"The Lord added to the church the saved." Acts, 11:47. The Lord opened Lydia'a heart, "that she attended to the things which were spoken by Paul." Acts, 16:14. Baptists require that all who are admitted into the church shall profess to have been convinced of sin ; to have turned to God with heart-felt repentance, and to have believed to the saving of the soul. There must be confidence in each other's Christian character, fellowship for each other's views and exercises, and harmony in regard to the teachings of the word of God. "How can two walk together unless they are agreed?"
Baptism. "Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ to be unto the party baptized a Sion of his fellowship with Him in His death and resurrection; of his being ingrafted into Him; of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.
Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only fit subjects of this ordinance.
Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due performance of this ordinance. — Philadelphia, Confession, p. 58; Romans, 6:3, 4, 5; Matthew, 3:16; John, 3:23.
In the organization of a church, it is required, among Baptists, that "the persons being first orderly baptized, according to the command of Christ, give up themselves to the Lord and to one another." — Philadelphia Confession, p. 78."
What, then, is it, to be orderly baptized?
"In 1791, a case was brought before the Ketocton Association which produced considerable agitation. Jas. Hutchinson, who was born in New Jersey, but raised in London county, Virginia, had eone to Georgia, and there first became a Methodist, and then a Baptist preacher. Previous to his joining the Baptists, he had been baptized by a Methodist. When he offered to join the Baptists of Georgia, it was made a question whether his baptism, being performed by an unbaptized person, was valid? The Georgia Baptists decided that it was valid.
"In the year above mentioned, Mr. Hutchinson came to Virginia to see his relations in London county. While he was there, his preaching became effectual to the conversion of many. Mr. Hutchinson baptized them. These things stirred up the question in the Ketocton Association, whether the baptism of Hutchinson and his disciples was valid? The decision here was just the reverse of the decision in Georgia. They determined not to receive either him or those baptized by him, unless they would submit to be re-baptized. After some time they consented, and the ordinance was re-administered." — Semple's History of Virginia Baptists, p. 302.
In 1787, the first church in New York sent to the Philadelphia Association the following query :
"Whether a person, applying to one of our churches for admission as a member, and satisfies the church that he has been previously baptized by immersion, on a profession of his faith in Christ, but at the same time confesses the person who administered the ordinance was, at the time, neither ordained to the work of the ministry, nor baptized himbelf by immersion, but only chosen and called by a religious society to officiate as their teacher or minister, should be received?" (See Minutes Philadelphia Association, p. 229.)
This was laid over to the next Association, and answered as follows :
"In answer to a query from the first church in New York, of last year, held over to this time, respecting the validity of baptism by a person who had never been baptized himself, nor yet ordained, we reply, that we deem such baptism null and void:
1st. "Because a person that has not been baptized must be disqualified to administer baptism to others, and especially if he be also unordained.
2d. "Because to admit such baptism as valid, would make void the ordinances of Christ, throw contempt on his authority, and tend to confusion ; for if baptism be not necessary for an administrator of it, neither can it be for church communion, which is an inferior act; and if such baptism be valid, then ordination is unnecessary, contrary to Acts, 14: 23 ; 1 Timothy, 4 : 14; Peter., 1:5, and our Confession of Faith, chap. 27.
3d. "Of this opinion we find were our Associations in times past, who put a negative on such baptisms in 1729, 1732, 1744, 1749, and 1768.
4th. "Because such administrator has no commission to baptize, for the words of the commission were addressed to the apostles, and their successors in the ministry, to the end of the world, and these are such whom the Church of Christ appoint to the whole work of the ministry." — Ibid. p. 238.
This lengthy quotation from the Minutes of the Philadelphia Association covers the whole ground, and refers to the previous answers of that body back to 1729.
This is the oldest Association of Baptists in America, and, as a matter of course, its adjudications ought to be respected and have their duo weight, not only because of its age, but because from the first it had within its bounds some of the ripest scholars and ablest divines in the denomination.
David Benedict, for many years past has, without doubt, held a more extensive correspondence with the Baptists upon this continent than any man in America, and therefore has a better tight to know what the practice of the denomination has been upon the subject under consideration than any other man. Says in his Church History of ancient and modern Baptists, in a note at page 943:
"I have ascertained ly my extensive correspondence that by FAR THE GREATER PART of our denomination both RE-BAPTIZE and RE-ORDAIN all who join them, from whatever churches they come. A minority omit re-baptism in favor of those candidates who came from the Freewill Baptists, the Methodists, and Campbellites, or Reformers."
The following, from the oldest Association in Kentucky, bears on the same subject:
The Committee to whom the following queries from the first Baptist Church in Lexington were referred, viz:
"1st. Can persons, baptized on a profession of faith by an administrator not regularly ordained, be received into our churches, under any circumstances whatever, without being again baptized?
"Report, in answer to the question, that it is not regular to receive such members. In the minutes of 1802, this Association defined valid baptism to consist in the administration of the ordinance by immersion by an administrator legally called to preach the gospel, and ordained as the scriptures direct; and that the candidate for baptism make a profession of his faith in Jesus Christ, and that he be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by dipping the whole body in water. J. Vardeman,
E. Waller, Committee
Minutes of Elkhorn Association, 1822. =========
]Samuel H. Ford, The Christian Repository, Acts and Usages of Baptist Churches, "Materials of a Gospel Church", 1859, p. 11-13. Document from Google Books.]
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