"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
IN WHAT SENSE ARE WE BAPTIZED INTO THE CHURCH?
By Wayne Camp
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW
Since I did not include this continuing article in the February issue of the paper, I want to quickly review what we have covered thus far and continue to set forth what others have said on the subject.
In the first article, I showed that one is baptized into the church in the same sense in which he is baptized into Christ and into the death of Christ. I gave the parallel construction of several verses that show that to be true. I repeat them again. Please forgive this lengthy quote from the December, 1998, article.
I said that one is baptized into the body in the same sense that he is baptized into Christ, into Moses, into the death of Christ, etc. A comparison of the following Scriptures makes that very clear.
ei") one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into (
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into (ei") Christ have put on Christ.
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into (ei") Jesus Christ were baptized into (ei") his death?
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into (ei") death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Acts 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in (ei") the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in (ei") the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in (ei") the name of the Lord Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in (ei") the name of Paul?
1 Corinthians 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in (ei") mine own name.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in (ei") the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 10:2 And were all baptized unto (ei") Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
Note the parallel nature of these statements.
ei") one body" (1 Cor. 12:13).
"baptized into (
"baptized into (ei") Christ" (Gal. 3:27).
"baptized into (ei") Jesus Christ" (Rom. 6:3).
"baptized into (ei") his death" (Rom. 6:3).
"baptism into (ei") death" (Rom. 6:4).
"baptized in [into] (ei") the name of the Lord."(Acts 8:16).
"baptized in [into] (ei") the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 19:5).
"baptized in [into] (ei") the name of Paul." (I Cor. 1:13).
"baptized in [into] (ei") mine own name." (I Cor. 1:15).
"baptizing them in [into] (ei") the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Mat. 28:18-20).
"baptized unto [into] (ei") Moses in the cloud and in the sea." (I Cor. 10:2).
Now, consider the expression, "baptized into" in the Greek in each of the instances above.
ebaptisqhmei" (1 Cor. 12:13).
ebaptisqhteei" (Gal. 3:27).
ebaptisqhmenei" (Rom. 6:3).
ebaptisqhmenei" (Rom. 6:3).
baptismato"ei" (Rom. 6:4).
bebaptismenoiei" (Acts 8:16).
ebaptisqhsanei" (Acts 19:5).
ebaptisqhteei" (I Cor. 1:13).
ebaptisaei" (I Cor. 1:15).
baptizonte"ei" (Mat. 28:19).
ebaptisantoei" (I Cor. 10:2).
Consider also the tense of baptize in the first four instances where it is a verb. In the fifth instance above it is a noun.
BaptizedFirst aorist passive indicative of baptizo. (1 Cor. 12:13).
BaptizedFirst aorist passive indicative of baptizo. (Gal. 3:27).
BaptizedFirst aorist passive indicative of baptizo. (Rom. 6:3).
BaptizedFirst aorist passive indicative of baptizo. (Rom. 6:3).
This shows that the expression "baptized into" is used in the same sense in each of these expressions. "Baptized into one body" in I Cor. 12:13 is to be understood in the same sense as "baptized into Christ" in Gal. 3:27. "Baptized into one body" in I Cor. 12:13 is to be understood in the same sense as "baptized into Jesus Christ" in Rom. 6:3. "Baptized into one body" in I Cor. 12:13 is to be understood in the same sense as "baptized into his death" in Rom. 6:3. In each case it refers to relationship, not location. If, based on I Cor. 12:13, we say that baptism is the "DOOR" into the church, we should also be willing to say that baptism is the "DOOR" into Christ, is the "DOOR" into his death, was the "DOOR" into Moses for Israel, and was the "DOOR" into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Mat. 28:18-20).
Is there not enough parallelism here to establish that fact that being baptized into the one body (1 Cor. 12:13) is in the same sense as being baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27)? Is not the construction so nearly alike that being baptized into the one body (1 Cor. 12:13) is in the same sense as being baptized into Jesus Christ and in the same sense as being baptized into his death (Rom. 6:3)?
If language means anything, it is in the same sense that we are baptized into Christ that we are baptized into his body. In the same sense that we are baptized into his death we are baptized into his body. The verb baptized is the same each time except for slight ending changes and in exactly the same tense, and eis is exactly the same in each of the Scriptures. The word eis (ei"), as used in these verses signifies relationship. The Israelites were baptized into (eis) Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 1 Corinthians 10:2 And were all baptized unto (ebaptisanto ei") Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
Concerning this last verse another has written in a message called Baptized Into One Body,
In I Corinthians 10 Paul relates how "all" the Israelites "were baptized unto Moses" (v. 2) "and did all drink of the some spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (V. 4). In I Corinthians Paul says the same about New Testament Christians.1
In this same article, this same writer was commenting on I Cor. 12:13 and paralleled the verse with Gal. 3:27. He said,
To be baptized into the body of Christ was the same as being baptized into Christ. (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).2
In the article in December, 1998, I pointed out that there was no question that J. R. Graves held that baptism was and is the door to the church.
In the article in December, 1998, I also pointed out that AS FAR AS I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ASCERTAIN J. M. Pendleton did not hold strictly to the idea that baptism is the door to the church. I said,
"J. M. Pendleton, as far as I have been able to ascertain, held that it was a prerequisite to church membership. "
I did not try to misrepresent Pendleton. I do not have all that he wrote on the subject and I searched what I had and that was the reason I purposely used the precautionary language, "AS FAR AS I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ASCERTAIN."
I based my statement in part on the fact that Pendleton held that baptism was a prerequisite to church membership and he also held that faith in Christ was a prerequisite to church membership. Though salvation is a prerequisite to church membership, it does not follow that one who is saved will become a church member. It does not follow that one who is saved will be baptized. There are those who hold that position but not this writer. I have heard it said that "if one is truly saved he will be baptized and join a Sovereign Grace Landmark Baptist Church." Although Jesus had already established his church, I find no record that Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathaea, nor the thief who was saved on the cross were ever baptized or church members.
Another statement made by Pendleton also influenced my statement. He wrote,
And as churches in all ages must be formed after the apostolic model, it follows that where penitent, regenerate, baptized believers in Christ are found, there are scriptural materials for a church.3
I also set forth that A. C. Dayton differed somewhat with Graves and Pendleton. He held that one is baptized into the visible kingdom of Christ and then received into the church. There is no doubt that this was his position when one reads his book, Alien Immersion", from which I quoted him.
A casual reading of a statement by Dayton found on page 150, Vol. II of Theodosia Ernest might cause one to believe that Dayton believed baptism was and is the door to the church. In that place he wrote,
But it is just as true that no one can be a church member who has not been baptized, as though baptism were itself the door of entrance into the Church.
A C. Dayton was no slouch with the English language. And, in the light of other things he said, it is clear that he did not hold that baptism is the door to the church. Please note this clause from this quote, "as though baptism were itself the door of entrance into the Church." The "were" in this statement gives us the clue that Dayton was making a statement that was contrary to the facts, as he saw them. The grammatical rule dealing with "As if" and "As though" clauses is as follows.
When an as if or as though clause expresses a condition contrary to fact, the verb in the clause requires special treatment, like that described in 1040.
She acts as if she were the only person who mattered. (But she isn't.)
He talks as if he knew the facts of the situation. (But he doesn't.)
You act as if you hadn't a care in the world. (But you have.)4
A few years ago we might have said,Hillary acts as if she were President. (But she is not.).
Or, we might say,
But it is just as true that no one can be President of the United States who has not been inaugurated, as though inauguration were itself the door of entrance into the presidency. (But inauguration is not the door to the presidency.)
Or, we might say,
But it is just as true that no one can go to Heaven who has not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, as though the act of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ were itself the door of entrance into Heaven. (But the act of believing is not the door of entrance into Heaven; the Lord Jesus Christ is the Door).
When Dayton, who used very precise grammar in his writing, said that it was "as though baptism were itself the door of entrance into the Church," he was clearly stating something that was contrary to what he considered to be true.
In fact, on the very same page (P. 150) that he makes this statement, Dayton also writes as follows. Dr. Thinkwell, who was not a Baptist, is represented by Dayton as saying to Mr. Courtney, who is representing the Baptists,
"Then you do not claim that baptism is the door of entrance into the Church?"
The Baptist, Mr. Courtney, is represented by Dayton as saying,
"Strictly speaking it is not, sir. It is the way of entrance into 'the visible kingdom;' and through the kingdom to the Church. No one can reach the Church, except through baptism; but every baptized believer is not a Church member. The eunuch was in the visible kingdom as soon as he was baptized; but he was not a member of any Church."
From this statement, it is obvious, unequivocally and irrefutably obvious that Dayton held that baptism placed one in the visible kingdom but not into any local congregation. He clearly declares that "as soon as he was baptized" the eunuch was in the visible kingdom. But, in the same sentence he unequivocally declares, "He was not a member of any Church." Thus, it is obvious that when Dayton said that it is "as though baptism were itself the door of entrance into the Church" he was following the rule for setting forth something that he considered to be contrary to fact. His affirmation concerning the eunuch ("The eunuch was in the visible kingdom as soon as he was baptized; but he was not a member of any Church.") makes this utterly evident.
Again, on the same page, Theodosia is represented as asking the Baptist, Mr. Courtney,
"Excuse me, Mr. Courtney," said Theodosia; "but do not Baptists receive members into the Church by baptism?"
To this question, Mr. Courtney replies, "Certainly not, madam. They sometimes think they do . . ."
Nothing could be clearer than this. Mr. Courtney, in Dayton's story, is the main representative and champion of the Baptist ecclesiology. When asked, "Do not Baptists received members into the Church by baptism?" Courtney promptly and unambiguously replies, "Certainly not, madam."
On page 176 of Volume II of Theodosia Ernest Dayton makes another statement which confirms that he did not hold that baptism is the door to the church. There he is discussing the succession of churches and I heartily "Amen!" what he has said on that matter. But, a portion of that statement harmonizes with the fact that he held that baptism did not make one a member of any local church, just as he said about the eunuch. On page 176 he wrote,
But these Churches must have been all formed upon the same Scripture model, and have been regular successors to each other. If we find at any time a new organization, with a new constitution, consisting of different materials, and governed by different regulations from the original Church, as established by Christ, then we can readily understand that it is not His Church, but some new thing that has come in its place. We do not say that the model Church which was at Jerusalem, or any other of the Churches which were founded in apostolic times, has continued to the present time, but only that there have always been Churches formed upon the same model.
Dayton maintained that any church that succeeded the original church must be constituted in the same manner as that original church which was established by Jesus Christ. In fact, he held that any church not established on the pattern of the original church established by Christ was not a true church of Christ. Read this portion of his statement again.
If we find at any time a new organization, with a new constitution, consisting of different materials, and governed by different regulations from the original Church, as established by Christ, then we can readily understand that it is not His Church, but some new thing that has come in its place.
Let us now inquire into how the original church established by Christ was constituted. I believe most sound Baptists will agree that John the Baptist came preaching the gospel and baptizing penitent believers preparing the material out of which Jesus would form that original church. When Jesus began his public ministry, many (if not all) of these already saved and baptized believers were called out and constituted a church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The very fact that Dayton says that every church that truly succeeds the original church must be constituted as was that first, original assembly clearly shows that he believed baptism was not the door to the church.
On Page 151, Dayton tells us of the general method by which one becomes a member of a local church. He writes,
In general, however, the application for baptism is regarded by both parties as an application for reception into the Church as a member, and the determination that he ought to be baptized is accompanied by a resolution to regard him as a member so soon as he shall have been baptized; and he is, therefore, immediately upon his baptism a member, to all intents and purposes, even without any formal act of recognition.
This is very true. This is the way that the matter is generally handled among Landmark Baptists. It is the way we handle it at Pilgrims Hope Baptist Church. In fact, we baptized a man and his wife, Sunday, February 14, 1999. The previous Sunday evening they presented themselves on a profession of faith in Christ. They were received for baptism with the stipulation that after baptism they would be members of the church. This is the way we have handled baptism everywhere this editor has pastored. It is the way it will continue to be handled by this editor as long as he pastors. The general practice set forth here by Dayton does not contradict what he has said elsewhere. It does not contradict his painfully obvious statement concerning the Ethiopian eunuch.
The eunuch was in the visible kingdom as soon as he was baptized; but he was not a member of any Church.
What Dayton wrote in Theodosia Ernest, Vol. II, P. 151 does not contradict nor change what he wrote in Alien Immersion, P. 168. There he said,
But of whom is each Church to be composed? It must consist of those who are members of the kingdom, that is, of those who have believed and been baptized. When a person applies for Church membership with her, she inquires whether he is in the kingdom, if not, she must receive him into the kingdom by baptism before she can receive him into her special "ecclesia," or assembly, as a Church member. But if a sister Church has received him into the kingdom, she only asks to be certified of that fact. He must be in the kingdom before he can come into a Church within the kigdom [Sic.].5
The more one reads after Dayton and honestly assesses what he has said, the more excruciatingly evident it becomes that this editor did not misrepresent Bro. Dayton on this matter.
In the January 1, 1999, issue of this paper, I quoted B. H. Carroll, an oft quoted Baptist concerning his interpretation of I Cor. 12:13. Carroll and others are called Baptist giants in a Landmark Baptist publication called The Biblical and Historical Faith of Baptists on God's Sovereignty. Another Landmark publication by this Baptist giant is "Baptized in the Spirit". Still another Landmark publication is Carroll's definitive work called EcclesiaThe Church. I venture to say that nearly all Landmark Baptists of the last few years who have ever written anything on the nature of the church have quoted from this work by Carroll. I have seen him quoted in ABA papers, BMA papers, and Sovereign Grace Landmark Baptist papers. Yet, as I showed in the January 1999, issue, Bro. Carroll did not believe the baptism of I Cor. 12:13 was water baptism at all. Rather, he believed it was Holy Spirit baptism.
While I disagree vigorously with his position on this matter, I will not declare him a heretic for I too have quoted him often. Those who quote and publish his material must consider him a true Baptist, even a Baptist giant. Yet, he held a position on the matter we are discussing in these articles that was different to that of Graves, that of Pendleton, and that of Dayton, that of several others, and that of this editor.
In January I also quoted several other brethren showing that not all Baptists see eye to eye on this matter, but this did not divide their fellowship. I quoted Thomas Montanye of the Philadelphia Association in 1808. Most Landmark Baptists, with whom I am familiar, trace their lineage through the Philadelphia association. Mantanye, as I have shown, did not believe Baptism was the door to the church. I quoted several others who did hold that position.
Now, let us continue and examine the writings of other brethren.
ELD. T. P. SIMMONS
Bro. T. P. Simmons believed that baptism was the door to the church. Three times, at least, he makes that point in his Study of Bible Doctrine, a standard work among Sovereign Grace Landmark Baptists. He wrote,
Baptism, which is the immersion in water of a penitent believer in the name of the Trinity or of Christ upon proper authority and for the purpose of showing the believer's death to sin and resurrection to walk in newness of life, was the initiatory rite of New Testament churches. None were received without this rite. Paul says that it is the mode by which believers are made a part of Christ's body, the church (I Cor. 12:13).6
Again, Bro. Simmons said,
Scriptural baptism is essential to a true church because it is the door into the church. Cf. I Cor. 12:13. Hence there can be no church without baptism. An organization that practices anything but immersion, or that does not hold to believers' baptism, or that baptizes people in order that they may be saved, surely is not recognized of Christ as one of His churches.7
Once more, according to Bro. Simmons,
This passage (I Cor. 12:13) means that being in or under the power of the Holy Spirit we were all brought by the Lord to baptism, and thus were made members of His body, the local church. Thus baptism is the ceremonial door into the church.8
There can be no doubt about the position of Bro. Simmons on this matter. He held that baptism is "the ceremonial door into the church."
ELD. HAROLD COOPER
I am not familiar with Bro. Cooper but found this quote in a reliable source.
A function of the church which is closely related to her responsibility to evangelize the world is that of baptizing those who have been saved (Matthew 28:19). Baptism is not essential to salvation, but it is an obligation of those who have been saved. By it the believer identifies himself with the Lord Jesus Christ, declaring his faith in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:4). Baptism is a prerequisite to a believer's being admitted into the rights and privileges of a church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures clearly teach that there is no church membership apart from baptism (Acts 2:41; Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3, 4). Since it is God's will that He receive glory through the church (Ephesians 3:21), the importance of baptism becomes obvious.9
Note that Eld. Cooper says that baptism is a "prerequisite" for church membership. A prerequisite is "something that is necessary to an end or to the carrying out of a function."10 A prerequisite is something required beforehand. If, as Bro. Cooper asserts, baptism is a prerequisite to church membership it could not be the door to the church.
A little later on the same page, Eld. Cooper says that one of the qualifications of Scriptural baptism is "a scriptural designthe portrayal of the burial and resurrection of the Lord from the dead."11
There is much in the ecclesiology of John Bunyan with which I disagree. But, he is often held up as a Baptist and is often quoted by Landmark Baptists on other matters. His work, Come and Welcome to Jesus, was a real blessing to me in the first years after I came to see the blessed doctrine of free grace. Bunyan suffered much for what he believed. He is also the author of the monumental work called Pilgrims Progress. Bunyan said of baptism,
" . . . Water baptism hath nothing to do in a Church as a church; it neither bringeth us into the Church, nor is any part of our worship when we come there. How, then, can the peace and unity of the Church depend upon water baptism?"12 Many will not agree with Bunyan on this matter. In fact, I do not for I hold that baptism is a church ordinance. But, his statement serves the purpose of showing that Baptists have not been in agreement on this matter whether or not baptism is literally the door to the church.
J. B. JETER QUOTING ANDREW BROADDUS
I close this month's installment with this quote from Andrew Broaddus who is quoted by J. B. Jeter.
Baptism is a gospel ordinance, but not a church ordinance; it would seem, therefore, that a person, as a subject, or a possessor of the gospel faith, may, on that ground, claim the privilege of baptism. This ordinance, I readily admit, is requisite to church-membership and church fellowship, and was designed, no doubt, with a view to the institution of the gospel church. Still, however, it does not follow, that the privilege of baptism must depend on church-membership.13
It seems from this statement that Andrew Broaddus did not hold that baptism is the door to the church. Since Jeter quoted him approvingly, he must have agreed with him.
1 Baptized Into One Body, Milburn Cockrell, The Berea Baptist Banner, September 5, 1991, P. 165.
3Baptist Church Manual, J. M. Pendleton, P. 14
4The Gregg Reference Manual, Fifth Edition, P. 187.
5Alien Baptism, A. C. Dayton, P 168. This book was originally published in 1903 with the title Pedobaptist and Campbellite Immersions. It was republished in 1977 with the title Alien Immersion.
6A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine, T. P. Simmons, P. 355
7Ibid., P. 367
8Ibid., P. 370
9Believing Truth About the Church, Harold Cooper, Baptist Publishing House, Texarkana, TX, P. 44
10Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary
11Op. Cit. Cooper
12The Complete Works of John Bunyan, John Bunyan, Pp. 848ff., 855.)
13The Writings of Andrew Broaddus, with a Memoir, J. B. Jeter quoting Andrew Broaddus, p. 435.)
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