Saturday, December 17, 2011
Ordinances: Hiscox's "Eucharistic Propositions"
In Edward T. Hiscox's influential 19th century church manual, Principles and Practices for Baptist Churches (1893), he lays out guidelines for the observance of the Lord's Supper.
The following propositions may be stated:
Prop. 1.—The Gospel calls on all men, everywhere to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation. This is the first act of submission to divine authority required of men.
Prop. 2.—Such as have exercised saving faith in Christ, and are thus born of the Spirit, are commanded to be baptized, as a declaration of that change, and a profession of inward washing of regeneration, which has transpired in them. And no one is required to be, or properly can be, baptized till he has believed.
Prop. 3.—All persons, having savingly believed on Christ, and having been baptized into His name on a profession of faith, are expected, and required, to unite themselves thereby with the company of the disciples as members, in fellowship with a Church which is Christ’s visible body. And no one can properly become a member of a Church till he has believed and been baptized.
Prop. 4.—It becomes the privilege of the duty of all who have been regenerated by the Spirit, baptized on profession of faith, and are walking in fellowship with the Church, to celebrate the death of Christ in the Supper. Moreover, it is the duty of all who believe they love the Lord to be baptized, and unite with His Church, in order that they may obey His command, “This do in remembrance of me.” No true disciple should neglect it.
Prop. 5.—It becomes the imperative duty of the churches, to whom the ordinances are committed, to see to it, as faithful guardians of so sacred a trust, that these regulations be faithfully observed, according the will of the Master, by all who are members, and by all who desire to become members with them.
Prop. 6.—The pastor, as “the chief executive officer “ of the Church, acts as its representative under instructions in his sphere of service. But it is not his prerogative to determine who shall be baptized into its fellowship, or who shall enjoy its privileges, including a right to the Supper. The right and responsibility of deciding those questions belong to the Church itself, and not to its officers.
Prop. 7.—The pastor, in the exercise of his Christian liberty, is not under obligation to baptize any, the though the Church may approve, unless he believes they are fit and suitable subjects. Nor can he baptize any into the fellowship of the Church without its consent.