Baptists stand for the necessity of conscious, personal and evangelical conversion as a prerequisite to baptism. The ordinance adds the saint to the membership of a local, visible assembly separated from a universal or catholic church or church-state. The Baptist restriction of immersion in the Reformation era to already justified believers accorded with the necessity of a Biblical mandate for elements of worship, but was in radical contrast to the baptismal theologies of Catholicism and all wings of the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic and Protestant movements that put Baptists to death, and the Baptists who declared that their opponents’ acceptance of infant baptism was an abomination, indeed, a chief abomination, were far more in accordance with the reality of the divergence of their soteriological doctrines than are the opinions of the many moderns in this soft, ecumenical age in Christendom who minimalize baptismal differences. Modern Baptists who affirm that the Reformers were set for the defense of the gospel are greatly in error. Without sacrificing the heart of their Biblical soteriology to affirm that baptismal and sacramental salvation and a rejection of the necessity of personal, conscious faith in Christ for justification are non-issues, Baptists must believe that the soteriology of all of the mainline Reformers is damnable heresy.[i] Furthermore, when Baptists read, or promulgate through their church bookstores and Christian schools, fundamental or evangelical books that glamorize the Reformers as great heroes of the faith, they must warn their flocks that these men are false teachers and their denominations are founded on a false gospel—or refuse to use such literature at all. Baptist soulwinners should also be well acquainted with the Reformation baptismal heresies, because modern conservative Protestants are likely to hold the same views as their denominational founders, and an overly cursory inquiry into a Protestant prospect’s personal state will likely lead soulwinners to erroneously conclude that their prospects are already regenerate. One who holds to a traditional Lutheran or Reformed soteriology of baptismal salvation will heartily affirm a belief in justification by faith alone if asked solely this question. Baptist involvement in interdenominational ministrial or educational activity with those who hold to infant baptism as a “secondary” or “non-separating” issue also demonstrates a wild lack of discernment; the main body of “brothers in Christ” in the Protestant denominations hold to a sacramental salvation. Finally, any truly regenerate persons in Protestant denominations, who of necessity reject sacramental salvation as inconsistent with the Biblical terms of the gospel they have received, should leave their false religions at once and be immersed into the membership of a Bible-believing Baptist church. The gospel that saved their souls is rejected in their confessional documents. Saints associated with the Romish whore (Revelation 17:1ff.) or her Protestant daughter churches (17:5)[ii] should take heed to the inspired command: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
[i] This is established by their doctrine of baptism alone. The mainline Reformers also held many other heresies.
[ii] See “Can You Identify This Woman And Her Daughters?” Appendix III of Three Witnesses for the Baptists, Curtis A. Pugh (Bloomfield, New Mexico: The Historic Baptist, n. d.); electronically available at http://users.aol.com/libcfl/witness1.htm.