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Written by Potter/Yates   

MR. POTTER’S FIRST SPEECH.
 
BRETHREN, MODERATORS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

In all probability there is not a person here who feels more pleasantly, under all the circumstances, than I do. That may seem surprising to quite a number, after listening to the eloquent speech we have heard this morning. So far as pubic discussion and investigation are concerned, as an individual, I feel favorable to them when they are carried oh in the right spirit; and I am under the same impression as my brother, that troth has nothing to lose in investigation. I hope you will not forget what he has said. He has given us an able speech in defense of his proposition, as he claims, and it is my duty to reply to it. I wish to state that about two months ago, in looking over a paper called the Gibson County Leader. I read the following:

“Is the Foreign Mission work of God or of man? Even today, in the light of the wonderful triumphs of the gospel work in the foreign field, among the many thousands of gospel ministers there are a few here and there that oppose this work as unscriptural, and hence of man, and not of God. Therefore, in view of these facts, for the sake of gospel truth and gospel work, and the honor of the blessed Saviour, I make the following challenge: That I will meet in joint discussion any ordained minister of the gospel, indorsed by the denomination to which he belongs, as a representative man, and of good character in Owensville, Indiana, upon the following proposition: “Resolved, That the gospel work carried on by the different denominations of the Protestant world in heathen lands or foreign countries, known as the Foreign Mission work, is authorized in the Holy Scriptures and is blessed and owned of God.”

H. CLAY YATES.

“Owensville, Ind., Oct. 9, 1885”

When I saw this challenge, so far as I was individually concerned, I did not intend to pay any particular attention to it, from the fact that I never accept challenges from any man for debate. I might be debating every day if I would. But if my brethren think that a debate is necessary to do justice to our people in the community where the challenge is made, and ask me to work, then I, undertake to do the best I can.

I want the people to remember today what the issue is. We want to understand that fairly, According to the caption of the article, the issue is not whether there have been any good results in the way of education- or civilization by the Foreign ii work, but the issue is, agreeable to the published challenge, Is the Foreign Mission work of God or of man? That is Brother Yates’ own explanation of it.  I want the people to understand the issue. We are not here to say there has not been any good done by them, but we are here to discuss the authority for them? My opponent is here to state they are of God, and makes his challenge on the ground that some men say they are of man and not of God. That is his own statement in his challenge. That cannot be misunderstood. Is it authorized in the Scriptures? Is it? I want all this people to think. This discussion rests upon that part of the proposition. Brother Yates has read to us quite a number of texts of Scripture today. Did you hear Foreign Mission work in any text he read, or any thing that sounded like it? If the Scriptures do authorize a thing, they must speak about it in some way or another. They must give it in the exact language, or in something equivalent to it. And I want all these examined carefully during this discussion, for in the course of six days he will have plenty of time to mention one text that mentions or implies Foreign Mission work in the Bible.

I am here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that it is not authorized in the Bible. The Scriptures authorize no such thing. I want you to notice his arguments. I want my brethren to do so. I want you to weigh every argument he introduces, and let us discuss this subject, in the spirit of Christianity, for we profess to be Christians. I am glad we are talking about Christian moderation. I never allow a man to excel me in being friendly. Brother Yates is hardly large enough to be more friendly than I, unless he has more sense than I have. Let us have no wry faces or frowns here during this discussion, but investigate this proposition for the truths there are in it, and in a Christian spirit.

One reason I am glad I am here on this occasion is this: The position occupied by myself and my brethren is misunderstood by the people generally. We are accused wrongfully. I do not know of one Regular Baptist minister in the world who thinks it is wrong to go into all the world, “and preach the gospel to every creature.” That is not the issue before us. That is not the point to be discussed here. That is not it. If there were ten thousand such texts as that, that is not the issue between us. I do not know of a Regular Baptist minister anywhere, or a brother anywhere, who thinks it is wrong. Go everywhere, and preach the gospel to everybody where you go. We are not here to deny that. I want this audience to understand that part of it at the beginning. The issue is with the work known as the Foreign Mission work. Do you know, what that work is? Brother Yates ought to define it. He speaks of “the work known as the Foreign Mission work.” He ought to tell us what that is. It is his place to do it. The rules require it. I hope he will make us understand just what he means by it.

I want to say that so far as education, civilization, politeness, and refinement are concerned, I know of no people who oppose them in all civilization. They seem to have been intuitive among the people from the first origin of nations. We read from history the following:

“Egypt, however, continued to pour forth her colonies into distant nations.” That was away back fifteen hundred years before Christ. The kingdom of Egypt, that is known today as a child of darkness, was the most enlightened kingdom there was at that time in the world, the first organized kingdom there was in the world, whose king was Nimrod, and history says they placed such importance on education and civilization that they sent their colonies to other lands to educate the people.

Let us read: “Egypt, however, continued to pour forth her colonies into distant nations. Athens, that seat of learning and politeness, that school for all who aspired to wisdom, owed its foundation to Cecrops, who, 1556 B.C., landed in Greece with an Egyptian colony, and endeavored to civilize the rough manners of the original inhabitants. From the institutions which Cecrops established among the Athenians it is easy to infer in what a condition they must have lived before his arrival. The laws of marriage, which few nations are so barbarous as to be unacquainted with, were not known in Greece. Mankind, like the beasts of the field, were propagated by accidental connection, with little knowledge of those to whom they owed their birth.” (Guthrie’s Geography, Vol. I., page 32.) Now this was a good work—we are not here to oppose that work—but it did not depend on the commission that. says, “Go preach the gospel to every creature,” for it was nearly sixteen hundred years before that commission was given. It is the duty of men to do the best they can for one another, so far as that is concerned; and this work, if it had been today, perhaps would have been connected with the Foreign Mission work. It was a good work. It was benevolent.

As an evidence, again, that people, even where there is no gospel, and where there are no Bibles nor preachers, where they are enlightened at all do have an eye to education, let us refer to the country of Japan, to which my opponent so eloquently referred us in his closing remarks. And here I wish to say, because a work is good that is no evidence it is authorized by the Bible. This system of free schools, as we have it in Indiana, is no doubt a good thing, but it is of man, and is not authorized in the Holy Scriptures. Because a, thing is good is not a reason for believing that the Bible authorizes it, or that it is owned of God. The proposition says nothing about the educational work of the missionaries. It is the gospel work that we are discussing. Let us take Japan. Japan is one of the best educated nations in the world today. The missionaries say this. There are fewer people in Japan who cannot read than among any other people in the world. Education is general. All classes are taught, and yet missionaries say, as I shall show before the close of this discussion, that the people of Japan, while they are ready to receive Western ideas, and read the Bible and Christian books with avidity, yet read them chiefly from curiosity. I have testimony of that fact, and will produce it at the proper time. There are not ten thousand Christian communicants in the whole country of Japan today, not ten thousand from the missionaries’ own statistics, and it is a country whose population is two-thirds that of the United States. There are not ten thousand communicants, as we shall show as this discussion progresses.

Now I want to notice the speech. I say, to begin with, and challenge any contradiction On that, that foreign missionary societies were not necessary, and never were considered necessary, to the propagation of the gospel in all lands. But we will see whether they were or not. As a reason why I say they were not there was no such thing thought of until 1792, when, in England, the first Protestant Missionary Society was organized. That is Brother Yates’ own statement of it, and that is correct. In 1792 the Church stood, and the gospel was preached in different nations over the world for nearly eighteen hundred years before the first foreign missionary society was organized.

MR. YATES: I said the first missionary society in England.

MR. POTTER: Yes, in England.

Another thought: My opponent says in this question is involved the temporal and eternal destiny of millions of the human race now living, and no doubt, countless numbers of unborn generations. Now, that is one objection I have always had to this plea for Foreign Missions, that its advocates preach the universal damnation of all the people where there is no Bible. I object to that doctrine. It is contrary to God’s word. It is the plea that gets your half-dollar from your pocket in mission work, that the heathen are going to hell unless they get the Bible. More than that, Brother Yates has trampled upon Presbyterianism, as I will show you. His own proposition now lies in the dust under his feet. What will our brethren do? Will they dismiss Brother Yates, or throw away their Confession of Faith? I call your attention to the Confession of Faith of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Article 3 On page 10, where they say: “All infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth. So also are others who have never had the exercise of reason, and who” (and that adds still more) “are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word.” That is what Cumberland Presbyterianism says in its Confession of Faith. We have three classes here who are saved without the ministry of the word, according to their doctrines. I indorse that, and perhaps it is a fine thing I am here to defend it, as Brother Yates has turned against it. There are three classes called by the Spirit of God, and regenerated and saved by Christ—idiots, infants, and those who cannot be called by the ministry of the word. Who are they? I want Brother Yates to tell us in his next speech, for it will never do in the world for him to throw his Confession away. He was ordained to the work of the ministry upon the sincere acknowledgment and acceptance of that Confession of Faith, as embracing and adopting the true system of the doctrine of the Scriptures. It will not do for him to throw it away now; he is too young, and has not been preaching long enough. As an evidence that those mentioned in this article are not only infants or idiots, I will read the proof-texts they give in support of the latter part of the article, which is Acts ii. 38, 39: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” That is their proof-text to show that a class of people aside from idiots and infants are called, and. regenerated, and saved by the Spirit of Christ, who cannot be outwardly called by the ministry of the gospel. That is Presbyterian doctrine, and Brother Yates trampled that in the dust this morning. I do not want him to do that any more. It is Cumberland Presbyterianism that I quote. I want to give you another article of it. Chapter 25, Articles 1 and 2:

“The catholic, or universal, Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof, and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

“The visible Church, which is also catholic. universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before, under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children, and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God.”
Now here we have two Churches presented in this Confession of Faith—one called the visible Church, and that visible Church consists of all the people everywhere throughout the world that profess the true religion. Here are Brother Yates, Brother Strickland, Brother Hume, and others, who preach the gospel. We see them. They make public confession of the faith. They indicate the Christ of God that is in their hearts by their lives, and we can see them. That is the visible Church. So says the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith. But there is an invisible Church that embraces more than that. How much more? How many more than all those that profess the true religion throughout all the world? None of the heathen, Brother Yates says in his speech this morning. Who are They? Who are they? We want to know. We want some explanation of that matter. It is evident from this article that there is a universal Church that is invisible, which “consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof, and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” As an evidence that this embraces Gentiles, and heathen even where there is no gospel, I want to give you their own proof-text of this article: Ephesians 1. 10 and 22, 23:

“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him.” “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head, over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” Also Colossians i. i8: “And he is the head of the body, the Church.” These passages of Scripture arc said by Cumberland Presbyterianism to embrace the children of God, who are, have been, or ever shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof; and they extend further than the visible Church of Christ, that embraces all that profess the Christian religion.

If that is not so, I want Brother Yates to tell us the difference between the two articles. If it is true, what is his speech worth today, that damns all the heathen universally, without any salvation at all where there is no gospel? I want everybody to think of that. But that is not all, it is not only the belief of Cumberland Presbyterianism. There was an argument had at one time between a man by the name of Alexander Campbell—everybody knows his name—--and a gentleman by the name of Rice, who was a Presbyterian; and on this question of the influence of the Holy Spirit I thought Mr. Rice was about right, and I was rather under the impression that he rather flaxed Mr. Campbell in that debate. I will tell you what Mr. Campbell said, and see how it harmonizes with Brother Yates. We want to see whether he is fighting for Campbell or his Church:

“Our second argument is adduced from the fact that no living man has ever been heard of, and no one can now be found, possessed of a single conception of Christianity, of one spiritual thought, feeling, or emotion, where the Bible, or some tradition from it, has not been before him. Where the Bible has not been sent, or its traditions developed, there is not one single spiritual idea, word, or action. It is all a midnight, a gloom profound, utter darkness. What stronger evidence can be adduced than this most evident and indisputable fact? It weighs more than a thousand volumes of metaphysical speculations.”

That looks like it was tolerable strong. That is what Mr. Campbell says. Mr. Rice, what do you say about that? Mr. Rice says on page 638, in reply: “We”— whom does he mean by “we”? we Presbyterians; won’t we be astonished if Presbyterianism begins to droop and die for the sake of the Foreign Mission work, in order to defend that?— “we believe and teach that in conversion and sanctification there is an influence of the Spirit in addition to that of the Word, and distinct from it; an influence without which the arguments and motives of the gospel would never convert and sanctify one of Adam’s ruined race. We further believe that, although the Word of God is employed as an instrument of conversion and sanctification, where it can be used, God has never confined himself to means and instrumentalities where they cannot be employed.”

That is what Presbyterianism is. Brother Yates is not a Presbyterian. He is fighting them. He is ruining that doctrine. He says to us that the eternal salvation, or the eternal destiny, of the people hangs upon the following of the commission of the gospel, which is to make it depend upon the missionaries. That is the reason I object to that system known as Foreign Mission work, because it so flatly contradicts, not only the Bible, but also religious tenets. It says that hell is the home of all that unfortunate people who are never blessed with the Bible. Again Mr. Rice continues:

“Mr. Campbell objects again, that if in one case regeneration takes place without the Word, it must be so in all cases; and then of what use is the Word? He has often told us that it is far easier to assert than to prove. It is admitted that regeneration is the same in all cases, but it is not admitted that the means employed in all cases are the same. He asserts that the same means must always be employed, but he cannot prove the truth of the assertion, either scripturally or philosophically. I know of no part of God’s Word that teaches that if God should sanctify a soul in one instance without the truth, because it cannot be employed, he must of course sanctify all others without the truth. God is a sovereign, and he works by means or without means, as his Infinite wisdom directs. When his people were journeying in the wilderness, and their supplies of water gave out, it was miraculously replenished. So does he feed the soul with the bread of life, through means and instrumentalities when they are accessible, and without them when they are not.”

That is what Presbyterianism teaches. Does that sound like brother Yates’ speech? I want all of you to think. One more on that subject; I am not done with Brother Rice yet; he is such a good man I want to follow him up a little further: “But let it be remarked, that while we believe in an influence of the Spirit in addition to the Word, and distinct from it, we do not believe that in conversion new faculties are created (Mr. Campbell was charging that on those who believe in experimental religion). The mind, both before and after conversion, possesses understanding, will, and affections. There is no creation of new faculties, but a change of the moral nature, a spiritual change, a change from sin to holiness, a change from the love and practice of sin to love and service of God.”

That is what is done in regeneration and sanctification, according to Presbyterianism, and that is what I think is good. I indorse that, and try to preach that doctrine.

“Nor do we maintain that in conversion and sanctification the Holy Spirit reveals new truths not found in the Scriptures; for all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. The design of regeneration is not to reveal new truths, but to enable the sinner, who is blinded by his depravity, to see the truths of revelation in their beauty and excellency, and to incline him to embrace them and live accordingly. The difficulty is not that God’s revelation is not perfect, presenting every truth which is necessary to life and godliness; nor is it true that it is obscurely taught, but that the hearts of men are fully set in them to do evil; that they love darkness rather than light; that they are proud and rebellious, and averse to the service of God and the plan of salvation which he has devised.”

Again: “This statement of the doctrine of Divine influence is a complete answer to the argument of Mr. Campbell, that those who profess to have been regenerated by the special influence of the Spirit have received new ideas which are not contained in the Scriptures. Regeneration consists not in giving a new revelation, but a new heart.”

Now, I want to show you that what I have read from Mr. Rice was intended as an answer to Mr. Campbell when he said there could not be a man found, or heard of, who was in possession of a new idea or emotion without the Bible. This was Mr. Rice’s intention. He said so himself, in his speech recorded on page 647. He says: “his second argument was, that there are among pagans, who have not the Bible, no spiritual ideas. This was answered by showing that, according to our views, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is not designed to communicate new ideas, but to enlighten the mind by removing sin, the cause of its blindness, that it may see in their true light the truths contained in the Scriptures. The gentleman could not hear my reply.”

It seems Mr. Rice did hold the idea that there were spiritual ideas among the pagans. He did not indorse Mr. Campbell’s idea; but we have heard it preached very eloquently today; and I think if Mr. Campbell were here, he would think he had a new disciple.

I will tell you another thing Mr. Rice thought Mr. Campbell did in taking that position; and he was a good logician. He was a debater; I am not, but he was. On page 650 he says: “He admits their native depravity. He denies that they can be sanctified without the truth. We know that they cannot receive the truth; consequently they cannot but die in their depravity; and wherever they may go, certain it is that they cannot go to heaven. He may express the opinion that they may be saved, but his opinion contradicts his doctrine. There is no way of escaping the difficulty but by abandoning the doctrine. He cannot answer the argument. It admits of no answer.”

I want to say this: that the doctrine of Presbyterianism is not the doctrine of infant damnation. The doctrine of no people is the doctrine of infant damnation. Yet I say Mr. Rice was logical and consistent when he said that if the gospel is God’s chosen and only medium of communication to mankind, that it does leave the infant out, it does leave the idiot out, it does leave the heathen out. If the Spirit ever operates without it, if it does it in one case it may in every case. If the Spirit of God reaches down and saves an infant without preaching to him, or his having knowledge of the Bible or gospel, it can reach to the idiot and save him in the same way; and I believe it will. If it does that, it reaches to the heathen in the same way; and I say it will; and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church says it will, and they have always taught that it would.

Brother Yates, I want you to harmonize your own doctrine with your arguments.
This further from Mr. Rice, and I will dismiss him: “Mr. Campbell objects again that if in one case regeneration takes place without the Word, it must be so in all cases. And then of what use is the Word?” I suspect that Baptist preachers have had that hurled at them as often as any other. If that be true, what is the use of the Word? I appeal to any lady, gentleman, or child in this country. Let Mr. Rice tell. He is a good man, and able to answer that question, in my judgment. He says:

“He has often told us that it is far easier to assert than to prove. It is admitted that regeneration is the same in all cases; but it is not admitted that the means are in all cases the same. He asserts that the same means must always be employed; but he cannot prove the truth of the assertion, either scripturally or philosophically. I know of no part of God’s Word that teaches that if God should sanctify a soul in one instance without the truth, he must of course sanctify all others without the truth. God is a sovereign, and he works by means or without means, as his infinite wisdom directs.” Notice, that is the doctrine of Presbyterianism.

Now, I wish to follow up my brother’s speech a little farther. I have a good many notes, but there are so many of them just alike. He refers to the evil and good results of investigation. That is all right. So far as investigation is concerned we agree. Truth has nothing to lose by investigation. The evil and good results, then, of investigation depend on the evil and good spirit exhibited during the discussion. If we intend to fight and conduct this discussion in a bad spirit, we had better let it alone; and if I thought that was the intention of Brother Yates in coming here and making the challenge, I never would have met him, for I will not fight if I can keep out of the way. And neither do I ever make apologies for what I preach. I am aware I am on the unpopular side of the question that we are now debating. I am aware the denomination with which I stand identified is perhaps the only denomination that opposes what is commonly known as the work of the Foreign Missions. I am aware of that fact, and when I saw this challenge I believed that Brother Yates had his mind upon the Regular Baptist denomination. He said in his speech that he did not make this challenge against any particular denomination. However, when he was at my house, in company with Mr. Collins, I drew out of him the fact that he was thinking of the Regular Baptists when he made the challenge, because they were the only people that opposed the Foreign Mission work. This being true, we feel we are challenged. We are here in self-defense; we are not here challenging other people’s views and to trample them under foot. But it is perhaps not surprising, with the idea that Mr. Rice was defending in his debate, that all of the world could be saved, in introducing that feature of the doctrine, that we need not be uneasy about that; the Lord will not let his work go undone, that we should be here represented. But I say, is it true we are not allowed to present that doctrine in the manner in which all Christendom have ever understood it, without laying ourselves liable to frowns and challenges from our religious neighbors? Brother Yates understood we were opposed to Foreign Missions. He was not mistaken about that. He knew where we stood on that question. I am satisfied he did.

He said that as it is a debated question, it is of course an unsettled question. That is true. There has been very little said about it, however, in this country lately. It is a free country, and all people who wish to work for or defend Foreign Mission work are at liberty to do so. We are not hindering them; and I do not know that I have heard one of my brethren say a solitary word against Foreign Missions in a year or two. I am in the pulpit about as often as any man in this country, and I never heard any one lift a voice against it that I know of. I do not say Brother Thomas did not do it, for I did not hear him that day. There has been nothing to provoke a challenge. However, I am glad that it is here, from the fact that I want you to know what the Foreign Mission work is. You do not know. There is hardly one man in ninety that knows. You only hear one side of it. You see this map in its glowing colors, and you do not know just what it means. You do not know whether there are ten million Christians there or one thousand. If you hear Brother Yates speak of it, he will tell you there are a great many. We want to present the truth, the history; let us have both sides presented. Let us have it from the missionaries themselves, and perhaps during this discussion we shall show you they are not doing half they claim they are; and we will show it from missionary evidence at that.

He wants it known and distinctly understood what he is here to prove. I can tell you what it is: “That the Foreign Mission work is authorized in the Scriptures, and blessed and owned of God.” He may get the sanction of every man in this house that it is a good work. That does not prove his proposition. He may get the sanction of every denomination in all Christendom that it is a good work. That does not prove it is authorized in the Scriptures. He may get the sanction of every minister he ever strikes hands with throughout this land that the Foreign Mission work is a good work. That does not prove that it is authorized in the Scriptures. He may quote the commission that says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” and the words “Foreign Mission” are not in that commission at all. Not a word of it. He has quoted several texts, and if any man heard the words “Foreign Mission” in any text he quoted, either expressed or implied, let him tell me which one it was, and I will notice it and reply to it or give up the debate, one or the other. What text in all the catalogue referred to by my brother today mentions or implies Foreign Missions?

He speaks of an identity. We will soon show the differences where he says there is an identity.

There is one mistake on the subject of Foreign Missions on which I want to correct Brother Yates. He made the assertion—and it is an assertion which is generally made—that the Saviour, when he addressed the disciples, and said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” gave that commission to the Church—Brother Yates said to the Church through the apostles. Brother Yates, I want to know where is your authority for that. Is it not an invention gotten up about the time Foreign Mission work was? Let us go to that commission, and see to whom it is addressed. We do not want any thing but what the Bible gives to prove a Bible point by. I propose to see to whom the commission was given. I will show you a gospel commission if you will listen now to me.

I object to the Foreign Mission work, because, in order to show even a shadow of authority for it in the Scriptures, its advocates say the great commission was given to the Church instead of to the apostles and their successors. That is what they say. Brother Yates said that this morning. It is just as common, to say that as it is for them to defend Foreign Mission work. To prove that, I will give you another witness on his side. I quote from a book I have “here in my valise, called “The Great Commission and its Fulfillment by the Church,” in which the writer says:

“All forms of evangelical work and enterprise are based upon these words (the writer means the words of the great commission). Not ministers only, but all Christians, ordained and unordained, male and female, old and young, are bound by them. Some can go farther than others, but all are to go on this errand of mercy.

Some are to give more than others, but all are to give according to their ability the means requisite for saving the lost. Some are to preach officially and more regularly than others, but all are to preach in the sense of communicating saving truth to those in spiritual darkness; and all are to contribute to that great, unceasing volume of earnest prayer which has only to become general and tenderly importunate to secure the salvation of a great multitude of God’s elect who are now wandering unsaved on the mountains of sin in every land.”

This is a missionary who agrees with my brother. He says the commission was given to the Church, not only to the ministry, but given to every man, every individual ordained and unordained, male and female, old and young; that all are addressed in the commission that says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Let us see whether they were or not. I call your attention to Matthew xxviii. 16—20 inclusive: “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and. of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Who were present? To whom did the Saviour speak? What does the pronoun “ye” in this text have for its antecedent? I ask Brother Yates. — “Go ye.” Go who? The eleven disciples—that is it. The eleven were the ones spoken to, and not the Church. There is no intimation that it was the Church—it was the eleven. As a matter of course no person denies—that I know of—that it is to their successors as well.

First to the ministry the commission is given. It is the duty of a man who is called of God to preach, to “go.” It is the duty of every man whom God calls to preach. The Saviour said, “Go;” he did not say, Send. I want you to notice there is quite a difference between a man going into all the world and preaching the gospel, and the Church sending. He said, “Go,” and as you go, preach. He did not say, Send. If the commission had been to the Church, and the missionaries were correct in their application of it, the commission would have read, “Send into all the world.” But it was to the ministry, and they are called on to “go.”

I will read again—Mark xvi. 14—16: “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Now, the eleven were the people addressed there, not the Church—not every one; not male and female, old and young, ordained and unordained, rich and poor; but the eleven, the ministry—they are the people whose duty it is to preach. Now let us see how the apostles and early ministers of the gospel obeyed this heavenly mandate, and how they succeeded. I want to show you a gospel mission—the mission I believe in—and all want to say to you there is not a Regular Baptist on the earth, who understands himself, who will oppose such a mission: One writer bays, in speaking of himself in obedience to this commission: “Despised as Christianity has been by many, yet it has had an extensive progress through the world, and still remains to be professed by great numbers of mankind, though it is to be lamented many are unacquainted with its genuine influence. It was early and rapidly propagated through the whole Roman Empire, which then contained almost the whole known world; and herein we cannot but admire both the wisdom and the power of God.” That is the way the ancients talk about the commission that was given. They went; they did not send; they went to preach—that is the difference.

Another good writer says: “Destitute of all human advantages, protected by no authority, assisted by no art, not recommended by the reputation of its author, not enforced by eloquence in its advocates, the word of God grew mightily and prevailed. Twelve men, poor, artless, and illiterate, were beheld triumphing over the fiercest and most determined opposition, over the tyranny of the magistrates and subtleties of the philosophers, over the prejudices of the Gentile and the bigotry of the Jew. They established a religion which held forth high and venerable mysteries, such as the pride of man would induce him to suspect, because he could not perfectly comprehend them, which preached doctrines pure and spiritual, and such as corrupt nature was prone to oppose, because it shrunk from the severity of their discipline,” etc. This was the severity of their commission.

Again: “In the apostolic mission we have presented to our view a small company of plain and pious men leaving Judea and traveling over the, empire to exalt their crucified Master and the Lord and Saviour of the world. They had little subsistence from the Churches of their own country, but when exigency required they did not disdain to labor with their own hands.”

Hear what they say. I want to see what these missionaries said. These apostles, I believe, were missionaries. I am a missionary. Do not call me an anti-missionary. But I am opposed to this language you have in this proposition. I want Brother Yates, before I quote from this book that I believe in, to tells us, and note particularly where he is, of one missionary that pursued the course that the Apostle Paul did.

I will now quote from 1 Cor. iv. 11—13: “Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.”

That is the course the apostles pursued when they started out in obedience to the commission of Christ. Where is the missionary today that will stoop to work with his own hands to provide for his necessity and that of those with him, who goes out as the apostles did, under the instructions and auspices of the Foreign Mission societies of today? If you have his name, Brother Yates, we want it.

Again, Brother Paul, what do you say? Acts XX. 33, 34: “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered unto my necessities and to them that were with me.”

Again, 1 Thess. 2:9: “For ye remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”

Here were the early missionaries; here is what they say: “This being true, in humble obedience to the heavenly commission, the apostles began their holy work at Jerusalem and distributed themselves throughout all the provinces of the Roman empire, which, on account of its extent, was called the world, both by sacred and profane writers. Some traveled to Rome, to Gaul, to Spain, and to the islands of Britain. Others pursued their route to Egypt, and preached in all the cities on the north of Africa as far as Carthage. Paul and Barnabas, with their colleagues, extended their labors to all the cities and islands of Greece, and to the Grecian colonies of Asia. Some penetrated among the Scythians and other barbarians of the North. In almost every city these preachers had some fruit, and evangelical men were raised up in all the Churches, who imitated the apostles in their life and ministry. The gospel preached by the apostles made such rapid progress that it attracted the wonder and admiration of the ancient fathers.”

Eusebius says: The gospel, like the sun, enlightened the world at once. Great multitudes of people were brought into the Church, both in cities and villages by the ministry of the apostles, like corn stored up in a granary. One Celsus maliciously objected to the novelty of Christianity; Origen replied: “Here is the mystery: that a new doctrine in so short a time should so surprisingly prevail over all the world, over the Greeks and the barbarians, over the learned and the illiterate, over every order and profession, and persuaded them with so firm a belief of its divine authority that they are ready to seal their faith with their blood.”

Clemens Alexandrinus said: “The philosophers pleased the Greeks only, nor did every one please all. Plato followed Socrates; Theophrastus, Aristotle, Cleanthus, Zeno, every master had his own school and his own scholars, but our great Master’s philosophy was not confined to Egypt as theirs is to Greece. It diffused its luster over the world at large. It was embraced by whole cities and nations, and no man can resist its force who will leisurely contemplate its wisdom.

Philosophers themselves have been captivated by its charms. If the Grecian philosophy were suppressed at any place by the magistrates, it presently disappeared. On the contrary, our religion has been persecuted by kings, by emperors, by governors; generals, and by the populace, who were more ferocious than all the others. They have combined the whole of their power and ingenious malice to exterminate Christianity, and yet it flourishes the more, and does not droop and die, as it certainly must have done had it been of mere human invention.”

Arnobius, in his Defense of Christianity, says: “You should not, I think, be a little surprised to see this despised name everywhere prevail, and in so short a time. There is no nation in the empire, however barbarous and uncivilized, whose manners have not been softened and improved by this philanthropic institution; and what is yet more surprising, it has subdued the brightest geniuses; orators, critics, lawyers, physicians, and philosophers have yielded to its force. Its disciples are so sincere and pious in their profession as to forego the enjoyments of life, and life itself, rather than renounce the cross. Hence, notwithstanding all your edicts and precautions, all your menaces and massacres, all your hangmen and ingenious tortures, they not only become more numerous but more vigorous in their resolutions. Can you suppose all this is brought about by chance? That men will die for a religion, of whose divine authority they are not assured, or that there is a general conspiracy of fools and madmen who mean to throw away their lives for a phantom?”

Now, I say all this was done without a solitary thought of the Foreign Mission Society. I want Brother Yates to tell us the name of the Foreign Mission Society that Brother Paul belonged to. I want to know whether it was the American Board of Missions, the American Baptist Union, or what it was? I want to know what society he belonged to. He must belong to some Foreign Mission society, or else he was not a foreign missionary of the type of the present time; and yet the gospel spread, as we have already shown you in the language of several witnesses who were acquainted with this matter. I say all this was done without any foreign mission board. There was no such thing as an organization of a board anywhere at that time for the propagation of the gospel. Whenever the apostles started, they started at the command of Jesus Christ. And that is not all. I will now give you a witness, who is a modern missionary by the way, on the subject of “Paul as a Missionary.” That is the heading he gives his article. It is as follows:

“Paul, who was a man of ability, faith, consecration, and energy, was the great missionary of Christ to the Gentiles. He commenced, comparatively speaking, on a small scale and ended with great results. He was mighty in word and abundant in labors. He traveled much, visited many cities, preached often, endured trials, and persevered manfully. He had nothing specially to encourage him in his work but the presence of God and the guidance of the Spirit.” That is enough for any minister. “He broke ground and did pioneer work. He had no advance guard to open the way and prepare the field. He had no newspaper or telegraph agency to herald his coming, no Christian constituency to give him a cheering welcome, no structure erected in the form of a grand tabernacle or magnificent church edifice to accommodate the multitudes that might assemble to hear him, no wealthy missionary organization at his back to encourage and support him. No; none of these. All he had was the Lord’s commission and the Lord’s promise of help and direction. He went at the call of the Lord, in the name and strength of his Master, to encompass the great missionary field, and to proclaim Jesus and the resurrection to those in sin and error. Many heard the word and believed. The work extended, believers were multiplied, Churches were established, heathenism quailed, and the Cross triumphed. The world was improved by the life and labors of Paul, and the blessed results of his mission have been the means of blessing thousands through the centuries past, and will doubtless continue to do so to those who shall live in the ages to come.”—From the Journal and Messenger, a paper published by the Missionary Baptists, at Cincinnati, Ohio, October 1, 1877.

That is missionary testimony of what Paul was. He was a missionary, so it says. I believe he was. And this man is careful to say that he had nothing only God’s commission, and God’s promise, and the guidance of the Spirit, and was not backed up by a wealthy missionary organization to support him.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 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.