HyperLink HyperLink
Has Christ Commanded Non-essential Ordinances? Is Anything Christ Commanded Non-essential?

"Because a doctrine is not fundamental, it does not necessarily follow that it is unimportant. The Lord of the house has settled this point in those striking words of His, 'Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 5:19). An obedient child will not say, 'Which command of my heavenly Parent may I be allowed to break?' but, 'Let my heart be sound in Thy statutes, that I be not ashamed' . . ."
Preface - Page 3
Strict Communion and Were Christ's Disciples Baptized?
(London: 1841).

"Whether men understand us or not, we are bound to obey God in everything. No command which He has given can be so unimportant that we are at liberty to disobey it at our pleasure. When the finger of God points out the way, no place is left to us for human preference. And when we know the will of God, we are not only bound to obey for ourselves, but also to teach others to obey, so far as they are brought under the influence of our instruction . . . .The man who can disobey God, because the thing commanded is of minor importance, has not the spirit of obedience in his heart; and the man who, knowing the will of God, forbears to declare it, because the weight of human authority is against him, fears men more than God."
Pages 299-300
A Treatise on Church Order.
(Charleston, SC: S.B.P.S., 1858).

". . .if it [baptism of believers] is once accounted an indifferent thing, that may, or may not be done; that it is unnecessary and unessential to church-communion, to which persons may be admitted without it, they will be under the temptation wholly to omit it, rather than incur the trouble, shame and reproach that attend it. . . .When they talk of baptism not being essential to salvation, who says it is? But will this tolerate the abuse, neglect or omission of it? Is any thing relating to divine worship essential to salvation? But what, must it all be laid aside because it is not? Is not this an idle way of talking? It is a rejecting the pattern which Christ has given us, and a trampling upon His legislative power and authority. Is this doing all things according to His direction, when we step over the first thing, after believing, that is enjoined upon us? Is this not making too free with His legislative power, to alter His rules at our pleasure? And what else is it, but an attempt to jostle Christ out of His throne? It is no other than an imputation of weakness to Him, as if He did know what was the best for His churches to observe. . . .Let such remember the case of Nadab and Abihu. In matters of worship, God takes notice of those things that seem but small, and will contend with His people upon that account. A power to dispense with Christ's ordinances, was never given to any man, or set of men or churches upon earth. An ordinance of Christ does not depend upon so precarious a foundation, as persons having, or not having light into it."
[in refuting the idea that 'differences in judgment' about water-baptism should not be a bar against evangelical church fellowship and communion with saints as saints]
Chapter 8 - Pages 235-236
The Ancient Mode of Baptism By Immersion, &c.
(London: Aaron Ward, 1726).

     "What is the exact relation of baptism to the salvation of the soul? The relation is the same as that of any other duty, neither less or more. Its importance as a duty does not give it the least importance as a saviour. It holds high rank in one department, and no rank at all in the other. Duties may vary in their relative importance, but they do not vary in their lack of power to save, or to do anything toward saving. In that respect duties are all alike.
It may throw some light on the whole subject to answer the often-asked question, 'Is baptism essential?' The answer to this question will be nothing more than repetition, in different form, from what has been already said; but a difference of form may be exactly what is needed.
The question as it stands is unintelligible. The word essential impies relationship; and relationship implies two objects of thought, for if there were only one object, relationship would be impossible; and in the question asked only one object is presented -- namely baptism; the question is therefore incomplete and can not be answered as it stands. He to whom it is addressed may well ask, 'Essential to what?' If the inquiry be as to whether baptism is essential to salvation, the answer has already been given, 'It is not essential!' If the inquiry be, 'Is baptism essential to duty?' That answer has also been given, 'It is essential!' Another inquiry suggests itself, and that is, 'How can a thing be essential to duty and yet not be essential to salvation?' This question implies forgetfulness of the whole scheme of redemption. Absolute obedience in every jot and tittle is essential to duty; but if absolute obedience be essential to salvation, then none will be saved, for there is none righteous, no not one. Our only hope is that our shortcomings in regard to duty, or to anything else, are atoned for by the precious blood of Him who died for us, and gave Himself for us, and bare our sins in His own body on the tree. 
It is aside from present purposes, but it may not be amiss to say to those who speak of nonessentials, that if the word nonessential is not connected in their minds with some other word, their language is meaningless, and they deceive themselves by supposing that they are saying something when they are saying nothing. 'Nonessential to what?' That is the question. Without an expressed or implied answer to this, the word nonessential conveys no idea whatever. When they speak of this or that being nonessential, do they mean nonessential to salvation? If so, let them remember that it may still be essential to duty. And to speak lightly of duty is to speak lightly of law, and to speak lightly of law is to speak lightly of God. Let us therefore be careful in speaking of nonessentials, lest we fall into the folly of talking about nothing, or fall into the sin of casting contempt on the Holy Law of God."  
Pages 12-14
The Position Of Baptism In The Christian System
(Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1879)


Archived Content (click to view)

Experience Does Not Establish Truth - 10/8/2003 12:00:00 AM
Why Win Protestants To Baptist Views? - 12/15/2004 12:00:00 AM
What Is Christian Unity: Unity with Truth or Unity at the expense of Truth? - 12/11/2005 12:00:00 AM
Has Christ Commanded Non-essential Ordinances? Is Anything Christ Commanded Non-essential? - 7/18/2007 12:00:00 AM
The Nature and Attributes of God - Supremacy - 9/18/2009 12:00:00 AM
About Us | Catalog | Free Material | Ordering | Contact Us | Helping Us | Home

Copyright 2019  The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc.  All Rights Reserved. Contact Us