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Written by Thompson/Lawson   

THOMPSON’S SECOND ADDRESS

 Respected Opponent, Friendly Readers: I pursue with inter­est and pleasure the investigation of the Scriptures and historical facts, gathering testimony which is plain and conclusive in sup­port of the proposition I affirm.

The proofs and arguments which I have presented have important bearings on the questions at issue. It will avail noth­ing, Elder, for you to say they are irrelevant. The intelligent reader will not be deceived by assertions. It is incumbent on you to show if you can that I have misapplied the Scriptures, and that my arguments are illogical.

The Elder charges that I did not clearly define my propo­sition, as I did not give the date of the origin of the church. He asks: “Why is it immaterial?” It is immaterial because it is not denied that the church to which believers were added on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:47) was scriptural in origin.

Do you say it was not scriptural in origin?

Caviling is improper if we aim at fair discussion. You ask: “Does the Bible speak of a Baptist church”? The name Baptist church is not found in the Bible. It appears in history that the name was derived from the act of baptism. Also, that it (Baptist) was applied to the Church of God. Our name, as carefully designated by us in writings, is “The Church of God called Primitive Baptist.”

Why was John called “John the Baptist?”

You will not find in the Bible the names “ Reform church,” “Disciple church,” nor “ Christian church.” So it is not to your advantage to enquire too closely after names.

Robinson says: “During the first three centuries Chris­tian congregations all over the East subsisted in separate inde­pendent bodies, unsupported by government and consequently without any secular power over one another. All this time they were baptized (Baptist) churches.” Rob’s. Eccl. Res., p. 55. They were called “Baptist” churches.

On page 127 he says: “They tax Novatian with being parent of an innumerable multitude of congregations of Puri­tans all over the empire; and yet he had no other influence over any than what his good example gave him.”

I now offer the testimony of Alexander Campbell on names, origin and perpetuity. You should accept him as good authority.

Campbell and Parcell Debate, p. 77 : “Every sect and in­dividual as I have said before is passive in receiving a name. Sectarian names are generally given in the way of reproach; thus the disciples were called Christians at Antioch most prob­ably in derision; yet it was a very proper name. Call us what you please, however it does not change nature or race. The disciples of Christ are the same race, call them Christians, Nova­tians, Donatists, Waldenses, Albigenses, Protestants or what you please. A variety of designations affects not the facts which we allege. We can find an unbroken series of Protestants— a regular succession of those who protested against the corrup­tions of the Roman church and endeavored to hold fast the faith once delivered to the saints from the schism in the year 250 A. D. to the present day.” Elder, do you believe this testimony?

Eld. Campbell honored the Baptist with the regular un­broken succession from the apostles to 1827.

He says the kingdom of God was found amongst them.— Millennial harbinger, Vol. 7, pp. 57, 58.

Eld. O. A. Burgess says: “Brother Thompson has done a good thing for the history of the church by tracing out the way he has the history of this indomitable church of irnmer­sionists, that in all ages of the past, from the days of the apostles to the present hour, have preserved the truth of Christ in its purity among the mountains and valleys of Switzerland and Germany.” Thompson and Burgess Debate, p. 303. This was the Baptist church. There we have it from two of the greatest lights of the gentleman’s church, that the Church of God called Baptist, have had an unbroken succession from the apostle’s day to the present century ; that they have been the witnesses for the truth; that they preserved the truth of Christ in its purity.

 

The summary of the testimony given by these learned men is as follows

1st   For three centuries Christian congregations subsisted as do the Baptist of today.

2nd. They were called baptized [Baptist.] churches.

3rd. They have continued in regular broken succession from the apostle’s day to the present century.

4th. They have preserved the truth of Christ in its purity.

5th. That Novatian was not the founder of the Novatian churches.

6th. The apostates at Rome abandoned the true principles of the church, and separated from those who persistently adhered to those pure principles.

7th. The numerous churches main­taining the principles of the apostolic church, stood with the strict party at Rome in opposition to heretical apostates.

8th. They remained in separate, independent bodies.

9th. That those who preserved the truth were called Baptist, Novatians, Waldenses, etc. I advise that you “relegate” “Cook’s Story” to the background, and accept these facts. Corroborating tes­timony abounds in their support, but limited space will not admit it.

I am challenged to prove identity in doctrine and practice with the Novatians, who migrated to the valleys of Switzerland where they were called Waldenses. A Treatise written by the ancient Waldenses opposing the innovations of apostates, says that regeneration was attributed to baptism, thus confounding the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration with the external rite of baptism; Jones’ history, p. 328. On page 325 in their third confession the Waldenses say: “In him [Christ] all the fullness of the God head dwells, and that by him alone we know the Father.” “We believe in the HOLY SPIRIT as the com­forter * * * who creates us anew unto good works, and from whom we receive the knowledge of the truth.” On page 32d: “ We hold in abhorrence all human inventions, as proceeding from anti-Christ.” Look at these distinguishing features which ally the Primitive Baptist of to-day with those ancient worthies.

The Elder reasons that the devil in Eden did exactly what the Lord willed him to do, or the arrangements of God were frustrated. This is unscriptural reasoning. I have a more exalted opinion of the God I worship than to believe either statement. If his position were true, the imps of Satan could sing God’s defeat. When he shows that God arranged that Adam should not eat, his argument will have some logical force.

God said he would do all his pleasure and we believe his words. God gave man a law which presupposed the possibility of violation.

We believe that man is responsible for every sin commit­ted by him.

If the devil defeated God once he may defeat him finally, and hold those who sleep in Jesus in death’s embrace eternally.

Elder, you quoted and misquoted scripture to disprove a position I had not taken. Neither did I say that Jacob and Esau were elected to salvation before they were born. I showed that Jacob was elected to a position to which Esau was not elected. I presented that election of Jacob as Paul did; as a true illustration of the doctrine of election. Do you deny that it is? I gave scriptural proofs that election pertaining to eternal life embraced only the portion given to Christ in cove­nant, that they were promised children as Isaac was promised to Abraham, which was prior to his personal existence. You did not try to disprove the correctness of my application, nor the logical soundness of my arguments.

Why did you throw aside those passages you say I quoted on election? The considerate reader must conclude that it was because you realized that you could not take them from me. I will give more testimony for your consideration. “A seed shall serve him. It shall be accounted to the Lord for a gener­ation;” Psalm 22: 30. It is not: A seed may serve him, but “A seed shall serve him.” ‘Remember the children of the promise are counted for the seed; Romans 9: 8. Also that they are children of promise as Isaac was a child of promise; Galatians 4: 28. They did not exist when the promise was made.

As Jacob was elected to a place independent of any con­sideration of the performance of conditions, so the promised seed were elected to be the Lord’s portion as seen (I Peter 2:9) “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who bath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Consider this fact: They were chosen that they should shew forth the praises of the Lord. They were predestinated unto the adoption of children; Ephesians 1:5. Those predes­tinated to be children by adoption were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world that they should be holy. Verse 4. Again: “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salva­tion, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.” The sanctification of the Spirit precedes the belief of the truth. It is in order to true belief as I will show at the proper time. We should keep in view that they were chosen to the salvation they were preciously realizing. They were called to the privileges and blessings of faith according to the “purpose and grace” of God, “given them in Christ before the world was,” but not according to their works. (2 Timothy 1:9.) Therefore unconditionally!

The reference where the portion given to Christ is called Jacob is Romans 11:26. It teaches that Christ was to turn ungodliness from Jacob and that would save all of his people.

You say Paul’s brethren in the flesh were the elect. They were an elect nation, and they were a type of an elect people. Does Ephesians 1:4, 5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, and Romans 8:33 apply to Paul’s brethren in the flesh?

I do not think that I attribute to Paul all that you charge to me. (Romans 8:29.) I believe the passage teaches a rule of action from which Paul draws a conclusion expressed in the interrogatives which follow: “If God be for, us who can be against us?” “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?” “Who shall lay anything to the charge of’ God’s elect?”

We believe that Jesus made atonement for his elect people. That the blood of the everlasting covenant was to atone for the elect covenant people. That his elect people alone are the beneficiaries of his covenant blood. Jesus said, “This is my blood of the new testament, which was shed for many for re­mission of sins;” Matthew 26:28. It was the blood of the everlasting covenant.

As seen in types covenant blood satisfies only for covenant people. The blood sprinkled on the mercy seat by the high priest made atonement only for Israel, the covenant people of God. Paul testifies: “Christ loved the church and gave him­self for it;” Ephesians 5:25.

The church is presented here as viewed in sin. It was reckoned as unholy and polluted, and consequently in need of redemption.

It was therefore the church in covenant. This condition of the elect covenant people of God made it necessary that Christ should give his life a ransom for many; Mark 10:45. The many embraced in the word church were Christ’s, his por­tion, his people, and the lot of his inheritance. It is written: “He shall save his people from their sins;“ Matthew 1:21. Do you believe he will?

I have carefully examined the foundation on which I stand. I invite you to inspect in.

Kindly,

J. M. THOMPSON.

 

LAWSON’S SECOND REPLY

Respected Opponent, Dear Readers: I am, to some extent, surprised at the second address of Eld. Thompson.

I expected him to come to the front with something definite bearing on the proposition, but if he has introduced one iota of proof relative to the question in debate, then I must admit that I am a dull student. Remember that the question in debate is: “The church to which I (J. M. Thompson) belong as a member is scriptural in origin, doctrine and practice.”

I insisted in my last article that the Elder tell us exactly when the Primitive Baptist church began, but he now says: “It is immaterial, because it is not denied that the church to which believers were added on the day of Pentecost (Acts, 2:47) was scriptural in origin. Do you say it was not scriptural in origin?“

I deny, Eld. Thompson, that you are a member of the church to which people were added, as spoken of in Acts, 2:47.

My reasons for the denial are as follows:

(1)       That church was known as the Church of God or body of Christ. (1 Cor., 1:1; Col., 1:18.) The church, to which you belong, is known as the Primitive Baptist church. In your endorsement by Eld. John R. Daily, he says: “This is to cer­tify that Eld. John M. Thompson is recognized as a represen­tative defender of the Primitive Baptist church of which he is a worthy member and Elder.”

(2)       The church spoken of in Acts, 2:47, met upon the first day of the week to break bread, (Acts, 20:7,) and to give as the Lord had prospered. (1 Cor., 16:1,2.) Primitive Baptists meet about once every year to break bread!

(3)       The Lord added the people to the church spoken of in Acts, 2:47; but Primitive Baptists do their own adding by a vote of the church!

(4)       The faith of the mem­bers of the church of Acts, 2:47, had come by hearing the word of God (Acts, 2:14-36; Rom., 10:17;) but Primitive Baptist faith comes by dreams, imaginations, peculiar feelings, etc.

(5)       The members of the church of Acts, 2:47 had repented and been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts, 2:38-41;) but Primitive Baptists claim to baptize only those, who, previous to their baptism, have received the remission of sins.

Where is your origin? Why did you affirm that part of the proposition unless you know something of your origin? He says, “caviling is improper if we aim at fair discussion.” That is exactly what I think about it, hence my anxiety to have you tell us just when you had a beginning as a church.

You say: “ The name Baptist church is not found in the Bible.” Why, then, did you affirm that it is scriptural, seeing that you admit that the scriptures say nothing about it?

Can you prove a proposition by the Bible, when the Bible does not even mention it? “ Where are you at?” “ Why was John called John the Baptist?” Answer: To distinguish him from other John’s, just as Simon was called Simon the tan­ner, or Luke, Luke the physician. But those baptized by John were not called Baptists, neither were churches in apostolic days called Baptist churches.

But again, he says: “ You will not find in the Bible the —names; Reform church, Disciples church nor Christian church. So it is not to your advantage to inquire too closely after names.” Why not? Should we not inquire closely after every­thing? I think so: and if you fail to find it in the Bible, quit it!

He next quotes from Robisson as follows: “During the first three centuries, Christian congregations (not Baptist con­gregations. L) all over the East subsisted in separate inde­pendent bodies, unsupported by government, and consequently without any secular power over one another. All this time they were baptized [Baptist] churches.”

He then exclaims: “They were called Baptist churches!” They were not called any such thing! Who added the word Baptist found in parenthesis? They were sometimes called baptized church by historians who wrote after pouring and sprinkling had been introduced, but they are never called Bap­tist churches in the Bible, as you admit, or in history prior to 1607. He then quotes from Campbell as follows: “ We can find an unbroken series of Protestants—a regular succession of those who protested against the corruptions of the Roman church, and endeavored to hold fast the faith once delivered to the Saints from the schism in the year 250 to the present day; and then asks: “ Elder, do you believe this?” Yes, I believe in all ages there were those who protested against Rome and her corruptions, but, my dear sir; that did not make them Bap­tists by any means. Martin Luther was a Protestant, but not a Baptist. He next says that Campbell claimed that the King­dom was found among the Baptists. Campbell did not use the name as you used it, but referred to baptized people (im­mersed people) of all denominations. But if you could prove your proposition by Campbell, that would not establish it by any means. He then quotes from O. A. Burgess as follows:

     “Brother Thompson has done a good thing for the history of this indomitable church of immersionists that in all ages of the past, from the days of the apostles to the present hour, have preserved the truth of Christ in its purity among the mountains and valleys of Switzerland and Germany,” and then adds: “This was the Baptist church. Here we have it from two of the greatest lights of the gentleman’s church that the church of God called Baptist, has had an unbroken succession from the apostles day to the present century. That they have been the witnesses for the truth. That they have preserved the truth of Christ in its purity.” Elder Thompson, listen! These men did not even intimate that the Baptists had a succession from the apostles; or that they have been witnesses for the truth; or that they were pure at any time! You had better be more guarded in your statements, or the readers will think there is at least one Baptist who does not “ witness for the truth.”

He then says: “The summary of the testimony given by these learned men is as follows: For three centuries Christian congregations subsisted as do the Baptist of to-day.” I deny it, and demand the proof. No congregation that wore the Bap­tist name. No congregation that used the Baptist creed. No congregation that took a vote on a man to see whether the Lord did a good job in converting him.

Where is the similarity? lie also gives other “facts” in his summary which are as far from the truth, as the East is from the West. He asks me to “relegate Cook’s story to the background;” but, my dear sir, I can’t do it. It is in perfect harmony with all other historians. Must I also relegate Mo­sheim, Jones, Rutter and Armitage to the background? I expect you will want me to do so before the close of this dis­cussion.

He then says: “I am challenged to prove identity in doc­trine and practice with the Novatians, who migrated to the valleys of Switzerland, where they were called Waldenses.” The Novatians were not called Waldenses, but were a sect, holding many things in common with them, but differing in many points. The Waldenses were founded by Peter Waldo. Waldenses and Novatians may be found during the same period, but were distinct sects. The government of the Waldenses was committed to bishops, presbyters and deacons, but Baptists govern by majority vote.

In Eld. Thompson’s first article he said “The arrangements of God have never been frustrated by men nor devils,” to which I replied that if that was true, the devil in Eden did exactly what God had arranged for him to do. But he says that when I show that God had arranged for Adam not to eat, then my arguments will have some force.

Do you affirm that God had arranged for Adam to eat? I deny it, and it devolves on you to bring the proof. Can you do it? I think not. If so, then the whole affair was only a pretence on the part of the Lord, that he might have, seemingly, an excuse to punish man. Who can believe it? If that posi­tion is true, then God had decreed that Adam should eat, but commanded him to eat not; thus giving a command, contrary to his decree!

If man should keep the decree of God, then he must violate his law; but if the law of God, then be must violate the decree!

But Eld. Thompson tries his hand once more on the doc­trine of election, and, as usual, dodges around without making a point in favor of his doctrine of election. He says: “Neither did I say that Jacob and Esau were elected to salvation before they were born. I showed that Jacob was elected to a posi­tion to which Esau was not elected.” Well, who denies that? David was elected to a position to which Jacob was not elected, but what has this to do with election unto salvation? Peter said: “Make your calling and election sure.” (2 Pet. 1:10), but if they were elected by the Lord before they were born, and the “arrangements of God have never been frustrated by men nor devils,” then it was already sure, and Peter had no right to give them any such instructions. But he asks, “Why did you throw aside those passages, you say I quoted on election? The considerate reader must conclude that it was because you real­ized, that you could not take them from me.” I did not throw them aside, but showed that Jacob’s election was not to salva­tion, and you agreed with me in your last article, and said you did not even claim that his election was unto salvation.

Why should I take them from you, when you confess that they do not prove your proposition? Give us something definite, please. But again he quotes and misapplies Ephesians, 1:4, 5. I deny that one of those Ephesians were saved before they were born, or before they believed the truth: for, as Eld. Thomp­son next quotes: “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” If God has selected this means of choosing, why should Eld. Thompson claim that God had chosen them unto salvation, independent of these conditions? But, he says, “ The sanctification of the Spirit precedes the belief of the truth. It is in order to true belief, as I will show at the proper time.”

If sanctification of the Spirit precedes the belief of the truth, then you have sanctification and damnation in the same man at the same time! (see Mark, 16:16.) But we will wait patiently for the Elder to prove his statement that sanctifica­tion precedes a belief of the truth. He then says: “ We believe that Jesus made atonement for his elect people. That the blood of the everlasting covenant, was to atone for the elect covenant people.” Who denies that proposition Eld. Thompson? We believe that Christ died for his elect people (the Jews) and also that he is the “propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 Jno., 2:2.) Eld. Thompson: Do you believe that “the number of the elect is so fixed and certain that it can not be either increased or dimin­ished?” “The many embraced in the word church were Christ’s ‘portion,’ his people, ‘the lot of his inheritance.’” If that statement is true, can a man be of Christ’s portion without being in the church? Then why do you claim to be “his people” without being in the church? How can you have the blood applied outside of the church? Please explain.

     Fraternally,

     J. H. LAWSON.

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 October 2006 )
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