From Edward

I had the opportunity to peruse a very interesting new book by one Dr George Ella, a Yorkshireman who has lived in Germany for the past 45 years or so, and who holds degrees from Swedish, English and German universities. He has always worshipped in Baptist churches, including in the USA for a while. His book is on The Covenant of Grace and Christian Baptism, and is a strong critique of the Baptistic understanding and practice. He told me that he was at a church in Oregon when a new minister was appointed. The man asked his congregation, ‘Who here has been not baptised by a Southern Baptist minister?’ Nearly all the congregation put up their hands. ‘You will all need to be baptised again’, he said. One lady told Dr Ella that she had already been baptised EIGHT times, and with his encouragement told the minister. On being told that a refusal to submit to his baptism would mean denial of access to the Lord’s Table she replied, ‘I have been bapstised already in obedience to my Lord Jesus. I shall be so again in obedience to you’, and she submitted. Dr Ella commented wryly that this would hold her and the rest of the congregation only until another new minister is appointed, at which it would start all over again.
I realise that to us in the UK, who perhaps know those who call themselves Covenantal Baptists, this seems hard to believe. Yet the effect of this is to show that Baptists are (or are in real danger of becoming) cults of particular ministers, perhaps of denominations, and certainly of a mode which (as Dr Ella’s book shows) is indefensible from Scripture. Baptism does indeed seem to replace justification by faith.


2 thoughts on “From Edward

  1. I mentioned this to a Baptist pastor friend, and repeated Roger’s comment in a previous post that in Baptist circles, the practice of ‘believers” baptism has replaced justification by faith. He replied that he rather thought it had in many Baptist churches!

  2. I wonder if justification has ever been a big issue in Baptist Churches. Seriously. The Reformed Baptists still speak in term of making a decision rather than faith and obedience. They are deeply existentialistic that way.

    In the early 90s I did a few locums in two RB churches in South Africa, one in Durban and the other in Northern Natal. I preached justification by faith alone, and the Durban of TRs decided that I am a heretic because they had never heard it before!

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