The Baptist Pillar ©      Brandon Bible Baptist Church     1992-Present

"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

State of the Baptist Witness

Chester E. Tulga

From the Baptist Challenge as printed in the Plains Baptist Challenger, March 2014

The state of the Baptist witness in this country is deplorable and in some places, tragic. It is a witness largely divorced from the clear teachings of the New Testament, and a witness having very little knowledge of the historic past of the people called Baptists.

There was a time when the Baptist witness was basically theological. Its glory was its faithfulness to the Word of God, its concern that its practices be true to the Word of God, and that its people should display in their lives the type of conduct that becomes the sons of God.

The Baptist witness today is no longer theological. There are those who are more conscious of their geographical origin, than they are to be true to the doctrines and principles of the Word of God. There are those who are denominational Baptists rather than theological Baptists, and often their Baptist testimony is undermined and even corrupted by their denominational loyalties. The truths that made Baptists a great people were not denominational pronouncements and policies however praiseworthy, but their unwavering testimony to the great doctrines and principles of the Scriptures.

The Baptist witness is often muffled today by a preoccupation with that churchless Christianity which is more and more characterizing interdenominational fundamentalism. In the old days, agencies and institutions were considered arms of the churches, not their masters as happens in many denominations. They were established by the churches, not by ambitious and often irresponsible individuals whose only interest in the local church was to exploit it for their promotional ends.

Interdenominational independency has become a bewildering forest without rhyme or reason. The local church is besieged with petitions for support. In some cases they have become serious competitors for the dollar, often leaving the local church a bad second in its bid for support.

The true Baptist witness was always a scriptural witness and always a witness to the primacy of the local New Testament church. Are Baptists losing their distinctive character in the multitude of their miscellaneous associations, and losing their distinctive witness in the interests of a fuzzy-wuzzy religious fellowship? Are Baptists losing their witness to a New Testament church in the interests of religious fellowship and leaving the matter of the church to the choice of the individual?

The Baptist witness today is in danger of yielding to a churchless Christianity, giving priority to human agencies over the local church, and giving up its distinctive views in the interests of a standardless fellowship.

All of this has been furthered by the neglect of true Baptists to keep the old Baptist classics in print, to keep the Baptist witness clear by frequent articles, to settle for interdenominational tracts and leave Baptist tract societies die, and the pre-occupation of fundamental Baptist papers with denominational chores. Baptists are often willing to keep silent on the distinctive Baptist doctrines and principles in the interest of a wider fellowship, so the Baptist light now shines dimly.