Thursday, September 6, 2012

From the "Signs of the Times" Volume 65

In 1897 the Signs of the Times magazine entered its 65th year of publication.  The editors at the time were Benton Jenkins, F.A. Chick, and B.L. Beebe.  Much like the 1820s and 1830s, this was a pivotal period; and one which if studied, will tell much about the controversy over absolutism and the growth of conditionalism.  The following quotes, taken from different issues, express some of the thoughts of the day, both from elders and others who wrote to the editors.  Hopefully, we shall bring forth more citations in the future as we are able to research this and other volumes of the notable periodical.

No. 1:

"Those who believe in conditional time salvation have, I think, invariably held up faith as one of the conditions. Will some one who believes that salvation is hinged upon conditions that rest with the sinner, and that this is one of them, please tell me how one is going to believe what he does not believe?" (Faith, E. Rittenhouse)

No. 7:

"In closing these remarks, we cannot do better than to quote the telling and solemn words of our dear and venerable brother, Elder W.M. Mitchell, in which he refers to this matter of time salvation. He says, “And now before closing this article, we will briefly say, that as there has been a great deal published in two or three of our Old Baptist papers of late, respecting conditional or time salvation, as it is called, we have only time now to say, that apart from that salvation that is in Jesus Christ, there is neither time nor eternal salvation for any child of God, or for any genuine believer in our Lord Jesus. In the gift of Jesus as Savior of sinners, God the Father has given all things that pertain to life and godliness, either for time, or for eternity" (F.A. Chick)

No. 15:

"In all of this trip I heard the truth preached, and I never heard one word in favor of that conditional time salvation, advocated by some in the south and west, neither did I hear anything said against predestination." (W.I. Carnell)

No. 16:

"There is, there can be, but two systems of salvation. One is grace, the other is works; one is unconditional, the other is conditional: one is of the Lord, the other is of man; one depends upon the Holy Spirit; the other ‘depends upon ourselves’. There is no such thing as blending, or mixing these two principles, for they are contrary the one to the other, and where one obtains, the other ceases. One bestows all the blessing received, as God’s free and unsought gift, the other deals them out as a debt paid for the good works done. One leads the seeking soul who desires salvation for every sin to cry, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner,’ the other disposes the sinner to say, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are’. This radical difference runs throughout these two principles of salvation, and there is no escaping from these opposite effects, for every tree bears fruit after its own kind. Now then, if we apply the principle of unconditional salvation, or salvation by grace, to our everlasting salvation, but apply the principle of conditional salvation, or salvation of works, to our ‘time salvation’, we then have two principles and ways of salvation at war with each other, absolutely irreconcilable and contradictory, and make ourselves more confused than Arminians." (W.M. Mitchell)

No. 17:

"Our greatest objection to what is commonly called ‘conditional time salvation’ is, that it seems to us to say that men do not serve God for naught. It seems to argue that love to God is not to be the moving cause of serving him, but rather the hope of rewards." (F.A. Chick and B.L. Beebe)

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