By request of the Mt. Carmel Church, Ala., we copy their letter from the Primitive Baptist. It may not be amiss to offer a remark or two upon its import. We have no disposition to condemn or censure any brother for refusing to use unscriptural phraseology in speaking of God, or in setting forth what God has revealed to us in the record given us of his Son. A strict conformity to scriptural terms would prevent much unprofitable speculation and controversy among brethren who are substantially of the same faith. If the brother, by refusing to use the words, human nature, &c., intended to deny that Christ took on him the seed of Abraham, that he was made in all points like his brethren, that his children being partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; or that he was made of a woman and made under the law; he, in such case, assumed a position contradictory of the plain testimony of the scriptures, a position in the occupation of which he should not be sustained by the church.
The idea of Christ’s having died a God, if assumed, should be sustained by better testimony than what is presented in the couplet from Watts:
“God the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sins.”
We know of no scriptural authority to sustain the position of brother Rowe upon this point. As we have understood the divine record, it was as the Messiah he was cut off; as the Son of God he was not spared, but was freely delivered up to die the just for the unjust. That he was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death. Immortality, as such, could not die. The Godhead, as such, could be under condemnation by no just or holy law, nor indeed under any law; hence the necessity of Christ’s incarnation in coming under the law. As God, that very law emanated from him. He said to his disciples, “Truly the Son of man goeth, as it is written of him,” &c, The Son of man was lifted up, &c.; but the Godhead of Christ. is in no sense the Son of man, and could not possibly be the offspring of man in any sense whatever. We have long considered the couplet quoted from Watts highly objectionable. It was in the form of a servant that he learned obedience, and that he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He was put to death in the flesh, not in the Godhead. The construction which brother Rowe’s words, according to the version of them in the letter from his church, are liable to, would either imply an absolute plurality of Gods, so that one might be dead and others living, or the absurd idea expressed by a certain poet, that when God shall come to judge the world, angels shall guard his throne.
It should never be forgotten by us that godliness is a mystery; and all that we can know of it must be by revelation of the Holy Spirit; and that all that the Holy Spirit ever has or ever will reveal of Christ to us, must necessarily be in perfect harmony with the scriptures of truth.
The church at Mt. Carmel, and all persons interested, will excuse us for these remarks, as we could not consistently comply with their request without offering our views thus far on the subject.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
May 15, 1846
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 643 – 644