Blood Before Water
Christ Before the Church
No two churches could be more unlike in the fundamental doctrines than the Baptists and the Current Reformation of the nineteenth century. now sailing under the nomenclature "The Church of Christ". They, and the Baptists, present the two extremes. The Baptists holding the doctrine of salvation by grace, and they salvation by works, or obedience. It shall be the purpose of these pages to develop this contrast in the light of the facts.
I nave nothing but the kindest feelings toward this people, in fact many of my best personal friends are members of that body, and thousands of them, no doubt in my mind, are, good, noble Christian people, in spite of their faulty doctrine. Their doctrine strictly adhered to will not make Christians. I am glad of the many who live above their doctrines.
A slogan with them is: The same thing that makes one a Christian makes him a church member and vice versa. This is church salvation. Then they assume to be the Church of Christ, and with many of them, not all, salvation is found only in their church. In this respect many of them rival the Catholics. They do not only deify their own church but wage an unrelenting warfare on all others, branding them as sects. They claim to be the only people who hold to the Bible and speak where it speaks and are silent where it is silent. They also claim that their church had its origin on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of our Lord. With such confident claims they certainly will not shrink from having these claims examined.
Origin of Their Church
Their claims that the kingdom was set up, or that their church had its beginning on Pentecost is without foundation.
Pentecost is a matter of divine record, Acts 2, and yet, not the least intimation is found in that record of the beginning of a church. Is it reasonable to suppose that a divine record would be given and the real object and purpose of the occasion be left out? It is too unreasonable to be serious. On the other hand we do find in that record, the church already in existence and people being added to it (Acts 2:41-47). Then Peter tells us this Pentecost occasion was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:16). Now turn and read the book of Joel through and you will find that he does not say one word about setting up or starting a church. But if you will turn to Matthew 18: 17, long before Pentecost you will find the church already in existence and Christ makes it the arbiter in matters of discipline. And vet, in the face of all this, this people who "speak where the bible speaks, and are silent where it is silent" have hatched up a theory, based upon irrelevant matter, that the church had its beginning on Pentecost.
But suppose that we should concede that the church did begin on Pentecost, it would furnish no ground for exultation on their part, for it would leave them out in the cold. The institution that they now call "The Church of Christ" with such emphasis, had no existence for nearly eighteen centuries after Pentecost. I will go further, nothing of like character had any existence during this period. The Catholics held some doctrines in common with them. The institution they now call "The Church of Christ," was born here in the United States in the early part of last century. Thomas Campbell and Alexander, his son, at the time they started this movement, now known as "The Church of Christ" were members of the Seceder branch of Presbyterians and had nothing for baptism but "Infant Sprinkling". This was all they had for baptism when they organized the first church of this order, and when they were ordained to preach.
We will let them tell of the beginning of this new enterprise in their own words. I quote from "Christianity Restored," a book written and published by Alexander Campbell in 1835 A. D.
After speaking of other efforts at reformation, on page 5 he says: "Not until within the present generation did any sect or party in Christendom unite and build upon the Bible alone. since that time, the first effort known to us to abandon the whole controversy about creeds and reformations and restore primitive Christianity, or build alone upon the Apostles, Jesus Christ himself the chief corner has been made." Speaking further of the futile efforts at reformation, he concludes in these words: "A few individuals, about the commencement of the present century began to reflect upon the ways and means to restore primitive Christianity" [Christianity Restored, p. 6]. On page 10 of this same work he says: ĎThe first piece that was written on the subject of the great position, appeared from the pen of Thomas Campbell, senior, in the year 1809. An association was formed that year for the dissemination of the principles of reformation, and the piece alluded to was styled "The Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington Pennsylvania." Speaking of this Address published in 1809 A. D. David Lipscomb, says "The Declaration and Address written and published by Elder Thomas Campbell is recognized as the beginning of the present effort to restore the apostolic order" [(Christian Unity, page 19]. Quoting further from this Address David Lipscomb comments thus: "This much from the original address initiating the work of restoration" [Christian Unity, page 23]. Now if Alexander Campbell and David Lipscomb, are to be believed, we know, the beginning of the much boasted "Church of Christ".
At the time Thomas Campbell inaugurated this movement, he was a Presbyterian Clergyman, with Presbyterian ordination and Infant Sprinkling for baptism At this time they did not claim it to be a church. Article 4 of this Declaration says: "That this Society by no means considers itself a Church" [Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Vol. 1. p. 244].
In the meantime however, Alexander Campbell had stepped in beside his father in this movement, and they began to contemplate a change of base. In Volume 1, page 348 of Memoirs of A. Campbell, we find the following: "That they clearly anticipated the probability of being compelled, on account of the refusal of the religious parties to accept their overture, to resolve the Christian Association into a distinct church, in order to carry out for themselves the duties and obligations enjoined on them in the scriptures." In 1811 A. D. we find this: "He had by this time, become fully convinced, that on account of the continued hostility of the different parties, it was necessary that the Christian Association should assume the character of an independent church, in order to the enjoyment of those privileges, and the performance of those duties which belong to the church relation. It was with great reluctance that he finally concluded to take this step, and to separate himself from those whom he desired to recognize as brethren. Such; nevertheless is the usual fate of reformers" [Memoirs of A. Campbell. Vol. 1. pp. 365-6]. "At the next meeting of the Association, accordingly, the matter was duly considered and agreed to, as the attitude which the religious parties had assumed, seemed to leave no other alternative" [Memoirs of A Campbell Vol. 1. p. 366].
Accordingly they met at Brush Run on Saturday May 4, 1811, for the purpose of organization "At this meeting Thomas Campbell was appointed elder, and Alexander was licensed to preach the gospel. Four deacons were also chosen, viz. John Dawson, George Sharp, William Gilcrist and James Foster" [Memoirs of A. Campbell Vol. 1. p. 367]. "On the following day, being the Lordís day, the church held their first communion service" [Memoirs of A. Campbell Vol. 1. p. 368].
"Thus there was formally established a distinct religious community, based solely upon the Bible, and destined in its future history, to exhibit the entire sufficiency of the basis thus chosen" [Memoirs of A. Campbell, Vol. 1. p. 369].
This church was made up partly of those who had been sprinkled in infancy, and partly of those who had not been baptized in any way. There was not an immersed person in it. The first immersion to take place in this church was when Thomas Campbell immersed three of the unbaptized members. It is described thus: "He consented, therefore, to perform the ceremony, which took place on the 4th. of July (1811) in a deep pool in Buffalo Creek, about two miles above the mouth of Brush Run, and on the farm of David Bryant. The pool was narrow, and so deep that it came up to the shoulders of the candidates when they entered it. Thomas Campbell, then, without going into the water, stood on a root that projected over the edge of the pool, and bent down their heads until they were buried in the liquid grave repeating at the same time, in each case, the baptismal formula. James Foster, who was present, did not altogether approve the manner of the baptism, neither did he think it congruous that one who had not himself beep immersed should immerse others" [Memoirs of A Campbell. Vol. 1. pp. 872-3].
Alexander Campbell was duly ordained by this church on January 1, 1812 [Memoirs of A. Campbell, vol. 1, p. 390]. At the time of his ordination he had not been immersed. Later on June 12, 1812, Alexander Campbell, his wife, his father and mother with one sister and two others were immersed by Matthias Luce, a Baptist minister, but without church authority. By degrees, all who would submit to it, the remainder of the members were immersed and those who would not submit withdrew. On page 429, Volume 1 of Memoirs of A. Campbell we find this: "The conversion of the church at Brush Run, into a society of immersed believers, was quite a marvel, and an offense to the religious communities of the neighborhood."
This was the first church the world ever saw of the Current Reformation, that is boastfully called "The Church of Christ," by its advocates. I challenge any one to name one of their churches prior to this, or: any church of like character before this. In 1831 Alexander Campbell, speaking of B.W. Stone, and referring to his work as a reformer said, "We can not think that the cause which plead, was plead either by him or any one else twenty years ago" [Millennial Harbinger, vol. 2. p. 390]. On the same page he further says: "The ancient gospel and ancient order of things, distinguish it most easily from every other cause plead on this continent or in Europe since the great apostasy." This great apostasy occurred in 250 A. D. It was not until 1827 that they baptized their first candidate "in order to the remission of sins," when Walter Scott baptized William Amend for this purpose. It is thus described: "The people were filled with bewilderment at the strange truths brought to their ears, and now exemplified before their eyes, in the baptism of a penitent for a purpose which now, on the 18th of November, 1827, for the first time since the primitive ages was fully and practically realized" [Memoirs of A. Campbell, vol. 2, p. 212]. I challenge anyone to produce an instance prior to this, of this use of baptism, outside the Catholic Church and the apostasy connected with it. On this point Alexandria Campbell further says: "After the Mahoning Association appointed Mr. Walter Scott an evangelist, in the year 1827, and when great numbers began to be immersed into Christ under his labors and new churches began to he erected by him and other laborers in the field, did the Baptist Associations begin to declare non-fellowship with the brethren of this Reformation. Thus by constraint, not of choice, they were obliged to form societies out of those communities that split upon the ground of adherence to the apostles doctrine" [Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, p. 463].
It is seen from Campbellís own words that the people now calling themselves "The Church of Christ" held on to the fostering care of the Baptists, and the Baptists in a way, though under protest, tolerated their vagaries until 1827, when they began to baptize in order to the remission of sins. This was the "straw that broke the camelís back" and caused our churches and associations to declare non fellowship with them. They now put to sea in an independent bark. Up to this time they had been known as Baptists with the additional title of Reformers. Now they are at a loss as to what to name the baby. But a little later they formed an alliance with Barton W. Stone and unfurled their banner and set sail with "Christian Church" emblazoned on their prow. The time was short until they had the effrontery to claim to be the original Christian Church. Later on they changed from "Christian Church" to "Disciples." J. A. Harding said: "I would as soon call the church the ĎBaptist Churchí as to call it the ĎChristian Churchí, and I doubt not but that the one name is as offensive to the Lord as the other" [clipping from Gospel Advocate, date not retained]. They hung on for a time to Disciple and disputed in their papers whether it should begin with a big D or a little d, then they said this wonít do it must be called "The Church of God". They held onto this for a time and then they said no not the "Church of God" but the "Church of Christ," we have got it now, "The Church of Christ" the real original "Church of Christ." The Lord only knows (for I am sure they donít) what their next claim will be.
While at the start, one hundred years ago, they did not claim to be a church, and with all their extravagant claims at the present, it is refreshing to know that some of their best men, in the recent past, confessed that they were not a church.
F. D. Srygley in the Gospel Advocate of November 13, 1889 said: "Therefore the Standard concludes, we are not the Church of Christ. The reasoning is good, the definitions seem correct, and the Standard I think is right." ĎFrom this point of view therefore, it would be impossible to say we as a people,í compose the Church of Christ."
David Lipscomb in Gospel Advocate, May 8, 1889 says: "Start out to find the Church of Christ, in Kentucky or Tennessee, and you cannot find it"
F. G. Allen in Old Path Guide, says: "Some one may ask: If the Current Reformation is not the Church of Christ, what is it? I answer that it is not a church at all, but a work. The reformation of Luther was never called a church, and ours should not be."
F. D. Srygley further admits, in Gospel Advocate, December 10, 1890. "I think a man, by a tight squeeze, may be in the Baptist Church, and the Church of Christ at the same time."
Thus demonstrates one fact, that the Current Reformation is not the Church of Christ, for every one knows that a man can not belong to a Baptist Church and it at the same time.
It might be well before closing this feature of the subject, to give their origin in Nashville and Tennessee.
While the Reformation were, in a way, affiliated with the Baptists, Alexander Campbell made frequent visits to Nashville, Tennessee. In fact a daughter married and located there. These visits were made under the name of a Baptist preacher. He was heartily received by the First Baptist Church, which numbered on his first visit about 250 members. Being a captivating speaker he soon gained control over the original membership, besides adding a number of new members. All this time he was instilling his doctrine in the minds of the people. In the early part of 1826, he succeeded in moving P. S. Fall (one of his converts) from Louisville to Nashville, and settling him as pastor of the First Baptist Church. The Church was already in a state of ferment, and Fall soon had them committed to his doctrine, and they went bodily into "The Reformation." The Church had largely been built under the ministry of James Whitsitt and Garner McConnico, but now they see it drifting away from the faith.
Speaking of this Church in Millennial Harbinger Volume 2, page 121, March 7, 1831, Alexander Campbell makes this slurring remark; "This congregation has been purged from much of the traditions of the fathers of sectarianism, with only the loss of live persons, who have recently withdrawn from them and formed an alliance with the factionists, Whitsitt and McConnico."
So it will be seen that they captured the First Baptist Church of Nashville, except the five faithful, taking with them the Church property, leaving the five faithful homeless on the street (I presume all will agree that this five have multiplied). This Church was never reorganized, but by changing name, it became the first Church of Current Reformation in Nashville and so far as the records show, the first in Tennessee. And still we are reminded almost every day, that they are the real "Church of Christ", the original, and all the rest of us are "sects" and we are admonished to leave the sects and join the real sure enough Church.
Explanation: The memoirs of Alexander Campbell, quoted so freely in the above was compiled, mainly from Campbellís writings, by Dr. Richardson, a son-in-law, and co-worker with Campbell.
Well, the Current Reformation is here, letís see what it has brought us.
It brought another sect, and it is the most sectarian sect, on the scene. And this sect, is divided into different sects. I was pastor in Ballinger Texas, and they had three Churches in the town, all wearing different names, and all from this original sect, and yet neither one would have any thing to do with the other two. Talk about sectarianism, theirs is sectarianism gone to seed. Some of them have Orga-phobia so badly they wont sing in a congregation where an organ is going. And yet, they are here to unite Christendom. It is said that they claim the organ users can not be saved. Let that be as it may, we know that there is no fellowship existing between them.
And it brought the doctrine of water salvation. For fear some one should call this in question I will prove it. Alexander Campbell says: "He has given it an extension far and wide as sin has spread, far and wide as water flows, wherever water, faith, and the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are there will be found the efficacy of the blood of Jesus. Yes as God first gave the efficacy of water to blood, he has now given the efficacy of blood to water" [Christianity Restored, p. 220].
Again Campbell says: "I am bold therefore to affirm that every one of them who in the belief or what the apostle spoke, was immersed, did in the very instant in which he was put under water, receive the forgiveness of his sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. If so, then who will not concur with me in saying that Christian immersion is the gospel in water" [Christian Baptist, p.417]. He says further: "I assert that there is but one action ordained or commanded in the New Testament, to which God has promised or testified that he will forgive our sins. This action is Christian immersion" [Christian Baptist, p. 520]. Again, "No man has any proof that he is pardoned until he is baptized, and if men are conscious that their sins are forgiven and are pardoned before they are immersed, I advise them not to go into the water, for they have no need of it" [Christian Baptist, p. 530].
T. W. Brents says, "Those baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the mission of sins, leave their sins just where they are baptized" [Gospel Plan Salvation, p. 534].
Will any one of their leading men say that one may be saved without water?
If our sins are left in the water as these quotations clearly state, it is clear that they are not left at the cross. It is baptism, and not the atonement of Jesus Christ, that saves. Hence the administrator of baptism becomes our mediator, our High Priest. God is helpless, and cannot save a soul, unless a human priest steps in and helps him. We have a striking illustration of this in Floyd Collins, in Sand Cave near Cave City, Kentucky . He was in there for days. The end became inevitable. He was much concerned about his soul. A minister took his life in his hands, went in where he could talk to him, and told him the simple story of the cross and the wires flashed the news over the country that God had heard the penitentís cry and saved him. And, entombed as he was, he found peace by believing in Jesus.
But had the minister been a devotee of the doctrine of baptismal salvation remission, a conversation like this would have been inevitable.
Floyd.ó"Are you a minister."
Preacher.ó"Yes Floyd I am a minister."
F.ó"Tell me quick how to be saved, it looks as though I shall never get out here alive"
P.ó"Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?"
F.ó"Yes I have believed that all my life."
P.ó"You must be baptized in order to the remission of your sins."
F.ó"I cannot be baptized, I am wedged in here, is there no hope for a he broken penitent in my condition?"
P.ó"No Christ cannot get to you in here. There is no promise of salvation unless you are immersed. I am sorry but you must get out and let me help Christ to save you. He cannot be found anywhere except in the water."
I am so glad we have a Paul to tell all such: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). Or a Christ to say: "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise." Robes do not make priests. When a man steps between God and another manís salvation he is a priest and becomes a mediator. But one might say, God will save a man like Collins. If one can be saved with baptism all can. An essential has no exceptions, God cannot dispense with an essential, an essential must be universal.
This doctrine does not only limit God and Christ as to the place where he may be found, but as to the time as well. The Bible says. "Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. 6:2). But this doctrine a no; not now, but a little later on, when you can get water and be baptized. I doctrine violates the Bible at every angle.
No one thinks more of baptism than I, in its place, and no one thinks less of out of its place. It is great when representing the work done by Christ, but abominable when made to take the place of Christ. But with all these tacts before them, there are those who will misconstrue certain passages to boost this doctrine of baptismal remission. A few of these I wish to examine. "Except a man born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5). Born of water in this verse is construed to mean baptism, and baptism and "born of the spirit" one and the same thing.
On this point Campbell says: "Some have objected against the Ďseasonsí of refreshment or the comforts of the Holy Spirit being placed subsequent to conversion, or regeneration, or immersion (for when we speak scripturally, we must use these terms as all descriptive of the same things.)" [Christianity Restored, p. 218. See also Gospel plan of Salvation, p. 203].
It would seem that no one would be rash enough to make conversion, regeneration, born and immersion synonymous; and yet, so far as I have noticed, this is what all the leading men of this cult have done. When we put these statements beside the following scriptures the reader can see how ridiculous they are.
"Which were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). Again, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the spirit" (John 3:8). Now if the reader will stop and reread these verses and where the word born occurs, insert the word baptize, he will see how ridiculous it is. It is too ridiculous to be serious. Then again, all scholars will tell you that the literal translation would read "born from above," Campbell himself admits this rendering [Memoirs Vol. 2, p. 155]. If born "from above" it cannot mean baptism." The only thing in the passage that anyone can hitch onto to make it mean baptism is the word water. But the same divine teacher (our Lord) in the very next chapter (4th chapter) uses the same word (water) for the same purpose (salvation) to one afflicted with the same disease (sin), yet all know, and all admit, that it is used figuratively, to represent the Spirit. But an objector might say that the master was talking about drinking in the fourth chapter; and baptism is never spoken of as drinking, I answer, neither is it ever spoken of as a birth. To make John 3:5 mean baptism, is arbitrary, and without divine warrant. If I mistake not the Holy Spirit has put water and spirit, in the Greek, in apposition. They, are separated only by the conjunction kai, which is translated "even" 92 times in the new scriptures. To translate it thus in this instance would read "born of water even Spirit". This makes it clear that water is used figuratively to represent the Spirit, just as it is in the fourth chapter when, our Lord was talking to the woman at Jacobís well. It would take a man of nerve to charge our divine Lord with giving instructions to two sinners about salvation, and using the same terms to both, but with different meaning. Can any one conclude for one moment that he would thus trifle with immortal souls? Then he goes right on talking about the birth of the Spirit. No man under the sun can make the 6th and 8th verses comport with baptism, and then in verse 10 our Lord says to Nicodemus: "Art thou a master of Israel and knowest not these things?" Baptism did not exist in connection with his rule in Israel, and therefore could not have been referred to by our Lord. It would seem that anyone not water warped, could understand this.
Another passage we notice: "He that believeth and is baptized shalt be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). I believe this passage with all my heart, but the people who make so much fuss over it do not, they must modify it and make it read; "shall be saved if he holds out faithfully to the end." The baptized believer shall be saved, the unbeliever will be damned, but what about unbaptized believers? I say they will be saved: what do you say? This is the commission by Mark; it cannot be made to contradict the commission by Matthew, and it says, make disciples before you baptize them. If the unbeliever is lost, the antithesis is, that the believer is saved. No where does the Bible pronounce condemnation on the unbaptized. Who will say they are lost? If the unimmersed are lost, then hell is full of pious believers in Christ. They lived godly lives, died in the TRIUMPH of a living faith, and went shouting into hell. Reader can you believe this? But this is not the worst. Alexander Campbell in speaking of the efficacy of the blood being communicated to our consciences through the act of immersion says: "Without knowing and believing this, immersion is as empty as a blasted nut. The shell is there but the kernel is wanting" [Christian Baptist p. 531]. Then he says this doctrine was first preached in 1823, and first put into practice November 18, 1827 [See Christian Baptist p. 401 and Memoirs vol. 2, pp. 21-2]. Putting these statements together it shuts up the saved of earth, to the few that "The Reformation" have baptized since 1827. Are you ready reader, to accept such a conclusion?
Repent and he baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gilt of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).
This has been made tile chief rallying point of the Current Reformation. They construe it in these words: "Baptized in order to the remission of sins." If we should admit this construction (which we do not) it would not justify their contention. They must add to the Book to make out their case. In order to what? If in order to procure remission, then the blood of Christ is set aside. If in order declare the remission, (and it most be one or the other) then the remission must exist before it can be declared. If you say in order to enjoy the remission; then it follows that you could not enjoy a thing that did not exist. If it did not exist before the baptism then it follows that the baptism secures it and you have water salvation pure and simple. The phrase "for the remission of sins," occurs three times in the Bible in connection with baptism, and they are the same in both Greek and English. The first two, Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3 occur in connection with Johnís ministry. If we can ascertain the meaning of these, we will have found the meaning of Acts 2:38. Multitudes came to John for baptism, but he refused to baptize any one, unless they would bring forth fruits worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8). One of two things is true, we either have a corrupt tree bearing good fruit, or we have a good tree before baptism. But Christ says; a corrupt to tree cannot bring forth good fruit, therefore it follows that the tree was made good before it hit the water. Those who came to Johnís baptism asked him pointedly, three times, what to do (Luke 3:10-14), and he did not include baptism in a single answer. If Johnís baptism was "in order to time remission of sins," what did they rebaptize his disciples for? (Acts 19:1-7). Will some one please rise and explain? But to forever settle the questionówhen John was asked, "why baptizest thou?" he said: "that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing within water" (John 1:31). Then John baptized the Lord, just as he did the others. If Johnís baptism was in order to the remission of sins, then Christ was baptized for that purpose. Too absurd to he serious. A slogan of that people is: "The same thing that makes a man a Christian puts him in the church," and visa versa. I would like some one to rise and explain, what church Johnís baptism put them into, if, there were no church until Pentecost? But to revert to Acts 2:38. Peter has preached. The people were convicted "pierced in their heart" (Acts 2:37). They came as inquirers, "what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). "Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). But they are not ready for baptism, so Peter lays the promises before them. "The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as thee Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:39). But they are still not ready for baptism. So Peter delivers to them a long exhortation (Acts 2:40). During these exercises, "they gladly receive his word," (Acts 2:41). Now they are ready for baptism and are baptized. (Acts 2:41). I have often seen in print and sometimes been asked in person, why I do not talk to sinners like Peter did on the day of Pentecost? My answer is that I do as the above will clearly show. But whoever heard of a person under the preaching of the Current Reformation, after a belief of the testimony cry out; "what must wee do"? Who ever heard one of their preachers tell such an one to "repent"? Who ever heard them promise to this broken hearted one, "the gift of the Holy Spirit?" Who ever heard one of their preachers deliver a long exhortation to such an inquirer, as Peter did on Pentecost? Who ever saw this second "glad reception of the word" in one of their meetings, after the preacher had laid the promises before convicted inquirers? as Peter did on Pentecost? The first reception of the word, when Peter told them of their sin, brought sorrow and "pierced them in their heart." The second reception, after Peter laid the promises before them, brought gladness and joy. All this occurred on Pentecost before they were baptized. These are the kind of people that the Baptists baptize.
But says one, the Bible says they were baptized "for the remission of sins." Yes, and so the sheriff arrested a man "for" stealing, but it was because he had stolen, not in order that he might steal.
When confronted with the foregoing facts, they resort to the Greek preposition "eis", from which the English preposition "for" in this passage comes. A. T. Robertson, who is authority on New Testament Greek, says in his grammar, page 120, that "the theological bearing of the preposition eis can come only from the context." This grows out of the elasticity of this preposition, which is translated 47 different ways in the New Testament by King James translators. This will be examined later. Another resort is in trying to combine "repent" and "be baptized," to the same end. T. W. Brents says: "The word for cannot be divided and made to mean one thing as to repent and another thing as to be baptized." (Gospel Plan of Salvation, p. 505.)
The Greek verb metanoesate is translated "repent", is imperative mode, second person, aorist tense, plural number, and active voice, and takes ye (understood) as its subject. Baptistheto translated "be baptized" is imperative mode, third person, aorist tense, singular number, and passive voice, and takes every one as its subject. From this, it may be seen that the multitudes, irrespective, are commanded to repent, and the specific ones, who had repented, to be baptized. But if they were blended, it would not relieve their situation, for repentance always looks backward at sins already committed. We do not, and can not, repent of sins yet in the futureónot yet committed. But did Peter intend to teach baptism in order to the remission of sins? We will follow him and see. Let him speak for himself. "And his name, through faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: Yea the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all" (Acts 3:16). "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19). These are Peterís words following close on to Pentecost. As a result of this preaching 5,000 are converted (Acts 4:4). These 5,000 were not baptized at the time of their conversion for the reason Peter and John were arrested while preaching, and put in prison (Acts 4:3). The other disciples were not there to baptize them for as soon as Peter and John were released "they went to their own company and reported" (Acts 4:23). This makes it clear that the other disciples were not these and had not heard of it until Peter and John got released and went and told them. Here are 5,000 saved and numbered without baptism. We presume that they were baptized later but their baptism was never recorded, Alexander Campbell says the second great baptism was "in Samaria" [Christian Baptism, p. 424]. Now this greatest of all the revivals occurred between Pentecost and the revival at Samaria. If immersion is the "birth of the spirit, regeneration, remission of sins, forgiveness, washing away of sins, conversion" etc., as their teachings state, why was baptism omitted in the report of this great revival? Will some one rise and explain? A little later we find Peter at the house of Cornelius preaching to the Gentiles. Here is his testimony. "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43). Now here is "remission of sins" at faith and without baptism, for the prophets gave witness to this, and we know they did not include baptism, for baptism had not been instituted in the days of the prophets. Now are the brethren of the Current Reformation ready to make Peter contradict himself by making Acts 2:38 read "in order to the remission of sins." Cornelius prayed and his prayer was heard and answered; and he received the Holy Spirit, spake with tongues and magnified God, all before baptism (See Acts 10).
Then turn to 1 Peter 3:21. There Peter tells us plainly that baptism is a "figure". This should settle it.
Conversion of Paul
"And now why tarriest thou? arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).
The term translated "wash away thy sins," is in the middle voice and literally means "wash thy self from the" sins. The middle voice in Greek stands between the active and passive, and makes the individual both active and passive and whatever is done is done by him, and for or to him. He strikes himself. The Holy Spirit was careful to put this in the middle voice, that no one looking for the truth might be misled. So whatever was done here, in washing away sins, Saul did it for himself. And the definite article is used with sins, to indicate a specific class of sins. What were these sins? He was a vile persecutor. He had aided in the martyrdom of Stephen, had made havoc of the church at Jerusalem and was well on the road to Damascus, to bind and afflict all he found calling on the name of the Lord when he was converted. A runner had gone before and brought the disciples at Damascus word and they were hiding. It took a vision to convince Ananias. But it was necessary now that he should come clean before the people and wash himself of these sins and let the people know where he stood. Who is it that washes away our sins in our salvation? Is it God? or do we wash them away? If God washes away our sins, really then it is necessary for us to do as Paul did, put on Christ openly to the world, and wash ourselves from the past and rise to walk in newness of life.
Had the Bible said "be baptized" and have your sins washed away, it would have been quite different. But now why tarriest thou since you have met the lord in the way? And now since you have been apprehended? (Phil. 3:12,13). And now, since your affections have been changed? (Acts 9:3,4). And now, since you have acknowledged Christ as Lord? (Acts 9:5). And now, since you are no longer a persecutor, but a praying man? (Acts 9:11). And now, since you have been delivered from the people? (Acts 26:17). And now, since your eyes have been opened? (Acts 9:18), And now, since your heart has been purified by faith? (Acts 15:9). And now, since you have been chosen as a minister? (Acts 26:16). And now, since you have been made a witness for Christ? (Acts 26:16). And now since you have received a revelation of the gospel? (Gal. 1:11,12). And now, since you have been commissioned to the Gentiles? (Acts 26:17,18). And now, since you have been called by the grace of God? (Gal. 1:15). And now, since the Son of God has been revealed in you? (Gal. 1:16). And now, since all this, "why tarriest thou? arise and be baptized and wash thyself from the sins." As Jews, the people would understand it, that in baptism he declared himself free from the old life and allied to the new. Now tell us Paul did you really wash your sins away in baptism? Was it baptism that saved you? and is that the way people are saved now? If people were saved by baptism, do you think Paul would have written: "Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt; but to him that worketh not, but believeth on him which justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom 4:4,5). Now hear Paul clinch the thing beyond quibble. "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (1 Cor. 1:17). Were the Corinthians converted under Paulís ministry? Were they his spiritual children? Here him: "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel" (1 Cor. 4:15). So you say they are your spiritual children through the gospel. Did you baptize them? No, only a few of them. "I thank God that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius. I baptized also the household of Stephanas; besides I know not whether I baptized any other" (1 Cor. 1:14-16). Who was it that said baptism was a part of the gospel? "Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel." But says one, did not Paul tell us that we are "baptized into Christ"? Yes there are two instances of this kind. In Romans 6:3 and 4 we have this "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ. were baptized into his death; therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death." Were these folks free from sin before they were baptized? Yes, for we bury dead folks, and the 7th verse says. "For he that is dead is free from sin." How could they be buried with Christ if Christ was not buried with them? Verse 5 tells us that the baptism, put under the figure of a planting, is simply a likeness of the death and resurrection of Christ. This is simply a figure.
We get into Christ literally by creation (Eph. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15). We get into Him figuratively by Baptism. We have another instance in Galatians 3:27. Beginning with verse 26. "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." If we believe the Bible this forever settles the question of our spiritual childhood at faith. The child being now born, it is necessary to clothe it. Hence the next verse says. "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ." We do not clothe a child before it is born, neither do we born it by clothing it. But after it is born we clothe it. Uniform dues not make a soldier. But after he becomes a soldier we expect him to put on the uniform and enter the ranks. So when one becomes a child of God by faith and the new creation (Gal. 8:26, Eph. 2:8-10), he should pot on Christ openly to the world in baptism and take his stand with the church. I state once more that no one thinks more of baptism than I do, in its place, or less out of its place. Like womanhood, either superbly good, or despisably mean. The better the thing, the worse when prostituted.
This brings me to consider the overworked Greek preposition "eis". A preposition has no independent meaning. It may have a prevailing use, but it draws both its meaning and use from the position it occupies in the sentence. Eis is one of the most elastic prepositions found in the Greek language. It is found in the Greek Testament about 1,775 times and is translated in King James 47 different ways. And our brethren of the Current Reformation try to make it arbitrary in its meaning and, contrary to all the scholarship of the world, translate it by "into" and "in order to" when it seems to serve their purpose best. Eis when following a verb of motion, toward an object, should be translated by "to;" when following a verb of motion from without to within, it should be translated into;" when following a verb of motion, toward an object within, it should be translated "in" when it follows a verb which signifies relation or addition to its object, it should be translated "unto". Hence I come to the house, I go into the house, I rest in the house, I will nail a board unto the house. Unto is almost exclusively a theological term. It occurs very seldom in current literature but 200 times in the New Testament as a translation of eis. Only a few times does it signify to approach, but often it expresses direct contact, or relation, and a number of times with respect to a completed object. Eis always looks grammatically towards its object, but in point of time or station, this object may be either in the past or future. It may in rare instances express purpose, but it is by no means its common use. The brethren of the Current Reformation persist in translating eis "into" in connection with baptism. Every place where eis follows baptizo directly, Alexander Campbell translated eis by "into" and he is quoted and followed by most of his disciples. He defends this arbitrary translation in these words. Speaking especially of Matthew 28:19. he says. "Is this a correct translation? To which I answer, most undoubtedly it is, for the preposition eis is that used in this place, and not "en" [Christian Baptist, p. 522]. I may say that the Greek en corresponds to our English in. In this revolutionary procedure, to try to bolster up their baptismal salvation theory, they are confronted with this awkward situation. While baptizo is followed by eis 14 times, it is followed by en 15 times, with almost identically the same construction In Acts 10:48 we have "be baptized in (en) the name of the Lord." This cannot he translated "into". Then in that much disputed passage (Acts 2:38), we have "be baptized every one of you in (epi) the name of .Jesus Christ." This also cannot he translated "into," and yet, Alexander Campbell became so possessed with his idea of water salvation that he did so translate it in his writing [Christianity Restored. p. 242]. But in making his translation of the N. T when he knew it would go under the critics eye, he translated it "in". The purpose of all of this is to try to establish the theory that we get into Christ literally and really by being baptized into him. This purpose is clearly seen in the following from Campbellís pen. "Hence in all places, when any person is said to be in Christ, it refers not to his conversion, regeneration, or putting on Christ, but to a state of rest or privilege subsequent to conversion, regeneration, or putting on Christ. But the phrase Ďinto Christí is always connected with conversion, regeneration, immersion, or putting on Christ" [Christianity Restored, p. 193].
The above attempt at escape, forever sounds the death knell to the theory of baptismal salvation. They must either put baptism before faith, or admit that they are in Christ before baptism when they "believe in" Him (See John 3:15, 16; Gal. 2:16, etc.). So if faith comes before baptism we are "in Christ", before baptism, and Campbell says above, that "in Christ" refers to "a state of rest or privilege subsequent to conversion, regeneration, or putting on Christ". When one undertakes a false theory, he is sure to poke his head through a noose.
This brings me to the question of faith. Alexander Campbell says: "No testimony, no faith: for faith is only the belief of testimony, or confidence in testimony as true" [Christianity Restored, p. 110]. So far as I have noticed all their authors concur in this. This is the rock on which, I fear, the hopes of many are wrecked. Letís see what the Book teaches.
Faith is a noun without a corresponding verb. The nearest we have is the verb believe. Belief is a mental process of credence, while faith is heart action, and carries with it heart trust. This mental credence is common with all people who are not infidels. They "believe that God is: and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:6). This is necessary to action, but it, is not gospel faith. The Bible gives us an example of this in Acts 8. Simon believed and was baptized", but he was a baptized sinner. The Bible says of him: "Thy heart is not right in the sight of God". "For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity" (Acts 8:21,23). Our brethern of the Reformation, in order to put over their theory say he was a Christian. God pity such a Christian. They are welcome to him. One may go further, and believe on Christ mentally, and still not have faith. The Bible also gives us an example of this. "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:42,43).
These people lacked two essential elements of faith in Christ, love and trust. "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). Nothing short of heart action will constitute the faith that saves. "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:8,9). Then Paul describes his faith thus; "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (2 Tim. 1:12). Here is clearly stated; 1st. The mental action; "I have believed", and 2nd. The heart action in trust; "I am persuaded", "I have committed unto him." We have here described the clear distinction between the mental action of the rulers in John 12, and Paulís heart trust. "Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust" (Ps. 40:4). "I have put my trust in the Lord God" (Ps. 73:21). Paul says this of the Corinthians; That they are "the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ God-ward" (2 Cor. 3:3,4). Such are the elements of contact in faith. To express faith in action it requires a preposition, connecting believe with its object. "Believe in", "Believe on", etc. And to constitute "unfeigned faith", it takes heart action. We can mentally believe the divine testimony concerning Jesus Chris but we can have gospel faith only in the Christ. To take any other object is, to "believe in vain" (1 Cor. 15:2,17).
Whenever "belief" is used in the Bible as the equivalent of faith, it must be understood that it is belief in Christ, carrying with it the element of trust. Let me blend the commission as recorded by Matthew and Mark. Go ye into all the world, and make disciples by preaching the Gospel, he that believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ, and is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, shall be saved. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I hay commanded you and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
Believe Eis Christ
Some have tried to make capital out of the fact that no leading authority has translated the above, believe into Christ, but always believe in or on Christ. The seem to have failed to see that if a man is in Christ he does not need to get into him. They seem to have failed to see that in is a much stronger term than into. Campbell saw it when he penned the following; "Hence in all places, when any person is said to be in Christ, it refers not to his conversion, regeneration, or putting on Christ, but to a state of rest or privilege subsequent to conversion, regeneration or putting on Christ" [Christianity Restored, p. 193]. While he changes the order he makes clear the fact of the strength of Ďiní, but hangs himself in trying to dispose of it. If we "believe in Christ", we are Ďiní. Why should we want to get out that we might have a tussle to get back. If we "believe on Christ" we are resting on the "Rock of Ages", the foundation that fails not. What more could we desire? What more do we need? The character of faith as described above, is such that it can not exist, except to "believe in Christ", "believe on Christ". There can not be any gospel faith apart from Christ as the object. Faith is an inside grace. Alexander Campbell says; "Into, belongs only to verbs implying motion towards; and Ďiní to verbs implying rest, or motion in. He eats, sleeps, sits in the house. He walks into the field; he rides into the city" [Christianity Restored, p. 193]. When one "believes in Christ", he is resting safely within, not moving toward, according to Alexander Campbell.
As all must admit that faith comes before baptism, therefore the "believer in Christ", is really in him, and as an open profession to the world, he is now in symbol baptized into him.
Before leaving this point of baptismal salvation, I desire to call attention to the fact that this doctrine is a Catholic doctrine. It was born in the great apostasy. The slogan, "The same thing that makes one a Christian, makes him a member of the church," and vice versa, is Catholicism pure and simple. Hear Catholic authors speak. "Baptism by which we are made Christians, children of God, and members of His Holy Church" [Catholic Belief, p. 80]. Again, "Baptism is a sacrament absolutely necessary for all, without which no one can enter into the Kingdom of God, for Jesus Christ has said, Amen, amen. I say unto thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, St. John 3:5" [Catholic Belief, p. 81]. "They had to be baptized in order to obtain remission of their sins, and thus be in the way of salvation" [Catholic Belief, p. 81]. "Christís baptism is not something to be accepted or rejected at will, but is an absolute necessity of salvation" [Catholic Question Box, p. 362]. No one can take these quotations and rub out the names, and mix them with the quotations of Alexander Campbell and his followers, and tell which they belong to. But the Catholics were here first.
Our brethren of the Current Reformation have two ways of entering the kingdom, "Baptism for the alien" and "repentance and prayer for the apostate." Now one of two things is inevitable. They must abandon their doctrine of apostasy, and admit that once in, they never get out of the kingdom; or admit that they have two ways of entering the kingdom. Which horn will they take? Either one is a death blow to a cherished doctrine.
First Day of the Week
Alexander Campbell makes the first day of the week, which he calls "the Lordís day," an ordinance equivalent to baptism and the Lordís Supper. See Christian Baptism page 18. And on page 19 he clearly makes them sacraments, in these words. "Containing in them the grace of God." "The Christian ordinances Baptism, the Lordís day and the Lordís Supper, as taught and observed by the Apostles."
Let me say lest I should be misunderstood, that I believe in observing Sunday much more strictly than most people do; not with respect to the day, but to the worship of the Lord. Church members who covenant with each other, before the Lord, to give that day to the worship of the Lord, sin when they turn it aside to some other purpose. The hour we dedicate to worship on Saturday, or any other day, should be just as sacred. Sunday is the logical day, because it is a national holiday, and every citizen should observe it and every Christian sins in failing to obey these laws (See Rom. 13; Titus 3:1). But he who worships the day and makes the day the governing feature is an idolater pure and simple. I quote the following scriptures to make good these positions. "Ye observe days and months and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain" (Gal. 4;10,11). Again, "One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it" (Rom. 14:5,6). Once more. "Let no man therefore judge you in meat or drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come" (Col. 2:16,17). Two things are clear in these passages. First, he who regards a day, or a time in his worship is an idolater. Second, he may have a time, any time, dedicated to the worship of the Lord, provided that the Lord, and not the time, is the object, But they persist in calling the first day of the week "Lordís Day". This term occurs but one time the Book (Rev. 1:10), and there is not an intimation in the Book that it refers to the first day of the week. One of their present day leading brethren, says, "I will neither believe or teach anything that I cannot read word for word in the Bible." I have this statement in my possession in print and also with pen and ink. Will he please tell us where the Bible says the first day of the week is the "Lordís Day?" According to my way of thinking this is a very narrow conception of Christ and his work. The Bible says: One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Pet. 8:8). Then the Bible abounds with the expression "Day of the Lord." I think because it agrees with His character and work, that in this instance the expression was reversed to "Lordís Day". Any day when he chose to visit his people, as he did John, would be the "Lordís Day". As he did away with the old law, including the Sabbath, and put his worship upon a spiritual basis (John 4:24), is it reasonable to suppose that he would make another sabbath? and put a yoke upon his freemenís necks? "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Gal. 5:1). But the question comes, where did this new Sabbath come from? Let the Catholics speak: "If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh Day Adventist is right in observing the Saturday with the Jew" [Catholic Question Box, p. 254]. Who will answer this Catholic? No one can do it with the Bible. The Catholics take their church as authority and they have made seven sacraments, and our brethren of the Reformation have followed suit by making them one out of the "First Day." They celebrate this day by establishing another unscriptural custom of taking the Lordís Supper every first day of the week. Where do they read this in the Bible, "word for word?" Where did this custom originate? Let the Catholics speak again: "Besides the obligation of attending Mass every Sunday under penalty grievous sin" . . . "Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only teacher should inconsistently follow in this matter the traditions of the (Catholic) church" [Catholic Question Box, pp. 254, 55]. This is the origin of every Sunday communion. I have had a standing offer for years, and it still stands, to give one hundred dollars reward to any one who would show in the Bible, where the Lord Supper was ever taken on any first day of the week, or ever commanded to be. And yet they say we read our doctrine in the Bible "word for word". Let them read this "word for word" and get their money. While this is a Catholic tradition, yet Alexander Campbell, no doubt, got it directly from the Haldaneans of Scotland, an Independent branch of Presbyterians. Campbell was very intimate with the Haldane brothers, who founded this sect and often worshiped with them. On page 371 and 372 of Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, we find this: "It had been remarked by some of the members that Joseph Bryant and one or two others, . . . did not partake with the rest, at the Lordís Supper, which according to the custom, of the Independent Churches of Scotland, was now celebrated weekly."
Alexander Campbell made a labored effort to sustain this practice by the Bible but it did not do credit to his great intellect.
The only thing that was worthy to be styled an argument, was based on, Acts 20:7, and it was fallacious from beginning to end. This passage reads; "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow, and continued his speech until midnight." Before anything favoring an argument can be started, it must be proven that this is the Lordís Supper referred to. If this was the "Lordís Supper" it was a bloodless supper, for not one word is said about the cup, and six times where the Lordís Supper is known to be referred to, the cup is made prominent. Eleven times "breaking bread", occurs, some of them stronger than this, where it is known to be a common meal. On this and Acts 2:42, Bible students are divided. As the same expression "breaking bread" occurs 13 times, and eleven times, with plain unquestioned meaning and two times with doubtful meaning, would it not be wise to hesitate before we give these two, an adverse meaning to the other eleven? The terms "breaking bread" occurs twice in this 20th chapter of Acts. The latter and the only actual breaking of bread recorded there at Troas, is found in verse 11 and is admitted by most critics to have been a common meal. The same author wrote both the expressions, to the same people, at the same time, and same circumstances. The same words are used for both, and no indication of a different meaning. What ground has any one to say that Luke meant a common meal one time, and the Lordís Supper the other? This, Campbell and his followers do. Then Alexander Campbell says: "All instituted acts of religion are characterized by the definite article" [Christian Baptist, p. 351]. In this instance the article is left off in both the 7th. and 11th. verses. It is written by the Holy Spirit simply "break bread" verse 7 and "broken bread" verse 11. Campbell translates it thus, in his Living Oracles, and according to his statement above it can not be an "instituted act of religion". But, sorry to say, so far as I have noticed, in discussing this question, he universally quotes it "breaking of the loaf" [For an example see Christianity Restored, p. 324]. Then the only actual breaking of bread that is recorded in Acts 20, is in verse 11 and occurred after midnight, hence on Monday morning.
The Reformers have made more fuss about a name, perhaps, than any other one thing. They put in much of their time trying to regulate other folks about a name, and yet they have been fussing over a name for their own baby ever since it was born. They started out under the nomenclature of reformers, and denied being a church. A little later they dignified it as "The Reformation" [Memoirs of A. Campbell, Vol. 1. p. 193]. Having now become a church, and numbering 150 members, all told, in 1817 [Memoirs of A. Campbell, Vol. 1. p. 486]. They later sought a union with B. W. Stone, a reformer, now wearing the name ĎChristianí. It being now necessary to have a distinguishing name, for the new alliance, Stone contended unyieldingly for the name Christian, and Alexander Campbell strenuously opposing it. In this discussion, among other things, Campbell said: "I am bold to affirm in the face of all criticism, that there is not the least authority in the word here used, for concluding that the name Christian came from God, any more than from Antiochius Epiphanes. This may be too strong for some who contend that the name Christian is of divine authority; but let them put me to the proof." "If Paul in any of his letters, if Peter, James or John had only once said, to the Christians in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Greece, Asia, Judea or any where else; then indeed there might have been some ground to think that they regarded it as of divine appointment" [Millennial Harbinger, Vol. 2. pp. 394-5].
But rather than miss the union with Stone and his followers, Campbell submitted and the new enterprise set sail with the insignia "Christian Church" emblazoned on its mast head (It may be said that some of Campbellís followers still retain this name). This was the universal title among them when I was young. But soon they began an agitation and adopted the name "Disciple," but they never could agree whether it should begin with a big "D" or a little "d." Then they said not Disciple but "The Church of God". For a time this was the only name with many. But soon they said, not the "Church of God" but "The Church of Christ." This is the winner, "The Church of Christ" it is now, but how long I would not undertake to guess. And it happens with all their contention for Bible names, that "The Church of Christ" is not in the Bible, "Churches of Christ" occur one time (Rom. 16:16), but not as a title, but the pet phrase "Church of Christ" is not there. David Lipscomb in Gospel Advocate, May 8, 1889, says: "Start out to find the Church of Christ in Kentucky or Tennessee and you cannot find it, but you can find churches of Christ in both states." "That means Christís churches cannot be consolidated into one body or organization throughout a section of country, without so far departing from the truth God, as to cease to be church of Christ." Every good Baptist in the land will say amen to these words of Lipscomb. Now havenít they gone and done it; adopted a name for their church not in the Bible! Next!
It is known by all Bible students that the confession the Reformers use in the reception of members is spurious. This verse (Acts 8:37), is not found in a modern version, including Alexander Campbell and H. T. Anderson. In the Gospel Advocate, March 4, 1891, David Lipscomb says of this: "All critics of the text of scripture who have examined the case, regard that the confession as given the common version an interpolation. The translation published by Mr. Campbell so regarded it and left it out, as does all of the later translations." And yet in the face of all this, this people, who "read everything they believe and teach, word for word, in the Bible," persists in using this spurious confession, and call it a "good or noble confession." Why not make "a good profession" as the Bible says? (1 Tim. 6:12). It is a self evident truth, that no one can confess Christ that does not first know him. "Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God" (John 4:15). This forever settles it, that no one can make a Bible confession that is not first saved.
The Current Reformation teaches that all the spiritual information brought to bear upon the sinner in his conversion is just what the written word of God produces. That there is no direct contact between the Holy Spirit and the sinner. Alexander Campbell says: "If the Spirit of God has spoken all its arguments, or, if the New and Old Testament contains all the arguments 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 upon 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 p. 350]. T. W. Brents says: "We cannot see how communication from a dumb spirit can be reliable. It occurs to us that we would about as soon undertake to translate the tappings of table-legs into good English as any other kind of communications not made through words" [Gospel Plan of Salvation, p. 631]. Dr. Brents calls the Holy Spirit a "dumb spirit" and does not even dignify him by beginning the reference with a capital letter and his operations are compared to "spirit rappings." Listen at the Bible talk. Christ says: "He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: because they said he bath an unclean spirit" (Mark 3:29-30). But what saith the scripture? Saul who afterwards became Paul, was an infidel when he was converted. He believed Christ was an imposter. He was at that time breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, and he had at that very time letters of authority to bind all, both men and women, that he found calling on the name of the Lord, when suddenly a light shown about him, and a voice that was intelligible to him, but not those with him, spake Saul. Was that the written word? or was it something else? Read the 9th the 22nd and 26th chapters of Acts and learn the truth. Was that vision which Cornelius had direct, or was it tine study of the word? Were the answers to his prayers and the pouring out upon him of the Holy Spirit direct? All these things took place before he was baptized. One of two things is true, he was saved before he was baptized or the Spirit operated directly upon the sinner in his conversion. Which born will they take? (See Acts 10). What was it that opened Lydiaís heart that she attended unto the things spoken by Paul? (see Acts 16:14). What was it that made some of the ground good in the parable of the sower? (Matthew 13:8-23). "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44). "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12,13). But why multiply these quotations? the Bible is full of them.
If the word is all that is necessary to produce faith, why is it that all who hear do not have faith? Will some one rise and explain? It will not do to say that they are dishonest or that they are not interested.