OceanSide church of Christ
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Victor M. Eskew
There are many fine people who are members of the Baptist Church. These individuals are extremely moral, adhering to principles of right and wrong. They are individuals who stand against many of the evils of our society. They are very sincere in their religious beliefs. However, mere goodness, morality, sincerity, and fervor will not save a man’s soul.
In order for men to be right with God, they must “know the truth” (John 8:32, emp, mine, vme). They must consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ (I Tim. 6:3). They must hold fast the form of sound words (II Tim. 1:3). Truth, wholesome words, and sound words stand in opposition to error and a perverted gospel. Those who believe and adhere to anything other than the certified gospel will be accursed (Gal. 1:6-9). There are several teachings of the Baptist Church that do not conform to God’s Word. We want to examine a couple of these in this article.
One Baptist doctrine is called “The Perseverance of the Saints.” Another name for this teaching is “the doctrine of once-saved always-saved.” This teaching declares that once one has become a Christian, he cannot lose his eternal salvation. In a tract entitled, “Do A Christian’s Sins Damn His Soul,” a Baptist minister named Sam Morris sets forth the true end of this doctrine. He writes: “All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bible he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger. The justification of the human soul is through the atonement of Christ and not through the efforts of man. The way a man lives has nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul.” This statement is shocking, but Mr. Morris has been honest about this area of Baptist doctrine. The Bible, however, does not teach once-saved always-saved. It teaches that Christians can fall from grace. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4).
Another Baptist doctrine states that one must be baptized to become a member of the Baptist Church. On page 90 of the Baptist Church Manual by J.M. Pendleton, we read: “None can be members of a visible church of Christ without baptism…Baptism is a condition precedent only in the sense that it precedes, and is essential to church-membership.” This is interesting when one understands that the Baptist Church does not believe baptism is essential for salvation. They assert that one is saved at the point of faith only (Baptist Church Manual, 48). Our question about these teachings is: “What do the Baptists call one who has been saved by faith only, but who has not been baptized to become a member of the Baptist Church?” If one is a Christian, then one can be a Christian without becoming a Baptist. And, if one is not a Christian at the point of being saved by faith only, then what is he? What does one call a person “saved” by faith only, but not baptized to be a member of the Baptist Church?
These two Baptist doctrines are extremely problematic for our Baptist friends. The concept of once-saved always-saved is in conflict with the Word of God. The idea that one can be saved before becoming a member of the Baptist Church is confusing. If one can be a Christian without becoming a Baptist, then the Baptist Church is a needless institution.
False doctrine is always confusing and in conflict with God’s Word. Sadly, it bewitches the minds of many and leads them astray. Sometimes it grips the mind to such an extent that those who embrace the error refuse to give it up. Only the honest and good heart will hear the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience (Luke 8:15). Our prayer is that some of our Baptist friends have this type of heart and will turn from the error affirmed by the Baptist Church.