A Heritage of Faithfulness
My grandfather, Glen Wesley Smith, was an alcoholic. Thankfully, God saves alcoholics, and on Mother's Day, 1950, He saved my grandfather, and called him to preach, which my grandfather faithfully did from the following Sunday until his retirement in 1983. Even after retirement, he served as interim pastor at the First Baptist Church in Poteau, Oklahoma, where he grew up. He passed away in 1989.
Among the great treasures he passed down to me is a large satchel, filled to overflowing with sermons he typed himself. I probably have close to a thousand of these typed sermons, along with a couple of well-marked Bibles. Frome time to time, I like to thumb through these yellowed pages. It often makes for great study, and, as I don't really have clear memories of my grandfather in the pulpit, they serve as a way for me to visualize him there, preaching the Word.
Today, as I was thumbing through these old notes, I came across a sermon titled What We Believe about Baptism
. According to the hand-written notation on the back, he preached this sermon at Bethel Baptist Church (pictured) in Muskogee, Oklahoma, his first full-time pastorate, in September of 1955.
As there has been so much discussion on this topic, I thought I would let my grandfather speak. I readily admit that the section I quote here does not contain what some have called for, specifically, a scriptural reference explicitly linking baptism with church membership. But my grandfather articulates here what many of us believe, and I would say we logically infer from the clear teaching of scripture.
Why not any baptism?
People seeking membership in a Baptist church must be baptised by the authority of the local church. Why? It is easy to see that other churches have not followed the teachings of the New Testament on the matter, therefore we believe they have not been baptised - because we believe in the authority being proper - and these other churches that practice sprinkling and teach that you can lose your salvation are not teaching fully the New Testament. I realize that you, as the subject, could be a believer, but you see, the authority is not proper.
These people say that they want the church to receive them but they are actually asking the church to come to their terms. Instead of joining the church, they are asking the church to join them.