Lexington, Ky., 1875.
Four numbers have recently been published in your columns over the signature “Old School,” which are so unjust and perversive of truth, that I feel called on to respond.
Your correspondent may be, for aught I know, a disciple of the old “school of one Tyrannus,” with whom Saul disputed in his day. See Acts 19:9. His readiness at perversion, or falsifying, is worthy of him. He quotes from the Circular on the Christian Warfare, as follows: “The new man needed no redemption, never having transgressed the law;” and charges Old School Baptists with denying the doctrine of regeneration and the new birth. Can he have read in the divine record, “The new man, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Again, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Or the testimony of the Psalmist, “Lord, thou hast been our [Head, body and members] dwelling place in all generations; before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth or the world; even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” Or yet the following: “According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world.” “But according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Jesus before the world began.” The law had not then been given, and of course sin, which is the transgression of the law, had not been committed. What need was there for the redemption of the new man? But our God has said. “I have not beheld iniquity in Jacob; neither have I seen perverseness in Israel.” Will your correspondent contend that he spoke of Jacob or Israel according to the flesh, as the descendants of the earthy Adam? Or not rather, typically, as the spiritual family of the Lord Jesus, the second Adam? “The Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” “Israel shall be saved in the Lord, with an everlasting salvation.”
The whole mediatorial work of the Lord Jesus was directed to the redemption and salvation of his chosen seed, who sinned in their relation to, and by virtue of their oneness in nature with the earthy Adam. In this nature they were “the children of wrath, even as others.” Hence the Redeemer said, “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Will your correspondent affirm that the Mediator did not exist until his birth of the virgin? If then he so existed, the children also existed. The Head, having assumed flesh and blood, with the children, met the claims of a violated law, and bore the curse due to transgression; hence an apostle said, “For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, [all the children] then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them and rose again.” Hence it is said, “If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” “Ye also are become dead to the law, by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him that is raised from the dead, that ye should bring forth fruit unto God.” Again: “And he is the head of the body, the church, the first born from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.” Suppose you the head exists without the body, or the body without the head?
Hence we learn that the warfare exists in every christian, between the antagonistic parties, the “old man, which is corrupt with his deeds,” and the “new man, which after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness.” If your correspondent be a subject of the new birth, he is not a stranger to that warfare.
We should not forget that the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. That “seed which shall serve him, and shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.”
I do not object to fair criticism of anything I propagate with my pen or tongue; but when the critic shall garble, by taking detached sentences, and supplying explanations, as your correspondent has done, he betrays conscious weakness and incapacity to meet, either by argument, or proof drawn from the divine record, to successfully controvert the doctrine he assails. If he had been searching for truth, he would have learned from the Circular from which he quotes, that the doctrine of regeneration and the birth were not only taught, but that the warfare which invariably follows being born again, was explained as existing between the “old man” and “new man.” I am entirely satisfied that he cannot find an intelligent, unprejudiced christian in the land, acquainted with the ministry of the Old School Baptists, or Elders Beebe, Durand, Johnson, or myself, who will believe his assertion that we deny regeneration and the new birth. I very much doubt whether he himself believes his assertion.
I find no authority in my Bible for dividing the man. The old man is an entire old man, and the new man is an entire new man.
Your correspondent professes to quote from Elder Vanmeter, and assumes that he holds that some part of the old man is the subject of regeneration and the new birth, and that Elder Beebe does not dissent from the idea. I am fully satisfied that he does Elder Beebe injustice in this assumption.
Your correspondent assumes that some part of the Adamic man is the subject of regeneration and the new birth. If he shall refer this to the soul, the learned tell us, “The soul is the seat of intelligence; that the thoughts emanate thence;” and the Bible tells us, “The thought of foolishness is sin.” If christians have vain, wicked and foolish thoughts, then is their soul not born again. The apostle tells us, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” If he shall refer to the heart, the word of God informs us that, “from within, out of the heart, proceedeth evil thoughts.” “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Again, the Lord saith, “I will give them a new heart to know me.” If they could know him with the old arminian heart, whence the necessity of giving them a new heart? If he shall refer to the mind, an apostle informs us. “The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” If he refers to the body, why is it said, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body?”
But why has your correspondent so recently become enamored with the name “Old School?” Is it because he cannot so readily impose on those who do not take the trouble to inform themselves with regard to their new moneyed inventions for evangelizing the world, under their former cherished name, “United Baptists?” Or the more ancient names, Regular Baptists, Separate Baptists, General Baptists or Missionary Baptists, as Old School? A solution of this inquiry may be found in the public declaration of a prominent elder of his order, “If we do not go back to Old Baptist ground, we will lose many members.” Is not this an acknowledgement that they had left Old Baptist ground?
Your correspondent may know that the name, “Particular Baptists,” is two hundred years older than “Old School,” and that it is older by several years even in this country. The Licking Association having adopted the name at her session in the year 1820, not to remove her from original faith, but as more expressive of that faith, and to distinguish her from other bodies of Baptists.
Your correspondent presumes to assert that the “Signs of the Times” is the exponent of the faith of the Particular Baptists. The editor does not claim that distinction, nor is it accorded to that paper, or any other human production. He, with sound Baptists everywhere recognizes no other standard of faith than the unerring word of the eternal God.
I very much doubt whether your correspondent, or any who fraternize with him, would willingly meet any one of the elders whom he has assailed before a company of intelligent christians; and discuss the points at issue with them, agreeing, of course, that the word of God shall decide.
If your correspondent had read the Bible more attentively, if indeed he be capable of understanding its spiritual import, and relied less on fables, Sunday School tracts, and reports of missionary boards, he might have saved himself this exposure. The intolerant spirit manifested by your correspondent, like his brethren of old, would seem to say, “None shall be allowed to buy or sell,” [proclaim the truth of God] but such as have “the mark of the beast in the forehead or in their right hand.” Especially would he seem to proscribe Particular Baptists, and all others who demand bible authority for the brood of inventions recently reared up as means to “evangelize the world.” Not so with Particular Baptists; they advocate the largest toleration of religion, only asking that truth be left free to combat error.
I assert, without fear of successful contradiction, that no evidence can be found in the word of God to sustain the notion that all, or any part of the Adamic man, is changed from natural to spiritual by the new birth, or will be so changed until Jesus “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body,” or until “this corruptible shall put on incorruption; and this mortal shall put on immortality.” Then will the heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ “see this Savior and be like him, for they will see him as he is.”
In conclusion, I have to say that professedly sound Baptists have incorporated with their confessions of faith, the following: “We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the word of God, and the only certain and infallible rule of faith and practice, containing everything necessary for us to know, believe or do in the service of God.” Particular Baptists are entirely satisfied to observe that rule, and to be judged according to its teachings. If your correspondent is satisfied with what is taught therein, whence the new inventions they have reared up in the last few years? If what I have written on the foregoing pages be heresy, “let him make the most of it.”
I have quoted from memory, not being disposed to impose on my eye by testing the accuracy of the quotations by the scriptures; but am satisfied that I have given the substance of each text quoted.
Thomas P. Dudley.
P.S. – I here reaffirm the unfaltering belief that, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God;” and this birth is “not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” Moreover that this birth, developing eternal life, is indispensable to the belief of the record God has given of his Son; “which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” I suspect your correspondent feels that “his craft is in danger,” hence his gross misrepresentations of the Old School Baptists.