Baptists baptize. Such a self-evident statement might be considered incontestable if not for the curious trend described in this essay. If you will pardon the expression, Southern Baptists are watering down our doctrine of baptism. Today, a number of Southern Baptist Churches are accepting Christians into full membership who have never been scripturally baptized by the mode of immersion. In doing so, they are creating a class of sprinkled Southern Baptists—a development presenting us all with a host of denominationally defining implications.
I’m sure the first association did not envision a large bureaucracy that many denominations have today. The fact that churches have increased of course have necessitated larger organizations to handle missions and working in a more efficient way. The simple roots of the Philadelphia association must be remembered by all however to see how far God has brought Baptists and what it was that made our churches strong and stable in the beginning of the movement here in America.
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Hell is one of the most horrifying concepts in the Bible. For most of the 20th century there was little question among the people in the pews as to what the Bible taught on this tough subject. You don’t want to go to hell, because you don’t want to experience everlasting fire. Oh, by the way, there’s brimstone too.