Posted by: Marty | June 13, 2011

The First Baptist Church in America

The Baptist Blogger,” Pastor Josh Davenport has done an excellent job of addressing the controversy over which church is the first Baptist church in America. This may seem like a non-issue to many people. It may even seem to be petty hair-splitting to others. Far from it. This controversy strikes at the heart of Baptist identity and Baptist distinctives.

If Baptists are to maintain our distinct identity, we must come to terms with “landmark-ism.” Baptists must deal with our doctrinal and historical identity or lose that identity; probably within the next generation. The ancient Waldenses allowed it to happen to them. We’ve seen it happen to the Southern Baptists over the past 100 years. Today, the SBC identifies itself as “evangelical, Protestant.” Increasing numbers of independent Baptists are following the pied “Pipers” of Calvinism, new evangelicalism, “purpose-driven,” and “emerging” philosophies.

At issue is really whether Roger Williams and the “church” he started were Baptist at all. Bro. Davenport hits this head on. The facts are: Roger Williams was baptized by Ezekiel Holliman, then Williams in turn baptized Holliman and ten others. It really doesn’t matter if Williams’ group did precede the church gathered by Dr. John Clarke. It never was a biblical, New Testament church! If we are to accept Williams’and Holliman’s self-baptism and the church they started as valid then millions of Baptist martyrs died in vain as “re-baptizers.” If Williams’ and Holliman’s defective baptism were valid then Baptists today have no biblical or logical basis for requiring that candidates for membership from other denominations be “re-baptized.”

*Note: This was originally posted at my old blog site.

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