Sometimes in a series like this we discuss denominational pride, or in our case, believing that Independent Baptists are the only ones who are serving the Lord in an effective way. In recent articles we mentioned the extreme Baptist Brider position and its more common counterpart, the belief that we must separate from any who are not Independent Baptists. As you would imagine, once you start down that road the next step becomes separating from Independent Baptist who are not Independent Baptist enough.
I am on record as an Independent Baptist who finds that wrong, an example of misguided thinking and unbridled pride. Instead of exposing that as pride in this article, however, I would like to offer a fact that should be faced in any discussion on this subject. Maybe I should put it as a question.
How do you explain the mighty things God has done in other Christian groups? Further, how do you explain the incredible faith, love of Christ, and wonderful service of individuals in other Christian groups?
How do you explain Hudson Taylor, or George Mueller, or Jonathan Edwards, or George Whitefield, or John Wesley? These Christians were men of faith, but not Baptists. Human? Yes, but they are some of the choicest servants of Christ ever and only a twisting of the facts could state otherwise.
I began thinking of these questions as I was reading and reviewing The Korean Pentecost this week. It is the story of Presbyterians, some men I had never heard of, who took the Gospel to Korea. In 1865 Robert Taylor took passage on a boat up into Korea to take Bibles and be one of the first missionaries there. After being able to give out Bibles at a few stops, rumors took fire that this boat crew came to rob the Koreans. Long story short, when the boat grounded and was set on fire by the Koreans, the crew took its only chance and charged the shore with weapons. They all died. It wasn’t until missionaries returned years later that it was discovered what happened. They were told the story and how all the crew were killed. They recounted, though, that one man came ashore without weapons but arms filled with Bibles where he handed out all he could before he died.
The other extraordinary thing about that story was that the missionaries discovered many pockets of believers where that man handed out the Bibles. Who could deny that God’s hand was incredibly upon that man who gave his life for his Savior? As that Presbyterian work continued through the years, an incredible revival came, which was followed by persecution where many other bold believers gave their lives for Christ.
So back to our question. If God’s hand is only upon we Independent Baptists, how can this and the many stories like it be explained? God has blessed the work of Baptists. He has blessed the work of others. The Lord has sent revival to Baptists. He has sent revival to others. Baptists have given their lives for Christ. So have others. We have an incredible heritage, but so do others.
We can, of course, disagree on a few points in our efforts to be true to Scripture as best we understand it. In the case of those Presbyterians, we would differ from them on Baptism, church polity, and a few other things, but that in no way proves our superiority over them. Again, that tracing of God’s hand in both groups makes that an opinion that cannot be logically held.
So we must humble ourselves and drop a belief that cannot possibly be true. This is a truth we Baptists should never forget.
Find all articles in the series here.