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Written by J.H. Oliphant   

Messenger of Peace—January 1910

 It is discouraging to see dissension and strife among our people. We see so much of it, we wonder what it all means, and where it will end. When. Moses saw so much among the people that was wrong (Ex. xvi. 2, and xvii. 2) he felt discouraged and ready at times to give up. What strife in Israel in Saul’s time; and in Rehoboam‘s time; and almost all times there was strife in Israel. Israel was a type of the church I presume, and it may be expected that strife and confusion will ever be in the church. “Men of your own selves will rise up among you, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them.” So this strife is a mark of, and a characteristic of the church.

A solemn question that each one of us should ask, Am I one that causes it, or divides and scatters the people of God? “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that cause division and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them.” Among us it is so that the introduction of new things will cause it, and to so preach as to conceal our doctrine will cause it. The man who loves the doc­trine of distinguishing grace will preach it, and he will oppose everything that is brought in among us that seems to threaten it. But one who does not love the doctrine of God’s electing love will show this dislike by endeavoring to tone it down, or neglecting to preach it, and such men are often among us, and they are the “Men of your own selves that rise up” to draw away disciples. “Mark” them and “avoid them.” “He shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house.

A true Baptist is one that is satisfied with the church, with its doctrine and rules, and will not be seeking to amend and improve it to suit the taste of the present day. The plain preaching of the doctrine of election will not divide a plain, Old Baptist church, and to contend for an experience of grace will not. To urge close communion and require persons who come to us for membership to tell an experience of grace will not divide an Old Baptist church. To reject alien baptism and hold that we should be a separate people will not divide our people. The “two-seed” doctrine has divided our churches and wrought ruin. It is not the opposing it, but the introduction of it.

So in the times of our division with the Missionaries, we think the introduction of human inventions was the cause of division. So with Campbell, when he sought to set aside the doctrine by the introduction of a work system, he forced division upon us— it was division, or see the great principles of truth overrun. The fundamental prin­ciples of our people had been long and well understood, even by our enemies. So those who pressed those things that were at war with our doctrine were the ones that caused divisions among us, “contrary to the doctrine we had learned.”

The Missionaries urged that they believed in election and those strong sentiments that had ever distinguished us from the world, but they urged that Theological d schools, Sunday schools, Mission boards, etc., were not inconsistent with the doctrine. They brought among us protracted meetings for the salvation of sinners; they preached and practiced the lowest Arminianism, and we were forced to withdraw from them. 2 Thess. iii. 6—”Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye received of us” Had we not put up bars against these things where would we have been today? Where would our sweet and quiet meetings have been? Where would have been our plain, simple service to God? All would have been gone, and overrun by the ranting, fuming and end­less struggle to sweep the world into the church. Our plain preachers would have been set aside and supplanted by those “up with the times.”

Where men dislike the doctrine and simple ways of our people, they seek to conform us to this world. As a rule they will insist that they are the custodians of our principles. The Missionaries urged that they were the Old Baptists and that we were the “off-shoot.” Where men seek to reform our church they repeat this claim.

Between 1860 and 1870 a dozen or more Baptist preachers in Indiana broke away from the old paths, went into the protracted meeting business, and would take in over one hundred at a single meeting. Mourner’s benches, Arminian preaching, etc. Yet they made the plea that they were the “Old Baptists,” the true successors of those who held the London confession of faith. And in all these instances where men of “your own selves” have sought to modern­ize our people they have urged that they were in the “old paths,” and by such methods have drawn away disciples after them.

I think the contention for the “Absolute predestination of all things” is new among us, and has caused division. A statement of the doctrine of predestination that fails to distinguish between sin and holiness will divide our people, and those who urge such statements upon our people “cause division.” That God is omnipotent, om­niscient, and omnipresent and the sover­eign ruler of the universe will never divide worthy Baptists. But anything that sug­gests that God is the cause of sin will divide us, and will be met by faithful men.

The organ was first introduced in the Catholic Church, in 666, and near one thou­sand years later by her Protestant daugh­ter, and never by Primitive Baptists till right recently, and this has and will still cause division among us; its introduction among us is without divine authority, ii means division, it means Choir singing, that untrained voices will gradually drop out. It means that skill as a musician will be sought for without reference to grace in the heart. It will revolutionize our song service and ultimately conform us to the world with its fashions and methods, an those who introduce them should be avoid ed as those that cause division “contrary to the doctrine ye have received.” The plea that we do not want it ourselves but will fellowship those that do, is an evasion, and calculated to deceive. The Methodists would be glad to unite with us in such a plea. But what is our duty as faithful men in God’s house? This is a serious question.

“Avoid them.” Where men cause divisions in their own country where they live, let us not import them to carry out their designs with us. “Receive him not into your house nor bid him God speed.” I am sure this is a safe rule. Where men sow discord at home we may expect them to do so abroad. If we expect to have the love and confidence of Primitive Baptist let us stand up for their principles, and while others are deserting them, let u stand more firmly for them. Where men desert them, or seek to associate with them that do, they will not receive the cordial support of Primitive Baptists. I know our people are few, and generally of the lowest walks of life, but I prize their fellowship their confidence and esteem. I want to be understood by them. I love the doctrine of sovereign grace. I love our primitive methods. I have no fellowship for a progressive spirit, nor for them that urge it upon our people. I want to be plain and outspoken, and devote my remaining energies to the maintenance of Primitive Baptists.



Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 September 2006 )
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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.