Why Baptists Must Remain Distinct
While it would be ideal if all denominational lines could be erased, it is unrealistic for Baptists to think so. Baptists must remain distinct from other denominations in both doctrine, practice and worship simply because the conscience of Baptists will allow them no alternative in light of the authority of the New Testament. The teaching and the pattern set by the Apostles and of Christ is clearly revealed in the Scriptures.
Take believers baptism, for instance. Infant baptism is viewed by Baptist as not only unscriptural, but in complete contrast to the character of the Church as conceived in the mind of Christ and revealed to us through the written Word of God. Baptists simply cannot accept the doctrine nor the practice of infant baptism. We simply cannot.
This is not to say that we may not share the joys of a common redemption with other denominational members. Indeed, we should do so in a spirit of cooperation and brotherly love. However, that does not mean we should compromise a necessary, separate witness in the name of non-denominational ecumenism. Once our distinctive reliance on the authority of the New Testament, and indeed, the whole of Scripture, is relaxed, and charismatic/Pentecostal activity and doctrine is brought in as if they are acceptable in light of Scripture – we have compromised the truth of God. To do so is to invite chaos and disruption into our gatherings for worship, and in many cases, it is a relaxing of truth for the benefit of increased congregational numbers.
So where does the compromise stop? Once you allow the authority of the Scriptures to be relaxed in favor of ecumenical acceptance, you are just a step away from compromise in all sorts of areas, including spiritual abuse by power and control-hungry leadership.
In the case of non-denominationalism and its approval by participation in a local fellowship, this is a great danger. When doctrinal distinctions are blurred, as in the case of non-denominational fellowship, so is the reliance – and confession – of the authority of Scripture.
Amen! And Baptists are congregationalists – each local church responsible to and under the Lordship of Christ, with under-shepherds who lead in humility and do all for the glory of God and the good of His people. Many Baptist forget this and shape their ecclesiology to what they’ve learned from the world, with a CEO-style of hierarchy.
Great points and thoughts with only a couple of the Baptist distinctives directly addressed! Believer’s baptism by immersion alone is enough to maintain the name of Baptist and stand!
Biblical authority, and the New Testament in particular, is the cornerstone for all of the other historic Baptist distinctives and stands. You are correct that this is the key to an uncompromised stand! As you say, this cannot be compromised, else where would it end?!
Today, there are many compromises among Baptists (as I deeply and personally know), as well as those of other denominational leanings. The answer to this varies according to the particular church, group, or person, but it still comes down to the Bible (New Testament in particular) and the proper hermeneutics!
What we need is REVIVAL! A spiritual REVIVAL to get back to the LORD and all the things HE has committed to us. We need to stand on a historical/grammatical/literal understanding of the Bible and the New Testament, and a daily application of it lived out in our lives is desperately needed! Imagine the societal and even worldwide AWAKENING that we would see if Baptists and others are REVIVED!!!
I’m not sure there is any biblical bases for Cessationism. Just because we don’t understand something in scripture or have not experienced it doesn’t mean we should reject it. It may open our gatherings to chaos and disruption but I think that would be better than just flat denying a doctrine that seems so clear in the bible.
Vince (hey bud)
It is of course my opinion that there is much, very much biblical basis for cessationaism. The ‘seeking after an experience’ is part of the problem.
By faith alone, not experience, are we saved. 🙂 Hope and pray all is well with you and yours.
Vince, those who hunt for gifts today are like those children of Israel who might have vainly searched for the body of Moses after his death (Deuteronomy 34:6) Moses as great as he was, passed on, his grave hidden by God. I know of no arguement for cessation…..like the actual experience of cessation. What passes for tongues today is nonsense. There is a cessation of aspects of OT function of law. There is a cessation of apostolic office. There is a cessation of prophets. With or without a specific Biblical cessation passage of specific activity, cessation can be defacto. For years while in the military as a lab technician I assisted the pathologists do autopsies. In that function I encountered a lot of pasionate Christians including many pastors, but I never witnessed any of those dead folk raised up from the cold slab. I have never encountered a Lazarus, I suspect you have not as well, nor any reader of this blog. Does this suggest cessationism? (By the way tongues are extremely easy to fake, raising from the dead a tad less so.) Interesting methinks, how the easily faked is pronounced in Charistmatic circles and the not so easily faked mysteriously never happens. Anyway,personally, I would have preferred my earthly father sharing with me deep, profound eternal truths rather than watching him put on a magic show. One wishes charismatically inclined folk might see the truth of that. A crude analogy perhaps, and I certainly by no means discount or demean the Biblical utility of miracles under the hand of a gracious and good God,However, in the parlance of young folk “It’s not about the gifts.” It’s about the Giver.
Or maybe some people, regarding cessationism, do understand it much more clearly than you and they know precisely why it is rejected as interpretively and practically operational today (the gifts in view in cessationism).
But my guess, like most charismatics I encounter, you have the need to create a narrative which gives you the delusional argument that cessationists don’t know why they believe what they believe and are simply reacting to something they don’t understand.
I won’t go any further since I am not responding to argue the topic, just point out the gross deficiencies in your view of those rejecting the false doctrine held by charismatics.
Gifts will cease when we see Him “face to face” not the closing of the canon.
(1 Corinthians 13:12)
I’ve never experienced any of the supernatural sign gifts or seen them in operation but I believe they are for the church today simply because I don’t find evidence in the bible that they have passed.