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      R. L. Dabney was a prominent pedobaptist theologian in the nineteenth century. He emphasized his logical conclusions concerning Baptists' doctrine of "immersion as baptism" in his Syllabus and Notes on Lectures in Theology, 1878, 2nd edition, pages 774-775.

Robert Lewis Dabney on "Immersion as Baptism"

      "The odious ecclesiastical consequences of the Immersionist dogma should be pressed; because they form a most potent and just argument against it. All parties are agreed, that baptism is the initiatory rite which gives membership in the visible Church of Christ. The great commission was: Go ye, and disciple all nations, baptizing them into the Trinity. Baptism recognizes and constitutes the outward discipleship. Least of all, can any immersionist dispute this ground. Now, if all other forms of baptism than immersion are not only irregular, but null and void, all unimmersed persons are out of the visible Church. But if each and every member of a pedobaptist visible Church is thus unchurched: of course the whole body is unchurched. All pedobaptist societies, then, are guilty of an intrusive error, when they pretend to the character of a visible Church of Christ. Consequently, they can have no ministry; and this for several reasons. Surely no valid office can exist in an association whose claim to be an ecclesiastical commonwealth is utterly invalid. When the temple is non-existent, there can be no actual pillars to that temple. How can an unauthorized herd of unbaptized persons, to whom Christ concedes no church authority, confer any valid office? Again: it is preposterous that a man should receive and hold office in a commonwealth where he himself has no citizenship; but this unimmersed pedobaptist minister, so-called, is no member of any visible Church. There are no real ministers in the world, except the Immersionist preachers! The pretensions of all others, therefore, to act as ministers, and to administer the sacraments, are sinful intrusions. It is hard to see how any intelligent and, conscientious Immersionist can do any act, which countenances or sanctions this profane intrusion. They should, not allow any weak inclinations of fraternity and peace to sway their consciences in this point of high principle. They are bound, then, not only to practise close communion, but to refuse all ministerial recognition and communion to these intruders. The sacraments cannot go beyond, the pale of the visible Church. Hence, the same stern denunciations ought to be hurled at the Lord's Supper in pedobaptist societies, and at all their prayers and preachings in public, as at the iniquity of "baby-sprinkling." The enlightened immersionist should treat all these societies, just as he does that 'Synagogue of Satan,' the Papal Church: there may be many good, misguided believers in them; but no church character, ministry, nor sacraments whatever."


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