Not a little has been said of late, particularly in the State of Kentucky, but also in the Baptist press of the South, regarding the attitude of our Louisville Seminary Faculty toward the doctrine and practice of "alien immersion."
Some months ago we took occasion to quote the words of Dr. John A. Broadus on this question. Our readers will remember his position:"I think it highly undesirable that persons previously immersed by Pedo-Baptists or Campbellites should be received as they stand, into a Baptist church. I think they ought to be baptized when received, for the sake of good order and to prevent any troublesome question from afterwards arising. I think that the candidate, even if satisfied with his previous immersion as a baptism, ought to be willing to be baptized now to satisfy the church and give no trouble hereafter; and that if he is not willing, the church can do without him. But I know that a great many Baptist churches in large portions of our country do receive such persons without baptizing them. So, if I were a member of a church to which such a person applied, I should earnestly urge that he ought to be baptized; but if the church should decide to receive him without baptizing, I should not feel bound to leave the church or make trouble on account of the decision."An attack having been made on two of the Seminary professors some time ago, President E. Y. Mullins made the following statement:"In general, our Faculty holds that the question of receiving or not receiving alien immersions is one to be decided by the local church. We believe that it is a question which can safely be left to the operation of the principle of Baptist liberty and loyalty to the Scriptures, and that It should not be made a test of fellowship or Baptist orthodoxy. The Faculty of the Seminary is not, and never has been, a unit on the subject of alien immersion, though a majority has always favored re-baptism on grounds of uniformity and regularity."In a tract just from the press and entitled "Kentucky Baptists, the Seminary, and Alien Immersion," Dr. W. J. McGlothlin reminds us that there are among Baptists three views on this subject of alien immersion: one party objects to it on doctrinal grounds, some of these making it a test of orthodoxy; another prefers re-baptism on grounds of regularity, order; and expediency, but does not regard the question as one of orthodoxy or a reason for disturbing fellowship and harmony; and a third party favors the reception of alien immersions but does not make it a test fellowship. After an illuminating historical discussion of the question, Professor McGlothlin thus sums up the situation:"No Baptist confession of faith has ever spoken on this question; the Baptist denomination, North, South, East, and West, is, and has always been, divided on it; the New Testament in the nature of the case does not deal with the question, because the conditions out of which it grows did not then exist; the denomination has differed and lived at peace except when and where the proscribing spirit has gone; the Seminary as a corporation has no position on the question, but the influence of all but three of the eighteen professors of its entire history has been in favor of regular baptism. At the same time, every professor has always stood and does now stand, for personal freedom and the authority of the churches in the matter. We do not believe a man is a heretic because he holds and practices this or that view as to 'alien Immersion'; we do not believe in proscription; we try to cultivate harmony and co-operation among all the brethren."Surely those alone of "the most straitest sect" will hereafter be disposed to criticize the Seminary on this ground; for its position is as clear as a sunbeam and as sound as a dollar.
==========[From Biblical Recorder, September 30, 1908, p. 2. On-line edition.]
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