Rev. Ron Hale
Senior Adult Pastor
West Jackson Baptist Church
[Editor’s Note: This essay is the reprint of an article from 2013 tracing the significant role Anabaptist martyrs played in restoring biblical believer’s baptism during the 16th Century. We are indebted to these heroes for their recovery of sound baptism doctrine.]
In his renowned work on 16th Century Anabaptists, Dr. William R. Estep says, “If the most obvious demarcation between the Reformers and the Roman Catholics was biblical authority, that between the Reformers and the Anabaptists was believer’s baptism. Believer’s baptism was for the Anabaptists the logical implementation of the Reformation principle of sola Scriptura.” Believers’ baptism, by its very nature, eliminates any possibility of infant baptism. “If you can show me a single instance of infant baptism in the Bible, I am defeated,” was the repeated challenge by one Anabaptist leader whom I will mention in a moment.
Southern Baptists need to understand the theological tributaries that have pointed us to deep pools and simple truths through the years. As Baptists, we were dunked down under. We were not sprinkled or poured upon. “A little dab’ll do ya” was not the sentiment of the Baptist pastor that laid me back into a watery grave (Rom. 6:4) and raised me up to walk in newness of life at the age of 23. I went under, realizing that Jesus had already forgiven me of my sins through the shedding of His blood and the water baptism was my first step of obedience in following Him.
Overseas baptisms for 2015 dropped to 54,762 from the 190,957 reported for 2014, according to information submitted by the International Mission Board in response to a request by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. Likewise, the number of new churches fell from 13,824 to 3,842 over the same one-year period. Continue reading
Trail of Blood?
Baptists debate when exactly the Baptist faith came into being. Some argue that there have always been “true” believers in the faith of the New Testament who never became organizationally linked to the Roman Catholic Church. A little pamphlet called The Trail of Blood sketched out how these groups—identified primarily by their rejection of infant baptism—maintained their separation down through the centuries, often in hiding, at other times enduring persecution. The historical accuracy of this viewpoint is challenged by the fact that some of the groups cited as “baptistic” by the pamphlet were, in fact, far from orthodox (sometimes way far from orthodox!). Still, there is no question that there were often dissenters against prevailing views. Continue reading