A debate between Elder Mark Bennett, a Missionary Baptist preacher of N. C.
and Elder G. M. Thompson, of Ky., a minister of the Old School Baptist Church,
at New-Hope M. H., Edgecombe County, N. Carolina, on the 27th day of Sept.,
1852 – –
In which the following propositions were discussed:
1st. Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise supported by the Word of God? Thompson affirmed – – Bennett denied.
Primitive Print, – – Raleigh, N. C.
I have been induced to publish the following discussion between Mr. M.
Bennett and myself, through the solicitation of many of my friends and brethren
who are desirous of seeing it in print. If it should prove an advantage to any
In writing out the debate, I have had no assistance but my own recollection
of the arguments, and the notes I took on the occasion, and I do not pretend to
present it to the reader as a full and perfect report of all that was said by
us both the in the two discussions. But I believe that every candid reader who
listened to the two debates, will say I have fairly
and faithfully given the substance of the arguments made use of by us both. It
may be that some of the arguments do not come in the precise order that they
did in the debate, nor do I profess to give them in the precise language made
use of on that occasion, but I believe the arguments are fairly presented, and
as forcibly presented as they were in the debates. The reader will see that Mr.
Bennett has challenged me to meet him at three other places and debate the same
questions, and that I refused to meet him any more,
unless he should be selected by the Missionaries as their champion. I also
stated that I would come to
And now, may God, who brought against our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, deliver us from all error, that Zion may look forth as the morning, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, and terrible as an array with banners, is a prayer of your humble servant, and fellow-sufferer for the cause of truth.
G. M. Thompson
Between Elder M. Bennett, a Missionary Baptist Preacher, of North Carolina, and Elder G. M. Thompson, and a minister of the Old School Baptist Church, of Kentucky, at New Hope Meeting House, Edgecombe County, N. C. on 27th Sept., 1852 – In which the following propositions were discussed, (viz.) – 1st. Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise supported by the Word of God? Bennett affirmed – Thompson denied.
2nd. Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise condemned by the Word of God? Thompson affirmed – Bennett denied.
Each speaker was to be limited to thirty minutes, and two speeches each were to be made upon each question. The debate was opened by Mr. Bennett, upon the first proposition, substantially as follows:
Gentlemen, Moderators: –
In entering upon this discussion, I think it requisite that I should give a
definition of what is meant by modern Missionary enterprise.
The Missionary enterprise has its embodiment in the gospel, and to establish
this I will introduce a few passages of Scripture, and 1st, I will call your
attention to the Commission has given by Mt 28:19, "Go ye
therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." By this we are clearly taught that the
servants of Christ are not to be prescribed by any national boundary, but are
to "go into all the world." The Jews had a
notion among them, that Masiah's
kingdom was to be limited to them as a people. But Christ in the Commission,
shows that his benevolence embraces the whole human family, and that the glad tidings
of salvation is to be preached to all, and all that the Modern Missionary
Societies are doing, is by a union of effort, to carry out the great and
benevolent design of the Savior, expressed in the Commission. Now, to show that
in the Apostolic day, boards were formed, and
Missionary sent out by their authority and under their patronage, I will first
call your attention to Ac
13:2-3. "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost
said, Separate me, Barnabas and Saul, for the work whertinto
I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands
on them, they sent them away." Also Ro 10:14-15, "How
then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they
believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a
preacher? And, how shall they preach, except they be
sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of
them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good
things!" From the passage in Romans it is clear that they that preach the
gospel must be sent, and from that in Acts in is plain to every intelligent
mind that the Apostles, and Primitive preachers were
sent by the joint authority of men and God. All modern Missionary boards like
The Scriptures, as we have them, is not the language dictated by the Holy Ghost, but only what translators say the Holy Ghost meant.
Mr. Thompson then replied substantially as follows:
Circumstances has made it my duty upon the present occasion to stand up before you, and this large and respectable congregation in defense of my Lord and Master. While I feel sensible of my inability to do justice to the question under consideration, humbly relying upon Him that can bring strength out of weakness, I fearlessly step forward to meet the great Goliath of the "Modern Missionary enterprise," and to defend the character of my Lord, and the purity of his institutions, against modern invasions, and institutions wholly of human origin, which have not the shadow of divine sanction in the Holy Scriptures. Institutions which have their origin in infidelity, and a want of confidence in the immutable promises of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his ability to do his pleasure, and carry out his purposes in the world. The Modern Missionary enterprise had its origin in the dark ages of Popery, was hatched in the nest of fanaticism, superstition, and idolatry. Monks, Friars, and other members of the great "Mother of Harlots," first introduced this splendid scheme for the "evangelizing of the world." Many of us can remember when the Missionaries did not pretend to claim divine authority for their board, conventions, and hired beggars, but only plead for it as a matter of expediency, arguing that if Catholics, and anti-Christian powers could do so much by these means, what a mighty lever it would be in the hands of those who are the true disciples of Christ, and are promulgating the truths of the gospel. An argument of anti-Christian origin, and used by the Roman church when aspiring to unite the ecclesiastical with the civil governments of the world. The civil authority would give force and energy to the cause of Christ, and ensure the conversion of the world to the Roman Catholic faith. And for a like purpose a system of tithing was introduced to support a profligate, lazy, and extravagant clergy, who never were satisfied but were always crying, Give! give! until they had obtained both civil and ecclesiastical powers, and caused the streets and highways to run with the innocent blood of the unoffending followers of the meek and lowly Lamb of God. I now challenge Mr. Bennett, and the world, to give an instance, where a Missionary or a Missionary Society or board, has ever said, we have enough, we are full and abound. But to the contrary, the country is flooded with periodicals, applets, tracks, and travel and beggars, crying give! give! The Lord's treasury is empty! "Come up to the help of the Lord, against the mighty!" Selling memberships, and life memberships, to any who will pay their money without regard to character, or religion, (and as I have understood, have lately granted eternal life membership to some, who in their last will have robbed their heirs of their just rights, and bestowed their wealth upon their anti-Christian institutions,) and have got up fictitious Post Offices, made fairs, and practiced every other kind of trickery, that a wicked and profligate priesthood who are too lazy to work, can invent to rob the people of their honest earnings. All this is played off by such men as Mr. Bennett, under the fine name of "BENEVOLENCE," and a desire to ameliorate the condition of the poor heathens, while he and those engaged in this money making craft, fill the description beautifully given of them by the pen of inspiration. "But there were false Prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. "And through covetousness (the love of money,) shall they with feigned words (pretended benevolence) make merchandise of you? Whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." And again, "for many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." And are all the time begging money to fill their own pockets.
The Commission as given in Mr 16:15, and Mt 28:19, is not a joint operation, as contended for by Mr. Bennett, but Christ alone, and distinct from all boards, or combinations of men, commissioned his disciples to go forth under his divine authority, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mr. Bennett will admit that all gospel ministers, go forth and operate under this commission, to the end of time, for there is no other one given by our divine Lord. Now Mr. Bennett cannot find one word or syllable in the commission which hints at a necessity of forming boards, or societies to aid the Savior in carrying out his benevolent designs but to the contrary the Savior has connected with the commission the whole plan of operation. 1st. By asserting his authority to commission them, by saying "All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth." 2nd. By teaching them what they are to preach, (Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: 3d. The warrant for their protection, support, and success, (And lo, I am with you all way, even unto the end of the world. Amen." It follows then, as a matter of course, that all the gospel ministers are called, qualified, and sent forth by the Head of the church, and he has taught them to go, trusting in him for support, telling them to "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be of doubtful mind. For all these things to the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth "that ye have need of these things." All those preachers (like Mr. Bennett) who are called by men, qualified in colleges, and sent out by boards, conventions, or Missionary societies not being the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, dare not trust his faithful promises, but must look to boards, conventions, and men for their support. And this is the reason why their Lord's treasury is always empty and his seed begging bread. But the true servant of Christ has nothing to fear, the earth belongs to his Lord, and the fullness thereof, his treasury is always full, and if needs be, he can send a Raven to feed them, or cause a jailer to wash their stripes. When God has called and qualified a man for the work of the ministry, and the church has evidence that God has committed to them a dispensation of the gospel, they may lay their hands upon them, and pray as the Holy Ghost directs, and send them away, under sanction or approbation of the church. Such was the case with Barnabas and Saul, as recorded in Ac 13:23. This is the practice of all our churches. But the Missionaries claim the prerogative of calling, qualifying, and sending out there preachers, or at least a joint authority with Christ, although Christ has no where delegated that joint authority to them or any other body of men.
In Ro 10, (and hear Mr. Thompson read the whole chapter,) it is evident that it is God who calls and sends, for none can preach unless they are called, qualified, and sent by God himself, and this the Apostle abundantly teaches in all of his epistles, by declaring that he was not an Apostle of men, nor by men, but by the will of God, and that he received it not from men, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. The twelve Apostles, and the seventy Disciples, were sent out by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, without any board, or society whatever, exercising joint authority with him, or giving their bond to support his servants, but they went trusting in the promise of their lower, and when the seventy returned, he asked them if they lacked anything? And they answered, “NAY, LORD,” A nasty word which a Missionary has never yet said.
I have now noticed every text introduced by Mr. Bennett, and you have all discovered that he has failed to bring one scriptural proof for “Modern Missionary enterprise,” and I now before taking my seat call upon him, to give one text for selling life membership, or memberships of any can to people religious or irreligious, and I will yield the question at once. Shew one place where Christ or his apostles, sold privileges for money, and I will cease to oppose your anti-scriptural institutions. Mr. Bennett has attempted to evade the question, by giving a description of the “poor heathens,” and making an eloquent appeal to your sympathies, but this will not do, we want scriptural testimony, and not sympathetic appeals. He says, I am here opposing the spread of the gospel. I have for the rise of twenty years, been trying to preach it, and have traveled pretty much over nine or ten States of this Union, and if I were to compare books with Mr. Bennett, I expect I travel ten miles to his one, and preach five times to his once, every year. I have never had the promise of any board, neither have I ever looked to any man or set of men for support, but have went, as I trust under the commission of my Lord, and I have never found his treasuries empty, but he has supplied all my wants.
Mr. Bennett then replied substantially as follows:
The Scriptures have been translated and the translators were paid for it. This was a Missionary enterprise, we are therefore indebted to the Missionary enterprise for the blessed privilege of reading the Bible in our own language. Shall we now say that we have got them anti-scripturally, and so them aside? Could men spend their time in translating the Bible, and not get paid for it? And if they were paid for it, was it not upon the Modern Missionary plan? Mr. Thompson and his friends are doing all that they can to keep the Scriptures away from the people, and to prevent their being sent to nations who are destitute of the word of life. The ministers of the gospel cannot travel from place to place, and in distant lands, and preach the gospel, cross rivers, lakes, and seas, pay terriage, tavern bills, &c., without pay. The Commission, it is true, was given by our Lord and Savior, and nothing is said about pay, nor is any provision made for the support of the Apostles, or ministers of the gospel in it. But circumstances have changed since that time, and are still changing, and we must operate according to the countries, times and circumstances which surround us. This the Modern Missionary board is providing for, and have been providing for and have done great good, as has been noticed by all historians, and geographers.
The Savior has given the commission, but has left it for the Missionary societies of the day, to provide the means for carrying out his great and glorious purposes, and to send the gospel into all the world, this we are doing, and through our efforts the glorious light of salvation is now beginning to shine in heathen lands, and thousands are now rejoicing in hope of a blessed immortality through these benevolent means, and have the Bible to read. The indefatigable labors, and almost unparalleled sufferings of Judson, Rice, and others have planted the cause of Immanuel in distant lands, and have seen their labors abundantly blessed, while they have died poor, with scarcely enough to give them a decent burial. Others have begged for bread alone of the board, rather than to be called home from a field of so great usefulness, and where they could be instrumental in doing so much good. The Modern Missionary board is only trying to do what the Commission commands them to do, and are operating under it, and according to its provisions. They are laboring to send the gospel into all the world, and Mr. Thompson and his friends are doing all they can to oppose this benevolent and scriptural enterprise. I have traveled and preached among his brethren – I still love them, and believe with them in the doctrine of grace, and that God will save his Elect, but it is through the instrumentality of a preached word, that they are to be saved. I know that the liberality of the Old Baptists of this country, but they are doing nothing to send the gospel to the poor benighted heathens! Oh! If they would but help us, what a vast amount of good might be done through their instrumentality!
Mr. Thompson read the whole of Ro
10 and, no doubt, think she has made some capital by it; but the dividing
of the Scriptures into chapters and verses, is not the work of the Holy Ghost.
This was the work of Hugo, and Mr. Thompson has only giving you Hugo’s options
of what the Holy Ghost meant. Paul and Barnabas were sent out under the joint
operation of the Holy Ghost, and a Missionary board; and it was in this way the
gospel was first carried to the heathens in the Apostolic
day. No system but ours has ever done any thing for the spread of the gospel,
and Mr. Thompson cannot show that the gospel has ever been carried to the
heathens only upon the Modern Missionary plan; and if our plan is not a good
one, I want him to show us a plan that is a good one, and that has ever done
any good, and I will join him. But if he has no plan, why oppose ours, – –
which is the only one that has ever done any thing for the spread of the
gospel, and the amelieration of the condition of the
poor benighted heathens? Paul received money of the churches to enable him to
go and preach among the poor and destitute, and he took up contributions for
the spread of the gospel, and to sustain those engaged in publishing the glad
tidings of salvation. I have seen a letter published in the “Primitive Baptist”
stating that the brethren contributed liberally last Fall
to Mr. Thompson, even beyond his expenses, and I doubt not but that his
brethren will be equally liberal to him this Fall. Mr. Thompson knows were to
travel, and you will not find him traveling among the poor and destitute, who
are not able to pay, but you will find him traveling among the rich and liberal
churches. I will venture the prophecy that, if you should not give him any
thing this Fall, you will not see him down here again
next Fall. Mr. Thompson rejects the Missionary enterprise because he says there
is no Scripture for it. He cannot show any Scripture for Associations,
neither can he prove by Scripture that the Baptist church is the true
It is by the means of preaching that souls are to be saved, and the preacher cannot go, unless means are provided for his support; to supply these means Missionary societies are formed, and good men of all denominations, are contributing to the support of the gospel, and for the evangelizing of the world. Their efforts have already been blessed in the salvation of thousands of immortal souls, and all the Christian world is praying for their success. The heathens are turning from their idols, to the religion of the gospel, and while thousands of them are rejoicing in hope of immortality, they bless God for the message of peace and salvation sent them, through the labors of our pious Missionaries. And while these Missionaries, like the messengers of peace, are carrying the glad tidings of salvation to poor blind sinners of all nations, and are instrumental in opening the eyes of thousands, and of saving them from the wrath to come, Mr. Thompson and his friends are opposing them, and calling them hirelings. Missionaries do not labor for the money, neither do they get high wages, or the most of them die poor. Rice commenced with a fortune and spent at all in the service of the cause, and died poor, and many more such instances might be sighted to show the sincerity and devotion of these men. There is no system of Missionary operation given in the Bible. We are therefore left to devise such plans, as we might think best calculated to effect the great end contemplated by the Savior when he gave the commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
Mr. Bennett, in this speech, as in his other, has spent much of his time in
charging me with opposing the spread of the gospel, and of trying to keep the
Bible away from the people. This is a false charge, as I successfully shewed in my other speech, and Mr. Bennett knows it is
false, and you know it is false, and should he make the charge again, I want
you to look him in the face and see how a man will look who can have the affrontry to make such assertions in the presence of this
congregation. I stand here to oppose the anti-scriptural institutions and
inventions of men. Mr. Bennett has failed to give you one text of Scripture to
prove the Modern Missionary Enterprise. Where is the Bible authority for boards
of foreign Missions, of Home Missions, of
Here a recess of an hour was taken, after which the congregation seated themselves to hear the second proposition debated, which was as follows. Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise condemned by the word of God; Mr. Thompson affirms – Mr. Bennett denies.
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
Mr. Bennett has been urging upon me to give a plan of operation for the
spread of the gospel, and has utterly failed to produce one solitary text to
prove his “Modern Missionary Enterprise.” I now have the affirmative and stand
pledged to bring forward and substantiate a plan which is fully laid down in
the Scriptures, which provides for all times, for all countries, and for all
possible contingencies, and circumstances: which is efficient, ample and full;
which lacks nothing, and has always been successful, in all countries, times,
and circumstances and can never fail. A plan devised in infinite wisdom: God
being the author of it. And they that operate under it, have the immutable
promise of God for a warrant that they shall be defended, and provided for in
all countries, times, and circumstances. This plan is plainly coupled with the
commission as given in Mt
28:19-20 and Mr 16:15. Under this commission Mr. Bennett
acknowledges all true gospel ministers go, in all ages and in all nations.
Affixed to the commission is the declaration, “All power (authority) in heaven
and in earth is given unto me.” Go therefore under the authority of heaven, as
the ambassadors of peace, for he that hath all power sends you out as sheep
among wolves, and as they have persecuted, and rejected me, your Lord and
Master, so shall they reject and persecute you, but he that has all authority’s
“in heaven and in earth,” says, “Go.” The command is therefore imperious, and
no countries, times, or circumstances, can be a lawful excuse for those who he
has commanded to go, to refuse implicit obedience to the command of their
sovereign Lord. But if they should say, Lord, if we must go, what shall we
preach? Full and ample instruction is given in the commission, “Preach the
gospel to every creature.” – “Teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all
things whatsoever I have commanded you.” But do I again hear them say, as
though they wished to scrutinize the plan in all its parts, and have its
efficiency for all countries, times, and circumstances, fully demonstrated to
their minds, should we fall among enemies or lack wisdom what shall we do? “Lo!
I am with you alway, even to the end of the world,
“Amen.” Wherever they go, therefore they have all power in heaven and in earth
to protect and defend them, and that power is always with them, “a present help
in time of trouble.” The disciples of Jesus were surrounded with every possible
circumstance to discourage them and to fill their minds with fear. The Jews,
and Romans, but forty days before, had crucified their Lord, and were now ready
to put them to death wherever they could find them. It is therefore reasonable
to suppose that the question arose in their minds: what shall we say if we
should be brought before the rulers and kings of this world? But here they are
provided for. “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no
thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate; but
whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye
that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” This begins to look like providing for the all
countries, times, and circumstances, but our thoughts are quick and busy, and
how natural it would be for the question to arise in the mind, where is our
food and raiment to come from? For all men are our enemies,
and we have no boards, conventions, or Missionary societies to give us a
warrant that we should be supplied with these things. But read the glorious
provision made in the plan devised by Zion’s King as recorded in Lu 12, “And he said unto his
disciples, Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life what ye
shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than
meat and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither
sow nor reap: which neither have storehouse, nor barn; and God feedeth them. How much more are ye better than the fowls?
And which of you taking thought can add to his statue one cubit? If ye then be
not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say
unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If
then God so clothe the grass which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast
into the oven! How much more will he clothe you, O, ye of little faith! And
seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink,
neither be ye of doubtful mind, “For all these things do the nations of the
world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye
have need of these things.” “But rather seek ye the
It now devolves upon me to show that the word of God condemns the “Modern
Missionary Enterprise.” This I have already done in effect by presenting you
God’s plan, which is perfect, and supersedes the necessity of any other plan. I
might here set down, having fully redeemed my pledge, but I am not done, I
intend to condemn his plans in Bible language, and make it evident to all that
it is of antichrist. To do this I call your attention to Nu 22:7. “And the Elders of
Moab and the Elders of Midian departed with the
rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam,
and spake unto him the words of Balah.”
The reward from Balah was to hire Balaam to curse
Mr. Bennett then spoke substantially as follows:
Mr. Thompson complained of me for addressing the sympathies of the people,
and I have scarcely ever heard a stronger effort made to excite the feelings
that he has made in his last address, but this will avail him nothing in this
discussion. It is testimony we are after, and not find speeches. He has failed
to give us a plan that was to operate beyond the Apostolic
age, and all he has said applies to the Apostles and no further. That was the
day of miracles, but God does not now miraculously supply and provide for the
ministers of the gospel. The Holy Ghost only contemplated that age when the
commission was given, and the provisions so much talked about by Mr. Thompson,
had reference alone to the Apostles, and not to future ages of the church. If
Mr. Thompson was to drink any deadly poison it would be very apt to kill him,
or if a poisonous serpent was to fasten upon his hand like it did on Paul's
hand, he would find that he was provided for, but would swell and die. It has
pleased God that they that preach the gospel shall live of the gospel: this
living the church is provided and to secure this living to the ministers of the
gospel, is what has given rise to the Modern Missionary Enterprise. The necessities of the ministers of this age, not provided for by the
Holy Ghost is what has given rise to the Modern Missionary Enterprise.
The promise of providing made by the Holy Ghost, was to the apostles,
and the apostles alone. Paul took up contribution to sustain his brethren and
wrote to the churches to have ready it for him when he came, and this fully
justifies us in collecting funds for Missionary purposes, and in this we have
apostolic example all that we do. The Missionaries are the servants of Christ,
and are sent forth to do his work, and have been instrumental in converting
thousand. God works by means, and the gospel is the means of saving souls, for,
– "how can they believe on him whom they have not heard?" Men have to
preach the gospel, and, "how shall they preach unless they are sent? And
how shall they go unless we make provisions for them? Our boards are doing the
work of Christ in providing means and sending out men to preach the gospel to
the destitute. And for their course they have the very best example, for Paul
traveled and preached, and took up contributions under the appointment and
patronage of a board that sent him and Barnabas out. This has been the practice
in all ages, Whitefield traveled and preached under a board, and God blessed
his labors wherever he went, and by him the gospel was preached in the
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
This is my last speech and I intend to notice the gentleman's arguments as
briefly as I can. He now accuses me of opposing his "benevolent
operations;" I have opposed no benevolent operations, neither have I said
one word against benevolence. But I have opposed his anti-scriptural,
speculating, money making institutions, falsely called benevolent. If it is
benevolence for men to ride over the country at forty dollars per month, and
beg money to pay themselves, and others hired at the
same or a higher ratio, then I oppose benevolence. Paul never did beg money for
himself or to pay others for preaching as Mr. Bennett alleges, and I demand of
him the chapter and verse where it is recorded, if Mr. Bennett will show it I
will yield the whole question. I know that Paul received the contributions of
the Gentile churches, for the poor Saints at
Mr. Bennett says that I have perverted the texts in Numbers and Jude; he
says that it was the wicked Jews that made an unfavorable report and said that
they could not take the land that the woe was pronounced against. If that
should be the case, then Mr. Bennett's people are the wicked Jews, for they say
we cannot take the land without money and means, for our preachers cannot cross
seas, rivers, and pay tavern bills without money. But our plan provides for all
that, for while our God says, "go," He will divide the seas, or
Gentlemen and friends, I am now done with this discussion, and while the
Modern Missionary Enterprise fulfills the prediction of Scripture, that
"wicked men and seducers shall grow worse and worse" the
Mr. Bennett then closed the debate substantially as follows:
Mr. Thompson has made a very eloquent address, but has left us, as he found us, without any system of operation. He has not given us the great plan he boasted so much about, and that we all have been looking for. He has acknowledged that Paul received money of the churches, and thereby has acknowledged all that I have contended for in reference to the Modern Missionary plan. (Here Mr. Thompson interrupted Mr. Bennett and said, "I have never admitted that Paul, or any other Apostle received money of a board or a Missionary society, or any other institution resembling the Modern Missionary society, all that Paul received, he received as the voluntary offering of his brethren, without any hired beggars or agents to collect it.) Mr. Bennett then proceeded.
The Missionaries do not force people to pay any amount, but leave the matter
with them as they may think proper. What we give is all a voluntary offering,
without any coercion or arbitrary means whatever. I will insist that there is
no plan that is doing any thing for the spread of the gospel but our plan, and
Mr. Thompson has not told us of any one that is doing anything. It does seem to
me, that if his plan was as good a one as he has represented it to be, he could
have told us were it was doing some good, he has failed to do, and until he
does that I shall contend that ours is the only plan that he is doing any good,
and that no Christian ought to oppose us. Through the instrumentality of our
institutions, the gospel is spreading for and wide. Mr. Thompson talks about
the Roman Catholics. His people and the Roman Catholics are all the people that
oppose the circulation of the Scriptures. (Here Mr. Thompson denied, opposing
the circulation of the Scriptures, and called upon the board of order to say
whether he had made any such assertions. After some talk, Mr. Bennett said that
he would not contend that Mr. Thompson had said it, and then proceeded.) Mr.
Thompson seems disposed to interrupt me, and not give me a change to make my
closing argument, which, I think, shews that he has
not confidence in his system, and that he is fearful to have it scrutinized in
all of its parts. The Priests under the old dispensation were supported at the
altar. (Mr. Thompson asked if Mr. Bennett was called to bring in new arguments
in the closing speech.) (Mr. Bennett said that he would say no more about that
and proceeded.) The gentleman seems to be very sensitive, and perhaps I had
better stop, for he seems disposed to stop me at every point. I hardly know
what more to say, I expect my time is very nearly expired, is it not? (The
president of the board remarked, no, your time is not yet out.) The commission
says, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the
gospel to every creature." And it is men that have to go, and they have to
be fed and clothed, and how are they to get food and clothing if the Missionary
societies of the day do not furnish them with it? How can men spend all their
time in riding from place to place, if they get nothing for it? Mr. Thompson
speaks of some bad men among the Missionaries. There are bad people among all
denominations of Christians, and we must not reject a good institution, because
bad men have been connected with it. The
I thank you for your good behavior and attention.
BY THE SAME, AT
On the 29th of October, Elders Bennett and Thompson meet again at Goldsborough and debated the same questions debated in the foregoing discussion. Mr. Bennett having the affirmative on the first proposition, opened the discussion substantially as follows:
In the first place in opening this discussion, I intend to explain to you
the object of the "Modern Missionary Enterprise," and then adduce
such Scriptures as will prove it to be of divine origin. The great object of
all our benevolent operations, is to send the gospel
to all nations and people under heaven. Mahometanism,
Roman Catholicism and Heathen idolatry, was the only
religion known by the greater part of the nations of the earth. Christians of
I now insist that Mr. Thompson shall give us some other plan if he has got
any. He opposes our plan, but has got none himself neither can he shew any that is doing any good. It is his duty to give us
some plan, and to establish that plan by the Word of God, and I insist that he
shall do it; for if he should fail to do that, then he has lost the question
and ours remaining to be the only plan that is doing any thing, must be the
right one, and it is wrong for him to be opposing it. He is the opposing the
only plan that ever has or ever can do anything for the spread of the gospel.
Our plan is not only clearly proven by the commission, as already shown, but we
have apostolic example for boards, or conventions of brethren, to send
ministers out to preach the gospel, and to prove this I will read Ac 13:2-3. "As they
ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas
and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted
and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." Here was a
company of ministers assembled at
I think I have now established very clearly that Christians in the apostolic
day associated themselves together in bodies for the spread of the gospel, and
3:5-8, we are taught that they paid them while they were preaching among
the heathens, I will read the passage. Beloved thou doest faithfully whatsoever
thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; which have borne witness of thy
charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a
godly sort, thou shalt do well; because that for his
name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. "We therefore
ought to receive such, that we may be fellow-helpers to the truth." It is
evident from this passage that it was the custom of the apostles to go out
depending upon the church, and that the church made the necessary arrangements
for their support? This is also proven in Php
4:3, "And I intreat thee also, true
yoke-fellow, have those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement
also, and with other my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the Book of
Life." Is it not strange that any man would now say that there is no
Scripture for helping those that preach the gospel? But the Apostle still goes
farther with this subject and shews that it is right
and lawful for us to assist and sustain those that preach the gospel. As proof
I will read 1Co 9:11,14,18. "For it is written in the Law of Moses,
thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God care for oxen? If we have
sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your
carnal things? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel
should live of the gospel. What is my reward then?
Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without
charge, that I abuse n. Ot
my power in the gospel." It would be useless for me to spend any more time
in reading texts to prove that the apostles and ancient preachers dependented upon the church for support. I shall now invite
your attention to 2Co
9:2,9-10,12-13. "For I know the forwardness
of your minds, for I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a
year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many." "As it is written,
he hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor; his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth
seed to the sower, both minister bread for your food,
and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; for
the administration of this service not only supplieth
the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgiving unto God;
while by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your
professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal
distribution unto them, and unto all men." Here is a system given us by
the apostle for the collecting, disbursing, and raising money to sustain those
engaged in preaching the gospel, and Paul declares that some had their money
ready a year before-hand, and he boasts of their liberality. If money was
collected by the apostles for the support of the gospel, is it not the duty of
Christians in this day to raise money for the same purpose? Mr. Thompson calls
the "Modern Missionary Enterprise," a begging institution. We will
now see what Paul says about the liberality of the brethren in the support of
the gospel, 2Co 11:9,11. "And when I was present with, and wanted, I
was chargeable to no man; for that which was lacking to me the brethren which
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
I regret exceedingly that I have to appear before you in the attitude that I
now do. I am not very partial to religious discussions of this kind, however
circumstances sometimes make it necessary that we should engage in them, and I
consider that I am on the present occasion justifiable in taking the part that
I do. Mr. Bennett and myself have, upon a former
occasion, discussed the same points that are to be discussed today. At the
close of that debate I was perfectly satisfied to let the matter stop, and to
let the people take the arguments, and bring in their own verdict. However, Mr.
Bennett was not satisfied I suppose, and challenged me for another discussion,
and under his challenge, I agreed to meet him at this place, not feeling
willing to return back to
Mr. Bennett next introduced the commission as given in Mt 28:19; Mr 16:15, and of Lu 24:47, and spent much of his time in trying to prove that the gospel is to be preached in all the world, this is not denied, neither does it have any thing to do with this debate. For in the commission there is not one word said about the formation of any societies. The command is, go; and this command is from him that hath all authority in heaven and in earth. And connected with the commission is a warrant given which secures to the minister of the gospel every thing that he can need in all ages of the world. "Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." The Lord when he sends out ministers goes with them, and while he is with them they can want nothing, for he is a Son and a shield, and he will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Mr. Bennett tells us that this is all the commission given, and the only authority any have for preaching the gospel, in any age of the world. Will he be so kind as to shew us the board that was united with Christ in giving the commission, and sending out the first preachers? For he says this is all the authority under which true ministers of all ages go, if then there was no board connected with Christ in giving the commission under which "ALL GOSPEL MINISTERS OF ALL AGES go," those that go out under the appointment and authority of boards cannot be gospel ministers according to Mr. Bennett's shewing. I fear Mr. Bennett has got himself into difficulty, he ought to have read the passage in Revelation 23, which gives to the Missionary board joint authority with the Lord Jesus Christ. I am willing to let the whole matter rest here, and let it be understood by the people, that Mr. Bennett and myself have agreed, that "all true ministers of all ages go out under the commission given by Christ alone, and that all who go under the appointment and authority of boards are ministries of darkness and Angels of the bottomless pit.
Mr. Bennett has spent much time in proving it is the duty of the church to aid those that preach the gospel, and the poor. This is not denied, but is believed and practiced by all consistent old Baptist churches. We have not met here to debate whether it is right to help the poor or not, I do not know that we differ upon that subject, and every effort of Mr. Bennett to drag it into the debate is a begging of the question, and evidence that he is sensible of the badness of the cause he has espoused.
The question to be discussed was read at the opening of this debate, and there is not one word in it about feeding and clothing the poor, are about helping those who labor in word and in doctrine, – the question to be discussed is simple and plain, viz., "Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise taught in the word of God?" Mr. Bennett has the affirmative and (as lawyers say) the honus probendi rests upon him Mr. Bennett calls upon me to give a plan for the spread of the gospel. This I shall do when I get the affirmative, but it is my duty now to follow him, and show the defects and anti-scriptural parts of his plan, and this I shall do. He need not give us the Modern Missionary plan, for we have it, and it may be expressed in a very few words, (viz.) "Get all the money you can, and by whatever means you can."
This money-getting, speculating system is called "benevolence," and all who oppose it, are called the enemies of mankind, and represented as even opposed to the spread of the gospel the history of all ages, however, shows that the people that have been everywhere spoken against, and that Mr. Bennett and his people are laboring to heap calumny upon, have always been the true minister of the gospel, and friends of mankind.
The question to be debated by us is plain and simple, and there is but
little of Mr. Bennett's speech that has any bearing upon the subject, and what
little does is the most palpable perversion of Scripture I have ever heard fall
from the lips of any man. To prove his "Modern Missionary Enterprise, he refers
you to Ac 13:2-3,"
and says this was a board that met at
Ought I not to yield the question now? Think you, I can hold out any longer?
Ah! These boards to send out preachers! How plain Mr. Bennett proves them! If
the preacher is set off by night to keep their persecutors from getting them
the next day, it proves that Missionaries have the right to form boards, and
hire thousands of beggars and send them all over the country, to collect money
to fill the pockets of a proud and profligate clergy. Well! If this is Mr.
Bennett's strong fortification, it would be easily demolished by the sounding
of a ram's horn, or if the inmates were to see a little barley cake coming down upon it they might with certainty prophesy
its destruction. I want Mr. Bennett in his next speech to tell us how much
money the board at
Mr. Bennett introduces a great many passages of Scripture to prove that it
was the practice among the ancient Christians to feed and clothe the poor, and
to administer to the needs of those they preached the gospel. This I admit, and
shall not spend time in noticing what he is said upon that subject. But while
dwelling upon this point, he introduced one passage of Scripture and so grossly
perverted it, that I must notice it. This was where Paul received the
"contributions of the Gentile churches, and carried it up to the poor
I have but one more argument to notice, and that is
Mr. Bennett's Theological college at
Mr. Bennett then spoke substantially as follows:
I have read of the mountain that brought forth a mouse; and Mr. Thompson has
made a great deal of noise, but has brought forth nothing. He has given us no
plan for the spread of the gospel, neither has he shewed
us any plan that is doing any good, but the one I am defending. He is very
boisterous against the "Modern Missionary Enterprise," but tells us
of nothing else that is doing any good. His system was only designed for the
Jewish nation, and he still is opposed to the gospel being preached among the
Gentiles. If he believes that the gospel is to be preached to all the world, what is the reason he does not go among the
Gentiles? The Holy Ghost was given the disciples in
It was through the instrumentality of the "Missionary Enterprise"
that the gospel came to the
I have shewed that Paul took up contributions of the churches for Missionary purposes, or to pay those engaged in preaching the gospel, and that he speaks of some that had their money ready a year beforehand, and he speaks of this in their praise; because they had been forward in raising means for the support of the gospel. These churches had not stopped to quarrel about the "plan," but had went to work to do some good if possible; and Paul commends their zeal; and speaks of it, so that he may excite others to step forward in the good cause, and not be behind their brethren in doing this. Paul evidently spoke in their praise, that others might be stimulated by their example; and by the united effort of all, the gospel could be sent into all the world. I have seen a letter published in the "Primitive Baptist," stating that Mr. Thompson and his Father was coming down here this Fall, and urging upon the brethren to not forget to provide means for them. They cannot come this long journey without money; and the brethren are urged upon to have it ready. Mr. Thompson has a great abhorrence for money when the Missionaries are getting a little. But his brethren knows that he must have some, and are urged upon to have it ready when he comes. –
Mr. Thompson called upon Mr. Bennett to tell who wrote the letter referred to by him.
Mr. Bennett answered; "Jesse C. Knight,"
Mr. Thompson then said, "There is not one syllable in that letter about money. Brother Knight thought that we were coming by public conveyance, and suggested to the brethren the necessity of providing for us means of conveyance from place to place."
Mr. Bennett then proceeded.
Mr. Thompson must have money as well as any of us, or he cannot travel from place to place. The Lord will not fill his barn, or crib, or meat barrel, any more than he does other people’s.
I would ask Mr. Thompson if, while he was down here last Fall, one brother did not give him seventy-five dollars?
Mr. Thompson answered, No.
Mr. Bennett then asked, Did not one give you fifty?
Mr. Thompson answered No.
Mr. Bennett asked, Did not one give you twenty-five?
Thompson answered, No. And then arose and addressed the Moderators and said: it is useless to be spending the time asking and answering these foolish questions, which have nothing to do with the subject in debate. But if it be of any advantage to Mr. Bennett, I will say to him, that while down your last Fall, some of the friends and brethren gave me a dime, some gave me a quarter of a dollar, some gave me half of a dollar, some gave me a dollar, some gave me more, and some gave me less; and that their liberality towards me was such that I lacked nothing. But I never asked them for a farthing, neither did I leave home with a promise from any body of getting one cent.
Mr. Bennett then resumed his speech.
From the best information I can get, Mr. Thompson received about three hundred dollars while down here last Fall. This accounts for his being back here again this Fall with his Father with him; and if he gets as much this Fall as he got last, I shall look for him again next Fall with one or two more with him. But if he should not get too much his visits will soon stop, and we will not see him again next Fall.
I shall still insist upon it, that there is no plan that is doing any good but the Modern Missionary plan, and if there is any other one that is doing any good, it devolves upon Mr. Thompson to shew it; and until he does shew us one, I shall insist that he is opposing the only one that is doing anything for the spread of the gospel, and of course is opposing the spread of the gospel.
Before taking my seat, I will challenge Mr. Thompson to meet me in Tarborough, and at my meeting-house, and the Temperance Hall, near where I live, and debate this same subject again at each of these places. He thinks that truth has nothing to fear from investigations, and if he has confidence in his system, he will be willing to defend it any where and every where, and I want him to understand that I challenge him to meet me at those three places, and debate the same questions, that we are now debating. If he refuses, it will shew that he has not got confidence in his system, and wants to shun the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
Mr. Bennett has closed his speech by giving me a challenge
to meet him in Tarborough, at his meeting-house, and
at the Temperance Hall. I am done with Mr. Bennett, I
shall not fool away any more time in meeting him. This is the second time that
we have met, and he has failed to bring one text of Scripture to sustain his
"Modern Enterprise," and should we meet two or three times more he
would still fail, and I think it useless for me to be spending my time in
fighting a shadow. But I will hear say, that if the Missionaries will select a
man, that they are willing to trust their cause to, and let me know. I will
come all the way from
I recollect of having read in the report of some "Modern money-hunting Missionary," of a poor widow that threw a sixpence into the "Lord's treasury" and with it one verse of the prophecy of Isaiah was printed and thrown upon board a ship, her son being a hand on the ship, read the verse and became a Christian. He then argued that the Mother' s sixpence had saved the soul of her son. O, my Lord! Why did you sweat, as it were, great drops of blood in the garden? Why have your immaculate temples pierced with the thorns? Why have your hands and feet nailed to the wood, and for three whole hours suffer torture and pain? A sixpence a soul may save the world, and make all your sufferings of no avail whatever. Oh! Peter was mistaken when he said that was not with silver and gold that we are redeemed from our vain conversation, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Mr. Bennett says that I am opposed to preaching of the gospel among the Gentiles. I don't know that I ever preached any but to Gentiles in my life. And then he tells you that I am not willing for any but the rich to have the gospel.
I never have said one word about not letting rich or poor have it, or about confining it to any class of men.
Mr. Bennett has been very much pushed in his last speech to find anything to say and has spent his time in calling on me for a plan of operations for the spread of the gospel, and in talking about the liberality of the brethren towards me last Fall. I do not care how much Mr. Bennett's people give him, neither have I said one word against the church is helping those that preach the gospel. If I had to have received a thousand dollars last Fall, it would have proved nothing for or against the "Modern Missionary Enterprise."
Mr. Bennett says that Whitfield and Wesley came to this country under a "board." Suppose they did – does that prove the "Modern Missionary Enterprise," to be of divine origin? Who were Whitfield and Wesley? They were members of the church of England, the first daughter of the "Mother of Harlots;" and all such as these, are the men that go out under the appointment of a Board. The whole system belongs to "MYSTERY BABYLON, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATION OF THE WHOLE EARTH."
Mr. Bennett says that I am opposed to the spread of the gospel, and teach, that men must stay at home, and not go out into all the world. I have taught no such thing, but were I to examine the course pursued by his "Modern institutions," I could very easily show that they do not send their ministry out into all the world, but that they described their boundaries, and they must labor within the field laid out for them by their employers.
Mr. Bennett has not thought
proper to say anything more about his Missionary board that met at
Mr. Bennett thinks I am very
ignorant if I doubt whether the Missionaries are doing any good among the
heathens or not, and boasts that they are giving them the Bible without note or
comment. He cannot prove that they are giving them the Scriptures at all. We
have a great number of translations made for sectarian purposes, and Mr.
Bennett will not contend that they are all good translations. If men will be wicked enough to make false translations among us,
might they not do the same among the heathens? I think it probable that
their translations have got the "board" at
Mr. Bennett says that our churches annually send money to our Associations to pay their preachers. This is not the truth; our churches to send money to pay for the printing and distribution of their Minutes, &c., but it has never been the practice of our churches to send money to the associations to pay preachers, and Mr. Bennett cannot be honest in making the charge, for he lived with us long enough to know better.
After a recess of two hours, the congregation again assembled, and the house being called to order, the question to be discussed was read, and Mr. Thompson having the affirmative, spoke substantially as follows:
Mr. Bennett in every speech she has made, has spent much of his time in calling upon me to give a plan for the spread of the gospel. I now have the affirmative, and it devolves upon me to show the plan God has devised, and laid down in his word for the promulgation of the gospel in all the world. The Scriptures are the man of our counsel, in this and all other matters of religion. In them we have an infallible rule of both faith and practice. They are given by the inspiration of the Spirit, and in them the man of God is thoroughly furnished, or furnished throughout, to every good work, so we are lacking in nothing, and do not have to speculate, and introduce human plans, and inventions to make up for the defects of the Holy Ghost. The way is marked out so plain, that a wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. In God's plan, there is not many wise nor noble called; but he has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, and things that are not, to put to naught things that are. He conducts the affairs of his own Kingdom, and can, out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, perfect his own praise. He dispenses the gifts, and qualifications of the Spirit to the various members of his Kingdom as shall redound to his glory the edification of the saints, and the perfecting of the Body of Christ. As the Body naturally has many members and all have not the same gift, so the mystical body of Christ (the church) has many members, and a variety of gifts, and all by the same spirit, if one as the gift of prophecy, another of teaching, another of exhortation, another of prayer, etc., all these various gifts are by the same spirit, and are placed in the body by him who works all things after the counsel of his own will. "For ye (the church) are God's husbandry and are God's building." And in this, God will not give his glory to another, (Modern Missionary institutions) or his praise to graven images, (money.) The Savior in view of the wisdom of God, in arranging, ordering and conducting the affairs of his kingdom, says: "I think thee, O, Father! Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hath revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." Christ's kingdom is not of this world, neither does it look to this world nor the institutions and governments of this world for support.
I will here give you a rule by
which you may always know an anti-Christian church. Whenever you see a petition
sent to your legislature, by a body of people professing to be religious,
asking for acts of incorporation, set it down as an infallible rule that they
are of anti-Christ. Any preacher that will become chaplain to Congress, the
Legislature, the Navy, or under this clerical coat will seek any governmental
patronage whatever, Mark as one of the ministers of "MYSTERY
BABYLON," and watch them as you would the deadliest enemies of civil
liberty. The Savior declared that his kingdom was not of the world, therefore
shall the world hate you, – I have chosen you out of the world – ("not in
conjunction with a" Missionary board" as Mr. Bennett teaches,) and
the world will be your enemies, but you need not fear the world, for "I
have overcome the world." "Because I live ye shall live also."
Through him, all that trust, and confide in his promises, shall be brought off conquerers and more than conquerors. The SHALL of the Lord
Jesus Christ, is a better warrant to the minister of the gospel, then the bond
of all the Missionary societies under heaven. He says that no weapon that is
formed against them "SHALL" prosper. The "SHALL," and
immutable decree of Him that hath all power in heaven and in earth, is the
foundation upon which our plan for the spread of the gospel rests, and is the
warrant for its future success. Heaven and earth may pass away, all Missionary
and monied institutions may become bankrupt, but the
SHALL, and the immutable decree of our God, can never pass away. The decree has
gone forth from him that sitteth in the circle of the
heavens, and measures the ocean in his palm, and weighs the earth as in a
balance, saying, "Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature"." Mr
16:15. Connected with this command is the gracious promise of our
Sovereign, giving us a warrant for protection and success in all ages of the
world; "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the
end of the world. Amen." Mt
28:20. Here is a plan that secures everything to them that trust in it,
things present, and things to come, so that they that trust in it need not
think "what they are to eat, or what they are to drink; or wherewithall they are to be clothed," for He that
commands them to go, watches them with such interest that not a hair of their
heads can fall to the ground without his notice. Luke 12;22;23;24;25;26;
27;28;29;30;31;32. Under this plan, the disciples and apostles of Jesus, went
forth in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation; and although they were
mostly poor, illiterate fishermen, God protected them, and the Holy Ghosts
supplied them with wisdom, so that with signs and wonders, and with divers
miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost they were enabled to confound their
enemies, and thousands became obedient to the faith of the gospel. Persecution
and opposition raged upon every side, – Stephen was stoned to death, and the
Will Mr. Bennett now say that I
have given no plan? Or what objections can he bring to this plan? Under it the
gospel has been preached to all the world, long before
Mr. Bennett's plan was thought of. And if I should admit (which I do not,) that
his plan was doing any good, it would be when compared to God's plan, as a drop
to the great ocean. What is the Modern Missionary plan? MONEY.
Someone said, "give me money, and I will conquer
the world." The Missionaries say, "give us MONEY, and we will convert
the world." Balaam was willing to curse
I have now redeemed my pledge, and have given a plan which is revealed in the Word of God, and is the only one under which the true ministers of Christ are to go out in all ages of the world; and I have also shewn you that Mr. Bennett's money-making speculating system is positively condemned by the Word of God.
Mr. Bennett then spoke substantially as follows:
I have fully established the fact
that there is no plan that is doing any thing for the spread of the gospel but
the "Modern Missionary Enterprise." It had its foundation in the
apostolic age, and the first churches had conventions to devise means for the
spread of the gospel, and sent Paul as a Missionary to the Gentiles. Paul
declares that he had robbed other churches, taking wages of them, that he might
preach the gospel to others; and as I have clearly shown, took up collections
among the churches for the spread of the gospel. All that Mr. Thompson has said
about the gospel being preached in all the world, and
to every creature, has reference to the day of Pentecost. There was at that
time in Jerusalem, people from all the adjacent countries, and through the
instrumentality of Peter's sermon upon that day were converted to the Christian
faith, and as they went home they carried the news with them of the wonderful
works of God, and it is evidently in reference to this that Paul speaks when he
says, "The gospel has been preached to every creature," for there
were at that time people from every nation. You will see therefore that all
that Mr. Thompson said upon that subject has reference to the day of Pentecost,
and can avail him nothing in this discussion. The first seventy that were sent
out by the Savior, were only sent to the lost sheep of the house of
Mr. Thompson talks much about
persecution, and says that the gospel spread faster under persecution than it
ever has since. If this be true, he ought to pray for persecution to come
again, for then the gospel would spread, and the church would prosper. But
history proves to the reverse of this, for in the dark ages of persecution the
church almost lost its visibility, and was never revived until the days of
Luther and Calvin. But if persecution is an evidence
in favor of Mr. Thompson's plan, Missionaries have been persecuted too. Judson
was cast into prison for preaching the gospel among the heathens, but God
preserved his life. Ought this not to be an evidence
that God was with him, and in the plan? If God was with Paul and Silas when
they were in jail at
Mr. Thompson talks much about "sectarion translations of the Scriptures." The Missionaries can have no sectarion ends to accomplish, they are sent to the heathens were there is no religion but idolatry, and all denominations are engaged in this work, so that if they were disposed to do as Mr. Thompson would make you believe they do, they would be detected and exposed. This is nothing but a way adopted to get around the force of my argument, which stands as yet unanswered by Mr. Thompson.
The Apostles were commissioned to go and preach and to work miracles, but the day of miracles is now past and we need not expect that we will be miraculously fed and clothed. If our corn grows we must plant it and work it. God is not going to fill our cribs for us without our making use of the necessary means; and if we do not provide for those that preach the gospel, how shall they live of the gospel? Mr. Thompson says they must go, not taking thought what they shall eat, or wear. I think from the way he is dressed that he took thought what he should wear; neither do I believe he would make many long trips if he was to get no money. I expect he loves money as well as those he calls money-hunters, and speculators in religion. The missionary does not get high wages, he hardly gets a support. Judson and many others have contributed all that they had to the cause, and after spending a lifetime in toll and labor, died poor. This is evident that money was not what they were after, for had they been after wealth, they would have kept all they got. History will always defend the character of such men as Judson and Rice against the charge of being greedy for filthy lucre. James tells us that we must feed the poor and clothe the naked, and Paul speaks of some that helped him on his way, but Mr. Thompson tells you that this is all of antichrist; he now condemns the very system that Paul recommended and praised some churches because they had been forward in it. The priests were to be supported at the altar, and were not allowed to own a part of the land. God had appointed them to be priests, and they were to be supported by the rest of the tribes. And in the offerings they were brought, the priest had his part, and it is even so ordained under the new dispensation that they that serve at the altar shall live of the altar, and that they that preach the gospel shall live of the gospel. We should not think it hard to give our temporal things when we have received spiritual, for no man can go up on a warfare at his own charges. Christ himself had to have tribute money, and they that preach the gospel have to have money to pay tavern bills, ferriages and the like, and it is the duty of the church to supply them with all these things, – in this way they helped Paul on his way, and in this way we help our Missionaries. For this we have abundant example in the Bible, and if Mr. Thompson opposes this he opposes the Bible and the authority of the Holy Ghost.
Mr. Thompson talks about the number of translations, and accuses us of sending false translations to the heathens. He has not got a man in his denomination that can translate the Scriptures, he ought not therefore to talk about false translations. But I am more astonished to hear him say that the Missionaries are doing more harm among the heathens than any thing else, when the reports show that thousands of these poor benighted people are now reading the Bible in their own language, and every Sabbath assembling at the place of worship, to hear the word of God explained to them, and to unite with our pious Missionaries in praise and prayer. Such is their desire for the Bible and the knowledge of salvation, that every page of the Scriptures printed is eagerly sought for, and such is the demand for the Scriptures among them, that all the efforts of the Missionaries cannot supply the demand, and yet Mr. Thompson said we are doing more harm than any thing else.
Mr. Thompson then spoke substantially as follows:
This is my last speech, and I
have very little to do, for Mr. Bennett has not attempted to controvert the
positions I have taken, but has spent the most of his time in giving us a
lecture upon the support of the gospel, a question that has nothing to do with
this debate whatever. I have not called in question the duty of tending the
poor, or contributing to the aid of those that preach
the gospel; neither have I denied that Paul received aid from his brethren, and
that it was the custom among the first churches to give of their temporal things
to those that administer to them in spiritual things. If Mr. Bennett could
prove that every church Paul visited gave him five, ten or twenty dollars, it
would not prove his "Modern Missionary Enterprise," or have any
bearing upon the present question. I have shown that his "Modern
plan" is to "sell memberships to professors and non-professors,"
and now called upon him to shew one text for this
practice, and he has failed to give us one. I have shewed
by positive Scripture that this practice is condemned, in the command, for us
not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, and in the case of Simon who wished
to buy the Holy Ghost with money. I have called upon him to give me one text
for their "boards and hired beggars," but he has not given one; while
I have shewed that we are to covet no man's gold or
silver, I have shewed that the contributions taken by
Paul among the Gentile churches, was to feed and clothe the poor Saints at
Jerusalem and not for Missionary purposes as alleged by Mr. Bennett. I have shewed that the commission given by our Lord Jesus Christ,
was given independent of all boards, conventions or Missionary societies what
ever, and that the true minister goes out under the authority of Jesus, and not
of a board. I have also shewed that in the gospel
plan, provision is made for the protection, food and raiment of all that God
calls to preach to the end of time, and to prove this, I have quoted the
various deliverances of Paul and others, whom God had sent out. I have also shewed that this plan secures them wisdom, so that they
need not take thought what they are to say, for the Holy Ghost will teach them
what to say. I have shewed that under this plan the
gospel has been preached to the four quarters of the globe before ever Mr.
Bennett's plan was thought of. I have also shewed
that it has been carried across this continent to the shores of the Pacific,
and is now preached in
Mr. Bennett says that Judson was
persecuted and cast into prison for his religion. This I deny. Judson was never
put in prison for his religion, it was for being suspected of being a spy sent
into their government, by their enemies, and Mrs. Judson confessed that she
burnt Judson's papers to prevent them from coming in evidence against him. The
truth is, Mr. Judson was under the employee of the British East-India trading
Company, and was there as a spy, and Mrs. Judson burning his papers, was what saved
his life. If I remember right, Judson got a thousand pounds for the services he
rendered that company as their spy. The history of the "Modern Missionary
Enterprise" is a history of intrigues, and speculations, and wherever they
have went they have carried with them confusion and distress. Their history in
I have introduced a host of witnesses and Mr. Bennett at the head, all proving his plan to be of antichrist. I shall now leave you to judge whether I have redeemed my pledge or not.
Mr. Bennett then spake spontaneously as follows:
Mr. Thompson has boasted much because I once was opposed to the Missionary Enterprise. It is true, that I, for a long time tried do believe with the old Baptists, and, like Mr. Thompson, was trying to war against the benevolent operations of the day, but I knew that the commission said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." And I saw that the old Baptists were doing all that they could to oppose the spread of the gospel. I therefore began to think they must be wrong, and after mature deliberation and investigation, I became convinced that the "Modern Missionary Enterprise" was all the plan that was doing any good, and I ceased to war against it, and have ever since been doing all that I can for it. I doubt not, but that brother Meredith used to pity me, when I was warring against him, and saying hard things of him, as much and now pity Mr. Thompson, and all those that are laboring under the same delusion that he is Judson, it is true, got a large sum from the East India trading Company, for services rendered them, but he gave it all to the Missionary Society.
Mr. Thompson remarked, "Then your society were all engaged in a conspiracy against the people you profess to be caring the gospel to."
Mr. Bennett proceeded. It was no conspiracy. Judson was going out as a Missionary, and there being some difficulty between the British trading company and the government where Judson was a going, they employed him to act as agent for them. (Mr. Thompson said spy.) Mr. Thompson seems to be tickled, I see nothing to please him so well. The Scriptures have said "Blessed is the peacemaker," and if Judson could heal national difficulties he was fulfilling the command of the Savior.
Mr. Thompson asked, "why did Mrs. Judson burn the papers if he was a peacemaker?"
Mr. Bennett said, "because the people were in a rage, and she feared the consequences, should the papers we discovered."
The Moderators here spoke and said, "the Gentleman must not talk to each other – they must address us."
Mr. Thompson said, "I acknowledge that an apology is due you and the house from us both."
Mr. Bennett then proceeded. I hope I shall not be interrupted in them more, for I don't expect to speak long. I have proved the "Modern Missionary Enterprise" to be of God, because Paul received money, and took up collections, and that Mr. Thompson is opposing the only plan that is doing any thing for the spread of the gospel, and is therefore opposed to the spread of the gospel. I must say that he is opposed to the spread of the gospel, even if he should deny it, for I can look at what he is doing in no other light. Mr. Thompson makes a great low about the selling of memberships. This is nothing more than it is to pay our money and become a member of an agriculture society.
Mr. Thompson then asked, "Do you claim no more Scripture for your society than for agriculture societies?"
Mr. Bennett said, "That has nothing to do with the question, for a membership in our societies is worth nothing."
Mr. Thompson then remarked, "You sell a membership for twenty dollars that is worth nothing, and thus cheat the foolish buyer out of his money."
Mr. Bennett proceeded. Mr. Thompson seems to be much pleased. I reckon he thinks he has achieved a great victory, but he will find that his efforts are not as highly valued by the community, as by himself. This great and boasted scheme for the spread of the gospel, as I have shewed, only had reference to the Jewish nation and had nothing to do with the Gentiles. But under the commission, we are to go into all the world. The gospel is the means of salvation, for it has pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. God works by means, to accomplish all of his great and good purpose is. He used the clay and the spittle in opening the eyes of the blind man. How can we believe on him of whom we have not heard? And how can we hear without a preacher? And how can they preach except they be sent it is therefore important that the gospel should be preached, for it is the power of God unto salvation. Paul tells us that he came not in word only, but in the Holy Ghost and in power. It is evident therefore, that it is the means by which God save sinners. Paul says, that the word of reconciliation is committed to us, as the ambassadors of Christ. It is, therefore, through the earthen vessels that the gospel is to be preached, and it is through their instrumentality that sinners are to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Mr. Thompson asked, "is Mr. Bennett to be allowed to introduce a host of new arguments in his closing speech when I am no change to reply?"
Mr. Bennett proceeded. Mr. Thompson seems disposed to not let me close my speech; he must be alarmed for the tottering fabric he has been laboring to set up. But truth has nothing to fear, and the more it is rubbed the rider it will shine. If Mr. Thompson gets money, and the old Baptists pay their preachers, why do they oppose us paying our Missionaries that leave their homes and go into distant countries and labor among the heathens? Shall we oppose giving to all men the means of salvation? My conscience often reproved me while I was opposing the spread of the gospel. But I now feel that I am doing God's service, and I hope to live and die an advocate for the spread of the gospel, so that at the end I may be able to give a good account of my stewardship. It is a happy thought for the pious man to believe that he has been instrumental in doing his fellow-creatures good, and imparting to them the word of Eternal Life. To do good, and to communicate for the spread of the gospel, is great and important duties, which belong to Christians, and how any Christian can spend a whole lifetime without doing any thing for the spread of the gospel and the salvation of his fellow-man, is to me a mystery. Our Lord loved sinners and gave his life for them, and it is through his name that remission of sin is to be preached in all the world, and it cannot be preached in all the world unless we send out preachers, for the Bible will not be translated and sent to the heathens in any other way than through the instrumentality of men, and those men must be paid for their labor or they cannot do it, for they cannot live upon the wind.
I see the people are disturbed – I suppose the cars are coming in, and some want to leave in them. (Someone spoke and said they were.) I will close.
Mr. Thompson cannot go back to
Mr. Thompson arose and said, "I have no idea that David, after he had taken off Goliath's head and was bearing it in triumph to the Army of Israel, would have turned back to have fought the dead body, had it have hollowed after him ever so much.
Both, Mr. Bennett and Mr. Thompson, thanked the people for their good attention, and good order during the discussion, and the congregation dispersed.