In today’s Throw Back Thursday this article was written by G. Adam and John Caldwell and published in “The Witness”, March 1904. Section titles have been added by the assemblyHUB editors.
A believer sees the truth of baptism, and is anxious to be baptised as soon as an opportunity presents itself. In the meantime, is there any reason why he/she should not be received at the Lord’s Supper?
No scripture to force the issue
It would appear that in primitive days baptism did precede the breaking of bread, but to say that it “must” is quite another thing. It is surely a right thing to teach those who desire to come to the Lord’s table, the place which the ordinance of baptism gets in the Scriptures.
But to seek to enforce it by refusing those who “desire to be baptised as soon as they have an opportunity” is to introduce a principle which I fail to see in the New Testament. In Apostolic days believers were baptised in obedience to the Word of the Lord, not in obedience to the Church (Acts 2:38-41; 48; 16:33).
The example of Barnabas and Paul
When Barnabas gave his evidence concerning Saul he did not mention his baptism. He told of his conversion and of his testimony since his conversion (Acts 9:27), and if baptism is a necessary qualification to the breaking of bread, surely Barnabas would have told that Saul had been baptised. Let us teach the whole truth, but never attempt to coerce the individual conscience into obedience.
Editor’s Note by John Caldwell
In reply to this question, the principle that governs is found in 2 Cor. 8:12 : “If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” The willing mind to be baptised is accepted of the Lord. Who are we that we should demand anything more. as a pre-requisite to fellowship at the Master’s table ?
In Acts 10:47 we read: “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptised, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” The fact of their having received the Spirit was accepted as evidence of their fitness to be baptised. Is it not clear that on the same ground they were fit persons for the communion of the supper?