By P.J. Casebolt
In legal jargon, the term non sequitur simply means, “It does not follow.” And, just because there is a church which calls itself the “Bible Baptist” church, it does not follow that such a church is mentioned in the Bible. Neither does it follow that just because one man in the Bible was called John the Baptist, that the Bible speaks of other “Baptists,” or a Baptist Church or churches.
While the principle embodied in our study would apply to other religious names and bodies, the Baptists in general are more adamant in claiming that they exist with Bible authority for their origin, name, and practice. But, it should be noted also that there are several different kinds of Baptists, and that they do not all make identical claims.
Some Baptists contend that John established Christ’s church and that, because John was called “John the Baptist,” his disciples and the Lord’s disciples were called Baptists. Such an assertion is not only without any semblance of logic or Scripture, it is an affront to the teaching of the Bible, and to John himself.
John made no claim to having established a church, or to having made disciples who were to wear or honor his name. On the contrary, he repeatedly urged his disciples to follow and honor Christ, designated Christ as the bridegroom, and concluded, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:28-30). John had already been beheaded (Matt. 14) when Christ prophesied, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18).
Along with John, Paul not only discourages but condemns the practice of wearing or honoring the names of men (1 Cor. 1:10; 3:4). It is ironical (and contradictory), that Baptists include the term “Paulicians” as a link in their fabricated chain of succession which purportedly links them to the apostles in the first century, and yet it was Paul who condemned the wearing of his, or any other human name.
Other Baptists, instead of making the unfounded claim that Baptist churches existed in the first century, contend that what Baptists teach and practice today can be traced through different religious groups back to the apostles.
Hiscox, in his Standard Manual for Baptist Churches, claims that the Baptists of today can be traced through such sects as Anabaptists, Montanists, Novations, Donatists, Paulicians, Paterines, and Waldenses, along with several others (pp. 157-159).
If souls were not at stake, it would be comical to witness the contortions and gyrations of Baptist preachers as they attempt to fabricate their “chain of succession” through the maze of human names in a desperate attempt to project themselves back into apostolic times. Such an effort is a tacit admission that Baptist claims as to origin and doctrine cannot be found in the Bible.
Again, it is ironical that some Baptists are the ones who contend that the name “Christian” was given to the Lord’s disciples by their enemies, and is not therefore the scriptural name for God’s people. Yet, Hiscox concedes that some of the names which Baptists use to trace their “chain of succession” were given by the enemies of those groups (p. 159).
Had the enemies of the disciples coined and given the name Christian, such would have been done long before Antioch (Acts 11:26). The height of persecution and mockery was reached in Jerusalem, and coincided with Saul’s “threatenings and slaughter” (Acts 8:14; 9:1). The church at Antioch was established by those who had fled the persecution of their enemies, so the giving of the name Christians did not originate with the enemies of the faith, but rather was named by “the mouth of the Lord” (Isa. 62:2).
Not only were Paul and Barnabas present at Antioch when the name Christian was given, but under the influence of Paul’s preaching, Agrippa was encouraged to become a Christian, or as Paul said, “such as I am” (Acts 26:28). The apostle Peter later endorsed the name Christian whereby we glorify God (1 Pet. 4:16).
It should be suspiciously noted that those who claim that the name Christian is not the proper name for God’s people, or claim that “there is nothing in a name,” are the very ones who are wearing and honoring the names of men. Yet, Peter declares that salvation is in the name of Christ, and can be found in “none other name under heaven” (1 Pet. 4:10-12).
“Bible Baptists” may be found in the Baptist Manual or on bulletin boards and church buildings erected by men, but such a term cannot be found in the book called the Bible.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 10, p. 301
May 18, 1989