My Experience In The Baptist Church
For approximately ten years I was a member in good standing of the Cool Springs Baptist Church of Cool Springs, Kentucky. I had become a Baptist about five years before my marriage to W.M. Beasley and remained a Baptist for another five years after our wedding. During a part of my ten years as a Baptist I served as secretary for the Baptist Sunday School. I also served as song leader; I would stand by the organ and lead the singing during worship services.
Most of the Baptists with whom I worked and worshiped were hard working, sincere, good moral individuals. My decision, after much study, to leave the Baptist Church was not the result of hard feelings against Baptist brethren. I left because there were things in the Baptist Church which were not to be found in the New Testament scriptures.
Among those things which I failed to find in the New Testament, but which things were a prominent part of the Baptist religion, were the "mourner's bench salvation" and voting people into the church. People were exhorted, through Baptist preaching, to come to the mourner's bench and pray through for salvation (i.e., pray until they could persuade God to save them). According to the New Testament, I have learned that the persuasion was going in the wrong direction. God does not need to be persuaded to save; He gave His Son that He might save sinful men. The beloved apostle Paul wrote, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (2 Cor. 5:11). When the mourners had "come through," as they called it the preacher would take (have them tell) their experience. The preacher would then ask something like, "Do you believe that God for Christ's sake has pardoned your sins and saved you?" Upon receiving an affirmative answer he would further ask, "Do you want to be baptized and join the church?" After another answer of "Yes," the Baptist preacher would say to the congregation, "You have heard their experience; all in favor of receiving them into the church and giving them full fellowship after baptism, show the right hand." They taught that a person was saved without being baptized in obedience to Christ's command (Mark 16:16); but, that same individual had to be baptized to be a member of the Baptist Church. According to Baptist doctrine, as I was taught it for ten years, it is easier to be saved and go to heaven than it is to become a Baptist.
I was taught, believed and would contend with my husband that "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38) meant "because of the remission of sins." I believed, because of Baptist teaching, that one's sins were remitted (forgiven) and then he was to be baptized. I could not believe, nor does any Baptist that I know teach, that "for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28) means that Christ shed His blood on the cross of Golgotha because of the remission of sins. I do believe, and Baptists ought to believe, that the two (Acts 2:38; Matt. 26:28) mean the same thing: Christ shed His blood "for (in order to, the remission of sins," and that man is baptized, in obedience to the Christ, "for (in order to) the remission of sins. "
While a member of the Baptist Church I attended business meetings held for both men and women and voted on things pertaining to the work and worship of the Baptist Church. This voting was done, once again, by showing the right hand. I showed my right hand enough while I was a member of the Baptist Church to last me from now on.
Another problem which I had as a Baptist was believing what was taught about not falling from grace (the doctrine of "once saved, always saved," or the impossibility of apostasy). In a sermon on this subject the local Baptist preacher, J.H. Towe, said, "I could be going down the road with brother Joe Fulton and shoot him down, and it would not touch my salvation." I knew from studying my New Testament (Rom. 13:9; 1 John 3:15) that this could not be right.
During most of my years as a Baptist I did not know that the Baptist Church had a creed book. I did not know it until my husband asked the Baptist preacher in Cool Springs, Kentucky where he (my husband) could purchase one. The Baptist preacher told my husband to write to the Baptist Book Store in Louisville, Kentucky (we were living in Ohio County, Kentucky at the time) and ask for Pendleton's Church Manual. He did and they sent one to us.
My conversion to the truth of God's word was hastened by a Baptist preacher who preached during a revival at the Cool Springs Baptist Church. He preached a lesson showing from the scriptures that the church is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:22-33). My husband wrote out a question for the Baptist preacher and asked me to give it to him. My husband told me that Baptist preacher would not answer the question. I thought he would, and said so! The question, "Since the church is the bride of Christ, whose name should the church wear?" was not answered by the Baptist preacher. I now realize that he did not dare answer it. Instead of answering an honest question he said something like, "I came here to save lost souls and not to argue." I knew from personal experience that questions asked of preachers of the church of Christ were answered because they had a question box by the door of their building. I had put questions in the box during gospel meetings and had always had them answered.
My husband and I were blessed with one daughter. I saw that I did not want her to be reared in the Baptist Church. I finally learned the truth and was baptized into Christ, thus becoming a Christian.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 15, pp. 246-247