Historic Baptist Principles -- By: Richard V. Clearwaters

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 01:1 (Mar 1958)
Article: Historic Baptist Principles
Author: Richard V. Clearwaters

Historic Baptist Principles

Richard V. Clearwaters

President Central Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary

The “Apostolic Succession” of Roman Catholics is quickly denied by Bible truth; the “Apostolic Succession” of the institution of the local church is as quickly affirmed (Matthew 16:18).

We realize that many communions have majored in one or-more of the historic Baptist principles but we stand alone as a New Testament testimony to a communion that has never persecuted another but often suffered severe persecution for a complete body of distinctives. The Baptist distinctives are traceable from the time of Christ down through the Montanists, the Poor Men of Cathri, the Paterims, the Donatists, the Albigenses, the Waldenses, the Paulicians, the Arnoldists, and the Ana-Baptists, all of which under one name or another persisted as a New Testament witness from the time of Christ down to the present hour. They were not a product of the Reformation, nor were they changed by it except to receive their baptism of blood. These historic principles are the Separation of Church and State, Absolute Soul Liberty, the Sovereignty of the Local Body of Believers, a Regenerate Church Membership, Immersion as the One and Only Believers’ Biblical Baptism, and the Authority of the Bible as the Only Rule of Faith and practice. Is it any wonder that Cardinal Hosius (Catholic, 1524), President of the Council of Trent, recorded:

“Were it not that the Baptists have been grievously tormented and cut off with the knife during the past twelve hundred years, they would swarm in greater number than all the Reformers.” (Hosius, Letters, Apud Opera, pages 112, 113).

We would like to list each of these distinctives with a skelton outline and Scripture applying them to the situation of the present hour.

I. The Separation of Church and State is capable of only four possible relationships.

A. The church may be under the state, if the Roman Catholics have their way, as for instance in Spain, Italy, and Colombia, South America.

B. The church may be along-side the state in state-Church countries like the Lutheranism in Europe particularly as it is today in Norway and Sweden.

C. The third possibility is the state over the church as in a totalitarian country like Russia today.

D. The fourth possibility is the state and church shall both be utterly free, a free Church in a free State which allows no substitution of Freedom of Worship for Freedom of Religion. Also there are no restrictions on ministerial confidences with the exception of treason. And furthermore’ there is no simultaneous creation of C...

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