Thursday, May 07, 2015

A little bit of context on William Carey's famous rope quote

The following paragraphs are taken from J.T. Christian's A History of Baptists Vol. 1, Chapter 10, "The Achievements of the English Baptists," pp. 352-353. Both volumes of Christian's work are an excellent treatment of Baptist history. BTW, the bold fonts and underlines are placed there by me for emphasis.

"At a meeting held in Kettering, October 2, 1792, the Baptist Missionary Society was formed, and the first collection for its treasury amounting to £18 2s 6d, was taken up. Mr. Fuller was appointed the first Secretary, and while others nobly aided, Andrew Fuller was substantially the Society till he reached the realms of glory. Speaking of the mission to India, he says:
Our undertaking to India really appeared to me, on its commencement, to be somewhat like a few men, who were deliberating about the importance of penetrating into a deep mine, which had never before been explored. We had no one to guide us, and while we were deliberating, Carey, as it were, said, "Well, I will go down if you will hold the rope." But before he went down he, as it seemed to me, took no oath from each of us at the mouth of the pit, to this effect, that while "we lived, we should never let go the rope" (Ivimey, History of the English Baptists, IV. p. 529)."

1. William Carey was a great Baptist Missionary.

2. William Carey did not literally say anything about any rope.

3. Andrew Fuller was a great Baptist Theologian/Baptist Missionary Society Secretary.

4. Andrew Fuller was using an illustration to make a point.

5. If any one's name should be attributed to the "rope quote" it should be Andrew Fuller.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Highlighting Hubmaier's 18 Dissertations

Eighteen Dissertations concerning the entire Christian life and of what it consists. Propositions upheld at Waldshut by Dr. Balthasar Friedberger*, and Others. (1524):

1. Faith alone makes us pious before God.

2. This belief is recognition of the mercy of God, since He hath redeemed us by the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son, and this excludes all nominal Christians who have only an historical belief in God.

3. Such a faith must not be idle, but must reach up toward God in thankfulness, and toward men in all good works of brotherly love. And all works of penance must be abandoned, such as the burning of candles, the use of palms and holy water.

4. All works are good which God has commanded us. And all acts which He has forbidden are evil. In this case belong such things as eating of fish on fast days, abstention from meat, the wearing of cowls.

5. The Mass is not a sacrifice but a memorial of the death of Christ. Therefore it may not be offered, either for the quick [or alive]or for the dead. Thus must perish the counsels of those souls that practice cunning and deceit.

6. As often as such a memorial is celebrated, shall the death of our Lord be preached, as each one of us finds in his heart and on his tongue. this excludes all silent Masses.

7. Images and pictures are of no value. Therefore you should trust no longer in wood and stone, but in the living and suffering God.

8. Since every Christian believes for himself and is baptized for himself, everyone must see and judge by the Scriptures whether he is being properly nourished by his pastor.

9. Since Christ alone has died for our sins and in His name we have all been baptized, therefore He must be for us the only intercessor and mediator. Here perish all pilgrimages.

10. It is far better to read one verse of a Psalm in the speech of one's own land, which can be understood, than to sing five entire songs in a forgeign tongue, which cannot be understood by the church. Here perish Matins, Prime, Tercets, Vespers, Complines, and Vigils.

11. All teachings that are not God are in vain and shall be rooted up. Here perish the disciples of Aristotle, as well as the Thomist, the Scotists, Bonaventure and Occam, and all teaching that does not proceed from God's Word.

12. The time will come - and now is- when no will be deemed a true priest save the man who preaches the Word of God. This disposes of Masses, votive offerings, reliquaries, and masses for others.

13. It is the duty of members of the church to support with suitable food and clothing, and to protect countries,pensions,religious corporations, absentee priests, deceivers, and the tellers of vain dreams.

14. Let him who dreads purgatory and him whose God is his belly seek the grave of Moses, which it will be long ere he finds.

15. That priests and others might hide the sins of their flesh was the reason why Barabas [sic] was set free and Christ was slain.

16. To command virtue in reliance upon human strength, is nothing else than to command one to fly without wings.

17. He who misrepresents the Word of God for temporal gain, or conceals it, sells the grace of God, like red Esau for a mess of pottage and Christ will deny him.

18. He who does not seek, in the sweat of his brow, to earn his bread, is accured, unworthy of the food that he eats. Here are cursed all idlers, be they who they may.


*Balthasar Hubmaier - A.K.A. Friedberger, commemorating his native town of Friedberg.

(Taken from:"Baptist Confessions of Faith" by Wiliam L. Lumpkin, Valley Forge: Judson Press. Revised edition - 1969).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Believer's Baptism (1 Peter 3:21)

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 3:21)

Baptism is a testimony or an outward expression or sign or as in this passage, “the answer” of that “good conscience toward God.”  A candidate for baptism is examined and asked concerning his spiritual condition, to which he should be able to claim a true and living relationship with God by faith in Christ alone, a repentance of sin, and attest to the genuine regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in his heart, prior to baptism.  Once again, in the Bible, a person is saved before they participate in the ordinance of baptism. 
“The like figure” refer to the waters of baptism and the waters of Noah’s flood.  Water was instrumental in delivering Noah and his family from God’s judgment.  Noah was already saved prior to entering the ark.  His faith moved him to build the ark.  But he and his family could only be delivered from the great flood, if they would enter into the ark.  A Christian is first, saved by faith alone.  Before he enters the baptismal waters, he already has been saved by the glorious cross-work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Christian’s baptism delivers him from God’s judgment (not in the salvific sense) but in a physical sense (similar to Noah).  In Peter’s day, Christians were persecuted for their faith in Christ.  It wasn’t easy to take a public stand (Baptism).  No doubt there were Christians who internally had true saving faith, but not wanting to declare publicly their faith in Christ hence, a conflict of conscience arises. Besides, God chastises every child he receives (Heb. 12:6) and so if a Christian knows he is supposed to be baptized, but doesn’t, he will have to endure God’s chastening hand.  In Baptism, the Christian is taking a public stand for Christ, and is in effect saying, “I am in Christ, and because of that I am no longer a part of this anti-God world system.”  His baptism is a witness to God's deliverance.
The onus of this passage is on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  Whatever we may believe about Baptism, or anything else, our entire system of religion is vain had it not been for the resurrection of the Lord.  Our hope is founded upon the fact that Christ is risen, and that same resurrection power is what grants unto us eternal life (Eph. 1:15-23) and not any external religious act.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Believer's Baptism (Acts 2:38)

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38)

     Repentance is the main concern and basis for baptism, the remission of sins, and the reception of the gift of the Holy Ghost.  The basis for baptism has consistently been, in Luke's writings and throughout the Scriptures, repentance (Luke 3:3; Matthew 3:8; and Mark 1:4).  Baptism presupposes that the candidate has already repented of sin, and trusted in the person and work of the Lord Jesus. Luke has a special emphasis throughout his treatises (Luke and Acts) about the relationship between repentance and the forgiveness or remission of sins (read Luke 3:3; 24:47; Acts 3:19; & 8:32).  The basis for the remission of sins isn't in the Baptism, but in the evangelical truths which are expressed in Baptism (the excellent and salvific work of the Lord Jesus Christ, that is His death, burial and resurrection) to which the candidate must have necessarily embraced prior to Baptism.  The preposition "for" should not be read as "in order to" rather it should be understood as "because of or on the basis of."  In other words, those who have repented are called upon to identify themselves with Christ and His people through Baptism, and this because their sins have been forgiven.  The gift of the Holy Ghost refers to both the person and various graces which accompany His divine indwelling presence.  No one in Acts has ever received the gift of the Holy Ghost who neglected repentance, but we do have an example of some who in fact received the gift of the Holy Ghost without Baptism (see Acts 10:44-48; 11:12-16).

Friday, October 07, 2011

Believer's Baptism (Mark 16:16)

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

The saving element is determined clearly by the context of both the immediate passage and the larger context (16:9-20) which is "believing" (as opposed to believing not).  The condemnation rests solely on those who believe not because their unbelief precludes baptism (which is the confession or profession of one's faith).  Baptism in this passage is important not in the saving, but in the signifying of belief.  The relationship between believing and baptism is so close, that it really should be thought of as an anomaly for one to claim faith in the Lord but decline baptism.  However, salvation doesn't rest on believing and being baptized, for which we have Simon's account in Acts 8:13-24 to prove this point, but rather salvation rests only in believing, and believing is externally signified by baptism.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Believer's Baptism (Galatians 3:27-28)

[v.27] For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ[v.28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:27-28)

A.  Baptism not only publicly identifies us with the Lord Jesus, but it also provides a clear and    distinct mark of initiating a Christian lifestyle.  We see this in the phrase “put on Christ.”  The idea is that in Baptism we are outwardly “taking off” the old, worn-out, and filthy garments of the previous life without Christ, which is indeed a life not worth living.  When a believer is baptized (i.e.  Scripturally baptized by immersion, upon the profession of faith in Christ, under the authority of the church) he is putting on Christ, which means he is assuming new habits, new attitudes, and a new behavior that is in obedience to Christ.

B.  Baptism is an outward badge of unity among the church.  Although baptism, in our day and    age, is not looked upon as an essential or fundamental doctrine within Evangelicalism and historic Fundamentalism, we can see that baptism is in fact an essential doctrine for unity within a church, and a basis for ministry work according to the passage above and others as well including 1 Cor. 12:13, and Eph. 4:5.  The point is, baptism matters.  Soteriology is not an end-all doctrine.  While Baptism doesn’t forgive sin, nor can it regenerate a man, it should be viewed as a corollary to a believer’s profession of faith in Christ.  Baptism is an outward sign of the inward grace of Salvation.  In the New Testament, Christians never endeavored to do ministry work without first submitting themselves to baptism (see Acts 2:41; 8:12; 9:17-20; 16:30-33; 18:8).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Believer's Baptism (Romans 6:1-4)

(v.1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (v.2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  (v.3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (v.4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4)

Baptism is identification with Christ, a profession of Christ, an obligation towards Christ.  Baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  Basically, it is through the work of Christ that we are saved – thus no man is justified by observing an ordinance.  In fact, we aren’t even saved because of our very own profession, rather, we are saved because the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for us and rose from the grave triumphant over sin, death, Hell, the world, flesh and Satan.  In essence, we are saved because of His work.  We are simply recipients of His mercy and righteousness.

Our baptism identifies us with both the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  Ironically, our baptism is really about Him, and not about us.  Our baptism is a profession in that it proclaims to the world that we are His followers.  Baptism is also an obligation to live for Christ.  Because He gave us new life, we walk in newness of life. 

When believers are baptized, it should remind us of our Lord.  The act of immersion signifies that He died and rose for us.  And so, in baptism, when the believer is placed into the water, it represents The Lord’s death, and it also represents the believer’s death to the old way of life.  The same holds true for the resurrection.  When the believer is brought up from under the water, this represents the resurrection of the Lord, and the resurrection of the believer to walk in newness of life.

When believers are baptized, it should also remind us of our baptism – that we ourselves are in fact baptized.  That we too have pledged our allegiance to Christ, we are His followers and that we desire His will for our lives, not ours.  We must live for Him, and we do.  Believer's Baptism helps to remind us of this truth.