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By Curtis Pugh

Down through the years there have been Baptists of all sorts.

There have been Seventh Day Baptists, foot-washing Baptists, Baptists that believed in open communion, Baptists that believed in close or denominational communion, Baptists that believed in closed communion, Baptists like Bunyan that allowed their children to be sprinkled, free-will Baptists, Regular Baptists and Old Regular Baptists: even some called Old Two Seed In the Spirit Predestinarian Baptists, etc., etc. But I cannot find any place in Baptist history where any Baptist writer advocated that properly excluded members of a Baptist church could form themselves into a Heaven-recognized church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Can anyone show such a thing?

Regarding the “Great Commission,” can anyone show where a sound expositor ever wrote that Jesus did not authorize His church, but rather authorized baptism giving baptism the authority to do the three-fold work of the commission? Of course not. That is the height of ridiculousness even to state such a thing. But those who advocate the self-constitution theory (spontaneous combustion theory) of church organization say that the authority is in the baptism. When a person is baptized they get all the authority they need to do whatever they want to do regarding church membership, dismissing themselves from a church and forming themselves into a new church. Whoever read of such a thing before this present century?

Where in Baptist history do we find members of Baptist churches dismissing themselves in order to escape church discipline or for any other reason and being recognized by other Baptists as doing right? And yet that is a cardinal doctrine of those advocating the spontaneous combustion theory of church origins.

So what started out as “preacher authority” has now become “baptism authority.” Is this progression not downward? Do not such views promote and indeed produce anarchy rather than good order?

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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