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Home arrow 50 Yrs Among The Baptists arrow Debate On Church Identity--Chapter 9
Debate On Church Identity--Chapter 9 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thompson/Lawson   

THOMPSON’S NINTH ADDRESS

Respected Opponent, Friendly Readers: I have no fears rel­ative to the verdict of intelligent, enlightened, unprejudiced readers, and I hope to even convince many who have been blinded by errors and prejudiced through misrepresentations.

Elder Lawson critically interrogates relative to the Wal­denses. He then answers his interrogatives. Thank you, Elder. He claims that the Waldenses built upon Christ as the apostles did. This contradicts his statement that there was not “a congregation from the fifth to the nineteenth century that practiced as the early Christians did.” Verily, the legs of the lame are unequal. He also asserts that the Waldenses are not now in Gospel faith. This may be true of some who are called Waldenses, as it is of some who are called Christians. If he will accept historical facts and come another step, he will agree with his church father that the Baptist were the king­dom of God from the first to the nineteenth century.

Elder, explain how the Novatians and Waldenses both built on Christ, and yet differed doctrinally? You are con­fused, or you would not ma such paradoxical statements.

Jones remarks (p. 299) “The learned Mosheim contends * * * that they [Waldenses] derived their name from Peter Waldo, an opulent merchant of Lyons * * *,” but in this he is contradicted by his learned translator, and, I believe I may truly add, by most writers of authority since his time. Also, that “Waldo supported many to teach the doc­trines believed in the valleys about the Alps, and they were all called Waldenses, which name signified inhabitants of valleys;” that “this view is supported by the authority of Gilles, Peere, Penn, Leger, Morland and Dr. Allix.” On page 343: “The Waldenses, time out of mind, have opposed the abuses of Rome, Beza. He also denominates the Waldenses “The Prim­itive Christian Church,” on same page. Sacho, a Catholic inquisitor, who lived about the time of Waldo, admitted that the Waldenses flourished five hundred years before Waldo preached; Jones, p. 301. Do you want more proof refuting the incorrect statement of Mosheim? It is abundant, accord­ing to Jones. Leger declares that “the Waldenses never needed any reformation;” Jones.

Elder, you promised to give up the proposition if I would show that one man was elected to Salvation before he was born. I showed that Paul was elected to salvation before he was born. I did not say he was saved before he was born. You are honor bound to give up the proposition, and not try to wiggle out by misrepresenting. Paul was chosen before creation that he should be holy, which teaches that he was elected before he was born, that he should be saved from the unholy condition he was in when a vile persecutor; Ephesians 1:4. 11e was pre­destinated unto “Eis.” i. e., in order to the adoption; verse 5. He was predestinated to be adopted, and was afterward adopted according to the predestination of God. The adoption was to the praise of the glory of God’s grace, wherein he made Paul accepted in the beloved; verse 6. Therefore not conditionally saved.

You say the Pentecostans were created in Christ by hearing, believing and obeying. If so, they created themselves in Christ. Your position is ridiculously absurd and unscriptural. All that are in Christ are the workmanship of God created in Christ unto good works; Ephesians, 2:10. Of God saints are in Christ; I Corinthians, 1:30. Extreme pressure drove you to the intenable, suicidal position that aliens created themselves in Christ, when inspiration teaches that, “They that are in the flesh can not please God.” “There is none that doeth good.” “He that is not of God heareth not us.” “Ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep.” “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit.”

It is not a literal fluid, as water, that washes the inner man, but the Spirit, as Paul teaches. I accept inspiration without sophistical criticism. The inner man is saved and made a new creature in Christ by the washing of regenera­tion—recreation. The Lord taught Peter that he had cleansed Cornelius. Preparatory to his mission to Cornelius, the Lord said: “What God hath cleansed call not thou common.” God had cleansed Cornelius and family by the washing of regen­eration, by the Spirit of God. Inner men were regenerated by washing, not bodies which were subsequently washed with pure water. Corrupt bodies are not regenerated when washed with water.

I do not believe that a man is accepted with God, as Cor­nelius was, until he fears God and works righteousness. He will not fear God and work righteousness until he is born of God; Romans 3:18, 8:8; 1 John 2:29. John teaches that all who doeth righteousness are born of God. Do you believe it? By what authority do you teach that Peter and John used the word “righteousness” with difference of meaning?

Paul did not say that the people called Jacob (Romans 11:26) should be saved conditionally. He said the “Deliverer shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” I claimed that Paul presented Jacob (the chosen) as the representative of an elect people (Romans 9:11—13), and you have admitted that Jacob de­notes a people in this passage. As denoted by Jacob, they were unsaved. They were to be saved, not by conditionally turning from ungodliness, but by Christ turning ungodliness away from them. Notice verses 27, 28. “For this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins.” “Concerning the Gospel, they are enemies; * * * touching the election, they are beloved.” They were beloved as the elect, while ene­mies in unbelief. Paul did say that those blind unbelievers should be saved. They were the people under consideration. It is most unreasonable to deny it. Paul prayed for them be­cause he knew that God could and would save them.

You have not escaped from the unscriptural expression: “God is the Father of all spirits.” There are spirits of men in hell. Is God the Father of them?

COMMUNION.

Must we commune with persons so corrupt that we are forbidden to eat a common meal with them, as you interpret Paul’s teaching? Paul taught that saints should not commune with one who was called a brother if a fornicator, etc. Will you refuse to eat a common meal with a disreputable person and then commune with him? Inconsistency!

“EIS.”

Christ is the best authority on “ Eis,” Elder, on earth or in heaven; Matthew 10:41.

I am not trying to save those for whom Peter said the mist of darkness was reserved. The Lord bought them and saved them, and gave them eternal life, and, says such shall never per­ish, that he will in no wise cast them out, he obtained eternal redemption for them, as I have shown. Paul said nothing should separate them from time love of God. They were of the seed that David says, “Shall endure forever.” God visits their transgressions with the rod, but will not suffer his faithfulness to fail. God has promised, has confirmed it with an oath, and will not lie; Psalm 89:27—36.

If the passage (1 Corinthians 6:11) teaches that they were washed in the name of Jesus, as you admit it does, then it must teach that they were washed by the Spirit, which you deny. Does the passage teach that the Spirit is the administrator? The same Spirit that sanctified them washed them.

I have not surrendered a position or argument. Present an argument that I have failed to examine.

Jesus said eternal salvation was impossible with men. He did not afterward teach that he made it possible for men to save themselves by complying with conditions, as you teach. Were men saved conditionally or unconditionally before Christ made it possible for them to save themselves by complying with conditions, as you teach?

You argue that every man who hears and learns of the Father is drawn to Jesus. Is every man who hears and learns of you drawn to Jesus? Who are those who hear and learn of the Father? Answer, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord;” Isaiah 54:13. Children by adoption, born of God, are those who hear and learn, and come, as drawn by God’s “love shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost.”

Why don’t you charge Paul with being unscriptural? He said: “They that are in the flesh can not please God.” We teach the same. He said: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him.” We teach the same. Why don’t you charge that Christ was unscriptural? He said to persons, “Why do ye not understand my speech? Because ye can not hear my word.” “Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” “He that is of God heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God;” John 8:43—45—47. We teach the same.

We do not tell men to wait for sensational feelings before they try to hear and learn.

We have been in all the world telling believers to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins; Romans 10:18; Col­ossians 1:6—23. You misrepresent us.

The Elder intimates that he doesn’t need to notice a passage to which I refer, if it says nothing about unconditional election. That turn from unanswerable arguments and proofs, pertain­ing to the salvation of aliens, is sufficient evidence of a real­ization of incompetence to meet the argument.

I do contend that Cornelius was saved by regeneration in Spirit from a natural, corrupt state before Peter went to him. The Lord had cleansed him as he taught Peter; Acts 10:15, “ What God hath cleansed call not thou common.” he was not yet saved in the sense that the believing child is saved in obedience, who takes the yoke of Jesus, and in obedience “finds rest unto his soul.” Through Peter’s preaching Cornelius was saved from unbelief pertaining to Christ, and was instructed relative to obedience, and rejoiced the Spirit before he was bap­tized. “The intelligent reader” will understand that a man who feared God and, worked righteousness, as Cornelius did, and pleased God, and was accepted with God, was born of God, as the following testimony witnesseth: “If ye know that he [Christ] is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth right­eousness is born of him,” Peter and John were speaking of true righteousness, which pleased God? Cornelius was not (scripturally speaking) in the flesh, or he could not have pleased God; Romans 8:8. He was not an alien, for he feared God. There is no fear of God before the eyes of aliens; chapter 3:18. He was not a natural man, for he received and under­stood the things of the Spirit. Paul says the natural man does not and cannot receive and know the things of the Spirit. Cornelius was of God, for he heard the Gospel. Christ and John testify that they who are not of God hear not the Gospel.

Elder, you quote Romans 1:16 to refute my argument. The passage reads: “I am not ashamed of time Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” etc. The 17th verse explains how the Gospel saves, and who it saved, and ruins your whole theory: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” Observe carefully that the Gospel reveals God’s right­eousness, from faith to faith. Cornelius had faith and be­lieved in God, and prayed acceptably, but was “ignorant of God’s righteousness,” and was not, therefore, a believer in Christ. The Gospel as preached by Peter revealed God’s right­eousness to the faith that was in Cornelius, as a gilt of God, a fruit of the Spirit. Thus God’s righteousness, which is im­puted without works, is revealed in time Gospel to people who are of God, and saves them from unbelief.

Elder, are you afraid to examine John 8:47, Romans 8:8, and 1 John 4:6?

Respectfully,

J. M. THOMPSON

 

LAWSON’S NINTH REPLY

Respected Opponent, Dear Readers: The Elder says that I contradict my former statements in regard to the Waldenses, but I am sure that I do no such thing.

The Elder surely has “wheels” in his head. The princi­ples of the Waldenses (or of Waldo in particular) was a return to New Testament Christianity. As individuals, some of them built upon Christ and the apostles, and were therefore in the Church of Christ; but as congregations, they were unscriptural in their practices. Therefore there was not a congregation on earth from the fifth to the nineteenth century that practiced as the early Christians did. That statement is true without doubt, and cannot be refuted. As individuals, some of them (not alt of them) had heard, believed and obeyed the Gospel of Christ; and by this faith and obedience, were brought into God’s family or church, but instead of continuing as Christians only, they went into denominationalism, and in so doing departed from the practice of the early Christians. The same with the Novatians.

The Baptists were never the kingdom of Christ in any century. Such a denomination was unknown until the year 1607. No ancient history speaks of them, and when they ap­peared upon the arena, they appeared as a branch of the Ana-Baptists from which they came.

The Elder still contends that Mosheim was mistaken when he said that Peter Waldus was the head and founder of the Waldenses, and says other historians contradict his statements. Those in the valleys of Piedmont were called Vaudois when Waldus began his ministry, and after Waldus had built up a sect, the two began to flow together, and the Vaudois took the name “Waldenses.” Peter Waldo was the head and founder of the Waldenses, but not of the Vaudois; and while the two sects differed greatly in some things, yet in many things they believed and taught alike.

But it matters not about the Waldenses, so far as you and your people are concerned. You are not Waldenses, and never were. You do not have the same form of government as the Waldenses did, or the same articles of faith. You differ in name, form of government and creed. Why should you speak of them?

The Elder now says that he did not claim that Paul was saved before he was born. Then why talk about his election to sal­vation before his birth? Paul was no more elected to salvation before his birth than all the human family. The Elder says that extreme pressure drove me to the conclusion that men cre­ate themselves in Christ.

I have never contended that man creates himself in Christ independently of God, Christ or the Holy Spirit, but that crea­tion in Christ is by a process in which man has a part to perform. The Elder then repeats his quotations, such as “They that are in the flesh cannot please God,” “There is none that doeth good,” “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit.” I will examine these passages once more, so that all can see plainly that they do not support the Elder’s theory. “They that are in the flesh can not please God.” That is, those who follow the flesh by practicing sin displease God.

Paul was speaking of those who had been “born again” and would have them to understand that if the Spirit dwelt in them they were not in the flesh, that is, they had no right to follow the things of the flesh, but the things of the Spirit. Paul knew of the dangers of apostasy and wanted them to be steadfast. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit.” The Elder says that the natural man there spoken of, is the unconverted man; and then in the next breath claims that conversion is a thing of the Spirit. Paul is contrasting the inspired man with the uninspired mail. These spiritual mysteries could only be understood by inspired men, and others knew nothing of them, only as they learned from the revela­tions of the inspired men. Paul was not talking of conversion but of inspiration. “There is none that doeth good.” This is a quotation from the Psalmist when “all had gone astray,” and “none sought after God,” and does not refer to the unconverted of our day or of Paul’s day, for many did seek after God in Paul’s day. “Ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep.” This was spoken by the Lord during his personal ministry when the “good news” was preached only “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Luke 24:4, says: “That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his (Christ’s) name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem.” Then all could hear who would hear. Elder, you had as well surrender the case of Cornelius for, as I have shown, it is squarely against you. Peter made “fearing God” and “working righteousness” con­ditions of acceptance with God. He was sent to Cornelius to “Tell thee words whereby thee and all thy house shall be saved.” Those born of God continue in righteousness as taught in 1 John, 2:29; Rom., 8:8, for they are born of God, and in order to final acceptance, must obey him as laborers in his vineyard.

I deny that Paul ever intimated that those unbelievers of Romans, 11 chapter, should be saved in unbelief. They were of “the elect,” but unsaved people, and they had to be saved just like other people. Peter said: “God put no difference between them and us, purifying their hearts by faith.” In this we learn that the Jews’ (elect) hearts had to be purified by faith, and those spoken of by Paul were unbelievers, as Paul states. God is the father of all Spirits, (human Spirits) as taught in Hebrews, and they were pure until they transgressed God’s law, and went out from him.

COMMUNION.

The Elder wants to know if we are to commune with one who is so corrupt that we are not allowed to eat a common meal with him. I answer that Paul was speaking of one who is called a brother, but is a fornicator, and would teach us to have no fellowship with him as such, by even eating with him. If we should keep company with him, then he would feel that we approve his acts. Of course such a man has no right to the Lord’s Table, and should be so taught, but we are not to fail in our duty of partaking because there is a Judas present. Judas partook of the Lord’s Supper when it was first instituted, but it did not do him any good; neither did it harm those who par­took at the same time. So, Elder, you are unscriptural in the communion. You reject those from the table you prepare, and at the same time say that many of them are God’s children. Here is your inconsistency. We teach that no one has a right to partake but Christians, and that no one will be benefited by partaking but those who are living in duty. But we also teach that all Christians should partake, as it is for God’s people, for his children. The Elder says that he is not trying to save any one in hell, but that God will save those spoken of by Peter, in heaven. He says that God’s faithfulness will never fail, and refers us to Psalms, 89:27—36. I am sure that God’s faithful­ness did not fail as there promised, for he tells us that though all the seed of David should fall away, yet he would send Christ as promised. But the faithfulness of those spoken of by Peter had failed, and the Lord reserved the mist of darkness for them. They were lost on account of their own failure. The Elder says that I misrepresent his people when I charge that they do not go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, and tell believers to “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” for they do so. I am glad to hear that statement from the Elder, for if he will carry it into practice in all his preaching he will be “near the kingdom.” But I have had quite a “time” in “showing him the way of salvation,” but I hope that he will not only walk in it himself, but teach others to do the same, and thereby help to extend Christ’s kingdom into all the earth. The Elder still thinks I ought to notice passages to which he refers, whether or not they bear on the subject. I am under no obli­gations to answer arguments the Elder has not made. The Elder has quite a time in trying to save Cornelius before Peter preached to him, when Peter’s mission was to tell him words whereby he and all his house should be saved. He now tries to make it appear that there were two salvations, and that Cor­nelius had received one of them before Peter preached to him.

But the Elder has assumed a position that cannot be proven, for while Cornelius was a good, moral man, yet he had not obeyed the Gospel of Christ, and was to hear words from Peter by which he should be saved. The Elder says that Romans 1:17 spoils my theory. Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salva­tion to every one that believeth * * *. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” From this we learn that the Gospel is God’s power to save men, and that his righteousness is therein revealed. The Psalmist David said: “All thy commandments are righteousness.” The Gos­pel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, so Peter preached to Cornelius, thus revealing God’s righteousness to him; and Cornelius submitted to the righteousness thus revealed.

I will now review some of the arguments made, which have not been noticed by Elder Thompson, and also introduce some new arguments.

I have shown that the Primitive Baptists are unscriptural in origin, and the Elder has not even attempted to prove their origin. The first term of the proposition says “Scriptural in origin.” But the Elder said he would not say when the church began, yet that was one part of the proposition. I showed also that baptism was the foundation of the Baptists, and that the Baptists had built upon Baptism instead of on Christ. I have shown that the early Christians met upon the first day of the week to break bread, while Primitive Baptists meet about once a year to break bread. I have also shown that they are unscriptural in name. They take the name of au ordinance of Christ instead of taking his name by which to be known. I have shown that their “experiences are unscriptural, and have urged the Elder to try to defend them, but he has managed to dodge the issue almost altogether.

Elder will you please answer the following questions?

(1). If you were riding along with a man, instructing him concerning Christ, and come to water and he should say: “See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized,” would you take his confession, like Philip did the Eunuch, and baptize him as Philip did?

(2). If you were preaching Christ, as Peter was on Pentecost, and men should ask you to know what to do, would you give them the same answer that Peter did? (Acts, 2:38). Would you tell them to “Repent and he baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost?” Would you then tell them to “Save yourselves from this untoward generation?”

Faithfully,

J. H. LAWSON.

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 October 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.