The Baptist Bride

By Sam Linton

This is not meant to be an exhaustive treatment of the subject of Baptist Bride doctrine. It's intended to expose people to this doctrine, and let them decide for themselves. The belief in a Baptist Bride evidently arose during the Landmark movement due to efforts of J. R. Graves. We'll not delve further into the history, but will focus on what people claim for themselves as Baptist Briders. Incidentally, references to Mink are from The Baptist Bride by O. B. Mink. Underline emphasis throughout is mine. As far as I know, every source is from someone who adheres to the Baptist Bride position.

What is the Baptist Bride?
Let's use the definition provided by Baptist Briders themselves. 

"The Baptist Bride:

"We believe that the Bride of Christ will be made up of the faithful members of all true New Testament Churches that existed throughout the church age. The bride will live and abide with Christ in New Jerusalem. All other saints will enjoy the benefits and blessings of the new earth and will have access into New Jerusalem, but will not live in the city."

"Clearly, those who may disagree with the position that Elder Mink holds on this subject do so because they are, generally speaking, not Baptists themselves. Many claim to be Baptists who, in reality, are simply Protestants in disguise. Thus, the exclusivity that God exercises in the choice of a Bride for His Son is not well received by non-Baptists. And this, humanly speaking, is understandable. To such, the idea of a Baptist Bride is not pleasant, for it excludes them from participation in the "Brideship". It leaves them out."

Introduction by Wm. Doyal Thomas

The RCC is not the only church that lays a false claim to apostolic succession. 
"Only Scriptural Baptist churches can make a legitimate claim to an unbroken succession back to the time of Christ and the apostles. Christ only built one kind of church and that church is described in detail in the New Testament. The only churches meeting the requirements of that description today are true Baptist churches. Baptist churches have existed in every age since their founding by Christ, though they have not always been known by that name. We do not deny that there are those in other so-called "churches" that have been born again by the grace of God. We do deny, however, that these man-made organizations are true churches of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The logical next step is shown now: 
"We believe that a church must receive authority from another true church to be properly organized. Believers cannot come together and start a church without the authority of a true Baptist Church."

Doesn't that mean any of these Baptist Bride churches should be able to document their church history all the way back 2000 years?

There Have Always Been New Testament Baptist Churches
This an argument based on Baptist Bride logic, not fact. The Landmark doctrine arose in the 19th century, and curiously claims a lot of groups that never called themselves Baptist as being part of their heritage. It is interesting to note that the phrases "church of God" and "church of Christ" do appear in the Bible. The phrase "Baptist church" never does. 

"Since John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ (Mal. 3:1; Isa. 4:3; Matt. 3:1-3), pointed toward the Messiah and said to his disciples: "Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:36), many of John's disciples followed Jesus. And since that time until now, there has not been a day, no, not one, wherein there was not a visible Baptist church on earth; and the Lord's churches will be here until their loving Groom calls them to the Bridal chamber in glory

"In a detailed study of the history of Baptist churches, from our present time unto the church which Jesus established in Jerusalem, we do not, and cannot, find any destructive inflection nor a nullifying lapse of continuity. So, it unequivocally follows: New Testament Baptist churches are still on the earth, and their presence on the earth is proof positive that they, as well as their ancestors, are keeping the faith once delivered unto them. This is a mystery to the religious world, but it is a known and comforting truth to His little flocks scattered throughout the earth."

Are All Saved Part of the Bride?
This is an incredible view. Yet people actual make this distinction.
"All believers are saved, but all are not in the Bride of Christ" m

A Special Place at the Marriage Supper?
If you're not a Baptist Brider, but you're saved, then you'll just be a friend of the bridegroom at the marriage supper. 
"To take the position that all saved persons will be a part of Christ's Bride is the equivalent of saying, that one church is as good as another, and that all will receive equal honor at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Beloved, this is just not so. If this be true, then one might as well be a Catholic, or a member of one of the many other organizations which call themselves New Testament churches, but which, in fact, came into being fifteen, or sixteen hundred years too late to be able to make claim to New Testament authority. As the writer of the article from which I have quoted rightly declares, all of the saved will be with the Lord in glory, and will be present at the wedding supper, but all will not be a part of the Bride, nor have the special honor which will be accorded to the Bride of our Blessed Lord."

Only Baptist Briders in the Father's House?
"We believe in the Baptist Bride. Only those faithful of true New Testament Churches will make up the Bride of Christ in Eternity. There is no universal bride even as there is no universal church. II Corinthians 11:2 - To whom is being spoken to in this passage? Look in I Corinthians 1:2 and II Corinthians 1:1. This is the Lord's church, not all the saved. Ephesians 5:22-32 - This text again is in reference to the Lord's church - note vs. 32. John 14:1-3 - There are many mansions, but the Lord is preparing a particular place for those of His church, a place with Him ."

Only Baptist Briders in the City
As further evidence of this bizarre doctrine, Baptist Briders believe only they will live in the New Jerusalem. 
"Revelations 21:24-26 - This tells us where the saved outside of the Lord's true New Testament churches will be in eternity."

The Twelve Baptist Preachers
This is the most amazing and fantastic claim of them all. 
"The wall of the city has the names of twelve Baptist preachers engraved thereon (Rev. 21:24). The thought may enter some inquisitive reader's mind: "How does the writer know they were Baptist preachers?" This knowledge comes from the fact that they followed the example of their beloved Groom, and they were baptized (not sprinkled) by the first Baptist preacher (Matt. 3:13-17; Luke 7:28-30; Acts 1:22). 

"The indispensable requisite of the Bridegroom in establishing the first Bridal church was: Every charter member of it must have been baptized by John the Baptist, and this Divine criteria was fully satisfied. The first New Testament church was established of the original two or three disciples (Matt. 18:20; Mark 14-20), or it was composed of the twelve whom He named apostles (Luke 6:12), all of whom had been baptized by John the Baptist (Acts 1:21,22)."

No Alien Baptism
I've not yet heard of someone going down to Roswell and finding a little green man to push them under the waves.
"We believe that scriptural baptism is believers baptism by immersion only. Scriptural Baptism must be administered by a true New Testament Baptist Church and is prerequisite to membership in the same. True New Testament Baptist Churches do not receive alien baptism, that is, baptism from manmade religious organizations (i.e. Roman Catholics, Protestants, etc.)."

I know firsthand that at least one Baptist Bride church will not even accept for membership someone from another Baptist church who was baptized by immersion after salvation.

Closed Communion
Paul made no such restrictions on taking of the Lord's supper. However, because of the unusual nature of the Baptist Bride position, they choose to have a "closed" communion. 

"We believe that the Lord's Supper must be administered by a true New Testament Baptist Church as it meets together in church capacity. We believe in closed communion; that is, that only members of a particular church may observe the Lord's Supper together. We believe that the proper elements for the supper are unleavened bread and fermented wine. Grape juice, soda crackers, or any other elements containing leaven are not proper elements for the supper."

If You're Not Baptist Bride, Why not be Catholic?
A common theme of Baptist Bride teaching is that all others are lumped in when the Catholic Church. 
"The soteriology of both Romanism and Protestantism are antithetical to the "Counsel of God", for both believe in salvation by human works, that is, by sacraments. What is true of Romanism and Protestantism regarding salvation by works is also true of the great majority of people going by the name "Baptist". The only difference is in the brand of works which is required. These so-called Baptists teach that salvation is, in finality, the product of human will. Hence, these pseudonymous Baptists are as far from being the Bride of Christ as their deluded sisters."

Partial Rapturism
Some Baptist Briders evidently believe in a partial rapture. I know first hand of at least one who does (look up Wayne Jones at Rainbow Baptist Church in Aberdeen, North Carolina). Now here's a quote from Mink: 
"There are no five-legged horses, and there are no invisible brides. When the Lord comes for His Bride, He will find that she has persevered through time, and she is joyously ready for the consummation of her age long espousal to her loving Head and Bridegroom. I do not mean to imply that the rapture is split, but I do emphatically say: The Bride will be the first to welcome His coming, for she shares an intimacy with Christ that no other people can ever experience."

She will be the first to welcome His coming? Mink does not have to say he is implying a split rapture. It's not implied. Mink it right. It's completely obvious from what he wrote. 

The Family of God
There is a totally aberrant view that people can be saved and not part of the church. Of course, that's because they believe only certain local, visible Baptist churches are the true church. So what do you call these folks? Let's see. 

"Now, let us return to our consideration of the marriage in heaven. The rapture of the saints and the sealing of the 144,000 Israelites are, in proximity of time, very close, if not simultaneous (Rev. 7). The message of these Jewish witnesses during the seven year tribulation period will be the means of turning a numberless host unto Christ. But their tribulational ministry does not add one person to the church, for the church, at this very time, is attending her wedding in heaven. The tribulational saints are a part of the family of God, but they are not in the Bridal church, nor on the wedding guest list.

"The church and Israel will never unite and become one body. Neither will the church and the family of God merge and become a singular institution. 

"Israel, the family of God, and the church will maintain their God given distinctness throughout the endless ages. There will be perfect accord and cooperation between them, but they will never become a corporation. As the church and its gospel is in our present age a mystery to the family of God and Israel, it inexorably follows that these separateness of these bodies in heaven is an enigma to them."

Final Thoughts
If you are not convinced yet that the Baptist Bride view is not totally bizarre, then consider these last two quotes: 
"Jesus would not be satisfied with anything less than a Baptist Bride, and neither should any Baptist - in civil matrimony or church relationship.

"Every New Testament church is a Baptist church, but every church going by the name "Baptist" is not a New Testament church. These are something else, and it behooves every Baptist church to know the difference."


Last modified on August 25, 2002.