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Home arrow 50 Yrs Among The Baptists arrow Debate On Church Identity--Chapter 6
Debate On Church Identity--Chapter 6 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thompson/Lawson   


Respected Opponent, Friendly Readers: Eld. Lawson is very careful in his selection of quotations given by me. He quotes those he thinks can possibly be twisted and turned out of his way.

Why not give the quotation where Campbell says: “That as it was with the Jews in the times of the Messiah and the apostles, so it is now with the Baptist. The nation as such con­tinued to be the kingdom of God until they rejected the offered salvation.” This was too plain in support of my prop­osition for Eld. Lawson. It can’t be twisted!

Campbell said, the Baptist continued to be the kingdom of God until the present call upon them to reformation. He re­ferred to the call made by himself and others in the nineteenth century. He wrote the statement after he and his followers had been excluded, and he meant the great organic body that had formally excluded them by declarations of non-fellowship. It was the Church of God—now called Primitive Baptist.

You can’t show the origin of the Baptist in 1807, and your assertion that they were not known prior to that date is in op­position to historical facts.

Eld. Lawson hesitates to accept Campbell’s definition of kingdom. Campbell and Webster agree in their definitions, but Eld. Lawson sees the bottle and faintly objects.

If a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom moves to where there are no other Christians, he remains a member of the great organic body as defined by Campbell and Webster, and his standing remains in the local organization. Therefore you are mistaken, Elder.

The statement of the Novatians does contradict the state­ment of Buck. Buck says they refused to readmit apostates because they held the church had it not in its power to receive them, having no way of remitting sins but by baptism. The Novatians say they would not allow them to return, as they would have no way to protect the purity of their discipline if they gave up that safe-guard. Buck, as a virulent enemy, con­tradicts the Novatians by a false statement, and be contradicts himself by acknowledging that the Novatians believed that apostates might obtain pardon without baptism.

The Novatians were in the succession line, and the Catholics were not, for even Eld. Lawson admits that the Novatians were churches on New Testament principles. You want to get your eyes open, Elder, to what is meant by identity. As the Catholics apostatized they lost identity, and the churches, which preserved the New Testament principles, maintained their identity as the Church of God. The Novatians, Waldenses, etc., in the line I have given, continued to be the identical Church of God, which competent witnesses say preserved the truth in its purity, and is the pure apostolic Church of Christ.

Elder, I challenge you to prove your unwarranted asser­tion, that “Primitive Baptist have strong aversions to the name Christian.” Every Primitive Baptist will join me in resenting this false representation.

We call the Novatians Christians, and only designate them by the name Novatians as Eld. Lawson has. We call the Bap­tist Christians, and the Church of’ God, and designate the church as Eld. Campbell did by the name “Baptist.”

I have quoted the passages on election to which I referred in “Fifth Address,” and made arguments on them that have not been answered, and the reader will not be deceived by a denial of the fact.

The election of Jacob was used to illustrate the election of a seed, or people, prior to obedience by them, or even an exist­ence in the world, as seen in Rom. 9:8-11. Paul speaks of’ the children of God as the seed that was promised before they bad an existence, as Isaac was promised to Abraham when God said; Sarah shall have a son. And also, as the elect of God, as Jacob was elected before he had done good. The promise to Abra­ham that he should have a son, and the election of Jacob before he had done good, are connected by Paul, and both are used as illustrations of the promise and election of a seed which should serve the Lord, as in Ps. 22:30: “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.” Then Peter testifies of the promised seed, the elect people of God: “Ye are a chosen generation * * * that ye should shew forth the praises of him who bath called you out of darkness,” etc. They were chosen prior to obedience.

Eld. Lawson says if I prove that regeneration antedates belief in Christ, I will prove unconditional election to salvation. We agree that the expressions “born again,” “born of God” and regeneration are synonymous, and are used interchangeably. All that are born of God are regenerated.

Cornelius and his house (a family of Gentiles) were born of God before they believed in Christ. They feared God; Acts 10:2. Alien sinners do not fear God; Rom. 8:18. Aliens do not work righteousness; verse 12. Peter perceived that Cornelius did work righteousness, Acts 10:34, 35, and was accepted with God. Elder do you deny that Cornelius worked righteous­ness before he believed in Christ? His prayers and alms were a memorial before God.

Aliens are by nature the children of wrath, dead in sins. Eph. 2:3, 5. They possess the nature of their father, and Jesus said to aliens; “Ye are of your father the devil.” Jno. 8:44. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men [all the race of Adam,] for that all have sinned. Rom. 5:12.

To be dead in sin is to be wholly separated from righteous­ness, which is entire depravity. “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” Verse 19. As by the disobedience of one man, death passed upon all men, so all men are entirely depraved. As Levi paid tithes in Abraham while yet in the loins of his father, Heb. 7:9,10, so Adam’s progeny sinned in him, when he sinned, as the passages given teach.


There is no warrant in God’s word for a church to extend the communion privileges to any person, who has not as a be­liever in Christ received scriptural baptism. Elder, do you deny this?

The Bible is the best authority in proof that Eld. Lawson is wrong relative to the preposition eis. “He who entertains a prophet because “eis,” he is a prophet, etc. Mat. 10:41. “Eis” looks to the fact that he is already a prophet when he is enter­tained. “Entertains” is in the present tense, and all that is spoken of, as future is the reward. Elder, you certainly do not want to risk the reputation of your scholarship on your ren­dering, do you? You had better examine the passage care­fully.

Maclane was not alone in opposing Mosheim’s statement, but refers to the learned Beza and others of note, who held that the Vaudois, Valdenses and Waldenses were the same people.

I believe that Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons in the Bap­tist church, govern now as they did among the Waldenses.

Reader, I am willing that you shall decide whether Eld. Lawson did, or did not; argue that God arranged for Adam not to eat of the forbidden fruit. He says he did not. I say he did so argue, whether he intended it that way or not. I did not intimate that God arranged either that Adam should or should not eat.

Yes, Elder, those were cursed children who engaged in covetous practices. 2 Peter 2:14. But they were children, as David, Solomon and Peter were, when they were cursed for disobedience. You know the expression, “forever,” in the seventeenth verse, is not allowed by Wilson in the Emphatic Diaglott, if you have examined it as you should have done. “Forever” is from the Vatican manuscript, and is given as an interpolation of popery. The Emphatic Diaglott reads: “For whom the gloom of darkness is reserved.” Do you now think that I am “bottled up there on that proposition”?

Eld. Lawson dwells at length in a misrepresentation, prin­cipally of experiences related by Baptist. He says, “Baptist experiences are contrary to the Bible,” and charges that five statements made by them, which he has given are false state­ments. Friend Lawson does not mean what he says. He is not as careful as he should be. He meant that Baptist are deceived by their feelings, as he states farther on. And we say they were mistaken as to the five impressions referred to. We do not hold that the Spirit taught them that they were the “meanest persons on earth; that they could live no longer,” etc., but that such thoughts are the natural deductions of the mind, of the soul under conviction; that they are incorrect conclusions as they afterward realize.

Paul says: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sin­ners, of whom I am chief.” 1. Tim. 1:15. You don’t believe that Paul was the chief of sinners, do you? He felt to be and obtained mercy. Jesus said; “Blessed are the poor in Spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” They do not realize that they are blessed while convicted, but when faith comes as a gift, and life and immortality are brought to light through the gospel, they view their joint heirship with Christ, which was a fact before it was revealed. Observe that life and immortality are brought to light through the gospel. 2 Tim. 1:10. Only brought to light where there is life and immortality in the soul.

No! The Baptists do not “vote to see if the Lord did a good job in conversion.” That was only a little ungenerous fling at the persecuted Baptist, by Eld. Lawson, from whom we had reason to expect better things.

We do not commend ourselves as Eld. Lawson insinuates. We commend Christ. Neither do we measure ourselves by ourselves. The Bible is our standard of measurement for ex­periences, doctrine and practice.

Jeremiah 23:16, 27 is quoted to illustrate experiences re­lated by Primitive Baptist. The Lord was condemning those who had lied, saying they had dreamed, when they had not dreamed. Eld. Lawson, do you charge the Primitive Baptists with willfully lying, as those people did? Answer. Why did you not quote the 28th verse? It reads: “The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.” See the unfairness of Eld. Law­son. Eider, do you speak the word of the Lord faithfully? You said you wanted a fair discussion, which truth might be ad­vanced and error relegated to the background.

You quote Is. 45:19 and misapply it. Read the account given Genesis 30:11-16 where Jacob dreamed, and God did speak to him in the night. Elihu saith: “For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slum­bering upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, that he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from luau.” Job. 83:14-17. So Baptist experiences are not unscriptural.





Respected Opponent, Dear Readers: Eld. Thompson says that I only use such quotations of his, as I think can be twisted to support my proposition.

I don’t have to twist any of them, but only refer to them to show they don’t teach what Eld. Thompson claims for them.

He asks why I don’t notice Campbell’s statement which is as follows; “That as it was with the Jews in the time of the Messiah and his apostles, so it is now with the Baptist. The nation as such, continued to be the kingdom of God, until they rejected the offered salvation.”

The Elder says that was too plain in support of his propo­sition for me to notice. I can’t see why he should claim it in support of his proposition, for if Campbell was right in that statement the Baptists are left out, and only those who accepted the call to a complete return to apostolic practice were in the kingdom, for you say; “The churches which preserved the New Testament principles maintained their identity as the Church of’ God.” The congregation as established by Campbell did that; therefore they were Churches of Christ.

Eld. Thompson still insists that the Novatians were in the “succession line,” and that they remained the pure apostolic Church of Christ. But suppose all that he claims for them is true; that does not help him in the least; in fact it is against him.

Novatian was baptized by the party that apostatized, and received only clinic baptism. He called for a return to New Testament Christianity, just as Campbell did.

Those who desired to return to apostolic Christianity left the apostate church and established churches upon New Testa­ment principles. They believed in baptism for the remission of sins; rejected all human names, and met upon the first day of the week to break bread. Were they Baptists such as Eld. Thompson and his associates? Not by any means; yet they immersed believers only. The Elder asks me to prove that Primitive Baptists have strong aversions to the name Christian.

There are some things too plain to need proof, and when a church or people reject the name Christian and take some other name the proof is certainly abundant. Primitive Bap­tists reject the name Christian, by calling themselves Primitive Baptists. But, Elder, I will put you to the test on the name, and see whether or not you have strong aversions to the name Christian. If you will reject the name Baptist and accept the name Christian I will withdraw the charge made against you. Is not this a fair proposition? Now, Elder, either come up like a man and accept the name of Christ and reject the human name Baptist, or never ask me to prove that you have strong aversions to the name Christian, when you prove it yourself.

The Elder again comes to the subject of election, but, as usual, claims to have made arguments which he did not make, and only refers us to quotations instead of quoting them. God elected Isaac before his birth, as the one through whom Christ should come. But God did not elect Isaac to salvation before he was born. The same with Jacob. God elected Jacob as the seed through whom Christ should come; but Jacob’s election to salvation depended on his obedience. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, so that Israel was the “elect,” but Israel was the elect only as the one nation through which Christ should come, and their salvation depended on their obedience. Paul said: “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” (Rom., 10:1.) And again Paul said: “Therefore I endure all things for the elects’ sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Tim. 2:10.)

But we now call your attention to an election to salvation, as given by the apostle Paul. He says: “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God bath from the beginning chosen you to sal­vation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess., 2:13.) If the Lord elected them to salvation as Paul said he did, then they were not elected to salvation before they were born. Find where God elected one man to salvation before he was born, and I will give up this proposi­tion. You can find an elect people before they were born, but not to salvation.

You say those spoken of by Peter as a chosen generation, were chosen prior to obedience. Elder, you assume the point to be proven. The Elder then takes up the proposition that regeneration precedes faith in Christ, and calls our attention to the conversion of Cornelius and his household. But the Elder certainly does not understand his own proposition. Cor­nelius was an unsaved man when the angel of God appeared to him. The angel said: “Send men to Joppa and call for Simon whose surname is Peter; who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.” (Acts, 11:13, 14.) Cornelius was a good, upright, moral man, but had not been born again; therefore was not a Christian until after Peter preached to him. You will have to try some other conversion, for that one is against you.

The Elder asks if I deny that Cornelius worked righteous­ness before he believed in Christ. Cornelius did right so far as he knew, while unsaved, which made it possible for him to be saved. Fearing God and working righteousness (doing right) are conditions of acceptance with God.



The Elder contends that all men are entirely depraved. In other words, he holds to the doctrine of “Hereditary Total Depravity.” He says aliens are by nature the children of Wrath, dead in sins. Eph 2:2,3. The third verse shows the reason they were children of wrath, and that by nature, was, they walked according to the course of this world. They were not children of wrath because they had been born, but because they walked according to the course of this world. No inherent depravity there, friend Thompson.

“You are of your father, the devil.” Jno 8:44. Are we to understand by this that the devil had begotten children that were brought forth by woman? I am sure that even Elder Thompson dare not take such a position. Then what do we learn from this statement? That on account of their lies and other wickedness they had become very corrupt. Their wick­edness was not hereditary, but practice had made them the devil’s children. “By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.” (Rom., 5:12.) By the transgression of Adam we are deprived of the tree of life, and the death of the body is the result. But death was the result of Adam violating a known law, and being driven from the tree of life. As we are born away from the tree of life, we are subject to death. We suffer as a result of Adam’s transgression, but we are not in the least guilty of it. Will Elder Thompson please answer the following questions?

(1) Since like begets like (Gen. 1:25) and God is the father of our spirits, (Heb. 12:9; Jas. 3:9; Num. 16:22; Job 12:10; Eccl. 12:7; Is. 42:5) if our spirits are totally depraved is not God totally depraved? If not, why not?

(2) Since like begets like, and we are the offspring of God, (Acts 17:28) it we are totally depraved is not God totally de­praved? If not, why not?

(3) If our nature is totally depraved and Christ took on him our nature, (Heb. 2:14,16) is not Christ totally depraved? If not, why not?

(4) Since you teach that all are born totally depraved how do you explain Paul’s statement that some are holy? (1 Cor. 7:14.)

(5) If we inherit sin from Adam, as you claim, why do we not inherit righteousness from Noah, seeing we are all his descendants? (Gen. 6:9.)

(6) If we inherit Adam’s sins, why do we not inherit all the sins of our wicked ancestors?

(7) Does not the doctrine of hereditary total depravity make regeneration impossible?

(8) If we inherit depravity why did Ezekiel say: “The son shall not hear the iniquity of the father?” (Ezek. 18:20.)



The Elder asks if any should partake of the communion without they have been scripturally baptized. I answer, No! for the simple reason that the communion is for saved people and Jesus made baptism a condition of salvation. (Mark 16:16.) But the communion is for every child of God and for no others. The Primitive Baptists are wrong on the communion for they refuse it to those they admit to be Christians.


The Elder again refers to the preposition eis, and repeats the quotation from Mat. 10:41. Why should he claim that eis in Mat. 10:41, looks back in­stead of forward when all authorities say it looks forward or is prospective? The feeding or entertaining the prophet was prospective and the preposition eis, looks forward to that time.

In regard to Adam eating of the forbidden fruit, I ask you to turn back and read the Elder’s statement in his first and second addresses. I don’t blame him for dodging for he is in the “bottle” to be sure. The Elder says the expression “Forever,” as found in 2 Pet. 2:17, is not in the original, but should be rendered “For whom the gloom of darkness is re­served.” Admit that rendering to be correct, and it still leaves you “bottled up.” “The mist of darkness” is not reserved for faithful Christians, but for unbelievers and fallen Christians. The difference between those spoken of in 2 Peter; and David, Solomon and Peter is, the first class became worse than if they had not made a beginning; (verse 20) while David, Solomon and Peter repented. But the Elder tries, in a mild way, to defend Primitive Baptist “experiences,” and says that the im­pressions made that I charged, are not made by the Spirit, but only deductions of the mind under conviction. I agree with him that they are only deductions of the mind, and false ones at that; for that reason they should be rejected.

The last one is only a deduction of the mind just like the others, and for that reason they are all false. You must de­pend upon the word of God, and not upon the deductions of your own heart. He asks me if I believe that Paul was the chief of sinners. I believe Paul’s statement, and he says he was. I don’t see how he could have been much worse than he was without being “totally depraved.” He bound Christians and threw them into prison. He consented to the murder of Stephen, and persecuted Christ in every way possible. He was certainly a chief among sinners.

The Elder says that life and immortality are brought to light only when they are already in the soul. He refers us to 2 Tim., 1:10, which shows that through Christ’s resurrection, life and immortality was brought to light. It was brought to light and declared to all mankind, and is not a special reve­lation in the soul of the one regenerated.

But the Elder says I “make a fling” at the “persecuted Baptists.” I am making no “fling,” but trying to show them that their supposed conversions are only the imaginations of their own hearts, and condemned by the Lord. Talk about “persecuted Baptists.” The Baptists of this day do more perse­cuting than any sect known to me.

But, Elder, you need not try to get around that “experi­ence” part by crying persecution. You must come up and defend it or acknowledge that you are unscriptural in it.

The Lord compared the dreams to the “chaff” and inti­mated that if you had nothing better than a dream, tell it, but it’s only “chaff.”

But he says that God did speak to some in dreams. I ad­mit that he did. But it was not to convert the one spoken to, but to reveal, through him, a message for the world. I make this charge against the Primitive Baptists, and ask Eld. Thomp­son to show the fallacy if not true.

Primitive Baptists test a man’s orthodoxy by the adminis­trator of his baptism. A preacher in their church baptizes you but afterwards turns out to be a hypocrite, and they con­tinue to fellowship you, which they should.

But let one of another denomination baptize you whom they admit to be a Christian, and they will not fellowship you. Hence they had rather have a hypocrite to do the baptizing, if he does it in the name of a Primitive Baptist than to have one that they admit to be a Christian if he does it in some other name; and yet they claim there is nothing in a name.



Last Updated ( Friday, 27 October 2006 )
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