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The Insurance Question PDF Print E-mail
Written by J.C. Denton   

Dear Friends,

100 years ago, you could get excluded in some churches for buying insurance, putting up a lightning rod, or digging a storm cellar. The reason? You are showing a lack of faith in the Lord to protect you. This caused quite a stir in the churches and much writing was dedicated to help solve the dilemma.  In 1906, Elder J. C. Denton of Madisonville, Texas, formulated a position paper with quotes from various ministers on the "insurance question." Below are selected quotes from that paper.






“It is astonishing to us that Baptists would think of making insurance of life or property a test of fellowship. Certainly we would oppose doing so, and we seriously regret that any Baptist is disposed to do so.”-Elder James H. Oliphant, author of books and associate editor of several papers; Elder R. W. Thompson, editor PRIMITIVE MONITOR; Deacon D. H. Goble, a distinguished Baptist and publisher. “Elder John M. Thompson (editor Youth’s Guardian Friend,) if at home, would have signed (the above expression), and I believe every minister and every clear-thinking, grace-taught Old Baptist in our State (Indiana), would do the same. Every lover of peace wants as few bars as possible against fellowship.”- Deacon S. B. Luckett, an aged, able and godly Bap­tist.

“It (insurance), is simply a matter of business prudence, a beneficent method of mutual helpful­ness. This we are commanded to observe in God’s word. The church has no right to interfere in any way. “-Elder F. A. Chick, editor Signs of The Times.

“The Old Baptist of our associations are not worse than infidels, for we provide for our own, especially for our own households. I do not know a better way to do this than by insurance.”-Elder C. H. Waters, editor Zion’s Advocate. “I think our dear people would make a great mistake if they were to make insurance a test of fellowship.”-Elder John R. Daily, ex-editor Zion’s Advocate.

 “I can­not see how Baptists could make a rule to exclude their members without a ‘Thus saith the Lord’ for it.”-Elder P. D. Gold, editor Zion’s Landmark.

 “Insurance is no more a distrust of Providence and no more condemned in the Scriptures than locks and keys, safes and banks and barns, which, in the dark ages, were made a test of fellowship among a very few professing Christians.” Elder Sylvester Hassell, editor The Gospel Messenger. “The judgment of the ablest and safest ministers of my ac­quaintance is, that life and property insurance ought not to be made a test of fellowship.”-Elder J. E. W. Henderson, associate editor The Gospel Messenger.

 “I am very much opposed to making such things a test of fellowship. They certainly do not affect the moral standing of members.”-Elder Walter Cash, editor Messenger of Peace.

 “The judgment of the most able and safe ministers of my acquaintance is that it is purely a business propo­sition and has nothing to do with our religious af­fairs.”-Elder R. H. Barwick, editor The Pilgrim’s Banner.

“So far as I know our people have never made insurance a test of fellowship, and I feel sure they should not.”-Elder T. S. Dalton, associate editor Zion’s Advocate. “I regard it a God-given right for any one to invest his money in anything that will make or save money, that is not immoral.” -Elder Jas. J. Gilbert, associate editor Zion’s Ad­vocate.

 “Insurance with an ‘old line’ company is purely a business matter, and there are no secret, fraternal nor ritual services in it, and I have no ob­jection to it.”-Elder C. H. Cayce, editor The Prim­itive Baptist.

“Contending about lightning rods, storm houses, life insurance policies and many other things in which our precious time is arrested, is unprofitable and vain, and we should, emphasize the more important and weightier matters and do as Paul says, ‘Whatsoever things are true, whatso­ever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.’”-Elder J. H. Fisher, editor Peace Advocate.

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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.