Thursday, September 20, 2007
A Baptist Not-So-Hypothetical
Imagine for a moment that you are a member of a certain church. This church contains many devout believers. Every member has suffered persecution for his faith. In fact, the entire congregation has had to flee its home country due to the dire peril that it has brought upon itself for its bold testimony of the truth. The congregation affirms the trustworthiness and accuracy of the Bible. The congregation is evangelistic. The congregational leadership has a bold vision for the group. But the congregation sprinkles infants. A member of the congregation arises and asserts that it is a sin—that it is Antichristian—to sprinkle infants. He asserts that it is a sin to remain a part of any church that does so. He starts to convince others that his is the biblical position. He promises to leave the church if it does not concur with his views. And then he does leave, taking a group with him. Remember, you are supposed to be imagining that you are a member of this very church. Some agree with this man that infant baptism is a sin and they follow him out. Others do not believe that infant baptism is a sin, or even if it is, they do not believe that it is a serious enough matter to split the church, so they stay behind and sail off to America in the Mayflower. What will you do? Do you agree with this man? Do you think him right enough to follow him out of fellowship with the other congregants and into his new group? Who is the man? He's John Smythe. A few years later, he's Roger Williams. And if you are a member of a Baptist church, you have followed him out into this church split. Did you make the right decision? And what implications does your answer have for your actions?