Why Am I, A Baptist?
By J. H. Grime
This is written by the Author to comply with the following injunction:
“Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 peter 3:15
Read it and get your answer.
Blessings to all who may read these pages, is the prayer of the Author.
ELDER JOHN HARVEY GRIME
July 29, 1851 - August 8, 1941
This History of Alien Immersion and Valid Baptism was written by my father, Elder John Harvey Grime, who was for 66 years an active Baptist minister. It was published sixty years ago when my father was living in Ridgely, Tenn. Since the question of alien immersion continues to cause discord within the Baptist ranks, it is hoped that the re-publication of the information contained in these pages will serve to strengthen the convictions of genuine Baptists as they read of the interpretation, stand, and practice of Baptist stalwarts of other days. May the contents of this booklet continue to be an inspiration to all who have an appreciation for our Baptist heritage to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints". Jude 3rd verse.
Lebanon Tenn. 37087
January 15, 1969
Every person should be able "to give a reason of the hope that is in him." (1 Peter 3:15)
I might say negatively, that no hope of ostentation or worldly ambition impels me to be a Baptist. If I did not feel assured that I was following the teaching of God's word, and glorifying God in keeping my membership in a Baptist Church, I would certainly withdraw at once.
The first question I propound, is: Do Baptists hold the truth and the whole truth as it appertains to the Christian religion? There are two great systems of doctrine extant-Baptist and Catholic, but they hold nothing in common. If Baptist Churches are Churches of Jesus Christ, then Catholic Churches are anti-Christ. There is no compromise. It is clear cut, and no basis whatever to mix words Catholics and Baptists are antipodes.
Christian Catholics are anti-Christian. If the Church of Jesus Christ has a just claim of continuity, the Baptist or Catholic, one or the other, must form a link in the chain from 250 A. D. to 1520 A. D. Now to the record.
"There was a man sent from God whose name was John." (John 1:6) Isaiah, the prophet, 62:2, says: "And thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name." Baptist, is the only new name ever uttered by the mouth of the Lord, for his people. (Matthew 11: 11) This Baptist preacher (John the Baptist) commissioned in heaven by God himself came to "make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke 1:17) He made them ready, first, by preaching "repentance." (Matthew 3:2) Second, by demanding "fruits worthy of repentance" before he would baptize them. (Matthew 3:1-10) Third he included faith: "Saying unto the people, that they should believe on him that should tome after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." (Acts 19:4) Fourth, he gave the "knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins," (Luke 1:77) Fifth, he baptized them with (Greek in) water, they, confessing their sins. (John 1:3-33; Matt. 3:6) This Baptist preacher then "baptized the Lord-the head of the church." (Mark 1:9) Then the Lord took this material prepared for him by this Baptist preacher, who was commissioned by God for this purpose, and constituted the church; "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." (1 Cor. 12:28) These adverbs of time in this passage, show clearly that the apostles were set in the church before they were given power to work miracles,-"gifts of healings" and "diversities of Tongues." The record says: "And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would; and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils," (Mark 3:13-15) Then follow the names that make up the church roll.
Every piece of material that went into the construction of this church was prepared, and made ready to the Lord's hand, by a Baptist preacher, who received his commission direct from God himself. (Luke 1: 17; John 1:6) This Baptist preacher also baptized the Lord to be the head of the church (Mark 1:9). Then the Lord took the material prepared for him by this Baptist preacher and organized the first church himself being the head (Col.1:18). Christ, as head, then gave this church the limited commission "to the lost sheep, only of the house of Israel." He commissioned them to work miracles, and "preach, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew10:1-8). Under this commission they "made and baptized disciples" (John 4:1-2).
After his resurrection, and just before his ascension, he gave this same church the enlarged commission, to all nations, to make and baptize disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). This Baptist Church thus clothed with divine authority, started on this divine commission. But were told to wait until they were "endued with the power from on high." (Acts 1:4-8; Luke 24:49) This promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 1-13). On the day of Pentecost this Baptist Church began their work of making and baptizing disciples under the enlarged commission. Here is their process: Peter preached (Acts 2:14-36). The people heard (Acts 2:37). They were convicted-"pricked in their heart" (Acts 2:37). They came before Peter and the rest of the apostles as anxious enquirers-"Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). Then Peter said unto them, "Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). They are not yet ready for baptism, so Peter gives them the promise, but informs them that the promise is only to those whom "the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:39). They are still not ready for baptism. So Peter delivers to them a long exhortation: "With many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation" (Acts 2:40). During these exercises "they gladly received his word" (Acts 2:41). Now they are ready for baptism, and are baptized three thousand (Acts 2:41). Now, if you will picture in your mind the apostle Peter standing before a vast throng preaching the crucified Christ, and charging their sin upon them, and then, see at least three thousand convicted of their sin, and all broken hearted, crying out in the anguish of their souls: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" And then, see Peter step forth and lay the promises of the gospel before them in a long exhortation, and then, see the light burst in and hear them with exclamations of gladness receive his words; and then, see the apostle take these happy converts and baptize them, you will have the picture of a Baptist Church in operation under the commission of their Lord.
This church now begins to multiply and the Bible speaks of churches of Judea, churches of Asia. The battle of these poor Galileans banded together for the conquest of this world, now begins in earnest. -Through the centuries, that lie between then and now, they have waded through fire and blood. There is not a nation but what their soil, including our own, has been stained with Baptist blood. But we find them here today with the same doctrine and practice that characterized them in the days of Peter and Paul.
The Bible demands a continuity or perpetuation of the church established by Jesus Christ. The master said: "Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew16:18). Then when he gave the commission he closed with these words: "And lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). Again he said; "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14). Paul says: "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Eph. 3:21). I could produce much more along this line, but those who will not believe the Bible, Christ, and Paul, "would not believe, though one rose from the dead."
If anything is plain in the Book, these scriptures make it plain that the church established by Jesus Christ on the mountain in Galilee, has existed in every age through the centuries to the present. To do this, all the essentials must have remained in perfect order.
Perhaps many of our own people do not realize the wisdom of our form of government. The government of Baptists is the only form that renders church continuity possible. Continued perfection in human institutions is an impossibility. No hierarchy of any degree can perpetuate itself without change or flaw. With them a change or defect at one point effects the whole. But this is not so with the Baptists. The Bible knows nothing, and Baptists know nothing of a church bigger than a local congregation, and a church is a pure democracy: and amenable to no other institution in this wide world-convention, association, or council. As long as there is one church be it ever so small, that is adhering to the old paths, and loyal to Jesus Christ, the great head of the church, the church that Christ founded is being perpetuated. To illustrate: If every Baptist Church in Wilson County should go to the bad except Shop Springs, and she should remain true, the action of these others would in no way affect the Church standing of Shop Springs. The Baptists would be in perfect order, just as the misconduct of an individual Baptist, does not vitiate the Christian standing of another individual Baptist; neither does the condition of one church affect the standing of another church. The statement of these scriptures quoted above, is equivalent to saying that there never will be a time that there will not be a church tried and true some where giving God the glory. It is true just as Paul says: they "had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea moreover of bonds and imprisonments: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented: of whom the world was not worthy; they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth" (Heb. 11:36-38).
While this is a history of the Old Testament saints, it is as true as a prophesy of our forefathers. If you would go to the valleys of Piedmont, and the Alpine Caverns of Switzerland you could see the blood-stained trail of our forefathers as they worshiped in caves, hidden away from Catholic dragonades, just as wild animals seek to evade the huntsman's pursuit.
From the first rupture in the church, 250 A. D., that finally resulted in Catholicism, to the Reformation 1520, A. D., the true churches of Jesus Christ were known as Ana-Baptists and such other local names as their enemies gave them. They were not permitted to keep records or write their own history. But their enemies have said enough for us to gather a fairly good history.
Augustus Neander, a man of great learning, a German Lutheran, of Jewish descent, in Vol. 1. page 318 says: "Towards the close of the year 253, he (Stephanus the Roman bishop) issued a sentence of excommunication against the bishops (pastors) of Asia Minor, Cappadocia, Galatia, and Celica, stigmatizing them as Ana-Baptists (Greek "Anabaptistai").
These churches of "Asia Minor, Cappadocia, Galatia, and Celica," were no doubt the ones established by Paul and his associates.
In order to settle the question of the identity of the names, Baptist and Ana- Baptist, I quote from those not Baptist. Alexander Campbell in 1832 long after he had separated from the Baptists said: "Often were the Baptists called Ana-Baptists by their jealous rivals. But they successfully rebutted the calumny by showing that they never rebaptized any person whom they considered as having been once baptized." Millenial Harbinger, Vol. 2, page 593.
When our brethren sought an asylum from persecution in the American wilds, to their surprise they were persecuted equally as bitterly by the Church of England as Anabaptists, and the court records are under that same head.
The first Baptist Church planted on Georgia soil (Kiokee) was chartered as an Anabaptist Church. This church still stands and is a member of the old Georgia Association.
The two noted Baptist Confessions of Faith of 1644 and 1660 "are headed as the churches which are commonly (though falsely) called AnaBaptist." As soon as our brethren got from under the persecutors lash they dropped the prefix" ana," and have since been known as Baptists.
Cardinal Hosius, Catholic member of the Council of Trent, 1560 A. D., said: "If the truth of religion were to be judged by the readiness and boldness of which a man of any sect shows in suffering, then the opinion and persuasion of no sect can be truer and surer than that of the Anabaptists, since there have been none for these twelve hundred years past that have been more generally punished, or that have more cheerfully and steadfastly undergone, and even offered themselves to the most cruel sorts of punishment than these people," (Hosius Letters 112. 113) This carries our history back to 360 A.D.
In 1819 the king of the Netherlands appointed Dr. Ypeig, Professor of Theology in Grouigan University, and J. J. Dermont, his chaplain, to write the history of the Dutch Reformed Church. The Baptists figured in the matter until they made a statement concerning them closing in these words: "We have now seen that the Baptists, who were formerly called 'Anabaptists', and in later time 'Mennonites' were the original Waldenses, and who have long in the history of the church received the honor of that origin. On this account the Baptists may be considered as the only Christian community which has stood since the days of the apostles, and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrines of the gospel through all ages." These men were not Baptists. Did they tell the truth?
Alexander Campbell, in 1851, when he had been an ordained minister for forty years, and 15 years before his death said: "There is nothing more congenial to civil liberty than to enjoy an unrestrained, unembargoed liberty of exercising the conscience freely upon all subjects respecting religion. Hence it is that the Baptist denomination, in all ages and in all countries, has been, as a body, the constant asserters of the rights of man and liberty of conscience, "-Christian Baptism, page 409.
This brings me to say that Baptists have never persecuted anyone for their religious views, but have been the defenders of religious liberty for all alike.
Baptists have not only furnished their martyrs by the hundreds but by the thousands. It would beggar language to tell what they have suffered for their principles, and yet they have never retaliated. No one can put his finger on the Baptist that ever persecuted anyone for their religious convictions. But on the other hand they were the precursors of religious liberty. They have crimsoned the soil of every land with their blood at both the hands of Catholics and protestants, while they plead for religious liberty. As late as 1652 when Roger Williams published his reply to John Cotton's "Blondy Tenent" in London the Baptists stood alone on this question. Even Quakers wanted it modified. That you may see how protestants felt toward the Baptists I quote, Martin Luther said: "I am pleased that you intend to publish a book against the Anabaptists as soon as possible. Since they are not only blasphemous, but also seditious men, let the sword exercise its rights over them."
Melancthon in 1537 "advised death by the sword to all who professed Anabaptist views."
Zwingli, Heinrich Bullinger, persecuted the Baptists.
Baptists are not Protestants and never were in the sense that they came out of Rome. They are Protestants only in the sense that they have opposed Rome through the centuries since Rome came on the stage.
Protestantism has persecuted Baptists as bitterly as the Catholics, and more so here in America until the law staid their hand.
Bishop Holland N. McTyeire, a Southern Methodist, in his History of Methodism, in speaking of Baptist persecution in Virginia says: "The Baptists bore the brunt of persecution. They were beaten and imprisoned, and cruelty taxed its ingenuity to devise new methods of punishment and annoyance. But they stood it nobly." Hist. Methodism, page 250.
These same Virginia Baptists succeeded in engineering through Congress the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States that guarantees to all religious liberty today, of which we are all proud.
Christ suffered, to "purify unto himself a peculiar people" (Titus 2: 14). If one could get all that he can get in a Baptist Church elsewhere, there would be little excuse for him seeking membership in a Baptist Church. But here are some of the things that can not be had elsewhere.
1. Baptists have a divine origin. They were constituted into a church on a mountain in Galilee, by the Son of God himself. The only substitute that anyone has dared to offer is John Smith of England in 1609, A. D. But when we lay before them the Schleitheim confession of Faith, published in 1527, that is Baptist to the core, they are dumb.
2. That church has been perpetuated from that day to the present, strong like bodies springing from this head. 3. In history. There is no place that their history will stop this side of Christ and the apostles. There is but one real claim-the Catholics. But everyone who knows anything about church history knows that the first Pope was Boniface III in the seventh century. I have filed away, a private written discussion that I had with a Catholic, in which he started out with the affirmation that, "The Roman Catholic church as it exists today, was established by Jesus Christ himself, and the apostle Peter, was the first Pope." When I pulled the reins on him, and demanded the proof he was absolutely blank with nothing to offer but Catholic tradition.
4. No church bigger, and no authority higher than a local congregation. It is absolutely sovereign in its government.
5. A Democracy. So far as my knowledge goes a Baptist Church is the only absolute pure democracy in the world today.
6. Spiritual Membership. Baptists so far as I know, are the only people, who receive only those into their fellowship, and extend the ordinances to only such as profess to have been born of the Spirit.
7. Baptists have the only denominational name ever uttered by the mouth of the Lord. Isaiah says: And thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name." (Isa. 62:2)
8. Baptists not Protestants in the sense that they came out of Rome or ever had any connection with Rome. They were here before Rome was.
9. Baptists have never received State aid, or allied themselves in any form with the State. And yet strange as it may appear, this government of the United States was formed after a Baptist Church.
Thomas Jefferson, while a free-thinker himself, was accustomed to attend a little Baptist Church with Elder Tribble as pastor, to help the women and children. He became much interested in their democratic form of government, and later on incorporated it into the Constitution of the United States.
10. Baptists recognize John's baptism as Christian baptism. So far as my knowledge goes this is denied by all others, If the baptism of Jesus, the baptism of the apostles, and the baptism of the constituency of the first church was not Christian, Baptists would like to know what it would take to make Christian baptism?
11. Baptism performed by Baptists pass at par with all denominations. In this Baptists are peculiar.
Besides being peculiar in the above eleven counts. They have led in the following:
1. It was a Baptist-Betsy Ross, who made the first United States
flag - "Old Glory."
2. Marginal references in our English Bible were first prepared by a
Baptist, named John Canne in 1637.
3. "Pilgrims Progress," the most widely circulated book in the world apart from the Bible, was written by a Baptist-John Bunyan, while incarcerated in Bedford jail for being a Baptist, by the Protestant Church of England.
4 Baptists were the precursors of modern missions, it was William Cary that started the ball to rolling for the salvation of the heathen.
5. Baptists are a free people and have nothing but the free principle of love to hold them together in denominational fellowship. But can sing with the spirit, "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts In Christian love."
These are some of the things that make me a Baptist.
J. H. GRIME.