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Home arrow 50 Yrs Among The Baptists arrow Debate On Church Identity--Chapter 10
Debate On Church Identity--Chapter 10 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thompson/Lawson   


Respected Opponent, Friendly Readers: It is not wheels in my head that discomfits Elder Lawson, but historical facts and scriptural truths, which have established my proposition; also, exposure of sophistry, misrepresentations, contradictions and inconsistencies.

I will examine the Elder’s “ninth reply” in course of my recapitulation, in winch I design to refresh the reader’s mind with the facts proven.


Dr. Ypeij and J. J. Dermont, learned Pedo-Baptist, in their history published 1819, remark: “We have now seen that the Baptist who were formerly called Anabaptist, and in latter times Menonites, were the original Waldenses; and who have long in the history of the church received the honor of that origin. On this account the Baptist may be considered as the only Christian community which has stood since the days of the apostles, and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrines of the Gospel through all ages;” Religious Encyclopedia, p. 796.

So, Elder, your bare assertion that the Baptist are a branch of the Anabaptist is proven incorrect, and that there was not a Christian congregation from the fifth to the nineteenth cen­tury is also proven to be a false assertion.

Your unsupported assertion that there was not a congrega­tion from the fifth to the nineteenth century that practiced as the early Christians did is without foundation, and opposed to the testimony of many learned witnesses, of whom I have pre­sented a sufficient number. Yet you say your assertions can’t be refuted. Presumption! Must bare assertions be accepted? No!

Your renowned head (Alexander Campbell) affirmed that the Baptist to whom he offered reformation [so called] was the kingdom of God, having had a regular succession from the first schism, A. D. 250, call them Christians, * * Novatians, * * Waldenses, * * or what you please. Their practice must have been as the practice of the early Christians to preserve their identity as the kingdom of God.

The principles of faith enunciated by the Waldenses in three confessions, recorded in Jones’ history, pp. 323-326, are substantially the same as the doctrinal principles promulgated by the Church of God called Primitive Baptist.

I wish that every reader could examine the confessions to which I allude. They contain the following expressions: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, * * * who creates us anew unto good works, and from whom we receive a knowledge of the truth.” “By Him [Christ] alone we know the Father.”

The Primitive Baptist hold and advocate the doctrinal principles expressed in these quotations, by which they are dis­tinguished from all other churches of our day. As proof that we are scriptural in holding these distinctive doctrinal tenets, I refer the reader to Ephesians 2:10; John 17:2, 3; Corinthians 2:10; Matthew 11:27.

The historical facts presented here are corroborated by other historians, whose testimony I have given. Their combined tes­timony establishes the fact that the church, to which I belong, as a member, is scriptural in origin regardless of Elder Lawson’s unsupported assertions. The Church of God in the apostles’ day was scriptural in origin, and I have proven the perpetuity of that church in an unbroken chain of succession through the centuries which have intervened, and have established her identity continuously, embracing the Novatians, Waldenses, Menonites, English Baptist and the Primitive Baptist.


Elder, I talk about Paul’s election to salvation before his birth, because Paul said that he was chosen in Christ before creation, that he should be holy. That was the election of Paul to salvation before his birth. On this positive proof, that Paul was elected to salvation before he was born, you are pledged to give up this proposition.

I also have proven that all who shall be glorified through Christ were chosen to salvation before they were born. Your admission that the name “JACOB” denoted a people whom Paul said should be saved by Christ the Deliverer, is virtually an ac­knowledgment of election to salvation before birth. The pro­phesy embraced many who were not born when the prophesy was made that the “Deliverer shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” As Jacob was elected to greater blessing than Esau, so the elect people whom he represented were elected to greater blessing than others, and for this reason they were as God’s elect designated by the name Jacob. They were chil­dren of promise before they had any being, as Isaac was when God said: “Sarah shall have a son;” Romans 9:7—13.

The children of promise (God’s elect) were counted for the seed that David said “shall serve the Lord; it shall be account­ed to the Lord for a generation.” Peter said to people of this generation of the Lord that they were chosen that they should shew forth the praises of Christ, who called them out of dark­ness into his marvelous light. This is one of many arguments that are unanswered.


Christ loved his elect people whom his Father had given him, and he came down from heaven to save them. They stood as his church in covenant with him, and he gave himself for his covenant church; Ephesians 5:25. Atonement was made only for his covenant people, according to the law of atone­ment, as seen in the typical atonements made only for Israel. Christ obtained eternal redemption for his elect, covenant peo­ple, by atonement, and afterwards by his own blood he entered into the holy place. he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgressions of his people he was stricken. He then made an end of their sins, in that, he made reconcili­ation for iniquities. The iniquity of his covenant people were laid on him. So he bear the iniquities of many, and made rec­onciliation for the sins of the people; Isaiah 53; Daniel 9; He­brews 2:18.


Elder, you say that Paul spoke of those who had been born again when he said: “They that are in the flesh can not please God.” It is a bold, transparent perversion to charge Paul with saying that regenerated people can not please God. Those were in the flesh that could not please God. The Spirit of God dwells in regenerated people. They are not in the flesh, as Paul teaches (Romans 8:9), but they are in the Spirit. They can please God.

You say natural men received the things of the Spirit from inspired men. Paul said: “ We speak * * * comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them.” The things of the Spirit when spoken by inspired men were foolishness to the nat­ural (unregenerated) man. Your exposition of the passage is another glaring perversion, a denial of Paul’s statement. Likewise your rendering of the declaration of Jesus: “Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.” Jesus was speak­ing to unregenerated Jews, They were not his sheep. Jesus says, in the verse following: “My sheep hear my voice * * * and they follow me.” They must be his sheep to be able to hear the truth as he preached it. Jesus said to unregenerate Jews: “Because I tell you the truth, ye believe not.” Also “Ye can not hear my word.” Again: “ He that is of God heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”

Paul said of vile sinners: “They are all under sin.” This was not David’s language. Paul then quotes in proof of his own statement relative to unregenerated sinners: “ There is none righteous.” “ There is none that understandeth,” etc.

Cornelius understood Peter. He had worked righteous­ness pleasing to God. So he was not in the flesh. The Spirit of God dwelt in him. He was born of God. God put no dif­ference between him and the regenerated Jews. He purified his heart of error by giving him to believe in Christ, as he had given the apostles to believe in his precious Lamb who had taken away their sins.

Friend Lawson, unconditional election is established.


I have proven: That sinners are “saved by the washing of regeneration,” but not according to their works; Titus 3:5; that salvation by regeneration does not depend on the doings of sinners who can not please God nor understand the truth; that those redeemed by the precious blood of Christ are quick­ened even when dead in sin ; that they are created in the im­age of Jesus, created in righteousness and true holiness, created in Christ unto good works, and are new creatures in him, the workmanship of God’s hand; Ephesians 2:10 ; Colossians 3:10; that the inner man is created in Christ, and is a new creature.


Reader, carefully examine Job 38:14-30; Matthew 5:3, 4, 6; and Paul’s experience and you will see that the features of Christian experiences are scriptural, which have been denied, derided and shamefully criticized by some who have not learned in the school of Christ. So mourners may take courage. If the Lord has spoken to you in a dream, you should tell it, but lying is expressly forbidden.


Paul said to not eat (commune) with a railer, extortioner, or a drunkard. The church was not to allow disorderly per­sons to commune with them. Elder Lawson’s interpretation requires Christians to leave a common meal, if a railer, extor­tioner, or drunkard should commence to partake with them, but they must commune with drunkards, fornicators and villains vile. Elder, your error will be apparent to the reader. You have not proven that Judas communed while eating the Passover before instituting the communion, Christ gave Judas the sop, and said, “What thou doest do quickly, and Judas went immediately out; John 13:26-30.


“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin: for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God; “ 1 John 3:9. The Spirit (which is the inner man) is born of God, or the Spirit. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit;” John 3:6. The Spirit or inner man is preserved by the good seed (Christ) which remaineth in the man born, so that he cannot sin; therefore cannot apostatize and finally perish.

Psalm 89:27-36 will not apply to the Psalmist David. Christ was God’s “first born,” (begotten) and was before all things; Colossians 1:15-17. He is called David; Jeremiah 80:9: “They shall serve * * * David their King, whom I will raise up unto them.” This prophecy was 409 years after the Psalmist was deceased. It was Christ (called David in the Psalm) whom God promised, that his seed should endure for­ever, and then swore by his holiness that he would not he unto him. It is the seed which Jesus saw, and was satisfied, when his soul was offered for sin; promised children who wore counted for the seed; the seed which David said should serve the Lord. They belong to King Jesus by gift, as his portion, his people, Jacob the lot of his inheritance.


Romans 1:17 did spoil your theory Elder, and you failed to mend it. For Paul says the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. Observe that God’s righteousness is revealed to “faith.” Therefore Cornelius, the Pentecostans, and all to whom God’s righteousness has been revealed, had faith as a gift from God, prior to the revelation being made to them. “All men have not faith.” Only those who have the Spirit have faith, for faith is a fruit of the Spirit; Galatians 5:22. Elder, notice that God’s righteousness is revealed to FAITH.

Answers to questions: I would receive the confession as Phillip did, and baptize the man. I would instruct them as Peter did, and baptize them. I would tell them to save them­selves from the untoward generation, but I would not tell them to save themselves from hell. Would you? Neither would I tell them to save souls from endless perdition. I would point them to God’s meek, suffering Lamb, as the first Baptist did. He gave knowledge of salvation to the Lord’s people; Luke 1:77.

Verily, verily, the Church of God, designated Primitive Baptist, is proven to be scriptural in origin, doctrine and practice.

I humbly pray to God to bless, that the facts presented in these addresses may prove a blessing to many weary, burdened souls.

Respectfully submitted,




Respected Opponent, Dear Readers: We now come to exam­ine Elder Thompson’s tenth and last address, which we will do with fairness and candor. He again tries to present a succes­sion line to the apostles, or somewhere in that direction; but, as usual, finds Baptists for a few years only, then Menonites, Waldenses, Anabaptists, etc.

I have already shown that it takes more than immersion to make Primitive Baptists. Immersion was the practice among all denominations for eleven centuries, and most all of them practice it yet. Sprinkling and pouring was the exception, not the rule. But, Elder, I have called on you time and again to point me out one Baptist church prior to 1607, and as yet you have not done so.

I told you in my first reply that I did not deny that from the apostles to the present time there had been people who rejected infant baptism and immersed believers, but that proves no more for the Baptists than it does for the Christians, for we do the same things.

The Elder claimed the Novatians in his succession line, but I showed from Cook that Novatian was the founder of the No­vatians, and that he had received only clinic baptism. That he was formerly a member of the Catholic party, but left them on account of their corruption and “established churches on New Testament Principles.” From a Baptist standpoint, his work was all out of order, and would not be received by a Bap­tist church of America. Then why claim Novatian and the Novatians? But after a time the Novatians departed from the principles of the reformers and became so corrupt that another reformation was necessary. But what of the Wal­denses? They immersed believers only, and many of them were pure minded men and women, but they were not Primi­tive Baptists by any means, for, as I have shown in former articles, Peter Waldus was the head and founder of the Waldenses, and their government was by bishops, presbyters and deacons. Their creed differed in many respects from the Baptists of today, hence are not the same people by any means. The Elder has utterly failed on ‘‘Origin,” as I am sure the reader can see.


The Elder continues to try to prove that certain people were elected to salvation prior to their birth, but as yet he has not found the one, or litany, so elected. In every ease of “elec­tion “ presented by him, the word salvation is lacking in the proof text, as I have repeatedly shown.

But the Elder undertook to prove “unconditional elec­tion,” but if he proved anything it was either universal salva­tion or universal damnation, as I showed that “God is no re­specter of persons.”

The Elder “mixes” quotations quite freely in regard to Isaac being a “child of promise” before he had a being, as an illustration of our being “children of promise” before we have a being, and quotes Peter as follows: “Who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” That quotation entirely destroyed the Elder’s arguments, for you can not call an “unborn’’ something “out of darkness into light.” They cer­tainly had a being, or they could not have been called.


The Elder tries his hand once more on the atonement, but will neither quote nor notice my quotation, which said: “And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”  (1 John 2:2). And again, “That he (Christ) by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9). I have shown that while the offering was for all, yet its benefits were enjoyed only by those who accepted it through faith and obedience.


The Elder misapplies my exposition of Romans, 8:8, where I said that Paul referred to regenerated people. Paul, as I showed, was talking to regenerate people, and told them not to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” and “they that are in the flesh (walk alter the flesh) can not please God.” neither regenerated people or any other kind of people can please God when they “walk in the flesh.” Hence my exposition is true, and overthrows the Elder’s “total depravity “ theory.


The Elder says that be has proved that “sinners are saved by the washing of regeneration, but not according to their works.” Elder, I think the reader can easily see that your main effort has been to show that sinners are saved uncondi­tionally, even before they are born. But now the Elder admits that the washing of regeneration is necessary. This is in harmony with Paul’s statement, in Heb. 10:22, where he said: “Let us draw nigh unto God in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” But, as I have shown, this is a con­dition to be performed by man, and makes regeneration con­ditional.


I tried to get the Elder to defend the so-called experiences of Primitive Baptists, but he would not. I urged this upon him, knowing that here was a vital point between Baptists and Christians, but he would not even try to defend them. He now says they have been “derided and shamefully criticized,” etc. Elder, I have criticized your supposed experiences, for they are contrary to the Gospel of Christ, and teach men to rely upon the imaginations of their own hearts instead of the word of God. Why did you not defend them? I gave you a fair trial, but you failed. Your cause is doomed.


The Elder says that I would prohibit a brother from eating a common meal with a drunkard, but would have him partake of the communion with one. I have never even intimated such a thing. I said that Paul, to the Corinthians, was talking about Christians not keeping company with a man who is called a brother, and is a drunkard, “and with such a one no not to eat.” That is, don’t associate with him, thus seemingly approving his course. I have said and maintained that every child of God had a right to the Lord’s table, but no others have the right. The Elder says that I failed to prove that Judas par­took of the communion when Christ established it. Please read Luke, 22:19—21. Verse 19 says: “And he took bread and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them.” * * * Verse 20: “Likewise, also, the cup alter supper, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you.” Verse 21: “But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.” Could anything be plainer? But, you see, it forever destroys the Elder’s “closed communion” theory.


The Elder had said but little about “preservation” until this, his closing address, and then says but little to the point. He quotes John, as follows: “ Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him, and he can not sin, because he is born of God.” The word “commit” is used in the sense of practice, hence a child of God, as such, can not practice sin, for he is a child of God, and children of God prac­tice righteousness. John would teach that children of God should be careful in their practice and forbear wrongdoing.

The Elder says that Psalms, 89.27—36, does not apply to David, but to Christ. I contend that it refers to David, to David’s posterity and to Christ. God made a promise to David to raise up one to sit on his throne, and then said that if all David’s posterity should tall away, yet he would send Christ, according to his promise made to David. Instead of proving preservation, it proves the possibility of apostasy.


The Elder contends that Romans, 1:17, spoils my theory, and that I failed to mend it. It needs no mending, Elder, for Paul said; “ The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, * * * for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” I am willing to accept it that way, and am in harmony with Paul when he said; “ So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” As the word of God is inspired by the Spirit of God, and our faith comes by hearing it, then we can say that faith is a fruit (pro­duction) of the Spirit. I am glad that Elder Thompson has the boldness to take a confession and baptize a man, as Philip did the Eunuch ; and to learn that he will give inquirers the same answer that Peter did on Pentecost. Now thou art con­verted, convert thy brethren. This, of’ course, is a departure from “Baptist usage,” but when men of ability quit “Baptist usage” and take the Bible as their guide, we may expect Christ’s king­dom to be extended to many who sit in heathen darkness.

If the Elder will now preach what he says he will practice, he will show sinners “the way of salvation” and “turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” I note especially the following admission of Eld. Thompson, and hope the reader will keep it in mind: “ The name Baptist church is not found in the Bible.” this admission is found in the Elder’s second address, and forever destroyed all hope of his proving that the Baptist church is scriptural in origin. I called on him time and again to tell us when and where the Baptist church originated, but he would only say  ‘‘I shall not attempt to give the exact date, nor place, of the setting up of the church or kingdom, winch is immaterial.” (First address.) I pressed him to tell us the time and place of its establishment, and insisted that he should do SO, from the fact that he had affirmed that it was scriptural in origin.

He then tried to trace a succession of churches from the apostles to the present., but failed to find a Baptist church to begin with. This was important, as I showed him in the be­ginning. He began with “Churches of Christ.,” Novatians, etc., and came down to the seventeenth century before finding a Baptist church. He then gave us his “chain,” but I showed that none of’ the “links” resembled, to any great extent, the one of which Elder Thompson is a member. I showed that Novatian was the founder of the Novatians; that he was a re­former; that the Novatians taught baptism for the remission of sins; that they met upon the first day of the week to break bread, and many other things that Baptists repudiate. 1 think, with all the facts I have presented, that every unbiased reader will say “ Surely the Primitive Baptist church is a human institution, built upon the doctrines and commandments of men.” And now, dear reader, I ask you to weigh carefully the arguments presented by Elder Thompson and myself; weigh them carefully by the word of the Lord, and then make your own decision. You cannot afford to be wrong. You ought to be right. Read, meditate, and search the Scriptures daily. May the blessing of God rest upon you in your search for the truth, and may “ God’s will be done,” is the sincere wish and prayer of your humble servant.  

Faithfully yours,

     J. H. LAWSON.

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 October 2006 )
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