The 1815 Circular Letter to the churches was prepared by Elder Ambrose Carlton on "The Scriptural reasons why the Baptists do not commune with other denominations of Christians." A most excellent letter.
The session of 1816 was held at Sandy Run Church, Rutherford County, N. C., Elder Hosea Holcombe, of Union church, had been appointed to preach the introductory sermon, but gave way to Elder Luther Rice, agent of the Foreign Mission Board, who being present preached a missionary sermon on the occasion, which gave general satisfaction, and a public collection was taken up for the objects of the Board.
Two churches Ruhamah and Zion were admitted into the confederacy of churches at this session, making 28 in all, with a total membership of 1503 in fellowship.
The following queries had been sent up from.the churches, viz:1. "Is it good order for a church to dissolve herself, when said church has a pastor with her? If not how shall she proceed agreeably to Scripture?"The Circular Letter of this session was written by Elder Drury Dobbins on The Union Betwixt Christ and his Church.
Answer. "Although we cannot cite such to any Scripture, we advise them to apply to the churches for helps and thereby form a presbytery, to dismiss in order, both minister and members."
2. "Would it be good order to commune with a person after receiving such into our union upon a profession of our faith previous to their being baptized?"
3. ''Is it agreeable to the gospel for Baptists to call themselves "Calvinists," and the doctrines of grace "Calvinism?"
Answer. "We believe John Calvin preached more sound doctrine than any other noted reformer, yet we think it is contrary to the gospel, for Baptists to call themselves and the doctrines of grace by such titles."
And is a very concise and appropriate document which should be reproduced.
Elders Drury Dobbins presided as Moderator and Berryman Hicks as Clerk of this session.
We are informed that about this time the doctrines of particular election, and the saints final perseverance in grace, on the part of Baptists: while general redemption and possihle apostasy on the part of our Methodist friends, were the great themes of religious discussion. Many sermons and essays on these novel points found their way into printed pamphlets and other works. And the two parties still cherish their peculiar tenets as though nothing had been said or written.
"He that complains against his will,
Is of his own opinion still."
What a great pity it is, that so many sects or parties, sprang up out of the reformation of popery! Some people consider this a great blessing because, as they allege it will tend greatly to the evangelization of the world: it being impossible for all to see alike and entertain the same views in reference to religious matters. That some can be followers of Paul, others of Apollos and Cephas, etc., and thereby a greater number be gathered into the general church of the Redeemer.
Our doctrine is, that we should all be followers of Christ, that Paul, Apollos and Cephas - Calvin, Luther and Melancthon, etc., are only ministers of His and consequently we should ignore the names of Calvinists, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc., and cleave only to that of Christian just as the disciples was first called at Antioch, by which, however we do not mean the followers of Alexander Campbell, or any other would be leaders of party sects. If it is best to be organized into petty factions, one calling himself a follower of Paul and another of Apollos, why did Christ pray to his Father that we all might be one: "as thou Father art in me and I in thee?"
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