The Standard Manual For Baptist Churches Says “Now It Is Different”

Page 22 of the “Standard Manual for Baptist Churches” says “It is most likely that in the Apostolic age when there was but ‘one Lord, one faith, and one baptism,’ and no differing denominations existed, the baptism of a convert by that very act constituted him a member of the church, and at once endowed him with all the rights and privileges of full membership. In that sense, ‘baptism was the door into the church.’ Now, it is different ….” (Edward T. Hiscox).

What we all should want to know is “what made it different?” The Bible hasn’t changed. Why isn’t baptism still the door into the church (Acts 2:38,41,47, I Cor 12:13)?

This illustrates one reason there is so much religious division (I Cor 1:10) today. Perhaps sometimes division occurs because people have come to different conclusion about what the Bible teaches, but for the most part so many different churches and doctrines exist today because of the attitude expressed in the Hiscox quote above. Their standard is different. Some take the Bible as their authority and stick by it, while others think it is okay to deviate from God’s word … because “now it is different.”

I recently heard my friend Rick Duggin give a good illustration after reading the above quote. Hiscox is right that there was no such thing as any denominations in the very beginning but let’s just imagine that there were. Suppose a few days after the 3000 were converted and added to God’s church in Acts 2:38,41,47, a Catholic priest convinced 600 of them to accept Catholic doctrine and join the Catholic church. Suppose a Methodist preacher then convinced another 600 of them to accept Methodist church doctrine and join the Methodist church. And a Presbyterian preacher convinced another 600 to join the Presbyterian church. And finally a Baptist preacher convinced 600 of them to accept Baptist doctrine and join the Baptist church. What would you call the 600 still left who were converted to the Lord and added to His church, and decided not to join any denomination?

Picture yourself as one of the 3000 in that day. Wouldn’t you have wanted to stay with Jesus’ original church instead of leaving them (the doctrine of Christ – II John 9) and joining one of the denominations (John 17:20-22, Eph 4:3)? If yes, why not choose to do that today? You can still be a member of that church that existed in the beginning before any denominations existed. Contact me if you would like to talk further about it.

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