By Larry Ray Hafley
In a Baptist publication, The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator, Wayne Camp states that the apostle Paul was “a Baptist preacher.” I do not know where Mr. Camp learned this, but it was not from the New Testament, unless I have overlooked something. A goodly number of Baptist preachers “at sundry times and in divers manners” have sought for such proof for many years. If Mr. Camp has it, they would give him their last nickel. In debate, I have seen some mighty desperate Baptist preachers who looked like they would surrender their next breath for a New Testament reference to “a Baptist preacher,” or “a Baptist Church.” But, alas, their breathing was labored and heavy laden.
If Paul was a Baptist preacher, consider the consequences.
First, it cuts out Methodist ministers, Presbyterian pastors, and Pentecostal preachers. Imagine Paul as a Baptist preacher. As such, he could not have been a Methodist or a Presbyterian, for they teach and practice sprinkling and infant baptism. He could not have been a Pentecostal preacher, for they believe in at least three baptisms, but Paul said there is “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5).
Camp’s claim on Paul as “a Baptist preacher” is a slap in the face of every denominational preacher. If I were them, I would resent Wayne’s efforts to put Paul in his camp, thus excluding them.
Second, there is a problem with Paul’s baptism. How could he be a Baptist preacher when his baptism was not received under the auspices and authority of a Baptist Church? Paul did not present himself to a Baptist Church, relate his experience of grace and request baptism (Acts 9, 22, 26). How, then, could he be “a Baptist preacher” since he did not follow the “standard operating procedure” of Baptist Churches?
It is obvious that Ananias was not a Baptist preacher, for he told Paul, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). No self-respecting Baptist preacher would ever be guilty of telling a penitent believer, such as Paul was at the time, to be baptized to wash away his sins. Perish the thought! Why, nothing common or unclean like that has ever entered a Baptist preacher’s mouth.
Third, Paul would likely lose his ordination papers as a Baptist preacher, for he said that we are “baptized into Jesus Christ” (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). If Paul was a Baptist preacher, he could not preach his doctrine in Baptist Churches today. Just see how long you last in a Baptist Church after you tell them what Paul said about being “baptized into Christ.” Have you ever heard a Baptist preacher say, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27)? Have you ever heard a Baptist preacher say that one walks “in newness of life” after he has been baptized into Christ?
Fourth, Paul said to certain saints who have been made “free,” “Ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:1-4). Baptists preachers today tell us that it is impossible to fall from grace. Wayne Camp himself is on record as stating that a man could die drunk in the act of adultery and still be saved! If Paul had been a Baptist preacher, he would not have said what he did about the very danger of apostasy (Rom. 8:12, 13; 1 Cor. 10:1-2; 1 Tim. 4:1; 5: 11, 12; 2 Tim. 2:12, 16-18).
But since, according to Camp, Paul was “a Baptist preacher,” he (Paul) could not fall from grace, even though he told some, “Ye are fallen from grace.” So, Paul, according to Baptist doctrine, could teach falsely on the subject of apostasy, yet still be saved!
Fifth, Paul said, “The churches of Christ salute you” (Rom. 16:16). Do you ever hear a modern day Baptist preacher talking like that? NO once did Paul ever say, “The Baptist Churches salute you.” Oh, how Baptist preachers wish he had! But he did not. And is it not strange that a man who was “a Baptist preacher,” and who wrote a major portion of the New Testament never once referred to or mentioned a “Baptist Church” of any kind, shape or variety?
No, Paul was not “a Baptist preacher.” Baptist preachers are sent and commissioned to baptize, but Paul was not (1 Cor. 1:17). Mr. Camp is a Baptist preacher; he preaches Baptist doctrine; he is a member of a Baptist church. Those are things and titles unknown to Paul, unknown to the New Testament, unknown to the Word of God.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 3, pp. 72-73
February 4, 1988