"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." I Timothy 3:15
The Baptist Book
There is a great deal of loose and foolish talk these days by ignorant and uninformed
people. To read their writings and hear them talk, you would think that the Bible,
instead of being written to guide us into all truth, was written to teach everything
in general and nothing in particular. The idea of Unitarians is that every sect in
Christendom can find support for its vagaries in the Bible or that the Bible is silent
on all distinctive doctrines and every man is left to his own whims and fancies as
to what he believes. Such in not the case.
The Son of God said: “Thy word is truth.” The Bible is God’s compendium of truth.
No man is left to his own choice as to what he believes or what church he joins.
So particular was the Son of God as to what church God’s children join, that He said:
“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh
unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far
from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments
of men.” (Mt. 15:7-9).
That means that, if a man says it doesn’t make any difference what you believe just
so you are sincere, the Lord Jesus says he is a hypocrite and that his worship is
vain, heartless and only lip-service. That means that if a man says one church is
as good as another, that he isn’t obeying Christ at all but is a man-pleasing, time-server,
who if saved at all will be saved so as by fire and all his works burned up. (1 Cor.
The Master never got off any such gush and sentiment. The Psalmist said: “I will
worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for
thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” God thus exalts
the truth of His Word above His own name or the name of His Son or the name of His
blessed Spirit. God sets unlimited store by the truth of His Word. Nothing is higher
or holier than the truth.
Satan in the garden of Eden began his work with Adam and Eve by insinuating a doubt
in their minds and getting them to put a question mark about God’s truth. He is still
at the same old tricks. When he gets men and women to say it does not make any difference
what you believe or what church you join, just so you are sincere, it is equivalent
to saying that believing a lie will do as much good as believing the truth. The Bible
says: “Let God be true and every man a liar.” (Rom. 3:4).
Nobility of character is determined by just one thing, namely, by a man’s attitude
to the Word of God. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when
ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word
of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in
you that believe.” (1 Thess. 2:13). Next to the rejection of the Lord Jesus the worst
curse that God can pronounce against a man is to turn him over to Satan with all
deceivableness, “because he receiveth not the love of the truth.”
It Does Make a Difference—What You Believe
It makes a great deal of difference what you believe and what church you join. John
the Beloved, in both his second and third epistles, which were addressed, one to
a laymen and the other to an elect lady, commends them and their children for walking
in the truth and loving the truth. And the most execration, which John was capable
of writing, he wrote against the modernists of his day, who put so-called new truths
above “what is written” and against Diotrephes, who with malicious words, prated
against the truth.
The Bible is God’s textbook on truth—all truth, pertaining to life and godliness.
There are no contradictions in it. It is the truth without any admixture of error
because it is the Book of Him, who is the “way, the truth and the life.” Because
the Bible is God’s book, it is the Baptist book. The first Baptist church began during
the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus here on earth. The New Testament begins with
the word of His forerunner in getting a people ready for Him to build His church.
The forerunner said that Christ must increase and he must decrease. John soon passed
from the stage of action and Jesus and His churches from then on until the end of
the Book are the themes of discussion. Jesus and the Baptist are the theme of this
book. These facts prove beyond cavil or gainsaying that the New Testament is the
It Was Written By Baptists
The Holy Spirit chose just eight men to write. Matthew, Mark, James and Jude wrote
one book each. Luke and Peter wrote two each. John wrote five and Paul wrote fourteen.
All of them were Baptists. Matthew, John, James, Peter and Jude were all baptized
by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Mark, Luke and Paul were baptized by others,
who got their baptism from John.
We know then that every book in the New Testament was written by a Baptist. If there
were no other reason but that for saying the New testament is a Baptist book, the
fact it was written by Baptists, since it talks about Christ and His churches, would
prove that it is a Baptist book.
It Was Written About Baptists
The New testament was not only written by Baptists, but it was written about Baptists.
It tells of the baptism of Jesus and the twelve apostles and multitudes of others
by the first Baptist preacher. It tells of the organization by Jesus of the first
Baptist church. It tells about the rapid spread of the Baptists and their doctrines
and principles throughout the first century. It tells of their mission work throughout
all Southern Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa.
This Baptist book tells about the persecutions of Baptists for a generation or two
after the ascension of the Lord Jesus. Like Baptists today these New Testament Baptist
were a free people and had many contentions and discussions of their differences.
This Baptist book tells about them and about the democracy of these Baptists of long
ago in settling their differences.
The letters from the writers of this Baptist book to Baptist churches and individuals
are full of expositions of Baptist doctrines and of discussions of the problems and
duties of the Baptist church members. There isn’t a book in print today that discusses
as many of the doctrinal and practical problems of discipline, missions, worldliness,
the ministry, the Lord’s Supper, speaking with tongues, the disorderliness of women
speaking in the churches, church finances and a host of other things Baptist churches
are wrestling with today, as Paul’s two letters to the church in Corinth. The New
testament was written by Baptists and about Baptists and for Baptists and it will
settle all their problems, if they will only read and obey it.
It Was Written For Baptists Of All Ages
The Lord Jesus promised perpetuity to Baptist churches. He plainly said the gates
of hell would not prevail against the institution, which He called “my church.” His
world-wide commission as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 promised that He would be with
His churches unto the end of this age. In Ephesians 3:20-21 He promised that God
would be glorified in the church by Christ Jesus in every generation world without
end. This Baptist book was written to encourage Baptist churches in times of backsliding
or persecution, that there would be Baptist churches in every generation until He
Our enemies testify that our Lord has kept His promise and that Baptists can be traced
through the centuries by a trail of blood.
Joan Bocher, of Kent, Anne Askew, and hundreds of other Baptists were murdered for
their principles in the sixteenth century before the Smyth affair. The following
edict was put forth by the Council of St. Gall, March 26, 1530: “All who adhere to
or favor the false sect of the Baptists, and who attend hedge meetings, shall suffer
the most severe punishments. Baptist leaders, their followers and protectors, shall
be drowned without mercy” (Bullinger, Reformationsgeschichte, II, 287: A History
of the Baptists, by J. T. Christian).
In 1819 the king of the Netherlands appointed Dr. Ypeij, Professor of Theology in
Gronigen University, and J. J. Dermont, his chaplain, to write of the Dutch Reformed
Church. The Baptists kept getting in their way when they made statement concerning
them, closing in these words” “We have now seen that the Baptists, who were formerly
called ‘Anabaptist,’ were the original Waldenses, and who have long in the history
of the church received the honor of that origin. On this account the Baptists may
be considered as the only Christian community which has stood since the days of the
apostles, and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrines of the
gospel through all ages.” Did these men tell the truth? They were not Baptist.
Alexander Campbell, in 1851, when he had been an ordained minister for forty years,
and fifteen years before his death, said: “There is nothing more congenial to civil
liberty than to enjoy an unrestrained, unembargoed liberty of exercising the conscience
freely upon all subjects respecting religion. Hence it is that the Baptist denomination,
in all ages and in all countries, has been, as a body, the constant asserters of
the rights of man and liberty of conscience. They have often been persecuted by Pedo-baptists;
but they never politically persecuted though they have had it in their power” (“Christian
baptism,” page 409).
The New Testament was not only written by Baptists about Baptists and for Baptists,
thereby giving overwhelming testimony that it is the Baptist book: but there is one
other proof that is stronger than any of these.
It Was Written To Make Baptists
The last commission of the Son of God before His ascension to His Father’s right
hand said: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and
teach all nations [make disciples, get folks saved], baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end
of the world.”
That commission was given to His church. It could not have been given to individuals,
because perpetuity was promised unto the end of the age. The only thing that was
to continue unto the end of the age was His church as an institution. To that institution
He gave this world-wide commission. His first command was to make disciples [get
folks saved] or Christians by preaching the gospel to every creature in all nations.
Then He commanded His church, which was a missionary Baptist church, to make Baptists
out of all Christians, by baptizing them in the name of the father, Son and Holy
Ghost. He, who has all authority in heaven and in earth commanded His church to make
disciples or Christians of all nations by preaching the gospel to them and then make
Baptists out of all Christians by giving them Baptist baptism.
The command of the Lord Jesus is as plain and as imperative to make Baptists as it
is to make Christians. Those are our orders until He comes back. First make them
Christians and then make them Baptists.
According to the orders of Him, who has all authority in heaven and on earth, it
is as much our business to make Baptists as it is to make disciples. If the Lord
Jesus by His orders can make His will clear and plain, it is His will that every
Christian on this earth be a Baptist. Not by force is this to be done but by teaching.
And just as they are not to be made disciples by force but by teaching, so they are
to be made Baptists exactly the same way, by teaching all Christians all things He
has commanded. The same Bible that will make Christians, will make Baptists if faithfully
Baptists will have two big accounts to settle at the judgment bar of the Lord Jesus.
The first one will be for not going our lengths to make Christians by giving the
world the gospel of grace. The second will be for not doing our best to make Baptists
out of all Christians. The orders of Jesus include both. The Book is very plain about
the plan of salvation. It is equally plain about church membership. The New Testament
will make Christians if read and believed. The same New Testament will make Baptists
if read and obeyed. It is just as plain and clear on the second as on the first.
Salvation first, then obedience in baptism and church membership.
“The Lord added to the church daily the saved.” That is the order of the Lord Jesus
and these New testament Baptists obeyed their orders. The orders haven’t changed.
They still read that way. First make them disciples: then make them Baptists. Every
disciple or Christian ought to be a Baptist. Why aren’t they? Because Baptists have
sold out for pay and popularity. They try to make disciples: but don’t try to make
Baptists. They are afraid they will be called narrow or be unpopular or the collection
will fall down. How much better is that crowd than Judas? Selling out the Lord for
dirty silver. Who is doing that? All Union evangelists are.
All compromising pastors, who dismiss any of their services are. All the “mixed multitude,”
who because of intermarriage with other denominations want the soft pedal put on
doctrine are. Who else? Every Baptist school which is selling out for pay and patronage.
A Baptist school, which is not trying to make Baptists out of its students is recreant
to it Master’s orders and untrue to a sacred trust. The business of every Baptist
school in the land is first to make Christians and then make Baptists out of all
of their students, who are Christians. Why should Baptists put any money into any
school, whose chief business is not first to make Christians and then Make Baptists
out of all their students?
Jesus never told us to do anything, where He did not first set an example. He made
disciples (John 4:1). Then he taught them all things needful for the Christian life.
That is the business of Baptists everywhere: Make disciples, Make Baptists , make
missionary Baptists. That ought to be the business of Baptist churches, Baptist Sunday
Schools, Baptist schools and everything else that is Baptist.
Jesus was a teacher as well as a preacher. He confined His teaching to opening to
His young preachers and missionaries the Scriptures. That ought to be the mission
of every Baptist school. He left us an example, that we should follow in His steps.
Three years or three and one-half of teaching the Scriptures, not only made home
and foreign missionaries out of all His preacher boys, but it so saturated the very
atmosphere of that first Baptist church with the spirit of missions, that when persecution
arose, all the men and women in that church went everywhere “gossiping about Jesus”
If Baptist schools gave a four year course in the study of the Bible, all their students
would go back home to set this whole land afire on Missions, just like they did in
the New Testament days. Churches, schools and every other agency of the Baptists
ought to exist to make Christians, make Baptists, make missionary Baptists. If they
are not run for that purpose, they ought to die; the sooner the better for this wicked
The New Testament was written to make Christians, to make Baptists, to Make missionary
Baptists. Time and space would fail me to cite the many examples of those, who have
been made Baptist by the New Testament. Judson and Rice on different ships, going
out as Congregationalist missionaries, were made Baptists by studying their Greek
Testaments, to meet Marshman and Ward, two English Baptist missionaries already on
A Methodist presiding elder in the “Pennyrile” district of Kentucky held a meeting
between Owensboro and Central City. A very prominent business man was converted,
but did not join the church. A few weeks afterwards the presiding elder saw one of
the stewards on the train between Owensboro and Central City and asked about his
A Baptist deacon was sitting behind the elder and the steward. They either did not
notice or did not care, who heard them. The stewards answer to the elder was that
the new convert was reading his Bible. The significant comment made by the elder,
with a shrug of the shoulders, was: “Well, we had as well say good-bye to him. He
will go to the Baptists.” How any man expects to meet the Lord Jesus, except with
great embarrassment, who knows the truth about baptism and church membership and
will not obey it, is more than I can understand.