"Why I am a Baptist"
Larry Ray Hafley
From the "Baptist Herald," a publication of MidContinent Baptist College, Mayfield, Kentucky, we have salvaged the following:
"WHY I AM A BAPTIST"
1. Because I am requested to do so. 1 Peter 3:15.
2. In Jude verse 3 I am commanded to contend for the true faith.
3. In Ephesians 3:21 I see that the church is for the glory of God.
4. To be for His glory the church must be built by Jesus, not by men.
5. In my study I found an others except Baptists began with some man.
6. The church must come out of Palestine and only Baptists did that.
7. Must preach only what glorifies God. Baptists only do that.
8. Must rightly interpret the two ordinances. Baptists only do that.
9. Must have the proper rules governing the church. Baptists only do so.
10. Did Jesus set up and commission His church while on earth? Answer: He surely did thus not on Pentecost. John 17:4.
11. The Bible teaches salvation apart from any church. Baptists only do so.
First, this terse outline reveals that denominational doctrine has not changed. The same old arguments are still being used. Second, some denominational churches contend for what they believe. It is sometimes argued that "the denominations don't care anymore, so why should we fight them?" The points above squelch and squash that idea. Third, there is a constant need to stress the fundamentals of the faith. One must not tire of sermons on the establishment of the church.. Each generation must be grounded in the elements and rudiments of the truth regarding the church of the Lord.
Response To The Eleven Points
1. 1 Peter 3:15 says nothing about one being a Baptist or anything else. One is made to wonder why, though, if 1 Peter 3:15 requests us to be Baptists, that Peter said, "If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed" (1 Peter 4:16). Or, what is the same, if Peter had requested us to be Christians, would he then have advocated that we suffer as Baptists?
2. The inference from the second point is that the Baptist faith is the true faith and that being a Baptist is part of that. It necessarily follows, then, that all other faiths are false. That indicts the Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Lutherans, and Campbellites. In fact, it condemns everyone but the Baptists. However, we need not fear. Jude is not a Baptist epistle. It speaks and warns of apostasy in almost every verse. No Baptist preacher should have written it, therefore, Jude 3 has not reference to Baptists, nor to the Baptist faith.
3. I grant that "the church is for the glory of God." Must I be in the Baptist church to glorify God? If so, I cannot do it in the Methodist church. But the author argues that salvation can be obtained "apart from any church" (See point number 11). Is it conceiveable that salvation is apart from the glory of God?
4. True; so, the conclusion is that Jesus built the Baptist church. If He did, no mention of it is made in the New Testament, unless it has escaped my notice.
5. This is an assertion. What New Testament "study" would reveal what the author states?
6. The church of Christ came out of Jerusalem which is in Palestine. That would qualify the Lord's church. Again, where do we read of Baptists coming out of Palestine? We read of the Lord's people, but not of Baptists.
7. So, Methodists and Presbyterians do not glorify God with their preaching. That makes the Baptists sound like those "narrowminded," "Pharisaical" Campbellites!
8. The two ordinances referred to are baptism and the Lord's supper. This simply means that the Baptists are the only ones who teach the truth on baptism and the Lord's supper. Did any Baptist preacher ever say, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved?" Did any Baptist preacher ever tell sinners to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins? Did any Baptist preacher ever tell a sinner to be baptized and wash away his sins? No, they have never done so, and yet they say they are the only ones who "rightly interpret" the two ordinances. If they are no closer on the Lord's supper than they are on baptism, the claim is a farce.
9. The proper rules for governing the church are found in the New Testament and not in a Baptist Manual. Are the Baptists the only ones who take the New Testament and govern by it? If so, where are their "elders in every church" (Acts 14:23)? But, again, this condemns the Lutherans and Pentecostals, too. Surely, these Baptists do not think they are the only ones going to heaven!
10. John 17:4 no more excludes Pentecost than it does the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Those events had not taken place before John 17:4. Were they not a part of Jesus' work? Further, John 17:4 came before the commission of Matthew 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15, 16; Lk. 24:47-49. If it cuts out the establishment of the church on Pentecost in Acts 2, then it unwittingly cuts out the commission!
11. If salvation is taught apart from any church, and that would include the Lord's, then salvation is apart ,from the blood of Christ. Jesus purchased the church with his own blood (Acts 20:28). He died for the church, and He is its savior (Eph. 5:23-25). The blood of Christ is connected with the church. If salvation is not a part. of the church, then, one may say, "The Bible teaches salvation apart from the blood of Christ." That is the blasphemous conclusion of the argument.
The answers to these eleven points are why I am not a Baptist.
Truth Magazine XXII: 12, pp. 199-200