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Baptists and Beliefs
by Oscar Gibson
CHAPTER TWO-APTISTS & BAPTISM
We come now to answer the question of so many people, "why don't Baptists accept the baptism of other faiths?" I believe I can make it quite clear.
The ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper were not given to any individual, but to the church that Jesus built. Since Baptist churches are the only churches in the world without human origin, and go all the way back to Jesus Christ, we contend that Jesus gave the ordinance of baptism to these churches. All Protestants received their authority to immerse and administer the Lord's Supper from the Roman Catholic church, or from the church from which they went out in protest. Thus we do not accept the baptism of other faiths. Understand, we are not talking of salvation. We are speaking of baptism. Too many of you want to jump on the Baptists at once and say, "THEN YOU CLAIM WE ARE NOT SAVED." We make no such claim even of our own members who appear to us to have never been born again. But if we let down the bars on the question of baptism we have opened the Lord's table to all people and we have unionized and fused ourselves into one body as a church, and gone directly against the Word of God by building an hierarchy.
May I say also that no individual has a right to go up and down the country, in the mountains or plains, preaching and teaching, and then baptizing those who are saved. This ordinance was given to the church that Jesus built. Listen to Matthew 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Paul recognized this fact when he was going after the Corinthians for splitting themselves into groups. He claimed that the Lord did not send him to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. He made clear that baptism is not and never has been a part of the Gospel. Let us read it.
"Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ send me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect" (1 Cor. 1:12-17).
Is it true that Baptists do not practice infant baptism? That is true. There is no scriptural authority for it. "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham" (Matthew 3:7-9).
From this we find that John preferred repentance. He baptized no one until they had confessed their sins. A baby is not conscious of the guilt of sin and therefore could not have been baptized. Again in Acts 19:4, "Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." Here Paul explained the baptism of John. A person who did not or could not repent was not baptized by John. Again, the disciples baptized no babies during their ministry. So many used the argument of Matthew 19:13, "Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them." Why were they taken to Christ? To be baptized? NO! Jesus did not baptize (John 4:2). Was it that the disciples might baptize them? No, because the disciples rebuked those who had brought them. Matthew 19:14 and 13b tells you why they were brought. "But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence." "That the Savior might put his hands on them." These children did not become members of the church, for Jesus did not say, "These children were of the kingdom of heaven," BUT, "OF SUCH is the kingdom of heaven." In other words, the kingdom of God is made up of persons with children's temperament. He does not say, "of those infants," but, of such persons as resembled them or were like them in temperament.
The commission given to the church before Jesus ascended said nothing about baptizing infants. No person can be baptized if an unbeliever or an infant. A commission to do a thing or things authorizes only the doing of that thing or those things specified in it. The doing of all other things is virtually prohibited. This is a maxim of law. For instance: God commanded Noah to make an ark of gopher wood. Gives no reason why, but the command is positive and forbids the use of every other kind of wood. Abraham was commanded to offer Isaac for a burnt offering. He was virtually forbidden to offer any other member of his family and he could not offer an animal until the original order was revoked by him who gave it, and a second order was given, requiring the sacrifice of a ram in the place of Isaac.
The Passover Is Another Illustration of the Maxim of Law
A lamb to be killed-not a heifer-be first year-not second or third: a male- not female; without blemish-not with blemish; on 14th day of month - not some other day, etc. Thus the commission of X to the apostles in requiring them to baptize disciples (believers) prohibits the baptism of all others. You say, "it does not forbid it in so many words." That is true. Neither does it forbid the baptism of unbelievers, horses, cows and bulls, but it is not commissioned by Christ that we baptize them, because He named the subject to be baptized as a disciple.
If I tell one to go out and buy me a pint of cream, doesn't that person violate his instructions if he comes back with having bought on my account also several pints of cream? The buyer might say, "You did not forbid the purchase of more." I could only say to him, "It was not necessary that I insert in your instructions a prohibition. My instructions to you were definite when I directed you to buy the one pint of cream. You must have known you had no authority to buy more. So you have done it at your own risk."
Pedo-Baptists, or infant baptizers argue that maybe there was included somewhere the right to purchase the additional cream. Then all I ask, "is it given?"
Now they throw back at us this line of reasoning. "If infants are not to be baptized because they cannot believe, they cannot be saved because they cannot believe." If the salvation of infants depends on their faith they cannot be saved. They and people without mental faculties are incapable of faith. How are they saved? Through the mediation of Jesus Christ. It is not by faith but by love. Our opponents fail to accomplish their object in urging this objection to our views. As soon as we say that infants are not saved by faith, but without faith, their objection is demolished.
On the day of Pentecost those added to the church by baptism believed first.
The Pedo-Baptists love to use 1 Corinthians 7:14. "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy." What are the facts? The question was agitated at Corinth whether believing husbands and wives should not separate themselves from their unbelieving partners? The idea of some was that an unbeliever was "unclean" to a believer, even as a Gentile was under the Mosaic dispensation, "unclean," to a Jew.
Paul corrects this by showing that "the unbelieving husband is sanctified . . ." The sanctification was such to justify the continuance of the marriage relation between the believing and the unbelieving partner. "Else" -that is, if the sanctification did not remove the supposed uncleanness from unbelieving parents" were your children unclean; but now are they holy."
This passage is strongly against infant baptism. The children held the same position in the Corinthian church as unbelieving husbands and wives did, and that if believing husbands and wives abandoned their unbelieving partners, believing parents might, with the same propriety, separate themselves from their children.
You ask me, "What objections do you have to infant baptism besides that it is not authorized by the Bible? Don't you think that should be enough? But to satisfy you, may I offer these:
1. The ones who administer it, cannot agree as to why it should be practiced.
It would be well for these people to call a conference and get together on why infants should be baptized. Roman Catholics do it in order to have salvation. They consider baptism essential to salvation of adults and infants. Episcopalians baptize infants to make them children of God by regeneration. Calvin, maintains that infants are capable of exercising faith. This also seems to have been Luther's opinion. Wesley said, "If infants are guilty of original sin they are proper subjects of baptism; seeing, in this ordinary way, that they cannot be saved, unless this be washed away in baptism." The Directory of the Westminster Assembly place the right of infants to baptism on the ground that they are federally holy. Others, that they are born members of the church, and are baptized because they are members. Infant baptizers cannot agree among themselves. If one good reason could be furnished for infant baptism, by the united wisdom of Catholics and Protestants, it would be more satisfactory than all the reasons which are now urged.
Its Tendency Is To Unite the Church and the World
If' anything in the New Testament is plain, it is that the Lord ,Jesus Christ intended that there should be ii distinct line of demarcation between the church and the world. Infant baptism unites the church and the world, and obliterates the line of demarcation which the Savior established. If infant baptism prevailed universally-one of three things would follow:
1. Either there will be no church or,
2. There will be no world or,
3. There will be a worldly church.
"All born of the flesh" would be brought into the church. The qualification for membership would be to be generated, not regenerated. The unregenerated members would be in a large majority. The world would absorb the church, or to say the least, there would be an intensely worldly church. Look at the national churches of Europe. Look at your own America.
In Europe the time was when "partaking of the Lord's Supper" was a qualification for holding the civil and military offices of the kingdom. Offering a premium for hypocrisy.
In Germany, it used to be that a woman could not be licensed as a prostitute unless she was a member of the State Church, while the tax she paid went into the treasury from which the clergy drew his salary.
Infant baptism is dangerous because they think they are in a saved state. Ask the average person who has had infant baptism if saved, and he will tell you, "oh yes, I was baptized and have already had my first communion." Episcopalians teach that by infant baptism the infant is made a member of Christ, child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of heaven. Other Pedo-Baptists teach the same thing.
Will these people ever be saved after having been taught that they are already children of God by their baptism? They will not be saved unless they admit the teachings of their "Prayer Books," "Disciplines" and "Confessions of Faith," on the subject of baptism are absolutely false. They will have to take the first step by denying the truth of what they have been taught concerning their baptism.
Why are some of these children saved when older? One prominent reason is probably because on the part of their ministers and parents. Whatever the formulas may say, the children are taught that they are sinners, unregenerates, lost, condemned, and exposed to the wrath of God, for the very reason that they are not, "in covenant" with him.
Thank God that some teachings of Pedo-Baptists do not conform to their Confessions of Faith so far as the subject of infant baptism is concerned.
Infant Baptism Often Prevents Baptism On A "Profession Of Faith In Christ."
As these children grow up, suppose they are annoyed with doubts as to the validity of their baptism? They feel they can not entertain these doubts without calling in question the sincerity of what their parents had done for them in their infancy. Faithful respect and reverence to parents is often a barrier to seeking knowledge. So the devil brings up the question: "Shall you reflect on the wisdom of your parents, by declaring their act null and void?"
Many would be baptized on a profession of their faith in' Christ were it not for their infant baptism. They point you to great and good men who have practiced infant baptism. They are perplexed. They come to the place where they wish they had not been baptized in infancy. So my objection is right, for infant baptism keeps so many from obeying Christ, and even fosters a spirit of disobedience.
Infant Baptism Has A Tendency To Banish Believers' Baptism-From the Earth
All people will admit that the New Testament enjoins the baptism of believers. Let me illustrate my point. Suppose infant baptism prevailed in the world. All parents come into the church and have their children "dedicated to God in baptism." In one generation believers' baptism would banish from the earth. There would be no Gospel baptism on earth. If I had no other objection this would be sufficient.
What Is Believer's Baptism?
It is to take a person who has repented toward God and put His faith in Jesus Christ and publicly confessed him as Savior down into the water to be immersed.
What is it to Immerse?
It is to baptize. Any Greek scholar who has a reputation to lose a-s such, will tell you that the Greek word "baptidzo" means to immerse, and was so done until the thirteenth century. The very design of baptism is in favor of immersion. In Romans 6:3-5:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." It represents the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We read also in Colossians 2:12, "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." Also 1 Peter 3:21, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Thus we see it has a commemorative reference to the burial and resurrection of Christ. The two ordinances of the church proclaim the four great facts of the Gospel. These facts are, that Jesus died, was buried, arose again and will return." The Lord's Supper commemorates the first and fourth facts. In baptism we see him buried and raised again. So baptism is symbolic of two of the four prominent Gospel facts-the burial and resurrection of Christ. Baptism also expresses in picture the believer's death to sin, and resurrection to newness of life.
Baptism Also Anticipates The Believer's Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:29, "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?"
There was an argument on the resurrection of the dead and Paul proposed these questions. If there be no resurrection of the dead, those who, in becoming Christians, expose themselves to all manner of privations, crosses, severe sufferings and a violent death, can have no compensation, nor any motive sufficient to induce them to expose themselves to such miseries. But as they receive baptism, as an emblem of DEATH, in voluntarily going under the water, so they receive it as an emblem of the resurrection unto eternal life, in coming up out of the water. Thus they are baptized for THE DEAD, in perfect faith of the resurrection.
If all this be true, and who could dispute it, then it follows that immersion in water of a believer in Christ is essential to BAPTISM-so essential that there is no BAPTISM WITHOUT IT.
When Did It Cease?
It has never ceased. It was changed in 1311 by the Council held at Ravenna, when they declared immersion or sprinkling to be indifferent. But the Bible never did change it. During the persecution of Mary, many Scotsmen fled from England to Geneva, and there imbibed the opinion of that church. In 1556 a book was published at that place, containing prayers and forms and administration of sacraments, which was approved by John Calvin in which it stated in one place, "the administrator is enjoined to take water in his hand and lay it on the child's forehead." The irony of it is that these Scots who had renounced the authority of the Pope, implicitly acknowledged the authority of Calvin; and returning to their own country, with John Knox at their head, in 1559 established sprinkling in Scotland. From Scotland, this practice made its way into England, in the reign of Elizabeth; but was not authorized by the established church of England."
This would startle many people. More infants have been immersed than ever had the operation of sprinkling or pouring performed on them. Immersion, however, so far as unconscious infants are concerned, is no better than sprinkling. Both are uncommanded in the Word of God, and belong to the' large family of human traditions.
Thus you see that the Bible does not teach sprinkling, nor the baptizing of infants nor the immersing in water of a person who is not dead to sin. This therefore excludes baptismal regeneration, sprinkling and pouring; and confirms what I said a moment ago that immersion in water of a believer in Christ is essential to baptism-so essential there is no baptism without it.
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