Friday, June 30, 2017

Such Words Help!

It is easy to get discouraged when doing apologetics and when working hard to deliver people from cults. I often want to say with the apostle Paul - "But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." (I Cor. 14: 38 - see my recent posting "Be Ignorant Then!" here) But, comments such as the following do much to encourage me.

Dear Stephen, 

As encouragement, God has used your writings to help me after I left the Primitive Baptist. I too had many plaguing questions about their history, time or temporal salvation, hymns that we sang where words were changed or comments made before singing and many other things. It has been several years now and being guided by the Lord through much searching and studying I have a peace and so I thank God and you and all the other Christians who God used to help me in this journey. I too pray for the enlightenment of the truth of God's word to those I love who think it strange that I no longer partake in their doctrine. 

God Bless you and be encouraged 

(See here for the comment)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hardshells and Alien Baptism X

Wrote Elder Jeff Winfrey concerning the supposed rebaptism of people in Acts 19 (see here):

"There is no doubt but what Paul baptized the men in this passage who claimed that they had already been baptized. Paul’s question, “Unto what then were ye baptized?” acknowledges their claim. Their answer, “Unto John’s baptism”, affirms the same. So the men maintained that they had been baptized, but the fifth verse says that they were baptized again. Now I freely admit that the passage is somewhat vague in its details, and I further admit that the idea of “rebaptism” is to some extent a bit complicated, but surely we find in this text a scriptural passage that teaches “rebaptism”. Surely we find in this passage even a scriptural precedent for “rebaptism”."

If these words of Elder Winfrey are intended to justify the Hardshells in rejecting baptism because of an unqualified administrator, then he has failed.

I do believe that Elder Winfrey has begun to handle the matter we are discussing in a much more honorable and honest way than has our other two Hardshells, Elders Hatfield and Pyles. In these words he admits that the issue of "rebaptism" is not an easy one to deal with, which is more than what our other Hardshell elders were willing to admit. Further, as regards the case of re-baptism in Acts 19, Winfrey admits that the passage is "somewhat vague in its details." This is better than what other Hardshells are willing to acknowledge. Nearly all of them think that the passage justifies them in rejecting immersions of believers who have been baptized by an administrator who lacked authority to baptize. Having said this, however, one wonders how Winfrey can be so certain that there was in fact a case of re-baptism. There are many great bible scholars who do not agree with that conclusion, as we will see when we look at the passage in some detail. Though he admits the passage is "vague in its details," he does not think it vague as respects the fact of re-baptism.

Further, I do not know anyone who denies that baptism should be repeated for any and all persons who were baptized without genuine faith and repentance. Many persons, over the past two thousand years, having come to genuine faith and repentance, after their first baptism, and coming to see that they were not really regenerated or converted when they were first baptized, have desired to be baptized, and were baptized for that reason. And, if there was truly a re-baptism taking place in Acts 19, then it may well have been for this reason. But, one thing is clear. There is nothing in the text that would suggest that the baptism was repeated because Paul judged that the administrator of the first baptism was not qualified. So, to cite this passage as a proof text for the practice is useless.

Wrote Winfrey:

"Though the details are missing, it seems apparent that Paul must have told these men that they needed to be baptized again. Or he may have told them that they needed to be really baptized, because their first baptisms had not been true baptisms. I readily admit that I am not sure what Paul told them, but evidently there was something wrong with this situation that required “rebaptism”."

Yes, there may have been "something wrong" with their first baptism. But, was it due to some fault in the administrator? There was nothing in the text to suggest it. Paul asked them "unto what were you baptized?" But, he does not ask "Who baptized you?"

Next, Elder Winfrey writes next under the sub heading "The Proper Authority to Baptize":

"We have thus far talked of the wrong mode of baptism and the wrong candidate for baptism, but there is at least one more thing that can cause a baptism not to be a scriptural baptism. If the one doing the baptizing does not have scriptural authority to baptize, then the baptism fails to be a scriptural baptism."

For this argument to have force, Winfrey would need to show that scripture deals as plainly with the qualifications of administrators as it does with the mode and qualifications of the one to be baptized. But, this is not the case, as we have previously stated. So far, in support of the proposition that avers that there must be a qualified or church authorized administrator, we only have Winfrey's assertion that the Bible makes the administrator to be integral to the validity of the baptism. Where is the clear scripture that supports his assertion of the proposition?

Wrote Winfrey:

"According to the teachings of the scriptures, it matters who does the baptizing. According to the scriptures the one doing the baptizing must have scriptural authority before he can properly baptize. It may again sound harsh, but even if everything else is right, without this proper authority by the one doing the baptizing, the “so-called” baptism is only a dunking. For a baptism to be a scriptural baptism, the one doing the baptizing must have the scriptural authority to baptize."

"According to the teachings of the scriptures"? What scriptures? In the three articles written by the Hardshells to support their proposition, there have been no scriptures that support it! He says "it matters who does the baptizing," but why can't he cite the words of an apostle that says such? Where did Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, or any other NT writer, say "it matters who baptizes you"? Where is the scripture that says that any baptism not performed by the express authority of some local church is invalid? Why do these Hardshell apologists keep asserting what they cannot substantiate by express statements of scripture?

Further, as I have shown, "scriptural authority" for baptizing is given to all disciples by the Lord in the great commission. Any disciple who teaches others and makes disciples has the authority to baptize those disciples. That is what the commission says and that is the authority!

Yes, it does "sound harsh"!

Wrote Winfrey:

"Thus we can be certain that Paul did baptize. Yet the words, Christ sent me not to baptize, cause us to wonder about Paul’s authority to baptize. God had sent John to baptize, but the scriptures make no mention of God sending Paul to baptize. Christ had sent His disciples to baptize, but the passage declares that Christ did not send Paul to baptize. So if not sent of God, and if not sent by Christ, then who did send Paul to baptize? In answer to that question we declare that Jesus’ church and the ministers in that church sent Paul out with the authority to baptize...So Paul’s statement about Jesus not sending him to baptize is not a problem, and the fact that Paul baptized without having been sent by Christ to baptize is not a problem. Paul baptized with the authority that had been given to him by Jesus’ church that was located at Antioch and by the ministry at that church."

Paul was not denying that he was commissioned to baptize in I Corinthians 1: 17 when he says "for Christ sent me not to baptize." His statement was not intended to explain how someone else, other than Christ who sent him to preach, sent him to baptize, and that other entity was the church, as Winfrey suggests. Paul is simply minimizing the importance of baptism and was minimizing the importance of the person who does the baptizing.

Wrote Winfrey:

"The commission and the authority given in the commission were to last as long as the church, even to the end of the world. The chain of authority would continue to perpetuate the church from generation to generation, while in a sense the church would continue to perpetuate the chain of authority from generation to generation, so that the cause of Christ would be continued even to the end of the world...The authority that had been given to the Apostles was to be passed on by the Apostles to other men in the church."

Throughout this series, there has been mentioned the "chain" of baptismal administrators, and how the Landmark view would cast doubt on the validity of all baptisms if the administrator was integral to the validity of them. One unauthorized administrator in that chain would make null and void all baptisms following in that chain. Notice how Winfrey speaks of baptism's "chain of authority."

There is no "chain of authority." There is no succession of elders that converts must have faith in to feel good about the validity of their baptisms. The authority does not come from men but from the Lord himself, from his word. This is what our Old Baptist forefathers taught and it is the correct view and answers all the Hardshell and Landmarker objections about "authority."

In the next posting, our concluding posting in this series, we will look at Acts 19:1-7 and the supposed re-baptism of some disciples.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hardshells and Alien Baptism IX

Elder David Pyles, a present day leader of the Hardshells, wrote the following in "A Note on Rebaptism to the Prospective Primitive Baptist" (see here - emphasis mine):

"Some potential converts to the Primitive Baptists have difficulty understanding their policy of rebaptizing all who come to them from other orders. This ancient practice of Primitive Baptists has many points in its defense. I attempt to present some of them in what follows, and wish particularly to address the most common questions asked concerning the practice."

How "ancient" is the "practice of Primitive Baptists" to re-baptize those whose baptism was correct in every way except in regards (perhaps) to the administrator? Not that ancient at all! We have already shown how the first Particular Baptists would disagree with the Hardshells of today. Further, many of their own churches have, at times, in the 19th century, accepted the immersions of other Baptists groups, especially before the rise of the Landmark movement in the middle of the century. Some today even accept such baptisms today. I recall when I first started pastoring two Hardshell churches in eastern North Carolina in the late 70s that I found out that they had a Missionary Baptist preacher to come and baptize some for them when they had no pastor. At the time I was a Landmarker and recall telling them how that was not acceptable. Looking back on that time I am glad that I did not make a big issue about it, not trying to undo what I thought needed to be undone!

Why would any "potential converts" to the Hardshells "find difficulty" with being re-baptized? Is it not because they believe that their previous baptism was valid in all respects, except for it being done by an administrator who was not a Hardshell? Is it not because the Spirit has born witness to their baptism and they are satisfied with it? In such cases, ought not the Hardshells to give clear solid scriptural reasons for requiring them to violate their consciences?

Pyles next says - "This ancient practice of Primitive Baptists has many points in its defense." Really? "Many points"? Really?

Wrote Pyles:

"The denominationalism existing in our present world is a sad condition that Primitive Baptists did not cause and do not endorse; nevertheless, they must deal with it in a sound and consistent manner. Since the scriptures offer no New Testament precedent for denominationalism, the problem must be addressed using general scriptural principle and rules of sound reasoning. Under such approach, one is constrained to conclude that it is inconsistent to permanently sever fellowship with another denomination but to then receive the baptisms of that denomination. This follows because if the local churches in that denomination are indeed recognized by God as valid churches, then fellowship with them should not have been severed. Instead, scriptural labor should have been conducted for their correction. On the other hand, if these churches are not recognized by God as valid, then there is no authority for receiving their baptisms because there is nothing in scripture serving to qualify the baptisms of a nonchurch institution." 

The "Primitive Baptist" seceders "did not cause" or contribute to the "denominationalism" that exists today? Really? Did they not cause the split in the Baptist family in the 1830s by their declarations of non fellowship? Did they not make themselves into a separate denomination? Did not R.B.C. Howell rightly call them "new test men" for this reason? Wrote Howell:

"The name given by them to the antimissionaries is the most appropriate we have yet seen--New Test men. We propose that the self styled Old School, be hereafter called New Test. What say you brethren? It is not reproachful, and conveys the exact description of those brethren and Churches, who have done so much evil by introducing a new test of fellowship that is, making friendship to the Convention a crime for which they will exclude a member, and enmity the ground of his reception." (Page 38 - "The Baptist" - Vol. V. Jan. 1839 No. 1)

Further, if one looks at the Hardshell's own history, every time they came up with a new "test of fellowship" they created another denomination! These new tests not only created the Missionaries and the "Primitive" or "Old School" Baptists, but have created various groups of "Primitive Baptists," such as the "Absoluters," "Conditionalists," "Universalists," "Liberals," "Old Line," "Progressives," etc.

Further, when one accepts the baptism administered by a non Hardshell administrator, from someone representing a denomination judged to have heresies, he is not thereby automatically accepting that denomination. That is false Hardshell reasoning. Accepting a person's baptism does not at all involve accepting the administrator! That is simply false implication. Do not Hardshells accept the marriage of individuals who were married by non Hardshell ministers? Does that acceptance mean they accept, in every way, the minister? Of course not.

Further, an individual's baptism should not be characterized as being a denomination's or a church's baptism. It is the Lord's baptism. When we speak of the communion, we say "the Lord's Supper," not "the church's supper." We should do the same with baptism. It is the Lord's Baptism, not the church's. It matters not who administers either one. In either case it is the Lord's ordinance. So, instead of looking at alien immersion as accepting and approving of an heretical church, look at it rather as accepting the Lord.

Pyle's reasoning suggests that churches that have serious error cannot do anything right. It asserts that one serious error nullifies everything else. Such reasoning says that "fellowship" and "cooperation" is an "all or nothing" thing. It is amazing that he cannot see how it is this very attitude that has created so many denominations! What are the Hardshells doing to bring denominations together?

Pyles continued:

"This reasoning might not pertain to an intra-denominational division wherein fellowship were temporarily suspended for corrective purposes, but it must be valid for those inter-denominational divisions that are viewed as permanent."

Notice that caveat and what it reveals! "This reasoning" does not work in some cases? It does not apply to "intra-denominational" divisions? What is he talking about? Let me tell you.

The Hardshells have been very schismatic throughout their history. Pyles knows this. Besides the major splits that created the above mentioned denominations, there have been minor divisions over many things. For instance, in my book on the Hardshells, in Chapter Three, under "personal experiences," I relate how my beloved father and the church he pastored, when it was in the Powell's Valley Association, had a division over the origin and fall of Satan and the angels. Because father believed that Satan fell from heaven, the third heaven, and because he would not agree to not preach it, he and the church were declared in "disorder" by most of the churches. From that time forward, all the official work of the church were considered invalid, just as much as if done by a "denominational church." So, for many churches who were alligned with the Powell's Valley Association, my ordination, which took place after this division, was viewed as being invalid. My baptism, which took place before the declaration of non fellowship, was accepted. In the view of Pyles, it would be wrong for each side in this division to require redoing all the official baptisms and ordinations in a reconciliation or coming together again. Pyles knows that this has often been a difficulty in trying to effect these kinds of reconciliation. Historically, the Hardshells, in these kinds of divisions that were wrong, or "temporary," have advised that each side 1) remove or "rescind" their declarations of non fellowship and disorder, and 2) accept the other side's baptisms and ordinations.

Pyles is willing to accept the baptisms of those groups within his denomination that have been at war with each other, and so he says his "reasoning" does not apply in such cases. His reasoning only applies to the big splits with "denominations." Surely Pyles is adept enough to see how he has destroyed his own "reasoning"! He can advise each side in such "intra" denominational splits to accept the other's baptisms, arguing no doubt that such acceptance does not imply acceptance of any error the other side may have entertained, but such reasoning does not work in "inter" denominational divisions!

Who decides which divisions are "temporary" and which are "permanent"? Who decides which divisions, which opposing groups or denominations, were intended for "corrective purposes" and which were not?

Pyles continued:

"In maintaining these permanent bars of fellowship against each other, the churches of the denominational world have in effect declared that they cannot certainly know that their rivals are Divinely recognized churches. This being the case, they cannot certainly know that the baptisms performed by their rivals are valid. It is therefore inconsistent to receive these baptisms as though there were no question concerning them."

This is not sound reasoning. A church may know that the Hardshell church is heretical and yet can know that their baptisms are valid nonetheless. Pyles argues that if there is a "question concerning them" in regard to their soundness in the faith, then that is sufficient grounds to declare that all their church sponsored baptisms are invalid. Of course, this is true only of certain church groups that are not fellowshipped "permanently" and for "non corrective" reasons!

Notice how Pyles is arguing his case based upon assumptions that he has not proven from scripture. He has not proven that baptism is performed by churches. He has not proven that baptisms are official church acts. He has not proven that accepting baptisms forces one to accept the administrators of them. He has not proven that a church having certain errors cannot do anything right. Yet, his argumentation is based upon all these assumptions. It is called "begging the question" fallacy.

Wrote Pyles:

"If the Primitive Baptists are what they claim, then they are of the same lineage, doctrine and practice as the true New Testament church. If the Primitive Baptists are not true to this claim, then one has no reason for leaving another order to come to them. Now there is only one instance in the Bible where people were baptized apart from this lineage (Acts 19:1-7), and in that one instance, those people were rebaptized. This was done notwithstanding the fact that those people were sincere in their convictions when they were first baptized, and notwithstanding the fact that the Bible considered them to be believers when they were first baptized."

"If the Primitive Baptists are what they claim"? But, this is assuming too much, for they clearly are not what they claim to be, i.e. the "only ones" who preach the Gospel and have authority as churches from Christ!

Pyles mentions the supposed re-baptism of Acts 19 as did Elder Hatfield, to which I have already responded and will have some more to say. In Pyle's remarks, he again makes many assumptions. He first assumes that Paul actually re-baptized those disciples who had undergone "John's baptism." He also assumes that the people were "sincere in their convictions" when they were baptized with "John's baptism." How does he know this? Does the text say so? He also assumes that the reason for their having been re-baptized was because it was done by an invalid administrator or by the authority of an invalid church. But, where is this said in the text? Until he proves these assumptions, upon which his argumentation is based, his "reasoning" is to be rejected.

Wrote Pyles:

"...the Jesus taught by the denominational world is not the same Jesus taught by the Primitive Baptists. Nor do they teach the same gospel and same Spirit. Anyone failing to see these differences is not truly ready to be a Primitive Baptist, and if their perceptions were correct, they would stand nothing to gain by becoming a Primitive Baptist. What could be gained by coming to the Primitive Baptists from another order if the Primitive Baptists teach the same Jesus, gospel and Spirit? But if Primitive Baptists indeed preach the true Jesus, and if world preaches another Jesus, then it is surely a feeble and dubious testimony when a person has willfully submitted to baptism for the other Jesus but has refused baptism for the true one. It is difficult to see how that this can be the proper answer of a good conscience towards God (1Pet 3:21)."

Notice the arrogance and cult thinking of Pyles and the Hardshells! Only the Hardshells believe and preach the real Jesus! Only they have received the Spirit! Only they preach the gospel! But, he only states this based upon his own authority, and not from scripture. He assumes and asserts and then expects all to accept what he says as if he were an apostle! What arrogance! What vain presumption!

He says that one must believe these things in order to become a "Primitive Baptist." In other words, in order to become a cult member, he must put his faith in the cult! He says "it is difficult to see how" a baptism that one obtained outside of the cult could possibly give one that coveted "answer of a good conscience towards God." But, his difficulty in seeing is not argument or proof of anything on the matter under discussion! Further, who made him the judge of the consciences of believers? Further, he keeps assuming that baptism is a rite that denotes allegiance to a denomination, which it is not! Rather, it is a rite that denotes allegiance to Christ!

Recall that Pyles at the outset of his polemic was going to give us strong and several reasons, from scripture, that prove all baptisms performed by churches in error are invalid. Has he done that yet? Absolutely not! Rather, he is using carnal reasonings that have no foundation in scripture. Has he proven his case? I think not!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Hardshells and Alien Baptism VIII

Elder Herb Hatfield, present day Hardshell, wrote the following in "The Importance of Scriptural Baptism" (see here). I wish to particularly examine what he says about "alien baptism" and on the administrator of baptism. (emphasis mine)

"Much dispute has centered on the subject of “Who has authority to administer scriptural baptism?” This is unfortunate and is the Devil’s work to discredit the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. A brief study of the New Testament, with an open mind, will clear up the confusion. John the Baptist was the first baptizer, and he got his authority from God (John 1:6). Jesus and all twelve apostles were baptized by John (Acts 1:21-22). Jesus gave the apostles, who made up the first church (I Cor. 12:28), the authority to baptize. He commissioned that same church to send out authorized ministers to preach the Gospel and baptize converts (Matt. 28:19)." 

In critiquing this apologetic, notice first the arrogance in the elder saying - "A brief study of the New Testament, with an open mind, will clear up the confusion." As if the topic is really not that difficult! As if a simple "brief study" of the topic would remove any and all confusion! As if all except the Hardshells and strict Landmarkers have studied the matter with an "open mind"! Let us see if the elder is able to "clear up" the confusion by showing us those NT passages that tell us in plain words about who has the "authority" to baptize.

One also notices the arrogance and conceit in his affirming that only the Hardshells are to be judged as being "the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ." This is that old Pharisaical attitude that says "we be Abraham's seed," and "we be the only ones," etc. The Hardshells think that they are the only ones who are Christians, the only ones who received the true Spirit, the only ones who preach the Gospel, the only ones contending for the faith, etc.

Notice also the arrogance in affirming that no one has "authority from God" to preach or to baptize but Hardshell elders! They, like John the Baptist, and like the Apostles, have such authority from God! Only they have authority from the one true church!

The Contradiction

Was the great commission given to the church as a body? Hatfield wants to argue such, but he must know that this is not the historical or general view of his Hardshell brethren. But, while he argues that this places the "authority" to baptize in the church as a body, he also wants to place it in the hands of God, or heaven, or the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, he admits that individuals have been commissioned to baptize in addition to the church group. He also seems to think that once the church, as a group, was given authority to baptize, that only they then had the authority after the fact, and that only they could authorize an individual. Hopefully you can see the contradictions in these statements.

Hatfield wants to know where authority to baptize comes from and asserts that it can only come from the church, assuming that the commission does not give authority to Christians as individuals to do preaching or baptizing. But, he admits that both John the Baptist and the Apostles were given authority to baptize apart from the church, or as individuals.

The truth of the matter is that the commission is binding on all Christians as individuals and on individual churches. But, this is denied by the Hardshells. To them no one but themselves have a commission to teach, disciple, convert, and to baptize. To them Christ does not give authority to individual Christians to do these things, and anyone outside of the Hardshell church that does these things are sinning, doing those things without a warrant from God or Heaven.

Wrote Hatfield:

"On the day of Pentecost 3,000 people who received the Word were baptized and added to the church (Acts 2:41). It makes sense that the same church to which those new converts were added was the church that had the authority to baptize them."

Does Hatfield not make assumptions here? First of all, the church as a group cannot baptize anyone. One person baptizes another, not a group. The group may appoint a single person to do the immersing and pronounce the words, but still it is the individual that actually does the job. Why exclude the idea that the commission, or word of God itself, is sufficient to give authority to the individual?

Further, did not Peter, who did the preaching and who answered the questions of the penitent enquirers, not have authority himself to baptize? Has Hatfield not admitted this?

Further, where does the text say that only the apostles and elders did the baptizing? Three thousand people! Surely, if we are to argue on the basis of what "makes sense," then we can safely assume that many of the brethren, those who were not elders, did much of the baptizing on that day.

Further, where is there any evidence that the 120 who made up the church took a vote on the matter, which is the way "authority" is given in Hardshell churches? Also, as a side note, I wonder if the church took the time to question each of those three thousand souls about their marital status? About whether they belonged to any secret society? Etc.?

Wrote Hatfield:

"Philip, an ordained minister authorized by the church at Jerusalem, preached in Samaria and baptized the converts. He got his authority from the Jerusalem church." 

Where is that stated in the Scriptures? Many non Berean type of Hardshell members will read what Hatfield writes and take his word when he says that Philip was "an ordained minister." There is no text that says this! He assumes it and puts it out as a fact. We do know that he was one of the seven deacons. What Hatfield does is what all Hardshells do. They see that Philip baptized and because they take their proposition to the scriptures (that says that only ordained elders can baptize) they assert that he must therefore have been ordained as an elder. But, it would "make sense" to rather see the case as proving that deacons may baptize, having been given such authority not merely by a church, but by the Lord himself. Further, where does the text in the Book of Acts say that Philip was "authorized by the church at Jerusalem" to both preach and baptize? Did he not already have that authority given to him by the Lord through the commission? As another side note, I wonder if Hatfield would say that the church also told him to go preach in Samaria? He would probably say no because the Hardshells have been vehemently against the church having any say so in where to send their ministers.

Wrote Hatfield:

"Peter preached in the house of Cornelius and the whole household believed and received the Holy Ghost. He then baptized them in water by the authority of the church at Jerusalem (Acts 10: 47 and Acts 11:12). Paul baptized his converts during his preaching trips because the Holy Ghost, through the church at Antioch, had called and sent him to the work of evangelism. (Acts 13: 1-4)."

Notice the error of Hatfield. He says that Peter baptized the house of Cornelius and yet the text says merely that Peter "commanded them to be baptized" (Acts 10: 48). Is this not ironic? Here is an arrogant man who wants to straighten out everyone else on the topic and yet makes such statements and is so careless with the scriptures!

Also, where does the text say that the house of Cornelius was baptized "by the authority of the church at Jerusalem"? Did Peter not already have that authority from Christ himself in the great commission? Also, where are the scriptures that say "Paul baptized his converts during his preaching trips"? That Paul baptized some, is granted. But, he seemed to do little of the baptizing, leaving it to others who traveled with him, just as Peter. (I Cor. 1:17) Further, why say that Paul got his authority to preach and to baptize from the church at Antioch when he got it from the Lord himself? (See Acts 26: 16-18) If Paul already had such authority, from Christ himself, why would he need it from the church at Antioch?

Wrote Hatfield:

"A SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM MUST HAVE A SCRIPTURAL ADMINISTRATOR – By the authority of a New Testament Baptist Church. Not just anyone can print legal money, nor can just anyone practice medicine as a doctor, neither can just anyone be a lawyer. The laws of man regulate all these activities. Baptism is regulated by the laws of God. If any one of the above conditions is not met, then the baptism is not scriptural, and therefore, is invalid. Without scriptural authority, there is no scriptural baptism. It may be that both the administrator and the candidate for baptism are very sincere and devout, but neither sincerity or devoutness is a substitute for authority from God."

Hatfield says that "scriptural baptism must have a scriptural administrator," but he does not cite any verses that affirm such and that give the qualifications of such administrators. Keep in mind that he is supposed to be clearing things up on this matter by his "brief study"! Seems to me that he is rather clouding the issue.

Hatfield says that "baptism is regulated by the laws of God" and we agree. The great commission is that law! It authorizes every disciple to teach and to baptize. No church has the right to abrogate that law or to change it! Notice that though he states that only those elders appointed by the church may baptize, he has yet not given any scripture to prove it!

Hatfield wants to make the administrator of baptism into a "professional"! This is something his forefathers would have repudiated! They vehemently argued against making the clergy into a "profession"!

Wrote Hatfield:

"When Paul found those disciples at Ephesus whose baptism was unscriptural, he did not hesitate to instruct them correctly and then give them proper baptism. Today, any child of God who may discover that for any reason their baptism is unscriptural should immediately seek to be scripturally baptized."

It is amazing how Hatfield can make such blanket statements as these and yet offer no proof from the scriptures to substantiate them! Ironically, he is the one that keeps using the word "scriptural" (just like the "twin" of the Hardshells, the Campbellites do) and yet gives us no scriptures!

About the supposed re-baptism of those disciple at Ephesus, I will have more to say later in this series. But, even if we grant that they were re-baptized, it must be shown that the reason for it was due to an unqualified administrator! This he cannot do!

Hatfield then writes (his captitals):


Whether this is true or not, it is not a fact observable from a "brief study" of the NT on the subject of baptism! I will have more to say on this argument in the next posting when I look at what a couple other present day Hardshell elders have written on this topic, for they argue the same way. I have already stated that it is illogical to think that one cannot accept one aspect of another church, yea, even one in disorder, without accepting everything. The only thing that really needs to be said here on his assertion is to say that it is simply that, an assertion, and does not prove anything. It is again ironic how he constantly has used the word "scriptural" for his argumentation and yet here relies on what is clearly a mere assertion. I bet the church Hatfield pastors sings lots of songs written by members and preachers of other denominations, men like John Wesley, and yet finds this to be okay.

Wrote Hatfield:

"How can Primitive Baptists fellowship with, cooperate with, or receive baptism from churches that may be Baptist in name, but who receive baptism from every religious order that comes along? Baptism does not hinge upon whether the person is satisfied with it, but the question is, is the Lord satisfied with it? Does it meet the teaching of the Scriptures? There are some Primitive Baptist preachers and Primitive Baptist churches that seem to be sound on baptism, as far as the local congregation is concerned; however, they are not embarrassed to receive members from non-Primitive Baptists churches. Those religious orders send out missionaries through mission boards, have Sunday schools, support Bible schools and other religious auxiliaries. How “can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (I Cor. 5:6)"

Oh God forbid that the Hardshells should have any fellowship at all with other Christians! God forbid that they should cooperate at all with other Christians! When he asks "is the Lord satisfied with it?" he is really asking "are the Hardshells satisfied with it?" Again, he refers to the criteria to judge all baptismal questions, asking "does it meet the teaching of the Scriptures?" What scriptures? Where are the ones that make the qualifications of the administrator integral to baptism?

Wrote Hatfield:

"If a Primitive Baptist church ever accepts any baptism from any religious order other than a New Testament Primitive Baptist church, that church will have started down the slippery slope of compromise and ecumenicalism that leads to apostasy. They will themselves cease to be a New Testament Primitive Baptist Church."

Again, more repetition and baseless assertion! Scare tactics!

Misc. Thoughts On KJV Onlyism

Why were the Hardshells so quick to embrace KJV Onlyism, even to the point of changing their articles of faith on the matter, and many making it a test of fellowship? I have considered this question much over the past forty years. My opinion? Well, I think many of them adopted that view for these reasons, which I will try to give in order of importance.

1) Laziness of both the elders and the members, who did not wish to do the deeper study that is involved in studying the original languages and the veracity of translations.

2) Fear that not adopting KJV Onlyism will lead the more adept ministers into the practice of often citing the original languages in their sermons and that this practice will be detrimental to the more unlearned elders.

3) Worry that not adopting KJV Onlyism will cause confusion among the churches as each minister and member chooses a different version to use.

4) Sonny Pyles seemed to know what he was talking about when he preached in favor of KJV Onlyism and all should go along with what he was saying about how all other translations were part of a conspiracy to deny some fundamental doctrine of the faith.

5) Inability to answer the questions of the KJV Only advocates, such as "do we have a Bible today that is without error?" And, "has God preserved his word?"

Historical Tidbits 

In my years of studying the history of the Hardshells and of the Baptists in general, I have taken mental notes of how our forefathers viewed the KJV and the use of other translations. For instance, many of the Two Seeders, and those espousing eternal vital unionism, spoke against the KJV. So too did many of the Absoluters. Many of them wondered how Old Baptists could support a translation that had so many heretics on the translation committee.

Elder Sylvester Hassell was not a KJV Only man. Here is what he said about the matter.

"Nowhere in the Bible does God promise to inspire or make infallible translators or transscribers or printers; but the men of God who first wrote the Scriptures were, as they claim, and as is abundantly demonstrated, inspired of God; and He has not allowed these variations of others to affect a single doctrine or practice of His Written Word." (The Gospel Messenger, 1914)

If one reads many of the oldest writings among the Hardshells, especially in the 19th century, he will see how they often cited from other translations, on particular verses, when they thought they were better or more correct than the KJV. But, such a practice must be condemned by our modern Hardshell KJV Onlyists.

What do you think?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hardshells and Alien Baptism VII

Now let us consider the citations in Chapter V of Dayton's book, titled "THE VALIDITY OF BAPTISM ADMINISTERED BY AN UNBAPTIZED EVANGELIST," written by Elder Johnson of S.C. and responded to by Dr. Dayton. Wrote Johnson (as cited by Dayton):

"In my fourth number on the Evangelists, two questions came up for consideration. The first was answered in the same number. The second was postponed, which is as follows: "Has the unbaptized Evangelist authority to baptize believers?"

In discussing this subject, I shall necessarily repeat some things that I have said before.

The Savior said unto his apostles, in the solemn hour of his leaving them — "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth; Go ye, therefore, and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." In conformity with these directions, Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, and made about three thousand disciples, who were baptized, and added to them, the hundred and twenty who were all with one accord, in one place, on that memorable day. They were not added to them by baptism, but were first baptized, and then added. Philip, the evangelist, went down to Samaria, preached and baptized those that believed. Shortly after, we read of a church in Samaria. A great persecution arose against the church of Jerusalem, which dispersed all the members, except the apostles. They that were scattered abroad, went everywhere preaching the word; and the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number turned to the Lord. In a little time, Paul and Barnabas were sent upon a missionary tour, through those regions, and found many churches, over whom they ordained elders. Peter went to Cornelius' house, where a company was assembled, and preached to them. The Holy Spirit fell upon them all, and he commanded them to be baptized, and a church was formed at Ceasarea, the residence of the centurion. Paul baptized believing Corinthians. We thus see that apostles and evangelists — Preachers of the Gospel — are the baptizers of believers. But these were themselves baptized. How, then, can a baptism by one, himself unbaptized, be valid? Light will be thrown on this subject by first ascertaining whether one can be an evangelist, or a preacher of the gospel, who has not been baptized. This is a question of fact."

The Landmarker view must advocate the position that no non Baptist, no un-immersed disciple, can preach the gospel. That view I find most untenable.

Johnson continued:

"It is too obvious to need proof, that Jesus Christ makes the evangelist or preacher, and not man. It is equally obvious, that the only mode in which we ascertain a preacher is by his qualification and desire for the office. John the Baptist did no miracle to prove his appointment to the ministry, yet he was a preacher of Christ, though he did not as fully preach the gospel of Christ, as it was preached after His resurrection. We know that John was not baptized, and yet, by his qualifications he was recognized and received.

Martin Luther, John Knox, George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, preached the gospel of Christ with a power and success, unsurpassed by any preachers since the Apostle's day. Who made them such preachers? Who blessed their labors so wonderfully? Not man, but the Lord Jesus, the King in Zion. And there have been thousands of unbaptized preachers in Pedobaptist societies, who have faithfully and successfully preached the gospel of Christ. Can we say that they are not preachers of the Lord's making? Surely not. Have we not endorsed men as preachers, though unbaptized, by asking them into our pulpits, and receiving persons for baptism, and afterward into our churches, who were awakened and converted to God through their agency or instrumentality? Did we so endorse them as made by man? No. But as made by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus and His Father. Now if our King has dispensed with the baptism of these preachers or evangelists, whom He has put into the ministry, and has blessed their labors in doing His work, on what ground can we object to this exercise of His sovereign will? And if He commands His preachers to baptize believers upon a profession of their faith in Him; and those whom He has made such, preach and baptize believers though themselves unbaptized, on what ground can we refuse to receive their work in baptizing, as well as in preaching, and in conversion, since it was by his Spirit's influences that they did both? That Paul regarded baptizing as a work inferior to preaching, is obvious, as he says, "I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius, and the household of Stephanus. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel."

Again, the Landmarker position begets unsound consequences. Not only does it advocate that no unbaptized disciple can tell others about Jesus and the gospel, but it also affirms that it is the Baptist church, and the Baptist church alone, or in the case of the Hardshells, the Hardshells alone, that can make preachers and commission them. But, as stated above, this prerogative belongs to the Lord himself.

Johnson continued:

"That baptized and unbaptized evangelists do preach the gospel, and that by means of their preaching, souls are alike savingly converted to God by his blessing on their labors, cannot be doubted. If one converted by the preaching of an unbaptized Evangelist, should apply for baptism to a baptized Evangelist, would he not, if satisfied of his fitness for the ordinance, administer it to him? And would not this one, upon application for admission into a Baptist church, be received upon his faith and baptism? Most assuredly. Now surely conversion is a greater work than baptism. Well! The Lord, not man, makes the evangelist, and commissions him to make and baptize disciples. If the work in conversion be valid, why not the work in baptism also? Especially as the work in conversion is the greater of the two, and the same authority commands the same officer to do both."

This is what I observed in the first posting of this series. The argument was made that if sinners can be given the reality or substance, i.e. salvation, by a mere disciple, then he may be given the symbol of that reality, which is baptism. Johnson argues the same thing. If a disciple may be the means of converting a sinner, then he surely may be the means of baptizing him. If he can do the greater, then he can do the lessor.

Johnson continued:

"When a sinner is truly converted to God, he is a spiritual subject of Christ's kingdom. By baptism he becomes visibly such. As Christ only makes and appoints the evangelist, if He is pleased to dispense with his submission to the ordinance of baptism, it is His sovereign act; and we have no right to object to His act. The evangelist, who comes bearing the broad seal of his Master's appointment in the qualifications by which he is to be known, should be received, and his work also, when done in obedience to the commission of his Lord. Hence the immersion of a professed believer in Jesus Christ, administered by an unbaptized evangelist is a valid baptism."

Again, the authority to teach, disciple, and to baptize, does not come from the church or from a presbytery, but rather comes from the word of God, or from Christ himself. This is the Old Baptist position. It is the Bible position.

Johnson continued:

"After all, the essence of true spiritual gospel baptism consists in the immersion in water, of a spiritual believer, upon a profession of faith in Christ, by whomsoever the ordinance may be administered. After such an immersion, its repetition would be another baptism, for which there is no authority in the scripture. The requirement of an immersed administrator as indispensable, then, throws us back upon the apostolical succession, so that no Baptist could prove the validity of his own baptism, unless he could go back through a line of baptized administrators to one of the apostles. And let me ask — through what line of ministerial ancestry will he undertake his task?"

Johnson repeats what is the non Landmarker position about what constitutes genuine baptism. Involved in that definition is an affirmation that there are no qualifications for an administrator. He also repeats the argument that the Landmarker view casts doubt on the validity of all baptisms. Recall also that the Landmarker view is more in line with those who espouse the episcopal or Romish system.

Wrote Dayton in defense of the Landmark view:

"But "W" says "John was not baptized, and yet by his qualifications he was recognized and received." Excepting only this case of John, he does not present from the Scriptures, any shadow of authority conferred on any unbaptized man to baptize believers. There was no command given to any such to do it. There is no example of any such who did it. No other dared to do it; nor would John, had Christ not given him a personal commission. As an unbaptized baptizer, John stands alone. This is an admitted fact. It was impossible but that some unbaptized man should begin the work. And Christ sent John to do it. He had a special commission to introduce the rite, and make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And if "W.'s" "unbaptized Evangelists" have a similar commission from Christ to introduce the rite where it does not exist, his case may he referred to as a precedent for their's; but certainly not otherwise. The previous submission to baptism could not be required as a qualification in John — because there was no one who could confer it upon John. After it became possible to receive it however, Christ would not exempt even himself from its reception. The command, therefore, which authorized John, is no authority to any other unbaptized person to baptize believers."

Dayton is willing to acknowledge that John the Baptist was an unbaptized administrator but says that John was a exception. But, recall that earlier he said that the non Landmarker could not find a single case! But, Dayton does acknowledge that in rare cases, where an unbaptized evangelist preaches in a place where there are no churches or ordained clergy, then he may legitimately baptize. In this admission I believe Dayton surrenders his proposition.

Wrote Dayton:

"But failing of precept or example, have we any fair and reasonable inference. Here "W." makes a better showing, "Baptism" is of less importance than "preaching," and hence we may infer that all who are authorized to preach are also authorized to baptize. We might grant this, and the question would still be undecided. For it would still remain to be determined whether, according to the scriptures any unbaptized man is authorized to preach. But it is not true that the right to baptize is of necessity included in the right to preach, even though preaching may be more important than baptizing. The greater does not include the less, except the less be a constituent part of the greater. A man may be authorized to act as Governor, and yet have no authority to receive taxes, although his office is more important than that of Tax-Collector. Christ might have authorized thousands of people to preach whom he did not authorize to baptize. Some people think he did. They say that all who hear the gospel are duly authorized to preach it. "Let him that heareth, say come." But they do not pretend that every man who hears the gospel is authorized to "baptize believers." Some people say that preaching the gospel is giving religious instruction, and that it is the privilege and the duty of every one who is competent to do so, to give religious instruction. Yet they do not pretend that every one who has the capacity to teach another something about religion, is on that account authorized to " baptize believers." If, however, it be said that the commission to preach and to baptize was given to the same persons, and that consequently all who are authorized to preach, are by the same commission authorized to baptize. We grant it. But then, this joint commission was not given to the unbaptized. It conferred on such, no authority either to preach or to baptize, or do any thing else but to believe and he baptized. If this commission, therefore, is the only authority for preaching, it is certain that they have no authority either to preach or to baptize. It is not enough for " W." to show that some preachers baptized, and that an unbaptized man might preach. He must show that unbaptized preachers were authorized to baptize. Let him show in the Word of God, a commission authorizing one who would not himself be baptized, to go and baptize others. Until he has done this, his argument stands thus:

Baptized preachers are authorized to baptize believers. 
Unbaptized Evangelists are preachers.
Therefore, unbaptized Evangelists are authorized to baptize believers.

If unbaptized Evangelists have any scriptural authority either to preach or to baptize, they certainly must derive it from some other passage besides the commission, since this, it is admitted by all parties, was given only to the baptized."

Again, the absurdity that Landmarkers are forced into is that only those properly baptized are authorized to preach or teach others about Jesus! He says that all non Baptists have "no authority either to preach or to baptize."

Wrote Dayton:

"We have been accustomed to regard conversion as God's work, and have supposed that when the churches received it, they received it as his work, and not the preacher's, and we suppose that "W." means only to say that they were instruments in the hand of God in the conversion of these men. — And now the question is, whether, according to the Scriptures, any person who is the means of another's conversion, or of the conversion of many persons, has on that account the authority to baptize believers. Has he even the authority to baptize his own converts? Grant that he has and see where we will stand. That gentle girl who plead so earnestly with her father to turn and live, is authorized, if her sex do not forbid, to lead him into the water and bury him in baptism, and the church must receive her work in baptism as it would her work in conversion. That young man, just now himself converted, and who has yet made no profession of religion, but has gone to his former companions in sin and warned them of their danger, and they have turned to God, is an authorized administrator of baptism. No church would refuse to receive his work of conversion, this is a greater work than baptism; how, then, can they refuse to regard him as one authorized by the Scriptures to baptize believers. Nay, more. There is a wicked wretch, who prays God to damn his own soul. His companion is struck with wonder at the prayer — feels that there is danger in such companionship — prays God to save his soul, and he is saved. Now is not this swearer authorized to baptize believers. The church will receive his work in conversion. Why not in baptism? And "after all," in the language of "W.," the essence of true spiritual gospel baptism consists in the immersion in water of a spiritual believer upon a profession of faith in Christ, by whomsoever the ordinance may be administered. "W." doubtless thinks so, or he would not have said it. But genuine churches of Jesus Christ will be very slow to admit that every one whose efforts have been blessed of God to the conversion of souls is on that account authorized to "baptize believers.""

Dayton tries his best to destroy the non Landmarker view by describing certain possible administrators of baptism as being little girls or even a wicked man and thinks that such a tactic will force people to admit that there must be therefore some limitation or qualification for administrators of the ordinance. But, one must ask - "have there not been ministers, yea, Baptist and Hardshell ministers, who were unconverted and wicked themselves?" If so, then Dayton's argument is invalid. Further, his only reply to the argument that if a person can make a disciple, then he can baptize that disciple, if he can give the greater, he can give the lessor, is to deny it.

Wrote Dayton:

"God may bless his Word in the mouth of a child or an infidel to the conversion of men, but in doing so he does not commission them to administer the ordinances of his Kingdom. And so he may bless it largely in the mouth of an Edwards, a Whitfield, or a Wesley, and yet, by doing so, confer on them no authority to administer a rite which they will not receive, or give his churches any permission to lay aside his written instructions in regard to the reception of members."

So, what is Dayton's position? One may make a disciple but this does not give authority to baptize? Is he not against the commission? Did Jesus not give authority to baptize to all who teach and preach and who make disciples?

Wrote Dayton:

"If it be true that some time or other, nobody knows just when or how, somebody or other, no one can say just who, in some place or other, nobody can say just where, conferred illegal baptism on some one now forgotten, and by bare possibility my baptism may have been derived from this illegal source, I will rest under the uncertainty which this implies, rather than satisfy my doubts by admitting that any man has authority to baptize believers to whom Christ gave no such authority in the Scriptures."

Dayton does not deny that there may be a possibility that his baptism may "have been derived from" an "illegal source," that there may have been unqualified administrators in the chain of administrators that preceded his own baptism by a qualified administrator, but says that he will nevertheless "rest under the uncertainty"! Further, I don't think that it is a "bare possibility" that the chain of administrators over two thousand years will have an invalid administrator in it. I think it is likely. Further, he says that he would rest in uncertainty, with his doubts not satisfied, rather than remove them by admitting that the scriptures lay down no qualifications for administrators.

In Chapter VI under the title "Elder Waller again," Dayton cites from some additional words and arguments put forth by Waller and attempts to respond to them.

Wrote Dayton:

"Since writing the foregoing reviews, we have seen another article from Elder Waller, published in the third volume of the Western Baptist Review, page 267. We should feel that we had failed to do what we desire, that is, to place before our readers the best and the most conclusive arguments that have been or can he offered in favor of the reception of Pedobaptist immersions, did we withhold this one. We seek for truth. We trust we are willing to embrace it wherever found, or by whomsoever presented. We wish our readers to have the truth, and are more than willing they should learn it from others if we have failed to find it or present it. The article is as follows: the validity of baptism by Pedobaptist ministers."

Publish Letter to Elder Waller

"Will you give your views on the following question, viz: Is the immersion of a person in water into the name of the Trinity, upon a credible profession of faith in Christ, by a Pedobaptist minister who has not been immersed, a valid baptism? This question is agitating the Muscle Shoals Association very much, and unless some judicious plan can be devised to settle the difficulties amicably, no one can divine what will be the consequences. Your views on this subject, published in the Review, will be much valued. Yours in Christ, Richard B. Burleson. Tuscumbia, Ala., Feb 25, 1848."

Wrote Waller:

"This question, substantially, has hitherto received an answer in the Review. Our views then expressed, by brethren to whose judgment we have ever been accustomed to bow with deference, were variously received — some condemning and some warmly approving them. It is a subject that has been mooted for centuries, and upon which much has been said and written — churches have been rent, the dearest ties of brotherhood have been sundered, and the blood of holy men has been shed — and still the mind of Christendom is as much unsettled as in the beginning.

To speak plainly: — we have given this subject much attention, and have very carefully examined the arguments on every side, and hesitate not to say, that honest, upright and intelligent brethren may entertain different opinions. Hence we are disposed to distrust our own judgment. At least we cannot break fellowship with any who may entertain views differing from our own. Where honest differences of opinion may exist, every consideration of religion prompts to kindness and forbearance. Bigotry alone can, in such cases, excite strife and disunion.

We have ever maintained, that the question submitted by our correspondent should be left to the decision of the individual church, to be determined whenever a person, baptized as supposed above, presents himself for membership. Not many so baptized offer to unite with our churches. The question, therefore, is more hypothetical than practical. Associations certainly have nothing whatever to do with it. It is purely ecclesiastical, and associations have no jurisdiction in such cases. Our churches being independent; and supreme, should not be molested in their adjudications upon such points. But unfortunately there are too many amongst us who have a disposition to disturb the peace of Zion — who will not admit in practice what they grant in theory — that the church is above the association, and responsible for her acts to no earthly tribunal. In the bounds of our acquaintance, we know churches in correspondence with the same association, who act differently on this question — one receiving and others rejecting such baptism — and there is no discord and dispute on the subject. We know churches in the same vicinity, and whose members constantly intermingle, acting in opposition in the case, and yet the most perfect fellowship exists. This is as it should be everywhere." 

This is sound advice, yet it is ignored by Hardshells and stubborn Landmarkers. These would rather cast off their brethren who disagree with them.

Waller continued:

"Less than a year ago, we were in company with almost a score of the most able Baptist ministers in Kentucky. This matter was the subject of free and friendly conversation. The company were about equally divided in sentiment. But no one thought it ought to disturb the kind feelings of brethren towards each other; and we are sure that the brethren differing on this occasion as cordially esteem each other, as the brethren agreeing. Brethren imbued with the spirit of Christ will ever esteem such burdens the least and the lightest they have to bear for one another.

But to come directly to the matter in hand. The question presented by our correspondent may be simplified thus: — Is the administrator necessary to the validity of baptism? Those who assume the affirmative maintain, that in order to valid baptism, three things are necessary, viz: the subject, the mode, and the administrator. The administrator, say they, must be a minister in good standing in a gospel church, who has himself been immersed: or rather, he must be a regular Baptist minister. This is a fair and plain statement of the case. The question submitted above supposes a proper subject and mode; the bone of strife relates to the administrator. The question thus cleared of all unnecessary obscurities, should be calmly met, and all the consequences flowing from the positions assumed by those on the affirmative, should be dispassionately examined and prayerfully embraced or rejected.

And the first consequence claiming our attention is, that if the administrator be necessary to the validity of baptism now, he was always necessary. This is a plain, common-sense deduction, which we presume no one will controvert. There has been no law given in relation to baptism since the canon of revelation received its final amen. If at any time since the introduction of Christianity into the world, an individual received baptism in a manner contrary to the divine enactments, it was invalid to all intents and purposes; for God has not given a law contrary to that in the Bible. The proposition of the affirmative is, that those who have been baptized by an improper administrator, are not baptized at all. If that is true now, it is always true. It assumes that a man cannot give what he has not received. If John Jones, who baptized John Smith, was baptized by an improper administrator, it follows that John Smith has no baptism, seeing that John Jones did not have it. And so on, every administrator from now to the Apostles must be proved to be a proper administrator, or else all baptisms coming from him will be null and void. If any link in the succession be broken, the most skillful spiritual smith under the whole heavens cannot mend the chain. If one thing is necessary to another, they are mutually dependent — one destroyed and both are destroyed. An improper administrator, twenty generations removed, is as fatal to the genuineness of the ordinance as such a one but one generation removed."

"If any link in the succession be broken, the most skillful spiritual smith under the whole heavens cannot mend the chain." Amen to that! "An improper administrator, twenty generations removed, is as fatal to the genuineness of the ordinance as such a one but one generation removed."  Amen to that too!

Waller continued:

"And that if a man cannot find a right administrator — one authorized according to the Scriptures — he is not bound to be baptized. He may not baptize himself, or call upon an alien to introduce him into the kingdom. When the deed cannot be done, God will accept the will for the deed.

But some one may say: "This is not getting rid of the difficulty. It simply transfers it from the minister to the church. You do not indeed have to trace the baptismal pedigree of the administrator, but you do have to trace that of the church, for which he officiates. For if this church have been constituted of unbaptized members, or if it be the offshoot of one that was so constituted, it cannot be a true Church, since a true church must consist of baptized believers. And an unbaptized church could never give origin to a baptized one. Nor, is it any easier for churches to trace their pedigree, than for individuals." So here we have the giant in another shape, and with another name — but none the less a giant."

The only solution to these difficulties is to hold to the position of the first Particular Baptists who wrote the 1644 London Confession which affirms that the authority for administering baptism does not come from churches, or the administrator as a person, but from the word of God. Further, Waller is correct to say that it is as difficult to trace the lineage of churches as it is for individuals.

In Chapter VII, Dayton cites from ELDER A. P. WILLIAMS, who writes as follows:

"My views on the question, whether Baptist churches should receive the immersions administered by Pedobaptists and Campbellites, have been again and again called for. I have deferred until now writing on the subject, because my own mind was not fully satisfied, and because it is a question on which I feel a great delicacy in expressing an opinion. It is a question on which Baptists have ever been divided, and upon which I presume they ever will be divided, until we fret more light than we now have. Some will be satisfied with the reasoning on one side, and some on the other.

Some of our brethren tell us we cannot receive any one who has been immersed by Pedobaptists, etc., into our membership, upon his immersion, without declaring by that act that Pedobaptist churches are regularly organized churches of Christ, and that their ordinations and administrations are Scriptural and valid. We, or I, on the other hand, think we may. My reasons are as follows:

1. In that transaction we call baptism there are three parties. Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the one hand, and the administrator and recipient on the other. So far as the administrator is concerned, it is an act performed by him in obedience to the command of Jesus Christ, and for the performance of which he is amenable to Jesus Christ. And, so far as the candidate is concerned, he receives the rite in obedience to the command of Jesus Christ, and is amenable to him for a right performance of it. And now, as each is responsible to the Savior for himself, the one is not responsible for the other. If this is true, then the Savior may accept of the act as performed by the candidate, while he disapproves of the administrator. And what he may do, his church may do.

Now, the question with me is, Does the Word of God directly, or by implication, make the candidate responsible for any unknown disqualification in the administrator? I think it does not, any more than it makes the administrator responsible for any unknown disqualification in the candidate. In this, as in everything else, "every one must give an account of himself to God." Rom. 14 : 12."

Here Johnson argues against the Landmarker view that states that one must accept the administrator, whether a church or minister, if he accepts the baptism of such. He, I believe, shows that the argument is invalid.

Johnson continued:

"Now let us get all the light we can from the Scriptures.

1. What do they say about the administrator?

The first administrator they introduce to our notice is John the Baptist. His commission was directly from heaven. Matt. 21: 25; John 1: 33. It authorized the baptism of those who brought forth fruits suitable to repentance, Matt. 3: 8, and pledged themselves to believe on the coming Messiah, Acts 19: 4. But many of them did not believe on him, and thus proved recreant to their plighted obligations. Was John amenable for this? I presume not. He could only look at the outward appearance. It was for them, not for him, to account for the reality of their profession.

The next passage that says any thing about the administrators of the rite is in John 4: 2. This passage simply tells us Jesus' disciples baptized. It is to be presumed that they baptized some who afterwards proved themselves to be insincere. See John 6: 66. But were they responsible for having thus administered the rite to unqualified persons? Not if they were unapprised of the disqualification.

The next passage worthy of notice is Matt. 28: 19: "Go teach all nations, baptizing them," etc. We all regard this as the law of baptism, especially so far as "all nations" are concerned. Baptism, like the Gospel, had before been confined to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." But now it, like the Gospel, was extended to all nations. This law, therefore, makes no change either in administrator or subject. Before, the Savior's disciples baptized the discipled. They must still do so. And hence, though these words were spoken to the Apostles, the authority to teach or to baptize was not confined to them. The example of Philip (Acts 8 : 35. 38) fully shows this. And it is this fact, I presume, that has caused the seeming neglect to tell us, in so many instances of baptism, who the administrators were. Acts 2: 41, tells us, "As many as gladly received Peter's word were baptized," but it does not tell us by whom they were baptized. So Acts 10: 48, tells us Peter commanded Cornelius and his friends who received the Holy Ghost with him, to be baptized, but it does not specify by whom. And in Acts 19: 3, Paul inquires of the twelve disciples he found at Ephesus, "unto what were ye baptized," but not by whom were ye baptized. All this goes to show to me that more stress is to be laid upon the fact of the baptism than the administrator of it."

What Johnson was showing, from the scriptures, is the fact that the scriptures lay no stress upon qualifications for the administrator of baptism. He shows that the authority to teach and baptize was not confined to the apostles or to the clergy.

Johnson continued:

"The following passage contains direct injunctions with respect to the recipients of the rite. Acts 2: 38: "Then Peter said unto them, repent and be baptized, every one of you," etc. Now, can you infer from this passage that these persons were to be concerned about any thing but their own qualifications in the case? Must they go about investigating the question of administratorship? Or were they concerned simply with the thing commanded—be baptized?

Acts 10: 48: "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." Now what was the thing commanded here? To investigate the question of administratorship?

One would think that if the legitimacy of baptism required a certain administrator, then the scriptures would certainly say so and not leave it to men to attempt to infer it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

On Perseverance

The following is from the Baptist Gadfly blog and was written by me in September 2009 following a debate I had on perseverance. The article was titled

"Presently Saved If..." (see here)

"But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3: 6 KJV)

"For we are (or 'have been') made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." (vs. 14)

These verses are often cited by those who believe that saved people may become lost. Their argument is that salvation is here promised only to those Christians who persevere, and that the words imply that some Christians will not persevere, and thus not be finally saved. Thus, they lost their salvation when they failed to persevere. Yet, these words do not imply that genuine converts can fail to persevere and lose salvation. They only affirm that perseverence is a proof of genuine conversion.

Future perseverance is proof of genuine conversion

That is, we are presently saved if in the future we remain loyal to Christ. Or, conversion is real only if it is followed by perseverance. Perseverance is the proof of initial salvation. Falling away is proof of false conversion.

The wording of the above verses in Hebrews is not - "and you will be saved (future indicative) if you (future indicative) persevere." It is rather - "you have been, and now are, really saved, if in the future you hold fast to Christ."


1. One was saved in the past if he perseveres in the future.
2. John did not persevere in the future.
3. John was not saved in the past.


1) We are (now) mortal, if (in the future) we die.
2) We are (now) strong, if (in the future) we climb the mountain.
3) We are (now) saved, if (in the future) we persevere.
4) We are (now) children of John, if (in the future) the DNA tests match.
5) We have begun well, if we end well.
6) We are (now) good ground hearers, if (in the future) we bring forth fruit with patience.

Failure to persevere is proof of hypocrisy and a lack of genuine conversion.

"If ye continue in my word, then are ye truly my disciples, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31, 32).

He set up a criterion by which true disciples might be distinguished.

"Jesus said unto them, if God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me." (42)

"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled...If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister..." (Colossians 1: 21-23 KJV)

"We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." (Hebrews 6:11, 12 NIV)

These verses do not teach not that we are saved now because of a future act after salvation. Present salvation cannot be based upon acts that come after salvation. Events after salvation can only prove or demonstrate the reality of what was assumed.

We cannot, therefore say, "It is now raining, if tomorrow the sun is shining."

Those who persevere have been saved.
Those who do not persevere have not been saved.

If one does not persevere (hold fast), then he was not made a partaker of Christ. If he perseveres, he was (in fact) previously made a partaker of Christ.

Is it the case that only saved people "fall away" from salvation? Is it unscriptural to say of many false Christians that they "fell away"? Is it ever the case that the "good ground hearer" ever "fell away"? Which of the four hearers then "fell away"? Was it not the second and third hearers? The shallow ground hearers and the thorny ground hearers?

"By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain." (I Cor. 15: 2 KJV)

The Apostasy crowd promotes this proposition - "failure to persevere, after becoming a Christian, proves that one was truly saved," was a member of Christ's house, or a partaker of Christ. How contrary to the verses cited above!

Though a genuine child of God may lose many things, he cannot lose his standing with God in Christ. He may fall from some truth, or embrace certain errors, and may fall into temptation and sin, and lose joy, peace, and blessings, but he can never so fall as to be unrecoverable. In fact, the scriptures tell us that God takes the responsibility upon himself to see that they do not fall finally, completely, or totally. He will guarantee their return, their repentance, and their restoration.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hardshells and Alien Baptism VI

In this posting we will continue to cite from Dr. A.C. Dayton's book. In the previous posting we left off with Dayton citing the great John L. Waller. In this posting we will look at some other citations of Baptists who opposed Landmarkism and the idea that for there to be valid baptism it must be administered by a Baptist minister of a church in order. First in order is the citation of minister R. Fuller who writes in order to reply to a question that has been made to him. First the letter and the question to Fuller will be given and then give his response. (emphasis mine)

The Letter and The Query

"My Dear Brother. — I beg you will give me your views, as to re baptizing persons, who have been baptized (immersed) by Pedobaptist ministers. I do not ask this as a question of theoretical theology. I am deeply interested in the matter, as an urgent practical question. I am a Baptist minister, and pastor of the church, in the State of .

My wife was member of the Methodist church, is truely converted, and, on a profession of her faith in Christ, was baptized by a Methodist. She wishes to unite with the Baptists; but she says she has been baptized, and dares not repeat the ordinance. The Church requires her re-baptism. You see how painful is my situation. Give me your views on this subject, and oblige one who truly loves you. Yours in the best of bonds, Baltimore, Jan. 20, '57."

Fuller's Reply

"My Dear Brother. — I sympathize sincerely with you, and pray that God may guide your wife and self in this important matter. I know how to appreciate the feelings of your wife, for the question is not a new point with me. I was a member of a Pedobaptist church, and was immersed. On joining that Church, I required it of the pastor, for, as a Greek scholar, I was satisfied that baptism was immersion. When conviction compelled me to become a Baptist, I reflected on the subject, was baptized again, and for two reasons: First, I then knew that I had never been converted to God before. And, Second, My first baptism was clearly irregular. The first preachers were themselves baptized, and baptism by an unbaptized administrator appeared to me manifestly irregular. I, therefore, resolved to correct this irregularity, and leave nothing informal in this solemn act."

Here Fuller gives the reason for his re-baptism by the Baptists. It was not because he thought his first baptism was invalid due to the mode, for he was immersed. It was not because he thought the administrator, a Pedobaptist pastor, was unqualified. Rather, it was because he believed that he had "never been converted to God." He also gives as a second reason the fact that the baptism was "irregular." But, as we will see, the irregular nature of the baptism, in the view of Fuller and others, in itself, did not make the baptism invalid.

Fuller continued:

"Your wife, however, does not regard the matter in this light; and, therefore, the enquiry arises, "Ought the Church to require her re-baptism?" I think not. The distinction between an act which is informal and an act which is null and void, all will admit. A marriage may not be performed by one every way qualified according to the provisions of a civil statute, but it would be monstrous to pronounce it void, and their children illegitimate, on account of this want of some qualification in the person who officiated. If the parties acted in good faith, and took upon them the marriage vows, shall their co-habitation be declared fornication, and their children bastards, because a magistrate, for example, had not complied with some ceremony specified by law as incumbent on magistrates? Certainly not. The magistrate may be punished, but the marriage is not null and void. Let us now apply this to the matter in hand, and enquire if the baptism of a believer is null and void, because the officiating minister has neglected his own duty as to this ordinance."

Here Fuller clearly denies that the irregular nature of baptism by a Pedobaptist, by one who was never immersed, and therefore never really baptized according to Baptist thinking, did not make the baptism invalid.

Fuller continued:

"Now there is one argument which, of itself, goes far to settle this question. It is that if no baptism be valid without an administrator, whose baptism is regular, then there can be no valid baptism. The validity of baptism would depend on an unbroken succession of regularly baptized administrators from the days of the apostles; and if there be a defect in this chain, that defect violates all the subsequent baptisms. The oft exposed fiction of the apostolic succession is ridiculous enough, but the baptistical succession is even more puerile."

To me this argument, made by Fuller, Waller, and other anti Landmarkers, is irrefutable. Shortly we will see how Dayton responded to this argument. To argue that valid baptism requires a qualified administrator casts doubt on the validity of any and all baptisms. For, in order to prove valid, one must be certain that the chain of administrators, going back to John the Baptist, must have no unqualified administrators. Further, as I have shown, the Hardshells clearly have many unqualified administrators in their church and baptismal lineages and so none of them, by their own criteria, can be sure of having valid baptism.

Fuller continued:

"It may be replied, however, that this argument, though a reductio ad absurdum, only demonstrates that there can be no valid baptism; it does not prove that baptism by a Pedobaptist minister is valid. Let us, then, look at the point. I think such a baptism, though irregular, yet valid. If the candidate is dissatisfied, the ordinance may be correctly administered. "Baptism is the answer of a good conscience towards God." If the disciple have not this answer, let him have it. But, in a case like that of your wife, the party should not be compelled to repeat the act. Such is my opinion, and my reasons are these:

1. The Commission says: "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved." The party has believed and been baptized. Here are two personal acts, one internal, the other external. A defect in the administrator of baptism, can no more invalidate baptism than any imperfection in the preacher can nullify the faith.

2. Consider the use and design of baptism. It is a public profession of allegiance to Christ. It is "putting on Christ." "Were ye baptized in the name of Paul," viz. "Did you confess yourselves as saved by Paul and devoted to him ?" Now the party has made this public profession of loyalty to Jesus.

3. Reflect upon the metaphors by which baptism is represented, such as "Buried," "Planted," etc. Has not this been realized?

4. In the New Testament, baptism is always mentioned as a personal duty, like repentance and faith. The administrator is never referred to as at all affecting the validity of the act. This idea, that a minister confers any virtue on an ordinance, whether baptism or the supper, is a remnant of Popery. As to baptism, this superstition goes beyond Popery. For while the Church of Rome contends rigorously for the power of the priest to consecrate everything, it yet admits the validity of baptism by a layman. In referring to baptism, the inspired writers lay no sort of stress on the administrator. They never allude to him except as a matter of history. They simply mention the fact of baptism as they do of conversion. The eunuch was baptized by a deacon. As soon as converted, the most convenient water and administrator were employed. The reference to the "baptism unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea," shows how little the Holy Spirit regards the administrator. For there, the only ministry was that of the elements."

I think these arguments are cogent and destructive to the Landmarker view. It is, as Fuller says, "a remnant of Popery," and even an error that exceeds that of Romanists, for even Romanists allow that a layman may administer baptism, but this is denied by Hardshells and many Landmarkers who contend that only ordained ministers in good standing in their churches may administer baptism.

Fuller continued:

5. Where would the requirement of qualifications in the minister terminate? Suppose he had been immersed, but not with the same formula used by us, say, "in the name of Jesus," and not "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" Would this invalidate all baptisms performed by him? If so, the ordinance by the apostles was void; for they had only John's baptism, which was certainly not with the formula prescribed in the Commission. Suppose a minister had been immersed, but holds some doctrine which we regard as erroneous. Does this vitiate the baptism he administers? Surely heresy as to truth is at least as fatal as error, as to an ordinance. But where would the scheme lead us? Who shall decide what error vitiates and what not? I fear some churches would not be satisfied to receive a member from another Baptist church, because he had been baptized by a minister who did not hold election, or perseverance, or limited atonement, or close communion. And how monstrous would this be. Lastly, suppose a minister proves an apostate, are the baptisms he administers all void? This has never been pretended; and shall we be so bigoted and superstitious, as to attach more importance to an error about an ordinance than we do to gross immorality, or down right hypocrisy?"

What Fuller does is to show how Landmarker ideas on the necessity of qualified elders to administer baptism has created consequences that are monstrous and troublesome for the peace of churches, what in the preceding posts was the creating of a "worse precedent." In the case of the Hardshells, as history will attest, the one who decides which churches, ministers, and baptisms are valid are either associations or some leading minister. Certainly not the local church!

Fuller continued:

"These, my dear brother, are my sentiments. They are written in haste, but were formed after much thought and deliberation. The matter has often disturbed churches, but I hope the day is at hand when these controversies will forever cease. Yours in the Lord Jesus, R. FULLER."

And how often has it "disturbed churches" among the Hardshells! But, more on that later.

Dayton's response to Fuller deserves notice. He wrote:

"It is, I believe, very generally conceded among the Baptists of the South, that when Elder Richard Fuller, of Baltimore, has made an argument for or against any position, it may be regarded as the very best that can be made. What his capacious intellect and cultivated mind, with all the advantages of the most thorough mental discipline, and his long and large experience cannot achieve, no other need attempt.

Ought a church to require the baptism of an applicant for membership, who is said to have been already baptized by a Pedobaptist minister?

Elder Fuller says, No, provided the candidate be satisfied; and Yes, provided he be not satisfied. I will venture to differ with Elder F., so far as to say that the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the applicant, has nothing at all to do with the decision of the question. It is a question for the church, and not for the candidate to decide. The question is, whether the ceremony which has been performed was true and scriptural christian baptism. If it was, it must not be repeated, for Christ requires a christian to be baptized but once. Now, it either was or it was not, and that quite independently of any opinion which the recipient may have come to entertain upon the subject. This is self-evident."

One wonders how Dayton and the Landmarkers want to say that the conscience of the Christian is not factor in the matter. Dayton says that "the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the applicant, has nothing at all to do with the decision of the question."  "Nothing at all"? Is baptism not a very personal matter with the newly converted disciple? Here we have a case where baptism was in every way valid except that the administrator is judged to be unqualified and on that basis alone the baptism is said to be invalid and the person urged to be baptized. It is amazing to me how the Landmarkers can be so insensitive to the conscience of the believer in such cases.

Dayton is on record as affirming, and for good reasons as we have noted, that when baptism has been administered, it "must not be repeated," because it is to be done "but once." Why say this and then seem so careless about seeing that it is not repeated? Is it not a sin to force a disciple to be baptized again when in fact the first baptism was valid? I think so. So does Dayton. But, he will not allow that invalidating baptisms performed by non-Baptists is doing the very thing he warns against.

Some Hardshells, and other Landmarkers, in trying to convince some to be immersed again will sometimes argue like this: "well, what's the harm? It is just being safe and making sure that you have a valid baptism. Also, it is what your brethren desire of you." It is easy to see how they do not realize that it is sin to make disciples to be baptized again when their first baptism is valid.

Dayton continued:

"Now let us go to the Book and ask, Who are required to administer baptism? Just as we are accustomed to go to it to learn who are to he baptized.

1. "Go ye and teach all nations baptizing them." Who are these ye? baptized or unbaptized? Eld. Fuller says, they "were baptized." Is any authority given elsewhere to any others who were not baptized? No one will say so. Is there any example of any one baptizing who had not been baptized? Eld. Fuller cannot find one. How then with this law given to the baptized, and without one solitary precept or one single example contravening it, can it be pretended that it was ever permitted to any other."

But, there is an example! John the Baptist! He was not baptized himself and yet he baptized others! For Dayton to argue that Fuller and other non-Landmarkers "cannot find one" is simply astonishing. Further, when the commission was first introduced, baptism had not yet been corrupted. There was no baptism of infants, no sprinkling or pouring as a mode. That would come later. So, though all to whom the commission was given were immersed disciples, that does not preclude others, through ignorance, being unbaptized disciples because they were sprinkled. To argue as the Landmarkers is to be logically forced into saying that no Pedobaptist is able to preach the gospel! If it is granted that PedoBaptists, or "Reformers," or any non-Baptists, preach the gospel, then the argument of Dayton becomes itself invalid.

Dayton continued:

2. Eld. Fuller says, "consider the design of baptism." I have considered it, and am compelled to the conviction that the great practical object which baptism was intended to accomplish could only be accomplished when administered by one already in the kingdom and acting under the legal authority of the kingdom." 

Dayton here asserts what he failed to prove from scripture. Recall that Dr. Gill and the first Particular Baptists would disagree with Dayton.

Dayton continued:

"The design of baptism, so far as it affects the relation which the baptized sustains to the churches is initiation into the body of Christ's visible people. It makes him a member of Christ's visible kingdom. A particular church, as the executive body in the kingdom, must be composed of those who are members of the kingdom. He who has professed his faith in Christ and has been baptized, is regarded by the churches as initiated: and it is on this ground alone that he is regarded as eligible to membership in any church." 

But, again, this is all assertion without scriptural support. Dr. Gill would not agree with Dayton. He did not think that baptism automatically put one into a particular local assembly. I agree. Which local church was the eunuch put into when he was baptized by the deacon Philip?

Further, I see Dayton contradicting himself in what he writes. On one hand he wants to argue that baptism is that act of "initiation" which puts one into the local church. Then, on the other hand, he says that baptism does not do this automatically but makes him "eligible to membership."

Dayton continued:

"But it is evident that this ceremony of initiation to be a valid one, must be performed according to the law of the kingdom, and by those properly authorized to administer that law. Now if baptism be the door of entrance, it is certain that the unbaptized have not come in. They being out of the kingdom can have no authority in it. They cannot stand outside of the kingdom and thrust others in. No organization in the world would be so silly as to leave the work of making and initiating its members to those who refused, themselves, to be initiated. There must be a profession of faith, and this not made to the world, not to some priest of Jupiter, not to some lodge of Odd Fellows, or Division of the Sons of Temperance: not to a class-leader or even to a society of good men. It must be made to a Church of Christ or to some one duly authorized by a church to receive it, and him, in consequence of it. Then there must be immersion, performed, not by a Jewish priest, or a disciple of Joe Smith, or a mere pious man without legal authority; but it must be by one authorized under the laws of the kingdom to administer it. Any act of baptism which is not a recognition of the person baptized as henceforth one of the members of the visible kingdom, is deficient in the very thing which is essential to the design of baptism. If it does not initiate him, it has failed of its object, and he is no more ready to be received into a particular church than if it had not been performed. Now when a baptism is performed by a Pedobaptist, it is designed to initiate him into a Pedohaptist society. It is so understood, both by the administrator and the subject of it. It does what it is intended to do and nothing more; and when a Baptist Church recognizes it as a valid baptism, she of necessity recognizes that society as equally with herself a part of the visible kingdom. They stand on the same ground and possess the same authority."

Again, Dayton asserts things about baptism's administrator without any proof. Further, his statement - "when a Baptist Church recognizes it as a valid baptism, she of necessity recognizes that society as equally with herself a part of the visible kingdom" - is not sound. It is, as we will see, one of the leading arguments made by today's Hardshells. They say that to accept the baptism of any non-Hardshell churches would be to give recognition and approval to those churches. But, this line of reasoning is not sound. Here are the reasons.

1) In the NT there were several churches, founded by the apostles, that entertained serious heresies and corrupt practices, such as the church at Corinth and the churches of Galatia. Yet, in spite of this, there is no invalidating, by the apostles, of their baptisms, ordinations, or other valid work.

2) The argument falsely assumes that baptism represents an official act of a church which the scriptures no where affirm and as Dr. Gill taught. If we assume that the Eunuch, being baptized by the disciple evangelist Phillip, was not initiated into any particular church, then accepting the validity of a baptism does not equate with accepting a particular church.

3) The argument also falsely reasons that accepting the validity of an individual's baptism requires the accepting of the administrator in all respects.

4) The argument falsely assumes that accepting any single thing in heretical churches requires accepting all things in those churches.

5) The argument falsely assumes that non-Baptist churches do not preach the gospel or teach per the great commission.

Dayton continued:

3. But here is another thought: No Baptist Church could consistently receive and sanction as valid any official act performed even by one who had been a Baptist minister, after such minister had been deposed from his office and excluded from the Church.

Where is there scriptural warrant for making such a blanket statement? Though such would be irregular, it would not be invalid. Further, this rarely happens. Also, one can envision circumstances where the deposed and excluded minister baptized believers and they would be valid. Are not some ministers falsely excluded? What if such a minister were to be in a place where there had been no Christians and made converts. Suppose those converts desired baptism. Would it not be the minister's duty as a disciple to baptize them?

Dayton continued:

"But if, says Elder Fuller, we require that the minister shall have been baptized, "Where will our requirements cease?" Must he be sound in faith? Must he be this, or that, or the other thing? I wonder that any one should be embarrassed by such difficulties as these. We surely ought to know that for a Baptist Church to recognize ones official acts he must be a Baptist minister in good and regular standing in some Baptist church. It is not because he has been baptized that we recognize his official acts, but because he is a member and a minister duly authorized to perform them; and when he ceases to be either the one or the other, those churches who know the facts, must and will, if they be faithful to their duty, disown him as a brother, and repudiate his official acts if he should continue to perform them. The validity of his official acts does not depend on his baptism, or on his piety, or on his orthodoxy, but on the authority which he has received from the Church. So long as he retains this authority, therefore, his acts are valid, and when it is withdrawn the churches must regard them as invalid, as they must the official acts of one who has never received such authority."

But, authority to baptize, like the authority to preach, teach, disciple, and convert, does not come from the church, but from the word of God, and from the word of Christ given in the commission. It is the same with church organizing. Does a church require another church or minister to make them into a church? Landmarkers would say yes. The premise behind such an idea consists in believing that authority to preach, teach, organize churches, baptize, observe the Lord's Supper, etc., reside in the church. But, it does not. Rather, as our Baptists forefathers who wrote the first London Confession taught, it resides in the word of God. This being the case, we can imagine a people who live in an area of heathendom where there is no divine revelation and where there are no Christians. In such a case we can imagine them receiving a Bible for the first time. They read it and many become believers. They want to be baptized, become a church, eat the Lord's Supper, etc. Can they do all this with only Bible authority? Our forefathers believed that they could. So do I.

Dayton continued:

"But one thought more and I have done. If that alone be valid baptism, says Elder F., which is administered by one who has been himself baptized, there is no such thing as valid baptism. For who can say that somewhere in the lapse of eighteen hundred years there may not a link be wanting in the chain of our baptismal succession. And so because there may have been such irregularities in the past as he is advocating, we must sanction them now. Because some church may at some time in past ages, ignorantly or inadvertently have given her sanction to an irregular and invalid baptism; does Elder Fuller think, or can any Baptist think, that therefore, every church ought now knowingly and willfully to sanction every such case that may come before her?"

Notice that Dayton acknowledges the difficulty but accepts it! He is basically admitting that he cannot be certain of the validity of his own baptism nor of anyone else's!

Dayton continued:

"There were those in England after the so called reformation, who contended that it would be right and lawful to baptize themselves, and so begin anew. But there is no proof that they did so, for we know they sent to the Continent to receive a baptism which would have no suspicion concerning its validity. And thus, I do not doubt, it has ever been. God has preserved the scriptural baptism in all that is essential. And if a baptized administrator is essential, (as we have proved it is,) then he has never permitted the children of his visible Kingdom to be thrust into it by those who would not enter in themselves."

But, Dayton is wrong on affirming that the first Baptists in the early 17th century "sent to the Continent to receive baptism." I referred to this claim in previous postings, involving what is called the "Kiffin Manuscript." This manuscript is the only proof of the claim and it has been thoroughly debunked by men like John T. Christian. Further, John Spilsbury's own words show it to be false.

Further, Dayton says that "God has preserved the scriptural baptism in all that is essential," and this includes preserving a valid succession of administrators. He states the fact but he cannot prove it, either by historical facts or sound reasoning. Logic alone would destroy his claim. He cannot prove that all the administrators in a particular chain of baptisms are valid, but he accepts it as true based upon faith!

In the next posting we will finish looking at sections of Dayton's book, at both the pro and the con of the debate.