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Written by Thompson/Lawson   

THOMPSON’S FOURTH ADDRESS.

Respected Opponent, Friendly Readers: Elder Lawson may not be sensible of his failure to examine all my proof texts and arguments, but I am persuaded that those who read will be sensible of his failure as a respondent.

Are you sure Elder, that you have replied to the argument on Romans 9:8, 9; Galatians 4:28; Psalms 22:30? Also on Ephesians 5:25?

Is it possible that you fail to comprehend my position, ar­guments and proofs, pertaining to the origin of the church of which I am a member?

I have established beyond successful contradiction, a com­plete succession of the Church of God of which I am a mem­ber from the first century to the nineteenth century of the Christian era.. In showing the perpetuity of the church that the gates of hell were never to prevail against, and identifying the church to which I belong, as that church, I have established her origin.

You assume that Elder Campbell and historians don’t mean “Baptist” when they say Baptist. How do you know they don’t mean Baptist?

I have not used the term “Primitive Baptist Church of God.” Please correctly quote; “The Church of God called Primitive Baptist.” The last as Campbell says is only a desig­nating name, which makes no change in race.

The Lord adds to the church through impressions of the Spirit to obedience, and all the believer does before and in the act of baptism, is in submission to the leadings of the Spirit. We vote on his reception before baptism.

We believe that many who are regenerated are not believers in Christ. We hold that belief in Christ follows regeneration, and is an evidence of that gracious work.

I will comply with your request relative to my experience, so far as I can. I was wholly in love with sin, i. e., free from righteousness before regeneration, but after regeneration I was dead to sin, mourned because of sin, and humbly implored God for mercy. When God by the working of his mighty power gave me to believe in Jesus., I rejoiced in hope. So I under­stand the Scriptures to teach, that the convicted child of God feels as the Publican did, who smote his breast and cried for mercy. He feels poor in spirit, mourns and hungers and thirsts after righteousness. When faith comes as the gift of God he realizes that Christ is his righteousness, and rejoices in hope of the glory of. God. It is written: Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Feelings are evidences of pardon when blessedly realized by a true believer.

The preposition “ for” in Acts 2:38 signifies because of, as in Romans 4:25: “Who was delivered for (because of) our offenses.”

I appreciate your admission that Elder Campbell used the name “Baptist” as a designating name. We use it just as Elder Campbell did.

I did not assume as you charge, that Novatian was not the founder of the church, which bore his name. I gave quotations from some of the most reliable histories, which positively de­clare that he was not founder of the church that bore his name.

Do you carefully read all that I write? If you do, it is strange that you make so many incorrect statements. Did you read the quotations from Robinson’s History, p. 127, and from Brown’s history, p. 877? These contradict your statement.

I deny that the Novatians held to baptism in order to the remission of sins. Mosheim says of the Novatians, p. 74: What peculiarly distinguished them, was their refusing to admit to the communion of the church those, who after bap­tism had fallen into the commission of heinous crimes, though they did not pretend that even such were excluded from all possibility or hopes of salvation.”

He further says: “They cannot be charged with having corrupted the doctrine of Christianity by their opinions.” The Novatians said to those who had to be excluded for heinous crimes, “God forbid we should injure either your person, your property, or your character, or even judge of the truth of your repentance or your future state; but you can never be readmit­ted to our community without our giving up the last and only coercive guardian we have of the purity of our fellowship.”

Buck’s Theological Dictionary, p. 313, from which you quoted a passage, says: “The Novatians did not deny but that a person falling into any sin how grievous soever might obtain pardon by repentance.” Brown says they recommended re­pentance in the strongest terms, believing that pardon might be obtained by the repentance of apostates. The Novatians declare that their refusal to readmit heinous offenders was to protect the purity of their fellowship. This combined testi­mony proves your charge unjust.

I regret that limited space prevents the insertion of the full testimony of Robinson, Brown, Jones, Schaff, Buck, Mo­sheim, Hassell and others, bearing upon the perpetuity of the church. I find their testimony abounding in support of the positions I have taken. Enough has been presented to con­vince the unprejudiced mind that my claims are well founded.

Why did you omit the most important testimony on page 291 of Mosheim’s History, which should have been given in justice to the noble Waldenses? It attests that the Valdenses or Leonists of the valleys of Piedmont were called Waldenses, and that they had flourished some 500 years before Peter Waldo adopted their doctrine. Also, that Sacco speaks of the Leon­ists as synonymous with the Waldenses, and that he mentions authors of note who make their antiquity remount to the apos­tolic age Then reference is given to ancient history in proof that the Waldenses inhabited the valleys of Piedmont. So the history from which you quote is against your position.

Concerning the church government of the Waldenses, Sylvinus in his history says, they insist: “ That none in the church ought to be greater than their brethren.” See Jones’ History, p. 315. On page 326, in the third confession of the Waldenses, they say, the duties of the ministers, “are to feed the flock of God, not for filthy lucre’s sake, or as having dominion over God’s heritage, but as being examples to the flock,” etc. This is Bap­tistic, Elder. That there were and are now apostates who were and are called Waldenses, Menanites and Baptist, I readily admit. Reference to such may be indulged in by Elder Law­son as subterfuges to blind the reader and obscure facts.

Elder, do you believe the statements of the Waldenses in “Third Confession” as quoted by me in my “Second Address?” I say that Armenian denominations do not accept those state­ments.

You ask if the “Apostles Creed” is my doctrine. As in­dorsed by the Waldenses I suppose it would be acceptable to us; but as corrupted according to Brown, p. 101,1 suppose it would be objectionable.

You did argue in your first reply that God arranged that Adam should not eat, and that Satan defeated God’s arrange­ments. I challenge you to prove it. You cannot escape so easily from your position.

I claim that my quotations on election teach unconditional election unto eternal salvation, so far as relates to any obedience performed by sinners in order to said salvation. This pre­sents the number of the elect in Christ as so fixed, and certain, that the number can be neither increased nor diminished by the acts of men.

Your pretense at an examination of some of the scrip­tural quotations-on election, to which I called your attention, will be regarded a miserable failure.

Is the election and eternal salvation of unsaved sinners conditional upon their obedience? You say, Yes! I say, No!

Does this present the issue?

I have shown: That Christ gave himself for the church in covenant; (a definite number); Ephesians 5:25; That he came down from heaven to do the will of his Father, which was that he should save all he had given him, (a fixed number); John 6: 88, 39; That he was given power that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father had given him ; John 17:2. (Not to give, to offer or to propose conditionally; but that he should give eternal life to the definite, fixed number, i. e., “ as many as thou hast given him “); that by once offering himself he obtained eternal redemption for the definite, elect number, and forever perfected them by the atoning blood of the everlasting cove­nant; Hebrews 9:12; 10:14; That covenant blood only atoned for elect covenant people; That when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of Christ; Romans 5:10; That atonement was made for those who were predestinated unto the adoption of children, (not to teach the people), but that they should be children; Ephesians 1:5. The passages cited, prove conclusively, unconditional salvation on the part of those who are saved by the atoning blood of Christ.

John 3:16, and 1 John 2:2, are quoted to disprove my position. Neither of those passages embrace the entire race of Adam.

I will cite passages in which the expressions, “the world” and “whole world” cannot embrace all the race of Adam: 1 John 3:19; Revelations 12:9; 16:14; John 16:8; 17:9. They show that the terms used are limited to a class under consider­ation.

Propitiation: “The influence or effects of the death of Christ in appeasing the divine justice and conciliating the divine favor: That which propitiates; atonement or atoning sacrifice.” (Webster.)

Propitiate: “To appease and render favorable; to make propitious; to conciliate.” (Webster.) We learn from these definitions given of propitiation, and propitiate, that only those who were reconciled to God by the death of his Son (be having made reconciliation for their sins) are included in 1 John 2:2. Jesus had obtained eternal redemption for them. He put away their sins by the sacrifice of himself; Hebrews 9:26. Jesus is a propitiation only for the sins of those who will be glorified in heaven. The signification of the word “propitiation” will not admit of the opposite conclusion.

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever behieveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life;” John 3:16. This language does not im­ply that none will enjoy everlasting life only those who believe in Christ in this natural lifetime. Do you believe it does? If it does not convey that meaning, then belief in Christ is not in order to everlasting life. If belief in Christ, in this life, is not in order to everlasting life, then the eternal salvation of sin­ners does not depend on belief in Christ. The gift of eternal life by Christ to the sinner is in order to a knowledge of Christ, which is necessary to true belief in Christ. This statement is scriptural and accords with the declaration of Jesus: “This is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent;” John 17:3.

We are taught that eternal life is the gift of Christ, and the passage teaches that we must have eternal life in order to know Jesus Christ. Emphatic Diaglott: “And this is the aionian life that they may know thee the only true God and him whom thou didst send, Jesus Christ.”

The aionian (eternal) life is given that they MAY know Jesus. The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord; Romans 6:23. “And we are in him that is true, even in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life;” 1 John 5:20. “And this is the record, that God bath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

These scripture passages show that the first thing in the economy of grace, in bringing an alien sinner to Christ, is the gift of eternal life. We maintain that the gift of eternal life is not because of some virtue seen in the alien sinner. Also that the recipient of eternal life “shall never perish.”

                        Respectfully,

                        J. M. THOMPSON.

  

LAWSON’S FOURTH REPLY.

 Respected Opponent, Dear Readers Eld. Thompson asserts that he has made arguments on certain passages of scripture, when, I am sure, the reader can see that he has only quoted or referred to them, without making an argument. He wants me to answer arguments he has never made! Eld. Thompson asks: “Is it possible you fail to comprehend my position, arguments and proofs pertaining to the origin of the church of which I am a member?” And then claims that he has proven its origin by tracing its succession.

He has utterly failed to prove a succession of Primitive Baptist churches prior to 1607. He finds Novatians, Paulicians, Waldenses, etc., but they were not identical with the Baptists by any means. I admit that these sects resembled, to some extent, the church to which Eld. Thompson belongs as a mem­ber, but in some of the most essential features, there is quite a difference. To illustrate: The Novatians rejected infant bap­tism; the Primitive Baptists do the same. The Novatians believed in baptism for the remission of sins; the Primitive Baptists do not. So of all the other sects claimed by Eld. Thompson, his church succession claim is a farce—a hobgob­lin—as I am sure the reader can easily see. But, Elder, were it possible for you to trace the perpetuity of your church back to John or the personal ministry of Christ, that would not prove that it was scriptural in origin. The Masonic lodge might do the same thing; but would that prove that it was scriptural in origin? Not by any means. I am sure that Eld. Thompson sees his defeat on origin, so tries to claim scriptural origin by perpetuity. If it were possible for him to prove “perpetuity,” it would only establish the possibility of apostasy, for any one can easily see that the Primitive Baptist church is not, in “faith and practice,” identical with the apostolic church.

Eld. Thompson says he has not used the term “Primi­tive Baptist Church of God,” but, the “the Church of God, called Primitive Baptist.” Where and by whom is the Church of God called Primitive Baptist? Who authorized you, or any one else, to call the Church of God Primitive Baptist? I charged that the Primitive Baptists do their own “adding” by a vote of the church, and he now says they vote on them before bap­tism. I claim that Primitive Baptists vote on those to be added to their churches, both before and after baptism. If a Primitive Baptist should move to the congregation of which Eld. Thomp­son is a member, and present a letter from a sister church, you would take a vote on him and add him to your church. Prim­itive Baptists add to their churches by a vote of their members; the Lord adds to his church through obedience to his word. Eld. Thompson then says: “We believe that many who are regenerated are not believers in Christ. We hold that belief in Christ follows regeneration, and is an evidence of that gracious work.” “God is no respecter of persons.” (Acts, 10:34.) If God regenerates one man in unbelief, then he will regenerate all men in unbelief, and universalism is true according to Eld. Thompson. If the Bible establishes any one proposition, it is that belief in Christ is necessary to the new birth.

Eld. Thompson next gives us a short sketch of his “exper­ience,” but proceeds very cautiously. lie says: “I was wholly in love with sin, i. e. free from righteousness, before regenera­tion, but after regeneration, I was ‘dead to sin,’ mourned because of sin and humbly implored God for mercy, and when God, by the working of his mighty power, gave me to believe on Christ Jesus, I rejoiced in hope.” I-low did God give you to believe on Christ? Did your “faith come by hearing, and hear­ing by the word of God?” (Rom, 10:17.) But we will examine experiences more elaborately in our next.

Eld. Thompson claims that the preposition “for” in Acts, 2:38, signifies “because of,” as in Rom, 4:25; but how does he know that it signifies “because of” in Rom., 4:25? Was not Jesus delivered in order to save us from our offenses? I think he was. The preposition “for” in Acts, 2:38, is from the Greek preposition eis, which always looks forward but never back­ward. The same expression is found in Mat., 26:28, “For this is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Here we have the same expression both in Greek and English. All agree that Jesus shed his blood, that the sins of the people might be remitted.

I give the following extract by a noted Presbyterian scholar, in support of my claim: “The beneficial end to which all this lead was the remission of sins. The first Greek noun (aphesin) derived from a verb (aphimi) which means to let go, is applied by Plutarch to divorce, Demosthenes to legal dis­charge from the obligation of a bond, by Plato to the emanci­pation of a slave, and to exemption from punishment, which last is its constant use in the New Testament. The whole phrase, to (or towards) remission of sins describes this as the end to which the question of the multitude had reference, and to which therefore must be contemplated also in the answer. Commentary on Acts, 2:38, vol. 1, p. 85. Elder, can you give one author that claims that eis should be rendered “because of?” I am sure you cannot.

Yes, Elder, I read carefully those extracts from Robinson and Brown, but they do not contradict what Cook said about Novatian. Novatian drew out of the church that was fast -going into apostasy and established churches on New Testa­ment principles. Those churches were afterward known as Novatian churches, as all historians agree. But he says that my charge that they believed in baptism for the remission of sins is not correct. I say it is correct, and base my statement on the positive statement of Buck. They did not deny that members of the church could be forgiven by repentance and prayer, but they had no way to remit sins but by baptism, which once received could not be repeated. Why did you not give the quotation, from Buck, in full? But Eld. Thompson, you ought to know that the Novatians were not alone in teach­ing baptism for the remission of sins.

All who believed in Christ held to baptism for the remis­sion of sins to aliens; but the Novatians went further than others, and claim it to be for the remission of sins to those who had fallen into error. Barnabas, Paul’s companion, held to the doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins. Hear him: “And there was a river flowing on the right, and from it arose beautiful trees; and whosoever shall eat of them shall live forever. This meaneth, that we indeed descend into the water full of sins and defilement, but come up, bearing fruit in our heart, having the fear (of God) and trust in Jesus in our spirits.” Epistle, Chap. 11. Ante-Nicene Fathers. Vol. 1, p. 144.

Eld. Thompson intimates that I did not give Mosheim in full in regard to the Waldenses. I claim that I did, and ask him to give a quotation from him that contradicts the statement I gave.

Mosheim says that Peter Waldo was the head and founder of the Waldenses, and that the Waldenses are to be distinguished from the Vaudois inhabiting the valleys of Piedmont. He also says that the government of the Waldenses was committed to bishops, presbyters and deacons. (See p. 291.) Eld. Thomp­son, it is simply impossible for you to find your kind of Bap­tists prior to 1607. I believe that if any one could find them you could, but there are some things no man can do, and this is one of the “somethings.”

Eld. Thompson still insists that I said in my first reply that God arranged for Adam “not to eat,” while I insist that I said no such thing, but believe that God left him free in the matter. Eld. Thompson is the man that says God does all this “arranging,” even before we are born, and then claimed that God’s arrangements had never been frustrated by men nor devils.

Here is what I said in my first reply: “If Eld. Thomp­son’s statement is true which says that God’s arrangements (none of them) have never been frustrated by men nor devils, then the devil in Eden did exactly what the Lord willed him to do. Man could not frustrate the will of God, so God had it so arranged that Adam must eat! Neither the devil or man was, in any way, responsible for the fall according to that theory.” So Eld. Thompson is duty-bound to either try to prove his assertions in regard to Adam partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, or come up and confess that his theory will not allow him to do so. I am sure that he will be by this as he has been by many other propositions. He will claim that he has, when he has not even attempted!

Eld. Thompson says: “I claim that my quotations on election teach unconditional election unto eternal salvation as far as relates to any obedience performed by sinners in order to said salvation.”

But, Elder, your claim falls far short of proving your proposition. You make many claims, but fail to establish them If my examination of those passages on “election was a miserable failure,” as you claim, why don’t you show the failure?” I am persuaded that you cannot show any failure in the positions assumed by me. He asks: “Is the election of unsaved sinners conditional upon their obedience?” You say: Yes! I say: No! “Does this present the issue?” It would, were I in the affirmative; but you are now in the affirmative and it devolves on you to prove your claim. My teaching is not on trial in this proposition.

Eld. Thompson: Do you believe in unconditional election to salvation? If so, will you try to prove it? Remember that you are in the affirmative at present. Do not simply refer us to where the scriptures can be found that you think teaches your doctrine, but quote the scriptures so the people will know what it is. You give a number of references in support of your proposition, but when I turn and read them they do not say what you claim for them. Please give quotations, and then we will examine them, provided you first base an argument on them. Eld. Thompson says that the atonement is limited to the elect covenant people, and that it is for no others. I admit that no man will receive the benefits of the atoning blood without coming into covenant relationship with God, but denying that coming to that relationship is unconditional. Jesus Christ, through his death, made it possible for all men to be saved; but all men will not be saved, because all will not obey Christ. But the failure is not in Christ, nor in the atonement, but in men and women. I call your attention to the following passages of scripture, which forever destroys Eld. Thompson’s idea of the atonement.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man.” Heb., 2:9. Not taste death for a few men, but taste death for every man.

“Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Rom., 5:18. Thus we see that the “free gift” came in order to life, but it must be accepted before its blessings can be enjoyed.

“And there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.” 1 Tim., 2:5, 6.

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shah be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” 2 Pet., 2:1. In this we learn that certain people had been bought, but by reason of their disobedience, they were to be destroyed.

If no one can be destroyed if bought with the blood of Christ, why did Peter say that they brought swift destruction upon themselves? But one says they were never saved. But, whether saved or not, Christ died for them. Eld. Thompson, were those people, spoken of by Peter, saved people? Were they covenant people?

You need not hunt for passages that speak of Christ’s blood being for the elect, for we believe that, and they are in the number spoken of as all men. Faithfully,

J. H. LAWSON.

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 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.