By Larry Ray Hafley
Some time ago I had an article in the Gospel Guardian which contained a quote from a Missionary Baptist. In the course of an article, L. D. Capell, editor of the Missionary Baptist Searchlight, inadvertently used Matthew 16:18 with respect to the establishment and “origin” of the church. Well, he has “went and gone and done it again.” As you may know, Baptists teach that the church was established, that it had its origin, before the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Most Baptists argue that the church began in Matthew 4. Some still argue that it commenced earlier, but all agree that it did not begin on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2.
Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church,” has been a thorn in the side and the flesh of Baptist preachers. That text show that the church was not established prior to the time Jesus spoke the words quoted above. So, Baptist preachers and debaters who contend that the church began before this time have writhed and wriggled in a desperate attempt to escape the meaning of Matthew 16:18. They know that Jesus did not mean, “I will build my church,” because, according to them, He had already built it.
Occasionally, though, Baptists will speak the truth despite their doctrine and faith. In speaking concerning the “Divine Orgin” of the church, or while showing that the Lord’s church is not a man devised organization, they will use Matthew 16:18. When establishing this scriptural view that the church is of “Divine Origin,” they evidently forget their doctrine relative to the beginning of the church. See the words below spoken by Mr. Capell at the Brinkley Missionary Baptist Church, May 16, 1976:
“The New Testament Church is of Divine Origin. Many organizations have human origin. The New Testament presents the church that Jesus built. Matt. 16:18.
“It is a decided advantage to be in His church. He alone had the right to establish the church. Men are usurpers when they take upon themselves the right to establish anything and imply that it is Divine.” (Missionary Baptist Searchlight, July 10, 1976, p. 3.)
Observe the words, “Origin” and “establish.” Mr. Capell is again on record to the effect that Matthew 16:18 deals with the “Divine Origin” and the establishment of the church. Those who discuss these matters with Baptists may find the quotation useful because: (1) It contradicts the view of Baptists that the church was established prior to Matthew 16:18; (2) It shows they recognize that Matthew 16:18 deals with the “Divine Origin” and establishment of the church. (3) It destroys the Baptist evasion that Matthew 16:18 is dealing with the embellishment or building up of the church (Ben M. Bogard, Baptist Way Book, p. 30).
Truth is consistent with itself. Error eventually meets itself coming back. This is the case with Missionary Baptists and their use Matthew 16:18.
Truth Magazine XXI: 9, p. 133
March 4, 1977