By Earl Robertson
Many questions pertaining to things of the Bible go unconsidered by many today because they believe them to be too insignificant. But Bible questions need to have our earnest care. We believe this question is a legitimate one and that there is a Bible answer for it. We furthermore believe this question cannot be rightfully answered without giving it a Bible answer.
Many manuals of denominations discuss this issue. Here is a statement from the Hiscox Standard Manual For Baptist Churches (page 22); “It is most likely that in the Apostolic age when there was but `one Lord, one faith, and one baptism,’ and no differing denominations existed, the baptism of a convert by that very act constituted him a member of the church, and at once endowed him with all the rights and privileges of full membership. In that sense, `baptism was the door into the church.’ Now, it is different; and while the churches are desirous of receiving members, they are wary and cautious that they do not receive unworthy persons.”
This author readily recognizes what the New Testament now says happened in the days of the apostles, but he alleges the practice is now different. This is amazing! The New Testament still says exactly what it was saying when the apostles wrote it, but the practice of the apostolic has changed with the churches today. What makes for this change? If the authority that produced the action of the churches in the days of Peter, James, and John has not changed, how can the action today be changed? Mr. Hiscox says that “baptism was the door into the church” back then, but “now it is different.” Let the preachers and churches who teach and practice this give answer as to how this can be.
Baptism puts one into Christ (Rom. 6:3, 4). All who are baptized into Christ, put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). Baptism puts one into the death of Christ (Rom. 6:3-5) where he can enjoy all that Christ died for him to have. Baptism puts one into the body of Christ, which is the church (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18, 24). Now these passages are the ones which caused Mr. Hiscox to say that baptism was the door into the church in apostolic days. Luke says the Lord “added to the church daily” the ones who thus submitted to Christ’s authority as expressed by the apostles.
The practice of denominations is a departure from apostolic doctrine. The baptism authorized by Christ puts one into the body of Christ-which is the church of Christ.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 10, p. 173
March 8, 1979