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Written by R.W. Thompson   

PRIMITIVE MONITOR - October 1917

UNDER the caption, “Was he a Mason?” appears an editorial by Elder C. H. Cayce, in his paper, The Primitive Baptist, Vol. 32, page 8, September 11, 1917, in which he calls in question some statements made by Elder Chastain in his late book, A Discussion on the Worship of God. He quotes from his book as follows:

“Elder Gregg M. Thompson, who lived in Georgia for years and who was one of the ablest debaters our people have ever had, and who met Elder Burgess, a Campbellite and a champion debater, and made a grand defense of our people and doctrine, which debate is down in history as one of the grandest victories for our people that has ever been won was a Mason, so I have been told. Yet, the Georgia Baptists did not non-fellowship him. But this would not make Masonry right, understand. I am not saying this in defense of any secret order, but to show that this is no test of soundness of doctrine.”

 

“The reader will notice that Elder Chastain emphasizes the statement that Elder Gregg M. Thompson was a Mason, and then adds, ‘“so I have been told.”’ To this we wish to say that Elder Chastain should have better informed himself before making such a statement, if he did not know. Elder Thompson has gone to his reward, and is not here now to defend himself. It seems to us that this great man had enough to contend with while he was living, without a thing of this kind being published to the world about him when he has gone to his long eternal home, and is not here to defend his own practice. But, fortunately, Elder Thompson left on record his position and principles as to how a member of the church should live, and what the church member should belong to.”

 

We doubtless should have made no reference to the above through the MONITOR had it not been for the unfavorable reflection cast on Elder Chastain. Since we are, perhaps, mainly responsible for the statement made by him, which Elder Cayce criticizes; “that, Elder Gregg M. Thompson was a Mason,” is correct. The late Elder Gregg M. Thompson was my father’s oldest brother. We very well remember him and have heard him speak of his membership in the Masonic order. Elder Chastain is correct when he says he was a Mason when he resided in Georgia, and “the Georgia Baptists did not non-fellowship him.” And now we adopt and subscribe to the following statement made by Elder W. A. Chastain: “But this would not make Masonry right, under­stand.” He, too, was a fallible man. We all need to be reminded of this.

Before closing this article we will give a quota­tion from Elder Gregg M. Thompson which will not be called in question. We quote him directly from his published debate with Elder O. A. Burgess: (Debate page 258.)

 “Good, benevolent institutions may be gotten up among men and great good may be effected by them. No one can see the great improvement in agriculture, that has been made in the last few years, but what will acknowledge that agricultural societies have had much to do with it. If the intoxicating bowl is driven from the sideboard, and a man feels degraded to be seen in a tippling-shop, the temperance movement has, doubtless, had much to do with it. Many poor widows have been fed, and orphans educated and reared to respectability by the Masons. These, as worldly institutions, may be called good; I have nothing to say against them. But they have no power to impose their laws upon the church of Christ, neither has the church any power to adopt their laws, or to form an alliance with them. If it is true that John the Baptist and John the Divine were Masons (which I am inclined to credit), they were such as individuals, as citizens of the world, and did not attempt to impose the laws of that institution upon the church, or to form a union and communion between the two institutions. This would have been a violation of the laws of the King, and would have destroyed the distinct visibility of the church. For the church to become united with any of these worldly institutions, and to adopt their laws and govern­ment, changes her organization, and she ceases to be the church of Christ.”

 We give these facts in support of truth and right, and to the injury of no man dead or living. Truth will stand and will win its own fame. We all should be careful not to misjudge the motives of our brother and put him in an unfavorable light before the world. If we all could be more charitable one to another, be sure we have just cause for censure before we accuse him of willful wrong, how much smoother the world would then run. Judge no man rashly. We all need more of Paul’s charity— “Charity suffereth long and is kind.” O that we were all filled with that spirit! Wrongs in doctrine and practice can often-times be more easily cor­rected through the spirit of kindness than otherwise, “and a soul saved from death;” saved to a use­ful life in the church.

R. W. T.

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