Only Baptists have uniformly and in all their history insisted upon regeneration as the prerequisite to church membership. They alone, through the ages, have kept this gospel lamp trimmed and burning, throwing its light over the darkness of the world. Others have at times stood by us; but, alas! Their receiving the unconverted into their churches by infant baptism has led them astray. There is not a useless doctrine in all Revelation; not one which is not needful to a true and complete evangelism; and the Baptists alone hold all these truths, and at the same time maintain the ordinances in their primitive simplicity and purity.
When I look over the churches and see how hungry they are for numbers, and how eager to make large reports, I am tempted to believe that statistics are an invention of the enemy. The worst place in the world for an unregenerated man, is inside a church. . . . The sinner, inside the church, if moral and innocent of intentional hypocrisy, feels that the recognition of the church in some way aids in his salvation. All appeals to the unconverted pass him by unheeded. . . . The power of the church is weakened.
Let no one read a vile book, a false book, or a semi-infidel book. There are ministers who can tell you what the infidels of the day think, but who would be utterly blank if asked what was the subject of Zachariah’s prophecy. It seems very necessary for them to be “abreast of the times,” but by no means necessary for them to be familiar with their Bibles. . . . And till the end of time the one way to make men tremble is to strike straight at their consciences with law and gospel; so shall they be made to tremble before the law, and be melted into contrition by the story of the cross.
[From portions of "Our Distinctive Principles as Baptists, and Our Literature Necessary to a True and Complete Evangelism," Religious Herald, Richmond, VA, June 24, 1880. Quoted by Adam Winters in his thesis "T.T. Eaton and the Politicization of Baptist Ecclesiology." The title is added. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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