Saturday, July 21, 2007

Scripture Meditations- W.F. Bell


It is unbelievably sad that churches of all denominations are infested with beliefs that are illogical and unscriptural. How men can glorify a doctrinal position that cannot be proved from sacred Scripture is very hard to understand. Among Baptists a position called "Landmarkism" extols the Baptist church as "the only true church." Historically, this view is untenable, as "Baptists" (per se) began around 1600 in Holland, England, and Wales; and there are different kinds of Baptists, complicating matters.

Looking carefully at the New Testament itself, where does it use or license the expression, "church authority"? Check it out: nowhere! So,when men called "Landmarkers" tell us how important their "church authority" is, we simply ask, Who authorized the baptism of believers into the Jerusalem church (Acts 2:41-47)? Where is the record of any church vote? Then, to add to this absurdity, we are told we must be able to prove our direct link to this Jerusalem church by successive, humanly-given authority. But, who authorized Philip to baptize in Acts 8, and into what church were those of Samaria baptized? And who authorized Philip to baptize the Ethiopian eunuch, and what church was he baptized into? Furthermore, was not Philip just a "deacon," not an ordained "elder"? How do you explain that?

And where did Ananias come from in Acts 9? What church authorized him to baptize? What church was Saul baptized into? This could go on and on right through the book of Acts. But, it doesn't matter what Scripture says, or is silent about, Landmarkers still insist on their views and opinions.(This is the same line of thinking of Campbellites, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholics, and all denominationalists. Study it out.)

Back up just a bit. Who baptized John the Baptist? We are not told. Must not be too important. Who baptized the apostles of Christ? Scripture is silent, and so should we be. Why all this fuss about outward ceremonies, rites, rituals, obeying "the commandments of men"? Isn't this what our Lord saw when in the world, and so strongly condemned (Matthew 15:6-9)? "Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do" (Mark 7:13). And look at Paul's clear statement in I Corinthians 1:14-17, where he concludes, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect." Christ alone is our authority!


"When I listen to the shop-talk in religious gatherings, when I watch the scramble for top seats in the synagogue, when I behold the wire-pulling and politicking for posh pastorates, I cannot make the modern tune fit the Bible words." Vance Havner

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