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Home arrow Historical Documents arrow Church and Association Histories arrow Mt. Enon Association -- Part 4
Mt. Enon Association -- Part 4 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Montgomery/Wiggens   


Things are really getting hot within the old Mt. Enon, as you shall see by reading this installment. Deacon Wiggins spends a lot of time “throwing off” on Elders J. H. Fisher, E. J. DeVane, M. L. Gilbert and others. These men are still fondly remembered and venerated to this day. (though it depends on whose side you’re on)

It is a sad affair but one we must study in the hope of avoiding the same mistakes. I do appreciate the stand made by Elders DeVane, Gilbert, Fisher, et al, but of course, I am just a “conditionalist.” I can’t help it!
DM

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Now, dear brethren, you see that a bar of fellowship was set up directly against the doctrine of God our Saviour, while we, the old predestinarians, paid no attention to this more than to advise them to get right by taking down the bar of fellowship. Now Elder M. L. Gilbert the compromiser had plenty to do as the time was drawing near for the association to meet with Hopewell church in the year of 1905. The Conditionalists were busy organizing in order to get in a full delegation to be sure to get their Moderator. But the Lord of Heaven had it already fixed. And when the Association met Elder C. T. Simmons was chosen moderator. So the Association held Corinth church out of order and admonished them to go back and get right with Elder Brown and take down the bar of fellowship against the Doctrine.

They went back and wrote a kind of an acknowledgement and sent it to all the churches, however, in their acknowledgement they gave us to understand that they would not accept the doctrine of unlimited predestination. So we paid no attention to their acknowledgement as they still held charges against Elder Peter Brown for preaching the doctrine of unlimited predestination of all things.

As the conditional faction of the Association endorsed Corinth church, and the time for our call meetings was drawing near, the conditionalists were very busy collecting all their forces together in order to fill the churches with the conditional pastors for the year of 1906. Elder E. J. De Vane was called to the care of Mt. Enon, and Daniel Wilkerson was called to the care of Salem. Now there was great rejoicing over their victory, for they were satisfied that they had a majority throughout the entire association for Elders M. Walker, J. M. Kirkland and T. J. McMullen held their church all most unanimously against the doctrine of God's absolute predestination and knowing that Elder M. L. Gilbert, the compromiser, and his five churches would go with them if division was made. So they did not care how soon it would take place.

Corinth had never taken down the bar she had set up against the doctrine. So when Elder Wilkerson took charge of Salem church, Elder C. T. Simmons asked him not to bring up any trouble in that church on the doctrine, as his membership was there.

Elder Wilkerson knew that Elder Simmons was a strong believer in the doctrine of unlimited predestination, so he promised Elder Simmons that he would not bring up any trouble in Salem church. It was not long before Elder Nance who was in order with us at that time and Elder Brown made an appointment to preach at Salem. Now Elder Wilkerson with the conditional faction of the church came together, unbeknowing to Elder Simmons and the other predestinarians, and agreed among themselves not to allow the doctrine of unlimited predestination preached in their stand. When the time for Elders Nance and Brown to meet with Salem church, by some reason Elder Brown failed to go, but Elder Nance met and after he got there, Mr. Ward, the Deacon of the church, took Elder Nonce aside and informed him that the church had agreed not to allow the doe-trine of unlimited predestination to be preached in their stand. However, if he would leave off the doctrine of unlimited predestination he could preach. So Elder Nonce told him that if he could not preach what he believed that he would not preach anything, and left them.

So when the predestinarians found out what the conditionalists had done it brought division with Salem church directly on the doctrine. As the Conditionalists were in the majority, they held the house, and turned Elder Simmons and the other predestinarians out of doors.

Dear brethren, you see that this makes the second time that the conditionalists set up bars against the doctrine. Now' Elder Gilbert, the compromiser, saw that without a change division would go throughout the entire association. So he goes to work through DeVane's influence to get Elder Wilkerson's and Corinth's church to take down the bar and get right with Salem church and the rest of the churches in order to save division.

Corinth church now wrote a kind of an acknowledgement, which read something like this: "Seeing that we acted too hastily, we take down the bars and hope you will forgive us.”

They said nothing about the doctrine and sent this acknowledgement to the churches with messengers, yet holding charges against Elder Peter Brown for preaching unlimited predestination.

Mt. Enon, being the oldest church in the association, the conditionalists wanted to hold it for the sake of the old name, so it was the first church to receive the acknowledgement from Corinth.

When the letter was read in conference, some one asked the question, "Can we receive a letter of acknowledgement from Corinth when she is in disorder at home." She had never made satisfaction with Elder Brown for preaching unlimited predestination and is holding charges against him until this day. Elder DeVane, our Moderator, said that their home trouble was nothing to us and there was nothing in our way to keep us from receiving their acknowledgement.

Now another question was asked, "Can we receive that letter of acknowledgement when Corinth church stands divided on the doctrine at Salem church?" Then Eider Lightsey, one of the Messengers from Corinth said: "We have a letter of acknowledgement written just like that one to offer Salem church at their next conference." So the conditionalists said that is sufficient, and forced the adoption of the letter upon the Mt. Enon church. Elder C. T. Simmons was with us and saw what was done.

As the next Saturday was their conference at Salem, Elder Simmons and the Predestinarian brethren met to hear the acknowledgement from Corinth. So when conference met Elder Simmons asked Elder Wilkerson if the church wanted them to come in and hear the acknowledgement that he and Corinth had to offer them. He said to Elder Simmons, "You are not the church." "You are in disorder," "We have no acknowledgement to offer you." They read the letter of acknowledgement from Corinth to their own disorderly faction and adopted it, claiming to be Salem church. So you see, dear brethren, that they haven't taken down the bar of fellowship, neither have they made reconciliation with Elder Brown for preaching God's unlimited predestination.

The next Saturday was the time for Bethlehem church to meet in conference, so Corinth church sent her acknowledgment to Bethlehem and the church told them that they could not accept any acknowledgment from them until they took down, the bars of fellowship and got right with Elder Brown.

Corinth went back railing against the Moderator Elder J. W. Futch and Bethlehem church. The news was soon spread all through the land of conditionalists and there was much railing and confusion among the conditional faction of our association. Now they expected division to take place at Mt. Enon on the next conference as they knew that they had forced the adoption of Corinth's letter of acknowledgment upon the church through deception, for instead of making an acknowledgment to Salem church they made it to their own disorderly faction and they knew that the predestinarian brethren of Mt. Enon would endorse the predestinarian brethren of Salem and also Bethlehem, in refusing to hear them.

Now the conditional faction went to work with all their forces to meet the division at Mt. Enon. Elder M. L. Gilbert, the compromiser, came to see how everything was going to work. He appeared to indorse the predestinarians; conference convened and Brother Wiggins moved that the church should rescind the act of receiving the letter of acknowledgment from Corinth church by declaring non-fellowship for Corinth and her disorder. The move met with a second. Now the conditional faction rose in opposition to the move, for they were determined to force division upon us on the doctrine.

Seeing what they wanted, another move was made and seconded; to add that the church also declare non-fellowship against the doctrine of Conditional Time Salvation. Then a Conditional member made a move to add God's unlimited predestination. This met with a second by a conditional member.

When the motion was put before the body, it read like this: "Moved and seconded that the church rescind the act of receiving the letter of acknowledgment from Corinth church by declaring non-fellowship for her and her disorder, and for the doctrine of Conditional Time Salvation and all that do not believe in the doctrine of God's Unlimited Predestination." The motion read just like the Conditionalists wanted it and when the vote was taken, to the surprise of all, old Mt. Enon church, the predestinarians had gained it by one or two majority.

Elder DeVane, the Moderator and chief leader of the conditionalists says: "Brethren, I am in the minority, I give up my seat and you can get you another Moderator." The clerk pro-tern being a conditionalist laid down the book and all walked out. So Elder J. W. Futch was chosen to be Moderator and Elder Gilbert who was sitting with us and seemingly indorsed our position, the church asked him to finish the minutes which he did and he wrote it down according to the dictates of his own mind, stating that the church had earnestly contended for the Faith once delivered to the Saints and came out in the majority; so the conference adjourned in order.

Before our next conference Elder M. L. Gilbert, the compromiser, had fallen off the fence on the conditional side and wrote us a letter stating that all the proceedings of our last conference was muddled up and disorderly. So he was asked to meet with us in conference and show us by the scripture wherein we had erred, and he failed to do so but wrote us another letter saying that he had no fellowship for our 'cut throat discipline.'' So he joined Elder DeVane and the conditionals to fight the church of God our Savior.

The conditionalists planned every way to get possession of our church house, but failed. They wanted to hold the house for the sake of the name, as the association is known as Mt. Enon.

They saw only one more chance to defeat the old predestinarians and that was at the association which was to convene with Orange church in the year of 1906. By this time Elder M. L. Gilbert had got his five little churches to believing that they had better have a millstone hung to their neck and cast into the depths of the sea, than to cut off God's little babes because they can't see and believe like we do, so they were ready to fall with the compromiser, with some exceptions.

No matter where he fell he kept them blinded as to his position. He made them believe that he was fighting cut throat discipline and not the doctrine. So he carried them over into conditionalism and joined Elder E. J. DeVane and his conditional faction and went to preparing to defeat the church of Christ at the association.

M. L. Gilbert, the compromisers, wrote letters to the leading compromisers of the different states. He wrote to J. H. Fisher, of Texas, to be at our association if he possibly could, that Elder Fred W. Keen, of Maine, and Morgan Brown, of Ga. would be there. There was also B. Lovet of G., Trent of Va., J. Ellis Blanton, Sampedro associations and R. Groover, of Suwanee association of Middle Fla. some of these Elders were conditional preachers, however, most of them were compromisers.

They all seemed to know just what they came down to do, as they were well informed by Elder M. L. Gilbert and DeVane, however, they were just as ignorant and blind as those wicked Jews that crucified our Lord Jesus Christ. They did not know that they were fighting against God Himself and trying to destroy the church of Christ, which is impossible for he says: "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." They did not know that God Himself had brought them down here to reveal them to the church with the rest of those evil workers of Satan, They did not know that the God of Heaven had called one of his true servants down here from Kentucky, Eider C. K. Haines, to witness the order of the church and to testify to their condemnation.

On Friday morning, the day that our association was to meet the delegates from the different churches gathered to the railroad at different stations bound for the association, but whom did they meet? It was a stranger from Kentucky by the name of Elder C. K. Haines. He was like unto Paul, he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and we soon found out that he was a strong believer in the doctrine of God's unlimited predestination, however, we did not know just what stand he would take should we meet with division.

It was only a short time before we arrived and found Eider M. L. Gilbert and all his compromising powers, and E. J. De-Vane with his conditional forces well organized, who met us with a deceitful smile which seemed to say: "Oh yes, you have got to compromise or be dropped from the association." But God works and none can hinder. As it was getting late in the day, we had no time to give or receive instructions but walked right into the house and Eider C. K. Haines went with us and took a seat back among the old numbers.

I am satisfied that the compromisers did not know that there was such a man in the house, however, Morgan Brown happened to spy him and went over and spoke to him.

The house called to order by C. T. Simmons, the Moderator, who made a proposition like this: "As the churches have had so much trouble and confusion in regard to the doctrine, I propose that we read the Old London Confession of Faith and hold the association on its principles." Part of the Old London Confession of Faith was read and a move was made that we hold the association on the principles of the Old London Confession of Faith, which was seconded. When the motion was put before the body seven churches voted it. Then the Moderator asked if he should call for the negative and no one spoke. So it was carried by seven churches without opposition. -The conditionalists and the compromisers were afraid to vote either for or against it. They sat silently and looked as if they did know what had happened.

Now they saw that the Lord our God had delivered the churches out of their hands, so they became very excited. Elder Gilbert said that we could not hold the association in that house, for he was the pastor of that church and he objected. Bro. Lancaster spoke and said to Elder Gilbert that it was not with him to say whether or not the association could be held in that house, as he was only a servant of the church and the power belonged to the messengers of the churches.

The house was called to order and J. H. Fisher was appointed by the request of Elder Gilbert to preach the introductory sermon. After preaching, the messengers reassembled in the house to proceed to business, then Elder J. H. Fisher asked leave to make a proposition. He met opposition but through much pleading by Elders Fred W. Keen for Elder Fisher to be that all come together in peace and love and hold the association, as there were a great many there from homes far away and it would be more pleasant for them and all the rest to come together in peace and hold the association.

Elder Gilbert said "As there are two churches that are represented by two sets of messengers that they could be left out and the rest can hold the association in order." Then some one proposed that we make no changes but let us come together and hold the association upon the principles of the Old London Confession of Faith, and that the Moderator call the house to order and proceed to business. This met with a sanction, so Elder C. T. Simmons, the former Moderator, called for all orderly letters.

The Deacon of Orange church being one of the messengers arose and informed the association it could not convene in their house. The Moderator says, "When we are ordered out it is time to go," and started out. Eider Gilbert jumped and moved to adjourn sine die, seconded by Elder E. J. DeVane. We walked on out and Elder C. K. Haines who had been sitting in the house seeing and hearing all, but had not spoken a word, walked out with us and we held the association under the arbor.

Elder C. K. Haines remained with us and was blest of the Lord to ably preach the doctrine and set it forth in its pure light with much comfort and edification to the brethren.

While the association was in session Elder M. L. Gilbert and all his compromising forces held a three days meeting in the house with the conditional faction. None of them came about us except Fred W. Keen who condemned the Faith and practice.

Where do we see the compromiser today? Standing in full fellowship with conditionalists and shaking hands with the Missionaries, Methodists and the other churches, calling them brethren and seeking after the friendship of the world. Let us remember that "he who is a friend to the world is an enemy to God" and "he that abideth not in the doctrine of Jesus Christ hath not God." They are persecutors of the church of Christ and abhor the truth and despise those who worship God in spirit and truth, having no confidence in the flesh. So "let them be accursed, and invited them not into your house, neither bid them God speed."

Dear brethren, when you hear a man preach the doctrine of God's unlimited predestination and then will say that he does not believe in division, you may know that he is ready to compromise the truth of God for gain and has denied the doctrine. Division was in God's predestination before time. It has been proven to be so from Cain and Abel all through the past ages, r prophets met with division, even when Christ came into the world he brought division. The apostles had division and time shall end with division, then let us be kept separate and unspotted from the world. Dear brethren I do not feel that we are warring the flesh, as Paul says "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Casting down imaginations and every high thing exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience."

If we abide in the doctrine, we will have nothing to fear for "he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ Jesus, hath both the father and the son." Our God is a mighty warrior who has ever led his people through much warring and fighting and has always delivered the church with a remnant. When he goes to battle He rejects all the weak-kneed and faint-hearted and a coward He will not have. But He makes choice of the few that are brave enough to stand each one in his place and sound the trumpet and let their lamps shine in the enemies' face. God makes them destroy themselves and that is why the compromisers call us "Cut Throats" today. God has made them cut their own throats with their carnal weapons and as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge God has given them over to a reprobate mind to do these things which are not convenient.

The compromisers are now going about speaking evil of the church of Christ our Lord, and writing letters misrepresenting the church of the living God which they are sending far and near. Now dear brethren turn away from such and keep no company with them for they were before of old ordained to the condemnation.

Dear brethren, I feel that the Lord has purged his floor and found out all the chaff throughout old Mt. Enon association which refines it to only seven little churches and three orderly preachers who are J. W. Futch, Peter Brown and Wm. Webb. Yet we are not discouraged for the promise is to the remnant. We do not know where else to go, for the doctrine of God's unlimited predestination is the only doctrine under heaven that gives God all the honor, power, glory and praise.

Old Mt. Enon association will convene on Friday before the second Sunday in November 1909 which will be her 38th annual meeting while conditional Mt. Enon will beet its third time.

We expect Elder C. K. Haines to be with us again at our association and we are glad to have all such Baptists to come to see us. In order that you may not be misled, I will say further that there is a conditional church as well as an association that claims the name of Mt. Enon in this country which originated in the year of 1907. Elders M. L. Gilbert, J. H. Fisher, J. Ellis Blanton all stand in full fellowship with them where all compromisers stand and we have no fellowship for either faction. "By their fruits ye shall know them."
 

Yours in hope of eternal life,

E. I. WIGGINS.

Next Installment: "The Aftermath" (concluding chapter) 

 

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