Denying the Baptist Principle
live in an age of scientific progress. New inventions become obsolete almost before they leave the drawing board. Basic principles of a generation ago are considered no longer binding, and are often ridiculed as "old fashioned," "out of date," and even as "unrealistic." The quest for the new and novel has permeated the religious as well as the scientific world. And it is because the world mistakes change for progress that a large portion of our present religious world is endeavoring to pull down the ancient principles and practices, and to institute a new order of worship. This is contrary to the ancient Law of Proverbs 22:28: "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set." And while this was in reference to physical property lines, the duty of it has an even more appropriate application to spiritual things. Why would anyone want to pull up the great truths and practices that sustained so many generations of Godís people unless he was an enemy of God and of the truth?
This endeavor to loose anchor from the time-proven fundamentals of spiritual truth is to be seen even in many formerly fundamental and evangelical groups of the day, and even many churches bearing the name of Baptist have begun to deny their original principles. This is a great tragedy!
Even where there remains a nominal adherence to the ancient beliefs, in many instances there has been a departure in practice from them, and thus, practice is divorced from principle. Nor is this a new thing in itself, for the unregenerate have always practiced such inconsistencies, and the unsaved church member is no different, giving rise thereby to the charge of "hypocrites in the church." A hypocrite is, as has been rather humorously said, "a person who is not himself on Sunday." i.e., he is inconsistent. This was so even in Apostolic times, for Paul wrote to Titus of some who "profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate," (Titus 1:15). Such is not a very good Bible commendation, and yet, there are many that not only act this way, but are actually very proud of their supposed liberality.
However, though this has always been the tendency of the unregenerate, there has been of late an acceleration of this inconsistency among those who are truly born again people. Many Baptist people and Baptist churches have come to deny their own principles by their practices, and even to make their new practices a test of fellowship with other Baptists. Shameful as it is to admit, some Baptists will compromise on Bible principles in order to maintain fellowship with loose and even heretical sects and groups, but will break fellowship with other sounder Baptists over some human invention or organization.
Because this situation does exist among the Lordís churches, it behooves us to get down to the root of the matter and find the trouble and eradicate it. Just as the dying of the branches and leaves of a fruit tree may mean that something is eating away its roots, so it is in this matter. When Baptist principles are denied in precept or practice there is the danger of a church ceasing to be a true church. The Laodicean church is a standing warning of this, (Rev. 3:14ff.). Now we know, on the basis of Matthew 16:18, that there will be a continuity of the Lordís churches until He returns (and only those practicing Baptist principles, by whatever name they may be called, have an antiquity and continuity entitling them to be considered true churches). But this does not guarantee the continued existence of any individual church, and it is certain that departure from Baptist principles can cause a church to cease to exist as such.
I. WHAT IS THE BAPTIST PRINCIPLE?
The basic principle which Baptists have always held, and which underlies all their other beliefs in a greater or lesser way is thisóthat the Bible is the all-sufficient rule for all faith and practice. What we are held accountable for is to be found clearly revealed in the Bible, and what is not in the Bible, we are not accountable for. Several Scriptures clearly establish this. "Sin is the transgression of the law," (1 John 3:4). Note that sin does not consist in violations of the traditions of the church, nor of the ideas of noted rulers, or even of the constitution and bylaws of the church, except insofar as these are reflections of Biblical truth. The same thought is found in Romans 4:1f: "where no law is, there is no transgression," and in Romans 5:13f: "Sin is not imputed (charged against one) where there is no law." On the basis of these verses we must recognize that no one is charged with wrongdoing unless a Bible principle has been violated. How this sweeps away the multitude of "standards" established by most of Catholicism, Protestantism, and, sadly, by some Baptist churches.
There is always the temptation for preachers to multiply rules and regulationsóa lot of "touch not, taste not, handle not," (Col. 2:21), regulationsóto control the beliefs and practices of church members. And while this generally has a good end in view, it tends too much to legalismóthe thinking that we are accepted before God because of our keeping of certain laws, rules, codes, etc. A person is accepted "in the Beloved"óin Christ and solely because of His perfect righteousnessóor not at all, (Eph. 1:6). It is to be noted that immediately following these three prohibitions it is stated "which all are to perish with the using," (Col. 2:22). No one was ever saved by what he did not do, nor by what he did do, but millions have gone out into a Christless eternity of suffering because they trusted in their own performances instead of in the grace of Christ.
Sometimes things are held to be wrong though not specifically addressed in the Word of God by someone saying, "But I just cannot believe that it is alright to do that." Thus, it sounds very spiritual to make the non-practice of something a matter of faith. However, the same principle applies in this, for all Biblical faith rests upon the bedrock of the Word of God. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." That is not faith which does not have a foundation in Scriptureóit is presumptionóand if a thing has foundation in Scripture, then this is moving upon the Baptist principle.
"To Baptists, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament constitute the final authority on all matters of belief and practice. The great doctrine that constitutes the bedrock upon which all of their other doctrines are laid is this: The Bible, the Bible alone, is our only and all-sufficient rule of faith and practice. As one has aptly put it, Ďif you canít find it in the Bible, it isnít Baptist doctrine; if it is Baptist doctrine you can find it in the Bible.í"óRoy Mason, The Church That Jesus Built, p. 73.
A momentís reflection upon this principle will make it clear why the Baptists have always rejected tradition as binding upon believers, and why they believe there is neither need for, nor obligation to, an external authority to interpret or enforce the precepts of the Bible. And not only is the Bible a sufficient rule for all faith and practice which is required of man, but man is, when enlightened and led by the Spirit of God, sufficient to understand and to obey its precepts.
"The Bible contains everything God would have us believe, do or be, religiously, and we have no right to add to or take from it. Baptists hold that the Bible is a book for all the people, and that the right of individual interpretation is an inalienable right."óW. D. Nowlin, Fundamentals Of The Faith, p. 34.
An unknown author, who is quoted by Dr. Nowlin, has very aptly said of this Holy Volume that:
"This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you. Food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the travelerís map, the pilgrimís staff, the pilotís compass, the soldierís sword, and the Christianís character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill our memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened in the judgment, and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibilities, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents."
This then is the basic Baptist principleóthe sufficiency of the Scriptures to guide man in faith and practice, and the sufficiency of man when enlightened and led by the Spirit of God to follow and to fulfill the obligations of the Scriptures. To this agree the Scriptures themselves. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works," (2 Tim. 3:16-17). "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," (2 Tim. 2:15). "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," (2 Pet. 1:20-21).
Some have endeavored to use this last text to prove that no private person has a right to read and interpret Scripture for himself, but "is always to be subject to the interpretation put on Scripture by Ďthe Church.í" "Of any private interpretation" is literally of its own unloosing, and simply means that no part of it is to be lifted out of its context and interpreted apart from what has been called "The Analogy of the Faith"óall other Scripture that bears on a given subject. The implication is that inasmuch as it all comes from the Holy Spirit, no unaided human reasoning can determine its meaning. This is the clear teaching in that extended section on this subject in 1 Corinthians 2:9-14. The Word of God will always be a total mystery to the unsaved person. The Divine Author of Scripture alone can teach anyone its meaning.
The sufficiency of the Scriptures in the matter of salvationómanís most important needówas set forth when Paul spoke of the Holy Scriptures being "able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus,"(2 Tim. 3:15). If this be so concerning salvation, is it not also true relative to other spiritual needs and obligations? Yea, verily!
All of the ancient Baptist confessions of faith speak of this matter. One of the earliest to escape the persecutorsí fires was a confession of faith put forth in 1644 by seven congregations of Particular Baptists in London. In Article VIII it says:
"The rule of this knowledge, faith, and obedience, concerning the worship of God, in which is contained the whole duty of man, is (not menís laws, or unwritten traditions, but) only the word of God contained in the holy Scriptures; in which is plainly recorded whatsoever is needful for us to know, believe, and practice; which are the only rule of holiness and obedience for all saints, at all time, in all places to be observed." (Several Scripture references follow this statement.)
The London Confession of 1689, from whence was derived the Philadelphia Confession used so extensively in Colonial America, says in Chapter 1:
":1 The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience . . . :6 The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, manís salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scriptures: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men . . . :7 All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them."
From the days of the Reformation, it has been regarded as a maxim that "The Bible only is the religion of Protestants," but tragically almost no Protestant church is ruled by this maxim, but all regularly violate this with human traditions and practices. But this has been the consistent principle of Baptists since the first century. Shall that which has been sufficient for twenty centuries now be cast off as insufficient and worthless? It is strange reasoning that would think so. Yet this is cast off, or at least denied in practice, by many who bear the name Baptist today. Which brings us to another question.
II. HOW IS THE BAPTIST PRINCIPLE DENIED?
To answer this question, it is only necessary to read the Scriptures and then to look at present day practices in most Baptist churches. There have been many extra-Scriptural practices that have crept into the churches of our day, and these are all denials of the Baptist principle of the sufficiency of the Scriptures.
Now it is to be acknowledged that there are many incidental things which may enter into our worship of, and service to, our God, about which the Bible is silent, and necessarily so. For instance, we are not told in what manner we are to travel from our homes to our place of worship. Neither are we commanded on which side of the meeting place the door is to be. Nor yet the order of our services. It is enough that the Scriptures have commanded Godís people to "not forsake the assembling of ourselves together," (Heb. 10:25), but we are to "come together into one place," (1 Cor. 11:20), to "preach the gospel," (Mark 16:15), to observe the ordinances of baptism, (Matthew 28:19), and the Lordís Supper, (1 Cor. 11:24-25), to instruct and to edify one another in the faith, (Matthew 28:20; 1 Cor. 14:12); to "speak to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," (Eph. 5:19), and to "comfort one another" with Godís truth, (1 Thess. 4:18; 5:11). But many other incidental things are left to the discretion and sanctified good sense of each congregation. But this applies only in the absence of Scriptural directions as to how some given thing is to be practiced. Obviously, then, much submission to the Holy Spirit and study of the Word is required in order to know Godís will, and carelessness and unconcern will lead inevitably to error in faith and practice.
Where only general instructions are given in a matter, the details are to be worked out in the most efficient and orderly manner possible for the time and place. But conversely, where specific details are given, or where a clear example is given, no one is at liberty to do away with the Divine directions and proceed upon a path of rationalistic self-will. Human reason is never to take precedence over the holy Revelation that is given for our guidance. But such is often the practice among Baptists today.
An example will suffice. The writer once had the privilege of hearing a consecrated Negro pastor speak concerning the racial problems that were then in the news. He observed that of all the Black churches in the Denver area, he only knew of three that truly preached the Gospel. He stated that he didnít care if every other preacher in the area went on civil rights marches, his place of duty was preaching the Gospel to his own people, and ministering to their spiritual needs.
Here then is an explanation of part of the problems of the day. The Bible commands that Godís people are to minister to the spiritual needs of the world by preaching the Gospel, but says nothing of racial demonstrations, sit-ins, marches, etc. Godís commands have been ignored, and human inventions are substituted with the result that confusion reigns, as it always will when Godís will is not followed. Until the spiritual needs of man, both black and white, are met, all the plans and programs for social betterment that man can devise will only result in more problems. No lasting good will ever be accomplished so long as man rejects Godís organizationóthe local church, Godís ordersóto evangelize, baptize and catechize, and Godís orderóspiritual needs first, and social and material needs later. Often human programs seem more successful, and are more pleasing to the eyes of man, but it is not so, and they cannot be acceptable to God, for they involve a rejection of His Lordship.
Another realm in which the sufficiency of the Bible has been denied by Baptist practices, is in the matter of church troubles and splits. Rather than recognize that the Bible teaches the independence and sovereignty of each church, many, when in the minority in a church squabble, have rushed to the civil courts and asked them to intervene. "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?" (1 Cor. 6:1). Is it not a virtual denial of the sufficiency of the Scriptures when human decisions are preferred to the decision of God? Is it not at the same time a confession that the person who does this knows that in Godís sight, and in the judgment of the Scriptures, and in the eyes of any spiritually minded person, he is wrong?
It is a corruption of Baptist Church polity and a repudiation of the teachings of the Scriptures for any person or group of persons to appeal from a church decision to the civil authority, or to any other authority for that matter. "Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?" (1 Cor. 6:7). It is better to suffer material loss and be in the right than to have an abundance of this worldís comforts and goods, yet be in the wrong in Godís eyes.
A deacon in one of the churches that this writer pastored told of an experience in which he was involved. A rather large Baptist church that was a member of a liberal superchurch organization became convinced of the evils in that organization, and voted by a very substantial majority to leave the organization. The minority took the matter to the civil courts, and the decision went against them in several lower courts until they determined to take it to the Supreme Court. All the time this was happening, the media delighted to air this Baptist "dirty laundry," so that it was a continual reproach upon Baptists generally, and this church in particular. Finally, the pastor, a spiritual man, led the majority to yield the point, turn all the property over to the minority, leave the facilities and reorganize as an independent Baptist Church that was free of all entanglements. The Lord blessed this new church so that shortly it had much larger and better facilities, began to gain new members, and was much better off than it had ever been before. The minority, on the other hand, enjoying the retention of its old facilities, settled down in its contentedness with liberal theology, but was seldom heard of again so far as spiritual blessings were concerned.
This brings up yet another instance of the denial of the sufficiency of the Scriptures to guide the Lordís churches. This is to be seen in the seeking of Baptists for organizations outside of, and in many instances, above the churches, to do the churchesí work for them. Outside organizations are built to meet the need for teaching young men and women spiritual truth, as though the churches could not do it. Schools and seminaries are established which are separate from, and in many instances, in competition with, the churches. Yet, in New Testament days, all spiritual truth was taught in the churches, and even candidates for the ministry were instructed in the churches by the pastors and elders, and sometimes even by laymen, (Acts 18:24-27), and they received all their practical training there.
Baptist schools of today, if they were under the authority of a spiritual church, would not have all the modernistic teachings that are so prevalent. The Southern Baptist Convention, because it has long been very weak on Church Truth, and its seminaries are not under Church Authority, and because it equates intellectualism with spirituality, has lost almost all of its Colleges and Seminaries to liberalism. Consequently, in only a generation or two, there will be no sound pastors for its churches, for all its seminaries are turning out only liberals.
Churches have yielded up the duty of missions to outside organizations on the plea that "the New Testament plan wonít work today," as though poor ignorant God did not know what He was doing, or what the future held, when He set forth His mission program in the first century. Isnít it sad that God did not have access in the first century to the great wisdom that some moderns think they have? Pardon my sarcasm!
But the New Testament mission program does work today, and numerous Holy Spirit called, church authorized and supported independent Baptist missionaries on many fields are standing proofs of this. And they are each one condemnations of this denial of the sufficiency of the Bible Revelation.
There is also a growing tendency among Baptists to relegate their evangelistic responsibility to outside groups, as seen in the popularity of community revivals. Yet it was to the church that the command was given to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," (Mark 16:15). As a young preacher in his first pastorate, this writer found himself suckered into attending a preparatory meeting for such a community wide revival. It was his first and last time. (The real purpose of the meeting was concealed under the pretense that the meeting was so the other ministers could welcome him to the community.) In the course of the discussion it was observed that "Weíll all have to give in a little on our doctrinal beliefs." This immediately clarified my position, for in the group was one whose theology could be summed up in the phrase "Be dipped or be damned." Another believed in working hard, and hoping that in the judgment his good works would outweigh his bad, and thereby he would be saved. Yet another believed only those who hold out faithfully to the end of life will be saved. And almost all those present believed in the supposed universal church, the irrelevance of sprinkling, pouring or immersion for baptism, and various and sundry other heresies. Such is the position of those who would shirk their responsibility of evangelism, and bring in outside organizations to fulfill it.
This popularity for neo-evangelicalism is accounted for in large measure by the work of the Billy Graham team. And it matters not how evangelically and doctrinally correct Dr. Grahamís sermons may be claimed to be, for this cannot countermand the damage done by the counselors, who come from every conceivable denomination. We may suppose a case. A person is brought under conviction, but isnít sure of what he needs to do. He comes forward at the invitation, and the counselor, who isnít sound in the truth, tells him to be baptized, join the church "of his choice," live right, do good works, etc., and he will be saved thereby. Is such Scriptural evangelism? Every one who has studied the Bible to any degree knows that no such confusion is taught in the Scriptures. Baptists have simply denied the sufficiency of the Scriptures as a guide when they reject the precepts and examples set forth therein. This brings us to a further consideration.
III. WHY IS THE BAPTIST PRINCIPLE DENIED?
One answer is given by the Wise man in Ecclesiastes 7:29: "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." See also what is said about this in Psalm 99:8 and 106:39. It is in the very nature of man to desire to be creative. Some endeavor to fulfill this desire by painting, some by writing, some by designing and building material structures. Many women fulfil their desire to be creative by designing and making their own clothes, or by cooking. Almost everyone has this inbred desire to be creative. In some it is more easily satisfied than in others, for some can fulfill this desire in as commonplace activities as their occupations. And there is nothing wrong with this desire to be creative unless it is exercised in ways contrary to Godís revealed will, as in the creation of religious organizations or practices that are in competition with what God has ordained.
Some people have a natural organizational genius, which is as good and right as any of the other creative desires, unless it manifests itself in a willful and rebellious turn of mind. Sad to say, but in some people there is still the desire "to be as gods," (Gen. 3:5), and this is sometimes manifested in a willful desire to set aside the work of God, and to substitute a human invention in its place. Even a faithful and dedicated apostle that had long been a saint confessed to the continuing problem that "to will is present," thereby evidencing that "in me, (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing," (Rom. 7:18).
We do not mean to say that in every case where the sufficiency of Scripture is denied in practice it is due to a wicked and willful desire to supplant Godís work. Although in most cases this principle is set aside in order to establish a human invention, it is not generally done willfully. In most instances it is done ignorantly, or at least thoughtlessly. There is often a good and high motive behind such an endeavor, but the act is presumptuous in that it assumes either that man is smarter than God, or else that God does not care how men worship and serve Him, both of which are serious errors. As with the Tabernacle, so ought it to be in all building for the Lord: "See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount," (Heb. 8:5). Most of the extra-scriptural, super-church organizations that exist today were first conceived and brought into being for the purpose of promoting more mission work, or more preparation of men for the ministry, or better fellowship among churches. Noble desires in themselves! But the fulfilling of these desires was done in a wrong manner. Godís program was thoughtlessly set aside in preference to human inventions.
Some men deny the sufficiency of the Scriptures to reveal manís obligations to God by professing themselves to be wise, and "critics of the Word," and quibbling about the meaning of the Scriptures. Sometimes this is because they have enslaved themselves to translations that are not faithful, or to those with outmoded words, instead of being submissive to the original languages of Scripture. But it seems likely in a great number of cases that it is simply an unwillingness to obey what they find clearly revealed in the Word of God. The following statement about manís reaction to Matthew 28:18-20 is often true concerning other Scripture commands as well.
"Jesus here assumes full command of His forces and issues His simple order, an order the plain men looking into His face could and did understand. The wrangling and confusions arising among Christís disciples over this command are not due to any obscurity in the order itself, but to the innate disposition in the minds of men to make divine institutions conform to their wishes."óJ. B. Gambrell, Baptists And Their Business, p. 60.
Peter wrote of such rebels against the commands of the Lord when he said of Paulís epistles. "In which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction," (2 Pet. 3:16). Human wisdom is not sufficient. It takes the interpretation of the Holy Spirit to understand Divine things.
Some of these practical denials of the sufficiency of the Scriptures come about through pride, for whether we like to admit it or not, we all have our full share of Adamic pride, and it manifests itself even in our religious exercises. What we pretend before the world to be our zeal to serve the Lord is sometimes nothing more than our desire to exalt ourselves.
But while the motive behind disobeying Godís Word may affect the degree of guilt incurred thereby, it does not affect the fact of it. If I drive through a red light at an intersection, I am guilty of breaking the law whether I knew that it was there or not. However, if I know that it is there, yet continue to willfully ignore it, I become guilty in a greater degree. The same is true in spiritual matters. Jesus spoke of those who, while being teachers of the law and professing to know it, yet transgressed it and covered their hypocrisy with long prayers. He declared that these "shall receive greater damnation," (Mark 12:40). Their guilt was increased by their knowledge and willful transgression of what they knew to be the truth.
To deny the sufficiency of the Scriptures by practicing something contrary to them, yet without realizing that it is contrary, is one thing. But to deliberately formulate a doctrine, or to establish some human invention or organization, or to set in motion some unscriptural practice when one knows that these are wrong, is quite another situation, and cannot but receive the censure of Almighty God.
Why should men deny this Scriptural principle? For no good reason, and for no excusable reason, yet it is so often done. God grant that we may all become more conscious of our practical denials of this fundamental Baptist principle, and be more diligent to harmonize our practices with our beliefs, and both with the Word of God.
IV. HOW CAN WE REMEDY THIS SITUATION?
The answer lies within the principle itself. If the Scriptures contain an all-sufficient rule and guide for all our spiritual obligations, then it behooves us to apply ourselves to a diligent study of the Word. But whereas it was once the daily meditation and delight of every Christian home, the Bible is now an almost unknown Book, even to those that profess to be Christians. The radio, television, telephone, personal computer, social calendar and a host of other things have replaced its delight. For most people public opinion or political correctness have replaced it as the Law, and tranquilizer pills, nerve medicine and psychoanalystsí couches have replaced it as a consolation. Some years ago, this writer tried to express the tragedy of neglecting the Word of God in the following poem.
DUST UPON THE BIBLE
There is dust upon the Bible,
Dust upon Godís Holy Book.
What can be the end of fools
Who this wisdom cannot brook?
There is dust upon the Bible,
Can we be so careless, cold
As to refuse so great a treasure
That surpasses silver and gold?
There is dust upon the Bible,
And there is ice upon the heart,
For with the disuse of this lantern
Light and heat will soon depart.
There is dust upon the Bible,
And a dearth within the soul,
For the disuse of this Wisdom
In each life will take its toll.
The Bible is given for manís good, and whoso forsakes its wisdom, forsakes life itself. It is "a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path," (Ps. 119:105). It is an antidote for sin, (Ps. 119:11), and an enlightener of the simple, (Ps. 119:130). The sinner cannot be saved without it, (1 Pet. 1:23, 25; Rom. 10:8-17), nor the saint be taught and edified apart from it, (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:15-17).
The importance of the Scriptures in the life of every believer cannot be overemphasized. It is ignorance of the Scriptures, and the willful refusal to be guided by them that has been responsible for every false teaching that has ever been brought into the Christian ranks. It is the denial of the sufficiency of Scripture as rule and guide in all matters of faith and practice that is responsible for most of the confusion in Baptist ranks today.
Reader, what is your relationship to Godís Word? Is your faith and practice in harmony with the Word of God? If not, you can never know Godís fullness of blessing until it is. God grant you grace to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ in obedience to His Truth, (Matthew 16:24), for you do not begin to be a real disciple until you do.
Herein lies the remedy, not only for all the schisms within Baptist ranks, for all the schisms in the whole religious world. There will never be spiritual unity until the Word of God, rightly interpreted, is the harmonious faith and practice of every professing child of God, and every professed Christian church. However, our duty is not with the whole religious world. No! Our duty is to make certain that this principle is believed and practiced by ourselves, our homes, our churches, for faith is the most personal duty in the world. Absolutely no one can stand between the individual soul and God in the determining of duty. God grant us the desire and strength to believe and to practice the Word of Truth that He has given to us.