Baptist Bride Refutation (Part 1)Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, November 12, 2017.
Watch the video of this sermon on YouTube: Baptist Bride Refutation (Part 1) For the outline and the rest of the sermons in this series, click here: Baptist Bride Refutation To listen to or watch the next sermon in the series, click here: (Part 2) Baptist Bride Refutation I. The Baptist Bride doctrine teaches that: 1. Only members of true Baptist churches comprise the bride of Christ. 2. The rest of the elect who were never scripturally baptized and added to a true church are not part of the bride, but are the "family of God." 3. Faithful members of Baptist churches are now espoused to Christ and will be married to Him at the marriage supper of the Lamb. 4. The rest of the elect who were not baptized and not members of true Baptist churches will be present at the marriage supper only as guests and onlookers and will not receive the blessings of the bride in eternity. II. The Baptist Bride teaching originated with, and is prevalent among, the Landmark Baptists. 1. There is a mixture of truth and error in the Landmark Baptists' beliefs. 2. Truth in Landmark teaching: A. There is a true church in this earth. B. Only churches which have an unbroken baptistic lineage going back to the church that Jesus built are true churches. C. There are rewards in heaven for obedience on earth. 3. Error in Landmark teaching: A. The only church in the Bible is the local church. B. The local church is exclusively the bride of Christ. 4. Unfortunately, many of the refutations of Landmarkism and the Baptist Bride doctrine found online are more erroneous than what they are trying to refute. III. The Baptist Bride position rests on the belief that there is only one church in the Bible, the local church. 1. They reject the idea a universal church. A. They are half right. B. There is no universal church that assembles on earth, but there is one that assembles in heaven. 2. The word "church" in the Bible refers to three things: A. A local congregation of baptized believers who assemble together to be taught about God and to worship Him (Act 11:26). i. Church n. - III. 10. A congregation of Christians locally organized into a society for religious worship and spiritual purposes, under the direction of one set of spiritual office-bearers. ii. There are many local churches (Rom 16:4; 1Th 2:14; Rev 1:4). iii. Local churches are named by their geographical location (Act 13:1; Rom 16:1; 1Co 1:2). iv. Each local congregation is "the church" (1Co 6:4; 1Ti 3:5), not part of the church. v. Each local congregation is "the whole church" (Rom 16:23; 1Co 14:23), not part of the whole church. vi. Each local congregation is "the body of Christ" (1Co 12:27), not part of the body of Christ. vii. The vast majority of the usages of the word "church" in the Bible refer to local churches. B. The institution of the local church. i. Jesus built His church in Jerusalem which was a local church and promised that the institution of the local church would never be destroyed (Mat 16:18). a. Jesus was not referring to the local church at Jerusalem alone when He said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it because the local church in Jerusalem came to an end in 70AD when Jerusalem was destroyed. b. It was rather the institution of the local church, which is the kingdom of God (Dan 2:44), that Jesus promised would not come to an end. ii. There will be glory given to God in the church until the end of time (Eph 3:21). a. This cannot be speaking of a particular local church because all local churches come and go: none have lasted from the first century until now. b. It is rather referring to the institution of the local church. c. There will always be one or more local churches on this earth giving glory to God until the last day of time. C. The congregation of all of God's redeemed elect from all time. i. This church is called the general assembly and church of the firstborn (Heb 12:23). ii. This church is the bride of Christ for which He died (Eph 5:25-27). iii. This church does not and cannot assemble on earth, but will assemble in heaven. a. A church is a congregation of people (Heb 2:12 c/w Psa 22:22). b. Congregation - 1. The action of congregating or collecting in one body or mass. c. At the end of time, God will "gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth" (Eph 1:10). d. This congregation of all of God's elect is a church by definition. iv. This church could be called "the universal church". v. The church in Eph 5:25-27 are all of God's elect. a. What Christ is said to do for the church in Eph 5:25-27 He does for every one of His elect. (i) He loves all of His elect. (ii) He gave Himself for all of the elect. (iii) He sanctifies and cleanses all of the elect "with the washing of water by the word." (iv) This washing refers to regeneration by the Holy Spirit, which is brought about by the life-giving voice of the Son of God (Joh 3:5; Tit 3:5; Joh 5:25). (v) He will present His church unto Himself "holy and without blemish" which is what He will do for all of His elect whom He chose that they "should be holy and without blame" (Eph 1:4) by making "peace through the blood of his cross" to present them "holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight" (Col 1:20-22). b. This church in Eph 5 is made up of individual members. What is true of the church as a whole is true of each individual member of it. (i) If Christ gave Himself for the church as a whole, He gave Himself for each individual member of it. (ii) Paul said that Christ "gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20). (iii) When speaking of the local church, Paul also said that God purchased the church “with his own blood” (Act 20:28). (iv) In respect of this we can also say, that what Christ did for the local church He did for all of His elect. They are all purchased with his blood. c. What is said of the church in Eph 5:22-33 can be applied to the local church. (i) Christ is the head of the local church. (ii) The local church is subject to Christ. (iii) Christ does nourish and cherish the local church. (iv) But not everything said there can be limited to the local church. (v) Paul looks through the local church and sees what Christ has done, is doing, and will do for all of His elect, of whom the local church is a portion. (vi) An assembly of saints worshiping God in spirit and in truth is the nearest thing we have to heaven on this earth (Gen 28:17). d. Observe a simple rule of logic. A=C B=C A=B e. Now let’s apply this to the church in Eph 5:25-27. (i) All of God’s Elect = Those Who will be Presented Without Blame (ii) The Church = Those Who will be Presented Without Blame (iii) All of God’s Elect = The Church 3. The Baptist Briders reject the idea that the bride of Christ is comprised of all of God's elect that will one day assemble together in heaven because there is no such entity that assembles together on earth now. A. This argument condemns their own position that the bride of Christ is comprised of all the faithful members of all Baptist churches because there is likewise no such entity that assembles on earth now. B. The following is an excerpt from a letter that Pastor Ben Mott wrote refuting the Baptist Bride doctrine. C. "Therefore, according the Mr. Fenison, the future bride of Christ will consist of all faithful Baptists and faithful remnant Israel. The Baptist Briders’ version of the future bride of Christ is an entity that is not presently visible and functioning on this earth. There is no Baptist church on this earth comprising all local Baptist churches. The Baptist Briders ridicule the idea of a future bride of Christ made up of all of God’s elect assembled together since no such entity assembles on earth now. Yet neither does their version of the future bride assemble on this earth now. There is not now on this earth an assembly of all faithful Baptists and faithful remnant Israel. Such an assembly will only take place in the future according to them. As the saying goes, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If my version of a future bride of Christ is faulty because such an entity does not assemble now, then so is their version." (Pastor Ben Mott, Baptist Bride) IV. The Bride of Christ 1. The Baptist Briders maintain that the bride in Rev 19:7-9 & Rev 21:2,9-10 & Rev 22:17 is comprised only of members of true Baptist churches. A. This is false. B. All of God's elect who have been regenerated and have thereby become dead to the law are married to Christ (Rom 7:4-6). i. This is not only true of members of Baptist churches. ii. All of those who are regenerate are dead to the law through the atonement of Christ, and are therefore married to Christ (Col 2:13; Rom 8:6-10; Col 1:20-22). C. The church in Eph 5:22-33, comprised of all the elect, is the wife of Christ, not merely an espoused bride awaiting marriage as the Baptist Briders contend. i. This is evident because Christ's relationship to the church is used as an example of how a husband should relate to his wife, not his fiancé. ii. "It is clear that Paul is setting forth Christ’s relationship to the church as a model for husbands and wives. Husbands and wives are to relate to each other as Christ and the church relate to each other. The relationship of Christ and the church is being compared to the relationship of a married husband and wife, not a betrothed bridegroom and bride! The passage lends itself to the thought that Christ and the church are already married. This is quite clear from verse 23: Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. "That little expression even as means exactly as, or precisely as. The Holy Spirit in this verse is drawing an exact parallel between the relationship of a married husband and wife, and the relationship of Christ and the church. There is an exact parallel between these two relationships. The relationship between Christ and the church in this passage is not being compared with the relationship between a betrothed man and woman. Betrothal and marriage are two different things and things different are not the same." (Pastor Ben Mott, Baptist Bride)