DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BAPTISTS AND CAMPBELLITES
By J. W. Porter, 1938
1. Baptists and Campbellites Differ Concerning The Plan of Salvation.
In the very nature of the case, no article in the creed of Christendom can be of more vital importance than the plan of salvation. No greater
question can be asked by a lost soul than - "What must I do to be saved?" Through the centuries, Baptists have believed and taught, that salvation is by grace through faith. This fact will not be denied by their bitterest foes. They believe that repentance and faith connects us with the merits of the blessed blood. When the jailer asked of Paul and Silas-"Sirs what must I do to be saved?" the reply was prompt, direct and explicit. "Believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house." Acts 16:30, 31.
This is the only case in the New Testament, in which a penitent believer asked of an inspired disciple what was necessary to salvation, and in which he received a clear and explicit answer, and was immediately saved. It will be noted that Paul did not say to him, that it was necessary, for him to be baptized to be saved. If baptism was essential to salvation, then Paul did not know the plan of salvation, or else deliberately misled the jailer. Either hypothesis is unthinkable.
"Being therefore justified by faith let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. 5:1. It is stated that we are justified by faith, and baptism is not even mentioned. Peter preaching to the house of Cornelius said: "To him bear all the prophets witness, that through his name, everyone that believeth on Him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." Acts 10:43, 44. It is here stated that everyone that· "believeth" should receive remission of sins. It was further stated that the Holy Ghost fell upon them. Peter marshals all the prophets in support of his statement. Not one word said about baptism.
Luke 7:50 - "And he said unto the woman thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace." Like quotations can be many times multiplied. It is worthy of note, that there is not a single statement in all the New Testament, in which it is stated that "He that is baptized not, shall be lost." In many places it is stated that he that believeth not, shall be damned. It is true that in Mark 16:16 it is said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned." It does not say that he that is not baptized shall be condemned. To have so asserted would have made him contradict himself and the entire teaching of the New Testament. It should be further noted that Dr. McGarvey believed the sixteenth chapter was an interpolation. To affirm certain things of a certain class does not necessarily deny it to others. For example, the writer could safely say that "He that believeth and is baptized, and partakes of the Lord's Supper, shall be saved," though this is not equivalent to saying that those who do not partake of the Lord's Supper shall be damned.
If there is a single doctrine taught in the New Testament, that is beyond all question, it is that "By grace have ye been saved, through faith, and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Eph. 2:8 - 0ne is not saved by water, or waterworks, but by grace through faith.
The author of this book does not mean to say, as they say of all unimmersed believers, that they are all lost. To the contrary, there are not a few among them who are really and truly saved. The writer would say that no mortal was ever saved by believing the doctrines of Alexander Campbell. The saved among them, are saved in spite of his doctrines, and not by them. If Campbell's plan of salvation is scriptural, practically the entire Christian world will be lost.
2. Baptists and Campbellites Differ As To the Meaning and Nature of Repentance.
Mr. Campbell used the word "Reformation" as a substitute for repentance. He says: "Repentance is actual ceasing to do evil and learning to do well. This is repentance unto life, or what is truly called 'reformation'." Christian System, p. 53. His repentance is destitute of Godly sorrow, prayer, or conviction of sin. He says: "Speak we of Godly sorrow? No. This is not to be expected from unconverted and ungodly persons." Christian System, p. 225.
He further says: "In the ancient gospel, it was first a belief in Jesus,
next immersion, then forgiveness." In this he finds no place for repentance, and whenever he used the words "repentance and faith", he always makes faith precede repentance, though there is not a single instance in the Scriptures where faith precedes repentance. The order of administration must be observed, if the ordinances are effective. A man must be tried before he is condemned. There is no use to try a man after he has been punished for a crime.
The order is as necessary as the ordinances. Jesus said: "Repent ye and believe the Gospel", and not believe the Gospel and repent. Paul said: "Testifying both to the Jew and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Campbellite repentance knows nothing of a Godly sorrow, that worketh repentance, and not to be repented of. With Mr. Campbell repentance is merely an outward reform, and not a work of grace wrought by the Holy Spirit. The disciples of Mr. Campbell make repentance and baptism identical. He says: "immersion alone was that act of turning to God." The repentance of Campbellism is not repentance, and the Lord Jesus tells us, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." "Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." Acts 3 :19.
Should I owe a man ten dollars and go to him and say, "I owe you ten dollars, but I won't owe you any more." Such an act would not pay what I already owe. Campbellite repentance promises to quit sinning, but expresses no sorrow for past sins.
3. Baptists And Campbellites Differ As To What Constitutes Faith.
Baptists believe that saving faith involves trusting Christ and a committal to Christ. They do not believe that a mere historic faith e. g., that George Washington was the first president of these United States, will save anyone. Mr. Campbell said: "The belief of one fact, and that upon the best evidence in the world, is all that is requisite as far as faith goes, to salvation. The belief of this one fact, and submission to one institution, expressive of it, is all that is required of heaven to admission into the church."
"The one fact is expressed in a single proposition, that Jesus the Nazarene is the Messiah. The one institution is baptism into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Christianity Restored, p. 118, 119. According to Mr. Campbell's views, the devil and all the lost have faith, for they one and all believe that "Jesus the Nazarene is the Messiah." According to Mr. Campbell all that is necessary for the salvation of Satan and all the unregenerate is "Submission to one institution" and that one institution is immersion. The "good confession", that "Jesus Christ is the Son of God" was the shibboleth of Campbellism, until the appearance of the Revised Version, which left out Acts 2:38 upon which this good profession was based. Mr. Campbell claimed that faith was dead and was only made alive by baptism. He did not have and did not claim to have the assurance of salvation. The only assurance he claimed to have, was that he knew he had obeyed in baptism. We have been young and are now old, yet we have never heard a follower of Mr. Campbell claim any assurance of salvation except his baptism. And this reminds us of the rather trite saying, that if one can have religion and not know it, he can lose it and not miss it, and if he can lose it and not miss it, what is it worth to him? It is a sad but tragic truth that thousands are cherishing a counterfeit faith, devoid of trust.
4. Baptists and Campbellites Differ Concerning An Experience Of Grace.
Mr. Campbell taught that there was no internal evidence of regeneration. In this connection he says: "Our consciousness of forgiveness is not made to proceed from any inward impulses, voices or operations, either instantaneous or gradual, but from a surer and more certain foundation
the testimony of God. I believe the testimony concerning Jesus of Nazareth, in the Apostolic import of it. I then feel myself commanded to be immersed for the forgiveness of sins; I arise and obey, I then receive it and am assured of it, for God cannot deceive. Thus I walk by faith, and not by feeling." Christian Baptist, p. 520.
Thus it appears that Mr. Campbell denies all evidence of regeneration, except the act of baptism. He further says: "Hence neither praying, singing, reading, repenting, sorrowing, resolving, nor waiting to be better was the converting act. Immersion alone was the act of turning to God." Millennial Harbinger Extra, p. 35. It will be noted that he, says he does not walk by "feeling", yet in the same paragraph says, "I feel myself commanded to be baptized." Surely the legs of the lame are not equal.
Baptists believe with John, "That he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness within himself." "We know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." "And His spirit beareth witness with our spirits", that we are his children. "Wherefore the Holy Ghost is also a witness to us."
No where in all the Scriptures is one's baptism made the basis of assurance of salvation. In the early stages of the Reformation the doctrines of an experience of grace, was ridiculed, and is yet denied by many of his followers. It is worthy of note that our Campbellite friends never relate an experience of grace. They claim they have none to relate.
5. Baptists And Campbellites Differ As To The Design of Baptism.
Mr. Campbell says: "In, and by the act immersion, as soon as our bodies are put under water, at that very instant, all our former, or old sins are washed away." Christian Baptist, p. 100. "We stagger not at the promise, but flee to the sacred ordinance which brought the blood of Jesus in contact with our conscience." Christian Baptist, p. 521. "Immersion is the first act of a Christian's life, or rather the regenerating act itself in which the person is properly again-born of water and spirit-without which into the Kingdom of Jesus he cannot enter." Christian Baptist, p. 439.
"I am bold therefore to affirm, that every one of them, who, in the belief of what the Apostle spoke, was immersed, did in the very instant in which he was put under water receive forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit." Christian Baptist, p. 416.
"The Holy Spirit avails nothing in personal regeneration except the act of immersion." Christian System, p. 202.
In these quotations Mr. Campbell, beyond all possible question, teaches that baptism is essential to salvation, and that it is the one and only act that secures salvation. According to this all pedo-baptists, many of them as great and consecrated as ever lived, lived, have one and all been lost. Such an opinion shows an egotism that almost amounts to genius.
With Baptists baptism is not a saving ordinance, but an ordinance for the saved. Baptists baptize a person because he is saved, and not to save him. Baptism is the answer of a good conscience. Because a child obeys his father does not make him his child, but he obeys his father because he is his child. Many have been baptized who frankly admit they are not saved.
The proper design of baptism is as essential to scriptural baptism as the mode of baptism. The writer would much prefer baptizing one to cure rheumatism than to baptize him for the remission of sins. According to Campbell, water possesses far more potency in the equation of salvation than the blood of Christ. In keeping with this, it would be the duty of Christians to force all who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, to be baptized. This is the inevitable logic of baptismal regeneration and has resulted in the murder of thousands. Far better no baptism, than baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
Baptism symbolizes the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and we deny these fundamentals in endorsing a baptism administered to secure forgiveness of sin. Since there is only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism;
and since Baptist and Campbellite baptism are distinctly different, it follows that the baptism of one, or the other is fatally defective. If Baptist baptism is scriptural, it necessarily follows that Campbellite baptism is unscriptural. Only things that equal the same thing equal each other. Dr. J. R. Graves well says: "The Disciples (or Christian) church, therefore unite with the teachers of an apostate Christianity in placing the water before the blood, thus bringing an unpardoned, unregenerate sinner to water baptism as the sacrament of salvation. Surely no church of Christ can endorse this pernicious doctrine, by receiving those immersed by Catholics, or Disciples (or Christian), as scripturally baptized, without herself rejecting the faith of the gospel."
6. Baptists And Campbellites Differ Concerning Christ's Baptism.
Mr. Campbell, in speaking of the baptism of Jesus says: "Begotten of God he may be, but born of God he cannot be until born of water." The Holy Spirit made the literal body of Jesus by its influences, and afterward filled it. But it was not until he was born again in the Jordan, that the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove descended upon him." Millennial Harbinger.
If this be true then Christ was born a sinner as other men. It will be noted that Mr. Campbell states in explicit terms that Christ was "born again" in the river Jordan. According to this had Christ died before his baptism, then Christ would have been lost. According to Campbell we worship a Saviour who needed saving. In other words, we worship a mere man who was conceived in sin and born in corruption. It is unthinkable that Deity can commit sin. Of course Mr. Campbell did not, and logically could not, believe in the Deity of the Lord Jesus.
Christ claimed that he was the Son of God. The Scriptures clearly teach that he was the Son of God, and being the Son of God, our Saviour. In the beginning was the "Word", and the Word was God. He knew no "sin", either after or before baptism. He claimed to be the "way", the "light", the "vine", and was crucified because he counted himself "equal" 'With God, and the Son of God. He was without "spot", or "blemish," the Lamb of God for sinners slain.
The Deity of Christ is the one vital and fundamental doctrine of Christianity, and upon it the entire Christian system must stand or fall. It is, indeed, difficult to understand, how any professed Christian can reject this truth, and at the same time claim to be a Christian. The very thought that our Saviour was an unregenerate man, and therefore lost, until he was baptized, is abhorrent [sic] to every disciple of the Lord Jesus. Such a belief is a species of pious profanation, from which may the good Lord deliver us.
7. Baptists And Campbellites Differ As To The Duty of The Lost To Pray.
Mr. Campbell's doctrine on this question is as follows: "No prayers, songs of praise, no acts of devotion in the new economy are enjoined upon the unbaptized." Christian Baptist, p. 439.
According to the teaching of Mr. Campbell, being unbaptized is equivalent to being lost. Baptists believe it is the duty of the sinner to pray. "And Jesus spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." The publican prayed and went home justified, :though unbaptized. The Lord sent Annanias to Saul - "For behold he prayeth." Acts 9:11. Paul prayed before his baptism, also the thief, a sinner, and an unbaptized person, prayed acceptably; for it is said of him, "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, rememberest me when thou comest into thy kingdom." And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, today thou shalt be with me in Paradise." If Campbellites are right in discarding prayer for their reformed repentance, then the dying Saviour would have answered differently, and told the thief that it was not lawful for the unbaptized to pray, but as he answered the prayer of the thief favorably
then it follows that it was right for him to pray; and if it was right for the thief to pray, then it is right for any other sinner to pray for mercy. I call attention to the memorial day of Pentecost, to the language of Peter himself. Peter said in his sermon: "And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." This prediction of the prophet Joel was now fulfilled, that whosoever shall calI on the name of the Lord shall be saved. The prayer of faith is calling on the name of the Lord, therefore salvation was offered in answer to prayer, even on the day of Pentecost. Again, an angel from heaven sent in answer to the prayer of an unbaptized person, said to Cornelius: "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up as a memorial to God." This messenger from heaven tells an unbaptized man that his prayers had reached heaven; and in the face of all this, the Bethany Reformer contradicts the angel by denying the right of the unbaptized to pray at all. There is no duty more clearly and forcibly set forth in the Bible than all men everywhere, ought to pray.
Mr. Campbell says: "As well as reasonably might you pray for loaves from heaven, or manna, because Israel ate it in the desert, as to pray for pardon, while you refuse the remission of your sins by immersion." The scripture most relied on to prove that a lost, or according to Campbell, unbaptized man should not pray is the following: "Now we know that God heareth not sinners." John 9:31 Suffice it to say that this was the declaration of a poor, ignorant, uninspired man. His statement is not approved by Christ, and is opposed to the teaching of the New Testament. Surely one must be hard pressed for scriptural authority when he uses such a statement.
8. Baptists And Campbellites Differ As To Total Depravity.
Mr. Campbell believed and taught that we have no connection with the fall of Adam, and that the doctrine of hereditary human depravity is untrue. In other words he denied the Federal Headship of Adam. He did not believe that the iniquities of the fathers are visited upon succeeding generations. He was a Creationist, that is that every life is originally free from inherited sin.
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Romans 5:12. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23. "Visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations." Exodus 20:5. "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me." Psalm 51:5.
A word of explanation is in order. Those who believe in the doctrine of Total Depravity do not hold that men are as bad as they can be, but that every part of his being is sinful, and that this sinful nature was inherited through the Federal Headship of Adam. Baptists believe that like begets like; and that sinful parents cannot produce sinless children.
The doctrine of Depravity is not, as many believe, one of small moment. To the contrary, it is closely and vitally related to the fundamental doctrine of sin and salvation. The whole scheme of the "Ancient Gospel" is the inevitable logic of their rejection of the fact of our sinful nature. The whole theory of redemption is based upon the fact of hereditary depravity.
9. Baptists And Campbellites Differ As To The Lord's Supper.
The matter of setting the Lord's table every Lord's day, of which they make so much, is a matter of small moment. The New Testament does not prescribe how often this supper shall be observed, and hence every church is at liberty to determine the time of its observance. Mr. Campbell is at error in the following: "They did as statedly attend upon the breaking of the loaf in their public meetings, as they did upon any other
part of the Christian worship." Millennial Harbinger II, p. 69. The text chiefly used by Mr. Campbell to justify weekly communion is Acts 2:42. "And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine, and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. His conclusion that continuing "steadfastly" means observing the supper every Sunday is entirely gratuitous. The statement that they "steadfastly" may be applied with equal propriety to a monthly, or quarterly observance of the supper. As a matter of fact the societies of Mr. Campbell did not observe the supper at all their meetings, as "steadfastly" as they did any other part of the worship. The prayer meeting is a stated meeting of the church, but the disciples of Mr. Campbell did not observe the supper at the prayer meeting. Granted for the sake of argument that the early churches did observe the ordinance weekly, it must be admitted that there was no command for them to observe the ordinance weekly. It was evidently left to the discretion of the churches as to how often it should be observed. "As oft" as we observe the ordinance we show forth his death till he come again. The observance of the supper is commanded, but not the time of its celebration. Mr. Campbell contradicts himself concerning those who should be admitted to the supper. In 1835 Mr. William Jones, a Baptist of London, propounded this question to Mr. Campbell, "Do any of your churches admit unbaptized persons to communion?" To this question Mr. Campbell made the following reply: "Not one so far as is known to me."
I am at a loss to understand on what principles - by what law, precedent, or license, any congregation founded on the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone, could dispense with the practice of the primitive church. With the commandment of the Lord and the authority of his Apostles, does this look like making void the word, or commandment of God by human traditions? I know not how I could exhort one professor to arise and be baptized, as Annanias commanded Saul, and at the same time receive another into the congregation without it. Why not dispense with it altogether and be consistent? In 1843 in his debate with N. L. Rice, the same Mr. Campbell said: "We indeed receive to our communion persons of other denominations, who will take upon them the responsibility of their participating with us. We do, indeed, in our affiliations, and in our practice, receive all Christians, all who give evidence of their faith in the Messiah, and of their attachment to his person, character and will." Debate with Rice p. 785. If this is not a fiat contradiction there is no such thing as a contradiction. Whatever else may be said of the scheme of Campbellism, it may be correctly affirmed of it, that it is easily the greatest ecclesiastical contradiction of all the centuries. Mr. Campbell's cherished doctrine was that only the immersed would be saved, and yet to popularize his theories, he invites the lost to the Lord's table. The student of Mr. Campbell's theories must be convinced that they, like the chameleon [sic], change to meet the demands of their environment. Mr. Campbell never allowed his doctrines to stand in the way of his securing members.
10. Baptists And Campbellites Differ As To The Name of The Church.
His followers insist that their denomination shall be called "The Christian Church," and that no other denomination has a scriptural name. This contention has proved their greatest proselyting plea. By this contention they arrogate to themselves the right to monopolize a name that for these 1800 years has been used to designate all the followers of Christ. Many, rather than give offense, have humored this nominal joke. Should I term their organization the "Christian Church," my own denomination must be something other than Christian. I am wholly unwilling to insult my own people by condoning error and flattering errorists. In the beginning of the Reformation, which has been frequently reformed, and still needs further reforming, Mr. Campbell vigorously opposed his sect assuming the name "Christians." He insisted on the name "Disciples," and it
would seem that as father and founder he should have had the right to name his own sect. In the Millennial Harbinger Vol. 2, p. p. 394, 395, Mr. Campbell says: "I am bold to affirm, in the face of all criticism, that there is not the least authority in the word here used (Chrematize) for concluding that the name Christian came from God, any more than from Epiphanes. This may be too strong for some that contend that the name Christian is of divine authority, but let them put me to the proof. That it was neither given by dream, oracle, angel, nor apostle, is, in my judgment, by far the more probable opinion. If it had been given by the authority of the Lord, it would not have been delayed for ten years after the day of Pentecost, nor reserved for the city of Antioch to the place of its origin." From this we see that Mr. Campbell viewed the name Christian as not coming from God, or from angel, or from apostle, or by divine appointment. Why so great ado about the name then? But he further says: "Not to lose sight of the subject before us, with us it is a strong argument, that had the churches been first called Christians by divine appointment at Antioch, then the apostles would have addressed the disciples by this divinely appointed name, but this they did not so much as once in any public document which has come down to us. The Antiochians called the disciples first Christians; Agrippa used the term in reference to himself; and Peter said, that if any man was indicted as a Christian, or if any man suffered as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, which argues that it was under his name that their enemies persecuted and traduced them. But no document has come down to us authorizing us to think that this name Christian was regarded by any of the apostles as of divine appointment. If Paul, in any of his letters - if Peter, James or John had only once said, "To the Christians in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Asia, Judea," or anywhere else, then indeed, there might have been some ground to think that they regarded it as of divine appointment! And recollect it was fifty years or more from the time they were first called Christians before all the New Testament was written. They are called disciples, saints, believers, the called, sanctified, in the Acts and in the Epistles, but never once addressed as Christians. Now let it be remembered, that we have no objection to the name Christian, if we only deserve it; nor predilection for the name disciple, except for its antiquity and modesty; but when it (the name Christian) is plead for as of divine authority, and as the only and most fitting name which can be adopted, we must lift our voice against the imposition and contend for the liberty where the Lord has left us free."
In arguing for the name "Disciples," Millennial Harbinger, Vol. 3, p. 542, Mr. Campbell says: "We chose the name Disciples of Christ, for the four reasons he assigns, and rejoices that we were so fortunate to find the oldest, and most descriptive, and most scriptural of all names yet unappropriated. We have not one word in the New Testament indicative that ever the apostles called their party Christians, or that they ever accepted the name, while it is inconvertible that they delighted in the name Disciples."
In reply to Mr. Barton Stone, who insisted on the name "Christian," Mr. Campbell said: "Nor were we so ignorant of human nature as to expect that those who have preached a hundred sermons on the divine and exclusive authority of the name of Christian, and wrote a thousand pages, first and last, upon its supernatural charms and sanctions, are to be, all of a sudden, satisfied with any proof. This high and authoritative ground of theirs is neither more nor less than a good natured and well meant assumption, of which themselves are not so much the authors as the adopters." For the sake of winning Mr. Stone to his movement, without changing his opinion, he surrendered his contention. It should be remembered that Mr. Campbell at one time adopted the name "Baptist," though at no time was he ever a Baptist in faith or practice. Concerning this he says: "I hesitated between the title 'Baptist Christian' and 'Christian Baptist,' and on suggesting my embarrassment to a friend, he thought the latter, 'Christian Baptist' was a better password to favor than either of
the others. We never fully approved, but from expediency adopted it." Millennial Harbinger, Vol. 3, p. 338. Here, as elsewhere, he was running true to form. He frankly admitted that his action was determined by "expediency," and "as a better passport to favor." It appears that he never held a conviction that he was not willing to suppress for the sake of gaining members for his society. The name "Christian" is mentioned only three times in the Bible. "The Disciples were first called Christians at Antioch." This was a heathen city, and while not stated, is, by the commentators, generally supposed to have been given as a term of reproach. It will be noted that the inspired writer still uses the word "Disciples." Agrippa, a heathen, said: "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Peter says: "If ye suffer as a Christian," referring to the persecution of the followers of Christ. The word Christian, so far as the record goes, never left the lips of the Saviour. The idea that the name "Christian" is of heathen origin, is evidenced by the fact, that the name is a misnomer. The name of the Saviour is not "Christ," but Jesus. The word "Christ" is only a title, meaning "anointed." Had those responsible for giving the name been acquainted with Jesus, they would have probably designated his followers as "Jesusites," or "Jesuits," which is a slight contraction of "Jesusites." Surely a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, when applied to the Disciples of Alexander Campbell.
11. Baptists and Campbellites Differ As To The Scripturalness of Foreign Mission Work.
Mr. Campbell wrote: "The attempt to convert pagans and Mohammedans to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he was sent of the Father is also an attempt to frustrate the prayer of the Messiah, and to subvert His throne and government." Christian Baptist p. 135. "Your paper has well nigh stopped missionary operations in this state. I hope it will destroy associations, state conventions, presbyteries, synods and general assemblies." Christian Baptist p. 17.
"We know many of the well disposed are engaged in these projects, nay it is not long since we ourselves were enthusiastic in the missionary spirit." Christian Baptist p. 144.
To the credit of his disciples it should be said, that many of them now believe in and practice missions, though as a denomination they have never officially repudiated the teaching of their founder concerning foreign missions. A church that ignores the great Commission, should go out of commission.
12. Baptists And Campbellites Differ As To The Foundation of Christian Union.
Mr. Campbell says: "But the grandeur, sublimity and beauty, of the foundation of hope and of ecclesiastical, or social union, established in this, that the belief in one fact, and that upon the best evidence in the world, is all that is required as far as faith goes, to salvation. The belief of this one fact, and submission to one institution expressive of it, is all that is required of heaven to admission into the church. This one fact is expressed in a single proposition, that Jesus the Nazarene is the Messiah. The one institution is baptism into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Christianity Restored pgs. 118, 119.
According to this Mr. Campbell's platform for Christian Union has just two planks, viz:
1. That Jesus is the Messiah.
If these two planks constitute a sufficient foundation for Christian Union, we could quite quickly have well nigh universal Union. Practically all of our people believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and hence all they lack is immersion. We might unite the lower world on the first proposition, since it is true that "Devils believe and tremble." It is worthy of note that Acts 8:38, which was for many years the "good confession"
of Mr. Campbell and his followers, is omitted in the Revised version. This is also true of Mark 16:16 from which was the main proof text for baptismal regeneration. It is true that Mr. Campbell advised the retention of Unitarians and Universalists in this society. He went so far as to agree to retain in the fellowship of his society Dr. Thomas, of Virginia, who contended that all infants, idiots, pagans and Pedobaptists were annihilated. Certainly better division than nominal union with such people.
13. Baptists and Campbellites Differ Regarding Church Government.
Campbellites do not believe in Congregational Government. Mr. Campbell says: "The Christian Church engrosses old men, young men, and babes in Christ. Shall the voice of a babe be heard, or counted as a vote in case of discipline? What is the use of bishops in a church if all are to rule; of judges, if all are judges of fact and law? No wonder that broils and heart-burnings, and scandals of all sorts disturb those communities ruled by a democracy of the whole, where everything is to be judged in public and full assembly. Such is not the Christian system. It ordains that certain persons shall judge and rule, and that all shall be done decently and in order." Christian System p. 88.
As is well known, Baptists believe in a church governing itself. Through the ages Baptists have held to a democratic, and not an autocratic form of church government-a government of the saints, for the saints and by the saints. With the Campbellites the preacher receives them, with the Baptists the church receives them. A New Testament church determined its own membership, as is seen from the following Scriptures: "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputation." Romans 14:1. That is "Ye," the members of the church should receive any one. "Can any man forbid water, that these should be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we." Acts 10:47. Here Peter took the approval of those present, and did not determine the matter himself. "And if he shall neglect to hear them tell it to the church." Matthew 18:17. Not tell it to the deacons, or a few members but to the "church." "Sufficient to such a man is this punishment which was afflicted of many." 2 Corinthians 2:6. The church selected its own officers: "Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them." Acts 6:2. The twelve did not elect the deacons, but the "multitude." "And they gave forth their lots," in the selection of Mathias (1:26). If a brother walked disorderly, it was the church that was to "withdraw" fellowship. Even Paul bowed to the sovereignity [sic] of a deathless democracy when he said, "Brethren I beseech you."
14. Baptists And Campbellites Differ As To The Worth of Creeds.
Mr. Campbell's constant contention against all creeds has been perpetuated by his followers and is now the chief tenet of their faith. The folly and falsity of this contention is easily apparent. The word "creed" is what one believes. The man who has no creed believes and stands for nothing. What one believes is his creed, whether expressed orally or in writing, or unexpressed. When a creed is written, it is only the visible expression of that which already exists in the mind. No one should hold a. religious belief that he is ashamed to put into writing. Every church exists for the propagation of certain tenets and doctrines which are held by its members. Unless this is true, the church would be without a mission, and hence should go out of commission. Certainly a church has this right, and is under obligations to declare to the world their articles of faith. The man who had no creed, believes nothing, and stands for nothing, and without concept or conviction. In the very nature of the case every religious denomination must have a creed. It may be long or short, oral or written, but a creed they must have. It will not suffice to say "The Bible is my creed". The Mormons say the same thing. To say "I believe
the Bible," is a glitering generality; the vital and determining question is "What do you believe the Bible teaches?" Not withstanding Mr. Campbell's denunciation of creeds, his own church, the Brush Run Church, was received into Redstone Association on a written declaration of belief endorsed by Christian Baptist, p. 92.
Clearly this declaration of belief was the creed of the Brush Run Church. It is further true, that Mr. Campbell is the author of the "Christian System", which is a printed creed of Campbellism. It is a fact that Mr. Isaac Everett, one of the leaders of the Bethany Gospel published and distributed a brief creed of Campbellism.
In 1885 a Christian Association was formed in St. Louis, Missouri. Application for membership in this association was made by members of the Campbellite denomination and they were rejected on the ground that they furnished no evidence of being "Evangelical" . To overcome this objection the pastor and a number of his members drew up a statement of faith, in which none of the heresies appeared, and on this creed they were duly received into the Association. While decrying creeds, they have been willing to make them, when they desired to get into "evangelical" company. This is one of the large number of contradictions for which Campbellism is justly noted.
15. Baptists And Campbellites Differ Concerning A Call To Preach The Gospel.
Baptists believe that a man is called of God, and moved by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel. Campbellites hold that no one is called of God to preach the Gospel. Concerning a call to the ministry Mr. Campbell said: "Nothing of this kind will be admitted as evidence that any man is specially moved by the Holy Spirit, to preach or teach the Christian religion. Neither a license from any established sect, nor his own saying or swearing that he is specially moved by the Spirit to. preaching or teaching of the Christian religion is a proof sufficient to render it criminal in any to neglect Dr despise his instructions. Nothing short of divine attestations or miracles can define that any man is especially called by the Spirit of God to instruct us in the Christian religion. Can those claim they are moved by the Holy Spirit to. teach the Christian religion produce this sort of evidence? No, No. It is then in vain to say they are so. moved who is called to believe anything without evidence. Does God command any man to believe without evidence? No, most assuredly. When, then, I hear a modern preacher, either with or without his diploma in his pocket, saying that he is an ambassador of Christ, sent by God to. preach the Gospel, moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon him the work of the ministry; I ask him to work a miracle, or afford some divine attestation of being such a character. If he cannot do this I mark him down as being a knave or an enthusiast, consequently an imposter, either intentionally or unintentionally. In the meantime, we conclude that one of these means used to exact the clergy to dominion over the faith, over the consciences and over the persons of men, by teaching the people to. consider them as of specially called and moved by the Holy Spirit, and sent to assume the office of ambassador of Christ, or ministers of the Christian religion, is a scheme unwarranted by God, founded on pride, ignorance, ambition, and impiety, and as such ought to. be opposed, exposed by all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity!" Christian Baptist Vol. 1, pp 20, 21. We accept at full face value Mr. Campbell's statement that God never called him to preach, more, that God never called any man to preach the Gospel propounded by Alexander Campbell, which is another Gospel that is not another. However, Mr. Campbell was not competent to. say what God has done for others.
16. Baptists And Campbellites Differ As To The Person and Office Work of the Holy Spirit.
Disciples do not believe in the Holy Spirit as the third person of the trinity, and very God. They regard him as something they usually call
"it", neuter gender, an agency rather than a person. They claim that the Holy Spirit is in, and a part of the Word and cannot act apart from the Word. Their belief in this regard is evidenced by the following: "We plead that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is exhibited in the Divine Record." Christianity Restored, p. 351. "Therefore may we say that if the light or truth, contains all the moral power of God, then the truth alone is all that is necessary to the conversion of men." Christianity Restored, p. 302.
"All the moral power that can be exerted of human beings, is, and of necessity must be, in the arguments addressed to them." Christianity Restored, p. 349.
"If the New and Old Testaments contain all the argument which can be offered to reconcile man to God, and to purify them who are reconciled, then all the power of the Holy Spirit which can operate on the human mind is spent; and he that is not sanctified and saved by these, cannot be saved by angels or spirits, human or divine." Christianity Restored. "We plead that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is exhibited in the Divine Record." Christianity Restored.
The Scriptures clearly teach that Satan exercises a personal influence in deceiving and destroying men, and this Mr. Campbell concedes. Hence it follows that Mr. Campbell concedes more direct personal power to Satan than he does to the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures teach us that these things are "spiritually discerned", and how can they be spiritually discerned without the aid of the Holy Spirit! See I Peter 1:22.
The Bible pictures the lost as "dead in trespasses and sins". Ephesians 2:1. How can the dead be quickened by argument or moral suasion? Of Lydia it is written, "whose heart the Lord opened that she attended unto the things spoken by Paul." Acts 16:14. If Mr. Campbell's view of the work of the Holy Spirit is correct, then it is absolutely no use in praying for sinners. If the Holy Spirit has exhausted his power in the "Word", then all we can do is to give the lost a Bible.
17. Baptists And Campbellites Differ As To The Nature of The Holy Spirit.
The Reformation from its inception to this good day has insistently and uniformly done despite to the Holy Spirit. The disciples generally for many years, and many of them still designate the Holy Spirit as "it". This appellation naturally follows their denial of the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion. Mr. Campbell claimed that the Holy Spirit was in the word, and did not, and could not operate apart from the word. He says: "As the spirit of man puts forth all its moral power in the words which it fills with its ideas, so the spirit of God puts forth all its converting and sanctifying power, in the words which it fills with its ideas." Christianity Restored, p. 350. "We plead that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is exhibited in the divine record. Christianity Restored, p. 351. "The Holy Spirit was not given until the day of Pentecost. Hence if the Holy Spirit aided men to believe in Jesus Christ, it must have been subsequent to that date." Christianity Restored, pp. 365, 365.
His words leave no room for speculation concerning his conception of the work of the Holy Spirit. According to Mr. Campbell, the Holy Spirit does not work directly upon the sinner's heart in the work of regeneration. Yet Christ says: "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou heareth the voice thereof, but knoweth not whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit." John 3:8.
Dr. J. M. Weaver, of blessed memory, well says:
"The Holy Spirit as revealed in the Bible, is a Person, the third person in the Godhead. The personal masculine pronouns, He, His, Him, are used always in referring to Him. Yet, strange to say, many Christians, even ministers, refer to Him as "it". He is given all the attributes of Deity in the Scriptures. How would it sound to hear one say: "God is a Spirit, and they who would worship it must worship it in spirit and in truth?" Yet why not use it in referring to God, the Spirit? One is as appropriate
as the other. In the Old Testament He is never called the Holy Ghost, but frequently the "Spirit of God," "My Spirit," and four times the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament He is called the Holy Ghost no less than ninety-one times. Thus His personality and Deity are plainly set forth, and today these are fully acknowledged by all orthodox Christians."
[From J. W. Porter, this is a portion of the essay. It was privately published in a tract. Available via SBTS E-Text, Adam Winters, Archivist. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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