Baptist Principles Vs. Interdenominationalism -- By: Ernest Pickering

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 03:3 (Fall 1960)
Article: Baptist Principles Vs. Interdenominationalism
Author: Ernest Pickering


Baptist Principles Vs. Interdenominationalism

Ernest Pickering

Professor of Systematic Theology

Central Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary

(Message delivered at annual meetings of Conservative Baptists in Boston, 1960)

For hundreds of years Baptists had no problem regarding their relationship to other denominations. They were a persecuted, hunted people, fleeing from the power of tyrannical religion. Ancient Baptists carried the banner of Gospel truth even through the period of the Dark Ages, meeting secretly, but evangelizing with remarkable success..

Since the rise of post-Reformation denominationalism Baptists have been faced with the problem of their relationship to other denominational groups. In the last fifty to seventy-five years the problem of interdenominational movements has been accentuated for fundamental Baptists in the United States. The growth .of fundamental interdenominationalism has been notable during this period and has produced a flood of mission boards, radio programs, schools, and other agencies. Its influence has extended into Baptist churches and affected the thinking of Baptist people. The spirit of the day is the spirit of “togetherness,” a spirit which declares, “Let us forget our differences so that we may all work together. “

The spirit of interdenominationalism is a pervasive one. It must be viewed in the light of Scriptural principles, those to which Biblical Baptists adhere.

To deny the great good which some interdenominational organizations have accomplished would be to deny obvious facts. Neither would anyone question the personal godliness of many interdenominationalists. But these matters are beside the point. The basic issue is this: Are the concepts, principles, and methods of contemporary, fundamental interdenominationalism true to the teachings of the Word of God? Are they compatible with the Baptist position which rests upon these teachings? A comparison of interdenominationalism with historic Baptist principles will serve to answer this question.

Biblical Baptists Affirm The Local Church To Be The Center Of God’s Work

The majority of times in which the word ecclesia (church) is used in the New Testament it is used of a particular, a local, church. One of the chief principles of Baptists through the ages has been the primacy of the “gathered church, “the local congregation composed of believers only. Our Baptist forefathers stedfastly maintained (in the face of dungeon, sword, and death) that the true church on earth is found in congregations of regenerated and baptized persons, and that these churches ar...

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