The Influence of Baptists
T.J. Lambert, Th. D
The posting of this article is dedicated to the memory of Brother T.J. Lambert who has gone on to be with the Lord.
This article originally appeared in the May 1999 edition of the “West Florida Baptist News” (a publication of the West Florida Baptist Institute). Used with permission.
There has been “no reformation,” just the influence of Baptists as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” Salt preserves and brings out the best. Light dispels darkness.
Matthew 5:13-14 states, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
Catholics would like everyone to believe that they are the oldest and original church. That is not true because Baptists are the oldest and original church. Protestant means “to protest” and is used to describe those who came out of the Catholic church. However, Baptists were never in the Catholic church. In fact, a delegation of Baptists convinced the U.S. Congress that they were not Protestants. Therefore, the military dog tags of this writer has stamped on them “Baptist” and not “Protestant.”
Matthew 28:19-20 states, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Jesus gave “The Great Commission” to His church and taught that it would exist until “the end of the world,” which would not be true if it went out of existence and men had to start another church as some teach!
Matthew 16:18 states, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Furthermore, Jesus promised that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” which would not be true if it went out of existence!
1 Corinthians 3:11 states, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” The “foundation” of the church is “Jesus Christ” and not Peter as the Roman Catholics teach.
The Baptist church is the oldest and original church that Jesus established. “The Baptist Way-Book” by Ben M. Bogard traces the Baptist churches in America back to the church that Jesus built (pages 37-42). Cardinal Hosius (Catholic, 1524), President of the Council of Trent stated:
“Were it not that the Baptists have been grievously tormented and cut off with the knife during the past twelve hundred years, they would swarm in greater number than all the Reformers” (Hosius, Letters, Abud Opera, pages 112, 113). See “The Trail of Blood” by J.M. Carroll (page 3).
During the 324 years before the 1200 years that Cardinal Hosius referred to, there were nothing but Baptists, not even Catholics. Baptists were often called “Ana-baptists (re-baptizer)” by their enemies because they would not accept sprinkling for baptism, sprinkling of infants and the sick, etc. Baptists baptized or dipped only those who had accepted Christ as their Savior.
During The Dark Ages, a period of about 1200 years, it appeared that everything that was good, pure, and the truth would disappear from the face of the earth in both the secular and religious. However, the Lord's churches preserved the good, the pure, and the truth in all areas of life.
There has been no “Reformation!” Martin Luther set out “to reform” the Catholic church, but was unable to do so. Instead he started The Lutheran Church. However, he got his ideas that “all should be allowed to sing in church” and that all should read the Bible, etc. from the Baptists. See “A Hymn is Born” by Clint Bonner (pages 3-4). “Christian Hymnody” by Edmon D. Keith (pages 39-44). “The Trail of Blood” by J.M. Carroll (pages 29-30).
John Wesley came to America as a missionary for The Episcopal Church (or The Church of England). However, while traveling to America aboard a wooden sailing ship, there was a terrible storm. During the storm there was a group of Moravians (Baptists from a place in Germany called Moravia). They did not worry about the storm, but they all sang and read their Bibles. The Catholic and Episcopal churches would not allow anyone to sing in their church except those trained in music. They also forbid anyone to read their Bibles except the trained priest of the church.
When John Wesley got to Savannah, Georgia, he began to preach Baptist doctrine and was therefore recalled back to England for doing so. History reveals that Wesley again came in contact with Moravians in England and “experience a spiritual revival.” He tried to reform the church of England but failed. His followers started The Methodist Church. That is the reason the old time Methodist were in many ways like the Baptists. See “Christian Hymnody” by Edmond D. Keith (pages 80-84). “The Trail of Blood” by J.M. Carroll (pages 31-32, 37).
Alexander Campbell was originally a Presbyterian. However, he and his church became Baptists by baptism in 1811. “In 1813 their independent church united with the Red Stone Baptist Association. Ten years later, because of controversy they left that association and joined another...” They finally organized The Church of Christ. They got rid of “the baptism or sprinkling of infants.” However, it appears that they were never able to get ride of their “baptismal regeneration idea.” See “The Trail of Blood” by J.M. Carroll (page 40).
John Bunyan was one of the most celebrated men in English history and even in world history. He was a Baptist preacher and wrote “Pilgrim's Progress” while he was in prison for 11 years for preaching the gospel. It is the “most widely celebrated and most widely circulated book, next to the Bible, in the whole world.” See “The Trail of Blood” by J.M. Carroll (page 40).
One of the most thrilling stories in Christian history is the story of the Welch Baptists. The Baptists of the United States owe far more to the Welch Baptists than most of us realized. Some whole Baptist churches, fully organized, have migrated in a body from Wales to the United States (Orchard pages 21-23; Ford chapter 2).
The Baptist Church of Wales began when Paul preached the gospel to Claudia and Pudens in 63 A.D. while they were visiting Rome (Acts 28:30-31; II Timothy 4:21). They and others, along with two preachers, carried the gospel to England, especially Wales. American Baptists owe much to the Welch Baptists. See “The Trail of Blood” by J.M. Carroll (pages 40-41).
Baptists were severely persecuted in the different American colonies. They were taxed excessively and publicly whipped for preaching the gospel by other denominations. However, when congress considered whether or not America would have a State Church, the Baptists were almost made a state church against their will. Pratrick Henry arose and offered a substitute bill for them all, that four churches (or denominations) instead of one be established:
- The Church of England, or Episcopal
The Baptists continued to fight against it all; that any combination of Church and State was against their fundamental principles, and that they would not accept it even if voted. Henry pleaded with them, said he was trying to help them, and that they could not live without it, but they protested. The vote was taken, and it carried nearly unanimously, but the measure had to be voted on three times. The Baptists, led by Madison and possibly others, continued to fight. The second vote came. It also carried almost unanimously, swept by Henry's masterful eloquence. However, the third vote had yet to be taken. Now God seemingly intervened. Henry was made Governor of Virginia and left Congress. When the third vote came, deprived of Henry's irresistible eloquence, the vote was lost. If it had not been for the Baptists, America would have a State Church. America would probably also have the religious persecution of other churches that has always accompanied having a State Church. See “The Trail of Blood” by J.M. Carroll (pages 41-49).
All man made denominations are built on false beliefs, which are contrary to the Scriptures. They all teach that the true church went out of existence, and that God gave them a special command, vision, or book (such as “The Book of Mormon”) to start a new church.
Matthew 16:18 states, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” They teach that “the gates of hell” did prevail against the church, and that in fact it went out of existence.
If a Christian will read such books as “A Hymn Is Born” by Clint Bonner and “Christian Hymnody” by Edmon D. Keith, they will be surprised how many of the great hymns were written by Baptists and Baptist ministers.
For instance, our national hymn “My Country, Tis of Thee” was written by Samuel Francis Smith. He was a 24 year old Baptist minister attending seminary when he wrote the song.
James Madison, a Baptist, who is considered the chief architect of the Constitution, declared that the future of American civilization is not staked on the power of government but on sustaining ourselves according to the Ten Commandments.
George Washington, a Baptist, in his 1796 farewell address, insisted that religion and morality must be the “two pillars” of our government.
Patrick Henry once said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
- “A Hymn is Born” by Clint Bonner
- “The Baptist Way-Book” by Ben M. Bogard
- “Christian Hymnody” by Edmon D. Keith
- “The Trail of Blood” by J.M. Carroll