The Church That Jesus Built
By B. H. Hillard, Pastor
Lockland Baptist Church
Baptists have wielded a powerful influence on American governmental policies and legislation.
Roger Williams, one of the most powerful figures in early Colonial activities, was a Baptist.
President Warren G. Harding was a Baptist, while the fathers of Presidents Chester A. Arthur and Wm. Howard Taft were Baptists.
President Abraham Lincoln attributed all he was to a Baptist Mother, while Calvin Coolidge said: "My grandmother was a Baptist, therefore I do not dance."
Henry Clay, one of America's foremost statesmen, was the son of a Baptist preacher, as is true of Chief Justice Charles Evan Hughes.
The father of Wm. Jennings Bryan was a Baptist.
George Washington relied on Baptists much in the directing of the course of the Revolution.
Lloyd George, the great British Statesman, is a Baptist.
Some of the world's great preachers have been Baptists: Charles H. Spurgeon, F. B. Meyer, Alexander McClaren, A. J. Gordon, Andrew Fuller.
John Milton, author of "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained," was a Baptist, as was John Bunyan, author of "Pilgrim's Progress."
In speaking of Baptists, I speak of the age-long Fundamentalist group, and not of the Modernistic tribe.
The Church's Origin
In Matthew 16:17-18 Jesus says to Peter:Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.Jesus spoke in response to Peter's assertion that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. In essence Jesus said, according to the original,
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.Thou are PETROS (a little rock), and upon this PETRA (a big rock) I will build my Church.This is in perfect accord with Ephesians 2:20 -And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.The church was not built upon Peter himself, nor upon his faith or confession, but upon Jesus.
From the day Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," there has been a church in the world bearing all the marks of New Testament origin, an institution of which He is and shall forever be the Head (Colossians 1:18).
John the Baptist the Forerunner
John the Baptisst, called, named, and ordained of God, was the first Baptist preacher (Matthew 3:1-11), who baptized Jesus and all the apostles including the successor to Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:21-22). Jesus walked sixty miles to be baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17). With Jesus it made a difference by whom he was baptized. Jesus was immersed in the Jordan -And Jesus was baptized of John IN Jordan (Mark 1:9); And Jesus when he was baptized went UP straightway OUT OF the water (Matthew 3:16).With Jesus it made a difference as to HOW he was baptized.
Jesus was baptized "to fulfull all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15). With Jesus it made a difference as to WHY he was baptized. He had no sins to "wash away," and thus was not baptized in order to be saved.
Out of this Baptist material which John prepared, Jesus built His Church.
There are three things that serve to identify a modern New Testament Church:
1. Historical perpetuity.
These in their order, will be considered.
No reliable historian has ever pointed to a single man who ever claimed the honor of having been the head and founder of a Baptist Church this side of Jesus and the apostles, and on the other hand the world's leading historians have ascribed to Baptists as having had their origin with Jesus, a number of whom speak as follows:
Bureau of the Census United States Department of Commerce:The Baptist bodies of today trace their origin as distinct communities to the Protestant Reformation. It is claimed, indeed, that the churches of the apostolic age were in doctrine, polity and ordinances the exact counterparts of Baptist churches today.Cardinal Hosius (Catholic, 1544). President of the Council of Trent:Were it not that the Baptists have been grievously tormented and cut off with the knife during the past twelve hundred years, they would swarm in greater numbers than all the Reformers.Sir Isaac Newton
The "twelve hundred years" were the years preceding the reformation in which Rome presecuted Baptists with the most cruel persecution thinkable.The Baptists are the only body of known Christians that have never symbolized with Rome.Jacob Mosheim (Lutheran)Before the rise of Luther and Calvin, there lay secreted in almost all the countries of Europe persons who adhered tenaciously to the principles of modern Dutch Baptists.Edingburg Cyclopedia (Presbyterian):It must have already occurred to our readers that the Baptists are the same sect of Christians that were formerly described as Anabaptists. Indeed this seems to have been their leading principles from the time of Tertullian to the present time.John Clark Ridpath (Methodist):
Tertullian was born just fifty years after the death of the apostle John.I should not readily admit that there were Baptists churches as far back as A.D. 100, although without doubt there were Baptists then, as all Christians were Baptists.