OF PRIMITIVE BAPTIST
and Literature Reflecting
Primitive Baptist Thought
and as doctrinally sound
as we know how to make it
Elder Harold Hunt, Editor
2516 E. Clark Ave.
Maryville, TN 37804
It is customary in a work like this to make some acknowledgments, and it is certainly proper that I should do so. The first is to my wife, Doris, who, for almost fifty years now, has either been left feeling neglected, while I buried myself in my studies, or she has been left at home feeling abandoned, while I traveled to parts unknown, preaching for the Primitive Baptists. What a Godsend she has been to me. I shudder to think where I would be today, if God had not provided me with her. Much of the credit for this work goes to her, for those countless hours she has spent doing chores that were properly mine, while I buried myself in this work. There are our four children, Stewart, Suzanne, Sophia, and Rachel, who have never received as much of my time and attention as they properly deserved. There are the Primitive Baptists themselves, who long ago took me in, and for over forty years have generally overlooked my shortcomings. And there is my special friend, Brother Tom Hagler, whose generosity has made this work financially possible.
Elder Harold Hunt
Our Primitive Baptists have a rich heritage of literature on a wide range of subjects. In an unpublished manuscript, Elder David Pyles makes the comment, “On points of emphasis and on methods of explanation, I have long preferred the Primitive Baptists of the 19th century over any generation of Christians since the Apostles.” I would probably expand that expression to take in the early 20th century, but I agree entirely. In the first century and a half after America gained her independence our people produced some of the brightest minds the Lord’s church has known. Blessed with a hitherto unknown freedom of religion, and liberty of free speech, those brethren soared to heights previously unknown in their examination of God’s Word.
We call to mind names like Sylvester Hassell, Claud Cayce, T.S. Dalton, James Oliphant, Joseph Newman, John R. Daily, Walter Cash, and John Clark. The list goes on and on and on. Those are not the best known names among the denominational world, but for true insight into the most profound of Bible subjects, they leave the John Calvin’s, the Martin Luther’s, and the Augustus Strong’s in the dust. None of them were such linguists and rabbinical scholars as John Gill, and J. B. Lightfoot, but for sound and accurate explanations of Bible principles, not even the great Gill could keep up. We are not likely to see their kind again.
It is the great tragedy of our age that so few of our people are acquainted with the work of those men. A few days ago in talking to one of our young ministers, I mentioned the name Claud Cayce. He wanted to know, “Who is he; I never heard of him.” The brother is one of our brightest and best, and I certainly mean no reflection on him, but I fear that is the case with more of our young generation than we have been aware. They are well acquainted with writers like Arthur Pink, and John MacArthur, and John Piper, but they never heard of those able Primitive Baptist ministers of the past, who had far more insight into God’s Word than any of those writers ever had.
At the present time our people are being torn apart by a Calvinist\Liberal Movement from one direction, and a Pseudo-Conservative Movement from the other direction. Between those two extremes are the other eighty percent of solid, conservative Primitive Baptists, who are still faithful to the Bible, and faithful to those unchangeable principles that have guided our people for two thousand years now. Truth will prevail; it always has; but we would be so much better prepared if our people were as well acquainted with our literary heritage today as we were, when I first came among the Primitive Baptists over forty years ago.
It is our purpose in this work to assemble as wide a range of quotes and articles from those men as we can put together. We have arranged the material alphabetically by topics for ease of reference. We hope that will be a benefit.
I gave up my secular employment over seventeen years ago. During most of those seventeen years I have been gathering this material. There have been numerous interruptions, but I have been working at the project regularly for the last ten years. And for the last two or three years, I have done little else.
There is a good supply of material to work with. I have a fairly large personal library. It fills one eight by ten feet book case, and eight other average size cases. I am an early riser; I usually get up by 5 o’clock every morning, and I spend most of the day in my study, much of it working on this project.
Until recently our people were in possession of “the finest collection of free grace literature to be found anywhere in the world.” It contained several thousands of titles. I had hoped, that when I had exhausted my own resources, I could access that library.
It was a shock to discover that, at the very time we needed access to those books, they had been secretly sold—sold that is, without the knowledge or consent of the people who put up virtually all the money for their maintenance and preservation.
But what is done, is done. There is nothing to be gained by continuing to complain over what could not be prevented, and cannot be undone. I have heard it said that, “It is better to light a single candle, than to curse the darkness.” This project is my single candle. I hope it will help to move the darkness just a little.
We are printing one volume at a time. For one thing, I do not want one shipment of thousands of books set off on my back porch the same day. At the time we are printing this first volume, we cannot know for sure whether there will be eight volumes, or perhaps, ten. There will be at least eight volumes in this first printing.
We want to make the books available to everyone who is interested. We have received some generous financial assistance, which will allow us to sell the earliest printings at roughly half of the actual cost of production. We will do that until our resources are exhausted. From that point we will have to continue, as we always have, trusting God to make a way.
If you see the need for such a work as this, there are several ways in which you can help, and we certainly request the assistance of all those who love the Lord, and who love the truth of his word.
First, as you might imagine, this work is too overwhelming for any one person. We invite every reader to join us in searching the writings of ours and previous generations, looking for material that needs to be considered for future editions of this work. If you have an old Primitive Baptist book you think I should read, I would be glad to borrow it, or, if the price is reasonable, and I do not already have the same book, I would like to buy it.
And, very importantly, we want every person, who is willing to do so, to go carefully over this work. We will always have differences of opinion; we cannot expect to agree on the explanation of every passage. But if you find any expression, or any point of view, that you feel is fundamentally unsound, we hope you will call it to our attention. We cannot promise to make every change suggested, but we will give the matter our serious consideration.
On our title page we use the expression, “Conservative, Biblical, and as doctrinally sound as we know how to make it.” We are serious about that pledge, and we solicit the help of every reader in achieving that goal. We want this work to be as dependable a presentation of Primitive Baptist conservatism as our people are able to produce. We are already working on the Second Edition, and we will send it to the printer as soon as this printing is exhausted. With your faithful assistance we expect the next edition to be improved and more comprehensive than this one.
More than that we request your prayers for this endeavor. There is no way we could have come this far without the Lord’s help.
Elder Harold Hunt
The following sermon was delivered by Elder Sam Bryant at the 2002 Smoky Mountain Spring Meeting. It expresses my sentiments so much better than I can, that I asked for his permission to use it as the preface for this Anthology. Hlh
THE POWER OF LOVE
It is a great joy to be here at this meeting. And I have enjoyed so much the preaching, the singing, and the sweet fellowship. It has been a real boost to me personally. And I am thankful now for the opportunity to speak to you for a little while. Brother Franklin and I came up together, and as we were riding along, we were talking about exactly why we were coming. We know when you come to a meeting like this, your primary purpose ought to be to worship the Lord and be drawn closer to him, but I also love these beautiful mountains and enjoy doing some sightseeing. That’s quite an incentive to come to the meeting. And, of course, I love you all; I love the fellowship of the saints and I believe there is room in our lives for all of these reasons to come together for this meeting. Now I hope you’ll pray for me as I endeavor to speak to you at this time.
Brother Harold quoted tonight in his opening remarks a passage of scripture from Ps 133:1, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” That helped to settle my mind on what I would try to speak on tonight. David in his life knew what it was for brethren not to dwell together in unity. His own brethren according to the flesh, at times, had it in for him. King Saul hunted him down, and tried to kill him.
There was a lot of fighting among his children. Much of David’s life on this earth was spent when brethren were not dwelling together in unity. But he knew how good and pleasant it was when brethren did dwell together in unity.
And you know if you are going to have unity among the brethren, you’ve got to work at it, and it’s not an accident. I want to call your attention tonight to what I think would help as far as having unity among the brethren, help more than anything else, and that’s in 1Jo 4:18; “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
And so in this passage that I’ve read to you, John talks a lot about the subject of love. He begins, first of all, I think, to talk about the love of God for us. And, you know, the more we learn about God’s love for us, the more it helps us to love one another. That’s a powerful motivator to love one another, when we think about how much the Lord loved us. And John said here in 1Jo 4:18; “There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear”.
Now the only perfect love I know anything about in this world is God’s love. Brotherly love is a wonderful love. The love people have in marriage is a wonderful love. So is neighborly love. And what about a mother’s love? Those are all wonderful manifestations of love, but they are not perfect. But God’s love for us is a perfect love. And the more you and I learn about God’s love for us, his perfect love for us, the less fear we will have in this world, because we’ll know that he loves us with an everlasting love, and that he will take care of us. He will not leave us, nor forsake us.
And I believe God’s love is an eternal love, and it’s an unconditional love. Did you know, if I understand the love of God tonight, as it is presented to us in scripture, he could never love us any more than he loves us right now. And he could never love us less than he loves us right now. If you and I should read this bible through ten or twelve times a year, and go to every gospel meeting we could possibly get to, and visit all the nursing homes and hospitals weekly, and give half of our goods to feed the poor, and spend three or four hours a day in fervent diligent prayer, and lived that kind of life for the next fifty years, you know, God wouldn’t love you a bit more than He loves you right now.
Because God’s love is an unconditional love, you don’t make God love you more by living a better life. God forbid, but if you didn’t ever go to another meeting or read the Bible again, wasted your life in this world, I don’t believe God would love you a bit less than he loves you right now. You all agree with that? Now a lot of people don’t understand that about God’s love, because human love isn’t that way. In this world, in our relationships with people, our love for one another can grow, or it can be diminished.
There are people here tonight that I’ve known a long time, and I love you tonight more than I’ve ever loved you in my life. My love has grown for you.
But my love for people can be diminished, it can grow cold. People can treat you so cruel, and betray you, and reject you, to the point where your love and respect for them can be all but destroyed. We are humans. But not God’s love. It can’t grow, and it can’t be diminished. His love is a perfect love. And I believe God loved his people from all eternity, and he chose them in Christ, and he loved them, when he died for them on the cross. He loves them tonight. He’ll love them when this world is no more.
And I want to tell you, if that doesn’t make you feel safe, I don’t know what it would take to make you feel safe. “Perfect love casteth out fear,” and when fear comes into our hearts, and we worry about the circumstances of this life or impending danger, it’s usually because we have forgotten how much God really loves us, and how much he is able to take care of us. So we need to dwell a lot on the perfect love of God. Oh my friends, “perfect love casteth out fear.” I think if people, who are not Primitive Baptists, could ever come to understand God’s love, as it is presented in scripture, they would have to believe like we believe. If God loves a person, and gave his Son to die for that person, to put away their sins, do you think there is any possibility that God would ever let that person be lost, spend eternity in hell? No!!
We need to know something about the love of God, the perfection of God’s love. In Joh 13, the Bible says, “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” To the end of what? To the end of his life. In other words he gave his life for his people. Now that’s love. He didn’t love us just enough to give us a cool drink of water, or shelter for the night. He loved us enough to give his life for us on the tree of the cross. As John said here in 1Jo 4: “Herein is love.” 1Jo 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God.” Oh, we ought to love him, and I want to love him more. But my love for God is so fickle, compared to his love for me, until it’s not worth mentioning. “Herein is love, not that we loved him, but that he loved us.” How much did He love us? He loved us and gave—now listen to this—“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Our sins have been paid for, because he loved us so much, he gave his Son to die in our room and stead.
Now let me tell you, that’s love beyond comprehension. That’s love beyond our ability to understand. But the more I do understand it, the less fear I have in this world. And I don’t believe that anybody God loved, and Jesus died for, will ever perish in hell. They will be saved.
I like that song we sing, Safe In His Love. You are safe in the love of God. Oh, how we like to preach on the love of God for his children. But now the apostle says: “We love him because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother,” what is he; “he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” That’s very good logic. “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” So you and I are commanded in scripture to love our brethren.
Now I want to notice with you in Heb 13:1, this expression. As he begins in the first part of this chapter, Paul gives the Hebrews a long list of admonitions. He begins by saying this to them in this concluding chapter of this marvelous book, “Let brotherly love continue.” Now he didn’t say to go out and get it. I believe God puts that love in our heart. We don’t have this kind of love by nature. By nature we don’t love the brethren. But if we are born again, God has put love in our hearts for the brethren. Now he says, “Let brotherly love continue.” If you can let it continue, obviously, you can hinder it. God’s love will continue, but ours can be hindered. We don’t want to do that as God’s children. We want to let it flow freely in the midst of the church among the brethren. “Let brotherly love continue.”
Now Paul could have had reference primarily to the Hebrew brethren loving other Hebrews. When Paul wrote this letter to them, they were going through a very trying time in their history as Hebrews. They were facing great trials and tribulations, and there was tremendous unrest among the Hebrews. They were suffering Roman domination of the Hebrew nation, and one Hebrew was set against another. And there were many Hebrews, who had come to understand that Jesus was the Savior and the Messiah. Many other Hebrews were holding on to Moses and the law, and that had caused tremendous friction among the Hebrew brethren.
Why, there was a time, even in Paul’s, life that he thought he did God’s will to put Hebrews to death, who believed in Jesus. And I want to tell you, that kind of friction would cause brotherly love not to flow. Paul is writing to the Hebrews, and saying to love your Hebrew brethren, that have not yet come to understand that Jesus is the Savior and the Messiah. That was a tremendous challenge to those Hebrews in the first century, to love other Hebrews, who were still observing Moses’s law and putting animal offerings on the altar. What an insult to their precious Savior they loved, and knew he was the end of the law for righteousness sake. Now I want to tell you tonight, beloved, you and I are to love our brethren, who do not understand the doctrine of grace as we do. We’re to love them for Jesus’s sake. We’re not to be hostile toward them.
In our community last year, a church of another denomination that had run down, had gotten a young preacher in from the seminary, and he had a lot of new ideas about how to build a church, and he was really building the congregation. They were having housefuls, and I heard about some of his gimmicks—like if you get a certain number here on Sunday morning, “you can hit me in the face with a pie.” You’ve heard those gimmicks. On Sunday, if they got a certain number there, he would get on top of the church building and preach. One Sunday, he was going to kiss a goat, if they got so many there.
Well, those people went out and got others to come in, and they had the house full. When I heard about those gimmicks, I chuckled and laughed, and thought, how ridiculous.
Sometime later, I had a funeral service with him at that particular church building. I got there a little early that day, and I saw up over the pulpit this quotation, “Whatever it takes,” in broad letters, “Whatever it takes.” You know my attitude toward that young preacher changed in a moment, and I thought, “If he believes what his denomination says they believe, that you’ve got to do something in order to get people to accept Christ and go to heaven, and if they don’t, they are going to hell, I would agree with him. Whatever it takes get them to church. If me kissing a goat would save just one sinner from eternal hell, I should be willing to kiss a 1000 goats.
I admired his zeal. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t have any respect for him, if he didn’t use every gimmick in the book to get them there. Now I still don’t believe in his doctrine, and I’m sorry he is in the dark, because I believe Jesus did whatever it took to get us to heaven, and he did it by himself. He said on the cross, “It is finished!”
If Jesus didn’t finish the work, he was deceived, because he sure thought he did! Many of our brethren don’t know the truth about the finished work of Christ. What should our attitude be toward them? We ought not to ridicule them and make fun of them, we ought to love them and pray for them for Jesus’s sake. Primitive Baptists have done much harm by being too harsh in our ridicule of those who differ with us in doctrine. We have to expose error, and we are bound to teach the truth, but we ought to love our brethren, who don’t know the truth.
I want to tell you I was blessed in my life at the age of fourteen to find out salvation was by the grace of God, and I’ve been resting in that for thirty-six years now. And I would to God all of his children could know that.
I want to tell you, Paul loved the brethren. He loved those that didn’t agree with him. I want you to listen to what he said over in Ro 10. He said, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God,” for who, “for Israel.” And I think he is talking about God’s people among the natural Jews. “My heart’s desire,” brethren, talking to the Gentiles in Rome, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”
Saved from what? Not saved from eternal hell, but saved from a doctrine that enslaves them in this life. “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
He was praying for his brethren. You want to know how much Paul loved his brethren among the Jews, turn back to Ro 9:1. “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Oh he loved the Hebrews. He could wish himself accursed from Christ for his brethren according to the flesh.
I don’t know if I love anybody that much tonight, but Paul loved the brethren, the Hebrews, so much that he would even be accursed from Christ if his brethren could be blessed to see the truth. Oh, that’s love. That man had a lot of love in his heart for the Hebrews. And let me tell you, they didn’t love him in return. No sir, they turned on him, they despised him, they thought lowly of him, because he had denied Judaism, and had committed himself to Jesus Christ and him crucified. But oh, how he loved the Hebrew brethren.
And this dear man had to spend most of life among the Gentiles. Paul loved the Jews. If any man on Earth ever loved his nation, Paul loved his nation. And yet God had called him to be a minister and an apostle to the Gentiles, and for most of his life he had to be away from his brethren according to the flesh. Oh, he wanted to go to Jerusalem. He longed to go to Jerusalem. Antioch was his headquarters but Jerusalem was his heart. He loved those Jewish people. He would have chosen many times to have been among them rather than the Gentiles, but in obedience to the call of God on his life, he turned his back on his brethren according to the flesh, and went to Antioch, and went to Rome, and went to Corinth, and went to Spain.
You know what drove him to those places, the love of God in his heart for his brethren. I want to tell you, love is a powerful thing. It’s the most powerful force in the universe tonight, and Paul said, “Brethren, let brotherly love continue.” I’ll tell you what; he did love the brethren.
Now Paul didn’t say, “Love the brethren when they are as sweet as little angels dipped in sugar.” Did you notice that, he just said, “Love the brethren, let brotherly love continue.” You know there are brethren in the world, who are easy to love. I can look around here tonight, and see some that I feel like are very easy to love.
I guess the easiest man I’ve ever known in the ministry to love was my pastor and father in the ministry, Elder Cecil Darity. He is easy to love. If you couldn’t love him, you needed a heart check-up big time. He is an easy man to love.
And there’s a lot of brethren and sisters, that are just easy to love. You don’t have to work at loving them, they’re easy to be around. They are humble, God fearing; they make you feel good. You all like to be around folks like that? Oh, I do, friends. I like to be around people that are easy to be around, and not always nit-picking and finding fault, but you know that they are just lovely people. And there’s people like that in the world.
But God didn’t say just to love the lovely, but he said, “Let brotherly love continue.” We are to love brethren when they are mean, and hateful, and spiteful, and judgmental, and devilish, and resentful. We’re to love them then, isn’t that right? Now that’s when you find out how much you really love the brethren. You know most of us ask God to help us to love the unlovely, but when he sends an unlovely person along, we don’t like that too much.
How are you going to love the unlovely, if you don’t have any unlovely folks in your life? And most of us have some of those along the way.
May I say that love does not mean we have to let people walk all over us, and that we have no right to call their hand, or rebuke them when we feel they are wrong. But it does mean we have to be kind and longsuffering. Now he says, “Let brotherly love continue.”
Talking about Paul’s love for the Hebrews, I think he loved God’s people among the Gentiles also. I think he proved that in his attitude toward the Corinthian church. Have you all ever—well I know you have—but have you recently read the books of First and Second Corinthians, and noticed just exactly what kind of church that church was? Listen to what Paul said in the first verse of the first chapter of First Corinthians, (1Co 1:1) “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, unto the church of....,” what? “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth.”
Now when you get through reading the first book of Corinthians, you’ll scratch your head and wonder is that really the church of God, because I’m telling you, that church had a lot of major problems in it. Why, here in the first chapter, Paul talks about one of the biggest problems they had, and it was a division in the church over preachers.
Some of them said, “I like Paul. If he’s not preaching I won’t be there. I like his depth. Oh that man can teach you something that’s out of this world.” And others said, “If Paul’s there, I’ll go to sleep. I can’t follow him. He’s too deep for me. But if Peter is preaching, that old rugged fisherman, I will be there. He butchers our language, but I tell you I can relate to him.” And others said, “Well I don’t care a thing for him. You can have both of those fellows but if Apollos is in the pulpit, I’ll be there.” And some of them didn’t want to hear any preacher, they just said, “Jesus is all I want.”
Now they didn’t have a good attitude, either I don’t think. But anyway, Paul talks about the church being divided and he brings that up in the first chapter. You know, I have said I believe ninety percent of the trouble among the Old Baptists is caused by preachers, who are walking in the flesh. Would anybody here agree with that? Sometimes it is about ninety-nine percent. But you know what? The preachers were not the problem in the church in Corinth. I believe Peter and Paul and Apollos were united. They were standing together for the cause of Jesus Christ. Now there were differences in their styles and personalities and gifts, but these brethren were united under the blood stained banner of Jesus Christ.
The problem was the church was carnal and worldly. And Paul says, “I didn’t die for you; you weren’t baptized in my name.” That’s the first problem. That’s enough right there to kill a church, to get divided like that. You know sometimes today when the Old Baptists have a little trouble and there’s a little war, you hear a war drum beating, our brethren say, “Oh what’s going to happen to us.” And they just make out like this is the first time in the history of the church there has ever been any trouble.
A brother told me one time years ago, “Brother Sam, I just tell you, I’m just so discouraged I’m ready to quit.” He says, “There is just so much trouble going on.” I said, “Have you read the New Testament lately?” He said, “What’s that got to do with it?” I said, “It’s got everything to do with it. They had more problems in the first century than you’ve ever known in your lifetime, and, Brother, they didn’t quit.” And there is no place for you and me to quit tonight.”
Now the Corinthian church was divided over preachers, and they had the big head. See, these were Greeks. They weren’t little short, olive-complected Jews with big noses. Brother, these were Grecians. They had all but perfected the human body. They had invented the Olympic games. Oh yes, they were brilliant intellectuals, and fine physical specimens of the human race. And Paul had gone over there as a little Jew, and they laughed at him and said, “Why he can’t even talk good. He stammers when he talks.”
I’ll tell you, they had the big head. These Greeks were high-minded, arrogant people. They thought they were really something—even in the church, born again, and baptized. They were in the church, and still had a lot of pride in them. The first chapter deals with that. He told them that God uses the weak and foolish to confound the mighty and wise, so we would glory only in God.
Well, I could spend the whole night talking about the problems at Corinth. You know, in the fifth chapter (1Co 5) they had a case of incest. That was unspeakable. And they had brethren taking one another to law, suing one another in a court of law. They had long haired hippies. They had women who weren’t subject to their husbands. They had brethren getting drunk at the communion service. According to the 13th chapter (1Co 13), they really didn’t love each other like they should. They even had a major doctrinal problem, because some were denying the resurrection of the body. Now I’m telling you, I don’t know of any of our churches as bad off as they were, do you all?
I mean, all of our churches have problems, and by the way, I want to say this, if you all are looking for a perfect church, don’t ask me for directions. I don’t know where one is. And if you find one, please don’t join it, because if you joined it, it wouldn’t be perfect anymore. Would you all say amen to that? Was that an oh, me, or an amen?
But any way, this church had a lot of problems in it, and Paul didn’t let them off the hook, Brother. I’m telling you, when you read this book, you can find out why they got angry with him. He let them have it with both barrels. And we should be faithful to point out errors today, that we see among the churches. Now why would Paul continue to labor with a church like Corinth?
You know Primitive Baptists in our day, and I think we’ve had this habit a long time, when a church starts doing something we don’t like, the first thing we want to do is put up bars against them. unchurch them. That’s just a bad habit. It has never worked. And it is very unscriptural. Some people think a church split is a sign of great strength. Well, I don’t.
I believe with all my heart, we should be set for the defense of the gospel, and if there should be someone, who would trouble your church by perverting the gospel of Christ, let him be accursed. That is the individual, who would be perverting the gospel. Surely a local church has a right and duty to bar a preacher from its pulpit, if they believe he is unsound or immoral in his personal life.
But who would want to bar a church Jesus Christ has not unchurched? Not me. I might not feel comfortable visiting them, and I don’t have to, if I don’t feel impressed to, but it is not my business to unchurch them. You know what I really think the problem is with some brethren who want to bar churches and declare them out of order? They really don’t trust Jesus as the head of the church. Do you believe He is still the head of the church today and able to sit in judgment over each church? I do. He said he would remove the candlestick. He never told one church to go over and remove the candlestick from another church. That is his job and I trust him enough to leave that in his hands.
Most churches I know have enough problems in their own local fellowship to keep them busy without trying to tend to some one else’s business. And I can tell you for sure, if this church at Corinth was around today, the war drums would be heard, and many would be tempted to bar them. I don’t know that I would want to raise children in that church. That church was a mess, and yet it was the church of God. Paul said it was.
Now how do you explain why Paul would continue to labor with them. I believe the explanation is given to us in 1Co 13 where Paul is writing on the great subject of love, and he says when he begins to define love, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind.” And Paul had so much charity in his heart for these Corinthians, he was suffering long with them. Now this kind of love is not always a warm fuzzy feeling for the brethren.
This love is often a decision you make, because you know it is right to act loving and kind toward the brethren. “Charity suffereth long.” Now it doesn’t suffer forever, but it suffers long. It is obvious today that God did not suffer forever with the church at Laodicea. He loved them, but he told them if they did not repent, he—not a sister church—would spew them out of his mouth. And He won’t suffer forever with churches today that are in disorder.
Now these people at Corinth had it in for Paul. You know, I’m probably just as bad about this as any preacher here, but some of our preachers are bad about getting it in their minds they are being persecuted today. I heard about a preacher, who was no longer being invited into a certain part of the country, and he said he was being persecuted. Now would you consider that persecution? I tell you what, when you compare your little sufferings to what Paul went through, Brother, you’ll get back into reality right quick, and realize we are all on easy street today.
He straightened these Corinthians out, because he said, “I’m a fool for naming off my sufferings.” Paul didn’t want to brag about what he had suffered for Jesus sake, but these Corinthians had backed him into a corner, and they were questioning his apostleship. Why they were even saying he was not an apostle. He said, “Am I not an apostle?...have I not seen Christ.” He let them know, look, if I’m not an apostle, you not a church because I planted you.
Brother, I’ll tell you he loved them, but they didn’t intimidate him. Did they back him down and give him lockjaw? No sir, he had some tough love in his heart for these folks.
He said..... Oh, I better not get into that. My time, thirty minutes, is gone. Somebody said,“I am the last one up.” Well, I won’t be stealing anybody’s time. You know, some brethren, when we ordain them, we don’t teach them how to tell time. I don’t want to be accused of stealing another brother’s time, but since I’m last, I may just stay on this just a moment more.
Paul said to the Corinthians, “I’m a fool for bringing up my sufferings.” But he said, “I want to tell you something, I have suffered for Jesus sake.” He begins to name off all his sufferings.
We think we suffer when somebody won’t speak to us, don’t look at us like we think they ought to. Brother, that’s not persecution, not in the context of what my Lord went through, and what the apostles went through. We need to get over feeling pitiful for ourselves. Grow up. Get a grip and grow up.
Would you all say “amen” to that. Get back into reality and find out we’re really on Easy Street. This man said, “I was beaten by the Jews, and I was beaten by the Romans.” They would strip his back, and beat him with rods, and they would beat him with a whip, and gave him thirty-nine lashes on five occasions. Listen, if they put me in jail one night for preaching the gospel, I doubt if I would ever preach again, without bringing it up. Paul spent much of his life in prison. Now, let’s wake up, folks.
And when he was in jail, it looks to me, like he had a good time, because Jesus was there. When he was in Philippi and they put him in the innermost stocks, I could just imagine at was concerned about his brother and would have said, “How you doing, Brother Silas?” And I can hear him saying, “Well, I’m hungry, and my back hurts from that whipping, and I’m cold, but other than that I’m alright. How are you Brother Paul?” I can hear him saying, “Brother Silas, I’m not even worthy to suffer for my Lord. Let’s sing a song.” And they began to sing at midnight, and the jailhouse opened, Brother. Let me tell you, when Jesus is first in your life, you don’t sit around complaining, and murmuring about how bad everything is. You are talking about how good everything is. So Paul didn’t bring up all his sufferings here, because he wanted to show out. But these Corinthians had backed him into a corner.
But anyway. I just want to say this tonight, you and I need to love the brethren, and we need to show love toward one another. What good is love in your heart, if you don’t show it? Do you all think love is any good? There is an old poem I heard one time that says, “A bell is not a bell till you ring it. And a song is not a song till you sing it. Love is not love until you show it.”
Now you could argue all night about whether a bell is a bell before you ring it. I reckon it would be a bell, before you ring it, but it’s not functioning as a bell till you ring it. What good would a bell be up there if you didn’t ever ring it? What good is a song if you don’t sing it? And what good is love if we don’t show it and manifest it?
I believe a lot of love’s been shown here in this meeting. Somebody had to go to a lot of effort to get us here, and provide this place. They’re not taking up any offerings for that. That’s love.
There is a lot of love going on in this world. Love is a glorious thing. I suppose the greatest love in the world, from a natural standpoint, is a mother’s love. I don’t know of any love greater than that. We had a dear mother in our community who lost her son last week. Franklin and I conducted the funeral. He was fifty-four years old, and he had a brain tumor, and they kept him at home with Hospice assistance, and that was a wonderful thing. The family could be there right to the end. And the Hospice nurse said to his mother and to the family, “Is there anybody in the family he hasn’t seen yet, that hasn’t gotten here?” And they said, “Not that we know of.”
She said, “Well he should have been dead three days ago. We see death all the time. He’s waiting. Something is not right.” She said, “I want all of you to go in there and talk to him. I want his sisters and brothers to go in there and give him permission to die. And I want you to go in there, dear mother.”
And, you know, they all went in. Then the mother went in, and I’ll tell you, if there’s ever been a woman that loved her child, this mother did. She’s already lost two children, and this would be the third child she would have to give up to death. And she went in there, and it was the hardest thing she’d ever done, but she put her arms around him, and she hugged him, and she said, “Tom, you’ve suffered enough. It time to go and be with Jesus. I’ll be there in a little while.” And, do you know, in a few moments he left this world. Now I believe love was holding him on. He was concerned about his mother. She assured him, “Your brothers and your sisters are going to take care of me.” That’s love in this world folks. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s the most glorious thing in the world, and you and I ought to be showing love tonight.
Now when you love people, that doesn’t mean you love all their ways. Now we have got to stay in reality tonight. I’ll just have to confess, there are brethren, whose ways I don’t like. I don’t enjoy being with them. Is that ugly to say? You know when you’re a preacher, you have to make a few confessions publicly. There’s brethren among us that, I’ve known for thirty years. I love them. I appreciate their labors in the kingdom, their sacrifices for God, but they have never felt comfortable around me, and I have never really felt too comfortable around them. It’s just personality clashes. And I don’t think God requires us to be with people much, that we don’t really feel comfortable with. I think Paul had that struggle with some of the brethren. But we can still love one another, and pray for one another, and labor together for Jesus’s sake. We can reach out to one another, and show that love. I want to tell you, I don’t know of a soul here tonight, that I’m not willing to shake hands with.
You know, they say there’s two kinds of people in the world. There is the “Here I am” people and there is the “Hey, there you are” people. Now the “Here I am” people are those who walk in a room and they stand there and they say, “I’m here now. You all can come over and speak to me, and affirm me, and make me feel good about me. You know, just wallow all over me.” You all know any folks like that? Full of insecurity. May God deliver me from insecure people. You can’t love them enough for them to feel safe.
And then, there’s people like Brother Cecil Darity, who would walk into a room and say, “Hey, there you are. I’ve been wanting to see you,” and they go over and hug you and they say, “Man, it’s so good to see you. You look great. I’m so happy to be with you.” What kind of person are you tonight?
Now we need to lay aside petty little differences and love one another for the cause of Jesus Christ. Because there’s a great cause in this world, as far as I’m concerned, greater than any man in this world tonight, and that’s the precious cause of Jesus.
Now I would say, if I had to guess, I would say Paul felt a lot closer to the Philippian church than he did to the Corinthian church. What would you all say about that? He said, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,” talking about the Philippians. That’s quite a compliment to make, isn’t it? When you read about that Philippian church, and their attitude, you can understand why he loved them so much. I don’t know that he ever felt that way about the Corinthians, but he loved them, and he was faithful to them, and he labored long and hard to save them, as our brother said last night, “from the error of their ways.” Now, beloved, I believe God’s children can live together in the church in peace and harmony.
Now if you get too close to people you don’t click too much with, you’ll have a little fire, and we don’t need that. And people have enough sense to know who they can be with a lot, and, really, anybody that you’re with too much, they are going to get on your nerves. Brother Tom Hagler was good enough to invite Franklin and me, and some other good friends up to his lovely mountain home in Cashiers, North Carolina, this week, and they treated us like we were really Something. I mean they gave us a nice bedroom, two wonderful meals, best steak I ever ate in my life, and they said we just made them happy when we got there. But I am sure we made them real happy when we left.
One sister said that her children made her happy twice at Christmas time—coming and going. She said, the prettiest Christmas lights she ever saw were the tail lights on those kids’ cars.
Well, now listen, company is the same way. I love company but company is like fish. You know. After the third day! Now when we all get to heaven we are going to be together for eternity and I don’t believe we’ll mind being together up there, but we’ll be perfect up there. We are a long way from that down here.
I love my brother Franklin as much as anybody in the world. I got a reason to love him, because he’s been so good to me all my life. But I tell you what, I know he’s about had enough of me on this trip. And he’s got to ride home with me tomorrow afternoon, and he’ll be glad to get in town and let me out. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t love one another. That’s just being real, and that’s the same way in the church. And we’ve got to learn to be longsuffering. Somebody said, “The only way to get four Old Baptists in one accord is to put them in a Honda.” Well I just don’t believe that. I believe we can dwell together in unity, and be in one accord.
That reminds me of the fellow, driving through the country, and he saw a beautiful church building, “Harmony Baptist Church.” Big sign out front. You know that’s a beautiful name for a church, Harmony. He drove on through town, and he saw another beautiful church building and another sign that said “New Harmony Baptist Church.” Well that’s sort of been the history of the church. But it doesn’t have to be. God’s children can labor and toil together. On essentials there must be unity, but on non-essentials there must be charity and longsuffering.
There are people among us more liberal than others, and some more conservative than others, and they don’t need to get together and fuss too much about those things. There are some things I just don’t discuss with some brethren, because I know we are not going to agree. I can’t change them. I don’t think they are going to change me.
We all need that “Serenity Prayer.” “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change.”
I like the new version of that. “God grant me the serenity to accept the people I can’t change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that person is me.”
Another version of that is, “God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good eyesight to recognize those I do, and enough mind to know the difference.” Well, that’s enough of the foolishness of this world.
But I want to tell you, I love you people for Jesus sake. And I know some of you love me with great effort, and I understand that, because I’m not real loveable a lot of the time. I understand that. But I love the Lord Jesus, and I believe he loved me, and I believe he loves you, and I know I’m a liar, if I say I love him, and don’t love you. So if I don’t show my love in the right way, you can talk to me about it and we’ll work out something. But for goodness sake, let’s all put the unity of the kingdom of heaven above any personal preferences or differences. Let’s love the Hebrews and Gentiles like Paul did. “Let brotherly continue.” Thank you for your wonderful attention.
ABEL Abel was the second son of Adam and Eve (Ge 4:2). God often favors the second son. He is a figure of the obedient child of God, worshiping according to the God-ordained pattern. His offering of the firstlings of the flock (Ge 4:4) pointed back to the animal slain (Ge 3:21) to provide clothing for his parents, and it pointed forward to Jesus Christ, the lamb slain to atone for the sins of his people (Joh 1:29).
Heb 11:4, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,”. His sacrifice was more excellent because of what it represented, or symbolized; it symbolized the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. It signified the shedding of his blood. Cain brought an offering “of the fruit of the ground,” a bloodless sacrifice. The one represented the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ; the other represented the works of men’s hands. God’s acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice, and his refusal to accept the sacrifice of Cain is the first indication in the Bible that the works of man’s hands are not sufficient for his salvation, and that God will not accept any religious service that suggests anything to the contrary.
Heb 9:22, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
We are told (Ge 4:4) that “God had respect unto Abel and to his offering.” God had respect, first to Abel, then to his offering. Abel was a sinner in need of salvation as surely as Cain was; but Abel brought “a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” Abel’s sacrifice was a bloody offering; it was a confession of his own sinful condition, and his need for the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, as an atonement for his sins.
We cannot imagine the burning, bloody flesh of Abel’s sacrifice was as physically appealing as the mounds of fresh, delicious, and colorful, fruits and vegetables which Cain brought. But physical beauty is not the proper criteria; obedience to the commandment of God is. Even in its physical unattractiveness Abel’s sacrifice represented the suffering and death of the Lord. Isaiah tells us, “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa 53:2). hlh
ABSOLUTISM Absolutism, or fatalism, teaches that, before God ever created the world, he predestinated everything that will ever happen, good, bad, or indifferent. It teaches that he arranged all the events, and all the events leading up to, and influencing those events, so that everything that happens comes about in exact accordance to his preconceived and predestinated plan. It teaches that he predestinated everything from the rise and fall of mighty empires to the formation of every tiny snowflake.
It teaches that every event is the effect of a previous cause, and that if that cause is examined, it will itself be discovered to be the effect of a still more previous cause, so that if we trace every effect to its previous cause, we will eventually arrive at the cause of all causes or the First Cause, which they insist is God.
Or to put it another way, they insist that every cause finds its origin in God, and that cause radiates out to all the subsequent causes, so that God, the great First Cause, is the cause of every cause and the cause of every event that follows. It insists that every event is so ordered and arranged that, along with all the other surrounding events, it could not produce any other result than the result it does produce.
It teaches that all that takes place is somehow like one mighty machine, with all its parts playing their own individual roles, and producing the results they were intended to produce. It insists that every event is like a wheel in that great machine, driving all the other wheels, so that they are all connected together, dependent on each other, and bound up with each other so that the instant the first wheel is set in motion, the movement of all the other wheels is already determined. It insists that just as one loose wheel in the machine would upset the entire machine, so if God did not cause and control every event that ever happens, he could not intervene and control anything.
Perhaps the best known of all Absoluters was Elder Gilbert Beebe, who was for many years the editor of their periodical, THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES. That was exactly the illustration he used in his last editorial on the subject published on October 1, 1880. He says, “We look at a vast complicated machine, with its ten thousand wheels. We cannot comprehend or understand its workings, but we are told that the machinist has a perfect knowledge of all its parts save one; there is a definite use for every wheel and spring, but one is held in the machine, which has no certain motion or definite use. How long could that machine run in safety, with the unruly part liable at any moment to throw the whole into confusion.”
He bases another argument on the movement of the stars: “Suppose that in what we have been contemplating of the Heavens we should find the sun and moon, and all the stars but one, held firmly to their orbits by the irresistible will and decree of God, and that one solitary star, without any fixed orbit, is allowed to range the infinity of space, wandering with more than lightning velocity, guided only by chance; where would be the safety of all the other stars?” For over one hundred years the Absoluters have continued to republish this article; so it obviously expresses their sentiments.
Based purely on the principle of cause and effect, or action and reaction, the Absolute argument seems to make some kind of sense. Sir Isaac Newton was the father of modern science. He was probably the greatest scientist who ever lived. His Third Law of Motion states that “for every action there is a reaction, equal and in the opposite direction.” That principle works very well in physics, and if we were dealing with physics, the Absoluter might be able to make a case.
But we are not dealing with physics, and we are not dealing with physical law; we are dealing with sinners and the moral law of God. Physical law cannot be violated, and it provides no penalties. Physical law simply states what is going to happen under certain conditions. If you throw a rock into the air, it is going to come back down. It is not possible the rock might hang in midair, and there is no penalty to be assessed against the rock if it fails to fall. On the other hand, moral law can be violated and it does provide penalties. Moral law does not state what we will do, but rather, what we ought to do. There is every possibility that we might fail to do as we should, and there are penalties to be suffered if we transgress that law.
Physical law cannot be transgressed; moral law can be, and often is. 1Jo 3:4, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
If sin is the transgression of the law—and that is what this verse says—and if that law cannot be violated, there can be no such thing as sin. It is at this point that, in spite of all its fancy explanations, fatalism comes to ruin.
They insist that man only does what God ordained for him to do. They make every act of man to correspond with the will of God, and by doing it, they explain sin out of existence.
They have ever so much to say about the revealed will of God, as opposed to the secret will of God. And they have a lot to say about second causes, but in the final analysis their doctrine always winds up teaching that man sins, because God ordained that he should sin in exactly that way, and at exactly that time.
No matter how reasonable absolutism may appear at first glance, it is based on human reasoning, and not on the Scriptures. If the Bible teaches that God predestinated everything that happens, good, bad, or indifferent, there ought to be a verse somewhere that says it in so many words. It is not enough to show that God intervenes in all sorts of situations, and in all sorts of ways. It is not enough to show that he raises up kings, and puts down kings. It is not enough to show that mighty empires have risen and fallen at his command. Nor is it enough to show that not even a sparrow can fall to the ground contrary to his will.
No person who truly believes in a sovereign, almighty God could deny any of those things. God reigns on the throne of heaven, and you can be sure that he is in charge. He is in control. The very fact that the universe still exists, and we are still living here is clear evidence that God is in control. If God ever relinquished control over his creation, it would fall to ruin.
But we must never confuse physical law with moral law. Physical law cannot be violated; it is very predictable. It is because physical law is so predictable that we have seen such an explosion in technology in recent years. Researchers can develop their products, and once they determine the principles (the physical laws) involved, they can predict what each item they manufacture will do under the stated conditions. Without the predictability of physical law our technology could not exist.
But moral law is entirely different. Those under moral law can, and often do, violate moral law. It is because of the predictability of the outcome with regard to physical law, and the unpredictability of the outcome with regard to moral law, that we see such progress in technology, at the same time we see such chaos in society itself. This is why David can say, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork” (Ps 19:1) —because of the predictability of physical law, and, on the other hand, Jeremiah can say, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it,” (Jer 17:9) —because of rebellion against its Lawgiver. hlh
ABSOLUTISM: The fatal connection: Harold Hunt The following is a quote from Elder R.H. Pittman’s little book of Questions and Answers.
“What is Absolutism? A. It is an erroneous and strained view of the doctrine of predestination. Its advocates teach that God absolutely predestinated all things that come to pass, both good and evil; that what is going on in the world now, that which has transpired in the past, and that which will come to pass in the future was all predestinated before time, and could not be otherwise from what it was, is, or will be, that all the acts of men and devils were predestinated. This doctrine is not Bible doctrine—Elder Sylvester Hassell said it was imported from Italy. It was first published among Baptists by the paper known as The Signs of the Times in 1832. Since that time the doctrine has been made a hobby by a few Baptists, yet none of our churches were organized upon such a doctrine—it is not found in the articles of faith of any Baptist church. It is a left handed, confusing kind of predestination, and has been the cause of strife and division. Its advocates are not satisfied with predestination as Paul expressed it. They seek to prop up predestination on one side by ‘absolute,’ and on the other side they spread it over ‘all things.’ The doctrine, when run to its logical conclusion, is nothing less than fatalism, for it makes God as being the author of sin, though most of its advocates deny this.”
When Elder Hassell said Absolutism came out of Italy he was, no doubt, referring to an Italian Catholic-turned-Protestant theologian by the name of Jerom Zanchius. Zanchius (or Zanchy, historians spell his name different ways) was born in Italy in 1516 just before the Reformation broke out in Germany. He was contemporary with Calvin, Luther, Knox, and the other great Reformers. He taught at Strasburg and later at the university of Heidelberg. Persecution drove him from Italy to Germany, and finally to England.
He wrote the proto-Absolute document entitled The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination. That book is the clearest, the most comprehensive, and the most logically consistent book on the subject. It became the standard statement of that doctrine. If it does not prove the doctrine, it cannot be proven. The book has continued to be published until this day. My old tattered and torn copy was republished by Baker Publishing House in 1978. It only contains 170 pages, but it gives a concise and entirely adequate explanation of what the doctrine of Absolute Predestination is all about.
In order to give as brief an explanation of the doctrine as possible, and yet look at different aspects of the subject, I will limit my remarks, for the most part, to Zanchius’s book and those theologians he quotes.
In order to make his point, Zanchius does what every Absoluter must do. He spends most of his time proving points that were never in question. Then, having proven those points beyond all possible challenge, he adds his Absolute conclusion to the argument, as if the points he has just proven have something to do with his conclusion. When I say those points were never in question, bear in mind that I am reading the book as a Primitive Baptist, and approaching the subject from the point of view of our people. In order to give Zanchius his credit, we need to keep in mind that he was writing, primarily, for people who believed that salvation from eternal damnation depends on the merit of the sinner. They believed it was up to the sinner to earn a home in heaven. And, considering who he was writing for, the points he spends so much time proving were the very questions that were under attack. So it was proper that he should begin by showing where he was coming from.
But the fact remains that, from our Primitive Baptist point of view, those points were never the question.
Having said all that, we need to point out that, no matter how clearly, and how conclusively, you may have proven your point, you have not accomplished anything, if your premise has no connection with your conclusion.
Zanchius spends most of his time talking about the attributes of God, and it is proper that he should do that. If Bible students spent more time studying what the Bible tells us about God and his attributes, it would clear up most of the questions in religion. There is no room for a sovereign, all-wise, almighty, God of will and purpose in most of what passes for the Christian religion of our day. Let the Bible student accept the description God gives of himself, and the petty, silly notions of the religious establishment would vanish in a moment.
Zanchius deals with the attributes of God, and up until he starts talking about the predestination of sin and wickedness
he does a good job of it. Then he gets completely off the track and out of the Bible.
He shows that God is almighty, all-wise, and all-knowing, but that is not the question.
There is nothing God does not know. He knows everything there is to know—past, present, and future (Isa 46:9-10). He knows everything from the mightiest heavenly body to the tiniest insect. “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names,” (Ps 147:4). He knows every sparrow that falls to the ground; he numbers the very hairs of your head (Mt 10:29-30). He knows what you are going to do before you do it, and even when you are sure that is not what you are going to do (2Ki 8:12-13). He identifies kings and calls them by name long before they are born (1Ki 13:2; Isa 44:28; 45:1). His “eyes are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Pr 15:3). Who would dare deny any of it?
If there is a solitary atom in the farthest reaches of the universe, you can be sure that God knows everything there is to know about it. He knows where that atom is today; he knows where it was a thousand years ago; and (if time should last) he knows what its exact location will be a thousand years from now.
Long before we were born, he knew all about every member of the human family. He knew where and when we would be born, and he knew all the events and circumstances of our lives. There is not a thought that ever entered our minds, or a move that we ever made, but that he knew all about it. And he knew it from all eternity. The God we serve has never learned anything; he has never forgotten anything; he has always known everything.
But it is strange logic that thinks his knowing everything there is to know, somehow, proves that he manipulates circumstances and events in order to cause us to do everything we do. Especially it is strange logic to imagine that since he knows every sin before it is done, he must, therefore, cause men to sin—according to a foreordained schedule.
Zanchius shows the sovereignty of God in the salvation of his people, and in his dealings with them, and with the wicked, but again, that is not the question.
Of course, God is sovereign. He states it over and over again. “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?” (Mt 20:15). “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him what doest thou?” (Da 4:35). Nobody has the right to challenge God for anything he does.
There is no need to multiply proof texts. God is sovereign over all creation. It is his property; we are his property; and he has the right to do with us what he will. But that is a far cry from pretending that God gave man a law, irresistibly causes him to break the law, and then punishes him for doing what he could not keep from doing.
He shows that God exercises his almighty power in creation, and in his government of the world.
That is exactly what the Bible teaches. “The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God,” (Ps 104:21). There is not an animal in the forest, nor an insect in the grass, but that God feeds it, and provides for it.
Men can build accurate timepieces, but, no matter if their timepiece may be accurate to the thousandth of a second, they still correct it by the movement of the stars through the heavens. Who could doubt there is a God in heaven, who keeps every star on course—and on time?
He “upholds all things by the word of his power,” (Heb 1:3). It is by his power that every tiny electron is held in its orbit around the nucleus of its atom. His power holds every planet in its orbit around the sun, and every mighty galaxy in its course through the heavens. That power holds sway from the inner workings of the nucleus of the tiniest atom to the farthest reaches of creation, and holds it all together.
What we call Physical Law is nothing more than God’s usual way of sustaining the created universe, and causing to operate in a consistent manner.
Zanchius talks about the providence of God as it protects and provides for his people, and for every other creature. He proves that the providence of God embraces the mightiest angel and the tiniest insect. He proves that God numbers and names every star in the sky. He shows that God feeds every animal in the forest. He shows that there is no place in the universe beyond the power, the wisdom, and the surveillance of our all-wise, all-powerful God. He makes all those arguments, and he provides indisputable proof texts to prove his point.
But, again, all of that is a far cry from saying that God causes men to sin according to some prearranged program.
It does not make any difference how well you may prove your points; it does not accomplish anything, if those points have nothing to do with the subject in question.
The question is: did God by one eternal decree absolutely and unchangeably predetermine everything that will ever happen in time and eternity? Did God predestinate all the good—and all the evil—in the world? Emphasizing the attributes of God does not prove that point.
No matter how brilliant you may be, when you study about God and his attributes, there comes a point at which you are left in wide-eyed, slack-jawed amazement. At that point our learning must give way to wonder. God is all-wise; he knows everything there is to know. You and I are not all-wise; we do not know everything, and we never will. God will always be the creator, and we will always be the creature. We will always stand in wonder and in awe of him. There are some things we will never be able to fully explain.
We should be wary of any system that tries to explain the unexplainable—any system that tries to bring God down to our level. We should beware of any system that charges God with conduct that is contrary to his own nature and attributes.
The Bible tells us all we need to know about the nature and attributes of God. We do not need to add our own philosophy. We can spend the rest of our lives studying and contemplating what we are told, and it will be the delight of our lives, if we do just that. Consider, if you will, some of what the Bible does tell us, and it will remove much of the difficulty.
First, God is infinite; he is not bound by time nor space, but you and I cannot comprehend infinity. He is eternal, but we cannot comprehend eternity.
The nearest we can come to understanding eternity is to think of it as unending time. He is (at one and the same time) the beginning and the end, the first and the last. That is not the same as saying he is the beginning, and he will be the end. He is both—at the same time. We cannot comprehend that.
That beautiful old hymn Amazing Grace, has cheered our hearts for generations past, but the best the writer could do was, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years.” We know what he was trying to say, and we rejoice in the thought. But days and years are the opposite of eternity. There is coming a time when days and years will end, and we will be eternally with the Lord.
One of the names of God is I AM. All is one eternal now with him. You and I are creatures of time; we are bound in time, and bound by time, but not so with God.
You and I are locked into time, and traveling through time one moment after another. That does not apply to God. He is the unchangeable one. If God were bound by time the way we are—to say the least—he would become one day older every twenty-four hours. But he does not become any older; he does not change.
Time does not encompass God the way it encompasses us. He is the “high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity” (Isa 57:15). He is not bound by time; it is the other way around; he encompasses time.
What tiny, tiny little creatures of time we all are. Think about it for a moment. Each of us occupies such a tiny little spot in the universe. We are such little things that if somebody backs off more than a few hundred yards he will have trouble even seeing us. If he could back off somewhat farther, he would have trouble spotting the earth we live on, and if he backed off far enough he would have trouble seeing our sun as anything more than a tiny speck away out yonder in the night sky.
That does not apply to God; he is everywhere at one and the same time. If you could build the largest hydraulic press, you still could not compress God into the tiny little space you and I occupy.
In much the same way that we are locked into one tiny little spot in the vastness of the universe, we are also locked into one tiny instant in time. With us there is a past, a present, and a future; but we can never possess any of it except the present. The future is always on its way; the past is forever gone; and the present lasts for such a brief instant that we can never know it until it is gone.
You may have thought about how brief a moment the present is. If you have not, do think about it for a moment.
If the present lasted for a full minute, you would never have a car wreck. You could avoid most any accident, if you had a full sixty seconds to react. If the present lasted for as much as a second you could never have a prize fight. Given a full second, any third rate boxer could get out of the way of his opponent’s fist. If the present lasted the thousandth part of a second, we could not have computers. If a computer could not split every second into a million parts and beyond, it would be so slow you could never get anything done.
But as brief a moment as the present is, that is all you and I have.
But not so with God; he inhabits eternity. You could as easily compress God into the little spot you and I occupy as you could confine him to the tiny instant we call the present. He is the I AM. All is one eternal now with him. Being the eternal one, past, present, and future are all the same with him.
We can never entirely explain God, and there is nothing with which to compare him. “To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto him,” (Isa 40:18). All we can do is adore, and wonder, and worship.
We need to realize that there are some things the Bible teaches about God and his work—without explaining how he does what he does.
Much of the how of what God does is so far beyond our ability to comprehend, that we could not understand it—no matter how well it was explained.
Suppose some rocket scientist should take the next six months to explain to somebody like myself how they managed to build the space shuttle. Suppose he writes out every complex mathematical formula involved, and explains every intricate step. Suppose he explains all the scientific principles that must be taken into consideration. Do you suppose I could understand all he said, so I could explain it to the next person. No, of course not. He would lose me just after he said, “Now here is the way we did it....” His entire presentation would be beyond my comprehension. But even that is a very lame illustration compared to the thought of understanding some of the things God does.
The Bible tells of any number of things God does without explaining how he does it.
We are told that in the very morning of time—by the word of his power—God created the world out of nothing. He simply spoke the word, and vast worlds sprang into existence. We are convinced it is so, but it is beyond our comprehension to understand how he did it.
By the same power he speaks the word, and one dead in trespasses and sins is made alive in Christ Jesus. The Spirit of God takes up its abode in the heart of the sinner, and he is born again. Again, we are told what he does, with no explanation of how the Spirit does its mighty work.
We are told that at God’s appointed time the Son of God became man. “The word became flesh and dwelt among us”(Joh 1:14). If the very heaven of heavens cannot contain him, it is beyond our ability to understand how he could become a tiny baby his mother could hold in her arms. Not only does the Bible not explain how he did it, it goes on to say it is a mystery (1Ti 3:16). If it is a mystery, we could not understand it, even if it was explained. It would no longer be a mystery.
The most central message of the gospel is the resurrection of our Lord. He rose from the dead, and one day he will raise us, and fashion our bodies like unto his own glorious body. How will he put our sleeping dust together again, and rejoin it to our departed spirit? Again, we are told it is a mystery (1Co 15:51). Raising the dead is not part of our job description, so we do not need to be concerned that we cannot explain how he will do it.
But that is not good enough for the theologian; he feels a need to explain everything. And if he cannot find his explanation in the Bible, he has a world of philosophy at his disposal.
Paul had some less than flattering things to say about philosophy (Col 2:8). The earnest Bible student is convinced the Bible provides every explanation we need. If the Bible does not provide it, we do not need it; but that does not deter our theologian friend. He finds in pagan philosophy a principle called fate, and it exactly fills the need. By searching the pagan philosophers he finds an explanation the Bible does not provide.
By stripping fate of some of its most objectionable features, and dressing it up in a Christian garb, he is able to remove the mystery. He can now explain how God can foretell the future.
The pagan doctrine teaches that everything that happens in time was predetermined long ago by a blind fate. Everything, right down to the tiniest gyration and pirouette
of a falling snowflake, was determined long ago, and nothing can be changed. Almost a thousand years before Jerom Zanchius was born, a pagan prophet named Mohammed taught that, “Whatever is written is written.” Nothing can be changed; we are swept along by our fate.
The Absoluter strips fate of its blind fate stigma by bundling it with the omniscience of God. Hence fate is no longer blind. He strips it of its random nature by bundling it with the will and purpose of God. Hence, for the Absoluter, God is able to foretell the future, because he has determined to manipulate, and orchestrate everything that happens so that everything takes place just the way he determined to make it happen. It is still a pagan doctrine; but he has made it more acceptable to an inquiring (and bewildered) student of the Bible.
The Absoluter is able to remove the mystery from God’s ability to foretell the future, but what a price he pays in the transaction.
By the time he gets through explaining God, he is left with a deity that does not correspond to the God of the Bible. He is left with a deity that looks, for all the world, like the gods of the pagans.
1. My first objection to Absolutism is that it teaches that God is unable to know about sin in advance, unless he has determined to manipulate and orchestrate circumstances in order to bring about the sin.
You need to be very careful when you talk about what God cannot do. The Bible only lists three things God cannot do: he cannot lie (Heb 6:18); he cannot deny himself (2Ti 2:13); and he cannot swear by one greater than himself (Heb 6:13). In other words, he cannot do anything that is contrary to his own nature and attributes.
But he can foretell what is going to happen in the future without in any way predestinating man’s sin. The fact that he can foretell the future is one of the proofs that he is God.
But listen to what our proto-Absoluter, Jerom Zanchius says about it, and bear in mind that he is their standard bearer.
“Therefore, His determinate plan, counsel and purpose (i.e. His own predestination of causes and effects) is the only basis of His foreknowledge, which foreknowledge could neither be certain nor independent, but as founded on his own antecedent decree.” (page 135) The italics are added, but that is an exact quote; you can look it up.
Notice that Zanchius is sure God could not be certain about what was going to happen in the future except for “his own antecedent decree.” In other words, the only way he can know about the sin is for him to decree the sin. That sounds like dangerous reasoning to me.
But there is more; he says this “predestination of causes and effects,” this predestination of sin and wickedness, is “the only basis of his foreknowledge.” Can you believe that anybody in his right mind would argue that God has to prop up one of his own attributes by predestinating sin? God’s foreknowledge (his prescience if you want to be precise) is one of his attributes, and his attributes do not need to be propped up. But Zanchius is sure the only basis of God’s foreknowledge is “His predestination of causes and effects.” In other words, according to Zanchius, if God did not predestinate everything that is going to happen, his foreknowledge would come crashing to the ground.
But I did tell you that Zanchius borrowed this doctrine from the pagan philosophers.
But, lest anybody might think we misunderstood him, listen to him again in the same paragraph. “Again, we cannot suppose him to have foreknown anything which He had not previously decreed.” He is sure God could not have foreknown it, if he had not decreed it.
Allow me one more quote. “Now, if God foreknew this, He must have predetermined it, because His own will is the foundation of His decrees, and His decrees are the foundation of His prescience” (page 91). I believe that should remove all doubt about what he was saying. Zanchius was sure that God’s ability to predict sin has no foundation except his own willingness to predestinate sin.
These brilliant Absoluter theologians are so determined to explain everything about God, that they are willing to charge him with predestinating sin, in order to explain how he can foretell the future.
The Absoluter is convinced that he presents the attributes of God in a way that puts all other systems to shame. He magnifies God as no one else does. The fact is that he envisions God as having to prop up his own attributes.
He presents this imagined predestination of sin and wickedness as a crutch for his omniscience to lean on.
According to him, if omniscience did not have this crutch, it would stumble and fall. That is not the way my Bible describes God.
Isa 46:9-10, “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is none else; I am God and there is none like me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure.”
I realize the Absoluter claims that text, but before he can prove ownership, he will have to prove his notion that God is pleased with sin and wickedness. The things God has decreed to do are his pleasure.
But the Absoluter insists that God does not predestinate sin; he simply removes his restraining hand, and man sins according to his own sinful nature. He restrains the man, and keeps him from sinning, or he removes his hand, and allows him to work out his own sinful impulses. And so he goes through all of time, either restraining or permitting sin, and he does it to such a degree that all that happens takes place according to his preconceived plan.
At first glance, there seems to be some logic to the answer. Who could deny that when God removes his restraint from the sinner, he runs into every sinful excess. And who could deny that God does prevent man from being as wicked as he could be. The Absoluter is convinced that in this way he can explain everything that has happened, or will ever happen.
But when we look a little closer, we discover that the explanation falls far short of the goal. For one thing, most of what happens in time has no moral dimension at all. There is nothing either good or evil about a snowflake falling in one spot or another. There is nothing either good or evil about a bird lighting on one limb rather than another. Even if we would accept the Absoluter’s premise, it would fall far short of providing a foundation for the foreknowledge of God. It would fall far short of showing how God knows ahead of time every gyration and pirouette of every falling snowflake.
The foreknowledge of God does not need a prop, and even if it did, the Absoluter has not found a prop sufficient to carry the load.
2. My second objection to Absolutism is that it teaches that the sin of Adam was the result of God’s irresistible will.
Before he transgressed, Adam did not have a sinful nature to motivate and control him. So we come back to the question: if, as our Absoluter friend tell us, every sin happens, because God removes his restraining power, and man simply acts out his own sinful impulses, what about the sin of Adam?
If I might repeat myself, when the Absoluter explains how it is that God can foretell every little detail about every sin that will ever be committed—without being the cause of the sin—he will tell you that God simply leaves the sinner to his own nature, and his own devices, and the nature of the sinner works its way in exactly the way God predestinated that it would.
There can be no doubt that, in judgment, God often gives people over to work their own destruction, but to use that explanation to show that God, somehow, predestinated every sin is simply a dodge.
For one thing, the explanation breaks down, when you apply it to the sin of Adam. There can be no question that God knew beforehand what Adam would do. He provided the Lord Jesus Christ as the remedy for sin, before that first sin was committed. But until he sinned, Adam did not have a sinful, corrupt nature to motivate and control him.
When it comes to the original sin of Adam, the Absoluter has no choice—if he is going to save his pagan philosophy —and that is to trace the sin of Adam to God himself. That is exactly what our friend Zanchius does. Listen to his explanation:
“On the whole, if God was not unwilling that Adam should fall, He must have been willing that he should, since between God’s willing and nilling there is no medium. And is it not highly rational as well as scriptural, nay, is it not absolutely necessary to suppose that the fall was not contrary to the will and determination of God? Since, if it was, His will (which the apostle represents as being irresistible, Ro 9:19) was apparently frustrated and His determination rendered of worse than none effect.” (page 89)
Notice two things: first, he points out that the will of God is irresistible. He is right about that; but he goes on to claim that God (irresistibly) willed that Adam should sin.
Hear him again: “Surely, if God had not willed the fall, He could, and no doubt would, have prevented it; but he did not prevent it; ergo, He willed it. And if he willed it, He certainly decreed it, for the decree of God is nothing else but the seal and ratification of His will.” (page 88) Again, notice that he ultimately traces the sin of Adam, not to rebellion on the part of Adam, but to the decree of God himself. According to Zanchius, Adam sinned, because God irresistibly willed for him to sin.
Again, “and Luther observes that ‘God permitted Adam to fall into sin because he willed that he should so fall,’” (page 46). I doubt that needs any explanation.
He goes on, “From what has been laid down, it follows that Augustine, Luther, Bucer, the scholastic divines, and other learned writers are not to be blamed for asserting that ‘God may in some sense be said to will the being and commission of sin,’” (page 54). In this statement he is sure that nobody should be blamed for tracing every sin on the part of every person to the will of God.
Let me say again that Absolutism is the result of bundling the pagan philosophy of fatalism with the Bible doctrines of the power, and wisdom, and purpose of God—to the great scandal of those doctrines.
By doing that it removes the stigma of being blind and random from the notion of an irresistible, unchangeable fate. And it explains God’s ability to know the future in a way the carnal mind can comprehend.
In other words, God is able to tell what is going to happen from the first to the last moment of time, because that is the way he is going to orchestrate and manipulate all things and make them happen. In order to do that, he finds it necessary to argue that Adam sinned, because God irresistibly willed for him to sin.
But Bible truth does not need pagan philosophy to prop it up, and any time you call on pagan philosophy to explain
God and his work, you will find yourself explaining God in a way that is much more compatible to the pagan way of thinking than it is to the description he gives of himself in the Bible. That will become abundantly apparent as we look further at this Absoluter’s arguments.
3. My third objection to Absolutism is that it teaches that God is the ultimate cause of every sin.
The Absoluter bristles at that statement, and he insists that he does not believe God causes anybody to sin. He explains that God uses something he calls second cause, whereby he so manipulates, and orchestrates circumstances that man simply acts out his own sinful nature by reacting to those circumstances. He has a real problem when he tries to apply that notion to the sin of Adam, but we have already talked about that.
Here is what Zanchius says about second cause. “That God often lets the wicked go on to more ungodliness, which He does (a) negatively by withholding that grace which alone can restrain them from evil; (b) remotely, by the providential concourse and mediation of second causes, which second causes, meeting and acting in concert with the corruption of the reprobate’s unregenerate nature, produce sinful effects; (c) judicially, or in a way of judgment,” (page 64). Notice that he allows these second causes, which are themselves providential (provided by God) produce sinful effects. He thinks God provides the second causes that produce sinful effects, and he is sure this, somehow, exonerates God from causing the sin and perversion the wicked do.
But, in spite of this lame dodge, Zanchius makes it abundantly clear that he thinks God is the sole cause of everything that happens—good, bad, and indifferent.
Listen to these direct quotes. Keep in mind that we have provided the italics to point up what he is saying.
“Whatever comes to pass, comes to pass by virtue of this absolute omnipotent will of God,” (page50).
“The will of God is so the cause of all things, as to be itself without cause, for nothing can be the cause of that which is the cause of everything,” (page 50).
He appeals to Luther for support, “God worketh all things in all men, even wickedness in the wicked,” (page 65).
“He produces actions by his power alone, which actions, as neither issuing from faith, nor being wrought with a view to the divine glory, nor done in the manner prescribed by the Divine word, are on these accounts properly denominated evil,” (page 66).
“Every work performed, whether good or evil, is done in strength, and by the power derived immediately from God himself,” (page 66).
Again, he appeals to Luther, “God would not be a respectable Being if He were not almighty, and the doer of all things that are done, or if anything could come to pass in which He had no hand,” (page 68).
If, in those quotes, Zanchius and Luther do not clearly and unambiguously charge God with being the cause of all things, whether good or evil, I confess I do not know any way words could express that doctrine. These Absoluters are so determined to provide an explanation of how God can foretell the future that they are perfectly willing to charge him with causing sin—in order to prop up their lame doctrine.
At first glance, Absolutism, like its sister doctrine, Calvinism, can be very beguiling. It seems to be a system that explains and organizes all things from the beginning to the end of time. It teaches that God is totally in charge, that nothing is beyond his control, that every motion, from the rise and fall of mighty empires to the fluctuation of every falling snowflake is according to one unchangeable master plan.
But when you scratch it just a little, you discover just below the surface, notions that are diametrically opposed to all the Bible teaches us about God and his attributes. It presents us with a god who must prop up his own attributes. It presents us with a god who is very much like us, a god who can only know the future, because he manipulates and orchestrates the future.
We can be sure that God does know everything that will ever come to pass, and he knows it down to the tiniest detail. But he knows that because he inhabits eternity. He is not bound by time the way we mortals are. That is a point the Absoluter readily acknowledges; but he never allows that fact to interfere with his system.
God is in charge; nothing is beyond his control. His power reaches to the mightiest heavenly bodies, and to the tiniest subatomic particle. But that does not mean he manipulates moral creatures and causes them to sin.
Our second article of faith says, “We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God, and the ONLY rule of faith and practice.” Pagan philosophy can be interesting to study, and I have spent more than my fair share of time studying it. But we should be cautious about supplementing the Bible with men’s philosophy.
We must always keep in mind that is what Absolutism is. It is the pagan doctrine of fate dressed up in a Christian garb and made to look like Christian doctrine.
It has been said that, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” and, unwilling to stand in wide-eyed wonder at the majesty of his Maker—the Absoluter rushes in with his book of pagan philosophy in hand.
Rather than simply acknowledge that God is God, and we are not—he traces all the sin and wickedness of the world to the decrees of God, and (either overtly or covertly) charges God with being the cause of every sin. He explains God in a way that is entirely different from the pure and thrice holy God of the Bible.
To end where we began, there comes a time when we must acknowledge that no matter how brilliant you may be, when you study about God and his attributes, there comes a point at which you are left in wide-eyed, slack-jawed amazement. At that point our learning must give way to wonder.
Isa 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” hlh (See also article on Ac 4:28)
ABSOLUTISM: Objections: C.H. Cayce: “If anyone fails to drink in and advocate the doctrines held to by them—that God absolutely and unconditionally predestinated all things that come to pass, and that man is an irresponsible machine, and no matter what meanness he does, he can’t help it—he is at once branded as an Arminian, or some other epithet is thrust at him, and they at once declare non-fellowship for him. This simply means that whatever their opinion is, it is the standard, and all must come up to the standard or be left out.” (Cayce’s Editorials, vol. 1, pg. 13)
C.H. Cayce: God did not predestinate that Adam should violate the law. God is the author of his predestination. You would surely admit this. Then, if God is the author of his predestination, and he predestinated that Adam should violate his law, then he is the author of the violation of that law. No man under heaven can escape that conclusion.
One had just as well say the moon is blue mud and then try to argue that it is not, as to say God predestinated that Adam should sin, and then try to argue that God is not the author of sin. God did predestinate the salvation of his people, and he is the author of their salvation. He is the author of His predestination.
If good, and not evil, was accomplished in Adam’s transgression, then there is no such thing as evil. The heathenish and idolatrous infidel saying, that “Whatever is, is right,” would then be true! Oh, horror of horrors! The idea that good, and not evil, is accomplished in all the crime, murder, theft, robbery, rape, wife-killing, mothers slaying their offspring—and all other crimes that are being committed all over the country! Lord, deliver us from such black, blasphemous, heathenish infidelity!
If God’s purpose was carried out in Adam, or if God predestinated that Adam should violate the law, then Adam did God’s will when he violated the law, or else God predestinated that Adam should not do his will. If God’s will was for Adam to violate the law, and he had predestinated that he do so, then God told him to do that which it was not his will for him to do. God told him not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If God had predestinated that he should eat of the fruit of that tree, then he told him not to do the thing that he had predestinated he should do.
The penalty for the violation of that law was death. If God willed and predestinated that he should violate the law, then the man is punished with death for doing God’s will, and what God predestinated that he should do. 1Co 10:5, But with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
If God predestinated that they should do as they did, then God was not well pleased with His own predestination. If God’s predestination is according to His will, then God was not well pleased with his own will in this instance, if he predestinated that they should do as they did. God did not predestinate that they should do as they did, for God is pleased with his predestination; but he was not pleased with them.
We fail to see where there is any grace in a system that puts the man in a state of sin by the predestination of God. If God predestinated that all should be sinners, and then he predestinated that some should be saved from sin, then God predestinated to save some from his own predestination. We fail to see where there is any room for grace in that kind of theory. It destroys every principle of grace. It would be as much damnation by grace as salvation by grace.
Man sinned wilfully, and by his own act brought condemnation and death. It was by man’s disobedience, and not by the predestination of God. Hence, God’s predestination has never damned anyone. But he did predestinate to save his chosen people from sin, and according to that predestination he saves them. His predestination to save them was grace—mercy alone. Hence they are saved by grace.
We love the doctrine of grace. Poor rebel sinners are saved by grace. Without grace we are forever lost. But we do not love the doctrine that God absolutely predestinated everything that comes to pass, and that God is the cause of our sins and wickedness. If that doctrine be true, then God absolutely predestinated that we should not believe it, and we are glad he did not leave that out. (Cayce’s Editorials, vol. 1, ppg 323,324)
C.H. Cayce: As to whether the doctrine that God did from all eternity absolutely and unconditionally predestinate everything that comes to pass, we are willing to let just about two passages from God’s word settle the matter. But in the first place we will say, without fear of successful contradiction, that the preaching of the truth, the preaching of the gospel in its purity, has never caused trouble or division in the Old Baptist Church. Advocating the doctrine of the predestination of all things does cause trouble among them. This is enough to prove that it is not the truth. But we call attention the Jer 7:8-10: “Behold, ye trust in lying words that cannot profit. 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, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?”
Then in Jer 7:15 and Jer 7:16, “And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.” Those people were guilty of committing abominations and then claiming that they were delivered to do those things. The idea of their claim is that God determined and fixed that they should do them and that they could not do otherwise. Their claim was wrong, and God said that he would cast them out of his sight.
Next we refer to Jer 19:5: “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.” In Jer 7:31 he says, “neither came it into my heart.” Now we will give any man until the next day after the Judgment to tell how God did from all eternity absolutely and unconditionally predestinate and fix a thing that never came into his heart or mind. (Cayce’s Editorials vol. 4, ppg 104, 105)
C.H. Cayce: In Ro 8:29 Paul tells us that those whom the Lord foreknew he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son; and in Ro 8:30 he says that whom He did predestinate, them he also called. In the epistle of the same apostle to the Ephesians, 1st chapter and 5th verse (Eph 1:5), he says, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” Verse 11, same chapter (Eph 1:11), he says, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”
These are the only places in the sacred Scriptures where these terms are used; and it is quite clear that in each case the apostle uses them in direct reference to the salvation of the chosen, or the predestinated way he leads his people, and no one is at liberty to use them in any other way than the God of our salvation is a sovereign ruler of the universe. No one of my capacity believes stronger than I that he most assuredly overrules all evil intentions of men and devils and gets the victory to himself, and that for his people.
But until I can explain how God can predestinate a thing and yet not be the author of it, I will not say that the wicked acts of men were predestinated by Him. It is the nature of men to sin. But salvation from sin could be accomplished only by God’s predestinating it. Whatever is said of the purposes of God, or of His overruling power, save in the places referred to, the apostles have seen fit to use other words than predestination; and if, as we believe, they wrote as the Holy Ghost dictated, the words they used were chosen by the Holy Ghost, and we cannot improve upon them.
When we use words not found in the Bible in an effort to make our position stronger, we weaken it instead. The strongest position is the Bible position, and its use of words the very best form. I do wish our brethren would stop using their own words and use those which the Holy Ghost gave to the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. These are intended for the instruction and edification of His humble poor, and do this better than any form of words that men can devise.
We all believe that our God is a sovereign; that the salvation of sinners is by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, and that we are dependent upon him for the grace that we daily need; and for all that we receive and enjoy, we desire to give Him the praise. We merit nothing but his judgments. But his mercy endureth forever. Our wrongs are in no sense chargeable to God. By man came sin, and sin is the transgression of the law, and hence contrary to the will of God. (Cayce’s Editorials vol. 4, ppg 351, 352)
The Book of ACTS: Sylvester Hassell: The book entitled the Acts of the Apostles forms the bridge between the gospels and the epistles. It is a direct continuation of the third gospel, by the same author, Luke, and is addressed to the same Theophilus (“friend of God”), probably a Christian convert of distinguished social position. In the Gospel Luke repeats what he heard and read; in the Acts what he heard and saw. The Gospel records the life and work of Christ; the Acts the work of the Holy Spirit, who is recognized at every step. The word Spirit, or Holy Spirit, occurs more frequently in the Acts than in any other book of the New Testament. It might properly be called “the Gospel of the Holy Spirit.”
The Acts is a cheerful and encouraging book, like the third gospel. It represents the progress of Christianity from Jerusalem, the capital of Judaism, to Rome, the capital of heathenism. It is a history of the planting of the church among the Jews by Peter, and among the Gentiles by Paul. More than three-fifths of it are devoted to Paul, and especially to his later labors and journeys, in which the author could speak from personal knowledge. Luke was in the company of Paul, including some interruptions, at least twelve years. He was again with Paul in his last captivity, shortly before Paul’s martyrdom, his most faithful and devoted companion (2Ti 4:11). He probably began the book of Acts or a preliminary diary while with Paul at Philippi, continuing it at Caesarea during Paul’s two years’ imprisonment there, and finishing it soon after Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, before the terrible persecution in the summer of A.D. 64, which he could hardly have left unnoticed.
The Acts and epistles supplement each other by a series of coincidences in all essential points. Paley’s examination of these numerous and undesigned coincidences in his Horoe Paulinoe, and James Smith’s Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul, furnish to readers of sound common sense and unbiased judgment with unanswerable arguments for the credibility of the Acts. No ancient work affords so many tests of veracity as the Acts, because no other has such numerous points of contacts in all directions with contemporary history, politics and topography, whether Jewish, or Greek, or Roman.
No other history of thirty years has ever been written so truthful and impartial, so important and interesting, so healthy in tone and hopeful in spirit, so aggressive and yet so genial, so cheering and inspiring, so replete with lessons of wisdom and encouragement for work in spreading the glad tidings of salvation, and yet withal so simple and modest, as the Acts of the Apostles.” (Hassell’s History ppg 204, 205)
Ac 4:28 “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”
The Absoluters claim this text; it is their fortress. They are sure it establishes their doctrine as no other text does.
But before we get to that, we need to establish what we mean by absolutism. Absolutism is the doctrine that before God created the world, he predetermined and predestinated everything that will ever happen in time. We are told that he arranged all the events, and all the conditions and circumstances leading up to those events so that everything that happens—good, bad, or indifferent— happens exactly the way he predestinated it to happen.
Those of us who do not believe that doctrine refuse to believe that he predestinated everything that happens. Especially we refuse to believe that he predestinated all the sin and wickedness in the world.
The Absoluter can come up with some mighty fancy footwork, explaining how God arranges conditions and circumstances, and something he calls second cause, so that a man does everything—for good or for evil—that God predestinated him do. It is amazing what elaborate tapestries he can weave in explaining how God can cause men to do every thing they do, without in any way being the cause of what they do.
The Absoluter insists that his doctrine does not make God the author of sin, but he persists in his argument that God arranged conditions and circumstances so that everything that happens—both good and evil—takes place in exactly the way he predestinated it to happen.
All of that brings us to our text. There can be no question that the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, together with the humiliation and mistreatment that was heaped on him, was the vilest, the most wicked, event in the history of the world. The Absoluter is sure that if he can prove God predestinated the wickedness that went on at Calvary, he will have no trouble in proving that God predestinated all the other wickedness in the world. And he is sure that is precisely what this text says. But that is not what it says. If you will stay with us for the next few minutes, I believe we can demonstrate that this text does not teach anything resembling the Absolute doctrine.
Two contrary forces at work
The first thing we need to point out is that there were two contrary forces at work that day, and it is impossible to imagine anything more different than those forces were. Those two forces had two different causes—two different sources—and, ultimately, two different ends in view. It is the failure to recognize those opposite forces—and the different causes behind those forces—that has caused most of the confusion about this text.
The first force was man at war with his Maker. That war began with the sin of Adam in the very morning of time, and it continues until this very day, but it reached its climax at the crucifixion of our Lord. Never in all of history has man ever raged against his Maker the way he did at Calvary.
In order to save his people from their sins, and from eternal damnation, God became man; he became incarnate in human flesh. He took on him such a nature as you and I have. As God he could not be tempted; he could not suffer, and he could not die. He became man in order to do all those things.
The adversary opposed him every step of the way; but it was especially at Calvary that he did everything within his power to destroy him. All the wickedness that went on at Calvary was man’s work. It was the ultimate expression of his war against his Maker. That wickedness was no part of the atonement, and it was no part of redemption.
The second force at work was the grace of God working out salvation on behalf of his people. God had determined from all eternity that he would save his people, and that is what he was working out at the cross. At Calvary he worked out the atonement; he brought about the redemption of his people.
Redemption and atonement
Before we go any further we need to define redemption and atonement. They go together, and one is the inevitable result of the other. There is no way you can have one without the other, and they are so bound together there is nothing really wrong in referring to them as the same thing. We use the terms limited atonement and particular redemption interchangeably. But it seems to me they are not exactly the same thing. It is kind of like fire and heat Fire and heat are not the same thing; but one is the inevitable result of the other.
Redemption was God’s buying back of his people from his own righteous indignation against sin. It was his payment of their sin debt. Atonement is our reconciliation with God, based on the payment of our sin debt.
First, redemption is the payment of our sin debt.
1Pe 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Re 5:9, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation.”
Atonement is the reconciliation with God that was purchased, and brought about, by that redemption. It is the result of redemption.
Ro 5:10-11, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
Redemption and atonement were the work of God, and the wicked conduct of those men had nothing to do with it. They participated in their own damnation; but they did not participate in our salvation.
The Crucifixion and the Atonement
We also need to point out that the atonement and the crucifixion were not the same thing, and perhaps, that is the most important lesson to learn. The crucifixion was man’s work; the atonement was God’s work. They are two entirely different things, and we must never confuse the two.
Man had nothing to do with redemption, but he had everything to do with the crucifixion of the Lord. It was men who took him through the mock trial. Men beat him with whips. Men beat him until his form was more marred than any man. Men cut the timbers. Men assembled the cross. Men drove the nails. It was a man who pierced his side. Men mocked him, and ridiculed him. That was all man’s work, but nothing man did had any part in redemption.
At the very most all those men did was a reflection of what God was doing—out of their sight.
The climax of man’s rebellion
Question: if nothing the soldiers did, contributed anything to our salvation, what is the significance of the crucifixion?
The significance of the crucifixion is that it was the ultimate climax of man’s rebellion against God—his war against God.
Never in time or eternity did the ultimate good and the ultimate evil come face to face the way they did at Calvary. In the very face of the greatest evil this world has ever known God worked out the salvation of his people, and nothing they could do could stop him.
When a jeweler is showing a diamond he will often display it on a black velvet cloth. The beauty of the diamond is seen all the more clearly against the black background. God contrasted all he did on behalf of his people against all the wickedness that went on that day. The glory of God’s grace is all the more resplendent against the blackness of man’s sin.
Man has been at war with his Maker ever since Adam sinned. All during the public ministry of the Lord the adversary did all within his power to destroy him. He could not destroy him. But when his time was fully come, the Father delivered his Son into their hands, and suffered them to do their worst.
“Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain,” Ac 2:23.
Far from participating in the work, man was raging against his Maker at the very moment God was working out the salvation of his people.
Two different forces; two different causes
Again, there were two different forces, and two different causes at work that day. The cause of the atonement was the purpose, the grace, and the mercy of God. The cause of the crucifixion was the hatred and corruption man’s corrupt and depraved heart.
It was not God that put such hatred in their heart. We are told plainly, “They hated me without a cause.” That is, they did not need God to cause them to hate him. Those who claim God is the cause of everything those wicked men did that day have God to argue with. God tells us in no uncertain language, “They hated me without a cause.” Their hatred flowed naturally and freely from the corruption of their own heart. It did not flow from the purpose and grace of God.
The Crucifixion was not the Atonement
The crucifixion was no part of the atonement. Nothing those wicked men did was any part of the atonement. Rather the crucifixion was the time and place where God worked out the atonement. It was the context in which God did his work; but it was not part of that work.
God had determined from all eternity that he would work out the atonement in the context of the crucifixion, and he prophesied that he would do just that. He would display his grace against the dark background of their wickedness. But their wickedness would play no part in what he was doing on behalf of his people, and there is no way anybody can show that he predestinated their wickedness—nor any wicked thing they did.
We are simply told that God delivered his Son into their hand. Their wicked depraved heart did the rest.
“Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain,” Ac 2:23.
Old Elder Benjamin Lampton used to say, “It was not necessary for God to predestinate wickedness; man has done a very good job of that all by himself.” God delivered Jesus into their hand, and they did what their depraved heart moved them to do.
God inhabits eternity; he is not bound by time
But somebody wants to know, “How could God purpose to work out redemption in the context of the crucifixion, if he did not fix and predestinate all those men did?
God is the eternal one; he inhabits eternity. He is not bound by time the way you and I are. All is one eternal now with him. He can look across time as easily as you and I can look across a room. But he is no more the cause of all he sees, than we are the cause of all we see.
Sin did not bring salvation
But, back to our subject, nothing those men did contributed in any way to our salvation. There is no way around it. If what those men did contributed to the atonement, then sin brought salvation. If what they did contributed to the atonement, then Jesus did not do the work by himself. That would make them his helpers; it would make them joint-saviors with him. But that is not the way the Bible tells it.
“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me....And I looked and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury it upheld me,” Isa 63:3,5.
He says it over and over; there was nobody involved in this work except himself. The Arminian thinks the preacher is involved; the Absoluter thinks those who nailed him to the cross were involved. They are both wrong.
One harmonious fabric
Keep in mind that the Bible is one harmonious fabric throughout. It is consistent; it never contradicts itself. If there is ever a contradiction, it is in your own mind.
Also keep in mind that in studying the Bible you begin with what is clear and undeniable. Then (with the Lord’s help) you study and reason your way—step by step—toward that which is not so clear. If you start with what is most clear, and move one step after another to the next most obvious fact, by the time you finish, you will often discover that those unclear questions have fallen into place. That is certainly the case with this text.
What God determined before to be done
But somebody replies, “For all you have said, the question remains, what was it God determined before to be done?”
To answer the question, notice why God sent his Son in the first place. God determined from all eternity that his Son should suffer and die on behalf of his people.
That is what he “determined before to be done.”
That is why he came into this world. That is why he went to Calvary. God imputed our sins to his Son, and he suffered and died to pay our sin debt. That is what redemption is all about. That is the basis of the atonement. Our sins, and the guilt of our sins, were removed by the suffering and death of our Lord.
“For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done,” Ac 4:27-28. Exactly what does he mean by what God’s hand and counsel “determined before to be done?” The Absoluter tells us it involves all that went on that day. He tells us God orchestrated and manipulated every stroke and every blow that struck our Lord, that he predestinated every vile thing that was done to him.
But we must never charge God with being the author of sin, and we must never charge him with manipulating any man, and causing him to sin.
We said before that the Absoluter can come up with some mighty fancy footwork, explaining how God can arrange conditions and circumstances, and something he calls second cause, so one thing inevitably leads to another, and that man does everything—for good or evil—that God predestinated him to do. It is amazing what elaborate tapestries he can weave in explaining how God can cause men to do everything they do, without being the cause of what they do.
But we do not need theological mumbo-jumbo. If we will just let the Bible explain the Bible, most subjects become fairly simple. And this subject is simple enough, if you just let the clearest texts explain those that are not so clear.
God purposed that his Son should suffer and die
It was the purpose of God that his Son should suffer and die, and up to that point that was also the purpose of those who were gathered together.
It was the purpose of that mob that Jesus should suffer and die. It is in that sense they were gathered to do what God determined before to be done. They gathered together to bring about the suffering and death of the Lord.
The same intent; different causes
But their motive, and the cause of their action were totally different from God’s purpose. God determined that his Son should give his life; the mob intended to take his life.
The cause of what God did was the most loving and gracious of all motives. The cause of all they did was the most evil and hateful of all motives. The one sprang from the purpose, the love and mercy of God; the other sprang from the corruption of their own depraved heart.
No one can reasonably deny that they were, indeed, gathered together for to do whatsoever God’s hand and counsel determined before to be done. They were gathered together to bring about the suffering and death of the Lord.
But God was no more the cause of all the evil they did, than they were the cause of what God did.
When you get the lesson in any text, you should let it rest. You should not stretch it out of all reason in order to make it say what it does not say. You do not have to torture and stretch this text and make it cover all the sin and wickedness that went on in connection with the suffering and death of the Lord. You should simply take the verse for what it says, and leave it at that.
Please bear with my repetition; but it cannot be emphasized too often. The Lord tells us, “They hated me without a cause.” They did not need God to predestinate that they would hate him. Their hatred—and all that sprang from that hatred—flowed naturally and freely from the corruption of their own depraved heart.
We mentioned a moment ago that if you will begin with what is clear and undeniable, and move step by step from that to the next clearest point, eventually you may very well find yourself at the question that has been troubling you, and that question may fall right into place. That is what we hope to do in the next few pages.
The Absoluter limits God’s ability to know the future
We need to realize first that God knows everything there is to know. He knows everything that will ever happen before it happens, and he has known it from all eternity. That is one of the proofs that he is God. The Absoluter tells us that God cannot know what is going to happen, unless he has determined to manipulate and orchestrate all the conditions and circumstances leading up to that event, so that whatever happens is the inevitable result of all that has gone before.
But that notion limits God. It has God using his power to prop up his foreknowledge. It would have us believe that if God did not cause all things to happen just the way they do, he could not know what would happen. They are sure his foreknowledge would come crashing to the ground.
Those who think God must make men do what they do, in order to know what they are going to do, have imagined that God is like we are. But God is not like us. He is not so limited that he cannot know what is going to happen without orchestrating and manipulating it to make it happen. That is one of the proofs he is God.
God knows all that will ever happen, and when he chooses to do so, he reveals to us as much as he wants us to know. Over a period of hundreds of years he inspired the prophets to write all that was needed to be known about the life and death, the ministry and crucifixion of the Lord.
There could never be any doubt that all that transpired at Calvary would come about the way God had prophesied it would.
There is ever so much God does that we cannot explain. In fact, we cannot explain the how of most of what God does. We cannot explain how he created an entire universe out of nothing. He is so vast the very heaven of heavens cannot contain him, and yet he was born of a woman and lived in a body such as you and I have. We cannot explain that. We cannot explain how the Spirit does its work in regeneration. We cannot explain how he is going to raise the dead. So we should not be surprised that we cannot explain how he can know every tiny detail of what is going to happen in the future.
But it is the height of folly to try to explain the unexplain-able by insisting that God knows the future, because he pulls the strings, and makes everything—both good and evil—happen just the way it does. Nobody was ever more foolish, than when he tries to compensate for his own ignorance by charging God with being the source of all the evil in the world.
God succeeded at the cross; the mob failed
They were, indeed, gathered together for the purpose of bringing about the death of the Lord; but they totally failed. They did everything they could to kill him, and they could not do it.
Then what does it mean, when it says, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain,” Ac 2:23, or when it says they “killed the Lord Jesus,” 1 Thess 2:15. Do those verses not say plainly that they killed the Lord?
When it says they “killed the Lord,” it is talking about their sin. It is not talking about what they actually accomplished. We have the Lord’s word for it that they did not have the power to kill him.
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep,” Joh 10:11. They did not take his life; he gave it.
Again we are told, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father,” Joh 10:17-18.
But the question remains, we are told over and over that they killed the Lord (Mr 8:31; 9:31). How can you say that does not indicate they were successful in killing the Lord? Again, the Lord was talking about their sin. They were, indeed guilty of killing the Lord, even though they did not succeed in accomplishing what they tried to do.
In his book entitled Justification, Elder J. H. Oliphant explains it very well. “Sin resides in the will, the intent; not so much in the act as in the will. A man shot with the design to kill a deer; he missed the deer and killed a friend; there was a man killed, but the crime of murder was not committed. Another man shot with the design of killing a man; he missed the man and killed a deer. In this case there was murder, but no one killed; the crime was in the will. In this way men may be guilty of murder, theft, adultery, etc., without the deed actually being committed. The will is the nest of sin.”
Even though they failed in their effort to kill the Lord, they were guilty of killing him, nonetheless.
They intended to kill him. They were gathered together for the purpose of killing him. They did everything necessary to be done in order to kill him—if it had been possible that he could have been killed. And they left thinking they had killed him. So they did everything necessary to incur their guilt. But for all they did, they still did not succeed in killing the Lord.
Bear in mind that the nature of the act is determined by the motive of the heart. That is a principle clearly established in law. A prosecuting attorney told me recently that he had sent men to the penitentiary on that distinction.
It was the death of our Lord that paid our sin debt. If they had actually succeeded in killing the Lord, we might conclude that their sin did, indeed, contribute to our salvation, but that is not the case. They could not kill him; he laid his life down.
With his stripes we are healed
But somebody reminds us that Isaiah says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed,” Isa 53:5.
They wounded him; they bruised him, and they put the stripes on his back. If we are healed with his stripes, suppose those people had just stayed at home. Then how could we be healed with his stripes? They wounded and bruised him; does that not show that what they did had some part to play in the atonement? No, it does not.
The simplest rule in Bible study is: read the context. The Bible explains itself better than any of us can explain it. If you will read just a few verses before and after, it will become clear which wounds, and bruises, and stripes are under consideration. It was not the marks those people put on his back.
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted,” Isa 53:4. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who laid those stripes on him. He was “stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. That is the verse immediately before our text.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed,” Isa 53:5.
Again, notice the plain language of the text. These wounds were for our transgressions. These bruises were for our iniquities. This chastisement was for our peace. That language does not describe anything those people did to the Lord. They were not the least concerned with making satisfaction for our transgressions, our iniquities. They had no interest in our peace. Everything they did was to satisfy their own malice.
Those were the stripes God the Father placed on the soul of our Lord when he was working out our redemption. They were not the stripes the soldiers put on his back.
Keep reading if you will. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” Isa 53:6. Again in Isa 53:8, “For the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Again, those soldiers did not strike him to remove our transgressions. They did not strike him to satisfy the just demands of God’s righteous law; they struck him to satisfy their own malice.
The prophet will not allow us to miss the point. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief,” Isa 53:10. If anybody jumps to the conclusion that the bruises and stripes under consideration were the marks on his back, he is just not paying attention. The passage is as clear as it needs to be. “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” This is not talking about the soldiers; this is a transaction between God the Father and his Son.
He goes on in Isa 53:11. “He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied.” He did not say, “He shall see the pain in his hands and his feet.” He did not say, “He shall see the pain in his back.” He says, “He shall see of the travail of his soul—and shall be satisfied.”
The agony those soldiers imposed on his body did not satisfy the righteous demands of God’s law, but the travail of his soul did. “He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied.”
We cannot imagine how intense the agony was that he suffered in having nails driven through his hands and feet. We cannot imagine the agony of the crown of thorns pressed down on his brow. His physical suffering must have been intense beyond our ability to imagine. But for all the excruciating physical pain he suffered, that was a small thing compared to the travail of his soul.
For over fifty years I have preached how the Lord legally and judicially carried our sins to the cross. And that is true; he did. He carried our sins to the cross and he fully paid our sin debt. That debt will never again be required of any child of God. That is the theme of this fifty third chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah.
But then, one day, I realized that, not only did the Lord legally and judicially carry my sins to the cross. He consciously carried my sins.
As he was hanging on the cross he could consciously feel the weight and the guilt of my sins. The Lord had never been so precious to me as he was at that moment, when I first realized that he could actually feel the guilt of my sins pressing down on his soul.
If you will, think back to a time when you did something you knew was wrong. You thought about it before you did it. You argued with your conscience. You decided that at any other time, and under any other circumstances, and, perhaps, for anybody else, it would be wrong, but maybe, just this once and never again, it would be alright. When you argue with your self over whether something is wrong or not, you almost always lose.
So you went ahead and did whatever it was you were thinking about, and no sooner than you did it, your conscience woke up. Your conscience can be a very poor guide. It will be as quiet as a mouse until the deed is done, and then, when it is too late, it will wake up and accuse you.
Do you remember how guilty you felt, how helpless and undone. There was no excuse; you did it with your eyes open, and then you paid the consequences. Let me read to you a description of how you felt.
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death,” Ps 22:14-15.
If those expressions do not describe the torment of a guilty conscience, I do not know any way words can describe it.
The chapter begins with, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.” Those were the very words of the Lord as he was hanging on the cross. The entire passage is a prophecy of the crucifixion. It allows us to look into the inner workings of the mind of the Lord as he was bearing and feeling the weight and the guilt of our sins.
Read the passage again and again, and feel in some small way the travail of his soul as he bore your sins and mine.
When you consider how you felt when your sins were pressing on your soul, suppose that at some time you should feel all the guilty consciences you have ever felt in your entire life tormenting you at the same time. Do you think you could bear the load.
Now consider that not only did the Lord consciously feel the weight and guilt of all your sins pressing on his soul as he was hanging on the cross, he could consciously feel ALL the guilt of ALL the sins of ALL his people.
There are people who, for one reason or another, have suffered great physical pain. I am told, and I have no doubt that it is true, that the pain of massive third degree burns is the most agonizing of all pain. There are people who know what that kind of pain is like.
But the human mind cannot conceive of the travail of his soul as our Lord consciously felt the weight and all the guilt of all the sins of all his people pressing down on him.
That was the travail of his soul Isaiah was talking about. That was what he carried on the cross. It is in that sense that Isaiah said, “He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.” That was the greatest agony of the cross. Compared to that, the physical pain, excruciating though it might be, was a little thing.
“My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
As he was hanging on the cross, suspended between heaven and earth—apparently rejected by both—the sun refused to shine, and God the Father turned his back on his own Son. It was then that in the travail of his soul he cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It was then that he paid the price of our redemption. It was then that God accepted the travail of his soul and was satisfied.
Seven hundred years before the fact Isaiah said, “He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied,” Isa 53:11. The just demands of God’s broken law were satisfied by the travail God the Father heaped on the soul of our Lord. They were not satisfied by the marks the soldiers made on his back.
The Messianic prophecies fulfilled
All the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled in Christ. The types contained in the Old Testament sacrifices found their fulfillment in him. The sacrifices symbolized him. The priesthood symbolized him. There were four necessary elements in the Old Testament sacrifices, and they found their fulfillment in the work of Christ on the cross.
First, there was the sacrifice itself; he was the sacrifice. Every little lamb that was offered pointed to him.
Isa 53:7, “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
Joh 1:29, “Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.”
Second, there was the priest to offer the sacrifice.
Heb 9:11,14, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come......who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God.”
Third, there was the altar on which the sacrifice was offered. Keep in mind that the cross was not the altar on which Christ offered himself to God. If the cross, or Calvary, was the altar on which he was offered, the altar was desecrated; there were two thieves crucified at the same time and place. The altar on which Christ offered himself to the Father was the altar of his own deity.
Mt 23:19, “Ye fools and blind, for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?”
Christ was not sanctified by Mount Calvary nor by the cross. The human nature of Christ was sanctified by its union with his divine nature.
And fourth, there was the Father to either accept or reject the sacrifice. The Father imputed our sins to his Son (Isa 53:6); he poured out on him his wrath against sin; and smote him (Isa 53:4), and bruised him, and brought him to grief (Isa 53:10), and was satisfied with the travail of his soul (Isa 53:11) as an offering for sin (Isa 53:10).
The alpha and the omega, our all in all
Christ Jesus is our all in all. He is the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. The redemption was a transaction between God the Father and his Son. God provided everything that was necessary for our redemption. He did not need any help from anybody.
He was the sacrifice; he was the priest who offered the sacrifice; he was the altar that sanctified the sacrifice; and the Father accepted the sacrifice.
That did not leave man anything to do. You cannot find any place to squeeze man into the work. Those men heaped on the body of our Lord all the abuse, and suffering, and insult they were able to come up with. But nothing they did was sufficient to kill him, and it was not sufficient to satisfy the just demands of God’s righteous law.
From all eternity God chose to display his grace against the black background of man’s greatest offense, but God did not need their participation in the redemption. Had he chosen to do so, he could have done everything he did, if they had all stayed at home.
God determined that his Son should suffer and die. Up to that point they were, indeed, gathered together to do whatsoever God’s hand and counsel “determined before to be done.” They were determined that he should suffer and die. But God determined that he should give his life; they determined to take his life. God succeeded; man failed.
Isa 63:3,5, “I have trodden the winepress along; and of the people there was none with me....And I looked and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold; therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.”
ADAM: C.H. Cayce: Before Adam transgressed the law he was a good natural man. He did not have the God-life, or spiritual life. He was in possession of an upright natural life. He was without sin—good. When he violated the law he lost his moral uprightness. He lost his moral standing. From then to now Adam, in nature, has had absolutely no moral or upright standing with God. He lost it in the fall.
What Christ did was not done for Adam, or for the whole race of Adam, but for those chosen out of the race of Adam.
Hence, Adam, as Adam, was not restored to anything in Christ. The Lord’s chosen, Christ’s bride (those who were given to Him for His bride) are restored in Christ, not simply to what they lost in Adam, but to more. They “receive double.” They are given eternal life through Christ. If they were only restored to the original state, they would not reach heaven. Hence the Lord’s people receive more in and through Christ than was lost in and through Adam.” (Cayces Editorials vol. 1, ppg 342,343)
Adam: what did he lose when he sinned C.H. Cayce: When God made the man He made him a natural man—a complete man, composed of soul, body and spirit. It takes the three (soul, body and spirit) to constitute a complete man. The man was not a fit subject for heaven, for if he had been, God would have placed him there. God made no mistake, and placed the man in the garden of Eden, where he was capacitated to live and enjoy the blessings of his Creator so long as he obeyed His law.
The man was morally good and upright as he came from the plastic hand of his Creator. In his transgression he lost that moral uprightness—he was separated from it. Death is a separation. He lost his moral standing with God. He did not lose a heavenly life, for he never had it to lose. As before stated, he was not capacitated for heaven; and he stood as much in need of a higher order of life before the transgression in order that he be prepared to live in and enjoy heaven, as we need it today.
But we not only need the higher order of life in order that we live in heaven, but we also need atonement, or reconciliation, or satisfaction for our sins. Hence, as we see it, Adam was simply a natural man, composed of soul, body and spirit, with good moral standing before God before the transgression. In the transgression he lost all this moral standing, became corrupted, poisoned and contaminated with sin.” (Cayce’s Editorials vol. 2, ppg 85)
Adam: could he have kept the law: C.H. Cayce: If Adam could not have kept the law, then his condemnation for the violation of the law is not just; and if his condemnation is not just, then the law was not just. But the apostle says (Ro 7:12) that the law is just. If the law is just, then the punishment for the violation of the law is just; and if the punishment is just, then the man could have kept the law. He did not have to violate it.
To say that man had to violate the law in order that God carry out His plan of salvation is to say that man had to commit sin in order to be saved in heaven. This would not only make eternal salvation conditional, but would make it conditional upon the wicked works of men. That is worse than the rankest Arminianism we ever heard.
Some people accused the apostle of preaching and teaching the principle “Let us do evil that good may come.” The apostle denied the charge and said that it was a slanderous report. He did not teach that man had to violate the law in order that God carry out His plan of salvation. The man who does teach that teaches heresy of the very worst sort. He must want a cloak to hide behind to do some meanness. (Cayce’s Editorials vol. 2, ppg 182,183)
ADAM’S TRANSGRESSION: Harold Hunt
Ge 2:16-17, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
Our Articles of Faith say, “We believe in the doctrine of original sin.” By that we mean, “We believe in the doctrine of the origin of sin.” It means the same thing. In other words, this is where sin started; this is the origin, the source, of sin. This is why we are the way we are; this is how we came to be sinners. We believe that when Adam partook of the forbidden fruit, he became a sinner, and all his posterity became sinners with him, and in him. Adam sinned and brought the wrath of God on all mankind.
But that raises a question. How is it that one man, eating a handful of fruit, half way round the world, and six thousand years ago, had that kind of impact on all mankind? How did one act by one man bring the wrath of God on all men? I believe the Bible makes it plain enough.
Our Federal Head
Before we look at the consequences of Adam’s sin, we need to first point out that Adam stood as the federal head of all his offspring. By federal head, we mean that he represented us; whatever he did was as if we had done it.
But you tell me, “I don’t like this representative principle. If that is what the representative principle is all about, I don’t like it.” Well, you live with the representative principle every day of your life, whether you like it or not. A few months ago, we elected people and sent them to Washington to represent us. For better or worse, we elect representatives, and we send them to Nashville, or Raleigh, or Washington, to do whatever it is they do. And whatever they do, they do in our name. They represent us, and whatever they do is just as if we did it.
Several years ago there was a congress that had been in session for some time, and according to the news media, they had not accomplished a thing. They got to calling them the do nothing congress. One evening on the six o’clock news, the news anchor made the comment that congress had been in session for so many weeks, and they had not accomplished anything yet. They only had so many weeks to go, and if they were going to do anything, they had better do it in the next six weeks.
I thought that was the best news I had heard out of Washington yet. If they could just hold out for six more weeks, we might have it made until next year. I am one of those folks who think the less they do in Washington, the better I like it.
But, anyway, Adam did stand as our representative; he stood as our federal head. If you object to his representing us, do you believe you would have done any better? Suppose God should say, “Okay, we are going to wipe out Adam’s record, and from this moment forward, you are going to stand or fall on your own record. I am going to judge you on the final day, based on what you do from today until the day you die.”
Bearing in mind that it is only going to take one transgression to plunge you off into eternal damnation, do you think you would do better than Adam did? Knowing my track record, I believe I had just as soon leave it the way it is.
God Cannot Lie
Having said all of that, let us see what the Bible says about it. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” Ge 2:16,25.
The Bible does not mention very many things God cannot do. It says he cannot lie (Heb 6:18); he cannot deny himself (2Ti 2:13); and he cannot swear by one greater than himself (Heb 6:13). In other words, he cannot do anything that is contrary to his own nature and attributes. But the point we are getting to is that God cannot lie. If God says it, it is right.
In the little town where I live there is a church related college, and being church related, they require their students to take the required amount of instruction in Bible. I don’t know why they bother. Somebody told me his son-in-law had just graduated from that college. He said the very first thing the professor told him in the first lecture in Bible 101 was that when God told Adam, “In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die,” God lied.
I don’t know why they teach the course. Why do they even pretend to believe the Bible, when they make a comment like that? God said, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” and since God said it, we can be sure that, the very day Adam sinned, he died. But Adam lived to be 930 years old, so obviously God was not saying he would die a physical death the day he sinned. He did not mean that Adam was going to keel over, and fall stone cold dead on the ground the instant he ate the fruit. He died a different kind of death.
Well, if God did not mean Adam was going to die a physical death the instant he sinned, what did he mean?
I have been told that Adam did not die a physical death; he died a spiritual death. But did Adam die a spiritual death? Are we to believe that Adam had spiritual life and lost it? If Adam had spiritual life and lost it, would it not be possible that you and I might do the same thing. We have been born of the Spirit; we have spiritual life. If Adam could have spiritual life and lose it, why could we not lose our spiritual life?
The Bible says that is not going to happen. In Joh 10:27, the Lord says, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” No person who has spiritual life will ever lose it; he will never perish.
Adam did not die a spiritual death; he did not have spiritual life to lose. He was not a spiritual being. The Bible says that. In 1Co 15:46, “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural and afterward that which is spiritual.” Look it up; it was talking about Adam. He was first a natural man, and afterward a spiritual man.
As God created him, Adam was an innocent, upright, natural man; he was not a spiritual man. There was no moral dimension to being devoid of the spirit. He was simply what God made him. He was a good, upright, innocent, natural man.
For that matter, he was not yet a proper subject to live in heaven. If he had been, that is where God would have put him. He was a proper subject to live in the Garden of Eden, and that is where God put him.
Dead in Trespasses and Sins
Then he sinned, and he died; but what kind of death did he die? The Bible tells us plainly enough. Eph 2:1, “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Adam trespassed and he sinned, and he died in trespasses and sins. I believe a third grader could understand that, don’t you?
Dying in trespasses and sins, he lost all moral standing with God. Sometimes it is said he died a moral death. That approaches the subject from a slightly different direction; but it is saying exactly the same thing. The unregenerate are dead in trespasses and sins, with no moral standing with God.
There is a principle I think we should go by in preaching. If you cannot make it simple, leave it alone. I believe the best way to preach is to preach in such manner, that the little ones can understand—and hope the old folks can keep up. So what kind of death did Adam die?
He trespassed, and he sinned, and he died in trespasses and in sins.
When did that happen? It happened the very day he sinned. God said, “For in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” It happened in the manner, and at the time, God said it would.
His Nature Changed
I believe it happened the very instant he sinned. No sooner had Adam sinned, than there was a profound change that took place. His very nature changed. He immediately went from being an innocent, upright, natural man to being a wicked, sinful, depraved, natural man. In a moment we will see that the change in his nature became immediately evident. He did not fall stone cold, dead on the ground, but as soon as he sinned, it became obvious that everything was different to what it had been.
There are no degrees in death. There is no dead, deader, and deadest. As soon as Adam sinned, he was totally, completely dead in trespasses and sins, and everything he did, from that moment on, demonstrated that he was indeed dead in trespasses and sins. Physical death would come many years later, and that death was also the result of his sin; but the death he died the day he sinned was total, and it was instantaneous. In the next few pages, I hope to show the profound change that took place in Adam as soon as he sinned.
As soon as he sinned, everything was different. Before he sinned he was a good, upright, innocent, natural man. As soon as he sinned he became a wicked, sinful, depraved
natural man. He was still devoid of the spirit; but he was devoid of the spirit before. After he sinned he is devoid of the Spirit—and alienated from God.
As soon as he sinned he began to demonstrate by his conduct what he had become. The Bible takes us step by step through what Adam did, and what the consequences were. It records what he did, how he did it, and what he did to us. That is what I want to notice.
In the Likeness and Image of Adam
In Ge 1:26 we read, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” On the strength of that text any number of theologians have explained that mankind is made in God’s likeness and image, but the text does not say that.
Adam was created in the likeness and image of God, but when Adam began to father children, he “begat a son in his own likeness, after his image.” Adam was created in the likeness and image of God; you and I were born in the likeness and image of Adam.
And that is our problem. We were not born with the nature Adam had before he sinned; we were born with the nature Adam possessed—after he sinned and transgressed the law of God. We are what we are, because of what Adam made us, because of what Adam did to us.
Adam was created an upright, innocent natural man. He was a natural man, but a natural man created in the likeness and image of God. Then he sinned, and he lost what he had. He became a wicked, depraved, sinful natural man. And when he began to father children it was that wicked, sinful nature he passed on to his offspring.
Every living creature begets offspring based on its own nature. Dogs give birth to dogs. Cats give birth to cats. And sinners give birth to sinners. Because Adam sinned every human being from that day to this has been born a sinner. The fountain was poisoned at its source. When Adam sinned, his nature became sinful, and he passed that sinful nature down to his offspring.
Children do not grow up to be sinners. We were born sinners. We came into this world with that sinful nature about us. I know there are a lot of people who have the idea that you turn into a sinner at age twelve, or perhaps, at age seven. But no, we were born sinners.
A man went to the hospital to visit his sister; she had just delivered a new baby. And he did what we all do; he went to the big plate glass window where they show the babies; and he did all the ooh’s and ah’s, and made silly faces. He finally went back to his sister’s room and told her, “I believe that is the prettiest little sinner, I ever saw.”
That offended his sister. She was just plumb upset with him. How dare he come back here and tell me my baby is a pretty little sinner? She got all put out. But a day or so later, her time was up, and they sent her home. And they sent the baby with her. About six weeks later, she called her brother. She was at her wits end, and she said, “You are right, that baby is a sinner.”
We do not turn into sinners. We were born sinners. We came into this world selfish, and self centered, and always thinking about ourselves. As soon as we were able to have any kind of thoughts, we thought about ourselves. Let me ask you, suppose you set a little two year old in the middle of the floor. He is old enough to sit up and play with his toys. Put a half dozen toys around him. He only needs two, one for each hand. But there are a half dozen toys around him. He has not even noticed some of them.
Then you set another two year old among those toys. You know what is going to happen. That second baby is going to pick up one of the toys. Now what is going to happen? That first baby may not have paid any attention to that toy until the other kid picks it up, but he will let him know right now, “That is my toy, and you put it down, and leave it alone.” And if he does not put it down, he may clap the other kid over the head with one of the toys he has in his hand.
Did you ever wonder how babies seem to know that if you take an object and hit it up against the head of another kid it makes him unhappy? Did you ever wonder where they learn that? You don’t have to send him to kindergarten to teach him. He comes into this world knowing how to hit, and with a strong inclination to do it. We were born sinners. We came into this world with that nature.
I have heard it said that, if you want the truth, ask a child. You have heard that, I am sure. I have heard that all my life. That is another of those things that are just not true. A child will tell you the truth, if he is not afraid of the truth. But if he is afraid of the truth, he can come up with the most bodacious lies. You can walk into the room; there are crayon marks all over the wall, and he has a crayon in his hand, but he did not do it. His little invisible friend did it. The Bible tells us, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” A child comes into this world knowing how to lie; you have to teach him to tell the truth; and you have to teach him the consequences of lying.
The Brightest of All Men
Bear in mind that when Adam sinned, he wilfully, deliberately, rebelled against God. He sinned, knowing full well what he was doing, and what the consequences would be. I have had people tell me the serpent tricked Adam into doing what he did. But did the serpent trick Adam? God knew somebody would say that; so he provided a text to answer the objection. Paul told the young preacher Timothy, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived was in the transgression,” 1Ti 2:14 . That makes it clear enough; the serpent did not deceive Adam; he did not trick him into sinning.
Adam was not deceived, but notice the rest of the verse, “But the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” The serpent did trick the woman, but he did not and could not trick Adam. Adam was too bright for the devil to deceive him.
Have you ever read any of those self-improvement, self-help books that talk about how we only use ten percent of our mental capacity? Sometimes they claim we only use about three percent. I think that may still be on the high side. But when they talk about how we only use a small percent of our mental capacity, the thing they forget is that, even though the mental capacity may be there, Adam blew all the circuits.
We still have walking around sense, but we do not have the intellect Adam had before he sinned. Outside of the Lord Jesus Christ, Adam was the most brilliant man who ever lived. Does the Bible say Adam was the brightest man who ever lived? It does not say that in so many words, but it does give a very good demonstration. Read Ge 2:19. “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them, and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”
How many different species of living creature do you think there are in the world? A German scientist by the name of Ernst Mayr claimed there were 17,600 different species.
That is the smallest estimate I ever read. I don’t know how he came up with that exact number. It is always a guess when they tell us how many species there are, because they cannot know for sure what constitutes a species.
Nowadays, they are more likely to say there are over three hundred thousand species. Evolutionary types always inflate the number; they want to come up with more species than Noah could get on the ark, but that is a subject for another time. But suppose the smaller number is correct, and there are only 17,600 different species. If that is right, Adam came up with over 17,000 names, and more than that, he remembered the names.
Did you study a foreign language in school? Did you study French, or Spanish? Perhaps, some of you may have studied Latin. They hardly ever teach Latin any more. What is the toughest part about mastering any language? Building a vocabulary, right? If you can build a big enough vocabulary, you can get by without a grammar. If you string enough words together, and sprinkle in an assortment of prepositions, and a few adverbs of time, you can get your point across without a grammar. It may be mighty clumsy, but if you have a sufficient vocabulary, you can improvise without a grammar.
Do you know anybody who could go to the local bookstore, and buy a dual language dictionary, perhaps, a French-English, or Spanish-English dictionary, and master it in one reading. Do you know anybody who could read a dual language dictionary like a novel, and just lay it on the shelf. He will never have to look up a word; he read the book; he remembers what it said.
Do you know anybody who could do that? Of course not. Nobody you ever met could do that, but Adam could. I have checked it several times; most of those dual language dictionaries have about 15,000 entries. That is about the number of species there are supposed to be in the world. Adam gave names to every living creature—and he remembered what he had named them.
Not only could Adam have read that dual language dictionary, and recited every entry; he could have made up all the entries in the first place. Regardless of how many species there are, Adam came up with names for all of them. You and I could not come up with that many different phonetic combinations. After awhile we would exhaust all of the possibilities, and we would call something a baboon, and something else a bowboon, and maybe a booboon. We could never remember which was which; but Adam could.
Adam did not have a computer; he did not need one. His brain worked better than any computer. He was the brightest man there ever has been. The point is that the serpent could not deceive Adam. But the very instant Adam sinned, he went from being the brightest man who ever lived to being as dumb as a post. How do I know that?
Anybody who thinks he can run into the woods, and stand behind a tree, and hide from God is as dumb as a post.
Complicit From the Beginning
The Bible takes us step by step through what transpired in the garden, but if you read carefully, you will discover that much of what people think they read is not right. Most people seem to think that when the serpent tempted Eve, she partook of the forbidden fruit, and then she went to Adam and told him what she had done. Then when Adam learned what his wife had done, he also partook of the tree. Many of you have heard it explained that way, and you are sure that is what it says. But the Bible does not say that.
Read Ge 3:6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her, and he did eat.” Notice those two words: with her. The serpent did tempt Eve, and she did partake of the fruit before Adam did. But she did not go anywhere to tell Adam anything. Adam had been with her the whole time. He was a witness to the entire affair.
I have heard the question asked, considering that Eve partook of the tree first, what would have happened, if after Eve sinned, Adam had refused to eat? The answer I usually get is logical and reasonable enough. I am usually told, that if that had happened, Eve would have died, because of her sin, and God would have provided Adam with another wife. That is logical, and reasonable —and totally wrong. Adam was complicit in everything Eve did.
We are told that Eve “was in the transgression.” It did not say, “The woman being deceived transgressed.” She was in the transgression; there was only one transgression. What happened in the garden that day was all a unit. Adam was involved in all that transpired. Notice,“Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” Adam stood as our federal head; he was responsible for what happened in the Garden that day, and he was involved from the very beginning.
Let us back up and see exactly what happened. Eve was not alone when she partook of the tree. Adam was there, observing what was going on the entire time. We are told he was with her.
All Anybody Could Want or Need
But before we look at the details, I would like for us to get the picture of these two in the garden. The Garden of Eden must have been a beautiful place. Considering all the beauty there is even now in nature, I doubt we can begin to imagine how beautiful Eden was.
And I believe Adam and Eve were probably the two most physically attractive people who ever lived. God does not create ugly. Ugly is the accumulated result of 6,000 years of sin. Our generation is the genetic leftovers after 6,000 years of depletion of the gene pool. Imagine two of the most physically attractive of all people, in the most beautiful of all surroundings, with a personal relationship totally unmarred by selfishness and sin.
Eve was without doubt the nearest and dearest thing in all world to Adam. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him....and the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And of the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of man,” Ge 2:18,21-23.
God took one of Adam’s ribs to form a wife for him. It is significant that he did not use a bone from his foot. That might have signified that he had the right to grind her under his heel. The husband is the head of the wife, but he has no right to take advantage of her. I love to preach on the relationship between a devoted husband and wife. When you see that relationship for what God intended it to be, no woman should ever object to the husband being the head of the wife.
He did not take a bone from his head; that might have signified that she had the right to domineer over her husband. But he took a rib, a bone from his side, signifying that she was to be constantly at his side; she was to be his constant companion. He took a bone from under his arm, signifying that she was to be the subject of his constant protection—his constant embrace. He took a bone nearest his heart, signifying that she was to be the nearest, and dearest, and most precious thing in all the world to him. The more we understand what the Bible teaches about the proper relationship between the husband and wife, the more precious, and the more dear, that relationship becomes.
I love to preach on the relationship between husbands and wives. I have spent much of my adult life running all over the country filling appointments, and sometimes pastoring churches miles away. For over six years I served a church four hundred miles away. I went down there twice every month; I went twice a lot of weeks, three times in a week on two different occasions.
The people used to talk about what a great sacrifice I was making, spending so much time going up and down the highway. I would remind them that I was not making the sacrifice; there was a little woman back in Tennessee, who was making the sacrifice. I would tell them, “I am not the one left at home, feeling to be all alone, and crying myself to sleep at night.” I do not blush to tell you, that I cannot think of her without a special and warm feeling running all over me. One of the great tragedies of our Primitive Baptist people is that we have never realized what a treasure we have in our pastor’s wives.
It is such a beautiful relationship God has provided between husbands and wives. That is one of the reasons he took a bone nearest his heart to signify that she was to be the nearest, and dearest, and most precious thing in all the world to him.
The Vilest, Most Wicked of all Beings
But now we see Adam with his beautiful wife. She is the nearest and dearest thing in all the world to him, and then the serpent comes on the scene. The most wicked, the vilest, the most contemptible being in all the universe invades this paradise. That wicked being comes on the scene, and he begins to deceive, and to corrupt the wife of Adam.
Keep in mind that Adam knew exactly who the serpent was. Do you think God left Adam in the dark about who the serpent was? No, Adam knew exactly who he was, and what he was up to. God did not keep Adam in the dark.
So here comes this vile creature; he approaches the sweet and beautiful wife of Adam, and Adam just stands there and does not say a thing.
He should have told the serpent, “Now, you listen here, if you have anything to say, you talk to me; and I don’t want to hear anything you have to say, so just get away and leave us both alone.” He did not do it. He stood back; and did not say a word. He allowed this vile creature to deceive, and confuse, and confound his wife. Keep in mind that the serpent did not deceive Adam; he knew exactly what was going on. But he did deceive Eve. “The woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
The serpent was deceiving Eve, and confusing her, and Adam knew it. He knew all the while this vile thing was taking advantage of his wife, and he did not say a thing. The serpent confused her, and deceived her, and persuaded her to eat the forbidden fruit. And Adam just stood there, and allowed the serpent to have his way with her.
Not a Word to Defend His Maker
“The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, which the Lord God had made, and he said unto the woman, Yea hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden.” This vile, disgusting creature challenges the word of God—the honesty of God—and Adam just stands there and does not say a word to defend his Maker.
“And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” It has been pointed out a million times over that she told it wrong. She added the part about touching the fruit. I am not sure whether she intentionally told it wrong; Paul did say she was deceived. She may have been confused about that too.
But whether she knew she was telling it wrong or not, Adam knew; he was not deceived. He stood there, and listened as she misrepresented God and did not say a word.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.” The serpent made God out to be a liar. God said, “You will die.” The snake said, “You are not going to die.” It is obvious one of them was lying. If God was telling the truth, the serpent was lying. If the serpent was telling the truth, God was lying. The serpent made God out to the lie; Adam was standing there, and he did not say a word.
“And the serpent said unto the serpent, Ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” The serpent first challenged the word of God. Then he called God a liar. And third, he said, “God is up to no good.” He said, “God is holding out on you; there are some good things available for you, and God doesn’t want you to have them.”
Can you imagine somebody standing by and allowing this vilest of all creatures to vilify and slander God the way the serpent did, and not saying anything. That is what Adam did. When Adam took a bite of the forbidden fruit, that was the visible and physical climax of what had been going on all along.
The Beginning of Feminism
We have considered the sin of Adam from the vantage point of his rebellion against God. Before we look at the consequences of Adam’s sins, it would be a good idea to look at his sin from another vantage point. And looking at it from that point of view will cast light on much that is going on in the world today.
Notice exactly what Adam did. First, he abdicated his place as the head of the house. He allowed his wife to speak for him. He allowed her to make the decision for him, and he accommodated his reaction based on her decision. That a simple description of feminism.
It would be wrong to say that feminism and original sin are the same thing; they are not. But it is undeniable that sin and feminism came into the world at the same time, and in the same way.
It is also undeniable that feminism began, because the first man abdicated his place as the head of the house, and his wife stepped up to fill the void. It is said that, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” There will always be feminism in the world, so long as the husband fails to occupy his God-appointed place as the head of the house.
It is the duty of the husband to be kind and compassionate. It is his place to love his wife as his own body (Eph 5:28-30), and to care for and protect her as he protects and cares for his own body, and the welfare of his wife is to be his greatest concern; but he is, nonetheless, to occupy his place as the God-appointed head of the house.
The Nature of its Father
When Adam sinned, he went from being a good, upright, innocent natural man to being a wicked, depraved, sinful natural man. His nature changed, and like the dog passing his nature to all his offspring, Adam passed that wicked, depraved nature to all that would be born of him. When he fathered children, he fathered them, begot them, in “his own
likeness, after his image” Ge 5:3. He begot them in the likeness and image of the wicked, depraved sinner he had become. All those born of Adam are simply Adam multiplied—multiplied in his sin and wickedness.
A few years ago I read an article about seedless oranges. According to the article, every seedless orange in the world is traceable to a mutant orange tree that was discovered about a hundred years ago on an orange plantation in Brazil in South America. A plantation owner discovered that he had a tree on his plantation that was producing seedless oranges. And being the business man he was, he knew there would a market for that kind of orange. He knew how to nurture and propagate the tree; so now we are able to go to the grocery store and buy seedless oranges. Every seedless orange tree in the world is traceable to that one mutant tree.
Just as every seedless orange is traceable to that one mutant tree, every sin is traceable to Adam’s partaking of that tree in the garden. When Adam sinned he became a mutant, corrupt tree, bearing corrupt fruit, and all his offspring inherit the nature of that corrupt tree, bearing the same corrupt fruit.
He Knew the Consequences
Keep in mind that Adam knew exactly what he was about to do, and what the consequences would be. Think about it; there are only two conclusions you can reach. Either Adam knew what he was doing, and what the consequences would be, or else God kept him in the dark.
Could you imagine, even for a moment, that God kept Adam in the dark about the consequences of his sin? Either God provided full disclosure, so that Adam knew all the consequences of what he was about to do, or else God blindsided him. Can you imagine that God waited until after Adam sinned, and then said, “Surprise, surprise, look what a kettle of worms you have opened up.” No, of course not.
Every sin that has ever been committed is the result of Adam’s sin; it is the working out of the sinful, depraved nature Adam handed down to all his posterity. Think, for a moment, of all the sins, and all the sinners that have come in the wake of Adam’s sin.
To name just a few, Adolf Hitler had six million Jews killed, simply because he did not like Jews. How did Adolf Hitler come to be the way he was? He was the way he was, because of the way Adam became when he sinned. He was the way he was, because of the sinful nature he inherited from Adam.
We read in the newspapers about people kidnaping little children, or young girls, and mistreating them, and killing them. Where did that kind of conduct come from? It came from Adam’s sin.
We read about parents chaining a retarded child in a closet, and leaving it to live out its days in the dark, almost on starvation. How did that happen? That is the result of what Adam did. That vile, sinful nature has been handed down through the ages. Did Adam know about Adolf Hitler? Did he know about King Herod, or Jack the Ripper? No.
But he knew that if he did what he was about to do, there would be men like Adolf Hitler; there would be men like Saddam Hussein, and Osama ben Ladin. He knew that if he did what he was about to do, there would be untold millions of wicked human beings who would some day burn in the flames of eternal damnation.
But knowing full well what he was about to unleash on the world, he did it anyway.
Guilty of Every Sin
We have already pointed out that, no sooner than Adam sinned, he went from being the most brilliant man who ever lived to being as dumb as a post. Anybody who thinks he can run into the woods, and stand behind a tree, and hide from God is as dumb as a post.
But, also, no sooner than he sinned, he went from being a good, upright, natural man to being as mean as a snake.
When Adam sinned, he started this entire business of sin, and it has been going on ever since. He stood as our federal head. In the sense that he introduced sin to mankind, he is stands guilty of every sin mankind has ever committed.
Let me illustrate it this way. If you set a fire in one apartment of a huge apartment building, do you think that, maybe, the fire you started in one room might spread to the next room, and the next, and the next. Do you think the fire you started might burn the entire building?
Suppose they brought you to trial and your attorney explained, “Now listen, my client did not burn those other apartments; he only burned one apartment.” Do you think that would cut any ice with a jury? I don’t think they would not pay any attention to that. They would say, “When your client burned that one apartment, he started the fire that burned the whole building.”
Suppose you set that fire in the middle of the night, and you knew there were people sleeping in the other apartments. Do you suppose you might be held accountable for the death of those people, or do you think your lawyer might get you off by explaining that you only burned one apartment?
When Adam partook of the fruit of the tree, he started the fire that burned the whole building. Every sin that has ever been committed started and spread from that one sin. He corrupted the fountain at its source, and that source—that nature—has been handed down to every person descended from him.
As Mean as a Snake
Listen to Adam’s explanation. “And I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself, because I was naked. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked; hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Ge 3:10-12).
Did you ever hear anybody say, “It’s not my fault; it’s that woman.” “It’s not my fault; I would never have been the way I am, if it was not for that woman.” That is nothing new. When there were just one man and one woman in the world, the first man tried to blame his sin on his wife.
First off, Eve was deceived; she was truly confused in the matter. Paul said, “Adam was not deceived; but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” Adam knew that, in some sense, Eve was walking around in a fog; she did not entirely understand what was going on. But Adam knew exactly what was happening, and he allowed it to go on.
More than that, the commandment was given to Adam; it was not given to Eve. “And the Lord God commanded the man saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat....” (Ge 2:16). Eve did not stand as our federal head; she did not represent her offspring; Adam did.
He knew exactly what he was doing, and what the consequences would be. He knew that if he did what he was about to do, those would be the consequences, and he wilfully, deliberately, rebelliously, did it anyway. He willfully brought on the world all the wickedness that has resulted from his sin—and when God asked him about it, he tried to blame it all on his wife.
Anybody who would try to blame that on anybody— especially on the one, who up until that time had been the dearest and most precious thing in all the world to him—has to be as mean as a snake. Human language cannot express the wickedness, and the guilt of what Adam did to himself, and to all his posterity. And he tried to blame it all on his wife; that is, he tried to blame her with every wicked act that has ever been committed.
One other thought in closing. And this is the counter-balance to all we have said.
No sooner had Adam sinned than God took the skin of an animal to provide a covering for their nakedness. I like to think the animal was a sheep; but I don’t know that; the Bible does not say. But a sheep is so often used as a symbol of Christ, I like to think God used a sheep in that first symbol.
That animal had to die in order for his skin to be a covering for Adam and Eve. The skin of that animal, whatever it may have been, was symbolic of the suffering, and death, and imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. His imputed righteousness is the only covering we have, or need, for our sin. That skin covering their nakedness symbolized that, in spite of their sin, they were children of God, and their sins were covered by the imputed righteousness of their Savior.
If the grace of God reached such a sinner as Adam was, there is no sinner so vile that the grace of God cannot reach him. hlh
ADOPTION*: Definition: Adoption is the legal act of taking a child out of one family and putting that child into another family. We are by nature the children of Adam. We are all descendants of our great-great-great-granddaddy Adam. Every human being is descended from Adam. He is a member of that one huge family of Adam. By grace we are taken out of that family and made members of the family of God.
There is no conflict between the doctrine of adoption and regeneration. The relation between adoption and regeneration is that regeneration, or the new birth, is one part of the adoption. Our adoption began in eternity past; it will be concluded in eternity to come, and it involves everything God does for his children in between.
Gill defines adoption as “a putting among the children; so spiritual adoption is called, Jer 3:19, or putting, or taking, one for a son, who was not so by nature and birth; which is the case of adoption by special grace; it is of such who are, by nature, children of wrath, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; and a taking these from the family of the world, to which they originally belonged, into the family of God, and household of faith, Eph 2:3,12,19.” hlh
ADOPTION*: Harold Hunt: Eph 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; 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 unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."
I cannot think of a subject which I had more difficulty in understanding than I had with the subject of adoption. But, for that matter, there is probably not a simpler subject in the Bible. The problem that arose in my mind, and the problem that bothers most people, is simply this: If we are born of the Spirit of God, why is it necessary for us to be adopted? My wife and I have four natural born children, and the thought of adopting those children has never entered our minds. Can you imagine how people would react if I told them we were thinking about adopting those children?
The Bible does teach that we are born of the Spirit of God, and it also teaches that we are adopted. But, why are both necessary?
Most of the difficulty in understanding the adoption stems from the fact that very few Bible readers realize all that is involved in adoption. It is a much broader subject than most Bible readers have ever imagined. Outside of the subject of God himself, the subject of adoption is probably the broadest subject in the Bible. The adoption began in eternity past; it will be concluded in eternity to come; and it involves everything God does for his children in between.
Regeneration, or being born again, is just one part of the adoption process. Regeneration is one of the things that makes God's adoption of his children different from any other adoption that has ever taken place. But, I am getting ahead of myself. We will get to that later.
What is adoption, anyway? What does it signify for a child to be adopted? Adoption simply means the legal act of taking of a child out of one family and putting that child into another family. We are by nature the children of Adam. We are all descendants of our great-great-great granddaddy Adam. Every human being is descended from Adam. He is a member of the family of Adam. We are all descended from a single ancestor. We are all members of the one huge family of Adam.
I have noticed that if a person has kinfolks who are rich or famous, very often, it will conveniently come up in his conversation that he has some famous kinfolks. Well, I can tell you that you and I have some mighty famous kinfolks. Do you remember old King Pharaoh, who had all the little Jewish babies drowned? That was a distant cousin of yours and mine. He was a very, very distant cousin; but he was kinfolks. We are all related in Adam. Do you remember King Herod, who had all the little babies from two years old and under killed. He was kinfolks. And Adolph Hitler? He was a distant cousin. You and I came out of a mighty rough family.
We are all partakers of the same nature—all partakers of the sin of Adam—all descended from Adam. But, by grace, we are all taken out of that family and made members of God's family. That is what adoption is all about. It is God’s taking us out of Adam’s family, and placing us in his family.
Let me ask you, what is the first act of any adoption? After you have determined to adopt a child, the very first act of adoption is the choice of the child to be adopted. Can you imagine that my wife and I might decide to adopt a child, and we put a notice in the paper: “To whom it may concern, Harold and Doris Hunt intend to adopt a child. Anybody interested in being adopted, please be at the Blount County Court House next Tuesday morning at 9:00 o’clock.” That is not the way it is done. We do not send out a general call for anybody, who might want to be adopted.
The first act of the adoption is the choice, the election, of the child to be adopted.
It is no accident that what God does for his children is called adoption. The very first thing we do when we adopt a child is to choose the child to be adopted. And Paul tells us that is exactly what God did. Eph 1:4-5, “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 unto himself.” Adoption is the huge framework within which the rest of our salvation fits. Election, the choice of the child, is the first act of adoption.
The Legal Work
Involved in any adoption there is some legal work that must be taken care of. You cannot just spot some attractive little boy walking along the road and decide, “I think I will adopt that child.” You cannot just pull over to the side of the road and invite him into your car and go on your way. That is not the way it is done; you can get in big trouble that way. There is legal work that has to be taken care of. There may be natural parents whose claim has to be satisfied.
Two of the most unhappy people I think I ever knew were two people in my home town, who took a little boy to raise without bothering to adopt him legally. His mother did not care anything about him. She did not care much about herself, and she gave the little boy to that couple to raise. They were very poor people. They could barely provide for themselves. But they provided the little boy a place in their home. They showered him with their love, and they provided him with everything they were able to provide.
But after awhile, his mother changed her way, and she changed her mind about the little boy, and one day she came to get him. That old couple would just as soon have had their right arm cut off as to give that little fellow up, but the legal work had never been taken care of. The claim of the natural parent had to be satisfied, and when she came to get the little boy, all they could do was to give him up.
There was a legal claim to be satisfied, and that is what the Lord was doing on the cross of Calvary. He was taking care of the legal work of our adoption.
Isaiah said, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied”(Isa 53:11). Every attribute of God will be satisfied in the salvation of his people. The love of God will be satisfied, because everybody God loves will be there. The grace of God will be satisfied, because every subject of grace will be there. And the justice of God will be satisfied, because every sin will have been paid for—atoned for.
God does not sacrifice justice in order to be merciful. I hear folks preach as if God says to Justice, “Now Justice, you be still; Justice, don't you say a word. Justice, I am going to save this child, and there is nothing you can do about it.” God does not hogtie Justice in order to be merciful. The justice of God is satisfied in the salvation of his people.
Suppose you go blazing down the interstate doing ninety miles an hour, and after awhile, the patrolman catches you and pulls you over and writes you a ticket. Then you go before the judge, and you say, “Judge, I don't know why I did that; I don't make a habit of driving that way. I never have driven that fast before, and Judge, I promise you, if you let me off this time, I will never do that again.” The judge may tear up the ticket and say, “That is alright. Don't you worry; I will take care of it.” Now, that is mercy, but there is not a trace of justice in it.
I hear people preach as if that is the way God saves people, as if God simply says, “Now, don't you worry about it. That is alright. I am going to take care of it.” But God is not a softhearted, softheaded, old judge, sitting out there somewhere fixing speeding tickets.
The justice of God will be satisfied in the salvation of his people. There is no chance that on that final day the Justice of God will step forward and say, “That child is mine; he owes a sin debt to me; I have a claim against him; I demand what is mine.” There is no chance of that, because the justice of God will be satisfied in the salvation of his people.
The Expense of Adoption
An adoption is not free; there is some expense involved. That is where redemption comes in. Paul talked about that in the Galatian letter. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Ga 4:4-5). To redeem means to buy back, to pay the purchase price. Redemption was the purchase price of adoption. And that is what the Lord did on the cross. He paid the price of our redemption, the expense of our adoption.
“For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's” 1Co 6:20. He bought us; he paid for us; he paid the redemption price, and he is going to have what he paid for. Sometimes you and I pay a price, and we do not get full value for our purchase price. But you can be sure that God is going to have what he paid for. God will have with him in glory every one he redeemed and paid for on the cross.
The purchase price which the Lord paid on the cross of Calvary was the most expensive transaction this old world has ever known. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” 1Pe 1:18-19.
When God created this old world, it did not tax his energies in the least. I used to think God rested on the seventh day, because he was tired. He did not rest on the Sabbath day, because he was tired; he rested, because he was through. He had created all the worlds he intended to created. God could have created ten million worlds like this and never taxed his energies in the least.
When God created this world, he only created so much gold and silver. There is no more gold and silver today than there was the day he created it. But God could have created ten million worlds like this, if he had wanted to, and he could have made every mountain on every world of gold. And he could have given ten million solid gold mountains for my redemption and yours, and that would have been such a small price to pay, compared to the price he did pay for our redemption. That would have been a bargain basement price. That would have been pocket change, compared to the price he did pay. He gave the very best heaven had for our redemption. He gave his only Son.
Both Adopted and Born
When you and I adopt a child, we are somewhat limited in what we are able to do for that child. We give him our name. We give him a place in our home. We shower him with our love, and we do everything we conceivably can for him. But there are some things we cannot do. We cannot give him the color of our eyes. We cannot give him the color of our hair, the shape of our nose, the cut of our chin, the sound of our voice.
It is in the nature of children to look like and to sound like their natural parents. I have three daughters, and to some degree or another, they all sound like my wife on the telephone. Sometimes, when I call home, if I know the girls are all there, I have to ask who I am talking to.
That used to be very confusing to one of my sons-in-law, before he became my son-in-law. One day he called to talk to my daughter, and my wife answered the phone.
He said, “Hi, whatcha doin’?”
And my wife said, “Watchin’ television.”
Somewhat later in the conversation he said, “Just exactly who is it I am talkin’ to?”
It is in the nature of children to look like—to walk like—and sound like their natural parents, and in our old carnal nature, we took like, and walk like, and sound like our great-great-granddaddy Adam. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” Joh 3:6.
You and I cannot give an adopted child our physical characteristics. We cannot make him look like us, and walk and talk the way we do. But God is not limited the way we are. And right here is where the new birth comes in. The new birth is one part of the adoption. He came “to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” Ga 4:5. Because we are sons by choice, we are made sons by birth.
We cannot make that adopted child to look like us. He was born of his natural parents, and it is his nature to look like his natural parents. But God adopts his children, who were born of Adam, and he borns them again to look like him. We are made “partakers of the divine nature” 2Pe 1:4, and in spirit we look like our heavenly Father. We look like our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
In Hebrews, chapter one, Paul described the Lord in this way: “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” Heb 1:9. And in the Sermon on the Mount the Lord described his children: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” Mt 5:6. Do you notice the family resemblance? Did you ever see somebody, who, even if nobody told you, you knew that he had to be such and such a person's son? He was either his son or his brother; he looked just like him.
It is in the tendency of God’s children to look alike. I am not talking about the color of their eyes, nor the cut of their chin. I am talking about those characteristics which show up in their lives as the result of the Spirit of God living in their hearts. I am talking about that love for God, and for the things of God, which is characteristic of every member of the family of God. I am talking about the expression on their face, when you talk to them about the good things of the Lord. Did you ever notice, when you are talking to somebody about the Lord and his goodness, that his face may begin to take on color, and sometimes, his eyes begin to fill and run over, and every now and then, his chin begins to tremble. I see a family resemblance there, don't you?
There have been a lot of people, down through the years, who have tried to paint pictures of the Lord. They do not know what he looked like. I know those pictures do not look like the Lord, because, for one thing, they all show him with long hair, and my Bible says, “Doth not even nature itself teach you that if a man have long hair it is a shame unto him” 1Co 11:14. He would never have worn his hair long, and then later inspired Paul to say that long hair was a shame to a man. Some of those pictures show him with bare feet. I don't believe the Lord went around barefoot. John said that his “shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” Joh 1:27. So he wore shoes. The pictures I have seen don’t look particularly Jewish. According to the flesh, he was “made of the seed of David” Ro 1:3. “According to the flesh” he was a Jew. Those pictures I have seen look noticeably Caucasian. In his physical appearance the Lord was so typically Jewish, and his appearance was so normal, compared to the Jews of his day, that he could stand before a crowd and preach to them for a long time, and, when, finally, his voice fell silent, he could walk back through the crowd, and they would not know who he was. He looked that much like everybody else.
But I believe we can know a little about what he looked like. I find a verse in Second Corinthians which reads: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” 2Co 3:18. This text teaches that those who behold the glory of the Lord are literally changed into the image of the Lord. What does that mean? It means that those who love the Lord, and consistently look to him for guidance, begin to take on his characteristics.
Once in awhile it happens in nature. You may have seen it. It does not happen often. But once in awhile it happens that when two people are married so long, for many years heart answers to heart, until finally, in their old days, face answers to face. I was away on a trip some time ago, and the folks my wife and I stayed with looked very much alike. My wife can be a little skeptical at times, but even my wife noticed it. After we left, my wife commented about “how much they look alike.” Once in a while it happens in nature. For years and years heart answers to heart, until, finally, in their old days, face answers to face.
But, while it only happens once in awhile in nature, it happens, as the rule, in our service toward God. The more you follow your Lord, the more you endeavor to serve him, the more you listen to him, and walk in his precepts, the more you look like him.
I don't know a lot about his physical characteristics, but I believe I do know this about him. I believe that when he stood and preached the gospel of his grace, the expression on his face was that same expression I can see in the faces of his children, when they are intently listening and being fed on the gospel message. And I believe that expression is the very expression I will see on the face of my Lord on that good morning, when I see him on that eternal day.
God is not limited as you and I are. We cannot give our adopted children the color of our eyes, nor the cut of our chin. We cannot make them look like us. But in regeneration God makes his children to begin to resemble him. They are made “partakers of the divine nature.” They are still human, still mortal, still sinners of Adam's race, but the Spirit of God living in their hearts has its effect, and more and more, they resemble the family of God.
Every adoption generates some paperwork. If the adoption is legal and binding, there will be documents to prove it. This adoption generated some papers. Our adoption is not recorded with paper and ink; it is written on the tables of our heart. We are taught in our hearts to know that we are the children of God. “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit” 2Co 5:5.
Those of you who have been involved in real estate could teach me more than I have ever imagined about the principle of earnest money. Earnest money is given in advance of the actual transaction as a kind of pledge to bind the bargain. It is an advance payment, which indicates that you intend to carry through with the deal. God’s Spirit in the hearts of his children bears witness that he intends to carry through with his promise. It is evidence that he intends to carry the recipient of that Spirit home to live with him in glory.
Can you imagine a little boy in an orphanage? He is so lonely. The people who run the place do the best they can to take care of him, but that is not like having parents to take him in their arms and love him as their own. And can you imagine that one day he hears he has been adopted by the richest, the kindest, the most gentle man in that town, and the adoption papers are on file in the front office? Do you have an idea that while he is waiting, every now and then, he would like to go to the office, and look at the adoption papers, and see that his name is written there? And don't you think he would appreciate it if somebody would show him the papers? That is what I am trying to do with this little booklet. I hope you can get just a glimpse of the adoption papers. “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given us the earnest of the Spirit”—a pledge that seals the bargain.
If you feel the Spirit of God stirring in your heart that is the earnest of your inheritance. That is your evidence that you are a heaven-bought, heaven-bound child of God. From your vantage point, that is the paperwork of your adoption. From God’s vantage point Job says, “Also now, behold my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high” Job 16:19. Paul says, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his” 2Ti 2:19. That is talking about the firm and sure decrees of God, written in the halls of eternity, but right now, we are looking at the evidence of the adoption as it is written in the heart of God's children, and we will save the other aspect of the question for another time.
The Evidence of Our Adoption
In Ro 8, Paul says, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” Ro 8:15. The very first words children learn to say are Mama or Papa, or perhaps Da-da. I have never entirely figured out whether children learn to say Mama and Papa first, because we teach them to say that, or whether it is just natural for them to learn to make those sounds early, so ages ago parents learned to call themselves that. I don't know, and I am not going to worry about it, but this is another way in which our heavenly Father is like our natural parents. God delights to hear us acknowledge him as our Father, and because of that, he has “given us the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Abba is the Hebrew expression for father. It is a very simple sound, very much like Papa or Da-da. How simple a thing to say. It is so simple that a little child can say it—Abba, Father.
Ro 8:23, “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” In the old days the Jews had a feast called the Feast of the Firstfruits. That meant that the full crop was coming after awhile. That is what it means when we feel the Spirit of God stirring in our hearts. Those are the firstfruits —“the firstfruits of the Spirit.” The full crop is coming after awhile.
The firstfruits of the Spirit are the firstfruits of the adoption. It indicates that the climax of the adoption, the final act of the adoption, is coming after awhile.
I have heard it said that we do not know anything at all about what heaven is going to be like. I believe we can know something about it. I believe it is going to be a whole lot of what we get just a little of down here. These are the firstfruits. The last fruits are like the firstfruits. There is just a lot more of it. If you have ever had the first taste of apple pie, you have a pretty good idea of what the rest of the pie is going to be like. And if you have ever felt God's Spirit moving in your heart, you have a good idea of what heaven is going to be like.
Some folks have gotten the idea from Ro 8:23, the adoption will not take place until the resurrection. But, no, the resurrection is when the adoption will finally be complete. It has been going on all along. It started a long time ago. It started in eternity past when God determined upon the adoption. The first act of the adoption was when he chose his family in Christ Jesus in eternity past. Then he did all the legal work that was necessary for our adoption in sending his son to suffer and die on the cross, and to satisfy every just claim of the law. He paid the price of our redemption. Then he sent his Spirit into our hearts in the work of regeneration.
Waiting to Go Home
Now we are waiting—waiting for the final act of adoption. I am enjoying the wait. I used to say I would like to live to be ninety years old, and preach twice a day until then. But I don't think I could quite stand up to that. I have tried preaching twice every day, and that is more than I can handle. I would not mind to live to be ninety years old, and preach once a day. I am enjoying the wait. Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” Php 1:21. I am not in any hurry to leave this old world.
But the older I get, and the closer I get to the end of my journey, the more I think about that day, when my heavenly Father will come for me. The last act of adoption is when the adopting father comes and gets his child, and takes him to live with him in that big house on the hill. I am looking forward, with fond anticipation, to that good day, when the final act of adoption will come, and we will be forever at home with the Lord. hlh
ADULTERY*: C.H. Cayce: We have been requested to give our views of Mt 5:32, which reads, “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
What is true with reference to the husband is also true with reference to the wife; if it is wrong for the wife to put away the husband, it is also wrong for the husband to put away the wife. If the Scriptures allow the wife to put her husband away and marry again, they will also allow the husband to put away his wife and marry another. Now, remember this, that what is admissible in the one is admissible in the other, for “they are no more twain, but one flesh.” Then, the question is simply this, Can a man for any cause, expressed in Scripture, put away his wife and marry another, and he not be an adulterer?
In the text quoted above the Saviour tells us that if a man shall put away his wife for any other cause than that of fornication, he causes her to commit adultery. If she has committed fornication, and for this cause he puts her away, he does not cause her to commit adultery. If she has been put away for any cause, and then marries another man, the man commits adultery, in marrying one who has been put away.
Now notice the Saviour’s language recorded in Mt 19:9, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” If the wife commits fornication, and the husband puts her away on this account, and marries another, he does not commit adultery. If the husband puts his wife away for any other cause except fornication, and marries another, he commits adultery.
If the Saviour had said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and shall marry another, commiteth adultery,” then a man would have no Scriptural reason whatever to put away his wife and marry again. But the Saviour gives only one exception to this universal rule, and that one exception is, “except it be for fornication.” So if the wife commits fornication, and the husband puts her away on this account and marries another he is no adulterer.
In Lu 16:18 the Saviour says, “Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” In this place it is laid down as though it was a universal rule with no exception, but the Saviour expressed the exception, and the only exception, in Mt 19:8, as quoted above.
If the husband commits fornication, and the wife puts him away on this account, and then she marries another man, she is no adulteress. Neither is the man an adulterer whom she marries. To try to make it plainer: B commits fornication; on this account Mrs. B puts him away; then Mrs. B marries Mr. C. In this case Mrs. B is no adulteress, and Mr. C is no adulterer. This is true, by reason of the fact that Mr. B is a fornicator, and thereby becomes dead to Mrs. B, and this gives her a Scriptural right to marry again. This is clearly the exception to the rule, as laid down by the Saviour, and none have this right, except for fornication.
The language of the apostle in 1Co 7:15, does not contradict the Saviour’s teaching. He says, “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such case: but God hath called us to peace.” If the unbelieving husband or wife departs, let them go; you are under no obligation to follow them. But the believing one should not help the unbeliever to go; but if they will depart, let them go.
But if they do go, this does not release the marriage bond. It does not give the one left the privilege of marrying another, for the apostle says in 1Co 7:10-11, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” It is plainly taught here that if one departs the other has no right to put them away on this account, but they should remain unmarried—hold themselves in readiness at all times for a reconciliation.
If the wife puts the husband away for any other cause than for fornication and marries another, she becomes an adulteress, and the man she marries becomes an adulterer, and to continue to live in this state is simply to continue to live in adultery.
The woman who was brought to the Saviour, having been caught in the very act, is no example to resort to as an excuse, in our judgment. She was brought before the Saviour by those who were seeking to entangle and condemn our Lord. This lesson teaches us that the Saviour’s mission was not to administer the law; neither was He to sit as judge to pass sentence on those who violated it. This was not His mission, which is clearly taught in this circumstance. His work was to fulfill the law, to render satisfaction to it.” (CAYCE vol. 1, ppg 299-301)
ADULTERY: Harold Hunt: Our Primitive Baptists have no need to apologize for the firm stand the vast majority of our people have generally taken on the subject of divorce and remarriage. If we have erred, our error has been in not being as outspoken as we should have been. Ours is the high moral ground, and it is the clear teaching of the Bible. I believe, that instead of apologizing for our position, we ought to speak out loud and clear, that this is the Bible standard.
If a couple is involved in an adulterous marriage, we cannot receive them into the membership of the church. The Bible is clear enough. We wish their situation was different, but it is not. Knowing the personal satisfaction we receive from the church, it is heartbreaking to see others, who cannot enjoy that benefit, but we cannot compromise those standards God has provided for the government of his church. The church belongs to him, and he has the right to set the guidelines. We must hasten to add that we are in no way complaining about those guidelines and restrictions he has left us. Those guidelines are for the benefit of the church. There is not one rule God has left us that is not for our benefit.
This is a Moral Question
And keep it always in mind that this is a moral question. So far as our churches are concerned, it is a question of church discipline. It is a question of order and disorder. We know that. But it is more than that. This is a moral question under consideration. We dare not compromise those moral standards God has laid out in his Word. The Lord told the disciples, “Ye are the light of the world” Mt 5:14. There is a heavy responsibility resting on the church to provide an example for those around her. If the church does not provide the moral lead for this sinful age, we cannot imagine who will. Down through the ages, wherever the church has been found, it has had a profound effect on the morals of the land. To this very day America is blessed because of the presence of the church.
The Need for Compassion
There is one question we must clear up before we go any farther. Our firm stand on this question has given some people the idea that we believe there are some sins so heinous that God cannot, or will not, forgive—that perhaps, somebody might sink so low in sin, that there can never be any recovery. No, no, a thousand times no. No sinner ever sank so low in sin, but that there can be forgiveness and pardon, if he will forsake his way and turn to the Lord. How very compassionate we ought to be toward repenting sinners. There is many a little child of God who has made a mess of his life, and who desperately needs our help and compassion.
Far too often we are like the Levite who looked, and then, passed by on the other side. Most of us are far too complacent. We are too comfortable with our own concerns to take just a little time to deal with one who may desperately need our help.
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that there is forgiveness available for any sin a person can repent of and turn from. Just notice a few texts. Isa 55:7, “Let the wicked man 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.” Mt 12:31, “Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” Re 3:21, “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not.” The Lord pointedly says that there is forgiveness for “all manner of sin and blasphemy.”
There was forgiveness for Paul, the chief of sinners 1Ti 1:15. The church never had a more bitter enemy than he was. He held the coats of those who stoned Stephen to death Ac 7:58, but God forgave him. There was forgiveness for Mary Magdalene, “out of whom went seven devils”Lu 8:2. There was forgiveness for Peter, who cursed and swore and said he did not even know the Lord Mt 26:74. There was forgiveness for those at the foot of the cross, who mocked the Lord and made fun of him. No one was ever more vile than that crowd, who made all manner of fun of the Lord at the very time he was suffering and dying on behalf of his people. But our kind and compassionate Redeemer looked down from the cross and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” Lu 23:34.
I am sure that if any one of us could see ourselves as the Lord sees us, we would not marvel nearly so much that he forgave those sinners, as we would marvel that he could forgive such sinners as we are.
How very compassionate we ought to be toward those sin-sick and wounded children of God, whose lives are in such need of repair. How very tender and patient we ought to be with them. How very ready to help them and guide them. There is not one of us who can square his shoulders, and throw out his chest, and say with any confidence, “I tell you, right now, I will never do the way this person has done.” We don't know that. We have no idea what our lot might be. We know what our determination is—at this present moment of time. But we ought to know that we are dependent on the grace of God to sustain us each moment of our lives.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall,” 1Co 10:12.
But forgiveness of sin is not the question. There can be no question that forgiveness is available for any sin we can repent of and turn from. We are not talking about past offenses; we are talking about a present condition.
Only One Adequate Guide
There is only one adequate guide in the matter, and that is the Bible. Carnal human nature will lead us astray. It misunderstands and misapplies the most basic moral principles. Those principles must be taught in a clear and positive manner, and even then it resents and rebels against them. We must have an authoritative guide, if we are going to direct our lives aright. Jer 10:23, “It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” The guide God has provided in the Bible is intended to instruct us in every aspect of our lives. That guide has never gone out of date; it is sufficient for every day and age.
Those principles God teaches in the Bible are a system of absolutes. We are living in an age which does not like absolute principles, and unchangeable values. We hear much about relative values, and situation ethics. There are relatively few who are willing to acknowledge that those instructions God has given in the Bible are eternal and unchanging.
In this article we want to talk about the institution of marriage and those instructions God has given as to when, and under what conditions a marriage may properly be dissolved. If we would learn anything about the nature of the marriage union, we must go to the Bible to learn it. Marriage is God’s institution. It belongs to him. He established it in the very morning of time, and he established those principles which are to govern it. Let us look, then, at what the Bible has to say.
A Lifetime Arrangement
First, marriage is a lifetime arrangement. Ro 7:2, “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth.” In this age of such moral decline in America, society has forgotten the importance, the sanctity, of the marriage union. More and more people, nowadays, have decided that marriage is not really necessary. Untold numbers of them are saying, “We will just live together for awhile, and we will decide later whether we want to get married. After six months or so, if we find that we are compatible, we just might get married.”
Other people, who would never engage in such an arrangement as that, decide to get married, and then later they decide whether they want to stay married. I sold life insurance for twenty four years, and a few people have made that very statement to me. They were in a perfectly good humor with each other, but they would tell me they had married, and now they were taking their time to decide whether they were really right for each other, and if they should find that they ought not to have married, they will just divorce, and find other partners. They would make no bones about it. Really, there is a great similarity between the two arrangements. Both couples have totally lost sight of the sanctity of the marriage union.
Outside of the gift of his Son, the marriage union is the greatest benefit God has given to his creation. Marriage is the very foundation of civilization itself. Children must have the godly environment of a family and a home in order to grow up and learn those moral principles they will need to guide them during the remainder of their lives.
And in any nation, when families and homes fall apart to such an extent that a large segment of society does not have that godly and healthy environment in which for children to grow up and learn those necessary moral principles, that nation will never be able to build jails and prisons big enough and fast enough to house all the people who need to be there. That is the condition in America at this very moment.
The problems that exist in America will never be solved in Washington. They will never be solved in Nashville, Atlanta, Montgomery, Jackson, nor in any of the state capitals of this land. The problems that are plaguing America began in the home, and if they are not solved in the home, they will never be solved.
People need to think before they enter into a marriage. The union between a devoted husband and wife is the sweetest and most tender union on earth. It is a symbol of the union between Christ and his church. But not every marriage is all it should be. Before you marry him, you need to be very sure that you want to spend the rest of your life with him. To look at it from the negative side, as long as he is faithful to those vows, you are stuck with him. I am going to show you by the scriptures that as long as he is faithful to those vows, there is no way you can get a valid divorce from him.
Only One Ground
The Bible provides the one and only ground for divorce and remarriage. Mt 5:32, “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery, and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” The Bible gives this one ground for severing a marriage. If one of them (either the husband or wife) is guilty of fornication, the innocent party has the right to a divorce, and, therefore, the right to remarry. God will recognize that divorce. God does not require the innocent party to put up with any such conduct as that.
There are sometimes situations which arise in which it is physically unsafe for a woman to continue to be married to a man. Good judgment requires her to leave for the safety of herself and her children. In such a case, she has a perfect right to leave, but the scriptures do not grant her the right to remarry.
But, if I might interject my own personal opinion in this particular situation, if a man is so abusive that his wife must leave for her own protection, it is very likely, if she will only watch, that she will discover he is guilty of much more than abuse. It is hard to imagine that a man would be faithful to his marriage vows, when at the same time, he terrorizes his wife and children.
The Legislatures Are on Notice
This is the only ground for divorce God will recognize, but more than that, God explicitly forbids the judicial system to grant any divorce on any other basis. Mt 19:5-6, “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh, What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” I fear that most of the time this verse is overlooked. The verse is quoted often enough. It has been quoted many times, but I fear that almost without exception people still do not realize what the verse is saying.
“Wherefore, they are no more twain, but one flesh, what therefore God hath joined together, Let not man put asunder.”
Every verse in the Bible is for me, but not every verse in the Bible is to me. This verse is for me, but it is not to me. Why? Because I am not in the business of putting marriages asunder. I have never tried to do that. I have never claimed the authority to do that. Then who is this verse addressed to? This verse is directed to those people who are in the business of putting marriages asunder. Who is that? Well, in our system of government, it is the state legislatures, who make the laws, and it is the judges and lawyers, who implement the laws governing divorce.
Notice what the text says. This text is addressed to the state legislatures, which make the laws, and to the judges and lawyers, who implement those laws, and in effect it tells them, “Don’t you make any law, and don’t you take advantage of any law, that will sever a marriage on any other basis than the one ground provided in this text.” Think about that. God has put the various state legislatures on notice. He strictly forbids any legislation which will sever a marriage on any other basis than the one ground he allows. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
When God singles out any one group of people for such special instructions, it behooves them to take notice.
God is the one lawgiver. Jas 4:12, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy, who art thou that judgest another?”
Probably the greatest authority on English law who ever lived was a man by the name of William Blackstone. He died in 1780, at the time of the American Revolution. Up until Blackstone's day English legal experts generally wrote on Roman law. William Blackstone wrote a large four volume commentary on English law. Blackstone’s own countrymen did not like him, but the Americans just loved him. I looked up the article on Blackstone recently in Encyclopedia Britannica, which is a British publication, and they did not have very many good things to say about him, but for the first one hundred years of American history, Blackstone's Commentaries were all most American lawyers knew about the law. The point I am getting to is this: Blackstone's most fundamental principle said, “the law of God is the source of every valid human law.”
Not a Valid Law
In other words, if any lawmaking body makes a law that is contrary to God’s it is not a valid law. The law does not really mean anything. That is why, on the one hand, Paul could repeatedly instruct us to be subject to the laws of the land Ro 13:1-5; Tit 3:1, and how, on the other hand, the Bible could commend the three Hebrew children because they refused to obey the Babylonian law which required them to bow down and worship the graven image that was erected in the plain of Dura. Da 3:10-30.
We are obligated to comply with the law of the land—so long as that law does not require us to violate the law of God.
That decree of the king was the law of that land, but it was not a valid law, because it was contrary to God’s law. Any time a state legislature, or the federal government, passes a law that is clearly contrary to God's law it is an invalid law.
Blackstone went on to say that the law of God is revealed in nature and in the Scriptures. But whether we discover God’s law in nature or in the Bible, that law is the basis of every valid human law. In this respect there is a grand similarity between the gospel minister and the lawmakers of the land. Preachers do not have the right to conjure up their own ideas about what principles they want to advocate from the pulpit. It is our duty to study the Bible, and to find out what the Bible teaches, and to teach that.
By the same token, no lawmaking body has the right to just sit around and dream up laws. It is their duty to search for God's law—in nature or in Scriptures—and to pass laws to govern the land based on that law.
No Fault Divorce
Up until 1970, if anyone wanted to get a divorce, she (or he) had to prove grounds for divorce. She had to prove adultery, or desertion, or cruelty. But there has been a great moral decline, which began in the United States about the end of the Second World War. I think most everybody would agree that the morals of Americans have been going down since about that time. That moral decline was in full swing by the beginning of the 1960's, when we began to hear about the new morality. That is just another name for the old immorality. We began to hear about the sexual revolution. I don't even like to use that expression, and I am sure that you do not like to hear it, but nobody can deny that for the last forty years or so, a large portion of the American people have simply put their morals on the shelf. There is, indeed, a grand decline in the moral fabric of our nation.
Then in 1970, right at the height of the so-called sexual revolution, the state of California passed the first no fault divorce law in the history of the Western World. An article was published not long ago, which said, “At one fell blow the state of California swept away every moral consideration from the institution of marriage.” But that is not really right. Rather they denied every moral consideration with regard to the institution of marriage. Their law did not change anything. Man does not have the right, the authority, nor the ability to pass a valid law that is contrary to God's law.
Within ten years after that first no fault divorce law, every state in the union except two had adopted some form of no fault divorce law. Those two states may have done so by now. Today, as a general rule, about all you have to do is file for a divorce, and you can get it. If there are no children involved, and if there is very little money or property involved, one state will grant a divorce by mail, without even requiring a court hearing.
Our American people have never been so deceived and imposed upon as we have been deceived by our state legislatures, in this matter of no fault divorce. Because the laws are on the books, the American people have come to believe that once they get a divorce decree, all connection with their spouse is once and for all severed. They do not realize that the authority on which those laws were passed was a usurped authority—that the legislature had no authority to pass any such law. They do not realize that the law is an invalid law, and that no valid divorce can ever be granted on the strength of it.
At one fell blow the various lawmaking bodies endeavored to sweep away “every moral consideration from the institution of marriage,” and the silence in the pulpits of America was deafening. Marriage is the very foundation of civilization. It is the cement that holds our society together. When marriage and the home fall apart in any nation, as it is happening in America today, that nation very soon comes to ruin. Never in the history of the Western World has the Judeo-Christian ethic been so boldly and brazenly attacked as it has been attacked by the passage of the various no fault divorce laws, and never has the Christian ministry been so remiss in our duty as we have been in failing to denounce those laws.
The Legislatures Have Set Us Up
Our various state legislatures have set our people up for unacceptable, adulterous marriages. They have virtually taken them by the hand, and led them into such marriages, and the ministry has stood silently by and watched it happen with hardly a protest.
In 1973, right about that same time, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down the Roe vs Wade decision, which forbade the various states to interfere with any expectant mother, if she wanted to destroy her unborn child before it ever saw the light of day. Let me ask you, do you believe it ceased to be wrong to destroy that little defenseless child, just because the Supreme Court handed down that decision? No, of course not. When an expectant mother goes to an abortion clinic and pays money to have that little baby destroyed, it is still murder, no matter what the Supreme Court may say. Those God-given principles which govern the taking of human life are the same today as they have ever been. The Roe vs Wade decision did not change that.
And those God-given principles which govern the sanctity of the marriage union are also the same as they have always been. No fault divorce laws have not changed that.
Blackstone was right. The Bible is right. God is the one lawgiver, and his law is the source of every valid human law. James said, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy,” Jas 4:12. Isaiah said, “To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,” Isa 8:20. Any law that is contrary to God’s law is not a valid law.
Suppose lawmakers go ahead and pass those laws anyway. Do you believe God will allow himself to be overridden, and overruled, and reversed? No. God's law is still in effect. Those no fault divorce laws are invalid laws, and no valid divorce can be granted on the basis of an invalid law. Such divorces granted on any basis other than the one ground God allows do have the force of law, but it is an invalid law, and any divorce granted on that basis is an invalid divorce.
Let Her Remain Unmarried
Suppose two people do divorce for some other cause than the one cause God allows. The Bible deals with that, and gives instruction to the person who finds himself in that situation. 1Co 7:11, “But and if she depart, Let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.” This verse has to do with a person who divorces for some other reason. In this case it has to do with a believer and an unbeliever, but it could be for any other cause except the one cause God recognizes.
In the very morning of time God created Adam, and he said, “It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him an help meet for him.” It was so important for a man to have a wife that God created one for him. Four thousand years later Paul said to Timothy, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” Here are two texts four thousand years apart teaching us that men ought to have wives, and that women ought to have husbands. But God singles out one class of people and instructs them not to get married. That ought to make it clear enough. Who is this one class of people God singles out? It is anybody, who is divorced for any cause except that one cause which God recognizes. God tells her, “Don't you get married.”
Notice that she is unmarried. The text says so: “Let her remain unmarried.” She has gotten her no fault divorce, so why can she not get married? Because she already has a husband. “Let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.” We have Paul's word for it that he is still her husband—in spite of the divorce. The divorce did not entirely sever the marriage union. It was not a valid divorce. The only divorce God will recognize is a divorce based on the one cause he allows. She already has a husband. If she wants to be married, she will have to go back to her own husband.
Ro 7:3, “So then if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress, but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.”
Is it Fornication or Adultery?
Fornication and adultery differ in this way: Fornication is the broad term, and adultery is a more narrow term. Fornication takes in every form of illicit sexual relations. Adultery always involves at least one married person. Adultery is always fornication, but fornication is not necessarily adultery.
Webster defines fornication as “voluntary sexual intercourse between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman.” Two single people can commit fornication. Adultery always involves at least one person who is married to somebody else. Webster defines adultery as “voluntary sexual intercourse of a married man with a woman other than his wife, or of a married woman with a man other than her husband.”
Paul says, “So then if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.” If her previous husband was not actually still her husband, there is no way she could commit adultery. But Paul makes it very clear that he is still her husband.
Why does God caution her against getting married? Because she already has a husband. This is so simple I believe a little third grader could understand it. The Bible becomes much easier to understand, if we will just let it say what it says. “So then if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man.” She already has a husband—but now she is married to another man. She got a no fault divorce. She got a new marriage license. She went through the ceremony. She is married to another man. But the text says that the other man is still her husband.
The Source of Every Valid Law
Blackstone said it clearly. The law of God is the source of every valid human law. The various states passed their no fault divorce laws, but no valid divorce has ever been granted on the strength of those laws.
“So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.” It did not say, “if she become married....” It said, “if she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.” The statement does not have to do with past action; it has to do with the present condition. Folks challenge Primitive Baptists. They want to know, “Why can this person not live in the church? He married into this situation twenty years ago?” The bottom line is simply this. He cannot live in the church at the same time he is living with (married to) another man’s wife.
American society has become desensitized to the sanctity of the marriage union. We use the expression, the sexual revolution, and we talk about the way that mind set has affected people. But it appears that the mentality which comes from that idea has affected more people than we imagine.
We probably should have made this point much sooner. But at any rate, we must take time now to point out as strongly as we can that many, perhaps most, of those who are involved in the situation we are describing are as honorable, and honest, and decent as anybody you would ever care to meet. They are truly devoted to each other. They love each other, and they love their children. They are good neighbors, and good citizens. Many of them love the Lord, and they are trying as hard as anybody to live God-honoring lives. Many of them love the church; they attend as often as any member of the church.
For that matter, very few of them realize the nature of their situation. The law of the land has deceived them, and the ministry has failed them. If the ministry had been more faithful, there probably would not be nearly as many people as there are in that condition. Some of them got in their present situation at a time, when they were younger and more reckless. Others simply did not realize the sanctity of the marriage union and the seriousness of the matter. They had not been properly instructed. For that the ministry must take part of the blame.
No doubt, many of the people in the condition we are describing do live immoral lives, but that applies to the population as a whole. We should not get the idea that the people under consideration are necessarily bad people. Many of them are pillars of the community. We have no desire to injure the tender feelings of any little child of God who finds himself in that situation, but, by the same token, we dare not compromise the instructions God has given us with regard to the subject.
Our Changing Society
There are few questions on which the thinking of the American people has undergone such a change as it has on this question during the last forty or fifty years. During the memory of most of those reading these lines there was a time when the more conservative denominational churches were much closer to the Bible standard than they are today. When I was growing up, I knew nothing about the Primitive Baptists, and consequently knew nothing about their doctrine, but in the area where I lived the expression living in adultery was well known and understood. The sanctity of the marriage union was recognized, and the break up of a marriage was seen for the tragedy that it is. Divorce carried the stigma that properly belonged to it, and when anyone was said to be living in adultery the reproach was obvious, both in the words and in the way they were repeated. The more conservative denominational churches in our area would readily accept a person in that condition into their membership, but if a preacher was perceived to be living in adultery, they would generally not call him as pastor, nor invite him to hold their special meetings.
Most of you remember when Nelson Rockefeller wanted so much to be president. Do you remember the question the news media asked at that time? They wanted to know, “Will the American people accept a divorced man in the White House?” But the thinking of the American people has changed. By the time Ronald Reagan came along the question did not even come up. In that very short time we had become desensitized to the question of divorce and remarriage.
The Law for All Mankind
Sometimes somebody says, “But, Brother Hunt, that took place before he had an experience of grace. He has been born again since that time. Does that not do away with his previous condition?” No it does not. God provided marriage for all of mankind. He did not just provide it for his children. Marriage is God's institution. He set it up. It belongs to him. He gave all of mankind the principles which are to govern it, and those restrictions are binding on all of mankind. The wicked are bound by those principles as surely as the righteous are.
There could be no doubt that question would come up, and the Holy Spirit was very careful to provide a text dealing with it. Mt 14:3, “For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife, for John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.” John the Baptist told Herod that it was not lawful—not legal—for him to have his brother's wife. Herod was as mean as a snake. He never gave any indication that he had ever been born of the Spirit of God, but he was still bound by the same principles that govern anybody else. He took his brother's Philip's wife. Bear in mind that they went through all the formalities. In the book of Mark we are told that “he had married her” Mr 6:17. She got her no fault divorce. They went through the formalities, but John the Baptist, that brave old preacher, challenged that wicked king, and told him the marriage was not lawful—not legal. John knew that wicked old king was fully capable of taking his life, and he finally did do just that, but that did not deter him from telling him the truth.
Not Lawful for Thee to Have Her
Notice that he did not tell him, “It was unlawful for thee to marry her.” Most Bible students will admit that an adulterous marriage is improper at its outset. Not so many will admit that it continues to be wrong for its duration. The marriage was wrong at its inception, but John was not talking about Herod’s past sins; he was talking about his present situation. He said, “You still have her; it is not lawful for thee to have her.” What was John saying, when he told Herod it was not lawful for him to have his brother's wife? Just what we have been saying all along: that any divorce Herodias had gotten from Herod's brother was not a valid divorce, and therefore any subsequent marriage was not lawful —not legal.
There are at least two lessons to be learned from this passage. First, that it does not make any difference on which side of regeneration a person gets into that situation. John was talking to a man who never gave any indication that he had ever been born of the Spirit of God, and he held him to the same restrictions that he would anybody else.
The second lesson is probably more central to our subject. John told that wicked old king that it was not lawful for him to have his brother's wife. Surely we ought to have at least as high a standard for members of a Primitive Baptist church as John proclaimed for that wicked king.
And Such Were Some of You
One passage which has given people some concern on this point is in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. 1Co 6:9-11, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” This passage has left some people thinking that Paul was here justifying receiving adulterers into the church. But that is not what he is saying at all. Notice the tense of the verb: “and such were some of you....” There is repentance available for any sin a person may repent of and turn from. These people were no longer involved in the sinful conduct mentioned.
Always a Point of Contention
We must acknowledge that there has always been some confusion on this point. When I joined the church more than forty years ago, there were older brethren in this area who were convinced that regeneration did, indeed, take a person out of adultery. There were members, who had been taken into the church on that basis. The cases I knew about died long ago, but for all I know, there may still be others in the churches in that condition. There are a few areas today in which many of our people are just as firmly convinced that regeneration does take a person out of a state of adultery as I am convinced that it does not.
I believe it behooves us to search the Scriptures, and to be just as faithful as God will give us the grace and determination to be in proclaiming those high moral principles God has laid down with regard to divorce and remarriage. No church can wilfully take adulterers into the church without suffering the consequences. Once we wilfully forsake the clear moral ground of the Scriptures on this point, we are not likely to escape that long slippery slide to the bottom. It will not be long until there will be very little we will not accept. We have seen what is happening in the denominational churches. There is no reason to believe our lot will be any different, if we follow the same course they have followed.
Our people are agreed that, if a member of the church is guilty either of fornication or adultery, he must be excluded. We cannot tolerate such conduct among our membership. On that point our people do not generally have any problem. No other group of people has been so faithful as our Primitive Baptist people have been in that regard. If the denominational churches of the land would take the position our Primitive Baptist churches have taken on that one point, it would make an enormous difference in the spiritual condition of this nation. The greatest problem in the land is the silence of its spiritual leaders on basic moral issues.
There are others of our people who believe that if a person became involved in an adulterous marriage many years ago, and later had an experience of grace, he can now be received into the church. I am convinced that they are dead wrong. I cannot see how the Bible could be any more clear on this point.
If a marriage is adulterous at its inception; it is adulterous for its duration.
I have no doubt that those who follow such a course will one day see their error. But there are areas in which not everyone agrees with what most of us perceive the Bible to teach on this point. The difference of opinion on that point goes back for generations. Many of the previous generation in this area had that idea.
The Need to Use Judgment
While we may differ very vigorously with that notion we need to use judgment in the matter. It does not behoove us to be constantly on the alert for someone who does not agree with us, just so we can declare against them. There have been far too many declarations of non-fellowship, and too many divisions, as it is.
It is sad to say, but very often, those, who have been the quickest to break fellowship with their brethren, have also been the most careful to conceal problems, when they arise in their own church, or in their own family.
How often we have seen it happen that those ministers, who are so anxious to straighten out everybody else, themselves have the most to hide.
Problems arise in their own families, and they are unwilling to deal with the matter, or to allow the church to deal with it. We have often seen it happen that churches or ministers, who seem to have set themselves up as regulators, generally wind up with serious problems of their own, which they are unwilling to handle. Being so obviously caught in their own trap, we cannot help but wonder if God has not dealt with their arrogance by delivering them over to judgment.
We cannot straighten out every church in the land, and we should not try. If the conduct of a particular church is injuring the good name of our Primitive Baptist people, we have no choice but to disown them —to declare against them. But there is no way we will ever get every church in the land to march in lock step. The churches of the apostles’ day were not perfect in every respect, and we cannot expect that we will fare any better in our day. The church at Corinth had serious problems. So did the churches of Galatia, and all but two of the seven churches of Asia. Paul and John did not declare against those churches, and they did not persuade the other churches to do so. But they did reprimand them sharply. They called on them to repent, and to turn away from their misconduct.
No Need to Apologize
Let me end where I began. Our Primitive Baptists have no need to apologize for the firm stand the majority of our people have generally taken on the subject of divorce and remarriage. If a couple is involved in an adulterous marriage, we cannot receive them into the church. We mean them no harm, but they cannot be members of the church. We cannot abandon those simple moral precepts God has provided in order to gain a few members.
It behooves us that we use all the persuasive power God will give us to persuade our various churches to stay with the high moral ground God has assigned us, but we cannot straighten out every church in the land. Sometimes the conduct of a church scandalizes the good name of our Lord, and of our Primitive Baptist people, and the other churches have no choice but to disown them, to declare against them. There is a limit to forbearance, but we ought to be as patient as the Scriptures will allow us to be, before we write off any church as a lost cause. hlh
AHAZ The next king [after Jotham] was Ahaz, son of Jotham, who excelled all of his predecessors in idolatry. He openly espoused it, “sacrificing and burning incense, in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree;” and was the first of all the kings of Judah of Israel that sacrificed human sacrifices—even his own son—to the dumb idols! He revolutionized the whole system of religious worship in Judea, completely ignored the worship of the true God, cut in pieces the vessels of the house of the Lord, caused the sacrifices of the temple to cease, turned the priests out of doors, and closed the doors of the temple, so that the worshipers of God found no entrance. Those doors which had remained open for 267 years (B.C. 1005 to 738) were now closed, and remained so for twelve years. God punished him for all this. He set the king of Assyria on him, who defeated him in battle, and carried many of his people away as captives to Damascus. Pekah, king of Israel, also slew 120,000 of his subjects, and carried away 200,000 women and children captives to Samaria.
The captives and spoil were returned, but none of the dead came back. The Edomites of the south rose up, smote Judah, and carried away captives; and the Philistines overran and retained possession of the south of Judah. Nothing seemed to touch the heart of this wicked king. He became more and more hardened, and deaf to all the appeals for reform that could be made to him. How the ways of Zion mourned during this long season of cruelty and idolatry, and how deep must have been the sorrow and mortification of all spiritual worshipers of the true God during this long night of abomination!” (Hassell’s History ppg 129)
AHAZIAH Jehoram’s son Ahaziah, sometimes called Azariah and Jehoahaz, succeeded him and walked in his footsteps. He also married in the wicked family of Ahab. He went to war against Hazael, king of Assyria, with Joram,
king of Israel; they were defeated, and returned, and both were slain by Jehu, king of Israel, who was raised up to take
vengeance on the house of Ahab. Ahaziah was slain in the first year of his reign (2Ch 22; 2Ki 9).
Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, upon learning of the death of her son (and who had counseled him for evil during his life), caused all the seed royal of the house of Judah to be put to death, except one that escaped, and then usurped the throne herself. Wickedness appeared to be triumphant at this juncture, and Baal’s worshipers were in the ascendant. The valuable and sacred things of the temple were taken and bestowed upon the worship of Baal, and this idol was set up in Judah as it had been in Israel, with its altars, images and priests.
But Jehoiada the priest resolutely held the temple during the six years of Athaliah’s usurpation, and conducted the services in the prescribed forms (2Ki 11:1-16; 2Ch 22; 23). He was one of the most remarkable men of the times, and seemed to stand superior to any other in his day for wisdom, prudence, and devotion to God, from first to last, without any defection or abatement of zeal for the law of the Lord. He had great influence with the people; they revered him as Israel did Samuel of old.
He was contemporary with Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah—seven kings. He secreted the escaped son of Ahaziah, Joash or Jehoash, his wife’s nephew, in the temple until he could succeed in deposing Athaliah, which was done in the sixth year of her reign; and he had Joash, a child of seven years, proclaimed king of Judah, who for twenty-seven years did that which
was right in the sight of the Lord, because his uncle counseled him.
He brought the people generally back to the worship of God, and the bright and peaceful days of Asa and Jehoshaphat seemed to be returning again. But Jehoiada died at the advanced age of one hundred and thirty years; being kingly in life, he was honored with a kingly burial at his death. “And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God and toward his house.”
So soon as Jehoiada died, the young king fell into the hands of wicked men, who soon led him astray. “They left the house of the Lord God of their fathers and served groves and idols.” “Yet the Lord sent prophets to bring them again unto the Lord, and they testified against them, but they would not give ear.”
Zechariah, son of Jehoiada, became high priest, and used his utmost exertions to stay the tide of the wide-spreading idolatry; but a conspiracy was raised against him, and at the king’s command he was stoned to death in the house of the Lord! Our Savior tells exactly where—“between the temple and the altar” (Mt 23:35). Here was a priest of the Most High God slain in his sacred temple (while performing sacred rites), by order of a king whom his father secreted, protected, raised, had crowned king of Judah, and counseled for good all his life, and he a relative at that!
How could it be otherwise than that this blood should cry aloud to heaven for vengeance? It did cry aloud for vengeance, as well as that of Abel and of the Son of God; and that divine wrath, which had been slumbering so long, fell upon an after-generation of this people, with untold misery and woe, and the remnant have been scattered to the four winds of heaven—the despised and persecuted people among the nations of the earth.
The death of Zechariah is the first recorded martyrdom of a priest of the Most High God; martyred while officiating in the holy temple service and by the professing people of the Lord! How awful and gloomy the scene, and yet how frequently has it been re-enacted since the introduction of Christianity into the world! Ministers of the gospel, pastors and elders, have been torn from their flocks and from their ministrations in holy things, hundreds and thousands of them, and cruelly slain for their faithfulness to God by those who professed to be Christians, the people of God, and the servants of Christ!
God punished Joash by the hand of Hazael, king of Assyria, and afterwards his servants slew him in his bed (2Ki 11; 12; 2Ch 23; 24)” (Hassell’s History ppg 127,128)
The ALBIGENSES The Albigenses were so called from Albi or Albiga, a town in Southern France, one of their principal seats. Their history is written in fire and blood.
Their books and themselves having been destroyed, we have to glean our views of their sentiments from the distorted and unreliable statements of their Catholic enemies. It is thus impossible for us to know what their real doctrines were. The general account given of them by the latest and ablest historians represents that their doctrinal system was a strange compound of many gross errors with some simple and important truths; that, besides being severely moral and anti-sacerdotal, they held views that were strongly Manichean, like those of the Bogomiles in Thrace and the Cathari in Germany; maintaining that matter is essentially evil, that Satan created the world, and was the god of the Old Testament, that Christ and the Holy Spirit are only temporary emanations from the true God, and will be finally absorbed in Him, that the body of Christ was not real flesh, but only phenomenal and ethereal, that the fleshly bodies of the saints being essentially evil, will not be raised from the grave, etc.
These unscriptural errors no believer in the Bible can receive; and we do not know that the Albigenses held these views. It is said, even, by their enemies, that their speculative opinions were very diverse; and, in that age of darkness, when there were scarcely any Bibles, and exceedingly few persons who could read, it is not wonderful that errors abounded even in the minds of the real people of God. While the Albigenses are said to have received the New Testament as the oracles of God, Rome, with all her learning, substituted her own traditions for the entire scriptures, and especially antagonized the fundamental spiritual tenets of the New Testament, and thus she committed worse doctrinal errors than those she stigmatized and persecuted as heretics.” (Hassell’s History pg 439) (See also WALDENSES) Anthology Waldenses
The Academy at ALEXANDRIA: Sylvester Hassell: The great prototype of modern Sunday Schools and Theological Seminaries was the so-called “Christian” School, or School of Catechists, of Alexandria, in Egypt, founded about A.D. 180. The first president was a “converted” heathen philosopher, Pantaenus, who was succeeded in 189 by Clement, another “converted” heathen philosopher. The great scholar and universalist, Origen, succeeded Clement in 202, and presided till 232, and is said to have raised the school to the summit of prosperity. Origen’s pupils, Heraclas and Dionysius succeeded him. The last teacher was Didymus, in A.D. 395.
The two chief objects of this Alexandrian school were to prepare people, especially the young, for the church, and to prepare talented young men to preach. The number of students was very great, and it is said that many eloquent preachers were sent out from this school. The doctrines inculcated here were certainly fascinating to the natural mind—traditionalism, Arminianism, rationalism and universalism. Religion was gradually blended with and superceded by philosophy. Judaism and paganism were kindly brought in; and a broad, liberal, eclectic system, adapted to accommodate and reconcile all parties was devised, and this monstrous compound of truth and falsehood, of light and darkness—being mostly falsehood and darkness—was considered the perfection of true religion.
One of the most permanent and wide-reaching results of this school was the philosophical invention and establishment of the doctrine of free-will, scientifically known as the Greek anthropology and soteriology—the doctrine that the first step in every man’s salvation must be taken by his own natural will; that Christ’s death was not an expiatory sacrifice for sin, and is not of itself sufficient to save sinners; that repentance is a purifying and expiatory principle; that no faith whatsoever can save unless it is followed by works.
The learned city of Alexandria contained the greatest library of ancient times, said to have 700,000 volumes, collected by the Ptolemies, kings of Egypt; and this city was the home of Gnosticism and Neo-Platonism, and into these fatal errors the teaching of the Catechetical School shaded off by almost imperceptible gradations. (Hassell’s History pg 365)
ALLAH The Muslim mantra says, “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” We are forever hearing about Allah, but nobody bothers to tell us who he is. Because the Muslim tells us Allah is the one and only God, there are those who seem to think Allah is simply another name for Jehovah. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
It is true there are several names for Jehovah, but Allah is not one of them. In the original Hebrew Jehovah is also called El, Elohim, Shaddai, El Shaddai, Adonai, Jah, Jehovah, and so on. But you can be very sure that, when the Muslim refers to Allah, he has no reference to Jehovah. The pagan gods had any number of names. The same god was worshiped in different countries under different names. We have the Moabites worshiping Moloch, the Ammonites worshiping Chemosh, the Phoenicians worshiping Baal, and so on.
The names were different, but the various religions were essentially the same. They were fertility cults; they worshiped fertility, and sex, and reproduction. And they rejected the notion of an absolute standard of right and wrong.
Baal was worshiped in Arabia under the name of Allah. Did you ever wonder why the crescent moon is the symbol of Islam? Allah was the name of the Arabian Moon God. That is what the crescent moon signifies. Mohammed did not come up with a new name for his god. Long before he came along, his Quraysh tribe was known as the People of Allah, or the Protected Neighbors of Allah. Three of their other gods were called the Daughters of Allah.
The Kaaba, that huge rectangular building, sacred to Islam, was a sacred shrine for generations before Mohammed’s day. Before his time there were three hundred and sixty different pagan gods worshiped at the Kaaba. Mohammed changed things in that he taught them to call all three hundred and sixty gods by the same name—Allah.
The worshipers of those various pagan gods rejected the notion of an absolute standard of morality. Nothing was inherently right or wrong. An act was right or wrong only in the sense that it pleased or displeased their pagan god. That is one of the most basic doctrines of Islam to this day. No act is inherently right or wrong. That is why they can convince themselves it is right and proper to blow themselves up—and a dozen other people with them—if they do it to please Allah. We will never begin to understand Islam until we learn to better understand what Baal worship is all about. hlh
AMAZIAH Amaziah his [Joash’s] son succeeded him, and his reign was an improvement upon that of his father, though it was far from being good. He made a successful war against the Edomites, but publicly introduced the gods of Edom into Jerusalem as his own, for which God punished him by the hand of Joash, king of Israel. Joash made war on him, defeated and took him prisoner, destroyed part of the wall of Jerusalem, seized and carried off to Samaria part of the treasures of the temple and the king’s house, after which he was conspired against and murdered (2Ki 14; 2Ch 25). While Amaziah reigned, Jonah, the first of the sixteen prophets whose writings appear in the sacred canon of Scripture, was prophesying in Israel (2Ki 14:25). (Hassell’s History pg 128)
ANABAPTISTS (See under WALDENSES) Anthology Waldenses
ANSELM (See under SCHOLASTIC THEOLOGY) Anthology Scholastic Theology
ANTIOCHUS IV, EPIPHANES: Sylvester Hassell: Antiochus IV., Epiphanes, King of Syria, B.C. 175, became one of the most cruel oppressors the Jews had ever met with. He wished to Grecianize everything—names, places, fashions, religion and all. He acted like a madman. He attempted to exterminate the religion of the Jews and substitute that of the Greeks. At one time he approached Jerusalem, took it without much resistance, put to death in three days’ time 40,000 of the inhabitants, and seized as many more to be sold as slaves. He entered every part of the temple, pillaged the treasury, seized all the sacred utensils, the golden candlestick, the table of shew-bread, the altar of incense, and thus collected a booty to the amount of 1,800 talents (about three million dollars).
He then commanded a great sow to be sacrificed on the altar of burnt offerings, part of the flesh to be boiled, and the liquor from the unclean animal to be sprinkled over every part of the temple; and thus desecrated with the most odious defilement the sacred place, which the Jews had considered for centuries the one holy spot in all the universe.
Menelaus retained the dignity of High Priest; but two foreign officers, Philip, a Phrygian, and Andronicus, were made Governors of Jerusalem and Samaria. He designed the entire destruction of the Jewish race, when, in two years after this unhallowed course, he authorized one Apollonius to carry into execution his design with cruel dispatch. Apollonius waited until the Sabbath, when the whole people were occupied in their religious duties. He then let loose his soldiers against the unresisting multitude, slew all the men, till the streets ran with blood, and seized all the women as captives. He proceeded to pillage, and then to dismantle the city, which he set on fire in many places; he threw down the walls, and built a strong fortress on the highest part of Mount Zion, which commanded the temple and all the rest of the city. From this garrison he harassed all the people of the country, who stole in with fond attachment to visit the ruins, or offer a hasty and interrupted worship in the place of the sanctuary; for all the public services had ceased, and no voice of adoration was heard in the holy city, unless of the profane heathen calling on their idols.
The persecution did not end here. Antiochus issued an edict for uniformity of worship throughout his dominions, and dispatched officers into all parts to enforce rigid compliance with the decree. This office in the district of Judea and Samaria was assigned to Athenaeus, an aged man, who was well versed in the ceremonies and usages of the Grecian religion.
The Samaritans, according to the Jewish account, by whom they are represented as always asserting their Jewish lineage when it seemed to their advantage, and their Median descent when they hoped thereby to escape any immediate danger, yielded at once; and the temple on Gerizim was formally consecrated to Jupiter Xenius.
Athenaeus, having been so far successful, proceeded to Jerusalem, where, with the assistance of the garrison, he prohibited and suppressed every observance of the Jewish religion, forced the people to profane the Sabbath, to eat swine’s flesh and other unclean food, and expressly forbade the national rite of circumcision. The temple was dedicated to Jupiter Olympus; the statue of that deity erected on part of the altar of burnt offerings, and sacrifice duly performed. Two women, who had circumcised their children, were led round the city with the babes hanging at their breasts, and then cast headlong from the wall; and many more of those barbarities committed, which, as it were, escape the reprobation of posterity from their excessive atrocity. Cruelties too horrible to be related, sometimes for that very reason, do not meet with the detestation they deserve.
Among other martyrdoms, Jewish tradition dwells with honest pride upon that of Eleazar, an aged scribe, ninety years old, who determined to leave a notable example to such as be young to die willingly and courageously for the honorable and holy laws; and the seven brethren who, encouraged by their mother, rejected the most splendid offers, and confronted the most excruciating torments rather than infringe the law.
From Jerusalem the persecution spread throughout the country; in every city the same barbarities were executed, the same profanations introduced; and, as a last insult, the feast of Bacchanalia, the license of which, as these feasts were celebrations in the later ages of Greece shocked the severe virtue of the older Romans, was substituted for the national festival of tabernacles. The reluctant Jews were forced to join in these riotous orgies, and carry the ivy, the insignia of the god. So near was the Jewish nation, and the worship of Jehovah, to total extermination.
Many have been the scenes described in ancient and modern history, where the people of the Most High God have suffered persecution purely for conscience’ sake, but we believe very few have surpassed in enormity that which they suffered under Antiochus Epiphanes about 167 years before the Christian era. There was no insubordination, no revolt, no political pretext, for this cruelty toward his own peaceable subjects, but simply a determination to destroy the visible signs of God’s worshipers or destroy the people themselves!
Antiochus Epiphanes died at Tabae, in Persia, B.C. 164, of a most horrible and loathsome disease of the bowels, it is said, eaten alive with worms, emitting an intolerable odor, acknowledging that his illness was sent upon him by the God of Israel for his cruelty and sacrilege, and becoming raving mad before he breathed his last. (Hassell’s History ppg 162, 163)
The APOCRYPHA Apocrypha means hidden or spurious. The books called the Apocrypha, in the Old Testament, are not contained in the Hebrew Bible at all, but are found in the Greek Septuagint. They were written by unknown authors from 300 to 30 B.C. They are not quoted at all by the writers of the New Testament, and they abound in fictitious stories and doctrinal errors. The Catholic Council of Trent in 1546 endorsed as canonical, or inspired, all the Apocrypha, except 1st and 2nd Esdras, and the Prayer of Manaseh. The Hebrew church, “to whom were committed the oracles of God’ (Ro 3:2), and all the Protestant and non-Catholic denominations reject the Apocrypha as uninspired. These writings are interesting as showing the workings of the Jewish mind in the interval between the Old and New Testaments. It is from the Apocrypha that the Roman Catholics derive the texts for proof of their unscriptural doctrines of purgatory, prayers for the dead, and their meritoriousness of good works. In the apocrypha, as derived from the Persian Zend-Avesta, two-seedism, or dualism, can find its strongest arguments.” (Hassell’s History pg 158)
Question: How should we regard the Apocrypha?
Answer: The old London Baptist Confession of Faith, of 1689, very well says in Chapter 1, Section 3: —“The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of Divine inspiration (Lu 24:27,44; Ro 3:2) are not part of the canon (or rule) of Scripture, and therefore are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.”
And the same views of these books are held by the Jews, the Greek Catholics, and all Protestants except the Church of England (or Episcopal Church) which, in her Thirty-nine Articles of Faith mentions the Apocrypha as books “which the church doth read for examples of life and instruction of manners, but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.”
The Roman Catholic Church has always highly favored these books, and in the Counsel of Trent (1545-1553) received them in part for edification, but not for “the establishment of doctrine;” yet the Romish Church, in its translation of the Bible, mixes these books with the books of the Old Testament, and derives from them its unscriptural doctrines of purgatory, prayers for the dead, and the meritoriousness of good works; and in the Apocrypha, as derived from the Persian Zend-Avesta, two-seedism, or dualism, finds its strongest arguments.
The Apocrypha is not in the Hebrew Old Testament, but is in the Septuagint, or Greek Version of the Old Testament. It consists of the following fourteen books:—1st, Historical (First Esdras, First and Second Maccabees); 2nd, Legendary, (Tobit, Judith, Additions to Esther, Song of Three Holy Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon); 3rd, Prophetical (Baruch, Prayer of Manassas); 4th Apocalyptic (Second Esdras); and 5th Didactic (The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus).
These books were written between 300 B.C. and 75 A.D. They are not quoted at all by the writers of the New Testament, and they abound in fictitious stories and doctrinal errors, and they show the workings of the carnal Jewish mind just before and after the coming of Christ.” (Hassell in Questions and Answers by R.H. Pittman 1935)
APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION: Not proven by Ananias’s laying hands on Saul: Sylvester Hassell In regard to Ananias’s putting his hands on Saul, by the command of God, we observe the highly important fact that, not only was it done before Saul’s baptism, but it was done by a man who was not an Apostle, nor a successor of an Apostle, (if such a thing as succession were at all scriptural or possible), for the Apostles were all then living; and thus the case of the great Apostle of the Gentiles totally undermines the Episcopal doctrine of the necessity of the confirmation of every believer, after baptism, either by an Apostle or the successor of an Apostle.
Upon Cornelius and his company, it is distinctly asserted, in Ac 10, that the Holy Ghost, both in his converting and miracle-working power, was poured out, before they were baptized; and no mention is made of Peter’s putting his hands on the company at all.
The apostolic imposition of hands after baptism (except for ordination) is mentioned in only two instances in the New Testament (Ac 8:17; 19:6); and in both cases it was certainly used, as we know from the context (Ac 8:7,18; 19:6), to represent the bestowal of the miracle-working power of the Holy Ghost. Christ put his hands upon unbaptized infants and blessed them (Mt 19:13-15; Lu 18:15-16).
As for Heb 6:2, in which these six principles of the doctrine of Christ are mentioned— repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection and judgment, we observe that nothing is said of an Apostle or a successor of an Apostle; it is not said upon whom or for what purpose hands are to be laid; but, if we are to infer from the order, that laying on of hands should follow every baptism, so we are compelled to infer that every baptism must follow repentance from dead works, and faith toward God; and this inevitable corollary of “confirmation,” as deduced from this passage, utterly sweeps away the foundation of infant baptism, a chief corner-stone of hierarchism.
The ordination of the Deaconship or Eldership by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery is scriptural (Ac 6:6; 13:3; 1Ti 4:14; 2Ti 1:6; 1Pe 5:1; 2Jo 1). So Moses ordained Joshua by laying his hands upon him (Nu 27:18; De 34:9). (Hassell’s History ppg 198, 199)
Biblical ARCHAEOLOGY: The late nineteenth century was a time of great discovery. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing. Scientific achievements were astounding the world. Old methods of industry and commerce were rapidly giving way to the new technology. Science was becoming the new god of the age. Society had never been so convinced that science could conquer the world. But as they cast aside the old ideas and the old methods, they began to cast aside the old values, and the old certainties. They began to question their religious convictions—and the Bible itself. It was a time of great discovery and great skepticism.
The nineteenth century saw the development of archaeology and the so-called Higher Criticism of the Bible. The Higher Critics insisted the Bible was no different than any other ancient book, and it ought to be studied, and dissected, in the same way. They began to apply their scientific method to the Bible and religion.
They questioned virtually everything about the Bible. They were sure its facts were wrong, and it was not written by the authors, nor at the time, it was supposed to have been written. Among other things, they claimed no one was able to read and write at that time. With this new confidence in their own abilities, they insisted they had scientific proof the old ideas were wrong. They dared anybody to challenge their conclusions. How could they be wrong, when they had accomplished so much in the scientific realm?
But at the time the skeptics were doing their work, archaeologists were busy digging up their relics from the past. To be sure, it was a rare archaeologist who expected to confirm the facts of the Bible, but they confirmed them, nonetheless. God is able to turn the enemies’ camp against itself. For over two hundred years now, the archaeologists have been digging up irrefutable proof the Higher Critics are wrong.
One of the key arguments of the skeptics was that the Bible could not possibly have been written when it was claimed, because nobody could read and write at that time. But God was about to prove beyond all doubt they were wrong. One of the first keys he provided was the Rosetta Stone.
The Rosetta Stone When Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt in 1799, he took a small army of French scholars with him. It is not likely he was especially interested in learning about Egyptian antiquities. But those scholars would be helpful in telling him which artifacts were worth stealing. One of the artifacts they discovered was the Rosetta Stone.
The Rosetta Stone is presently in the British Museum. It was discovered M. Boussard, one of Napoleon’s scholars, at Rosetta, a town near the mouth of the Nile. It provided the key to the ancient Egyptian language.
The language of ancient Egypt was a kind of picture writing called Hieroglyphic. About 800 B.C. Hieroglyphics gave way to Demotic. It was nearer the alphabetic style of writing. When Alexander the Great came along, Demotic gave way to Greek. Eventually, nobody could read Hieroglyphic or Demotic. The Rosetta Stone provided the key.
The stone is black granite. It is about 4 feet high, and 2 ½ feet wide. It has three inscriptions, one above the other, in Greek, Egyptian Demotic, and Egyptian Hieroglyphic. Greek was well known. The inscription was discovered to be a decree of Ptolemy V, Epiphanes. Scholars supposed it was made about 200 B.C.
From 1818 to 1822, a French scholar, named Champollion, compared the Greek letters with the unknown Egyptian characters. He managed to unravel the inscription and provide the key to the Hieroglyphic and the Demotic writing. It unlocked the entire world of Egyptian antiquities.
Those scholars were simply trying to make a name for themselves, but God was providing a way to decipher the old inscriptions, and demonstrate beyond all doubt that the historical facts of the Bible were true.
The Behistun Rock Sir Henry Rawlinson, an officer in the British army, provided the key to unraveling Babylonian inscriptions. In 1835 he discovered an inscription on Behistun Mountain about 200 miles Northeast of Babylon. The mountain is a huge rock, standing 1700 feet out of the plain. 400 feet above the road, on a perpendicular cliff, he found a smoothed surface with carvings. He discovered it was an inscription engraved by the order of Darius, king of Persia, who lived about 521 to 485 B.C. This was the same Darius Ezra and Daniel wrote about.
This inscription was a long account, in the Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian languages, talking about the mighty conquests of Darius. Rawlinson was acquainted with of the Persian language. Among other books he wrote A Commentary on the Cuneiform Inscriptions of Babylonia and Assyria, and Notes on the Early History of Babylonia. He assumed this was the same inscription in three languages. For 4 years, he climbed the rock, stood on a ledge about a foot wide at the bottom of the inscription, and made squeezes of the inscriptions. He spent another 14 years translating the material. But when he finished, he had found the key to the Babylonian language. With that discovery he provided later archaeologists access to the ancient Babylonian literature, and opened up an entire field of study, that for all these years has over and over confirmed the facts of the Bible.
Hammurabi’s Code If there was ever any doubt about whether anybody could read in Abraham’s day, the Hammarabi Code removed all doubt. It was one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made. Hammurabi was the king of Babylon about 2000 B.C. That was the time of Abraham. He is usually identified by Assyriologists with Amraphel of Ge 14. He was one of the four kings who invaded Canaan and carried Abraham’s nephew Lot captive.
He had his code of law engraved on stones and set up in the main cities. In 1902 a French expedition under M. J. de Morgan found one of these stones in Babylon in the ruins of Susa. It is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris. It is a very smooth block of hard black stone. It is about 8 feet high, and 2 feet wide, and 1 ½ feet thick. It is oval in shape; it is beautifully cut, on all four sides. It is in cuneiform writing in the Babylonian language. It has about 4000 lines. It is the longest cuneiform tablet yet discovered.
It purports to show Hammurabi receiving laws from the sun-god Shamash. The laws deal with the worship of gods, administration of justice, taxes, wages, interest, money lending, property, disputes, marriage, partnerships, public works, canal building, care of canals, regulations regarding passenger and freight service by canal and caravan, international commerce, etc.
This is a stone monument from Abraham’s day. It is still in existence, and it proves beyond all question that the people of that day had a well-developed system of jurisprudence, and they had very well-developed literary skills. So much for our Higher Critics. Since that day, in their quest to make a name for themselves, and to outdo their colleagues, archaeologists have provided us a world of confirmation of the truth of this book of all books.
The ARK of the Covenant: Sylvester Hassell: The ark during the time of the judges remained at different places—a long time at Shiloh, a still longer time at Kirjath-Jearim, then at Jerusalem, and finally was deposited by Solomon in the magnificent temple which he had erected. When thus deposited, it contained nothing but the two tables of stone; the golden pot of manna and Aaron’s Rod that budded, having been lost during its capture or frequent removals. With little exception it remained in the Holy of Holies, in the temple, from its dedication B.C. 1003, to its destruction B.C. 588—a period of four hundred and fifteen years. Moses made it B.C. 1490, and it perished in Solomon’s temple B.C. 588, having been in existence nine hundred and two years! What a miraculous preservation! The second temple had no ark. (Hassell’s History pg 112)
ARMINIANISM: Sylvester Hassell: The Wesleyans, while admitting the imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity, maintain that such imputation was just in God only on condition that he should give every individual of the human family sufficient grace in Christ to enable him, if he chooses, to attain salvation —thus taking back with the left hand what they give us with the right, and making themselves semi-Pelagians, and contradicting the whole tenor of the Scriptures, which everywhere affirm or imply that God’s gift of Christ was an act of pure and unmerited mercy.” (Hassell’s History pg 51) (See also James ARMINIUS) Anthology Arminius, James
James ARMINIUS: Sylvester Hassell: James Arminius, of Holland (1560-1609), an able, learned and amiable man, was a disciple of Theodore Beza, and at first a strict Calvinist, but, through the combined influences of the rationalism of Peter Ramus, the synergism of Philip Melanchthon, the Semi-Pelagianism of Robert Bellarmine, and the liberalism of Theodore Koornhert, he came to believe and advocate that the election of the sinner to eternal life is not absolute, but is conditioned on the sinner’s foreseen faith and perseverance.
Still he inconsistently maintained the total depravity of human nature since the Fall; that “man, in his natural condition, is dead in sins; that his mind is darkened, his affections depraved, and his will refractory; that the will of man, with respect to true good, is not only wounded, bruised, inferior, crooked, and attenuated, but that it is likewise captivated, destroyed and lost, and has no powers whatever, except such as are excited by grace; that the grace of Christ is simply and absolutely necessary for the illumination of the mind, the ordering of the affections, and the inclination of the will to that which is good; that it infuses good thoughts into the mind, inspires good desires into the affections, and leads the will to execute good thoughts and good desires; that it goes before, accompanies and follows; that it excites, assists, works in us to will, and works with us that we may not will in vain; that it averts temptation, stands by and aids us in temptations, supports us against the flesh, the world and Satan; and that, in conflict, it grants us to enjoy the victory; that it raises up again those who are conquered and fallen, establishes them, endues them with new strength, and renders them more cautious; that it begins, promotes, perfects and consummates salvation” (Watson’s Theological Institutes, Vol. 2., pp. 46 and 47).
It has been truly said that “James Arminius was much less Arminian than his followers.” The latter, after his death, being continually reproached as Pelagians, had their creed drawn up in Five Articles by one of their preachers, James Mytenbogaert, and presented, as a “Remonstrance,” to the States of Holland and West Friesland, in 1610.
This original Arminian Creed, which sets forth a carefully restricted Semi-Pelagianism, is as follows:
Article I. That God, by an eternal unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ His Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ’s sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ, according to the word of the gospel in Joh 3:36, and according to other passages of Scripture also.
Article 2 , That, agreeably thereto, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, died for all men and for every man, so that he has obtained for them all, by his death on the cross, redemption and the forgiveness of sins; yet that no one actually enjoys this forgiveness of sins except the believer, according to the word of the gospel of Joh 3:36, and in 1Jo 2:2.
Article 3, That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free-will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will nor do anything that is truly good (such as saving faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination or will, and all his power, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will and effect what is truly good, according to the word of Christ in Joh 15:5.
Article 4, That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance and accomplishment of all good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without prevenient or assisting, awakening, following and co-operative grace, can neither think, will nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements, that can be conceived, must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But as respects the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, inasmuch as it is written concerning many that they have resisted the Holy Ghost, Ac 7, and elsewhere in many places.
Article 5, That those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving Spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory; it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand, and if only they are ready for the conflict, and desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no power or craft of Satan, can be misled nor plucked out of Christ’s hands, according to the word of Christ in Joh 10:28. But whether they are capable, through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, or again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scripture, before we ourselves can teach it with the full persuasion of our minds.
These articles, thus set forth and taught, the Remonstrants deem agreeable to the word of God, tending to edification, and, as regards this argument, sufficient for salvation, so that it is not necessary or edifying to rise higher or descend deeper.
The question as to the possibility of finally falling from grace, left open in the Fifth Article, was decided by the Remonstrants or Arminians in the affirmative during the very next year (1611). And so, though having pronounced it both “unnecessary and unedifying,” they continued to “descend deeper” into false doctrine, until, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, large numbers of them had logically degenerated into Pelagians and Arians; and they were but little removed from the deism of Herbert of Cherburg; the materialism of Hobbes, the pantheism of Spinoza, and the skepticism of Bayle. Thus error, instead of rectifying itself, continually tends to depart more widely from the truth.” (Hassell’s History ppg 509-511)
ASA Abijah’s son, Asa, succeeded him, and proved to be one of the best kings that ever reigned over Judea. He earnestly sought to extirpate idolatry and immorality from the land, and repaired the fortified places of Judea; and, in the strength of a covenant-keeping God (see his remarkable prayer in 2Ch 14:11), he met the mighty invading Ethiopian host of a million men, under Zerah, and utterly routed them. Encouraged by the prophet Azariah, he now became still more zealous in the destruction of idolatry. But Baasha, king of Israel, moving against him, his faith in God seemed for a time to fail him, and he, with the treasures of his palace and the temple, hired Benhadad, king of Syria, to invade Baasha’s northern frontier; and, being rebuked for this by the faithful prophet of the Lord, Hanani, he cast the latter into prison. Asa was attacked with a disease in his feet; and seeking not to the Lord, but to physicians (probably foreign idolaters), he died. (Hassell’s History pg 125)
ASSOCIATIONS These are annual meetings for the worship of God—for singing prayer, preaching, and to hear from sister churches of the same faith and order how they are getting along. We think there is scriptural authority for a meeting of this kind. It is necessary that the gospel be preached and this would be an opportune time for doing so. Besides, we are commanded not to “forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhort one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching,” Heb 10:25. (Hassell)
Question: Has an association the authority to sit in judgment and render a decision in church differences?
Answer: Associations are not mentioned in the Scriptures. The first Baptist Association was formed in Wales A.D. 1651, more than 1500 years after the death of John the last apostle, and therefore, associations have no right over the churches; or to render decisions between churches. It would be far better to abolish all associations than to have them rule and ruin the churches, sacred to the Lord Jesus Christ her only head and master. The church is the highest, the last and the only organization on earth authorized to settle differences between its members.” (Hassell in Questions and Answers by R.H. Pittman 1935)
Question: Do Councils of Associations have any authority over the churches?
Answer: None whatsoever, since the death of the apostles, the last fully inspired and infallible created teachers of the human race. Any assemblies of men may advise a church of Christ, but they cannot impose their decisions upon her. But if a church, after the humble, loving, and continued labors of gospel churches, stubbornly and permanently persists in departing from the doctrine and practice of Christ and the apostles, she unchurches herself, her candlestick is removed out of its place, and she becomes a synagogue of Satan (Re 2:5; 3:9). (Hassell in Questions and Answers by R.H. Pittman 1935)
According to my reading and understanding, Baptist associations were at first simply general informal yearly meetings of the members of different churches for the worship of God, and did not have even any representation of the churches by delegates, or any so-called Constitution, or any correspondence with other similar meetings, and thus did not exercise the slightest authority over the churches whose members were at these meetings or over similar meetings of the members of other churches, and were very much like the present yearly meetings of some of our churches, leaving out all the business of such meetings; and, if associations had never been anything more than this, I can see no valid scriptural objections to them.
But these oldest Baptist associations, after a few years, adopted Constitutions, assumed to be Courts of Appeal for the difficulties arising in the churches, overseeing all the faith and practice of the churches, dropping and non-fellowshiping the churches, when the latter did not conform to their regulations, and finally took up formal correspondence with other associations, and some of them, after awhile, used this machinery to drop other associations and cut them off from their fellowship without gospel labor, and have thus erected apparently insurmountable and everlasting barriers between the churches of the saints, the members of the mystical body of Christ.
This is why it seems to me that either our associations ought to return to the original simple form of general meetings for nothing but the worship of God, or our churches ought to return to the simple form of the apostolic churches, which were bound together by nothing but the strong bond of divine truth and love. (Sylvester Hassell, The Gospel Messenger, Nov. 1899)
R.W. Thompson: Elder Hassell, in his church history refers to the ancient custom of the Jews, who were required to appear together before the Lord, at the Tabernacle, or temple, and make an offering with a joyful heart, and he says, “God’s object was to promote, in this way, the religious zeal and knowledge and union of his covenant people, to bring them frequently together in loving brotherly fellowship for the worship of God—the very same object that is now beautifully and pleasantly subserved by the frequent assemblies of the people of God in their quarterly, yearly, union, corresponding, and associational meetings.” (Hassell’s History, pg 94) The name by which you may call a thing in no sense changes its nature or character. Our associational meetings are for the identical purpose here assigned, and are conducted to the same end.
The first Baptist Association was formed in Wales, in 1649. —Gospel Messenger, vol. 28, p. 126, April, 1906. This date places the organization of the first Baptist association too far back by one hundred and forty-three years for it to have been of Missionary Baptist origin.
The government of our churches by associations would be wrong, hurtful, and unscriptural. Primitive Baptist churches will not submit to such an unscriptural system. A sound gospel church of good standing may or may not belong to an association without affecting her standing in the least. Any general meeting of the saints—union meetings and associations—should only be for the worship of God, mutual edification and promotion of brotherly love. There may be some things connected with the business part of our associations that could be better attended to some other way—by the church with which the association convenes. This is now practiced by some of our sound and orderly churches and gives entire satisfaction. But to condemn the purpose of such general meeting for the worship is wrong, and only tends to engender strife, confusion, and division.
Let us stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not misled by any man in these restless times.” (R.W. Thompson in the PRIMITIVE MONITOR)
ATONEMENT: definition: Gill defines atonement as “a covering to his people, from the curses of the law they have broken—from the wrath of God they have deserved—and from avenging justice their sins exposed them to.” James Oliphant defines it, “that which makes satisfaction for sin.”
The ATONEMENT: excerpts from The Daily-Throg-morton Debate: Daily: 1. What does the death of Christ, apart from everything else, accomplish in the salvation of sinners? 2. Did Christ die for sinners really and absolutely as a substitute; that is, did he take the place of sinners in dying for them? Was his death for them vicarious or not? 3. Did Christ die for sinners in order to make the eternal salvation of all he died for possible on condition of faith?
My first argument in support of my proposition is that the death of Christ was necessary in order to the eternal salvation of sinners, and being necessary to that end, it was designed to accomplish it. For whatever is necessary to an end is designed to accomplish that end.
As God is all-wise, and as God is all-powerful, we are forced to the conclusion that whatever he designed in any undertaking of his will be accomplished; and that, therefore, to ascertain his design we have but to ascertain the final results.
If his design for sinners was not their eternal salvation, what was it? I maintain that the design was the eternal salvation of the sinners for whom he died.
When I think of God, whose name is “I am,” the self-existent one, who is from everlasting to everlasting , the Almighty God, as knowing all things, I cannot associate with such an idea of God any idea of a failure upon his part.
Mt 18:11 “For the Son of Man is come to save that which was lost.”
1Th 5:9-10 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”
Ga 1:3-4 “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God our Father.”
God’s design in Christ’s dying for sinners was their eternal salvation from sin and their deliverance according to his will. His design is to be measured by its final results. Therefore, all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved.
My second argument is founded upon the annunciation of the coming birth of Christ by the angel to Joseph:
Mt 1:21 “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Since he will save his people from their sins, he will not save more than his people; he will not save fewer than his people. He will save just that many.
All whom he will save are reckoned as his people before they are saved, before he died for them, even before he came into the world.
It was not his mission to try to save them, or to give them a chance to save themselves, or to enable someone else to save them, but to save them himself.
A priest in making his priestly offering could not sit down until the offering was accomplished. Jesus Christ could not have sat down on the right of the Majesty on high if he had not purged the sins of those for whom he died.
As Aaron bore the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, those he represented, making sacrifice for them and acting as their intercessor, thus purging them typically, so Christ, the glorious anti-type, bears the names of all for whom he died as a sacrifice, on the breastplate of his love.
Christ and the Holy Spirit act with one consent together, the work of one being the complement to that of the other. Christ intercedes for those for whom he died, as an advocate in heaven, and the Holy Spirit quickens them and becomes an advocate within to bear witness with their spirits that they are the children of God. The Atonement and intercession of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit cannot fail. Therefore, all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved.
My sixth argument is that the death of Christ was a ransom paid for sinners intended to redeem them. That ransom price was God’s own provision for the redemption of the sinners for whom Christ died, and therefore it cannot fail.
The death of Christ for sinners, the shedding of his blood, is the ransom price paid, by which those for whom he died are said to be purchased or redeemed.
1Co 6:20 “For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
What is the price? It is the priceless shed blood of the blessed Jesus. That is the full price. That is God’s accepted price, to which there needs be no addition, to which there can be made no addition, which satisfies God in behalf of those for whom Christ die.
Ac 20:28 “Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
1Pe 1:18-19 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Re 5:9 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation.”
If the payment of such a price should fail to secure the everlasting salvation of any for whom it was paid, the failure would be to the everlasting shame and disgrace of the omnipotent one who proposed to accept the price and of the obedient one, the suffering one who paid it.
There can be no more God dishonoring doctrine than that which teaches that some for whom Christ died will be eternally lost. It says his blood was spilt in vain. It charges him and the everlasting Father with both failure and falsehood. It says the law demands two payments for the same offense.
Tit 2:13-14 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Can redemption be for any one who is never redeemed? Can a price be paid as a ransom, and the ransom not be consummated? Can the judge be satisfied, justice be met, and the prisoners, any of them, remain forever enthralled?
My seventh argument in support of my proposition is: That salvation by the life of Christ is sure to follow reconciliation by his death.
Ro 5:6-10 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
The act of reconciling is here ascribed to the death of Christ. It was declared to be done when the sinners for whom he died were enemies, ungodly ones, and sinners without strength. It does not say they were reconciled when they became God’s friends, when they repented and believed on Christ, but when they were enemies. All for whom Christ died were reckoned sinners, they were reckoned ungodly, and enemies to God. These enemies were all for whom Christ died, who lived in the ages before he lived, at that time, and who would live in subsequent ages.
All who were reconciled to God by the death of his Son will be eternally saved by his life. Therefore, all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved.
Throgmorton: It is true that God takes no pleasure in the death of any of them: Eze 18:32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves and live.”
Daily: God is here addressing National Israel and speaking of the disobedient ones among National Israel. As his promises to that nation were conditional promises, if they obeyed God under that national law, God preserved them; if they did not, God afflicted them. He had no pleasure in such affliction in case of disobedience under national law.
Throgmorton: God is not willing that any should perish. 2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack cncerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Daily: It is God’s work to save sinners, and since he doeth according to his will as the Bible declares, he will save all he wills to save. Therefore if this passage means all mankind, all will be saved. To come to repentance is to come to Christ. Christ says no one can come to him except the Father draws him. Then all the Father wills to come to Christ will be drawn. If this passage means all mankind, all will repent and be saved.
Throgmorton: 1Ti 4:10 “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially those who believe.” What about the living God, Paul? “He is the Savior of all men.” Of how many men? All men. What else have you to say? “Specially of those that believe.” You see Paul makes a distinction. And all men that believe are the elect. And unless all men be saved eternally there will be some for whom he died that will not be eternally saved.
Daily: This passage was 1Ti 2:6, where he said he gave himself a ransom for all. Ransom is here translated from antilutron (antilutron). The preposition anti is here joined to the verb. Antilutron is a strong word translated ransom in this text. Anti means over against, corresponding to in place of, in retribution or return for. Lutron (lutron) is from the verb luw (luo) which means to loosen, unbind, set at liberty. So the word anti-lutron means the payment of such a price as retribution or return for as results in loosing or setting at liberty all for whom the ransom is paid. This fact is strengthened still by the phrase uper pantwn (huper panton) “for all.” Huper (for) means in the attitude of protection, so that the idea of protection over all for whom the ransom was paid is definitely expressed. This makes it infallibly certain that all for whom this ransom was paid, for whom this blessed Mediator gave himself as a ransom, will be eternally saved. So when he says he gave himself a ransom for all he did not mean the whole human race. If he did, the whole race is going to heaven.
Throgmorton: The book plainly says in so many words that he tasted death for every man. Heb 2:9 “That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Daily: Speaking of Christ tasting death for every man, in Heb 2:9, he claims “every man” means the entire human race. Let’s see. The phrase “for every man,” is translated from the Greek phrase, uper pantos (huper pantos). It is not uper pantos antropos “for every man,” but uper pantos “for every.” The word “man” is not in the original. This might be translated “for every one,” if taken distributively, which means every one of the many brethren mentioned in the context, for whose salvation Jesus was made a perfect captain. Through suffering he was made the perfect captain of the salvation of all finally brought to glory by him, and not of all the human race. If he tasted death for every one of the human race, and thus became the captain of their salvation through suffering for them, they will all be saved and be brought to glory. So he tasted death for those only for whom he was made a perfect captain.
Throgmorton: We read of one weak brother for whom Christ died that perished. 1Co 8:10-11 “For if any man see thee which hast knowledge, sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols? And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?” In the Revised Version, American, it reads: For through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth, the brother for whom Christ died.” It doesn’t mean a brother in Christ, because we have seen that those in Christ will never perish, but here is a brother in Adam for whom Christ die, who perishes. The Greek word apoleitai (apoleitai) is the same as in Joh 3:16, where the word perish occurs.
Daily: He speaks about the weak brother perishing: 1Co 8:11. Now the Apostle is there writing to brethren in the church, and speaks of a weak brother in the church perishing. The argument of my friend is, that one who belongs to the church, is a brother in the church, might eternally perish. Do you believe in apostasy? If not, why did you call attention to that? Did that mean a brother in Adam? How do you know it did? The Apostle is not writing to the Adamic family, but to the Church of God. He means a brother in Christ. There might be many ways in which a person can perish and then not go to hell. There are different ways in which a person may perish.
Throgmorton: 1Ti 4:10 “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the savior of all men, specially those who believe.” What about the living God, Paul? “He is the Savior of all men.” Of how many men? All men. What else have you to say? “Specially of those that believe.” You see Paul makes a distinction. And all men that believe are the elect. And unless all men be saved eternally, there will be some for whom he died that will not be eternally saved. So my opponent’s proposition is gone. He is the Savior of all men in that he has saved all men from the guilt of Adam’s transgression. He is the special Savior of those that believe, because when they believe, he pardons all their actual transgressions. Many for whom he died, and whom he saved from Adam’s guilt, become actual transgressors and never believe and so are lost forever.
Daily: In reference to 1Ti 4:10, Christ is referred to there. God the Father is referred to, and in saying he is the Savior of all men and especially those that believe, he teaches that he is the preserver of all men by his protection over them, particularly and especially them that believe. The word Savior here in the Emphatic Diaglott is translated preserver. In Hind’s Interlinear Greek Testament it is also translated preserver, so that the literal rendering would be preserver of all men, and especially those that believe. Now if he is the Savior of all men, he will save all, because it takes that to be a Savior.
Throgmorton: Ro 5:18 “Therefore as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” Whose was the one offense? Adam’s. Who were the “all men” upon whom the condemnation came by Adam’s disobedience? What does Paul say? As by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” Not by their own transgression, but because of Adam’s transgression. “Even so by the righteousness of one,” that is, the righteousness of Jesus Christ wrought out and finished on the cross, “Even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon”—how many? “Upon all men,” the same “all men” mentioned in the first part of the verse. My opponent says if that means all men, all men will be eternally saved, and told me “good bye.” It does mean universal salvation from Adam’s transgression, but not from actual transgression. There will never be a man in hell at last on account of Adam’s transgression, unless it is Adam himself.
Daily: In reference to the 5th chapter of Romans (Ro 5), “Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Does that justification of life mean eternal life? Does it mean they all received eternal life, when it speaks of the free gift coming to all? If justification of life doesn’t mean eternal life, what kind of life does it mean? If it does mean eternal life, how can any fail to be saved forever? Answer that, and we will have more on that subject.
Throgmorton: Brother Daily refers to Eph 1:7 and to Col 1:14, “In whom we have redemption.” This redemption is not something that we obtained on the cross when Christ died. Redemption is forgiveness! When did you get forgiveness, Brother Daily? Back there? Or in the hour in which you first believed? Tell us! Col 1:14 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” When were you forgiven? When Christ suffered on the cross? Or when he met you in faith?
Daily: In the way of redemption through his blood, in quoting that, he says we do not have redemption until we have forgiveness, because redemption is forgiveness. Now Christ obtained eternal redemption for us before he entered the Holy Place, did he not? If Christ obtained eternal redemption before he entered the Holy Place, then will we not get the redemption that Christ obtained for us? If not, why? Is Christ’s work a failure? Will Christ obtain eternal redemption for a sinner when he died on the cross, and then that sinner fail to receive that redemption that Christ had obtained for him? I proved that ransom signified a loosing, that it was to redeem that which was ransomed, and he hasn’t answered the argument, and he will not do it.
Throgmorton: The blood of Christ purges our conscience from dead works. When? Back there when the blood was shed? Tell us. Is that what you mean—that your conscience was purged from sin when Christ died on the cross? Mine was purged in my lifetime by the application of that blood. And Christ’s blood when shed on the cross per se, cleanses no one. That only the application of the blood can do. It is the blood applied that does this thing. Let me read you Ac 15:7-9. It will show you when the purification takes place: “God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;”—now listen!—“and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” Not without faith—not yet when the blood was shed; but by faith when the blood was applied. That is when the purging takes place as to the actual transgressor.
Daily: Speaking of the conscience being purged from sin, that is not the purging of the sins mentioned in Heb 1st chapter. He purged our sins in a different sense when he died on the Roman cross. There was a sense in which he purged our sins, when he died on the cross, was there not? So there was a sense in which he purged sins. The Apostle says he purged our sins before he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Daily: What does the death of Christ, apart from everything else, accomplish in the salvation of sinners? For instance, in the case of those who die without hearing the gospel, what does the gospel accomplish in their eternal salvation? You deny that all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved. You contend that some will be eternally damned. Now what does Christ’s death accomplish in the case of those who never hear the gospel preached?
Let us illustrate the gentleman’s theory. Let this represent those that are lost, and this those who are saved (using two books). That Christ died for these he admits, but also argues that he died for these just the same. No difference in the death. What does the death of Christ do for these? They go to endless ruin. They suffer in an endless hell, though Christ died for them. What makes the difference between the two? The death of Christ? No, sir. Anything Christ did? No, sir. He did just as much for these as these. Nothing that Christ did makes the difference. My Friend’s position is that what these did, and not what Christ did, is what made the difference between the classes. So that those in heaven are there for what they did, and not by reason of what Christ did for them!
Daily: Ga 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” When was that redemption accomplished? When he was made a curse for us. When was he made a curse for us? When he died on the Roman cross. That agrees with the other text, that he entered heaven, having obtained eternal redemption for us. So Christ has redeemed us, for it is written, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” The meaning is: he was made a curse over us, in the sense of protection. This represents him as being a curse in an attitude of protection over them for whom he died. The Greek work uper (huper) means over, so that the curse due to them fell upon him. They were shielded by him.
As surety of the covenant he stood to his engagement and made full reparation for the sins of those for whom he died. Because of his being made sin and a curse, the supporting and comforting presence of his father was withdrawn from him, so that he cried out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me:?” It was for no sin of his own, but because he became sin for those for whom he died, and because he died a curse for them.
Christ, in being made sin for those for whom he died, was their substitute, as the word uper (huper) positively declares. Every sinner for whom he died must be absolved or the substitution of Christ is a failure. Did Christ die for sinners as an absolute substitute? He has not said yes, or no, to that question. He has not even given an evasive answer to that question. He has paid no attention to it. He has said that Christ died to make the salvation to all possible, when he knows that he cannot stand upon that through this debate to save his life. He is gone if I were to stop here and give him the rest of the time. His position is that God has not made provision for the salvation of all. He will never get out of that hole. It will go down in the book with him in it, covered up with no possibility to escape.
Now all secured by Christ as their substitute, as their surety, will be eternally saved, because they are secured and redeemed from the curse of the law. Therefore all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved. He will not answer that question; he will not answer that argument. He will treat it as he has all the rest.
Daily: My tenth argument is founded on the unity of the Trinity. The three Persons in the Trinity co-operate, the work of each being a complement to the work of the others. God, and Christ, and the Spirit form a Divine Trinity—God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And these three operate in harmony, one being harmonious with the others in the accomplishment of the work.
Christ comes and acts as the representative and surety. He gives his very life for them, and purifies them to himself, a peculiar people, and finally ascends to his Father, having purged their sins by his death. The Holy Spirit, being one with the Father and Son, cannot fail to perform the important work assigned in the great economy of their salvation.
If the co-operation of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is a harmonious work, then all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved. But the co-operation of these divine persons is a harmonious work, for these three are one. Therefore all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved.
Daily: My Eleventh argument is that positive fact stated by Paul, that just as certainly as God delivered up Christ to die for sinners, he will as surely and freely give them all things else necessary for their salvation. Ro 8:32 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The argument of the Apostle is this: If God gave the best gift he could in giving Christ for those for whom he died, he will not fail to give any other gift necessary to their eternal salvation. If he will not fail in giving any other gift necessary for their eternal salvation, then all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved. Your friends are wondering what you are going to do with that.
1Th 5:9: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” The great purpose for which Christ died for sinners is that they should live together with him. God spared him not. He will also give all things necessary to that end. The Holy Spirit which quickens them is a gift to them.
Ro 5:5: “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Then if God gave Christ to die for a sinner, he will give the Holy Ghost as well.
Ro 6:23: “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He gave Christ to die for the sinner. He will give everything else necessary. Eternal life is necessary, therefore he will give eternal life.
To offset that conclusion my friend must show that God will not give all things to those for whom he gave Christ to die. When he proves that, he will prove the Apostle told a falsehood when he declared that God would give all things necessary, when he declared that God gave Christ, the greatest gift that could be given for sinners.
Daily: My next argument is based upon the plain statement of Peter, that the object of Christ’s suffering for sinners is that he might bring them to God. 1Pe 3:18: “For Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” In the phrase, “the just for the unjust,” the preposition here is uper (huper), and is translated “for,” signifying protection over the unjust, a substitute for the sins for those for whom Christ died. My opponent does not say whether Christ died as a substitute or not. He has not said yet. I have proved that. He knows that he has not.
Daily: It is just as he illustrated his idea of salvation yesterday by reference to a man who had been put in jail under a fine of $1,000.00, who was entirely unable to escape from the jail unless the $1,000.00 should be paid. When the $1,000.00 was paid, and the court dockets were cleared on account of the payment being made, the man was still in jail, he said. His idea seems to be, however, in regard to the salvation of the sinner, that after all the provision has been made, the payment and all preparation made, the sinner must then believe that it is made.
It seems to me to be ridiculous to suppose that the man in jail must believe that his fine has been paid or he will never get any benefit out of the payment. He will never be benefitted unless he believes. I desire not only to show the ridiculousness of my opponent’s position here, but to show just how this matter is, by calling your attention to Isa 49:8-10: “Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee.” The Lord is here speaking to Christ. God the Father is addressing the Savior. “And in a day of salvation have I helped thee.” Still addressing the Savior, And I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritage.” Still addressing the Savior, “That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth.”
He makes the payment, this Savior does, after which he is able to say to the prisoner, “Go forth, because I have made the payment.” If he should require them to believe in order that the payment be made, then the payment couldn’t be made until they believed, which is ridiculous, and any one with any degree of intelligence can see the ridiculousness of it. The idea of believing a thing to be true in order to make it true, is too absurd for an intelligent mind to accept.
In addition to that I want to say this: That if the ransom is paid for sinners, if the fine is liquidated and the docket is cleared on that account for sinners, and those sinners remain in jail forever, it would be to the everlasting disgrace of the law of the country under which they are held as prisoners, the debt being paid. Answer it if you dare. You may try.
Daily: I want to call your attention to another predicament into which my worthy opponent plunged yesterday, and from which he will never be able to extricate himself. A corrupt tree, an alien sinner, cannot bring forth good fruit. Mt 7:18 Faith is a good fruit, for the Apostle says it is a fruit of the Spirit. Therefore the alien sinner cannot bring forth faith. The conclusion of this syllogism will stand, because neither premise can be destroyed. It follows, therefore, that the alien sinner cannot bring forth the good fruit of faith. His theory requires him to do what he cannot do in order that the death of Christ be effectual in his salvation.
Daily: Now, Brother Throgmorton has been repeating [himself] a great deal. I will not have to repeat a great deal, because I have so much to bring forward, as you will see as this debate progresses.
But I have some more here that I want to give you on the term “the whole world,” as found in 1Jo 2:2. According to his position, Christ died for all the sins of all the human family just alike. Then he died for those who were in hell when he died, who had died and were lost before he died, and he now stands as the propitiation for their sins. The passage says he is now the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and so if Brother Throgmorton is right, he is the propitiation for the sins of all the host of the lost, those who had died before his death, and those who have died since. He is now their propitiation, being their advocate in heaven!
The term “whole world” is assumed to mean the entire human family. It is an assumption without proof. But his position on Ro 3:25, where God is said to have set Christ forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, is that faith is a condition in order for Christ’s being a propitiation for sins. That is a positive contradiction of his position on this text, for all have not faith. Since all have not faith, and since faith, according to his view, is a condition of Christ’s being the propitiation for sins, it follows as an unavoidable conclusion that the whole world, in 1Jo 2:2, does not mean the entire human family.
The key to this passage is in Isa 49:6: “And he said, It is a light thing,” addressing Christ, “that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
This key shows the “world” means Gentiles. The salvation which God has prepared unto the end of the earth. Wherever this salvation which God has provided reaches, whoever are saved by it, are included in the propitiation and advocacy of Christ. This includes all the world—that is, the Gentiles as well as the Jews; in fact, some of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. Re 5:9 Christ’s propitiation and advocacy propitiates the Father, conciliates, brings peace and secures his mercy. This is the design of his glorious work, and in this he cannot fail. So all for whom he is the propitiation and advocate, the world of Gentiles as well as Jews, will be eternally saved.
Daily: He says the death of Christ would have amounted to nothing had he not risen. His resurrection is not what made his death really effective, for his death was virtuous. I mean had virtue in it, as soon as he died. His resurrection showed his death to be effectual. Had he not been resurrected from the dead, it would have been demonstrated that his death was not satisfactory. it was necessary to show that his death had virtue in it.
Daily: He speaks of the light that lighteth every man that comes into the world, and I asked him how millions upon millions that go down to endless hell without having heard the gospel preached were enlightened. He hasn’t told me, and he will not dare to during this debate. Were the millions that go down to an endless hell without hearing the gospel ever enlightened by this true light, and if so, how were they enlightened by it?
Daily: I want to call your attention to another thing that was brought up yesterday by my opponent. In speaking of Jesus weeping over the condition of Jerusalem, because as he supposed, Jesus was not able to save them, not able to save, wanted to do it, gave his life to do it, and absolutely could not. Jesus weeping, because he couldn’t do what he wanted to do in the work of the salvation of these people!
Now listen: If Jesus wept on that account, may we not conclude that God the Father in heaven, Jesus Christ, the Divine advocate there, and the Holy Spirit, are now weeping over countless millions that have gone down to endless hell, whom they could not save! And as they might be supposed to be weeping in heaven, and as the children of God, in love with the Father, are in sympathy, they would join in the wailing, and all heaven would ring with wailings!! God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and all who are saved in heaven, weeping, because God could not save the countless millions that went to hell!! Draw down the curtains!!
Daily: My brother is repeating. He will continue to repeat. He will hammer upon 1Jo 2:2, and some other things; but, my friends, I have enough to just keep on. I promise to bring up something every time, which he cannot answer, and that this day’s debate will close with still plenty on hand that I could have used, that would have been to his ruin as he stands upon the opposite side of this question. I respect my brother. When we parted the last time before we met here, I remarked to him, “I think we will meet again.’ He said: “We will, but we will meet as friends.” Thank you for your attention.
Throgmorton: And now my opponent wants me to explain how it is that God has given light to all men. I take the fact as God states it. What is the fact? “He (Christ) was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” If I wanted to designate every member of the human race, could I do it in stronger language? I don’t have to explain how it is done, but it is done. God says it is done, and that is enough for me. It ought to be for you, Brother Daily.
Daily: How does God give light to all men? He said he didn’t have to take time to tell how. God gives light to all men. He doesn’t dare to say that God gave light to millions that go down without ever hearing the gospel preached.
Throgmorton: Christ’s mission and death were for the world in general. You see I am repeating. It is line upon line. Joh 3:16 “God so loved the world.” God’s love was for the world in general. When the term world refers to mankind, unless there is some modification it means all Adam’s posterity, not just two or three “ends of the earth.” Sometimes when modified it means all living at the time, except these that have been chosen of God and separated into another family. Sometimes it means all the race then living. Sometimes it means all the race for all time, except God’s people. It never means God’s people only.
Put that down. Christ was sent to save the world. 1Jo 4:14 “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” Hear that same John in that same 1Jo 5:19 “And we know that we (the elect) are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” But John says we have seen it and we testify to it “that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” And Jesus says, “If any man hear my words and believeth not, I judge him not, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” Joh 12:47
Who are the world? Those that believe not. Jesus says he doesn’t judge them; he didn’t come to judge but to save them. It is to save them all. My friend says not. Jesus says he came to save them. Why doesn’t he save them? They don’t believe on him. Don’t forget Jesus said that, concerning those that believe not. “If any man hear my words and believe not, I judge him not, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” That is in Joh 12:47.
Before men believe they are of the world; when they believe they are counted no more of the world. Jesus said of his apostles, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world,” Joh 17:16. He said, “I have chosen you out of the world,” Joh 15:19. Before they were separated from the world, they were part of it even as others. Eph 2:1-3 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”
God loved the world before his people were separated from it, and he loved it afterwards. Between those separated from the world and those left John distinguishes thus. 1Jo 5:19 “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” Speaking of those now separated from the world, Paul described them thus: Eph 3:11-12 “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” And yet my opponent says that they were then members of the bride of Christ!
Daily: In the negative argument he calls attention to Joh 3:16 “God so loved the world.” The Jewish idea was the Messiah was to come exclusively to the Jews, that he was to come to save them; but Christ tells them that he came in love to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Love, in its very nature, is particular, definite and special. It must center upon some particular and special object of its exercise, and cannot go to everybody in general. When God says, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love,” he addresses not persons in general, but persons in particular. That the nations of the world meant the Gentiles is seen by a comparison of Lu 12:30 with Mt 6:32, “For all these things do the nations of the world seek after; and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.” The Gentiles are here called the nations of the world, in conformity with the Jewish manner of speaking. Again, the Gentiles are denominated “the world” by Paul in Ro 11:15, “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” So Paul calls the Gentiles “the world.”
That Christ did not mean the entire human family when he said, “God so loved the world,” is proved conclusively beyond successful dispute by Paul’s quotation, when he says, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,” Ro 9:11-13. If he loved some and hated some at the same time, he did not love all alike; in fact, he did not love them at all.
The learned Moses Stuart, though he believed in a general atonement as a theologian, was too candid as a scholar to build an argument or found his faith on such passages as Joh 3:16. He says, “The sacred writers mean to declare by such expressions that Christ died really and truly as well and as much for the Gentiles as for the Jews.”
Subjunctive mode means doubt, he says. Not always, Brother Throgmorton, you assume the role of teacher. I am going to accord you that place. However, I want to correct you. Subjunctive mode doesn’t always mean doubt. It only just occasionally means doubt in English, and as used in the Greek, you know, after the conjunction hena it means a certain purpose, being properly translated, “in order that.” So he gave himself in order that he might bring us to God, the purpose being to bring us, not to try to bring us, or give us a chance to come, or enable somebody else to bring us, or place us where we have no chance to come, but to bring us.
Daily: 1Pe 2:24 “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.” The fact that he actually bore the sins of all for whom he died in his body on the tree is emphasized by the appositive phrase “his own self,” and by the additional use of the word “own” to the pronoun “his” in its limitation or modification of the word “body.” “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” These adjectives are used to make the declaration emphatic. This cannot be successfully denied. Then it is proved that God laid on his Son the sins of those for whom he died, and that the Son, his own self, bore these very sins in his own body on the cross. I inquire as to the result. What became of those sins which the Father laid on his Son, which he bore in his body on the tree? Let the word of God answer, and let us all bow to the answer, and forever keep silent rather than deny the answer so plainly given.
Daily: My next argument is that the justification of sinners is necessarily connected with the death of Christ for them as the procuring cause of their justification. As the cause of the justification is the bearing of the sins of those for whom Christ died, all for whom Christ died will be justified.
Isa 53:11: “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities.” If the mere results had been borne and not the iniquities themselves, then justification would have been impossible. Pardon there might have been, but justification there never could have been. The word of God, by one sweeping declaration, settles this matter forever. Listen: “By his knowledge (mark you, it is Jehovah speaking of his Son), “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities.” If we ask why any sinner is justified, what is the cause of his justification, we find the answer in our text: Because Christ bore his iniquities.
As the iniquities of sinners being borne by Christ in his death on the cross is the cause of their being justified, as the text declares, then if he bore the sins of all the race, they will all be justified.
Daily: I attend first to the questions which my brother handed me.
The first is: “Does God require all men, elect and non-elect to seek him?” None are commanded to seek God except his children.
The second is: “Can a man be blamed for not accepting a gift which is not offered to him?” A man is not blamed for not accepting Christ. He is blamed for violating God’s law.
I have a question now for him. Can a man be blamed for not accepting Christ who never hears of him? Are heathens, who never hear of Christ, sent to hell for not accepting him?
“Is Christ offered to men, elect and non-elect, in the gospel?” Not offered to anybody.
“Does God command every sinner, elect and non-elect, to repent?” A man cannot repent without life, whatever kind of repentance it be, natural or spiritual.
“Does God censure sinners, elect and non-elect, for not believing on his Son?” Not believing is not the cause of condemnation. It is the evidence of it.
“What is the penalty due to sin?” Death.
“Where do you learn that only elect persons die in infancy?” All that die in infancy are saved in Heaven. I believe that. Those that are saved in Heaven are elect. Therefore only elect persons die in infancy.
“Can a man believe in Christ without believing that Christ died for him?” The devils did.
Throgmorton: Did they believe that Christ died for them?
Daily: Devils believe.
Throgmorton: On Christ, is what my question said.
Daily: Don’t interrupt, please.
“Is there any way for a sinner to repent or seek God except through the crucified Christ?” None repent or seek after God in a state of unregeneracy.
“Why does God favor a non-elect person with long life, and deny the same blessing to the elect?” Because it seems good in his sight.
“Would Christ have suffered any more in dying for all of Adam’s race than in dying for just one sinner?” No way of knowing.
“When Paul says, Christ loved me and gave himself for me, does he mean that Christ loved no one else and gave himself for nobody else?” No, he gave himself for all the elect.
“Can you name a passage in the New Testament where the word “world” means only the elect?” Yes, sir: 1Jo 2:2. The “whole world means only the elect among the Jews and among the Gentiles.
Daily: He says his duty is to examine the proof text. His duty is to examine the arguments and proof text that I submit. He examines the proof texts, but the arguments he passes by. He quotes Joh 3:16. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” His position is that he believes to get everlasting life. My position is that he believes because he has everlasting life. If his position were true, it would not be true that he that believeth hath everlasting life. It ought to be stated that he that believeth will get it.
Throgmorton: [I asked] “Where do you learn that only elect persons die in infancy?” He says he believes that all that die in infancy are saved. That is about like I thought you’d answer. Because you think it. I don’t want to find out what you think, but where you get the authority for your thought. His answer is he believes that all who die in infancy shall be saved!
Daily: He wants to know where I get my authority for saying that all infants that die in infancy are saved. That sounds like he disputes it. When a man calls for my authority, the inference, of course, would be that he rather doubts it. If not, why should he call for my authority? Now if I were to take the time, I think I could prove that infants that die in infancy are saved. I will just make this general statement, however, without entering further into proof, that everything that is said of that class in God’s word is favorable to it. David wept and fasted while his child was sick. He was glad in his heart, and so quit weeping when he learned that his child was dead, because he had the assurance that he could go to the child. All infants that die in infancy are saved with an everlasting salvation, and, therefore, they belong to the elect, since the elect are saved. That is plain.
Throgmorton: He wants to know, “if Christ is the savior of the damned in hell?” Yes, sir; he saved every one of them from the guilt of Adam’s transgression. I have proved that by Ro 5:18. Christ took Adam’s sin away.
Daily: He says that Christ is the Savior of the damned in hell by saving all of them from the guilt of Adam’s transgression. He has not proved, neither can he prove, that Christ by his death atoned for the entire human race by satisfying for Adam’s transgression. There is not a text in the Bible from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation that says or intimates that Christ by his death on the cross atoned for Adam’s transgression for all the human race. If Christ could pay the debt on the cross for the Adamic transgression, I ask why could he not pay the debt of actual sins for sinners on the cross? You say he did pay the debt of the Adamic transgression on the cross. Do you have any proof that he atoned for the entire race? In Ro 5, the reference to which you called attention does not prove that, but to the contrary, for it has reference to those “who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness,” and not the entire Adamic family. He says that is the work of God that the sinner believes on Christ. Well, if that is God’s work, and the sinner believes because God works in him to believe, why then cannot God reach them in unbelief and cause them to believe? You said he had to believe before God could reach him. There you are in the hole. If God works the belief in the sinner causing the sinner to believe, then cannot God reach him in unbelief, and cause him to believe? Yet you take the position that God could not save a sinner until that sinner believed! Draw down the curtains!!
Throgmorton: He thinks I ought to get up and acknowledge that the weak brother in 1Co 8:11, was one of God’s saints who had sinned and perished. I guess that would look well to him! But how does it look for you, Brother Daily, to get up here and say that a brother for whom Christ died may perish? How does it look for you to say that a true saint may perish? I will turn you over to the Methodists. I didn’t know you believed in the possibility of final apostasy! This brother in 1Co 8:11, you say was one of the elect, a brother in Christ. So, if you are right a child of God may perish—does perish. To escape this, he must show that to perish does not mean to be finally lost.
Daily: What does perish mean? It doesn’t always mean to perish in hell. I proved to you by the context that the brother for whom Christ died was the brother in the church, and he cannot answer it if he lived until dooms-day and tried all the time. The perishing in that case is in a different sense from perishing eternally. We perish in the sense of losing our religious enjoyment in the service of the Lord, by disobeying his commands. There is a perishing by losing your enjoyment. It is not perishing in hell, and he cannot prove that it is. He takes an affirmative, and if he could prove it he would prove apostasy.
But he says we can resist the Spirit by sinning, therefore all can resist in the call. How about that? When God calls us from death to life, can we, being dead, resist the call? We might, after he had called us to life, resist in the sense of disobeying the commands, but could we resist the call from death to life? The idea of a dead person resisting the call! The Apostle says, 2nd chapter of Ephesians (Eph 2), “You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” The idea of the sinner resisting that call, because we may disobey God’s commands is too light to weigh anything. He is making out God trying and failing, and Christ trying and failing, and the Holy Spirit trying and failing. I do not believe in a Triune God that fails.
Daily: 2Co 5:15 “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” This cannot mean that he died for all who are dead in sins, for that would make his dying for them the cause of their being dead in sins.
Were they not dead in trespasses and in sins independent of his death for them? His dying for them didn’t cause them to be dead in trespasses and sins!
It did cause them to be dead in some sense. In what sense? If “one died for all, then were all dead,” means that he died for all that were dead in sins—then his dying for them is the cause.
No, it doesn’t mean that at all. All were dead in sins, and the death of Christ has nothing to do with that. All would have been dead in sins, and would have forever continued in that state if Christ had not died. So his dying for sinners did not cause them to be dead in sins.
The Greek shows that all died for whom Christ died. “If one for all died, then they all died,” is the literal rendering. I want to repeat that. “If one for all died, then they all died.” They died because he died. How? His dying for them was the cause of their dying, but in what sense are they dead, because he died for them? He died as their substitute, as the preposition uper (huper) shows, and they died because of his death.
As he, their substitute died for them, he died just as the substitute going to the war. If one takes the place of one in the army, then his death is the death of the one for whom he goes as a substitute. Christ died as their substitute, and for that reason we are dead because Christ died for us. All for whom Christ died are dead in that sense, therefore all are going to be finally saved.
Daily: All for whom Christ died shall be eternally saved, because the eternal perfection of all for whom Christ died is necessarily connected with his death for them.
Christ by the offering of his body once for all did perfect forever those for whom he died, by accepting their sins or by bearing their sins in his own body on the cross. Not one shall ever be lost whom Christ has forever perfected by this offering made for them. In him they have a perfect sacrifice for their sins, a perfect righteousness for their covering, a perfect advocate with the Father continually—the perfection of all they need to bring them home to glory and present them faultless and spotless before the throne of God. Therefore all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved.
Daily: My 18th argument is that all for whom Christ died are declared to be dead, because he died for them. They are dead in him as their substitute. It is said that they that are dead are freed from sin. Ro 6:7. Those who are freed from sin shall be eternally saved, therefore, all for whom Christ died shall be eternally saved.
2Co 5:14-15 “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” This text declares that the reason for all being dead is that Christ died for them. Their death in sin cannot be meant, for that is not caused by Christ’s dying for them.
No other death can be meant than their death in him as their substitute, for no other death could be caused by his dying for them. Those for whom he died are dead, all of them, because he died for them. If he had not died for them, they would have died the eternal death. His death being accepted as their death, they are dead, because he died for them. So Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ.” Ro 6:8 “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” All for whom Christ died are dead, because he died for them. All who are dead in this sense are freed from sin, shall live with him, and shall be eternally saved. There-fore all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved.
Daily: My next argument is founded on the covenant relation between Christ and the people he came to save, and for whom he died, represented as Shepherd and sheep. They are declared in the scriptures to have been his sheep before receiving eternal life, and before being brought to God by him.
Jesus said, “I give unto them eternal life.” Joh 10:28 And “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, them also I must bring.” This shows they were his sheep before receiving eternal life, or before being brought to the Father by him. This relation, therefore, is not a vital, but a covenant relation.
The sword of divine justice, that would otherwise have found its satisfaction in the everlasting destruction of the sheep, was called forth by Jehovah and required to strike his own Son with the death blow. Zec 13:7 “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts; smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”
Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep,” Joh 10:11, and “I lay down my life for the sheep,” Joh 10:15.
There will be a final separation as taught in Mt 25:31-34, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, and he shall set the sheep on his right hand; but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Those who shall be eternally saved are the sheep; the others are the goats. It is not said Christ gave his life for the goats. He did not lay down his life for the goats. Christ died for the sheep. His sheep shall be eternally saved. Therefore all for whom Christ died shall be eternally saved.
The ATONEMENT: J.H. Oliphant: The atonement is that which makes satisfaction for sin. We must discriminate between the atonement and its effects. “And to make an atonement for the children of Israel, that there be no plague among the children of Israel when they come nigh unto the sanctuary,” Nu 8:19. In this place the atonement removed the wrath of God, and the consequence was that they were secured from the plague.
Also, Nu 1:46, “And Moses said unto Aaron, take a censor and put fire therein from off the altar, and put in incense, and go quickly unto the congregation and make an atonement for them.”
This atonement was intended to make satisfaction to God for the sin of the people, and when it was made, “the plague was stayed,” Nu 1:48.
[Christ’s Atonement for Our Sins]
The great atonement for sin was made by Christ. Our sin and rebellion against God constituted a permanent bar against all hope of mercy. God’s mercy is only exercised in the way of justice. Hence the need of a mediator, one who could satisfy the claims of justice and make a full and complete atonement for all our sins, and give us just reasons to hope for a full deliverance from sin and all its terrible consequences.
The great work of opening the book and loosening the seals Re 5:1-5 was performed by Christ. His relation to us, and interest in us, his own purity, and influence in heaven, his wisdom, and worth, all fitted him to undertake the work of our redemption. He is related to us as a brother. Heb 2:11, “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Also, Heb 2:14, “He took our nature, our flesh and blood;” in all things he was made like us, “that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest.”
[The Son of Man: the Son of God]
In a great many places he is called the “Son of man”—Ps 8:4, and Ps 80:17; Da 7:13. He was evidently a man, and one of our number. The Bible shows that he was born of a woman—Mary. He was nursed and cared for as other babes. The account given of his birth and conception in Lu 1, is simple and impressive.
And while he was man, he was God. Paul, in Heb 1, speaks of him as “Upholding all things by the word of his power,” “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance (or birth as the word implies) obtained a more excellent name than they.” In this whole chapter he labors to teach that he is the very God. I know this is a mystery. That he is God I know the Bible teaches, and I know too, that it teaches that he is man.
It also teaches that his death is the only source of eternal life; it is an interesting task to study the cross of Christ, to ascertain and understand the reason why his death is of value to us. I shall try to open up this subject, and shall insist all the way that the atonement and salvation are of equal extent, the latter secured by the former.
[Atonement and Salvation Equal in Extent]
1st. In his work as a redeemer he sustained a representative relation to us, and consequently his death was vicarious, or substitutive. I know that saints are vitally united to him, which union is secured by regeneration, but the relation I wish here to speak of was not vital, but legal, and is the real ground upon which his work as a mediator is of value to any one.
The legal relation is the cause, and vital union in regeneration is the effect. It is of no note to me if there be a great sum in the bank, if I am in no way connected with it. There is a legal relation between the heir and the estate left it in will, which will ultimately enrich the heir; and so Christ did bear a legal relation to his people in all his work as a mediator, which secures to them the full benefits of all he did or shall do as a mediator.
Paul has his mind on this doctrine when he writes, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.” “That he might sanctify and cleanse it,” etc. Eph 4:25-26. The husband is the legal representative of his wife, and so Christ as our faithful and true lover gave himself for it, the church; he did not die for it, considered as sanctified and cleansed, but in its unholy and unsanctified state. Certainly the doctrine of relationship prior to regeneration is maintained, and upon this relationship he dies for us with the design of sanctifying and cleansing us.
In Joh 10, Christ is frequently presented under the idea of a shepherd, The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” There is a relationship between the shepherd and his flock, though not a vital one, yet it is such a one that he is legally bound for all their misdemeanors. The shepherd is always looked to for injuries done by his flock; when he makes payment the flock is given up; and so we were transgressors, and under the curse for our transgression, but the great and ever blessed Shepherd has died for us.
Our transgression was such that death only would remove it, therefore he died as a shepherd for us, and his death is supposed to equal all the claims against us.
[Christ Our Representative]
Truly in him, as our representative, we have all died and paid the utmost claims against us. This is taught in 2Co 5:14, “If one died for all, then were all dead.” If the shepherd paid the debt, then in him, as a head, all the flock paid it. If Christ died for or in the room of all, then were all, representatively, dead, and all in Christ met the claims of law.
The Socinians denied the divinity of Christ, and also denied that his death was expiatory; they claimed that it was not intended to meet the claims of broken law, but was a mere example of heroic virtue; they claimed that his death was not substitutive, and consequently salvation could not result from the atonement as they viewed it.
[Andrew Fuller’s Strange View]
I have not the works of Mr. Andrew Fuller at hand, but have recently read one volume of his works. I understand him to deny the substitutive character of Christ’s death. He seems to hold that his death is sufficient for the whole world, or for many worlds equally sinful. It is true that Mr. Fuller held the doctrine of unconditional election, and that the Holy Spirit would regenerate the elect. He also held the doctrine of total depravity, and claimed to be a Calvinist.
He held that the power of the atonement was determined by the worth or merit of him who died, which is infinite; therefore, the atonement is of sufficient value to save the universe, if necessary. Upon this he held that salvation was offered in the gospel to every one of the race, although none of the race would receive it unless enabled so to do by the Spirit, and that none but the elect would be enabled to receive it.
Mr. Fuller is an excellent writer, but it is clear that his position would contradict the doctrine of the transfer of sin to Christ, for if our sins were transferred to Christ and by him put away, then salvation is not merely a possible thing, but a certain one. Therefore, the power of the atonement is not determined by the mere value of his blood, but by the extent of his representation.
If he represented the race on the cross, universal salvation will ensue; and if he bore the sins of no one particularly, then no one will be saved; but if he died as a shepherd for his flock, representing his flock, then his flock will be saved. I say the positions of Mr. Fuller deny that sin was actually transferred to Christ.
[Our Sins Laid on Christ]
It is difficult for us to see how that sin was laid on Christ. We can see easily how a debt may be laid on the security, or pass from the wife to the husband, or from the flock to the shepherd, but how is it that our sins (not the mere deserts of sins) were laid on Christ? Some have held that he bore the mere deservings of sin, but we insist that he bore the sins, and consequently their deservings, for how could he bear the deserts of sin without the sin itself?
If he did not bear our sins, then the sins of those who were saved never were punished, for they were not on Christ, hence not punished in him; therefore, we are not freed from sin. We may be delivered from the deserts of sin, but never from the sin itself; we may be pardoned, but on the Fuller plan we never can be justified, for if Christ only bears the deservings of our sins, and leaves the sins upon us, we are not in a justified state.
The doctrine of justification has given trouble to all clear minds that deny the real and actual imputation of sin to Christ; they see and know that if sin is really imputed to Christ, that it will certainly result in salvation, and hence the Arminian and conditional systems have to go to ruin. They also know that if sin is not transferred to Christ, then no sinner can be really and actually justified; he may be pardoned, but never justified.
[Alexander Campbell’s Peculiar View]
I have been pained and amused to read Mr. Campbell’s peculiar views of justification. On page 276 of his work on baptism, he, speaking of justification, says it is “really no more than pardon.” He knew that to admit that the sinner is really justified would also admit the real transfer of sin to Christ, and that sin by him was put away, and the next result would be, the eternal overthrow of his whole system; and, rather than give his own system up, he will virtually strike justification and such words out of his Bible, for if justification means “pardon” only, we have no need of the word at all.
On page 277 Mr. Campbell says, “Evangelical justification is the justification of one that has been convicted as guilty before God, the supreme and ultimate judge of the universe. * * * It is utterly impossible that any sinner can be forensically or legally justified before God by a law which he has in any one instance violated.” Here he denies the doctrine of justification entirely, which of course he must do to save his beloved Diana.
For if justification is a Bible doctrine, the gospel is not a mere proclamation of terms and conditions of salvation, as he explains it, but it is proclaiming liberty to the captive, and the lawful captive at that.
On the same page he says, “If the sinner is justified, it must be on some other principle than law; he must be justified by favor and not by right.” If the sinner’s sins were laid on Christ, and the law received its claims in Christ, then the very law demands the liberty of the sinner, and his justification is a matter of right, Mr. Campbell to the contrary, notwithstanding.
Again, on the next page, he says, “Still, it must be regarded as not a real or legal justification, it is, as respects man, only pardon or forgiveness of the past, but the pardoned sinner being ever after treated and regarded as though he were righteous—he is constituted and treated as righteous before God.” In this he would teach that God treats as just one who is not just, which is a reflection on the sincerity of God.
[It is God that Justifieth]
The question is asked, Ro 8:33, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” In this the apostle challenges the universe to lay anything to the charge of God’s elect, and Mr. Campbell comes up with his charge, that they are only treated as if they were just, “If he is justified it must be on some other principle than law.” Thus Mr. Campbell arrays himself against Paul, Paul advocating the actual and real justification of the elect, and Mr. Campbell affirming it impossible, and declaring that though they are justified, it “is not by right.”
But the Bible abundantly teaches that God’s people are justified. The word justifieth, Ro 8:33, is from the Greek Dikaioo, to claim as right. Webster says justify is to prove or show one to be right, just and conformable to law. This conformableness to law is the result of our sins being laid on Christ, and this righteousness being imputed to us. We before remarked that it is difficult to see how our sins could be transferred to Christ, but it is certain the Bible teaches that our sins were laid on him. In order to do this he must bear a relation to us as a shepherd, in which our trespasses as straying sheep are laid on him and he pays the debt for us.
[The Husband Responsible for the Debts of the Wife]
As the debts of the wife pass to the husband, so our sins were set to his account and he bore them, and their due, on the cross. “All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” Isa 53:6. Here the flock is in trespass and its sins are laid on Jesus; he pays with his own life the price of our redemption; he has a right to redeem because he bears the relation of a shepherd. Again, He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
In this we are plainly informed that he “bears their iniquities.” If so, they were transferred to him, and this lays the sure ground of justification. No one can assign a good reason why the many justified in this text are not the same whose iniquities were borne. He had no sin of his own. Peter says, Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, etc.
The passages that teach this doctrine are numerous. Read Le 16th chapter, where you will find the offering of the scape-goat described, “And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness,” “and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited,” etc.
[The Doctrine of Substitution]
In these typical services we learn that the sins of God’s chosen people, Israel, were laid on the scape-goat, and so in the Lord Jesus, our sins were laid on him, and he suffered in our room and stead. “He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare his generation, for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”
The doctrine of substitution is taught here—he takes our sins and our place, and stands between us and the wrath of God. He becomes “a covert from the tempest,” a “hiding place from the wind, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” He receives in his body the full penalty due for all our sins, and now, in his name, we are set at liberty. Paul in Ac 17:3, alleged “that Christ must needs have suffered.”
Lu 24:46, “Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead,” etc. Lu 24:26, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?” These places show that there was a necessity for his death; that he ought to die, because he occupied our law place; our sins were made his by imputation, and he must die. And this he did as a substitute. If he died as a substitute for us, as a matter of necessary consequence we shall be set at liberty.
Many who now live have not forgotten the nature of substitution as they learned it during the late war. When the substitute takes his place, it is a permanent release to the person he represents; the law will not ask for more, it is satisfied.
[A Ransom for Many]
Mt 20:28, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Here we are informed that Christ gave his life a ransom. The word ransom is from the Greek antilutron, and it is a reference to the exchange of captives, in which head is given for head, man for man.
Our Savior is a ransom for each of us—gives his own life for our redemption. Such is the perfection of his offering, that it will certainly accomplish the end desired. “He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things.”
There may be passages that seem to favor universal redemption, but I feel sure that there are no passages that indicate that any of the redeemed shall finally be lost. If we are redeemed, then our redemption is eternal; and if we are ransomed, then we shall “return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joys upon our heads,” etc.
1st. The scriptures teach that Christ, as our Redeemer, sustained a federal or representative relation to his people. So his death was vicarious, or substitutive.
2nd. Our sins were transferred to Christ.
3rd. His righteousness is transferred to us.
4th. We are said to be justified.
5th. The Bible teaches that there is an inseparable connection between the atonement and the salvation of those for whom it was made.
6th. To affirm universal redemption is attended with many inconsistencies, and is not in harmony with the perfections of God.
[Not to Justify Himself but to Justify His People]
Mr. Fuller urges that the atonement is sufficient for all, though only designed for the elect; i.e., that God is sovereign, and discriminating in his application, though general and universal in his provisions. This seems to me to array one part of his works against another. It is upon this, he lays the justice of God in the final condemnation of the wicked; but if the justice of God is not clear in the condemnation of sinners, without the atonement, then the atonement is not needed; but if we would know what are God’s rights with sinners, let us mark what he does with his own Son, when his Son takes their place.
If the life of his Son must go, when he takes the place of sinners, would not those same sinners be exposed to death had he not taken their place? Most assuredly they would. It is great folly to urge that Christ’s death for the finally impenitent is necessary to justify God in their condemnation; his right to do this existed before, and this is why his Son came.
Christ did not come to make it right to curse any one finally, but to secure the salvation of his people. “He shall save his people from their sins.” We never can rightly appreciate the grace of God in giving his own Son for us, unless we can admit and understand that our sins were of sufficient magnitude to render our case justly hopeless without a Redeemer.
To say that Christ, in his death, did as much for the lost as the saved, is equal to saying that his death does not secure any one’s salvation, for if it saves one, why not all? If I am saved by it and my neighbor not, why the difference? Evidently the difference would grow out of my own action; that I am more easily touched by it; I was disposed to do my part, or in some way I was more in harmony with the divine arrangement; but this disagrees with fact.
We often see the hardest of men touched and changed by grace, while others remain in indifference. We dare not trace this difference to the natural goodness of some and the innate evil of others; nor dare we trace it to the obedience of some and the disobedience of others. As to our nature, God declares us all alike to be the children of wrath, and he also abundantly teaches that it is not by works of any kind, but that it is of his own grace, “by the grace of God I am what I am.” It is God that has made me to differ both from others and my former self.
God said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” This sort of language is very humbling to our proud nature. Christ on the cross is the great fountain from which flows the great river of mercy to us. The repentance of every poor sinner who has or will repent, may be traced to Calvary. All our hopes, all our joys, and all our bright prospects come to us from the cross. “I determined not to know anything among you save Christ and him crucified.”
(J.H. Oliphant in Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists 1885—subheads added)
St. AUGUSTINE of Hippo Augustine, though he saw so clearly the Bible doctrine of God’s free redeeming grace, yet greatly and sadly erred in accepting also, and very inconsistently, the doctrine of sacramentalism (or salvation only through the ordinances administered by the Catholic “Church”—the Old Catholic, not Roman Catholic), and also in inconsistently persecuting the Donatists for their religion. Augustine’s ability and sacramentalism caused the Catholics at first to accept his doctrine of grace; but, soon after his death, the Catholics became Semi-Augustinian; and, at the councils of Orange and Valence, A.D. 529, Semi-Augustinianism was formally adopted as Catholic doctrine.
Augustine’s theory of the right of a State to persecute its citizens to make them conform to a national religion involved the germs of absolute spiritual despotism, and of even the horrors of the Inquisition; but in practice he is said to have urged clemency and humanity upon the magistrates. Sacramentalism and religious persecution are as diverse from predestination as night is from day; and, as Augustine held all these three principles, we learn that even God’s regenerated people may be in great darkness on some important points, while they have light on other points still more important—in other words, that we are utterly dependent on the Holy Spirit to open our understandings and hearts, and to enlighten and animate us on all spiritual subjects. (Hassell’s History ppg 406, 407)
AUGUSTINIANISM (See under PELAGIANISM Anthology Pelagianism and under John CALVIN) Anthology Calvin, John
The BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY (of the Popes) (See under The GREAT WESTERN SCHISM) Anthology Great Western Schism, The
BAPTISM: Harold Hunt: Baptism by immersion in water, upon a profession of faith in Christ Jesus, is the manner God requires in which for his obedient children to publicly profess their faith in him. He created us, chose us to salvation by his own amazing grace, prepared a home for us in eternal heaven, and quickened us by his Spirit, and he has a right to expect us to profess faith in him publicly. Baptism by immersion in water is the manner he requires for that public profession.
Not only does he require baptism of his children; he has set baptism as the boundary line between gospel obedience and disobedience. When Peter says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ,” Ac 2:38, he was not giving an invitation; and we make a mistake when call it an invitation. He was telling them what they must do in order to follow Christ in gospel obedience. The call to be baptized is not an invitation; it is a commandment.
A person may be baptized and still not be obedient to God’s commandments; but nobody can be obedient to his commandments without being baptized.
Nothing to do with eternal salvation
Water baptism has nothing to do with eternal salvation; the failure to be baptized will not interfere with God’s purpose to save his redeemed, and to house them with him in eternal heaven; but it has everything to do with our gospel obedience, and our enjoyment of the blessings of God in this life. In order to enjoy those benefits that are available to the child of God in gospel obedience a person must be baptized in water. Once a person is taught his duty with regard to baptism, his failure to be baptized is simply rebellion against God’s command, and no one can expect to enjoy the blessings of God while he is in a state of rebellion.
The language is clear and to the point: we are commanded to be baptized. Notice that when Christ referred to the baptism of John he uses John’s baptism to draw a clear and distinct boundary line between those who justified God, and those who rejected the counsel of God against themselves, and he shows that boundary line to be water baptism.
Lu 7:29-30, “And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” He does not leave us an option; we are commanded to be baptized.
They justified God
Notice that they “justified God” by being baptized. To justify signifies to declare to be just; that is, by being baptized, they declared that God is just in all he says and does. He is just in delivering us from our sins, and he is just in requiring us to indicate our hope in him by being baptized.
The opposite of justify is condemn. If we justify God by being baptized, it follows that we condemn him by refusing to be baptized. You cannot acknowledge the one without the other.
By being baptized we declare that God is just in all he says and does; he is just in what he requires of us. By refusing to be baptized we declare that he is unjust; especially, we indicate that he is unjust in requiring us to be baptized. We indicate that he has no right to make such a demand.
Indeed, baptism in water has nothing to do with our eternal salvation, but it is, nonetheless, a serious matter for any person who has a hope of heaven to refuse to be baptized.
Qualifications for Baptism
On the one hand, the commandment is “Repent and be baptized every one of you.” On the other hand, there are some qualifications for baptism. Not everybody is a proper subject for baptism.
Unbelievers are not to be baptized. The Ethiopian eunuch asked Philip, What doth hinder me to be baptized?” Ac 8:36. There are some things that do hinder baptism, and when those hindrances are in the way, the minister cannot proceed with the baptism. Philip answered, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest,” (Ac 8:37). If a person clearly does not have faith in Christ and his redemptive work on behalf of his people, he is not to be baptized. It is by baptism that a person publicly professes faith in Christ, and gains membership in the church. The church is an assembly of baptized believers. It is not an assembly of unbelievers. No assembly could claim to be a church if it was made up of unbelievers. It might be a social club; but it is not a church.
Infants are not to be baptized. This same text is the death knell to infant baptism. Philip says clearly enough, “If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest.” In other words, one who does not believe cannot be baptized, and little babies are not capable of believing. They may come to believe later, and that will be soon enough to baptize them, but until that day the Bible is clear enough; they cannot be baptized.
Those who show no signs of repentance are not to be baptized. Or to put it another way, those who have too high an opinion of themselves cannot be baptized. That may sound like a harsh statement to make, but again, that is the Bible pattern. When those proud, arrogant Pharisees and Sadducees came to John the Baptist to be baptized, John refused, and he refused in no uncertain terms. He called them a generation of vipers, a family of snakes Mt 3:7, and told them that in order for him to baptize them they must bring forth fruits meet for repentance (Mt 3:8). It is penitent believers who are to be baptized; and proud, arrogant, self-righteous individuals are not really believers, no matter how much they may protest to the contrary. A self righteous attitude indicates that one has not seen himself for the sinner he is, nor the Lord for the Savior he is. One who has seen something of his own unworthiness is filled with self loathing, and he falls humbly before the feet of Jesus. He presents himself for baptism in humble submission to the command of his Lord. He does not request baptism as something he has the right to demand.
Again, there are those whose lives, or whose living conditions, prevent them from being baptized. 1Co 6:9-10, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, no adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
It is by being baptized upon a public profession of faith in Christ that a person gains membership in the Lord’s church. In this passage Paul provides a list of those who cannot have membership in the Lord’s church—those who cannot be baptized.
There is repentance available for any sin a person can repent of and turn from, and Paul shows in the next verse that some of the members of the church at Corinth had, indeed, been guilty of some of those sins, and had turned from them; but so long as they were in those conditions, or were involved in those kinds of conduct, they could not inherit the kingdom of God. “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1Co 6:11)
We have no right to complain about those requirements the Lord has laid down for membership in the church. It is his church and he has the right to say who will be its members.
The Mode of Baptism
Baptize is a transliteration of the Greek word Baptizo (baptizo). By transliterate we mean the word was not translated; it was simply transposed into the English language by putting English letters in place of their Greek equivalents. The final o (omicron) in the Greek was exchanged for the English letter e. The Greek word is baptizo and that word came from bapto (bapto). It means to plunge, to dip, to immerse.
Baptism is a symbol of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also a symbol of the death to sin—and to the law—of the child of God, and of his resurrection to walk in newness of life with his Lord. If to baptize means to plunge, dip, or immerse, then baptism must be a plunging, dipping, or immersing. Baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in order to be a clear symbol it must involve a symbolic burial. Ro 6:4, “Therefore we are buried (literally, completely buried) with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Any form that does not involve the complete immersing of the body in water does not constitute a burying; it does not constitute baptism.
A very clear symbol
Baptism by immersion in water is a very clear symbol. When a person is baptized, he closes his eyes, folds his hands over his chest, momentarily ceases to breathe, becomes completely passive, yields himself into the hands of the minister, is lowered beneath the surface of the water, is then raised up from the water, usually shakes his head, opens his eyes, and again begins to breathe and manifest signs of life. It is impossible for human ingenuity to devise a clearer symbol of death, burial, and resurrection than God has provided for us in baptism by immersion in water.
John the Baptist was the first to baptize, and he baptized by immersion in water. Joh 3:23, “And John also was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there.” It does not take much water to sprinkle a few drops on somebody’s head, but it takes a lot of water to immerse him. John baptized in the river of Jordan, because it takes a lot of water to baptize somebody. It takes a lot of water to bury them. Mr 1:4-5, “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.” He baptized them in the river, that is, he plunged them in the river—he immersed them.
Authority to Baptize
Baptism is Christ’s ordinance. It belongs to him, and he calls, appoints, and sends out those whom he will have to administer it. They were first, baptized, and ordained, and then sent out. Joh 15:16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” That was the pattern when the Lord called his own disciples, and the pattern is the same today. In order for any minister to have authority to baptize he must be (1) called by the Lord to preach, and (2) ordained under the authority of the church. Ac 13:2-3, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Notice that the Holy Ghost says I have called them. The ordination was performed by the presbytery, under the authority of the church, and by the direction of the Holy Spirit, but the calling was from God. If a man has not been called of God to preach the gospel, he is not to be ordained, and he has no authority to baptize.
The Symbolism of Marriage in Baptism
Baptism is the ceremony by which the Lord’s people, the bride of Christ, are married to the Lord. We were by nature married to the Law, but Christ has fulfilled every requirement of the law on our behalf, and the law cannot require anything more of us.
The law required perfect obedience, and on our behalf he provided perfect obedience. The Law called for the death of sinners, and in our room and stead he died. When Christ died and went to the grave on our behalf, every requirement of the law went there with him.
By his suffering and death we are dead to the Law, and the Law is dead to us. Ro 7:4, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the Law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him that is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
The marriage ceremony states that the union is binding until death do us part. Now that Christ has suffered and died in order to satisfy every demand of the law, our first husband, the Law, is now dead. Our first husband being now dead, we are free to be married to another—to Christ.
Question: In baptism, does the subject become married to Christ, or does he actually become married to the church. Answer: Both. The Bible expresses it both ways.
Isa 62:5, “For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.”
The text in Romans talks about our being married “to him that is raised from the dead,” in other words married to Christ. The text in Isaiah talks about our being married to the virgin bride of Christ, the church. Christ is the bridegroom; the church is his bride. As the young man, the subject of baptism, is married to the church, he becomes a part of the bride of Christ—hence married to him.
Alien Baptism and Rebaptism
The question is often asked, “If I have been baptized before, why must I be baptized again in order to join your church?” Answer: If your husband dies and you take a new husband, you need a new marriage ceremony. If you have become dead to the law as it is taught by the denominational churches, and made alive to the gospel as it is taught by the true church, it is your place to be married to Christ in baptism.
Mt 20:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
The only people who are authorized to baptize are those whom God has first called to preach, and who are teaching what he taught. The baptism any man administers is only as good as the doctrine he teaches. If any person whom God has not called to preach, or who does not preach what Christ preached, does go about to administer baptism, he has no authority to do so. He is a free lance operator— he is operating on his own. He, and perhaps his church, have simply set up for themselves. No church can claim to be Christ’s church which does not teach as he taught, and no minister can claim to be administering Christ’s baptism at the same time he opposes Christ’s doctrine. He may get people wet, but he cannot baptize them. He is somewhat akin to the printer, who decides to begin printing one hundred dollar bills. The product may look very much like the real thing, but the man had no authority to print them: they are counterfeit.
An assembly may look very much like a New Testament church, but if it does not advocate those principles taught in the Scriptures, it is not the Lord’s church, and any baptism administered under its authority is invalid baptism—alien baptism—and no New Testament Church can honor that baptism. hlh
Authority to BAPTIZE: C. H. Cayce: Baptism must be administered by one who has been set apart by the church to the work whereunto God has called him, if it be gospel baptism. “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”—Ac 13:2-4. Here we have the called ministers of Christ set apart by the church for the work whereunto the Lord had called them.
It is a part of the work of the ministry to administer the ordinances. Those who are commanded to teach, as ministers of the gospel, are the same who are to baptize. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”—Mt 28:19-20. In this text the same persons who are commanded to go teach are also commanded to baptize.
It is the work of the ministry to go teach the things concerning the kingdom of Christ, and it is the work of those who teach these things to baptize those who are taught. The Primitive Baptists are the only people, in our judgment, who are teaching as Christ commanded. They are teaching the true doctrine of God our Savior. Hence, the Primitive Baptist ministers are the persons who are authorized by the Savior to administer baptism.
Others are not teaching the doctrine of God our Savior, are not teaching the things commanded by the Savior, so are not authorized by him to administer baptism. If they baptize, it is without the authority of Christ. Baptism administered without the authority is not gospel baptism. This is a good reason why Primitive Baptists do not receive the baptism administered by Methodists, Missionary Baptists, or other people. We do not think the doctrine or principles they hold to and teach are true, and the baptism they administer is no better than the doctrine they teach.
“And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”— Lu 22:29-30. The Savior has appointed a kingdom for his people here in the world, that they may have a blessed home here on earth, that they may eat and drink at his table in his kingdom— only one.
“There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her.”— Song 6:8-9. The church of Christ is but one. There are many institutions, but of all the institutions of the world, only one is the church of Christ. The Savior has never authorized the queens nor concubines nor the virgins to administer the ordinances of his house. These queens, concubines, and virgins represent the many institutions that are in the world. Jesus has never commanded that his ordinances be administered in these institutions. His love, his dove, his undefiled, is but one. That is his church or kingdom, which is but one. He has authorized and commanded that his ordinances be administered in this one kingdom. They cannot be administered elsewhere so that they will be recognized or approved by him. He does not approve of anything being done in a place where he has not commanded. We think the Primitive Baptist Church is the true church of Christ, the kingdom he set up while he was on earth. If it is, then that is the place where the ordinances are to be administered. This is another reason why we do not accept the baptism administered by other people. If the Primitive Baptist Church is the church of Christ, the others are not. If any of the others are the church of Christ, then the Primitive Baptist Church is not the church of Christ.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye are also become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”—Ro 7:4. Those who are dead to the law are those who have been born again. They are dead to the law, and they should now be married to Christ. In order that they be married to Christ the marriage ceremony must be must be performed by one who has the proper authority to perform it. If two people desire to marry, in order that they carry out the desire, they must have the ceremony performed by one who is authorized to do so. They may get a good man to pronounce the ceremony for them, but unless he has the proper authority, the marriage would not be leGal It would make no difference how good the man may be who pronounces the ceremony, his goodness and honesty, or sincerity, would not make the marriage leGal To be married to Christ, the rite must be performed by one authorized to perform it.
Baptism is the ceremony, or the rite, by which God’s people are married to Christ. It is the work of the ministry who are set apart by his church to administer baptism, they are the persons who are authorized to administer the ordinance. They are the only ones who can perform the marriage ceremony. Others may go through the form, but it is not recognized by the Savior. The form may be alright, but a form without reality or authority is without value. So the baptism administered by others is without authority, hence without value, so far as the true church of Christ is concerned.” (C.H. Cayce vol. 1 ppg 53-55).
Burial in BAPTISM: C. H.. Cayce: We do no violence to language if we take a word out of a sentence and put another word in its place that means the same thing as the word taken out. If we do this we are doing no violence, and are not changing the meaning of the sentence. The word sprinkle means “to scatter in drops or small particles.” Now try the language, “And were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan.” The sentence reads alright that way, and is found in Mr 1:5. Remember, we do no violence by removing or taking a word out, and placing the true meaning of the word in the place of it. So, “and were all dipped of him in the river of Jordan.” The sentence still reads all right. “And were all immersed of him in the river of Jordan.” It is alright yet. “And were all scattered in drops or small particles of him in the river of Jordan.” The sentence is all wrong now. Why? Because baptism is not sprinkling; it is dipping, immersing.
Read the account of the baptism of the eunuch in the eighth chapter of Acts and apply the same rule, and you will have it that Philip scattered the eunuch about in drops or small particles. He did not do this, but “they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch,” and Philip “baptized him,” dipped him, immersed him.”
Suppose some of your dear friends or near relatives were to die, and some person should carry their body to the cemetery and pour or sprinkle a little dirt on their head, and then say we have buried your relative or friend. Would you consider the people to be your friends who would do this? No; you would consider them as your enemies.
Now read Ro 6:4, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death.” The apostle here plainly says we are “buried with him by baptism.” If we are buried by baptism, then baptism must be a burial—it must be an immersion. Anything short of a burial, therefore, is not baptism, for we are buried by it. Then as baptism is a burial, how can we claim to be Christ’s friends when we say we baptize his friends who are dead to sin by sprinkling or pouring a little water on their heads?
Let us prove our faith by our works. We have faith that Christ died, was buried, and rose again. Let us show that faith by being buried with him by baptism, and arise to walk in newness of life. (C.H. Cayce vol. 1 pg. 46)
Infant BAPTISM: G.H. Orchard: During the first three centuries Christian congregations all over the East continued separate independent bodies, unsupported by government, and consequently without any secular power over one another. All this time they were Baptist churches; and though all the fathers of the first four ages down to Jerome were of Greece, Syria, and Africa, and though they give great numbers of histories of the baptism of adults, yet there is not (if we except the case referred by Fidus to Cyprian, 256 A.D.) one record of the baptism of the baptism of a child till the year 370, when Galetes, the dying son of the Emperor Valens, was baptized by order of a monarch, who swore he would not be contradicted (see Rob. Res., p.55). (G.H. Orchard)
Infant Baptism: Sylvester Hassell: It is claimed that Irenaeus was born A.D. 97, and that he makes one allusion to infant baptism. The fact is that both the date and place of Irenaeus’s birth and death are unknown. The ablest scholars believe that he was born between A.D. 120 and 140; and some suppose that he died A.D. 202. His book against Heresies was composed, says Mr. Schaff, between the years 177 and 192. In that book he says that “our Lord came in order that through himself he might save all men, infants, and little ones, and children and youths and elders, even all who through him are born again unto God.”
The expression ‘born again’ is said, in the early so-called Father, habitually to mean baptized; but it remains to be proved that it always has that meaning, and that it has that meaning in the sentence just quoted from Irenaeus. The phrase through him, instead of through water, militates emphatically against the idea of baptism regeneration in this passage—so admit the German scholars.
The earliest undoubted reference to child baptism is by Tertullian of North Africa (born 160 A.D., died between 220 and 240— converted about A.D. 190), and he earnestly opposes it. Certainly then, child baptism must have been, not of apostolic, but of recent origin, when Tertullian wrote. Bunsen shows that Tertullian was not arguing against infant baptism at all, then unknown, but against the baptism of little growing children from six years old who could go down with the other catechumens into the baptismal bath, but were not yet in a state to make the proper responses.
This custom was coming into fashion, but Tertullian rejects it. From boys of ten, who might possibly sometimes give evidence of sincere piety, the clergy advanced to take in those of six or seven responded for by others, though able to descend into the water, unaided with the adult catechumens. Then those of three or four, when just able to repeat a few of the sacred words, as Gregory Nazianzen recommends, were, by a further corruption, brought by baptism into the fold of the church.
From this very circumstance would arise the strongest argument for going a step further. For since in these very young children baptism could not be a profession of personal faith, it could only lead the masses to suppose that it acted as a charm, and that the child was more safe in case of death, a view carefully cherished by the clergy. Thus arose the belief that all, even infants, dying without baptism, would be lost; and hence followed the baptism of babes eight days old, and even those of a day.
The first known instance of this last was A.D. 256, in North Africa, and these ideas slowly and gradually pervaded the church as Neander has shown. A host of authorities fully sustain this view of the origin of infant baptism. “The Catholic practice of pretending to make even infants catechumens, or rudimentally instructed in Christianity, before baptism, is an undesigned proof of the correctness of the above explanation, and of the truth of Baptist principles.”—T.F. Curtis. Dean Stanley says that there is but one known instance of infant baptism in the third century, though he defends the practice as being “a standing testimony to the truth, value, and eternal significance of natural religion,” and as showing that, “in every child of Adam, whilst there is much evil, there is more good.” (Hassell’s History pg 271)
“The baptism of youth, it is maintained by many, began in this [fourth] Century. In the year 370 the Emperor Valens sent for Basil to baptize his dying son Galetes; the ground of the request was the illness of the youth. Basil refused to do it, and it was eventually done by an Arian bishop. If an emperor’s son must be baptized before he died, although destitute of faith, of course the next highest in authority must have the same privilege accorded him, and so on down to the lowest officer and the poorest and most obscure man in the empire. And upon similar grounds it came to be urged that if young men and youths, who were taught to ask for baptism, could receive it and thus escape eternal punishment, the same blessing ought to be conferred on poor helpless infants, who could not even speak for themselves and knew not anything. So that it was agreed eventually that they should also be baptized as soon as born or soon thereafter, so that they also, by this means, in case of death, might escape the flames of hell! And either about 256 A.D. in Africa or 370 A.D. in Rome, is where youths’ and children’s baptism, without faith, came from; not from Christ or his apostles. Be it remembered, then, that 370 years after the birth of our Savior, and emperor’s child was baptized by an Arian Bishop—having been refused by one of the Athanasian or orthodox party!” (Hassell’s History pg 386)
John’s BAPTISM: Sylvester Hassell: Question: Was John’s baptism Christian baptism, and were the baptisms practiced by the disciples of Christ previous to his crucifixion identical with those practiced by his apostles after his ascension? And did John baptize in any name, and, if in the name of Christ, was Christ baptized in his own name?’
Answer: John’s baptism was from heaven, and he therefore baptized by the authority or in the name of God. He baptized Christ, although Christ was sinless, to fulfill all righteousness; that is, to do the righteous will of God, to point forward to Christ’s atoning death for our sins and his resurrection for our justification, and to show the example we are to follow.
Though Christ had no sin of his own, he was the representative of his sinful people. He was a real man, as well as the real God, and he was baptized and labored and suffered and bled and died and rose as a man.
Some of John’s disciples whom he had baptized followed Christ, and were not baptized in water again, so far as we are told in the Scriptures. The baptisms performed by Christ’s disciples before his crucifixion were undoubtedly in the name or by the authority of God (Christ is God), and did not have to be repeated, and were therefore substantially the same as those performed by his apostles after his ascension, though the form of words used was not probably the same; the Scriptures do not tell us the form of words used in the baptisms performed by John or in those performed by the disciples of Christ before his crucifixion, and it is, therefore, not necessary for us to know that form of words. An attempt to be wise above what is written, and speculation upon things that the Lord has not revealed to us, are not only unprofitable, but injurious to the people of God, tending, not to edify and unite, but to confuse and divide them.” (Hassell in Questions and Answers by R..H. Pittman 1935)
Two kinds of BAPTISM: T.S. Dalton: Ro 6:3-4, Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death,” etc., which shows very clearly that Paul had under consideration two baptisms, of spirit and water, and in the 3rd and 4th verses Paul clearly shows that the baptism of the Holy Spirit precedes water baptism, and is preparatory to it, hence he says, “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death. Therefore we are buried with him, (not into him) by baptism into death,” etc., which shows very clearly to every unprejudiced mind that one of these baptisms is in the past tense, and the other in the present tense; one of them is baptism into Christ and the other a burial with Christ.” (Zion’s Advocate May 1893).
BAPTISM: Believers the Proper Subjects: J.H. Oliphant: It is universally agreed that adult believers are proper subjects of baptism. The Pedobaptists insist that infants should be baptized. Mr. Porter, in his history of Methodism, p. 286, says that infant baptism “takes the place of circumcision.” On page 287 he says: “The Abrahamic and Christian covenants are one in their nature and object. Under the first, children were brought into covenant with God by circumcision, the baptism of that dispensation, * * and why should they be left out under the second?”
It is well known that this is the foundation of infant baptism as practiced by Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. That as circumcision was a seal of the interest the children of Abraham had in the covenant made with Abraham, so baptism is to be administered to infants as a seal of their interest in the covenant of grace. Therefore it is common for them to observe that “baptism came in the room of circumcision.” Buck, in his Dictionary, gives this as their argument. They think that if baptism under the gospel is what circumcision was under the law, that the point is clearly made that infants should be baptized. That as God is unchangeable, and did direct that infants should be circumcised, which was the sealing ordinance, so he now requires that infants shall receive the sealing ordinance.
Baptism did not take the place of circumcision
I will now try to answer this argument. Buck invites our attention to Ge 17:12, where circumcision is enjoined. By reading the first twelve verses of that chapter you will see that God made a covenant with Abraham in which he promised to him and his seed the land that he was then in, and he required Abraham to maintain circumcision as a token (Ge 17:11) of that covenant.
It was not circumcision that gave the land to Abraham and his seed, but it was a token to them of their interest in the promise. This land was not given to the children of Abraham “by faith,” but to his seed according to the flesh. The promise did not embrace spiritual things, but natural. There is a great difference between this covenant and that of grace, as much as there is between things “temporal” and things “eternal,” or between a shadow and its substance.
Here God made a promise to Abraham that his seed should have the land which he was then in, which the subsequent history of his children shows to have been fulfilled, when they were brought out of Egypt and led to that promised land.” But the fact that his seed was interested in that promise does not show that they were interested in the “promise of eternal life.”—Heb 9:12. In speaking of the true Israel, Paul says, “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God.”—Ro 9:8; i.e., although one may be the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, and interested in the covenant sealed by circumcision, yet he may not be interested in the second.
Jews outwardly and Jews inwardly
Agreeably to this we read, “He is not a Jew which is one outwardly,” etc.—Ro 2:28-29. So we see that there were some who were not entitled to the promise of eternal life who were interested in the Abrahamic covenant, and others of the gentiles who had no interest in the first who were interested in the second.
The seed of Abraham, according to the flesh, were embraced in the one; these are Jews outwardly, and these have an outward circumcision in the flesh; but they who are Jews inwardly and who are circumcised in heart, both of the Jews and gentiles, are embraced in the second.
In determining who should be circumcised, they looked to the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, for to them was the promise made; but in determining who are embraced in the covenant of grace, we look to those who are Jews inwardly. Now, as circumcision belonged to every one interested in the covenant made with Abraham, so baptism belongs to every one who is embraced in spiritual Israel; circumcision to those who are Jews outwardly, as a token of their interest in the promise of God to Abraham, and baptism to those who are Jews inwardly, as a token of their interest in the promise of eternal life.
It was a natural birth (of the flesh) that entitled a Jew to the promise of God to Abraham, and to circumcision; but the birth of the spirit alone fits us to lay claim to the promise of eternal life.
The difference between the two covenants
We must mark the difference between the two covenants. The one confers temporal blessings to a nation of people, the other eternal life to the great family of God spiritually. With the one, circumcision is an outward sign of an interest in the promise of temporal blessings, and with the other, baptism (I grant) is an outward sign of an interest in the promise of eternal things.
With regard to infants, all parties agree that they are saved that die in infancy. We deny, however, that they are saved because of their natural goodness. We deny that they are by the natural birth fitted for heaven. We believe (or I do) that they who die in infancy are born of the spirit of God, and thus made spiritual, incorruptible, and prepared to enjoy the company of God. Their happy death, or happiness after death, is not the result of anything they received in their natural birth, or for anything they are by nature, but of God’s divine power in regeneration.
Generation and regeneration
It is a great mistake that regenerated parents will produce regenerated children. In our first birth we are but generated, and while, among the Jews, this would entitle one to God’s promise to Abraham, it does not entitle us to the promise of eternal life. Paul, in Ro 6:3-4, puts regeneration before baptism, and it is upon this promise that baptism is an intelligent service.
Also Col 2:11-12, he makes the same point, that the body of our sins is taken away by the circumcision of heart, and as a consequence we are buried in baptism. Circumcision belongs to the generated Jew, and baptism to the regenerated, who are Jews inwardly.
The evidence that infants are regenerated is entirely wanting, and as they grow up we are confronted with clear evidences that they are not regenerated. So if it be true that baptism in the gospel takes the place of circumcision under the law, it is not true that a flesh birth gives one the blessings of the gospel, although it did give him an interest in the Abrahamic covenant; and while we grant that circumcision did belong to those who were “Jews outwardly,” yet we insist that baptism belongs to those who are “Jews inwardly.”
A mighty poor argument
2d. There were whole households baptized, and from this it is argued that there must have been infants baptized. This is a very common argument, which seems to me to be of very little value to their cause. In Ac 16:33, we read that the jailer and all his were baptized. Now, if we had any way of proving that there were any babes in his household, this would be an argument, but in Ac 16:34 we learn that he “rejoiced, believing in God with all his house,” so those who were baptized were capable of rejoicing and believing in God.
From this we are sure there were no babes there, and the fact that men like Wesley, Porter, Buck, and many others, resort to this argument betrays the weakness of their cause, and so the case of Lydia, Ac 16:15. She was far from home on business of a mercantile kind, and it is by no means safe to build the practice of infant sprinkling on the bare supposition that there was an infant in her house. The business she was engaged in and the distance she was from home, would tend to raise the presumption that she had no helpless babes with her.
Cornelius feared God with all his house
Also, the house of Cornelius, Ac 10: He is declared to have been a “devout man, and one that feared God with all his house.” The angel told him to send for Peter, “who shall tell thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved,” and “the Holy Ghost fell on them. Those baptized here feared God, Ac 18:8.
“Crispus believed on the Lord with all his house.” Here those baptized “believed on God,” which contradicts the idea that there were any infants there. “And I baptized also the household of Stephanus,”—1Co 1; 16. Here is another household baptized, but in 1Co 16:15, we read of this same household that they “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.”
I have now mentioned all the places where there were households baptized, and we find something said of each one that forbids the idea that there were infants, except that of Lydia. In every other case they were said to “fear God” or “believe God” or “minister to the saints,” showing that every member of each household was of sufficient age to have understanding.
And in the case of Lydia, her business and distance from home would rather raise the inference that there were no babes in her house. Besides this, it is not an uncommon thing to see whole families with no babes in their midst. Reader, let your mind run over your own acquaintances and think how many families there are without infants. I know of several whole households that belong to the Baptist church.
Now, I repeat that the fact that the wisest advocates of infant baptism have used this as an argument in its favor, justly raises the suspicion that it is a practice without divine authority.
He blessed them; he did not baptize them
In Mt 19:13, we read, “Then were there brought unto him little children that he should put his hands on them and pray.” Also Mr 10:16, “And he took them up in his arms, puts his hands on them, and blessed them.” These passages are frequently quoted to sustain the practice, but unfortunately for the practice, the passages say nothing about baptism. We learn that “he put his hands on them and prayed,” but nothing is said about baptizing them.
All parties admit that there is no plain example in the New Testament for it; that it is nowhere commanded by the Savior. It seems to me that if the Savior and the disciples had practiced it, that there would have been much of their time spent in administering the ordinance, and the fact that there is nothing said about it in all their letters, nor in the Acts of the Apostles, is pretty clear evidence that it was not done.
Baptizing babies cannot secure their regeneration
A careful reading of the Methodist Discipline will lead you to the conclusion that it is practiced by them with the understanding that it secures regeneration to the child, and not only the Methodists, but the Catholics; and, I may say, all who practice it do it with the impression that it is a saving ordinance, which, if true, it involves the possibility of infant damnation.
It has been common for our people to be charged with preaching that infants go to hell; but if I had time and space I could show that the advocates of infant baptism have virtually taught the doctrine themselves. We love our children as dearly as others, and feel anxious about them, but we have never believed that the Lord requires us to join them to our church without their knowledge or consent.
We have not been able to see that the children who were baptized in infancy are any better by practice than others. We know that it is not required by the Bible, and therefore we do not practice it. Its tendency is to unite the church and the world. It is a sort of feeder of formalism in the church. It tends to destroy all distinction between the Church of Christ and the world, and therefore we have ever opposed it.
Believe first, then be baptized
The believer in Christ is the only character who is entitled to baptism. “And Philip said, if thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,”—Ac 8:37. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,”—Mr 15:16. These passages show that none but believers were considered suitable subjects for baptism. A believer is one who has been born of God. He is spiritual, and therefore can understand the things of the Spirit. He is a Jew inwardly, has been “circumcised without hands,” and “passed from death unto life.” 1Jo 5:1, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” Also 1Jo 4:2, “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.”
These passages prove that the believer is born of God, and is in possession of his Spirit. “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God,” 1Jo 4:5. The believer dwells in God, and God dwells in him. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” The man in whom God dwells is “free from sin;” he is born again, and therefore should be baptized. Joh 5:24, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Baptism does not pass him from death unto life, but he “is passed from death unto life.” So the believer is born of God; God dwells in him and he in God. “He that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father.” This man has been born again, not of corruptible, but of incorruptible seed, even by the word (Logos) of God, which liveth and abideth forever. “Born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Such a person should be baptized; he should receive the “outward sign of an inward work.” He is now “dead to sin” and should be “Buried with Christ by baptism.”
Fruits meet for repentance
John denied baptism to the multitude for the lack of this inward grace; he demanded fruits meet for repentance. Baptism to an impenitent person is of no value to him. Baptism is not a part of the remedial system by which the new birth is effected; it is the peculiar privilege of the believer who is already “passed from death unto life,” and “is born of God.” It is the act of the obedient child of God in which he puts on Christ before the world and vows to live in his service.
Peter, at the house of Cornelius, recognized that they had received the Holy Ghost, and upon this fact he baptized them. The Holy Spirit owned our Savior in the ordinance. He owned Philip when he was baptized, “and he went on his way rejoicing.”
The great Savior has promised that all who take his yoke upon them shall find rest. There is a rest to the saint in following Christ. He is made to rejoice in the Lord. In receiving members into the church we want evidence that they have been born of God. “The sow that was washed returned to her wallow in the mire.”
Outward reformation will not qualify one for the service of God. The new birth will produce a suitable reformation, and hence we want an evidence that the applicant has been born again. To tell a long experience is not essential, but to give evidence that you have repented of your sins is necessary; it is necessary that you love the brethren, and that in heart you love the Savior. “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” says the Redeemer. We want evidence that you love the Lord Jesus, for if you do, his service will not be a task to you. Every person contemplating baptism should seriously examine his own heart.
Dear reader, do you love the Savior? If so, he commands you to observe his ordinances; and if you look rightly at his service, you feel that it is a solemn engagement to enter into his service. “Am I prepared in heart?” is a suitable question for you to ponder well. “It is said that if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things have passed away, and all things are become new.” Do you know anything of such an experience? Is your heart set as much on this world as formerly?
Do you delight in sin as much as ever? If you are prepared in heart for God’s service, sin to you has “become exceeding sinful.” “You are dead to sin,” and can not, with delight, “live any longer therein.” God’s people are allied to Christ and his cause. You will, if you are a Christian, find that you have undergone a change in your thoughts of God and his Word.
Paul experienced a conviction for his sin, and that before baptism; and you, if you are a fit subject for baptism, have had deep trouble about sin, and even now you understand the words, “when I would do good, evil is present with me,” in a way you did not formerly. You are a weak thing. You once felt strong and able to keep your heart when you got ready; but now you sensibly feel that your sin is more than a match for your strength.
Although you have vowed, and vowed again, to do better, yet you feel the force of the words, “Oh, wretched man that I am.” When you compare yourself as you are, with what you are sure that you should be, you think it can hardly be that you are a Christian. You are not fit for baptism. The service is too holy for so unholy a being as you are. The church is composed of good people, and you are not good. You would be a spot in their feasts, and you feel unfit for God’s notice. You can understand how God can notice others; how he can care for the hosts of heaven and the saints on earth, but you can’t understand how he can care for you as the very apple of his eye. You crave such care, but feel that it is too much to claim. You think, “Oh, how can the great Eternal One, who knows my every imperfection, love me as a tender parent, and delight in me as a bride. How can it be that I, so like a sinner, should be beloved so.”
Your heart’s desire is to do right, and if you felt sure that you were prepared for a place in his house, you would at once go into his service. You are interested in the church, you rejoice to see others follow the Savior, you would be glad to see whole nations fall at his feet “and crown him Lord of all,” you would adore and exalt the name of Jesus if you could. Oh, how encouraging to many of us that God’s people are not described as a strong people.
Our Savior said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This kind of preaching gets down to you. Oh, think you, does he bless the poor in spirit? Then I am that; he has come to me with his blessing; I am poor in spirit, I am bankrupt and penniless, I am naked and starving; if I can’t claim the good things of the gospel, I can claim that I need them, and am ruined without them.
The centurion felt unworthy that Christ should come under his roof, and you feel unworthy to go into his service, or claim a place among his people. Christ said of the centurion, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” It is faith that fills us with low opinions of self and high ones of God. Oh, dear reader, have you thus discovered the corruption of your own nature and the great worth of Christ? Have you been made to love him and his precious cause? If so, you should keep his commandments. Unite with his people in their efforts to maintain his cause in the world. I would exhort you by the mercies of God, that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable in his sight, which is your reasonable service. The low opinion you have of self prepares you to walk humbly in his sight you ought not to confer with self, but by an obedient life prove your love to Christ.
Note.—The subject of re-baptism, or alien baptism, has been one of deep interest among us. Persons join other churches and then become dissatisfied and wish to unite with us. Whether we should receive them on their baptism, has been a question of serious inquiry. It is well known that Baptists believe the doctrine of church succession; that the church first organized by Christ has existed in all ages of the world to the present, and we claim to be in that succession. The various churches around us are of recent and human origin. Most of them originally came out of the Catholics. Whatever authority they have to administer the ordinances of God’s house, they received from Catholicism. Our people hold that these are institutions of men, and are unauthorized to administer the ordinances of the Lord’s house.
What is known as the “branch system,” we oppose. Those who hold it, say that “the general church is made up of the various denominations; each one is a branch of the church, and all together make the true church.” If Baptists believed this theory they could consistently receive baptism from other orders, but as long as we hold the doctrine of Church Succession we cannot consistently receive baptism from any save our own people. Let us examine these branches that are supposed to make up the general church. One immerses and others pour or sprinkle; some teach the doctrine of apostasy, and all teach that salvation is conditional. No two agree in all things, and all of them agree in opposing the doctrine of grace. Does one branch of a tree bear gourds, and another apples, another potatoes, and so on? No; this is confusion, or Babylon.
We do not belong to that tree; we are no part of it; and never were connected with it, and we cannot receive its work without virtually accepting the “branch system.” Those who believe the “branch system” can afford to receive each other’s work and commune with each other, but we cannot afford to do it. If we lay claim to the doctrine of Church Succession we must be a separate people and administer our own ordinances.
It is well known that the Campbellite Church sprang from A. Campbell, and that he was excluded from the Old Baptists in Virginia. Is there any reason in excluding a man from our church and still allow him to administer our ordinances? We think not. We think it very inconsistent to exclude a minister and deny communion with him and still receive his work. It is often the case that preachers are excluded from our body, who step off and set up for themselves, and we think that to receive their work is very inconsistent. The fact that the Campbellite Church has become strong and numerous is no reason why we should receive their work.
Besides, they administer the right in order to the forgiveness of sins, as a condition of salvation, and we have ever regarded this as a gross heresy. To receive baptism from their hands is to recognize their authority, and in a degree to tolerate their false views of baptism. If a person is satisfied with their baptism we think he ought to be satisfied with them. If he has become dissatisfied with them as a church, and believes their preaching to be generally false, he should not desire to bring to us the baptism he has received from those people he now renounces. If he renounces them, he should also renounce their work. Other orders, that practice sprinkling and pouring, sometimes immerse persons when it is contrary to their own faith. “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” We think it inconsistent to receive their work when they performed it without faith. It is very unwise for any person who desires to be immersed to go to those who practice sprinkling for it. They should go to one who believes that God requires it, and when he lifts up his hand towards heaven and says, “I baptize thee in the name of the Father,” etc, he will be sincere, and it will be a work of faith with him.
It is argued that if the person’s conscience is satisfied, we ought to be. To this we reply, if their conscience is satisfied with the baptism, they ought to remain with the people who baptized them; besides, the proper administration of the laws of the Lord, does not depend on men’s consciences altogether.
Does the Bible teach that the church of Christ has existed in all ages? And are we that church? This is the foundation of our course in this matter. If we are the church, then those institutions organized by Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Campbell and others, are not the church, but rival institutions, and we can no more receive their work than our fathers could the baptism of Catholics. As before said, if we lay down the claim of succession we can receive alien baptism. The question of communion and baptism seem to be bounded by the same line.
If we can receive baptism from other orders, why not commune with them? There is no more sacredness in the ordinance of baptism than there is in the communion, and when we become willing to receive baptism from other orders we should be willing to commune with them. If we would preserve our history as a church we must be a separate people. And where persons ask for membership on their baptism received from other orders, it is better to reject them, reason with them, show them the inconsistency of such a thing, and if they are reasonable and sincere they will see the point that it is reasonable. They will be glad afterwards, and love you for your faithfulness.
I have had persons urge upon me that they were satisfied with their baptism, and wished to unite with us. In such cases I have urged them to stay where they were until they were convinced that our course was right. I urged that we wanted to be a separate people, and that we could not give up our practice in this matter without surrendering a vital principle of our faith. The intelligent reader will readily see that we cannot receive baptism from any other order without sacrificing our claim to Church Succession. Reasonable people will respect us for having sincerity enough to dare to be consistent.
We know that it tends to make our members few, but we are anxious to pursue a consistent course. We are trying to maintain the order of the house of God. We are more anxious to do this than to have the applause of men. It is the only safe course we can pursue.
BAPTISM: Christ’s marriage to the church: S. A. Paine: In Mal 3:1, same verse referred to, it is said, “And the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Who is this but the Savior coming to John on the bank of Jordan? And in coming to him he comes to, or confronts those whom John has made ready. He calls this coming to his temple. Here is where the marriage occurs.
We hear John exclaiming, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” Here is the midnight cry, “Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.” Those who were ready, who were prepared in heart, and had obeyed the teaching of John, were admitted to the marriage. Hence Christ suddenly came to his temple, “even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in.” This was fulfilled in Jesus’s approach to John, and those whom he had baptized, here the union of the Bride and Bridegroom was effected, and the church, there began in its incipiency—began to be builded. (Writings of S.A. Paine)
BAPTISM: Immersion the Mode: J.H. Oliphant: Subheads added: Volumes have been written on this subject, and I have no thought that I shall be able to present anything new in the way of argument. I only propose to give the reasons and arguments that satisfy me, and upon which I act. The design of this work forbids that I should attempt to write at length. I would first say that we should be sincere and candid in our investigation; we should not act in this matter to please men, nor upon the opinions of men, but, if possible, find what the Savior and apostles practiced, and do likewise.
Baptize: to DIP
The meaning of the word used to express the action of baptism has very much, if not everything, to do with the subject at hand. Not what it now means, but what it meant at the time the Savior and apostles used it.
1st. Webster in his definition says the word “baptize” is from a Greek word which signified “to dip.” Of course he gives its present meaning in harmony with the practice of the various churches. Yet the question with us is “not what does it now mean” and how is it now understood, but “what did it mean in our Savior’s day?” Webster says the original word “signified to dip.” So our practice is in harmony with his definition.
Bapto, Baptizo, Baptizma
2nd. The Greek words Bapto, Baptizo, Baptizma, and Baptizmos, are never rendered sprinkle or pour, that is, the Savior never used a word that expressed the action of pour or sprinkle to express baptism. Now, if the Savior and apostles never used a word to express baptism, that they in other places used to express sprinkling or pouring, we think it clear that they did not intend to teach that baptism should be performed by sprinkling or pouring. In Lu 16:24, we read, “Send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,” etc.
The word dip in this text is from the word Bapto. Here the meaning is clearly expressed by the scripture itself. The water was not sprinkled on his finger, nor poured on his finger, but the finger was dipped in the water. I regard this as a clear argument in favor of immersion. Also Joh 13:26, “Jesus answered, he it is to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it.” Here the word dipped is from Bapto. The Savior fixes the meaning of the word, and illustrates it by dipping.
Also, Re 19:13, “And he was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood.” His word dipped is also from the word Bapto. The blood was not sprinkled nor poured on the garment, but it had been baptized (or dipped) in the blood, so that his garments were dyed, or he was “red in his apparel.” The use of the word in these places fixes its meaning as that of immerse or dip.
The Greek word Baptizo is never rendered pour or sprinkle. It is twice rendered wash, Mr 7:4; and Lu 11:38. The word Baptismos is rendered twice wash, Mr 7:4,8; and once washings, Heb 9:10. In these places it would be very unreasonable and unnatural, I think, to conclude that the washing was performed by sprinkling or pouring; possibly it could have been done by pouring, but the plainest sense of the connection is in favor of immersion.
The first mentioned is Mr 7:4, “Except they wash they eat not.” The washing of hands is here referred to, as shown by the previous verse. The usual method of washing hands is by dipping them in the water; also, the “washing of cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and tables,” etc. The usual method of washing cups is by immersing them in the water. The word pots is from Sextarios, about a pint and one-half.” So there is no difficulty in understanding the washing of pots to be in strict harmony with the views I am presenting.
The word tables in the same connection may present some difficulty to the mind of some. The original for table is Klinel. It occurs ten times in the New testament, and is rendered bed in every place except the one above named, Mt 9:2,6; Mr 4:21; and Mr 7:4,30; Lu 5:18; and Lu 8:16; and Lu 17:34; Ac 5:15; and Re 2:22. Also, I may add that the meaning of the word Klinel is given by Greek lexicographers as follows, “That on which one lies, a bed, a couch, a bier.” So the question is not how or what be the most natural way of washing a table but a bed, a couch, and every washer-woman in the land would say the best and easiest way is by immersion or dipping.
Baptize: a Greek word transliterated
We have noticed every passage in the New testament where the word has been translated from Greek to English. Of course the words baptize, baptism, etc., are not translations, but the Greek word itself with a English termination. We have found it three times rendered sprinkle or pour. We have found it twice rendered wash, and three times washing, but we have found the plain meaning of the texts in which wash and washing occur, to be very much in favor of immersion.
3rd. The first and principal meaning of the word, as given by Liddel and Scott gives it Bapto, to dip repeatedly, dip under, to bathe; Baptismos, a dipping in water; Baptistus, one who dips, a dyer; ho Baptistus, the Baptist; Baptos, dipped, dyed; Bapto, Greek, and Immergere, Latin, to dip, to sink. For a lengthy and general reference to Greek lexicons showing that the meaning of the word is dip or immerse, see “Theodosia Earnest,” 1st Vol.; “Campbell on Baptism:” “Grace Trueman;” “Conversations on Baptism.” The subject has, by these authors, been exhausted.
All admit the word means to dip
4th. The most learned men of the world have admitted the meaning of the word to be dip or immerse. John Wesley, in his notes on Ro 6:4, “We are buried with him by baptism,” etc., says, “Alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion.” Here the eminent founder of Methodism admits the position we take, and although we would not regard him and such men as infallible; yet we regard it as evidence that we are right for those who practice sprinkling and pouring to confess that “the ancient mode” of baptism was by burying.
McKnight, an eminent Presbyterian, says, “In baptism the baptized person is buried under water.” On Epistles, vol. 1,4, “Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism,” says, “It is altogether probable that the apostle in this place had allusion to the custom of baptizing by immersion. This can not be proved so as to be liable to no objection, but I presume that this is the idea that would strike the great mass of unprejudiced readers.” Certainly Barnes is correct in saying that the great mass would get the idea of immersion from this text. Luther, “Baptism is a sign of death and resurrection. Being moved by this reason, I would have those that are baptized to be wholly dipped into the water as the word imports and the mystery doth signify.” “On this account I could wish that such as are to be baptized should be completely immersed into the water according to the meaning of the word,” etc.
John Calvin’s Institutes, vol. 2, p. 491, “The very word baptize, however, signifies to immerse, and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.” Again on Joh 3:23, and Ac 8:38, “From these words it may be inferred that baptism was administered by John and Christ by plunging the whole body under water. Here we perceive how baptism was administered among the ancients, for they immersed the whole body under water.”
These quotations show that the great founders of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches have borne testimony that the meaning of the word is dip or immerse. We might add a host of other names of prominent men who themselves practiced sprinkling and pouring, who, nevertheless, admitted that the word signified dip or immerse, and that the ancient practice was by “immersing the whole body in the water.” Mosheim, Neander, Beza, Dr. Chalmers, George Campbell, and many others.
How dare anyone change the rite
Now, reader, I ask you if our practice of immersion is not sustained by the meaning of the word, and if so, how dare we change the rite? Who has a right to repeal or amend the laws of Christ? His law was given in words that signify immersion? How dare we substitute sprinkling? How others have managed to keep a good conscience, declaring the meaning of the word in the Savior’s example to be immersion and yet practicing sprinkling and pouring, is to me a mystery.
2nd. We argue that immersion was the apostolic mode of baptism, from the places selected to administer the ordinance. Mt 3:5-6, “Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” They were not baptized