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Written by R. Anna Phillips   


 
CHAPTER VII—CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TRUE CHURCH
 
In the first place I saw the church of Christ set up as visibly established in the world; there was but one. In all the world of all the sects claiming to be the church of Christ, but one only was the church.  And this one, so opposite to the world and to human nature in principles so peculiar in all her characteristics, as to be easily distinguished by the unprejudiced observant Bible searcher. “My undefiled is but one”--she is “the only one of her mother” Cant., 6:9. She has but one Lord;--who as her husband her legal head overall things to her--but one faith which holds him her way, truth and life--one baptism which symbolizes his burial and resurrection Eph., 4:5. She has but one lawgiver, James, 4:12. And hence, the Scriptures as his law, is her only rule of faith and practice. Find the church, to say nothing of other traits, that has the gospel law as her only rule of faith and practice, and you have found the Church of Christ. I found in my thorough research that all evangelical churches, so-called, claimed to be the church, and claimed the word of God as their only rule of faith and practice; but to prove the last claim false is to make void the first. Not to refer to others, here among the Missionaries I found these claims set up; but regularly and openly contradicted by open stands and communion of the Lord’s Supper; which is a recognition of many churches, including Lord’s faiths and baptisms. Indeed, not half their members of my acquaintance believe themselves in their own written articles of faith; and these disagree among themselves on other points. Nearly all deny the doctrine of election embraced in their written articles. One said God saw who would do good and believe, and so elected him to salvation, before the world was. Another said when one believes, he is elected. Most of them say give your money to send them the gospel that they may believe and be elected. And I found them just as diversified on every fundamental principle of doctrine, and practice as well. And thus fellowshipping one another there was recognition and God’s speed to the many faiths and practices. To say nothing of the same recognition of professedly different faiths and practices of those welcomed to their stands and communion table.

Jesus said “Observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”; which as strongly implies “observe nothing I have not commanded” Also “keep my words.” What are his words as to faith? That it is a one faith, Eph., 4: 5, 13 that it was “the faith of Jesus”; and Jesus is not divided. And this faith was of, and in God and not man, I Pet. 2: 2; and whatsoever--in a religious sense was not of faith--this one faith, was sin, Rom., 11: 23. To sum all I saw among them that was not of faith, was alarming to true church identity. In the church only was unity of faith--”the faith of God’s elect.” And that church alone was “striving together for the faith of the gospel,” Phil., 2:27 “earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints.” Jude 3 --all of the same mind and judgment striving together for the unity and purity of this one faith. How could the Missionaries thus strive when one believed one way and one another?  How strive together except they be agreed? I saw them striving and contending, but not together, and not for the faith, but for personal preferment, office, salaried places--money--furiously striving and earnestly contending for that which tacitly denied the faith and assumed to change the base of salvation from grace to money --from the blood of Jesus to dollars.

Take away the money, and who does not know the machines of salvation will stop? Take away monied salaries and who does not know the missionary will stay at  home and hunt another field of business? Do not you know your preachers cannot be made without money? and when made, will not go without it and when paid will not keep going unless the money keeps coming ? What more potent god have they than money? Without him they do nothing.  Is this a good external Bible evidence establishing this the true church? Christ said to the church—his church--”without me ye can do nothing.” He did not have enough money to pay Iris pittance tribute: nor had his Apostles silver and gold but his name only to work in. When I went among the Missionaries fresh in the joys of salvation by grace, I loved to tell and hear of this salvation.

But soon I heard no more of this, but of this and that field of missionary operation--what man and money were doing in saving souls; of how this missionary was saving heathen souls here, and that one that while another was holden, and hence thousands were perishing and going down to hell for the want of a-little more money--a little more money to send them the letter of the gospel. Also of this pastor withholding his service because the church was too poor to pay his charges for the gospel; and how that one was bought off by a higher bid to serve a richer church or take the presidency of a college. What was Jesus and his commands; or his blood-sealed covenant to them? They seemed to run well and prosper without it. What was Jesus and his blood to me? Simply all and all. Could I fellowship a people stultifying my own salvation? Could I serve God and Mammon? I must let one go to serve the other; there could be no agreement or fellowship in opposites. And could a church that made void: the covenant of grace behooving Christ to die to save his church, be that church ?

Was this the true church ? “O, Israel, the Lord our God is one,” “hear ye him,” “boast not thyself or thy works, boast in the works of the Lord”--the finished work of salvation--”walk in the name of the Lord our God,” not in the name of missions or a board of men. Not that Israel “was to be slothful because grace abounds, but always “abounding in the works of the Lord.” How easy when “all are taught of the Lord” and by one spirit baptized into the one body, thus having also the one life and Father who is by right of Fatherhood--Lord of all. Opposites strong as Jew and Gentile are thus made one “one new man so making peace and harmony, and as a spiritual house church” “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone,” “in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple” “a habitation of God through the spirit.” But this missionary building seemed to be a building not complete in itself, as it has buildings or departments annexed; and yet that are detached in a sense, and with separate membership. Indeed, the very best, purest members of the church, if too poor to pay out several hundred dollars for membership, cannot belong to some of these outside organizations. Life membership in one of their boards was, if I mistake not, five hundred dollars some years since; it may be much more now.

These are the. moral and religious institutions termed “Institutions of the day” that divided the Missionary from the, Primitive Baptist some years since; these were the issues, and for the sake of which though professedly the inventions of men,--the Missionaries broke the sacred ties--of church fellowship with the Primitives. Ask’ the ‘Missionary’ if he has Christian fellowship for the Primitives--the remnant left on primitive grounds at the division--and he will say yes, as they all do. Ask them if these Institutions have a “thus saith the Lord” to warrant them? and no Bible scholar will dare say, yes! Graves’ said the best that could be said for them was that “the ends justifies the means.” Then the contest was between Christian brethren and men-made Institutions; or the church of Christ, and other with these annexed as auxiliaries. Each in the end excluded the other. Their articles say “the word of God is their ‘only rule of faith and practice.” But where in His word is the faith and practice to break fellow-ship with Christian brethren to gain fellowship with the world? Is this a mark of the true church ? for all doctrine, inventions and institutions of men, are of the world however good in morals; and the world in a spiritual sense “is an enemy to Christ,” says an Apostle; also “If I yet please men I should not be the servant of Christ.” The world--men in nature--is called darkness, by Jesus who says “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness;” that is, in a spiritual sense; and spiritual fruits or--works alone are required of the Lord’s people, as such. But the main motive in this move was to gain affinity with the world and grow popular, holding out one hand to monied men and the other to moral institutions--that never professed to know Christ, but claimed to be of the world--crying “harmonize”--”a confederacy! a confederacy!! And thus became “men pleasers” for self aggrandizement;--I mean the leaders. And yet “I repeat, there is not a passage in their “only rule of faith practice” authorizing one of these institutions, or works “in dividing the Church:- Is this the true church of Christ?

 Truly they manifest great concern for the heathen to violate the law of Christ and their own to reach them. Do they believe in the doctrine of election ?-Their concern for heathen seems to over-reach their doctrine; but the doctrine is free and they are paid to manifest their concern. I have known members to manifest great concern for heathen souls, and annually pays out some fifty and some one hundred dollars to missions, and have it published, while their slaves worked their field even during “yearly protracted meetings” under an overseer, nor allowed to go and get their soul saved; nor had a missionary sent to preach to them; or their master to read a chapter to them in all their life. Also at these “protracted meetings” I have noticed the far greater concern manifested, for the rich man and his children, then for the poor man and his children. And while still begging and sending more and more money to the far away heathens, I have noticed they neglect poor destitute families near by. Perhaps they thought they had no soul, worth saving, nor needed a Bible. I once knew a “protracted meeting” revival almost  paralyzed by a very poor, poorly-dressed girl going up to the “mourners bench” two or three times in succession; who seemed and I believe was, a true mourner; but it caused other richer mourners to stop going--they would not mourn in common with so poor a girl. But such are not mourners in the more convenient sense calling for a salaried missionary. Is this the church of Christ?

 Is this the church--the Body of Christ with these huge over shadowing auxiliaries appended. Are they an out-growth partaking of the Body? If so, how’ late to develop!--Eighteen hundred years! too late for Jesus or his apostles to see. Or are they fungus? If so, by what law appended to the complete perfect body of Christ. We know that it is through or from these comes the cry “give--give your money to send the gospel and save thousands otherwise lost.” Otherwise lost!/ Do they believe in the doctrine of election they profess? Can they add one to the definite number the Father gave the Son? -Judson gave the idea that thousands were going to hell that the jewelry of American women might save. Suppose these souls otherwise lost are saved by this means, what will they sing?--redeeming ,grace, or redeeming money ? God brings his children to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. And if some were brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in a missionary system, would there not be a clash in the heavenly song?
 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 October 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.