header image
Home arrow Historical Documents arrow Troubles and Divisions arrow The Temple Council
The Temple Council PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

From "The Writings of Elder R. A. Biggs"



    "Brother Briggs, what did the majority do that caused them to be no part of the church?" - J.S.N. in Signal.

    I suppose Brother Newman means Biggs in the above instead of Briggs, but this mistake is about like the mistake he makes in the matter he refers to in the above question. He is referring to the division in Bethel Church, and he says, "The Temple council recognized the 21 as the Bethel Church." And again he says, "The Temple council said in their findings that the 58 out of the 79 lost their identity by not adopting the findings of the San Antonio council."

    Now, all I wish to say is, the Temple council did no such thing. This is what Brother Newman says they did, but the minutes of the council say nothing about recognizing the 21 as the church, nor anything about the 58 losing their identity by not adopting the findings of the San Antonio council. Just such misstatements as these are where all the confusion among us comes from.

    Let us have the facts as they exist. According to the evidence before me, Bethel Church divided 21 on one side and 24 on the other side. The 21 withdrew from the 24, and adopted the findings of the San Antonio council, and then dismissed. Then the other side came together, chose them a moderator and proceeded to deal with the others. Thus the church divided. The 21 claimed to be the church, the 24 also claiming the same.

    Seeing that some of the churches in that section were rejecting the findings of the San Antonio council, thus starting a division, and other churches adopting the findings, the 21 claiming to be Bethel Church, together with about seven or eight other churches, called for the Temple council, and when this council met and came to the item of Bethel Church, did the council recognize and seat her messengers? No. Who said she did? Brother Newman. Did the council in all its deliberations say a word about adopting the findings of the San Antonio council? No, not one word. Who said it did? Brother Newman.

    What did the council do then? It found that the 21 who were represented had erred in pressing the matter prematurely of making the findings of the San Antonio council a test of fellowship to the dividing of the church, and recommended that they go home, make amends for their wrong to the other side and ask them to forgive and meet them upon the R.A.B.'s "Appeal for Peace" as a basis of reconciliation, and let the past be the past.

    They went home and did as the council recommended, made their acknowledgments, adopted the "Appeal for Peace," and appointed three messengers to bear their acknowledgments and the appeal for peace to the other side. They went.

    Did the other side receive their acknowledgments and forgive? No. Did they meet them upon the basis of peace offered? No. The other side ignored them altogether.

    Thus the 21 set themselves in order, the other side going on in disorder by refusing to receive their acknowledgements and basis for peace offered them.

    A basis for general peace was outlined by the Temple council and if it were not for your opposition, and a few others to have your way about everything, peace today would be abounding among the Old Baptists of Texas. May the Lord bless you and cause you to see the mistake of your life, is my desire and prayer.

    "The Temple council convened 150 or 200 miles from where the trouble was, not by the authority of any church; for the churches of that section were all opposed to it. The opposing parties did not meet, therefore it was composed of those only who had previously endorsed the order of Elder T. L. Webb. The Temple council was not needed, for it has divided our people of Texas. Misrepresentation is the cause of the distressed condition of our people today." J.S.N., Signal of Feb. 1915.

    Now I desire all to read the following and then compare with the above:

    "Call for council - Bethel church, together with the following other Primitive Baptist churches of Southwest Texas, to-wit: Valley Springs, Elm Grove, Little Vine, Good Hope, San Antonio, Pilgrim's Rest, Prairie View and Field Creek, to our sister churches all over Texas: Dear brethren and sisters: Owing to the fact that there has been for quite awhile, and is yet, much contention, confusion and dissatisfaction among the Baptists of Texas in regard to the object of regeneration and the order of the church, which has resulted in divisions in some places, and many who once walked together can no longer affiliate with each other until something is done." See letter for call for Temple Council.

    Now what do you think about the Temple council meeting without any authority from any church? And again, how could all the churches in southwest Texas have been opposed to calling the council when all these churches are in that part of the State that joined in the call? And again, whose fault was it that the other side did not meet? The call was general.

    And again, how could the Temple council divide the Baptists of Texas when they were already divided in places?

    It is true that misrepresentations is the cause of the distressed condition of our people today, but who is it that is misrepresenting things? Look and see who it is that is responsible for this state of affairs. The Temple council was by the authority of several churches, all wanting peace. Who is it that opposed it and still condemning it as an ungodly meeting? Surely those who are so engaged have no confidence in the word of God. If it was of ungodly men, it will come to naught, but if of God it will stand amidst all the opposition heaped upon it. So I am not uneasy about that, but I do hate to see such a spirit of jealousy, envy and unforgiveness manifested on the part of the opposers. So let all who desire peace and love to abound, just go on in the good old way, and those who will not, just let them go; they will consume themselves.

    The Temple council was composed of peace-loving Baptists, and if their advice was heeded by all, peace like a river would be flowing among us today. May the Lord ever keep me clear of an envious and unforgiving spirit.



    The great ado and scarecrow that some are making about councils and making them a test of fellowship, is remarkably strange to me. I wish to ask in all candor, who it is that has started the making of their findings a test of fellowship? Was rejecting the findings of a council by an action of a church making it a test of fellowship? If you say no, then why try to make it appear that a church that endorses the findings is making it a test? But if adopting or endorsing the findings of a council is making it a test of fellowship, is not rejecting the findings of a council by a church making it a test? Who started this test? Was it not those who rejected the findings? If rejecting the findings of a council by a church is not making a test of fellowship, then why, oh, why will you say the church that adopted the findings are making it a test? Consistency is indeed a jewel. If you have not non-fellowshipped the findings of the council, then why claim those who approve the findings are making the test? If you are not making it a test, why all this ado?

    The truth is, the opposers are the ones who are responsible for all this ado. For everybody knows if it had not been for the opposition to the findings of the council there would be no confusion among us today. The sin lies at your door of opposition, Remove it by giving a listening ear to the confessions of the wrongs of the brethren or churches as the case may be, and extend a forgiving heart and hand, and peace is at once restored; continue to refuse and be consumed.

    The brethren assembled at Temple were requested by one of the parties involved in this division to meet her and advise them what course to pursue to bring about peace again. They met, not as a faction, but messengers from churches desiring peace and fellowship. As such they met and pointed out the wrongs that they saw those who were represented had done, and asked them to make amends for them, and confess their errors to their opposing brethren and ask them to forgive and meet them on the R.A.B.'s "Last Appeal for Peace" as a basis of reconciliation, and thus put an end to the trouble. Have any of the opposers received their confessions and forgiven and met them on the basis or reconciliation? If not, is it not clear that the sin lies at your door, and you are the ones responsible for the result?

    May the Lord ever keep me clear of an unforgiving, malicious, envious spirit. In love of the truth.


    The 11th item of the Temple council reads as follows: "By motion and second the council recognizes Elder T. L. Webb and those allied with him as the church proper at San Antonio."

    Item 12: "By motion and second the delegates from the church at San Antonio were seated in the council."

    This act of the council was based upon the fact that twenty-five churches had endorsed him as being in order, and now every church represented in the Temple council endorses the findings thereof, so that upwards of forty churches by their official actions have endorsed the findings.

    The charge that Elder T. L. Webb sat in the Temple council on his own case is refuted by the 12th item, which shows that they were not seated until he was declared in order by the council.

    It is charged also that the Temple council was not by the authority of any church; for the churches of that section were all opposed to it." Now read the first part of the minutes of the council and see if that meeting was not in response to a joint call of eight or nine churches, and these churches are in Southwest Texas. That doesn't look much like they were all opposed to it, does it? Oh, shame, where is thy blush? It is said that "misrepresentation is the cause of distressed condition of our people today." I say so, too, but who is it that is misrepresenting things? Who is it that refuses to have peace, and is manifesting such an envious unforgiving spirit?

    Instead of the Temple council dividing the Baptist of Texas, they were already divided and the Temple council pointed out the way for peace and reconciliation, but the opposers refuse to forgive and have peace. So the sin lies at your own doors. The churches represented at Temple are peace-loving Baptists, and if the advice given at Temple were heeded, peace like a river would today be flowing among us.

    I love a spirit of love and forgiveness; I love a spirit of confession of wrongs. But I hate a spirit of hatred and unforgiveness. May the Lord ever keep me clear of such a spirit.

< Previous   Next >


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.