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Written by L.P. Lockhart   

 

Primitive Baptist Light--May 1957

Seems to me the everlasting shame and disgrace of our churches that we are so "Factionalized" and divided that our fellowship is so restricted and fenced in, and that there is so little disposition on the part of factional leaders to heal the breaches and build up the waste places. "But if ye bite and devour one another take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." -- Gal. 5:15.

While our factions are meeting together in little cliques, crying, “peace, peace, where there is no peace” we are being consumed one of another. Our churches and associations are dying on the vine, and our children and loved ones--many of whom would have desired to live with the Old Baptist if there had been peace, love and fellowship, are going away to join worldly churches. How sad and heart breaking when our churches with deliberation and forethought--take up with things which they know will not be fellowshipped among Old Baptist generally. And how disrespectful of the old church when brethren will so live after the flesh and be so motivated by personal jealousies and differences of opinion that they will magnify minor issues to the division of churches and associations.

And how little regard for the old ship of Zion when the membership will know men after the flesh and aid and abet in such ungospel and unchristian behavior. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith." Gal. 5:22. Where do we find the fruits of the spirit being manifest when such things are going on among us? And why must one be held suspect and subject to coercion who would dare to speak up for peace and fellowship? Who would fain repair breaches and build up the waste places?

Elder W. J. Berry, in Old Faith Contender, April 1952, says, “If we could not meet together without fighting and devouring one another, if we could not read our Bible and discuss it together, without contention and bitterness, then we would do well to abandon such assembling together. But thank God, that is not the solution, and we are thankful that in late years our periodicals have generally been conducted for the edification of the saints.

"It is to be hoped this may continue and be even more apparent with our papers, and we pray that no spirit of rivalry may ever arise between such mediums, but rather a growth in brotherly cooperation and mutual helpfulness with but one object in view, to comfort God's people and glorify His name."

It seems to me that Brother Berry has stated a most worthy objective for all our Old Baptist publications, which as he further suggests, "By cooperation and maintaining an eye single to the cause of Christ, and the truth, and for the good of Zion, our periodicals can go a long way, and be a great help in strengthening fellowship and better understanding, and for the building of our cause in every way."

Individual rivalry can be greatly destructive to the peace but a paper rivalry can be a great deal more devastating. We have in the past witnessed some of the sorrows occasioned more or less by paper rivalry, especially a great coolness between the Baptist of the North and South, and we have seen local troubles grow into general troubles through their promiscuous propagandizing through books and periodicals.

 Nearly every faction of Old Baptist now has its periodical, but as Elder Berry says, "Thank God, in late years, our periodicals have generally been conducted for the edification of the saints." Being a subscriber to most of these publications, I can vouch for the facts of Brother Berry's statement, and add that they are generally sound in Primitive Baptist sentiment, and most are accepted in good Old Baptist homes in many parts of our country, many of whom are not party to any faction of Baptist.

With such in mind I have tended to overlook factional lines in my writings and at some time or other contributed to most all these publications in the spirit suggested by Brother Berry, with but one object in view, to comfort God's people, and glorify His name, with heartfelt desire to be of help in strengthening fellowship and understanding, and the building up of our cause in every way.

 I think I could name others who have been activated by the same desire, and have done likewise, both Elders and lay members. I do not know how it has been with others, but a few rabid factionalists have severely criticized my course and complained that no one knew where I stood because I wrote articles for papers of various factions.

To some it is not enough that you and your churches are orthodox in doctrine and practice, that for the sake of peace locally you are careful not to become compromised in a church capacity with any other Old Baptist Church or faction other than that with which you are identified, but to be one of us and above suspicion you must declare an open warfare against every Old Baptist faction with whom we are not identified, and kill off every Old Baptist preacher and paper who will not bow to our ultimatum.

I have made the acquaintance of good Old Baptist in many different parts of the country through the columns of practically every Old Baptist publication that I have ever written for, and I can state for a fact that the cry for a general restoration of peace and fellowship among Old Baptists is pitiful and comes from every faction, and from every part of our country.

Many from out of the way places write that the only preaching they get is through their Baptist papers, God grant that in some small way I might be able to comfort their hearts and glorify His name, and that I may ever have it in my heart to pray for the peace of Zion.

L. P. Lockhart, Greenville, Ill.

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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.