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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Many years ago, Jesus said of the church in Sardis, "Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead" (Rev. 3:1). Jesus looked at this assembly and saw something that man could not see. In man's eyes, this church had a good reputation, yet under the divine scrutiny of Christ, we see that their reputation was without reality.
The Word of God proclaims that the last days will be characterized by those who have "a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof" (2 Tim. 2:5); those who "profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him" (Tit. 1:16). Our world today is filled with many professors, but only a few possessors. So it is true among those who call themselves "Independent Baptists". There are many who possess the name, but there are only a few who possess the nature of a true, scriptural Independent Baptist.
As we consider the topic, "Wanted: True Independent New Testament Baptists", let us be mindful that the opinion we have of ourselves, or the reputation we have in the minds of others, does not determine what we are. In fact, I know many who are wearing the name "Independent Baptists" who ought to be honest with themselves and others and take the name off their signs and letterhead. They do not believe and practice what "Independent Baptists" have stood for and practiced throughout history. Though there have been some irregularities amongst Baptists, scripturally true, Independent Baptists believe that...
I. The Bible--Authorized Version (KJV 1611)--Is Preserved, Sole Authority
Since Christ started His church in the first century, Baptists have never questioned the authenticity or authority of the Word of God. The Baptists have never changed the Scriptures to conform to their beliefs.
Rather, they have submitted to the Scriptures and have organized and governed their churches under the authority of the Word of God.
The first Baptist--John the Baptist-- came into the country around Jordan preaching the preserved Word of God. "As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet..." John believed that God had preserved the inspired words of Isaiah the prophet given nearly 700 years earlier. Therefore, John preached with authority, power, and confidence. Jesus, during His ministry, often quoted Moses who had penned divine revelation about 1500 years before Christ.
Obviously, Christ understood divine sovereignty in the preservation of the Word of God. If John the Baptist and Jesus Christ did not question the veracity and authenticity of God's Word, why can we not believe God in our day that He has sovereignly preserved His Word for us? The preserved Word of God in English is the King James Bible (1611). The King James Version was translated from the Textus Receptus manuscripts. All of the other manuscripts have been altered and perverted so that the translations which do not align with the Textus Receptus are in actuality perversions of the Word of God.
True Independent Baptists "are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God" (2 Cor. 2:17); instead, they reject the perversions and wholly accept the Authorized Version of 1611 as the preserved, sole authority for all faith and practice. True Independent N. T. Baptists also strictly believe that...
II. Alien Immersion Is To Be Rejected
Alien immersion is defined as a baptism that does not meet scriptural qualifications. There are four
essentials to scriptural baptism:
1) Scriptural Candidate--a believer in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:41, Acts 8:36-38)
2) Scriptural Mode--immersion in water (Mat. 3:16, Acts 8:38-39)
3) Scriptural Administrator--a N. T. Baptist church (in doctrine and not name only) that has been given authority from a church of like faith and practice (Mat. 28:18-20, Acts 16:5)
4) Scriptural Motive--to identify with Christ and to join a N. T. church (Rom. 6:3-4, Acts 2:41, 1 Cor. 12:13)
If any of these qualifications are not met, the baptism is not valid or scriptural; thus, it is considered alien immersion. Many so-called "Independent Baptists" of today never concern themselves with how or where their church members were baptized. They accept "baptisms" from Methodist churches, Charismatic or Pentecostal churches, Interdenominational churches, Bible churches and many others. They fail to see that baptism requires authority ( Mark 11:28-33), and that these churches do not have proper, scriptural authority.
True Independent Baptists were given the name "Anabaptists" centuries ago because they rebaptized those who came to them from unscriptural churches. The only baptism acceptable to God is one that meets these scriptural qualifications. There are still Independent Baptists wanted that believe in the...
III. Perpetuity of Jesus' Church and His Authority
According to Matthew 16:18, Jesus promised regarding His church that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:21, "Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." Since Jesus Christ started the first church in Jerusalem, there has never been a time when scriptural N. T. churches have not existed.
Many so-called "Independent Baptists" today oppose this doctrine because they cannot prove it. Since when did we ever start accepting the Word of God only if we can prove it? Faith is taking God at His Word and acting upon it.
Historically, Baptists have been persecuted so that history regarding their perpetuity has been destroyed.
However, I do not base my convictions or doctrine on history but on what God has spoken. The real problem why so many detest this doctrine is the matter of authority. If perpetuity is true, then many so-called "Independent Baptists" have unscriptural churches and no authority to baptize. For many to admit this doctrine as true, they would have to humble themselves and face the fact that they have been wrong, which could bring embarrassment upon them.
Furthermore, they would have to submit to baptism from scriptural church and reorganize the assemblies that they pastor. You must be right on this matter, for the Scriptures state in 2 Timothy 2:5, "if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." Rewards at the judgment Seat of Christ will be lost if our labors are not done scripturally under the authority of a true church.
IV. True, Scriptural Church Is Only A Local Church
The word "church" found in the Word of God is always translated from the Greek word "ekklesia".
Ekklesia means "a called out group of people assembled together". Jesus used the word "ekklesia" or "church" 23 times. In all of these instances, He refers to a particular assembly in a particular place except one time where he is speaking in a general way about the church. The Scriptures never in any way speak of a mystical, universal, invisible church or body of Christ. Some "pseudo Independent Baptists" confuse the difference between the family of God and the church of God.
They misunderstand that we are born into the family of God (John 1:12) and that we are water-baptized into the church of God (1 Cor.12:13). The Bible term "body of Christ" is reserved only for a local, New Testament church. Paul, in writing to the church at Corinth said, "Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular." In the body (church), Christ is the head; in the family the Father is the head. The body (church) demands location; the family can be scattered. Baptism qualifies us for membership in the body (church); the new birth makes us a part of the family.
Members can be put out of the body (church); family members can never be put out. The body (church) assembles regularly; the family does not assemble at this time. Members of the body (church) know and care for one another daily; members of the family know very few of the other family members.
Jesus only started one church in His ministry--the church at Jerusalem--which was a local, visible, organized assembly of baptized believers. True N. T. Baptists believe and practice that...
V. The Imperative Of World Missions Belongs To The Church
Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 gave His church her commission before ascending back to heaven. The authority was committed to His church to go into all the world, to make disciples, to baptize, and to instruct them in the Word of God. There is no other institution designated by Christ to carry out the work of the Great Commission. Yet some so-called "Independent Baptists" believe that the plan of Jesus Christ to reach the world through His church is not enough.
Therefore, they have organized their own man-made, man-headed, and man-glorifying institutions--mission boards, clearinghouses, mission societies, associations and fellowships--to do the work that Jesus Christ gave to His church. To do God's work in a different way than the way He has instructed is either ignorance or arrogance on the part of man. There are no other institutions more capable of carrying out the Great Commission than the Lord's churches.
The church at Antioch in Acts 13 set the N. T. example and proved that God's churches are capable of fulfilling the command of our Lord. Here we see Paul and Barnabas proving their gifts in the church and their call being confirmed in the in the church. They were then ordained in the church, sent out of the church, and were accountable to and reported to the Antioch church.
Personally, I know that a scriptural N. T. Baptist is capable of performing all the administrative duties, overseeing the missionary's doctrine and practice (Since when did Christ give authority to a mission agency to discipline a man?), and fulfilling all the necessary functions to place and keep a man on the field. Scriptural, Independent Baptists should be more zealous than any of the others because they understand that the imperative of reaching the world with the Gospel is their purpose for existence. Furthermore, true Independent Baptists are convicted that...
VI. Salvation Is By Grace Through Repentance And Faith
True, New Testament Independent Baptists have faithfully proclaimed the message that John the Baptist preached, that Jesus Christ preached, that Peter preached, that Paul preached, and all other faithful brethren since then have preached and that is, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). Jesus said in Luke 24:47 "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations..."
Salvation without repentance is damnation! Today, there are many preaching a false gospel without making people face the guilt and condemnation of their sin; consequently, if a man is never faced with his sin and the reality that he is lost (by his own understanding), he can never be saved. The Scriptures are clear on promoting house to house evangelism but it condemns "easy believism". Salvation decisions without repentance give people false hope and make them twofold the child of hell. "If any man preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:9). Lastly, true N. T. Independent Baptists adhere to and hold that...
VII. The Table Of The Lord Is Restricted To Members Only
The church was given two ordinances by Jesus Christ--baptism and the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:2). Jesus instituted the ordinance of the Lord's Supper on the night before His crucifixion. This is His ordinance and His table; therefore, we must invite the participants according to the Lord's orders. The scriptural qualifications to observe the Lord's Supper are:
1) one must be saved (1 Cor. 10:21).
2) one must be scripturally baptized (Acts 2:41-47).
3) one must be a member of the church observing the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:18).
4) one must have an orderly walk void of offense toward God and man (1 Cor. 11:27-31).
Scriptural observance of the Lord's Supper is inseparably connected with efficient church discipline; hence, only members of that particular Baptist church should participate in observing the Lord's Supper in the church which has the authority to discipline them. Restricting the Lord's table to members only will bring God's blessing and avoid the sure judgment of God (1 Cor. 11:30).
May God help you to have more than a name and reputation, but to know the reality of being a true, New Testament, Independent Baptist. "For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth" (2 Cor. 10:18).