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Ketocton Association Circular Letter PDF Print E-mail
Written by T.S. Dalton   

 

To the churches composing the Ketocton Association of Old School, or Primitive Baptists, and the good brethren and sisters with whom we correspond: Greetings— We have thought it would be a wise course in the scope of our circular letters to endeavor to set forth as clearly as possible the reason for our claim to the priority of our existence as a church.

As a starting point, we would call your attention to the language of John the Baptist in Matthew 3-2, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” And let us keep in memory that this Kingdom was not a reformatory movement, out of some other sect laying claim to have been the Kingdom, or church before it, but was truly the setting up of the first and only church, or Kingdom, of which Jesus Christ was the King; all other movements prior to this were only figures or shadows of this. And it is certainly true that a shadow only points to a substance, and cannot be any part of the substance, so when the substance has come there the shadow ends. This is plainly taught in the Scriptures where the Saviour said, “The law and the prophets were until John, but since that time, the Kingdom of Heaven is preached.” And let us not overlook the fact that this took place years before Roman Catholicism had an existence, therefore anything that had its origin this side of John the Baptist bearing the name church, is truly a misnomer.

We frankly admit that good Christian men such as John Calvin, Martin Luther, John and Charles Wesley Mohammed, and others dare not lay claim to an existence until they reformed out of Catholicism, or some of her daughters. As a church, therefore, they are too young to be the Church or Kingdom referred to in the text, for John said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Why then should any one claim that the Church or Kingdom of Heaven started this side of John?

John Calvin, and all these reformers we have referred to, cannot trace the origin of their sects any further back than their reformation, therefore they fall short of being the one John referred to that was then “at hand.”

And while we do not claim that we can trace the church through the ages by the name Baptist, yet we do claim that it is traceable by Baptist principles, and that the first church was a Baptist Church, because all of its members were baptized by a Baptist Minister. Yet we are not contending so much for names: God’s people have been called by many names; yet if you will examine the history of them, you will find that under all these names they have adhered strictly to the doctrine of God’s Sovereign grace in the choosing, or election and predestination of all the heirs of Eternal glory, in the Divine mind and purpose of God in the council chambers of Eternity. This is the peculiar tenet of doctrine that has marked them out in all the ages past, and has been the sufficient cause of their rejection by the world, and has caused the world to frown upon them with disdain, and was truly the cause of the Jews at Rome saying to Paul, “We desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest, for as concerning this sect we know they are everywhere spoken against.”

Take such a man as the King of Holland, who in his great anxiety to learn where the Dutch Baptists had their origin, appointed men to search it out; and they reported that “these people must have had their origin with Jesus Christ and His Apostles.” Truth will out, as much as people try to hide it. And Mosheim, a great historian, but an inveterate enemy of the Baptists, was forced to admit that their origin was hidden in the depths of antiquity. Dr. Mongster said, “The Waldenses of the Alps must have had their origin with Jesus and His Apostles.”

These were men of research and of wisdom, and had it been possible for them to have traced the origin of God’s Church to Henry the VIII., who reformed out of Romanism, or to John Calvin, who reformed out of the same source, or Martin Luther, who broke loose from the Roman Catholic Church, or John and Charles Wesley, who lived and died members of the High Church of England; yet founded what is known as the Methodist Church, they certainly would have done so, even though these men, themselves, were never members of the society they formed.

If any of these reformed societies had reached back in history to Jesus Christ and His Apostles, they certainly would have said something about it. But they did find out that the Baptist Church reached back there. Therefore the Baptist Church must be the Kingdom referred to in the text which said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

What we have said above is in direct keeping with what is taught us in Jones’ History of the Baptists, Orchard’s History, Benedict’s Old History, and is reaffirmed by our dear Brother Hassell in his late history, and many others we could mention, but space forbids. And while in these reformations there are numbers of God’s dear children whose feelings we would spurn the thought of wounding, yet as a faithful watchman on the walls of Zion, we feel duty bound to tell the whole truth, and to warn them against the thought that Jesus is well pleased with His children when following the paths men have sought out, and say with our dear Saviour, “Come out of her, my people, that you be not partaker of her evil ways.” I am sure that the happiness of God’s dear people lies in their following the dear Lord in His truth.

There are some of our people who have drawn aside after the doctrine of Mohammed, the doctrine of the “absolute predestination of all things both good and bad,”  which has been brought to America. I would admonish them to lay aside that unscriptural doctrine; let the Mohammedan~ have it; spend your time teaching God’s dear children to observe what the Lord has commanded them, for the Lord has said, “Lo, I am with thee, even to the end of the world.”

May God’s Sovereign grace and love reign in the hearts of all His people throughout the entire world is the prayer of your poor old worn-out, and battle-scarred servant—T.S.D.

NOTE BY T. P. DALTON (SON):
This circular letter was found after father’s death prepared, typewritten, ready to be taken with him to the Association which he had expected to attend. Another evidence of his being fully prepared for his earthly demise— his work finished here on this earth.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 September 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.