Baptists: The Church

Robert Lewis
Dec 25, 1999

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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 16:13-18

Some people say that denominations are visable representations of the ecclesia in glory or the general assembly of the firstborn in heaven mentioned in Hebrews 12:23, or such figures as the “body,” “flock,” or “Bride of Christ.”

Luis Entzminger quoted Baptist scholar and long time Texas Pastor, B. H. Carroll, “. . .the only existing representative or type of the ecclesia in glory is the praticular assembly on earth.” And because each and every particular assembly is the representation, or type, of the general assembly, to each and every one of them are applied all the broad figures which pertain to the general assembly. That is such figures as “the house of God,” “The Temple of the Lord, “the body,” the “flock,” or the “bride of Christ.”

The New Testament applies these figures just as freely and frequently to the particular assembly, by itself alone, but never to all of the particular assemblies collectively.

There is no unity, no organization, nor gathering together and, hence, no ecclesia of particular congregations collectively.

So the term ecclesia cannot be rationally applied to all denominations collectively, nor to all living professors of religion, nor to all living believers collectively.

In no sense are any such unassembled aggregated ecclesia. None of them constitute the flock, bride, temple, body or house of God, neither as a type of time or a reality of eternity.

These terms belong exclusively either to the particular assembly now or the general assembly hereafter.[1]

Noel Smith, founding Editor of the Baptist Bible Tribune said: “When you turn to the New testament what do you find? You find that when the church assumes concrete shape and form it is the form of a local , organised, visable, independent, complete assembly.”

In the New Tersatment you don’t find “the church” at all; you find churches – The Church at Jerusalem, the Church at Antioch, the Church at Corinth, the Chruch at Ephesus, the Chruch at Philippi. There are CHURCHES of Galatia, and the CHURCHES of Asia.

You don’t find the Southern Missionary Baptist Church. You don’t find the General Baptist Church. You don’t find the Roman Catholich Church, You don’t find the Episcopal Church. You don’t find the Pentecostal Church. You don’t find the Methodist Church. You don’t find the Presbyterian Church. You don’t find the Foursquare Church. You don’t find the Central Asembly. In the new Testament you find only LOCAL CHURCHES. And you find local churches from Jerusalem clear to the last chapter of Revelation. “The church” is not a New Testament term. It is not New Testament language. The New Testament term is CHURCHES.[2]

Founder and first president of the United States of America was George Washington. He is known for his honesty.

The 2nd President of the United States was John Adams who fought in the Revolutionary War against England.

The 3rd President of the United states was Thomas Jefferson who helped to forge out the Declaration of Independence.

The 7th President of the United States was Andrew Jackson who fought valiantly in the war between the states.

The 16th President of the United States was Abraham Lincoln who abolished slavery and led a great civil war in order to do so.

The 18th President of the United States was Ulysses S. Grant who, under Lincoln, liberated the south and unified the states.

These are the men that have held the office. Now we have William Jefferson Clinton: Draft doger; moral hypocrite communist sympathizer.

Matthew 16:18 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.

Jesus was the first one to hold the office of a Bishop! He was the First New Testament Pastor! He is the pattern for us to follow!

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
1 Timothy 3:1-7


So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Romans 14:12

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
1 Peter 4:1-5

“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



“…the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

When our presidents face the enemies of the freedom and world powers who would like to enslave the citizens of this great country they can look back to some great men who have suffered and even died to ensure that the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness continue to be available for the next generations. They may even draw strength thinking about those great men of history.

When there is internal strife and discontent they can look back to the magestic and heroic deeds of our forefathers to guide them in the pursuit of happiness.


“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”
Romans 11:13

“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
1 Timothy 3:1

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
1 Peter 5:2-4



John Murton (Leader of one of the first Baptist churches of England)

“The rule of faith is the doctrine of the Holy Ghost contained in the sacred Scriptures, and not any church, council, prince, or potentate, nor any mortal man whatsoever.”

Benjamin Keach (Early Baptist dissenter in England, circa 1640)

“The Bible evidences itself to be God’s Word by the heavenliness of its doctrines, the unity of its parts, its power to convert sinners and edify saints; but the Spirit of God only, bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in our hearts is able to persuade us that the Bible is the Word of God.”

John Gill (Famous Baptist pastor in London and author of The Body of Divinity)

“Let us therefore bless God that we have a better rule and guide to go by; more sure word of prophecy to take heed unto. Let us have constant recourse unto it, as the standard of faith and practice.” (Body of Divinity, p. 25)

Andrew Fuller (Baptist pastor, author of The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, and close friend of William Carrey)

“If the Scriptures profess to be Divinely inspired, we must receive them as such, or if we would be consistent, disown the writers as impostors,  as the sacred writers considered themselves as Divinely inspired, so they represented their writings as the infallible test of Divine truth.” (Works, Vol. 2, p. 196)

Adonirum Judson (Baptist missionary to Burma, circa 1800’s)

“The Word of God is the golden lamp hung out of heaven, to enlighten the nations that sit in darkness.  The Bible, in the original tongues, comprises all the revelation now extant which God has given to this world. This perfect book is the sacred deposit in the hands of the church.  Woe be to him that attempts to obscure the light of the lamp of heaven.”

Francis Wayland (President of Brown University, circa 1850’s)

“Preaching proceeds upon the supposition that the Bible is the Word of the living God. This is the truth which the minister of the Gospel is sent forth to utter. This is the beginning, the middle, and the end of his teaching.”

J.L. Dagg (One of the first writing Southern Baptists)

“God Himself is the author of the Bible. When we read its sacred pages, we should realize that God speaks to us, and when we suffer it to lie neglected, we should remember that we are refusing to listen to God.” (Origin and Authority of the Bible, p. 28)

Basil Manly Jr. (One of the four original professors of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the first president of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

“The doctrine which we hold is commonly styled Plenary Inspiration or Full Inspiration. It is that the Bible as a whole is the Word of God, so that in every part of Scripture there is both infallible truth and Divine authority.” (The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration, pp. 59-60).

Charles Spurgeon (The Prince of Preachers)

“We who believe the Holy Scripture to be the inspired truth of God cannot have fellowship with those who deny the authority from which we derive all our teaching.” (Sword and Trowel, Nov 1887, p.559)

B.H. Carroll (Founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)

“It has always been a matter of profound surprise that anybody should ever question the verbal inspiration of the Bible. When you hear the silly talk that the Bible contains the Word of God and is not the Word of God, you hear a fool’s talk. I dont care if he is a Doctor of Divinity, a President of a University covered with medals from universities of Europe and the US, it is fool’s talk.” (Inspiration of the Bible, p. 20)

But when you and I who are called by His marvellous Grace into His Glorious work, are faced with demonic activity; when we are faced with desperate men; when we have trouble on every side; when we are cast down and seem to be forsaken; when we are seemingly without hope and without God in this world; when all men have forsaken us, then we can look back in history far past any of the human founders of movements in our generation; past the great leaders of the Cvil War; back past the Revolutionary War, the Reformation, and, yes, back past the first century to our Founder, our Captain, our Commander in Chief, who said, “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FARSAKE YOU!”


1. Every time you read this book THE AUTHOR IS PRESENT!

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
John 5:39


The text from which John Bunyan preached to the multitudes:

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” – John 6:37

The text that saved William Cowper from suicide:

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” – Romans 3:24-25

The text that made Martin Luther the hero of the Reformation:

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” – Romans 1:17

The text that comforted the troubled soul of John Wesley:

“And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.” – Mark 12:34

The text that made David Livingstone a missionary:

“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 28:19-20

The text to which John Knox anchored his soul:

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” – John 17:3

The text that gave William Carey a world vision:

“Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes” – Isaiah 54:2

The text that made William Penn a conqueror:

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” – 1 John 5:4

The text on which Michael Faraday staked everything

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” – 2 Timothy 1:12 (The Sword of the Lord, March 6, 1998)

2. Every time you meet in a New Testament Assembly THE FOUNDER IS PRESENT!

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us‑ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
Ephesians 1:17-23

“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

3. Every time a sinner repents the Savior reaches down to save him and the angels of God in heaven rejoice!

4. Every time a sheep goes astray the CHIEF SHEPHERD GOES TO SEEK HIM.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28


“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
John 8:12

6. Every time a heart breaks the healer of broken hearts stands by ready to mend it with His wonderful Grace!

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. . . . .”
2 Corinthians 12:9

7. Every time a prodigal son comes to himself and comes to his father, there STANDING WITH OPEN ARMS IS A HEAVENLY FATHER WAITING TO KISS AWAY HIS TEARS.

“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
Luke 15:24

When Jesus said, “I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH,” He meant what He said!

“And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)”
Acts 1:13-15

“Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 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.”
Acts 1:21-22

Jesus was baptized by John

The Early Disciples

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

“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Acts 2:47

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”
1 Corinthians 12:18

“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
Psalm 127:1

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Zechariah 4:6


[1]B.H. Carroll, “Ecclesia, The Church, Studies in the New Testament Church,” by Luis Entzminger, (Fort Wrth, TX: Self-published, 1947) p.23.

[2]Noel Smith, “New Testament Christianity, Part IV: Church or Churches?” Baptist Bible Tribune (Springfield, MO.) Vol. VI, No. 3 July 29, 1955, pp. 45.

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