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Over the past several years, I’ve had a few acquaintances who have converted to Eastern Orthodoxy (hereafter EO).  Others are currently drawn to it or at some point have been strongly attracted to it.  Most of these are people I’ve encountered in various online discussion forums dedicated to the discussion of Reformed theology.

All of these have been folks who were at one time members of a conservative Presbyterian denomination like the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) or the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and who were often some kind of Baptist to begin with.  Often, although not always, they were attracted to the Federal Vision and the New Perspective on Paul in the mid 2000’s.   The following observations may or may not apply to the same degree to Westerners from different backgrounds who go EO.

It seems to me that Westerners convert to Eastern Orthodoxy due to a few reasons or considerations:

1.  They reject Roman Catholicism because they cannot accept papal infallibility, the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and maybe a few other things.  In general, Rome has too much baggage for many Americans and some other Westerners of a Protestant background.  Due to Trent and subsequent statements, Rome’s teaching appears to be a lot more clearly defined as well.  A clear marking of boundaries tends to give rise to controversy.  I don’t know that the East ever experienced a scholastic phase to the extent that the West did during the Middle Ages and later with the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.  Thus, it seems that one can look eastward and see what he wants to see to a greater degree.

2.  Many of them would have been attracted to Anglicanism in previous years.  However, Anglicanism is now basically a disaster in the West, having been eviscerated by liberalism over the past 100 years and with apparently no cohesive conservative remnant.  Some Calvinistic evangelical Anglicans (or what used to be called low church) may go into some kind of Reformed or Presbyterian church and a few others may affiliate with the African Anglicans that are now overseeing some parishes that have disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church USA.  A good many of the high church types tend to cross the Tiber eventually unless they are hung up on the ordination of women, celibacy or Rome’s claim to authority. 

3.  They have rejected Calvinism and for whatever reason cannot be Lutheran, probably because of the strong law/grace distinction and Two Kingdom theology that is found in Lutheranism.  The EO types are typically into the idea of Christendom and often have an emphasis on influencing the culture.  Thus, Anglicanism would have been a good fit but see #2.  Lutheranism, like Calvinism, is also viewed as insufficiently apostolic by those who equate the ancient church (and thus authentic Christianity) with Rome or the East.  But I find that the rejection of Protestantism on the grounds of it not being apostolic in its teaching or authority typically follows discontent with it in some other regard.

4.  Due to the conversions of Peter Gillquist and others, the easy availability of information on the internet that wouldn’t have been readily available a few decades ago and perhaps some of the American Orthodox churches becoming less of an ethnic social club, Eastern Orthodoxy is more accessible to Americans than it has ever been.

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JESUS said:  “Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God.”  (John 3 :3.)  To put this in plain English, our Lord teaches that only converted people should belong to a church.  Baptists stand squarely for this doctrine.  We contend that only those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit through intelligent faith in Christ, and who have confessed their faith in word and declared it in baptism, are scripturally qualified for church membership.  We would not claim that every Baptist is converted; for, unfortunately, unconverted persons, those honestly deceived and hypocrites, have been received into our churches; but their number is not large.  Nor do we hold that all members of other communions are not converted.  We greatly rejoice in the many examples of eminent piety outside of our ranks; and we gladly believe that the vast majority of those who profess faith in Christ everywhere are converted.  Our contention is simply this:  Baptist principles strictly applied would exclude from church membership all but the converted; whereas the principles of other denominations strictly applied would include in their respective church memberships some who are not converted.  That is, non-Baptist churches, by admitting the unregenerate into their membership, can not be pure spiritual churches; whereas Baptists, by admitting only the regenerate into their membership, are the only people who even in theory stand for the pure spirituality of the churches.  That is, Baptist doctrine is the only system of truth which will logically, inevitably and ultimately make a church a pure spiritual body of Christ.

1. It is but just to examine these statements a little more in detail to see if they are in fact true.  In the first place, is it true that Baptist principles strictly applied in practice will limit church membership to the converted exclusively?  We can answer this inquiry only by looking at the customs of our churches.  Baptists demand a public, personal, intelligent profession of faith in Christ before admitting any one into their churches.  We will not receive one individual into membership on the confession of another individual; for we repudiate in theory and in practice the doctrine of proxies in religion; for “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God,” (Rom. 14:12.)  This public profession of faith is the voluntary act of an intelligent moral agent declaring his conversion.  No one is ever admitted into a Baptist church until he professes conversion.  Again, Baptists demand that the convert shall further declare his faith in baptism, a public immersion of the believer in water.  Thus we require two professions of the applicant for church membership; one in the word of confession, the other in the act of baptism.  In the former the convert speaks his faith; in the latter he acts his faith in the solemn symbolism of immersion.  All of this is a genuinely kindly arrangement; for a church would be untrue to the applicant for membership if it did not assist him by simple and severe tests of his true heart condition to ascertain certainly and consciously the fact of his conversion; and a church would be untrue to itself if it did not exercise the utmost care to prevent those who are honestly deceived, or hypocrites, from assuming duties and obligations which they will certainly renounce to the injury of their own souls and the distress of the body of Christ.  Thus Baptist churches in principle and in practice do all that human beings can do to make a church a spiritual body.  If an unconverted man gets into a Baptist church, he must profess conversion, and his presence in the membership is not the fault of the church but of himself.  If after joining a Baptist church, it is discovered that one is not converted, then it is his duty to withdraw, or it becomes the duty of the church to exclude him.  Thus we see that Baptist doctrine will inevitably and ultimately produce a pure spiritual church.

II. In the second place, it is equally just to inquire if the principles and practices of other churches do introduce into their respective memberships some who are not converted.  We can answer this inquiry only by looking at the creeds and customs of these churches.  These can broadly be divided into two groups; that is there are two kinds of practices in non-Baptist churches which may introduce the unconverted into church membership.

1. Those who practice infant baptism do in some sense consider these infants as members of their churches.  In which case they have received into their churches those who can not exercise saving faith in Christ, and hence who are unconverted.  Having thus introduced unregenerate material into their churches, their churches cease to be pure spiritual bodies.  And these churches are themselves responsible for this, for it is the act of the church that brings the unintelligent infant into membership.  These churches are not to be excused as they would be in the case of hypocrites who creep into the membership by assuming conversion, or as in the case of those who are honestly deceived.  This custom might be practically harmless if the infants would remain infants, but they will not.  Often the unregenerate infant grows into the unregenerate man, and these congregations are embarrassed by having un-Christian men in their membership as Christian churches.  However harmless we may consider the practice, the principle is an error, and it will logically and inevitably destroy the pure spirituality of the church.

It is but fair to state that churches which practice infant baptism are of two kinds, viz.:

(1) There are those who claim that the infant is actually regenerated in baptism.  Cardinal Gibbons states the belief of Catholics:  “Water is the appropriate instrument of the new birth.”  “Hence baptism is essential for the infant in order to attain the kingdom of heaven.”  As the infant can not believe, it follows that baptism must do all of the saving.  The Episcopal view of this matter can be found in the formula for the baptism of infants:  “We receive this child into the congregation of Christ’s flock.”  “Seeing now that this child is regenerated and grafted into the body of Christ’s church,” etc., etc.  In both cases we have baptismal regeneration pure and simple.  If baptism regenerates, then unbelieving children would be converted church members.  Laying aside the paradox as to how one incapable of exercising faith can be converted when faith is necessary for conversion, Baptists would contend that baptism does not regenerate, and that this practice of Romanists and Episcopalians opens a wide door for the admission of the unconverted into their churches.  For it is in evidence on all sides that some who received this presumed baptismal regeneration in infancy fail to give any evidence of it in maturity, either in a profession of saving faith in Christ, or in the practice of piety, and yet they remain unchallenged members of the churches which they were baptized into.  Thus these churches assume a grave risk of not being pure spiritual bodies of Christ.

(2) Again, there are those who practice infant baptism who profess not to believe that the baptism saves the infant; and yet these all do in some sense receive these infants into their church memberships.  The position of all such can be fairly stated in the language of the Presbyterian confession of faith, viz.:  “The infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized.”  “Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church.”  “The visible church consists of all those who make a profession of true religion together with their children.”  “The infant seed of believers are members of the church.”  Let it be noted that this second class in the practice of infant baptism denies a belief in baptismal regeneration, though the writer does not see how they can escape such a belief, or some other fatal error, if the logic of their position is severely pressed to a just conclusion.  For they baptize infants either to save them, or not to save them.  If the baptism is not to save, as they say, then the baptism of the infant must be for a declaration of faith, or for some other purpose.  It can not be a declaration of the infant’s faith, for the infant has not and can not have intelligent faith, nor is the act of baptism the voluntary act of the infant.  If it be a declaration of faith, it declares the faith of some person other than the infant.  But we have no right to baptize one person on another person’s faith Rom. 14:12.  If the baptism of the infant be neither a saving act, nor a declaration of faith, then it is for some other purpose.  But, if they use baptism for any other purpose save as a declaration of faith, they pervert that ordinance from the meaning and mission which Christ gave to it; and besides they construct two baptisms, one for adults with one meaning, and another for infants with another meaning, which is contrary to the scripture which saith:  “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Eph. 4:5.  Therefore as they turn away from baptismal regeneration to escape one error, the logic of their position coerces them either into the practice of proxies in professions of faith, which is an error condemned by Rom. 14:12, or into a perversion of the ordinance, which is contrary to Eph. 4:5.

But turning away from these objections which are fatal to the practice of infant baptism, it is just that we should fairly examine the grounds of those who are in this practice and yet who claim that they do not believe in baptismal regeneration. They allege two reasons for baptizing their unregenerate infants into then church membership. This inquiry is legitimate to this paper because infant baptism leads to infant church membership.

(a) It is argued from the baptism of certain households (Acts 10:47; 16:15; 16:32-34; 1 Cor. 16:15) that there were infants in those homes which were baptized into church membership.  It is enough to say in reply that the burden of proof is upon those who affirm that there were infants in those homes.  The only possible proof is the Scripture record.  But the record contains no mention of infants.  Therefore the assertion is without possibility of proof.  If you will look about you, you will see many homes where there are no babes.  Besides, there are intimations in each account of these household baptisms which deny the assumption that there were babes in these homes.  In the case of Cornelius it is said that “all his house feared God;” Paul and Silas “comforted” those who were baptized in Lydia’s home; Paul distinctly tells the jailer that those who “believe” should be saved; and it is said of the household of Stephanas that they all “have addicted themselves to the ministry.”  None of these terms or conditions could apply to infants, they describe the acts of intelligent believers.  There is no such thing in the New Testament as infant baptism begetting infant church membership.  It is true that Jesus blessed babes but he did not baptize them.  Late in our Lord’s life his disciples quarreled at mothers for bringing their children to Jesus.  (Matt. 19:13).  If infant baptism had been in vogue then these disciples would have welcomed these babes into the church.  The New Testament recognizes as church members none but converted adults.

(b) Again, it is alleged that the infants of believers should be baptized and received into the church for the reason that baptism takes the place of circumcision; that as circumcision inducted the infant into the Old Testament church, so baptism inducts it into the New Testament church.  This is a blind confounding of the Jewish state with the Christian church.  There was no Old Testament church with its rites corresponding to the New Testament church with its ordinances.  The Christian church was for the first time set up in the New Testament.  Circumcision was a racial, not a regenerating act.  It has always been true that men became the true children of Abraham through faith, not through any rite, be it circumcision or baptism.  One could be born a Jew, but all must be re-born to become Christians.  And so circumcised Jews and uncircumcised Gentiles were alike baptized on the common grounds that they believed in Christ.  This is clearly the teaching of Gal. 3 :29:  “If ye be Christ’s, then ye are Abraham’s seed, and his heirs according to the promise.”  To be Christ’s one must believe; infants can not believe, and so they are not entitled to baptism or to membership in a Christian church.  Thus again true scripture teaching blocks the entrance of unregenerate children into Christian churches.

There is no warrant either in scripture doctrine or precedent for the baptism of infants; and those churches which in any sense receive into their membership these baptized unregenerate infants have in that far destroyed the pure spirituality of their churches.  Their very principles unavoidably lead them into receiving the unconverted into their membership.

2. Infant baptism is the most frequent way of bringing the unregenerate into church membership; but we are now to examine other practices of non-Baptist churches which may corrupt the pure spirituality of the body of Christ.  A word before getting to the main point about the danger of receiving members into churches on probation.  In some sense they are members, and yet their conversion is not certain.  The probationer may turn out to be a Christian, or he may not.  As long as he is on probation his conversion can not be affirmed, and the church which receives him is not a pure spiritual body.  If probationers are on its list all the time, then it never is a pure spiritual body.  Nor is this all the harm such a church does itself; this practice will inevitably lead men to believe that there is a saving efficacy in just belonging to a church.  They will come to look to Christ and church membership to save them.  This is a fatal partition of faith.  How very dangerous this is will appear in the next paragraph.

Next to infant baptism the most prolific source of unconverted church members is sacramentarian baptism administered to adults.  There are churches which do not practice infant baptism and yet they attach a saving significance, in part or in whole, to the baptism of adults.  From this perversion of the meaning of baptism arises another danger of an unconverted church membership.  For we are saved by faith in Christ alone (Jo. 3:16; Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8).  Our Lord did not invent baptism to help him save sinners.  A man who gives part of his faith to Christ and part to baptism has a divided faith.  Paul says that to such a man “Christ is become of no effect,” (Gal. 5:4.)  The apostle is arguing this matter in Galatians.  In the fifth chapter he maintains that to administer circumcision as the ground of salvation, or the condition of justification, is to renounce Christ himself.  It does not take Christ and circumcision to save a soul, and to divide one’s faith between the two results in a renunciation of Christ.  Just so baptism can be no part of salvation without destroying the pure faith principle of redemption, and “Christ is become of no effect.” If “Christ has become of no effect” to such a one, then he can not claim conversion; and, if he comes into the church with this divided faith, he will be an unconverted church member.  This teaching is severe, but Paul emphatically declares that to condition salvation, in part or in whole, on any ordinance or institution is to do away with Christ himself.  If the inquirer in any sense looks to circumcision or to baptism, or to church membership to help in his salvation, then he has destroyed the possibility of his salvation because he is not trusting Christ alone for redemption, for our Lord will not accept a divided heart.  Thus the practice of sacramentarian baptism and of probationary membership may open the door for the unregenerate to enter the churches.

So far as the writer knows Baptists are the only people who are entirely free from infant baptism, on the one hand, and from sacramentarian baptism on the other.  We condition salvation for all alike on simple, personal faith in Christ.  We admit into our churches only those who have, or who profess to have, this saving faith.  Thus Baptist principles strictly applied will admit to church membership only those who are converted, which is the first proposition laid down in the opening paragraph of this paper; whereas, the principles of other denominations strictly applied will include in church membership some who are not converted, which is the second proposition affirmed in this argument.

III. In the third place, it is just to inquire into the correctness of the Baptist position.  Ought we to have only converted persons in our churches?  Should churches be pure spiritual bodies?  We answer these questions in the affirmative.  The proposition submitted is this:  Only the regenerate should be members of a church because of what a church is and does; and we appeal to sound reason and obvious Scripture teaching to support this proposition.

The Greek word for church (ekklesia} means “the called out.”  Only those can be called who can hear and who can come.  This recognizes intelligence and voluntariness as necessary qualifications of the called.  God is calling on men to believe in Christ that he may organize them into churches to whom he will commit his word (1 Tim. 3:15) and his work (Matt. 28:19, 20).  In the nature of the case, only those can answer this call who can understand its conditions, and who will voluntarily comply with its requirements, and who are qualified and competent to discharge the duties imposed.  God does not refuse as coworkers men of humble gifts and children who have reached the years of discretion; but he does require willing loyalty and intelligent obedience.  All who answer the call must be workers, though they are not to be perfect workers.  Capacity then is the necessary qualification in the called rather than competency.  It would be absurd to think that God would lay the duties above mentioned upon those who could not, or upon those who would not, discharge them.  Our Lord would not exhort impotent infants or unwilling unbelievers to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  Hence it follows from the very work required of the churches that their members should all be active, intelligent, spiritual agents.

The New Testament history is in exact accord with this conclusion.  Search the record and you will find no instance of a professedly unconverted man being baptized.  There were doubtless hypocrites like Ananias (Acts 5 13) who came in under pretense of faith; but the one aim of our Lord and his followers was to recruit to their service only regenerate men to whom the work could be committed.  Naturally enough those churches would receive into membership only those who could help in the work; and so baptism was refused to infants and unbelievers.  The writer feels that in justice he must state that no denomination would advocate the admission of professedly unconverted adults into the church; but the practice of infant baptism and sacramentarian baptism will bring unconverted adults into these churches, and this is ample apology for the extended argument above on these two points.

Our Baptist churches in refusing to receive members in either of these ways are in exact line with New Testament precedent; and our practice of requiring an intelligent faith before baptism, and faith and baptism before church membership, is the only sure way of bringing into the churches the same kind of material that came into the Apostolic churches of the New Testament era.

We must look to the Scripture for more explicit instruction.  If we would know the qualifications for church membership, let us read Acts 2:41-47.  Every person which the Lord added to that Jerusalem church was converted. Here is the description of them:  They “received his word,” were “baptized,” and “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship,” etc., etc.  Surely these terms can not apply to infants or to unbelievers; there were none such in that Jerusalem church.  In Acts 11:21 we have a description of the material which was gathered into the church at Antioch:  “A great number believed and turned unto the Lord.”  Under these conditions there could be no infants in the Antioch church.  A duty is required of church members which none but intelligent converts can discharge:  “Give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”  (1 Pet. 3:15.)  Infants and unbelievers can not do this.  The discourses of Jesus, and the Epistles of Paul. Peter and John are all addressed to intelligent, spiritual agents.  The saints are those who can serve.  The argument from Scripture is cumulative and conclusive that all church members should be converted.  The reason is that God wants in his churches only spiritual workers to do his spiritual work.  Baptist practice is in exact accord with this Scripture principle.

To admit the unconverted into the churches is to destroy the very nature of the church.  When we speak of a church being a pure spiritual body we mean it has in its membership only those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ.  We have proved from Scripture that only the regenerate should be admitted to church membership; hence to receive the unregenerate would pervert the very nature of a gospel church.  A church is the body of Christ, 1 Cor. 12 :12-21; it is a big composite body made up of individual believers who belong to it as organs and members.  Each member of this body must be alive, that is he must be converted; he must by the power of the Holy Spirit be competent to discharge the spiritual functions of a member of the spiritual body of a church.  The living Christ dwells in this body; through it he speaks, and in it he walks and works (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16).  Now, if through infant or sacramentarian baptism, or through probationary membership, the unconverted are brought into a church, then Christ’s body has become afflicted with dead members, and the very nature of that church is perverted and its work hindered.

The importance of this doctrine can hardly be overestimated.  There are many who honestly misconceive the nature and mission of the church.  A church is not a nursery for infants, nor an infirmary for the ungodly, nor a refuge for the unbelieving and the indifferent; it is a recruiting station for the soldiers of the cross, every one of whom is commanded to fight the good fight of faith.  To change the figure, “the church is a force not a field.”  The world is the field, and the church is the force to work the field.  The work is spiritual and the force must be spiritual.  It will not do to have in an army those who are not soldiers, or in this force those who are not workers.  Hence we see from its very nature that there is no place in a Christian church for the unconverted.  From an understanding of this doctrine we Baptists limit church membership to those who profess conversion.  We hold that scripture and reason support our position that a church is a pure spiritual body and that none but the regenerate are to be received into its membership.  Relying on this truth, we reject infant and sacramentarian baptism, we refuse probationary membership, and we require an intelligent profession of faith before baptism, and faith and baptism before church membership.  We contend that these requirements are the only true safe-guards for the spirituality of the churches; and being the only people who hold these doctrines in their purity and simplicity, we affirm that Baptist principles are the only tenets which will inevitably bring the churches to the New Testament standard of membership.  Only as churches are pure spiritual forces can they accomplish their true spiritual mission in this world.

This is a proud position which we occupy but we do not hold it proudly.  These doctrines beget humility, sympathy, and mighty dependence on God.  If we hold this high standard of church membership, then we assume a high standard of duty.  If we are all God’s children then we should all “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God,” Mi. 6:8. In a peculiar sense we should “do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith,” (Gal. 6:10.)  We should be conspicuous in works of charity and love, and foremost of all in preaching the gospel to the world.  If in fact ours is the best doctrine, then we should be the best people and have the best churches.  And so the claims set forth in this paper do not exalt us, they humble us and fill us with love for all humanity.

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Baptist Why and Why Not (1900)

Chapter 4:  Why Baptist And Not Episcopalian

By J. J. Taylor, D. D.
Pastor Freemason Street Baptist Church
Norfolk, Virginia

That which is born of the flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. – John 3:6.

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. – Rom. 14:17.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. – John 3:3, 7.

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The Greek word episcopos, from which the word episcopal comes direct, means strictly an overseer.  In the Greek version of the Old Testament it designates the captains in an army (Num. 31:14), the officers over the house of God (2 Kings 11:18), the director of the temple repairs (2 Chron. 34:12), and various other public officials.  Applied to Christian ministers in the New Testament the word is used by Paul only, and it is translated overseer (Acts 20:28), or bishop (Phil. 1:1).

An episcopal church, then, is a bishopal church, a church governed by a bishop or by bishops.  The Anglican, the Arminian, the Catholic, the Coptic, the Greek and several Methodist churches are representatives of this class, all being episcopal.  The Protestant Episcopal church, however, is commonly known simply as the Episcopal church, and to it especially reference is made in the question, Why be a Baptist rather than an Episcopalian?

This question need not provoke any bitterness or arouse any sectarian feeling.  It can not be settled by sentiment, or social aspirations, or worldly interests.  It involves some of the deep things of our most holy faith.  It ought to be considered calmly, devoutly, impartially.  It ought to be decided in harmony with the truth.

Some points which mark the separation between Baptists and all Pedobaptists are not here considered, but only such matters as accentuate the difference between Baptists and their Episcopal brethren.

I. “THE HISTORIC EPISCOPATE.”

The doctrine of the historic episcopate, as it is called, is highly esteemed among Protestant Episcopalians, and is proclaimed by the House of Bishops as a necessary constituent of an acceptable basis of organic union among Christians.  It takes its name from the rank, functions and succession of bishops; and it involves a theory which may be set forth in the following propositions:

1. Bishops, as the official successors of the apostles from whom they have descended in unbroken line, the name being changed while the office remains the same, have the sole right of consecration, ordination, confirmation, and jurisdiction, being overseers both of preachers and people, so that, from this view, no place of worship has been truly set apart to the service of God unless it has been consecrated by a bishop, and no minister however devout and learned has any authority to perform the duties of his office unless he has been ordained or consecrated by a bishop, and no person however pious and useful is really a church member unless he has been confirmed by a bishop.

2. Priests, elders, or pastors constitute an inferior order or grade of ministers who receive from their superiors the authority to preach and to administer the sacraments of baptism and holy communion, but have no power to transmit that authority to others.

3. Deacons are a still lower order or grade of ministers who have from their bishops authority to preach and to baptize, but not to administer holy communion.

This doctrine assumes the dogma of Holy Orders, which the Catholic Episcopal church exalts into a sacrament, and defends with her anathema.  In the history of Protestant Episcopacy it has instigated war, awakened persecution, and kindled the fires of martyrdom.  Nevertheless, if it is a doctrine of the New Testament, it ought to be accepted by all, regardless of consequences.  Let it be tested by the word of God.

The first division of the subject, as given above, involves three positions which are in debate.

(1) That only apostles or ministers of apostolic rank have the right of consecration, ordination, confirmation and jurisdiction.  This position is not only an assumption, but it is an assumption which collides with the inspired records.  There is no account that any apostle of the New Testament ever consecrated any altar, bell, book, candle, chalice, house, lectrum, table, or anything else in the paraphernalia of ritualism; and so any statement about an apostolic right of consecration is entirely destitute of Scriptural warrant.  As ministers of the gospel the apostles participated in ordination with the imposition of hands (Acts 6:6; 2 Tim. 1:6); but others also had the same right.  It seems probable that Ananias was especially authorized to ordain Paul (Acts 9:17).  Later Barnabas and Paul were ordained to a special work by the laying on of the hands of certain prophets and teachers at Antioch (Acts 13:1-3).  Timothy was ordained by a presbytery (1 Tim. 4:14), a council of elders of whom Paul was one (2 Tim. 1:6).  The New Testament knows nothing of confirmation as a religious rite, as will appear later; and any assertion of apostolic privilege in the matter is entirely gratuitous.  And elders as well as apostles had a certain right of jurisdiction, and were commended to consideration for ruling well (1 Tim. 5:17).  So this whole theory of the exclusive right of apostles vanishes in the light of the truth.

(2) That bishops are the successors of the apostles in rank and authority.  This is implied in the idea of apostolic succession, and will not be denied by loyal Episcopalians.  But where is the proof of this marvelous proposition?  Unwilling to lack all semblance of Scriptural authority, the advocates of this view remind us that Jesus chose twelve whom he named apostles (Luke 6:13), a fact which no one disputes, but which does not touch the question of identity in rank between the apostles and diocesan bishops.  They, cite Matt. 28:19-20, and John 20:20-21, though neither passage shows the slightest connection between apostles and bishops of any kind; indeed, both passages are addressed to the disciples, rather than to the apostles as a class.  In a labored effort to defend the position the Rev. M. F. Sadler, M. A., mentions a dozen instances in which Paul speaks of himself as an apostle, and a score or more in which Paul claims authority; but a tyro in logic, much more a Master of Arts, ought to know that proof of Paul’s apostleship and authority, which are cordially received, does not affect the question at issue.  The failure to bring Scripture proof that bishops are apostles in rank is not surprising.  There is no such proof.  In the New Testament not one of the apostles is even once called bishop, and no bishop is called an apostle.

The position not only lacks Scriptural warrant, but it also fails before the logic of facts in the following particulars, the names apostles and bishops being used briefly for the offices which they represent.  Apostles are men who can bear personal testimony to the resurrection of our Lord (John 15:27; Acts 1:21-22); bishops are not men who can bear personal testimony to the resurrection.  Apostles have seen the risen Lord (Acts 1:2-3; 1 Cor. 9:1); bishops have not.  Apostles are inspired teachers (John 16:13; Acts 1:8; 2 Tim. 3:16); bishops are not.  Apostles heal the sick (Acts 5:16; 28:8); bishops do not.  Apostles expel unclean spirits (Acts 19:11-12); bishops do not.  Apostles impart miraculous gifts (Acts 19:6); bishops do not.  Apostles raise the dead (Acts 9:41); bishops in the presence of death are as helpless as others.  Paul gives the tokens of apostleship,  “signs and wonders and mighty deeds” (2 Cor. 12:12) ; but the most loyal Episcopalian is obliged to admit that his bishop shows none of these apostolic signs.  How then can he be in apostolic succession?  The bishop himself is obliged to acknowledge that no intellectual or spiritual power of any kind was imparted through the process of ordination or consecration.  As quoted by Dr. Hall, Archbishop Whately, who ought to be respected by our Episcopal brethren, says:  “We read of bishops consecrated when mere children; of men officiating who barely knew their letters; of prelates expelled and others put in their places by violence; of illiterate drunkards and profligate laymen admitted to holy orders.”  Yet, good people, who take things for granted instead of thinking for themselves, rather glory in the fancy that diocesan bishops are apostles by another name.

The theory contradicts itself.  If bishops have apostolic succession and rank, certainly their utterances about that rank ought to harmonize; but instead they are quite antagonistic.  Some of the most eminent bishops of the Episcopal church reject the doctrine of the historic episcopate.  Cranmer, the great archbishop under Henry VIII, said:  “The bishops and priests were at one time, and were not two things, but both in one office in the beginning of Christ’s religion.”  With similar import spoke Bishops Barrows, Brooks, Chillingworth, Davenant, Hoadley, Lightfoot, Stillingfleet, Tillotson, Whitby, and many others whose utterances could be given, if it were necessary.

(3) That the line of succession from the apostles down to the present is unbroken.  From what has already been shown, this is an empty claim. But whatever the succession, it goes through Romanism, as every candid scholar admits.  Persons only moderately acquainted with the history of England know that in the beginning of his reign Henry VIII was an ardent adherent of popery, and wrote what was regarded as an able treatise in its defense; that later for various reasons, among them a desire for a divorce, he broke his allegiance to the Pope, and had himself declared head of the church.  The plea that there had been a previous church in England, and that there was always a latent or manifest opposition to the Romish domination, is sophistical.  Dating backward three hundred years and more from Henry’s time, England was under the sway of the Pope, and her bishops were either Roman Catholics or hypocrites.  The evidence, however, shows that they and the clergy generally were very ardent Catholics, and were brought to terms after the manner of the times.  They were indicted, and were threatened with the confiscation of their property and the forfeiture of legal protection; the alternative was submission, or ruin.  Some, like Woolsey, refused, and suffered accordingly; others yielded, “and took out new commissions from the crown, in which all their episcopal authority was expressly affirmed to be derived from the civil magistrate, and to be entirely dependent on his good pleasure.”  Referring to these troublesome times out of which the Church of England arose, the late Bishop Kip (Double Witness, p.167) says:  “More than one hundred and twenty years passed-from the year 1537, in the reign of Henry VIII, to the year 1662, in the reign of Charles II – while this church was going through its successive steps, and gradually maturing to the form in which we now have it.”  The learned Bishop further states that “the first step was in the reign of Henry VIII.”  So here the chain of succession is broken.  The next preceding link is distinctly Romish; and the Romish chain is made only by violent assumptions, and by admitting to the list of bishops men destitute of Christian virtue and even common morality.  And shall our Episcopal brethren glory in a succession which includes “atheistical, heathenish and bloody monsters wearing mitres, whose constant work was to torture and destroy the disciples of the Lord?”

The second division of the subject, relating to priests, elders and pastors, has been practically disposed of in the preceding discussion.  There being no succession of a first rank in the ministry, there can be no second rank.  It may be observed, however, that in the New Testament no apostle, elder, pastor, bishop, deacon or disciple is ever called a priest, and the term, like the system to which it belongs, is unscriptural and misleading.

The third division assumes that the deacons of the New Testament are ministers of the gospel.  The office seems to have originated as described in Acts 6:1-6.  In this passage the distinction is clearly drawn between the ministry of the word and the ministry of secularities.  The apostles said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve, or act the deacon for, tables (v. 6); wherefore, look ye seven men whom we may appoint over this business.  What business?  Evidently the business of distributing the common funds of the church, and seeing that no one was neglected.  These early deacons had orders to serve tables.  The fact that Philip soon afterwards became a preacher does not affect the argument; all the other disciples became preachers at the same time (Acts 8:1-5).  In his New Testament Lexicon, Robinson specifies that a deacon in the primitive church was one who had charge of the alms and money of the church, and was a sort of overseer or bishop of the poor.  This is the view of scholars generally.  The late Edwin Hatch, Professor of Church History in the University of Oxford, takes the ground that it was the deacon, and not the preacher, who developed into the modern bishop.  He says (Bamp. Lee p. 41) that names indicative of other functions fell into disuse, and “the title which clung to him was that which was relative to his administration of the funds, episcopos or bishop.”

Baptist views on the issues of the historic episcopate are quite simple, and may be set forth as follows:

1. The apostles had divine authority, not because they were ministers of the gospel, but because they were endowed with power, and spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance (Matt. 10:1,8; Acts 2:4).  The Greek word apostolos (verb apostollein), from which the word apostle comes direct, means one sent, “he that is sent” (John 13:16), “messengers” (2 Cor. 8:23), “messenger” (Phil. 2:25).  The twelve whom Jesus called apostles, he immediately sent forth to preach (Matt. 10:5).  Apostle is Greek for missionary, which is derived from the Latin.  But these early missionaries were endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:4).  Out of these special gifts came their divine authority (2 Tim. 3:16).

2. In all that was divinely authoritative in their teachings, the apostles had no successors.  Peter makes this quite clear in the discussion of a successor to Judas (Acts 1:21-22).  Here it is distinctly stated that the successor even of Judas Iscariot was obliged to be one of the men “which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us.”  This utterance closes the discussion with all who accept Peter as inspired and infallible authority.  And Paul himself was obliged to appeal to this principle in defense of his apostleship.  Am I not an apostle?  Have I not seen the Lord Jesus Christ? (I Cor. 9:1.)

3. Bishop, elder and pastor are different terms applied to the same persons in the New Testament.  This is the view not only of Baptists, but of the predominant scholarship of the world, Disciple, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and non-religious.  It is the view held by learned Episcopalians.  In his work on Episcopacy (p 12), the late Bishop Onderdonk, of New York, says:

“The name bishop, which now designates the highest grade of the ministry, is not appropriated to that office in the Scriptures.  That name is there given to the middle order, or presbyters.”  The good Bishop further states that “when we find in the New Testament the name bishop we must regard it as meaning the bishop of a parish, or presbyter,” presbyter being another term for elder.  Pages of similar testimony might be given, if necessary.

The testimony of the Scriptures, however, is quite clear, and needs not the support of learning.  Paul distinctly identifies elders and bishops, and exhorts them to do the work of a shepherd or pastor (Acts 20:17, 28).  He calls the elders of Ephesus, and bids them take heed unto the flock over which the Holy Ghost has made them overseers or bishops, to feed-the Greek is “act the shepherd to” the church of God.  Here, then, are elders, who are bishops, doing the work of pastors, the three terms being applied to the same persons at the same time.  A similar identification is made in the letter to Titus (1 :5-7). Speaking of the ordination of elders in the churches, the apostle passing on to mention their qualifications calls them bishops:  “For a bishop must be blameless.” Elsewhere (Phil. 1:1) he addresses bishops and deacons, as an exhaustive division of Scriptural church officers, bishops representing the preachers, and deacons the non-preaching class, nothing at all being said of a third class.  Again in the instructions to Timothy (3:1-13) relative to church officers, mention is made of only two classes, bishops and deacons.  If there were another class, it would seem strange for the apostle to ignore them, and give no instructions as to their character and qualifications.  The only reasonable conclusion is that there was no such class, but that bishops, pastors and elders were the same persons by different titles.

Peter does not use the Greek noun episcopos in speaking of the ministry, but he uses the cognate verb in a way that helps in the solution of this question (1 Pet. 5 :1-3).  Apostle as he is, he calls himself an elder; he claims no preeminence, but exhorts his fellow elders to feed, or act the shepherd to, the flock, taking the oversight, or acting the bishop thereof, not as bosses over God’s heritage, but as examples to the flock.  The beloved John also calls himself the elder, as he writes unto Gaius and the elect lady.  And in the light of these passages the correctness of the Baptist position becomes quite clear.  Professor Hatch (Bamp. Lect., p. 39) says: “The admissions of both mediaeval and modern writers of almost all schools of theological opinion have practically removed this from the list of disputed questions.”

4. Deacons are men of recognized character, who are ordained to superintend the temporal affairs of the church, especially to manage the distribution of alms (Acts 6:3), and to exercise a certain disciplinary power, ruling their children, and their own houses well (1 Tim. 3:12).  Speaking of New Testament church organization, Dr. Broadus says:  “We find just two ceremonies, baptism and the supper; and just two officers, the bishop or elder, and the deacon; and then a third ceremony used in the public recognition of these officers, namely, ordination with the imposition of hands.”  That preaching was not essentially connected with the office is made perfectly clear by the fact that Paul calls Phebe the deacon of the church at Cenchrea (Rom. 16:1), here translated servant, and Paul was clearly opposed to female preachers (1 Tim. 2:12-13).  Phebe had deacon’s orders, but they were not orders to preach.

In the light of these facts the candid and fearless enquirer need not hesitate in deciding between Baptists and Episcopalians on the issues of the so – called historic episcopate.

II. THE FUNCTIONS OF THE MINISTRY.

Having wrong notions of the ministerial office, our Episcopal brethren naturally fall into error in regard to ministerial functions.  In his work on Church Doctrine Mr. Sadler, previously quoted, devotes fifty pages to a discussion of what he calls The Christian Priesthood. In this discussion (p. 208) he claims that in addition to preaching, teaching and administering the ordinances, “the Catholic church has ever held that her ministers have power from God to dispense officially certain other benefits to the faithful, in some cases by word of mouth, as in absolution or benediction, in other cases by laying on of hands, as in confirmation and ordination. As an integral part of the Catholic church, the Church of England claims these powers for her ministers.”  In the same strain the Ordinal directs the bishop who officiates at an ordination to say to the candidate:  “Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a priest in the church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained.”

In this official statement of Episcopal belief the objectionable points may be specialized in the following propositions:

1. The Christian ministry is a priesthood, the essence of which, says Bishop Whittingham, is “ministerial intervention for the forgiveness of sins.”

2. As a priesthood the ministry has power to dispense blessings by pronouncing absolution, and by administering the rite of confirmation, and of ordination.

In support of the first proposition, that the ministry is a priesthood, three considerations are offered, each and all of which are utterly inconclusive:

(1) The Catholic church has ever held that her ministers possess priestly powers.  But this proves nothing to the point, as the Catholic church has ever held views which are contrary to the Scriptures, devout Episcopalians themselves being the judges.

(2) The priesthood is recognized in the Old Testament as an established order of ministry, and so the ministry of the New Testament also is a priesthood.  But this conclusion is an inference which collides with well known facts.  It is proper to call certain Old Testament ministers priests, because the Bible again and again so designates them.  The word was perfectly familiar to inspired writers; but not once in all the Scriptures is a human minister of the gospel called a priest.  The only rational explanation of this fact is that gospel ministers are not priests, and in justice to truth ought not to be called what they are not.  “It matters not a straw whether the name of priests were given them,” says the Episcopalian (Ch. Doc., p. 223); but to one who really desires to do right, does it not matter a good deal what the Bible says?

(3) Preachers perform priestly acts, and therefore are priests, whatever they are called.  But here again the argument is fallacious.  Preachers write like editors, and visit like physicians, and speak in public like lawyers, and lead public worship like priests, but certainly those facts do not prove that preachers are editors, or physicians, or lawyers, or priests.  The distinctive function of priesthood is to offer sacrifice for sin and make atonement.  Of this the proof is concise and abundant in both Testaments (Lev. 1:4; 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 9:7; 14:20; 16:24; Num. 15:25; Heb. 5:1; 8:3; 10:11).  When Peter refers tropically [figuratively] to Christians in general as priests, he takes pains to explain that they are to offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet. 2:5, 9).  To some probably “it matters not a straw” what the Scriptures say; nevertheless these passages are quite clear.  Every priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin; but no minister of the gospel is so ordained, and hence no minister is a priest.  Once in the end of the world hath Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (Heb. 9:26); by his own blood he entered once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for his people (Heb. 9:12), and there is no more offering for sin (Heb. 10:18), and no need of any (Rom. 6:10; I John 1:7).  The inspired writers made no mistake when they failed to call preachers priests; they simply spoke in harmony with the truth.  The Christian ministry is not a priesthood.

The second proposition relative to the preacher’s power to bless by absolution and confirmation and ordination practically passes with the passing of the priestly idea of the ministry; and yet a few words may be helpful to the honest enquirer.

Mr. Sadler says, “Absolution is not merely declaratory.  It must in some sense convey what it declares” (Ch. Doc., p. 250); and he devotes a chapter to the discussion, hardly the elucidation of the subject.  In proof of his position he cites the bishops words to the candidate at ordination, “Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven, etc.”  This proves that absolution is a doctrine of the Episcopal church, but does not prove that it is a doctrine of the Bible.  Jesus used similar words to his inspired apostles (John 20:23); but bishops are not successors of Jesus, and apostles have no official successors.  The ancient Scribes regarded it as blasphemous for a mere man to assume the power of forgiving sin (Matt. 9:3).  Who but God can forgive?  Devout Episcopalians probably regard the formula of absolution as only a form which does not convey what it declares.  If the Lord forgives, no other forgiver is needed; if the ”priest” forgives, no other Lord is needed.

By the Catholic church confirmation is regarded as a sacrament, and it was so rated in the earlier service books of the Anglican Church, but in later revisions it was assigned the place of a simple rite.  In support of the practice Episcopalians cite the laying on of hands mentioned in Acts 8:17 and 19:6, and Heb. 6:2, and also passages in which ministers are said to confirm persons (Acts 14:22; 15:32, 41).  It is one of the marvels of Episcopal reasoning that the laying on of hands is ordination in Acts 6:6, confirmation in Acts 8:17, and consecration in 2 Tim. 1:6, while in Heb. 6:2 it does triple duty in support of consecration, ordination or confirmation, as occasion may require.  But a moderate knowledge of the Scriptures apprehends facts which are fatal to the confirmation theory.

(1) The laying on of hands by Peter and John produced results visible to the eyes even of a wicked man, and Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given (Acts 8:18); but no manifestation of power attends an Episcopal confirmation, and the unfortunate bishop who performs the rite can give no certificate that the Holy Ghost is imparted.

(2) The imposition of Paul’s hands enabled the twelve at Ephesus to speak with tongues and prophesy (Acts 19:6); and the claim that any modern bishop does essentially what Paul did is manifestly untrue.

(3) The Christian commission for the evangelization of the world (Mat. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16) gives no hint of confirmation as a religious rite; and there is no mention of hands laid upon thousands of the early Christians (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:14, et al.).

(4) The passages that speak of ministers as confirming certain persons are not to the point.  The Greek word used does not express a formal rite; it simply means to strengthen in the faith (Acts 16:5; 18:23).  In the first case Paul and Barnabas strengthened the disciples, not by the laying on of hands, but by exhorting them to continue in the faith (Acts 14:22).  In the next, Judas Barsabas and Silas, who were not apostles but prophets, confirmed the brethren, not by a ceremony, but by exhorting them with many words (Acts 15:32).  In the third case Paul strengthened, not the Catechumen class, but the churches.  The Episcopal church acted wisely in dropping confirmation from the list of sacraments; her Methodist daughter acted more wisely in dropping it altogether, as having no warrant whatever in the New Testament.

The Baptist view of the ministry may be set forth in a few simple sentences abundantly supported by the Scriptures.

1. By direct impression or providential indications God puts suitable men (1 Tim. 3:2-7) into the ministry (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 3:6; 5:18; Col. 1:25; 1 Tim. 1:12), and directs them to special fields (Acts 8:26; 16:6-10).

2. Persons who give evidence of a divine call are entitled to public recognition and ordination to the work with the laying on of the hands of a Presbytery (Acts 13:3; 1 Tim. 4:14).

3. Ministers as persons occupying a position of dignity are called elders (1 Tim. 5:1, 17, 19; Tit. 1:5; 1 Pet. 5:1), as preachers carrying the gospel to the destitute regions they are evangelists or missionaries (Acts 21:8; 2 Tim. 4:5), as ministers over a local church they are shepherds, or pastors, to feed the flock (Acts 20:28), or bishops to take the oversight thereof (1 Pet. 5:2).

4. The minister is not the ruler but the servant of the church (1 Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 4:5); his authority rests not in his official position, but in the character that renders him fit for his position, and in the conformity of his life and teachings to the revealed will of Christ (Phil. 2:29; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17; Gal. 1:9; Matt. 23:8-10).

III. THE EFFICACY OF ORDINANCES.

1. Baptism.  The standard catechism of the Episcopal church speaks of baptism as that “wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.”  This language is clear, and appalling; baptism by this teaching is a means of changing the character of people; of taking them from a state of nature as children of wrath, and making them, as Bishop Brownwell says, “in deed and in truth, children of God, and heirs of the Kingdom.”

No wonder that many intelligent persons who happen to be connected with the Episcopal church through sentiment, or the force of circumstances, rather than conviction, shrink from this simple statement of Episcopal doctrine, and try to explain it away or break its force by conditions of which the catechism gives no hint.  To the loyal Episcopalian the language means what it says.  Bishop Seabury, quoted and endorsed by Bishop Kip (Doub. Wit., p. 211), says:  “The benefits of baptism are remission of sins, regeneration or adoption into the family of God, the presence of the Holy Spirit, the resurrection of the body and everlasting life.”  All this as the result of a ceremony in which the infant takes no conscious part, but is brought by others, and simply smiles or frowns, coos or cries, and so forth, according to natural rather than spiritual impulses!

The clear statement of this doctrine is a sufficient refutation; but there are certain considerations which will be helpful to those who honestly seek the truth.

(1) Children who have been sprinkled in infancy give no evidence whatever of being different from other children.  That any change has been wrought by the christening process is purely a matter of credulity, as no proof can be adduced either from experience, observation or revelation.

(2) Persons duly baptized on profession of faith sometimes give evidence of being anything else than children of God.  The only rational conclusion is that baptism is not a process for making Christians.

(3) A child is the child of his father, and no power on earth can alter that fact, or change that relationship.  Voltaire and many others as wicked in spirit and as filthy in conduct were christened in very early infancy.  If they were thus made children of God, who unmade them?  And how was it done?

The Baptist view is quite simple, (1) Whether born of atheistic or infidel, heathen or Mohammedan, Jewish or Christian parents, all infants, or other irresponsible persons, who die before attaining unto the intelligence necessary to accountability, are saved.  This belief is based on the general idea of the justice and mercy of God, and on the specific declarations that Christ takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and that by the obedience of the One the many are made righteous (Rom. 5:19).

(2) Baptism, which makes no appeal to reason, but rests solely on the authority of Jesus was designed as a token of simple faith in Him and of complete surrender to His will, and is essentially a voluntary act.  The New Testament records no case of baptism administered by force, or without the consent of the baptized.  Faith brings salvation (John 3:15-16, 18, 36; 5:24; 6:47; Acts 10:43; 13:38-39; Rom. 5:1; Gal. 3:26; Eph. 2:8-9, et al.), and this salvation is symbolized (1Pet. 3:20-21) in baptism as a washing away of sin (Acts 22:16), as death to an old life and resurrection to a new (Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12), or as union with Christ (Gal. 3:27).

The candid reader will ponder these truths, and decide for himself whether Episcopalians or Baptists hold the true view as to the design of baptism.

2. The Lord’s Supper.  The Episcopal church holds what is called the doctrine of consubstantiation, the gist of which is that while the bread and wine of the supper remain unchanged, “the whole human nature of Jesus is really united with the bread and wine, so these exist together, and both are distributed to the communicant.”  Dean Goulburn says:  “The elements are not only the sign and symbol of the body and blood of Christ, but also the instruments of conveying an actual participation in his crucified human nature;” and he asserts that this is done in “eating and drinking the consecrated elements of bread and wine, which pass into and are absorbed in our living frames” (Far. Coun., p. 82).  Our learned friend Mr. Sadler, says of the supper:  “In it we have offered to us the greatest benefits of redemption; and these benefits become ours . .. .through the communication of partaking of His lower nature, his flesh and blood” (Ch. Doc., p. 158); and it is not strange that he felt constrained immediately to say, “A moment’s consideration of all this must be unutterable and inexplicable,” and he might have added absurd.  The extent of the absurdity is suggested in the following considerations based upon the utterances of these Episcopal brethren:

(1) The crucified human nature of Christ was in a material body manifest to the physical senses (Heb. 2:16; 6:5; John 20:20, 27); yet contrary to all observation these learned brethren assure us that this human and lower nature is present with the bread and wine and is distributed to the communicant.

(2) The eating of human flesh and blood is not usually regarded as a religious exercise; yet these brethren solemnly insist that cultivated and loyal Episcopalians are in the habit of actually partaking of the lower and crucified flesh and blood of Jesus as an act of deep devotion.  In the expressive words of Mr. Sadler, this is “unutterable and inexplicable.”

The Baptist view of this solemn ordinance involves nothing shocking, unutterable, or absurd, but conforms to the simple teachings of the Scriptures (Matt. 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 1 Cor. 11:23-34.)

(1) The bread and the wine are symbols of the flesh and blood of Jesus.  The Scriptures positively and clearly state that Jesus is a Door, a Vine, a Way, a Rock, a Lion, a Lamb; but a literal interpretation of these terms stultifies reason and fosters infidelity.  Equally absurd is it to hold that, while sitting alive and sound in the presence of his disciples, Jesus broke his own body and shed his own blood.  Baptists think he broke bread and poured wine, as symbols of his flesh and blood.

(2) The Lord’s Supper, as an institution extending backward to the guest chamber in Jerusalem (Mk. 14:14, 15) and destined to continue until the end, is a perpetual monument to the life and death of our Lord (1 Cor. 11:26).

(3) It is a means of grace in no peculiarly mysterious way, but only as obedience to any command, “Eat,” “Drink,” is a means of grace, and as it turns the thoughts toward death, and stimulates adoration, gratitude and renewed consecration by fixing the mind on that Death through which the soul escapes eternal death (Matt.26:28; 1 Cor. 11:24-25).

In conclusion the intelligent reader is reminded that in a little while (Job 16:22) the name by which persons are known here will be a small matter; the supreme issue will be their standing before the Lord.  No tradition, or sentiment, or human creed will then avail; but the Word of God will be the test of faith and character (John 12:48).  Search the Scriptures.  Fight the good fight of faith.  Lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 4:16; 6:12).

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