This article probably starts my series of pointing out several doctrinal errors that some Baptist churches and even my own church still lovingly cling to. When pastors from my church will read this, I will probably be ex-communicated or something. They will probably hate me for what I am about to say.
Anyway before I start bashing some doctrinal errors that Baptist churches lovingly hold allow me to explain why I am doing, what will be doing.
First of all, I am a Baptist. I still am, despite the fact that I have already been regularly attending a “non-denominational” church. I have not renounced my membership nor have I transferred membership. Not yet. Secondly, I believe that the Baptist church has been used by God mightily throughout the centuries in winning people to Christ, evangelizing the world and doing a lot of mighty and wonderful things in the name of God. Thirdly, although some may disagree with me, the Baptist has the most unique church history among all denominations. However this is just my own opinion. Fourthly, among the denominations, I find the Baptist as the most conservative, most adamant about clinging to the “right” doctrine and the boldest Christians who stand up for what they believe is true. Again this is just my own opinion. Fifth and last in my own personal life God has used the Baptist church as an instrument in order that I might hear the Gospel, get saved and grow spiritually.
Well those are some good things that I have to say about the Baptist church. However despite that, the Baptist as a denomination is not perfect. No individual denomination is perfect at all. Each denomination has its own short coming. It is because denominations are filled with saved but imperfect people who commit honest mistakes.
Sadly sometimes the mistakes most Baptist make are not honest mistakes but stubborn mistakes. Despite the fact of Biblical and logical evidence to the contrary some Baptist still clings to doctrines that are not very Biblical at all.
The doctrine I am referring to first is the doctrine that “Jesus Christ is a Baptist” and the “Baptist Brider” doctrine. Not all Baptist Churches believe in this doctrine but there are many who do, especially from the Independent Baptist and Bible Baptist factions. This doctrine is very popular among the Bible Baptist churches here in my home town in Cebu Philippines and in the Visayas and Mindanao areas. It has also quite a number of following in Luzon and in Metro Manila.
I am really amused with the “Jesus Christ is a Baptist” doctrine. The person advocating this will usually go through this line of thinking. “If you are baptized by the Catholic church then you are a Catholic, if you are Baptized by the Mormons then you are a mormon, but if you are Baptized by a Baptist then you are a Baptist.” The argument seems very logically sound.
However what amuses me is the fact that advocates of this doctrine stretches this logic further and states that “Since Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, hence Christ is a Baptist.” I was in high school when I first heard this, and I never believed it the first time I heard it. I told myself, no person who is in his right mind could believe this heresy. Unfortunately I was wrong. A lot of Baptist believes it and I am really quite amused and somewhat surprised that a lot of good and well intentioned pastors believe this. On the other hand I am not surprised at all. Some Baptist stubbornly believes anything their pastors tell them because they do not study their Bibles seriously at all.
Anyway, let’s get to the heart of the matter and let me answer the question as to why the doctrine is very wrong.
1.) The Bible never says anything about Jesus Christ belonging to any denomination.
You can never find that the Bible says that Jesus Christ is a Baptist. This goes for other denominations as well. Jesus Christ was neither a Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Methodists or of whatsoever Christian denomination.
2.) The doctrine is based on a logical fallacy
The “logic used” to support the doctrine, is devoid of reason. In logic we call this as a “deductive fallacy.”
A deductive fallacy is simply a deductive argument that is invalid. The arguments in a deductive fallacy might be true, but the conclusion derived from the arguments is false. The doctrine in its syllogistic format is presented as follows:
1st premise – All people baptized by the Baptist Church are Baptist
2nd premise – Jesus was Baptized by John the Baptist
Conclusion – Therefore Jesus is a Baptist.
Both the 1st and 2nd premises may are true, but the conclusion obtained from the argument is false. The conclusion does not follow the premise because of the following reasons:
1.) John was called “The Baptist” not because he belonged to the Baptist denomination but because he “baptized” people. Water baptism was symbolical of a person’s genuine repentance and the washing away of his sins.
2.) The earliest known Baptist denomination is known to be the Anabaptist group, which can trace its roots back to the New Testament church which was the church founded by Jesus Christ himself. The group did not exist as such until after the era of the New Testament church which was several decades after John the Baptist died.
3.) While it is true that the Baptist as a denomination can trace their roots back to the New Testament Church, the Baptist cannot claim exclusivity to this matter. Even proponents of “Baptist Perpetuity” recognized that other groups like the Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Paulicians, Albigensians, Catharists and the Waldenses can also trace their origins back to the church that Jesus built.
The “Jesus Christ is a Baptist” doctrine is the doctrine behind the “Baptist brider.” Said doctrine simply states that “The Baptist Church” is the Bride of Christ. It is because of this doctrine that Baptist briders refuse to acknowledge the baptism of other denominations. Most Baptist Briders believe that in order to be part of the bride of Christ, you must be given a “Baptist baptism invitations.”
Again I would like to point out that the “Baptist brider” doctrine is wrong for the following reasons:
1.) Nowhere in the Bible does it specifically state that the Baptist Church is the bride of Christ. No pastor or Bible scholar who will apply proper hermeneutics can come to this conclusion.
2.) Instead of finding support in Scripture for this doctrine, you can even find support in Scripture AGAINST this doctrine ! It is not water baptism that joins us to the body of Christ, making us, the church the bride of Christ. 1 Cor. 12: 13 clearly states that the baptism of Christ with the Spirit is what gives us new life and places us into the body of Christ. It is very clear that this verse is not talking about water baptism. Water baptism just as in the time of John the Baptist is just to testify to the whole world that repentance of sin and conversion has already taken place inwardly.
3.) Whenever the Bible refers to the “bride of Christ,” nothing specific is made as to who is the bride of Christ, much more which church denomination is the bride of Christ! However the church fathers, Bible scholars, and commentators point out that several verses in the Bible indicate that the church is the bride of Christ. The church they are referring to does not refer to a single denomination but rather to the universal church, that body of true believers who were baptized spiritually into the body Christ irrespective of denomination. Now, some local church proponents may argue that the Bible is referring to the local church, but again this is a misinterpretation of Scripture. Most of the time, when the Bible refers to the word “church” or “ekklesia” it refers to a local church. (1 Corinthians 14:23, 16:19, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Colossians 4:15 etc.) However there are times when it is so obvious that Scriptures is referring to the universal church. (1 Corinthians 12:28; 15:9; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18) In the case of the “bride of Christ” it obviously refers to the universal church, the entire body of true believers and not just a local church much more a particular denomination!
As a result Baptist churches who believe in the “Jesus Christ is a Baptist” and the “Baptist brider” doctrine become more isolated from believers of other denominations. They become “separatist” without any Biblical basis at all. For example the Bible Baptist churches in our place even don’t fellowship with other evangelical denominations. They don’t even fellowship with other Baptist churches. If the church does not have the word “Bible Baptist” or “Independent” as their name, they do not want to have any dealings with that church. They even refuse to fellowship with the Southern Baptist churches that they deemed as “too liberal.” They condemn Baptist who fellowship with non-denominational churches. (just like me):-)
What’s funny about this is that in spite of their “separatist” stand, pastors from these churches continue to use materials, books and listen to good preaching from “non-Baptist” denominations. When they visit other countries such as the United States they even receive aid or support from Southern Baptist churches and even non-denominational churches or churches that don’t carry the “Baptist” name. They justify that this by simply saying that their doctrine is “Baptist.” This is a lame excuse. I find this very hypocritical.
More funny is the fact is that the independent Baptist churches seem not to get along with each other, some faction do not even fellowship with other factions because they think that other factions are “too worldly” or “too liberal.” They keep on quarrelling on small and petty issues, majoring on the minors. Perhaps they have forgotten what Jesus said in John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I am in no way advocating a liberal, ecumenical, tolerant stand on issues. I believe we should draw the line whenever the Bible clearly draws the line just like what Jesus and the apostles did when they rebuked other religious groups for their erroneous doctrines. I believe we should not fellowship with denominations no matter what they call themselves if the major doctrines they support are contrary to what the Bible really teaches. Where the Bible unequivocally and clearly draws the line, we should draw the line. We should not compromise issues that are black or white. However we should not be dogmatic on issues wherein the Bible does not clearly draw the line, or issues that are considered “gray” areas. Each denomination has their own beliefs and practices with regards to these areas. We should not extend said line with our own man made doctrines.
I am exposing this false doctrine out of love for my fellow believers in the Baptist denomination. I hope and pray that my brothers and sisters in the Baptist denomination will be enlightened concerning this matter and I sure wish that they would stop teaching The “Jesus Christ is a Baptist” and the “Baptist brider” heresy. Said doctrines are just man made doctrines and can never find support in Scriptures.