The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Why not drop the name "Baptist," and take the name "Christian"? Baptists claim to be Christians the followers of Christ and His teachings, in the widest and deepest significance of the term. We are Christian Baptists - Baptist Christians - the Baptist people and churches of Christ; but for several reasons we cannot give up the name of "Baptist."
1. It is the name of our prototype, John the Baptist, and he was a Baptist, and so called by reason of the ordinance he administered, which was "of heaven" and "not of men" and himself "sent from God." Not only so, but under God, he revealed the fundamental principles and practices which now distinguish Baptists from all other people; and we can no more give up the name than the principles of our Baptist prototype.
2. The name "Baptist" (from the word "baptism") is symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection ideal of salvation by grace (I Cor. 15:1-4). Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again for our justification; and when He was baptized by John in Jordan (Matt. 3:15), He thus fulfilled "all righteousness" in the symbolic representation of this great threefold fact in the work of our redemption. Not only so; but when we are baptized we symbolize, in Jesus Christ, our death to sin, the burial of the old man from sight, and our resurrection to newness of life (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12).
The Baptists, according to their name, are a death, burial, and resurrection people, believing a death, burial, and resurrection gospel, and practicing a death, burial, and resurrection baptism; and there are no other people who can properly administer baptism in accord with the death, burial, and resurrection significance of the ordinance. It would be impossible, therefore, for us to effectively sustain our historic and characteristic attitude toward this gospel ideal and give up the name of "Baptist."
3. It is impossible, now, for us to surrender the name "Baptist," because that name properly distinguishes us from those who call themselves and their churches "Christian," and yet who preach and practice unchristian errors and heresies, as Baptists see them - even some who practice immersion as we do.
The denial of the Holy Spirit in conversion through repentance and faith; the claim that the Spirit enters the penitent believer only in the water; baptismal remission or regeneration; priestly mediation between the soul and the Mediator; infant baptism; sprinkling and pouring for baptism; transubstantiation; apostasy from grace; papal, prelatical, and presbyterial forms of church government; union of church and state; ministerial or magisterial interference with conscience; Christian Science (so called); all forms of rationalistic Christianity which excludes the Deity of Christ, sin atonement, the final judgment and eternal hell - all this and more is called "Christian"; and the only denomination word which fully differentiates the religious world along all these lines is "Baptist."
The worst-abused word in history is the word "Christian," none of so uncertain sound; and while Baptists claim that sacred name, we should lose our historic and characteristic identity as a people, and sacrifice our specific mission for the truth of God and the good of the world, if we gave up our symbolic name for that of "Christian" alone.