Archive | August 2013

Head Coverings for Worship


Sooner or later most Baptist churches will face the issue of head coverings on women. This teaching supposedly comes from 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 where the Apostle Paul is using the examples of Creation and natural order to guide believers in the truth of headship or authority. Ultimately, this text reveals that length of hair is an issue regarding headship and the natural order of things in God’s Creation.
It seems that many pastors ignore the subject of a woman “covering” her head because it is considered to be a controversial issue, or perhaps the pastor just does not understand the text himself. This then becomes a lose-lose situation for the pastor because he will be somewhat handcuffed when it comes to teaching on the subject of head coverings. If he is FOR them, he will offend those that see the woman’s hair as being given as her covering (verse 15), but if he is AGAINST them he will offend those that believe the “covering” is an additional garment. Many times pastors avoid the subject entirely because of this.
The bigger issue still is when the pastor takes an, “It’s up to the individual’s conscience,” position. Why? Because the head covering, when worn at church, now becomes sort of a gauntlet that is thrown down and lines begin to divide among the members. The members will usually run to the Old Testament law to search for the teachings on a woman’s head being covered for public worship, but will find no such teaching in Scripture. Those with garment coverings are usually labeled, “Pharisee,” by those without garment coverings and those without the garment covering will be seen as licentious by those wearing an outer covering. Is this the picture of the unity that is supposed to be the mark of love and fidelity in a church? I think not. If we are not in unity, doesn’t this negatively affect the Lord’s Table, the most solemn and important observance of a local Baptist church?
My motive behind this work is to see God’s people grow in the Word of God. I pray this little pamphlet will be a blessing to every reader as the Bible is exclusively used to teach the truth. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

How Can We REALLY Know What the Covering is?
As Baptists, our ONLY authority is the Bible, the Word of the living God to all of mankind! Knowing that, “…no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation,” (2 Peter 1:20), we look to the Bible, in the common vernacular, to interpret itself and to provide clear teaching.
We do not run to the Greek translations. “Scholars” with their lexicons will observe that the word “covering” in verse 15 is a different word than the other word used for “covering” in the other verses of the text. Instead of taking God at His Word, they seem to seek a loophole to support their own position. Scripture is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17), not Greek lexicons! These two Greek words, however, are simply synonyms: “one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses.” – The English language uses synonyms all the time. Faith and Believe and also Repent and Turn are just a couple of examples of interchangeable words from the Bible.
I think it is interesting that many pastors and Bible teachers run straight to the Greek, but couldn’t even quote John 3:16 or order a meal in that language!
We do not appeal to the older English versions. Psalm 12:6 says, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” According to this promise, our King James Bible has been purified seven times (this leads us to a separate study)! Why would I seek that which has been purified three times, or five times when I can use that which has been purified seven times?!
History is valuable, but still it is not our Authority. Many of the Mennonites preach that head coverings were a cross-denominational practice, that EVERY denomination’s women wore them to worship. They teach that this practice changed in the early 20th Century as compromise set-in. So, I went to the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online and found some interesting quotes. Here are some of the quotes concerning head coverings from these Mennonites themselves:
“Utilizing Richard Detweiler’s Princeton study (1966), Kraybill (1987) summarizes Mennonite history of woman’s veiling as: 1525-1865: symptom stage, with no distinctive religious significance given to women’s headcoverings; 1866-1910: stabilized sign, with preachers appealing to 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; 1910-1950: veiling frozen as bonafide religious symbol; 1950-present: disintegrating legitimacy of the veiling as a religious symbol.”
Also, we’ve all heard the old axiom: “He who wins the wars writes the history books.” Most of the “church history” available to us today has been written by Catholics and Protestants which through the ages were responsible for over 50 million faithful martyrs over their doctrinal beliefs. They tortured and murdered those of a purely Biblical faith also known today as the Baptist people along with their writings. No Thanks, I’ll just stick with the old Book!
Appealing to “Tradition” usually leads us away from the Truth as well. Jewish traditions seem to contradict our text. The man is to have his head uncovered according to 1 Corinthians 11:4, but the High Priest and others constantly wore some type of hat or turban when worshiping.
The Old Testament Law is silent on the subject of women wearing head coverings. Though we are free from the Law and under the blood of Christ, we still can look to the moral law for guidance. The moral law is that which expresses God’s character and does not change such as His attitude concerning marriage, sin, sodomy, etc. God does not instruct us concerning the issue of external garment coverings for a woman’s hair anywhere in the Bible. I believe there are no teachings concerning garment head coverings in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 either.
Commentaries may be useful, but are not our authority. Most of the commentaries that are used by Baptists are written from a Protestant viewpoint. They are guided by their Reformed platform and bring to us non-truths such as Universal Church theory, Spirit Baptism theory, Open Communion heresy, and are Ecumenical in their writings. Simply put, these cannot be trusted concerning church doctrine or polity.
The Lord did not write the Scriptures to confuse us. The answer is right before us if we’ll just look to Him and His Word instead of running to these other sources! So then, we can definitely know what the Apostle Paul means by the word, “covering!”
A Biblical Approach
We now turn to the text. 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 says,
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. 13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”

In order for us to keep this a short work, we must approach this text in what I believe to be its three natural and simplest divisions:
1. An Introduction
2. Paul Addresses Men
3. Paul Addresses Women
1. An Introduction – Verses 1-5
1 Corinthians 11:1-2 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
The Mennonites and some others believe that an external hair covering for women is an ordinance. They differentiate between the “gospel” ordinances and the “apostolic” ordinances. According to them, the “gospel” ordinances are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper while the “apostolic” ordinances are Head Coverings, Foot-washing, Greeting one another with a Holy Kiss, Anointing with Oil and Marriage.
Baptists, as the executors of the Kingdom of Christ, believe that the Lord Jesus only issued two ordinances and that these two, which are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, were given to His church during His earthly ministry. In other words these are “church” ordinances, not “gospel” ordinances which, by definition, will lead to ecumenical practices. Also, any one of these supposed “apostolic” ordinances can be practiced anywhere and are not limited to the local church in their scope as the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and thereby do not qualify as ordinances.
Three Additional Truths Concerning Ordinances:
1. The ordinances apply to EVERY member of the body (local church).
Galatians 3:28 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.
For a saved person to become a member of the church, they must be baptized. This applies to all who would desire to join a local Baptist assembly. When it comes to the Lord’s Supper, it is the goal of every member to be at the table as one unified body.
The so-called ordinance of garment head coverings for women only applies to the female members of the congregation. This therefore cannot be an ordinance!
2. The ordinances are Descriptive.
In Baptism, we see the mode, the authority, the means, etc. In the Lord’s Supper we are given the elements, motivations and such.
When it comes to garment head coverings for women, we have absolutely no biblical guidance. We have not been given the size, shape or material for these “coverings.” Obviously this is so obscure because this is not an ordinance!
Even worse, I believe, is that we as Baptists have to consult a cult (any works-salvationists such as the Mennonites, Amish, etc.) to learn how these head coverings are made and worn. Garment head coverings for women are definitely not an ordinance.
3. The ordinances have a Definite Order.
After salvation a person is Baptized into the church and now has access to the Lord’s table. It is the definite order of biblical church polity.
When should a woman start to wear her garment head covering? Is it from her youth? At her salvation? After her baptism? Should she wear it at all times, or just for worship? We are not told because this practice is not an ordinance!
1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Simply put, Paul is reminding us that there is an order of things in the universe.
Christ is the head of all men and men are to contextually be the head of women. This is not necessarily an order of importance or ability because, as we’ve already seen in Galatians 3:28, ALL have equal ground with the Lord in worship and redemption.
In the marriage (Ephesians 5) and at the local church (1 Corinthians 14; 1 Timothy 2:11; 1 Peter 3:1), there is an order which the Lord demands in order to keep all things done decently (1 Corinthians 14:40) and without confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). This is the subject of another study, but also we will see that the Lord is teaching us here that the way we wear our hair is a sign of our willingness to worship, or to rebel, or are perhaps ignorant concerning these things. Verses 7-12 of our text are used to support the theme of verse 3, so we will provide no extra commentary on these verses with the exception of verse 10:
1 Corinthians 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
The word “power” is the same word for “authority.” This is another statement concerning the submission of women. The interesting point in this verse, however, is the phrase, “because of the angels.” Here are a few interesting thoughts taken from David Cloud at as he also uses Scripture as his authority for interpreting these verses:
“It means that proper order should be maintained in the churches as an instruction and encouragement to angels. The angels are ministering to, beholding, even learning from the churches. See 1 Cor. 4:9; Eph. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:21; Heb. 1:14; 1 Pet. 1:12.”
“It is possible that angels are tempted by rebellion. We know that certain angels followed Satan in his rebellion against God (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:7-9). It is possible that for women to refuse to humble themselves to assume the earthly position God has given them under male headship and for them to refuse to wear the mark of such submission on their head, meaning their long hair, is a temptation to angels who are observing these things.”
1 Corinthians 11:4-5 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
Here is where the pretense begins.
Does this verse say that there is an external garment covering? Do we get from these verses a garment that can be put-on and removed at will? Is the Lord telling us that, if a woman does not wear an outer cloth-made garment on her head that He sees her as bald-headed (shaven)?
Many believe that these verses are teaching these things, but let me say that this is all pretentious! There is no interpretation concerning a garment covering in these verses. As a matter of fact, we have a verse in the context which tells us exactly what this covering is. Look at verse 15!
1 Corinthians 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
According to the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, the word “covering” means:
“Spreading over; laying over; concealing; vailing; clothing; wrapping; inclosing; protecting; disguising.”
Does not the plain common meaning burst through here? The Bible tells us that a woman’s long hair is given to her for a, “Spreading over; laying over; concealing; vailing; clothing; wrapping; inclosing; protecting; disguising,” of her head!
Again, if we will just stay with the Scriptures we will find the truth. We did not have to search anywhere else or perform any interpretive gymnastics to be able to understand what the Lord is telling us here: women should have long hair and men should have short hair.

2. Paul Addresses the Men – Verses 4, 7 & 14
1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
Notice that there is no definition provided for the word, “covered.” So do we now go to the commentaries and Greek lexicons? No, we simply look at verse 14 which is right in our context. This verse tells us that it is a “shame” which is a synonym of “dishonoreth” for a man to have long hair.
It is now time to address a very important and instructive truth: The verses before us are telling us that the covering applies to the man or woman’s “head,” not their “hair.” Keep this truth in mind as we continue with our verse-by-verse study.
1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God…
The phrase, “ought not,” means that the man has a choice of whether he should cover his head or not. This is obvious, according to the context (vs 14), that he is to keep his hair short. We have to interject our own meaning to make this verse refer to some type of removable head covering such as a hat. Also, if this were the case, that a man should not cover his head, then men could never wear ball caps, helmets or fishing hats. Only the women could do that.
If an outer covering on a man’s head is sinful, then what is the since of Paul’s commanding us to “put on” the “helmet of salvation” in Ephesians Chapter 6? Or is this command, which we believe to be an example of Spirit-filling, only for women? Some will say that the man should not have this outer covering when worshiping or praying. That would really be nonsensical because Paul, the same writer of the text at hand, told us to put on the helmet. Is the Apostle using sinful actions to demonstrate the spiritual? I think not. If we will look to the context of 1 Corinthians 11 and acknowledge that Paul is addressing hair length, we will not get bogged down into these kinds of interpretive quagmires.
1 Corinthians 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
We can now see clearly what Paul is saying. He’s not talking about a removable covering, but the man’s own hair. Another way to prove this is by looking at the case of the woman in verse 15. Both verses are talking about hair, but they are opposites. Men are to have short hair (no covering over his head), and women are to have long hair (given for a covering over her head).
The covering discussed for the man in this chapter, according to Scripture, cannot refer to a garment or hat.
In Ezekiel 44:17-20, we find that the High Priest is to minister with his “linen bonnet” on his head. If a man that is wearing a removable head covering is a sin, then the High Priest was taught to sin by God Himself because the priest was instructed by Him to do so! Also it is interesting that he is to have short hair (vs 20)!
In Ezekiel 24:17, we find that Ezekiel himself was ordered to prophesy (1 Cor 11:4) while wearing a turban (tire of his head).
In Daniel 3:21, we see where the three Hebrews known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace wearing their hats. Later we find the Son of God in the fire with them but there is no mention of them removing their hats in His presence.
…Men are to have short hair because it glorifies God!
Ezekiel 44:20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.
1. The gender lines will then be very clear. A brief comparison of this chapter to Romans Chapter One by the reader reveals to us that the natural can easily become unnatural, which leads ultimately to sodomy.
2. A man with long hair is rebellious. In Daniel 4:33, we see where Nebuchadnezzar had refused to give God glory and he was lifted up with pride. We find that one of the fruits of his rebellion was, “… hairs… grown like eagles’ feathers.”
3. A man with long hair potentially reveals demonic influence. In Revelation Nine we hear of the demons that will be let out of hell during the tribulation. One of their distinguishing marks is that they have, “…hair as the hair of women…” (Rev 9:8).
Why would the Apostle Paul use the word, “covering,” when referring to the man’s hair? Doesn’t this fact make the text hard to be understood?
In Acts 17:28, the Apostle Paul quotes a Greek philosopher which is believed to be Chrysostom (40-120 AD). If the Apostle can refer to this man, I can too. Chrysostom, a lost man, who was an advocate for long hair on men, also had this to say:
“For many human beings wear long hair because of some deity. Farmers wear long hair without ever having heard the word, “philosophy.” And by Zeus, most barbarians wear long hair, some for a COVERING and some because they believe it to be becoming. But what cap can be more suitable than a man’s own hair?” (Dio Chrysostom’s 35th Discourse)
From this we can easily see that the word, “covering,” was common lingo for long hair in the Apostle Paul’s day.
The Scriptures will always interpret themselves if we will simply search them. Verse 14 makes it clear that the Apostle is speaking about hair length. Once again, we had to look no further than God’s Book for the meaning of these verses.
3. Paul Addresses the Women – Verses 5-7, 13 & 15

If the “covering” we’ve seen previously in this chapter is referring to the hair on a man, shouldn’t the same be true for a woman? Especially since verse 15 tell us that her hair was given to her for a covering?
1 Corinthians 11:5-7 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
In verse five we see that the “Head” is to be covered, not the “hair!”
The Lord is simply telling us that a woman’s hair is to be long so it can veil, cover, surround… her head. We do not find where she is to cover her hair, but her head. According to verse 15, we see that this is accomplished with her God-given long hair.
We also meet with a very interesting comparison: Being uncovered is seen as equal to being shaven and not to being naked. Wouldn’t a woman that is missing a crucial garment be called, “naked?” But she is referred to here as being, “shaven,” because Paul is discussing her hair and not an outer garment.
In verse six we discover that there are three possible lengths of hair:
1. Long Hair. By definition, this is her covering (verse 15).
2. Short Hair. The word “shorn,” is a synonym of “polled,” which describes a man’s haircut.
Ezekiel 44:20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
Poll: To clip; to cut off the ends; to cut off hair or
wool; to shear.

Shear: Cut off; as a lock of wool shorn. Having the
hair or wool cut off or sheared; as a shorn
3. Shaven: This means to cut-off all of the hair, down to the skin, whether it be in part or entirety.
Webster’s1828 Dictionary:
Shave: To cut or pare off something from the
surface of the body by a razor or other
edged instrument, by rubbing, scraping or
drawing the instrument along the surface;
as, to shave the chin and cheeks; to shave
the head of its hair.
In verse seven it becomes quite clear that the woman is to cover her head because she is the glory of the man.
Notice again, however, that the verse says her head is to be covered and not her hair. According to verse 15, her long hair is given her for the purpose of covering her head.
1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
Some folks will attempt to get a removable garment out of this “covering.”
This is impossible whenever this verse is joined with the rest of the context. Could this verse possibly mean that a woman should be ashamed of having short hair, especially in the church and in front of the angels? I believe that this interpretation carries much more credence than the idea of a removable head covering. I also believe that the text clearly bears this out without any further commentary.
1 Corinthians 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
The entire text’s interpretation hinges on verse 15.
Let’s now consider 3 thoughts concerning this verse that should help answer some of the objections and to clear-up any controversy:
1. Many would say, “Yes, I agree that her hair is given to her for a covering, but not for the covering,” therefore the woman requires an additional, outer covering.
To make an issue over the use of the word, “a” as opposed to, “the,” is a stretch to say the least. This approach also reveals how far some are willing to go to avoid the obvious interpretation proved within the text which is supported by the rest of the Bible: that the woman’s covering was provided by the Lord Himself. According to the context, this covering is her long hair (vs 15).
Here’s an example concerning the usage of “a” as opposed to “the:” the phrase “an atonement” is seen 59 times in the Bible. We see it only in the Old Testament. The phrase, “the atonement” appears once in the New Testament. Many preachers would say that there is proof that the Old Testament sacrifices were for “an” atonement, but Jesus is “the” atonement, to which I would completely agree concerning the theology. However, the phrase, “the atonement” is also seen in the Old Testament, five times to be exact, and it refers to Old Testament sacrifices all five times. This means that the terms can be interchanged without any theological ramifications as long as Christ gets the glory.
Also, if I were to stand in the foyer of the church building and hand-out cloth head coverings to the women who enter, I would naturally say, “Here’s a covering,” or, “Here’s your covering,” but it would seem very odd for me to say, “Here’s the covering.”
I also believe that the text bears-out that a woman should always be covered. The only way that this can be possible is by the woman having long hair. At some point, a woman will have to remove a garment covering, but by having long hair, she is always covered in the eyes of mankind, the angels and the Lord. So, in that light, it is “the” (one and only) covering for her head.
2. I have heard some interpreters say that a woman should cover her hair because it is glorious, and that no one should receive glory in worship other than God. Here again is a stretch through an attempt to spiritualize this passage instead of holding to a literal interpretation.
The Bible gives us many examples of our gracious God “giving” people some type of glory wherein He Himself is glorified by its use:
Psalms 8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
We can clearly see that the Lord gave man a certain kind of glory with which He Himself is to be honored and glorified. The simplest meaning of the verse above is that man is of a higher order than animals, but is lower than the angels, and has a unique glory, as do the animals and angels, given him to glorify His God in a specific manner.
Here are a few more examples:
Psalms 30:12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Proverbs 17:6 Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
When it comes to the distinguishing glories between men and women, our passage reveals that the man gives God glory by his head and the woman brings glory to God by her hair. NEITHER SHOULD BE COVERED because the Lord Himself receives glory, honor and worship because of these facts. This has to be the simplest way in the world to obey God… to merely wear the appropriate hair length!
Simply put, a man glorifies God through his headship and therefore should never cover his head with long hair. The woman glorifies God by her subjection which is signified by her long hair. Because of this, she should never cover her hair. Her hair has been provided by God to cover her head.
Ezekiel 16:7 reveals that a woman is considered to be bare when her hair is not long. This example does not teach that a woman is bare when some sort of veil is removed:
Ezekiel 16:7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.
3. If it is a sin for a woman to have her hair uncovered, then the Lord Jesus had to either rebuke Mary or He participated in her sin.
Mary, the sister of Martha, is seen wiping the feet of Jesus with her own hair. As a matter of fact, it is recorded in Scripture that she did this at least two times (compare Luke 7:38 to John 11:2 and see also John 12:3).
I have never personally witnessed anyone worshiping the Lord at this glorious of a level! I’ve not seen anyone so submitted and humbled, including myself!
The plain fact of the matter is, if her hair was covered, she would have had to uncover it in order to complete this task. The Lord Jesus did not rebuke her for her actions. As a matter of fact, He stood up for her when the Pharisee was critical towards her.
The Gospels teach us that whenever a sinner touched the Lord, virtue would go out of Him and that sinner would be cleansed. A good example of this is seen in Mark 5:30, where Jesus healed the woman with an issue of blood. Because the Lord is “without sin,” (Heb. 4:15), and “undefiled,” (Heb. 7:26), His holiness could never be affected by a sinner’s touch. The sinner would be changed every time!
Knowing this to be true, it is interesting that Mary, by wiping the Savior’s feet with her hair was not rebuked by the Lord and her disposition did not change. As a matter of fact, we see her repeating this task and there was no rebuke or change then either.
So what can we learn from this? Are these instances of worship contrary to the Scriptures? Did we have some sort of dispensational change between the Gospels and First Corinthians? No, none of these could possibly be the answer. So, what do we actually see here? WE SEE MARY WIPING JESUS’ FEET WITH HER GOD-GIVEN GLORY!
This is the Biblical model! We worship His glory with all of our own God-given glory!
Romans 15:17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
Can’t we all learn from this? Shouldn’t we ascribe all of the glory that God has given us to Himself? Shouldn’t we worship our Creator with our very best? Would to God that more believers would give the Lord all the glory instead of seeking a glorification from men!
This is also true concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit. GOD gave us these gifts… we should use them for God’s glory!!!
Now we can clearly see that God gave the woman long hair as a covering to be a glory to her so that she can glorify her God in worship as well as in her daily living!

I believe, based upon the clear context of this chapter as well as the support lent by the rest of Scripture, that a woman who wears any kind of garment head covering because she believes that 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 so says, is completely misinformed and is actually attempting to add an outward element to worship which is not required, recommended or even supported by the Bible.
There is not one instance in the Bible where we find that a woman is taught to wear an additional covering over her hair. For us to believe that 1 Corinthians teaches this, we have to look to other sources for our interpretation. As a Bible-believing Baptist I reject that suggestion.
BOTTOM LINE: A man cannot glorify God if he has long hair and a woman cannot glorify God if her hair is short. Let us examine ourselves to make sure we are within God’s boundaries of separation for both male and female. Question: How can we expect God to bring glory to our assemblies when we refuse to glorify Him in this most basic of truths?!

Believer’s Inheritance pt 3 (a New Place)

As the children of God we now have a Heavenly home!  The old gospel song says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through…!”  How true that is.  Like Abraham, our father in the faith, we look, “…for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

Ephesians 2:5-6  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

2 Corinthians 5:1  For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

John 14:1-3  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  2  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

      The Lord Jesus prepared an eternal home for us when He shed His precious blood on the cross of Calvary.  As we know from Hebrews 9:12, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  We now are the citizens of Heaven and are granted all the rights and privileges of being associated with our Lord Jesus Christ as sons of God and fellow heirs with Him.  It is a fact from Scripture that each of the blood-washed ensemble have in their possession, a home with the Lord Jesus!

Hebrews 6:19-20  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;  20  Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

      Because we are seated in the Heavenlies through our Savior, there is absolutely no chance of condemnation or punishment for our sins.  Christ is all in all.  He has perfectly satisfied the demands of the law concerning our sin.  We have inherited a home wherein God Himself lives.

Romans 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

      With all this in mind, why does it seem that many believers live-out their days on the earth in carnality?  It is a rare occasion to see Christians actually living by faith and making decisions based upon the promises of God.  When it comes to music, dress, possessions, rearing children, decisions of life and so on, believers seem to pursue a way that is seemingly, “spiritual,” but is still within an arm’s reach of the world.  They usually seek out their contentment on the fence of compromise where they can be seen by the church folks, but are also not disassociated with the carnality of the world.  They will never find any solace while sitting on that fence!  James 1:8 tells us that, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”  Instability is the guaranteed fruit of being double-minded!  No wonder so many churches are closing their doors, Christian marriages are splitting-up, and church children are refusing to serve God when they leave the home.  They’ve chosen the path of instability!

      The Lord Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).  This means that we have a wonderful inheritance that can never be taken away and all that the Lord expects from us is to invest ourselves in it just as we tend to invest in our worldly houses, lands and possessions.  Even more so, in fact!  Take a look also at this promise:

Matthew 7:26-27  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  27  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

      Notice that the stipulation for a solid foundation is not simply knowing the truth, but in DOING the truth!  Today we seem to have many hearers, but not very many doers!  If you were hungry, which would be better: to hear about some fresh hot apple pie or to actually get to eat that pie?  If the pie is set before you, then there is no reason for you to go hungry.  As a matter of fact, it would be complete foolishness to starve when the pie is within your grasp!  You must take the pie and eat it for yourself.  It’s the same with believers who have not fully experienced their inheritance: they get a shadow of blessing and then wonder why God is, “not working,” in their lives!  They have doubts concerning their standing and lack confidence before the Father that sent His only Son to die in their behalf!  All they have to do is fully claim their inheritance by taking it unto themselves.  No lost person can have what the believer has been given us by our Heavenly Father.  They don’t even have a choice of whether to take the inheritance for themselves because it does not exist for them.  These are represented in scripture as, “of darkness,” “of the world,” and, “of the devil.”  Sinners seek acceptance by their works which leaves them under a curse and hopeless without Christ.

      Our inheritance, on the other hand, has cost God everything he had for us to be able to receive it.  Why would we not desire the full blessing that only comes from living the way God designed for us?

Titus 2:14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

      Throughout the Bible we are told that blessing comes through obedience.

Exodus 19:5  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

James 1:25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

1 John 3:22  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

      What a wonderful opportunity we have in this temporal life to prepare for the heavenly life!  Our home is in Heaven.  It is part of our inheritance, if we would only claim it and invest our lives into it through faith.  We should simply believe the promised rewards of blessing for our obedience and give our lives fully to the prospect our heavenly home!

Matthew 24:45-47  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?  46  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  47  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

      Is there anything on this cursed earth that is worth losing the best that our Heavenly Father has for us?!  After all, through our becoming the sons of God we received all the fullness of God as the sons of God.  We have the rock-solid guarantee from the Word of God that we have been made into a new person with a new power and are rooted with Christ in a new place!  Claim it!  Enjoy your inheritance as a child of God.

Believer’s Inheritance pt 2 (a New Power)

John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Ephesians 1:13-14  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  (14)  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

      As God’s children we inherit the Person of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  He is, and will eternally be, our new power to walk with God uninhibited!  False professors fail at attempting to lead the Christian life as outlined in the New Testament because they cannot even faintly maintain the new attitude or appetites we are given by becoming the children of God.   False professors are just as carnal as they were before they made their profession.  As a result, they will either leave the church altogether, try to ruin or dominate a good church, or find a church that will accommodate their lack of spiritual actions and attire.

Ezekiel 36:27  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

2 Timothy 1:14  That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

      The Holy Spirit provides us with divine abilities that were unknown to us as unbelievers.  Because we were dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), carnal and sold under sin (Romans 7:14), and the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2), we were totally cut-off from spiritual things.  But now, because we are God’s children, we have the earnest of our inheritance, the Holy Spirit constantly within us (2 Corinthians 1:22)!  How could we not understand spiritual things with the presence of God continuously dwelling in our lives?!

John 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Romans 8:11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

2 Corinthians 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

      Because of His holy presence, we now have inherited the spiritual ability to:

1.         Understand Scripture

1 John 2:27  But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

1 Corinthians 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  (See also John 14:26; 1Corinthians 2:13)

      There are now over 400 perversions of the English Bible!  There are many motives for this, the biggest being that the printing of contemporary English versions is very lucrative. Why is it so lucrative?  The answer lies in the fact that lost people are looking for an easy-to-understand Bible.  In other words, sinners are attempting to dumb-down the Word of God so they can discern it.  These are futile efforts because the worldling is spiritually inept no matter how much he seeks to “understand” scripture!  The sinner, by changing the Bible, is actually getting further away from spiritual discernment because, by doing so, he attacks the words, thoughts and intentions of God in His holiness and redemptive plan!

      As the scriptures cited above intimate, we can only comprehend spiritual things because of the new power given to us through the person of the Holy Spirit which takes up residence within us at our new birth.  The Bible instantly comes to life in the spiritually-renewed believer’s mind!  He starts to comprehend those things which were formerly a mystery to him because of his carnality!

2.         Approach the Throne of God in Prayer

Romans 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Ephesians 2:18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

      As previously noted, at salvation we have been adopted into the family of God.  We are His kin through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ!  This makes us a part of the royal family so we have been granted full access to the Throne of Almighty God Himself!  It is part of our inheritance.

Galatians 4:6  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

      “Abba” literally means, “My Daddy.”  As a believer, we have a new power to approach God as our “Daddy,” so to speak.  However, this fact does not in any way negate God’s holiness and make Him out to be like one of us.  Believers also inherit a natural reverence for their Heavenly Father at salvation.  The Word of God is simply teaching us that, because of the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives, we can approach God as our loving Father rather than as a distant vengeful God!

Romans 8:15  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

      This is exactly the same relationship that the Lord Jesus had with His Father during His earthly ministry as seen in His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane:

Mark 14:36  And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

            The false professor is like the Pharisee in the temple when the Bible says he, “… prayed thus with himself…” (Luke 18:11).  A sinner has no ability within himself to reach the throne room in Heaven regardless of his religious affiliation or sincerity.  Only the Holy Spirit of God, given us as part of our inheritance at salvation, has the ability to carry our heart’s desires into the spiritual realm!

Romans 8:26-27  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (27)  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

3.   Walk with God

Galatians 5:16  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

            The false professor is void of any ability to walk in a manner pleasing to God.  He is like, “…they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 19).  Lost men can make themselves look very good on the outside, but it is the condition of man’s heart that concerns God.

Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

            The Lord Jesus had this to say to the Pharisees concerning their lack of spiritual ability:

Matthew 23:25  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

Matthew 23:27  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

Matthew 15:19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

            The condition described by our Lord in the above references is the same state of every religious human that has not experienced the new birth of salvation.  He has not the Spirit of God, but only his own idea of self-righteousness!  No matter how religious a sinner may be, he still has absolutely no ability to worship God, understand God, or approach God, let alone to walk with God!  He is inept, left spiritually lifeless and unable to interact with God just as a dead man is unable to carry his own casket.

Ephesians 2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

John 11:25  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Romans 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

            Because he does not experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, a sinner will also never have the peace that can only come from God.  The religious sinner is still somewhat condemned in his mind and unable to escape the thoughts of an unpurified conscience.  The only way to escape these reproving thoughts in the absence of the Holy Spirit is to attempt to suppress them through worldly means such as psychology, religion, fleshly indulgences, and so on.  This condition, if not turned around by salvation, will ultimately lead to being given over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28).  This is a dreadful state wherein the Lord has turned them over to their sin and will not approach them by way of conviction ever again!

Titus 1:16  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Romans 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

            The experience of the child of God, however, is quite different.  The believing saint has inherited the “earnest (or down payment on his inheritance) of the Spirit,” and is now quite adept at walking in the newness of  life with absolutely no condemnation from his conscience concerning his eternal state.

Romans 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

            The child of God can walk in a manner that is pleasing to God because he is in fact led by God Himself through the person of the Holy Spirit.  He can claim the promises of these verses:

1 Peter 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Galatians 6:8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  10  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  11  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Believer’s Inheritance pt 1 (A New Person)

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

      As we hear the Word of God being preached (Romans 8:14, 17), the Holy Spirit reproves us as sinners (John 16:7-11).  If we will truly listen and apply the truth to ourselves (Matthew 13:18-23), the Lord Himself begins to perform the miracle of regeneration by drawing us away from our sins and pointing us to our only hope in avoiding God’s wrath (Psalm 7:11; John 3:36): the Lord Jesus Christ!  When we look to Christ alone for our salvation (Acts 4:12), the Father miraculously and instantaneously adopts us (Galatians 4:5) into the family of God (Ephesians 3:15), wherein we are changed from sinners (1Corinthians 6:9-11) to sons and immediately inherit the attributes and abilities as the children of Almighty God Himself (Colossians 1:12).

      Basically, we were once sinners, but are now saints; previously lost, but now found; were altogether Hell-bound to but now are seated in, “heavenly places,” (Ephesians 2:6).  We begin to transform and look and act like our Heavenly Father by His miraculous power!  This newness is seen in our:

            Attitude – Our focus becomes the glory of our Heavenly Father instead of ourselves.  We used to only be concerned with, “What’s in it for me?,” but after salvation, we naturally desire to obey and please the Heavenly Father because He loved us enough to send His Son to die in our place.  Amazingly, we will start to enjoy the company of fellow believers.  We will also begin to desire spiritual things and shun that which is sinful.

            Whenever we witness the apathy of many in our day who were, “born again,” but have not displayed a new attitude, we must positively assume that they are false professors of salvation.  The Bible says we will be a new creature and that we will bear spiritual fruit.  It is true that there are many matters of sanctification wherein it may take time for believers to grow, but shouldn’t we see some fruit from those who claim to be a new creature?  Does the fornicator continue shacking up?  Does the drunk continue in his vomitus drink?  When a baby is born, does it not act like a baby?  Does it not cry for its mother’s milk and cuddling?  So it should be with the baby Christian!  These spiritual newborns should automatically seek the presence and power of their new Heavenly Father, shouldn’t they?

Romans 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

            Appetites – There is an instant understanding of sin in every newly-born Christian’s life!  He now longs to hear sound biblical preaching, desires the sincere milk of the Word of God, and seeks-out Christian fellowship.  The new believer will not only begin to naturally seek-out those things that would please his Heavenly Father, but will also receive a spiritual distaste for the things that displease Him.  One major reason for this is because when the believer sins, he is chastened by the Lord.

Hebrews 12:6-10  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.  9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

            Whenever we see those who profess salvation continuing in sin without any chastening from their Heavenly Father, they are still lost in their sins.  As children of a holy Heavenly Father, we inherit a new appetite for spiritual things and definitely experience His chastening in our lives as well.

            Attire – When Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the first thing they understood was that they were naked.  Nakedness became a sin and disgrace to them as they then saw themselves as they really were.  As sinners we are carnal children of a sinful world.  We will act as our father, the devil, tells us to.  It does not bother most folks to walk around in public uncovered or inappropriately dressed because they are sold under sin.  However, when the Word of God illuminates the mind, there is now truly the knowledge of good and evil.  We should immediately realize that we walk in nakedness!  As a result of the sinner becoming a new creature he will want to wear clothes that would glorify God.  It must also be mentioned that a change of clothing does not change a person, but the changed person definitely will change their clothing!  The Bible teaches that a person’s attire is an indicator of the condition of their heart.

Proverbs 7:10  And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

            Actions – The child of God’s speech and lifestyle begins to change.  Instead of cursing God, he praises God.  Instead of using Christ’s name in euphemism or slang, he tells others of the salvation that is available only through His name!  His old sinner friends witness an immediate change and usually accuse him of, “finding religion.”  Because he is a new creature, his beliefs have been shaken-up and renovated at the core.  As a result of his recent faith, the child of God naturally and inherently, acts upon his new beliefs, which in turn, affects his manner of life.  This is unavoidable because he inherited a new person when he was adopted into God’s family!  This new person is the Holy Spirit of God.

Romans 8:9-10  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  10  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

      Becoming a new person is an essential part of our inheritance.  It is guaranteed by Christ Himself.  Therefore, if there is no spiritual change in a sinner’s life, he is still a sinner and will die in his sins (Psalm 55:19; 2Peter 2:22).

      It must also be mentioned that a sinner cannot attempt to change his own attitude, appetite, attire or actions in hopes of salvation.  There is absolutely no amount of outward self-righteousness (Titus 3:5) that can do the perfect work of Christ’s redeeming blood.  Only His sacrifice on Calvary can wash away sins, clear the conscience of a sinner (Hebrews 9:9, 14), and give him the ability to walk in faith.

A Believer’s Inheritance (Introduction)

In the Webster’s 1828 English Dictionary, we find one of the definitions for the word inheritance is, “To receive by nature from a progenitor. The son inherits the virtues of his father; the daughter inherits the temper of her mother, and children often inherit the constitutional infirmities of their parents.”

      As the children of God we inherit certain spiritual attributes and abilities solely because we have become God’s offspring.  John 1:12-13 tell us, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that we are a, “new creature,” as a result of being in Christ.  The Holy God of Creation became our Heavenly Father through the blood of His only-begotten Son and the result is that we were made to be brethren with our Lord Jesus Christ!

Hebrews 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

2 Corinthians 6:18  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Galatians 3:26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

      These new attributes and abilities are the result of God’s Spirit moving into our lives through regeneration, or being, “…born… of the Spirit…,” (John 3:3, 5).  We become a new creature because God Himself lives within and some natural and wonderful changes begin to take place as the result!

Authority to Baptize

The churches are commanded in the Great Commission to baptize those that have been saved and offer an acceptable testimony according to Scripture.

Matthew 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

            It is very sad to say, but it seems that today many, if not most, independent Baptist churches only observe baptism as a ritual celebration and have no idea concerning the milk-of-the-word principle of the doctrine of baptism.  What do we learn from the Bible concerning this inherited church ordinance?

a.      It is not a Sacrament

            Baptism cannot wash away sins!  The Catholics and Protestants claim that baptism is sacerdotal.  In other words, they believe that somehow the grace of God gets stirred and appropriated towards that child because he was sprinkled by a priest into the “body” of Christ.  As a result, they believe that God can accept that child into glory by His grace through that “baptism.”  This is sacrilege!  It makes baptism into a work necessary to gain salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Titus 3:4-7  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  (5)  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  (6)  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;  (7)  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

            An ordinance or command.  The Lord was baptized in order to “fulfill all righteousness,” (Matthew 3:15), and commands His churches to carry-out the baptism of new converts as He instructed.  In 1 Peter 3:21 we learn that, “…baptism… is the answer of a good conscience toward God…”  The immersion of a person into water cannot be thought to wash away sins because the pure Example, Jesus our Lord was baptized, and He is in no need of an applied righteousness.  He IS righteousness!  The mantra we should exclaim is:

“The Blood before Baptism; Christ before the Church!”

            Knowing that the Lord has commanded believers to be baptized, we should naturally desire to obey Him and follow Him through the baptismal waters into the membership of one of His churches!  This should come from the love we have for Him because of His death, burial and resurrection for us!  A church should never accept a person’s testimony as honest, if that person is not willing to follow Christ in baptism.

1 John 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

b.      Only by Immersion into Water

            Baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-5).  Sprinkling or pouring water on a catechumen does not scripturally constitute baptism.

John 3:23  And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

Acts 8:39  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Colossians 2:12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

            It is very interesting that many times the oppressors of our Baptist forefathers would drown them or bury them alive.  This was because our forefathers were immersionists.  The punishment fit the crime in these persecutors’ devilish minds.

c.       Adds a Believer to a Church

Acts 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

1 Corinthians 12:13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

            If baptism of one’s body is conducted before the conversion of their soul, it is not biblical baptism.  Again, we find in 1 Peter 3:21 that baptism is the, “answer of a good conscience toward God,” so, naturally, one must first acquire a good conscience toward God through salvation before his newly cleansed conscious can answer to God in baptism.

                      d.      A Doctrine that should be Contended For

            Being immersed by a Baptist church does not necessarily mean that there is proper authority or the blessings of inheritance that are usually associated with baptism.  Just because a religious society bears the name, “Baptist,” does not make it have biblical authority.  The opposite is also true in that, throughout history there have been biblical groups that did not bear the name, “Baptist,” but held Heavenly authority.  The Waldenses, Donatists, Novatians, Albigenses and Ana-baptists are just a few examples.

            Our primary example, however, is the Lord Jesus Himself.  He, as the Son of God, could have baptize Himself, but he chose John the Baptist.  Why?  because John was the only man given the authority from Heaven to administer water baptism at that time.  John was the harbinger of the Kingdom of Heaven.  He was named John the Baptist by God Himself.  Many believe that he was called such because he was the baptizer, but this is not correct.  Alexander the coppersmith (2 Timothy 4:14) bore that name because he was a coppersmith.  But notice that “coppersmith” is not capitalized.  This reveals that his name was Alexander and he did the work of a coppersmith.  John, however, bore the title John the Baptist, before he ever baptized a single person:

Matthew 3:1-6  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,  (2)  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  (3)  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  (4)  And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.  (5)  Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,  (6)  And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

            Twice (Matthew 14:8 and Luke 7:20), John is addressed as John Baptist.  Obviously this was his name, and it was given by God, and he was the only one authorized to baptize at that time.  In a sense, one could say that the Lord Jesus had Baptist baptism!

            The Lord Jesus chose His apostles from those who had been baptized by John the Baptist.  He carried this baptism with the apostles to form His church.  As John decreased and the Savior increased (John 3:30), the Lord’s church held the only authority for baptism.  Just before the Lord Jesus ascended into Heaven, He passed His authority to His church and commissioned them to make disciples, baptize them, and then teach them sound doctrine.  Knowing that the Lord’s church is His executor, it reveals that His church alone bears the authority and responsibility for baptism.  Also, as His executor, the church must carry-out the Lord’s commission exactly the way He said to.

            Some scriptural questions must be asked in order to discover whether a religious entity is in fact a biblical church which carries an authoritative baptism:

1.      How was it started?  A group of believers does not have the authority to get together and form their own church, no matter how pure their intentions and motives may be.  This is especially true of a split, no matter the reason.  Those who leave a compromising, sinning or otherwise unscriptural assembly must join themselves to a true church with authority.

            The marching order for churches is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8).  The workings of this commission are detailed for us in the book of Acts.  As we read there, the progression becomes obvious:  Apostles ordained evangelists and pastors and started new churches; those churches then ordained evangelists and pastors and started new churches.  As the executors of Christ, we are bound to function within the confines of the Testator’s instructions alone.  Therefore a church can only have authority if it is the result of God’s blessing on an authoritative church’s evangelistic efforts.

2.      Who started it?  A true New Testament church carries the only authority to start another church.  If it was started by a college, fellowship, association, board or convention, it is not a church and it cannot claim its inheritance from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3.      What is its doctrine?

a.      Is it part of the “universal church?”

b.      Does it fall under the authority of the government, convention, association, college, or some other hierarchy?

c.       Are its baptisms by sprinkling or pouring?

d.      Are the immersions of Protestants, Pentecostals or other denominations, to include apostate “baptistic” groups accepted as legitimate baptisms?

e.       Are candidates baptized without first evidencing fruits of repentance?

f.        Are unqualified men (1 Timothy 3) or women being ordained?

g.      Is there a violation of Christ’s proper order of Repentance, then Faith, then Baptism, and then the Lord’s Supper?

h.      Is the Lord’s Supper offered to others besides those who are members in good standing?

      Any of these doctrinal questions that can be answered in the affirmative brings serious doubt on whether a society can be considered as a New Testament church.

            All three of the above questions must be answered in agreement with the New Testament or the assembly in question cannot be considered as a church of Jesus Christ, and thereby possesses no inheritance.

e.       A Matter of Ecclesiastical Separation

            The truth of baptism is not just a preference, but is a doctrine.

Hebrews 6:2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

            We are commanded in the New Testament to take a stand concerning doctrine:

John 7:16  Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

Acts 2:42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

2 Timothy 4:2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Jude 3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

2 John 1:9-10  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  (10)  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

            According to these verses, we should not accept the baptisms of apostates, including “baptist” apostates.  We should not have them preach from our pulpits, we should not support their causes, we should have no fellowship with them, but rather reprove them (Ephesians 5:11), for Christ’s sake.

      Remembering back to the Baptist martyrs, we recognize that the issue of scriptural baptism was the main reason for their persecution.  Ungodly and unmentionable tortures were brought against our brethren of antiquity, along with their wives and children because they refused to submit to the state church’s infant baptism.  What has happened today?  Why is the doctrine of baptism so watered-down and not even mentioned as one of the “fundamentals of the faith” in our Fundamental Baptist circles?  Why is it that we tend to venerate men such as Martin Luther, D.L. Moody, R.A. Torrey and Billy Sunday (all sprinkled as babies) from our pulpits and in our colleges, while we overlook biblical men of the faith such as Shubal Stearns, Daniel Marshall, Samuel Harriss and Tidence Lane? 

What is, “the Church?”

A church is an authorized local assembly of baptized believers called out from the world, joined together in the doctrine and fellowship of the gospel and commissioned to execute the laws of Christ’s kingdom.  We will comment further on this statement, but we must first deal with some of the false beliefs concerning the church:

1.   The Church is NOT a “mystical, universal, invisible body” made-up of all “believers.”

1 Corinthians 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

      Setting aside the obvious fact that the Apostle Paul was addressing a visible local church (church at Corinth) in this statement, we will look to the natural usage of words in our English language:  According to our Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, the word “body” refers to frame, material substance, matter, a person, reality as opposed to representation, a collective mass, a corporation, and so on.  Obviously, there is nothing invisible or universal represented by these definitions.

      The word, “members,” means the limb of an animal, subordinate part of a building, or an individual of a community or society.  Again, there is nothing invisible represented.  It is imperative that common expression prevail lest we have no grounds for which to stand concerning an accurate interpretation.  How can we understand the simplest of sentences if we pick and choose the meanings of words?!  Christians will say, “I belong to the universal invisible church.”  How can this be when we see clearly that the church is a body and a body is local and visible by definition and has local, visible members as well?  Here’s the simplest of examples:

      I invite a friend over to come and see my new car.  I tell him that it is a Ford Mustang.  When my friend arrives, I show him the grill ornament of a Ford Mustang.  His reply would naturally be, “Where’s the car?”  To which I could answer, “It’s my universal car!”  He would then reply, “Well then, where is the rest of it?”  To which I would say, “It is my universal invisible Mustang made up of all Mustang owners.”  Does this make sense?  How can this car be driven?  What is the practicality of owning a grill ornament and then telling folks it is a car?

      The only way that this nonsense can be made functional is for us to throw out the common vernacular of the English language in order to make the diction relevant to our own idea of what a car is.  Then what?  Are we communicating?  No, we will still be left without true verbal interaction because we both are interpreting the words relatively.  We would be speaking utter nonsense!

      The phrase, ”Universal Church,” is an oxymoron.  It is impossible to have a body and for it to be universal at the same time!  In referring to the car analogy: What is its color?  How good is its gas mileage?  What size tires does it use?  Can I get a ride to town in it?  None of these questions can be answered sensibly because it is NOT a car!

      The Church is a local Body.  It is both visible and organized.

            The words “church,” and “assembly,” are interchangeable.  They both refer to a gathering of bona fide members.  The Phrase, “Local Church,” is redundant.  It is like saying, “wet water,” because the essence of a church (aka, “body,” or, “assembly”) is the fact that it is physical, and therefore must be local.

            “Church,” and, “churches” are used 114 times in the King James Version of the New Testament.  Of those, it is used approximately 22 times in an institutional sense such as “the church” (Matthew 16:17), and “the church of God,” (Acts 20:28).  By institutional, we mean that the Bible is addressing the church in an editorial sense; the same way we would speak of “the home.”  In this case we would be using the word “home” in an institutional sense and would not necessarily be discussing “my” home or “your” home specifically.  We would definitely not ever apply, “the” to a “universal home,” because all homes are local and visible with members that make-up that body.

            So, this leaves us with 92 instances (81%) of the words, “church,” or “churches,” all of which address specific churches in definite locations.

Here are a few questions for those who hold to a universal church:

1.         Who is its pastor?
2.         Where does it meet?
3.         How many members does it have?
4.         Who votes concerning membership?
5.         What were its offerings last week?
6.         When is its next business meeting?
7.         When and how are the spiritual gifts used?
8.         Does it hold the keys to the Kingdom?
9.         How or what does it bind on earth that it may also be bound in Heaven?
10.       When and where is its next prayer meeting?
11.       How are its officers elected?
12.       Where is the roll kept?
13.       How are its members disciplined?
14.       What is its doctrine?
15.       What is its system of finances?
16.       What are its standards of practice?
17.       How are the ordinances observed?
18.       How can it, “ordain elders in every city?”

      All of these questions are based upon the church’s operational characteristics displayed in the New Testament.  Obviously these can only be answered from a local church standpoint.  There is no “universal” church found in Scripture.  It has to be imposed upon the text or falsely believed in the human heart as an apparition.

      Some may ask, “But how is Christ the Head of the church if it is not universal?  Wouldn’t that mean that He is the Head over many churches?”  Again, the institutional, editorial usage of the word, “church,” does not affect its definition.  One could also ask how, “Christ… is the Head of every man…” (1 Corinthians 11:3)?!

      The idea of a “universal” church is not only a contradiction in terms, but is also an extremely nonsensical, unscriptural theory which leads us into false ideas about God, His Word and especially His true Church.  It is rank heresy!  Since the church is the, “pillar and ground of the truth,” (1 Timothy 3:15), it is important that we understand what the church is, for, if the pillar and ground fall, then all will crumble!  Consider some things:

1.      “Universal church,” doctrine lumps the Family of God, the Kingdom of God and the Church of God into one huge invisible, mystical specter.  The Protestants learned this from their harlot mother, the Roman Catholics.  Rome has been the number one tormentor of the Baptist people since its inception in the early 4th Century AD.  The Catholics believed that their “churches” were sub-parts of the hierarchy leading up to the Pope, which made-up the physical visible kingdom of God.  To gain entry into this organization, one had to be sprinkled by a Catholic priest.  This would place that person into the “church,” which to the Catholics, was also the family and kingdom of God.

      As Luther and others, “protested,” they had to maintain Catholic baptisms as being legitimate or admit that they themselves had not been acceptably baptized.  When the “protesters,” or, Protestants realized that they had to maintain the Catholic baptisms, they fell into a dilemma: they had to admit that the Catholic “church” was, in fact, the kingdom of God but on the other hand they had to prove that they themselves were not bastards concerning the faith.  Luther fixed this little problem with announcing that the “church” was universal and invisible, thus including all that named the name of Christ into the “church” or the mystical, invisible kingdom of God.  This was the perfect compromise so that they could protest Rome and yet include themselves as being part of the catholic family and kingdom of God.

NOTE: The Family of God is made-up of all the saved.  The church of God is made-up of those that are saved and baptized into authorized assemblies.  The kingdom of God will be discussed in the next chapter.

      It is amazing that many Baptists have bought into wholesale Protestantism by believing in this “universal, invisible church!”  Luther, Zwingli, Melanchton, Calvin and Knox are just a few of the famous Protestants that also persecuted our ancient Baptist forefathers.  By holding to this heresy, many Baptists today are excluded from clutching their inheritance which God has provided exclusively through His true churches.

2.      It teaches that all churches (Catholic and Protestant alike) are a branch of the “true” universal “church.”  These have never recognized Baptists as being legitimate, so Baptists are excluded from their definition of the church.  Baptists today, on the other hand, have also embraced this heresy like victims of Stockholm Syndrome, and now hold to the same teachings that were the source of their own persecution!

3.      The intention of such heresy is to merge all “Christian” faiths into a one-world religious organization.  Never mind the fact that biblical doctrine becomes extinct in such a mystical background.  Again, the worst is that more and more “baptists” are embracing this heretical doctrine which causes them to be unequally yoked with baby sprinklers and other idolaters, all (supposedly) in the name of Christ.  The Baptist people are digging their own graves by embracing such untruth and are being used as a part of this modern perilous system to usher in the Antichrist.

Revelation 17:1-7  And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:  (2)  With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.  (3)  So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.  (4)  And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:  (5)  And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.  (6)  And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 

2.   The Holy Spirit does NOT supernaturally “baptize” anyone into some “mystical universal, invisible church.”

            There is only one “proof” text for such a notion and it is found in 1 Corinthians 12:13:

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

            Universal Protestantism, which began with Martin Luther, teaches that a sinner who trusts Christ as Savior is, at that point, mystically baptized by the Holy Spirit into the universal invisible church.  Since there is no such entity as a “universal” church in Scripture, there is absolutely no need to interpret this passage as such.  To make this definition fit, we would have to compromise the common understanding of the church in 114 references for one presumably vague verse.  The proverbial tail begins to wag the dog at this point.  The entire “Holy Spirit baptism into a universal church” theory rests upon this one verse.  Here are just a few thoughts concerning 1 Corinthians 12:13:

1.      By one Spirit,” is easily interpreted within the context of this chapter.  Notice that 1 Corinthians Chapter 12 is dealing with spiritual gifts by the enabling of the Holy Spirit, causing the body of Christ to be able to function:

1 Corinthians 12:1  Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

1 Corinthians 12:4  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:31  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

            The Apostle Paul is not dealing with the doctrine of baptisms in this Chapter, he is addressing gifts from the Lord Jesus via the Holy Spirit.  For this doctrinal truth we can simply compare Ephesians 4:3-8 with 1 Corinthians 12:4, 28:

Ephesians 4:3-8  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  (4)  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  (5)  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  (6)  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  (7)  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  (8)  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

1 Corinthians 12:4  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

            Many “scholars” are confused because they associate the word, “by” with John the Baptist’s statement that the Lord Jesus would baptize “with” the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:11).  It must be made clear that the Holy Spirit has not been seen in holy writ to be the administrator of any kind of baptism, whether spiritual, or of water, or otherwise.  The Baptist’s statement in Matthew Chapter 3 clearly reveals that the Lord Jesus is the administrator of the baptism with the Holy Ghost.  The Lord is seen to be the administrator and the Holy Spirit is the substance, as a local church pastor is the administrator of baptism while the water is the substance.  In other words, just as we are baptized by the pastor with water, a person can also be baptized by Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit.

            Notice how the words, “with” and “by” are used in other verses concerning the Holy Spirit:

a.       With” the Spirit or Holy Ghost:

Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

2 Corinthians 3:3 [Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

            None of these references reveal that the Holy Spirit is an administrator, but is the substance.  We are clearly shown that we are filled, baptized, etc., WITH the Holy Ghost (substance), not BY the Holy Ghost (administrator).  Once again we must repeat:  the Holy Spirit is never seen as the administrator of any kind of spiritual baptism, but is seen as the substance of that baptism.  We will discuss Holy Spirit baptism in the, “Church’s Anointing,” section of this chapter.

b.      By” the Spirit or Holy Ghost:

Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Acts 13:4  So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

2 Timothy 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

            In every instance we see that when “by” the Spirit or “by” the Holy Ghost is used, it refers to the Spirit’s leadership and/ or enabling.  This doctrine becomes clear when we understand the fact that when the, “…Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13).

            Looking specifically in the book of 1 Corinthians, we can see that the word, “by” when used with the word, “Spirit” is simply defining the leadership and/ or enabling of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life, specifically in and through the (local) church:

1 Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

1 Corinthians 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

      Now we arrive at the previously cited “proof” text of the Universalists:

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

            This verse, just as all of the ones formerly listed, applies to the Holy Spirit’s leadership and enabling.  It is the Spirit of God who guides the new believer in all truth.  1 Peter 3:21 tells us that water baptism is the, “…answer of a good conscience toward God…”  How else are we led to the baptismal waters if not by the Spirit of God Himself?  He led us by reproving our hearts concerning sin, pointed us to faith in the Lord Jesus’ finished work on the cross, renewed us, cleared our conscience of offense toward God and guided us by His Truth into the local church through the baptismal waters.

Acts 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

2.      Baptized into one body.”  The door to church membership is opened through scriptural water baptism.  Paul has been addressing this local church throughout the entire First Epistle to the Corinthians, so, in order to maintain the correct perspective and avoid introducing a false doctrine, we must stay true to the context.  Here is the introduction to 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 1:1-2  Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,  (2)  Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

            Notice the comparison between, “the church of God which is at Corinth,” and, “with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.”  The Apostle is simply saying that this epistle is specifically written to the local church at Corinth, but its teachings are applicable to all believers in every other church.  The word, “place,” in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is defined:

            “A particular portion of space of indefinite extent, occupied or intended to be occupied by any person or thing, and considered as the space where a person or thing does or may rest or has rested, as distinct from space in general.”

            Concerning the word, “place,” in this verse, Strong’s Concordance says:

1) place, any portion or space marked off, as it were from surrounding space

1a) an inhabited place, as a city, village, district

1b) a place (passage) in a book

2) metaph.

2a) the condition or station held by one in any company or assembly

2b) opportunity, power, occasion for acting

            Obviously this word points to certain localities wherein saints are designated to assemble, also known as church meeting houses or other places of assemblage.

            In 1 Corinthians Chapter 5 (along with Matthew Chapter 18) we see the authority given to the (local) church to expel its wayward members.  In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians we also find that this same erring brother had repented and was accepted back into the fold.

1 Corinthians 5:13  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

            Galatians 6:1 also admonishes us,

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

            Most would agree that these verses cannot apply to the “universal” church.  There is no means of discipline in the so-called universal church.  Also, there is an extreme doctrinal problem with applying these passages to a universal mystical body: this would mean loss of one’s salvation!  According to the universal proponents, when we are saved we are “baptized” by the Holy Spirit as an administrator into the substance of the universal invisible “church.”  To be expelled would mean that one would have to be saved again in order to be restored.  In other words, we would have to be un-baptized by the Holy Spirit and re-baptized into the mystical body when we repent.  As nonsensical as this may be, it is just as fallacious to try and fit a universal, invisible “body” into 1 Corinthians 12:13.

            It is also drivel for us to believe that a body can be invisible or mystical.  As seen previously, by definition a body has to be visible, real and made-up of members, just as a husbandry, building, fold or assembly.

1 Corinthians 3:9  For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

1 Corinthians 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

            If a “body” is universal, mystical and invisible, then verses 25-26 make no sense at all:

1 Corinthians 12:25-26  That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  (26)  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

3.      The word, “We.”  Protestant Universalists believe that the use of this word by Paul supports a universal invisible “church” because he was not a member of the Corinthian congregation.  This is an attempt to build a (false) doctrine from one word which is a primary characteristic of the cults.  It is true that Paul was not a member of the Corinthian church when this epistle was written, but that certainly does not mean that the use of the word, “we,” has to express inclusivity.  As addressed earlier, Paul is using this word in an editorial sense.  For example, one could say, “We get right with God when we repent of sin and confess it to Him.”  The use of the word, “we,” does not automatically tell us that the speaker is not right with God, but means that he is simply speaking in an editorial sense concerning repentance.  Besides, if the “we” in verse 13 would have to necessarily imply that Paul was included, then the “ye” in verse 27 would inevitably indicate that Paul would have been excluded:

1 Corinthians 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

            This would have to be interpreted as the Apostle Paul not being a member of a local church.  By default, it would also make us to believe that the city of Corinth held the only church.  Both ideas are nonsense.

            In order to gain a better understanding of the editorial use of, “we,” in verse 13, we can compare it to the editorial use of the word, “I,” in Chapter 13:1-3.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  (2)  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  (3)  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

            Obviously, the Apostle is not saying that all of these hypothetical examples apply to him exclusively.  Again, this is an editorial usage of the word, “I.”

            As another example, we can see where Paul editorially uses the words, “we,” and, “ye,” sometimes when referring to the same group:

1 Thessalonians 5:5  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

            The Protestant interpretation of 1 Corinthians 12:13 has spilled over and caused much confusion in the Baptist ranks.  As God’s called-out people, we should hold to the old way and the true doctrines of God within the contextual confines of Scripture.  Why would we desire to take one verse (1Co 12:13) out of context at the behest of baby-baptizers in order to make it fit into a Protestant pattern?  There are several motives for this, such as promotion, avoiding persecution, etc., but whatever the reason, it is costing us the inheritance that we will soon see the Lord has for us specifically through His church!

The Crux of the Matter

            The Bible teaches that a saved person should be baptized by water into a local church.  The Universalists, with their mystical, invisible “church,” make baptism out to be salvation.  Friends, salvation and baptism are never synonymous in Scripture!  When we say that a person is “baptized” at the moment of salvation into the universal “church,” we are watering-down both the doctrines of salvation and baptism.   By combining these doctrines, we are destroying their uniqueness and integrity in order to make an unholy mixture.  The New Testament precedent has been to baptize those who have previously been saved into water.  The record bears out that the thief on the cross was saved, but was never baptized.  We know this to be true because the Savior Himself told him that he would be in Paradise that very day with Christ personally.  Some will say, “But this was BEFORE the resurrection.”  We will search in vain if we are hoping to discover a single verse of Scripture that points us to this doctrine; it suffers the same fate as the doctrine of infant baptism where the Bible is concerned.

            Some will rebut, “But what about the baptism of the Holy Ghost?”  This subject will be covered in the, “Church’s Anointing,” section of this Chapter.

            Also, if we say that baptism and salvation are synonymous in any way, we will be opening ourselves to be telescopically introduced to even more false doctrines from Protestants and Campbellites, the many views of which are too numerous for this small volume.  May it suffice us to simply state that we are Baptists, which are solely Biblicists in matters of faith and practice, and should have no tolerance for denominational heresy.

3.   The church did NOT start on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

            Followers of the “universal” church heresy believe that the church was started on the Day of Pentecost which was 50 days after Christ’s commission to His church (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8) and bodily ascension into Heaven.  These believe that the church was started because of the Holy Spirit’s descending upon this fragmented society of believers that Jesus left behind as to form them into a church.  The thought is that the Holy Spirit baptized every believer into the universal, invisible “church” at the point of salvation.  This heterodoxy is based upon a Protestant theory and rejects the plain teachings of the Word of God.  As we look to Scripture, however, we’ll find quite a different view than that of the Protestants.

            The church was founded and built during the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Matthew 16:18, we read where He said, “…I will build my church…”  Without a doubt, the Lord Jesus built His church, during His earthly ministry, just as He said He would.  Let us consider some scriptural truths concerning the time Christ built His church as to form sound doctrine rather than to rely on man’s feeble opinions:

a.       The Apostles were baptized by John the Baptist.

John 1:35-40  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;  (36)  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!  (37)  And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.  (38)  Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?  (39)  He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.  (40)  One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

Acts 1:21-22  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  (22)  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

b.      The church began to be formed in Mark 3:13-21 when the Lord chose 12 saved and baptized men to be His apostles (before Pentecost).

1 Corinthians 12:28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

c.       Church discipline was established in Matthew 18:15-19 (before Pentecost).

Matthew 18:15-19  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  (16)  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  (17)  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.  (18)  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  (19)  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

            This would be impossible in a universal, invisible “church.”  Besides, how could we tell it to a church that did not yet exist?  Notice that the disciples had no questions concerning the Lord’s use of the word, “church.”  Why?  Because they knew that they themselves were the church of Jesus Christ.

d.      The two ordinances, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, were instituted before Pentecost.

Matthew 3:14-17  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?  (15)  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.  (16)  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  (17)  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

John 4:1-2  When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,  (2)  (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

Matthew 26:26-29  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  (27)  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  (28)  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  (29)  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

e.       The Great Commission was given before Pentecost.

Matthew 28:18-20  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  (19)  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  (20)  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.

f.       The church had a business meeting prior to Pentecost.  They elected an Apostle in Acts Chapter 1.

g.      They had a church role with about 120 members before Pentecost (Acts 1).

h.      The initial 3,000 saved at Pentecost were added unto them.  How can you add to something that does not already exist?

Acts 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

      “Let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4)!  We undoubtedly have gleaned from the Bible that the church is the local and visible assembly of baptized believers, founded and built by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry.

Salvation of Children

There is not one instance in the Bible of a child being baptized.  Baptism is voluntary.  Children who were sprinkled have not been offered a choice.  This is a violation of soul liberty.

Matthew 16:24  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

            There are also no examples in the New Testament of children being saved.  As Baptists, we would readily agree that we should not be sprinkling babies, but we must also point-out that in many churches today, we are leading children through baptismal waters after instructing them in a prayer to Jesus for salvation.  We will find no such instances in Scripture, so we are giving our children an unbiblical “salvation.”  Then we wonder why our churches are carnal, our children come to nothing, and our families falter.  This is because there is no repentance being granted from God.  Instead, through our zeal without knowledge and misguided goodwill towards our children, we are teaching the concepts and mechanics of faith for salvation instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to do His reproving work for each individual.  If we were to be perfectly honest concerning these “conversions,” we could get most small children to pray the same, “sinner’s prayer,” to Santa Clause, and, “really mean it,” as we usually say.  Because we have gotten away from Scripture in our “soul winning,” the overwhelming majority of salvation testimonies today go something like this:  “I was saved when I was young and then I backslid and got away from the Lord.  Later, I got right with God and rededicated my life.”  That person then struggles with doubt because they can’t believe how badly they acted, and the horrible sins they committed while they were, “backslidden!”  They will always wonder, “How could I have acted that way if I was really saved?” 

            First of all, we will search the Bible in vain for such a testimony.  Secondly, we must understand that there is absolutely no salvation without repentance.

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen [it], repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard [it], he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

            Repentance in the life of a believer always brings forth fruits of salvation!  Whether young or old, there will be fruits!

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Matthew 13:23  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

            This now points us to the fact that the person with that kind of testimony may actually have been saved when he, “got right with God,” but has not been properly baptized because he claims he was baptized as a child.  Do we see the problem?  This person has not been scripturally baptized and therefore cannot claim the blessings of Christ’s inheritance through the church.

            What if that person’s, “getting right with God,” was simply a matter of maturity where he now wants to come home at night, stop carousing, and attend church because it is good for his family.  This man has not born any fruit unto repentance.  He lived like a dog.  But because he has grown-up a little, he goes back to the time he said the sinner’s prayer as a child and bases his salvation on that fruitless endeavor.  He is still lost.  He can’t claim the inheritance promised to the children of God.

            But what of the person who said a prayer at a young age and doesn’t ever, “Get right with God?”  It is hard to get someone to hear truth that is counting on a religious experience for their salvation.  This person continues in sin, completely unchanged by the power of God’s Spirit in regeneration, and yet believes he is, “OK,” or “Good with the man upstairs,” or “Forgiven,” and other pithy meaningless rhetoric to soothe his own defiled conscience.  This is the unfortunate destiny of most of those who make a profession as children.  They will become hardened.  They will be reprobated.  God help us!

            The examples of baptisms we are given in the New Testament reveal to us that it was always an adult who was voluntarily immersed because of their testimony of salvation and fruits of repentance.

  If we would simply train our children in obedience to the truth of God’s Word, their hearts will be prepared to hear the reproof of God’s Spirit concerning their sinful condition.  In other words, we need to get our hands off of the Lord’s salvation and allow Him to do His perfect work!

Jonah 2:9  …Salvation is of the LORD.