The main reason that I am a Baptist Christian is because that is what my parents raised me to be. The faith that they passed on to me involved (among other things) a conviction that baptism is for believers alone and that the church’s polity is congregational. The Bible honors this kind of inheritance, and I am happy to own it (2 Tim. 3:14).
It was only after I entered seminary that I really began to press into other ecclesiological perspectives and to wrestle with their interpretations of scripture. Elder-rule polity and paedobaptist paradigms were particularly challenging to my congregational and credobaptist upbringing. More than anything, I wanted to be faithful to scripture. But I had to face the possibility that maybe I had understood the Bible’s teaching incorrectly on these issues.
During those years, two key influences helped to persuade me that Mom and Dad were right all along.
(2) On congregationalism, the key influence was Mark Dever and 9Marks ministries. There are many items from 9Marks that I could mention here, but the first one I encountered is actually one that is a very helpful lay introduction to the issues. It’s titled A Display of God’s Glory. You can purchase this book from Amazon.com, but you can download a free electronic copy from Capitol Hill Baptist Church below.
A Display of God’s Glory, by Mark Dever
Neither of these were the only things that the Lord used to shape my conscience on these issues. There was much more to it than I will share here. They were, however, in the providence of God, watershed resources for me. And that is why I am sharing them with you.
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, by Mark Dever
Why I Am a Baptist, ed. Tom Nettles and Russell Moore