"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.IV Pg.8-10
November 1943

Reviewing Some Views

W. Curtis Porter

Human Creeds

The following is taken from the pen of Ben M. Bogard, editor of the Orthodox Baptist Searchlight, as printed in a recent edition of that paper.

"Then that silly twaddle about human creeds" What other kind of creed can there be except a 'human creed.' Do dogs and cats have creeds? Do fish and birds have creeds?

It takes a human being to have a belief (creed) and if a man has any belief at all he has a creed. All men have creeds except idiots. A man who has no creed is necessarily a fool. But the objection may be to written creeds. If that be so it follows that Campbellites are either ashamed of their belief (creed) or afraid to publish it to the world because to reduce it to writing would be to subject it to public inspection and when they say 'the Bible is our creed, the object is to catch suckers."

It is rather strange that a man of Bogard's boasted caliber is unable to understand what is meant by "human creeds." Certainly the word creed has to do with one's belief, and I feel certain that cats and dogs and fish and birds do not have creeds, but there are some "human beings" that do not have a "human creed." A "human creed" is not merely the belief which a human being has, but it is a creed (belief) based on human authority, written and constructed by human wisdom, containing the doctrines and commandments of men. Creeds like this are found among the Baptists. J. M. Pendleton's Baptist Manual is an example of a human creed. And Bogard's "Baptist Waybook" is another. These are "human creeds," not because they contain the belief of human beings, but because they rest on human authority. I wonder if Bogard had never thought of a "divine creed"? Of course, according to his statement, there can be no such thing as a divine creed, for he says there is no other kind but human creeds. At least this is an admission that he has no divine creed and that the creed of all Baptists is human. I knew that all the time, and I thank Bogard for his admission of it. A "divine creed" is a creed given by divine authority, based on divine wisdom and written by divinely inspired writers. I am willing to agree with Bogard that "a man who has no creed is necessarily a fool," but I also maintain that man is foolish who accepts a "human creed" in religion. The people whom he styles as "Campbellites" have never denied having a creed, but we do deny that we have a human creed and challenge any man to prove otherwise.

Neither has the objection been made to "written creeds" as Board guesses. We have no objection to a written creed. In fact, the creed which we accept was "reduced to writing" nearly two thousand years ago; and we are neither ashamed of it nor afraid for it to be "subjected to public inspection." It has been publicly inspected many times by Baptist preachers, including Bogard, and it has stood all the attacks they have been able to make upon it. Furthermore, we are ready at any time to have it publicly inspected by them whenever they see fit to make the inspection. The creed which we accept "is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) and will "thoroughly furnish the man of God unto every good work." What more should we want? Is that not sufficient? Why turn that down and accept "human creeds" with all their imperfections? But to say that "the Bible is our creed," is, according to Bogard, merely an effort "to catch suckers." Maybe that is the reason he does not claim the Bible as his creed. But it seems to me that those who are taken in by human creeds are the suckers. At least, no one can with any degree of reason claim the Bible to be the Creed of the Baptist Church, for surely the "creed of the Baptist Church" would say something about the Baptist Church, and it is not even mentioned in the Bible. I don't blame my friend Bogard for not claiming it as his creed, for if he "caught" anybody by that claim, he would likely be a "sucker."

Evidence Of Salvation

A short time ago a Missionary Baptist student in Harding College wrote Ben M. Bogard of Little Rock, Arkansas, a letter. That letter was published in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight, of which Bogard is editor. The girl was wanting to know how she could know when she was saved. She said:

"Several years ago I thought I was saved, then I became dissatisfied and worried about my condition. I thought maybe being baptized would help. I was baptized into the Missionary Baptist Church; still that didn't satisfy me, so I thought if I was not saved I didn't have any business in the church."

I do not know where the girl got the idea that "being baptized" into "the Missionary Baptist Church" would give any help in determining whether she was saved. I am sure she got no such idea from the Bible, for the Bible does not tell any one to be baptized into the Missionary Baptist Church as a proof of salvation or for any other reason. In fact, the Bible does not even mention "the Missionary Baptist Church" or any other kind of Baptist Church. But, according to Baptists, there was no reason for the girl to worry about it, for surely the Baptist Church into which she was baptized did not accept her for baptism until she had given satisfactory evidence that she was already saved. Her "experience of grace" certainly agreed with theirs or they would have voted against receiving her for baptism and for church membership. If they were mistaken in her case, likely they have been mistaken in all other cases, even in their own, and all of them should become disturbed about this question. In fact, it is my honest conviction that they should do just that. In answering the girl's question, Bogard, among other things, said this:

"The Bible proof that enables us to know that you are saved is found m the First Epistle of John. In that epistle we are told that 'We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. 1 John 3:14. It does not say we know we are saved because of some feeling. It does not say we know we are saved because we have been baptized as Harding College teaches. But is says we know because we love the brethren."

If Bogard could just get his brethren convinced of the fact that they do not know they are saved "because of some feeling," it would make it much easier for us to teach them the truth about the plan of salvation. Baptists, almost universally, have contended that feeling is an evidence of pardon.. They often say that the good feeling they have in' their left side is proof that the Lord has pardoned them and that they would not give such feeling for all the Bibles in the world. Well, I am glad that Bogard, at least, is convinced of the fact that men cannot rely on their feelings as evidence of their salvation. Perhaps he may get that idea over to some of his brethren sometime and maybe some of them will decide to rely on the word of the Lord.

The passage Bogard gives from 1 John 3:14 regarding the evidence of salvation is the truth of God, but it is not all of the truth. That is only one of the things which the Bible mentions as proof that we are his children. Bogard writes as if he thought all truth about the matter is contained in this one verse of Scripture. But since it says "we know we have passed from death unto life because love the brethren" the question logically and naturally follows: Who are the brethren? And, furthermore, how do we know when we love them? Unless there is some limit placed on the passage, it can be made to prove universal salvation. The Baptists can say "the brethren" are the members of the Baptist Church; the Methodists can say they are Methodists; the Pentecostals can say they are members of the Pentecost Church; Masons can say "the brethren" are the members of the Masonic Order; the Odd Fellows can say the same for their lodge; and on throughout every organization, religious or non-religious, in all the world. Each group loves its own brethren and that may be taken as evidence of the salvation of that group. So this would result in universal salvation. But the Lord had a definite group in mind when he had John to say "the brethren." So back to our question: Who are the brethren? Jesus asks and answers the question for us in Mat. 12:4850. Matthew tells us that Jesus said: "Who is my mother? And who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

This ought to settle the question. "The brethren" are those who "do the will" of the Father in heaven. But the will of the Father says to "be baptized, for the remission of sins." Acts 2:38. When a man refuses to do that he refuses the will of the Father and cannot be classed as one of "the brethren." Baptists are not baptized for the remission of sins; hence, they are not "the brethren." And no one else who has not done this commandment can be put in that class. So it begins to look like baptism may have something to do with it after all, regardless of Bogard's theology.

Since "the brethren" are those who have done the will of the Father, we ask: How do we know that we love them? "We know we have passed from death unto life be cause we love" them, but what is our proof that we love them? The apostle John answers this question in 1 John 5:2. I wonder if Bogard knew it was in the divine record. John says: "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments." Now, the "children of God" are "the brethren." So we know we love the brethren when we keep the commandments of God. And one of his commandments is "baptism for the remission of sins." Thus we are shown that the evidence of our salvation includes the fact that we have been baptized, although Bogard says it is not because we have been baptized. And in connection with this we may also read 1 John 2:3. This tells us how "we know that we know him." Bogard overlooked this statement entirely. What does it say: "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." And the next verse says: "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." Thus it is seen that the man who does not obey the commandments of the Lord, does not know him and does not know that he knows him. The disobedient man has no evidence of salvation and he has no salvation. But remember that one of the commandments of the Lord that stands between the sinner and salvation is baptism. Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16. We know that we are saved when we obey the commandments upon which the Lord has promised salvation. We do not have to depend upon feelings; we have the word of the Lord for it. The man who has not been baptized is not one of "the brethren," has not done the will of the Father, is not saved and has no evidence of salvation.

Saved From Water

In 1 Pet. 3:20, 21 we have this language from the apostle Peter: "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Thus the salvation of Noah and the salvation of men today are presented in type and antitype. The ark, borne on the bosom of the water, transported Noah from the old world to the new; and baptism translates us from a state of condemnation to a state of justification. Thus Noah and family were saved in the ark by water, and we are saved today by baptism. So our salvation by baptism is "the like figure" (or as the Revised Version puts it: "a true likeness") of the salvation of Noah by water.

All of this is as simple as it can possibly be. There is no reason for men to misunderstand it. But it is amusing to watch the antics of Baptist preachers as they try to "figure" baptism out of the plan of salvation as given in this verse. Ernest L. McCain, in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight, recently tried a new angle in this figuring business. He went at it in the following fashion:

"They were saved by the water like you and I are saved in the storm cellar from the storm. So Noah and his household were saved in the ark, from the water, and not in the water. We are saved in the cellar, from the storm, and not in the storm. Baptists preach that we are saved in Christ Jesus blood and not in the water."

This is certainly a master stroke in the figuring enterprise. Mr. McCain "figured" that he had baptism completely figured away from the plan of salvation, but his "figuring" accomplishes too much--it "figures" the statement of Peter out of the New Testament. When we reach the sum of this system of figuring we have this: Peter did not say what he should have said. His language should read like this: "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved from water. The like figure whereunto we are now even saved from baptism." Wouldn't it be a great consolation to Baptist preachers if Peter's statement read like this? But I figure that Elder McCain's figures are all wrong. His comparison just won't work. Yes, we are saved in the cellar from the storm, not by the storm. There is a vast difference between being saved from the storm and by the storm. If a man were encircled by a raging fire, doomed to perish within its flames, but just before the moment of doom arrives a howling storm sweeps across the land, picks up the man from his place of peril, hurls him through the air, and lets him down safely beyond the reach of danger, he is then saved by the storm. And it is a figure of this kind that Baptist preachers must find in order to parallel the statement of Peter about the salvation of Noah, for Peter did not say that Noah was saved from water but by water. To illustrate by a salvation from the storm will never get the job done in a way that will satisfy men who will use their brain cells just a little bit. As each man is saved by the storm when that storm sweeps him from danger and sets him down in a place of safety, so Noah was saved by water when that water carried him and his family in the ark from the old world to the new. Remember, it was by water, not from water.

Incidentally, this figurative Baptist, while trying to figure baptism out of the plan of salvation, figures himself out of church membership. It is a well-known fact that a man cannot be a member of the Baptist Church without submitting to Baptist baptism. But Mr. McCain reasons like this: We are saved in the storm cellar from the storm; in the same way Peter's statement indicates that Noah was saved in the ark from the water; and it shows we are saved in the blood from the water, from baptism. But suppose we leave the storm cellar and get into the storm. Are we then saved from the storm? No, we will have to stay out of the storm to be saved from it. But what do Baptists do? Do they stay out of the water? Do they stay out of baptism? Oh, no. They have to get into the water in order to get into the Baptist Church. As long as they stay out of the water they stay out of the Baptist Church. If they are saved from the water, they are also saved from the Baptist Church. If this Baptist preacher's illustration were carried to its legitimate conclusion, in practice, it would soon end the existence of the Baptist Church. It would be a fine conclusion for a Baptist argument. I advise Mr. McCain, however, to be more concerned about letting the statement of Peter remain as it is and to be less concerned about what "Baptists preach."

What Makes A Baptist?

Baptist preachers and debaters have contended that God sent John as a Missionary Baptist preacher, that John baptized Christ and that made him a Baptist Christ, that he baptized the apostles and that made them Baptist apostles, and that Christ took men whom John baptized and formed them into a church and that made the church a Baptist Church. This is the line of argument that Baptist debaters have had to depend on in an effort to find any Scriptural authority for a Baptist Church. But now comes Ben M. Bogard, editor of Orthodox Baptist Searchlight and who, in his own estimation, is the greatest debater of them all, and spoils this whole argument. In a recent issue of his paper he makes the following statement:

"Since God called the first baptizer a Baptist it will logically follow that the church which baptizes now should be called Baptist. If John was the Baptist because he was the only one at that time who was authorized to baptize why is it wrong to follow the example God himself set and can the only church which baptizes by the name of the Baptists?

"With Baptists the church does the baptizing by means of authorized administrators. No individual baptizes. This editor has never baptized any person in his life, but the

churches have used him as an agent and the churches using him as an agent have baptized a great many. With Campbellites the individual does the baptizing without any church authority--just anybody can baptize according to them. Hence it would not be proper to call their church by the name of Baptist. But each and every Baptist church actually baptizes and hence can be properly called Baptist church or the Lord God himself made a mistake by setting the example of calling a baptizer by the name of Baptist."

Bogard slipped a little by saying that John was called "a Baptist." He knew that such was not the case. So he soon corrected that, without intending for his Baptist readers to discern the correction, by saying he was "the Baptist." This title was applied to John, he tells us, because John was a "baptizer." In this he is exactly correct. "John the Baptist" simply means "John the baptizer." He was therefore not called "Baptist" because he had anything to do with a church by that name but because he baptized. We thank Bogard for this admission. We have been telling Baptist debaters for years that this is true, but Bogard is the first one that I have ever known to admit it. But his reasoning from the individual to the church is rather lame. He thinks that the church baptizes now. Hence, we can call it Baptist, for God called the first baptizer "the Baptist." Yes, but it was an individual that was called "the Baptist." God never called any church "the Baptist Church." So he "set no example" for us to follow along that line. If Bogard can find the "example that God himself set" in referring to a church as Baptist, then I'll be perfectly willing to "follow the example." But when he presents an individual as a "set example" for a church, I am not willing to take that, for Bogard himself makes a clear distinction between the individual and the church.

Since he says that it is the Baptist Church--not the individual--that does the baptizing, then what right has he to take a title that was given to an individual and attach it to the church and claim he is following the example that God set? The matter resolves itself into this: Nothing can be a Baptist that does not baptize. Bogard says that John was called "the Baptist" because he baptized. And he thinks the church should be called "the Baptist Church" because it baptizes. Christ, therefore, did not become a Baptist when he was baptized by John, as Baptist preachers have always contended. In order for him to be a Baptist he would have to Baptize some one else. And the disciples baptized by John were not Baptists as a result of that. They had to baptize some one else first. And, merely taking John's disciples and organizing them into a church would not make a Baptist church. That church would have to baptize first before it could be a Baptist Church. Incidentally, I may state that Bogard took this position in his debate with me at Hulburt, Oklahoma. The church is a Baptist Church because it baptizes. So it has to baptize before it becomes a Baptist Church. Yet Bogard said the commission in Mat. 28:19 was given to the church. To what church? I inquired. It could not be to the Baptist Church, for it had to operate under that commission to become one. What kind of church was it before it operated?

Another thing that Bogard accomplishes by this argument in his paper is to cut out all "individual Baptists." Did you notice that he says: "With Baptist no individual baptizes"? Link that with his admission that a Baptist is one who baptizes. Since "no individual baptizes" then no individual can be a Baptist. Of course, every member of the Baptist Church who has never baptized any body cannot be called a Baptist, and that includes by far the larger part of the membership of the Baptist Church. But it takes in more than that. It includes all the preachers of the Baptist Church too, for, according to Bogard, the individual preachers do not baptize. Even Bogard says he has never baptized any one. So none of the members and none of the preachers of the Baptist Church have any right to wear the name Baptist. You can have a "Baptist Church" but you can't have "individual Baptists." Call the church "Baptist Church" but don't call any individual member of it a Baptist, for if you do, you will not be following the example that Bogard thinks he found that God set.

But in the New Testament I read of individuals who did some baptizing. In Acts 8:38, when Philip baptized the eunuch, we are told that "he baptized him." And he did it without going back to Jerusalem to get the vote and the authority of the church. And Paul in 1 Cor. 1:1416 said: "I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name., And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other." Thus Paul talks as if he had baptized these people at Corinth; and the people there evidently had the same idea of it. Otherwise there would have been no danger of their thinking he baptized in his own name. If they knew it was the church--not Paul--that did the baptizing, they might have thought he baptized in the name of the church but certainly not in his own name. And they might have been tempted to call themselves Baptists--provided that was the name of the church.