Question:

I love your site. It is very helpful and is the truth.

Whywas John called "John the Baptist?" I know there is no other religion mentioned in the Bible. Is this where the Baptist organization get their name? Is John the Baptist the same as John the apostle?


Answer:

Actually, the truth is found only in God's word (John 17:17). I'm just a teacher of the truth.

John the Baptist died during Jesus' ministry on earth (Matthew 14:10). The apostle John was at the cross when Jesus died and later wrote John, I John, II John, III John, and Revelation (Revelation 1:1). So, no they are not the same person.

When it was possible to confuse two people because they had the same name, people would distinguish people by either adding on a descriptor, such as the name of their father (Simon bar Jonah -- Matthew 16:17), the place they were from (Mary Magdalene -- Matthew 27:56), the names of their children (Mary, mother of James and Joses --- Matthew 27:56), the name of their husband (Mary, the wife of Zebedee), an organization they belonged to (Simon, the Zealot -- Luke 6:15), or something well-known about them (Simon the Leper -- Matthew 26:6). John the Baptist (or John the Baptizer) was called this in the Scriptures because this is what he was known for doing, it made him unique. "In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea" (Matthew 3:1).

The Baptists got their name back in the 16th century. Many people split off from the Roman Catholic church in an attempt to return to Christianity as it was originally given in the New Testament. One large group insisted that adults be baptized by immersion in order to join the church. They were mockingly called re-baptizers (Anabaptists) because Catholics are baptized as infants. As often happens the movement fractured. The more conservative elements became the Menonites and Amish of our day. The more liberal became the various Baptists organizations. The name Baptist is really just a simplification of the Anabaptist name and reflected the early group's insistence on baptizing believers for salvation of their sins.

Over the centuries, Baptist beliefs have changed. They no longer emphasize baptism as necessary, insisting instead that salvation is by faith alone. Most still practice baptism, but it is only used to symbolize joining their organization. Its connection with salvation was lost.

The early church used a number of names to refer to itself, such as church of Christ (Romans 16:16) or church of God (Acts 20:28). Baptist was not used as a name for the church or any other organization in the New Testament. Still, you will find many Baptists pointing to John the Baptist as attempted proof that at least their name appears in the Scriptures.