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Home arrow 50 Yrs Among The Baptists arrow Debate On Church Identity--Chapter 8
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Written by Thompson/Lawson   

THOMPSON’S EIGHTH ADDRESS

Respected Opponent, Friendly Readers: I am positively sure that our origin is established by valid proof of the succession of the Church of God, preserving her identity, though variously designated, as witnesseth Campbell.

The retentive mind, which has on memory’s tablet the his­torical facts which I have given, will condemn the charge that I have only made assertions.

Brown affirms: “The evidence is now ample that so far from being a new sect at that period (1170) they (Waldenses) had existed under various names as a distinct class of dissenters from the established churches of Greece and Rome in the earliest ages. He names witnesses who also contradict Mosheim as follows: Crantz, Robinson, Jones, Gilles, Penn, Leger, Morland, Saccho, and the learned Dr. Allix.

He further avers that the Waldenses were of apostolic origin and were built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ being the chief cornerstone, and that the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against this indomitable church; Encyclopedia Religious Knowledge, pp. 1147, 1148.

Yet in the light of luminous facts, Elder Lawson says that I have proven nothing. He depends upon Cook and Buck principally to disprove, whose testimony has been proven to be false.

Cook’s testimony that Novatian had only received clinic baptism to a date anterior to the division, if true, does not prove that he was not afterward immersed.

The language, “Upon the first day of the week, when the dis­ciples came together to break bread,” does not imply that they broke bread the first day of each succeeding week.

Remember, Elder, that you said you would give up the proposition if I showed one man who was elected to salvation before he was born. Your ruse on Ephesians, 1:3, 4, will not save you from defeat. How plain the declaration: “he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame,” etc. According to that choice they were blessed with spiritual blessings. The fact that Paul was elected to salvation before he was born is so plainly and forcibly presented in the passage that there is no possible escape for Elder Lawson. Surely any intellectual schoolboy who reads will under­stand that the passage teaches that Paul was chosen to salva­tion before he was born, and that spiritual blessings were en­joyed according to that choice.

The verse following reads: “Having predestinated us unto (eis) the adoption of children,” etc. How plain and conclusive! Who can conscientiously deny my position? My proposition is established Elder, according to your concession.

You ask: “How do sinners get into Christ?

Friend Lawson, sinners do not get into Christ. “ We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Ephesians, 2:10. “Created in righteousness and true holi­ness;” chapter 4:24. “Renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him (new man); Colossians 3:10. The Lord is the Creator, and the inner man is created in his image, and is a new creature in Christ. “ By one spirit are we all bap­tized into one body, to-wit, Christ;” 1 Corinthians 1.2:13. Those Galatians who had been previously baptized into Christ by the Spirit afterward put on Christ professionally. Aliens are brought into Christ by the regenerating, recreating power of God, and are washed by the Spirit, whereby they are purified and saved; Titus 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:11.

Elder, who is a Jew? “He is not a Jew which is one out­wardly, * * * but he is a Jew which is one inwardly; Romans 2:28. Circumcision of the heart in the Spirit consti­tutes au alien a true Jew or Israelite. All are not true Israel­ites who are of Israel; Romans 9:6.

Your question, to be fair, should read: “Can a man be a child of God without submitting to God’s righteousness in order to become God’s child?” Yes. God’s righteousness is imputed independent of works. “David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works;” Romans 4.6.

There is no dilemma for me, Elder, in Acts 10:34. God had respect to Abel (Gen.), and also to Cornelius, as both feared him and worked righteousness. God did not respect a descendant of Abraham as such, and disrespect a Gentile as such, but all of either class who feared him and worked right­eousness were respected. Those whom he regenerates do fear him and work righteousness, as Cornelius did. Therefore sal­vation from alienation is neither universal nor conditional.

Elder, if I had dictated an answer I could not be better pleased than I am with yours relative to “Jacob” and “Israel;” Romans 11:26. You say: “I answer that Jacob and Israel are used to denote the same people.” Read the words carefully: “All Israel shall be saved.” How? “There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. The Deliverer (Christ) turns ungodliness away from the people denoted by “Jacob” and saves them all. Do you dare say that some of them will not be saved, when Paul says they all shall be saved? Why were they called Jacob, and not Abraham or David? Consider, further, that some of them were blind unbelievers (verse 25), and concerning the Gospel they were enemies, but as touching the election they were beloved (verse 28); and though enemies in blind unbelief, Paul said they all should be saved. Who dare deny it? Paul prayed for those blind, unbelieving Israelites; Romans 10:1. He prayed, believing that God would save them.

Elder, do you believe that God will save all that you pray for. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Elder, I showed that God chose that the Thessalonians should be saved through sanctification of the Spirit from alien­ation and from error through the belief of the truth. God had from the beginning (before they were born) chosen (elected) that they should be saved in that way. This is the true sense of the passage. Election was before they were born, and not therefore dependent on belief.

Cornelius was unsaved as relates to belief in Christ before he heard Peter, but he believed in God and prayed acceptably, and feared God and worked righteousness which pleased God, and he was accepted with him. “He that doeth righteousness is righteous;” 1 John 3:7. Then Cornelius was a right­eous man before he believed in Christ. Is an alien dead in sins a righteous man scripturally considered? Every enlightened mind will answer, “No!” Again; “Every one that doeth righteousness is born of him;” 1 John 2:29. You admit that Cornelius did righteousness before he believed in Christ. There­fore he was born of God and was thus a righteous man before he believed in Christ, according to the apostle John and Elder Lawson. From this logical conclusion there is no escape, and according to Eld. Lawson, unconditional election is established beyond a peradventure. Natural morality from a human stand­point is not admissible, Elder.

Elder you get yourself into trouble in your comment on Hebrews 12:9, when you say that “God is the Father of all Spirits.” Your unqualified expression includes demon spirits cast out of the people by Christ, also, the Devil, and all the wicked spirits in hell. Does this make you think of Cervera? “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God;” Romans 8:14. They arc born of God, so he is their Father, but not the Father of aliens, devils or spirits in hell.

You know that I did not say that God created man a sin­ner. Why your unfair insinuation? The intelligent reader will understand why. You are troubled because I answered your questions properly.

COMMUNION.

Paul admonished the Church at Corinth to not eat with certain disorderly persons; 1 Corinthians 5:11. Therefore it is unscriptural to allow any and every person to commune. In this the church is to judge. The members in the church who have liberty to eat are to examine themselves as to whether they be in the faith,” discerning the Lord’s body, lest they eat and drink unworthily.

“EIS.”

I am perfectly satisfied as to the meaning of “eis,” Elder. I have the best authority on “eis” to be found on earth or in heaven—Christ; Matthew 10:41. No more is necessary. The prophet was received because “eis” he was a prophet. Because” eis looks back to the fact that be was a prophet before he was received. So your Gibraltar is surely gone, Elder.

I happily realize your defeat, Elder, concerning those spoken of in 2 Peter, 2:17. For there is not even an intimation in the passage that they were to be eternally damned. “For­ever” is not in the Greek text.

I will make no effort to meet unbecoming anecdotes. The subject under discussion forbids such irreverence.

I will not save any of the redeemed in hell as you assert I will, for Jesus gives them eternal life and says: “they shall never perish.”  John 10:28; 17:2.

Elder, I am confident that you don’t believe that Paul was the worst sinner that ever lived. Paul said it was a faithful saying. He quotes it as a faithful saying by those who felt to be chief of sinners, and yet you condemn us for such faithful­ness in our confessions. We each felt to be chief of sinners, when pierced with conviction, and it is faithful to say so. This explanation proves your effort futile in trying to disprove depravity by Paul. When Paul was arrested by conviction he was astonished and troubled and fell to the earth and did neither see nor eat for three days. He testifies: “When the commandment came sin revived and I died.” Then doubtless he felt to be the chief of sinners. So I find conversions in “Acts,” in the essentials, in accord with experiences related by Primitive Baptist.

Paul does not teach what you attribute to him relative to the Corinthians being washed. He does not say their bodies were washed in pure water. He says: “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Then he tells how they were washed, sanctified and justified. He says: “And by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians, 6:11. It would be as reasonable to say they were not sanctified by the Spirit according to the language, as to say they were not washed by the Spirit. Elder, does the passage teach that they were washed in the name of the Lord Jesus? Answer honestly and fearlessly. “ This is an investigation for truth’s sake.”

You say baptism is before sanctification. Peter says: “Through sanctification of the Spirit unto “ eis “ i. e., in order to, obedience;” 1 Peter, 1:2. This teaches that sanctification was first and was in order to obedience in baptism, etc.

In answer to the question. “ Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied: “ With men this is impossible;” Matt. 19:25,26. Eld. Lawson says men can be saved by complying with condi­tions. We say they cannot, as witnesseth Christ. Remember that eternal salvation is under consideration. Again, Jesus declared, “No man can come to me except the Father * * * draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day;” John 6:44.

All sinners are not drawn, for Jesus says he will raise up all that the Father draws. Therefore not one that the Father draws by grace will finally perish. So it is possible for God to give sinners eternal life through Christ; (Rom. 6:23; John 17:2) and quicken them even when dead in sins; (Ephesians 2:5) and shed abroad his love in the hearts by the Holy Ghost; (Romans 5:5) and to work in them by the gracious influence of his impressive love to will and to do; (Philippians 2:13.) When he begins the good work in the sinner he will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Chapter 1:7.) All this is affirmed as you may see in the references. Therefore we are scriptural in doctrine.

Respectfully

J. M. THOMPSON.

 

LAWSON’S EIGHTH REPLY

Respected Opponent, Dear Readers: The Elder still con­tends that he has established his proposition by  “succession,” when I am sure the readers will see that he has made a failure.

Admitting that the Waldenses were the same in faith and practice with the apostolic church (which, however, is not true in all respects), how could it help Eld. Thompson? They con­tinue until this day. If they were the Church of Christ then, why are they not the Church of Christ now? Oh, says Eld. Thompson, they have departed from the faith, and therefore cease to be the Church of Christ.

Is that true? If they were ever in “the faith” it is true, for they are not in the Gospel faith now. When did the Wal­denses cease to be the Church of Christ and the Primitive Bap­tists become the Church of Christ? Will the Elder please give the date? Every reader of ecclesiastical history knows that during the dark ages, in many countries, pious men and women would leave the church of their childhood and go back to the apostles and begin building upon the foundation—Christ—and the religious movements thus inaugurated would be designated by the one leading the reformation.

In this way we have Novatians and Waldenses. The doc­trines of the Novatians and Waldenses were similar in many respects, but in many things they differed. The Elder says that I rely on Cook and Buck for proof. Certainly I do, but I also rely on Mosheim, from whose work I have frequently quoted. He says that Brown names witnesses who contradict Mosheim. Who is Brown? Answer: A BAPTIST! Where does Jones contradict Mosheim? Where does Penn contra­dict Mosheim? Give quotation, please, and then I will exam­ine it. Assertions are cheap, Elder, and can be made by most any one, but the proof is sometimes hard to produce. The Elder says that Novatian might have been immersed after leaving the established church; but then he must acknowledge that there is no proof in support of that theory, and that no historian says anything about his ever being immersed.

Elder, you must see your failure in regard to meeting upon the first day of the week. In regard to first-day meetings, I quote from Mosheim, page 48, as follows: “The first Christians (not Baptists, L.) assembled for the purpose of divine worship in private houses, in caves and in vaults, where the dead were buried. Their meetings were on the first day of the week * * * During these sacred meetings prayers were repeated, the Holy Scriptures were publicly read; short dis­courses upon the duties of Christians were addressed to the people, hymns were sung, and a portion of the oblation pre­sented by the faithful was employed in the celebration of the Lord’s supper and feast of charity.” Thus we have proven, both by the Bible and history, that Primitive Baptists are wrong in their meetings. The Elder still claims that certain ones had been elected to salvation, and saved before they were born. His proof texts prove nothing of the kind. Salvation is in Christ, as the Elder must admit, and Paul says we are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27). he also said: “Salute An­dronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me” (Rom. 16:7.) The Elder forces an interpretation on Paul’s language which makes him contradict these plain, simple state­ments of the apostle. But he says that Paul had been predes­tinated (also the Ephesians) unto the adoption of children. Yes, God predestinated that men and women should be children of God in Christ (Gal. 3:26), and then told how they were to get into Christ (Gal. 3:27).

The Elder says that men and women are created in Christ. Who doubts that, Elder? But are they unconditionally cre­ated? No! The Penticostians were created in Christ by hear­ing, believing and obeying the Gospel of Christ (Acts 2:86—41).

The Elder tells us that the Galatians had been previously baptized into Christ by the Spirit, but afterwards put on Christ professionally. Elder, it don’t read that way! The Elder says that “Aliens are brought into Christ by the regenerating, re­creating power of God, and are washed by the Spirit, whereby they are purified and saved” (Titus 3:5). Elder, is the Spirit the administrator and the element also? Is the Spirit of God an element or fluid that washes the inner man? Certainly not. Water is the element (Heb. 10:22), and the Spirit of God, in the apostles, told believers to “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), which they did (Acts 2:41). In this way they were washed by the Spirit in water and came to the remission of sins in Christ

Instead of the Elder answering my question on righteous­ness, he makes one of his own, and tries to answer it. Elder, why don’t you answer my question? Is a man accepted of God before he fears God and works righteousness? Peter says those who fear God and work righteousness are accepted of him. What say you, Elder? The Elder thinks he has a point on “all Israel shall he saved,” but I am sure he has not. The “all Israel” that should be saved was the true Israel, or those of the Israelites who were true to God, those who accepted Christ and obeyed him, but no others. Their salvation was conditional, the same as all others. Paul did not say that those Jews in unbelief should be saved, but when Christ gave the commission he said: “he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Elder Thompson says that Paul prayed for those blind, unbelieving Jews, believing that God would save them. Paul knew that God would not save them in unbelief or in unright­eousness; if so, why should he pray? If God would save one man in unbelief, then he would save all men in unbelief, and universalism would be true. The Elder asks if I believe that God will save all I pray for. I never pray for God to save a man unconditionally; if so, my prayer would not be answered, but God will save all who comply with the conditions of salva­tion. The Elder still contends that Cornelius was saved before Peter went to him, and yet the angel said: “he will tell thee words whereby thee and all thy house shall be saved.” I leave that to the intelligent readers, for I am sure they will under­stand Peter’s mission better than Elder Thompson.

The Elder quotes John as follows: “Every one that doeth righteousness is born of him,” and then adds that as Cornelius did righteousness, he was therefore born of God. As far as morality was concerned, Cornelius did right, but concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ he knew nothing, and Paul said: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that behieveth.” When Cornelius heard, believed and obeyed the Gospel, he came to the promise of salvation and was saved by the Gospel. Paul, in Heb. 12:9, was talking of human spirits, as every intelligent reader can see, and not about wicked spirits in hell, or demon spirits. “The Lord made man upright, but he has sought out many inventions.” The Lord made him all right, and when born into the world they are all right, but when they violate God’s law and tall, then they go astray and become wicked spirits. They make their spirits wicked; the Lord does not.

COMMUNION.

The Elder says that the church is to judge as to who shall eat bread and drink wine in the communion, and refers us to 1 Cor. 5:11, which speaks of keeping company with certain kinds of people, and says: “No, not to eat” with them. Paul was not talking about eating the Lord’s Supper, but a common meal, as the connection clearly shows.

The Elder still contends that he has authority on eis, but has not presented it. He cannot, but he can assert!

The Elder says he will not save any in hell, as I assert, and thinks it irreverent in me to speak of it in that way. But, Elder, if you save all those spoken of in 2 Peter, 2d chapter, you will have to save them in hell, for Peter said the “mist of darkness” was reserved for them. Elder Thompson asks: “Elder, does the passage teach (1 Cor. 6:11) that they were washed in the name of the Lord Jesus? “ I think so. Peter, on Pentecost, commanded the believers to “ repent and be baptized * * * in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38), and at the house of Cornelius “he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Is it not plain? Especially since Paul said, “having your hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and your bodies washed with pure water “ (Heb. 10:22). The Elder has failed to examine my arguments on the order of “sanctifi­cation and baptism,” so I presume that he surrenders that part of his argument. “ Who, then, can be saved? With melt this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” The Elder would then try to make us believe that the salvation is unconditional, as it is possible with God. But when Jesus began to talk of the salvation that bad been made possible by the Lord, he said: “He that behieveth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16). So we learn that God made the salva­tion conditional, Elder Thompson to the contrary notwith­standing. He then quotes as follows: “No man can conic to rue except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” But, Elder, how does the Father draw men? “ Every man, there­fore, that hath heard and learned of the Father comes to me (John 6:45). Who comes to the Father? He that hears and learns. Therefore salvation depends on hearing, learning and coming, and is not unconditional. The Elder then gives us a number of references, but as they say nothing of unconditional election, we need not notice them. The Primitive Baptists are unscriptural in telling men that they are so depraved as to be inactive, and teaching them to wait until they experience some sensational feeling before they try to hear, and learn, and come to the Father. They ought to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature,” and tell believers to “re­pent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” instead of telling them that they can’t do any­thing. It’s the “will nots” that cannot be saved. Teach men the way of salvation and get them willing to be saved, and then you will do the work that God would have you do.

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.