Preacher of Church Ordinance?
False notions of religion are often advocated by sincere, and distinguished people. People worthy of emulation in the greater part of their lives do err in some things, and even Paul did not ask any man to credulously follow him (1 Cor. 1 1:1). When men of unimpeachable character propagate an error, and while no subterfuge is intended by them, their support of the error gives it a much wider acceptance.
The brethren of my acquaintance who contend that the validity of baptism necessitates "an ordained Baptist minister," are men of unquestionable integrity. I know that artificiality in matters of church polity and practice are repulsive to their minds, but when error is imbibed, these commendable characteristics, rather than impeding the error give impetus to it. It is my heart’s desire and prayer to God that these beloved brethren may see their erroneous course in this matter, and turn from it.
"The pastor of a church, as its official agent, is the proper person to baptize, and thus administer its initiatory rite. But a church is not necessarily restricted to this functionary. I n his absence, it can, for the time being, authorize one of its deacons or private members to act for it. But whoever may be the administrator, he must be one who has been duly authorized by the church, that is, by the party receiving or initiating the candidate." (The Berea Baptist Banner, Vol. 4, No. 10, Page 10, First Paragraph—October 15, 1983. J.M.C. Breaker, Author Elder Milburn Cockrell, Editor).
All that we contend for in this writing is articulated by J. M. C. Breaker in the above quote, but from reading the entire article by Elder Breaker as recorded in The Christian Review, Volume 24, April 18, 1959; it is easily seen that he did not mean for the paragraph to come out the way it did, for while being correct, it is a glaring contradiction of much of what he says in the article.
In fact, the article is so replete with contradictions, I am surprised that any part of it was printed in the Berea Baptist Banner. A few of the contradictions contained in the article are quoted below, so as to prove my allegation.
"As in the case of the Eunuch for example, the person baptized could not and did not immediately attach himself to a church; for that was the best he could do; and that he could not immediately enter the house, was no reason why he should not enter the porch, and thus be ready for full admission whenever the opportunity might offer." (Page 251, second paragraph, J. M. C. Breaker, taken from the same article quoted above). Such contention is ridiculous, promotes free-lance baptism, and it would, if let stand, destroy the ecclesiology of Baptists.
"The commission, then, authorizes none but regularly baptized preachers of the Gospel to administer the ordinance of baptism." (J.M.C. Breaker, taken from the same article). Consider this statement in the light of the first quote of Elder Breaker’s, as used in this present writing, and it is very likely you will conclude without a second thought, Elder Breaker is certainly not an authority on the ordinance of baptism. As to contradictions in Elder Breaker’s article, ad infinitum, but the above will be ad hoc for now.
"Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. A-men." (The Apostle Paul, Ephesians 3:21.) " . . . If he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican" (The Head of the Church, Matthew 18:17).
In the writing of this article, I have tried to avoid churlishness, and there is neither malice or rancor in my heart against brethren of the contrary part. But being burdened for the Lord’s churches, and considering extra-church baptism to bean error which diminishes the God given independence of New Testament churches, these lines are prayerfully sent forth. May He who is the only law giver and Head of the church be pleased to bless everyone who may read this article, is my sincere prayer.