Monday, March 5, 2012

Being a Baptist

Via Denny Burk, Spurgeon on believers' baptism:
“If I thought it wrong to be a Baptist, I should give it up, and become what I believed to be right… If we could find infant baptism in the word of God, we should adopt it. It would help us out of a great difficulty, for it would take away from us that reproach which is attached to us,—that we are odd, and do not as other people do. But we have looked well through the Bible, and cannot find it, and do not believe that it is there; nor do we believe that others can find infant baptism in the Scriptures, unless they themselves first put it there.” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, et al., The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, vol. 1 (Chicago: F.H. Revell, 1898), 155.)
More, from James Hamilton at The Gospel Coalition Blog
.... As a Baptist church, we believe that baptism is a matter of obedience. Jesus instructed his followers to baptize disciples (Matt 28:19), so we baptize those who have become disciples because we want to obey Jesus. We also believe that only believers are united to the body of Christ by faith (cf. Gal 3:26-28), so only believers should be welcomed as members into the visible expression of the body of Christ, the local church. If someone is not repenting of all known sin, trusting Christ for salvation, and submitting to all his commands and teaching, we don't welcome him or her into church membership. Since we view baptism as a matter of obedience, we understand unbaptized people to be disobedient on this point. ....

Baptists believe that those who have not been immersed in water as believers to symbolize their union with Christ by faith have not been baptized. Presbyterians and other paedobaptists think they have been baptized, even if they have not been immersed in water as believers.

John Bunyan agreed that baptism is the immersion of a believer in water but felt that he did not have the right to deny church membership to someone who gave evidence of regeneration and believed he had been baptized. William Kiffin's response was that he did not have the right to disregard, and thereby overrule, a command of Jesus.

As Baptists we're not denying that paedobaptists have a right to their own perspective, we are simply maintaining the integrity of our own convictions. Our consciences will not permit us to welcome into membership and communion those who have not obeyed Jesus at the point of baptism.

This is the whole reason there are Baptist churches at all. .... [more]
Denny Burk. Spurgeon on believers' baptism:, Baptism and Church Membership: Sometimes Obedience Results in Painful Separations – The Gospel Coalition Blog