The Trail of Blood ch 2
Baptists do not believe in Apostolic Succession. The Apostolic office ceased with the death of the Apostles. It is to His churches that He promised a continual existence from the time He organized the first church during His earthly ministry until He comes again. "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).
Then, when He gave the great Commission, which tells what His churches are to do, He promised "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matt. 28:20).
This Commission--this work--was not given to the Apostles as individuals, but to them and the others present in their church capacity. The Apostles and the others who heard Him give this Commission were soon dead--BUT, His Church has lived on through the ages, making disciples (getting folks saved), baptizing them, and teaching the truth-the doctrines-He committed to the Jerusalem Church. These faithful churches have been blessed with His presence as they have traveled the TRAIL OF BLOOD.
This history shows how the Lords promise to His churches has been fulfilled. Dr. Carroll shows that churches have been found in every age which have taught the doctrines He committed unto them. Dr. Carroll calls these doctrines the "marks" of New Testament Churches.
"MARKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH"
1. Its Head and Founder-CHRIST. He is the lawgiver; the Church is only the executive. "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Col. 1:18).
2. Its only rule of faith and practice-THE BIBLE. "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Tim. 3:15-17).
3. Its name--"CHURCH," "CHURCHES." "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star" (Rev. 22:16).
4. Its polity-CONGREGATIONAL-all members equal. "And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:24-28). "But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Matt. 23:5-12).
5. Its members-only saved people. "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord" (Eph. 2:21). "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:5).
6. Its ordinances- BELIEVERS' BAPTISM FOLLOWED BY THE LORD'S SUPPER. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matt. 28:19-20). "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (I Cor. 11:26).
7. Its officers-PASTORS AND DEACONS. "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Tim. 3: 1-15).
8. Its work--getting folks saved, baptizing them (with a baptism that meets all the requirements of God's Word), teaching them "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:20)
9. Its financial plan- (TITHES and OFFERINGS) "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel" (I Cor. 9:14).
10. Its weapons of warfare--spiritual, not carnal. "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds)" (II Cor. 10:4). "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak" (Eph. 6:10-20).
11. Its independence--separation of Church and State. "They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matt. 22:21).