YOUR views, brother Beebe, on the validity of the ordinations of Old School preachers, by the United Baptists before the Regular and Separate Baptists split, after the articles of general union were entered into, are respectfully requested by
The question on which our opinion is called for is not so clearly stated as we could wish, as our knowledge of the history of those Baptists in the western and southern states which have been known as United and Separate Baptists, is very limited. Our opinion, therefore, of the validity of rites performed or ordinances administered by them, must be governed by the answer of another question, viz.: If the Baptists above mentioned were branches of the church of Christ, and held in gospel fellowship as such by the Regu1ar Baptists at the time when such ordinations were performed, the same must, (in our opinion,) be valid, to all intents or purposes; but no ordinance or religious rite of any kind whatever is valid, (in our estimation,) when performed or administered by those who are not, at the time of such administration or performance, in connection and fellowship with the true church of Christ.
Various opinions are entertained among Baptists as to what properly constitutes the ordination of a minister of the gospel; nor are we prepared to say that any specific form of ordination is given in the New Testament. The church is required to “set apart” those persons designated by the Spirit, “For the work whereunto the Holy Ghost has ordained them.” However irregular or invalid the ordination of a minister may have been, in some former connection he may have sustained with a disorderly church, if at length he sees the error of such connection and abandons it, unites with a regular church, and is by such regular church set apart to the work of the ministry, we incline to the opinion that he is duly authorized to officiate in the capacity and exercise all the functions of a regular minister of the gospel.
There has been much perplexity discovered in some sections of Zion, in regard to the validity of baptism received from the hand of persons not connected with the regular church of Christ. On this subject we are fully of opinion that where baptism is administered by a minister who stands connected with the true church, and acting as the official servant of the church at the time of administering that sacred ordinance, although he may afterwards prove a Judas Iscariot or a Nicholas, the ordinance, so far as the church or the person baptized is concerned, is perfectly valid. But if the administrator, at the time of administering, is not recognized as a servant of the true church of God, and a regularly set apart minister of the gospel, it is not valid.
According to our sense of propriety, we should require any person coming to us from the New School Baptists, to be baptized, although he may have been immersed by a New School preacher, or any preacher or proclaimer not recognized as being in fellowship at the time of administering the ordinance, with the Regular or Old School Baptist church. But persons baptized before the division between the Old School and the New School took place, although, in the division, the administrator may have gone down to Babylon after loaves and fishes, and the persons baptized remained steadfast in the faith and order of the gospel, their baptism is valid. If Judas, while officially with the apostles as one of them, had baptized, which very probably he did, such baptism must have been valid; but after his true character was developed, and he proved to be a devil, it would have been quite disorderly for any to receive baptism at his hands.
What we have written on this subject we respectfully submit to Many Inquirers, not as an oracle, but simply as our own opinion, and subject to the correction of our brethren if we err.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
August 1, 1842.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 38 – 40