By Larry Ray Hafley
Mr. Bob L. Ross is a Baptist preacher. He has offered a $100 reward for one verse of scripture that commands any church to wear a particular ‘name’ Signed: Bob L. Ross. “
In a letter ,to me Mr. Ross said, “I am enclosing another pamphlet which has gone unchallenged by the Campbellites. No one has ever attempted to collect the $100; on the contrary many Campbellites have admitted that the ‘name’ is nowhere found in the Bible. They have to resort to ‘logic’ in any attempt to prove they ‘wear’ a (or the) ‘Bible name.’ But even the ‘logic’ is not logical.”
In reply, I said, “I am not a Campbellite, and I have never met one who claimed to be a Campbellite, but if I ever do meet one, I will forward your offer to him.
“Your ‘offer’ on the name is an old ruse that may prejudice shallow thinking people, but it does not deceive anyone who will carefully consider your ‘offer.’ There are several designations of the people of God in the Bible. I do not believe there is ‘a particular’ ‘name’ for churches to wear. I believe there are several scriptural designations, but there is no particular or exclusive name known to me.
“Respectfully, however, I will make a counter proposal. Please cite any reference to a ‘Baptist Church’ or ‘Baptist Churches’ in any literature, either sacred or secular, written before 1600 A.D. If you know any Baptists who would like to ‘cash in on this offer,’ have them get in touch with me. Remember, now, they must not resort to ‘logic.’ That is too much like those pesky Campbellites. Besides, Baptists usually do right well without any Scripture or logic for their name.”
No one contends that there is a particular, exclusive name a church is to wear. Christians only say that we should speak “as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11). In the New Testament, we read of “the church,” “the churches of God,” “the churches of Christ,” and kindred expressions. With these Scripture references, we are content, and, I might add, complete (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
The following chart has been used in debate several times with both Baptists and Pentecostals. I have never yet met the man who even batted his eyes or swallowed like he thought he could ever begin to answer it.
The Singular of “churches of God” (1 Thess. 2:14) is “church of God” (1 Cor. 1:2)
The singular of “churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16) is “church of Christ”
IF NOT, WHY NOT?
The conclusion is irresistible and inescapable. May we not reason with the singular and plural as the Holy Spirit did? But let no one misunderstand. The scriptural names are not creeds or criteria that alone determine soundness in doctrine or purity in practice. Christians simply urge that these scriptural terms are but one feature, but one phase and facet of the system of religion revealed in the New Testament. When one cannot find his particular group or church mentioned in the Bible, let alone “named,” then he must resort to prejudice and subterfuge.
Now, will someone supply, either in sacred, secular or Satanic literature, a reference to a “Baptist Church” or “Baptist Churches,” written before 1600? The same goes for the Lutherans before 1500; the Methodists before 1650; and the United Pentecostal Church before 1900. Any takers?
Truth Magazine XIX: 18, p. 274
March 13, 1975