Chapter XXVI What is a Baptist Church?

January 20, 2017

Chapter XXVI What Is a Baptist Church?

Ralph said that if he was to be the pastor of the new church one requirement would be that it be a Baptist church. Even though Dr Alvarez considered himself a Baptist, he hadn’t explained to the people what a Baptist church was. Ralph was a little surprised that the people didn’t know what a Baptist church was.

Ralph explained to them that churches began in the New Testament. He said, “At first they were identified by the name of the city where they were located. For example, in the book of Revelation there are seven churches mentioned. In Revelation 2:1 the first church mentioned was called the church of Ephesus. Then there was the church of Smyrna in verse eight. Each one is called by the name of the city where it was located. Then, in history, there were groups of churches named after the man who started the first one. There were a number of Waldensian churches named after Peter Waldo. Later there were Presbyterian churches started by John Calvin. There were also Luthern churches started by Martin Luther.”

“The name Baptist was first given to churches in ridicule by the Roman Catholics because they rebaptized those that the Catholics had baptized as infants. They were called Anabaptists. That means rebaptizers. Later they were just called Baptist churches. Baptist churches date back nearly 1500 years.”

He also explained to them that there are churches that are called Baptist that he wouldn’t be in agreement with. He said “They may have been genuine Baptist churches years ago, but over the years they have departed from good biblical teaching and never changed their name. I prefer the name Baptist because traditionally they have been the churches that have stood closest to biblical teaching and practice.”

Dr. Alvarez said, “I’m sorry I haven’t explained more to you about what a Baptist church is. I thought it most important that you have a good clear understanding about what the Bible teaches. I agree with Ralph about the name Baptist.”

The meeting was closed because the men needed to get a fire started on the grill for a barbeque they had planned at noon. Mr. Perez, who asked the question “What is a Baptist church?” talked to the men who were starting the fire. He said, “I thought maybe a Baptist church was like a cult, but now I feel more at peace about it.”

In the afternoon Ralph met with the men on the directive committee. They told him what they thought they could offer him as a salary. Ralph didn’t say whether he thought they could live on that.

On their way home Paul and Mary talked about the meeting. They had a good impression of Ralph and his family. They were a little uncertain about making their church a Baptist Church. Paul said, “Does that mean we will have to surrender control of the church to some religious group? If so, I’m not in favor of it.”

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