By: Pastor 0scar Brian Mink

    It is the second time that anguish of heart toward brethren is felt in this matter. Yet, with a profound longing to serve my Lord and Master, I take up pen to write an introduction to this book, which is entitled, BAPTISM: PREACHER OR CHURCH ORDINANCE? SECOND TREATISE.
    When viewed through eyes, mind, heart and emotion, it would immediately come to my thoughts - avoid this writing. But, when viewed as an opportunity to speak the truth of God's Book to men, seeking to aid them in their great need to be recovered from the grievous error and irregular practice that I fear many of them are presently caught up in, I bow to the task. And I pray God will be my guide and will help me, yea, cause me to be compassionate to those who are deeply imbedded in this error. At the same time, I trust Him to make me desirous of being found faithful to "contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3). Brethren, please love me enough to help me with my many errors, as I now seek to help you with yours.
    Error is such a subtle and provocative thing. And it is so easy our entrance into its clutches, and so difficult and painful our extraction therefrom, that we must be ever vigilant to eschew its pitfalls. Error is very damaging to the well-being of all its adherents, whether they be individuals or churches.
    Error is exemplified frequently by the errorist being found walking in darkness. By the departure from the light that God has given to safeguard the pilgrim journey of His saints, the sure portion of those saints will be to stumble at best, and to fall from their steadfastness at worst. Remember Psalms 119:105? Note this good and wholesome word: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
    This marvellous verse of Scripture sets forth truth. It plainly declares that God, having seen through His omniscient eye the grave dangers to be faced by His people, most wisely and kindly provided for their protection. "Thy word ..." The psalmist announces the safeguard, "Thy word". Is there any other? Where is it, if there be another?
    It is true that we have the Paraclete - the Comforter to direct us. But He leads us into the truth, for He is the Spirit of truth. (John 16:13). It is also true that He does so by using the word of God, instrumentally in His work And Jesus declared, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17).
    God has said, through the psalmist, that His word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path. His word sheds light to illuminate the path that lies before His journeying pilgrims as they travel upon the by-ways of this world's total darkness. His word "lights up" what lies ahead of us in order to provide for our over all good. Thus, the general tenor of Scripture must be ours, and it must be adhered to. We must never call up one Scripture to contest another, for "no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation." (II Peter 1:20).
    God has also said that His "word is a lamp unto our feet". The lamp of God's word is not only to shed "general illumination", but is to provide "specific illumination", in order to expose each and every individual potential stumbling point, or pitfall that lies in our path. Think of it! God provides safety for us. His word is that place of safety.
    Now, brethren, exactly WHERE in God's Book is the teaching that authority to keep and administer the ordinance (baptism and the Lord's Supper) has been placed, even once, in the hands of the men whom God has sent to be proclaimers? Remember, the church was brought into existence, was commissioned, and THEN was given to the churches the various gifts. "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" (Ephesians 4:11).
    And why did He so give? and to WHOM did He give? Let's look to the second question first. He gave the various gifts to His churches. The context of Ephesians 4 verifies this to be true. And WHY did He give these gifts? Verses 12 through 16 clearly shows the answer, "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for edifying of the body of Christ: etc." And the ministry is not limited to the ordained among that body, but included in "the ministry" is the whole of the body.
    It was to the church at Corinth that Paul wrote these words, "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you." (I Corinthians 11:2) The ordinances must be kept. They must be guarded. They must be observed AS THEY WERE DELIVERED. To let down the barriers that Christ has placed is to act treasonably, and each person or church who has so acted is a traitor to the cause of God and truth.
    If error has been our downfall into this treacherous conduct, then we need to be recovered from that error, to repent of our misconduct, to seek God's forgiveness, and then to seek His permission to set in order what we have profaned. May we receive grace to be made to fall upon our unworthy faces in the dust, prostrate before our Sovereign, pleading His forgiveness, being assured that "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9). This sin, having been perpetrated by error, is NOT the unpardonable sin. God does forgive. He does cleanse. But, He does so "If we confess our sins ..."
    Having been taught that baptism is a church ordinance, let us forsake foolish pride and admit that God set everything in order, and that He has not abdicated His position, nor has He given us, or anyone permission to set aside what He has ordained. Let us come down from our high-horse of ecclesiastical prominence, our self-esteemed position of grandeur, and confess the fact that EVERY preacher, and EVERY pastor is subordinate to the church OF WHICH HE IS A MEMBER, and that each and every church is subordinate to Jesus Christ, our Sovereign Head.
    Brethren, let us not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think Let us not measure ourselves by ourselves. Each and every haughty, egotistical preacher who fancies himself to be superior to the saints, or to his peers is acting in a most ungodly, unchristian, unhumble servants manner. And he is exposing himself to the rebuke and chastening of God.
    Dear brethren, please flee from this danger. Do you imagine that God will forever tolerate you as you seek to usurp authority that He never gave you? Do you imagine that God will reward you for seeking to "lord it over God's heritage."?
    No matter how highly you have elevated yourself among men, always remember that you too are but a man, and that God will allow NO FLESH, not mine, not yours, not anyone's, to glory in His presence. And if the right to determine who shall be allowed to observe the ordinances that Christ gave to His church is ever taken by a mere man, then that man is seemingly placing himself in a position to take glory to himself. And God will not allow it!
    I state openly and plainly that God's Book declares that the authority has been given to His churches in the matter of the two ordinances. I am not vindictive toward anyone who takes an opposing view. But I do state, in print, to be read and remembered by all, that you are in error. I'm not mad at you, but you are wrong. Will this cause a loss of fellowship? I don't know. I hope it doesn't, but I don't know. I know that pride is a powerful and tenacious enemy. Whether it is my pride, or yours, it must be put under control; it must be subdued if there is to be unity. An evasion of the truth that pride is present will greatly hinder unity. An admission of pride and the errors thusly will aid in bringing about unity.
    I desire fellowship and I desire unity "in the faith" among all Baptist brethren and churches.
    Brethren, I love you in the Lord. But I love God more! And I love His churches more! This is not said with any rancor toward anyone, nor with any self-righteousness on my part intended. But it is said because I believe that the time has come to stand up like men and be counted.
    If division must come because of difference over this doctrine, then I go on record as being desirous of being found on the side of God's truth, rather than being found with men against God. Brethren, this is my conviction, and upon this principle I stand.
Pastor Wm. Doyal Thomas

By: Pastor 0scar Brian Mink

  Baptism: Preacher or Church Ordinance? Second Treatise

  The "MUST' Of Formal Ordination As Relates To Baptism, Questioned And Re-examined

  The Practice Of Pluralistic Church Authority In Baptism, Questioned And Re-examined

  Preacher Ordination

  More Objections Answered

  Your Baptism Is Important


                    We yet have true Baptist churches,
                    with the whole counsel of God.
                    Who with their martyrs blood,
                    has soaked much of this earth's sod.

                    So, cheer up, Baptist pilgrim,
                    all is not lost.
                    Our journey's end will more than repay,
                    a million times the cost.
                                                            O. B. Mink

Chapter One

    Since writing the former treatise on the subject which is also the title of this Book, with the above suffix (SECOND TREATISE), there has been much published and spoken in opposition to it by a few men who are of the contrary opinion. But the poverty of their arguments may be seen from both Scripture and Baptist history. This book solicits no man's favor who is unwilling to make the most strenuous search for truth. It is not written to draw forth or bring out contempt from the opposition. Some will say hard things about it - this is already anticipated, so it causes me no vexatious concern. The efforts of the contrary part to obviate or nullify the evidence presented in my first book against their position, was as exhibition of weakness. But there is not dogma, true or false, that does not have its friends.
    The only motive I had at the first and yet have for writing on the issue before us in this work is to present what I believe to be insuperable proof against the practice of plural church authority in administering the ordinance of baptism, and the contention that the agent appointed by the church to administer the baptismal ordinance for it, MUST be formally ordained. It is not from a lack of charity for those who take variance with me in the matter, but it is from a need to pronounce at once against errors which they teach and practice concerning the glorious ordinance of baptism. Ergo, this SECOND TREATISE on the issue.
    I have, since writing the first Book on the subject at hand, received a lot of correspondence, some positive and some negative. However, by far, the greater part has been positive. I appreciate both the oral and literary feedback which my first Book generated, but regret to say, those on the negative side of the response were not always kind in expressing their sentiments. But truth never needs the support of a malignant attitude, and they who manifest such an attitude do more to hinder their cause than to help it.
    I do not expect my persuasive efforts to extirpate the doctrinal errors opposed by this writing from the hearts of all who hold them, for I know from what has been publicly and privately written they are deeply imbedded in the theological frame work of some beloved brethren. Conversely, I also know many brethren who favor and are contending for the position on the ordinance of baptism as presented and defended in the former treatise and this sequel.
    I yet hope to dissuade some who hold to either one or both of the baptismal errors mentioned in the second paragraph of this chapter. There are some who of late have become suspicious of the practice of plural or extra church baptism, and are no longer convinced that it is the orthodox position. Contemporaneously or historically, few they be among Baptists who have held or hold to the "MUST' of formal ordination of the agent acting for the church in administering the ordinance of baptism.
    It is not my expectation that every reader of these pages will pronounce the shibboleths herein, or see eye to eye with me in all that is presented, but I do ask the readers to forebear in rendering a verdict until after a diligent study of the succeeding chapters have been made. Knowing that the English language at its best has many defects, defects which a strongly biased and ingenious mind can avail itself of to distort what has been said or written, has necessitated the use of the plainest words in stating what I believe to be the truth concerning the baptismal question dealt with in this book, and in the former treatise.
    I do not consider myself a polemicist, and confrontational theology not involving a cardinal doctrine does not appeal to me in a great way. But the subject matter under consideration in this writing, is I believe, of such import as to demand the strictest attention of every New Testament Baptist church and pastor. While the moral integrity of a church is to be at all times beyond reproach, the touchstone is orthodoxy of teaching. The moral standards of the Amish and Mennonites are without a doubt worthy of emulation, but their orthodoxy leaves much to be desired, and it is this deficiency in orthodoxy that has created the impassable chasm between them and New Testament Baptists. Hence, it is the responsibility of every true church to use all the strength within their prevail to keep their orthodoxy intact, "Lest at anytime we should let them slip" (Hebrews 2:1).
    Every Baptist should with frequency ask himself, Why do I believe the doctrines that I believe? (II Corinthians 13:5). Especially is this true as applies to Baptist ministers, for they must give an account, not only of their christian life, but as "stewards of the manifold grace of God" (I Peter 4:10). In light of this awesome truth, the logical and necessary questions which follow are: Is my belief in any sense or degree owing to the fact it affords me a wider range of fellowship and ministerial exercise? Or because it is accepted in certain circles and advocated by men in high places? Or does popularity with my peers have anything to do with what I believe? Do I believe what I believe because a contrary position would cause me to lose favor with some men of powerful influence? Or do I believe what I do because it is easy theology, inoffensive, and pleasing to the masses? I am confident as relates to Landmark Sovereign Grace Baptists, all of the above questions can be summarily and negatively dismissed. But even so, this does not alleviate the need of Baptist pastors to periodically examine themselves as to their doctrine and practice. A re-editing of our doctrine and practice cannot hurt, but may be helpful. And in the chronological reevaluation of our theology, the ordinance of baptism should be second only to the regeneration of the soul (Acts 2:41,42). In the final analysis, we should be able to say in truth: I believe what I do because it is the unequivocal teaching of the Word of GOD.
    Salvation of the soul is strictly the work of the sovereign God. It is a transaction between the three persons constituting the Divine Trinity, into which NO fourth party can ever enter. Men cannot contribute to the work which must eternally bear the impress of the one almighty hand. Salvation is the peculiar and exclusive work of God, and man in his native state is so utterly depraved he cannot have the first correct or decent thought concerning redemption, much less have a desire for it. Christ appeared once "to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:26). The death of Christ fully and forever accomplished the redemptive purpose of God, and there shall never arise the need for Christ to die the second time (Romans 6:9). But the need for the believer to remember His atoning death is constant. Hence, the glorious ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper. Christ needed no help giving the ordinances to the local church, and every true church being indwelt by the Sovereign Holy Spirit, needs no external help in preserving and perpetuating those two glorious pictures of His cruel, but triumphing death.
    Scriptural baptism is the cross work of Christ translated by symbol. Every time a person is baptized by the authority of a New Testament church he sets forth symbolically what in reality has taken place in his soul. That is, his death in Christ is vividly and silently rehearsed. The Lord's churches are not only commanded to "keep the ordinances," but they are commanded to "keep the ordinances" without deviation from the practice of the original and model church. The prototype church Jesus established in Jerusalem was for a number of years the only church in existence, and was for that time and during its entire existence fully able to administer the ordinances.
    The painting is most praise-worthy which is most like the thing represented by it. Baptism being a picture or symbol of the atoning work of Christ, should in all detail be kept by New Testament churches as it was originally given them. There was not anything external to God which contributed to the redemption of His people, for the good works (?) of man neither helps to obtain nor retain salvation. The baptismal picture of the glorious and exclusive work of redemption was inviolably committed to each and every New Testament church, and synchronous with this commitment came the responsibility and ability to keep the picture in its original state.
    In light of the fact that a symbol must resemble, sprinkling or pouring for baptism is an inexplicable aberration. With this all Baptists agree. In light of the fact "Christ appeared once to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself," ana-baptism comes under the heading of misnomers. With this all Baptist agree. In light of the fact Christ by His vicarious suffering became the unassisted Savior of His people, and gave the picture of His passion with no details omitted to everyone of His churches to keep point by point. And whereas, Christ needed no help in procuring the baptismal picture, and seeing He gave it to His churches with guaranteed ability to keep unto the end of the age. Therefore, for any of His churches to seek help beyond their own entity in administering the ordinances would be to question the efficacy of the Holy Spirit, or at least it would be a substantial departure from the normal and right way. With this I hope all Baptists agree.
    When the Lord gave the baptismal commission to the first Baptist church of Jerusalem, He potentially and equally gave it to all of His churches, and they as distinct and independent bodies were vested with power to administer the ordinances unaided from without. Governmentally there is perfect equality between all of the Lord's churches. There may be and often are inequities in other areas of church life, but the divine blessing of autonomy guarantees parity of government in all of His churches at all times. Thus it is, not only is every New Testament church with constancy able to baptize its own candidates, but is also able to safeguard the ordinances from trespass and profanation.
    Sovereign Grace Landmark Baptists do err, but for the most part they are sufficiently judicious to distinguish between truth and error. Their divinely anointed discretion has for two thousand years protected them from demeaning the ordinances of the church, and this same discretion shall continue to enable them to keep the ordinances pure, even as they were delivered by their Head and Groom, Jesus Christ.
    I disagree with much of what some of my Baptist brethren hold to be correct doctrine, but it cannot be found in any of my writings where I maliciously or even by innuendo vilified the character of any of them. Believing my convictions of what Scripture teaches is the result of Holy Spirit tutelage, I am firm in the same, and will with every spiritual atom of my strength defend them. But I do not hold contempt for every brother who differs with me as to Scripture interpretation, nor will I be driven to such a soul dwarfing state.
    It is my prayer as I further pursue this work that I may not be presumptuous and haughty, but perceptive and humble. That I may be bold, but not belligerent. That I may not lean to my own understanding, but wholly trust in the Spirit of truth. That I may be at all times acutely aware that I must give an account of every word contained herein unto Him Who loved the church and gave Himself for it. In a word, that I may not pretend to comprehend all there is to know about the blessed ordinance of baptism.
    While there is perfect accord with Baptists as to baptism being utterly void of saving efficacy, some, I fear have let the God honoring ordinance suffer diminution of importance by not putting enough stress upon the proper observance of it. Thus it is, I send forth this feeble effort with the hope God may use it, at least in measure, where the ordinance is esteemed lightly, to restore it to its rightful excellence. This book holds the position that the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper are strictly local church ordinances.
    The lines are clearly drawn. They are deep, broad and distinct. It would probably be naive on my part to think that the lines would be obliterated any time soon, but I take hope in knowing they are not irremovable. I only ask that what I submit herein be subjected to the most vigorous test by an honest heart. If after so doing, you conclude what I have presented is sufficiently correct as to out weigh the tenets which are contrary to it, then you can join me in prayer for those dear brethren who hold the errors opposed by this volume. If you deem they are right and I am in error, then I beseech you, pray for me. Either way, I am confident some good will be accomplished by my expressed objection to the sentiments of those who hold the position that plural or ultra church authority may be merged or exercised in baptism. Or that baptism is invalid unless administered by a formally ordained Baptist preacher.
    "Fear not, little flock ..." Fear not ostracism, intimidation, nor intolerance, for the truth knoweth no shame. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9). Baptism and the Lord's Supper, the official pictures of the Gospel of Christ, shall be preserved and perpetuated unto the end of the age; and that by the Lord's churches and their unadulterated independence.

Chapter Two

    "In the apostolic age baptism was administered doubtless not only by Apostles and other leaders, but widely by those charismatically eminent in the church ... In Tertullian's time, of giving it ... the bishop has the right; in the next place the presbyters and deacons ... besides these even layman have the right" (A HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH - By Williston Walker - 1918, Page 88).
    "And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (I Corinthians 1:16, 17). Here it is evident that, although the pastor administers the ordinances, this is not his main work, nor is the church absolutely dependent upon him in the matter. He is not set, like an Old Testament priest, to minister at the altar, but to preach the gospel. In an emergency any other member appointed by the church may administer them with equal propriety, the church always determining who are fit subjects of the ordinances, constituting him their organ in administering them. Any other view is based on sacramental notions, and on ideas of apostolic succession" (SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY - By: Agustus H. Strong, Page 917).
    In the above quote by Strong the historic faith of Baptists is well stated concerning authority to baptize, but I fear Presbyterianism with its preacher type of church government has made some inroads on Baptist territory, and has succeeded in diluting the faith of some Baptists by causing them to adopt the "MUST" of formal ordination as a prerequisite for valid baptism. One Presbyterian highly respected and widely read by Baptists has this to say on the subject "Our confession also holds that no one has a right to administer the sacraments (ordinances) save a lawfully - ordained minister ... The church is an organized society under laws executed by regularly-appointed officers, it is evident that ordinances can properly be administered only by the highest legal officers of the church" (COMMENTARY ON THE CONFESSION OF FAITH - Pages 455-456, By: A.A. Hodge).
    But Mr. Hodge cannot be profitably accepted as an authority on the ordinance of baptism, for he advocated the sprinkling of infants, which is to deny believer's baptism and which is to make a mockery of the Scriptural mode of baptism.
    J. W. Porter, an illustrious Baptist, makes the following comment on the subject of baptismal authority: "The speaker believes, and the more he has studied the question, the more strongly he believes that the commission to baptize was delivered to the church, and should therefore be restricted to the church ... If the authority to baptize does not rest with churches, with whom does it rest? If the authority to baptize has been committed to the preachers, then they alone should authorize and administer it, and in turn the churches should cease to usurp the preachers authority" (THE BAPTIST EXAMINER - July 15, 1978).
    Baptists believe that a New Testament church is a body of baptized believers, administering its own affairs under the Headship of Jesus Christ (Acts 5:14; Ephesians 1:22). Under the Headship of Christ the pastor has been given a particular authority, and the church that usurps that authority rejects the wisdom of God, and flirts with spiritual disaster. On the other hand, the pastor who unduly magnifies his office, and assumes exclusive authority for himself in administering the ordinance of baptism, infringes on the independence of his church and bedims the glory which belongs to Christ in the church (Ephesians 3:21). Such pastoral presumption is under the disfavor of God.
    In the second paragraph of this chapter the following line is quoted from Agustus Strong - "In an emergency any other member may administer them (the ordinances) with equal priority." To declare or even infer that in this quote, Strong is teaching that women and children may be appointed by the church to administer baptism is to give it a generality not accorded in the context from which the quote is taken. We welcome fair and impartial criticism, but when criticism is wrought with an ill motive, then it is an offence to propriety and serves as an impediment to honest discussion.
    I wrote in my first treatise on this subject - "It is readily and correctly conceded that the pastor is the MOST proper person to baptize for the church, and when the pastor is willing, able, and available, to function in immersing the baptismal candidates for the church, he should NEVER be by-passed in this high honor. It is first the pastor's privilege and obligation to act as the agent of the church in administering the ordinance of baptism, and this particular agency does not pass from the pastor's province except he becomes physically unable or spiritually disqualified. But when such a liability deprives the church of its pastor, then and during the pastorless interim the church may exercise its heaven bestowed authority, and select a godly male member to immerse its baptismal candidates" (Pages 9 & 10).
    I do not know how the language of the above quote could be more explicit Note, I said in the quote the person acting for the church in baptizing its candidates should first be the pastor, but when his service is not available; then the church may "select a godly male member to immerse its baptismal candidates." (Emphasis mine). How anyone can misconstrue these words, and contend they say something which they in no way identify with or infinitesimally relate, is to trifle with what the words actually convey. To insist the quote makes allowance for the church to appoint women and children to act for the church in administering the ordinance of baptism calls for the indulgence of the plainest nonsense. To claim that the words de-emphasize the importance of preacher ordination is "dare pondus fumo," or giving weight to smoke. Yet, this is what the Editor of the Berea Baptist Banner has in vain tried to do. (See: B.B.B. Page 11, Oct. 15, 1984). The dear Editor knows we do not allow women or children to baptize, and the words rather than demeaning the practice of preacher ordination, reinforces it Thus it is, I know of no reason for the Editor to make such implications, except to try and discredit all who disagree with him in the matter in the eyes of his unsuspecting readers or hearers.
    The supposed reply of the BBB Editor to my first book dealing with baptismal authority was a caricature. Our opposing Brother, says: "Now the idea is that a church cannot baptize as I believe unless the ordained minister is willing" (BBB, Page 11). This is an evasion of the issue. The issue is not the willingness or unwillingness of the pastor to administer the ordinance, but the contention of the Editor that formal ordination of the administrator is absolutely essential to the validity of the ordinance.
    It is this doctrine I oppose. I certainly agree with the BBB Editor when he says the pastor should be willing to baptize for his church. To say otherwise would be to border on the ridiculous. But there is a difference, the position of the BBB Editor shuts the church up to one will, that is, the will of the pastor. The difference is, the church has a second and superior will to that of its ordained ministry, which will is the final authority. Where the NEED is such, the church may exercise its will, and choose a faithful brother to administer the ordinance for it. This liberty has been given the local church by its Head, Jesus Christ. But our opposing brother's position would negate that God honoring and church edifying liberty.
    The BBB Editor says "I hasten to point out that a church cannot baptize a candidate unless he agrees to be baptized ... Does this make baptism a candidate ordinance? ... Does it take baptism 'out of the hands of the church'? I would be pleased to hear my brethren explain this problem to my satisfaction." First, let me state, the "candidate" question poses no "problem" for us. The "problem" referred to in the quote must apply to the advocates of the absolute "must" of formal ordination in administering the ordinance, for the contention is the father of a multitude of problems. The willingness of a person to be baptized is not unalterably binding on a New Testament church. Baptism is as we have contended all along a church ordinance, not a preacher or candidate ordinance. It is the church in its collective and official capacity that determines the fitness or unfitness of the applicant, and this is done by a vote of the church. A church does not HAVE TO administer baptism to a person simply because the person is willing to be baptized. If that were the case, then baptism would be a candidate ordinance, and not a church ordinance. No person within the church is allowed to dictate policy to the church, much less a person without the benefit of church membership. John the Baptist refused to baptize the willing Pharisees and Saducees (Matthew 3:7,8), and New Testament churches of today would with the same deliberateness as that of John, refuse to baptize a person be he ever so willing to be baptized, if they had the least suspicion the person was yet unregenerate or practicing sin, which he refused to denounce. Let us ever be aware that the government of the church is democratic, rather than autocratic.
    If formal ordination is absolutely essential to the validity of baptism, it indisputably follows, if the administrator is later discovered to have a fault which existed previous to his ordination which would invalidate his ordination; such as divorce and re marriage, which the BBB Editor contends prohibits proper ordination (BBB, Editorial Comment - 9/15/84, DIVORCE- Page 15). Or if the ordained administrator was unregenerate at the time of his ordination, etc. Then all of the faulted administrator's baptisms would be invalid, for the simple reason his ordination was invalid. This is a dilemma confronting the advocates of the "MUST' of ordination for baptismal validity. But knowing the Scriptures teach that baptism is strictly a local church ordinance, rather than a preacher ordinance we have no problem recognizing as valid the baptism of those persons baptized by a man unqualifiedly ordained.
    J. M. Pendleton says in his church manual, and in his book entitled: CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES, A Compendium Of Theology, in reference to the administrator of the baptismal ordinance - "As to a proper administrator there may be some difference of opinion. By a proper administrator, in the foregoing definition, is meant a person who has received church authority to baptize" (Manual, Page 65; Christian Doctrines - Page 342). The generic term "person" as used by Pendleton in the above quote extends beyond ordained persons, and leaves the administration of the ordinance in the power of the whole church, where it has always been.
    For some years John Spilsbury, a well educated minister, had been pastor of one of the Calvinistic Anti-pedobaptist congregations. He repudiated with great earnestness the theory that baptizedness is essential to the administrator of baptism, maintaining that it was popish in its tendency" (A MANUAL OF CHURCH HISTORY Volume 2 - Page 289 - Judson Press, A. H. Newman). To further highlight Newman's statement concerning Spilsbury's church (1633 - London), and views of his church on baptismal authority; I submit the following from W.A. Jarrel's - BAPTIST CHURCH PERPETUITY "As now, owing to sickness or other causes, pastors have others baptize for them, so Blalock may have baptized for Spilsbury" (page 356).
    When Paul said to the church at Corinth, "I thank God that I baptized none of you save Crispus and Gaius" (I Corinthians 1:14). He did not mean to minimize the importance of baptism or devalue the ordinance. Nor was it his intention to lower the honor of the apostolic or pastoral office, but his motive in making the statement was to teach the Corinthians not to place excessive power or virtue in the person administering the ordinance. Paul clearly states his reason for saying what he did in verse 14, the next verse - "Lest any should say that I baptized in my own name" (verse 15). Let us give honor where honor is due. The authority to baptize is sovereignly rooted in the Headship of Him Who said, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." And Christ in the exercise of His Headship (Ephesians 1:22), has delegated the responsibility of baptism to His church (Matthew 28:18-20). So, let us extol, praise highly, and glorify our Head, Jesus Christ; for it is He Who has given the baptismal ordinance to the church and He gave it to glorify Himself in the church and to edify the church. This is the truth Paul builds a bulwark around in I Corinthians 1:13-17.
    Surely, the baptized person is to be thankful to the church, and toward the administrator for being faithful in carrying out the baptismal part of the church commission, but his glorying must be limited in its entirety to Christ. Paul said: "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel ..." (I Corinthians 1:17). In this statement Paul does not mean the baptismal part of the commission did not apply to him, but that the ordinance did not belong to the apostleship, and that it was not his primary or special work. He knew the ordinance belonged to the church, and he would not take it from the hand of the church, and put it in his own hand. Paul, under the authority of the Antioch church (Acts 13:1-2) baptized a few into his home church, but as soon as a church was organized, be it blessed with a pastor or pastorless at the time, Paul refused to do any of her baptizing, as is seen from Acts 18:8. The text reads - "And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house, and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized." To read into the account which Paul and Luke gives of the origin or beginning of the Corinthian church an ordained administrator who baptized the "many Corinthians" who believed, would be to render a judgment wholly in consistent with the text. It is certain Paul did not baptize them:
    "A matter that produced considerable confusion in some parts of the Association was now considered, viz., whether baptism was valid when administered by an unordained person. To which the Association replied: 'that in cases where the ordinance had been administered in a solemn and religious manner, that it might be considered as valid, and that persons so baptized might be admitted as members of the church" (Dover Association - Hanover County Virginia. HISTORY OF VIRGINIA BAPTISTS - Pages 122, 123. By: Robert Baylor Semple).
    It is the overwhelming consensus of Landmark Baptists that the baptismal commission was given to the local church(es), and that the perpetuation of the ordinance was not conditioned upon the church having an ordained pastor. This being most certainly the case, the ordinance entrusted to the local church by none other than Christ, I ask; is there ever a time in the history of a true church when its responsibility to baptize is null? What circumstances can there be which can abrogate or even abridge that which God has decreed? There are no circumstances, be they ever so adverse, which can for a moment make void the authority and responsibility of a New Testament church to baptize.
    It logically follows (not theologically), if a church cannot baptize without an ordained minister, and the pastor of a church resigns his office for the pastorate of another church, leaving his former church without an ordained minister, that he takes the authority to baptize from the church he resigned to the new church of his pastoral labors. Perish the thought, for such is a flagrant abuse of church authority. As long as a church has a New Testament status, (and many they be who for extended periods of time suffer the vacancy of their pastoral office) yet, they are at all times "the pillar and ground of the truth," and baptism is an indispensable doctrinal rock in the foundation of every New Testament church, One of the vitals of every New Testament church is its ability to baptize.
    Under the heading of BAPTISM, Hastings Dictionary Of The Bible makes the following comments on the subject. "The commission to baptize was given in the first instance to the eleven (Matthew 28:16-20), but we are not sure no others were present. Moreover, it is in virtue of Christ's presence ('Lo I am with you always') that they have the right to baptize; and this presence cannot be confined to the apostles. We are not told who baptized the three thousand at Pentecost; and the apostles, if they baptized any, can hardly have baptized them all. Apparently, Ananias baptized Paul, but this is not clear (Acts 22:16). He was 'a certain disciple' (Acts 9:10), and presumably a layman. Peter commanded Cornelius and his company to be baptized (Acts 10:48); and we assume that it was done by the brethren from Joppa, who are not said to be presbyters or deacons. From the silence of Scripture respecting the minister on these and other occasions, we may infer that an ordained minister is not essential" (Pages 242-243).
    I call your attention to these words in the quote from Hastings "Moreover it is in virtue of Christ's presence ('Lo I am with you always') that they have the right to baptize." Who would be so crass as to deny the veracity of these words? I sincerely doubt that one Baptist could be found who would not gladly affirm the statement.
    The inescapable conclusion drawn from this fact is, it is the presence of Christ that enables a church to baptize. and not necessarily that of an ordained minister. We are determined to give due honor to the ordained ministry of the church, and to own its heavenly bestowed authority, but never can we equate ministerial authority in the church with that of Him Who purchased the church with His own blood.
    We will have more to say on the theory which contends that the validity of baptism depends on the administrator being formally ordained, in the fifth chapter, under the heading: MORE OBJECTIONS ANSWERED.
Chapter Three
    "That the power of a church cannot be transferred or alienated, and that church action is final. The power of a church cannot be delegated. There may be messengers of a church, but there cannot be, in the proper use of the term, delegates ... The church at Corinth could not transfer her power to the church at Philippi, nor could the church at Antioch convey her authority to the church of Ephesus. Neither could all the apostolic churches combined delegate their power to an association or synod or convention. That church power is inalienable results from the foundation-principle of Independency - namely, that this power is in the hands of the people, the membership. If the power of a church cannot be transferred, church action is final. That there is no tribunal higher than a church is evident from Matthew 18:15-17" (J. M. Pendleton, CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES, pages 338 & 340).
    Churches in their aggregate, or plural part of the whole number were never given authority to baptize by the Lord. The church in the institutional sense is not the custodian of the ordinances, nor is there Scriptural precept or example which gives the least currency to the idea. The commission to baptize was not given abstractly, that is, it was not given to the church of God as an institution, but to His churches in their particular capacity and location. To guarantee the success of the baptismal commission the Lord promised His age long and sovereign presence to each and everyone of His churches (Matthew 28:18-20). As to authority every New Testament church is complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10), they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 3:16; John 14:17), and thereby have the fullness of Christ dwelling in them (Ephesians 1:23, 3:19; Colossians 1:19). In view of this great truth, I ask how could it ever become necessary for a church so blessed with the presence of Christ to borrow any kind of authority from anything outside of itself? The Lord Himself is THE HIGHEST authority, and all ecclesiastical authority is derived from God and is in the strict sense fully and indisputably His. To contend circumstances may develop which would necessitate the borrowing or use by one New Testament church the authority of another New Testament church, is equal to saying, the time may come when God will need to borrow authority from Himself, False premises beget absurdities.
    When dual or plural church authority is used in administering the ordinance of baptism, what oral formula is pronounced by the agent of such authority? If the contention is, although two or more churches are involved, it is yet done by singular authority. I yet ask, what baptismal formula is pronounced by the administrator? If it is done by singular authority, it is done independently of all churches involved except one. This smacks of freelanceism, and the administrator could use as his baptismal formula, "By the authority invested in me I baptize you."
    Some of the pluralists contend that an ordained Baptist minister can officiate and administer the Lord's supper in a New Testament church of which he is not a member, as long as he does not eat the bread or drink the wine. I am sure the same pluralists would loudly raise an objection to a suggestion that a hydraulic lift be installed in their baptistery whereby the candidate could be immersed and emersed
without the assistance of a personal administrator. I join my objection to theirs, and say with them - There must be a personal administrator in order to meet New Testament requirements for baptism. Thus it is, we both agree that the administrator acts as the officiant of the church in administering the ordinance, and thereby takes a vital part in the ordinance. Likewise, when a Baptist preacher, ordained or not, acts as the officiant in administering the Lord's supper in a church of which he is not a member, he takes a part in the ordinance whether or not he ingests the elements. Such an effort to observe the Lord's supper does away with close communion, and cannot by the most liberal view be classified as a closed communion. The ordinances are local church ordinances, and not denominational ordinances or associational ordinances, even though they be only two churches in the association. If a church can vote, and thereby grant authority to baptize its converts by a person who is not a member of the voting church, it can by the same vote grant authority allowing non-members to partake of the Lord's supper in their church. Such a thought arises only out of the blinding dust of associationalism or conventionism.
    The Lord in giving the procreant commission to Adam and Eve, gave it potentially to each respective family, for every human family of the future resided in that first family at the time the commission was given. The Lord gave the baptismal commission to the first Baptist church of Jerusalem, and in so doing He gave the commission to every one of His churches in their particular and exclusive nature. Not withstanding, they all had their residence in the first Baptist church at the time the commission was given. Holy Spirit regeneration makes the subject a member of the family of God, but it takes Scriptural baptism to add the regenerate person to a local church family. It was understood at the outset of the pro-creative commission, that each family was to add to their own membership independently of the family next door. I believe in familyism and in the good neighbor policy, but they MUST have their limits. And so it is with church families, each one is to add members to its own church family, independent of all other churches.
    When the Holy Spirit regenerates one of God's elect He brings to pass in that one what is determined for all the elect, namely, regeneration. When Christ established the first church in Jerusalem, He brought to pass in that first church what was determined for all of His churches, namely, a visible autonomous entity. The first Baptist church was a complete church within itself, and so are all churches which have emanated from that first church. The first Baptist church of Jerusalem gave birth to the first Baptist church of Antioch, and when the Antioch church came into being it was a complete church in and of itself. Paul referred to this newly originated church as, "The church of God that was at Antioch" (Acts 13:1). It is highly probable that the Antioch church along with the Jerusalem church was referred to when Paul abstractly said, "I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it" (Galatians 1:13).
    In Matthew 16:18 the Lord used the word "ecclesia" in the abstract or generic sense, but not to the exclusion of the concrete or specific use of the term. The abstract and concrete use of the term "ecclesia" in the New Testament are not antagonistic, but complimentary. The utility of the term is not adversely affected by New Testament usage, for in every place where it is used the sense or construction placed on the term is made plain. We often speak of the "elect of God" in the abstract or generic sense, but we do not mean all the "elect of God" are one body or organism. The concrete sense of the term is preserved, for there is no way that any two of God's elect can become one organic whole. Siamese twins are a genetic abnormality, but not any more so than two churches officially united are an ecclesiastical abnormality.
    Every church having Jesus as its Head, is an autonomous entity, authoritative deficiency is alien to its nature, and there can never in the existence of such a church arise the need of borrowing authority from anything outside of itself. This truth is attested to by the fact there is nothing in the ecclesiastical sense bigger than a New Testament Baptist church. There is no need to borrow among equals, and when such is effected, the loaning church claims a superiority which does not exist, and the borrowing church assumes an inferiority for itself which does not exist. The practice of borrowing authority calls for a compromise of all churches involved, a compromise which is an affront to the Headship of Jesus Christ. This is why two Baptist churches cannot join in official or organizational union. The need does not, nor has ever existed, for the obvious reason a Baptist church has the ultimate ecclesiastical structure in its immediate being, and this structure remains intact as long as Jesus is the Head of the church. For a church to go outside of itself for baptismal authority is an attempt to improve upon the self propagation ability which Christ gave to His churches. God forbid!
    Baptist churches can, and they should cooperate in achieving common goals, but they cannot be coerced to do so by legislation or intimidation. Baptist churches for the sake of their individual independency must reject every overture made toward them which would in any way whatsoever violate or restrict their autonomy. Baptists believe in the independence of the local church, and this independence necessitates self government and self propagation. These are the vitals of every New Testament church. All any person need do is to give a brief and unbiased study of Baptist history to see that Baptists have been competent in both of these church sustaining areas. Wherever then there is a New Testament church there is union with God, and whenever a church is in union with God there is nothing in its divinely given commission that it is not at all times authorized to do.
    May a church who authorizes a non-member to baptize for it, also authorize a non-member to vote in their church business meetings? If a church can use a man who is not a member to baptize for it, and thereby give voting status to the subject of the non-member's baptism, it would not seem inconsistent for the church to allow their borrowed administrator a vote in granting the candidate admission to its membership. Just how far does the authority of a church extend in allowing non-members to act officially in church affairs? All legislation of the New Testament is committed to the local church, and each church is empowered or given executive ability by the Holy Spirit to carry out every precept of that legislation. Every New Testament church is an executive an efficient administrator of God's spiritual government on earth, and this executive status and efficiency enables every church to conduct all of its affairs by or from within its own membership. For a church to go beyond its immediate membership for official help, is to go beyond the Scriptures.
    There is a wide and ever present need for cooperation of churches. The need for church cooperation is more pressing in mission work than in any other area. But there are other areas where churches may, and should if able, cooperate one with another. Areas such as publication work, radio ministry, Bible conferences, revivals, etc. Yet, while cooperation in various endeavors by churches is Scriptural and a tremendous blessing, it is to be clearly understood that all cooperative work is under the exclusive authority of one church. Cooperation of churches, yes. Plural authority, NO!
    When a church has an ordained minister of another church baptize for it, does the church for whom the minister baptizes have any ecclesiastical or disciplinary authority over the minister? If not, then the church has a man officially acting for it over whom it has no authority whatsoever. On the other hand, if the church for whom the borrowed minister baptizes claims to have authority over him, then the borrowing church claims to have authority over a person who is not a member of their church, but who is in fact a member of another church. This is a dilemma I would rather not be confronted with. It is an imposture that can be straightened only by practicing restricted baptism. That is, by keeping baptismal authority where God put it, that is within the boundaries or governmental limits of the local church.
    Beloved brethren, would it not be folly on our part to demand for the local church disciplinary authority over every person who sits at its table in observance of the Lord's supper, and then use means over which the church has no authority to get supper participants? Namely, extra church baptism. While the church as an institution is to evangelize the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20), official interdependence of churches is not necessary to this end, nor is it warranted in the commission.
    There is merit in official synergism as relates to secularism, but to apply this same principle to the mission work of the Lord's churches is to set the wisdom of man above that of God (Isaiah 55:8,9; I Corinthians 1:21,3:19). Mission work, including baptism, which is done under the official direction of plural churches is unscriptural, be they two or two hundred churches. Officiality for ecclesiastical mission work is restricted to the local independent church, and no part of it can with Scriptural approval be farmed out to any cooperative, no matter how reasonable it may seem.
    The Scriptures will not lend themselves to the service of carnal reason. Men may endeavor to bend, warp, distort, and use every conceivable guise to elicit from the Scripture support for their false theories, but Scripture cannot be made to ally itself with error. On the contrary, Scripture is the indefeasible and untiring enemy of all religious error. The Scripture never takes a benign view of error, even though the error be judged nominal by men.
    Cooperation between churches is to be sought, but not at the expense of ecclesiastical usurpation. The surrender of any measure of church independence is by far too great of a price to pay for cooperation which from the outset runs counter to Scripture, and is under the frown of God. Cooperation bought at such high expense is to invite the sowing of thorns in the participating churches, which will in due season choke out other truth, and demand further surrender of church independence. There is plenty of room for churches to practice unofficial bi-formity, but it is absolute nonsense to speak of bi-autonomy.
    There is plenty of ground upon which New Testament churches can fellowship, and this fellowship should be sought and cultivated. But when fellowship between churches takes on an official nature, it at that point falls below Scripturally authorized fellowship, and is not only worse than no fellowship, but is a fellowship which cannot but promote perniciousness. Any fellowship that takes baptism, the Lord's supper, or any part of mission work out of the hands of the local church, or makes the local church dependent on anything outside of itself for the administration of the ordinances or circumscribes its missionary authority is a fellowship that is fallacious and devoid of Scriptural endorsement.
    Baptism is a definite ordinance which is by the Head of the church, clearly and unmistakably restricted to the precincts of the local church. For a church to ask a sister church for help in performing the ordinance is to give baptism an abstract nature, a nature which is utterly incongruous to it, and detracts from it. Such inadmissible handling of the ordinance will weaken rather than strengthen the churches.
    The United States sends Ambassadors and diplomatic agents to other countries, and other countries reciprocate by sending like officers to the United States. The diplomats can take no official part in the government of the countries which they visit, nor can they help in executing the laws or ordinances of the country they visit. Neither are they subject to the laws of the country they visit, but enjoy diplomatic immunity from the laws of all nations, except their own. Some nations with the same political philosophies or ideology exchange teachers, and as with the diplomats the teachers have no authority which they can exercise in the country they visit. Nations, especially those allied in a common cause may recognize the judicial acts of those nations as long as they do not contravene the laws of its own government or infringe on its national independence. Example, if the British government charged and convicted one of its citizens of a capital crime, mutuality of immigration laws prohibit any sister nation from granting the convicted person citizenship as long as the penalty goes wanting in any part.
    A Baptist church is the purest democracy on earth, and Baptist churches are the only heavenly mandated authority on earth sending forth ecclesiastical ambassadors. But it is to be clearly understood that in contemplating authority, none can be correctly given to the ambassadors which extends beyond their immediate church. They may preach, teach, or act as an advisor to and for a sister church, but he has no de facto power beyond the church body of which he is a part. The rule of respect and love for sister churches should ever be so strong as to honor their discipline of and over their own members. Otherwise every member will be a law unto himself.
    Baptism administered by a local New Testament Baptist church is Scriptural, whether or not the agent acting for the church is formally ordained. Therefore, NO NEED can ever exist which makes borrowing of authority expedient, much less compulsory. Borrowed authority is a spurious substitute, a mean imitation at best, for which there is no Biblical warrant or sound reason to use.
    When we leave the governmental confines of a local New Testament church, or try to amalgamate church authority, we have left off proper church authority, and have taken the license of unlimited sanction and may use it in doing whatever suits our fancy. All that is needed for every official church action is, authority that is primary and ordinary, and not authority that is secondary and extraordinary.
    "To each local church is committed the SOLE administration and guardianship of the ordinances" (JR. Graves - The Lord's Supper, Page 11 - 'SOLE' - Caps mine).
    "The church of God in a city, means the whole church of God is there, and if the whole church of God is there, then none of it is anywhere else ... THOSE DESPISE THE CHURCH OF GOD WHO APPEAL FROM HER AUTHORITY. There is no higher court. Every appellant says by his actions, which speak louder than words, there is a higher court of Authority than the church of God. Christ says in Matthew 18:17: "Tell it to the church, and if he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and publican." That settles the case. There is no higher tribunal and no other tribunal. The church of God is the Supreme Court of heaven on earth ... THOSE DESPISE THE CHURCH OF GOD WHO USURP HER FUNCTIONS. The church is the steward - the custodian of the faith. The doctrines and ordinances were committed to her. All authority was left with her. (J. B. Moody - MY CHURCH, Chapter on Church Loyalty).
    Baptism is the door by which a saved person enters the church, and the autonomous church does not need help apart from its own entity to open its baptismal door. If one prop is needed from without the immediate church, who is to say how many props may be needed? Administering of the ordinances has been specifically assigned to each and every New Testament church by their omniscient Head, and any delegating of this assignment or the adding of any supplement thereto is to misread the Scriptures and mismanage the ordinances. The particular church is a body of Christ, in which dwells "the Spirit of God" (I Corinthians 3:16; 12:27), and it was to the particular church at Corinth, Paul said: "Keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you" (I Corinthians 11:2). The Corinthian church was doctrinally weak, and it is not certain they had a pastor at the time of the Pauline admonition, but it is sure the Sovereign Holy Spirit was with the Corinthian church, and His presence makes every church functionally complete.
    Concerning baptismal theory opposed in this volume, some may ask, What does it matter if we believe it? It matters much. What caused the universal visible concept of the church, with its hierarchical and tyrannical church government? The universal invisible concept of the church is an off-spring of Rome's universalism. Rome's ecclesiasticism is owing to exaltation of its priests., whereby preacher and people are separated by an unalterable gulf. Protestantism, with its bogus baptismal practice, and heretical forms of church government is lame in both feet It has set down in Rome's ecumenical wheel-chair, and is being gently wheeled back to its harlot mother. The point is, both Romanism and Protestantism deny the entity autonomy, and independence of the local church, this cannot be done with any degree of success apart from undue preacher exaltation, and prostitution of the baptismal ordinance.
    There is an old proverb which says, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." The implication in this saying is to plain to be missed. One Scripture revelation in the heart is worth more than a thousand theological hypothesises in a book. One baptism performed by the exclusive authority of one New Testament church is not merely better than all baptisms administered by plural church authority, but is the "one baptism," alluded to by Paul in Ephesians 4:5.
    While in this chapter I have written at great length, I could yet append it with a favorable anthology from Baptists and other historians which would in volume surpass this chapter. But instead, I have elected to conclude it with a quote from a contemporary and scholarly brother, who has made a serious and in-depth study on the subject of authority to baptize. The author of the quote is Elder Doyal Thomas - of Wayne, West Virginia; and it is used by his permission.
    "Now when Christ established His church, He placed each and every member in that one body, (not one universal body, but one body AT JERUSALEM) and then commissioned that one body to do all those things that He would ever be pleased to assign His churches the duty and privilege to perform. I'm saying that that church at Jerusalem was equipped and enabled to do everything that any church would ever be equipped and enabled or AUTHORIZED TO DO! Just as His church did not "evolve" from an embryo into a living, vibrant, active body, neither did it need to "develop" the order of its acting. It did not need to, nor did it, learn how to do the things that God ordered by learning process. He gave His church explicit instructions as to functionary procedures. Nor did it draw upon outside resources! What resources were available for this church to draw upon, seeing there was no other church in existence! It was an autonomous body. It did the Lord's work!
    I'm saying that every true church today can do all those things that our Lord has commanded, that every one of those churches MUST do those things, or else be out of the order that He established. What needs to be done that His church cannot do? Why must 'expediency" be put ahead of authority? If His church cannot do what He established that church to do, then is there not a deficiency present? What a shame and travesty to even suggest such a thing.
    In short, the authority to baptize, and to administer the Lord's Supper is not, nor has it ever been in the hands of a preacher. The authority has been duly assigned by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and what He has assigned cannot be, in any way, further delegated. One church cannot authorize another to function in the matter without going outside the authority that Christ gave her. To do so is to be in subordinate to the Lord and Master. That's plain, but I believe it is true!
    It is recognized, and I believe all will agree, that when a church has one to be baptized, or when the Lord's Supper is to be administered, that the pastor, would properly be the human agent to perform for the CHURCH this duty - this privilege. But, if there be no pastor, then a male member of the church can, and must be authorized to administer the ordinance ... A true church is not left at the mercy of those outside the body to function! If so, then the church is not an autonomous body, but is a "dependent" body." (End quote).
    Brethren, let us express our sentiments rather than suppress them. Timidity, as a rule is a virtue, and silence at times is golden, but they are something else when used in curtailing truth.
Chapter Four
    Brother Cockrell, the Editor of the Berea Baptist Banner, has clearly stated what he believes to be the answer to the above question. He says in his reply to my first Book on the question of baptismal authority: "It is my candid opinion that some men run away from appearing before an ordaining council because they fear they cannot meet the qualifications and hence be ordained. They may have problems with their double or triple marriage. They may have some moral problems, or even some doctrinal problems. I can think of but a few reasons for their shunning a council of good and godly men by which they are to be examined and ordained. It might be well to ask some men who downgrade being an ordained Baptist minister if they ever appeared before an ordaining council, or, in other words, were they ever ordained to the ministry." (B.B.B. Page 10, Oct. 15, 1984).
    Why the esteemed Editor would inject this self defeating statement into the baptismal authority controversy is an enigma to me. However, he has made his position unmistakably clear as to where he believes the responsibility of ordaining ministers lies, and that is not with the local church, but with a council of preachers made up from various churches. Three times in the above quote the Editor plainly says, the formal setting apart a man to the gospel ministry is done by what he calls "an ordaining council." He goes as far to say, or at least he glaringly implies, if a preacher has not been ordained by a council as defined above, he is, just simply, not ordained. So as to show I am not reading more into his words than what is in the quote, I resubmit one of his misconstruable statements, i.e. "I can think of but a few other reasons for their shunning a council of good and godly men BY WHICH THEY ARE TO BE EXAMINED AND ORDAINED. It might be well to ask some men who downgrade being an ordained Baptist minister if they have ever appeared before AN ORDAINING COUNCIL, or, in other words, were they ever ordained." (Caps mine). Note: the last four words of the quote is not a question, but a subtle denial of the validity of minister ordination performed by a local church independently of the officialdom of an extra-church council. The local church does not need a Sanhedrin to direct its functions.
    It is the "candid opinion" of the BBB Editor, "that some men run away from appearing before an ordaining council because they fear they cannot meet the qualifications and hence be ordained." I ask, who is better qualified to judge of a ministerial candidate's qualifications, the church which holds his membership and with whom he has spent an extended part of his church life, and in most cases all of it, or a council of preachers; of whom some may have never seen the candidate before the date of ordination? We are NOT OPPOSED to a church asking other ministers to act as advisors in ordination procedure. We do not object to visiting ministers interrogating the candidate, but what we do object to is the usurpation of the authority of the ordaining church by a mock council.
    We never ask a Baptist pastor, By which council were you ordained? But we ask him, By the authority of which church were you ordained? If we ask, By what council, he might think we were a little popish, or tainted with Episcopalianism, and I would not blame him for thinking thusly. The custom of official councilorship as relates to the ordination of Baptist ministers comes from within the whited walls of pseu-do associationalism, and is nothing more than traditional rubbish which should be tossed into the scrap heap of anti-scriptural innovations, along with everything else that encroaches on the autonomy and independence of the local church.
    We readily and gladly admit that a council made up of pastors from other churches may advise and assist the ordaining church in many and varied ways, but the council CANNOT assert any authority or officiality in or over the ordaining church. As to the officialdom, it is strictly a local church function. To say otherwise, is to unlawfully take the prerogative and liberty which God has given and placed in His particular churches, and place it in the hands of a tribunal who is not amenable to any ecclesiastical authority. Where is the wisdom in the vote of a local church to ordain its ministerial candidate, and then subject itself to a council which has veto power and may abort the design and determination of the local church? Such veto power does not Biblically exist, and the council necessity doctrine suffers the same extreme barrenness as that of the "MUST' doctrine of formal ordination of the administrator of baptism.
    The errors of absolute essentially of formal ordination of the baptismal administrator, and the imperative need of an authoritative council in order to ordain men to the gospel ministry, arrogates for the ministry that which belongs to the Lord's churches. While these errors are not injuriously equal to the sacerdotalism of Romanism and Protestantism, they are akin to it, and certainly not as innocent as their proponents would have us believe (I Peter 5:1-3).
    A Baptist church has no judicatures, except that of the membership. The voting majority determines the polity of the church, and not the pastors or officers of the church. This being true with the officers of the immediate church, how much more is it true concerning officers who are not members of the particular church, even though they organize themselves into an impressive council. Which is the lesser of the two evils, to make too much of ordination or too little of it? I cannot say, nor do I need to say, for the Bible clearly reveals what the measure of respect, honor, and authority is to be accorded the bishopric. The church is to acknowledge and manifestly own the authority which God has vested in the pastoral office, but in so doing the church is to be careful not to compromise its own authority. What a glorious thing it is when both pastor and church see the demarcation lines which God has drawn to regulate their respective authority.
    The pastor and all other officers are amenable to their membership church, and this subservience does not deprecate the authority or bedim the unequaled honor inherent in the pastoral office. The amenability of the pastor to his church should not be grievous, but joyous, lest a rivalry between the church and the pastor be developed. The pastor and his church are not in competition as to who can exercise the most authority, but when their peculiar authority is held in proper perspective it will serve to stimulatize the church rather than schismatize it.
    No God honoring pastor wants his people goose-stepping before him, because he knows heavens marching orders were not despotically given to him, but to the democratic power of the church. Nor will a God honoring church want to enervate their Holy Spirit given pastor, and have him cowering at their feet. Neither church nor pastoral authority can long endure abuse, for God will not allow His appointments to suffer prolonged impediment, and whatever is necessary to correct the abuse will be rapidly and efficiently meted out by the Head of the church.
    It appears from the B.B.B. that Brother Cockrell subscribes to Brother J. M. C. Breaker's "general authority" theory, for he borrows the term from Brother Breaker, and uses it approvingly in the B.B.B. (Page 7 - 10/15/84). Whence cometh this supposed "general authority"? It must come from and by the arbitration of a spurious ordaining council, for it cannot be Scripturally given by a local church. Some generals are just too general, and the one under consideration is a case in point.
   This supposed "general authority" is exceedingly wide. Sufficiently so as to allow pastors and ordained Baptist preachers to baptize for their respective churches, and other Baptist churches without specific authority from their membership church. The basis or justification for this unregulated practice is the inherent virtue or intrinsic merit claimed for preacher ordination by an official (?) council. The logical order contended for is, formal council ordination begets general authority, and general authority begets preacher liberty, so as he may baptize whenever and wherever he may find a candidate and a church that will receive the baptized person. Or as with Brother Breaker, a receiving church is not necessary in every case. This is the practice J. M. C. Breaker advances in his article. He contends in a given situation as that of the Ethiopian eunuch a person may be baptized and not admitted to or added to any church (Breaker's Article, Page 251 - Paragraph 2). Brethren, is not this a strange brand of Landmarkism? Such a practice cannot be supported by Scripture nor Baptist history, and it should be abrogated by or expurgated from every church afflicted with it.
    The above statement correctly charged to Brother Breaker is but a sampling of the errors which are in his whole article on The Administrator of Baptism. And yet Brother Cockrell says: "My disagreement with Brother Breaker was not of any serious nature. There were some weak statements in my opinion in the original article, and a few of these were omitted from the original article which appeared in the BBB" (Page 7 - 10/15/84). There were and are a lot of, not only weak statements in Brother Breaker's original article, but a lot of glaring errors; some of which will be referred to later in this book.
    The J. M. C. Breaker's ordination credential authority is seen in the embryonic state in the first century, but it did not gain any great strength until the churches of various provinces began to do away with church separation and independence. This resulted in the coming together of various churches in official union, out of which was born the prelacy, and out of the prelacy came Rome's hierarchy. There is historical unanimity attesting to the veracity of the contention that the greater part of the churches of the second, third, and fourth centuries apostatized by sacrificing their independence upon the altar of God defying synergism.
   The error of arbitrary class distinction between pastor and people survived the dark ages, but so did the Lord's churches. The error has survived Protestantism, Southern Baptist Conventionism, multifarious Baptist associationalism, and is now trying to penetrate New Testament Landmark Sovereign Grace Baptist churches. But it is with these Landmark churches the error meets its Waterloo, for it cannot survive the hell defying fiat of their Sovereign Head, the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:20-23).
    Mosheim, a Lutheran historian says: "The people were undoubtedly, the first in authority: for the apostles showed by their own examples, that nothing of the moment was to be carried on or determined without the consent of the assembly; and such a method of proceeding was both prudent and necessary in those critical times" (Mosheim's Church History, Page 21). In this statement Mosheim refers to the apostolic and first century churches, and it is not coincidental, but providential that there are a people by the name Baptist in the twentieth century contending for the same faith. That is, democracy and not clergy rule.
    The BBB Editor says: "Since my uniting with Sovereign Grace, Independent, Landmark Baptists, I have gleaned here and there a weakness upon the importance of the ordination of Baptist preachers" (Page 10- 10/15/84). I cannot affirm or deny what the Editor claims to be his experience since uniting with Scriptural Landmarkers, but I can speak for myself. I have been with Sovereign Grace Landmark Baptist churches for thirty three years, and have taken part in more Preacher and Deacon ordination services than I can remember. In all this time I have never heard one of our kind of churches or pastors speak lightly of the practice of ordination. It is gladly admitted, the churches with whom I have had the blessing of fellowshipping have discouraged pomp, and unnecessary ceremony; but I know not one church amongst them all who would not rejoice to have a ministerial candidate in their membership, and take special delight in broadcasting the date of his public ordination to the gospel ministry.
    The Editor also speaks of "some men who downgrade being an ordained Baptist minister (Page 10 - 10/15/84). Again I do not know who the Editor refers to in this statement, but I have not met one pastor or preacher in any of the Lord's churches who have not highly esteemed the ministry to which God had called them. If the Editor's reference to some men who downgrade being an ordained Baptist minister is meant to include me, it is an unjust reference, for he in person; along with Elder Doyal Thomas, and myself attended a preacher ordination service less than two years ago. In my preaching assignment in this ordination service, I said: "NO MATTER HOW NEGATIVE AND UNATTRACTIVE THE OFFICE MAY APPEAR TO THE WORLD, THE SPIRITUAL COMPENSATION HERE, AND THE ETERNAL REWARD HEREAFTER IS SUFFICIENT INCENTIVE FOR FAITHFULNESS IN THE OFFICE. SATAN'S EXPERTISE IN BELITTLING AND DEGRADING THE OFFICE HAS NOT IMPAIRED GOD'S ABILITY TO CALL MEN UNTO THE OFFICE. THERE ARE SOME MEN, EVEN IN THIS ERA WHEN SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTISTS ARE RELIGIOUSLY OBNOXIOUS TO SO-CALLED CHRISTENDOM, IN WHOM GOD CREATES A DESIRE FOR THE OFFICE OF
    In another ordination sermon I said: "I Timothy 5:17 tells us the Pastor is to receive 'double honor' from the church. Scripture commands honor be paid to father and mother, but it commands 'double honor' be paid to the God fearing Pastor. To give 'double honor' to the Pastor as commanded by the Lord means:
    (a.) That a church member should be twice as reluctant to disagree with the Pastor, as with any other man on earth. On the other hand it means, the members should be twice as ready to defend the Pastor as he would his dearest brother or sister.
    (b.) Simply stated, it means in all things where honor is due the Scriptural Pastor is worthy of double honor." I have for more than three decades consistently contended for the paying of due honor to the ministry, and stand ready to rebuke any man who would dare to malign this blessed office. I am only interested in the vindication of truth, so I leave it with my unbiased Baptist brethren to judge whether or not my position on preacher authority lessens the importance of the pastoral office, or in truth magnifies it.
    "WHO ARE TO ORDAIN? Ordination is the act of the church, not the act of a privileged class in the church, as the eldership has been sometimes wrongly regarded, nor yet the act of other churches, assembled by their representatives in council. No ecclesiastical authority higher than that of the local church is recognized in the New Testament, This authority, however, has its limits; and since the church has no authority outside of its own body, the candidate for ordination should be a member of the ordaining church" (A. H. Strong - SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY Page 920).
    "It makes no difference that a man already holds the office of Pastor, he is said to be unordained if he has not gone through the ceremony of being questioned and recommended by a council of preachers." I ask, where do we find such mandatory thing in God's Book?
    "What is the truth? This: A man is properly ordained to the work of a preacher when he is approved and appointed to that position by the Baptist church of which he is a member. That church is the only organization in the world that has the authority to ordain or appoint him to that work. I don't say it is wrong for him to submit to the questioning of a council of preachers or brethren, but I do say it is surely not required. So if there were only one remaining true church in the world, the ordaining of God called preachers could still continue. That church, regardless of size could issue a certificate of ordination if the preacher desired one. The man would be as scripturally ordained as if he sat under a thousand councils" (THE BAPTIST PREACHER, James F. Crace, Editor).
    Now I will present a quote of a professed Baptist, who is very highly esteemed by the ministerial elite of the Baptist Bible Fellowship group, the offices of which are in Springfield, Mo. The man says: "I do not believe a local church (if it is Biblical) can be a pawn in the hands of a denominational hierarchy, nor is it a 'spiritual democracy'. Biblically the local church is an autonomous THEOCRACY - God ruling the local assembly through the pastor" (GOD GIVEN PASTORAL AUTHORITY, Page 25- Dr. Kenny McComas).
    Every New Testament church is to be theocentric, but their God given form of government is democratic or congregational, if you please. The church is not a theocracy, nor is the pastor a theocrat. Israel was a theocracy, and had their God given priests and judges through whom God ruled the nation. If the church was a theocracy as contended by Elder McComas, then the church would have no recourse whatsoever from the pronouncements of the pastor. Such a doctrine and practice cannot help but lead to Diotrepheism (3 John 9-1 1), and reduce the membership of the church to governmental passiveness. While the church is to make SURE it accords the pastor all the honor which the Scriptures claim for the office, and set in place every defence necessary to keep out Korahism (Numbers 16:1-3; Jude 11), it is not to equate the pastoral office with that of the High Priest of Israel. A pastoral executive order is as much out of place in a New Testament Baptist church, as that of a Deacon Board with its supposed decretal power. The all wise God vested his governmental power in the membership of each local church, and in so doing He protects His churches against any and all who aspire to arbitrary authority within His churches.
    The framework of church government is quite simple. Actually all official decisions belong to the membership of the church, and the judgment of the voting majority is final. There are no higher powers, such as Associational President, State Missionary, cliques, committees, Deacon Boards, Board of Elders, etc., which the church must go through for ratification of its majority action. To adhere to this simple rule is to own the governmental Headship of Christ, and any divergence therefrom is to contravene the law of Christ and diminish His preeminence in the church. The pastor may disagree with the majority rule, but he is as much bound by it as the most feeble member. This does not mean the church is infallible and never errs in its conclusions, but what it does mean is, they who take variance with the majority decision of the church are to humbly submit to it while awaiting an opportunity to courteously reintroduce his variance to the official church.
    There can be no central government in a New Testament church, for the whole church is the executive body. Christ is the conceptualist of this form of church government, and every member should be satisfied with it.
    An honest and thorough etymological study of the word "democracy" will discover that it has its roots in the Greek word "ekklesia". It was in the ancient government of the Greek city-states that democracy was first practiced, and this government was administered by the free citizens duly assembled for the purpose. This assembly was called "the ekklesia," and in those early times there was no misunderstanding as to what the term meant. The word in its Greek verb form "ekkaleo" means to "call out," or "summon." "Ekkaleo" is a compound verb' formed from two Greek words, "ek" and "kaleo". These two words in their composite being meant to "call out." The purpose of this calling out or calling forth was to convene an assembly to transact official city business. In view of the foregoing and correct definition of the term "ekklesia," it would be tautological nonsense to say. "This ekklesia was the official assembly." It would be tantamount to saying, "Water is wet."
    How the Lord's Ekklesia (church) can be confused, and made to mean a theocracy, ruled over by the pastor; is not only beyond me, but out-curves the universal invisible church theory. Let us be reminded the people who originally practiced ekklesia form of government were already Greek citizens, they were not called out in order to make them what they already were by birth and citizenship. The universal invisible church theory confuses soteriology with ecclesiology, and thereby leaves no room for any complete ekklesia of God on earth. Ekklesia has not so much to do with the inward call of the Holy Spirit in regeneration of God's People, as with the calling out unto baptism those who are already saved. Notwithstanding, evangelism and witness are the first duties of the Lord's churches.
    The theocracy theory confuses the church with Israel and its ancient priesthood. The invisible theory of the church confuses it with the unrealistic notion of a body utterly dismembered, invisible, scattered over all the earth, whose parts are diverse and antagonistic to one another. Both theories are outrageous, absurd, and steals the attention which belongs to the true churches of Christ.
    One church historian says: "In the matter of church polity, Baptists also attempt to take the New Testament as their guide, and to follow the simplicity of apostolic times. In the apostolic period, the believers of any locality formed an assembly or church. There were no officers in these churches, except elders or bishops, and deacons. Each church enjoyed an ABSOLUTE AUTONOMY, AND NO EXTERNAL AUTHORITY EXISTED. In cases of need, a church called on others for help, and the other churches recognized their obligation to render aid. In doubt and difficulty a church asked advice, and other churches acknowledged their duty to give counsel" (Henry C. Vedder - THE BAPTISTS - Pages 15 & 16). Caps in the above quote are mine. I call your attention to the spelling of the last word in the quote, it is "counsel," not "council. Loving and humble counsel, yes, a thousand times yes! But official and dictatorial council, no, a thousand times no! The autonomous church needs no governmental auxiliary from without, but heartily welcomes the hand of sister churches which is empty of officiality.
    E. H. Bancroft, speaking of the apostolic churches says: "There were positive relations of churches to each other involving noteworthy points of contact and cooperation. It appears from the preceding discussion that the mutual relation of the apostolic churches was that of independence and equality, and this view is confirmed by the general tenor of Scripture teaching, and by the way in which the churches are mentioned. Yet there was a certain union and interdependence of these local bodies. It was not organic nor governmental, but rather that of a community of life and interests."
    Speaking of apostolic authority the same author says: "Of course, all churches were under the supreme headship of Christ and under the superintendence delegated by Him to the apostles, but this authority was moral and advisory rather than controlling and mandatory, and was exercised with marked moderation" (CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY By: Bancroft - Page 276).
    The churches of the apostolic era enjoyed a relationship that was most intimate, but "was not organic or governmental," nor did the apostles exercise any controlling or mandatory power over the churches. So it is, churches which claim they can through their ordained ministry form a council in which is vested the authority to ordain or reject ministerial candidates, claim more for themselves than did the apostles of Christ.
    "In Acts 12:23 it is said that "they ordained them elders in every church," having reference to Paul and Barnabas; this does not mean that Paul and Barnabas did as modern bishops, etc., do now, but it means that the churches, by a show of hands, elected elders as is proven by the original Greek" (J. E. Cobb - A NEW MANUAL FOR BAPTIST CHURCHES, Page 148).
    Every person who is a member of one of the Lord's churches has been made to drink of "the one Spirit," and was admitted to the "one body" by the "one baptism" which the Lord gave to everyone of His churches (Ephesians 4:4-5). The above mentioned experiences makes one a member of the "body of Christ, and members in particular" (I Corinthians 12:27). This being so, they will have the "same care one for another" (I Corinthians 12:25) which is demonstrated in and by the members of a living organism. Pastoral aloofness or failure to fellowship with all the members can never be reconciled with the spirit of the New Testament, nor with the history of Baptist churches. The camaraderie of members in the body of Christ can and should infinitely surpass all carnal organizations, even the most fraternal.
    Inasmuch as the church is likened to a human body, each part being necessary for the proper functioning of the whole; there can therefore be no independent members in the body. The spiritual health of the church is unalterably connected to harmonious interdependence of all its members. For the limbs, eyes, ears, etc. of Christ's body to lose the desire for power of mutual edification will have the ill effect of spiritual stagnation or arrested development.
    The Lord's churches are distinct entities and autonomous bodies, yet they need and desire the fellowship of other churches. Persecution has often forced reclusion or abstention of fellowship upon and between the flocks of God, but Baptist history reveals that with each interval or respite from persecution the churches would once again seek and cultivate sweet intercourse with their ecclesiastical equals. However, (and it is a vitally important however) the corporate life of each church was restricted to its own membership. The term ecclesia fitly expresses the authoritative extent or limit of a New Testament church. The called out and assembled church are members one of another, but they can never Scripturally be members of any ecclesiastical organization external to their own church, even though it be an ordaining council formed out of or from beloved sister churches. And it is certain a New Testament church cannot Scripturally be a part of the ultra, mundane, and powerful organizations who falsely claim to be Baptists, while denying in doctrine and practice the things which give vitality to the church. Co-operation with sister churches, yes. Coercion from without, no. Paul, knowing that the cause of Christ could be best served in and by the immediate church, and that officiality of service was restricted to the local church, exultingly says: "Unto Him be glory in the church ... " (Ephesians 3:21).
    Let mutual love and loyalty exist and be fervently cultivated by all of the Lord's churches. But it is vain to talk about loyalty to Christ unless our official service is restricted to one particular church, for it is in the local church the ecclesiastical Headship of Christ is exercised, and all other ecclesiastical organizations are bereft of that blessed Headship and have in place of it set up human authorities.
    There is a Spanish proverb which says that a bird may fly to the ends of the earth, but only in a nest can it raise a family. A church may representatively go to the ends of the earth, but only and by the exclusive authority of the home church can members be added to its family or ministers ordained in it. Devotion to sister churches, YES! Dictatorship from sister churches, CERTAINLY NOT!
    Official (?) ordination councils are breeders and incubators for other ultra church organizations with power to subvert the independence and autonomy of the Lord's churches.
    As we said before and repeat for the sake of clarity. We approve of asking the elders of sister churches to unofficially assist in the ordaining of preachers to the Gospel ministry, Their advice and counsel is oft times most helpful, and their encouragement of the candidate is of inestimable value. We have no objection whatsoever to the visiting preachers questioning the candidate concerning doctrine and deportment. And we appreciate it when they accept the invitation of the ordaining church to lay loving hands upon the head of the God called and church ordained preacher. But what we do object to is hierarchical like council, even if it goes by the name Baptist, which wrests from the local church the power to ordain its own ministerial candidates.
    The church at Antioch ordained Paul and Barnabas to the Gospel ministry without the aid of a multi-church council (Acts 13:1-3). The notion that only men who have been formally ordained may lay hands on the ordination candidate is without basis in Scripture. In the ordination of Paul and Barnabas, Symeon, Lucius, and Manaen; laid hands on them, and these three men were not apostles and far as Scripture information extends, not even ordained ministers of the Gospel. Nor are we to suppose they acted in private, but in the presence of the congregation whom they represented.
    Timothy was ordained to the Gospel ministry by the church in which he was a member (I Timothy 4:14). It is evident that the church which ordained Timothy had a plurality of elders at the time who represented the whole church in laying hands on Timothy. The fanciful notion that Paul ordained Timothy on the recommendation of two or more churches, is read into the text by those who assume it to be there. The Scripture which Brother Cockrell refers to as proof that Paul laid hands on Timothy in ordaining him to the ministry (II Timothy 1:6), has nothing to do whatsoever with ordaining him to the ministry, but has reference to a spiritual gift which Paul had at sometime imparted to Timothy by the laying on of his hands.
    Brother Cockrell says: "Paul and Barnabas officiated for the churches in ordaining elders or pastors in Asia Minor (Acts 14:23)." The word "ordained" in Acts 14:23 is a translation of the Greek word "cheirotoneo," and is in some versions translated by the word "appointed." The word means to appoint by a show of the hands. For further study of the word see any good Greek lexicon, but for now I refer the reader to WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT by A. T. Robertson - from whom I quote in regard to Acts 14:23 and the word "ordained" as used in the text.
    "Cheirotoneo is an old verb that originally meant to vote by a show of the hands, finally to appoint with the approval of an assembly that chooses as II Chronicles 8:19."
    No doubt Paul and Barnabas influenced the churches to follow the example of the Antioch church in the ordaining of men called of God to the ministry, and that they along with other men of the church laid hands on them. It is in this sense only can it be correctly said that Paul and Barnabas ordained elders or pastors for the churches. To say Paul and Barnabas ordained men by their own power is to say far too much, for it would mean that they had no respect for the authority of the local church. The authority of and respect for the local church is honored by the apostles throughout the New Testament era of the church.
    "The second divine prerogative of a church of Christ is - to elect and commission - i.e., ordain - her own officers ... and that she is absolutely independent of all other bodies, she must be authorized to elect and to commission her officers without being required to call upon some outside party" (J. R. Graves - OLD LANDMARKISM, Pages 36-37).
Chapter five
    At the outset of this chapter I want to set the record straight concerning some matters and men. It is NOT my purpose in the least to destroy or diminish the ministry of any of the Lord's churches or God called preachers and pastors. On the contrary, I believe the contention that baptismal validity goes wanting unless the ordinance is performed by a formally ordained minister is hurting the Lord's churches and pastors. By challenging this contention I hope to help their churches, rather than hinder them. Many pastors who know me personally will attest to the fact that I have oft times without official status tried to settle disputes between churches and pastors, and especially is this knowledge familiar to the principals involved in this controversy.
    Likewise, I am convinced that the plural church authority practice is detrimental to the health of the Lord's churches. And because the practice is not susceptible to Scriptural proof I oppose it in this rejoinder, along with the claim that an official council of elders is essential to the proper ordination of ministerial candidates.
    Contrary to what the Editor of the B.B.B. has said, I oppose the three above mentioned postulates without respect of persons. All one need do is to read my former treatise on this issue to see that over half of the book was spent in refuting the argument in favor of plural church authority. At the time I sent the copy of my first book on the baptismal question to Brother Cockrell, I also sent copies to Elders Joseph M. Wilson, James Hobbs, and Fred Halliman. Whether or not Brother Halliman received the copy I mailed him, I cannot say, but I do know Elders Wilson and Hobbs received their copies; for they in quick succession wrote me stating their objection to my objection of plural church authority. Nevertheless, as for as I know, neither Brother Wilson nor Brother Hobbs has ever published any writing in defense of the plural church authority position. Nor has either brother written anything favoring the contention that formal ordination of the administrator of baptism is necessary to the validity of the ordinance, and that for the simple reason, they disagree with the contention.
    Conversely, Brother Cockrell has on numerous occasions set forth in public print statements and articles propagating and attempting to defend both plural church authority in baptism, and the unbaptistic idea that baptism is invalid unless ad ministered by a formally ordained Baptist preacher. Some samplings of his statements are now submitted for consideration by the reader. In a pamphlet which he gave the title, A MESSAGE FROM THE PASTOR, Brother Cockrell says: "Scriptural baptism is the immersion of a saved person in water by an ordained Baptist minister as an act of obedience upon the authority of Christ transmitted through a true New Testament church." We agree with this definition per se, but the term in the quote which states "by an ordained Baptist minister," is seen to mean from an over all study of what the Brother has written on the subject, that a person who meets all the requirements except that of being immersed by an ordained Baptist preacher is yet unbaptized.
    In support of my interpretation of the above quote I offer as a witness another statement by our dear brother, i.e., "Our people contend that there are five things essential to Bible baptism.
    First, there must be Divine authority as given to Baptist churches (Matthew 28:19-20).
    Second, THERE MUST BE a Scriptural administrator - AN ORDAINED BAPTIST MINISTER (Acts 13:1-3; I Corinthians 1:16).
    Third, there must be a Scriptural actor - a born again believer in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31-33).
    Fourth, there must be a Scriptural action - a complete immersion in water (Romans 6:4).
    Fifth, there must be a Scriptural aim - not in order to be saved, but because you seek to declare salvation already obtained by faith in Christ (Galatians 3:26-27)."
    This quote taken from a pamphlet with the title WHO ARE WE? Page 7 (Caps mine). In telling us what he thinks constitutes Scriptural baptism, Brother Cockrell uses the word "must" five times, and to him what the word demands in one instance is just as essential in every other instance. The unavoidable conclusion being, an ordained Baptist minister is as necessary to baptism as the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. One thing for sure, he leaves no room to misunderstand what he says, and that is according to him, unless a person is baptized by an ordained Baptist preacher all the person gets out of the immersion is wet.
    Speaking of those who were baptized by New Testament Baptist church authority without an ordained administrator, Brother Cockrell says: "I personally do not want a person in my church who was baptized by a male member, or a female member, any more than I would want my church to use grape juice in the observance of the Lord's Supper" (B.B.B. Page 11, 10/15/84). Here it is said by Brother Cockrell that he would as soon have a person in his church that was baptized by "a female member" as he would a person who was baptized by an unordained, but godly male member who administers the ordinance in the absence of the pastor. In this broad and sweeping statement he in our present time eliminates a lot of faithful brothers and sisters from ever being members of his church, and makes them unworthy of membership in any of the Lord's churches. Then too, it is a great probability that the apostle Paul, Cornelius, or many of the three thousand who were baptized on the day of Pentecost could never be members of his church, for it CANNOT be proved from Scripture that these people were baptized by the hands of an ordained preacher.
    I have been reading Baptist authors for more than thirty years, and particularly their views on the ordinances of the church. But at this date I do not remember one of these authors who dogmatically and undeviatingly held to the FIVE essentials which Brother Cockrell says is necessary for Scriptural baptism. The Baptist main stream, historically and contemporary, enjoy a near perfect consensus as to the Scriptural prerequisites constituting valid baptism. These prerequisites are four, not five as the Editor of the B.B.B. acrimoniously contends for.
    I will now delineate the four prerequisites which comport with Scripture and Baptist history. I am confident that every Baptist from milk to meat know these four prerequisites by heart, but at the risk of being monotonous I set them before the readers eyes again.
    FIRST: A Holy Spirit regenerated person.
    SECOND: Proper authority, a local New Testament Baptist church.
    THIRD: The correct mode - total immersion of the baptismal candidate in water.
    FOUR: The right motive - to show that his faith is in Christ, His atoning blood, and resurrection.
    Elder T. P. Simmons in his great book entitled A SYSTEMATIC STUDY OF BIBLE DOCTRINE sets forth the four prerequisites which I have referred to as constituting Scriptural baptism (Pages 368-392). Brother Simmons refers to the four prerequisites as: THE ADMINISTRATOR, THE SUBJECT, THE DESIGN, and the MODE. As to the administrator Brother Simmons made the following comments, "Baptism is a church ordinance ... baptism is the ceremonial door into the church. This being true, and it also being true that the church is a democratic body, it follows that it has charge of its own door ... Of course the church as a whole cannot baptize. It must perform the ordinance through those whom it authorizes ... "
    The predominant position of Landmark Baptists agree with Brother Simmons' four prerequisites, and they who advance a fifth essential, such as preacher ordination, are in a minority void of solid arguments to defend their position.
    The fifth prerequisite contention is like any other spiritual error, when it goes to the Bible for aid, it is like going to the Sahara Desert in search of vegetation, it finds none. It is a door to further error, leading deeper and deeper into the error of Diotrepheism, a consequent to be despised and shunned with all the strength of being. It is but the pouring of wine into old bottles, the bottles are sure to break. The Baptist poet, John Milton, secretary to Oliver Cromwell, said in objecting to the over lordship of Presbyterian elders in their churches, "Presbyter was only priest writ large" (Presbyterians, Page 51). The fifth prerequisite as to validity in baptism may not in great degree compare to the priesthood of Anglicism, but it is a distant cousin to it.
    Brother Cockrell, like his mentor, J. M. C. Breaker; after strenuously contending that baptism performed by a church without the benefit of an ordained Baptist preacher is invalid, states: "Like Brother Breaker, I would not say that baptism authorized by a church and administered by a male member is invalid ... I would say that such should be a rare exception" (B.B.B. - Page 11, 10/15/84). Well now, I thought, this is a monumental concession on the part of our Brother. But on second thought, and after considering contextually what he has said on the subject, I knew it was but reasoning in a circle.
    If Brother Cockrell would consistently adhere in teaching and practice to what he expressed in the above quote, much of the variance between our views on baptism would disappear, for he in the quote expresses precisely what we have been contending for all along; and that is, a true church may baptize its candidates by an unordained man on rare exceptions. The rare occasion being, when its pastor is not able or available. "0 consistency thou art a jewel," and in this case a very rare and yet unobtained jewel.
    In a letter to me under the date of February 24,1984, Brother Cockrell tells me I can anticipate a reply in the BBB to my former treatise on the baptismal question, he also says in the same letter that his "Views on baptism being confined to church authority and an ordained Baptist preacher," has caused a campaign to be waged against him. Note the word "and" in the quote referred to in this paragraph. The word is a function word to indicate connection or addition. The sense of the word as used by Brother Cockrell in this quote is, church authority without being added to or connected with preacher ordination as regards baptism is null and void.
    While I agree with Brother Cockrell that the pastor should when able and available administer the ordinance of baptism for the church he pastors, because the pastor is the primary teacher in the church, and there is no better way to proclaim the Gospel in symbol than by administering the ordinance of baptism. We have never said or thought as Brother Cockrell has accused us of saying or thinking that baptism performed by an unordained male member of a New Testament church is better than baptism performed by the pastor. It is he who says that baptism performed by the pastor is the "best" baptism. (See: B.B.B. - Page 11, 10/15/84). 1 did not know there were degrees in validity, nor that there is a good baptism, a better baptism, and a baptism that is "best" of all baptisms.
    There are no half-Baptists or Baptists-and-a-half, there are only Baptists. There are no inferior and superior baptisms. It must be the "one baptism" which the Scriptures demand or it is not valid baptism. Baptism performed by an unordained man when the services of the pastor cannot be obtained, having New Testament authority, is as valid as baptism can be. Would it not pose an ongoing and grievous problem for a church if it had some members who had what Brother Cockrell calls the "best" baptism, and some members who had a baptism which according to Brother Cockrell was less than best? But thank God, this problem cannot arise in churches that hold to the "one baptism" of Ephesians 4:5, that is, baptism administered by the exclusive authority of one of the Lord's churches.
    The four prerequisites constituting Scriptural baptism simplifies and systematizes the ordinance. The supposed fifth prerequisite, that is, formal ordination of the agent acting for the church gives it a transcendence which puts it in an orbit that is beyond full control of the church. The fifth prerequisite stigmatizes the ordinance by giving it a mark which elevates the preacher, and detracts from the glory of the church. It burdens the ordinance with superfluity by making it demand more than what the Scriptures require.
    In the strict sense there is no authority but God. All earthly authority is derived from or delegated by the one absolutely sovereign God. Noah's commission to build the Ark was divinely delegated, and Noah could not sublet or sublate any part of his God given contract. The same was true with John, and his commission to baptize. John's baptismal authority was derived from God (John 1:6), and he could not subcontract it. During his imprisonment by Herod, John did not appoint an interim baptizer, for he knew his authority could not be delegated. As with John, so it is with the church. The Lord gave the commission to baptize to His churches, and He shut it up authoritatively to the collective membership of each church.
    The church cannot reassign its God given commission to its pastor, nor can the church delegate any part of its baptismal commission to a sister church. To do so would be to assume a liberty not granted by the Head of the church, and it would be laying of the pruning knife to the principles and rules of interpretation which our Baptist champions have held to in study and debate. The Lord has specifically given the ordinances of baptism and the memorial supper to His churches, and no admixture of authority can be found in the New Testament whereby we can say the divine specific has been abrogated by the inclusion of something else.
    Before and after we published our first book opposing plural church authority and the "must" of formal ordination of the agent acting for the church in administering the ordinance of baptism, Brother Cockrell has written and printed articles in his paper against the position taken by the book. He has also in the interval of time between the publication of my first treatise and the date of this publication written a number of letters to various preachers wherein he raises objections to the stand which the book took on the ordinance of baptism. In one of the letters which he sent to a number of preachers he made the following statement, "I would like very much to hear the answers of Pastor Oscar Mink to these questions, but I am sure I shall never see them."
    Brother Cockrell did not send me a copy of the letter, even though in making the above statement he was ethically bound to do so. However, we will forgive him this, and overlook his audacity and cock sureness. But I do believe if he would take an open eyed second look at the first book we published on the subject, he might see that which he never expected to see. Nevertheless, we will answer them again, even though the ingredients be much the same as before, except for a seasoning which prevents benumbing of the spirit. Re-capitulation can be made interesting, and I will try fervently in this case to make it so.
    In support of preacher baptism Brother Cockrell appeals to the case of John the Baptist, and his commission to baptize. He says, "John the Baptist - a non-church member (I John 3:29) - baptized many of the members who went into the organization of the Jerusalem church ... What church was John the Baptist a member of when he baptized Christ? Did John practice 'preacher authority in baptism'? We answer: John the Baptist is the only man, the only Baptist preacher to baptize with direct God given authority. While the members of the first Baptist church had John's baptism, and through or by succeeding Baptist churches, John's baptism has been perpetuated; yet since the death of John the Baptist there has been no preacher authority like that which God gave unto him. Since the days of John all authority to baptize has been restricted to the Lord's churches in their singular, respective, or peculiar capacity.
    Since the first Baptist church which Christ established in Jerusalem, Baptist preachers have all down through the centuries baptized people, but they have done it by the authority of their membership church, and not by their own authority. Brother Cockrell admits John's baptism "is not the ideal case" to refer to for support of extra or accessory church authority. I ask, where in the New Testament is the "ideal case"?
    "... Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John. Though Jesus Himself baptized not, but His disciples" (John 4:1-2). The worthy of the worthiest was not worthy to untie the shoes of John the Baptist, yet John was a mere man as all are which are born of the flesh. While Christ was (sinless) man, He was at the same time, God manifest in the flesh" (I Timothy 3:16). Christ, the Head of the church granted authority to his churches to baptize, and it goes without saying, He who grants authority has in himself authority to do that which he grants. Jesus had the authority in and of Himself to baptize, but He deliberately refrained therefrom. The most probable reason Jesus refused to baptize was, it might have made unhappy divisions among His followers. Some who had the Baptism of John might have considered themselves less honorable than those who had the Master's baptism. Christ guarded against this division, and Paul followed His example (I Corinthians 1:12-17). I do not mean to infer that pastors or preachers should not baptize, on the contrary, I contend that they should, but they should not baptize by their personal authority, lest they take to themselves the preeminence which belongs to the church.
    The more a preacher lifts himself up above the authority of the church, the lower he sinks into the quagmire of self importance and egotism. We contend for church autonomy, not preacher autonomy. We do well to remember that God Himself is the final authority, and that the divine library reveals that all ecclesiastical authority is restricted to "The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Timothy 3:15). The church is God's spiritual illuminating company in this evil age, and the preacher who assumes officiality beyond the exclusive authority of his membership church has in measure obscured the light. Preacher baptism commenced and ended with the ministry of John the Baptist, and was superseded by the authority which Christ gave to His churches.
    A strong loyalty to the pastor should at all times be manifested by all members of the church, but the pastor who is determined to glorify God in the church, neither solicits nor will tolerate a blind loyalty, for then he would be a little pope with a Baptist name. There can only be one final authority in a Baptist church, and that is the majority rule of the church, and every member, including the pastor, is bound by that rule. The authority of the pastor is a distinct authority, and unique in some respect, yet it is never superior to the majority rule of the church. Democratic rule, yes! Autocratic rule, no!
    The strong emphasis which Landmark Baptists place on the church has greatly disturbed and troubled other groups going by the name, Baptist. They charge Landmarkers with over-emphasizing the church. They say, Landmarkers talk about the church when they should be talking about Christ. The truth is, Landmarkers stress the importance of the church because of the ill concept which so-called Baptists have of the church, and because they know the church of the living God is the glorious bride of Christ. All true Baptists are determined to manifestly own the high and lofty position which the Scriptures accord the blood bought church of Jesus Christ.
    In an effort to support extra church or augmented authority in baptism, Brother Cockrell, says - speaking of the transfer of membership by church letter: "By receiving the letter that church is saying that the other church baptized someone into their church." This is a penury objection at best, but we will in brief consider it. A valid baptismal certificate can never bear the name of but one church, and that is the church that baptizes the person and not any of the churches which he may later be a member of. It is by baptism a person enters a Baptist church family, and they enter it without official assistance from any other church family. To receive into church membership a person by letter from a sister church, simply means that the receiving church recognizes and honors the official action of the sister church as relates to baptism of the person they are receiving.
    It cannot be said in any realistic sense, that when a family officially adopts a child that they are adopting it for another family. The adopting family would dismiss such a contention as utterly absurd, and rightfully so. The name of the adoptee is legally entered in the family register, and while he or she may become part of another family, the family of which the adoptee becomes a part of will never claim that the adoption was for their family. Baptism is performed for and by one church only. The officiality of the baptism being Scriptural can never be canceled, nor does it ever need to be repeated, and in view of this fact, all true churches are bound to honor the action of the church which originated it, and henceforth the baptized person shall give the name of the baptizing church when asked, WHOSE BAPTISM DO YOU HAVE? The baptized person may have had membership with a number of other churches in the meantime, but none of their names can be used correctly to answer the above question.
    Baptists have all through their history contended for believer's baptism, and in so- doing have tenaciously withstood the heresy of infant baptism. With equal tenacity they have denounced all forms of proxy baptism, and its kindred evils, such as baptismal sponsors and godparents. There is no room for spiritual surrogation in the economic relationship of Baptist churches.
    The most belaboured objection raised by Brother Cockrell against the practice of restricting baptismal authority to one church is, that baptism and teaching are authoritatively co-equal as given in the commission, and that an ordained minister has as much right to baptize for a church as he does to preach for it. In impeaching this argument all the principles which he alleges in favor of it falls apart, for they are inseparably connected. In disproof of this supposed irrefutable argument, I submit to the concerned and diligent searcher of church truth the following propositions for consideration.
    First: baptism and teaching are not in the commission authoritatively co-equal. If it was so, then every sermon or Bible lesson taught in the church would need immediate and specific authority of the church. That is, every single sermon or lesson delivered in the church would require particular approval of the church, and at the very time of delivery.
    Second: all authority for preaching and teaching in this age has been given to the Lord's churches. But this authority is not as detailed or specific as the authority which regulates baptism. In every instance where baptism is to be performed, an approving vote of the church is necessary, but not so with preaching or teaching.
    Third: there is a broad distinction between the two terms "teach" and "teaching," as used in the commission (Matthew 28:19-20). The term "teach" as first used in the commission has to do with the discipling of "all nations." This discipling was to bring a person to Christ in the relationship of pupil to teacher, and this discipleship is in the main accomplished by individual witnessing, whose authority is inherent in their membership. This discipling enterprise is incomparably sublime, and is the first and primary work of the church. The whole inhabited earth is the "field" of baptistic evangelism, and in realizing this divinely assigned end, unofficial cooperation of the Lord's churches has no limit.
    The discipling chronology as delineated in the commission, is as follows - the church either directly or by the personal witness of its membership makes disciples or pupils of all who believe their testimony. The second step in the order is, those who have believed and desire membership in the church, are upon approval of the church, baptized and thereby added to the church. Then following through with the discipling of the baptized, even though they are yet "babes in Christ," the church begins to teach them "all things" of the commission. That is, "the whole counsel of God." When this outline is faithfully and wisely adhered to, the effect will be, the making of mature disciples, i.e. pupils, learners, and followers of Christ.
    In the discipling process stated above the only action necessitating a specific vote of the church is baptism. The first teaching is the common responsibility of the membership of the church. The second teaching phase is in great part done by the pastor. The vote of the church to call a pastor is a vote for him to teach the church, and he does not need the vote of the church every time he enters the pulpit. However, he does need the approving vote of the church every time he baptizes a person. Thus it is, officiality as respects teaching and baptism are not the same, but varies in application to church functions, and time or times of invoking it.
    Fourth: one thing is profoundly sure, and that is, New Testament churches have Scriptural precedents for inter-church preaching and fellowship. But the New Testament is void of precept and precedent authorizing inter-church or plural church baptism. Plural church authority in baptism is an innovation predicated upon human tradition. But let us remember antiquity of tradition or custom, being logically pleasing and expeditious, does not necessarily make it right. Too much (any measure is too much) of what some Baptists are preaching was received by vain conversation and tradition from Convention and Association fathers, and serves to deface the authority of the local church. God forbid!
    In Acts 15:1-12 is given the record of Paul and Barnabas preaching for churches other than their membership church, including the church at Jerusalem, but there is nothing said about them baptizing for any of these churches. Acts 9:31-32 tells of Peter going through all quarters of the country where churches were located, and no doubt preached for them, but no where is it said he baptized for the churches he visited. What has been said of Peter, Paul and Barnabas as relates to baptism, may also be said of Silas, Timothy, Titus, etc. They visited many churches, but never baptized for any of them.
    It does not usurp the authority of a church to have a visiting preacher speak for it, but when it comes to baptism, that is altogether different; for baptism is the official door into church membership, and the power to open and close the baptismal door belongs in its entirety to each church. There is no such thing as partial authority to baptize, which would be the case if two churches contributed authority in forming the sum and whole which is needed to baptize. The Lord's churches being made up of finite, fallible, and failing people, are bound to have short comings, but let them not admit of a weakness that does not exist; namely, inability to baptize.
    Luke 24:47-49 and Acts 1:8 is a reiteration of the preaching part of the commission, and there is nothing in these Scriptures which militates against preaching fellowship of the Lords churches. Nay, the contrary is strongly implied, for the carrying of the Gospel to all ends of the earth is a joint effort of all true churches, and nothing is more conducive in attaining that glorious result than being exhortatively preached to by the pastor of a beloved sister church.
    No where in all of Holy Writ is para-church authority exemplified, much less textually stated. In this present age all ecclesiastical authority has been placed in local New Testament churches, and nothing in this age shall ever supersede that authority. That authority, while localized and restricted in exercise to each body of Christ, is in its aggregate nature or quantity efficiently suited to the broad purpose given in the commission (Acts 1:8).
    Further proof could be adduced from Scripture nullifying the contention that teaching and baptism are authoritatively co-equal as given in the commission, but Baptists untrammeled by human tradition, bias, or fear of man, will no doubt see the error of this teaching, and not be confounded by it. And what the Holy Spirit has made obvious, needs not the reaffirmation of man.
Chapter Six
    Baptism is vitally important. Every believer or regenerate person is commanded to be baptized (Acts 10:48). Therefore, it is incumbent upon all who would be baptized to make absolutely sure they are baptized by the proper authority. Baptism is either of man or of God's appointed agency, which agency resides exclusively in the Lord's churches.
    "The ordinances of baptism and the Supper were not entrusted to the ministry to administer to whomsoever they deem qualified, but to the churches, to be observed by them - as they were delivered unto them -" (I Corinthians 11:2). (J. R. Graves - PILLARS OF ORTHODOXY  Page 217 - Published by B.M. Bogard).
    Brother J. M. C. Breaker and the venerated J. R. Graves are often poles apart on the doctrine of Landmarkism, and never more apparent than on the question of authority in baptism. Brother Breaker says: "The intimation is plain, that the practice of baptizing belonged exclusively to the ministry" (Page 249, ADMINISTRATOR OF BAPTISM). Note the word "exclusively" as used by Brother Breaker in the above quote, it is a strong term, and as used in the quote makes the authority of the ministry superior to that of the church. Brother Graves says; "To each local church is committed the sole administration and guardianship of the ordinances. This will not be questioned, save by a few who hold that baptism, at least was committed to the ministry as such; that they alone are responsible for its proper administration" (THE LORD'S SUPPER A CHURCH ORDINANCE, Page 11).
    Baptist perpetuity does not mean there has never been a day since John the Baptist wherein there was not a Baptist preacher (although I doubt there has been such a day), but that there has not been a day since Christ established His church in Jerusalem while on earth, wherein there has not been the same kind of a church somewhere in the earth. When Christ said, "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18), He plainly meant that His church would triumph against all the forces of evil which would assail it, and would be found faithful unto the end of the age. It is the perpetuity of the church which is divinely mandated, and this mandate includes baptism, for without baptism a church cannot come into being, nor exist indefinitely. But it is not so with the ministry, for many a church has been organized without even a prospect of a pastor, and churches may endure an extended hiatus without a pastor, but they cannot long survive without administering the ordinance of baptism.
    Let us pray that God will give all of His churches pastors, for a God given pastor greatly enhances the maturity of the church (Ephesians 4:11-12). But let us not deny nor negate the baptismal authority of a pastorless church, and thereby consign the already handicapped church to a slow, but sure death.
    Again I quote J. M. C. Breaker, whom Brother Cockrell contends is a staunch Landmarker, and whom he commends to readers of the B.B.B. Breaker says: "The law of baptism, thus far considered, and which we have seen requires the administrator to be the accredited agent of a gospel church, IS INTENDED TO APPLY WHERE SUCH A CHURCH IS TO BE FOUND, or where access can be had to such a church, and to such an administrator; BUT WE MAY SUPPOSE A CASE (as that of Roger Williams and his friends) where persons desire to receive the rite, and WHERE THERE IS NO QUALIFIED ADMINISTRATOR to perform it. CAN IT BE LAW FULLY ADMINISTERED UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES? I THINK IT CAN, and for the following reasons; John the Baptist was not baptized, and yet the rite was lawfully administered by him ... under certain circumstances, then, I THINK BAPTISM BY AN UNBAPTIZED AND UNACCREDITED PERSON WOULD BE VALID; that is,
    (1,) where there is no true church or minister;
    (2,) where it is impossible for the parties desiring it to obtain the services of a qualified administrator from abroad, or where there is no knowledge, on their part of such an administrator;
    (3,) where the intention of those receiving the rite is thereby to form themselves into a gospel church; and
    (4,) where the person thus administering the ordinance does so in good faith, and in practical submission to the teaching of Christ, that is, he must be one of the number forming the church, and as such must himself receive the rite in turn, which John the Baptist would have done, had not his peculiar mission, prevented" (ADMINISTRATOR OF BAPTISM, Pages 261-263 - Caps mine).
    Beloved Baptists, can we say the above statement by Brother Breaker is merely a "weak statement," and yet be honest with our churches, and what we have taught them concerning Landmarkism? Is Breaker's Landmarkism, your brand? Do you consider Breaker's statement quoted above to be of no serious nature, or do you consider it to be heresy? One of the best ways to teach is to ask questions which contain the answer or part of the answer. To ask the questions posed in this paragraph of an informed Landmarker is to imply the absence of ignorance in the matter on the part of the Landmarker. The questions are asked to further highlight the grievous error Brother Breaker glaringly propagates in the statement. Re-read the statement, and rejoice that God has delivered you from deep water protestantism.
    Brother Breaker says on page 245 of his article referred to above, "It is certain that the commission to baptize was addressed exclusively to the eleven." If so then, the commission to baptize was coterminous with the lives of the "eleven," and the Quakers are correct in contending baptism ceased with the death of the apostles. Or the Roman Catholic church is right in contending for apostolic succession. But it is not so, Baptists have never been faced with such an unreasonable dilemma, for the simple reason, the commission was not given "exclusively to the eleven," but to the whole church at Jerusalem. The commission was not given to the "eleven" as apostles whereby general authority was granted them to act independently of the church. The "eleven" at the time the commission was given were meeting in official church capacity, or they were official representatives of the church. Either way, the commission with its ordinance of baptism belongs to the local independent landmark church, and the importance of this truth cannot be overemphasized.
    Baptism is not a nose of wax, which can be modified to fit every circumstance. Baptism, as respects regeneration has no merit, but it is yet a high and lofty ordinance, and is crucial to holy living, or proper dedication unto God. So it is, we should give serious attention to the doctrine of baptism, and make sure our baptism is the "one baptism" which God honors.
    "The practical evil that is cropping out of the theory, in some quarters, to the great disturbance of the churches, is that ministers claiming to be officers of the kingdom are assuming control of baptism, and baptizing whom they please, whether in a Baptist Church as was the immersion of Dr. Weaver, of Louisville, Ky., by Prof. James P. Boyce, without consulting the church, - or fifty miles away. But the unscripturalness of this is evident from the fact that the ordinances, both, or all, were delivered to the churches and not to the ministry; and ministers, therefore, have no more authority to administer baptism, to whom they please, and where they please, than to administer the Supper to whom and where they please. It is presumptuous and unscriptural assumption of power that does not belong to them. Our churches should be admonished that "Eternal vigilance is the price of their safety," in this regard, as well as others" (J. R. Graves, PILLARS OF ORTHODOXY, Page 223 - Published By Ben M. Bogard).
    Graves says in referring to the three thousand who were baptized on the day of Pentecost, "There were more than twelve administrators, for it is written that in that upper chamber at Jerusalem there were "an hundred and twenty" present, and on the day of Pentecost "they were all with one accord and in one place" (Same Work as quoted from above, Page 191). It is plain to see, Brother Graves did not believe baptism was shut up to the ministry, and his position is amply supported by the scriptures and Baptist history.
    "There are a number of questions which may be asked in relation to the two ordinances, such as these:
    What is the proper method of observing baptism and the Lord's supper?
    Who is qualified to administer them?
    Who are fit subjects or recipients of them?
    And to whom does the responsibility for their proper observance or administration belong?
    These questions will be answered variously according to the different interpretations of the passages upon which the answers are based. Suffice it for us to say in general that these are church ordinances and are therefore not to be administered or observed in promiscuous assemblies, and according to the pattern furnished by the Lord Jesus Christ. The church is the custodian of the two ordinances, and is responsible for their administration" (ELEMENTAL THEOLOGY, By E. H. Bancroft - Page 243).
    "We believe that all Christian converts under regular process were baptized. But, it seems under Christ and the apostles, the underlings did the baptizing in the main. Christ did not baptize personally. The apostle Paul baptized only a few ... Peter commanded the household of Cornelius to be baptized, but did not do it himself. The Eunuch was baptized by Philip, one of the seven deacons on an Evangelistic tour. In the remainder of the instances of baptisms, it is not stated who did the baptizing. It seems to me, in view of the above facts, to confine the right to baptize to the bishops or elders and such as they may deputize, is a reversal of the apostolic order. Are not apostolic practices safe?" (CHRISTIAN BAPTISM, by W. O. Baker - Page 18 - 1893).
    As to Brother J. M. C. Breaker's article - Administrator of Baptism. It cannot with any degree of certainty be determined where he is coming from in his treatise, or to where he is going, but contradictions galore arise in the process. At one point and then another it appears as if he is pro-Landmarkism, and it is "full steam ahead," but then as you read on, there is discovered in his arguments a gaping hole like that in the side of the Titanic, and he proceeds to sink his own ship. He quotes Scripture, and then later on out argues them a hundred fold. In the over-all article Brother Breaker renders a grave disservice to Landmarkism and the Lord's churches, for the heaven given authority regulating baptism is left in utter disarray. The quotations taken from the article as given in this book should suffice in convincing the reader that Brother Breaker is not a dependable guide in the matter of baptism. Nevertheless, Brother Cockrell promotes the article, and says that his variances with Brother Breaker were not serious
    Baptism is an extremely serious matter, so much so that omniscience sent a vanguard in the person of John the Baptist to prepare by baptism the people whom Christ would later form His church from. The same absolute or unalterable prerequisites divinely fixed to safeguard John's baptism are in place today, only the authority has changed from John to the Lord's churches. The Lord's churches by undeviating adherence to the baptismal pattern given them by their Head through the Scriptures, have provided heaven with more martyrs than all else combined.
    Can Baptists of today, who have so great an history and heritage, say as Brother Breaker does without dangerously diminishing the importance of baptism; that Philip did not baptize the Eunuch into a church, but baptized him with the hope he would whenever the opportunity presented itself join a church? I THINK NOT! Or in circumstances like those faced by Roger Williams, who knowingly had an unbaptized man (Ezekiel Holliman) to administer immersion to him, and he in turn immersed Holliman and ten others? I THINK NOT! This is Breaker's kind of Landmarkism, but it is most certainly not Baptistic. It is the kind of practice which Brother Cockrell says, is of no "serious" consequence. (Ibid.). Baptism is important, for hinged on it is intimate fellowship with Christ, His church, brideship, and the coveted "well done" at the mercy seat of Christ.
    With all sincerity, generosity, concern for and a good feeling toward all, and antipathy toward none; this indictment is sent forth. I am aware of its many defects, nevertheless I submit it to all who will expend the laborious effort required to read it, and pray God to vouchsafe it His blessing. But also let me be emphatic in saying I know nothing in this treatise, especially that which relates to doctrine, that I desire to recall.
    I have tried to avoid being clumsy and rambling, and come to close grips with the subject matter, rather than do a long distance analysis. The doctrine of baptism, as far as so-called christendom is concerned is in chaotic blackness, and it is for this reason, Baptists need to make their position on the ordinance lucid and unquestionably distinct. This I have tried to do herein, and hope to have erased some of the obscurity from the ordinance.
    Some may consider this reply to be a volley of denunciation or redundant. I plead guilty to the charge, but it is a guilt of no ill to which I plead, for in the arsenal from which this volley was taken, there remaineth; as it seems, the whole. Redundance, yes. But it is sent forth with the hope of turning aside all who would mishandle the authority of the church, and thereby dilute its independence..
    To formulate this remonstrance I needed not to ask Brother Cockrell's permission, for he, assuming his arguments were insuperable, invited me to try and unravel them. But what he did not see in his conclusions was, near to all of them was clamoring for not only examination, but rejection. Thus it is, in caring for our souls we are to know "no man after the flesh." In light of this truth, I strongly urge every reader to carefully weigh all that is advocated in these pages. In a commercial flight from one city to another, a few do the thinking for the many (Pilots, Co-pilot, Engineer, etc.), and that is as it should be. But in our flight from the city of destruction to the celestial city, we cannot safely trust our spiritual welfare to the thinking of a few men or any number of men, no matter how deft they may seem to be in charting the course. "Do not err, my beloved brethren - everyone of us shall give an account of himself unto God" (James 1:16; Romans 14:12). One lesson Baptists learned a long time ago is, they who speak the loudest do not necessarily speak for the majority.
    The controversy under consideration has not to do with morals or integrity, but with the doctrine of baptism, And so it is, vilifying or defamation of character serves no purpose where arguments are not convincing. Truth needs not to resort to vicious invectives to make it acceptable, all it needs to make it both admirable and acceptable is to be presented fairly, and free from the dark clouds of sophistry. If arguments are to be rejected, the one and only valid basis for rejection is the infirmity of the arguments. Any other motive for rejection of said arguments, is but an effort to hide the real facts involved.
    My aim in sending forth this book is to be constructive rather than destructive. My desire is for unity among Baptists rather than division, and I am willing to allow all the latitude which can honestly be allowed to maintain or achieve this cherished unity. However, we must realize that aggressiveness for unity, is not per se aggressiveness for correctness in doctrine, and unity obtained at the expense of orthodoxy is unprofitably high priced.
    This book is not intended to be a declaration of non-fellowship with brethren or churches who may take variance with what it contends for. We are living in a day, it seems, when the least dissension is a bar to fellowship. But in fact, nothing should serve to break fellowship with a sister church which does not impeach her claims to be a New Testament Baptist church.
    Fellowship is not a verb, nor can it ever be a verb, for the simple reason; fellowship is something we have, and not something we do. True churches are sisters in the faith, not because they hold the same opinions about every minute detail of doctrine and practice, but because they have the same Father and Head, Jesus Christ. the Jerusalem church being older and wiser in the things of the Lord than the church at Corinth, made allowances for the infantile conduct of the Corinthian church; and the Corinthians were used of the Lord to aid in the relief of "the poor saints" at Jerusalem (Rom. 15:26; I Corinthians 16:1-3). Paul rebuked the Galatian churches, but in so doing he said, "I have confidence in you" (Galatians 5:10).
    Paul was dogmatic on all the Lord had revealed to him, and there was no price so great which could induce him to knowingly transgress the least commandment of His glorious redeemer. Paul knew how to deal with the Lord's churches and people without sanctioning their errors, and he stood ready to make every innocent concession necessary to the enhancement of the ministry to which the Lord had called him.
    Paul was willing to go along with Jewish traditions as long as they did not lead toward Sinai or the Mosaic law. He would go along with the Gentiles in their abstaining from meats sacrificed to idols, so as not to offend their weak consciences, Simply, Paul was willing to circumscribe his christian liberty in matters of no moral significance, where no doctrinal compromise was called for. He would do this so as to "save some" from being unnecessarily offended, and thereby "gain" them or preserve his opportunity to declare unto them "all the counsel of God".
    Paul would do anything this side of Scripture violation which would contribute to the furtherance of the Gospel, but he would not compromise doctrine nor christian principle to curry favor with any man, be he the great apostle Peter, or his beloved missionary companion Barnabas (Acts 15:36-39; Galatians 2:11-14).
    I believe it is good to have and hold unyielding inflexibility on what the Scriptures teach relative to doctrine and practice, and it may be an occasion would arise making a break in fellowship unavoidable (God forbid). But the evidence prompting such an action should be indisputable and overwhelming, so as to leave no doubt the action was correct and warranted.
    Pride is the mother of an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and the intolerance of such egotism will not allow for the least infraction of its preconceived opinions. The proud man says, Every person who expresses variance with what I hold to be truth, attacks me personally. When in fact, all the while, the blame does not rest with his brethren, but with his own stubbornness and cantankerousness.
    Baptist history proves they have known all along that Divine grace and human pride were antagonistically exclusive. The history of their humility and self abnegation is proven by their pacific demeanor or sedate life style. Surely, it is conceded some have been afflicted with churlishness and acrimony, but these have been rare exceptions to the rule, and in the main Baptists have come down to the present time with their dogmatism and humbleness unruffled. Someone may say, But that is paradoxical. Paradoxical, Yes. But thank God, Baptists have proven it to be true by their millions of yielding martyrs.
    While Baptists are neither arrogant or bigoted, they will not compromise that which has been revealed to them by the Spirit of truth. They will not surrender their convictions to sentiment or fear, and punctuate their preaching with apologetical words or gestures. Baptists take all pain so as not to be unnecessarily offensive, but they would rather a multitude be offended, than to give up any element of the Gospel which they have been called to defend. They know the pastor who bends to accommodate the errors of others, cannot make those people in his own congregation straight who are bent. But they are not unscrupulous, and will assiduously consider all viewpoints which run counter to their own. This courtesy they expect from their would-be gainsayers, but regretfully it goes wanting in the main.
    In climax, let me once again assert, we believe in "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5). Scriptural baptism consists of the following, no more or no less:
    First, a Scriptural subject - a Holy Spirit regenerated person.
    Second, the Scriptural mode  complete immersion of the believer in water.
    Third, the Scriptural motive - not the washing away of sins, but the answer of a good conscience toward God. Not baptized in order to be saved, but to show forth in symbol the salvation which has already been wrought in the heart by the grace of God.
    Fourth. the Scriptural authority, namely A New Testament Baptist church. Bible baptism requireth no more than these, and any additions to or deletions from these four prerequisites makes the baptism of the person highly suspect.
    I urge the reader to take all circumstances into account, and judge accordingly. Our Lord said: "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
    I will now close this Second Treatise on baptismal authority by quoting Elder LeRoy Pack - Pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church of Chesapeake, Ohio.
    "Who baptizes? The preacher doesn't baptize, the church baptizes. I don't know how you folks feel about it, but I feel very strongly about it. I wouldn't baptize any of you folks here into this church, for I am not a member of this church. The only way I would baptize you would be for our church to receive you, I would baptize you into our church, and then you could ask for and we would get you a letter down here. I wouldn't baptize anybody into this church, I don't have that authority, YOU CAN'T AUTHORIZE ME TO, for I am not a member of this church, you see. Not a member at all, it is none of my business, I am just preaching for you."
    (Taken from a sermon preached in the Sovereign Grace Baptist Church of Hazard, Ky. 11/28/ 1983. Used by permission of Brother Pack. Caps mine).

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