Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Preacher And Charlie



The preacher was calling on the home of a family that had left the Church of the Lord to attend a denominational Church.  This conversation followed the preliminary talk:

Preacher:                Well, Charlie, I just wanted to call and see why you left the Church.
Charlie:                   Well, we just kind of was disgusted with things at “your” church.
Preacher:                 Can you give me some examples?
Charlie:                   Yes, the family had several dislikes.  You know kids.  My son likes the contemporary music at their 
                                      first service and my wife likes the choir at the traditional service.  Me, I like the decorum and strict 
                               rules they have there.
Preacher:                What church is it, Charlie that you are attending?
Charlie:                   The Baptist Church at Honkedoffville.
Preacher:                Well, I’m sorry to hear that Charlie.  Don’t mind you leaving the congregation where I preach, but 
                               you could have found all that at one of the other Churches in the area that hold to Biblical teaching.
Charlie:                   You mean another Church of Christ?
Preacher:                Yes, I do.  Why would you leave a Church after the New Testament order?
Charlie:                   I know what you’re getting at, Preacher.  You mean baptism.
Preacher:                That would be only one of many things, yes.
Charlie:                   I think maybe that you put too much emphasis on baptism.
Preacher:                What kind of Church did you say you attended, Charlie?
Charlie:                   A Baptist Church.
Preacher:                Your Church is named after the ordinance and you think WE put too much emphasis on the 
                               ordinance?  Seems kind of funny logic, to me Charlie.
Charlie:                   Well, we do baptize the right way over there.
Preacher:                And for what reason, Charlie?
Charlie:                   Well they think that when you believe, you’re saved and then you should be baptized.
Preacher:                Yes, I know.  Jesus said it in a different order.  He said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be 
                               saved.”  The Baptist Church says, “He that believeth and is saved should be baptized.  There is a 
                               difference, isn’t there, Charlie?
Charlie:                   Well, I guess so, but I still think you put too much emphasis on baptism.
Preacher:                Charlie, do you believe you have to be baptized to be saved?
Charlie:                   They say you’re baptized because you’re already saved.  You are baptized to get into their Church.
Preacher:                Oh, so you do have to be baptized to get into the Baptist Church?
Charlie:                   Oh yeah.  You can’t be a Baptist without being baptized.
Preacher:                 I see.  So in your book, it’s all right to tell people they can get into Heaven without being baptized 
                               but not into the Church without being baptized?  Sounds like it’s easier to get into Heaven than it is 
                               to get into the Baptist Church.
 Charlie:                  Well, technically, I suppose so Preacher.
Preacher:                Don’t you remember what you were taught by Peter, “Then they that gladly received the Word were 
                              baptized and there was added unto them about 3,000 souls.”  And again, “the Lord added to the 
                              church daily those that were being saved.”  Acts 2:41, 47.  So the saved automatically were added 
                              to the Church.
Charlie:                  Well, I still think there’s too much emphasis on water.
Preacher:                Now lets see here, your new Church names itself after the ordinance.  Baptism is a condition in 
                              order to join it.  In the Bible, those who were baptized and those who were saved are said to be 
                              added to the Church.  Isn’t it pretty obvious those who received the word and were baptized are the 
                              saved who were added to the Church and not those who received the word and were saved, were 
                              baptized so they could get into the Church?
Charlie:                   I think that’s perhaps an unimportant distinction.  As long as they have been under the water that’s 
                               all that’s important.  Pastor Tightship says you are hung up on water.
Preacher:                I’m surprised to hear you say that, Charlie in light of the fact that the Baptists insist on immersion 
                              and not sprinkling.
Charlie:                   What do you mean?
Preacher:                You want to de-emphasize baptism.  You think we’re putting too much emphasis on water.  Your 
                               preacher won’t let anyone into his Church who has not been immersed in water.  It seems to me 
                               though the Baptist Church thinks it’s important because they’ve put a lot of emphasis on water.  
           Water is necessary to get into the Baptist Church and being put under water can make you a 
            Baptist, but not a Christian.  Being put under water can make you a Church member, but not 
            saved.  Being put under water is necessary to be a Deacon or a Pastor.  I think water is very 
            important to a Baptist.
Charlie:                   Well, if you teach that baptism is essential to being a Christian, you’re saying you can work your 
                               way to Heaven.
Preacher:                So, you think baptism is a work?
Charlie:                   Pastor Tightship says if you have to do anything to get to Heaven, you’re saying, you’re working 
                               your way or earning your way to Heaven.
Preacher:                So Pastor Tightship says you have to work your way or earn your way into the Baptist Church?
Charlie:                   What do you mean?
Preacher:                Well, he says if you have to be immersed to get into Heaven it is working for or earning your 
                               salvation.  If that’s true, it follows if you have to be immersed to get into the Baptist Church you 
                               have to work you way or earn your way into the Baptist Church.  Doesn’t that follow, Charlie?
Charlie:                   Well I don’t know.  I’d have to think about that but we’ve become Baptists, Preacher.
Preacher:                Oh?  You became a Baptist?  Have you baptized anyone, Charlie?
Charlie:                   Oh no.  I never baptized no one.
Preacher:                Charlie, a Baptist is someone who baptizes people.  You know, like John the Baptist.  You’re not a 
                               Baptist unless you baptize someone.
Charlie:                   Well that’s just what we’re called.  It’s just kind of a way to identify ourselves.  Our son is going to 
                               be baptized.
Preacher:                Are you going to baptize him, Charlie?
Charlie:                   Oh, no.  You have to be an ordained, licensed Preacher to baptize in the Baptist Church.  It’s not 
                               like “your Church” where I’ve seen fathers baptize their children.
Preacher:                Well, the fathers are baptizing by the authority of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Charlie:                   Well, so does our Pastor.
Preacher:                No, he doesn’t, Charlie.  He baptizes by the authority of the Baptist denomination, not the Father, 
                              the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Charlie:                   No, we say it’s by the authority of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Preacher:                Well if that’s true, why don’t you baptize your son?
Charlie:                   Well, I can’t.
Preacher:                Why not?
Charlie:                   Well, I don’t have a license and I’m not ordained so I can’t baptize him into the Baptist Church.
Preacher:                Now think about what you admitted, Charlie.  Who gave Pastor Tightship the authority to baptize?
Charlie:                   Well, the Baptist denomination.
Preacher:                Right.  So your boy is being baptized by its authority not the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?  Your 
                              boy will not be baptized into Christ and His Church.  Only those they gave authority to baptize 
                              will baptize him into the Baptist denomination.
Charlie:                   Well, that’s not what the Pastor says when he baptizes him.
Preacher:                Well it doesn’t matter what he says.  The fact is, if he lost his license and ordination he could not 
                               baptize anymore into the Baptist Church.
Charlie:                   You’re confusing me.
Preacher:                Yes, I suppose I am but I’m trying to get you to think what you are doing.  You’re encouraging 
                               your son to be baptized into a denomionation instead of into Christ.  You’ve taken your boy to a 
                               Church that has told your son that he’s already saved and now will be baptized by a licensed 
                               preacher.  His license comes from a group of men instead of from the simple fact that he is 
                               following the Great Commission that every believer is commanded to obey.  You say we put an 
                               emphasis on water but attend a Church that says that only licensed persons can immerse people in 
                               water.  Your Church makes baptism an ordinance of the Church instead of an ordinance of Christ.  
                               One should not be baptized to fulfill the demand of the Church.   One should be baptized to fulfill 
                               the command of Christ.  It’s Christ’s ordinance, not a denominational initiation rite.  Baptism is 
                               into Christ’s death for the remission of sins.
Charlie:                   Well I really don’t see any reason to continue this conversation.  If I know you, it would be about 
                               weekly communion next.  Those are the two differences that I can see between the two Churches.
Preacher:                Well, you don’t want forget the choirs, the contemporary music and your decorum and strict rules 
                               of Pastor Tightship.  I mean those were the real reasons you left, right?
Charlie:                   Yes, we’re happier here at the Baptist Church.
Preacher:                Well, I just want you to put it all in perspective.  You’ve traded Biblical doctrine and practices, 
                               which Jesus did command for things Jesus did not command.  You’ve chosen a Church with a 
                               name that does not give Preeminence to Christ for one that did.  You’ve given the Bible plan of 
                               salvation for a denominational one.  You’ve chosen to let your son be baptized by a man licensed 
                               by men instead of the authority of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  You’ve chosen to not 
                               surround His table each week as His Holy Apostles instituted as proven by the Bible and  History 
                               for a hit-and-miss observance of it.  You have chosen a one man Pastor system, over the Eldership 
                               of the Church.  You’ve chosen to be a part of a denomination with an earthly headquarters instead  
                               of a locally autonomous Church as the Bible teaches.  You’ve forsaken the responsibility and 
                               privilege of baptizing those you’ve discipled to Christ and given it over to hirelings.
                               I think, Charlie that it is very sad that you’ve given up what God wants, for what you want.
Charlie:                   Well I just don’t see it that way.
Preacher:                 I know you don’t, Charlie and I am very sorry I’ve failed you.
Charlie:                   Well you haven’t failed, me preacher.  I just have different “wants” than your Church offers.
Preacher:                What was that you said, Charlie?  Different wants?
Charlie:                   Well, I mean….uh…
Preacher:                See, you said it, Charlie.  I don’t think you can fault the name of our Church because it gives Jesus 
                               preeminence.  Our polity is Biblical so is our message of salvation, for we preach Christ’s exact 
                              Charlie, you’ve traded those scriptural things for what you want.  I really encourage you to think 
                               out the ramifications of what you’ve done and what you’ve traded for what you want.  Goodnight 
                               and we will come back another night.  We love you and your family and we’re interested in your 
                               eternal salvation.
Charlie:                   Goodnight Preacher.  You are always welcome here in our home.
Preacher:                Let me pray before I go.

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