By Roy C. Deaver
In view of the study already made regarding the Bible teaching on the essentiality of baptism, we need to consider now some of the consequences of the Baptist doctrine that one can be saved before and without baptism.
First of all, the teaching that baptism is not essential to one’s salvation means that the Baptist church is not necessary. Baptists teach that one can be saved without baptism, but that one cannot get into the Baptist church without being baptized…And, in which case the Baptist church is not necessary to one’s salvation.
Secondly, the Baptist idea that one can be saved without baptism means that it takes more to get into the Baptist church than it does for one to go to heaven. Baptists hold that one is saved by faith, the moment he believes, and that he is later baptized into the Baptist church because he has already been saved. If one can go to heaven because he is saved, and if one is saved by faith, and if one cannot get into the Baptist church without baptism—then, obviously, it takes more to get into the Baptist church than it does to go to heaven!
Thirdly, the doctrine of salvation without baptism means Baptist preachers cannot follow New Testament examples of conversion…The following quotation is from a book called The History of the Denton County Baptist Association and the Sixty Churches in Its Jurisdiction. This book was written by Mr. J. N. Rayzor, a prominent Baptist of Denton, Texas. The quotation is found on page 82. Here it is:
“An incident occurred in the Pilot Point church during Rev. J. B. Cole’s pastorate, which involved a point of doctrine that subjected Pastor Cole to criticism, and gave the incident much publicity and notoriety. Pastor Cole went fishing one day with a business man who was not a Christian, and he availed himself of the opportunity to talk to the lost man about his unsaved condition, and led him to an acceptance of Christ. Jo Ives, the man converted, said to Pastor Cole, ‘Here is water, what doth hinder me from being baptized?’ Obviously Brother Cole thought of the story of Philip and the Eunuch, and taking that incident an example, he led Mr. Ives out into the water and baptized him. Rev. Cole had been a Baptist but a short time and was not up on their conception of baptism, and how and when it should be administered. The news of the incident soon spread among the members, and then the show began. The following Sunday Mr. Ives presented himself to the church, asking membership, and his application was rejected and he was hurt at the action of the church and turned to another church which readily accepted his baptism. The criticism of the pastor caused him to ask a committee of eminent brethren to sit in judgment upon his conduct—Dr. A. J. Holt, J. B. Link, and R. C. Buckner. After reviewing the details of the incident they wrote the church, advising it to drop the matter, and Pastor Cole to go his way, but not to repeat the act.”
Note that Pastor Cole was advised by his eminent brethren never to follow this Bible example again. This is the story of a man who knew something about the Bible, and little about Baptist doctrine, and who thought he could follow a Bible example of conversion. But, he learned that such would not be tolerated.