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Dr. James Boyce on Alien-Immersion
From The Baptist Argus, 1902
      Some of the papers have been quoting Dr. Boyce now on one side, now on the other, of the alien-immersion controversy. Dr. Boyce makes his attitude perfectly clear in his letters to Broadus as given in the Life and Letters of John A. Broadus. He was, to be sure, opposed to alien-immersion as was Dr. Broadus on grounds of church order, not of doctrine. But both Boyce and Broadus advocated liberty among Baptists on this question and both opposed a proscriptive policy on such an issue. In the midst of the Williams controversy Dr. Boyce wrote to Dr. Broadus, February 25, 1873 (p. 288): “I do not fear the badgering of Williams. . . . We need not fear the consequences. I think some eyes would be opened to see that much can be said on the other side of a question on which they speak so dogmatically. Perhaps Williams could ask them some hard questions.” April 21, 1873, Boyce wrote to Broadus (p. 299): “Soul-liberty is worth more than alien-immersion even with Landmarkers.” All this was in defense of the right of Dr. Williams to favor alien-immersion, although Dr. Boyce himself did not favor it. Once more, Dr. Boyce asked Dr. Kerfoot to consent to a position in the Seminary Faculty, though at that time Dr. Kerfoot was an alien-immersionist. On June 20, 1876 (p. 301), Dr. Boyce wrote to Dr. Broadus: “It was within half an hour after hearing what I did about Kerfoot that I wrote him our wishes and offered him the place, and said nothing then nor when he came down about the matter. The position we have taken upon disputed points, viz., that of liberty to the professor, is the true one. Upon divided points we must consent to be divided.” Dr. Boyce had his own views and did not hesitate to express them, but he championed the right of others to differ from him on this question and refused to let alien-immersion be a test of orthodoxy in the Seminary Faculty. As our readers know, THE BAPTIST ARGUS adheres to the view of Boyce and Broadus in opposing alien-immersion on grounds of church order, but like Broadus and Boyce, we stand for the right of Baptist churches to settle this matter for themselves. Those on either side of this question who wish to gain arguments for proscriptions must look to other names for support than those of Boyce and Broadus.

[From The Baptist Argus October 16, 1902, p. 1; via Baylor U. digital documents. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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