Elder David M. Green

NOTE:This was adapted from a sermon I preached in New Mexico in December 2002.  I trust it will be used by God for His glory!

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" (1 Peter 3:15).
    In the world, there are multitudes of religions…all claiming to be good or to have the answer. We are all Baptists in this church this morning, and if you were to be asked the question…”Why are you Baptist?” How would you answer? Would you even know how to answer or would you simply ignore the question?
    Many of the world’s evangelists will go and preach somewhere, and then they will say “Go join the church of your choice.” There is no scriptural foundation for such a question. Church membership is not a matter of personal preference, but it is a matter of loyalty to our Lord.

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
(Matthew 16:18).
    That word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia, which always means a local, called-out assembly. Nowhere in the pages of Divine Scripture will you find a universal church. In today's world, you might find a few hundred different “churches.” However, this has not always been the case. Christ established “His church” while He was in the world. All of these other “churches” must have come from somewhere else. Notice the wording in this passage. Christ is the Rock upon which the church was built. This foundation is there and He is the sure foundation No other foundation is sure! Only Christ!   A church founded by anyone else cannot be the true church!

"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor." (Luke 6:12-16).

"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 12:28).
    The disciples that Christ called out to be apostles were, in fact the first members of the church in Jerusalem. This was the beginning of His kind of a church.   The other “churches” we see in the world today cannot trace themselves back to Christ. Notice a few of them:

  1. Roman Catholicism: Developed over a period of time between 251 and 610 AD in Rome. Gregory the Great is their founder. They claim Peter as their first pope, but there is no proof of this either in history or the Bible.

  2. Lutherans: Founded in 1520 by a Catholic named Martin Luther.

  3. Episcopal Church: AKA Church of England, founded in 1534 by an adulterer known as King Henry VIII.

  4. Presbyterians: Founded in 1536 by that Catholic named John Calvin.

  5. Methodists: Started by John Wesley, a member of the Episcopal Church in 1729.

  6. Campbellites: AKA “The Church of Christ” started by Alexander Campbell in 1827.

And the list goes on and on.   None of them can trace themselves back to Christ!

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
(Matthew 16:18).
  Our Lord made the promise that His church would never be destroyed…that it would last forever from the time He established it during His earthly ministry.
     If the Catholic Church is the one that Christ established, then He is a liar. Catholicism certainly has its heresies and does not even remotely resemble the church that Jesus built. By the time of Martin Luther, Catholicism had already gone through a long period of not even resembling the true church of the Bible. Those who read this article might be surprised to know that men like Martin Luther and John Calvin and the other reformers believed Catholicism was the true church that simply needed to be reformed.
    As we study church history, though, you will find that in all ages since the time of Christ, there have been churches that were what we would call Baptist today. These churches were never associated with Rome! They were known by other names:

  1. Christians

  2. Donatists

  3. Paulicians

  4. Albigenses

  5. Waldenses

  6. Anabaptists

  7. Baptists

    And they go back in an unbroken chain from Jerusalem until our present day!  The names have changed, but the truth has not!  Take a look at some good church history books, beginning with the Bible, then The Trail of Blood.  See my section of this website about Baptist Church History.

"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
(Ephesians 3:21).
    Our Lord is to receive glory in His church! He does not receive glory in all “churches” we find in the world today. When this was written, it was written about only one church. Again, we read the phrase “throughout all ages.” His church will stand the test of time!

"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:18).
    The Bible only speaks of one kind of church, and that church has our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as its Head. We learned earlier that this church was promised to exist always. The second oldest so-called “Christian” religion is Roman Catholicism, and they believe that the Pope has the rule over them.   
    Notice what the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia says about our Lord in their article about Peter: “He wishes to make Peter the head of the whole community of those who believed in Him as the true Messias; that through this foundation (Peter) the Kingdom of Christ would be unconquerable; that the spiritual guidance of the faithful was placed in the hands of Peter, as the special representative of Christ.”    This simply is not true!

"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body." (Ephesians 5:23).
    Just like my wife has only one husband…the church of the Bible, the church that Jesus built has only one Head. When Catholics put the Pope as the head of their church, they dethroned Jesus Christ. And, Protestantism was birthed from out of that devilish church, not from Almighty God.
    I am a Baptist because our Head is Jesus Christ, not a man!

"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:16-20).
    Our Lord left us this commission. In it, He gives us three things to do: (1) Go into the world, and teach all nations. (2) Baptize the save. (3) Teach the saved. Notice the words “whatsoever I have commanded you.” We believe that it is the Bible that is our only rule of faith and practice.   
    I like what H. Boyce Taylor, in his work “Why I Am A Baptist” wrote, “If it isn't in the Bible it isn't Baptist doctrine: if it is Baptist doctrine you can find it in the Bible.” Folks, the New Testament was written exclusively by Baptists! The Bible is the Baptist book. Study the Bible and by the grace of God, it will make you a Baptist!

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15).
    We are told to “rightly divide” the Word. If it can be divided rightly, then it can also be divided wrongly. Beware of the Catholics and Protestants and even false Baptists who divide the Word wrong.   
    When a Methodist claims his heresy can be proven in the Bible, watch out. When the Cambellite says that he can show baptismal regeneration in the Bible, it is not so. If some protestant claims the Bible teaches sprinkling or pouring for baptism, you might ought to make sure he can read. Folks, many misuse Scripture to try to prove their points! Watch out for these!
    Some claim the exact same lineage as us Baptists. While the Mennonites & Amish are to be commended for their moral standards, their doctrine is far from Biblical. There are other denominations that use the word “Baptist” but they do not pass the doctrinal test. The Arminian Baptists have made man to be in charge, and the Hardshell Baptists have taken away man's responsibility. These are Baptist by name, but not in truth.          
    The point is, lineage or name is not enough. Yes, that is a big part of it as we have already seen, but the Lord's churches must also pass the doctrinal test. Do not join something just because it can be traced back to Christ. I am a Baptist today because our line goes back to Christ AND because our doctrine is true according to the Word of God. There are so many doctrines that separate us from the other religions of the world that I cannot begin to give them all. Our method of baptizing, our gospel we preach, our way of organizing and building churches, etc…these all distinguish the Lord’s true churches from Satan’s.

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
(John 17:17).
    The word of God is our source of truth. While we can benefit from the writings of our Baptist forefathers, we must realize that they were fallible men. Only the Bible is what separates us from the world and her religions! It is the truth!

"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15).
    The Lord's churches are the pillar and ground of the truth.  We have been chosen to carry the truth of God's Word. This is why I am a Baptist. I trust these are some reasons why you are a Baptist today. And if you are not a Baptist, be a Baptist because you want to please the Lord!