?The only protest of note has been made by a portion of the English Baptists.? To these should be added the comparatively small body of the Free Will Baptists in America. Pedobaptist churches in general refuse full membership, holding of office and the ministry to persons not baptized. The Presbyterian Church does not admit to the communion, members of the Society of Friends. Not one of the great evangelical denominations accepts Robert Hall?s maxim that the only terms of communion are terms of salvation. If individual ministers announce and conform their practice to this principle, it is only because they transgress the standards of the churches to which they belong.
See Tyerman?s Oxford Methodists, preface, page vi ? ?Even in Georgia, Wesley excluded dissenters from the Holy Communion, on the ground that they had not been properly baptized and he would himself baptize only by immersion, unless the child or person was in a weak state of health.? Baptist Noel gave it as his reason for submitting to baptism, that to approach the Lord?s Supper conscious of not being baptized would be to act contrary to all the precedents of Scripture. See Curtis, Progress of Baptist Principles, 304.
The dismissal of Jonathan Edwards from his church at Northampton was due to his opposing the Halfway Covenant, which admitted unregenerate persons to the Lord?s Supper as a step on the road to spiritual life. He objected to the doctrine that the Lord?s Supper was ?a converting ordinance.? But these very unregenerated persons had been baptized; he himself had baptized many of them. He should have objected to infant baptism as well as to the Lord?s Supper, in the case of the unregenerate.
(g) The practical results of the opposite view are convincing proof that the order here insisted on is the order of nature as well as of Scripture. The admission of persons not baptized to the communion tends always to and has frequently resulted in, the disuse of baptism itself. It also obscures the truth, which it symbolizes, transforms scripturally constituted churches into bodies organized after methods of human invention and promotes complete destruction of both church and ordinances as Christ originally constituted them.
Arnold, Terms of Communion, 76 ? The steps of departure from Scriptural precedent have not infrequently been the following:
(1) Administration of baptism on a weekday evening, to avoid giving offense.
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