By Larry Ray Hafley
Baptists argue against the essentiality of baptism by citing Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 1:17, “For Christ sent me not to baptize.” This, they say, proves that baptism is not necessary, even though the Lord said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). After replying to the perversion of the passage, gospel preachers respond, “Well, if Paul did not preach baptism, and if his gospel did not lead men to be baptized, it proves Paul was not sent to make Baptists because it takes baptism to make one a Baptist.”
Is that true? Does it take baptism to make one a Baptist?
“For instance, once Elder John Leland was approached with this question, `Why are you digging that hole?’ Elder Leland replied, `I’m a Baptist preacher and I am digging a Baptistry.’ The citizen replied, `There are no Baptists around here: Then Elder Leland with vigorous faith answered, `There will be when I get the hole dug.'” (WHAT IS A PRIMITIVE BAPTIST, by James Bibler, p. 5).
Thus, it takes baptism to make one a Baptist, and if, as per Baptist usage of 1 Cor. 1:17, Paul was not sent to preach baptism nor to baptize, it follows that Paul was not sent to make Baptists. You may want to save the above quotation in case someone is prone to deny that it takes baptism to make a Baptist.
Truth Magazine XIX: 43, p. 674
September 11, 1974