Why Baptists Must Remain Distinct
While it would be ideal if all denominational lines could be erased, it is unrealistic for Baptists to think so. Baptists must remain distinct from other denominations in both doctrine, practice and worship simply because the conscience of Baptists will allow them no alternative in light of the authority of the New Testament. The teaching and the pattern set by the Apostles and of Christ is clearly revealed in the Scriptures.
Take believers baptism, for instance. Infant baptism is viewed by Baptist as not only unscriptural, but in complete contrast to the character of the Church as conceived in the mind of Christ and revealed to us through the written Word of God. Baptists simply cannot accept the doctrine nor the practice of infant baptism. We simply cannot.
This is not to say that we may not share the joys of a common redemption with other denominational members. Indeed, we should do so in a spirit of cooperation and brotherly love. However, that does not mean we should compromise a necessary, separate witness in the name of non-denominational ecumenism. Once our distinctive reliance on the authority of the New Testament, and indeed, the whole of Scripture, is relaxed, and charismatic/Pentecostal activity and doctrine is brought in as if they are acceptable in light of Scripture – we have compromised the truth of God. To do so is to invite chaos and disruption into our gatherings for worship, and in many cases, it is a relaxing of truth for the benefit of increased congregational numbers.
So where does the compromise stop? Once you allow the authority of the Scriptures to be relaxed in favor of ecumenical acceptance, you are just a step away from compromise in all sorts of areas, including spiritual abuse by power and control-hungry leadership.
In the case of non-denominationalism and its approval by participation in a local fellowship, this is a great danger. When doctrinal distinctions are blurred, as in the case of non-denominational fellowship, so is the reliance – and confession – of the authority of Scripture.