Thursday, July 19, 2007
The term 'Strict Baptist' evokes the image of 'heavy shepherding' to many. In fact it is a term referring to Church order (it is in fact short for 'reSTRICTed Communion). Strict Baptists are Baptists who believe that the Lord's Supper is properly administered only to those who have been baptised. We find in the Scriptures no record of anyone being admitted to the Lord's Table who has not previously gone through the waters of Baptism, and therefore seek to follow the Lord's will in this matter. Because of this we have often been accused of being unloving. Nothing could be further from the truth. One of the greatest defenders of the Strict Baptist position, Dr. Joseph Kinghorn of Norwich, was on excellent terms with many who were not Baptists, and acted as mentor to John Alexander, the Paedobaptist pastor of the Pinces Street Congregational Church. Yet Kinghorn would not admit Alexander to the Lord's Table because the Lord Himself had placed Baptism before the Lord's Supper.
We do not deny that those churches that differ from us are churches. Of course they are. Furthermore, we do not hold them to be wilfully disobedient. They are mistaken, and we will bear gently with them.
We know of no Presbyterian Churches that are NOT 'Strict Communion', that is, that do not require those coming forward to the Lord's Table to have first been baptised according to the Presbyterian understanding, and we think it strange that, according to the open communion principle, Baptist Churches should be the only ones that are NOT strict communion!