Monday, May 14, 2012

US Church Historical Guesses Turned Fact - Part I

Franklin Wilson, D.D. wrote through the American Baptist Publication Society a booklet on Baptist principles.  The name of this work, drum role...: The Final Triumph of Baptist Principles.  It may seem silly to us to hear that kind of title in a jaded not only church culture, but American culture, but given when he wrote it, in the US church life, it was predictive almost.  The size of Baptists went from practically nothing on to become a huge set of denominations today (there lots of kinds of Baptists, unlike Catholics who are in one under the Pope/Cardinals, for instance). 
So what did he say?  Dr. Wilson guessed (quiet well) how principles of Baptists should lead to their churches' growth and success over a long-period of time.  Again, keep in mind this booklet was written in 1890!  Keep in mind this has --not-- been the case for many or most denominations.
He begins with an example of the massive growth (then) amoung Swedes getting saved/switching polity to the Baptist church in Sweden. This in spite of persecution by Lutherans and the growth taking place in the 1850's-1890's.
The first reason for Baptist triumph is that they "appeal to the Bible, and the Bible only, as their rule of faith and practice. Obedience to the inspired Lawgiver is one of their cardinal principles."
From what I can understand, the second principles is this: "the concessions of Pedobaptist scholars, historians, and divines of nearly every sect and nation in Christendom who, though seperated by oceans, continents, and generations from each other, and defending infant sprinkling on various grounds, have been compelled as honest men to confess that it is not found in the Holy Scriptures."
Then he moves into consideration of history and argument building as something that is situated on the Bible for making it a good argument. Then comes the "inference that such a cause, with all other inspired truth, will eventually triumph. We confess that the obstacles seem so overwhelming that, from a merely human point of view, the conversion of the world to the pure gospel is the most Quixotic of all enterprises. It has to encounter the native depravity of the human heart...." Etcetera.

So then we see that the Baptist case will triumph so long as it is faithful to the inspired Bible. I am in agreement with Franklin Wilson in as much as I have had a chance to read here. The reason Baptists have not triumphed is that they have abandoned the Bible for 80+ years in the SBC (in the US anyways) until recently. However one could imagine that biblical fidelity will prove profitable because God blesses His Word. Indeed, Baptist scholar Thomas Nettles sometimes mentions the same conclusion that Franklin Wilson here comes to in this booklet. I don't know if he agrees with him in everything, but Dr. Nettles does at least in that conclusion line up with Wilson, D.D.

How do you see it? Any brave Presbyterians or Catholics out there who disagree?

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