Marfreesborough, Tenn., Feb. 6, 1843.
BROTHER BEEBE – For twelve or fifteen years past we have had a kind of Baptists among us called “Separate Baptists,” in consequence of their dissenting tot he doctrine of the Old Baptists. They were the cause of much trouble, great perplexity, and many hurts before the final separation to the old order of Baptists; for their “windings and doublings” were such that it was difficult to understand them. They have since, however manifested themselves as avowed arminians; for all their pulpits are dumb with regard to the great doctrine contended for by the Old Baptists. Lately a convention has been held by the Separate Baptists and missionary Baptists, and a creed union agreed on by them. Their association is to be known by the name of “The United Effort Baptist Association.” The only article in their constitution (of ten articles) that refers to the great doctrine of grace, I will quote, and offer a few remarks on it, which will occupy but little of your time and space:
“Article 4. That the election taught in the scriptures is through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; and none are authorized to consider themselves elected to salvation until they repent and believe the gospel.” 1 Peter i. 2; 2 Thess. ii. 13.”
All this might have passed unnoticed, but for the fact of the missionary Baptists claiming to be of the old order of Baptists, and representing those who are really such as a modern sect, thereby compassing, if not sea and land, falsehood and deception to make proselytes. Some about here, who have joined the missionaries, say they were induced to do so, from the consideration of their being Old Baptists, as they were assured by them. Let us see. We have long said that the missionary Baptists are arminians, and there we have truth-telling indication of it. They have suppressed or given up the great doctrine of unconditional election, as believed and preached by the Old Baptists from time immemorial in this their union-creed. Thus we see they dis-crown and arminianize the great doctrine of election, as taught by the Old Baptists, to unite with avowed arminians. For a part of the text quoted from is intentionally kept back, that an improper meaning may be given to that which is quoted. That election might seem to depend on contingent repentance and belief, as they may or may not be exercised by the creature, instead of the true Apostle’s doctrine of it; for the Apostle says in that very text all the christians scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithinia, were elected “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” And the scripture doctrine of repentance and faith is that these blessings come through the channel of election, and are fruits of “the sanctification of the Spirit” spoken of, which is but a different mode of expression, meaning the same as “Whom he did predestinate them he also called;” and not the contingencies on which the saints’ election turns. Although they are regarded as evidences of election, and the only ones by which we can know our election of God; yet they are no less the evidence of an eternal and unconditional election. The text referred to in 2 Thess. ii. 13, teaches that the Thessalonian saints were “chosen unto salvation from the beginning.” And Paul says the Ephesians believers, along with himself, were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world;” and blessed in Christ “with all spiritual blessings” to be given in time according to that choice or election: the quickening of the Spirit, repentance, faith and perseverance are some of them, – tokens of that grace given to them before the world began. Well may arminians be afraid to quote a full text on this subject.
We are not opposed to the union of the missionary and arminian Baptists, for the latter have assumed no new name, and the former have indicated their true doctrinal creed, showing that they are arminians and not Old Baptists. We see no incompatibility in their union, provided the Separate Baptists can be trained to bow the knee to the idol-institutions of the missionaries; furnish a good quota of idol-priests to officiate therein; and join in the tinkling cymbol proclamation that “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” – these be thy gods that will un-heathenize the world: then there will be nothing to prevent them from rejoicing together “in the works of their own hands.” Yes, here arminian can meet arminian in the full glow of brotherhood, and were it possible, they would arminianize the very elect; for no pains are spared to decoy the unwary into their ranks about here, and they seem to succeed best when they can deceive any so far as to induce them to believe that they are of the order of Old Baptists. Now since they have thrown out from among them all the great doctrine of grace and election, and joined banner with avowed arminians, we hope they will cease to represent themselves as the old order of Baptists.
JOHN M. WATSON.
Signs of the Times
Volume 11, No. 7.
April 1, 1843