Concerning the difference between the Baptist Church and the Churches of Christ or Christian Churches on some doctrinal issues, I will briefly attempt to state such in a few words. First of all – I am convinced that there are probably many sincere and well meaning church members in the Baptist Church. They believe:
1) The Bible is God’s inspired Book.
2) Jesus died for man’s sin, was buried, resurrected, and is coming back as “judge” and is man’s only way to salvation.
3) Regular worship of God the Creator is needful.
I am very glad that the sincere (not play actors) Baptists’ believe the above, and they are not: atheist, evil, foul-mouthed, or out-laws. However, in areas where I disagree are:
The name “Baptist” divides one group of believes from other believers (Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, etc.). Whereas, the name “Christian” honors Christ. He is the Savior, not John the Baptist. Jesus prayed that His followers would be united, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Paul the apostle ridiculed the Christians in Corinth who were dividing over names, “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
(I Corinthians 1:10-13)
Christ said He would build His Church. Thus, if the church belongs to Christ, then should it not bear His name? Likewise, should not His followers wear His name and not that of another? If we are Americans – we do not want to be called Frenchmen, Germans, or Russians, right?
2) PLAN OF SALVATION
Some Baptists will vary in their “Plan of Salvation,” but most that I have studied about or personally talked with teach the following:
1) Pray the sinner’s prayer: this is acknowledging that one is a sinner and asks Jesus to forgive you and come into your heart;
2) Prayer after conversion: pray at the altar at church until one feels he/she has “prayed through” (asks forgiveness long enough until you have satisfied God and He mysteriously saves you and alerts you of such and that you “feel” you have gotten through).
I disagree with this man-made plan of salvation. (See my articles on the Web exposing “False Doctrines” at www.kyowva.com.
The place where the sinner contacts the Blood of Christ is not in prayer – but in the Baptismal Waters if we are a believer and repentful.
I contend that this is a very serious error of “Baptist Doctrine” (teaching). Even though all Baptists that I know immerse, they do not do it for the correct reason as the Bible teaches in Acts 2:38, that is for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Many of the Baptists whom I know have a fine worship service as far as: good singing, good preaching, good heart-felt prayers, special music, testimonies, and sacrificial offerings. However, the exclusion of the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis is a man-made teaching which can not be proven from Scripture.
The basis for weekly Communion (eating and drinking of emblems symbolic of the Body and Blood of Jesus) can be considered first of all from an Old Testament teaching. Leviticus 24:7-9 teaches that once a week, on the Jewish Sabbath, the Levitical Priest ate the Shewbread in the Tabernacle Worship. No one else was permitted to eat it. In the New Testament, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper or Communion for His followers (Matthew 26:26-29). Peter states that Christians are “Priests” ( I Peter 2:5-9). Following the resurrection of Jesus, He spent forty days with His apostles speaking about the Kingdom (The Church) as is recorded in Acts 1:1-3. They (the inspired apostles) set a precedence for us in corporate worship by including Communion (Acts 2:42) on a weekly basis (Acts 20:7). Besides Scripture, secular history verifies that the early church worshiped on Sunday (not the Jewish Sabbath or Saturday) and included Communion each week. It was man that has changed the Communion service to observing it monthly, quarterly, etc.
4) ETERNAL SECURITY
Many Baptists teach the doctrine of Eternal Security (or Once Saved, Always Saved) based upon John 10:25-30. However, the key verse in understanding this text is found in verse 27 and reading the word “follow.” In other words, once one is saved he/she is saved eternally as long as he/she follows the Lord. Periodically one may stumble but can be forgiven if he/she will repent and pray to be forgiven. But to follow John Calvin’s teaching “French Theologian 1509-64) as many Baptists do – that is, that one can turn 180 degrees from God’s way and live for the devil and still have assurance of Heaven…NO WAY! See Matthew 7:21 and Revelation 2:10.
By now you have concluded that I am not in the Baptist Church for several reasons. I attempt to teach that Jesus warned against false teachers (Matthew 7:22,23 and II Peter 2:1). I try to be kind and gentle in exposing what I determine as false teachings. I know that when one has friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers in various faiths, it is hard to say they are wrong. Especially this is true if they are seemingly living so close to the Bible. The Political world has been busy for a long time in “Mud Slinging.” I am afraid that out of the attempt to stay close to the Bible many of us in the church have followed down the same path. I know of many religious people who think that unless you are kicking those in other faiths who disagree with you – then you are not preaching. I am not saying that one should not expose false doctrine. But this should be done in the right place and at the right time.
Now let me say this – I have relatives and acquaintances in several different faiths. I am “slow” to be critical of all others who differ with me on Bible Doctrines. We of the “Christian Church/Church of Christ” (Restoration Movement) have plenty to restore in most instances within our own congregations. Just because we wear a Bible name (Christian) and practice the Bible Plan of Salvation and Worship – we still fall short in many areas (forgiving spirit, Bible study, fasting, devotional life, loving spirit, prayer life, benevolence, evangelistic spirit, selecting Biblically qualified church leaders, exercising church discipline, non-prejudice, etc.) except by the grace of God none of us will ever make it to Heaven. Therefore, may we strive to teach our religious neighbors the way of the Lord more adequately (see Acts 18:23-26). However, our words will fall on idle ears unless we set a good example by living the Bible (see I Peter 1:13-16). May God bless your endeavor to grow in God’s ways.