I thought I’d expand on this, because I touched on it yesterday.
The Baptist Brider is also sometimes called the Landmark baptist. They believe quite simply, the church at Jerusalem was started by the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry in Matthew 16.
No problem, that’s Biblical.
That will confuse a lot of you, because most people have been taught and believe in a universal, invisible Church that started in Acts 2. Both Matthew 16 and 18 are considered prophetic, and referring to Acts 2.
That’s what’s taught in the Schofield Reference Bible, and it’s what virtually everyone believes.
Except it’s not Biblical.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 (KJV)
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Matthew 18:17 (KJV)
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:47 (KJV)
Matthew 16 is indeed future tense.
Matthew 18 is PRESENT tense.
Acts 2 is Present tense, but referring to adding to something ALREADY in place! Just like Matthew 18.
So, when was the church created?
Immediately after the prononcement given in Matthew 16. Read the verses in context, you tell me. Open your Bible, and read.
Okay, now that we’re past that, we understand that the church was created by the Lord, during His earthly ministry.
The Brider teaches that unless your church can prove its lineage from that original church, its not a church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The exact terminology is that its one of the “daughters of the whore of Babylon” if it’s not planted by that authority. I think it’s pretty obvious that I don’t agree with that, and I think it’s a little bit far of a stretch from the Lord starting the church to making that kind of assumption. And certainly far reaching to base any kind of doctrines upon that.
If you join a Baptust church, and they start asking questions about who started that church, and who was their sending church (“Mother church”), and who was THEIR sending church (“Grandmother church”)… then wait for it… at some point the Pastor will make a comment about, “Well, we need to know if your Baptism was valid.”
Ding ding ding ding ding! Brider church.
Or the Pastor may make a comment about your old pastor, about “We don’t know if he had the authority to Baptize.” Or. “It matters who Baptizes you.”
Is a brider church bad? Depends on who you ask. Most of the time, no. My seminary, I think I’ve mentioned before, was Baptist Brider. It called for a serious hour of prayer whether I would continue with it or not. I finally was able to resolve it, and continued with it.
It just meant I rolled my eyes in exasperation A LOT when they talked about church successionism, authority to baptize, who started your church, etc. A couple of times I thought I’d have to go to the hospital to get my eyes back to normal!
Here’s the truth.
They’re half right. To a certain extent, we can trace the descent of the Jerusalem church to Antioch, and to Ephasus. Pudens and Claudia attended at Ephasus.
The first church in Wales was started by a man named Pudens, an old Welsh name. Claudia appears to ahve been a Roman wife he married. Pudens starting the first church in Wales, in the right time period, with a wife of the same name.
We can trace it that far.
The first Baptist church in America was started by John Clarke (not Roger Williams – there’s evidence that Williams knew of Clarke, and Williams started Providence Plantations. Clarke formed the first Baptist church in Newport the year before Williams). Most old Baptist churches in the US come from those two churches.
Both John Clarke and Roger Williams come from the UK. Wales is part of the UK.
That’s where it breaks down. There’s no real way to trace any link between the Welsh church and Clarke or Williams. As a matter of fact, the Briders like Clarke better than Williams, because they question Williams’ baptism.
Go ahead, roll your eyes. I know I did.
Briders admit all this. They accept there is no way to prove that their sending church came from Newport or Swansea Mass or even Providence. They admit there’s no way to prove that Puden’s Welsh church is in ANY way connected to Clarke or Williams.
They insist you have to take it by faith. I just can’t do that.
The problem is, I just can’t find their position in the Bible. There’s nothing in the Bible about “making sure your church is a true church”. There’s nothing about “making sure someone has the authority to Baptize.” There’s nothing about church successionism in the Bible.
I do see “Doctrinal succession” in the Bible. I do see much more emphasis on keeping doctrine pure, warnings that if your doctrines change that the Lord will remove your candlestick (make your church no longer a church).
That’s my position. If a Pentecostal church were to get a new pastor, or their current pastor were to stop and test EVERYTHING against scripture, and begin abandoning all things that were unBiblical, could they become a true Biblical and Baptist church?
Briders say no. The Pastor would have to go and get Baptized by someone with authority, then return and re-baptize everyone in the church. If this was so, then Paul would have baptized EVERYONE he converted.
I say – yes. If they truly abandoned the sign gifts that were put away, changed their doctrine to all Biblical, abandon anything unBiblical… separate from false teachers and false teachings… sure! They’d probably need to change the name from “Word of Faith Pentecostal” to “Faith Baptist”, though. And of course it would require testing everyone’s testimony against the Bible to verify if they’re saved or not. But that’s pretty much something I’d preach on very early in any church that hired me.
So, there you go. I’ve tried to write this article for several years, and I think I’ve summed up my posiition, and written it in a way where it won’t offend anyone.
Which pretty much guarantees it’ll offend EVERYONE.