Chapter XXVII The Denominations

January 27, 2017

Chapter XXVII The Denominations

The new church was uncertain about whether they wanted to invite Ralph to be their pastor since he wanted to make it a Baptist church. They were all new Christians and had a lot to learn. They didn’t know what a Baptist church was.

The following Sunday Dr. Alvarez laid aside what he planned to teach. He decided he had better explain to them what a Baptist church was. He explained to them that he had never been a member of a Baptist church. He said “The church I came from was called an interdenominational church. That means it is a little bit of all the denominations. It was a good church, but, knowing what I do about Baptists, I wouldn’t have any problem being one of them. Last week I also made a call to a friend of mine who is a Baptist to make sure I had my facts right.”

He opened the class by asking forgiveness for not explaining to them what a Baptist church was. He said “What is most important is that we have the right relationship with God. Our loyalty should be to him and not to a denomination. Of all the denominations, I’m most in agreement with the Baptists because they don’t have any control over the local churches.”

One of the men asked, “What would happen if we remain independent of all the denominations?” “That’s a good question” Dr. Alvarez said. “Let me explain to you what would happen. In reality, we are are already in a denomination. We would be among what are called non denominational or interdenominational churches. As a rule, these churches don’t take a strong stand on some Bible doctrines. They try to be flexible so as to attract more people to them. For example, you remember that I talked to you about the difference between Armenians and Calvinists. Armenians believe you can lose your salvation and Calvinists believe you can’t lose it. Interdenominational churches often leave the door open so you can be either or.”

Now” said Dr. Alvarez. “Let me explain to you what a Baptist church normally believes. Salvation isn’t by means of a Baptist church. I have never heard of a Baptist church that believes that. There are multitudes who are saved who aren’t Baptists. Most Baptist churches adhere to certain beliefs. The most outstanding is that salvation is in the finished work of Christ and not by human merit. The Bible clearly tells us that in Ephesians 2:8-9. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Baptists also believe that baptism has nothing to do with our salvation, but that those who are saved should be baptized as a public testimony to what Christ has done for us. Romans 6:3-5 is usually cited in defense of that. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into 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.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”

Dr. Alvarez went on to say, “The result is that if we examine the beliefs of most Baptist churches we are not likely to find that they disagree with what I have taught you from God’s Word. The problem is that there are various groups of Baptists churches. Not all of them teach what we believe. Last Sunday I spoke with Ralph about his his beliefs. I didn’t find that he believes anything different than what I have taught you.”

Dr. Alvarez looked at his watch and said “No doubt some of you have questions, but our time is gone. The children have already gone outside. Next Sunday We will give you time to ask questions. We will wait two more weeks before we made a decision about asking Ralph to be our pastor.”

On their way home Paul said to Mary, “I now feel more at ease about accepting Ralph as our pastor. I have confidence in Dr. Alvarez.” Mary said, “Me too. He always tries to confirm what he teaches with the Bible. If he is convinced that Ralph is a good Baptist, then I wouldn’t have any problem accepting him.”

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