Making the Gospel Visible in the Church: Baptists Yesterday and Today

In Sunday School this past two weeks we looked at how baptism and the Lord’s supper relate to one another as ordinances of the Lord’s church. We also looked at the biblical need to have a credible profession of faith in order to be recognized by the church as a Christian and thus be baptized.

The emphasis of the teaching was on a few of the biblical issues involved but I also know that it can be encouraging to see how other stalwarts of the faith have handled the same issues. After all, Christianity was not born yesterday and these issues have been discussed and thought through for centuries by godly saints. So in that spirit, here are a couple of quotes from Charles Spurgeon (one of my personal heroes) from his autobiography.

“…I was invited to the communion table, although I had not been baptized. I refused, because it did not appear to me to be according to the New Testament order: ‘Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers’ I waited until I could go to the Lord’s table as one who believed, and who had been baptized.” p. 145.

“When I was a boy of fifteen, I believed in the Lord Jesus, was baptized, and joined the Church of Christ, and nothing would please me more than to hear of other boys having been led to do the same…Because I would wish every boy, who reads these lines to have a bright eye, a light tread, a joyful heart, and overflowing spirits, I therefore plead with him to consider whether he will not follow my example, for I speak from experience, and know what I say.

            Baptism is the mark of distinction between the Church and the world. It beautifully sets forth the death of the baptized person to the world…Then, the Lord’s Supper: how beautifully that ordinance sets forth the distinction of the believer from the world in his life and that by which life is nourished. He eats the flesh of Christ, and drinks His blood.” p. 146-47.


“Stevenson, in The Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, his Life and Work, makes it out that I joined the Baptist Church a year before I was baptized, but it was not so. I never dreamed of entering the Church except by Christ’s own way, and I wish that all other believers were led to make a serious point of commencing their visible connection with the Church by the ordinance which symbolizes death to the world, burial with Christ, and resurrection to newness of life…The outward sign has often served to bring vividly before mind and heart the spiritual meaning, and therefore it is dearly loved, for His sake who both ordained the ordinance and Himself submitted to it.” p. 150.


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