Brother Boulware, in his communication (on page 92) complains that there are some “carnal, lazy and disorderly boys” in the ministry in Missouri, who attempt to recommend themselves by their ignorance, and talent for abusing intelligence, &c., and calls on us to advise them to do better.
We regret to learn that the churches of our order are in any part of the land annoyed by such preachers as our brother has described. We do advise all carnal preachers to leave the ranks of the Old School Baptists forthwith; for we have no idea that carnal preachers can do any better. Ignorance and laziness are also serious detriments in the character of ministers among Old School Baptists. But our churches should endeavor to discriminate between ignorance of the gospel of Christ and ignorance in the more general acceptation of the word. A minister of Jesus may be very deficient with regard to the sciences of this world and destitute of that knowledge which is acquired in the schools, and yet be an able minister of the Lord Jesus. As Old School Baptists we do not hold that scholastic knowledge has anything to do with qualifying a man to preach the gospel, the requisite qualifications for that work being altogether spiritual. Neither do we hold, as some have slanderously reported, that ignorance of the sciences, or a disposition to denounce literature belong to the qualifications of a gospel minister.
Education is good, and should be regarded with esteem and respect in its place, and young men or boys in the ministry, instead of abusing intelligence would render better service to the cause of religion by pursuing their leisure moments in the pursuit of general information, than by affecting a contempt for intelligence. God has evidently called some learned men into the ministry, and in other cases he has called men unlearned, and has often displayed his power and wisdom in making the latter more eminently useful than many of the learned.
It has sometimes been the case when our ministers have protested against the substitution of human learning in place of divine calling and qualifications; when they have borne a faithful testimony against colleges and theological schools for increasing the number of the ministry, and for embellishing the gifts of the Holy Spirit with the rules of scientific divinity, that they have been accused of abusing intelligence when such was not their motive, and to charge them with a want of regard for education, was to do them great injustice.
It is possible that some of the boys may let their zeal out strip their judgment in expressing their dissent from the popular doctrine on this subject: the elders should in such cases teach them the way of the Lord more perfectly.
If any through covetousness or carnal indulgence have attached themselves to the Old School, they should be put away when they give evidence that such is the case.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
June 15, 1843
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 282 – 283