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Minutes

Of The

Old Harmony Primitive Baptist Association

Held With

Union Church, Lamkin, Texas

July, 1926


A GENERAL ADDRESS TO ALL WHO CLAIM TO BE

PRIMITIVE BAPTISTS.

Dear Kindred in Christ:

In sending out this General Address we are deviating from our usual custom some, and for this reason it is thought wise and proper to make clear to all if possible our reason for so doing and our purpose in so doing. The divided condition of those who claim to be the Old School or Primitive Baptist is not enough within itself perhaps to justify this act, for these conditions have existed more or less for years and yet we have not felt it necessary to give this General Address. This divided condition, however, connected with continued efforts on the part of some to bring all the separate groups together, and especially in connection with the General call made by certain Elders for a convention to meet in Dallas, Texas, on August 24th, 1926 seem to us to furnish good and justifiable grounds for this General Address and all that is said in it. It will therefore be understood as a full expression of where we have stood, especially in our more recent troubles particularly here in Texas; how we now stand with reference to a general peace meeting; and what it would take to satisfy us in such a meeting. In this we pray for Grace to be firm and unwavering on all the fundamentals of God's word; and yet to be humble, kind, gentle to all.

In doctrine we stand and have stood all along on the Articles of Faith upon which the Association was constituted forty-eight years ago. These Articles are given in our Minutes and are in substance the same as those of all orderly Baptist bodies in the United States. We feel that they are scriptural and very clearly stated; hence we do not wish to change them or deviate from them.

Within the past twenty-five or thirty years we have passed through three very sad divisions among the Baptists here in Texas, and which have reached in a measure beyond the borders of Texas. The first of the three came up over extreme views on Predestination such as is now confusing and dividing the Baptist in some other states. We stood opposed to the doctrine of Absolute or unlimited Predestination--the doctrine which extends God's predestination to all acts and events alike. We contended that this was extreme and unscriptural. We feel that we were honest and sincere in the things for which we contended. We feel, too, that we did all in our power to save the erring from their errors and thus avert the division. But we were forced to press our protests against these unscriptural things to the extent of withdrawing from those who walked disorderly. In thus withdrawing from these things doubtless there were many good, faithful, honest, and true Primitive Baptist caught by the craftiness of leaders and lead away from the simplicity of the truth. Doubtless many have realized long since that they have been mislead and would be glad to be back; others perhaps have never realized what they were lead into and honestly think we did wrong in withdrawing from them; while there is still another group (and we hope and believe that they are only a small group) who have honestly believed and still honestly believe these extreme and unscriptural things.

With these statements we desire to leave the first of the three divisions for the present and go to the second. This trouble and division came over the doctrine of regeneration—the principal question being just what is done for man in Regeneration, or the nature and extent of the change in Regeneration, All that was said of the first trouble and division may well be said of this also. We held and still hold it to be extreme and unscriptural to say that the physical body is changed in regeneration and prepared to render spiritual service to God, or that man is changed in his entirety in Regeneration. We also held then and do yet that it is extreme and unscriptural to say that man, the Adam sinner, is now made a real child of God Soul, Spirit, and body. These and other extreme and unscriptural expressions of similar import were pressed over the labors and protests of faithful, kind and loving brethren and Churches to a division of our people here. Doubtless here also many who now see the error were led away from the simplicity of the truth by designing men; others perhaps have never understood how they have been lead away; while there are still some, we fear, who have been unsound on regeneration all along and are still unsound.

With these statements we leave the second trouble and division for the present and pass to the third. This might be considered a division on order or practice. It may truly he said to have originated over Eld. W. H. Richards and his course. Grave grievances touching his moral life were brought against him by Baptists whose words and feelings we felt then and still feel should be regarded. He failed really to try to make satisfaction or reconciliation; and Ephesus Church, Rule, Texas, Eld. W. H. Richards home Church with other Churches upheld him and encouraged him in running over the feelings of good Baptists until the division was brought on. No doubt here, too, many lost sight of the real issue and were blindly led into the grossest kind of disorder before they really understood that it was not a question of the right of a Church to scripturally deal with her member, but a question as to whether or not the Church had scripturally dealt with him. We concede to any and all Churches the right to scripturally deal with her members, but we have not felt that Eld. Richards has followed the scriptures in meeting his accusers, nor that his Church has dealt faithfully and scripturally with him in this matter. There are perhaps, some who have never understood this matter and yet have been caught in it. We fear, too, that there are some who have gone through it all knowing these facts and are still satisfied with it.

Now, we have felt and do yet that there were sacred principles involved in all these troubles. We feel that we adhered to the fundamentals of God's word in them and cannot retract from our stand and what we contend for. We hope we were honest and sincere in our stand in each of these troubles and divisions and until we see clearly that we contended for the wrong principles we must stand just where we are and have been. We do not say we have made no mistakes in our manner of meeting hurtful things and in defending these sacred principles. Doubtless we made many mistakes all of which we would gladly confess anywhere and anytime, and for which we would be glad to humbly beg forgiveness. Yes, we would be glad to have them pointed out so we may confess them individually and personally.

To make known to all what it would require to satisfy us under these conditions we state as briefly as possible the important things. In regard to the first two divisions which involved doctrinal points we would expect first of all that the very expressions which caused the many such heartaches and the sad division in each case be pointed out and denounced as unscriptural. We would expect more than just to deal in general terms and leave room for all the trouble to be repeated or even be worse. If we have used any unscriptural expressions, which have wounded the feelings of any, we want them pointed out and corrected. It would require this to satisfy us. It must be more than just declaring against "Absolute Predestination of all things" and the "Whole man doctrine" and thus leave room for months or years of confusion and discussion as to what these doctrines are.

As to the third division we wish to say we feel that all that will satisfy us, with all who have stood for justice and right, is for Eld. Richards to meet his accusers face to face and make satisfaction, or prove in the presence of these accusers and good faithful brethren as witnesses that the accusations are false, so that other Churches where their membership is can deal with them. The recommendations of the Bethlehem Council would necessarily have to be carried out first to satisfy us on this point.

Just here we would earnestly warn the Baptists of the East and everywhere against letting a few men here in Texas who may be like the unjust steward spoken of in God's word, who called in all his Lord's debtors and began quickly to cancel their debts at a great reduction, thus compromising. Watch that spirit and it will help you to locate truth and right and save you from being tied tip with the grossest kind of disorder. We especially warn you of these things in love for the Cause.

We feel that these things are reasonable, and they would have to be observed in order to satisfy us on these points. Another thing which would have to be carefully considered in order to satisfy us in the fact that some of these factions may have taken in some things since our declaration which we could not receive, such as restoring to fellowship some who had previously lost their standing among the Baptist. These cases would have to be dealt with in a scriptural way to satisfy us.

The next point in all the cases would be the question of Official work. In this we would wish to be reasonable but firm and uncompromising on fundamental principles.

In considering this, several questions may present themselves. One question would be as to whether the conditions or the standing of any group who have been identified with the Church or as a Church can become such that their official work cannot be scripturally received by orderly Churches. If we agree (and we feel sure we must agree on this fact) that they may, then the next question would be to decide if these conditions exist among any of the separated groups. If we agree that they do exist in some places, then we must settle the question as to just where they exist. One of the greatest questions connected with the whole problem to be decide on safe and scriptural principles that will guide us safely in it all. It is not safe, we think, to reject the official work of one of two groups merely because they are separated. This is true because they may be separated over non-essential or minor things, which can never scripturally separate God's people. Again they may be separated on some of the fundamentals or essentials and still both be wrong. Then again they may be separated over the fundamentals or essentials and one group really adhering to these things but failing to labor in a scriptural way to save the erring. Neither of these three cases seem to us to justify a rejection or official work. But if the difference is over the essential or fundamental principles, and those who hold to these scriptural principles pursue a scriptural course of labor in order to try to save the erring and are then forced to withdraw from them as directed in God's word; we here have a case, as we see the matter, where the official work of the erring group must be rejected from that time on by orderly Churches. These are things which must be kept in mind, as we see the matter, in analyzing any particular case which may come before us. We hold these things so sacred that we would not only ask that they be applied to those from whom we are separated but we want them applied to us and all our Churches, not by designing men who have lost sight of the welfare of God's cause, but by humble men of God and churches who really want peace. This, we hope, will make clear to all our attitude as to the principles to guide us in the question of official work.

We wish now in conclusion to call attention to some things in general which we feel to be imperative to the general peace, unity, and fellowship of the great Baptist family. All should be more guarded and more scriptural in their expressions, always avoiding those expressions which tend to confuse and divide the Saints of God. More love should be manifested for each other. Not love which promotes us to follow into wrong, but love which abounds more and more in knowledge and in all judgement, that we may approve things which are excellent in the sight of God. This love will prompt us to forbear in the minor differences and to scripturally labor to save the fundamental differences. This must be observed for the general peace and unity of God's people. Pastors should be more devoted to their local flocks and avoid traveling too much and stirring up strife and confusion among the Churches. Great good has come from the true servants visiting among the Churches, but it is also true that great harm has come from too much of it. Ministers should be more grave, sober, and careful in their manner of life. Jesting and frivolity should be avoided and guarded against by every true servant of God. There should also be a more careful and prayerful study of God's word by all and especially the Ministry. There should be a general awakening to duty on the part of each and all. Covetousness should be guarded against and Deacons should use their office better. Each Church and each member of the Churches should be awake to duty so as to enable the Deacons to better perform their office.

Now we do not wish to put a stumbling stone in the way of any who feel that they can scripturally come together. Our aim is to warn God's people against being led astray and point out in a kind and loving way what we feel to be scriptural and right. We must stand here until we are convinced that we are wrong. By God's grace we hope to stand here, in love though, and not vilify, abuse, and persecute those who may not see as we do. We feel that it is better to be separated from each other and yet love and treat each other kindly than to be together on principles which we do not feel that our Lord would recognize and perhaps have more confusion. Let it always be understood, however, that we would gladly welcome a coming together on Scriptural principles.

ELD. LEN DALTON, Moderator.

ELD. GILBERT DALTON, Clerk.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 August 2007 )
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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.