Baptist History Homepage
"Why We Are Baptist"
By W. K. Wood, 1939

      Peter tells us to be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason for the hope that is in us with meekness and fear. Every Baptist ought to be able to tell why he is a Baptist, and to be able at any time that he is called upon to give his reasons for being a Baptist. Those who are not Baptists ought to have good reasons for not being a Baptist. We believe with all our heart that the Church Jesus built was a Baptist Church. There is much talk about the uniting of all churches (so-called). We do not know of anything that would be more dishonoring and more disgraceful or more distasteful to our Lord than for Daptiets to unite with other so-called churches. We do not even unionize with them in their union services. To do so is to put Baptists on the same level with them and to dishonor Christ, and to give encouragement to those who are teaching heresy. To unionize with others reflects upon the church Jesus built, which is the pillar and ground of the truth. A union that is not based upon unity bears a falsehood upon its face. In fact, union without unity is a flat contradiction. So if Baptists, do not intend to line up in this great union movement, then they ought to give a reason for their existenceas a separate people. If heretics are not to be received into our house, neither to be bidden God speed, there should be a reason for not partaking of their evil deeds. Therefore we are giving you our reasons as to why we are a separate people, as Baptists in the true sense of the word cannot be anything but a separate people.


      We are Baptists because Jesus the head and founder of the Church, was a Baptist.

      Jesus said in Matthew 18:16, "On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Peter says this rock was Christ. Paul says, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." If you will read Mark 1:9-11; Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22 you will note how this head and founder, who is Jesus, became a Baptist. He came to John the Baptist and was baptized of him in Jordan. The Baptist name is of divine origin. It was given him because of the work God gave him to do. He was sent from God,(John. 1:6) and God called him the Baptist before he started preaching. Matthew 3:1, "In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea." He is not called a Baptist because he was a baptizer. Be was called the Baptist before he came to Jordan baptizing: God named him and commissioned him. The divine record allows that Jesus was baptized by this first Baptist preacher. This made Him a Baptist. And when John had baptized Jesus a voice from heaven said: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." If God was well pleased with Jesus being a Baptist, surely He is well pleased with all the followers of Christ being Baptist.


      The material out of which Jesus built His church was Baptist material.

     John the Baptist prepared the material for the organization of the church Jesus built. True to his God-given commission and name,he was very careful about this material. He demanded that this material should bring forth fruit worthy of repentance. But someone will say, "Did John baptize the material that went into the church that Jesus built?" Certainly. The prophet said that he would prepare it and in the fulfillment of this prophecy, he did prepare it. The next day after John had baptized Jesus, two of His disciples heard John's testimony concerning Christ. And one of these who heard the testimony was Andrew. And he found Peter. These, together with the other apostles, were baptized by John. And when one was to take the place of Judas who by transgression had fallen from his bishopric, he must have been one who had been baptized by John the Baptist. Acts 1:22. These apostles whom John had baptized were the first set in the church. 1 Corinthians 12:28, "God set some in the church, first apostles." When were they set in the church? Turning to Luke, Chapter 6, verses 12 to 16, we see Jesus going into a mountain to pray. And He continued all night in prayer to God. When it was day He called unto Him His disciples. Out of them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles. These apostles according to divine record were baptized by John the Baptist. And being the first set in the church, they became the first charter members of the first Baptist Church in all the world. For if the foundation, head and founder of the church be a Baptist, and the material that went into it was Baptist material, what else could it be but a Baptist Church? This took place in the days of the personal ministry of Jesus Christ here on earth. That leads to our third proposition.


      We are a Baptist because the church which Jesus built, being a Baptist Church, was set up by the Lord Jesus in the days of His personal ministry. It had everything in it described in the Bible that goes to make up a church. Eleven reasons for so believing:

      1. The apostles were in it. We have just shown from 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Luke 6:12, 16 that Christ set some in the Church. First apostles, after an all night of prayer to God, having called them out from among His dtsciples The word "church" — ecclesia means "called out"...

      2. Prophets and teachers were in this church during His personal ministry. For in 1 Corinthians 12:28, God set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."

      3. This church had an ordained ministry set up by the Lord Jesus during His personal ministry. It is stated in Mark 3:14, that He ordained twelve that they should be with Him and that He might send them forth to preach. These things said in this Scripture:

           (1) Ordained twelve.

           (2) That they might be with Him, Mind you, with Him.

           (3) That He might send them forth to preach. All agree that a church should have some kind of ordination for their preachers. Here is Jesus ordaining a ministry and sending them forth to preach the gospel.

      4. This church was in the possession of the Gospel and was preaching the same while Christ was here on the earth. Mark 1:1, "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God. Matthew 24:14, "And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world." Mark you, this Gospel, the gospel they were already preaching was to be preached in all the world. It was therefore the same kind of gospel that Jesus said was to be world-wide in the great commission. This church was undoubtedly commissioned to preach while Jesus was here, for in Matthew 10:7, "As ye go preach." And mark you this comission to go preach was given to the twelve, whom God says were first set in the church.

      5. It was through this church during the days of Christ's personal ministry that He baptized. In John 4:2, "Jesus Himself baptized not, but His disciples." The same disciples whom He had ordained and who dated their baptism back to John, who received his authority from heaven.

      6. They had the Lord's Supper with the Lord Jesus during His personal ministry. In Matthew 26:30, we have the institution of the Lord's Supper. And at the close of the Lord's Supper they sang a hymn. This is the only place that the Bible speaks of Jesus singing. And in Hebrews 2:12, it is stated, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." So we have Jesus with His disciples taking the Lord's Supper in the church. And it was the command of the Lord Jesus to the Apostle Paul in writing to the Corinthian brethren, (1 Corinthians 11:2) to keep the ordinances as I have delivered them unto you. And according to the 18th verse of the same chapter they were to come together in the church for the observance of the Lord's Supper. We should not take it outside of the place. He has commanded it to be observed. It is not to be carried to a sick room. It is not a sacrament. It is to be observed by the church in memory of Christ until He comes.

      7. This church could exercise a rule of discipline during the personal ministry of Christ. In Matthew 18:6-18, Jesus lays down this rule. It is for those who have had a difference to try and reconcile their differences between themselves. But if the one who has transgressed will not hear the one who has been transgressed against let him take two others that every word may be established. Then if he neglect to hear them, tell it to the church. Then if he neglect to hear the church, let him be as a heathen man and a publican. How could they tell it to the church if this church did not exist?

      8. Jesus gave to this church during His personal ministry, the keys of the kingdom. Matthew 16:19. The keys of the kingdom are the Gospel and the Holy Spirit. The preaching of the Gospel under the influence of the spirit brings people into the kingdom. These are the two keys that open up the kingdom. "That which is born of the spirit, is spirit." "And being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God."

      [9]. They kept some record of their finances as Judas was the treasurer of this church. John 13:29.

      10. At the close of Christ's earthly ministry this church has 120 names on its roll. Acts 1:15.

      11. It was to this church that three thousand were added on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:42, "They that gladly received the word were baptized and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

      Thus far according to Scripture we have found the Baptists to have been organized at the right time which, according to 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Luke 6:12-16, was in the days of the personal ministry of Jesus Christ. Baptists are the only folks in the world that can date their origin back to this time. Alexander Campbell, in McCaula [MacCalla] & Campbell Debate on Baptism, page 378-379, states that Baptists date back to the Apostolic age."From the apostolic age to the present time the sentiments of Baptists and the practice cf baptism has had a continued cha[i]n of advocates; and public monuments of their existence in every century can be produced."

      John Clark Ridpath (Methodist), author of Ridpath's History of the World, in a letter to W. A. Jarrell, Baptist Church Perpetuity, page 59, said: "I should not readily admit that [t]here was a Baptist Chuich as far back as A. D. 100, though without doubt there were Baptists then, as all Christians were then Baptists."

      In 1819 the King of Holland appointed a committee of two, who were members of the Dutch Reformed Church, to write a history of the Dutch Reform Church and also to investigate the claims of Dutch Baptists. In preparing the history, a chapter is devoted to the Baptists. From this chapter we quote: "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 prserved pure the doctrines of the Gospel through al ages."

      It could not be otherwise since Jesus said: "On this rock I build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." There isn't another church organization on God's dirt whose date and origin cannot be traced to some man or men this side of the days of Christ's personal ministry. May we give you the dates of some of them:

           Roman Catholic, with its first universal bishop or Pope came into existence in 606.

           The Greek Catholic Church separated from the Roman Catholics in 1050.

           The Lutheran Church was founded by Martin Luther in 1520.

           The Episcopal by King Henry VIII in 1534.

           Presbyterians, by John Calvin in 1535.

           Dutch Reform Church separated from the Roman Catholics in 1540.

           Congregationalists were founded by Robert Brown in 1589.

           Methodist founded by John Wesley in 1740.

           Freewill Baptists by Benjamin Randall in 1780.

           Campbellite by Alexander Campbell in 1827.

           Mormans, by John Smith in 1839.

           Hardshell Baptists, by Daniel Parker in 1832.

           Nazarene, out of which has come about seventeen different kinds of Holiness, by S. F. Breece in 1835.

           Christian Science, by Mary Baker Eddy in 1884.

           Russellites or Millenial Dawn by Charles T. Russell in 1884.


      We are a Baptist because of their doctrine. Six reasons I want to mention:

      1. The Bible alone is their only rule of faith and practice. Isaiah 8:20, "To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is [no] light in them." 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is given by inspiratoin [sic] of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." H. B. Taylor had a way of saying: "If it is in the Bible, it is Baptist doctrine. If it is Baptist doctrine, you can find it in the Bible." Bible doctrine is Baptist doctrine. Nothing beyond what is written. Psalms 138:2, "For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." Baptists do not teach for doctrine the commandments of men. But they believe as Jesus did that thy word is truth. They say "let God be true and every man a liar." The rejection of the Word is next to the rejection of the Lord Jesus. The man who rejects the wo[r]d will despite Jesus.

      2. The depravity of man. Baptists believe that in the fall of man that the whole human race has become depraved. We do not mean by that that every man is as ean as he can be or as mean as he will be. But we do mean that there is not a particle about man which has not been dcfiled by sin "And that the whole head is sick,the whale heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores that have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment." By One man's disobedience many were made sinners. They came into the world in a very bad state. Psalm 51:5, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Psalms 58:3, "The wicked as estrainged from the womnb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." Romans 3:10-13, "There is none righteous, no not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. There is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their ways. And the way of peace have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes." Many other Scriptures could be given to show that every faculty of man has been ruined by sin.

      3. Election. In 1 Peter 1:2, the apostle Peter, a Baptist preacher states that election is according to the fore-knowledge of God the father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesu Christ. And Paul, another Baptist preacher, in Ephesians 1:4-5, says: "He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will." 1 Thessalonians 2:13, "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth." And again Paul says, "I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." "Even so at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." - Romans 11:5.

      4. We believe in the doctrine of salvation by grace. "For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus." - Ephesians 2:8-9. "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."

      "Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found was blind but now I see. 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How procion did that grace appear, the hour I first believed."

      5. We believe in God's order of repentance and faith as preached by the Baptists and as taught by the Lord Jesus. "For the publicans and harlots believed him, and ye when ye heard it repented not aftersward that ye might believe him" - Matthew 21:32. "Repent ye and believe the Gospel." - Mark 1:12. "Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. - "Acts. God says: "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." And Jesus stated: "He that believeth not shall be damned." Baptists sound out clearly on these great doctrines lain down in their order by the Lord Jesus. The order is not faith and repentance, but repentance and faith.

      6. Again we must agree with the doctrine of once-for-all salvation as taught by Baptists and that has been given to those who repent of their sin and believe in Christ to the salvation of their soul. John 3:36. "He that believeth on the son hath everlasting life." John 10:28-29. He gives "unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." 1 Peter 1:3-5 states that He "hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4)To an inheritance incorruptible,and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, (5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

      He certainly has the power to keep. Matthew 28:18 "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Therefore we can say with Paul: "For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor thing's to come, nor height, nor depth; nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39. - "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.... Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." Psalm 37:23-24. - "For the Lord loveth judgment and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved forever." Psalm 37:28. - Note the word preserved. Get your dictionary and read carefully the definition of the word. A few years ago Brother J. W. Mullenns, a consecrated Baptist preacher, was visiting friends on Kinneckinick River in Lewis County. At the noon hour they served as a part of their lunch some preserves that had been handed down forthree generations. If a woman can take the fruit from the vineand preserve it in safe keeping for three generations so as to make a portion of a delightful meal, how much more can the God of Heaven preserve His saints forever! Praise God, they are preserved forever.

      "The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I will not, I will not, desert to its foes. That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I will never, no never, no never forsake." -


      We are a Baptist because of their church ordinances. There are two, namely: Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

      1. Baptism.
      (1) It came from heaven. "The Baptism of John." said Jesus, "Was it from heaven or of man?" Every baptism that does not date back to John's baptism is of man. And Jesus said of a certain crowd that they had rejected the council of God against themselves not being baptized with the baptism of John.

      (2) Handed down to them by the Lord Jesus. Matthew 28:19-20, "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain. Where He had appointed them. And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, Go ye therefore and make diciples of all nations, 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 always, even unto the end of the world."

      Baptists are the only people carrying out the commission of our blessed Lord. They make and baptize disciples. That was Christ's order.

      (a) Baptists do not baptize in order to take away sin. John the Baptist demanded that people should bring forth fruits meet for repentance before he would baptize them. Baptists of today demand the same evidence: that is, that people must believe in Christ as their Saviour before they are baptized. Then the proper subject for Bible baptism, which is Baptist baptism, is a believer — one who has repented, accepted Christ, and has been saved. "What doth hinder me to be baptized?" Philip answered. "If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest." There is neither precept nor command anywhere in God's word to baptize anybody in order to make them a Christian. Baptism has nothing in the world to do with making anybody a Christian. Paul said in I Corinthians 1:14, "I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius." Verse 17: "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to Preach the Gospel." What is the Gospel? The Gospel is how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptureg. and that he was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. And this Gospel (not baptism) is the Power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. "Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death. That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the father, even so we also should walk in newness of life: and as we have been buried together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. When a person enters the baptismal waters, they say to the world: "We are dead to sin and alive to God." They picture to the world the Gospel of Christ's death, burial, and glorious resurrection.

      A young man of Van Lear, Ky., seeing this Gospel in picture at a Baptist baptizing, witnessed to by me, saw in it Christ's death and burial, and resurrection, and believing that in his heart he was gloriously saved, and jumped into the creek with his Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes on, demanding baptism at the hands of Van Lear Baptist Church through its administrator, J. S. Thompson.

      (4) In Baptist baptism, which is Bible baptism, we have six things stated concerning the water in which they are baptized.

      A. It requires much water. In John 3:23, we read that John also was baptizing in Ennon near to Salem because there was much water there. It requires much water for a Baptist baptizing.

      B. Baptist baptizing requires a going down into the water. Acts 8:38, "And he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the Eunoch and he baptized him."

      When A. J. Holt and S. S. Orris, Professor of Greek in Princeton Theological Seminary, were making a trip through the Holy Land, they occupied a carriage together and sat facing each other. From Bethlehem they went directly south on the Roman road to Hebron visiting Solomon's Pools, about 11 miles out from Bethlehem. These pools were from 200 to 400 feet in dimension. They were arranged one below the other. They were fed from the water shed. They spent much time measuring these pools. They went to Hebron. Mr. Orris was busy examining Cook's map. Then he called the southwest, still on the road to Brother Holt's attention saying, "Dr. Holt, did you know that we were traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza?" (Holt knew it all the time). "See here," he continued, "There are the ruts of chariot wheels in the Roman road made during the days of the Caesars." "See," he continued, "We are now in a desert place, not a tree in sight. We must be near the very place where Philip baptized the Eunoch. Now where is your water? There is not enough water to baptize a monkey the way you Baptists contend. But there is water enough in the hollow of that rock to baptize one decently." (It had rained the night before and some water was standing along the road). Brother Holt replied, "The word finds the water." Just then he heard the bleating of lame sheep and looking out of the door, he saw they were approaching a pool of water not 200 yards distant. So Brother Holt said, "Are you perfectly sure that this is the place?" "Certainly" replied Mr. Orris. "See here, this way shows the route. This red line hows the Roman roads and this one leads from Jerusalem to Beer-sheba by the way of Hebron. Now Philip was in Samaria when called of the Lord to go down to the road to Gaza. He traveled by this black line (pointing to his map). Here is where they came together. I saw this a mile back when Philip got into the chariot. It was right along here when the conversation took place. It is perfectly clear that we are not 100 yards from the very place. Now what if I wanted to be baptized your way, what would you do?" Just at that most opportune moment the driver stopped at that pool to water his horses. Then Brother Holt said to this high and dry Presbyterian Theological Professor, "See, here is water; what doth hinder thee, "pointing to a pool right before their eyes. Then he said to the professor, "You will observe that this is an ancient pool as there are the Hebrew stones, hewn as Solomen ordered them, with a broad bevel." There was a herd of cattle and some sheep drinking water at that pool. The Presbyterian Professor remarked, "I confess that this is an unfortunate co-incidence." Brother Holt replied that he thought it was quite fortunate, and that he was going to report to the Baptist Press of America that according to Professor S. S. Orris, Presbyterian Theological Seminary Professor, "We have found the veritable pool where Philip baptized the Ethiopian." Of course the Professor did not accept his challenge; but theree an ancient pool right beside thetoad from Jesusalem to Hebron,1,,Idng which Philip and the Ethiopian must have traveled. The pool is about 100 feet square and while filled up considerably had about 20 foot depth of water at the time Brother Holt the Baptist preacher and Professor Orris, the Presbyterian Greek teacher came along the way. It sloped from the road back-wards to the depth just stated. So we see that God has so arranged things that even a Greek Professor in a Presbyterian Seminary can't refute the teaching of God's Word. Yes, the Bible says, "They went down into the water."

      C. To have a Scriptural baptism there must not only be much water, and the going down into the water, but there must be a burial, in the water. Romans 6:4, "We are buried with him by baptism." Romans 6:5, "We have been planted together in the likeness of his death." Nothing but immersion will represent this picture. Immersion and immersion alone reveals such. Any other form called baptism would dstroy the picture.

      Geo. Whitefield, a Methodist, commenting on Romans 6:4, says, "It is certain in the words of our text there is an allusion to the manner of baptism by immersion. Lightfoot, a Presbyterian, says "That the baptism of John was by plunging the body seems to appear from those things related of him: namely, that he baptized in Jordan, that he baptized in Ennon because there was much water there." Dean Stanley, Episcopalian, says, "For the first 13 centuries, the almost universal practice of baptism was that of which we read in the New Testament (mark you, of which we read in the New Testament) and which is the very meaning of the word baptize, that those who were baptized were plunged, submerged, immersed into the water. The change from immersion to sprinkling has set aside the larger part of the apostolic language regaring baptism and has altered the very meaning of the word."

      John Calvin, Presbyterian, says, "The word baptize signifies to immerse; and it is certain that the rite of immersion was observed by the ancient Church."

      Thus we see that if we are buried by baptism, we must be plunged, submerged, immersed, in the water, which pictures the death [and] burial of Christ. Colossians 2:12. "Buried with him in baptism." It symbolizes the death of our old life to sin. We are buried with him by baptism unto death. We have found that Bible baptism, which is Baptist baptism, requires much water, going down into the water, and [being] buried in the water.

      D. In the next place we note a rising from the water. In Colossians 2:12, "Buried with him in baptism wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the death" Romans 6:4, "That like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For as we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." So we see that there is not only to be a burial, which symbolizes our death to sin, and the picture of Jesus being buried, but it also declares that Jesus rose from the grave and expresses our faith in Him. We say to the world that we are dead to the old life and that we are made alive in Christ Jesus as we are buried in baptism and arise from that watery grave.

      Of all the people who ought to live consecrated, devoted, upright, outright, downright Christian lives, they are Baptist. They have said to the world as only their baptism can say, that they have died to the world, died to self, died to sin, end that they have been made alive in Christ, that by the grace of God "It is no more I that liveth, but Christ, who liveth in me"; and I will, for His sake, give my life unreservedly for the promotion of Christ's Kingdom in the world.

      In Galatians 3:26, we find that this burial and resurrection in baptism sets forth to the world the fact that we have put on Christ. "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as have been baptized unto Christ have put on Christ." This baptism symbolizes the inner work of grace in the heart.

      E. In the next place we note that in Bible baptism, which is Baptist baptism, that they come straightway up out of the water. Mark 1:9-10, "It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized of John in Jordan, and straightway came up out of the water." Jesus came to much water is John was baptizing in Jordan. Mark 1:5 states that he was baptized in the river of Jordan. But for fear some who believe in sprinkling would try to make you believe that the river of Jordan is a very small stream and would not have enough water in it for one to go down into, we refer you to 2 Samuel 19:17-18, where there was a ferry boat to convey the king's household across this river. If it was wide enough a ferry boat and deep enough that they must have a ferry boat to get the king's household across the river, certainly there was much water, enough to go downn to, enough to be buried, enough to rise up from and to come straightway up out of. In Bible baptism, which is Baptist baptism, we come to much water,go down into the water, are buried in the water, rise from the water, and come up straightway out of the water, without that there: isn't any baptism.

      In studying baptism as practiced by Baptists and taught in the New Testament, you will note that there was not an infant in any of the baptisms recorded. In fact, we know of a reward of $10.00 that is offered for one Scripture - just one that will justify infant baptism in any shape, form or fashion. In these days of depression a $10.00 bill looks like a wagon sheet. It would be a fine thing for some of thee dry-land baptizers to produce one Scripture to justify baby baptism. It can't be found.

      It was so stated by Andrew Johnson, March 16, 1928, in a sermon on Infant Baptism at Pollard M. E. Church. "Sometimes people demand - you give me an absolute proof and put your finger on the chapter and verse where God says baptize a baby" . . . "There is no absolute command." . ."These are gained by inference."

      The one faith, and the one baptism excludes infants and also any other form of baptism except immersion.

      We now come to the second ordinance as practiced by Baptists.

      2. The Lord's Supper, as administered by Baptists, is the only Scriptural practice of this ordinance. The Lord's Supper as administered by Baptists is not a sacrament as taught by Catholics, Methodists, and others. The Methodist teach, and their teaching is based on Catholicism and not on the Scripture that the sacraments ordained by Christ were not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they are certain signs of grace or God's goodness toward us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken but also strengthen[s] and confirm[s] our faith. They state there are two sacrarnents ordained of Christ. That is baptism, and the Supper of our Lord. Again they state: "The sacraments are not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them and in such only as worthily receive the same they have a wholesome effect or operation." "But they that receive them unworthily purchase to themselves condemnation." "That the Lord's Supper is a sacrament of our redemption." That is nothing more than being saved by our observing the Lord's Supper. Such is not the teaching of the Scripture. The Lord's Supper is not transubstantiation. What is transubitantiation as taught by the Catholic Church? In the Manual of the Holy Catholic Church, first part, section 2, Page 49, "That this inward, imperceptible substance of the bread and wine, is, at the consecration entirely taken away by the almighty power of God, and changed into the substance of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, which is substituted in its place; but that all the outward sensible qualities of the bread and wine remain entirely the same as before consecration. So that Jesus Christ [is] now present, instead of the bread and wine, exhibits himself to us under those very same outward forms or appearances, which the bread and wine had before the change." Thus we see, according to their own comments on page 50 of the same volume. "That which before consecration was bread, did after consecration, become his body, the bread must undoubtedly be changed into his body; and as it is manifest to our senses that there is no change in the outward sensible qualities, therefore this change must be in the inward substance.

      "The Lord's Supper is not a communion of saints. Some would say that they could not be a Baptist because they could not commune with their wife. Well, brother, do that at home. At the Lord's Supper, we show that we are remembering Christ. We are not there to show love for brethren, for mother, brother, or sister. When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, His mother was not there.

      (1) The Lord's Supper as taught in the Bible and practiced by Baptists is a memorial. This memorial is to be observed in memory of Christ. Luke 22:19, "He took bread and gave thanks and brake it and gave unto them saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of me."

      When Baptists come together to observe the Lord's Supper, they come there in memory of Christ. If they do not, they are not discerning the Lord's body.

      (2) The elements in the Lord's Supper are bread and wine. There is to be one loaf, which represents one body. This one loaf is to be of unleavened bread. The same kind the Master used in the Passover. The Master used that kind the night He instituted the Lord's Supper. Any Old Testament passage that tells about the kind ofbread in the Passover will describe the kind used in the Lords'Supper. Jesus took this one loaf of unleavened bread and after thanks brake it and give [sic] to His disciples. Such is the practice of New Testament Baptists today. After He gave to them the bread, He also took the cup. This cup was of fermented wine, the kind used when the Master institutedthe Lard's Supper. The kind used at Corinth that made some of them drunk. The only wine that symbolizes the sinlessness of Christ is fermented wine, that which by fermentation has all the corruption of nature taken out of it. Grape juice should not be used at the Lord's Supper. New Testament Baptists track the Scriptures as to the bread and wine. Unleavened bread, fermented wine is the Bible order and the practice of real New Testament Baptists.

      (3) To observe the Lord's Supper there must be unity. Not union, but unity. A union service at the Lord' service Supper (so-called) is an abomination in the eyes of God.

      A. There must be one body. Paul says, "Ye are a body of Christ." There must be the one body to take the one representing the one body that was broken and to drink of the one cup representing the blood of the one and only Saviour of man. We do not believe in the practice of members of Baptist churches coming together to observe the Lord's Supper. Let them observe it in the one body to which they belong.

      B. To observe the Lord's Supper there must he unity in doctrine. No two denominatiors on this earth are one in doctrine. Paul says in Romans 16:17, "Mark them which cause division and offenses contrary to the doctrinewhich ye have learned; and avoid them." That knocks in the head all union services. No man can unionize and obey this Scripture. He says, "Mark them which cause division and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have lesrned (and unionize with them? God forbid) and avoid them." Acts 2:42, "They continued steadfasly in the Apostles' doctrine." 1 Corinthians 11:18-20, "But first of all when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you and I partly believe it. And there must be also heresies among you that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together in one place this is not to eat the Lord's Supper." Another version renders it, "Ye cannot eat the Lord's Supper."

      C. Such a division mars the fellowship, even of the one body, must continue not only in the Aposties' doctrine, but in fellowship. Numbers of Baptist churches of today cannot take the Lord's Supper because the fellowship has been broken.

      D. There must be unity as to place. 1 Corinthians 11:18, "First of all when ye come together in the church." This is a church ordinance. Paul says of it in the 23rd verse of the same chapter, "I have received of the Lord, that which also I have delivered unto you." And [he] goes on to speak of delivering unto them the Lord's Supper. And as a body of Christ they are to take the Lord's Supper in remembrance of Him. It is not to be administered to some one in a sick room just for the sake of the one who is sick. It is not to be taken as an individual. It is to be observed by the body of Christ in memory of Christ.

      E. To observe the Lord'e Supper there must be a clean membership. 1 Corinthians 5:11. "I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." What is to be done with them? In the 5th verse of the same chapter, "Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh." Seventh verse, "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." I wonder how many Baptist churches there are today who can Scripturally observe the Lord's Supper? Some set a time, say every quarter. It matters not about the unity of the body, of doctrine, fellowship or the condition of membership. Take it they will, regardless of the Lord's instructions. We should be more careful. God says if we eat and drink unworthily, we eat and drink condemnation to ourselves, not discerning the Lord's body and for this cause many of the Corinthians are weak and sickly, many asleep.

      (4) We also observe the Lord's Supper to show forth His death until He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26. We not only observe the Lord's Supper in memory of Him, but in so doing we show the Lord's death until He comes. So when the Lord's Supper is observed it not only points back to the day of His death when His body was broken and His blood was shed, but looks forward to His triumphant second coming.

      VI. In the 6th place we are Baptist because it is the only church in which there is equality. "One is your master and ye be brethren." In a Baptist church there is equality in salvation which isn't true in other churches. In some churches they teach that some are saved in one way and some are saved in another. Southern Methodists teach: "Sinners are saved by grace and Christians aresaved by works." While in a Baptist church no one merits anything, but all are saved by grace through faith. Baptists are not only equal in salvation but they are equal in baptism. Every one is baptized exactly alike. Baptists are equal in church membership. This is illustrated and taught in 1 Corinthians 12:27. "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." Baptists are all equal in voice, from the oldest to the youngest, be they cultured or ignorant, rich or poor, high or low. They have one vote or voice. Baptists are equal in their giving. There are to be no assessments except those that have been imposed by the head of the church who is, Jesus. And on the first day of the week we are commanded to bring our offering to the Lord's house as God has prospered us - that the tithe is holy unto the Lord. This is the only basis lain [laid] down in God's word whereby that there might be an equality. God has promised that there would be provision in His house sufficient to carry on the Lord's work when Baptists bring in their tithes. "Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, said the Lord of Hosts, if I will not pour you out a blessing that there should not be room enough to receive."

      VII. In the 7th place we are a Baptist because it is in a Baptist church that the Holy Spirit has His habitation on this earth.

      Ephesians 2:19-22, Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. [The] House of God is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles, ("God set some in the church, first apostles") and prophets. Jesus ChriSt himself being the chief corner stone ("On this rock I will build my church"). In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple of the Lord. ["]In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." The spirit of God does not inhabit, and does not control, does not dominate in any organization of God's dirt[?] except a Baptist church, and in many of them, He is grieved and insulted and disgraced.

      VIII. In the 8th place we are a Baptist because they are missionary. In keeping the commandment of the Lord they are endeavoring to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Those who refuse to preach that Gospel are living in open rebellion to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who said to preach the Gospel to every creature. Just after His glorious resurrection He meets with His church and says, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, 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."

      We should be missionary and his church proclaims it. We should be missionary as a dying, sin-cursed, hell-deserving world calls for the message of salvation that Baptists and Baptists alone can give. O, my brethren, may the command of Christ, the call of His cross,the wooings of His spirit, and the cry of a sinning, lost world compel us to give the message to the whole creation.

      IX. We are a Baptist in the 9th place because Christ has promised to Baptists and Baptists alone, perpetuity. They will be here when Christ comes the second time. For it is said of them that the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. Matthew 16:18, "On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Christ said. "Every plant that my father bath not planted shall be plucked up." And the only church that He has promised not to pluck up and the gates of hell should not prevail against is a Baptist church. They have been here ever since the days of the Lord Jesus and the Apostles and they will be here When He comes.

      Baptists have met the foes ofthe past. They have rested for these years upon the mountain of eternal truth. They have proclaimed this truth and will continue to proclaim it until they are called into the Lord's glorious presence.

      A church whose head is the Lord Jesus, built out of material prepared by John the Baptist, set up during the personal ministry of our Lord, as firm and sound in doctrine as the rock of ages, whose ordinances set Him forth in picture the only and all-sufficient Saviour, whose membership is equal, where every member is a king and a priest, and where none dare to wear a crown. These churches are standing erect on the eternal promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail agaitst them. They are increasing in strength and influence and are lifting the light of the world to those in darkness. They are a people whose history like the path of the just is a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

I love Thy Kingdom, Lord,
The house of Thine abode,
The church our blest Redeemer saved
With His own precious blood.

I love Thy Church, O God,
Her walls before thee stand,
Dear as the apple of thine eye
, And graven on thy hand.

For her my tears shall fall;
For her My prayers ascend;
To her my cares and toils be giv'n
Till toils and cares shall end.

Beyond my highest joy,
I prize her heavenly ways,
Her sweet communion, solemn vows,
Her hymns of love and praise

Sure as Trhy truth shall last,
To Zion shall be given
The brightest glories earth can yield,
And brighter bliss of Heav'n.


[From The Baptist Examiner, 1939. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

More on W. K. Wood
Baptist History Homepage