Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 17, 1952

Baptist Perversions

Bob Craig, Bay City, Texas

In the Missionary Baptist Searchlight of Oct. 25, 1950, an article appears which is supposed to be unanswerable. This article was written by the late Ben M. Bogard, dean of Missionary Baptists. It was handed to me by a Baptist preacher who suggested that even C. R. Nichol was unable to answer it. I replied that something other than inability had kept brother Nichol from replying, but since the article had to do with the total depravity question, most any gospel preacher could answer it, even I. I might mention here that the only reason why it should be unanswerable is that it is filled with assumption and if we take assumption as authority then anything becomes unanswerable.

The reason I have been so long about answering is that it was several months after the above discussion before I received a copy of the article. About that time Bogard passed away and I did not feel it was an appropriate time to bring it up. But since the death of Bogard several scholars (?) have arisen in the Baptist ranks that seem to be, as far as they and some others are concerned, just as well informed as Bogard ever was. Therefore I am sure no one will feel that Bogard has had undue advantage taken of him since his article is on public record, and then, too, these scholars should be very well able to attend to anything that might come up concerning Baptist doctrine.

One outstanding thing to be attributed to Bogard is the fact that he would let people know what Baptist doctrine was. He has presented to us plainly in this article one of the fundamental beliefs of Baptists, which is dented by many Baptist preachers, explained away by others, and simply not believed at all by the majority of the lay members of the Baptist Church. That doctrine is, in words which we can understand; "that an infant is born into this world with the guilt of sin upon it, hence, infant damnation."

The argument has been made that if sinful parents transmit to their children the disposition to sin and that hereditary depravity is a fact, then it follows that Christian parents may in turn pass on to their children the righteousness of Christianity. Mr. Bogard answers this with the scientific statement: "acquired characteristics are not hereditary," and since Christianity is acquired it cannot be inherited.

But, the question comes, did not Adam acquire his sinful nature, and since it was acquired does that not make it impossible to pass on this acquired characteristic? "No," says Bogard, "man lost none of his old characteristics, neither did he add a new characteristic, but rather sin corrupted all the characteristics that he then had." I will agree readily with the idea that we cannot pass on acquired characteristics but I will also maintain that Adam's sinful nature was acquired therefore could not be passed on.

Bogard bases his statement that "sin corrupted all of his characteristics," on assumption and a verse of scripture, the meaning of which has been perverted. We know immediately that all his or anyone else's assumption is just so many empty words; they prove nothing. The further perversion of the scripture means that there is no proof for the idea that has been suggested. Let the Searchlight speak for Bogard in giving this definition:

"And 'we are all by nature children of wrath' (Eph. 2:3). Thayer, the best of Greek lexicographers, a standard Greek authority, says the word translated 'by nature,' means 'what we are by natural birth,' hence, we are BY NATURAL BIRTH children of wrath."

Now I am by no means a Greek scholar but I agree with everyone else that Thayer is. I have Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon in my library and I have searched diligently for the definition that has been given as coming from the pen of Henry Thayer, but in vain.

This Greek word or its equivalent can mean on some occasions, "birth, physical origin," but it must be accompanied by other words in context to bring about this rendering, and in this particular case, Ephesians 2:3, the meaning cannot be such as the definition given by Mr. Bogard, according to Mr. Thayer, the authority quoted by Bogard. If you have Thayer's or have access to one get it and read the definitions for yourself.

Thayer defines the phrase "by nature" of Eph. 2:3 on page 660 near the bottom of the right hand column. His definition is: "a mode of feeling or acting which by long habit has become nature." Hence, we become "children of wrath" by virtue of a practice or sin and not BY NATURAL BIRTH. Therefore sin is an acquired characteristic, by Adam first of all and then by each of us, and "Acquired characteristics are not hereditary."

Other scriptures are given in the article concerning the scriptural warfare that takes place in man's members. None of these scriptures are denied or considered since they have no bearing whatsoever on the question of infant damnation. Other men more able than I have dealt with other scriptures that have been presented from time to time in defense of total depravity and therefore I feel it unnecessary to deal with anything other than that which has come before me.

Baptist friend and reader, most of you don't believe in infant damnation to begin with, but it IS BAPTIST DOCTRINE (necessary Baptist doctrine) and I am pleading with you to do as Paul suggested, "come ye out from among them and be ye separate." How can you conscientiously uphold, with your moral support, your attendance, your money, a system of religion that is guilty of teaching a perverted gospel. (Please read Gal. 1 and 2 John 9-11.)

Baptist friend, you who believe in infant damnation, you are being led by scholarly perversions into an erroneous doctrine. Study your Baptist doctrine. Try it by God's Word, rather than by the say so of men, and you will see that not ONE thing which is peculiar to Baptists is contained in the pages of divine writ.