> Distinctives > Two Ordinances
Sacraments administered in a liturgical setting are totally foreign to
the Baptist mind and, more importantly, to the teachings of the Scriptures.
In fact, the Word of God clearly teaches only two symbolic practices that
Christians are to regard and both are directly connected with corporate
worship in a local church.
Water baptism plays absolutely
no role in salvation. Only after someone has been spiritually regenerated
through the rebirth and professed their faith to a local body of believers,
may that person quality to be Scripturally baptized.
Baptism is symbolic.
It is an outward expression of the inward cleaning one has experienced
having been born-again by the Spirit of God. It is also a public
demonstration of one testifying of his/her faith in Christ before the church.
By this means, a believer is accepted into the membership of the church.
Most Baptist churches use baptism by full immersion following salvation
as a criterion for membership.
Baptists practice baptism
by full immersion, the mode used by John the Baptist. This consists
of the pastor asking the candidate for a verbal affirmation that they have
trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, followed by lowering him/her
in to the water backwards and then forward again to complete the symbolic
imagery of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Also, Baptists reject the
practice of baptizing infants (pedobaptism) because the Biblical symbolism
of this ordinance cannot be applied to any non-believer; especially an
infant. Until an individual reaches the age of accountability, they
are not held accountable for their sins. This is based on whether
or not the person is mentally capable of knowing right from wrong.
Thus, a person with severe mental retardation may never reach this age,
and therefore would not be held accountable for sins.
Recognition of baptisms by
other Christian groups vary. Some Baptist churches will recognize
adult baptisms performed in other orthodox Christian churches, while others
only recognize baptisms performed in Baptist churches. In rare instances,
a church may recognize only its own baptisms as valid.
This joyful ordinance of
the church and it's symbolic meaning are retained when those who have trusted
Christ as their Saviour are welcomed into the fellowship of the local church.
| "Then they
that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were
added unto them about three thousand souls." ~ Act 2:41
we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised
up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk
in newness of life." ~ Romans 6:4
one faith, one baptism," ~ Ephesians 4:5
|THE LORD'S SUPPER
This ordinance of the church
is also symbolic according to the Scriptures. Unlike Roman Catholic
"communion" (bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ - transubstantiation)
or the Orthodox churches "eucharist" (bread and wine co-exist as His body
and blood - consubstantiation), the Baptists see the elements of this ordinance
as a Biblical metaphor.
When Jesus presented these
same two elements at the last supper, he said, “this is my body . . .this
is my blood” (Matthew. 26:26-28), he could not have been speaking in literal
terms. He still possessed his literal body and blood.
Being able to destinguish
between language that is to be understood figuratively as opposed to literally
is essential to accurate Biblical interpretation. Metaphors have
always been a common characteristic of language.
For example, Jesus referred
to Herod as a “fox” (Luke 13:31-32). Who would attempt to make the
case that he thought the king to be a four-legged animal with a bushy tail?
Christ once said: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5).
Was He under the misconception that He was related to a plant and that
we were physically connected to Him? Likewise, when Jesus referred
to the elements of the Lord's Supper as being His body and blood, he was
using a metaphor; a symbolic likening of his sacrificial death on the cross
to those thing that will remind us of what He did for us when we partake
of them when God's people gather together to worship.
How often are we to serve
the Lord's Supper? Every day? Every Sunday? Once a year?
The Scriptures state that "as often as ye eat this bread, and drink
this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come (1 Corinthians 11:26)."
Therefore, no specific instructions are given as to the frequency that
this ordinance is to be administered. However, Baptists usually observe
it once a month to once a quarter. They are very hesitant to serve
it more often due to their observation regarding Roman Catholocism have
made it central to their worship and surrounded it with liturgies beyond
the obvious intent of the Scriptures regarding it.
This solemn ordinance of
the church and it's symbolic meaning are retained when administered as
a time of remembrance. The poignant moments of meditation on what
Jesus endured to accomplish our salvation truly places the correct emphasis
on why He asked us to remember Him whenever we observe the Lord's Supper.
| "For I have
received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord
Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when
he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body,
which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the
same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup
is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in
remembrance of me." ~ 1Corinthians 11:23 to 25
|Slippage Questions: The
Two Ordinances of the Church
we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard,
lest at any time we should let them slip." ~ Hebrews 2:1
|Does the church you attend baptize believers
only by immersion?
|If your church baptizes infants, can you
prove from the Bible that the practice of doing so is correct?
|If your church baptizes using sprinkling
or pouring, can you prove from the Scriptures that any other method than
immersion is Biblical?
|Do you accept baptizing infants or using
sprinkling and pouring just because you were told it is right or did you
study the Bible yourself to make that determination?
|The Lord's Supper
|Which view (symbolic, consubstantiation,
transubstantiation) is held by the church you attend?
|Can you prove using the Scriptures that
it is the correct one?
|Is your view of how the Lord's Supper
is to be understood one that you have been told is true or have you studied
the Bible for yourself to make that determination?
|Do you understand the importance of the
Lord's Supper as one who has truly been born-again or is it simply a nice
religious ceremony instead of a time of soul searching, meditation, and
remembering Jesus' suffering and sacrifice?