If the reader were in a position to observe what’s going on “large-scale” in professing Christianity today, he might have his doubts about the importance of ascribing to any particular denominational designation. The consensus appears to be that it doesn’t really make a difference anymore. I actually heard of a “Catholic Pentecostal Baptist” recently (whatever that is); and if those titles are to be used so loosely as to pretend they can jive with one another, it probably DOESN’T matter.
Generally speaking, it seems as though all the different protestant religions are doing a Vulcan “mind-meld” and meshing together into a great, gray mush where you can barely tell any of them apart any longer (the Bible refers to this as “a great falling away” and a result of spiritual “adultery”—II Thess. 2:3; Jam. 4:4). Their churches have “broken down all the walls” and “built bridges” in their places, just as the media and the spirit of this age has dictated over the last 120 years.
Included in the myriad of things that all the ecumenical, emergent, tolerant, passive, non-denominational, “anything goes and all are welcome” churches-come-social/night clubs hold in common, one will obviously find little to no Bible preaching or teaching going on in them whatsoever. This of course is because they have no Bible to preach or teach; it was stolen from them in 1881-1901, when the King James Bible with it’s underlying Antiochan text was replaced by the corrupt, Egyptian, Westcott and Hort Greek text of the Roman Catholic Dark Ages, foisted on the world in the Revised Version of England (1881), followed by the American Standard Version in the United States (1901). These Bible corruptions (and all those that have followed—to the tune of 230+ English versions now on the market) and their corrupt, Alexandrian texts were subsequently promoted by Bible-rejecting, apostate (and often unregenerate) scholars in the Christian universities in Europe and America over the next century as being superior to the God-honored, King James Bible of the Reformation, and the Majority Text accepted by every Bible-believing Christian running back to Acts 11:26.
The “gray mush” in which professing Christianity can be observed to exist today is a result of the absence of any FINAL AUTHORITY which would dictate absolute standards of belief and practice in life and in church. When two differing “authorities” exist, a THIRD authority must be chosen to decide which of the first two is right. That third authority is always the intellect and preference of the person doing the deciding. Commonly heard statements made by Christians along these lines are, “I prefer the NIV, because my professor recommended it, and I think he was a very learned and godly man…” or, “I just love the way the NASV translates this particular verse…” Perhaps less commonly (but amounting to exactly the same thing) might be, “I like the Klingon Bible; it ‘touches me’ as a Star Trek fan…” As intellects and preferences are numerous, varied, and many times in disagreement with one another, so become the “authorities”—numerous, variable, and contradictory. Of course, in reality, multiple and differing authorities represent an ABSENCE of authority, and anarchy; everyone individually chooses what they please based on nothing but what lies between their ears. The professing Christian becomes his or her own god, personally dictating what “scripture” is inspired, based on nothing more than how inspirational it seems to them.
The process that has brought things to their current condition is actually quite easy to discern. Our generation has seen the consummation of the marriage between the church and the world. As we examine history we can say, “As went professing Christianity, so went the world.” Today the tables have turned and the status quo has become, “As goes the world, so goes professing, worldly ‘Christianity’.”
Observe: the Christian world got rid of it’s Authority back around 1900 (see above), and in less than 70 years, the secular world began its public quest to overthrow any authority over it. The communism and "free love" of the 1960’s and 1970’s has “matured” (an ironic term as most of the modern adherents to those philosophies live off of somebody else's paycheck, can’t hold down a job, and spend their lives pitching temper-tantrums, picketing and rioting) into the liberalism and leftism of today. Nothing much has changed besides the name, however—the goals are still to burn down the country along with any established authority, starting with the flag. And why not? Everything is “relative” (including truth), thanks to Einstein and the scientific community; and since the Christians got rid of the Bible there is no absolute standard of morality by which to judge right and wrong any longer—so who is ANYBODY to tell ANYBODY ELSE what to do about ANYTHING?
Who gave the government the authority to enforce morality with laws? What is "law" with no moral absolutes? What is morality if their is no standard? Who is anyone to “judge” anybody? If a child wants to live as an adult with no accountability and no discipline, why shouldn’t he? If a man wants to “identify” as a woman, who’s to say he (She? It? They? Shim?, etc.) is wrong? Nobody, that’s who. And there you have it; when you throw out final authority, you accept chaos in it’s place.
It is not a similar process that can be observed in Christianity today, but rather the SAME process at work, and at the same time. This of course is because the “world” and the “church” are no longer two different entities—they have become “one flesh.” When the church’s spirit, methods, beliefs, practices, goals, style, approach, music, and philosophies are identical to the world’s, what, then, is the difference between the two? Semantics; that’s all. The world calls it “soft rock;” the church calls it “praise and worship”—it’s the same thing. The world has “life coaches,” the church has “pastors”—they say the same things and serve the same purpose. The world has “disc jockeys,” the church has “worship leaders.” “Entertainers” try to give the people what they want to fill a theatre and sell tickets ($$$); church leaders try to give the people what they want to fill the pews and the offering plates ($$$). Some so-called preachers in so-called churches actually sell tickets to their services, if you can imagine it. And all this because…why not? If there’s no absolute authority superior to the intellect and preference of the individual, then it becomes “survival of the fittest,” and “might makes right.” That’s evolutionary thinking and practical atheism at its finest. Whoever has the talent and the money gets the following, so long as they adapt things to the audience’s pleasing. That goes for Hollywood or contemporary “Christianity.” Of course, the professing Christians involved in this mechanism would never put it in those terms. No, no. They’re too pretentious, or deceived—or both—to state anything so plainly and honestly.
Now, this Satanic operation which has been at work for over a hundred years will culminate, from the Christian’s standpoint, with the body of professing Christianity in total and complete apostasy at the Rapture (II Thess. 2). As far as the world is concerned, it will terminate with the whole of unregenerate mankind assembling itself (in a United Nations “general assembly”!—Joel 3:11-21) for war against its Creator (Rev. 16:16; 17:14; 19:11-21). Incidentally, the communist liberals will finally get what they want: to defy the ultimate “established authority”—God; and to watch the world “burn-baby-burn” (Joel 2:3). They’ll burn along with it (Psa. 9:17; Mal. 4:1).
In maintaining our vigilance as Bible-believing Christians we seek to obey our Final Authority when It commands us to segregate ourselves from this world system and, “come out from among them” (II Cor. 6:17). You see, we haven’t allowed our Authority to be stolen from us by some Bible pervert who happens to have more degrees than a thermometer. We’ve gripped It tightly and vowed the enemy can take It from us when they can pry it from our cold, dead fingers. We know Whom we have believed, and we know What we have believed, and have received the word of God, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works in those of us that believe It. One of the various ways that segregation from the Satanic operation described above can be accomplished is by “staying by the stuff” when it comes to our Baptist heritage.
Now, we are not Baptist Briders (who teach only Baptists will be Christ’s bride while other saved people will be waiters at the marriage supper), and do not think that all Baptists are doctrinally correct (we’ve dealt with many who weren’t). In fact we are sure there are many people across the world who go by the designation “Baptist” and are not even saved (for example, Bill Clinton claims to be a Baptist). We also recognize that many “Baptists” in recent church history were terrible testimonies and even hindered the cause of Christ at times. Further, there are many churches today that maintain the designation “Baptist” that we wish would remove it from the name of their church, having rejected many or all of the tenants of a genuine Baptist church. By pointing these things out, however, the implication is that these are exceptions to the rule when it comes to genuine Baptist beliefs and testimony. In plainer words, there are still plenty of REAL Baptists out there, and there is just cause for maintaining the designation.
There are several beliefs Baptists have always ascribed to that set them worlds apart from the other denominations. If a church calls itself “Baptist” and does not believe every one of these, it is NOT truly a Baptist church, and SHOULD remove the name from its sign to maintain its honesty. (It would also take away from real Baptists the burden of explaining and apologizing for the heretical behavior of the fakers.) However, if a Baptist church maintains these beliefs, the name should stay. It’s still an important designation. Here’s why.
First of all, the name “Baptist” is a shortened form of a label slapped on Bible-believers in church history by the Roman Catholic Church. It is a label of DISDAIN, describing a group of HERETICS (standard practice—see Acts 24:14), in the Catholic view. Contrary to what may be assumed, Baptists do not generally emphasize water baptism; just the opposite, in fact, because the Bible teaches New Testament water baptism is non-essential in salvation. The original monicker was “Anti-pedo-baptists” (meaning against infant baptism); another version was “Anabaptists” (re-baptizers); and finally the shortened form, “Baptists.” To be against infant baptism (an anti-pedo-baptist) is to believe the Bible. Nowhere in the sixty-six books of any version of the Bible, from any set of manuscripts, translated into any language, ever, does anyone find a TRACE of anything resembling the immersion (or sprinkling) of an infant in water for the sake of salvation or anything connected with spiritual symbolism. Infant baptism, like 99% of Roman Catholic beliefs, is an unbiblical, pagan, superstitious fabrication. (You will, however, find a type of the Antichrist “immersing” babies in Exo. 1:22.)
“Re-baptizers” (Anabaptists) are the same group of Bible-believing, anti-infant baptists, who, upon leading a lost, pagan, sprinkled-as-a-baby, adult member of the Marion cult (the Roman Catholic Church) to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, subsequently baptized (immersed in deep water) the new believer scripturally and properly, as his “mother church” had NOT done. The reader can see why the Catholics had their “drawers in a wad” over the defiant manner in which this activity was carried out by the cursed Bible-believers. So, in response, the old "MOTHER OF HARLOTS" (Rev. 17:5) and "mistress of witchcrafts" (Nah. 3:4) went to work torturing and murdering men, women, and children, who believed the Bible over Roman superstition, to the tune of 40,000 a year for TWELVE HUNDRED YEARS (300-1500 A.D.). The Catholic whore has the blood of fifty million Bible-believing Christians pouring from her mouth and hands (Rev. 17:6). It continues to add to that number outside the USA and Canada today.
There are seven major denominations in church history, which all the others we have today stem from: Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox (the Eastern branch of Roman Catholicism), Anglican (the Church of England—the British form of Catholicism), Presbyterian, Lutheran (these two are the result of the failure of Luther and Calvin to reform Catholicism from within, and retain many Catholic traditions from their mother church), Methodist (an off-shoot of the Anglican Church and formed under John Wesley), and Baptist. The only denominational group which is not a split off of Rome is the Baptists. That’s not bias; it’s documented historical fact. Baptists can trace their ancestry in an unbroken line that leads right back to the early church in the book of Acts. Rome claims this succession, but has nothing but fiction and fantasy to back it up. What the Catholics believe has no basis in the New Testament at all, and that is a documented fact that could be proven in court. They only pretend their beliefs are sourced in Scripture. Bible-believing Baptists believe EXACTLY what the apostles and Christians in Acts 15 believed. These beliefs, which set apart Baptists from all the other major religious denominations, are called by some the “Baptist Distinctives.” Here they are:
1. A regenerated membership. None of the other denominations require their joining members to be saved in the scriptural, New Testament sense—belief and faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ alone for salvation. They neither understand nor teach New Testament salvation, but count on their sprinkling as babies, or other form of baptism (baptismal regeneration) for salvation.
2. The autonomy (self-governance) and independence of the local church. A real Baptist church is an INDEPENDENT Baptist church. We have no outside interference from councils, conventions, organizations, or fellowships. All the other denominations have a central headquarters someplace which dictates policy (catechisms, disciplines, etc.) for all the local assemblies in subjection to it, including who the pastor/priest/bishop/rector/etc. of a particular church will be, and for how long. Some of them send out “spies” to make sure the various cells are running things the way the home office decrees. As with many other of their traditions, this type of thing is nowhere to be found in the scriptures. Independent Baptist churches function exactly the way local assemblies in the New Testament functioned. They had a God-called pastor who was over them by conviction and by the agreement of the church body, and they held services and worshipped by the dictates of the Scriptures and the guidance of the Holy Spirit alone.
3. No infant Baptism under any circumstances. We’ve already sufficiently covered this point. All the others sprinkle or dunk the babies and claim Acts 2:38 as the plan of salvation for this age. It’s works salvation with baptism as one of the main “works.” No true Baptist church engages in anything of the kind.
4. The eternal security of the believer. The Bible teaches that once a man has been born again, he can’t get “unborn.” (Rom. 8:29-39; II Tim. 2:13.) Yet the Roman Catholic Church, for example, has decreed that whoever is not a member of their religious organization is cursed and going to hell, and practices excommunication on those who don’t abide by it’s precepts. Pope Pius IX said, “It must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved”, and Pope Leo XIII said, “He who would separate himself from the Roman Pontiff has no further bond with Christ.” No scripture for either comment.
5. The priesthood of all believers (Rev. 1.4-6; I Pet.2.1-5,9). The significance of this distinctive is that there is no more priestly class of individuals to whom God speaks and accepts in His service, when He won’t accept others. This was the setup ordained in the Old Testament Levitical Priesthood; but in the New Testament, all of God’s people are to serve Him and make “spiritual sacrifices.” There are certain callings that place men positionally over other believers (I Thess. 5:12, 13), but this has to do with leadership and not elitism. The fact is, a sizable number of New Testament apostates ascribe to a form of elitism. Whether it be a scholar at a Christian school dictating what God’s word actually “means” as opposed to what it says, or an egotistical protestant pope passing himself off as a Baptist pastor (the “Great Man of God” routine) trying to manipulate people and pretend he’s special, the error is still the same old Roman Catholic song and dance of centuries gone by. The Bible calls these elitists "Nicolaitaines" (Rev. 2.6,15), and states that God HATES THEIR DEEDS. The clearest example of this unbiblical practice is again observed in the Roman Catholic Church, where not only does there exist the “clergy-over-the-laity” elitism of their priesthood, but ghastly and blasphemous hierarchical positions which outrank even the Lord Jesus Christ in terms of authority. Jesus Christ is called the “Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” in I Pet. 2:25; what, pray-tell, is some Roman Catholic blasphemer doing calling himself an “ARCH-bishop”? The Catholic hierarchy runs Pope-Cardinal-Archbishop-Bishop. Do you realize what that means? It means, according to the One, Holy, Apostolic, etc., that JESUS CHRIST IS A FOURTH-RATE AUTHORITY with three other crowds of people with seniority “over Him in the Lord.” Ain’t that a fine how-do-you-do?
Now, having stated this blasphemous, pagan, God-defying, Christ-denigrating, Bible-rejecting example of Roman Catholic villainy, would you hesitate to stand in opposition to all that “church” stands for?
Simply by examining the origin of the name “Baptist,” the truth is evident. Further, upon examining the established beliefs and testimonies disctinct to Baptists, the truth is convicting. To state, “I am a Baptist” is to state loudly and clearly, “I am in total defiance of the Roman Catholic Church and everything it stands for.” “Baptist” is synonymous with “Anti-Catholic.” If you’re a Bible-believer and familiar at all with church history, you know that’s an excellent reason to keep the name.
Some of the brethren are considering taking “Baptist” off their church signs. Some have already given up and removed it. They are doing this, not because they are “going contemporary” (and if that IS the reason, then I’ll be glad to help you tear your sign down), and not because they have renounced the baptistic beliefs stated above; but because of simple “battle-fatigue.” This essay is not meant to pick on them at all, but rather encourage them to reconsider their action, and perhaps rekindle their vigilance. We are Baptists because of conviction, not tradition.
In the future, there may come a day when, because of the behavior of its subscribers, the name “Baptist” carries such a poor testimony that it must be forsaken for something else. For now, to claim the name remains a short and succinct way of stating, “I’m evangelistic, anti-catholic, and was never IN the Catholic Church to “protest” anything. “I’m part of an unbroken line of Bible-believing Christians that, though called by many names throughout the centuries, can be traced straight back to the Apostles and early Christians in Antioch.”
In conclusion, just to confirm the view of the public with regard to Baptists, we need look no further than Wikipedia: “Baptists are individuals who comprise a group of Evangelical Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers (believer's baptism, as opposed to infant baptism), and that it must be done by complete immersion (as opposed to affusion or sprinkling). Other tenets of Baptist churches include soul competency (liberty), salvation through faith alone, Scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy [independence] of the local congregation. Baptists recognize two ministerial offices, elders and deacons. Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestant churches, though some Baptists disavow this identity.”
Not a bad group to be numbered with. If anyone out there is considering removing the name "Baptist" off the church sign, consider that that is the group you are distancing yourself from. Further, consider who you are aligning with by going "non-denominational." Non-denominational churches ARE a denomination.