Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 11, 1949
NUMBER 14, PAGE 3,6b

"Why I Am A Baptist" Answered

J. P. Lusby

In a recent article in the Missionary Baptist Searchlight Dr. L. D. Foreman tells, "Why I Am A Baptist." He says, "I am a Baptist, first of all, because that is the Church that Jesus built while on earth, during his personal ministry." Then he raises the question, "How do we know this? and labors heavily in trying to support his assertion. But so far as adducing any scripture proof of his statement, the good Doctor has labored in vain. Beginning with the prophecies concerning the harbinger of Christ, he shows how John the Baptist fulfilled them. Then he adds, "The man's name was John, and his title (religious title) was Baptist," and argues that all who were baptized by John were Baptists and made up the Baptist Church.

Religious Title

Consider the statement that "Baptist" was John's religious title. If that be true, it would appear that the Baptist Church has appropriated and applied to itself as a name a word that (Foreman says) was given as a religious title of a single individual. Did Christ assume the "title" of John the Baptist when he was baptized? Or at any other time? Was Jesus ever called "Baptist?" Many terms are applied to Christ, but Baptist never! Does one single verse in all the scripture even hint that Christ ever wore that "title?" No one except Dr. Foreman and his Baptist colleagues try to make Christ a Baptist. God did not. The Holy Spirit did not. John the Baptist did not. And Christ himself never thought of calling himself "a Baptist."

"A Baptist"

Dr. Foreman says of John, "God made him a Baptist, and sent him into the world to prepare the peoples' hearts, by repenting and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ." Now I just wonder where, he learned that? Not from the Bible. God did not make John "a Baptist." God sent John to "baptize with water." (John 1:33) And because John did what God sent him to do he was called "the Baptist." He was "the Baptist" because he baptized. Baptists might as well call their church the "Baptizer Church" as the "Baptist Church", for that's exactly what the term means.

Preparing The Peoples Hearts

Neither did God send John into the world "to prepare the peoples' hearts by repenting and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ." That is Baptist doctrine, but not Bible doctrine. The scriptures teach that John was sent "to prepare the way of the Lord," and "to make ready a people prepared for him." (Matt. 3:3; Luke 1:17) This he did. He did it by preaching "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." (Mark 1:4) When the people obeyed John's preaching, their hearts were prepared — prepared to receive the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who rejected John's preaching were not prepared in heart to receive him, but they "rejected the counsel of God against themselves." (John 7:30)

If John had been sent "to prepare peoples' hearts by repenting and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ," (as Dr. Foreman asserts) for exactly what purpose was he preparing them? He obviously was not preparing their hearts to accept Christ, for Dr. Foreman says that the receiving of Christ was a part of their preparation. He asserts that John "prepared their hearts BY...receiving Christ", and not TO receive him. He did not prepare their hearts to believe on Christ, for surely this had been done when they "received" him, or else one can receive Christ without faith or belief in him. We would like for some Baptist (preferably Dr. Foreman) to explain to us exactly what John was preparing the peoples' hearts for. He prepared their hearts for something. For what?

Of course Dr. Foreman cannot reply to that; to do so would embarrass his Baptist position. But Paul, who was never in all his lifetime a member of any "Baptist Church, can give the answer, "Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ." (Acts 19:4) Here is the answer — not the Baptist answer, but the Bible answer as to why John prepared the people; he prepared them to receive Christ. This he did by preaching "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."

Was Christ A Baptist?

As might have been anticipated, Dr. Foreman presented the old, old Baptist argument: John was a Baptist; John baptized Christ; that made Christ a Baptist. This argument (?) has been made ridiculous so many times that many of the more enlightened and intelligent Baptist preachers are abandoning it. But the writer of the article under review says that Christ came to "this Baptist" (John) and received "Baptist baptism" which "the entire Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit honored." Then he asks, "Right here, I want to ask an important question — what would you be, religiously speaking or denominationally speaking, if you were baptized by a Baptist who had authority from God to baptize, or a Baptist church who has this same authority? There is no other answer than, 'I would be a Baptist.' "

This logic (?), of course, makes Christ a Baptist —a member of the Baptist denomination. Well, if he is a member of the Baptist denomination, he is not a member of the Methodist or Presbyterian denominations; for no one ever heard of an individual's being a member of both the Baptist denomination and the Methodist denomination at the same time. (In fact, if Christ were a Methodist, the Baptists would turn him out of the Baptist church — they would not fellowship him!) Therefore, according to the logical necessity of Baptist doctrine, all Methodists and Presbyterians are without Christ; he is not in their denominations.

But consider the argument that John's baptizing Christ made Christ a Baptist. Paul was an apostle; Paul baptized Crispus; that made Crispus an apostle. Again, Jim is a blacksmith; he shoes a horse; that makes the horse a blacksmith. Once again, Tom is a dentist; he fills Foreman's tooth; that makes Foreman a dentist!

The purpose of Paul's baptizing Crispus was not to make Crispus an apostle, but to make him a Christian. The purpose for which Jim shod the horse was not to make the horse a blacksmith, but to protect his feet. The purpose for which Tom filled Foreman's tooth was not to make Foreman a dentist, but to preserve the tooth. The purpose for which John baptized people was not to make them Baptists, but was "for the remission of sins". But even this did not apply to Christ He was not baptized "for the remission of sins," but for a special and individual purpose. He was baptized "to fulfill all righteousness" — not to become a Baptist.