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Home arrow 50 Yrs Among The Baptists arrow Debate On Church Identity--Chapter 7
Debate On Church Identity--Chapter 7 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thompson/Lawson   


Respected Opponent, Friendly Readers: Eld. Lawson, under pressure, has made a gigantic failure in an effort to reply to some things he has judiciously avoided.

He has almost admitted all that I claim pertaining to iden­tity by succession. The Elder and the readers understand that I was proving by Campbell that the Baptists were the kingdom of God from its commencement until Campbell introduced his adopted Catholic heresy of baptismal regeneration. He knows that I was not trying to prove by Campbell as to whether he was right or wrong in his heresy. Campbell’s testimony, rela­tive to the identity of the Church of God, called Baptists, was based upon history with which he was conversant.

His call to reformation (so called) was based upon a Catho­lic dogma. This strategic move of yours, Elder, is the most apparent twist and flounder you have made. It is like Cervera’s effort to escape. For you admit that the churches which pre­served the New Testament principles in 1827, maintained their identity as the Church of God. You say the congregations established by Campbell did that; but I say they did not. Camp­bell taught that through teaching, believing, repentance and obedience, souls were saved from hell. Unscriptural!

The Baptists had maintained their identity as the church, as proven, by preserving the New Testament principles. They made no departure in Campbell’s day, and therefore, continued to maintain their identity as the Church of God.

You say that if all I claim for the Novatians is true it does not help me in the least.

I have claimed that the Novatians were the apostolic Church of Christ; that they located in Switzerland and were called Waldenses; that the Menanites, English Baptists, and Primitive Baptists of America are descendants from the Nova­tians, who were of scriptural origin and all in the same un­broken succession line. All this I have claimed and proven, but Eld. Lawson says it will not help me in the least. Mar­velous statement!

Abraham said some would not be persuaded though one rose from the dead.

Elder, you don’t know that Novatian received only clinic baptism. You don’t know that his call was just as Campbell’s call. You don’t know that Novatians rejected all designating names. I deny your assertions and demand proof.

Baptists believe as the Novatians did, that baptism is for (because of) the remission of sins. They meet upon the first day of the week to break bread. Did the Novatians meet upon the first day of each week to break bread?

Your insinuation, Elder, that the Baptists have rejected the name “Christian” is false, and their writings will sustain me in the charge. Have the followers of Campbell rejected the name” Christian,” by calling themselves Reformers, Disciples and Camp­bellites? I am pleased to bear both, the name Christian and Baptist. I have no disposition to reject either. John, the Messenger of Christ, bore the name Baptist. He baptized Jesus. So we are in good company.

Another miserable failure on election! Elder, you must feel miserable over it. But “Cervera like” you must do something. Yet, you did not attempt to disprove my position that Isaac represented a people who were promised to Christ before they had an existence; that they were children of promise as Isaac was a child of promise when God said; “ Sarah shall have a son.” This is virtually an admission that my position is impregnable.

As to Jacob, he was chosen i. e. elected; and when blessed of the Lord, he was called Israel. He is not a Jew (Israelite T.) who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew (Israelite T.) which is one inwardly; and circum­cision is that of the heart in the spirit, * * * whose praise is not of men but of God. Rom. 2:28,29. So circumcision of the heart in the spirit makes an elect person, who is called Jacob an Israelite; a Jew inwardly. Paul testifies: “So all Israel shall be saved” How? “As it is written; There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Rom. 11:26.

Elder, did Christ, who is spoken of as the Deliverer, save all national Israel by turning ungodliness away from Jacob, the son of Isaac? Does not the word “Jacob” in the passage apply to a people of whom Jacob, the son of Isaac, was a type? This must be the true application.

Paul’s desire and prayer, that Israel might be saved (Rom. 10:1,) did not embrace all of national Israel; for be said in the preceding chapter, sixth verse “They are not all Israel which are of Israel.” His desire and prayer was for Israelites who were Jews inwardly, but were ignorant of God’s righteousness, and he desired that they should be saved from error. They had a zeal of God, but were deficient in knowledge as many of the followers of Campbell are. My heart’s desire is that every Israelite who has imbibed Campbell’s heresies may be saved from those unscriptural dogmas. Like Paul, I am will­ing to endure the reproaches of opposers for the “elect’s sake,” that they may obtain, by faith (believe in) the salvation which is in Christ; 2 Tim 2:10. The salvation is in Christ with eter­nal glory, and by faith we receive the tact, and thus obtain it in our hearts.

Paul did not say that sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth elected the Thessalonians; 2 Thess. 2:l3: It reads: God hath from the beginning chosen you to (eis) salvation (or in order to salvation—T.) through sanctification of’ the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Their salvation was through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, but their election was not. Elder, does not “ eis” signify “in order to” in the passage? Sanctification of the Spirit saved them from alienation, and belief of the truth saved them from conviction.

Elder, do you see the bottle?

You say that you will give up the proposition if I will find one man whom God elected to salvation before he was born. I will put you to the test. “He hath chosen [elected] us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame, etc.; Eph. 1:4. Paul was one of the “us.” He was elected before he was born. He was elected to be holy and unblamable. This was the election of one man and more, to salvation before the foundation of the world. The passage does not teach that they were chosen to be apostles or to preach (teach.) Honor bright, Elder, give up the propo­sition.

Peter says the elect were chosen that they should shew forth God’s praise; 1 Pet. 2:9. Therefore, they were chosen prior to obedience. They were not elected through what they did.

I understand my proposition, Elder; Cornelius was born of God when he sent for Peter to tell him words whereby he and his house should be saved from unbelief. You admit that Cornelius did right before he believed in Christ. John says: “If ye know that he [Christ] is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”


Cornelius did righteousness before he believed in Christ.

“Every one that doeth righteousness is born of him,” (Christ or God.)

Therefore, Cornelius was born of God before he believed in Christ.

Again; “They that are in the flesh can not please God.” Rom. 8:8.

Cornelius did right and pleased God.

Therefore, Cornelius was not in the flesh but in the Spirit. The Spirit of God dwelt in him: —verse 9. He was born of God before he believed In Christ.

The Ephesians were children of wrath by nature before regeneration, and being the children of wrath by nature, they walked in sin.

Elder, you quote Rom. 5:12, and say that we are deprived of the tree of life by Adam’s sin, and suffer and die as a result of it, but that we are not in the least guilty of it. The quota­tion from Rom. 5:12 says that, “death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.” You contradict Paul.


(1) Heb. 12:9 is the only passage referred to which says God is the Father of our spirits. It relates to regenerated spirits.

(2) I might as reasonably ask; If God created man and man is a sinner, is not God a sinner?

(3) Heb. 2:14-16, don’t say that Christ took on him our natures.

(4) It does not mean holy in nature.

Elder, if both father and mother are unbelievers, are their children depraved? Paul says they would be unclean.

(5) Adam was a representative head. Rom. 5:15-19. Noah was not

(6) Same.

(7) No!

(8) The fathers in Ezekiel’s day did not bear the relation to their sons that Adam did to all his posterity, as a represen­tative head.


The Primitive Baptists invite all to communion who have been scripturally baptized and are in order. They shun hypoc­risy.

I claim that eis, in Matthew 10:41, looks backward, as Wil­son correctly renders eis “because;” and it signifies that the prophet was entertained because he was a prophet before he was entertained. Entertains is in the present tense, and eis must look backward here.

Suppose we change it, Elder, to suit your construction. He that receiveth a prophet in order to the name of a prophet. Do you see the fallacy of your rendering? Sir, I tell you the Gibraltar of Campbellism is gone.

Reader, please look, also, at what Elder Lawson says in his first reply about Adam eating.

The mist of darkness was reserved for God’s children who disobeyed, as did David, Solomon and those of whom Peter writes (Pet. 2:17), and they realized it. Peter does not say they became worse than if they had not made a beginning. Elder, that is your addition.

I challenge you to show that the impression is “false” when Baptist say: “I felt that God for Christ’s sake had for­given me.” Believers have this impression. Paul believed he was serving God when he persecuted. Elder, don’t you think that the hypocrite who persecuted Christians was worse than Paul?

Paul does not say (2 Tim. 1:10) that life and immortality were brought to light through Christ’s resurrection, but that life and immortality were brought to light through the Gospel. This is another twist in the bottle by you.

The Lord compared the lies of false prophets, who said they had dreamed, to chaff. He commanded the dreams of true prophets, to be told, and he compared them to wheat; Jeremiah 23:25—28. In your allegation, Elder, you not only slander Baptist by charging them with willful lying, but you misapply God’s word. You may have done it ignorantly, as did Paul when he persecuted Christians. I pity you, and can pray for you.

God did speak to men in dreams to convert them; Job 83:14—29. Read.

The Primitive Baptist would not rather have a hypocrite do baptizing at all. Elder, your charge is false. I do not say it is willfully false. We claim that there is something in author­ity relative to the administration of baptism.

We do not claim that there is nothing in a name, as you assert, Elder. We believe the name “JESUS” (Mat. 1:21) sig­nifies much more than Campbellism will allow.

I promised to show that sanctification of the Spirit pre­cedes the belief of the truth, as seen in Thessalonians, 2:13.

“Sanctification” signifies setting apart. Priests were sanc­tified (set apart) to a holy service. Jesus gave himself for the Church that he might sanctify it; Ephesians 5:25, 26. This sanctifying process is as follows

“Be not deceived; neither fornicators * * * nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified * * * in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

This teaches that alien sinners were washed by the Spirit of God, that they were sanctified, that they were changed from their alienated state and set apart to a holy service. Washing by the Spirit cleansed, sanctified them, causing their hearts to be honest and good, proper receptacles for the word of God. The parable, Mat. 13:3-23, Luke 8:15, teaches that the heart must be honest and good, comparable to good ground, or there will be no fruit to the glory of God.

The preparation of the heart in man is from the Lord; Prov. 16:1. The washing spoken of is the washing of regener­ation, which saves from the death in sins: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration,” etc.; Titus 3:5. Even works of righteous on the part of the saved are excluded from any consideration as a condition in order to their salva­tion: For the reason that regeneration antedated all their good works. They were the workmanship of God; Eph. 2:10. “He that is not of God heareth not us;” 1 John 4:6. They were of God by regeneration which was wholly of his mercy.


     J. M. THOMPSON.



Respected Opponent, Dear Readers: The Elder has quite a time trying to establish identity by succession. That he has made a signal failure is certainly apparent to every thoughtful reader. He can’t fix it to suit himself, so he just continues to “talk around” to keep up appearances. Eld. Thompson says that he has claimed and proved that the Novatians were the apostolic church…that they moved to Switzerland, and were called Waldenses. * * * That the Primitive Baptists are descendants from them. But these are only assertions of Eld. Thompson’s, and surely he don’t expect us to believe his statements, especially since I have proved that Peter Waldus was the head and founder of the Waldenses. (See Mosheim, p. 291.) Eld. Thompson says that I don’t know that Novatian received only clinic baptism, that his call was just as Camp­bell’s, nor that he rejected designating names.

He says: “I deny your assertions and demand the proof.” All right, Elder; it affords me pleasure to enlighten you on these weighty matters.

We quote from Cook’s Story of the Baptists as follows: “The clinics were regarded as an exceptional class of Chris­tians, and their rights to the privileges of the church were often disputed. A notable instance is found in the case of Novatian at Rome, in the early part of the third century. He was elected to the office of bishop, but his ordination was opposed on the ground that he had received only clinic bap­tism; yet, owing to his splendid endowments, this objection was overruled, and he was set apart to the ministry.”

“In the next place, consider the various bodies of Chris­tians who arose between the age of the apostles and that of the Reformation. Many of them who, during those times, were stamped as heretics, were noble reformers who sought to resist the progress of apostasy and tried to bring the church back to the simplicity of the Scriptures, or failing in this, they separated from that church which had finally become hope­lessly corrupt and established churches (congregations, L.) of their own, after the Gospel pattern.” (Cook’s Story of the Baptists, p. 33.) Orchard, p. 78 (I quote from memory), says that for seven hundred years the disciples called themselves Christians, and had strong aversions to any other name.

The Elder says that Primitive Baptists meet upon the first day of the week to break bread, and then asks: “Did the Novatians meet upon the first day of each week to break bread?"  I answer that if the Novatians met upon the first day of the week to break bread, they met every time there was a first day of the week. That was the only way they could meet upon THE first day of the week. When the Lord commanded the Israelites to keep the Sabbath day, did he not mean that they were to keep every Sabbath day? Certainly he did. And when the disciples met upon THE first day of the week, as recorded in Acts 20:7, was it not upon every first day of the week?

The Elder says that I have made another miserable failure on election. The Elder is not to be the judge in this case, if so, we would give up the proposition at once. I showed how and to what people in different ages had been elected, and denied that any one had been elected to salvation without obeying the truth. He claims that Paul and others had been, and cites us to Ephesians, 1:1-6 as proof. But his proof-text disproves his statement, for Paul, in the second verse, says: “Who bath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Where were the blessings? Answer: IN CHRIST. How do you get into Christ? “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal. 3:27.) So, Elder, instead of teaching unconditional election it proves conditional election. Thee Elder tries to make it appear that all who Paul prayed for were Israelites indeed, and that be only desired their salvation from error. The Elder assumes positions he ought to try to prove. I deny that any one was ever unconditionally circumcised in heart, and demand the proof of Elder Thompson. No Jew was ever circumcised in heart until he heard time Gospel, and was, by it, “ Cut to the heart,” (Acts 2:37) and made to ask the conditions of salvation. Paul was praying for those who were going about to establish their own righteousness, and had not submitted to the righteousness of God. Elder, can a man be a child of God, and not submit to God’s righteousness? If yes, is he a child of God by God’s righteous­ness?

In your sixth address you argued that men are saved by the righteousness of God. If one man is saved by the righteous­ness of God without submitting to that righteousness, then all men will be saved. (Acts 10:34.) Here is a dilemma for the Elder and either horn gores his theory to death. If God’s righteousness must be submitted to in order to salvation, then salvation is conditional; if not to be submitted to, then it is universal. The Elder’s position cannot be true.

The Elder asks if Christ, the deliverer, turned away ungod­liness from Jacob and thereby saved all national Israel? I answer that Jacob and Israel are used to denote the same people, and that Christ saved only those who turned away, or accepted the conditions of salvation. Christ saved all of Israel who heard, believed and obeyed, but no others.

So all Israel shalt be saved.” That is, all true Israel— those who heard, believed, were pierced to the heart and obeyed the Lord.

Eld. Thompson tries to make a play on 2 Thess., 2:13, to show that the Thessalonians were first elected and afterward sanctified. But Paul says that the Lord had chosen them to salvation “through sanctification of time Spirit and belief of the truth.” He asks if “to (eis) salvation” is not “in order to sal­vation,” to which I answer that the idea is the same, but the election depended upon the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. He then goes to Cornelius to try to find a child of God in unbelief. He says that Cornelius did right before he believed, therefore he was a child of God: yet Jesus said “He that behieveth not shall be damned,” (Mark 16:16.) Cornelius was unsaved; (Acts 11:14) yet Eld. Thompson says he was a child of God!

The Elder gives us a syllogism, which, certainly, is silly enough to say the least of it. Morally, Cornelius did righteous (right) before Peter preached to him, which shows that he was not totally depraved; but there is more than morality in the religion of Christ. A man may be moral and not be a Chris­tian, but he can’t be a Christian without being moral. Here, I think, is the great trouble with most Calvinists. Cornelius was a moral man; yet an unsaved man—therefore not a child of God—but when he believed and obeyed the Gospel, he was brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, where he received the forgiveness of sins.

The Elder gets himself into trouble in the answer of my questions, and contradicts facts. He says that Heb. 12:9 refers to God as the Father of regenerated Spirits. Paul did not say that God is the Father of our Spirits, (meaning only Christians) but that God is the Father of Spirits, (all Spirits.) He evades my second question by asking: “I might as reasonably ask “If God created man and man is a sinner, is not God a sinner?” My argument was that like begets like, (Gen. 1:25) and we are the offspring of God; that if we are born totally depraved that God is totally depraved. If God created man a sinner, and if we are all sinners by birth and yet the offspring of God, then certainly it would make God a sinner. For that reason we reject your doctrine of inherent depravity. I ask the reader to examine closely the other answers of the Elder to my questions. They “bottle” him.

The Elder says that Primitive Baptists invite all to com­munion who have been scripturally baptized and are in order. Elder, who shall be the judge as to whether or not a man has been scripturally baptized? Do you say, “Let a man examine himself and so let him eat?

The Elder is getting quite liberal on the subject of com­munion. The Elder is not yet satisfied on the meaning of eis. Bullion’s Greek Grammar says that it means “from without to within—opposed to ek” This is the primary meaning. Elder, you claim that eis looks backward, and I deny that it ever does such a thing. Will you produce one standard Lexicon that so defines it? Will you find one standard Greek grammar that so defines it? Then why will you continue to make assertions that you cannot prove?

The Elder seems to realize his defeat concerning those spoken of by Peter, in 2 Pet. 2:21.

He says the mist of darkness is reserved for God’s children, and yet says that all of God’s children will be saved. His argu­ment reminds me of an incident I once heard of a drunk man. One of the drunk man’s friends got badly cut and the drunk man thought he would die. The thought came to his mind that he ought to get some preacher to pray for his friend. The first preacher he approached refused to pray for time drunk man’s friend, but soon he found one who agreed to pray, so they knelt and the prayer began. The drunk man exhorted him “to pray like ‘ell” and the preacher prayed: “O, Lord, save him and. save him now,” and the drunk man said: “Yes, Lord, save him; if you can’t save him in heaven, save him in hell: don’t let him be lost.”

Elder Thompson will save them, but will have to save some of them in hell

The Elder wants to know if I don’t think that the hypo­crites who persecuted Christians were worse than Paul. Paul said he was chief (leader) of’ sinners, and we must believe him. But if your doctrine of “hereditary total depravity” is true, then it would be impossible for one to be worse than another. But that doctrine is not true, I am glad to say. The Elder will not attempt to defend Primitive Baptist experiences but insinuates that I misrepresent them. I do not misrepresent them, but show that their supposed conversions are imaginations of their own hearts. If any one of you will read Acts of Apostles and compare the conversions therein recorded to your supposed conversions, I am sure that you will see your error.

The Elder makes a slight attempt to prove “sanctification before belief,” but the quotations given show the reverse.

Paul says: “But ye are washed, ("bodies washed in pure water,” Heb. 10:22) but ye are sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

They had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 2:38; 10:48) and brought into Christ (Gal. 3:27), where they were sanctified (1 Cor. 1:1-2).

As faith comes before baptism (Mark 16:16), and baptism before sanctification, then they were not sanctified before they believed.



Last Updated ( Friday, 27 October 2006 )
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