Dayton. Wash., Jan. 13, 1905.
Dear Brother Chick: – I inclose a letter just received from our beloved brother, Elder W. H. Gilmore, of North Yakima, Wash. This letter I am sure expresses in a clear and able manner the steadfast faith of all the churches of the Siloam Association, of which he is an able and acceptable minister of the gospel, as well as the opinion of all the Primitive Old School Predestinarian Baptists in this western division of the United States of America, so far at least as my knowledge of them extends, and I am sure that they will all greet this letter with joy and hearty approbation in the SIGNS OF THE TIMES, if you see cause to give it publication. As I myself am of the same mind with brother Gilmore, I thought the letter well timed and an able defense of the Old Baptist cause, so far as the order and government for which they contend, and for which they have suffered so much persecution in ages past, are concerned.
I want all the readers of the SIGNS, and all lovers of simple, unadulterated truth, to read this letter and compare it with the word of God, which is the standard of judgment, as he presents. It is needless for me to say more than give brother Gilmore my hearty indorsement in all that he has so well said.
I wish in a short way to express to you and the readers of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES my hearty approval of every word you have written in the number for January 1st, 1905, for it has become necessary of late that every Old School or Primitive Baptist church should be informed and come to know their true relation to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only head, and to the apostolic churches of the New Testament, whose rule of action is alone to be found in the inspired word of God, and pre-eminently in the New Testament Scriptures, having the broad seal of the Holy Ghost. The restless spirit of confederating in the past has ever Sought to overturn the churches of the saints, by robbing them of the liberty which they have in Christ, in the right of choice and freedom of expression, through assumed or delegated powers, which the churches have no right given them to surrender to other bodies, or to new tribunals which may be placed over them, but they are commanded to stand fast in the liberty of Christ, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
The council at Jerusalem was in the church with the chosen and ordained apostles, whose words are still to be heeded and carried into effect, as was ordained by them in the council. Their words and works are still extant, and in the hands of the true ministry, elders, bishops, pastors, and evangelists and stewards, and before the eyes of the members, as documents legislative, judicial and executive, and nothing more is needed for the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. Let us keep the ordinances as they were first delivered, striving together for the hope of the gospel; more than this antichrist.
I. N. NEWKIRK.
NORTH YAKIMA, Wash., Jan. 8, 1905
ELDER I. N. NEWKIRK – VERY DEAR BROTHER: – I received your short note a few days ago, also the minutes of the second meeting of the National Council of Primitive Baptists of the United States of America, and as you have requested me to write you a letter, I take pleasure in improving the present opportunity. I am glad to hear that you have returned safely to your home and friends. You have doubtless had a pleasant visit, besides quite a lengthy trip, and I presume you mingled with the great throng of admirers of the world’s great achievements in sciences and arts up to the present time. But it appears to me while the world is making such a great display of her wonderful advancements, that this ambitious spirit has also seized upon some of our Primitive Baptist brethren to seek out new inventions. I cannot call to mind any Scripture that would warrant the establishing of any higher tribunal than the orderly organized churches to settle church difficulties, or to maintain sound doctrine, for I reason that a duly organized church has the approval of the Spirit, and stands as one of the seven candlesticks spoken of by the Revelator to John. It seems by the account given by John that the Lord has reserved the right to himself to establish or remove churches, according as his wisdom dictates, as is seen in the case of the church at Ephesus. But in each of the five churches in which he found errors, he held them responsible as individual churches for those errors, and commanded them to duty. Paul being taught by the same Spirit of Christ, admonished the church at Corinth to correct her errors; likewise the church at Galatia; it is true he told them what to do, but he did not give them the spirit of obedience, Jesus must give that; but we must be does of the word, and not hearers only. It seems to me that the churches at the present time have a great advantage over the primitive churches in those days; they had the occasional preaching of the apostles and others, but we have the benefit of their experience left on record, with the teaching of the apostles, and a perfect free access to the whole Bible at all times, yet it seems that some brethren wish to go beyond the rights and privileges conferred upon the church by Christ and the apostles, and endeavor to set up unscriptural concerns without the authority of the word of inspiration. This action of the brethren at St. Louis calls to my mind the expression of Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be case down, saith the Lord. Thus said the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk therein.” – Jer. vi. 14-16. It appears that this warning was given to Israel just before they went into captivity. Now we read that “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning; that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Now if I am permitted to judge in these matters, my conclusions are these: that the deepest and most learned men we have in the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ are the most humble and contrite in spirit, and they are never found inventing some new theory in order to lead off a party after them, or to cause a division among brethren. They seem to feel that what they understand of the mysteries of godliness was given them of the Lord, therefore they cannot boast as though they had not received it, neither do they become exalted, because the very nature of the knowledge carries with it a spirit of humility. The apostle Paul as a wise master builder could exhort his brethren at Colosse to “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering: forbearing one another, and forgiving one another.” Now, brother Newkirk, it is evident to my mind that if we always had those lovely christian virtues well stamped in our hearts, we would not need to go to St. Louis, or any other remote part of the United States, in order to negotiate for peace, for there would be peace, both at home and abroad, and the Lord God would be exalted in our hearts, Jesus would at all times be glorified, and peace would flow as a river.
This year Christmas came on Sunday, and as it was our regular time for meeting, we had a very pleasant Christmas service; all were in peace, and we decided it was not necessary to go away to some popular place to observe Christmas for Christmas would come to us as well here as yonder. So it is with peace, the proper dates for the arrival of peace come just as regular as the church or its lovers are prepared to receive her; but she will not dwell alone, she always requires her companion, love, and where love does not exist, peace cannot enter. So it becomes our solemn duty to examine ourselves, “Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in your, except ye be reprobates?” – 2 Cor. xiii. 5. So it appears that this examination is not only an individual matter, but is to be conducted right at home. Again, we are commanded to confess our faults one to another, that we may be healed. Now, my brethren, my home church, knows what my faults are, and right here at home is where my confessions should be made. Again, if I am a lover of peace and the prosperity of Zion, while I am acquainted at my home church, knowing her needs and what is lacking there, she is justly entitled to my prayers and labors in her behalf at home. I do not think it is possible for me to fulfill this Scripture in waiting until I get off into some strange community, and then make loud confessions of my faults and long prayers for her peace. It is true we are commanded to pray for all men, and David says, Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but as God is omnipresent, he can be approached by the peace-loving child of grace at any time or place, without establishing stated national assemblies for the purpose of invoking divine wisdom, and at the same time ignoring the plain teaching of the Scriptures, and attempt to establish an institution unauthorized by Christ and the apostles, not even named in the Bible. Yet Paul declared to Timothy, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Then let us ask ourselves the solemn question: Are we men of God in the sense that Paul means! If so, then the Scriptures are a thorough furnisher to us, containing all the information and instruction for the government of the church of Christ, and the perfecting of the saints.
Now, brother, I will close this imperfect letter, asking you to cast over it the mantle of charity, and remember your weak brother when it is well with you.
Yours in the fellowship of the gospel,
W. H. GILMORE.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 73, No. 5
April 1, 1905