Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why Some Baptists Stumble Regarding Baptism

I have repeatedly said over the last several months that some Southern Baptists are attempting to push our convention to a completely erroneous and faulty view of baptism. A few get upset when I identify the faulty view as 'Landmarkism,' so I will attempt to highlight the concerns I have without the nomenclature in this post.

There is a very subtle and dangerous movement within the Southern Baptist Convention to make people accept the belief that baptism is the 'door of entry' into the local church. In other words, some are teaching the false doctrine that when a person is baptized he 'joins' the local church. This view is dangerous because it is a distorted view of the teaching of Scripture, it erroneously identifies believer's baptism with the believer's relationship to the 'church' rather than to Christ, and causes proponents of this view to have a very narrow, sectarian view of what constitutes a 'true' and suitable church in which a Christian ought to be baptized (i.e. 'only in a Southern Baptist church or one like it').

This view is so historically non-Baptist it is reflection of our poor understanding of our own history as Baptists that anyone would even begin to think this view even approach being biblical. Rev. Samuel Howard Ford, LL.D., the 19th Century Southern Baptist pastor and editor of The Western Recorder has written a clear, concise and corrective article on this subject. Dr. Ford was a Hebrew and Syriac scholar and one of our forefathers who ought to respected and heard. My father recently reminded me of this article on the subject of "Does Baptism Admit to Membership in a Gospel Church" and I offer to every Southern Baptist pastor as the definitive answer to anyone who would attempt to make you believe it does.

Does Baptism Admit To Membership In A Gospel Church?
By Samuel H. Ford, 1899

We must turn to the other general misconception of what constitutes a person a member of the church of Christ.

The Reformers, and Protestants generally, with all their apologies for and explanations of the term invisible as meaning the unseen work or "door" into that church, fell back on the patristic doctrine that "The Sacrament of Baptism was the door into the church" with no term to distinguish it. "In baptism wherein I was made a member of the Church," read the Episcopal Catechism, "whereby they that receive baptism rightly are grafted into the Church." But we need not quote from the confessions and disciplines of the Protestant communions to prove this. It is admitted by {them} that Baptism admits into, or is the door into the Church.

Now, according to the teachings of the {New} Testament and the essential nature of and obligations of church membership, this (which some Baptists hold) is a misconception.

Dr. Dagg has well said: "Baptism is not like the Lord's Supper, a sacred rite. It signifies the fellowship of individual believers with Christ, not the fellowship of believers with one another. The obligation to be baptized is independent of the obligations to form sacred relations, and is prior [to it]. Baptism is therefore a qualification for admission into a church of external organization, but it does not confer membership." (in J. L. Reynolds', Church Polity..., p.48.)

The plain statement in regard to the church in Jerusalem should at once end all controversy about this: "They that gladly received the word were baptized and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Not that all these were baptized on that same day. Many, perhaps most of them, may have been baptized previously, but they were added to the church in fellowship. Baptism, as well as conversion, or receiving the word, was an indispensable prerequisite, but neither the one nor the other added these thousands, nor Lydia, nor the Jailer, nor the Eunuch, to the church. This was a distinct thing -- the expression of fellowship and assumption of mutual covenant obligations.

If the following condensed objection to the general record, especially of pedo-baptists, be considered, we feel assured that the dogma of baptism, as the door into the church, will be abandoned.

1st. If baptism be the door into the Christian church, then all whom John baptized (allowing his baptism to be Gospel baptism) were, by the reception of this ordinance, made members of some church; but no such intimation is given in the Scriptures. The object of John's baptism is declared to be, "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

2nd. If baptism be the door into the church then there is no such thing as putting a person out of the church; for in order to do this, he must be unbaptized, But his cannot be done.

3rd. If baptism be the door into the church, can one person constitute a church? The Christian public have answered, "no." And, "no" responds {in} every passage of the divine oracles, wherever the name church is mentioned. To what church, then, did the first disciple, whom John baptized, belong? To what church, the first, in every instance, where none had been previously constituted? The answer is obvious, "to no church." If then, the first person, whom John baptized, was not, by the reception of this ordinance, constituted a member of some church; the second was not, nor the third, nor any subsequent subject.

4th. In the account of the Eunuch's baptism, Acts 8, no mention is made of his being added to any particular church; nor have we any reason to believe, that he considered the ordinance in this light. Indeed, as he was traveling, and at considerable distance from his own country, such a relation, if we suppose it to have been consummated at that time, could be of but little avail to him. Nor, is there anything in the account of other baptisms, which make this an initiatory ordinance, or door into the church. It is said, Acts 2:41: "Then they that gladly received the word, were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." In the 47th verse: "And the Lord added to the church daily, such as should be saved." But how were they added? Here we are not informed. We are told, "they that gladly received the word were baptized," that, "they were added to the disciples" and the Lord, "added to the church;" but, it is not said, that they were added "by baptism," any more than "by gladly receiving the word." Both were prerequisites; but neither initiatory.

If then, baptism be not the door into the visible church of Christ, it may be asked, "What is? We answer, nothing more nor less, than fellowship. By fellowship we are admitted; and by disfellowship, we are excluded. "Is then a person, who is received into fellowship as a Christian, to be considered as a church member?" We answer, no; but he must be fellowshipped, as an orthodox, baptized, and regular Christian.

We have endeavored to state as clearly and briefly as we could the two errors -- the one of the Protestants, the other of the Romanists, in regard to what constitutes any one a member of a church. The one affirmed that it was the internal work of grace, the other that it was the sacrament -- baptism. The first, however, was so explained as to mean admission into an "invisible church," because the "door," or that which conferred membership, was invisible. This was borne out by the presence of sponsors, who answered for the infant: "I believe, I renounce the devil," etc., and then as by this profession of faith FOR the infant, who, already a member of the invisible church, was baptized as the door into the actual one.

O, it's all wrong, unscriptural, misleading, and absurd. A church of Christ is a company of baptized believers in faith and fellowship, united to edify each other, and advance the cause and kingdom of Christ. Nothing else is a church.

[From a microfilm copy of the Christian Repository, November 1899, pp. 652-4.}

It is absolutely essential that Southern Baptists return to our historic roots and a Biblical perspective on baptism and steadfastly resist any temptation to move beyond our BFM 2000 on the requisites for Christian baptism.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

42 comments: said...

I am still working on the post that describes the power of the gospel to transform lives. I must get clearance for a couple of quotes from an illustraion I am giving. Lord willing, the post will be up early next week.

irreverend fox said...


do you believe that Biblical/believers baptism is a healthy requirement for membership into one of our local churches? in other words, while it does not in itself identify one with a local it wise for the local church to none the less require all her members to be correctly baptized prior to membership?

CB Scott said...


It is in this area of ecclesiology,as you know, we greatly disagree. Nonetheless, it is my opinion that you and I agree that we are both loyal Southern Baptist capable of working together to advance the Kingdom of God.


Kerygma said...

Baptists have made required immersion in Baptist water the New Circumcision.

John Meade said...


To whom are you talking to in this post? Who promotes 'Landmarkism' today?

I have been in SBC circles for a while now, and I have been at TSBTS for over 4 years, and I do not perceive the same crisis that you do.

Reynolds' and Dagg's position remains the standard view. If baptists need to worry about anything, it is moving in the opposite direction to Bunyan's position, a position which undermines the very ordinance of baptism, that Dagg and Reynolds defended.

Anonymous said...


On the subject of baptism being the door into the church, Baptists in the 19th century were equally divided. Some believed it was, while others believed the vote of the congregation was the door into the church. However this really has nothing to do with the discussion over alien immersion. While S.H. Ford rejected the idea of baptism being the door into the church, he also rejected alien (non-Baptist) immersions. This can clearly be seen in his paper, "Ford's Christian Repository, "Pedo-Baptist Immersion--Historic Facts--Semple's and Mercer's Histories of Virginia and Georgia," FCRHC, LXIII (August, 1899), 483-85.

The old Baptists all believed that only a qualified administrator could rightly administer valid baptism and the vast majority, regardless of their views on baptism being the door into the church, rejected alien immersion.

WTJeff said...


Have you noticed that the new "talking point" to refute your claims is that yours are straw man arguments and that no one in the SBC actually believes what you are claiming they do? Although, no one has used these exact words, it seems this is the view their now espousing.

It's almost like the IMB policy changes never happened!! :) If it were only true.....

Jeff Parsons
Amarillo, TX

Paul Burleson said...

irreverend fox,

I'll certainly not answer for or put words in Wade's mouth but, for myself only, I think to require that biblical baptism is to have been or will be experienced by one wishing to unite with a local fellowship IS a good thing. To identify biblical baptism with a certain doctrine such as eternal security being held by the administrator of the baptism, however, would be adding an element to the definition of baptism one would be pressed to find in the text itself. But there could be some other things a congregation might identify as requirements to join also. That is their perogative as a local body.

The key is that those requirements NOT identify scripture as their basis. [The one biblical requirement would be that a person is confessing to be resting in Christ alone for salvation and has/will testified /testify to that rest through biblical baptism.]

WE have many requirements for our modern day church membership phenomenon that cannot be traced back to the text of scripture. That isn't a real problem unless we become exclusionary in membership and try to make it a biblical thing. We would, with the concept presented here, wind up with biblical baptism as "A" requirement for membership but not "THE" door into membership which is where Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma, where I'm a member, has come down on this issue.

The argument by the article posted on Wade's blog nailed it when it showed that were baptism to be "the door into membership" then to discipline a member with removal there would need to be a "reversal of baptism" ability. But since baptism really is for the purpose of identifying one with the person and work of Christ and His Cross, from which one can never be severed, there is no need to try and locate such a "reversal" technique for a fellowship.

[Back when I pastored, for forty years, the doctrines that uniquely make us baptist were shown to a person joining and they were told "this is the understanding of these non-salvific docrines that we as a church have embraced and, if you join, you will be embracing these as well by identifying with us locally." We showed other truths that were NOT identifiable with baptist one way or another and in which we had differing views in the fellowship. We were tiered when tiers weren't cool.]

We even showed them our genius in a mission endeavor as the Southern Baptist Convention. We wanted them to know what church membership was all about. But it WAS NOT all about being the only guys on the block.


irreverend fox said...


great points...and "amen"! I do agree with you on each of your points.

Bob Cleveland said...

Isn't it enough that the Bible tells people to "repent and be baptized for the remission of sins" so they do that? And churches are told to be about making "DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them ..." so we're, collectively, doing that.

But then we draw it out further to mean a bunch of other things, to the extent that we're now choosing up sides.

Parenthetically, I wonder if we paid as much attention to our DISCIPLING, to make sure we get THAT just right, as we do to making sure we get the baptizing just right, and even making sure we define it just right...

So now we're all certain just what baptism means to the church. The real question is what it means to God.

I wonder.

Anonymous said...


Isn't this the issue that set Okla. Baptists on fire last year--with Henderson Hills in Edmond? said...


Not even close.

Henderson Hills elders attempted to change the bylaws to accept people into membership of their church who had been baptized as infants, or been sprinkled, etc . . .

That was the only issue, and frankly, the elders determined that it was unwise and backed off the proposal.

People need to be clear what the issues are. This issue has nothing to do with infant baptism and everything to do with identifying baptism as the entry into the 'local church' rather than the biblical teaching that baptism identifies the believer with Christ. said...

The best comment on this subject comes from my father, Paul Burleson.

Read his comment again. Nobody has said it better and I could not come close to saying it better.

Writer said...


Was that baptists or Covenant theologians, such as Presbyterians, who identify baptism as the sign of the new covenant as circumcision was the sign of the old covenant?


Anonymous said...


Thanks for clearing that up. Wasn't sure. We were in transition at that point from Okla. to Alabama.

Bob Cleveland said...

Did the folks who were baptized in Jesus' name, at the time the Bible was being written, have to get re-baptized after those verses about the security of the believer were written? I doubt they were all baptized by folks who knew those things, back then.

And how about the men who wrote those verses? If God inspired them as they wrote it, how did the people who baptized THEM know those things?

Just wondering.

Kerygma said...

Is there one recorded account of anyone being rebaptized in the New Testament? How many of the recorded "baptisms" counted by the SBC each year are actually rebaptisms of professing Christians who were baptized either as infants or by a mode other than immersion following profession of faith?

Emily Hunter McGowin said...


You're forgetting that "Perseverance of the saints" was in the Sermon on the Mount (along with the accompanying T, U, L, and I). ;)

Sorry, Wade. Just a bad joke about an important subject. :)

I agree that your father explains the situation well. If baptism is one's identification with Christ, then to make it into the ritual for church membership is, in my opinion, a serious perversion.

Thanks for a good, thoughtful post.

Grace and peace,


LivingDust said...

Brother Wade,

You said - "some Southern Baptists are attempting to push our convention to a completely erroneous and faulty view of baptism."

Who are these people to which you refer? Are these folk actually Southern Baptist Pastors, seminary teachers or missionaries?

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, if I understand Ford (and Dagg) correctly, I agree with them. Baptism is not the door to the church. Baptism precedes church membership and "fellowship" brings us into the visible church.

I think the contents of this post reveal the importance of being careful when applying labels, and that you are wise to leave off the "Landmarkism" nomenclature. S. H. Ford -- who rejected alien immersion, held Baptist succession, and evidently rejected the universal church and that Protestants are true churches (last 2 paragraphs you posted) -- also rejects the "baptism is the door to the church" idea. That indicates to me that the "door to the church" debate is not one of Landmarkism vs. Non-Landmarkism (Ford & you agree), but rather one on which "different kinds" of Baptist disagree. said...


Pastors, professors, etc . . .

Anonymous said...

I know this post is not intended to deal at all with infant baptism but I would like to know your thoughts on the matter. When I read the statement below, which comes from your father's comment to this post, I wonder how the elder's at his church could have even been considering accepting an individual's infant baptism. As it reads the one biblical requirement is that "a person is confessing"; my qestion, how can an infant confess to anything?

If you have written on this before and merely need to direct me to an archive that will be fine. Thank you!

The key is that those requirements NOT identify scripture as their basis. [The one biblical requirement would be that a person is confessing to be resting in Christ alone for salvation and has/will testified /testify to that rest through biblical baptism.] said...


The elders were taking the position of John Bunyan. Though they themselves held to believer's baptism, they desired to be gracious to the conscientious Christian who held to infant baptism. My father would not have agreed with the elders, but he respected the gracious way the elders sought to work through the issue. I remind you, they eventually decided, as did John Piper, to not accept into membership those who have not been baptized by immersion as a believer.


Unknown said...


Although it wasn't the intent of your post, when the topic of "baptism & church membership" comes up it's hard not to be reminded of last years baptism proposal at Henderson Hills. I'm glad your dad clarified the issue.
On March 20, 2007, posted: "...we owe it to our church and to the larger Church to offer an explanation. In the days to come I will comment on our reasoning for those who are interested (if anyone is)."
The offered explanation never appeared.
Do you think when it came down to it nobody was interested?

Anonymous said...

Dear Kerygma,

Yes, there is indeed New Testament record of people being re-baptized.

Acts 8 says there were those baptized by Phillip who were baptized in the "name of Jesus" but had not yet received the Holy Spirit until Peter and John came. Peter and John layed hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit! Today's Pentecostals no doubt use this as a basis of a second level of spiritual rejuvenation in saying that all believers need a second baptism by the Holy Spirit after believing in Christ.

But this account in Acts does not specifically say that these people were baptized in water a second time. Still, it does indicate that their original baptism by Phillip was inadequate. One could only guess that they might have then been baptized again in water. Nevertheless, it is obvious that their original baptism was not adequate.

Then in Acts 19 it says that there were those who had been baptized into "John's baptism" of repentence but had not received the Holy Spirit "when they believed". They had not even heard of the Holy Spirit, indicating there was a lack in the teaching they had received and into which they had originally been baptized. They were then re-baptized in the "name of the Lord Jesus" and after Paul laid hands on them they received the Holy Spirit and began "speaking in tongues", I mean, private prayer language, no, the language of other people, no, oh, never mind, I don't know what new language they began speaking.

Paul Burleson said...


Your response to Brian's question was on target. I might give a further word but would not want to be heard to be speaking for the Elders of our fellowship. They have reported to the whole church a couple of times and the congregation, it seems to me, is quite satisfied both with the outcome and the Christian manner in which they sought to find what the scriptures truly say about this whole thing. But what I'm now typing is simply my understanding of the events as I've observed them.

One must remember their initial purpose was to investigate this issue BECAUSE it seemed baptism was being thought of as a "door" to local church membership in the minds of many Baptists but not in their thinking. It seemed to them, and I concur, that it was adding a purpose to baptism that went BEYOND the text. I certainly agree also with taking a fresh look at the scriptures on any doctrinal position without fear of censure. We're shown by the eary Church the wisdom of searching the scriptures to see if those things be so.

A second reason for the effort to restudy the whole question of baptism was the question of church membership itself. Is membership, which isn't clearly articulated in the text either, a tool to be used in growing believers in their knowledge of Truth? Thus, could one be helped to see biblical baptism by immersion correctly AFTER acceptance into membership then choose to obey?

There was also the question of the comparison to the Lord's supper. Since the elements of the LS are not of major concern due to it's symbolic nature, you can use grape juice instead of wine and saltine crackers, instead of unleavened bread and NOT violate the ordinance itself it would appear on the surface, are the elements that make up the mode of baptism, sprinkling, pouring, etc, also less significant than we make them? If a prospective member truly BELIEVED their baptism by sprinkling WAS biblical baptism, should we enforce a new view on their conscience since it isn't the "door" to local church membership anyway as some think?

It was the infant baptism issue that ultimate caused the final position taken. Baptism is a "confessional" statement in nature. The confession is "I'm resting in the person and work [death, burial and resurrection] of Christ for my salvation. Thus, baptism is not the "door" to church membership but, it is a requirement that is important, significant, and very personal in nature. So our view of the mode, which was always immersion, remains and it is to have been or will be expressed in that manner as a testimony by one desiring to be a member of Henderson Hills. The difference comes down to "a" requirement instead of "the" requirement.

My personal opinion is that our Elders at HHBC have shown a tremendous amount of grace and love to the people, as well as, a love for the Lord and his Word. They have set a wonderful example of the Baptist mantra of being a people of the book instead of creeds. What a truly inspiring example they are to our fellowship.

I would also say I'm disappointed in both attitude and actions I've seen and heard in many of those on the outside looking in on HHBC's search for understanding. It doesn't rise to the level of being offended on my part, [that would necessitate a personal response from me to them whomever they might be] but disappointment...yes.

Remember, these are my words not the Elders of HHBC.

Bob Cleveland said...

Silly question: will we be a visible church, when we get to heaven? Or will we simply be believers, with our Savior?

With that question in mind, which SHOULD baptism identify us with? The church, or the Savior?

Kerygma said...

Rick, thanks for the correction. You're exactly right. My concerns about rebaptism have to do with the countless examples of believers who are browbeaten into being rebaptized by Christian leaders doing the "if you don't know for sure, then you're not" dance, as well as the practice of requiring professing believers who received baptism in what we think was an out of sync order to be immersed, not to mention those who have been immersed yet not in Baptist water.

Bennett Willis said...

Maybe a good sermon title would be, "If we served Cheese-Its and Kool Aid, would it still be the Lord's Supper?" My personal answer to that question is that it would be just as good as the usual sharing of the Lord's Supper. However, we should not observe it this way because it would be a problem for some.

Once I helped my brother-in-law put the juice in the glasses for a Lord's Supper observance. I noticed when I removed the lid from the juice that was left over from the last observance that it "hissed" a little. When I shared with them in the service, I noticed that we were closer to the original than usual.

Bennett Willis

Debbie Kaufman said...

My concern is that when one is baptized more than once, and I do agree with infant baptism not being accepted as a proper mode, the clear scriptural meaning of baptism is lost to the person if not the witnesses.This is clear in the fact that I have read some write something to the affect of "Why wouldn't a person do all they could to get into the IMB or a Southern Baptist church, if that means rebaptism then so be it."

That statement in my opinion puts baptism at a lower level than the Bible does.

CB Scott said...

I would like to "hit" this comment thread one more time to illustrate something some of us have been saying for almost two years now.


When I say that I am not saying some are liberal, some are moderate, some are conservative, some are Fundamentalists. I am not saying some are lost and some are saved. So, what am I saying? I am saying that Wade Burleson views ecclesiology, in some ways, differently than cb scott. Wade, as proven here, can present his position very well. So can cb present his position very well. Will my presentation make Wade change his? No. Can Wade change cb's? No.

Does this mean we cannot have fellowship one with the other in harmony? Surely not. Does it mean Wade could never speak from the pulpit here in Birmingham? Surely not. Does it mean cb could never speak from the pulpit in Enid? Hopefully not:-)

Could we not work together in this country to advance the Kingdom? We would be wrong not to do so. Could we work together any place on this earth to advance the Kingdom? Absolutely.

Our differences do not make one of us liberal and the other conservative. It does not make either one of us not Baptist. It just makes us differ on an issue of theology that does not subtract from the power of the gospel or negate our working together to advance that same gospel.

I think this idea is worth examination by many. I think I, personally, should consider it often before I "write a brother off" as not capable of working with me in the vineyard of the Lord.


Paul Burleson said...


Count me in with you. That's the attitude we must have to get back on track to really gossiping THE GOSPEL the world over effectively.

Anonymous said...

Covenant Leaders Show Their True Colors
Bill Underwood and Daniel Vestal (leader of the CBF) invited a very controversial figure to read parts of Truett's speech at the capitol. As Frank Beckwith reports on his blog , one of the participants was Stan Hastey from the Alliance of Baptists, They are very open about affirming behavior contrary to Scripture. They openly claim affiliation with this organization: Their mission statement reads:
"Members of the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (AWAB) are churches, organizations, and individuals who are willing to go on record as welcoming and affirming all persons without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity, and who have joined together to advocate for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons within Baptist communities of faith."

Their participation at a public gathering in Washington speaks volumes as to Underwood's and Vestal's real agenda.

Here's another commentary:

The Covenant Speakers:
Former President Jimmy Carter , Pro-choice and very liberal Baptist leader. Theologically, he tends to be a universalist (for example, he has criticized efforts to evangelize Mormons saying that they are saved). Carter said at the beginning that "the covenant" was a gathering for Baptists of all sexual persuasions.

Former President Bill Clinton , needs no introduction!

Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund
Edelman is cited by Martin Peretz in the New Republic as "Hillary's closest sister and ideological soul mate."

Former Vice President Al Gore
Dr. Joel Gregory
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham - minor Republican figure
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley - minor Republican figure

Bill Moyers, author and journalist -- Long time friend of moderate Baptist causes (the more left-wing, the better!)

Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas --
A staunch supporter of Democrat rep. Chet Edwards (very liberal). She was on meetings where she, and Dorisanne Cooper (pastor of Lakeshore Baptist)*; Raymond Bailey, the pastor of 7th and James* in Waco; the late Herb Reynolds; and others strategized on how to rally the Baptist vote for Edwards, two elections ago when Chet had significant opposition. Nice lady, but make no mistake, very partisan.
All of the pastors above are public supporters of Planned Parenthood.

Dr. William J. Shaw, pastor of White Rock Baptist Church in Philadelphia and president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
Again a Democrat. He went public on his opposition to a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man a woman.

* These two churches support Planned Parenthood. See for more details.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. said...

Anonymous, I would encourage you to be open and truthful about your identity and intentions.


Wade said...


Amen, and Amen.


Wayne Smith said...


I would like to share this OSWALD CHAMBERS DEVOTIONAL with you.
I pray that some day you will come out of hiding under the name Anonymous and stand Cowboy up for JESUS as CB Scott would say.

Suffering Afflictions and Going the Second Mile
“I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matthew 5:39).
This verse reveals the humiliation of being a Christian. In the natural realm, if a person does not hit back, it is because he is a coward. But in the spiritual realm, it is the very evidence of the Son of God in him if he does not hit back. When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but you must make it an opportunity to exhibit the Son of God in your life. And you cannot imitate the nature of Jesus—it is either in you or it is not. A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.
The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not, “Do your duty,” but is, in effect, “Do what is not your duty.” It is not your duty to go the second mile, or to turn the other cheek, but Jesus said that if we are His disciples, we will always do these things. We will not say, “Oh well, I just can’t do any more, and I’ve been so misrepresented and misunderstood.” Every time I insist on having my own rights, I hurt the Son of God, while in fact I can prevent Jesus from being hurt if I will take the blow myself. That is the real meaning of filling “up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ …” (Colossians 1:24). A disciple realizes that it is his Lord’s honor that is at stake in his life, not his own honor.
Never look for righteousness in the other person, but never cease to be righteous yourself. We are always looking for justice, yet the essence of the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is—Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.

In His Name
Wayne Smith

Anonymous said...

Thank you, to you and your father for your responses to my qestion. One of my closest friends whom I have great respect for is a reformed pesbyterian and we simply agree to disagree (with occasional discussion)on the baptism issue because we know our salvation is secured in Jesus Christ alone. If my friend came to join the church I attend I hope he would be treated with as much grace and understanding as I believe he would at HHBC.

One more question; if an individual as a young person is baptised (not infant) believing they are saved then at an older age come to beieve they did not have proper understanding and pray to receive salvation, do they need to be baptised again. I am asking for your interpretation from the stand point of being obedient to God, not for Church membership.:)


Bob Cleveland said...

Yah .. Wade .. answer THAT one.

I have my own thoughts but I'd like to see yours. In fact, my thought end up in somewhat a yes and no response.

truth, not religion said...

During my seminary days at an SBC seminary, a professor did a survey (over years) of thousands of students. Of those, over 40% said they had been baptized more than once.

I have also been baptized twice. As a child, I had a pastor who preached hell and damnation 3 times a week. He repeatly screamed "you better get on your knees before God strikes you with lightning.

All I knew of God was a harsh angry God who was gonna get me.
I also figured that if I got baptized (as the preacher insisted) God would not strike me with lightning.

As a 24 year old adult, I decided to be baptized as a statement of belief from an adult who really did know what he was doing and why it should be done.

In the Profs research on his survey, that was the #1 reason stated by thousands.

docjoc said...

How Baptism Almost Kept Me Out of the Baptist Church…

I was baptized as a Methodist baby and became a born again Christian as a young man.

Later as a grown man in obedience to my understanding of the scripture
I was baptized (head to toe) in a nearby lake by the pastor of a little non-denominational church. I forgot to ask his position on the security of the believer.

Now for most of twenty years I have been faithfully attending a large SB Church. Most of the congregation thought I was a member. But for many years I did not join because I felt that they would ask me to be baptized once again.

Twice was enough I thought!

Then one day they asked me to teach a seminar. Someone found I was not a member so they asked me to join. That’s reasonable I thought, but I explained the problem…Twice is enough, I said.

After a talk with the senior pastor, we both laughed. He had seen me in action and thought I was already a member and I told him why I was not. He said it was not necessary for me to be baptized a third time and I was allowed to join where I have been a member now for many more years. said...


I personally think your question can only be answered individually and personally. However, my counsel would be that if the believer believes that regeneration only occurred at the time he 'understood' what he was doing, then yes, baptism should be required. However, I'm not convinced any of us fully understand what we need to know about the cross and I am not for rebaptizing people who come into 'greater' understanding.

Baptism is on outward sign of an inward transformation and cleansing by the Holy Spirit, as well as a proclamation of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.