By Larry Ray Hafley
“The Rev. Dr. Herbert Higdon . . . in his first sermon to his new congregation” said, “I am a Baptist from head to toe, and I expect you to be Baptists from head to toe” (The Tennessean, Monday, May 1, 1977, p. 18).
Well, I did not know how much of the anatomy a Baptist included, but now I am informed that a complete Baptist is one “from head to toe.” The “Dr.” necessarily implies that one can be less than a whole Baptist-say, from head to kneecap. He expects them, though, to be Baptists “from head to toe.” What happens to a fellow who is a Baptist to his waist?
Baptist doctrine says the outer man (“from head to toe”) is a child of the devil and remains so until the resurrection. Only the inner man is saved, sanctified,, purified, and justified. The outer man is corrupt, polluted, and depraved. Which one is to be a Baptist “from head to toe,” the inner man or the outer man? It cannot be the outer man. He is a child of the devil. It cannot be the inner man. He cannot be baptized in water, and the only way to constitute one a Baptist is to baptize him. So, Baptists baptize the outer man, who is a child of the devil, and enroll him in the Baptist Church, “from head to toe,” I suppose. Who is it; what is it that is urged to “be a Baptist from head to toe”? Not the inner man, he cannot be immersed in water; not the outer man, he is a child of the devil; who, then?
An Apostolic Expectation?
In expecting “his congregation” to “be Baptists from head to toe,” the “Rev. Dr.” expects something which no New Testament writer ever expected. “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). King Herod Agrippa II said, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Baptist?” No, excuse me,. .”a Christian” (Acts 26:28). Peter said, “If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf,” or “in this name” (American Standard Version, 1 Pet. 4:16). We would be happy to see the text where anyone in the New Testament was expected to be a Baptist from head to shoulder blades, let along “from head to toe.” I have been reading the Bible for a few years, and if there is a passage that talks about “a Baptist” I have failed to find it. If it is to be found, will some Baptist please send it, along with a one way ticket to a Baptist altar-call service? I will not be making a return trip if such a passage has escaped my attention.
Truth Magazine XXII: 7, p. 121
February 16, 1978