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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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."
"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.
"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?
"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.
"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."
"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.
"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!
"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.
"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.
"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.