? Furthermore, along the same line, do I have to believe "our distinctive doctrines" — Baptist doctrine — to be saved? I am quite sure that all Baptist people would answer in the negative. Well, do I have to believe the gospel to be saved? Surely the Baptists would answer with a resounding "yes". Thus by this admission you have the truth of the matter. Hear it! One doesn't have to believe "our distinctive doctrines" to be saved. But one must believe the gospel (Mark 16:16) to be saved. Therefore, it follows that "our distinctive doctrines" are not the gospel, nor any part thereof. This is an evident fact and the Baptist people need to know it. Will some Baptist preacher deny it?

"Our distinctive doctrines" of the Baptist church may be read in one of the Baptist manuals, or the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, but such cannot be found in the New Testament. If our Baptist friends were more interested in teaching the gospel of Christ to the world, instead of "our distinctive doctrines" the world would be far better off. Also, the Baptist church would soon disappear. The gospel never made a Baptist nor a Baptist church. There were no Baptists, nor Baptist churches in New Testament times. It takes "our distinctive doctrines" to make Baptists. The apostles preached the gospel and not Baptist doctrine. The gospel made Christians only, only Christians. Be assured of this fact: There is a vast difference between "our distinctive doctrines" of the Baptist church and the gospel of Christ.

3. "There never will be too many Baptists... " Why make such an assertion? Why are they needed? There never was a Baptist, in the religious sense as used today, until 1607. Christ didn't authorize his apostles to go out and make "Baptists." They were sent out to make disciples—Christians. (Matt. 28:19, 29; Acts 11:26) There is no instruction in all God's book for making "Baptists," nor anything to indicate that "there never will be too many Baptists." In fact, everything in God's book indicates the reverse. Incidentally, the Methodists could say: "There never will be too many Methodists," with just as much divine authority. I would like for the Standard or Witness to tell us if there ever will be too many Methodists. If so, why? Think it over, friend.

4. "But there are altogether too many Baptists among us who do not know why they are Baptists." This is no doubt true. Possibly the reason is that they thought such information could be found in the New Testament. Having been unable to find any "Baptists," or "Baptist Churches" mentioned therein they didn't know to turn to the Baptist manual.

Perhaps Mr. L. L. Morris, of the First Baptist Church here in Mount Pleasant, could help them. He preached a sermon recently on "Why I am a Baptist." He gave five reasons (?) for being such, all of them personal and none based on the scriptures. Mr. Morris, nor any other Baptist preacher, cannot give one scriptural reason for being a Baptist. I challenge them to do so.

5. I write these things without any ill will toward anyone. I am interested in the truth. I believe our readers (many of whom are Baptists) are honest and sincere. Surely none will be offended at me for pointing out the facts as I have. If I misrepresented the Bible, or the Baptists, I shall be deeply grateful if you will call it to my attention, and due apology and correction shall be made. Study these matters seriously—your soul is at stake.