The New Evangelicalism’s Sectarianism Or New Testament Local Church Christianity -- By: Richard V. Clearwaters
CenQ 2:3 (Fall 1959) p. 35
The New Evangelicalism’s Sectarianism Or New Testament Local Church Christianity
President, Central Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary
(Message delivered at Annual C. B. Meetings, Cincinnati, Ohio, May, 1959)
TEXT: Acts 2:41–47
Local church Christianity has always been a “back-to-the-Bible” movement. This principle has made New Testament Christians throughout the ages “non-conformists.” Emerson said, “Whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist.” Church-history says, “Whoso would be a New Testament Christian must be a non-Conformist.” Our ancestors, the Ana-Baptists, were murdered more for their method of re-baptising than their message!
The ancient Locrians in Greece gave freedom of speech to all citizens—though at a cost which many must have considered too high. At public meetings, anyone could stand up and argue for changes in law or custom, on one condition. A rope was placed around his neck before he began to speak and if what he said did not meet with public approval, he was forthwith hanged. Ana-Baptists, our ancestors, were never in the “main-stream of Christianity”—they were non-conformists—they were a “back-to-the-Bible” people! They spoke with a rope around their necks! Our ancestors, the Ana-Baptists, were murdered more for their practice of re-baptism than their faith! Ana-Baptists began in Acts 19!
New Evangelicalism And The Judgment Of History
One of the leaders in the New Evangelicalism movement, not understanding this, recently is quoted as referring to the leaders of the Conservative Baptist Association of America as some boys playing craps under the stadium while the real game of Christianity was being played out on the field. As believers in Bible Fundamentalism we deplore the crass culture reflected in this illustration but we must admit of the truth it conveys. Ana-Baptists were protesters before there were any Protestants! The preface to the Wycliffe Bible in 1384 stated, “The Bible is for the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Arnold J. Toynbee declares that nineteen or twenty-one notable civilizations have died of decay from within, and not by conquest from without. The Scraff-Herzog Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, page 210, says, “The Baptists appeared first in Switzerland about 1523, where they were persecuted by Zwingli and the Romanists.” Obviously our ancestors were not then out on the field playing the big game of Christianity. The Peace of Westphalia, 1648, credited with bringing the Thirty Years War to an end was a precursor to a triple agreement
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