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Home arrow Historical Documents arrow Church and Association Histories arrow Mt. Enon Association -- Part 3
Mt. Enon Association -- Part 3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Montgomery/Wiggens   

 The Absoluters Strike Back

To the faithful in Christ Jesus and all to, whom it may concern:

Dearly beloved brethren, with much weakness, and by request of my brethren, I write you this letter in regard to the trials, troubles and many sore conflicts that we have passed through in the last few years. We have been through much warring, fighting and division, but thank the Lord there is a remnant yet left in old Mt. Enon Association that is standing firm in the doctrine of God, our Saviour, earnestly contending for the Faith once delivered to the Saints.

Now, my dear brethren, I can't go back and take up all the fiery accusations and railings that was brought against the doctrine at the Mt. Enon church, however, in the year of 1902 Elder M. L. Gilbert was called to the pastoral care of our church. He came in preaching the doctrine of God's unlimited predestination of all things according to the letter, then conditionalism rose up against the doctrine like wild fire and as Mt. Enon church was more than half conditionalist, we had fiery accusations, railing, and opposition in almost everything done in conference the greater part of that year.

As Elder Gilbert failed to abide in the doctrine that he preached, he made no defense for it, and before his time was out he had gained the friendship of the conditional faction of the church, so he was called again for the next year, 1903.

At this time, much railing and accusation was brought against Elder Peter Brown by Elder Wilkerson, Elder Moses Lightsey, and the conditional faction of the churches in the Southern part of the Mt. Enon Association. They accused him of preaching a two seed doctrine and heresy, and I am satisfied that they did not know what either meant.

They found out that the doctrine which Elder Brown was preaching was the doctrine of God's absolute predestination of all things, whatsoever came to pass. Now they thought that they had met, the doctrine of the Devil, so Elders M. Walker, J. H. Kirkland, Wilkerson and Lightsey, and T. J. McMullen began to fight the doctrine of absolute predestination.

Now I am going back and take up Elder Gilbert's term at Mt. Enon for the year of 1903. We find before the year was out, he had sugar-coated his doctrine so heavy that he had gained the influence of Elder E. J. Devane who was the leader of conditionalism, and through Elder Devane's influence over Elder Whildon he held the conditional faction of Mt. Enon church in check very well for the year, at the same time fighting was going on against Elder Peter Brown and J. W. Futch in the Southern part of our Association.

In 1904, Elder J. W. Futch was called back to the care of Mt. Enon church. He came preaching the doctrine of predestination with more firmness than ever before, finding the church so badly divided, part being conditionalists and part standing with the compromiser, Elder M. L. Gilbert. We had much confusion the greater part of the year. The fight now had turned upon Elder J. W. Futch and Peter Brown for preaching the doctrine of absolute predestination.

Elder Gilbert had four or five churches in the northern part of our Association under his own control. He was their discipline and whatever he said must be done. Now we could see him leaning toward the conditionalist more and more.

In the latter part of this year, 1904, it pleased God to send Elder D. Bartley of Lebanon, Ohio to this country, who remained with us until the spring of 1905. I think that Elder D. Bartley was known by all predestination Baptists to be a strong believer in the doctrine of God's unlimited predestination. He was blessed of the Lord all through his stay with us to ably set forth the doctrine in its pure light, in so much that the conditionalists kept very quiet. The compromiser seemingly endorsed the doctrine but it only put him on the fence. They both seemed to be very uneasy all through Elder Bartley's stay with us. They could all see that the predestinarian brethren were heartly endorsing Elder Bartley. They saw that our preachers were preaching the doctrine with more boldness than ever before and that the brethren were contending for the Faith with more firmness. They saw that Elder Bartley's visit among us had built us up more and more in the faith and had given us more courage to stand firm in the doctrine of God our Saviour.

While Elder Bartley was here, he was at our meeting at Mt. Enon for 1905. He took the vote of the church and Elder J. W. Futch was chosen for that year. Elder Bartley saw that the church was about equally divided and spoke of it. He went through the churches of our association enough to know that the association was more than equally divided.

He endorsed our position and encouraged us to stand firm in the doctrine of God our Saviour, and earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the Saints. He saw that a division was coming and spoke of it, and said that it was not only coming among us but it was going throughout the entire United States. In the Spring of 1905, he left us. Then the conditional waged war against J. W. Futch and Peter Brown for preaching the doctrine of God's unlimited predestination of all things whatsoever come to pass. The Conditionlist said that it was the doctrine of the devil, and that they wouldn't have it, so they brought up railings and much confusion in the churches. They claimed that Elder Bartley had come down here and changed Elder J. W. Futch over lo preaching absolute predestination-the Brown doctrine--and they would not have it.

In the meantime, 1905, Corinth church preferred charges against Elder Peter Brown for preaching heresy and stopped him from preaching at that church as he was their pastor at that time. Now Elder Futch was the pastor at Bethlehem church, which stood unanimous in the doctrine of predestination. And as Elder Brown's membership was with that church, Corinth presented charges to Bethlehem against Elder Brown for preaching Heresy, unlimited predestination. Whereas, the church at Bethlehem with Elder J. W. Futch endorsed the doctrine that Elder Brown preached, they held him in perfect order and gave Corinth no hearing, but advised them to get right with Elder Brown. So Corinth went back home mad, and as they were led by Elders Daniel Wilkerson and Moses Lightsey, whose memberships were with that church they came together and boldly declared nonfellowship for the doctrine of God's unlimited predestination of all things and all churches that allowed it preached in their stand; and sent letters to the churches to that effect.

Next Installment: "Friday Nite Fites in Florida" 

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