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Proceedings of General Convention of  Primitive Baptists

Held in Dallas, Texas Aug. 24-25, 1926

 

 

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

A few words regarding the manner in which this meeting originated would probably be of interest to our readers. A move for the unification of all Primitive Baptists who are agreed in doctrine throughout the United States has for some time been in the minds of many of our leading men, both of the ministry and the laity, and this sentiment seemed to be increasing throughout the country, but how to get such a meeting started had been the question and no one seemed willing to take the initiative.

In discussing this idea among some of our brethren, Dr. J. T. Watson proposed the following plan: Let one or more men of unquestionable ability and standing of each of the divided factions meet without involving any of the churches and get up a call.

Accordingly a letter was mailed by him to representative men of each faction requesting them to meet at his house and consider the matter of sending out a call to the churches asking them to send messengers to the general meeting. In response to these invitations the men whose names appear on the call met, on June 8th, and after due deliberation wrote up and sent out the call.

The response as shown by the attendance at this meeting far exceeded the expectations of the originators of the call, there being about four hundred messengers and visitors present from the different parts Of the country, including representative men from Tennessee, Kansas, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Mississippi, California, Louisiana and Texas.

The recommendations offered to our people are such as to be applicable to almost every conceivable situation that might arise among them and it is hoped that they may form the basis of settlement of all the differences that may exist among the Primitive Baptists of the United States, resulting in a unanimity of sentiment both as to Doctrine and Discipline, enabling those who are willing to subscribe to this set of principles to go anywhere in the United States and be received in full fellowship.     

W. W. FOWLER.

 

PROCEEDINGS OF GENERAL CONVENTION OF PRIMITIVE BAPTISTS HELD IN DALLAS, AUG. 24-25, 1926.


General Convention of Primitive Baptists from various states of the Union met in the City Hall Auditorium, Dallas, Texas, at 10 o'clock A. M. on Tuesday, April 24, 1926, there being in attendance about four hundred messengers and visitors from their local churches.

Invocation by Elder Wm. H. Crouse.

Dr. J. T. Watson called the house to order and introduced Elder J. L. Collings, who read the call for the meeting, which is as follows:

"A Call For a General Meeting of Primitive Baptists to Be Held at Dallas, Texas, Tuesday, August 24, 1926.

 

To All Our Dear Brethren in Texas and Elsewhere:

The divided condition of Zion is heart rending and destructive to the happiness of God's people at home and abroad. We, the undersigned, therefore in love and in the fear of God ask all Primitive Baptist Churches everywhere to send messengers to meet in Dallas, Tuesday, August 24, 1926, for the purpose of finding out how nearly alike we are in doctrine and practice, and confessing our faults and forgiving each other and drafting in accord with the Bible principles of order and discipline by which we who are alike in doctrine can unite in our church worship.

We agree upon the following:

1. All God's works are predestinated, therefore sure and certain. God governs His people by law and lovingly leads them thereto through the proclamation of the gospel and by His Spirit in their hearts. All good works are commanded of God and all sinful works forbidden and the only sense in which predestination embraces sin is to overrule and punish it.

2. In regeneration the Holy Spirit operates upon the soul or spirit of man and thereby the soul or spirit of man is made spiritual and a partaker of God's divine nature, but the body is not changed in regeneration in this life but will be changed in the resurrection.

3. Good works in the sense of serving God are performed by regenerated persons only. God commands good works of His people and they are active in obeying. The children of God can obey or disobey.

4. God in eternity elected a definite number of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam to salvation, or eternal life.

5. In the death of Christ an atonement was made for the elect only.

6. We regard as heresy the following and urge that all who advocate such should be scripturally dealt with: The Non-Resurrection Doctrine; Two Seedism; Arminianism; Whole-Manism; No-Manism and the predestination of sin and wickedness.

Discipline

1. All local churches should be united on uniform fundamentals of the doctrine and discipline.

2. Each church is amenable to the Master for faithful execution of His laws.

3. When a church embraces an error in doctrine or practice her sister churches should labor kindly with her to reclaim her. If her error is fundamental and she persists in it, affiliation of orderly churches with her should cease until she rids herself of her disorder.

And in all cases of differences between churches, or members, action should be taken only upon gospel testimony or substantial evidence.

4. No member or members excluded from one local church may regain membership in another during the existence of said local church.

5. When churches differ on minor points and become alienated, they may reunite without dishonoring the work of either party.

(Signed)

Eld. J. W. Herriage, Elmore City, Okla.

Eld. J. S. Newman, Floresville, Texas.

Eld. W. H. Richards, Rule, Texas.

Eld. J. L. Collings, Glen Rose, Texas.

Eld. H. L. Griggs, Alvarado, Texas.

Eld. J. T. Huckaby, Tipton, Okla.

Eld. S. L. Rives, Brownwood, Texas.

Eld. W. W. Fowler, Dallas, Texas.

Eld. R. E. Wilson, Venus, Texas."


Elder Collings emphasized the fourfold purpose of the meeting and expressed the hope that the meeting might be held in the spirit in which the call was issued.

On motion made and seconded, a board of moderators was elected, consisting of one moderator for each faction proposing to participate in the convention. Elder J. L. Collings was elected moderator for the Newman faction, and Elder W. W. Fowler elected moderator for the Richards faction.

Whereupon Elder S. L. Rives made the following statement to the convention: "Brother J. C. Morgan is present, of which we are glad. Some of you may not be clear as to why he has not been considered. Ye have gone to him, but he decided he did not care to participate in the meeting, and therefore there has not been elected a moderator to represent his faction."

On motion made and seconded, Elder S. L. Rives was elected to act as moderator for the Richards faction until the arrival of Moderator W. W. Fowler.

On motion made and seconded, N. O. Carter was elected clerk of the Richards faction, and J. W. Reed clerk of the Newman faction.

Motion was made by Elder C. H. Cayce that enrollment be made of all messengers present, together with the churches they represented. Considerable argument was had on the motion, which was finally amended by Elder J. L. Collings as follows: "Moved, that we seat as visitors, with the right to take part in this meeting if they so wish, any members of any church allied with the Newman faction, or with the Richards faction, or with the Morgan faction."

Motion carried.


ELDER S. L. RIVES: "I wish to state that what is done at this meeting is not to be binding upon any church. A member can go back and report to his church, and they can get the information but do not have to act on it."

Whereupon enrollment was made of the following:


Richards Faction

Elder W. J. Chambers, Corinth, Lampasas County, Texas.

Elder H. L. Griggs, County Line, Ellis County, Texas.

N. O. Carter, County Line, Ellis County, Texas.

L. E. Eskridge, County Line, Ellis County, Texas.

E. K. Weddle, Lubbock, Texas.

Elder J. W. Herriage, Little Flock (Oklahoma).

J. M. Graves, Little Flock (Oklahoma).

Thos. Wright, Corinth (Oklahoma).

G. M. Morris, Corinth (Oklahoma).

C. J. Russel, Saints Delight (Oklahoma).

R. A. Wakefield, Solomon's Temple, Ellis County, Texas.

W. J. McCrady, Solomon's Temple, Ellis County, Texas.

W. T. Montgomery, Solomon's Temple, Ellis County, Texas.

Elder R. E. Wilson, Mt. Peak, Ellis County, Texas.

J. H. Smith, Mt. Peak, Ellis County, Texas.

S. R. Montgomery, Mt. Peak, Ellis County, Texas.

A. J. Nixon, Squaw Creek, Gillespie County, Texas.

Willie Baethge, Squaw Creek, Gillespie County, Texas.

Elder W. W. Fowler, Dallas, Texas. D. F. Jaggars, Dallas, Texas. J. T. Watson, Dallas, Texas.

Elder G. S. Mayo, Fort Worth, Texas.

John Rhodes, Fort Worth, Texas.

S. E. Humphreys, Fort Worth, Texas.

W. F. Jones, Fort Worth, Texas.

Elder H. G. Richards, Joy, Clay County, Texas.

E. W. Chaney, Joy, Clay County, Texas.

J. M. Wiggins, New Providence (Louisiana).


Newman Faction

J. H. Roberts, Mt. Olive, Caradan, Mills County, Texas.

P. C. Harris, Mt. Olive, Caradan, Mills County, Texas.

A. B. Neal, Mt. Olive, Caradan, Mills County, Texas.

L. J. McCarty, Corinth, Hart, Texas.

J. E. Hardie, New Hope.

W. L. Blackmon, New Hope.

C. C. Garee, New Hope.

R. G. White, Little Vine, Travis County, Texas.

Elder R. V. Holleman, Mt. Zion, Normangee, Texas.

C. Williams, Mt. Zion, Normangee, Texas.

Elder R. V. Holleman, Fellowship.

A. G. Blackwell, San Antonio.

E. L. Baxley, Mt. Carmel.

Chas. Davis, Mt. Carmel.

Elder J. L. Collings, Lone Pilgrim, Glen Rose, Texas.

Elder C. H. Cayce, Fordyce, Ark.

Elder John R. Harris, Cane Creek, Thornton, Ark.

L. R. Rhodes, Sycamore Heights, Fort Worth.

J. S. Rhodes, Sycamore Heights, Fort Worth.

H. Walker, Sycamore Heights, Fort Worth.

Elder O. F. Dearing, Dallas.

Walter Prewitt, Dallas.

J. E. Scrhimscher, Dallas.

Elder O. F. Dearing, Orchard Gap.

Eider O. F. Dearing, Princeton.

Lee Hanks, 2 Edwin Place, Atlanta, Ga.

Elder J. A. Moore, San Marcus, 1205 Cottage Ave., Houston.

M. H. Woods, San Marcus.

Elder J. A. Moore, Pilgrims Rest.

Elder J. A. Moore, Ephesus, Houston.

L. A. Patterson, Ephesus, Houston.

J. G. Grant, Duffau, Hico, Texas.

Charlie Diesher, Damascus, Alexander, Texas. J. H. Boucher, Damascus, Alexander, Texas. W. H. Barnett, Damascus, Alexander, Texas.

T. C. Hammonds, Salem, Belleview, Texas.

J. W. Reed, Tinney's Creek, Luling, Texas.

J. J. Edwards, El Bethel, Comanche, Texas.

J. A. Mayfield, El Bethel, Comanche, Texas.

W. L. Barrett, Anson, Ranger, Texas.

John Mayfield, Anson, Ranger, Texas.


Whereupon Elder W. H. Crouse, Statesboro (Georgia), made the following statement: "I suppose that there is no faction of Primitive Baptists represented in this meeting to which there might be in the minds of many of our brethren greater objections than the body of Primitive Baptists which I represent. We did not come here with the expectation of receiving any official recognition. In fact, in my opinion, it would be a great mistake for such a thing to be undertaken. But we did come here with a desire in our hearts for the peace and the union of the Primitive Baptists. You have already said that whatever is done at this meeting is not to be binding upon any church. It seems to me that, whatever this meeting does, I ought to have the right to vote for what you do, if I want to do it. Though every member in the churches of Georgia might stand against me--might not endorse it--I think I ought to have the right of saying yes or no. I believe I am with you folks. I may find that I am not, but I believe that in principle I am. It seems to me that every Primitive Baptist in this audience, no matter from where he hails, ought to have the right to say whether he endorses this meeting or not."

Motion made and seconded that if there is a member of any faction of Primitive Baptists besides the three already mentioned here either by church representation or otherwise, he is invited to have his name enrolled and to take part in the deliberations of this meeting.

Whereupon Eider C. H. Cayce made the following statement: "While it is true, as has already been stated, that what is done in this convention is not to be binding upon any church, still our professed object of this meeting is peace and to make peace. That being true, we must be careful not to do something that will destroy peace somewhere outside of Texas. As Elder Crouse has said, and as I am well aware of, if there should be official recognition of Elder Crouse and those who are with him in this meeting, the influence of our meeting would not only be of no good in south Georgia and Alabama, but would absolutely be detrimental. Elder Crouse agrees with me that that is correct. I do not object to Elder Crouse having the right and the privilege of speaking--saying no or yes to any proposition that may come before the meeting, but believe it unwise for us to extend the enrollment, as being members of this body, any further than it has gone. Let them be here as visitors, with the right of saying yes or no to any proposition."

Whereupon Elder W. H. Crouse made the following statement:

"I agree with Brother Cayce in every word he has said. It certainly would not help our cause in Georgia for this meeting to take any stand with reference to our people that would cause friction in Georgia. In other words, as Brother Cayce wrote me not long ago, the Texas Baptists cannot settle our troubles in Georgia, and the Georgia Baptists cannot settle your troubles in Texas. We can help one another. I agree with everything said by Brother Cayce."

On motion made and seconded, meeting was adjourned until 2 o'clock p. m.

Pursuant to adjournment, the convention met at 2 o'clock. Moderator W. W. Fowler being present, Acting Moderator S. L. Rives retired in his favor.

Invocation by Elder J. W. Fairchild.

On motion made and seconded, the following fifteen were appointed members of a committee to draft an outline of doctrine and discipline for the consideration of the convention: Moderator Fowler appointing Elders J. W. Herriage, S. N. Redford, S. L. Rives, W. H. Richards and H. L. Griggs from the Richards faction; Moderator Collings appointing Elders J. J. Edwards, J. S. Newman, J. H. Fisher, J. A. Moore and W. L. Barrett from the Newman faction; from the East Moderator Fowler appointed Elders J. W. Fairfield and S. E. Reid; Moderator Collings appointed Elders C. H. Cayce and Lee Hanks, which four members appointed their fifth members, Elder J. B. Hardy.


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On motion made and seconded, to this committee were added the moderators and the clerks.

Whereupon this committee retired to a private room to begin the drafting of a set of principles covering Doctrine and Discipline,

On motion made and seconded, the meeting was adjourned to 9 o'clock a. m., Wednesday, August 25, 1926, at which time it was announced, the convention would meet in the Y. W. C. A. Auditorium.

While the committee was at work preaching was going on in the Auditorium. Two discourses were delivered at each service. The order of preaching was as follows, no affiliation being intended:

Monday night--Elder J. B. Litle, Abbott, Ark.; Elder W. H. Richards, Rule, Texas.

Tuesday afternoon--Elder H. G. Ball, Tioga, Texas; Elder John R. Harris, Thornton, Arkansas.

Tuesday night--Elder J. H. Phillips, Huron, Tenn.; Elder T. L. Webb, Jonesboro, La.

Wednesday morning--Elder J. C. Morgan, Killeen, Texas; Elder H. S. Ball, San Antonio, Texas.

Wednesday night--Elder W. H. Crouse, Statesboro, Georgia; Elder John R. Harris, Thornton, Arkansas.


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Pursuant to adjournment the convention met at 2 p. m. Wednesday.

MODERATOR FOWLER: The committee has finished its work of drafting principles of doctrine and discipline to which, in my mind, the Primitive Baptists throughout the United States and the world ought to be willing to subscribe. We have met here for the purpose of endeavoring, with the help of God, to lay out a plan doctrinally and practically that may serve as a unification of all who believe in the doctrine of salvation by grace and are agreed upon the principles of order. This meeting will mark an epoch in the history of the Primitive Baptists of the United States and may be a guide for future generations among the dearest people that ever graced the earth. It seems to me that we have seen the manifestations of the hand of God since we have been assembled at this place, which is to me a sacred one. Now, while the secretary reads these recommendations, if there is a question as he goes along about any principle you are at liberty to bring it up at the time; but regarding all such questions let us have in mind the sacredness of the cause, and beg the Lord to guide us in our efforts and let us approach this subject in the proper spirit and I believe that great and lasting good will result.

Whereupon Secretary C. H. Cayce read the recommendations, which follow:

Committee appointed to draft a Statement of Principles met in the Y. W. C. A. building. Elder S. L. Rives was appointed to act as chairman, and Elder C. H. Cayce as clerk. The committee drafted the following Principles of faith and practice for the consideration of our brethren:

 

DOCTRINE

1. The Old and New Testament Scriptures are the perfectly inspired Word of God and the only infallible standard of faith and practice.

2. There is one living and true God who is a pure Spirit, self-existent, perfect, infinite and eternal in all His glorious attributes, the Sovereign Creator, Upholder, Governor and Judge of the Universe, and who exists in the three-fold, undivided and indivisible substance of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

3. God's foreknowledge embraces or includes all events. That is, nothing has ever transpired but that He knew it beforehand. He eternally knew it. He has never learned anything, nor has He ever forgotten anything.

4. The Scriptures teach very clearly and most positively that God predestinated that His people—the objects of His love and sovereign choice—should be saved from their sins and be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus, and finally or ultimately saved in glory. The only sense in which predestination embraces sin is to suffer, overrule and punish it.

5. Before the foundation of the world God chose some men and angels to eternal life through Jesus Christ His Son, to the praise of His glorious grace, and left others to act in their sins to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.

6. Good works in the sense of rendering spiritual service to God are performed by regenerated persons only. God commands good works of His people, and they are active in obeying. The children of God can obey or disobey. It is essential that God's people have His grace to obey.

7. In regeneration the Holy Spirit operates upon the soul or spirit of man, and thereby the soul or spirit of man is made spiritual and a partaker of God's divine nature, but the body is not changed in regeneration in this life, but will be changed and made spiritual in the resurrection.

8. The preaching of the gospel is not to give life to the dead, for God alone can do that; but it is to teach, exhort, comfort, edify, warn and reprove the living people of God, to save them from error and disorder, confusion and division, and to establish them in the truth, or doctrine taught in the Bible.

9. We believe that at the last day there will be a resurrection of these mortal bodies, both of the just and the unjust, the former to eternal life and the latter to everlasting or eternal punishment.

10. We believe that all the children of God are preserved in grace to glory, and that none of them can be finally lost.

11. We believe that God calls men to preach, and separates them unto the gospel of the Son of God.

12. We believe that in the transgression of Adam all his posterity were condemned in sin and death, and are not able to recover themselves, but the elect are delivered therefrom by the quickening work of God's Holy Spirit.

 

DISCIPLINE

1. The Church of Christ is a body of baptized believers set up by the Saviour during His personal ministerial reign for the purpose of perpetuating the ordinances therein, and in which His people may continue walking in the commandments of the New Testament.  It has had an unbroken chain of existence from its beginning.

2. We believe Baptism is the first ordinance in the church and is a prerequisite to all other church activity.

3. The Lord's Supper is another ordinance of the Church of Christ.

4. Washing the Saints' Feet is a third ordinance of the Church of Christ.

5. Baptism must be preceded by evidence of regeneration and belief in Christ.

6. Immersion is the only scriptural mode of baptism. An ordained minister of the church is the only one authorized to administer the ordinances of the church.

7. The emblems to be used in the Lord's Supper are unleavened bread and wine.

8. The Lord's Supper should be taken in remembrance of the Saviour once or oftener every year. Washing the Saints' Feet should be practiced by the church.

9. A private offense in the church is where one or more members trespass against others. A public offense is where one's conduct is immoral and detrimental to the entire church. A private offense may hurt only one member! a public offense hurts all alike.

10. In case of a private offense, the offended, without any talk to others, should go to the offender in both spirit and truth. If he fails to settle the difficulty, then he should get one or two members and take them with him to the offender, not talking of the difficulty, however, till the offender is present. If a settlement is not effected then, the matter should be taken to the church. If the offender refuses to hear the church he should be kindly withdrawn from by the church. If any offended brother neglects to observe this rule, he thereby becomes a transgressor himself.

11. In case of a public offense of small weight, some member should talk to the offender out of love for him and the cause. If he persists and his misconduct hurts the cause, the church should lovingly reclaim him, if possible, by teaching and love. If he becomes too stubborn to listen and heed admonition, he should be excluded from the church.

12. In case of gross infraction of morality, a member should be withdrawn from in love, and be required to show a reformation in conduct before restoration.

13. If a member denies an accusation made only by outsiders, he should not be considered guilty unless a preponderance of creditable evidence, weighed by the church, is against him.

14. When two members fall into a dispute, and no testimony is available to show which one is right, both should be required to cease the dispute at once.

15. Neither husband nor wife shall put the other away and marry another except for the cause of fornication.

16. If a husband and wife are unable to remain together peaceably and decide to quietly separate from each other, they may do so only for peace, but not to marry again. And if either of them marries again he or she is an adulterer and the other is released. The discipline herein on adultery refers to members of the church. We believe that the moral law of God governing marriage and prohibiting adultery and fornication is binding upon the unregenerate as well as the regenerate.

17. No member shall be allowed to frequent or become member of any worldly institution, secret or otherwise, that has in it a form of worship. This, however, shall not be construed to exclude members from any business or worldly undertaking solely for financial gain, if such institution or organization contains no form of worship and does not violate moral or civic laws.

18. Each and every local church has a right to dispose of her local affairs as she deems proper; but no church has the right to harbor and protect heretics, liars, fornicators and the like, to the hurt and annoyance of sister churches.

19. We do not believe it is right to make the findings or recommendations of councils, conventions, peace bodies or other general assemblies so binding that a church which is orderly be required to adopt said findings or recommendations.

20. No church should presume to make a test of fellowship on any point of doctrine or practice which is not generally accepted by the general body of churches as sufficient grounds for non-fellowship, but in all cases touching fellowship churches should be governed by the established laws of the church.

21. When members of a church, or when local churches divide on a question of doctrine or practice, and become alienated, refusing to affiliate with each other, both claiming to be the original church; if they retain their identity in other points they may become reconciled and reunite by a confession of error or errors, by either or both parties, wherever such errors exist, and the official work of both parties during the alienation be recognized as valid.

22. No member excluded by a local church should be restored by any other local church. And where such practice has been indulged in, a reasonable adjustment satisfactory to both churches should be made.

--------------------

We, the committee, wish to state that we are informed that Elder W. H. Richards' home church has investigated the charges, or rumors, of immoral conduct against him and found no evidence sufficient for a charge, and that the matter was also investigated by the sister churches in his association, and they approved the action of his church; and that after this, messengers met from some sister churches in corresponding associations who also investigated and approved the action of his church. However, we understand that investigation of Elder Richards resulted in a division of what was known as the Webb faction; and we are also informed that any church not satisfied would be welcome to visit his church to investigate the matter, or to present any credible evidence before the church, and we feel that this should be satisfactory to our brethren everywhere, and if any brethren have such evidence they should present the same to his church.

Elder S. L. Rives, Acting Mod.,

C. H. Cayce, Clerk,

J. I. Collings,

J. W. Herriage,

H. L. Griggs,

S. N. Redford,

J. W. Fairchild,

J. B. Hardy,

W. W. Fowler,

J. J. Edwards,

J. S. Newman,

S. E. Reid,

W. H. Richards,

J. H. Fisher,

Lee Hanks,

J. A. Moore,

W. L. Barrett,

Brother N. O. Carter,

Brother J. W. Reed.


During the course of the reading of the herein above recommendations the following discussion was had:

H. G. RICHARDS (referring to paragraph 20 under Discipline): What do you mean by established laws?

S. L. RIVES: I would consider that to be the accepted fundamental principles of the Primitive Baptist Church, not some trivial something, but the fundamental points of discipline or practice of the Primitive Baptist Church. A doctrine or practice is a test of fellowship. To illustrate: We believe God saves a sinner independently by the operation of the Holy Spirit. Somebody might come along and pass a resolution to the effect that God saves a sinner through the Holy Spirit operating in cooperation with the preaching of the gospel, and say that our belief was wrong.

J. B. LITTLE (Ark.): That is, if they were agreed on what we would consider orthodox points, all except this particular thing on which they were divided, whether doctrine or practice, that their work should be recognized? The construction I would put on that would be that where local churches are divided on one point of doctrine, or one point of order, but agreed on everything else that is considered important fundamentally, if they can come together on that point the work of both should be accepted.

J. H. FISHER: The article goes on to say that that may be worked out by the errors being confessed, and it is a matter of mutual local work between the nearby and associated churches. This body here could not give out a decision to regulate a distant church. I understand it to mean that this must be done in connection with the local churches.

At the close of the reading of the recommendations J. W. Herraige, Elmore City, Okla., made the following statement to the convention: I want to state to the brethren, in order that they all may understand, that we are not imposing these doctrinal tenets on this assembly, nor our churches at home; but we are going to adopt them (if you will notice the heading) in order to bring this matter before our churches, and leave it up to the churches then to consider the disposition they will care to make. This matter will be submitted to you; we are not going to bring this up in the church, or declare non-fellowship for any church that does not receive it, or require that of them. The matter is left to them to dispose of. We are just recommending these things to your churches for their consideration. I thank you.

It was then moved by Elder S. B. Kuykendall, seconded by J. E. Stegall, that the recommendations be adopted. Whereupon the following discussion was had:

ELDER JOE MEECE: Regarding the Richards investigation, I want to ask, since we have divided Baptists in Texas, what would be considered evidence in a case like that? Would the evidence from a faction of Baptists divided from another faction of Baptists be considered evidence, or what would be gospel testimony?

C. H. CAYCE: Substantial evidence gathered any place in the world is gospel testimony.

ELDER JOE MEECE: Of course, testimony has to be received to find out whether it is evidence or not.

C. H. CAYCE: The testimony of people that are understood to be truthful, Would it be out of place to refer to the fact that Primitive Baptists have so practiced with reference to churches coming together and receiving each other's work? It is absolutely a matter of history that this has been the practice of Primitive Baptists in and out of Texas, where they have been divided and have come together and received each other's work.

H. G. RICHARDS: Do I understand by this point Brother Cayce has just mentioned that churches may divide over the fundamental points of doctrine, and one church forsake fundamental points of doctrine, and then these churches come together and recognize each other's work?

C. H. CAYCE: I might have said a little more than I meant to say. I did not say the Baptists of Texas had been doing that all the time, and I do not say divided on fundamental points of doctrine, but divided and come together.

H. G. RICHARDS: We do not intend to put within this statement that churches may forsake the fundamental principles of their doctrine and then come back and recognize each other's work.

C. H. CAYCE: I didn't mean to convey that idea in my statement, and I know the committee did not.

R. E. WILSON: Haven't you got an item that covers that point, that where a church dissents on minor points they can come together and receive each other's work?

C. H. CAYCE: I will reread paragraph 21 under Discipline: "When members of a church, or when local churches divide on a question of doctrine or practice, and become alienated, refusing to affiliate with each other, both claiming to be the original church; if they retain their identity in other points they may become reconciled and reunite by a confession of error or errors, by either or both parties, wherever such errors exist, and the official work of both parties during the alienation be recognized as valid."

H. G. BALL: I am not a messenger, but I want to ask a question about that, rather I want the authority on that. I would like to have the authority of history--I don't mean for you to read it off to me, but tell me where I can find it.

J. S. NEWMAN: First, I want to say that this is the history of the old Ketocton Association of Virginia, and if you care to read what they did and said, I have turned the leaf down here.

N. O. CARTER: Let me suggest that, that be read to the convention.

C. H. CAYCE (reading from A Concise History of the Ketocton Baptist Association, by William Fristoe, published in 1808, page 21):

"Of the disagreeable name of Regular and Separate Baptists, in use in the early times of the Association.

These different names for a considerable while kept the parties at a distance from and shy of each other. The regular Baptists were jealous of the separate Baptists because, as yet, they never formed nor adopted any system of doctrine, or made any confession of their faith, more than verbally; and it was thought unreasonable, that if they differed from all other denominations, why they should not in a fair, open and candid manner, make known their principles to the world, and in so doing, act as children of the Light; and on the other hand, the separate Baptists supposed the adopting a confession of faith would only shackle them; that it would lead to formality and deadness, and divert them from the Bible; but upon a more intimate acquaintance, the imaginary conjectures were in some measure removed, and their hearts softened with affection towards each other; for upon close conversation and frequently hearing each other preach, it was found that they agreed in sentiment, held forth the same important doctrines, and administered the gospel ordinance in the same manner, and of course children of the same family, the difference being only in name. For these reasons the parties (especially the better informed) wished for a removal of all differences, and an union to take place. In order to bring about this union, letters and messengers were sent at different times from the one to the other, and propositions made for the accommodation of the differences between them; but not with that success that was desired, until the year 1787, at Dover Meeting House, on James River, at which time the messengers from the several district associations agreed to adopt the regular Baptist confession of faith, in the manner following.

After a good deal of deliberating respecting the utility of confession of faith, we do agree to adopt the regular Baptist confession of faith; but to prevent its usurping a tyrannical power over the consciences of any, we do not mean that every person is to be bound to the strict observance of everything therein contained, yet that it hold forth the essential truths of the gospel and the doctrine of salvation by Christ, and free unmerited grace alone, which ought to be believed by every christian, and maintained by every minister of the gospel; and that from henceforth the word Regular and Separate, be buried in oblivion, and that we be known in future by the United Baptist Church of Christ in Virginia. This was signed by the Moderator and Clerk and confirmed by the different associations at the return of their messengers.

The reader may observe, that the term Separate Baptist did not arise from their withdrawing from any society of Baptists; but that the way it originated was from some old men to the Eastward or Northern States who were Presbyterians by profession and .who hearing some lively, heart affecting preachers got, as they hoped, converted, and withdrew themselves from the Presbyterians, because they deemed the Presbyterians to be fallen into a lukewarm and lifeless state, and inasmuch as they withdrew they were .called Separates. Some of them came and lived some time on the frontiers of Virginia, where they became satisfied of the right of believers to baptism and that of immersion. After some time they removed to the Carolinas, still retaining the name separate with this difference: they were formerly separate Presbyterians, but now separate Baptists. When settled to the South, they began to advocate the cause of religion, to spread the interests of the Redeemer, and like Elijah's cloud, though small in its beginning, soon spread over the heavens and afforded flooded torrents. So these few, feeble and despised followers of Christ began zealously to exhort and preach, and employ their gifts in the most profitable manner. In a little time superior gifts were raised up, and souls in great numbers converted to Christ. By these means the southern states have enjoyed the light of the gospel and the bright rising of the great Illuminator of the spiritual world. How wonderful are the judgments of God and the dispensation of His providence, together with the mode of communicating his grace, past finding out."

C. H. CAYCE (reading from the August 15, 1926, issue of The Primitive Baptist):

"We have seen that the claim has been made that in the union of the Separate and Regular Baptists in North Carolina they had regard for what some are turned to call gospel order. The Regular Baptists in Virginia and North Carolina had baptized some into their churches who were in a state of unbelief, or were ungenerate, and the Separates, for a time, urged this as an objection to a union. Finally the Regulars corrected this error and ceased the practice of administering baptism to any only those who gave evidence of regeneration. This was in the Kehukee Association in North Carolina and may be seen by reference to Hassell's History, pp. 697, 698, 699.

But here the question comes up; where did the Separate Baptists come from? Where did they originate? Here is the answer: In 1740, or thereabout, George Whitefield, an Episcopalian, came to New England from England and engaged in holding revival meetings. Some of the Baptists were favorable to those revivals and some were not. The pastor of the church in Boston, Massachusetts, opposed the revival, but some of the members of that church favored it, and they withdrew from the church in 1742. The next year they were constituted into a church and were called Separate Baptists, the old party remaining as before and began to be denominated Regular Baptists. From this split off faction sprang the Separate Baptists. According to the contention of some of our brethren, they had no gospel baptism themselves. If the Regulars were a disorderly party on account of having some unregenerated persons among them who had been immersed and the Separates started from this excluded faction, then none of the Baptists had gospel baptism according to the way some brethren seem to view matters. If the Regulars did have gospel baptism, when they united with the Separates they lost all their gospel order, according to the argument some brethren make. So it makes no difference which horn of the dilemma they take, the Baptists have no gospel baptism now. Brethren, let us try to be consistent.

For our authority as to the origin of the Separate Baptists see Spencer's History of the Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 1, Pages 104 and 105."

H. G. RICHARDS: Please state for the sake of the record who is the author of the article just read.

C. H. CAYCE: C. H. Cayce is the author of it.

H. G. RICHARDS: I don't want to be misunderstood about this, but this is something which concerns the Baptists here and those who are not here, and everything should be stated plainly, correctly and fully and all of the truth, not just half of it stated. If this cannot be settled with the truth, it should not be settled at all.

W. W. FOWLER: I want to impress you with the fact, as we discuss these questions, as Brother Richards has stated, it is for the purpose of bringing out these questions so that there will be no misunderstanding in the future. Just please remember that it is not yet binding on anyone, and will not be binding on anyone until adopted by the churches. I am glad that Brother Richards is bringing out these questions so that we will have a clear record in our publication of this meeting.

J. T. WATSON: Brother Henry Ball's statement was that he wanted the reference to where he could find the history. We all understand it takes a long time to read history. If the references are given and taken down, they can be read later.

S. L. RIVES: I insist that this go into the record.

H. G. BALL: By reading these now, many will get the benefit of the history who will never get it otherwise. I will appreciate it, and I am sure many others will.

C. H. CAYCE (reading from "A Concise History of the Kehukee Baptist Association from its Original Rise down to 1803," by Elders Lemuel Burkitt and Jesse Read, published in 1850, page 40):

"Some years after the Association was established on its original plan, in Virginia, and some parts of North Carolina, the Separate Baptists (as they were then called) increased very fast. The Separates first arose in New England, where some pious ministers and members left the Presbyterian, or the Standing Order, on account of their formality and superfluity, viz.: 1. Because they were too extravagant in their apparel. 2. Because they did not believe their form of church government was right. But chiefly because they would admit none to the ministry only men of classical education, and many of their ministers, apparently, seemed to be unconverted. They were then called Separate Newlights. Some of these were baptized and moved into the southern provinces, particularly Elders Shubal Sterns and Daniel Marshall, whose labors were wonderfully blessed in Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia.

C. H. CAYCE (reading from A History of the Primitive Baptists of Texas, Oklahoma and Indian Territories, by J. S. Newman, page 81):

"By reading the history of the Concord Association, you will observe that the association divided in 1864, over some point of order. After the division in old Concord Association, the same people were known by the "Upper and Lower Concord Association'', also as the "McDonald and Graham parties" consequently, as usual, a war was waged upon each other for several years; finally, a better state of feeling began to exist between the contending parties, a convention was called for by the "Upper and Lower Wings" of the Concord Associations, to be held in Salem Church, at Oglesby, in Coryell County, to commence October 22, 1880. According to agreement the contending parties met; the convention was called to order by Elder W. M. Thomas, and by request Elder T. G. Miller preached the introductory sermon. After that, the convention was organized, Elder William Thomas was chosen Moderator, and F. D. Smith Clerk.

By motion and second by the messengers of the Lower Wing, of Concord Association, that the same be dissolved. The convention being permanently organized, by motion, resolved for the mutual satisfaction of all concerned, we, the messengers from both wings of the Concord Association, in convention assembled in behalf of the churches represented by us, acknowledge our sorrow for the wrongs that are past and in a spirit of meekness, forgive and ask forgiveness of one another.

After the trouble was settled, the following churches with their messengers met the next day, October 23, 1880, and organized themselves into an association, which was called at that time, The Regular Primitive Baptist Association," viz.:

Bethel Church, Bell County, John Potter, E. Ivy and H. Vernon, Cedar Grove Church, Bell County, M. Whitely, John Burk and Henry Gotcher; Zion Church, Navarro County, Elder J. T. Seeley; Salem Church, Elders J. W. and J. A. Norton and H. M. Smith; Little Flock, Bell County, Eider W. N. Thomas and G. M. Halbert; Pilgrim's Rest Church, Bell County, Elder A. V. Atkins and Cyrus Eastland; Bethlehem Church, Robinson County, J. A. Smith; Bethlehem Church, McLennan County, James Smith; Zion Church, Hill County, Elder J. D. Henson, E. B. Reed and Z. Henson.

The association was constituted with nine churches, and 154 members."

DR. J. T. WATSON thereupon read the following letter from Elder W. E. Brush, Nashville, Tenn.: "My dear Brethren in the Lord:

Composing the Peace Meeting at Dallas, Texas, to convene August 24, 1926.

As I can't be there in person, I feel like I would love to write you, and I beg of you to bear with my many imperfections for they are indeed numerous. I think it very commendable in your brethren to have a meeting to try to adjust your differences, and as I have had some experience in meetings of this kind, I felt impressed, I trust of the Lord, to write you as follows:

First and above all things you must meet in the spirit of forgiving all personal offenses, because if we expect peace we must be forgiving. (And the Lord said, "If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses"). So the principle of forgiveness is one of the fundamentals of any peace meeting. But where brethren have been divided there are other principles as well as that of forgiveness that must be observed, if we are to have lasting peace, and I am sure that is what you brethren want.

You want a settlement of your differences that will be satisfactory not only to all parties directly concerned but to the brotherhood in general, and where brethren have been divided as you all have it has never been the custom of Primitive Baptists for the factions to come together requiring each other as churches to go back over the time they have been divided and do their official work over, because until a church or churches go so far into disorder that the Lord spews them out of his mouth, their official work should be recognized by sister churches in a meeting as you anticipate. In order that you get together you will have this to do.

But where excluded members from orderly churches have been gathered together into a church (so called) whatever the offense might have been it has always been a custom among Primitive Baptists when a member or members are excluded by orderly churches there is absolutely but one way back into the fellowship of the old Baptists, and that is to go back to the church that dealt with him and make satisfaction to the church that excluded him or them as the case may be, and be restored to fellowship by the same church that excluded him.

So in a meeting of this kind we are bound to make a difference between churches that were churches at the time of said division and those that have been organized since the division, taking in members that stood excluded at the time from orderly churches. If indeed we have any of this type to deal with, and surely any member that has been thus dealt with should be willing to go back where he lost his standing or fellowship with the church to find it, so I hope and pray the dear Lord will so direct you all that you may come to terms among yourselves that will bring lasting peace among yourselves and if you do this it will be satisfactory with your brethren universally. But there is no use to bury the mole alive, if you do it won't be long until he will scratch out. So, I beg you all to sacrifice everything but principles in order that you may get together for we are too few in numbers to be divided and subdivided.

So may the Lord bless you with His Holy Presence, leading and directing you all by his Holy Spirit's power, that your meeting may be one that will bring lasting peace.

Jesus said, "My peace I give unto you." Oh, how valuable! Jesus then is the Author of peace, but never of confusion. This let us all remember. In love and hope, your brother, W. E. Brush."


J. G. GRANT: Referring to the matter of brethren that had been excluded from their respective churches, after they came together and assumed the name of the original church, suppose the churches from which they were excluded were extinct. What are you going to do with them; they have no place to go to make any acknowledgment. We had a case like that in our county. Another point I want to ask: If it has been the custom of our people—I am just a boy in the Primitive Baptist Church, though I have been a member for a good while—to receive outside testimony from honorable sources, responsible, honorable men and women; have you received such testimony—have you been guilty of receiving it to handle a member in your church that has been immoral, etc.; has that been your custom?

J. L. COLLINGS: That question is dealt with in another article, and may I be allowed to request that that be brought up later on. The question under consideration, as I understand Brother Richards' question, is concerning the Baptists' receiving the official work, and does not refer to individuals.

C. H. CAYCE: Before I read I wish to make a statement of an incident that occurred a number of years ago in the Clearwater Association This dissention occurred approximately fifty years ago, as the result of a war between two preachers, Elders Thompson and Sparks, on the doctrine of means or instrumentalities in the work of regeneration, one of them advocating the idea that God used means or instrumentalities or used the gospel in the work of regeneration, and the other contending against it. As that war continued they got further and further apart, each desiring to carry his point—and that is like most of the rest of us. Finally the war became so fierce and so intense that a dissension in the association resulted. Some years after that dissension both men saw their mistake in wrangling that way and they met together and mutually confessed their error; but the association was divided. That dissension and division remained for several years after the death of both preachers until—I forget the year but I think about 1906, 1907 or 1908—at the 100th anniversary of the association. At that meeting, at which I was present, for the first time in about forty years all the churches which had formerly composed the association met in that one reunited body, and not one word was said about doing over the official work that had been done by both sides during the time of their dissension.

I read now from The Church of God, by Elder Lee Hanks, page 208: Elder J. R. Respess, considered one of the ablest men in the Primitive Baptist ranks in the South and especially in his day, not only able in doctrine, but sound in practice and order, in Gospel Messenger, 1890, said:

"In reference to the troubles of the churches in the Mount Zion Association, we are apprehensive that too much has already been done, as has probably been done to no profit in other sections in Zion. It will not do to incorporate the Gospel with the law, with its endless ceremonies and washings. It is one of the chief glorious of the Gospel over the law that repentance, confession and doing so no more, puts away all manner of sin, not only of individuals but also as churches. The woman that was brought to Christ for judgment (John 8) was sent away with the blessed words of the adorable Master, 'Go and sin no more!' She was not required to undo her adulteries, but to do them no more.

We as Primitive Baptists have no grounds to expect any greater church purity than our fathers had, and the apostles had hardly died before many churches had gone astray in one thing or another, some in doctrine and some in order, and were commanded to repent."

W. W. FOWLER: I will make a statement by request of Elder Newman, regarding some trouble that existed in Sarepta Church in Mills County, I think about 1905 it was that the body met and settled the question. Two preachers got at outs over some personal difficulty, the church divided and was separated for a year or two. There are three men in this convention today that were present in that body that met and settled their trouble. They came together, confessed their faults and received each other's works at that time. Brother Newman was Moderator at that meeting, and Elder Redford and myself were present.

H. G. RICHARDS: You have got some of us in the dark about this; we don't know what you are trying to do in citing these incidents. Do you mean that this would be set up as a standard?

W. W. FOWLER: We are answering Brother Ball's question.

H. G. RICHARDS:  Are you citing these things as regularities or irregularities?

W. W. FOWLER: As just facts in the practice of our people.

H. G. RICHARDS: If you are citing these as regularities, I believe both sides should be stated. I don't like to see this record filled with statements of this kind, when the same men making them also know of other incidents where the work has been done over. I am not saying the work of either party would have to be done over, but I would like both sides to be stated here. There's the incident recited in Mills County, whereas not a thousand miles away the work has been done over. These statements are made in a way to hurt this meeting. They will show to those who read this that we are trying to prejudice their minds with only one side of the case, and for that reason I think you make a mistake in reading these things into the record.

J. W. HERRAIGE: It appears to me that it is hard to get fixed in the minds of the people just what we are doing now. If this body means to establish laws and rules and regulations, and impose them upon the church, I am down and out. They are not doing that. We have just made this as a suggestion of principles to have brought before the old Baptists of the different factions, to be investigated and considered at our leisure. You are not going to be unchurched if you do not run right into it, or you are not going to be unchurched if you do not do this at all. This is not to be a final adjustment of this matter, but to be considered and acted upon and accepted and received by the churches.


On motion made and seconded, discussion on the recommendations was closed.

The motion before the House to adopt the recommendations as read was then put by the moderator and was carried unanimously by the vote of all messengers present. The whole assembly then by rising vote unanimously concurred with the messengers and the committee.


Confessions were then made as follows:

W. W. FOWLER: We have now come to one of the most important parts of this meeting; that is, confessions of our wrongs in the divisions that have occurred among our people. As one of the moderators, I desire to make my confession first. I joined the Primitive Baptist Church in 1896 and was ordained to the work of the ministry in 1897. I have passed through three sad divisions among our people and in each of these divisions I have felt that they were due to misunderstandings rather than because of real differences and I have seen in each of them a way for the averting of a division had proper steps been taken. But after the divisions came, in the heat of controversy, I have used hard sayings about my brethren which I regret and for which I beg their forgiveness. I wish to especially mention Elder J. C. Morgan and beg his forgiveness for writing articles to the paper that were harsh and unkind and ask Brother Morgan to please forgive me for this wrong. Should there be any one holding any grievance against me I wish this confession to cover same and ask their forgiveness.

J. L. COLLINGS: Brother Moderator, Brethren and Sisters—I feel to thank God for this opportunity to confess my faults and mistakes, and as one of your moderators, I want to be the next to make my confession.

I regret that this trouble ever came up in our ranks, and am sorry, very sorry, for the part I played in it. I want all who can to forgive me for every hard word I have either written or spoken during the controversy.

I want to publicly apologize to Elder S. N. Redford. Brother Redford, I ask you, if you can, to forgive me for anything I may have said that hurt your feelings.

Dear Brother Tommie Webb, I have desired so much the opportunity to confess my mistakes, and ask you to forgive me for any wrong I may have done you. Forgive me, dear brother, if you can, for Christ's sake, for whatever I may have said or done that wounded you. Too, I have had a desire to go to your dear old father, Elder J. G. Webb, and ask his forgiveness. But he is not here. Tell him for me, will you, that I am sorry for every wrong I may have done him, and that I ask him for the sake of Christ to forgive me.

Some three or four years ago I went to the office of Elder J. C. Morgan and together we confessed our mistakes and our wrongs. Elder Morgan is here now, and I want to say to him, that he will never know how happy I was when he told me he held nothing personally against me and that personally there was nothing between us.

As I look about over this audience, I see some members of almost if not all the churches that I have ever served. I ask them to forgive me for the part that I have played in this fight among our dear brethren. I am glad that I know, that they know, that I have contended all along that there was not a vital difference among our brethren, and that I urged our people to stay together and not to divide. Yet I feel that my part in the fight may have been instrumental in bringing about the division. May God forgive me for anything that I did to thus divide them, and I do pray that He may give my dear brethren and sisters a forgiving Spirit, and that they can freely forgive me.

Dear brethren, let us now labor and pray for peace and unity among the saints.

J. S. NEWMAN: Brethren, I have tried to pray that this meeting would materialize and that my life might be spared thus giving me an opportunity to confess my wrongs to my brethren whom I have wronged. It is not necessary for any one to tell me I have done wrong for I know I have and I am sure the Lord has given me grace to confess the same.

In the heat of controversy I have used expressions that were wrong and unsound on the subject of the new birth and I beg forgiveness for this. I am also sorry I debated the propositions I did with Elder Sorrels. I felt at the time that it was wrong but I went on anyway. Brethren, will you forgive me?

I do not believe the whole man doctrine now and I never did. If I am not sincere in this I was not sincere when I joined the church and was baptized. If I can only leave this meeting out of debt I will be a happy man.

J. W. REED: I am different from some of my Brethren. I can not say "if I've done wrong, I ask you to forgive me". I know I have done wrong in saying and writing some things I have said and written in my correspondence. First, I want to say to Brother Sammie Redford, I have said hard things about you and if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, I want you to do so. I will call no other names, but will ask my Brethren to forgive me of my wrongs.

W. H. RICHARDS: I feel that I have contributed to the division between my brethren and Elder Newman's brethren. I can see where I did wrong while opposing Elder Newman in urging the churches to put up "bars" against Elder Newman, and the doctrine which I believed him to be advocating. I still believe just as I have always believed on the doctrine but I think that we should have been guided by the pattern laid down in Acts 15th chapter and I think that had we done that we could have avoided a division, so in my zeal I did wrong and I am sorry for it and I ask you all to forgive me. I have done wrong in many ways and I beg forgiveness for it all.

S. N. REDFORD: I feel like I have done wrong in using bitter personalities and I not only ask my dear brethren to forgive me for my wrong words, but for all the hard thoughts I have had about them since the division. I have no apology to make for the principles I have contended for but in my zeal perhaps I have gone to an extreme in some instances. I am a poor, erring creature and beg forgiveness for all my wrongs. Especially do I mention Brother Newman and Brother Walter Reed as I have fought them hard because I thought they were wrong.

Brethren, if persecution should overtake us as it was with our fathers in days that are past, and we were forced to worship at the risk of our lives our differences would melt away like dew before the sun.

C. H. CAYCE: I feel that I want to say a few words. I desire to confess my wrong in taking part in the fight that brought about division among our people. It was not my fight, and I should not have taken any part in it. True, I may have felt that I was drawn into it, but two wrongs never make a right. If another does wrong, that does not justify me in doing wrong also. It was a Texas fight, and I should have stayed out of it. I used harsh expressions, which was wrong. I received wounds, which I trust are all healed; but the scars left by the wounds will—some of them—be carried by me to my grave. I am sorry for every one of them. Not long since I was speaking to a brother in regard to this, and he remarked that the scars a soldier receives in battle are badges of honor. I replied that this is true if the scars are on account of wounds received from the enemy, but if they are the result of wounds received from his fellow soldiers they are badges of dishonor—they are a shame and a disgrace. I am sorry for all the wrongs I have done, and beg forgiveness of my brethren for every wrong done them. I trust we may once more be a united band, and stand shoulder to shoulder in one solid army, battling against the enemies of truth.

J. G. GRANT: My dear brethren, you are doing what our Lord commanded us to do, confess your faults one to another and so fulfill the law of Christ. Let us live at each other's feet, bearing each other's burdens, looking over his faults in the spirit of brotherly love. We can always do this if we take heed to ourselves and follow Heaven's command. Dear brethren, if I have at any time wounded any of your feelings, forgive me. I love you all. Pray for me.

On motion made and seconded, all present wishing to confess their errors and mistakes, asking forgiveness for their wrongs and for giving those who had wronged them, signified the same by rising to their feet.

On motion made and seconded, the convention adjourned, 5 o'clock p. m.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 October 2008 )
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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.