Exposing The Baptists (Part 1)
By: Brian A. Yeager
There is no easy way to expose all of the divisions within the Baptist Church. There is no one single source of information that tells us what all Baptist Churches teach or believe. Before anyone sticks their chest out and uses that information against a Baptist, let us remember that the Lord’s church (churches of Christ) could have the same thing said about us. Everything the congregation here at Sunrise Acres teaches and believes is directly from the Scriptures. All or even most so-called “churches of Christ” today cannot honestly make that statement. Division is sinful and should not exist among God’s people (I Corinthians 1:10; cf. John 17:20-23). We’ll save that for another article in the future.
Since the Baptists cannot be summed up by one standard, I urge you to be cautious with the information we will discuss in these series of articles. I will cite modern sources, but understand that not all “Baptists” can be lumped together in one system of beliefs. I will not find obscure and uncommon beliefs and try to paint all Baptists in the same dark corner. I will be using public documents, as we have in exposing other denominations, which normally apply to most Baptist churches.
There are some things that most Baptists agree on. Most will say that sinners cannot fall away. Most Baptists Churches are arranged under some larger entity like the “American Baptists Churches” (http://www.abc-usa.org/), the “Southern Baptist Convention” (http://www.sbc.net/), the “National Baptist Convention” (http://www.nationalbaptist.com/), and on the long list could go. There are many sects like the “First Baptist Church” (http://www.fbcep.com/), the “Pentecostal Freewill Baptist Church” (http://www.pfwb.org/), “The Fundamentalist Baptist” (http://www.fundamentalistbaptist.com/), and this list could go on and on. We could spend much time in just showing the many sects among the Baptists (as we could among “churches of Christ”). Most Baptists hold similar views, such as Jesus taking our place on the cross (a false view that has also become popular among so-called “brethren” today). Most Baptists teach that baptism is not required of alien sinners to be saved, but is a requirement to be a Baptist (the old outward showing of an inward action view of baptism). Such popular and shared views are the ones we will be dealing with in these articles. We’re going to begin with defining what a Baptist is from their own words.
Their Own Definition Shows Baptists Are Not Christians
The Baptists define themselves in this manner: “What Does it Mean to be a Baptist? In looking at what it means to be a Baptist there are seven core, distinctive beliefs that it can be said are held by most Baptists” (http://www.fortworthbaptistchurch.org/Articles/Article.asp?ID=235). (Before many members of “churches of Christ” criticize this statement, the same could be said of them. For example, the whole truth does not unite most “churches of Christ”, but no instrumental music, baptism by immersion, etc. does. Before some throw rocks, they need to correct themselves (Matthew 7:1-5), for that would be hypocrisy.) This same website says those seven core beliefs are as follows: Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone, “Believer’s baptism” by immersion, eternal security, priesthood of the believer, religious liberty for all [freewill], separation of church and state, and autonomy of the local church (though free to belong to conventions like the Southern Baptist Convention).
You will notice, if you check out the website I listed above, that the Baptists agree they are a denomination. You will notice that they define themselves on core beliefs that unite Baptists, rather than the entire truth of the New Testament of Jesus Christ. Choosing seven doctrines (most which are false) to unite upon shows you are not a whole truth group of people (Luke 4:4, Luke 6:46, James 2:10, and II John 9; cf. Matthew 28:18-20). We are going to, in this article, expose some of these seven things beginning with the idea of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Are You Saved By Faith In Christ Alone?
I have often thought it is funny that Baptists will argue salvation by faith alone, but then they require confession, the sinner’s prayer, accepting Jesus as your Savior, baptism to become a member of their churches, etc. (http://www.sbc.net/knowjesus/theplan.asp). (All of the aforementioned are false doctrines and it is my plan, if memory does not fail me, to expose them all in this series of articles.) Inconsistency always shows us that a doctrine is false. God’s word is not inconsistent (II Samuel 22:31, Psalms 119:89, Proverbs 30:5-6, Isaiah 55:10-11, Luke 21:33, and II Peter 1:19-21). If God says you are saved by faith alone, that would be it (Titus 1:1-3).
Notice the only context, in the Scriptures, which the phrase “faith only” appears: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:14-26).
We are not saved by faith only, baptism only, grace only, etc. We are saved by many things working TOGETHER, not by any one single thing on it’s own. For example, the word of God teaches that we are saved by endurance (Matthew 10:22), hope (Romans 8:24), the gospel (Romans 1:16), grace (Acts 15:11), calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21; cf. Acts 22:16), baptism (I Peter 3:20-21), the name of Christ (Acts 4:10-12), confession (Romans 10:10), repentance (II Corinthians 7:10), knowledge of the scriptures (II Timothy 3:15-17), and on we could go. Now, understand that the Baptist teach that baptism is something that SHOULD be done, but is not required to be saved.
The Typical Baptist View Of Baptism
The Southern Baptist Convention tells us about the Baptist view of baptism: “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper” (http://www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp). For clarification on this matter, notice this definition of baptism from a Baptist Church website: “Baptism is an outward symbol of the inward commitment you have made as a believer. Just wearing a wedding ring doesn’t make you married. In the same way, baptism doesn’t make you a Christian; it shows that you already are one” (http://www.westwoodbaptist.com/westwood/baptism).
Nowhere in the Scriptures do we read that baptism occurs after someone is saved. In fact, baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). When you go to the grocery store for a gallon of milk, you did not go to the store because you have already obtained a gallon of milk and want to show that to everyone else. In baptism, we have our sins washed away (Acts 22:16) and we are put into Christ (Galatians 3:27). No one is saved in sin (Romans 6:1-6; 23) or outside of Christ (Romans 3:24, I Corinthians 1:2, II Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 1:3, and II Timothy 1:1)! Faith and baptism occur before one is saved (Mark 16:15-16). It is that simple! How can it be missed? The Baptists want to find ways into Christ, which the Bible never teaches. Then, they want to keep you in Christ through ways the Bible does not teach.
What About The Baptist Doctrine Of Eternal Security?
One of the seven core doctrines of all Baptists is eternal security [impossibility of apostasy]. Notice this twisted doctrine: “But what if you sin again, does it mean that you lose your salvation? The answer is NO! The above verses prove that salvation is eternal, but you do not have a license to live anyway you want. (Ro. 6:1,2) As Christians, we have the responsibility to live in such a manner as to bring honor and glory to our Saviour. (Gal. 2:20) When we sin we disrupt the fellowship that we enjoy with our heavenly Father, but we retain our salvation” (http://www.pfbaptistpress.org/20.htm).
When you begin studying the Bible you find the first case of apostasy with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). From that point forward, man apostatized time and time again. We find that some apostates, such as Jeroboam, caused many others to fall away (I Kings 14:16, I Kings 16:1-2, I Kings 22:51-52, II Kings 3:1-3, II Kings 10:29-32, II Kings 13:1-6, II Kings 13:10-11, II Kings 14:23-24, II Kings 15:8-9, II Kings 15:17-18, II Kings 15:23-24, II Kings 15:27-28, etc.). The instances of sin in the Old Testament are written for us to understand what not to do (I Corinthians 10:1-12).
In the New Testament, we find times when whole congregations fell away (Revelation 2:1-7), geographical areas where Christians fell away (Galatians 1:1-9, Galatians 3:1-3, and Galatians 5:7-9), and times when individual Christians fell away (Acts 8:12-24). The word of God plainly declares that you can fall away (Proverbs 16:18, Matthew 26:41, Luke 15:1-32, I Corinthians 9:24-27, Galatians 6:1-2, I Timothy 4:1-3, I Timothy 6:10, Hebrews 3:12, Hebrews 6:1-6, James 5:19-20, II Peter 2:20-22, II Peter 3:16-18, and Revelation 3:14-22). One Baptist said to me that I could not show him one Scripture that said you could fall from grace. To his challenge, for all to consider, I give this Scripture: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4). Does that mean you can lose your salvation? Yes, it sure does (Hebrews 10:22-31).
We began our study in September showing there is one church. We know that one church is the church of Christ (Romans 16:16). The evidence against denominationalism continues to prove our stand to be true. Sadly, it also shows how many are lost (Matthew 7:13-14; 21-23). More will be exposed next week.
Volume 10 – Issue 13 - December 20th, 2009