One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism
By Richard Gilbert
I can still see it in my mind’s eye. The beautiful lettering above the baptistry of one of the churches I attended growing up. One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. That message was not merely on the wall for decoration. It was the loud and clear message that came consistently across the pulpit. I am confident that the main reason I believe this Apostolic message so strongly today is because of the frequency with which I heard it preached and taught during my formative years. There was no room left for doubt. This was the truth of God’s word!
I have heard others say it and I have said it myself. “It seems so much more difficult to get new converts established these days.” While it is true that our present culture is a far cry from the one that many of us were raised in and while I am sure that fact can tend to prolong the discipling process, I am equally confident that God’s word when taught and preached with genuine conviction can still get the job done.
People cannot be expected to know what they are not taught. “How shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14) God said, “I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:15) When pastors fail to do what God has sent them to do, the possibility arises for Hosea’s prophecy to find fulfillment “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6) Without that God ordained guidance people, especially in a culture like ours, will have the propensity to view things as does the world that surrounds them. Jesus forthrightly told the Sadducees, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures…” (Matthew 22:39) The only way we will have the opportunity to do what is right is to know what is right. And how can we know without a preacher? “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (I Corinthians 1:21) God’s word is designed to convert the soul, make wise the simple, rejoice the heart, and enlighten the eyes. (See Psalm 19:7-8) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (II Timothy 3:16)
When scriptural truths are neglected and not preached or taught, people tend to consider them as being irrelevant and not important. Convictions wane and error creeps into a place of prominence. This seems to have been the case in Sardis where Jesus charged the messenger to “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die…” (Revelation 3:2)
God gave us explicit guidance in these “perilous last days” when “evil men and seducers are waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” He inspired Paul to tell us to “continue thou in the things which thou past learned and host been assured of, knowing of whom thou host learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation…” (II Timothy 3:14-15)
I thank God that “from a child” I have been privileged to have pastors who lovingly and yet with firm conviction made “known the holy scriptures” to me. As a child and adolescent I attended churches in Marion, New Castle, and Anderson, Indiana. How grateful I am for every pastor my beloved grandfather, N.J. Bibbs, Lester McFarland, Earl McElhaney, James Kelley, Milton Buller, Nellie Rossman, and Israel Christine. At Bible college I was blessed to sit under the teaching of legendary S.G. Norris and then I was given the great honor of sitting as Assistant Pastor under Fred E. Kinzie in Toledo, Ohio and he remained my pastor all the years of my adult life until his recent passing. I have been blessed to have had pastors who have fed me “with knowledge and understanding” of God’s word, pastors, who like Paul of old “have not shunned to declare unto (me)all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)
For that reason I continue to believe today that there is but ONE LORD! In our day some “Christians” have now accepted the lie that Muslims and Christians serve the same God the God of Abraham. Apparently they believe that God the Father (Yahweh or Jehovah) and Allah are one and the same. Absolutely not so! Any so-called god whose “holy” book is not the Bible obviously cannot then be the God of the Bible! The Trinitarian doctrine leaves open the possibility of one being God without being Jesus. God’s word, however, does not leave room for such nonsense. “For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:9-10)
“From a child” I have heard that there is but ONE FAITH! And I have been taught that we must “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3) The reason? Because “the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”The only safeguard? “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (I Timothy 4:1, 16)
“From a child” it has been drilled into me that there is but ONE BAPTISM! And Jesus told us that this baptism was to be a vital part of our salvation experience. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:16) He further said “that repentance and remission of sins was to be preached in his name among all nations…” (Luke 24:47) His early disciples laid it to heart. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remissions of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38) His disciples today can do no less. We, like the original Christians of Acts, must continue “steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Only then can the Lord add “to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:42, 47)
It was never God’s will that we should blend in with the rest of the religious world. Our message is distinct. It is the ONLY light in a grossly dark world. “A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men…” (Matthew 5:14-16) Amen and amen!
The above article, “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism” is written by Richard Gilbert. The article was excerpted from a handout from The Onenes Symposium Tyler, CA, 1993.
The materials is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.