It may be well to state briefly what I understand to be the leading distinctive views of the Baptist churches. The fact that certain of these are more or less shared by others will be remarked upon afterward.
3. We hold that the officers, government, and ceremonies of a Christian society, or church, ought to be such, and such only, as the New Testament directs. As to ceremonies, it enjoins the very minimum of ceremony; for there are but two, and both are very simple in nature and in meaning. We insist that baptism ought to be simply what Christ practiced and commanded. We care nothing for the mode of baptism, the manner of baptizing, if only there is a real baptism according to the plain indications of Scripture.
As to the significance of the ceremony, we understand it to involve three things: The element employed represents purification; the action performed represents burial and resurrection, picturing the burial and resurrection of Christ, and symbolizing the believer’s death to sin through faith in Christ and his resurrection to walk in newness of life; and performing the ceremony in the name of the Lord Jesus, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, makes it like an oath of allegiance, a vow of devotion, to Jesus Christ, to the Triune God. The early Roman Christians had a good word for this idea if Only the word could have remained unchanged in use: they called it a sacramentum, a military oath. As the Roman soldier in his oath bound himself to obey his general absolutely, so in baptism we solemnly vow devotion and obedience. But, alas! the word “sacrament,” like many another word in Christian history has come to be employed in senses quite foreign to its original use.
As to the second Christian ceremony, we hold that not the bread, but the cup also should be given, urging, as all Protestants do, and Baptists are Protestants in one sense, though in another sense distinct from Protestants, that our Lord commanded us to do both, and no one has a right to modify commands. And the significance of the bread and wine is understood by us to be, not transubstantiation, nor consubstantiation, nor real presence in any sense, nor even according to Calvinian view that a special spiritual blessing is by divine pointment attached to the believing reception of these element but simply according to the Zwinglian view that these are mementoes, remembrancers of Christ, and that, taking them in remembrances of him, we may hope to have the natural effects such remembrance blessed to our spiritual good. As to the order of the two ceremonies, we believe the New Testament to indicate that the second should be observed by those who have previously observed the first and are walking orderly. This is in itself not a distinctive view of the Baptists for they share it with almost the entire Christian world in ages. The combination of this general Christian opinion, the New Testament requires baptism to precede the Lord’s Supper, with our Baptist opinion as to what constitutes baptism leads to a practical restriction which many regard as the marked of all our distinctive views; while for us it is only incidental, though logically inevitable, result of that principle which we share with nearly all of those from whom it ceremonially separates us.
John A. Broadus-The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views
Note: As a Reformed Baptist I do not hold to the Zwingli view of the Lord’s Supper. I do not believe it to be merely symbolic. I believe that Christ is present in the Lord’s Supper, as did Calvin, in his deity. For Christ stated that where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst.
Colin Smith at The Gospel Coalition has made a list identifying ‘7 Traits of False Teachers:’
“There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.” (2 Peter 2:1)
There are no “ifs, ands, or buts” in Peter’s words. It’s a clear and definite statement. There were false prophets among the people (of Israel in the Old Testament). That’s a matter of history.
False prophets were a constant problem in the Old Testament, and those who falsely claimed to be prophets of God were to be stoned. The people rarely had the will to deal with them, so they multiplied, causing disaster to the spiritual life of God’s people.
In the same way Peter says, “There will be false teachers among you.” Notice the words “among you.” Peter is writing to the church and says, “There will be false prophets among you.” So he is not talking about New Age people on television. He is talking about people in the local church, members of a local congregation.”
Read the entire list right here.
HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRS TO THE FIRST GENERAL PERSECUTIONS UNDER NERO
II. James the Great
The next martyr we meet with, according to St. Luke, in the History of the Apostles’ Acts, was James the son of Zebedee, the elder brother of John, and a relative of our Lord; for his mother Salome was cousin-german to the Virgin Mary. It was not until ten years after the death of Stephen that the second martyrdom took place; for no sooner had Herod Agrippa been appointed governor of Judea than, with a view to ingratiate himself with them, he raised a sharp persecution against the Christians, and determined to make an effectual blow, by striking at their leaders. The account given us by an eminent primitive writer, Clemens Alexandrinus, ought not to be overlooked; that, as James was led to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to repent of his conduct by the apostle’s extraordinary courage, and fell down at his feet to request his pardon, professing himself a Christian, and resolving that James should not receive the crown of martyrdom alone. Hence they were both beheaded at the same time. Thus did the first apostolic martyr cheerfully and resolutely receive that cup, which he had told our Savior he was ready to drink. Timon and Parmenas suffered martyrdom about the same time; the one at Philippi, and the other at Macedonia. These events took place in AD 44.
John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
A. When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; (Galatians 3:12) forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death. (Genesis 2:17)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism
The Wednesday Word: RICH IN MERCY
When we think of God, does the truth that He is wonderfully merciful immediately spring to mind? Probably not!
More than likely, we conjure up a picture of a God who is harsh, critical and judgmental……someone not to run to, but to run from. This kind of faulty thinking about the character of the Almighty can have dire consequences. In fact, unless we get our thoughts about God straight our walk with Him will be crooked.
The scripture declares boldly in Ephesians 2:4 that God is rich in mercy. It is of interest to note that the Greek word translated ‘rich’, is the same word from which we get our English word ‘plush’. Just think of it……our God is plush in mercy. That means, He’s not stingy when it comes to mercy. It means that He doesn’t dispense mercy with eye drops. No!!! On the contrary, He is rich, plush, extravagant, and liberal when it comes to giving out mercy.
In all my years as a believer, I have not yet encountered a single person who didn’t need mercy. Believers and unbelievers alike continually need daily mercy. Every day, as Christians, we sin and fail God. I think you’ll agree, we followers of Christ don’t pray, love God or love each other the way we should do. We need mercy! But God is rich in mercy. He is wealthy in and generous with that mercy. So whatever your situation today, bring it to the One who is plush with mercy.
We may feel like complete failures in our Christian lives … but God is rich in mercy. Because He is rich in mercy, He gave His Son to be slaughtered at the cross for all our sinful fallings and failings. Because He is rich in mercy, He set forth and publicly displayed Christ as a propitiation (a wrath offering) for us. Because He is rich in mercy, Christ has become the very Mercy Seat for the fallen believer. So don’t run from Him ………run to Him! He is rich in mercy!
Regardless of how much we have failed Him, we can come to Him today, right now, for mercy. Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “I don’t deserve mercy.” Well, truer words were never spoken! Think of it, if any of us deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy.
His mercy is great. His grace is free. He is rich in mercy. May we never, ever let shame trick us into staying away from Him. Staying away will only lead to straying away.
Spurgeon tells of how the gospel preacher, Rowland Hill, was given a large sum of money to dispense to a certain minister who was extremely poor. In his wisdom, Mr Hill realised that if he were to give him the entire sum of money all at once, the poor minister would be overwhelmed. So he decided to send the money in instalments every few days and with each instalment he wrote a note to the minister which simply said, “There’s more to Follow.”
This is so like the blessings of God. Every blessing we receive from God has the same note joined to it. It says, “There’s more to follow.”
He chose us, but there’s more to follow.
He called us, but there’s more to follow.
He regenerated us, but there’s more to follow.
He justified us, but there’s more to follow.
He acquitted us, but there’s more to follow.
He declared us righteous, but there’s more to follow.
He set us apart to Himself, but there’s more to follow.
He adopted us, but there’s more to follow.
He gave us eternal life, but there’s more to follow. Why? Because, “God is Rich in Mercy.”
And that’s the Gospel Truth
Minister of the Gospel
Published in 1646
The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.
CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.
XIX CONCERNING His kingly office, Christ being risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and having all power in heaven and earth, He doth spiritually govern His church, and doth exercise His power over all, angels and men, good and bad, to the preservation and salvation of the elect, and to the overruling and destruction of His enemies. By this kingly power He applieth the benefits, virtue, and fruits of His prophecy and priesthood to His elect, subduing their sins, preserving and strengthening them in all their conflicts against Satan, the world, and the flesh, keeping their hearts in faith and filial fear by His Spirit: By this His mighty power He ruleth the vessels of wrath, using, limiting and restraining them, as it seems good to His infinite wisdom.
1 Cor.15:4; 1 Pet.3:21,22; Matt.28:18,19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:1, 5:30,31; John 19:36; Rom.14:9; John 5:26,27; Rom. 5:6,7,8, 14:17; Ga1.5:22,23; Mark 1:27; Heb.l:14; John 16: 15; Job 2:8; Rom.1:21; Eph.4:17,18; 2 Pet.2.
The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46
Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone. In the second place, those blessings which unceasingly distill to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our eyes upwards; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility. For as there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we were stript of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense series of disgraceful properties every man, being stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at least some knowledge of God. Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us, (see Calvin on John 4:10,) that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him.
John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Henry Beveridge Translation