by: Timothy Davis Sr.
There have been many histories written in the 18th an 19th centuries about the antiquity of the Baptist brethren. The most notable of which was the lectures by the honored Baptist apologist J. M Carroll, who was the author of the book “The Trail of Blood” in 1931. He said in it’s title: “The History of Baptist Churches from the Time of Christ, Their Founder, to the Present Day”.
And he said it well. These Baptist brethren have existed well into the latter part of the 1st century and exist even today as Baptist churches. Their beliefs were simple in that, “the Bible says what it means, and means what it says”! I use that very statement to my own congregation this very day. Another statement that was carried down from my own forefathers was this; “If any way will do, no way will do just as well”.
Consider that last saying. If we try to worship any ole way, instead of the ways set down by the Savior and the Apostles, we might as well not do anything at all. These ancient brethren worshiped in Spirit and in Truth. There was no “formal” ceremonies of any type except the gathering of the brothers and sisters in one place often, to hear the word preached, compel the lost to receive salvation, partake of the Lords supper, and gather by water to baptize the new converts in Christ Jesus. There was no sacrament except the Blood of our Lord which was the price paid for our salvation.
I do want you to note that the Baptists were not the first of the churches, but were the results of the Apostles preaching to the Gentiles. The first church was the Messianic church established among the Jewish people by the Savior Himself, and we were second in creation to them. John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. So then my assertion is that the Baptist congregations sprang up from the Gentiles through the evangelism of Paul and other disciples. The very name Christian was given to the Gentile brethren at Antioch and this name has carried on, even through today.
As a point of reference, I’d like to bring out first and foremost, we don’t believe in Apostolic Succession. The office of the Apostle ended with the death of the Apostles. The Savior promised His churches that we would not cease to exist and He is the only Head of the Church. Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, (‘Petros’ Greek: Πέτρος – meaning a piece of the rock or shard) and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. There is no Pope, Council, nor board of Cardinals, or Bishopric, can lay claim to being an earthly head of the churches. The churches are autonomous (self governed) and answer to no one except the Savior in Heaven as it was in the infancy of the Church.