Baptism and the existence of a church

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Dr. Walter, May 19, 2010.

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  1. Dr. Walter

    Dr. Walter
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    All parties are agreed, that baptism is the initiatory rite which gives membership in the visible Church of Christ. The great commission was: Go, and disciple all nations, baptizing them into the Trinity. Baptism recognizes and constitutes the outward discipleship. Least of all, can any Immersionist dispute this ground. Now, if all other forms of baptism than immersion are not only irregular, but null and void, all unimmersed persons are out of the visible Church. But if each and every member of a pedobaptist visible Church is thus unchurched: of course the whole body is unchurched. All pedobaptist societies, then, are guilty of an intrusive errors when they pretend to the character of a visible Church of Christ. Consequently, they can have no ministry; and this for several reasons. Surely no valid office can exist in an association whose claim to be an ecclesiastical commonwealth is utterly invalid. When the temple is non existent, there can be no actual pillars to that temple. How can an unauthorized herd of unbaptized persons, to whom Christ concedes no church authority, confer any valid office? Again: it is preposterous that a man should receive and hold office in a commonwealth where he himself has no citizenship; but this unimmersed pedobaptist minister so called, is no member of any visible Church. There are no real ministers in the world, except the Immersionist preachers. The pretensions of all others, therefore, to act as ministers, and to administer the sacraments, are sinful intrusions. It is hard to see how any intelligent and conscientious Immersionist can do any act, which countenances or sanctions this profane intrusion. They should not allow any weak inclinations of fraternity and peace to sway their consciences in this point of high principle. They are bound, then, not only to practice close communion, but to refuse all ministerial recognition and communion to these intruders. The sacraments cannot go beyond the pale of the visible Church. Hence, the same stern denunciations ought to be hurled at the Lord’s Supper in pedobaptist societies, and at all their prayers and preachings in public, as at the iniquity of "baby sprinkling." The enlightened Immersionist should treat all these societies, just as he does that ’Synagogue of Satan,’ the Papal Church: there may be many good, misguided believers in them; but no church character, ministry, nor sacraments whatever. - Robert L. Dabney, Systematic Theology

    Do you agree with this statement by this famous 19th century Pedobaptist theologion?
     
  2. swaimj

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    I don't agree with Dabney.

    I do believe that a pedo-baptist is disobedient to the scriptures. Baptism in the NT is solely believer's baptism as we see it in practice. For this reason I could not join a church that doesn't practice immersion and my church would not grant membership to a person who has not been immersed. At that point, baptists do and should practice separation.

    However, many pedo-baptizers are correct in the matter of salvation as they hold to salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. So, while I disagree with them about baptism, I count them as brothers, though disobedient ones. I can have personal Christian fellowship with them and I can work with them in ministry in some situations. I do not consider them to be wrong on the matter of salvation and would not regard them the way I do Roman Catholics as Dabney seems to suggest we should.
     
  3. Dr. Walter

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    "there may be many good, misguided believers in them; but no church character, ministry, nor sacraments whatever" - Dabney

    As you can see Dabney does not deny such may be saved. He simply denies they can be recognized and treated as true churches of Christ.

    If you could not join such a church could you recognize it as a New Testament church? If so, where in the New Testament can you find a church of unbaptized believers?

    Where does the Scriptues give authority for unbaptized believers to administer the ordinances, constitute churches or ordain ministers?
     
  4. kyredneck

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    No, I don't agree.

    Do you agree with him?

    Do you agree that these passages are not really referring to Israel after the flesh but are specifically referring to Catholics?:

    ......the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and they art not, but are a synagogue of Satan 2:9

    .......the synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie;.... 3:9
     
  5. Dr. Walter

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    I don't want to get this thread side tracked to another subject. I believe that Dabney simply used the designation "synoguogue of Satan" to be applicable to Papal Rome and all other unscriptural institutions. That is precisely his point in this statement. If any group is without scriptural baptism it cannot be a true church of Christ and therefore its origin is not with Christ and that leaves only one other spiritual source for its origin. The same is true for all your words and actions, they either originate with the inward man or the flesh. It is the same thing with testing the words of a prophet, they either originate with the Spirit of truth or the spirit of error, etc.


     
  6. kyredneck

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    So do you agree with him?
     
  7. Dr. Walter

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    I agree there can be no such thing as a New Testament church consisting of unbaptized beleivers. I agree that unbaptized believers have no Great Commission/Biblical authority to administer the ordinances, ordain ministers or constitute churches or make disciples for Jesus Christ.

    If you disagree, I would like to know what scripture you support your disagreement with what I have said or with what Dabney said? Where in the New Testament can you find that Christ commissioned unbaptized believers to constitute churches, administer the ordinances, ordain ministers or make disciples?

    I can show by Scriptures what kind of persons he did commission to do these things. I can show by scriptuers what kind of churches are found in the scriptures. So mine is not an argument of silence but what about yours?
     
  8. Thinkingstuff

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    Dr. Walter I'm becoming a bit confused. Now the quote you've mentioned has serious reformed overtones yet it brings up a question about baptist. We are congregationalist by nature though we hold aspects of reformed theology (at least some of us) non-of us are entirely reformed because we don't hold a high ecclesiastical view. We basically hold to reformed soteriology and soveriengty of God. However, we lack on a unified visible church and certainly have a diluted the already diluted reformed view of sacrament which we enjoin as only ordenance. Yet we don't hold that high regard with regard to baptism or any other ordenance. Really should baptist call ourselves reformed when we only hold to a few tennants of reformed theology?
     
  9. kyredneck

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    I do not agree with infant baptism.
     
  10. Dr. Walter

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    Let me be clear about myself. I am not historically or Biblically related to the Roman Catholic Church in any way, shape or form. Therefore I am not Reformed as the Reformers were simply excommunicated Roman Catholics and thus I call them Reformed Roman Catholics. I am not a follower of Calvin or a friend of Calvin but a follower of Paul when it comes to the doctrines of Grace.

    I am not Puritan or a Separatist as the Congregationalist were and are. I am not related to Anglican Roman Catholicism as the Puritan and Separatist. I am not a sacramentalist. I do not own the term "Reformed" but repudiate it entirely.

    Some may lack unified visible church relationships but I am not part of that group as they are confused and divided. I believe Jesus gave a commission to reproduce churches of like faith and order as we find in the pages of the New Testament and such churches are promised to reproduce after their own kind until He returns and they have and they will.
     
  11. Dr. Walter

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    You don't agree with infant baptism but you think a visible church of Christ can consist of those sprinkled or poured as infants?????
     
  12. RAdam

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    No, baptists should not call themselves reformed. Baptists are not protestants.
     
  13. PastorGreg

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    That's good stuff!
     
  14. Dr. Walter

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    Perhaps the term "Reformed" might be applicable to Baptists who were formerly Protestants! They have been reformed in a Biblical sense.
     
  15. kyredneck

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    Sir, I'm beginning to think that you have an imagination much like Winman's. You tend to read a whole lot more into one's words that simply is not there. No where have I insinuated the above.
     
  16. Dr. Walter

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    That was not an insinuation that was a question! Look at the "????" at the end of the sentence.
     
  17. Dr. Walter

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    Reformed from what?
     
  18. kyredneck

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    Would you call yourself a Landmarkist?
     
  19. Dr. Walter

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    That is what most people would call a guy that believes like I do. I just call myself a Baptist and a Biblicist. It seems when people can't deal with the Scriptures and what they teach they resort to epitaphs, name calling as though that justifies their errors.
     
    #19 Dr. Walter, May 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2010
  20. Dr. Walter

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    Roland Bainton, the Mennonite Reformation scholar wrote in regard to evangelical Anabaptists:

    "To call these people Anabaptists, that is re-baptizers, was to malign them, because they denied that baptism was repeated, inasmuch as infant baptism is no baptism at all. They called themselves simply Baptists, not re-Baptists." - Roland Bainton, The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, Beacon Press, Boston, 1956, p. 99
     
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