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MODERN MISSIONARY OPERATIONS.

Cottage Mills, Chattahoochee County, GA., Aug.30, 1858.

DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: - I copy from the Tennessee Baptist, published by Graves, Marks & Co., date Aug. 14, No. 48, Vol. 14, the following:

THE TRUE OLD SCHOOL.

“We find the word missions in the Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association as early as the year 1773, and what is more, the Kehukee Association of North Carolina, appears there, as desiring, at that time, the continuance of missions! Will the Primitive Baptist tell us what this means? Is that paper, in spite of all its non-fellowship for ‘missionary’ brethren, a descendant from missionary fathers?”

Will some of our Georgia brethren tell him what it means, and relieve him of his distress, he seems to be in trouble? Come brother Purington, unsheathe your sword, don’t let it rust, if you do it will not cut every way. David said he could leap over a wall, run through a troop, and one could chase a thousand; so can brother Purington; if the Lord be with him.

I. Oates.


Covington, GA., October, 1858.

BROTHER BEEBE: - I have been from home so much for several weeks that I have not had time to comply with the request of Brother Oates until now. The writer of the foregoing extract from the Tennessee Baptist evidently intended to convey the impression that the Primitive or Old School Baptists of the present time are not what they profess to be, by his reference to the Baptists of three-quarters of a century ago, or more. Because the word missions is found in the Minutes of the Philadelphia Association of 1773, and because the Kehukee Association appears there as desiring, at that time, the continuance of missions, he would intimate that the New School, or Missionary Baptists of the present day, are the true Old School. So that by non-fellowshipping the missionary operations of the present time, we disfellowship {as the writer would intimate} the Baptists of nearly a century ago. As the “Primitive Baptist” of North Carolina is requested to tell what it means, I would not write on the subject, only in reference to the request of brother Oates. I do not expect however, to relieve the distress {if he has any} of the writer of the foregoing extract.

In the first settlement of the country much hardship and exposure attended the settlers. Those who lived in older portions of the country and were Baptists, often helped those preachers who were poor, who traveled into the frontier settlements, and preached the gospel to them that were destitute. This course was encouraged by the brethren of the Kehukee Association towards relieving the preachers in their labors, and necessities, as they were poor, and had families to support. The word missions was introduced, and used by them, expressive of what we have just stated. Those Baptist preachers were called of God, and went out and preached without taking into consideration dollars and cents, like the missionary preachers of modern times. This course was pursued by the Baptists of Maine in the first settlement of that country. But the Baptists increased in numbers, corruptions were introduced by men who did not love the antiquated doctrine of salvation by grace, the idea of a popular ministry to please the world was suggested, and actually introduced, until the cause of missions in its original existence was perverted and became a money-making business. The Primitive, or Old School Baptists, North and South, East and West, after a time excluded those who continued to pervert, and make use of the cause of missions in a manner derogatory to its original meaning and design. The Kehukee Association was among the first to disown modern missionary operations.

It is not the word mission in the abstract that we object so much to; it is the use that is made of the word in its application to that which is unscriptural and ungospel wise. The word signifies sending or being sent. When applied to those whom God has called, and sent forth to preach his gospel agreeable to apostolic principles it will apply to the Old Order of Baptists in our day, but when applied to the organized missionary operations now extant, we disclaim all connection with it in precept and example. Neither can we religiously fellowship those who patronize or approve of such things. The Primitive Baptists disown the name missions, or missionaries because in common parlance it expresses that which they do not believe or fellowship.

An abundance has been written first and last upon the foregoing subject explanatory of the principles and practice of the O.S. Baptists. We do not expect to have justice done to us by our enemies. It is vain for us to look for it. Many of our opponents know what we believe and what our principles are, and consequently misrepresent us designedly. Others, in part, being ignorant of our principles, are deluded into the notion that we believe what we do not believe. How useless, therefore, it is to suppose that our religious opponents will ever acknowledge that the doctrine the Old School Baptists love and preach is God’s truth, unless they are made to confess it by the work of grace wrought in their hearts.

It has been known for years that the O.S. Baptist ministers have traveled thousands of miles, endured many hardships and privations away from their families and homes, and preached the gospel to their fellow men without money or price, depending upon their God, and the kindness of their brethren, without asking, or desiring aid from any Missionary society or humanly devised institutions of men. And why is this not reckoned among the deeds of charity, and acts of benevolence of our day? Simply because we are too primitive for modern times, too antiquated for common notice. And why is it that our opponents endeavor to convey the impression by their papers and periodicals, that we have no precedent for our doctrine and practice if it was not that they know that our faith and principles are more Scriptural, and can be traced through the remote depths of antiquity eighteen hundred years or more, than any other sect now in existence? The facts are plain, and cannot be successfully disputed, or contradicted.

Perhaps it will not be profitable for me to write any more on this subject, and if brother Oates will excuse me, I will most respectfully close this imperfect scribble by subscribing myself a sinner saved by grace.

J.L. Purington.