header image
Home arrow Griffin's History arrow Debate on Foreign Missions-Chapter 11
Debate on Foreign Missions-Chapter 11 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Potter/Yates   

CHAPTER XI.

MR. YATES’ SIXTH SPEECH.


MODERATORS, LADIES, AND GENTLEMEN:

We are gathered together, by the good providence of God this morning, to continue the investigation of this grand theme—viz., the principle of the evangelization of the world—and I am still spared and have material to continue the argument for the affirmative. I was requested by my brother to answer a question on last evening. I will read it to you. “Do you believe that in those Foreign Mission fields souls have been regenerated and born of God, and will be saved in heaven, through the instrumentality of the Foreign Mission work?” My answer: If the brother means in this question that those people in the foreign field who were once heathen, but are now saved Christians, would have been saved without God’s ordained agency and the means employed in the divine economy in carrying out the plan of salvation, I say, No.

MR. POTTER: Brother Moderators, that was not the question I put to him at all. In addition to that; were the words, “that would have been lost had not the missionaries gone there.”

MR. YATES: Well, just let it be that way, then.

MODERATORS: Such questions are not relevant to the question at issue, and, should be left out. I think the question before the people has been stated several times. According to the proposition it is, “Is the Foreign Mission work of God or of man?” That is the question boiled down.

MR. YATES: Moderators, I want to ask of you the privilege, as he has asked me the question, to answer it. I know it is not according to the proposition, but my brother has not discussed the proposition. I want to answer it for the good of the people—that is all, if you will allow me.

MR. POTTER: Brother Moderators, here is the question in substance that I put to him: Do you believe those foreign missionaries have been the means of the regeneration and salvation of souls in heathen lands that would have been lost without their missionary labor. That is the question I want answered. I claim that I have a right to ask that question, and want to assign my reasons. The reason I ask this question is this:

He said on Monday evening, at the close of the debate, that the question to settle was as to the meaning of the words blessed and owned of God. He asked me if, when I read the proposition, I did not understand blessed and owned of God to mean that they had been instrumental in the work of regeneration, and I said I did not. In addition to that, he said if I admit that there are any converts in those mission fields, I have given up the proposition. I can admit regeneration there, and not admit of the truth of his proposition, from the fact that I hold that God will save his people from all nations, tongues, kindreds and peoples, and that even if there are persons regenerated and saved in these mission fields, there are none that would not have been saved without the missionaries. That is the reason I put the question. Now it is with the Moderators to say, under the circumstances, whether the question shall be answered in order to get at his meaning of “blessed and owned of God.” I am willing for him to define that, in any way he chooses, but that the question is relevant to the proposition I claim. If he is under no obligation to answer that question after drawing it out, I do not understand the principles of debating.

MR. YATES: If I can be allowed by the Moderators I will answer that question, I will read it: “Do you believe these foreign missionaries have been the means of the regeneration and salvation of souls in heathen lands that would have been lost without their labors?” If the brother means in this question that these people in the foreign field, who were once heathen but are now saved Christians, would have been saved without God’s ordained agency and the means employed in the divine economy for carrying out the divine plan of salvation, I say, No. If he means that God saves some persons who are idolaters, without Christian character, I say, No. I want to give him a few questions, and I want him to write them down. That is fair. You will permit me to do that, I suppose. I want the people to see just what he teaches, and I will put him today just where he will have to do some talking. Write this, my brother, every word: Who is to blame for the condition of the people in heathen lands today who are in darkness religiously—man or God? I want you to be sure and answer that.

MR. POTTER: If the Moderators decide that these questions have any thing to do with the proposition, and if Brother Yates can assign any reasonable reason for asking these questions in respect to the terms of the proposition, he can ask them, and have all day for it. His own remarks relative to the proposition, and his own language as to what he means by “blessed and owned of God,” brought forth my question.

MR. YATES: I answered your question, and I want you to answer mine.

MR. POTTER: Are those questions relative to the debate?

MR. YATES: They are relative to the proposition, yes.

MODERATOR: The point is whether the questions have any thing to do with the discussion.

MR. POTTER: The Moderators must decide that.

MODERATOR: One question has as much to do with the proposition as the other had.

MR. YATES: I want to say that I do not think these questions are directly on the proposition, but I said I would answer his question, and I want him to answer mine.

MODERATOR: I have only this to say in connection with the matter. Yesterday evening Brother Potter took some time in asking his question, and we regarded it as a part of the discussion, as connected with his argument, and we set it down to his account. I think if this is connected with the discussion, and has any thing to do with it, it may go in as part of his speech. The same as the other.

MR. YATES: Here is another question, my brother. These are good things; write them down. If the heathen are in an unfortunate condition, as you claimed in your speech, how can this be consistent with that part of them who are God’s elect from eternity? One more, and we are through. I will give yon one now that will clinch all the rest. If all that are to be saved are elected as individuals from eternity, and not upon principle as a class, why is the impenitent sinner banished to the land of the lost when be is a non-elect? I will give my brother until Saturday evening to get through these questions satisfactorily. Now let me repeat my answers again. He told me to be very careful about the plank I walked on, and I took his advice. That is one thing I have taken his advice on. I will not say that to you; you are older than I am. If you mean in this question that in those foreign missionary fields the souls that are regenerated and born again, and will be saved in heaven through the instrumentality of this Foreign Mission work, who were once heathen and are now saved Christians, would have been saved without the divine economy in carrying out the plan of salvation, I say, No. If you mean that God saves some persons who are idolaters, without Christian character, I say, No.

I want Brother Potter, when he comes to reply, to tell us the meaning of that word elect. That word is from the Latin language, and I will show its meaning clearly. I want him to tell us the real, radical meaning of that word. We are here in discussion, and I demand it of him, when he comes here and uses the word in his proof-text, to tell us the meaning of that word elect.

We will commence on that word. I am prepared to say that the word elect when used in the Bible, always has reference in some way or other to believers—when employed either prophetically as to results or as to individuals—to Christians. That leaves out the babies that he was talking so much about. Now he tells you that in God’s election the idea is those heathen would be saved, whether the Bible was carried to them or not; that the Spirit of God alone does the work. Now we judge the tree by the fruit it bears. I demand of him to show a single country where these fruits are evidenced, or have been evidenced, in the history of nineteen centuries, where the gospel has not been, or where the rays of light gotten from it or from Judaism have not fallen. When I attacked him on the second chapter of Romans, which speaks of these people being saved without the law who do the things that are in the law, he spoke of me as saying they had the gospel. I never said any such thing. I said that if, in all that darkness and corruption from this perverted religion, they lived up to the light they had—I was with Paul on that—they would be saved. This is Bible doctrine. I want to say, I defy my brother to show me a simple passage in this Book, from Genesis to Revelation, which says that God’s Spirit saves alone without the truth—just one. That is the point he has been talking about.

Now I am going to turn to 1 Peter i. i, 2. We will go back to the old Book again. Here comes in his election: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” That is how Jesus Christ comes in. How does the Spirit sanctify? O that plank I am walking on! How does the Spirit sanctify? We will see. John xvii.17:“Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” The Book is against the brother. We are not near through yet. 1 Peter ii. 6—9. This is off the proposition, no doubt, but we will spend a little time on it: “ Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also, they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Now let us spend a little time in explaining that—and I am going to bring the Bible to explain it. It is said in the eighth chapter of Romans, “To be conformed to the image of Christ.” If any man rejects Jesus, the result is he will stumble and fall, and that stone will crush him; and any man that will accept him is conformed to his image. Why are they to blame for the stumbling, if that is not so? I am not going to have the Lord blamed with this, for there is altogether too much laid to God’s charge in this way. But my brother says that I am wrong—that man cannot do any thing in it—but he must take the Book as a whole. I want you to notice one passage which I shall quote from the first chapter of Proverbs. I believe in talking the Book together as a whole. I love this old Book: “Because I have called and ye refused”—what? “refused!” This directly contradicts his doctrine of election, that the Lord, by his sovereign will, selects a part of the human family to eternal salvation, regardless of human agency, or grounds of merit on their part, and the necessary logical conclusion that the non-elect are damned from eternity, without regard to moral agency or evil on their part. I know my opponent stoutly denies teaching the reprobation of the finally lost from eternity; but it is the logical conclusion of his doctrine, and he cannot escape it. If God saves all of his people unconditionally, then all the finally lost are eternally rejected and banished by God unconditionally; and were so rejected from eternity, and therefore damned before they were born. It does not matter how much he denies believing or teaching this doctrine, it is the necessary consequences of his doctrine of election—it forms a prominent part of his theology.

If, as my brother teaches, God, by his sovereign choice, selected a part to eternal salvation out of the human family, who as a whole were equally helpless and unmeritorious, when he could have saved the whole as easily as the part, thereby willfully leaving, by his own choice, the non-elect helpless and lost before they were born—giving their destiny completely into the hands of the devil—it was equivalent to foreordaining their damnation. God does not directly destroy them himself according to my brother’s position. He permits the devil to do it, and therefore is as much to blame as if he did it himself. What a horrible, God-dishonoring and soul-destroying doctrine! Your belief in this doctrine is the basis of your opposition to the Foreign Mission work. But, thanks be to God, it is not the doctrine of God’s Word. The Bible does not teach that the sinner is lost because God rejected him from eternity, but because the sinner willfully and persistently rejects God’s offers of salvation. Listen to the language of the Lord concerning this subject: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded.” What is the result? “But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh”—why was this? “Because ye have set at nought all my counsel”—that is it; and yet my brother tells me that God does what he pleaseth with man, as if he were a stick or an ax—“when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish come upon you. Then shall ye call upon me,”—when the time of probation is ended “but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me”—why? “for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose”—O that is wrong. O no; Brother Potter tells us that people are elected from eternity, and cannot choose. Why, Solomon, you ought not to have put that there. My brother, you ought not to have this in your book. You ought to get it out. What is it? Man’s choice. It is squarely antagonistic to my brother’s position.—” For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.”—That is as strong as I have given it.—“Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.” Why? Because they rejected God. This is a terrible plank for my brother to walk, as he will find before he makes it bridge his doctrine.

Matthew xx. 16: “So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen.” They rejected the message of salvation, and therefore were not chosen. Is that not it? When they accept it they are chosen, my brother—a chosen generation. That puts the Book together for my brother. When he gets a new theology he will be all right. Brother Potter says, in speaking of his brethren, “We never change— no, sir; we have all the Bible in our heads—all that Jesus revealed—we have no errors in our wonderfully wise embodiment.” But we (as advocates of Foreign Missions) claim we are wise in the other way. We claim that we can learn a little. Let us go on to this beautiful proof-text, John i. 29. I hope my opponent’s brethren will not be troubled any more about me not using the Book in this discussion. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the-world!” What! “Taketh away the sin of the elect?” No, “the sin of the world.” John iii. 14—17: “And as. Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so-must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever”’ —Christ says” whosoever,” not the elect alone—“whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” But my brother would say it is the elect. But I am here with him today; he is not preaching now by himself; I am along with him to look after this business. Look at the figure here employed. It was when these people were bitten by the fiery serpents on account of their sins. They called on Moses in their agony, and he prayed to God, who commanded him to lift up the serpent of brass, and whoever looked on it was healed. Moses did not say any thing about only--those being saved whom God had elected. No, sir. But they are elected, my brother says. God fixed that from eternity. Now I will read the 16th and 17th verses of the third chapter of John: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” But my brother said there were good men and women on the Foreign Mission field. O yes, they were converted, but they loved the heathen better than Jesus did. Did you not say that, my brother?

MR. POTTER: No, sir, you did not understand me.

MR. YATES: Honestly, I thought you did.

MR. POTTER: I said, from your talk and the missionaries’ talk, they must love the heathen better than Jesus.

MR. YATES: Well then, Brother Potter says, froth the talk of the missionaries, they must love the heathen better than Jesus did. Yet he says they are good Christian men; if not, then they are outrageous hypocrites; and vet he says they are pretending to be something they are not. In discussing that money question yesterday, if my brother is as well informed as he claims to he—and I do not say that he is not—he should have explained the matter about the missionary getting twelve hundred dollars. He could not live in Japan as cheaply as in America. Those missionaries have to learn the Japanese language, and to pay a considerable sum for teachers, having to study the language so long in order to master it sufficiently to speak and write it correctly and fluently. This must be done before they can attempt to prosecute the mission work—and then they cannot get employment there, and make those little economical turns that laborers for Christ can in this country. He did not tell you of all of those Bibles and papers a missionary has to buy, and that there are helpers to co-operate with him in the work who have to be supported out of the same salary. No, sir, be would not put that in, and yet he is pure, he is honest. I will leave it to you to say how that is. I will now proceed farther with my proof-texts from this third chapter of John, in support of man’s agency in his own salvation. In the 17th verse the Saviour says that “ God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved;” and he says in verses 18-20: “He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation—” what is the condemnation?—“that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” Where is the condemnation here? It is because, as said in the 19th verse, “men loved darkness rather than light; “the light is come into the world, and they rejected it. That is the way Jesus puts it. That brings in your personal responsibility. Now, I will turn over to 1 Timothy ii. 3—7: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and he not,) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” He will have all men saved. Luke xiv. 16—24— in this passage the atonement that Jesus made for the world is represented as a supper: “ Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry “—I want my brother to tell us who that master of the house is—” said to his servant, go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” I want him to say that that is any thing but moral or spiritual force, persuading these poor, wretched beggars that they were not trifled with. The invitation was great and honorable— something far beyond any favor they had ever before enjoyed, beyond even their expectations—yet it was real; the privileges and honors were extended to them. If my opponent should take the position that they were compelled to come, the conclusion of the parable would blot that out, for when the servant reported to his master, who had gotten up the supper, the rejection of the invitation by Pus invited guests, he said (and he represented the Lord): “For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” They rejected it, having had the opportunity to accept according to the invitation. And in connection with this I will read Acts xvii. 3o: “And the times of this ignorance God winked at [overlooked]; but now commandeth all men “—what! all men ?—“everywhere to repent.” This repentance is connected with the doctrine of the judgment. Why have a judgment, if man is not responsible? How can he be accountable? What kind of a principle of equity is this? I will also read the 31st verse: “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Here is another text—Ezekiel iii. 18: “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” What about the heathen, my brother?

I will now turn to Luke xix. 41. Father Hume will not blame me for what I have to say about it and for quoting it. “And when he was come near, he beheld the city and wept over it.” I do not blame Brother Hume for what he said on the subject, because he was in a hard place. He and I are good friends. I also want to read to you Matthew xxiii 37, 38, before quoting from Brother Hume’s debate on the atonement. I will give you both of these texts. I would not put Brother Hume in an unfair place if I could help it.

MR. HUME: Do your best at it, sir.

MODERATOR: Brother Yates it is not fair to make any personal allusions, for Brother Hume is not in the debate. If you want to refer to any of his writings you can do so; but you should not be personal in your remarks.

MR. HUME: It makes no kind of difference to me.

MR. YATES: I only want to refer to his book. We have talked about this many a time. But I was just going to make a quotation, that is all. There is no man in this country I think more of than my Brother Hume He knows that.

Matthew xxiii. 37, 38. I will now quote: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that thou killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a her gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Now let us see. Brother Hume, in his debate with Mr. Stinson on the atonement, on page 170 says: “The meaning of it is that the hen gathers those that are outside under her wing. Consequently it has no reference to the gathering together of the people of God. We learn from it that if the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the land of Judea had submitted to the government that God had ordained over them, by which they were to be governed, then their laws and government would have protected them, shielded them from the oppression of their enemies. “But inasmuch as ye would not, behold your house is left unto you desolate!

MR. HUME: I believe just that, yet.

MR. YATES: You have that privilege. Now, let us see how much that interpretation is worth. He was talking in the temple to the scribes and the Pharisees. They were the two great religious parties of the Jewish people. They were the controlling elements in Jerusalem and in Judea, and they were the men that he would have saved, but they would not. The idea of those chickens being on the outside! This is a beautiful, homely figure—that she gathers them under her wings to protect them from danger, and warn them, and comfort them. Why was the nation destroyed? Because they rejected Christ. Righteousness is a blessing to any people, and Jesus is the heart, the all in all, of righteousness. Luke xix. 41: “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.” Yet my brother claims to say salvation was only for the elect, that it was fixed from all eternity, and that Jesus came to save no one else. Yet Jesus was sorrowful because the others could not be saved, and he wept over them, “Saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace but now they are hid from thine eyes.” “You have had the opportunity, but it is past.”

I have not time to notice all the proof-texts he gave yesterday evening, but I will say to you that every one that he read has the condition of faith in it—every single one. Galatians iii. 16, 17, is one I will notice. “Now to’ Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”—Hence that quotation he gave from Genesis, saying that in Abraham’s seed all nations should be blessed, meant that it was in Christ, who came from his loins.—”And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” He is speaking about the law. The Hebrew ritual, though it was given hundreds of years after Abraham, did not take the place of the promised Messiah of Abraham’s seed. In Christ was treasured the salvation of men, with all its blessings. This salvation of men, Paul taught the Galatians, was in the promised Saviour, and was not transferable to the forms and ceremonies of the Hebrew’ theocracy. These were only types and symbols, that shadowed forth and pointed to the Christ to come—the Savior of man—and that salvation was realized alone by trusting in Christ instead of the law.

Romans iv.3—5: “For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” You can see at once, what this passage means. They were not to trust in the Hebrew ritual for salvation, but in Christ. They were not to presume that their salvation was secured because as a nation they were of the fleshly lineage of Abraham, and therefore children of the covenanted inheritance, with all of its temporal and spiritual blessings. They were not to think that they were elected as Hebrews, individually and nationally, to all the benefits of eternal salvation—that all they had to do was to pay their tithes, and go up to the temple, and engage in the service. O no, says Paul, it is faith in Christ, the Messiah, who is the center and supreme object of all the grand ritual forms of the temple service. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” So much for his proof-texts.

Romans v.9: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Says Brother Potter, That means the heathen, who are absolutely saved by the death of Christ, who have never heard the gospel, or embraced any other form of truth. Stop, my brother. Paul says, in the first verse of this chapter, we are justified by faith, and in Romans iii. 25, “through faith iii his blood.” We are told in the tenth chapter of Romans that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,” and that the Word had to be proclaimed by a sent messenger. So we see the persons the apostle had in mind as justified by the blood of Christ, when he penned Romans v. 9, were those who had accepted Christ through the gospel. The expression “we” in this passage, with the ‘connection, proves this interpretation to be correct. “We”—the writer and those addressed—the Apostle Paul and the Christians at Rome—would be saved from wrath, being justified by the blood of Christ, by accepting Jesus in his life and death, through the gospel message, as their personal Saviour. Therefore this proof-text does not teach what my opponent would have you believe—that all who will be saved were absolutely saved by the death of Christ alone—that all the heathen world that were purchased by Christ’s death will’ be saved whether they ever hear the gospel or embrace any form of truth or not. Thus we see there is no reference whatever to the heathen world in this Scripture, in the sense in which he employed it.

Brother Potter said yesterday evening, after quoting and commenting upon Rev. vii. 9—14, “There is where we get the proof-text that the heathen are all to be saved in heaven without the gospel!” Let us examine this Scripture, and see how much heathen salvation by absolute election from eternity, without a knowledge of the gospel, or some portion of truth, there is in it: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.” All nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues—that is the result exactly, my friends, of the Foreign Mission work. These “stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” They were-saved by the sacrificial offering of Christ, through the gospel. Do you not see? “And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, Amen: Blessing and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me”—here come the heathen, Brother Potter—What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation.” Now my brother knows that word is from the Latin word tribulum. The threshing machine that threshed out the wheat in those days was called in the Latin tongue a tribulum, and as the word tribulation was suggested by the work performed by this instrument, it has reference, as here employed, to the great trials, sorrows, and struggles this company of the saved passed through, for the Christian faith. They were a company of Christian martyrs.

Perhaps some of the very men about whom we have been talking—scores of whom sacrificed their lives in their efforts to propagate the gospel for Christ’s sake and the salvation of souls—will be in that great company. Some such martyrs have gone from that mission work in the land of Germany, the work you have spoken so disparagingly of, where Christian men, because of their loyalty to the Word of God and their consecrated and earnest efforts to disseminate gospel truth, even since our recent war, have been buried alive in the bogs. All these great numbers that have gone out to aid in advancing and propagating the gospel will be among those that have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb—“therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” I want to call your attention to Matthew xxv. 31—34, for I want to make the people understand it: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” Who made those goats? Did they make themselves by rejecting the Lord? or did the Lord make them? They were not elected, were they? It is a nice thing to be a sheep, but you cannot help yourself if you are not. “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” What is the kingdom? It is the reign of God in man’s inner nature. Jesus prayed: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” The same law that runs through heaven runs through the universe, and therefore through earth. This universe is a unity. Man is created in the image of God. He is the figure of I-Jim that was to come. The first Adam was the figure, and the second Adam (the Lord Jesus) the grand antitype. The first Adam represents the human race. Why did the Lord ask man to do a thing he could not do, my brother? What a God you have! Man’s nature has to be tested, in order to reveal or develop character. Why will you not confide in a man until you have tried him? You want to see first whether he is worthy of your confidence. God’s test is to develop man as well as to reveal a godlike character. This test consists in enjoined conformity to the life of Christ as a model of character. What was Christ’s mission in the world? To unveil God. Sin was already known, but Christ came to reveal its heinousness more fully, and to unveil to all the perfections of God that man might see God in this blessed gospel as revealed in Christ Jesus, and be won to him and reconciled to him. As the tree grows after a model, so man’s character is to be molded and developed after the divine model as given in Christ. The law of sacrifice with which Christ complied runs through the universe, and man, does not amount to any thing as a man unless he complies with it in his sphere. But you said Christ’s mission to earth was to reveal God’s love also. Yes, that is true. Jesus, in the greatness of his nature, could take mankind in his heart as a mother takes her child. Christ’s compassionate feelings were equal to his knowledge, while suffering as a sacrifice for sin on the cross. He could really take upon his heart the sorrows and anguish of the human family caused by sin and from sin in every age of time, and also the loneliness, horror, and woe of the banished in the land of the lost throughout eternity. It was these sufferings that forced him to cry out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In this offering he unveiled the heinousness of sin, God’s resentment to sin, and the terrible requirements of equity in connection with it, and also God’s great love for a lost world and his infinite anxiety to save it. This love was so great that “he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever behieveth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Blessed gospel! and precious Christ! I will never dishonor thee by throwing the blame upon thee of any man’s eternally disgraceful and calamitous destiny. But what about those that go to hell? Give me Universalism, my brother, rather than that doctrine which sends men to hell without their agency—by God’s sovereign choice. As my brother said, it is possible for one to be in error and yet be a Christian; but our errors may destroy others. And to my mind this doctrine of men sitting still and waiting for God to come in some mysterious way not revealed in the gospel to save them, without any effort on their part to seek the Lord, is a soul-destroying doctrine.

I want to notice briefly what he said in regard to the human will. We are told by my worthy opponent that man has the use of his will in natural thinks in this world, but not in spiritual things. I want my brother to tell me what the will is, if he pleases. In natural things is where the value of religion comes in. If we live here amid the walks of men as God would have us, we will die right. There will he no trouble about that. There is not a relation we sustain in which these principles of equity do not operate. Our nature is tested and tried’ in every relation of life. God extends to us the offer of salvation, and we have the power to accept or reject it. God gives me the sunlight, and he gives rue eyes, but I have to use the eyes. God does not see for me. God gives me ears and the atmosphere adapted to them, but he does not hear for me. If my eyes were out God might give me sunlight, but it would be of no use—I could not see. If my ears were deaf I could not hear, though all the other conditions were present. So it is in regard to man’s salvation. God may extend to man salvation in all its provisions, but if man does not open his heart to receive it, it is of no avail. God does not believe for him. Now, you remember the brother said here he wanted me to affirm “the measures and means” of the Foreign Mission work, and I would not do it. Let me read you what he wanted me to affirm, and he has debated that all the time, and not the proposition of the challenge he accepted. He and I have gotten along very pleasantly— just a little misunderstanding this morning. I have nothing against him, but I want to stand tip for the truth. He wanted the debate to be on this question:

“Resolved, That the mission work as it is, and all the means and measures used in its support for evangelizing the world, are authorized in the Scriptures.”

He has been arguing that all the time, but he has not met one argument I have made on the real proposition under discussion. I have driven him from every argument he has used—from Guthrie’s Geography and from Nimrod as the founder of Egypt. I drove him from Cecrops as the founder of Grecian civilization. I drove him from his position in regard to the apostles carrying the gospel into England; and when he made that wonderful quotation from Jones, I offered to expose that author as a rascal, and he has never touched Jones since. Jones perverted the translation of the old books, and Brother Potter knows I know it. Besides that, in regard to what he was quoting from Jones, claiming as Baptists all that worked without salaries to support them, I want to say they were of that ecclesiastical body from which Brother Potter claims the Catholics sprung. And yet he said my disproving his assertions in all these matters did not amount to any thing—that it does not prove that Mission Boards were organized in the days of the apostles. It did prove that his information is so limited you cannot trust his statements in regard to the facts of Church history. Let me go farther. I showed you the other day that the primitive Church was a mission society. I showed you that the board was only established, like your committees, to be operated through the Church, just as my brother’s Church does through its business committees. I showed that Paul and Barnabas were sent out like our laborers in the foreign fields, and in this I proved the perfect identity of the mission work with the gospel. He said yesterday evening that we are not authorized to proclaim the gospel as a means of salvation. In Acts xxvi, Paul was sent to help the people by the foolishness of preaching, “to open the eyes of the blind.” My brother said he did not say Paul preached in Arabia, when I caught him on that; but that he went there on a missionary tour. What did he do when he was on his mission tour, as you said he was? Write that down. You were in a hard place, and could not get out. Now I want to give you a little question on the community of goods. You are in favor of going with the apostles and employing just the means and methods and pursuing the exact course they did in the work. If not, your line is broken on the apostolic succession. When I spoke about the apostolic succession he said I wanted to fight him on the Church. He says he never challenges anybody at all. No, sir, he does not do that; but he stands up in his sermons and says, “This is the Bible, we take the Bible.” That is it. That is a challenge; yes, sir, you thereby simply say that you are right and everybody else is wrong. I have nothing to take back in this matter. What I am doing is for the truth—that is all. I did not decide to debate with you on the challenge that was sent you in regard to the Regular Baptist Church being the true and only Church authorized in the Bible; but some of the ministerial brethren talked to me about it, and as I have nothing to keep back, I said if it was the decision of the ministers in this place I would do it. That is the way it was.

Now, let us take this fourth chapter of Acts, verses 31—33, and also verses 34, 35: “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitudes of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” They laid it all down for the Lord then. “O those ministers waiting for the money! Paul went right away to Arabia on a missionary journey, and he did not wait.” My brother, get your proof text; get that, will you not? Can you tell me how long Barnabas and Paul waited before they were sent out? Paul was supported by wages. But you do not teach that. However, you said he was a pastor of a church. That is what you said—“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” Pretty good missionary spirit, my brother. Thus we see that these primitive Christians, being filled with the Holy Spirit and completely under the divine guidance, contributed of their means in accordance with the needs of the Church and the demands of the work in hand. This is the very principle of the Foreign Mission work itself. But in accordance with the literal interpretation of the gospel work of the New Testament by my worthy opponent, this would force the Christian Church of today to employ the same measures and means, and would also force them to practice this doctrine of the community of goods. Now, for my worthy opponent and his brethren to be consistent in the reasons they give for their opposition to the Foreign Mission work—viz., the modern measures and means employed in the propagation of this work—they must follow the example of the primitive Christians, and sell all their possessions, and place the proceeds in a common Church fund for the general interest of the Regular Baptist Church.

Now, I want to make this point. I never claimed that Mission Boards were further back than 1556, but I proved that. And what of that? I demanded of my brother to show where his Church was organized. I did this simply to prove the fact that the missionary societies, and missionary boards, and this wonderful missionary enterprise are organizations and means employed in accordance with the Divine plan, as evidenced in the past history of Christianity. For neither Christ nor his apostles gave any fixed form of Church organization, or prescribed any special methods and measures of operation for the Church in its work in evangelizing the world. The Church was left under the guidance of the. Holy Spirit and the indications of Divine providence to assume such organizations and employ such measures and means in the gospel work as would be best adapted to the circumstances of the time in which the work should be performed. This is just what the Church is doing today iii the measures and means it employs in the Foreign Mission work. God’s ordained plan in the old dispensation was to tax the Hebrew people one-tenth of their living for the support of the Church in carrying on its work; and while the tithe system is done away with in the gospel dispensation, the apostle teaches us that the gospel plan is to lay up our contributions on the first day of the week for the work of evangelization, or the general mission work, as the Lord has prospered us. Does your Church, my brother, comply with the gospel plan? Do your people lay up means on the first day of the week for the general mission work, as the Lord prospers them? Have you even one mission station on the foreign field? What colleges have you, as a Church, ever built? You said you were in favor of colleges. And I want you to tell me of a single publication society you have. Into what language have you ever translated the Bible? I will here rehearse the line of argument I have given in support of the proposition: “That Foreign Missions are authorized in the Scriptures and blessed and owned of God.”

I have shown the perfect identity between the Foreign Mission work of today and the gospel work of the New Testament, in the great object designed to be accomplished, in the end to be subserved, and in the principles and motive-power which actuate it. This identity is seen also in the great spiritual agency  which begets, energizes, and guides the Foreign Mission work, and in the method of selecting and sending forth laborers into the foreign fields. Through these great principles, and the aid of the Divine Spirit, the Foreign Mission work has extended evangelization over nearly every portion of the world. I will now advance my affirmative line by adducing another argument in support of the proposition—viz., the blessings of Protestantism itself. For Protestantism, with all of its institutions and enterprises, is the growth of the missionary spirit; hence, if the missionary work is not blessed and owned of God, Protestantism is not blessed and owned of God.

 

< Previous   Next >

Purpose

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.