IN DEFENSE OF TRUTH
IN WHICH IS PRESENTED EVIDENCE
BROUGHT BEFORE, AND GATHERED BY
THE INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE
FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND FIFTH SUNDAY
ALSO QUOTATIONS FROM LEADING BAPTISTS
SHOWING THEIR POSITION ON
AND ASSUMED AUTHORITY OF ASSOCIATIONS OVER CHURCHES
S. E. COPELAND, CLERK
R. H. PITTMAN, COMPILER
PREFACE OR WORD OF EXPLANATION
The purpose of the meeting with Mill Church, near Danville, Va., Friday, Saturday and 5th Sunday in May 1926 was to learn, if possible, The cause or causes which led up to the division in Danville Church;— The immediate cause of the exclusion of Eld. J. R. Wilson and those voting with him; The gospel labor Danville Church bestowed upon those excluded before exclusion—if any; The action of those excluded,—did they act disorderly, and if so, did they see their error, confess their wrongs and thus seek to cure their disorder, and if so why were they not forgiven; If Danville Church refused to forgive, did the church refer the case to the Association for settlement; Did brethren involved in the Danville Church trouble to go to law with brethren over church property, and if so which party began the lawsuits? The further purpose of the meeting was, not to extend the division, but if possible to prevent the trouble spread-by getting the facts in the case and putting them before the Baptists in as clear light as the time and space would admit. All peace-loving Baptists desire peace and fellowship one with another on the basis of the principles and practices clearly taught in the Bible.
The work of the Investigating Committee was a labor of love for the cause of truth. The Committee honestly endeavored, within the short time at their hand, to learn the truth,—to turn on the light,—to get the real facts. Their sessions were held openly and they welcomed information from any quarter. But they did not, and do not, undertake in any way to bind their findings or conclusions upon any one. The direct evidence gathered by this Committee, and the evidence bearing on the questions involved gathered by the Committee on Information, is herewith presented in this little book. It is sent you, kind reader, for your perusal. You are to render your decision as before God and not before men. May you give it a prayerful and careful study. May your desire be, not to find fault but to find the truth. And may God bless it to the good of His cause, the advancement of His truth, the unifying of His people, and to the glory of His name.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Php 4:8.)
following call was sent for publication, to The Primitive Baptist, The Advocate and Messenger, and
there arose some years ago a contention among Primitive Baptists in sections of
Va., and N. C. over certain points of doctrine which resulted in local
divisions, and WHEREAS gospel labor was bestowed and repeated efforts made to
heal the breach but without success, therefore be it RESOLVED that we the Primitive Baptist
Church in Danville at her regular conference in Feb. 1926 do call our Sister
Churches everywhere to meet with us the 5th Sunday in May, and
Friday and Saturday before at the Mill Church, near Danville, for the purpose
of investigating the doctrine and practice of our good brethren in this
country. We want spiritual judges to sit in judgment. The people will be met in
Done by order of the church in
that met with Mill Church by messengers, and those represented by brethren who
came only on their own accord, not being especially appointed by their
respective churches to represent them in this meeting, were assembled together
in the Mill Church house on Friday, May 28, 1926 and after song service and
prayer by Elder J. N. Bobo of Alabama were invited to
take seats in conference. They are as follows:
The following named brethren also met with those above mentioned : Elders Lee Hanks, B. G. Parker, J. N. Bobo, R. H. Pittman, and brethren Vann P. Helps, W. A. Nance, W. Z. Littleton and S. E. Copeland.
The church then requested that the investigation be full and open.
Elder B. G. Parker was elected moderator and S. E. Copeland, clerk of the Investigation Committee.
on Information was appointed to gather evidence bearing on the question of
doctrine and order involved, predestination, good works, etc. and associations
and their recently assumed authority over the churches. This was done because
it was claimed by those opposing Eld. Wilson and
those with him, that his (Eld.
Now it is the
understanding of this Investigation Committee that it is called upon to find
out whose claim is right, and to say who, in their best judgment, is the church
in order in
Now, after careful consideration of the evidence presented, and prayerful consideration of the troubles leading up to the division we were brought to the following conclusions or findings, (the evidence upon which we based them being appended hereto) to-wit:
1. We find that the doctrine of the indiscriminate predestination of God—making no distinction between God's attitude toward sin and His attitude toward righteousness was the main cause which led to the division in Danville Church; this being clearly evident by opposition upon the part of some in certain associations to the preaching of certain elders because these elders were not advocates of "the absolute predestination of all things",—and this was before the trouble in Danville Church.
2. We find that also the doctrine of “the one salvation theory” and the assumed authority of associations over the churches was involved in the contention of brethren, and that Elder J. R. Wilson and those who would not advocate these things were opposed by some in different associations.
3. We find that Elder J. R. Wilson was excluded by Danville Church without gospel labor, and that the charge against him, of abusive language toward the moderator and the church (which appeared in the papers) was not correct.
4. We find that Elder Wilson, after his exclusion from the Danville Church was received into the Mill Church on confession of faith before gospel labor was bestowed by Mill Church upon Danville Church, and that Elder Wilson realizing the mistake thus made went before Danville Church,—first in December 1923 and upon two other occasions during the months following having laid down his gift while thus laboring for reconciliation, making confession for any mistakes made by himself, and asking forgiveness for same, and that Danville Church refused to forgive Elder Wilson.
5. We find
that Mill Church also realized her mistake in receiving Elder Wilson as above
stated, and rescinded said act and that she, together with Lawyer Spring and
Dan River Churches, realizing that they had erred by retaining Elder Wilson as
pastor before bestowing gospel labor upon Danville Church for reconciliation
did, by messengers, go before Danville Church in her regular conference, first
in December, 1924, and upon two other occasions, receiving the promise of
forgiveness by Danville Church, which act she later rescinded. Then said
messengers, while making the third effort for peace, were told by
6. We further find that a minority of Danville Church consisting of about seventeen members withdrew from said church being aggrieved because of the doctrine (of the absolute predestination of all things that come to pass) held to, advocated or tolerated by the majority, and the illegal exclusion of Elder Wilson, did, with him (on the night that they last visited Danville Church seeking reconciliation and being told at this time to stay away from the church) retire to the home of Elder Wilson where a conference was organized by messengers from the following churches: Lawyer Spring, High Hill, Mill, Union Grove, Strawberry, Sugartree, High Point, Dan River, Walton, Martinsville and Leatherwood by electing Elder J. M. Bagwell moderator and H. M. Baucorn, clerk, and upon investigation by the said conference in session Elder J. R. W. son and those with him were declared to be the church in order and doctrine at Danville, and the Baptists present recognized them as such by the extension of the right hand of fellowship, and
7. We find that before this present meeting efforts were made by Lawyer Spring and Mill Churches, and by Elder Wilson and others to call a council of Elders for the purpose of bringing about a reconciliation, but that no agreement could be reached, and this call for investigation was open for all and not a one sided affair.
Now, we, the Investigating Committee believe from the evidence submitted that Elder J. R. Wilson and those standing with him is the church in order at Danville, Va., and we respectfully submit the evidence hereto appended for the careful consideration of all Baptists concerned.
Elder B. G. Parker, Moderator. S. E. Copeland, Clerk.
The Following Evidence Submitted
witness heard and questioned was Eld. J. R. Wilson who
testified as to How The Trouble Started, the cause of
the division, etc. Eld.
this meeting Elders L. H. Hardy and J. R. Wilson had extensive correspondence
over the doctrine of the absolute predestination of all things that come to
pass both good and evil. Elder Hardy in said correspondence endorsed the
doctrine of the absolute predestination of all things. He said that sin was as
much a link in God’s predestination as righteousness. Elder
A few years
later Elder J. A. Shaw preached in one of our associations that God
predestinated that Czolgosz should kill McKinley at
that particular time and place. Some in the Staunton River, Pig River and Upper
Country Line Associations, who were in sympathy, did not object, neither the
pastor, Elder Spangler, nor the moderator of the association, but Elder W. F.
Pruitt, then a member of the Upper Country Line, and Elder J. R. Wilson and
others did object to that extreme position. At that same association (the
Elder F. F. Eggleston:—”As I see this the trouble has been over doctrine all
that when God made man, He made him upright, but he has sought out many
inventions; that He stood as the representative head of the whole human
family, and that He represented them in death, and therefore they are all
totally depraved, and have no power to recover themselves from the fallen state
they are in by reason of the fall.” The absoluters hold that
Adam was passive in disobedience or the fall ; that
man is as passive after regeneration as he was before ; that the association
holds power over the churches and when a church joins an association she
surrenders her sovereignty. We the Baptists with Elder
The above are
the main points that I know occurred up to the time of Elder
Brother W. A. Chaney said, “Brother Hawker’s statement is true.” Brother W. L. Parker stated as follows :—”Brother Moderator and Brethren: I feel weak and insufficient to the task of testifying in so grave and great a cause but will state the facts as I see them, for the consideration and benefit of God’s people everywhere. This trouble which is so great a menace to our people first appeared, according to the best historical account that I have of it, in the bounds of the Sand Lick Association on May 16, 1896, and the issue was the doctrine of “the absolute predestination of all things’ which caused a division in several churches and associations in that country. This doctrine gradually crept eastward until the year 1915 when it was introduced in the Pig River Association by Elders W. I. Carnell from the state of Ohio and J. C. Hurst of Roanoke, Va. And it was tolerated and advocated by others. But it was opposed by Elders J. R. Wilson and A. B. Philpot, the much loved and efficient assistant moderator of that old and honored association. Elder J. R. Wilson was, on that occasion, sent as a messenger to represent the Mayo Association, and he was received and seated, but later he was called in question and unseated because of his opposition to Elders W. I. Carnell and J. C. Hurst on their doctrine of the absolute predestination of all things and the nonresurrection of the body.
On the fourth
Sunday night in October, 1917, Elder J. R. Wilson and wife were received by
letter into the fellowship of the Danville (Va.) Church and he became an active
worker in the welfare and upbuiiding of the church,
preaching the doctrine considered sound and comforting by the Baptists of the
surrounding country, and was more or less responsible for the good showing of
the Danville Church. He was untiring in his efforts, ever ready to lend a
helping hand in matters pertaining to the welfare and comfort of his brethren.
But a spirit of jealousy began to manifest itself against him, especially from
association held with Danville Church in August 1923 certain highly respected
visiting brethren were called in question on doctrine and conduct which the
accusing parties have utterly failed to establish or prove to be true, though
they have been requested to do so. At a conference meeting Sept. 8, 1923, Elder
J. R. Wilson was hauled before the church and wrongfully accused and excluded
without either labor to save, or trial, a charge of using abusive language
being written into the minutes of that meeting after he had been so excluded
from the church and the church received the same, also denying that the
doctrine was the cause of the exclusion or of the trouble in the church. The
charge of abusive language never was brought against Elder
Wilson went before the church three different times and acknowledged his wrongs
and begged the church to forgive him and offered to get down on his knees to
the pastor, but, though he met every demand of the church (his confession being
pronounced good by an Elder of the church), and though he was promised
forgiveness, yet in the face of all this it has been denied him, and he and
those with him on doctrine declared against as disorderly and unworthy of the
notice of Primitive Baptists. A greater part of the year 1924 and the first few
months of 1925 Brethren J. W. Jones, H. M. Baucom and
I spent laboring together to bring about a better understanding or state of
affairs in our beloved Zion. At times we seemed to be progressing nicely, then unforeseen obstacles would spring up. Finally we did
succeed in bringing Old Mill,
Dear brethren, I have opened to you my heart. I now feel clear and free and ask you to bear with me, a poor sinner, who loves peace. Brethren, is there not yet some hope? Cannot there yet be a way devised to heal the breach and avoid if possible a general division among our churches? Cannot we all bow our heads in fervent prayer to God for showers of His blessings, and labor on, and not faint? We deeply deplore the idea of a general division. There is much good to be accomplished in well-doing. The prayers of the righteous availeth much. The will of God be done.
Yours in christian love and fellowship, William L. Parker.
Brother Parker later sent in this:
"Letter of Dismission"
We the Primitive Baptist Church at Axton, Hen County, Va., holding the doctrine of the total depravity of man, the predestination of God, unconditional and personal election, effectual calling and final perseverance of the saints, being in conference this the 9th day of June, 1917, certify that Elder J. R. Wilson and his wife, Sister Lillie Wilson, are in good standing and full fellowship with us, and they are granted this letter of dismission when joined to a body of like faith and order.
Jas. L. Minter, Clerk. A. L. Moore, Moderator.
Written Statement of Sister Pruitt: "I wish
to say that I was in the Danville meeting on the night that it is claimed that
Elder J. R. Wilson used abusive language, and wish to sa
- that he did not use any abusive language as charged, but merely reproved them
sharply for the purpose of saving them if possible. I will say further that the
cause of the trouble in
Mollie C. Pruitt.
Sister Dodson said in writing: "On the
night of Sept. 8, 1923
Mrs. Henry S. Dodson. Brother P. S. Walton's Written
Statement: "In regard to the trouble at
Sister Canaday Wrote: "Elder Spangler came to my house on Tuesday before the September meeting, 1923, and cited us to trial, saying that he wanted all members present and all to be faithful, let him stand or fall; that either he or J. R. Wilson would have to come out. I told him that I could not and would not raise a hand against Brother Wilson for he preached the doctrine that I had always believed, and that as well as any man I ever heard. He said he had heard him preach that way too, and that he used to love to hear him. I told him that if the called preachers would only preach what God gave them and let the opinions of men alone they would not have these troubles to contend with.
Your sister in hope of a better life."
Written Statement by Elder Beck: "Elder Gold said he had been preaching time salvation all his life. I was present at that meeting and heard him make the remark and ask the question: 'Where do they get the term 'absolute predestination' for it is not in the Bible?' I was with Elders Cochran and Wyatt at the
Written Statement of Brother H. M. Baucom: "After the committee or messengers from Lawyer Springs, Union Grove, High Hill and Mill Churches had been denied a hearing by the majority faction of Danville Church, and ordered to stay away from there and let them alone, then the committee retired from the church at the conclusion of the services and obtained a room in the home of Elder Wilson and organized themselves into conference, inviting all brethren present to seats with us—and there were many present. Then the moderator, Elder J. M. Bagwell asked Elder
all of the brethren and sisters with one accord forgave them and manifested the
same by extending the righthand of fellowship. The
number was estimated to be about two-hundred including the messengers from the
four churches above mentioned. (The work of said messengers was ratified by
their respective churches). And there was great rejoicing by the congregation
when the hand of fellowship was extended. We felt then, as we feel now, that
the order was with the minority at
Peachland, N. C. H. M. Baucom.
To Whom It May Concern: "I was at the meeting in Danville on the night that Elder J. R. Wilson was excluded and to say that he used abusive language toward anyone is positively false. It is true that he spoke firm and to the point but I do not consider that the language he used was out of order on such an occasion."
Bettie A. Nance.
Wrote: " I was very much cast down because I
could not be at our fifth Sunday meeting at
Eld. Ben Martin
said at Friendship Church while preaching, 'that just before we got to the
depot this morning, the train blew for the station and my father said, 'Ben we
just as well turn around, we are too late,' and I said, come on, if the Lord
has predestinated for us to go to Friendship, He will hold; the train some way.
We got to the depot several minutes before the train. The Lord had caused a
strong wind to blow a telegraph pole across the track and delayed the train. I
believe that God predestinated before the foundation of the world that the wind
should blow that telegraph pole down.' I replied that, 'I did not believe that
God would injure any company, corporation or individual just to accommodate a
man who was too lazy to get up soon enough to catch a train.' In my article referred
to above you will find an expression of that doctrine made by J. W. Wyatt at
the Spring Session of the
There can be no armistice in this war. Let us fight as becomes true soldiers of the cross until we receive our discharge, lay our armor by and go home to rest. SWEET REST. Let us be humble, gentle, forgiving and loving, yet uncompromising with error. May God bless you and your family and the household of faith is my prayer. Pray for poor afflicted me, if you can pray for one so little and unworthy as I feel to be. If I am saved it is by God's rich grace freely bestowed upon me, without worth or merit upon my part. The election of grace hath obtained for us that which we could not obtain by so called works of righteousness. In election we can see how poor sinners like we, are saved. Precious doctrine. 0, may I live in a godly manner. In hope."
Statement of Elder H. F. M'Ghee: "I heard Eld. Isaac
Jones in preaching at the Pig River Association at Camp Branch in 1924, say, 'I
have always been afraid to preach absolute predestination in
H. F. M'Ghee.
Statement of Brother W. L.
Foster:—"The division in the
Statement of Sister Fannie
McGhee:—"The doctrine of the 'absolute predestination of all
things' has been a bone of contention in this country for many years. I
remember on one occasion at the home of my father,—Elder John McGheen,----father said to Elder
J. D. Cockran, 'If you don't quit preaching that
doctrine (absolute predestination of all things) you are going to divide the
churches.' Cockram's reply was, 'I long to see that day.' The division here was
over doctrine and not any so-called disorder. My father was pastor of
Fannie L. McGhee.
Withdrawing from Heresy: "Whereas seeing that we the church at Canton Creek are divided over the doctrine of 'the absolute predestination of all things' and seeing that we the undersigned are not in fellowship with it and knowing that it is contrary to the holy word of God and also to the principles of the Baptist faith upon which the dear old church was founded and has been their rule of faith and practice down through the ages ever since the days of Christ and the apostles:—Therefore, we, the undersigned do claim to be Baptists of the same old faith and expect by the grace of God to live and die in it, and also in obedience to the command of Christ to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. We do now and here withdraw from those who believe the doctrine of 'the absolute predestination of all things' and we do now and here declare non-fellowship for the same and withdraw ourselves from this church.
H. F. McGhee, W. L. Foster, Fannie L. McGhee.
(From the Primitive Baptist of June 1, 1925)
Mill, Lawyer Springs, High Hill, and
your committee, find that the majority party of Danville Church has endorsed,
affiliated with, tolerated, directly and indirectly, "the absolute
predestination of all things whatsoever come to pass," and that their
pastor is now and has been in fellowship and recognized and tolerated those who
preach that heresy, and who contend that man is as passive in obedience as in
regeneration, making the child of God an irresponsible machine. Their pastor
2. We find that this heresy had been allowed preached in the Staunton River Association and tolerated by the majority, as they raised no objection, and that they tolerated those who preached it by allowing them to preach in their pulpits without objection to them or what they preached.
find that Elders M. E. Petty and R. H. Pittman were not allowed to preach at
the Staunton River Association in Danville, 1923, for opposing that heresy and
that the majority party of
4. We find, further, that true Primitive Baptist preachers who preach, as our fathers did, what the Bible teaches on predestination and good works and obedience to the living children of God, have been mistreated and ignored by the Staunton River Association and the majority faction, by Danville Church tolerating the same.
5. We find, that Elder J. R. Wilson had all the way preached salvation wholly by grace, that he teaches all regenerated persons that it is their duty and privilege from a principle of love, wrought in them by the Spirit of God, to lovingly obey their Lord and King as living children (Heb 12:7), and that God works the will in them and gives them the ability to perform and that they enjoy blessings in the sweet service of God that they can not enjoy in disobedience. They praise God for every blessing and feel that the chastisement for disobedience is just.
6. He preaches predestination as the Bible teaches (Ro 8:29-30; Eph 1:5; 2Ti 1:9; Joh 15:6; Ac 13:48), and is sound on all points of doctrine and is an orderly gentleman, having a good report of them that are without. He contends for the order contended for by all orthodox Primitive Baptists.
7. We find that his sharp rebuke (Tit 1:13) on the majority for changing an Article of Faith and for mistreating his brethren who opposed absolute predestination of all things was the cause of the majority denouncing him.
8. We find that the majority hastily and rashly
9. We find that the minority of the church stood with
10. We find that the charge was for abusive language.
He asked forgiveness for any harsh language if so considered and paid the debt.
The moderator wanted him to correct a statement made about him in the papers,
which he did. Elder
11. We find Elder Wilson and the minority part of Danville Church to be sound, orthodox, orderly Primitive Baptists.
12. We find the majority are unforgiving; refused to
13. We find that Elder Wilson was illegally excluded, for he had a right, as a gospel minister, to rebuke them sharply (Tit 1:13) for tolerating such heresy and then condemning true servants of God.
14. We find the order in doctrine and practice to be with the minority of Danville Church who have stood for orthodox principles all the way, and have been and are yet willing for their faith and practice to be investigated; and if questioned, they are willing to jointly call a council of our most talented brethren in faith and practice and let them investigate the majority and minority and say who is standing for the doctrine and practice of the Primitive Baptist Church and laboring in love for peace, and who are entitled to be recognized as Danville Baptist Church.
Signed: Elder J. M. Bagwell, Moderator; H. M. Baucom, Clerk.
W. A. Chaney, J. H. Hawker, A. J. Terry, W. M. Clonts, R. G. Hared, S. D. Outen, F. P. Dees, C. H. White.
SOME LETTERS AND EXTRACTS
(Original Letters on File)
J. F. Spangler to W. I. Parker—before Bro. Parker came out of
W. L. Parker
Brother in Christ: Your letter to hand stating that you understand that J. R.
Wilson is coming back next meeting to surrender to Danville Church also, that old
Mill Church was coming to rescind her act against Danville. Now you all put on
your studying caps. They have a purpose in it and we don't know just what it
is, and I suspect he had to lay down the care of
the reader remember that Bro. W. L. Parker was at one time lined up with the absoluters and opposing Elder
Mr. W. L. Parker
Precious Brother in Christ: Your letter did me lots of good in soul. I could hardly keep the tears back while reading it. I just wanted to take you by the hand and tell you yes, my dear brother, I freely forgive you of all of your errors and blot them from my mind, and I truly hope to have your prayers and fellowship what few days we sojourn here on this earth. I know I have said hard things about you. I am very sorry for it and I truly hope you will forgive me and let's be brethren indeed and in truth. I hold no personal matter against anyone, but I have stood, by the help of the good Lord, for principles that are dearer to me than life. I feel that you did a good deed when you withdrew from that disorder. I feel, as you say, that it makes no difference what people say about us. If we suffer with the dear Saviour we hope to live with him and his dear saints in glory. May God bless you. Pray for me.
Yours in love and fellowship. J. R. Wilson.
Mr. W. L. Parker
precious brother in Christ: I was made to rejoice in soul to hear from you
again. Your letters to me are as sweet messages from a far off land of blissful
peace. I want to see you. I am so sorry that you were deprived of hearing the
sweet gospel as proclaimed by our dear brother Elder R. 0. Raulston. I do hope you can
be with us in the union meeting. We feel like it would help us greatly. I want
you to know that you have friends in
Elder Daily to W. L. Parker
Dear Bro. Parker: Yours received asking me for a statement concerning Eld. J. R. Wilson's record while a member of our church here. I was a member when he joined and know his standing while a member of this church. I know of no one with a cleaner record than he had, and as to a serious charge being placed against him here, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact no charge of any nature was ever placed against him by our church, and I have never heard any member of our church speak evil of him. On the contrary he was held in high esteem by them and all of the churches of our faith and order in this part of the country. I do not know what object Elder Schenk had in giving out a report that he had a serious charge against him while here. Elder Schenk's church took action against him after his return from the south and now he (Eld. Schenk) is not recognized among any of our churches.
I can prove every statement I make here if necessary.
Yours in gospel bonds.
Eld. S. Hassell to W. L. Parker (May 19, 1925)
I think that the
The Bible doctrine of predestination should not be so stated as to make our Most Holy God, in any sense, the cause of sin; and, while the whole world is against us, we should not bite, consume, and devour one another by unprofitable, subverting, and unwholesome contentions on the deep doctrine of predestination, which is not comprehended by any finite mind, thus proving our pride and carnality, and our willingness to sacrifice the church of God to a humanly invented phrase. Yours in love.
Williamston, N. C. Sylvester Hassell.
From Elder E. Barker
a fact that the theory of the absolute predestination of all things, nu
punishment for the wicked, and other like doctrines are just as false as can
be, and has caused strife and division. But a small percent go that way,
following such leaders who rise up to draw away disciples after them. Let them
Some Efforts for Peace Made by
We, the Primitive Baptist Church of Christ, as we hope, at Lawyer Springs, to our sister church at Danville, Virginia, Greeting
Dear brethren, we have as pastor of our church Elder J. R. Wilson, who comes among us in a most orderly way and preaches the doctrine and true practice of the Primitive Baptists of this country, in fact, as it has been preached and believed ever since we were organized in our country.
hear some complaints from brethren of sister associations concerning the
trouble between Elder Wilson and the church at Danville, and this is our
earnest plea to you to know if there has been any reasonable labor bestowed to
restore peace and fellowship between Eld. Wilson and
the brethren and sisters of your church and the Mill Church, where we
understand he now holds membership? Would you dear brethren, agree for Elder
Dear brethren, we desire peace if possible, and we believe this can come if no doctrinal issue is involved in this trouble.
Done by the church in conference this Oct. 18, 1924.
H. M. Baucom, Church Clerk, Eld. W. C. Edwards, Mod. Protem,
Edwin C. Jones and J. W. Jones, Deacons.
(Remarks:—This effort for peace failed).
Another Appeal From Lawyer Springs
to message formulated by the church at Lawyer Springs to the churches at
Since the trouble between the Danville Church and the Mill Church and Elder J. R. Wilson is of general interest to the Primitive Baptists, and since we desire that all of the parties connected with it be saved, we think that the ablest men in the church, and men remote from the trouble, men versed in discipline and free from extremes should be invited by both factions to attend a peace conference between the two parties before whom all of the facts pertaining to the trouble. should be related and then able ministers, acting in an advisory capacity, should be frank to point out any errors or wrongs done by either or both parties, and then the erring party or parties should then and there freely and publicly acknowledge their wrongs, and ask the aggrieved party to forgive them, and the aggrieved party should in the same spirit forgive the erring ones.
suggest that the Danville Church and Mill Church and Elder Wilson invite the churches
of the membership of Elders Sylvester Hassell, P. G.
Lester, C. H. Cayce, R. H. Pittman and Lee Hanks to send those ministers for
the purpose above mentioned. Thus you would have the editors of our three
leading papers and the two best historians in our church, thoroughly
representative men. The
We feel sure that these ministers then, with the consent of their respective churches, would gladly render the gracious service.
Done by the
(Remarks:—Could a fairer proposition be made? But no agreement could
be reached with
H. M. Baucom to W. L. Parker
Very Dear Brother:—After reading your noble article in a late issue of The Primitive Baptist I could not refrain from writing you and telling you how much I appreciate the christian spirit manifested in the same. How good! and so Christ-like to see a brother, when he sees that he has done wrong, confess his wrong and ask forgiveness; and oh! how good it is for those who feel that they have been wronged to freely and fully forgive those who have wronged them when asked to do so in a spirit of love. And if one has not a forgiving spirit, and will not forgive, such an one's condition is portrayed in Mt 18:23-35.
We are told in holy writ that the Lord will not leave Himself without a witness, and I believe that these witnesses will earnestly contend for the faith and true order of God's house at the hazard of their lives. I am so glad to know that even now there are a few that love mercy and can look over their brethren for good, for if we have not, charity we are nothing. And if we worship God at all we must worship Him in spirit and truth, and if I know my poor heart I desire to glorify Him in my body and spirit both of which are His.
I heard about your cast-down condition. Dear brother, this is the fruit of the spirit. Oh, that we could all get down to the feet of our brethren and confess our wrongs one to another as you have done, and forgive one another as little children of the kingdom! Then peace would reign and love would flow from breast to breast, and joy from heart to heart.
I feel that the labor of Brother Wilson and the Mill Church and the churches of Lawyer Springs, Union Grove and High Hill was a labor of love, and I believe the Lord recognized this labor, for it was based on the teachings of His word, and my conscience is clear in regard to it.
Brother Parker, you do not owe us anything down here. We have freely forgiven you. You have done the best thing—confessed your wrong, and oh, the joy among God's people when one comes out of error to the light. More joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety and nine that need no repentance.
known all the while since I made my first visit to
(Remarks:—A prominent Baptist and consistent laborer for peace).
Deacon Jones to W. L. Parker
Deacon J. W. Jones, clerk of the Bear Creek Association, is reputed to be one of the best disciplinarians in the church. The following extracts are copied from letters written by him to Bro. W. L. Parker:
"It is such a great pity that men of extreme views should so dominate affair, as to partly, at least, make void the efforts of conservative and faithful brethren. Conditions have been, to say the least, chaotic, and, as always is the case when wide distress is on hand some inconsistencies have crept in to keep good brethren apart, but usually in such cases justice, common sense, and reason will set in and prevail. I am hoping so much that conditions can assume a normal attitude and that yet truth and righteousness may be enthroned and we all settle down again in love, peace and sweet fellowship. As you say we should, and could if we would, come to terms and cease strife and confusion. We must not consult our vain flesh, but be guided by the unction of the Holy Spirit. 0 that we all could meet on common grounds and just be little children together in love. Thirty-eight years ago I joined the dear Primitive Baptists and in those days peace and love seemed to be dominant among them, and the troubles of this day and time were undreamed of. 0! that our God would renew in us a clean heart and a right spirit.
a fine, good meeting at Lawyer Springs last Saturday and Sunday. Elders Bagwell
and Wilson were both with us. Elder
"I am much convinced that absolutism is a God-dishonoring doctrine, and always where you find it you find trouble, and you had as well try to push down a thick rock wall as to try to have peace with characters who preach this heresy. It is most unreasonable, and nothing reasonable can result from its teachings."
had been much cast down in feelings with doubts and fears, but when I received
the good news from Brother Hanks telling me of his dream or vision I seemed to
be renewed in spirit and realized fresh courage. The tears flowed freely and I
am yet strengthened. The Lord is, and has been, so wonderfully good and
merciful to His people and to see many of them show so little appreciation and
concern often causes me heartfelt sorrow. It seems peculiarly strange to me
that any of the beneficiaries of such great favor should be so cold and hard
hearted as to strive and contend over matters which should not enter their
minds. We should love and cherish and look over each other for good and not for
evil. Years ago when I was much younger than I am now there was no such strife
among Primitive Baptists. They would meet, at general or associational meetings
and all huddle up close together and tell their experiences and sing the sweet
Such a pity it is that all of our people are not open minded and seeking facts instead of running after every little whirlwind and phantom of vaguery prompted by prejudice and Satan. You study propositions from their true angles and find facts and stand by them. A student along these lines get many rebuffs, but for the labors and efforts such as you and some others have expended many things would never be brought to light. Sometimes my courage, in the face of so much opposition, strife and confusion is nearly destroyed, but absolutely I cannot find a place nor a time to ground arms and quit, and if God will bless me in coming days as in the past I want to still contend for truth and righteousness, and proper order in His kingdom here on earth. I understand that a goodly number of the brethren of sister churches expect to make an effort to line up with us on matters concerning recent events in our and your section. There is no doubt but what Elder McMillan will vigorously oppose such a move, but it is hoped that he cannot longer dominate the action favorable to us and the great body of Baptists of the country." "You see the absoluters are falling out among themselves, and no wonder, for men capable of advocating such stuff are also capable of the things you mentioned, and many more as their theory seems to license men to do anything their wicked minds might conceive of. My dear brother, the true people of God must stand together against such, and the sooner we can rid our churches of such disorder and heresy the sooner will peace and fellowship be restored and then Zion will again travail and bring forth sons and daughters to honor and glorify our God.
Some of the men responsible for our distressed condition are very treacherous, while others no doubt have been caught in the net unawares, but nevertheless we are up against a condition, and mere theory will not heal the wounds. Some drastic and efficacious remedy must be administered or the disease will destroy the organic life of sound bodies. Let us pray the. Lord to deliver us from the hands of ungodly men.
Let me hear of your progress. I am receiving a number of letters endorsing my poor writings for the papers. These responses are a comfort to me. The Lord bears me witness of my sincere desires to do right and to be fair and reasonable with His people, and when men will not hear admonition, nor forgive an erring brother, we cannot but become suspicious of their sincerity and christianity. The Lord's people are supposed to be meek and humble, ,and to find pleasure in obedience to the precepts and ordinances of the house of God."
"It does seem to me that a council of able ministers, worthy deacons, and good brethren should be able to formulate or come to some basis of settlement where all reasonable minded and peace loving Baptists could unite and again live in peace and fellowship. I feel sure it is necessary for such a meeting to be in the proper spirit and all, when shown they have been in error, to acknowledge same and ask forgiveness of those trespassed against. If those opposing us are desirous of doing the right thing, do not refuse them the opportunity. No harshness, prejudice or jealousy should be allowed to enter any such meeting. I only offer these suggestions prompted, I hope, by the good spirit. Indeed it is high time for something to be done and published so our people in general may know how to act toward all concerned. Yours with sincere love.
Peachland, N. C. J. W. Jones.
Some of the Facts
We will now reproduce Elder J. T. Jackson's article as published in the papers June 15, 1924. We feel sure that he has ably set forth the true doctrine, of the Bible and of true Primitive Baptists. Here it is entitled:—
"Some of the Facts"
sending forth this statement of the facts causing the sad division among the
Primitive Baptists of
1922 Elder P. J. Washburn was appointed by the
feel my inability to preach or write anything that would be of any comfort or
benefit to God's precious children, for in my flesh dwells no good thing,
neither is any man when left to the power and will of the flesh able to perform
one spiritual act or to have one spiritual thought. Therefore I greatly desire
that the gracious God of every good. gift
and every blessing and of every salvation may guide and direct my mind that I
may write things that make for peace in
'Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children; and walk in love as Christ also hath loved us and hath given Himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.'-- Eph 5:12. Dear brethren, when we follow Jesus we have peace. The fruit of the Spirit is love and peace. When we follow Him we bear the fruits of the Spirit. But can we do this without the Spirit. 'If any man hath not the Spirit of God he is none of His.' 'Without me ye can do nothing,' but 'I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.' Php 4:13.
Brethren, is it possible that the apostle gave commands or admonitions when there was no way of obeying? Have such admonitions become unprofitable to the children of God when the Spirit of God works in them to will and to do? He works in us the will and the ability to do, and when we are following that inward teaching then we are working out our own salvation by an orderly walk and Godly conversation. Then we have peace with God and with each other. In this kind of walk we are contending for the doctrine once delivered to the saints. When doing this both by walk and talk then we have the benefits of our 'common salvation.'
But that 'eternal salvation' was worked out for us when there was none of us (Heb 5:9; Eph 1:3-12). It was finished and complete in and by Christ and can not be altered or changed; therefore we do not have to work this salvation out, for it was finished on the Roman cross. But, dear brethren, be careful to maintain good works for necessary uses, for they are good and profitable unto men while here in time (Tit 3:8) : I am not contending that our good works will do us any good in eternity. I understand these good works to be the fruit of the Spirit in us and when we are walking in this way we have the benefits and God has the glory. Then we are following God as dear children, bought, cleansed and justified by the blood of Christ in an eternal sense and justified in time by our works when we are following the Spirit and walking by faith.
As this is my first circular letter I hope you will look over errors and mistakes. Brethren, pray for one another and live in peace.
unworthy brother saved by grace if saved at all."
Remarks: Eld. Washburn
should receive the commendation and encouragement of his brethren. Though some
object to this circular letter, it is in harmony with the Bible and will be
received by nine-tenths of the Baptists of Primitive faith everywhere.—R. H. P., in
association found fault, as they claimed, with the letter. At the next
session of the body Leatherwood,
We who supported Elder Washburn agreed with the body to quit using the expression or phrase 'time salvation,' and they agreed to quit using the expression 'the absolute predestination of all things.' They kept this agreement until Sunday, May 7—just one day. A visiting elder loudly proclaimed the predestination of all things,' with the prefix 'absolute,' declaring that Webster said 'absolute' meant 'certain, sure,' and he wanted a predestination that was sure. We have only used the expression or phrase 'time salvation' since the above agreement was made in defending our position, it being forced upon us by our accusers. We are stating frankly that we find no fault with the phrase, because the brethren clearly set forth their meaning of the phrase, which is 'salvation from error, false doctrine, afflictions, misery, persecutions, perplexities, disasters, calamities, adversities, temptations, etc.,' in obedience to the commands of our Lord. He who would deny this has either forgotten God or never knew Him in the beauty of obedience.
The matter rocked along this way until about Dec., 1922, when after many false accusations and charges that we had departed from the faith, I turned over an article to the Gospel Messenger and The Primitive Baptist for publication which I had been holding several months. This article has been read wherever those papers are circulated, and has been endorsed, and is yet endorsed, by the ablest Primitive Baptist ministers in the United .States, as letters of endorsements in my possession will evidence.
spring session of the
fall session of the association (the
motion was carried to accept the advice of the Committee in reference to
The Association at its May session having denounced the subject matter in a certain article or instrument of writing by Elder J. T. Jackson, and the church of his membership, to wit: the church at Leatherwood having failed to fully respect the judgment of the Association, the Association further denounce Elder J. T. Jackson as an heretic and in disorder as respect the conduct of said communication and its promulgation and advise Leatherwood Church to deal with him as such.)
even a casual glance at this resolution it can be seen that the spirit
of associational domination of churches ruled the committee and the committee
ruled the body, because this theory, that the association has this right, has
been preached and practiced by this body so long that the majority have become
afraid to speak against advice, so called, that they may offer. A copy of this
resolution, with some alterations in the association minutes was sent to
Leather-wood Church, which was promptly tabled and an invitation sent out by
publication in the Advocate and Messenger and The Primitive Baptist inviting
any aggrieved church to bring her grievance to Leatherwood Church on Saturday,
Oct. 27, 1923. No one appeared on that day or any other day, with a grievance
against the church or with a charge of heresy against me. The matter was called
up in conference as a matter of reference, and no complaint from any sister
church was heard. The matter was dropped for always, so far as this church was
concerned. The three members, John Adkins, William S. Minter and Sam Cole, were
excluded after much labor with them, for contempt. One of these, William S.
Minter, who had all along demanded a withdrawal of the entire article in
question, said just a few moments before his exclusion, `If Brother Jackson
would only go before the committee of the association, the matter could be
quickly settled, as only one or two little words needed explanation.' Dear
children of God, just notice he demanded the withdrawal of the entire article
because of the doctrine, holding that only 'one salvation' was taught in the
Bible, and that was eternal salvation, now saying in the last minute, 'just one
or two little words' are wrong or need an explanation. Another John Adkins
when asked by me 'Have you anything against me?' replied, 'No, sir. When you
satisfy the association you satisfy me.' From this it can be and is seen, 'it
does not matter what I believe or how I feel, just satisfy the bosses and you
Another matter just here. Before the exclusion of three members of Leatherwood Church named above, one of them, William S. Minter, had Elder Burgess of Camp Branch Church, to draw up a petition asking all who stood by the 'old doctrine' (when in truth their idea is new) to sign it. About twenty-four, as near as we can learn, signed the paper before suspicion arose as to the intent of the petition. Some of these have said that it was falsely represented to them. After the exclusion of these three members Elders Randolph Purdue, moderator of the association, G. F. Dyer, J. E. Burgess, R L. Winfield and others met at the Dyer school house, about one-fourth of a mile from Leatherwood Church, and took these three excluded members, together with the names on the petition (the majority of those who signed the petition were not there), and constituted what they called Leatherwood Church. Now we appeal to all peace-loving, all true Bible Baptists, to judge the order. Not one ever came to us with a grievance or charge. Not one ever tried to get our views. and if we were in error to save us from the error. NO LABOR OF LOVE WAS BESTOWED if we were in error. No effort was made to avoid a division, and it is evident that a division was premeditated by them. The OFFENSE has come—and "THE SIN LIVETH AT THEIR DOOR."
Why did they refuse to come to us with a charge? Just because they knew they could not sustain the charge against me. The whole matter sifted down is just this: "Draw these fellows (Jackson and Washburn) before the rulers for they trouble our city (association)." See Ac 16:20-21; also Ac 17:6. If they cannot be brought before the rulers so that they could be bound (mouth shut) and cast into prison, just kill them (cut them off). We will also call attention to the fact that we withdrew from the association on Saturday before the fourth Sunday in March, 1924. The association did not meet until Friday before the first Sunday in May, 1924.
From May 26, 1923 until they organized a "something" at the Dyer school house Jan. 12, 1924, we not only were ready but willing to answer any church as to our acts, and I not only stood ready but invited an exchange of views touching the doctrine in my article, and was willing to be excluded if, after they proved me in error I refused to retract.
Could a more Scriptural or reasonable course be pursued by any one? We invite brethren everywhere to come and behold our order or take these facts as set forth (which our accusers will not dare to deny) and judge us accordingly.
they are claiming that there is not enough difference in the doctrine to cause
a division, but it is Elder
Thousands of brethren and sisters over this country know their tactics, because they have already had divisions with these same people, or with this same doctrine. Brethren, if preaching that God did not predestinate all sin and wickedness is heresy, then we are guilty. If they do not believe that He does predestinate all of these things why not leave off the prefix "absolute" and the suffix "all things" then we could begin to agree. If preaching that we should "save ourselves from this untoward generation," "take heed unto ourselves and the doctrine, for in doing this we save ourselves and them that hear us" is not eternal salvation is heresy, then we are guilty. If preaching that Joseph saved the lives of his people in the day of famine is not eternal salvation is heresy, then we are guilty. If preaching that the "great salvation" wrought by Jonathan was a national salvation and not eternal salvation, is heresy, then we are guilty. If preaching these and many other salvations—that is, salvation from many things, is heresy, then we are guilty. If preaching and believing that "nothing is gained in obedience and nothing lost in disobedience" ism Old Baptist doctrine, then we have never preached or believed :old Baptist doctrine. If the doctrine, "I know that many sweet little texts along the line of duty are found in the Bible, but we have no use for them," is Old Baptist doctrine, then we have never been an Old Baptist. If preaching that Czolgosz was predestinated to kill President McKinley is Old Baptist doctrine, then we have never been an Old Baptist. If preaching that "the man who killed Dr. Phoff at Ferrum, Va., was the blessed man, because he only did that which God predestinated that he should do,;" that "Grant was predestinated to kill a man near Mountain Valley, Va., last year and the murder was predestinated" (the constable who delivered Grant to Sheriff Turner at Martinsville, Va., made this declaration to the officers, and he is considered "sound" by what is called the Pig River Association); that a man could not kill another unless it was predestinated—that the gun would not fire (this was argued by one of their number at Canton Creek Church at the May, 1924, session of the association); that if a man breaks into your smokehouse and steals a side of meat, or breaks into your corn crib and steals a bushel of corn, he should not be dealt with, because God predestinated it; that "when God gets ready for one to join the church, He will make them come in," is Old Baptist doctrine we have never been an Old Baptist.
Allowing these doctrines to be preached and holding in fellowship those that teach these doctrines and calling them "sound Baptists" and condemning us for preaching duty and condemning the aforementioned doctrines is the cause of our division. When they charge us with preaching "a freedom of will doctrine" that embraces that alien sinner, or "a freedom of will doctrine" in any sense as they charge, they know that they are publishing a falsehood. They seem to be unable to distinguish between an attribute of God and an act of God. We hold that which is good is of the Lord; that which is sin, is of the devil. We hold salvation is by grace, whether eternal or in this time state; but we make a distinction between the given grace (Eph 2:5-9) and the found grace (Heb 4:16) ; yet we uncompromisingly declare that these salvations are of the Lord. We make a distinction in the will of God as revealed to us in His word, to-wit, His decretive will and His preceptive will. We hold that His attitude to holiness is CAUSATIVE; His attitude to sin is PERMISSIVE and OVER-RULING.
Leatherwood and Martinsville Churches, also several other churches in adjoining counties, would not accept above fatalistic doctrines, declared their withdrawal from such, and the two named churches withdrew from the Pig River Association in March, 1924, on the condition that the association recognize these excluded factions at the Dyer school house and the court house at Martinsville. These churches pointed out in their resolutions sent to the association that no effort had been made by them for peace even after our repeated efforts to get them to come to us and point out our errors, if we were in error. No church in the Pig River Association had by an act of conference passed upon our order or disorder or sent any recommendations to the association affecting us in any way, but left the matter entirely to the association, as a ruling body over the churches, to deal with us as they saw proper. We can prove every assertion here made, and they will not dare deny it.
resolutions of these two churches were referred, as were the resolutions of the
excluded faction of these two churches, to the committee appointed by the
moderator. We had no opportunity to defend ourselves. The committee was
composed of the MEN WHO SET UP THESE EXCLUDED FACTIONS AS CHURCHES. Reader,
please notice, men appointed by an unscriptural organization to sit in judgment
upon churches, and that COMMITTEE WERE
MEN WHO HAD, SEVERAL MONTHS AGO, SET UP these excluded factions as
churches. Is that order? Will our brethren throughout the
This committee met at night and held their session behind closed doors and the curtains over the windows were pulled down. We do not go so far as to charge that this was a secret meeting and the act of closing the doors was to keep us out, but we do say that the act was not Scriptural and had every appearance of unfairness and "steam rollers" at secret work. Elders P. J. Washburn, H. F. McGhee and I remained at the house until late in the night, and as we were not called we concluded that we would not be called and we went home with Elder McGhee and spent the night We certainly had every reason to believe that no fairness was in the meeting. There is no question as to the un-baptistic and unscriptural manner and proceedings of the committee and of the body. The committee reported that they found the excluded factions in order, and they were seated by the vote of the body. We all knew that would be their findings. Had they not decided months before this meeting that the excluded factions were "orderly?" The action of this committee was but a farce. Had not this committee found them "orderly" several months ago, when they .learned that they be-believed in extreme predestination and "only one salvation?"
Allow us to repeat, this committee were the men who set up these excluded factions as orderly bodies, and they alone were to sit in judgment with two others that held the same views, to judge between the work of two Primitive Baptist Churches in peace and order, and their own ungodly acts!
article published in the Gospel Messenger, Feb. 1, 1923, and The
Primitive Baptist of March 1, 1923, I charged
them with believing and preaching a doctrine that placed the regenerated
character under a physical law, as machines, and not under a law to Christ. This they have
bitterly denied, and brought many false accusations against me secretly; but, mark you, THEY NEVER BROUGHT ANY CHARGE
TO MY CHURCH AGAINST ME. On Sunday at the Pig River Association, May 4,
1924, J. W. Wyatt declared in the pulpit that we were "like a graphophone"—no music in us, no preaching in us, no
praying in us; it was all on the record. When the gramophone was wound up, the
record put on and the needle placed on the record the music, preaching or
praying would come out." Now who has made a false representation?
Say again you were misrepresented, if you can. In the introductory sermon by J. F. Goode he said, "I want to
be submissive to the association. It is not according to my will that I am here, but according to God's will. I had NO WILL IN THE MATTER." We
will not offer comment on these words, but will leave it to our readers.
At this association T. M. Stanley, who was excluded from orderly Baptists
nearly four years ago, was recognized as orderly because he said, "we are
fighting the same things in the Bear Creek Association of
Brethren, if their acts which we have truthfully set forth in this article is the order as has been held to by the dear old church all along, we do not care for such order and will have none of it.
I challenged Hutchens or any of his crowd to debate with me. He refused, saying that "nothing would be gained by a debate." We told him that we felt sure that was his feelings about the matter. They well know that when the searchlight of truth is turned on their position, that their rottenness will be revealed.
Brethren, in conclusion let us beseech you to pray for us and visit us. We are sure that we are preaching the same doctrine that over ninety per cent of the dear Old Baptista love, and are standing upon today. We hold to the London Confession of Faith, the Resolutions and appendix to this confession by the Fulton meeting in 1900, the Black Rock Address, and we will have no innovations or institutions of men.
contented with the old way, the Bible way. May God keep us and save us from
false doctrines. If we are in error, please labor with us to save us from
error. We want to be right. May the Lord bless poor
FSOME PRINCIPLES QUOTED
we quote a few of the principles upon which many orderly associations of the
Hillabee:—"No act of this association shall be binding on the churches."
Texas Associations:—It is also understood that no church on becoming a member of this association parts with or surrenders any of her rights, privileges, duties, or responsibilities given her by the Great Head of the Church and made binding on her in the New Testament."
Wetumpka:—"No act of the association shall be binding on the churches, but it shall be its duty to give best advice in matters of difficulty, and endeavor to preserve the union of the churches."
More could be given but these are sufficient to show that orderly Primitive Baptist Associations do not claim any right as a higher court to rule churches. All who are at all informed know that there is no Scriptural authority for such.
Here now are some more sayings and writings (taken at random) of the absoluters:
would as soon borrow from anything else as the Bible. The man that thinks he can
improve his preaching by studying the Bible is nothing more than a
fool." Elder Allen (a brother, to the boys who shot up the
I believe with all my heart and mind and strength what is called the doctrine
of the absolute predestination of all things whatsoever come to pass, I want it
clearly understood that I do not in the least believe that God ever prompted,
inclined or caused anyone to commit sin, yet I do believe that God is the first
great and grand cause of all causes, and creatures are secondary causes of
secondary events, under His control, but not under His promptings at all
times, for we are very often prompted by a wicked spirit Now I believe that God
absolutely predestinated, determined, decreed. and
appointed all things, times, events and occurrences that come to pass, and so
rules and controls them as seemeth good in His sight,
and so directs them in a way they will redound to His glory. I know this is
deep water. I view Adam a figure of Christ, and Adam's existence and sphere
that he filled was as much predestinated, fixed in the mind, wisdom and purpose
of God as was Christ's duration. God, so to speak, looked down through the
channels of time, and moulded the chain of events
from the morning of time, throughout in time and eternity, and there is no
changing of that chain, for every link was forged and welded in the furnace of
God's wisdom and purpose." Joseph Hill
Remarks by Eld. Hanks: "If this does not make God the author, cause and originator of all sin, wickedness, murder, and all lawlessness and leave the devil without an office, I fail to know what language means. It puts man under a physical law, destroys all accountability, ignores God's moral government over His creatures, and forever abolishes the commands and exhortations of the Bible and excuses the vile, ungodly criminals of the world, placing their devilish acts upon God as the first great cause that 'forged and welded' all their abominable crimes by fate, and makes the vile criminal not blameworthy. If God molded the chain of events, forged and welded all the links and the chain can not be changed, then it follows that Christ Jesus coming into the world to put away sin is a failure—failed to do what He came to do, as every link (sin and wickedness) was forged and welded in the chain; and if Christ had put away sin, He would have changed the chain; and 'the writer says it is forged and welded by God the Father and can not be changed. Then it follows that Christ could not put away our sins, for by so doing He would destroy the chain; and according to the writer, Jesus Christ would have been working in opposition to God the Father, trying to destroy what the Father had forged and welded; the Holy Spirit could not regenerate the heart, for that was forged and welded a cage of unclean birds and a sink of sin, and the chain can not be changed. If the writer's position be true, every human being will go to hell, for sin can not reach heaven. The position of the advocates of the above theory is that sin is an essential link in the chain of salvation. Then if Christ put away sin, cleansed His people from their sins by His own blood, then He removed the essential link, destroyed the chain, and eternal condemnation would be the result for all the race, and the work of Jesus brought damnation instead of salvation. Then, if sin brings salvation, what brings death and damnation? The Bible teaches that sin is of the devil. Then, if sin brings salvation, the devil must be the prime factor in man's salvation. The Bible teaches that sin is the transgression of the law. Then if sin is the essential link in man's salvation—salvation upon that principle would be conditional, conditioned upon man's disobedience, while the Armenian has salvation conditioned upon obedience. Both systems eliminate grace and are Christless. This doctrine is the doctrine of Mahomet, who believed the following:
"God's absolute decree and predestination both of good and evil. The orthodox doctrine is that whatever hath or shall come to pass in this world, whether good or bad, proceedeth entirely from the divine will, and is irrevocably fixed and recorded from all eternity in the preserved table; God having secretly predetermined not only the adverse and prosperous fortune of every person in this world, in the most minute particulars, but also his faith or infidelity, his obedience or disobedience, and consequently his everlasting woe or misery after death; which faith or predestination it is not possible by any foresight or wisdom to avoid."—Buck's Theological Dictionary, Page 333.
It is indeed sad that professing Christians will espouse such a heathenish fatalistic doctrine, which is the most dangerous heresy. See what the Bible says: "Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say "We are delivered to do all these abominations?"—Jer 7:9-10. "They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind."—(Jer 19:5).
Not a prophet, the blessed Saviour, or any of the apostles ever used the word predestinate, except Paul, and then when he referred to our eternal salvation. (Ro 8:29-30; Eph 1:5.) The word absolute is not in the Bible. God's doctrine does not need any prefixes and suffixes. it is strong enough. Preaching what the Bible teaches has never divided our people, and never will. What concerns me is, am I predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ? Ninety per cent of the people bearing our name will not accept Mohammedanism—absolute predestination of all things. Paul says, "He that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject."—Tit 3:10. "If I or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."—Ga 1:9; Ro 16:17; 2Jo 7,10-11.
Elder G. Beebe, in Editorials of the Signs, vol. 1, page 130, said, "Men and devils act voluntarily in sin." God did not mould, forge, or weld, the wicked acts of Joseph's brethren, or cause them to become wicked. Those wicked men carried out the' desires of their hearts, did what they wanted to do, acted voluntarily in what they did, influenced by an evil spirit, but God overruled their wicked designs. Our people generally believed that God's relation toward holiness is causative, but His attitude toward sin is overruling, restrictive or permissive (in the sense of not hinder). Predestination is an act of God—what He does, intends to do, restrict, bound and overrule. Predestination pertains to our eternal salvation. Foreknowledge is an attribute of God. If this distinction was made' clear in preaching and writing our people would be united. No true Primitive Baptist believes that God is the author or cause of sin and wickedness, that He forces men to sin, coerces, forges, welds and moulds all their murderous deeds, and that they act in His hands as an irresponsible machine, and that predestination bears the same relation to sin as it does to holiness. Elder Hassell, one of our safest, soundest and wisest ministers, expresses the views of the Primitive Baptists. (See Hanks' History, page 180)--
"Fatalism—That all the acts, right or wrong, of all human beings are necessitated or compelled to be exactly what they are. But this makes man an involuntary and irresponsible machine; while all men are voluntary in the commission of sin, and are accountable to God for their sins (Ge 2:6-7,16-19; Joh 8:44; 1Co 5; 10; Re 20:12-13). The Lord works holiness in His children, and graciously rewards it (Php 2:12-13; Ps 19:14; Jas 1:25; Isa 1:19-20; 48:18; Re 22:14). While God foreknows and suffers sin (De 4:13; Ps 81:12; Lu 4:41; 8:32; Ac 2:23; 7:42; 13:18; 14:16; Jas 1:13-14; Ro 1:24,26,28; 9:22), He is in no sense its author or approver; but He chastises it in His own loved and chosen people (Heb 12:5-13), and punishes it forever in His unredeemed, impenitent and rebellious enemies (2Th 1:7-9; Re 14:9-11; 21:8). Those are Scriptural facts, and believed by all Primitive Baptists. They are as true in the matter of God's predestination as in the matter of His providence. His attitude toward sin is that, not of instigation or compulsion, but of foreknowledge. Sin, which is enmity to God and ruin to man, comes only to the creature, and salvation from sin, in both soul and body, comes only from the electing, redeeming and renewing Triune God, and for this salvation, He alone will deserve and receive all the glory. If the children of God will take all the teaching of the Scriptures on this, as well as on other subjects, they will be united (2Ti 3:16-17; Joh 17:17,20-21). Fatalism is a doctrine of the heathen Mohammedans.—Elder S. Hassell.
Elder L. H. Hardy said:
brethren have reason to stand shoulder to shoulder and contend earnestly for
the faith once delivered unto the saints. I heard a minister use for a text:
"All thy works shall praise thee, 0 Lord; and thy saints shall bless
thee,"—Ps 141:10. In his exposition of
the text he left the full impression that all evil deeds are the works of the
Lord, and that they were for His praise. If my evil deeds are works of God
where are the works of the devil? What experience have
I with him? Does no such being exist? My own experience tells me there is such
a being. He is my tormentor. I often find that he has dictated to me and I have
followed his evil ways, and am brought very low in repentance from my evil
ways. Satan is a snare and a trap to the children of God; and, my brethren, I
do not feel that I should put it to God's account. We should be careful to shun
the appearance of evil, not only the evil itself, but the very appearance of it.—L. H. Hardy, in
said:—"But while the promised land was given to
the children of
Gill said:—"Who is the Saviour of all men; in a providential way, giving them being and breath, upholding them in their beings, preserving their lives, and indulging them with blessings and mercies of life; for that He is the Saviour of all men, with spiritual and everlasting salvation, is not true in fact. Specially those that believe; whom though He saves with an eternal salvation; yet not of this, but of a temporal salvation, are the words to be understood. 1Ti 4:16; saves himself from the pollutions of the world, from the errors and heresies of false teachers, and from the blood of all men, and from all just blame in the ministry. Them that hear thee; from erroneous principles and immoral practices, by faithfully preaching the gospel to his hearers. Php 1:19: 'For I know this shall turn to my salvation'—be the means of his enlargement and liberty, of his salvation and deliverance from bonds."—John Gill, in 1748.
Elder Beebe taught below two salvations "temporal" and "eternal." His followers have learned that Eld. Beebe was wrong,—they teach "one salvation" only. But they seem to be confused about which one it is. Read Eld. Beebe:—
We have shown above how the illiterate and genuine disciples of our Lord stood half a century ago, and what temporal salvation God wrought for America in their time; but how the times have altered, and the popular Baptists have adopted the policy of their old oppressor Our Bible knows of no other eternal salvation than that which secures to the heirs of promise the blessings of immortality and eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.—Elder Gilbert Beebe in 1835, in Editorials of the Signs, Vol. 1, page 239.
Elder Durand (page 47) in his book shows the curse of disobedience :—also he taught that some blessings are conditional:--
"How many who have been cast off from the church on account of disobedience, on account of crime. . . . So God's forgiveness is asked for as we forgive our debtors; the one placed in conditional connection with the other, even in supplication. Page 87: I know that the comfort of God's people in this land of Canaan, the gospel church, is in some sense conditioned upon their obedience to the laws of Christ, and sometimes have thought that I had experienced it in some degree. Page 96: All temporal blessings and salvation are from Him. He sends His rain and sunshine upon all. But the especial salvation unto eternal life is for His brethren only."—S. H. Durand.
Here is a sample of "absolutism." Not many Primitive Baptists will have it:
you will understand there is nothing comes to pass but what our God has a good
purpose in it somewhere. There is nothing working contrary to the purpose of
God, but is working together for good (somehow) to them who love God." J.
A. Preston, Shoals, W.
H. V. Cole, Simpson,
He said, "Oh they say `Go on and do your duty.' If one were to come to the church and say that he came because he felt that it was his duty, I would not baptize him." Lone. Pilgrim, March, 1926.
(Remarks: I wonder, would he want him to come feeling that it was not his duty, or in disobedience to his Lord?)
Read a mixture of Foreknowledge and Predestination:--
is hard for me to get the
difference in purpose and predestination. While I believe in the
predestination of God over all worlds, creatures, and things, I can't get my
mind to accept of a limit any more to his predestination than I can to his foreknowledge. For by Him were all things created, that are in
,Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones,
or dominions, principalities, or powers. All things were created by Him, and
for Him; and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. Col 1:16-17." J. B. Bowden,
this letter of Paul, we find embraced all things. —J. B. Bowden,
"The two salvations so highly prized by home who have the title of an elder, are the two coats—one for time; the other for eternity, the conditional time salvation is pleasing to nature, and is comforting to the carnal mind.
were some anciently who limited God as being god of the hills and not god of
the valley. They felt to limit the holy one of
Another mixture of Foreknowledge and Predestination, obedience and disobedience:--
"We often meet men that are so wise they can tell us there is a great difference between God's Predestination and His foreknowledge. They take hours of time to explain and reason out their theories, saying Predestination is an act of God and foreknowledge is an attribute of God. Preaching of this kind is not edifying to the body of Christ, but is only confusing to the Little Children. I am not trying to tell any one how to preach, but only trying to tell what they preach, so you can judge them by the fruits they bear. . . We will endeavor to tell you a little of what we hope we are established in, regarding these things of which we have been writing.
I believe that not anything ever has, is now, or ever will come to pass, in heaven, earth or hell, in time or eternity, contrary to God's will and purpose in Divinity. In other words I believe in a Sovereign God.
I believe all the salvation there is, is in Christ Jesus, and that it is enough for time and eternity. H. F. H., in Lone Pilgrim, Sept., 1925.
(Question: If nothing ever has, is now, or ever will come to pass contrary to God's will and purpose, either in heaven, earth or hell, how is it that He is not the author of sin, and His predestination the cause of Adam's transgression and the sin of all men? If disobedience and sin did not come to pass contrary to His will and purpose, then it must have been in accord with His will and purpose. S. E. C.)
In the Lone Pilgrim for December, 1925, is published an article from the pen of Elder Lytle Burns, once a Primitive Baptist, but now gone off with the absoluters. His article is entitled "Absolute Predestination," and his first sentence "The above subject has been the cause of much confusion and divisions among the Primitive Baptists for the last thirty years." Some admission! But it is the truth from one of them. S. E. C.
Some more muddy water which has the appearance to some as being deep water:—
"The doctrine, you can obey or disobey as you choose is free will doctrine, pure and simple."
* * *
If Adam had not transgressed you never would have sung "Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me," etc. You never would have sung
"Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song, The joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue, Thy free grace alone from the first to the last, Hath won my affections and bound my soul fast."
are you glad His grace has bound your soul fast? You can't get away. Isaac R. Greathouse,
(Question: Does he mean to convey the idea that God's children can neither obey nor disobey? and that their salvation was conditional on Adam's transgression? S. E. C.)
Says another :—
one thinks he can do things he
would, that he has the ability to keep the commands or let them alone as he
pleases, he is not much like a little child, and must be in need of conversion,
and is 'out' and not 'in' for the time being." H. B. Jones,
(Now we wonder why Jesus commanded "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Was He just idly chattering to fill up space? S. E. C.)
Can see only one salvation taught in the Bible:--
two salvation doctrine would put the gauling yoke of bondage
on the necks of the free heirs of salvation. There is only one salvation, and
that of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, which salvation was ours (if I am
one) before the world was. I submit a few questions. Did not God create the heavens
and the earth and all the fulness thereof?
What for? For His own purpose
and that purpose is His pleasure. Did He have any pleasure in the tree of
knowledge of good and evil? Did He have
any pleasure in the crooked serpent? Did they, and do they serve that purpose?
If not, tell what God's pleasure was in the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil? Did not God have power to have prevented Satan from beguiling Eve? Why
did He not do it? Did He intend that they stay in the garden? For what reason were they cast out?" R. W. Rhodes,
(Answer:—They were cast out because of disobedience. R. H. P.)
Can't see how God could Foreknow all about sin without bringing all of it to pass. But God permits, allows, suffers sin, and will punish for it. But read some more "sound" doctrine:
"I can not conceive of how God could foreknow all things without all things being embraced in His infinite thought. I am not afraid to take the position that the eternal God, has eternally, thought of all things. That He thought of all things just as they have been, are, and will be.
Man's after-thought of things which come to pass are because they have come to pass, and arise from our knowledge of the fact. But such can not be the manner and cause of God's thinking.
God's fore-thought as well as his fore-knowledge were with Him before any thing came to pass. God's thoughts were and are, as eternal as He is eternal, and could not therefore arise from His fore-knowledge as our thoughts arise from our after-knowledge of facts. Brethren, I do not expect to please the Conditionalists, when I come to express my views upon the subject in hand, and I owe allegiance to NO man, nor am I accountable to any man for what I teach.
I am going to say that no man is able to separate God's forethought and fore-knowledge from His predestination. God never did begin to think about anything. As He has eternally thought, so shall it come to pass. He has eternally thought of and foreknown all things, and I can not think of His fore-thought and foreknowledge as resting on and arising from anything else than His predestination, even if we were justified in fixing in our minds the order of them and have one placed before the other.
God's eternal, all-embracing and immutable thought can be nothing more or less than His eternal, all embracing and immutable predestination. Disprove it if you can. God's thought all embracing; He thought of the evil as well as the good. He thought of both the evil and the good as it has come to pass, and I can not believe that He thought of the good and evil as coming to pass contrary to His plan of infinite wisdom that embraces all things that come to pass." C. M. Weaver, in Lone Pilgrim, January, 1926.
(Eld. Weaver's position is that God's attitude toward sin is the same as his attitude toward holiness,—which is not true.)
Eld. Hardy worried, and seeking a remedy :—
remember that in the last days of Elder James S. Wilson, of the
We should adhere strictly to the teachings of the Bible, "Rebuke not an Elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren," 1Ti 5:1. To do otherwise, we bring the rebuke of God on our own head. Sooner or later we will feel it. We may be able for the present to pass along with these violations of the word of God, but He is a just God and Savior. He knows all our secret thoughts and He will require it of us. He will not in anywise let the guilty go free. He knows how to mete out justice to us, and He will make no mistake.
As I pass through out the country, I see that in some places the candlestick has been removed, and in many others there is only a lingering few, and when our brethren go there to preach, there is only a very small hearing. We ask, "What is the matter?" No one can tell. Evidently there is a cause. Faithfulness to the teachings of the word of God has not been complied with, and His rebukes are felt. In some places there has been an ingathering but there appears to be no life in that ingathering. It may be that some thing like muckraking has been going on and care has not been taken in the ingathering. We know that where there has been a great reaping there is of necessity to be a great threshing, and separating.
Oh that our God would show Himself in the midst of the churches.
reading of the seven churches in
The Lord bless us all to live unto Him. L. H. Hardy, in the Lone Pilgrim, January, 1926.
"What is the matter?" the Elder asks. The answer is apparent:
Destruction to the prosperity and life of Old Baptist Churches always follows in the wake of absolutism. Study the history of it, look the country over and compare the condition of Old Baptist Churches where this heresy is preached and where it is not allowed to be preached. Brethren and churches, gospel discipline of preachers, and a return to Bible doctrine is the remedy and cure for this terrible disease. Please do wake up and apply it. S. E. Copeland.
(From Zion's Advocate, Feb., 1922.)
to appointment it becomes my duty to write an annual letter to be approved or
disapproved by you. And being quite young—two years old if a child of grace—and
very weak, it is with reluctance that I expose my weakness to those that are
well grown in grace. But
The date of this letter is July 22, 1877. There seemed to be no opposition to this letter, to the doctrine it set forth, or to the brethren who taught this doctrine at that time. There should be none now.
P. D. Williams.
The above shows very clearly that the expressions used by some of our brethren now, and which are objected to by some, are not new. The above circular letter was written forty-eight years ago. Notice the expression, "Time work" and "common salvation," which the Lord's children were commanded to work out. That doctrine is not new, and the man who says it is new is the man that is wrong.
C. H. Cayce.
joined Hopeland Church in the Kehukee
Association 36 years ago, assisted in the organization of a church in
Bishopville, S. C. some years later to which I moved my membership and held it
until I moved it to Mt. Carmel Church Luray, Va., 20 years ago, and where it
now is. I love the Primitive Baptist cause and have labored for a closer unity
among them. It has been my observation that Primitive Baptists have been
disturbed, distressed, confused and divided more over the doctrine of "the
absolute predestination of all things" than over any other doctrine. I
have labored earnestly and prayerfully to live in peace with extreme predestinarians. But I have almost come to the conclusion
that it cannot be done, especially with certain leaders among them. I loved Eld. Chick and Eld.
Durand and preached with them; they were not bitter. They did not call me and
my people Arminians. They knew we were not. I gave
the so-called Beebe Baptists equal
representation in my Biographical History of Baptist ministers. But Eld. Lefferts,
Editor of The Signs, wrote me that he would not preach
in my church at my invitation. I am not complaining, but just showing the
spirit of some leaders. Such men as Eld.
Chick and Eld. Gold, though
not perfectly agreed on predestination, yet in their day, (like Eld. Hassell does now), exerted a
saving influence over extreme brethren. I loved Eld.
Gold; he was at my marriage, visited my home, preached in our churches among
visited the Mayo Association May 1921 and met a few extreme predestinarians
also visited the
following principles were prepared and published by Eld.
Sylvester Hassell many years ago.
Brother Hassell says,—"These principles are the
great truths taught by the prophets, Christ, and His apostles in the Holy
Scriptures, affirmed, in regard to eternal salvation, by the early European
reformers and martyrs of the 14th and 15th centuries, similarly reaffirmed by
the Protestant reformers, including the Episcopalians, of the 16th century,
embodied, in substance of doctrine with reference to final salvation, in the
Articles of Faith of the Presbyterians, Independents or Congregationalists, and
Predestinarian Baptists of the 17th century, fully
set forth in the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, adopted as an
expression of their belief by all the Predestinarian
Baptists of the United States in the 18th century, maintained by nearly every
Primitive Baptist Church of the 19th century and these principles, exactly as here published, were unanimously approved
by the general meetings of Primitive Baptists at Oakland City, Ind., September
27, 1900, and at Fulton, Ky., November 14-18, 1900, representing
two-thirds of the Primitive Baptists of the United States and, I believe, that they are the sentiments of nine-tenths of all the
Primitive Baptists now living." I read these principles before the
Investigating Committee and they were unanimously approved by a standing vote
of all Baptists present. They are believed and defended by Eld.
1. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments are the perfectly inspired Word of God, and the only infallible standard of faith and practice; although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God as to leave all men inexcusable for their sins, and yet unable to accomplish their own salvation.
2. There is only one living and true God, who is a pure spirit, self existent, perfect, infinite and eternal in all His glorious attributes of holiness, justice, truth, wisdom, mercy, and goodness, the sovereign Creator, upholder, governor, and judge of the universe, and who exists in the three-fold undivided and indivisible subsistences of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost.
3. Nothing takes place by chance; but God's foreknowledge, purpose and providence embrace all things, including grace and holiness, positively and efficiently, and sin permissively and overrulingly—sin proceeding from the will of the creature, and of which God, who is most holy, is neither the author nor approver, but of which He is the fatherly chastiser in His children, and the righteous punisher in His enemies; the Lord, for the former sins of His people, and to make them more humble, watchful and prayerful in the future, clouding their sense of His love, bringing temporal judgments upon them, and leaving them for a while to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, and giving over the wicked, for their former sins, to their own lusts and the temptations of the world and the power of Satan, so that they harden themselves under the same circumstances by which God softens the hearts of His people.
4. For the manifestation of His glory, God, before the foundation of the world, predestinated some men and angels to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace, and left others to act in their sins to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice. The Father gave all the elect of the human family to the Son in the eternal covenant of grace; the Son, according to the prophecies and types of four thousand years, became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and died and rose again to redeem and justify the elect; and the Holy Ghost regenerates the elect, creating in their souls a new spiritual life, and effectually applies to them the holy and everlasting salvation of Jesus, giving them, generally though not always, under the administration of the word and the ordinances of God, true repentance and faith and hope and love, and working in them both to will and to do of His own good pleasure, and infallibly keeping every one of them unto the fullness of salvation which is to be finally revealed to them; and this eternal salvation is for the elect only, and is personal and unconditional on their part, God by His Spirit working in them all the so-called spiritual conditions of repentance, faith, and love, so that the salvation of the elect is all of Divine and unmerited grace and for it God deserves and will receive all the glory, and all who die in infancy are among the elect, and are saved by God's almighty grace.
5. God created man in His own image, very good and upright; and man of his own will, without any compulsion and undeceived, transgressed the law of God, falling from his original innocence and communion with God, and involving all his posterity in death in trespasses and sins, in total depravity, in utter inclination to all evil, from which only the saving grace of God can deliver him, and enable him fully to will and do that which is spiritually good; aid this corruption of nature remains during all this earthly life even in the regenerate, who are made perfectly and immutably free to good only in the state of glory.
6. Good works are such only as God bath commanded in His Holy Word, and are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith; and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of adversaries, and glorify God; and their ability to do good works is wholly from the Spirit of Christ, who dwells in them; and the best saints do less than God requires of them; and the best works, being mixed with imperfection, can never merit pardon of sin or eternal life. Works done by the unregenerate, though useful in this life, to themselves and others, yet, not proceeding from faith in God, nor meant for the glory of God, are sinful and can not please God, nor entitle the doer to salvation, and yet their neglect is more sinful and displeasing to God.
7. While the ceremonial law of types and figures was fulfilled and abrogated by Christ, and the judicial and civil law given the Jews was of limited national use, the formal law of the Ten Commandments, written in substance in the heart or conscience of Adam while he was upright and in the image of God, and delivered by God on Mount Sinai, and written in two tables, the first four containing our duty to God and the last six our duty to man, is of universal and perpetual obligation for all persons, both regenerate and unregenerate, Christ in the gospel in no way dissolving, but much strengthening this obligation, and, while true believers are not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned, yet it is of great use to them, as well as others, as a rule of life, and to show them their sinfulness and their need of Christ and the perfection of His obedience, and to restrain their corruptions, and teach them what their sins deserve; and these uses of the law are not contrary to the grace of the gospel, but sweetly comply with it, the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God, revealed in His law, requireth to be done, true Christian liberty not being a liberty to sin, but a freedom from guilt and all the consequences of sin, and from the doctrines and commandments of men, that we may all our lives yield obedience to God, not out of a slavish fear, but with a child-like love and willing mind.
8. The Triune God alone is to be worshiped, and in spirit and in truth, and only through the meditation of Christ, by prayer, reading the Scriptures, preaching, hearing the Word of God, singing spiritual songs. baptism, the Lord's Supper, fasting, and thanksgiving; and one day in seven—which from the creation of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, but since the resurrection of Christ has been the first day of the week, and is called the Lord's Day— should be kept free from worldly employments and recreations, and devoted to the public and private worship of God, and to the duties of necessity and charity.
orderly-walking believers in Christ ought to be gathered in particular
churches, having Christ as their only Head, and having power to carry out that
order in worship and discipline which He requireth,
their officers being Elders (or Bishops and Deacons), qualified by the Holy
Spirit and chosen by the common suffrage of their church, and set apart by
fasting (in the case of Elders) and by prayer with imposition of hands by the
Eldership; the duty of Deacons being to serve the tables of the Lord, of the
pastor, and of the poor; the duty of pastors being to give themselves to the
ministry of the word and prayer and watching for souls; and the duty of the church
being to communicate of their natural substance according to their ability to
their pastor, and to hold communion with other churches of like faith and
order, for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification; and, in cases
of difficulty in doctrine or practice, to seek, if necessary, the advice of
other churches, but no decision of messengers to be imposed upon any church;
and all saints should lovingly labor for the mutual good of each other, both in
the inward and the outward man.
10. Baptism is a sign of the fellowship of believers in Christ with Him in His death and resurrection, and should be administered only to believers, and by immersion in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; and the Lord's Supper was not meant by Him to be a sacrifice for sin, but only as a perpetual memorial of that one offering up of Himself by Himself upon the cross for all the sins of the elect; and the bread and wine are only emblems of His body and blood, and are to be given to all communicants who, while outwardly partaking of these visible elements, inwardly and spiritually receive and feed upon Christ crucified and all the benefits of His death. 11. While after death the bodies of men return to dust and corruption, their souls return at once to God who gave them—the souls of the righteous being made perfect in holiness and received into Paradise, where they are with Christ, and behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. At the last day such of the saints as are found alive shall not sleep, but be changed; and all the dead shall be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever; the bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor, and the bodies of the just, by His Spirit, unto honor, and be made conformable to His own glorious body. 12. God hath appointed a day of general and final judgment, unknown to men, when apostate angels and all persons that have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ at His second personal coming to the world, to give an account of their thoughts and words and deeds, whether good or evil—the object of God in the appointment of this day being to manifest the glory of His mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect, and of His justice in the eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient; and the righteous shall enter into the fullness of everlasting life, while the wicked shall be cast into everlasting torment."
PRINCIPLES FURTHER EXPRESSED
The following article was written and published by Eld. S. Hassell several years ago. It was republished in the Advocate and Messenger, Jan. 1926. I read this article before the Investigating Committee. It was unanimously approved by all Baptists present as expressed by a standing vote. Eld. Wilson and those standing with him are defending these principles. Study them for yourself:--
I have earnestly labored for years (I hope not without success, which I gladly confess is due entirely to the Lord,) to show that the contention, among Primitive Baptists, in regard to the extention of predestination is, when properly understood, a mere unprofitable and unwholesome strife of words. Every true Baptist believes that God foreknows and controls all things; and no true Baptist believes that God influences or compels His creatures to sin. Thus God's fore-knowledge or predestination of sin is not of a causative or compulsive, but of a permissive, directive, restrictive and overruling character. So far as I am aware, the war, among the most of our brethren, on the extent of predestination seems to have about ended—the vexed question being finally settled on this immutable basis of scriptural and eternal truth.
Another equally unnecessary and unprofitable verbal contention among a few Primitive Baptists is one similar to, if not connected with, the controversy on predestination. It is the question concerning what is called "the conditionality of time salvation," and, connected with this, the question as to the ability of the child of God to obey the commandments of his Heavenly Father.
Ail Primitive Baptists are agreed upon the unconditionality of our eternal salvation, and the inability of those who are dead in sin to render spiritual obedience to the law of God. Instead of repentance and faith being conditions prerequisite to salvation, we understand that they are the work of the Holy Spirit in the renewed heart, and are thus essential parts of salvation; and, until this spiritual renewal, the fallen child of Adam will love sin and hate holiness and continue in rebellion against God.
But there is an apparent disagreement in two or three of our Associations, among worthy and lovely brethren, who would be heartily fellowshipped and gladly welcomed by other Primitive Baptists everywhere, as to whether our time salvation, that is, our deliverance from spiritual darkness, coldness, distress, and chastisement during the present life is conditioned or dependent upon our obedience to God, and as to whether the child of God is able to obey or not.
Now, even the authors of dictionaries have no right to manufacture or change the meanings of words; their business is simply to ascertain and state the meanings which words actually and already have in the language of which they treat. It would be deceptive to use words in a different sense from that which they generally have, unless we explain the sense which we mean. The most of controversies are strifes of words; and when words are properly defined, and their correct meaning is accepted by both parties, the controversy ends.
A "condition" is defined by the best of English dictionaries to be "an event, object, fact, or being that is necessary to the occurrence or existence of some other, though not its cause; a prerequisite; that which must exist as the occasion or concomitance of something else; that which is requisite in order that something else should take effect; an essential qualification." And these dictionaries say that the word "if" is "the typical conditional particle, and is nearly always used to introduce the subordinate clause of a conditional sentence,” and means "on the supposition that; provided, or on condition that; in case that, granting, allowing, or supposing that."
There are 1,422 "ifs" in the Bible-830 in the Old Testament, and 592 in the New Testament; and these conditional sentences make up about one fiftieth part of the Bible. Thus forty-nine fiftieths of the Scriptures are unconditional, and one fiftieth is conditional. All reverent minds must admit that this conditional part of the Scriptures, though comparatively small, has a real and true meaning.
It cannot be denied by any informed and honest man that such Scriptures as the following are conditional: "If His children forsake My law, I will visit their transgression with the rod, nevertheless My loving-kindness will I not utterly take from Him." (Ps 89:30-33). "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Isa 1:19-20). "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." (Joh 13:17). "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye. through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Ro 8:13. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb 2:3). "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." (1Jo 2:7). See, also, such scriptures as Le 26; De 4:29-31; 12:26; 11:13-32; 28; Eze 18; 33. Not only is it certain that these Scriptures are conditional, but it is equally certain that the condition, introduced by "if," necessarily precedes the conclusion, which would not take place unless the condition took place first. If the conclusion in these sentences means eternal punishment, then Arminianism is true; but either the text itself, or the context and other Scriptures, prove that the punishment or chastisement threatened in case of disobedience, is temporal and corrective, and not eternal and destructive, for God gives His children eternal life, and they shall never perish, and though their voluntary sins separate them from His face, nothing present or future can ever separate them from His love. (Joh 10:28-30; Heb 12; Isa 59:2; Ro 8:28-39). Thus the conditionality of time salvation is just as certain as the truth of the eternal word of God. Baptists have always heretofore understood it so; nearly all Baptists understand it so now; and this truth is in perfect accordance with Christian experience. And if the living child of God, having the indwelling of the Spirit of life and grace, which makes him alive, is not able to obey heartily and sincerely, though imperfectly, the commandments of his Heavenly Father, his real state does not differ from that of those who are dead in sin. Of course he can do nothing spiritual or acceptable to God except by that Spirit of grace; but that Spirit dwells in him. (Joh 1:16-17; Ro 8:9-17; 2Co 6:16; Eph 2:22) ; and he "can do all things through Christ, who strengthens him." (Php 4:13) ; and he well knows and loves to confess that he has nothing good which he did not receive from God, and that without Christ he can do nothing, and that, by the grace of God, he is what he is—a poor, hell-deserving sinner, SAVED BY GRACE—a brand plucked from the eternal burning (1Co 4:7; Jas 1:17; Joh 15:5; 1Co 15:10; 1Ti 1:15; Zec 3:2). And he knows just as well, both from the scriptures and his own experience, that, in willful disobedience to God, he does not enjoy that spiritual comfort which he has in obedience. All the children of God are as assured of these truths as they are of their own existence; and bitter contention over them is wholly unnecessary, unprofitable, unwholesome, and subverting. The ENTIRE scriptural truth about any matter unites, comforts, and edifies the children of God; while a contention for a PART of the truth for the WHOLE truth divides, distresses, and overthrows them. Truth is spherical; we must look at it on all sides to understand it at all aright. Extremes are dangerous; let us avoid them as we would the verge of a fatal precipice. "Let our moderation be known unto all men—the Lord is at hand." (Php 4:5).
God is the only independent and absolute Being in the universe; not for one instant does any other being cease to be, both naturally and spiritually, dependent upon Him. All our sins come from ourselves alone, and with confusion of face we must take all the shame for them, and not charge them in any way upon our holy Creator—upon His foreknowledge, or predestination, or the partial withdrawal of His spirit of grace, for well do we know that such a blasphemous imputation would be the grossest of sins; while all our salvation from sin and its consequences comes from God, who deserves and will receive every particle of the glory of it.
While fear and hope are, in the conditional scriptures, recognized and addressed as strong motives to human action, pure, self-denying LOVE is set forth, in the scriptures, as the highest and strongest motive that can actuate any being; the motive which assimilates us most to the character of the Three-One God, who is love, and who saves His people because of His eternal and infinite love of them. Without this divine motive in our hearts, our services cannot be acceptable to God, and we can never enter that "heaven above, where all is love," or if we could enter the home of eternal love, we could not enjoy its holy delights.
Man is not an unthinking, involuntary, irresponsible machine. He can and should be moral—it will be better for him in this world; but it is far better for him to be spiritual, and to be thus prepared for heaven.
I believe that all right-minded Primitive Baptists will accept these scriptural truths. Such acceptance would put an end to the useless and ruinous strife of words on this subject."
Eld. P. D. Gold on "Absolute Predestination"
The following Editorial written by Brother Gold many years before his death and published in his paper—Zion's Landmark, clearly shows his opposition to this extreme doctrine; yet some "absoluters" are now claiming him as one of the defenders of that confusing and fatalistic faith. Brother Gold has gone to his reward, but God will continue to raise up others to oppose indiscriminate predestination as Elders Hassell, Hanks, Cayce, Dalton, Monsees, Cowin, Harrington, Pruitt, J. R. Wilson, and hundreds of others are now doing. But read the article --
BROTHER P. D. GOLD:—Please give your views through the LANDMARK on the predestination of all things, and you will oblige L. L. Thomas.
By answer it is not meant that such as the imperfect writer is able to expound all that is involved in this or any other question, but that such as he has he gives to the household of faith.
A drinking man last night said he would do such a thing (naming it) if the Lord will. It occurred to me that what James intended by the expression, if the Lord will, is that a brother should earnestly and sincerely desire to be guided and controlled by the will of the Lord. If any thing and every thing that comes to pass is according to the will of the Lord, why should one be at all concerned to do the Lord's will? For then it would not matter when, where or how one moved, he could say, this is the Lord's will. Now instead of supposing that we can merely of our own will go to this or that place, and buy and sell and get gain, we ought to say, if the Lord will we will do so and so. We should feel and acknowledge our dependence on the Lord's will, even in matters of secular business, such as trading. Surely our natural life is subject to his will.
There should be a distinction drawn between what one does when led by the Spirit of God, and what he or another does when he walks according to the flesh or the carnal mind which is enmity against God, and not subject to his law, neither indeed can be. When one walks by faith what he does is right before God; whatsoever is not of faith is sin. When God works in one both to will and to do of God's good pleasure all that this man thus does is righteous; but if the prince of the power of the air works in one prompting and leading, all that this man does is sinful.
Now to say that God would be disappointed or frustrated by one's conduct which is disobedient and sinful is begging the question. We cannot conclude that any act of wicked men can at all defeat God's purpose, for he makes the wrath of man to praise him, and restrains the remainder of wrath: yet any theory that mikes no distinction between what God commands and what he forbids is false on its very face, and any or all theories that ignore the difference between what the spirit of God prompts or leads men to do, and what the spirit of the evil one prompts men to do are false and not of God. God's work condemns sin invariably and universally, and his word is the only standard of right.
Shall I say that all things that come to pass are right in themselves? Shall I say that it is right in this man to get drunk, or in another to steal, or in another to commit murder? No. The word of God condemns all such acts. Then can the man who is a drunkard say he is doing God's will, or the thief, or murdered say he is doing God's will? No. Let no man say when he is tempted it is of God. For God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust: (Jas 1:13-18).
Again: Do not err my beloved brethren. Every good gift comes from above, etc. No sin therefore comes from above. A fountain doth not send forth both sweet and bitter water. Shall-we do evil that good may come? (Ro 3:8.) Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid: (Ro 6:1-2). Then men cannot plead that any and every thing they may do is right, or all that others do is right.
Possessed with evil minds how would men act otherwise than evil? How shall ye who are accustomed to do evil learn to do well? How then can evil men do otherwise than evil? But the necessity that leads or causes them to commit sin is not of God. We have proved that a man's own lust entices him to sin.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil who sinneth from the beginning. Jesus came not to destroy any of God's works, but the works of the devil.
No man can say to God any more than the clay can say to the potter, why hast thou made me thus? It is true that the more God-like one is the less he is inclined to charge God foolishly, or to say, I am as thou madest me; but rather as penitent David will he say, In sin was I conceived, and in iniquity was I hapen: (Ps 51:3-6), thus showing that man's guilt begins in his conception, or the beginning of his existence, and therefore he is the more guilty. For God made man upright, but man hath sought out many inventions. By man came sin. Men cannot therefore plead that whatever is is right. The word of God alone decides whether it is right or not. If whatever is is right then men can defend themselves as righteous in all they do. Whatsoever God does is right. Does not God do all things? No. He as is already proved does not tempt man to sin. All God's works shall praise him; but many things on earth are inventions of men, or men's works that are condemned by the word of God.
Predestination cannot be accidental, or doubtful, nor can it be uncertain. Hence the bible does not use any qualifying word such as absolute or conditional predestination.
A brother-in-law of mine, who was much opposed to predestination, said to me once, "I suppose you believe that what is to be will be, do you?" I replied to him, "I suppose you believe that what is to be will not be, do you?" If what is to be will not be, what would take its place? Could that which is not to be take its place? What sense is there in the question, is what is to be certain to be? Surely it is certain to be. Our ignorance of it, or our inability to change or make one hair white or black does not in the least affect such things. We ourselves are creatures of circumstances, driven or led by a power not in the least dependent on us. God controls all things according to the counsel of his own will, doing all his pleasure, and we know that all things work together for good to them that love him, to them that are the called according to his purpose: for whom, or as many as he foreknew he did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son. One carefully reading the Old Testament must see that God handled the Gentile nations of earth as rods with which to correct his people, the Jews, and raised up one and put down another as he pleased, showing that he makes all men subservient to his will.
what he purposes or means, and what men intend are as different as day is from
night, or his thoughts are as far above ours as the heavens are above the
earth. When Joseph's brethren sell him they mean it for evil: but God sends him
to save much people alive, or
for good. In the death of Jesus with wicked hands men kill the prince of life,
or mean evil, but the God of love and mercy gives his son to save much people
alive. All this is according to predestination.
Indeed predestination directly concerns the
Extracts From The "SIGNS" And "LONE PILGRIM"
It might be well to here give a few extracts from the writing of some who oppose the teaching of such teachers as Hassell and Gold in order that the reader may see the difference. Much space could be taken up with such teaching if it was thought profitable. But read these:--
"Some churches claiming to be Old School Baptists in different parts of our land have departed from the doctrine, in some respects, held by genuine Old Baptists. Correspondence with such is a menace rather than a benefit. It behooves us therefore to be careful along such lines. Should any church of our Association not believe in salvation wholly by grace, that member would not be considered one of us. Should any church not believe in predestination of all things, whatsoever comes to pass, that member would not be reckoned in fellowship with us." From circular letter by Eld. Ker in The Sign Oct., 1925.
I ask Baptists who may read this: who is drawing the line? who is causing the division? Is it not "absoluters" who, in their teaching, make no distinction in God's attitude toward righteousness and sin? Will Primitive Baptists endorse such a doctrine? But here is some more:
so to speak, looked down through the channels of time, and moulded
the chain of events from the morning of time, throughout in time and Eternity,
and there is no changing of that chain, for every link was forged and welded in
the furnace of God's wisdom and purpose." Joseph Hill
"Nothing shall ever be in this world that hath not already been in God's counsel from eternity, for the works are finished in his counsel from the foundation of the world. It was all appointed by him." Eld. J. C. Sikes in Lone Pilgrim Aug., 1926.
"Now if God could and did predestinate the murder of His own Son, and was not the author of sin, in the ones that committed the murder, He can just as easily predestinate every wicked act of every wicked man that has ever or ever will live; and yet not be the author of sin." . . "For the Scripture plainly teaches that God has predestinated the wicked acts of wicked men." . . "Eld. Cayce, don't ever get it in your 'Cocoanut,' that I am afraid of the Doctrine I believe in; this doctrine has been tried in the fiery furnace, in the den of lions, and in prisons, and at the burning stake, and it has come out conqueror over all, yea over the grave itself. If you do not believe in the Predestination of the wicked acts of wicked men; then you do not believe the account in the Scripture of the Crucifixion of our Savior." Eld. Hutchens, Editor of Lone Pilgrim, Aug., 1926.
What the editor means by "Cocoanut" the reader may guess. But let him not guess at the doctrine of predestination, nor accept the Lone Pilgrim's brand;—let him take his predestination from Paul, the inspired writer, and it will do him good.
"But viewing all things as they are, we must admit God is first to exist, and before all that is and was and shall be, foreknew all existing things, and in accordance to the extent of his foreknowledge he did predestinate, foreordained and caused to come to pass." J. B. Bowden in Lone Pilgrim, Aug., 1926.
Here we have the contention that God's predestination is co-extensive with His foreknowledge,—that the Lord could not know a thing without predestinating it. The Lord does not tell us this,—I wonder how our "absolute" brethren found it out.
"Your paper has a sure ring on these subjects. While as a matter of fact, it may not always be necessary to use the word `absolute' when speaking of predestination, yet I am very glad the Pilgrim is not afraid of the word 'absolute' and very glad you do not mind being called an `absoluter'. Personally, I rarely ever use the word 'absolute' myself when trying to preach, but I want it distinctly understood that I fully believe what the word `absolute' involves and it always seems to me that anyone who hates the word 'absolute' in connection with predestination is trying to soften things down to suit the natural mind. .. Indeed, it seems to me that the birth of the Lone Pilgrim was most providential for there was undoubtedly needed among Old School Baptists in the south a paper contending for the same principles as does the Signs in the north." H. H. Lefferts, Ed. The Signs, in The Lone Pilgrim, Aug., 1926.
I expect this is enough "sound" doctrine from one issue of The Lone Pilgrim. The reader can, from these extracts, see the unvarnished doctrine of "absolutism." And he can also see that the purpose of its advocates is to invade the south and to force it upon the churches wherever possible. Can the reader blame J. R. Wilson for opposing it? From reliable accounts it is losing ground in the north,—Eld. D. M. Vail and others have seen their mistake and are now satisfied with the way Paul taught predestination. It is hoped that Southern Baptists will continue steadfast in the apostle's doctrine and resist all efforts to further introduce "absolutism" among their churches.
Some Resolutions and Statements Regarding Absolute Predestination, Associations, Etc.
The doctrine of absolute predestination of all things
has always been a source of division, and we wish to reaffirm our determination
not to bear with, nor preach men in our stands who hold to such doctrine. We
should not use any unscriptural terms or phrases that cannot be found in the Word
of God. Such terms will always lead to strife and division." From minutes of Lott's Creek Primitive Baptists Association of
8. At the Spring Session of the Mayo Primitive Baptist Association held with the church at Pleasant Grove, Va., May, 1910, the following resolution was recommended:
Whereas, the Mayo Association, one of the oldest Associations in the country, has always stood firm on the doctrine of predestination; and whereas, there is at present much agitation in regard to said doctrine. Therefore be it resolved that, while we do believe in predestination, as set forth in the Scriptures, yet we desire to advise the churches of this Association that when the words "absolute," "all things," "limited," or "unlimited," or any other prefix or suffix, is appended to "predestination," it changes its true meaning and is therefore dangerous, and should not be tolerated. It was adopted. A. L. Moore, Moderator.
E. M. Barnard, Clerk, G. L. Ziglar, Ass't. Clerk.
above resolution was re-affirmed and ordered printed in the minutes of the Mayo
Association of N. C. and
"We, the churches composing the Sequachee Valley Association in session assembled, being aware that in Virginia and elsewhere, some who call themselves Primitive Baptista are advocating certain heresies—namely:
1. That God from all eternity forged and welded every link in the chain of events through time and eternity, both good and bad.
2. That the child of God is as passive in obedience after regeneration as he is in regeneration.
3. That when a church joins an association she surrenders her independence and sovereignty and comes under the laws, rules and regulations of the association.
therefore, we most earnestly protest against such heresies and we heartily
commend the exposures being made of these heresies by R. H. Pittman, editor of
the Advocate and Messenger, Luray, Va.; C. H. Cayce, editor of the Primitive
Baptist, Fordyce, Ark., and by Elders T. S. Dalton of Md.; J. R. Wilson, J. T.
Jackson, of Va.; S. Hassell and W. F. Pruitt, of N. C., and many other
faithful ministers the country over. Brethren, let us keep such heresies out of
our churches and "Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to
the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them." (Ro 16:19.) Published in minutes of the 104th
annual session of the
"I HAVE MADE IT A POINT during my ministry of nearly forty-five years to be governed by this rule, and Bro. Gold, if all our preaching brethren would do the same, how much useless and unprofitable controversy might be avoided, instead of wasting their time in trying to prove the absolute predestination of all things, which they cannot do without making God the author of all the wickedness and mess that takes place in the world. Stop when the Saviour and the Apostles do and all will be well; and may the God of all grace incline the hearts of the people everywhere thus to walk and maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, is the prayer of your aged brother, now in his 76th year, for Jesus' sake. Your unworthy brother in gospel bonds." John R. Martin.
Remarks: The above is quoted from the minutes of
forty-eight years I have lived with The Old Baptists we have not been disturbed
with the stuff of Absolutism, and I pray God we never will, and ask the Household
of faith not to allow it to come into our churches. We are all in peace here in
PERSONAL STATEMENT :—It is reported that in my efforts
to live peaceably with brethren that I promised to preach the doctrine of
"the absolute predestination of all things," and also the "one
salvation theory." This is not correct. I made no such promise. I love to
preach the blessed doctrine of predestination as clearly set forth in God's
word, and as I hope has also been taught me in my heart, but further than Paul
preached predestination, I dare not go. I think to go further dishonors God and
confuses His people. I feel that if our Elders would use Bible language on
points of contention there would cease to be .much confusion over the doctrine
of predestination. And I am confident also that this is true of the so-called
"one salvation" theory. We all believe that there is but one way
sinners are saved from sin and prepared for that world where there is no sin, and that one way is alone by grace. But
we also know, if we know our Bibles, that
there are deliverances or salvation from various things taught by prophets and
apostles,—things that we save ourselves and others from. And if we rightly
divide the word of truth and preach these truths as inspiration has taught
them, we will not divide and confuse
God's children. Let us lay down the things that confuse and gender
strife and speak the things that make for peace. And let us gladly forgive
each other for any evil word spoken or wrong deed done. This I willingly do, and I desire forgiveness from my brethren and from my
blessed Lord. I have written this in love. Brethren. pray for me. P. J. Washburn,
ELD. RAULSTON TESTIFIES AS TO ASSOCIATION'S ACTION
From Elder Vass
Dear Brother Pittman:--
me to say that it was my privilege to attend the meeting of
We have 204 members and
we are not following after either the "absolute predestination"
doctrine, or the "one salvation" theory. We are satisfied to go along
the good old way, preaching salvation by grace, and exhorting God's children to
good works. I have just read the Advocate and Messenger and it seems to tell who I was, and what I was, and the
doctrine I fully believe. It is good news to me and I hope all your readers
will pay their subscription promptly and relieve you of carrying their
accounts. May God bless you, dear brother, to send forth the paper, speaking
the truth in love. And may he bless his children
everywhere with peace and prosperity. Robt. P. Vass, Fancy
Extracts From Elder Monsees' Editorial In Advocate And Messenger August, 1926
"Reference is made by the eminent Apostle Paul to these certain and definite plans, who sums them up in the following impressive manner: "Whom He did foreknow, He did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren." "Moreover whom He did predestinate He also called, and whom He called, He did also justify, and whom He justified, He also glorified. What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us." (Ro 8:29.) Now I do not wish to confuse or jungle these sacred attributes of God, for each one has its own significance. Some apparently use the foreknowledge of God interchangeably with His predestination, as though they were synonymous terms. We think this confusing of terms largely responsible for much of the misunderstanding that exists between the Primitive Baptists on the question of predestination. It is declared by a few that it is impossible for God to foreknow all things without predestinating all things, and for that reason they make predestination extend to the wicked acts of man because God foreknew them. Surely to draw such conclusions from the text quoted above is farfetched, inappropriate, delusive and a misapplication of the Scriptures." . . . "It has been insisted that God is the author of sin and the wickedness of the world, because Isiah said "I, the Lord formed the light and create darkness, and make peace and create evil; I, the Lord do all these things." Very few are so unreasonable and ungrateful and God dishonoring as to bring such absurd charges against the all wise Creator. Those who would thus charge God with the authorship of sin are more to be pitied than blamed, for it is a great display of the lack of ordinary intelligence. However, when those who are so presumptuous as to make such charges, have been properly instructed and still hold on to their errors, they should be faithfully dealt with for such offenses."
Position of Eld. J. R. Respess, Former Editor of The Gospel
"No PRIMITIVE BAPTIST believes that God worked sin in man; it never has, in any age, been believed by the church, that God in His word forbade a thing, and that God in His Spirit prompted disobedience to His word. That would destroy His unity. But it is sin to violate God's word, and hence repentance is required. God the Spirit convicts the sinner for violating the word of God; shows him his guilt. But if sin was committed by God's prompting there would not, nor could there be, any sense of guilt for it; for it would be no sin."
(If Bro. Respess were living today, he no doubt would qualify his expression and say "No true Primitive Baptist" believes the fatalistic doctrine which he exposes. R. H. P.)
Statement by Eld. W. F. Pruitt, of Ruffin, N. C.
has, for a good many years, been a difference in belief in our country over
doctrine, but for several years they who opposed us were borne with, hoping
that those holding extreme views might see their error and turn from it. And in
the mean time we endeavored to save those in error and bore many things in
consequence thereof, but to no avail. Those who opposed Eld. Wilson, myself and all who did not agree with
them began to turn down God's precious servants on account of what they
preached, refusing to preach such ministers as Elders R. H. Pittman and M. E.
Petty in their Association. They also took a vote at one of their Associations
against the doctrine that our precious brother, Elder B. G. Parker of
Eld Hanks further says:—It is sad to think
that a very few ignore the teachings of such great and noble men as Elders Hassell, Gill, Respess, Gold and
a host of others and prefer the doctrine of Mahomet, the Essenes
and the fatalist, which are destructive to the peace and unity of Primitive
Baptists and charge sin and wickedness to God's decree as the efficient cause.
Predestination is an act of God,—what He does, intends to do or causes to be
done or overrules to His glory. When God predestinated His people to be
conformed to the image of His Son and to the adoption of children, He is the
author of what He does, and what He does He causes to be done. Hence all that
God predestinated to be done He will effectually cause to be done, therefore
God is the author and cause of all He efficiently predestinated. Since He
predestinated the eternal salvation of His people He will effectually cause
their eternal salvation, and is the author of it. The Bible nowhere teaches
that God predestinated sin and wickedness, therefore He is not the cause nor
author of what He did not predestinate." . .
"Sin is of the devil." "Sin is the transgression of law."
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot
be tempted with evil, neither tempted He any man: but every man is tempted when
he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed." (Jas 1:13-14). "Will ye kill, steal, commit adultery,
swear falsely and come and stand before me in this house and say we are
delivered to do all these abominations?" (Jer 7:8-10). "They
have built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt
offering unto Baal which I commanded not, nor spoke it, neither came it into my
mind" (Jer 19:5). The God of heaven condemns such
doctrine. Then how can any man desecrate the sacred desk by charging that the
murder of McKinley was predestinated of God! such
doctrine is blasphemy, Mohammedism, etc.
Predestination brings salvation, not damnation.
How can a man charge God of moulding, and
welding, and forging all the links in the chain of events, making God the
author and cause of all events good and bad? How can any claiming to be a Primitive Baptist endorse such
blasphemy? Why were Elders Pittman and Petty rejected at
Regarding Obedience and Disobedience
Eld. P. D. Gold said;—"It is as true in the gospel as under the law that the obedient eat the good of the land. Under the law those who obeyed the law ate the natural good fruits of the land of Canaan, while those in the gospel who are obedient to the faith enter into the joys of their Lord: if ye know these things happy are ye if ye do them: if any man keep my sayings, I will love him and my Father will love him, and we will make our abode with him. Blessed are they that keep His Commandments that they may have right to the tree of life and enter through the gates into the city. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth that shall be also reap. These things written under the law are examples to us." To obey is better than all the sacrifices or excuses you can ever offer. We do not preach or teach that your obedience of faith is the cause or ground of your obtaining these blessings, but it is in this way you enter into them. 'But' says one, `no one can obey the Lord without His Spirit.' That is all true. But is it not as much commanded to exhort and preach repentance in the name of Jesus as it is to preach election and predestination?" . . .
"Some preachers harp on some one point of doctrine making it a hobby to the neglect of other matters the God of heaven has also taught. We meet some preachers that cannot speak without all the time dwelling specially on predestination, but cry out against preaching that they that believe should be careful to maintain good works. . . . "There is great danger of slackness on our part in maintaining good works which are good and profitable unto men."
(Thus Eld. Gold wrote
and preached, yet strange is it not, that we who are preaching the same truths
today are called Arminians? This is the charge made
by the Editors of The Signs and of The Lone Pilgrim. Will
1. That God predestinated sin and wickedness. That God's predestination bears the same relation to sin as to holiness and righteousness.
2. That no part of man is changed in regeneration.
3. That the whole man is changed in regeneration.
4. That the bodies of the saints will not be resurrected.
5. That sin is as pleasing to God as holiness.
That the saints are as passive in obedience as in regeneration. The above and kindred
expressions we believe are heretical and destructive to the peace and
fellowship of the churches." History
The "One Salvation" Theory Condemned
Let the reader keep in mind that the "absolute predestinarians" who, opposed Eld. Wilson, did so long before his exclusion, and that during these years they were opposing all those who preached along the line of duty, exhortation, etc. Their "one salvation theory" is a product of "absolutism." Here follows some further expressions on this matter:
Elder T. S. Dalton, a faithful old father in Israel writes: "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins. (Jas 5). Notice he is not talking about the ungodly sinners, but brethren; hence if one of our brethren should be drawn into error, and therefore fails of the enjoyment of the blessings of the time salvation, it is our duty to labor with him, and do all we can to convert him from the error of his way, and we thereby save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins, not that we save him from an eternal death, for Jesus alone can do that; but we save him from death to the enjoyment of his privileges in the church of God; save him from that error in which he has been ensnared, and thereby enable him to enjoy again the blessings of salvation in time."
Eld. J. H. Oliphant said: I have hundreds of times urged that there is sweet peace found in obedience, and that we cannot have peace and rest of mind in sinful paths, hence we should eschew evil, seek peace, and ensure it. We should distinguish between that salvation in which we are quickened, and that which we work out. God's word does not call on us to be quickened, or to be born again; but it does hundreds and thousands of times, show it is our duty to obey. Now, if obedience is of grace in the same sense that born again is of grace, how is it that we are called on to do the one and not the other?
Elder F. A. Chick wrote ably on the text, "Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out." Showing the baneful results of disobedience. He believed that man is an accountable being and sin is man's fault, and that God's living children should be exhorted to obedience.
Eld. W. L. Beebe encouraged God's little children to obey the Lord. He said that all the time is the Lords and when one receives a hope then is the Lord's time and he should be encouraged to obey the Lord.
Elder A. L. Moore of Va., in 1882, showed from Php 2:12 that it is a gospel or timely salvation to God's living children which they were to work out and showed the difference in the eternal and the gospel or temporal salvation.
Elder S. F. Cayce, Editor and founder of The Primitive Baptist paper, June 28, 1887, said: "The
Baptists of this association (
Elder Vail says: "The Advocate and Messenger is good reading, and I want to say to all that read it, that I heartily approve the kind but firm stand taken against Absolute Predestination, Eternal Vital Union, and the 'one salvation theory.' `Absolute' is a prefix, or an addition, 'vital union' eternally is misplaced and misapplied. 'One salvation' is taking from the word which is condemned." Advocate and Messenger, page 28, Nov., 1925.
Brethren Going to Law with Brethren
As the unhappy division in Danville Church was allowed to spread—(mainly by associations taking up the trouble at the advice of extremists and seeking to discipline churches and individuals), the "absoluters" or "Association Baptists" were not satisfied to seek reconciliation through gospel methods but instituted lawsuits against their brethren over church property. Four such suits have thus far been begun, and in every case these suits were started by those opposing Eld Wilson and the Baptists standing with him on doctrine. Who is in disorder here? Future generations will put the blame where it belongs, and the true Primitive Baptists are doing so now as the smoke clears away (which has been blown in their eyes) and they are enabled to see the truth. Only one of the four cases has been passed on by the Supreme Court, and the absoluters lost that. Here is some information regarding that case :
OF INTEREST in Trial and Decision of
(4) That where there is no departure in doctrine or practice that the majority holds the property rights, but a majority, however preponderant, holding new and conflicting doctrines, cannot dispossess a minority holding to the old doctrine and practice.
Regarding My Attitude
No one can truthfully claim that I have
personally sought to bring on division among our people, or that I have used
the Advocate and Messenger for
such a purpose. And it might be well to give a little proof of this. As early
as Dec. 23, 1923, I wrote Bro. R. L.
Dodson, Ass't. Clerk of
"I am glad there is a better feeling existing than has been. And since Brother Wilson has asked forgiveness, and Brother Spangler, the pastor, has in a Christian spirit forgiven him, I hope the church will do likewise. I do not see how the church could do otherwise. And I hope you will labor for peace. I believe you will. 'Blessed is the peacemaker.' When I talked to you in your home you seemed to want to labor for good-will and forbearance among brethren. I hope you still feel that way. Divisions are hurtful to the cause. We should be forbearing and forgiving. We need all our ministers. They all have their special influence and fields of labor. When God's children begin to fall out and divide, the enemies of the church laugh and rejoice. When your church forgives Brother Wilson as he has asked the church to do, and as the pastor of the church has done, I believe he will use his influence to correct any errors that have been made. May God bless and guide you all. We hope to live in heaven together. Let us try to live together here as brethren. Your brother in hope."
seemed the report that Eld. Spangler had forgiven Eld. Wilson was not true, but he was put off from time to
time and finally advised that the matter was referred to the Association. I
also on Jan. 22, 1924 wrote Bro. W. L.
Parker at that time clerk of
"I want to say that I feel that I have many dear friends on both sides of the trouble and I dislike to see a division and pray that there will be none. I also know that you and some of your special friends consider me working against them. And at the same time some of Brother Wilson's friends think I am working against them. I have, of course refused to publish some things that some have wanted me to publish.
would like to make my position clear. If I know my heart I love the Baptists.
They are my people. I have labored for them for years, and I have labored for
peace among them. While I have opposed certain extremes, and in doing that I
have had to oppose certain men, yet I have not desired to divide, but to unite.
I think it better to bear with each other rather than cause division." . .
. . But I am sorry to learn from you that the church does not feel disposed to
forgive Brother Wilson. In this I think the church is doing wrong. . . . I see no wisdom in seeking to kill any
Elder in the dear old church. Eld. Wilson has not been charged with preaching false doctrine, and you say that you gave him your hand when he
last preached in
Dear Brother C. F. Denny, Associate
note your brother 0. J. Denny suggests a postponement until next March. Also that the meeting be held,—if held at all,—in the city of
the movement was blocked. The Spangler party at
I am with you in doctrine so far as I have ever heard you advance any doctrinal
idea, and I feel that which you and Brother Wilson are contending for is the
truth, and though truth may be crushed to earth it will rise again. I am glad
you all are quiet, humble and loving and that you are not returning railing for
railing. You cannot make a mistake in doing this. I am sorry that there has
been suit entered for church property. Why not appoint a committee to meet with
those who are leaders in this and ask for a division of time, giving them a day
or days, and you people take an equal division and promising no conflict with
meetings. Ask for a year's arrangement of this kind and do so with kindness.
Tell them that you do not care to go to court over the matter, and that maybe
the trouble could be agreeably adjusted so a division could be stayed. This is
the way Mt.
Pruitt made offers to divide time, and even made this proposition before the
judge of the court. But nothing would satisfy the "absoluters"
except a law - suit,—and still they are not satisfied for they lost their case. And nothing would satisfy them at
Other Witnesses Testify Against the Assumed Authority of Some Associations Over Churches
Q. Has an Association a right to drop a church without complying with Mt 18:15-17?
Answer. An Association has no disciplinary rights at all. J. R. Respass in Gospel Messenger, Oct., 1894.
"Churches Deposed, even by an Association, are not in our judgment, legally deposed, for Associations are not vested by Christ with any such authority." J. R. Respess, March, 1888.
Eld. Wm. L. Beebe said:—"Associations are for the worship of God, and that only."
"God forbid that any of our Associations be made a catspaw to handle church trouble." Eld. S. H. Durrand.
"Associations are not executive bodies to decide church matters." Eld. E. Rittenhouse.
"Associations when orderly conducted are a blessing:—contrary to this, they are a curse." Eld. P. D. Gold.
"Associations or any other body of believers usurping authority over a church or churches is anti-Christ." Eld. J. M. Fenton.
Elder Hassell says: "Associations are for the worship of God without the slightest authority over the church."
are sure that nine-tenths of the
Primitive Baptists of the
Council, (Pike Co., Ala., Dec. 9, 1902) the following questions
were asked and answered thus: "Has
the Association the right to discipline the churches? Ans.: Our understanding is that the
"Is there any authority in the Bible for Associations? Ans.: Associations as general meetings of the brotherhood for the worship of God, for mutual comfort, edification and instruction, are lawful and expedient; but not as advisory councils or disciplinary bodies."
belonging to or not belonging to an Association impair the rights or standing
How different is such
teaching to the teaching and actions of some associations recently—for example, The
A Recent Statement from Eld. Hassell
far as I understand the trouble in
I suppose a full and true account for this trouble will soon be published in pamphlet form for the guidance and satisfaction of all our people who really believe in God. Yours very truly."
now reader, we close this account of the
Now, until the grumblers have done, at least, some of the much needed work above suggested, we do not believe their railing against the work that has been done as set forth in this book will have much weight with real Primitive Baptists. It is much more pleasant to give advice than to take it; it is much easier to be critical than to be correct.
The Investigating Committee does not pretend to claim that their work is perfect,—in fact they know it is not; but they have honestly tried to serve the cause of truth,—they have endeavored to get direct evidence leading up to the cause of the trouble,—the reason and method of exclusions of members by Danville Church, and the unsuccessful efforts made to heal the breach in said church. Besides this, the Information Committee, with the assistance of the clerk, has gathered quite a lot of valuable history bearing on the question of doctrine and order at issue ; and from this the compiler has endeavored to select and arrange the matter herein presented. And though bearing many marks of imperfection, we send this little work forth in the fear of God and love of His truth, praying that He may bless it to the upbuilding of His cause, the unifying and edifying of His distressed and confused people, and to the glory of His name.
S. E. Copeland, Clerk, R. H. Pittman, Compiler.
S. E. Copeland to Eld. H. H. Lefferts
The following letter was written by Bro. Copeland to Eld. Lefferts more than eight months ago, and though the writer requested its publication in Eld. Lefferts paper—The Signs—this has not been done. Nor will it be done. And more, the writer cannot get even an acknowledgment from Eld. Lefferts of his receipt of the letter, though he has made repeated efforts to do so. Believing that nine-tenths of the Primitive Baptists endorse Bro. Copeland's position, and that the letter will be read with interest, I am presenting it herein:—
Elder H. H. Lefferts,
If I know my heart I do believe that our eternal salvation, or our salvation from sin and death, in the eternal heaven is alone and solely by the grace of God. But often in the Scriptures men are commanded to save themselves by doing things (by works) and not always the same things, either. One was told to save both himself and his house by believing on the Lord Jesus. His believing did not take him and his family to heaven eternally. Others were told that unless they remained in a ship they could not be saved. But their remaining in the ship didn't take them to eternal bliss. This comes alone by the Saviour we read about in Mt 1:21, "He shall save His people from their sins." His people are those that the father gave him, and they shall all come to him, and none of them shall in anywise be cast out. He is the author of their eternal salvation.
In your editorial for Jan., 1926 you ask,—"Now, if God predestinated the salvation to come by Jesus Christ and yet Christ, not God, is the author of the salvation, why could not God decree sin to come into the world by man, yet man be the author of sin." That looks to me very much like twisting yourself into deformity trying to hang onto your hobby horse. According to your doctrine God's attitude to our salvation is the same as His attitude to our sins, hence if He overrules sin He will also overrule salvation, so down goes all of us and there is no unity in the Godhead; the Father and Son are not one as He said, they are. Or, on the other hand if He and the Father are one then God is the author of sin according to your doctrine. Instead of honoring God you have either dethroned Him or made Him the author of sin. You have gotten the thing in such shape that I can hardly tell whether it is one or the other, or both together. If, as you teach, God did decree that man should bring sin into the world, then man had to sin, God had made this, as well as everything else that He foresaw, sure to come to pass,—it had to be according to God's decree, so according to your doctrine God is the author of sin. Your reasoning is just like mine would be if I forced or compelled my little boy to go out and steal my neighbor's horse and then "cleared" myself by claiming that my boy was the author of that theft, not me. Any court of justice would say that I myself was the real thief and my boy was blameless. Likewise in your illustration man would be the "boy" and God the real author of sin. But I believe you failed or forgot to give any Scriptures to prove your contentions. Please let's have them. I am wondering why God would go about it in such a round about way to get sin into the world. Did He need it in His business? And if He did need it why didn't he just create or bring it instead of compelling man to be the author of it? Now you may think me a good sized little fool for want of more sense, (all of which I hereby acknowledge is true in part,) but these questions are as logical and reasonable as some of your doctrine I'm sure. Yes, Jesus is the author of our eternal salvation, and He did the Father's will when He wrought it out for us. And man is the author of sin, but he did not do the Father's will when He became the author of it. I know that you are a much wiser man than I, but I feel sure the Scriptures will bear me up in this, for God's attitude to salvation that came by Jesus Christ is not the same as His attitude to sin which came by man.
Please explain just how predestination does not make void man's accountability for his wicked acts if they are included in God's predestination, and they are, according to your doctrine, for you say the Scriptures plainly teach that He is unlimited in His predestination of all things. You say there can be no fore-knowing all things without the predestination of all things. If that is true (which I doubt so strongly that I just cannot believe it) then God predestinated all of this abomniable sin and wickedness that men and women are committing all over this sin cursed and God-forgetting world, and men are only instruments or tools in His hand to accomplish what He predetermined should be done. So man is not accountable. He is not to blame, for he cannot help himself—if that is the true doctrine of God. But it is not.
Brother Lefferts, do men ever get drunk on predestination? I believe they do. I notice that you don't attempt to give much Scripture as proof of your extreme views on predestination. Why don't you give them? Is it because you have no Scripture for it? And I am still wondering how you are going to get by with making no distinction between fore-knowledge and predestination, arguing as you do that there can be no fore-knowing all things without the predestination of all things. We read a Scripture like this: "For whom he did fore-know, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son." "Moreover whom he predestinated, them he also called: and whom he called them he also justified; and whom he justified them he also glorified." (Ro 8.) Also "according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Now who is it that was predestinated? It was and is those who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Anyone else? It doesn't say so. Nothing said about predestinating those not chosen in Christ. Not a word said about predestinating sin and Satan and all of the wicked deeds of men and devils. But you might remind me that I have quoted "Whom he did fore-know," them he also did predestinate," and that he undoubtedly did fore-know all about sin and Satan. Yes, he knew (fore-knew) everything but will sin, Satan and all mankind, together with their wicked acts be conformed to the image of His Son? No! Will they all be called? No! Will they all be justified and glorified? No! And adopted as His children? No! Then will you not be obliged to make some distinction between fore-knowledge and predestination? Now really isn't predestination the act of God and not an attribute as foreknowledge is? And that all things that work together for good are the things that God works after the councel of His own will, according to His good pleasure, and we know that sin and wickedness is not according to His good pleasure, not according to His will, so these are not included in His predestination. He only suffers, allows, permits or does not hinder them, and why this is so I don't think any man knows. But I have sometimes caught myself wondering how a merciful, long-suffering, righteous God can longer suffer the abominations of this present time to continue.
Brother Lefferts, this letter is not what I started to write, but you see what I have written and of course I believe it is sound doctrine. If you can show me that it is not please do let me hear from you at once. And if you will publish this in The Signs of the Times it might, at least, interest some others to the point that they might help me. Anyway, maybe they would read and study Ro 8 and Eph 1 and see who were predestinated. Please try it. Yours in hope.
"We are living in a dark and restless day. Not only are other denominations having troubles and divisions over modernism, evolutionism, "conventionism" or other men-formed leadership, etc.; and we Primitive Baptists already have "Absolute Predestinarian" Baptists, "Progressive" Baptists, etc., but now it seems probable that we are to have a new party that might be appropriately termed "Association Baptists."
This is sad, but true,
and Primitive Baptists just as well prepare to meet it, for there seems on the
part of some of our preachers and leaders a determination, to rule local
churches through .associations. Proof of this:—
what says the moderator of the
this is not all; here is some proof of the work of the modern Ecclesiastical
Supreme Court. The "Association Baptists" of
Salem Associations (N. C.) in 1925 passed, by a small majority, a resolution over the head of the church (High
Point Church) with which the association met, taking sides in the Danville,
(Va.) Church trouble and declaring nonfellwship with
everybody who would not agree with the Association. And to continue the
destructive work its officers and leaders have induced churches to exclude
members for no other reason than that
they will not agree with the association's unscriptural ruling. For
proof of this let the Baptists,especially
Statement by Eld. P. W. Willard
have been trying to serve churches and to preach the gospel for about 40 years.
I will soon be 78 years old. God has blessed me to so live that my good
brethren have, in the Primitive Baptist Churches everywhere, extended to me
their full fellowship. I have served Abbott's
P. W. Willard.
Primitive Baptists, what think ye
of this? What will not this "Highest Tribunal," do when it sets out
to rule or ruin? But here is another victim. Brother E. J. Klinard
who would not agree with
brethren, what shall we do? Shall we stand with those who have turned from the
gospel order of the apostolic churches? Shall we be Primitive Baptists or
"Association Baptists?" Shall we follow extremists or shall we stand
with such men as Hassell, Mitchell, Respass, Dalton, Cayce, Cowin,
Denson, Moore, Harrison, Shain, Vail, and hundreds
and thousands of others who approve
associations for worship only, but who will not submit for them to rule over and discipline churches? The
great majority of Primitive Baptists, will, I believe, agree with Eld. Hassell on this question. He says:—"The first Baptist
Association was formed in
Eld. W. M.
R. H. P.
"And whereas Elders R. H. Pittman, Lee Hanks, C. H. Cayce, Parker. Pruitt, and others, have endorsed his actions by their preaching, writings and affiliating with him, and preaching a "do and live" system somewhat similar to the Arminians, which we believe is calculated to deceive the child of God."
reader, here it is again—doctrine. It was doctrine that caused the division of
world of religious workers there are two great systems. One may properly be
called the system of DO AND LIVE. This system of works is illogical,
unscientific and unbiblical. It cannot be sustained by good reasoning, nor by science, nor by the Bible. It is a system of
religious works based on error. For it is a self-evident fact
that the dead cannot act in order to live. Life must in all cases
precede action. And to put the sinner, "dead in trespasses and
sins," to work in order to obtain spiritual life, is a popular error of
the religious world. It has ever been, and will ever be, a failure. Children
may be sprinkled in infancy, but it does not change their nature. Adults may be
baptized in water, but it will not cleanse from sin. Religious workers may by
various methods "swell their numbers" and increase their membership,
but they cannot regenerate the soul. They cannot make a child of God. They
think they can, but thinking so, does not make it so. They can make children of
error like unto themselves. Christ taught this truth plainly when he said,
"Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites;
for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make
him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." (Mt 23:15). Evidently the Pharisees, in the time of Christ,
believed in the do and live system. But their system then, and the system now,
is selfish and faithless, and would make man a co-worker with God in the matter
of life-giving, and salvation from sin. And no
Primitive or Old School Baptists, and thousands of others who are not Baptists,
believe in this do and live system. But they believe in the system of LIVE AND
DO. For this system is logical, scientific and Biblical. "Marvel not 0-at
I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. "Except
a man be born again, he cannot see the
examine God's word we shall find the word seek used about 241 times. Let us not
forget it is always applied to the living, either naturally or spiritually, as
the case may be. The dead seek not, nor can they. Lazarus in the grave sought
not life. When called from death to life he could be served, and serve others.
His friends could not give him life. Jesus did that. But when given life his
friends could "loose him and let him go." Then he could seek the
things of this life. So with the children of God. When
quickened into divine life,—when called from the grave of carnality,—then they
can seek in the right way and from the right motive, spiritual things. Then
they can serve, and be served by others, spiritually. Then they can seek, and knock, and find. And they
are exhorted to seek. God said to National Israel when they should be scattered
among the Gentiles, "if from thence thou shalt
seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou
seek Him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul." Again it is said,
"when thou art in tribulation, and all these are come upon thee, * * if
thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shall be obedient unto His voice, * He will
not forsake thee, neither destroy thee." (De 4:29-30). David in one of his Psalms exclaims, "Seek
the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually." Again he said,
"When thou saidst, 'Seek ye my face; my heart
said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord will I seek.'" (Ps
27:8). The Lord's work is a heart matter, and when He speaks to us
in regard to seeking Him and obeying His commandments, our heart testifies that
it is right to do so, but our feet do not always walk as our heart would lead.
Many of God's children in their heart have been lead to the Old Baptist church
when their eyes have beheld the spiritual service there, but their feet have
lead them elsewhere in the way of service. And many of God's children in the
church fail to do things they are .impressed in their heart to do. They
wickedly forsake the Lord and walk in forbidden paths. And God does not lead
them in sin, nor tempt them to sin. But He says to them, "Seek ye the Lord
while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked
forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto
the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God for He will
abundantly pardon." (Ish. 55: 6-7.) This is to
God's straying children,—those who had been with the Lord and had departed.
Let them return. To return to the Lord is evidence they had been with Him. This
is a good text. Also the one in Mt 6:33—"But seek ye first
Now when one tries to get a "do and live" system from such teaching as the above, he either does not know the meaning of language or he purposely misconstrues its meaning. How sad and unkind, as well as unwise, for Primitive Baptists to allow themselves to be led to misrepresent their brethren. If the Lower Country Line Baptists want to "scrap" they better turn their guns on the Arminians all around them. They better pass some resolutions against them rather than vainly spend their energy trying to discover Arminianism in the teaching of such men as C. H. Cayce, Lee Hanks, B. G. Parker and W. F. Pruitt. These men teach the same doctrine that the late Elds. C. B. Hassell and P. D. Gold taught,—the same doctrine that Sylvester Hassell and thousands of Primitive Baptists are now teaching. What is wrong with our Lower Country Line Baptists? Are they being led astray by extremists? Are they making room for "absolutism" to invade the south? Are they going to deny the doctrine of the Bible and the Faith of the Fathers? God grant that they may not. And may the great Head of the Church "send laborers into his harvest" who will "feed the flock of God which he has purchased with his own blood," and defend them against those who would bring in extreme and dangerous doctrines.
R. H. Pittman.
Some of those opposing the meeting at Mill Church in May, 1926, and who would not attend that meeting, got up a Council, or "Jury," meeting of their own, at which time Eld. J. R. Wilson seems to have been tried and convicted in his absence, not being summoned or invited.
This second meeting from newspaper accounts,
was held in
CONVICTED OF CONDUCT UNSUITED TO MINISTER
"Committee Representing Several
States Declares Elder
"Danville, Aug. 8.—Elder J. R. Wilson, of the Primitive Baptist church whose alleged utterances in 1923 while pastor of the Danville church were followed by his ousting has been formally convicted by a jury of elders of the church from Virginia, North and South Carolina and Maryland, an all day trial was held near this city secretly, but the verdict and surrounding facts have become known.
Of course none of "the jury" who were present and who "sit in the case" have ever corrected any of the misstatements published broadcast all over the country. A few of our brethren replied and corrected some of the erroneous statements. I also sent the following article to two papers, which is given here in the further defense of truth.—
Editor:—"Elder Sylvester Hassell has called my
attention to an article in your paper of August 9th, page 10, regarding the
J. R. Wilson, a clean man and an able minister, resides in
At the following church meeting in
R. H. Pittman.