During the theological debate on September 30, I was asked this question:
What is the relationship between the Church of the Holy Apostles and the Baptist Church? Do you not see the need for historical continuity?
Baptist Church is the result of the returning of the Christians to the pure Christian teaching and living, as it was in the Church of the Apostles.
Faithfulness to the sound doctrine of God’s Word
Holy Apostles preached the Word of God of the Old Testament and the teaching they had heard and learned from the Lord Jesus Christ. They were moved by the Holy Spirit, inspired and used by God to write His Word in the books that now constitute the New Testament. In the Baptist Church only the Word of God is preached and no other books or doctrines of men are considered to have the same divine authority as the canonical books of the Old and New Testament have.
Holy Apostles did not know and did not preach the teachings of men that were later written by men, called “Holy Tradition” and that contradict each other and certain parts and doctrines come in contrast to the sound doctrine of God’s Word.
The apostles warned us in their writings about the dangers of deviation of Christians from the sound doctrine of God’s Word. Here are a few such warnings:
St. Jude wrote:
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. (Jude 1:3)(NASB)
On departure from Ephesus, when he fare welled to the elders, the apostle Paul said:
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:28-32)(NASB)
The apostle was very conscious about the trends that would occur in the church and he warned the disciples and urged them to remain faithful to the Word of God that contains everything we need for our spiritual edification and to inherit eternal life with all the saints. Contrary to the Word of God, the promoters of so-called “Holy Tradition” seek to ascribe to it the same authority as the Scriptures have and to convince us that without it we can not be saved and live a Christian life in all its fullness.
Baptist Church believes that the Word of God’s grace, contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are sufficient to spiritually build us and can give us salvation and an inheritance among all the saints.
About the historical continuity
Belonging of a person, group of people or denomination to the Church of Christ is valid as long as a person, group or denomination remain faithful to the teaching of the Holy Scripture. The Apostle Paul wrote in this regard as follows:
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.
Those who have strayed from the sound doctrine of the Apostles and invented and added another teaching which they have put at the same level with the Scriptures or they have even replaced the Scriptures, can not claim historical continuity. We are fellow citizens with the saints and people of God’s house as long as we remain built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, i.e. the teaching contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.
Here I would like to make an analogy. When we were a part of the former Soviet Union, those who loved this land and freedom started a national liberation movement. This movement was consolidated in a party whose leaders have changed over time and whose values and visions were different. At a certain stage, within that party they made decisions and then actions totally contrary to initial values and vision of the leaders who started the movement. Can such a party pretend the argument of historical continuity since they left the original values and vision? Maybe they come up with such “arguments” but they are untrue, just as that party has no historical continuity because it essentially became another one and kept for itself only the name and a history falsely attributed.
Baptist Church historical continuity is a continuity in the truth, because Christians of this denomination have chosen to return to the pure teaching of the Scriptures to preach and to live it.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru