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APRIL 11 – Man’s Inventions


APRIL 11 – Man’s Inventions

Ecclesiastes 7:29  Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. 

Man was created. He was not birthed in the beginning and he did not evolve. Man was created in innocence. He had not committed sin and did not know sin. He was upright in stature and practice of living. It is mans own invention that brought sin into this world. Man is responsible for his own failings because he trusted himself when confronted with the sin of disobeying God. We are the same today. We are a rebellious and disobedient people ready to turn away from the path God has given us and chose a path of sure destruction.

What are our inventions? A way of salvation that is not God’s way. It is the way of mans own thoughts and imaginations. Never forget that salvation is by grace through faith plus nothing that man can do. Baptism is a pictorial ordinance that shows the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and identifies us with Christ. It has no part of salvation but does show obedience. Man has devised a preferred baptism that is convenient and does not show anything related to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Man has invented a Lord’s Supper that knows not the design nor the purpose of this ordinance. There are some “so-called churches” today that have so marred the Bible doctrines that they can no longer be recognized as Bible doctrine.

Man’s inventions have led us so far away from the Word of God that only lip-service is rendered. Man has even invented new ways of “persuading converts” through entertainment and persuasion. They now are making converts that are condemned to the abyss of hell because it is lip service to salvation because of persuasion. The Holy Spirit is not involved but the salesmanship and entertainment that is bringing into contact with religion, yet they have never been convicted and repented.

God’s way has always been better.

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252 – September 09 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Posted: 08 Sep 2015 05:39 PM PDT

first Baptist_Bostonmeetinghouse First Boston Meeting House

The Importance of Church Membership

          Church membership at one time was much more important among fundamental Baptists than it seems to be in our day. As a case in point, we shall look at the record of the First Baptist Church of Boston. The church had been born in conflict, and many of the early members had been imprisoned for daring to establish such a witness in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. But the years passed, and we read of the second law of thermodynamics as it entered the spiritual realm. “the 9th mo 1684 Mr.  Dingley & his daughter Recevd as members to comunion by letter of Recomendation. .. . . At A Church meeting September ye 13th 1685. It was agreed upon the Brother Drinker upon consideration of his neglecting to officiate in his place for A long time & still prsisting in soe doeing should be discharged from ye work & office of A Decon and be Admonished to his duty as a member. . . His admonition availed, for he was restored to his place as a member upon acknowledgment of his desertion and promise of Reforming. Hid did not long walk in fellowship with the church, but after two other admonitions, He was rejected for refusing to heare the Church according to the 18 Chap: Mathew: this was sollemly don 5th January 1695.” Church correction, for the most part, is tragically a thing of the past. Church membership in our day is but a badge of approval, and everyone is expected to join a church somewhere.  Now the church is filled with unregenerate membership, and the church is no longer pure.

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America’s Greatest Orator


 

 

Vol.12, No. 5 TheBaptistVineLine.com October-December 2013

 

 

By J. J. Burnett.

 

 

Dr. Graves was born in Chester, Vermont, April 10, 1820. He was the son of Z. C. Graves, a well-to-do merchant, and a grandson of a French Huguenot who “fled to America,” after most of his ancestors “had perished” in the persecution which followed the revocation of the edict of Nantes. His mother was the granddaughter of a distinguished German physician and scholar by the name of Schnell. Dr. Graves was the youngest of three children. President Z. C. Graves, of the Mary Sharpe College, was an older brother, and Mrs. L. M. Marks was his sister.

 

 

The loss of his father by sudden death, when young Graves was only three weeks old, and the subsequent loss, to the widow and children, of an estate involved in a partnership business, were seemingly unfortunate events, but proved in the end to be “blessings in disguise”; the youngsters, of necessity, were brought up to work and save, and formed habits of self-reliance.

 

 

At the age of fifteen James was converted and baptized, uniting with a Baptist church in Vermont. In his nineteenth year he was elected principal of the Kingsville Academy, in Ohio, where he remained and taught for two years. He then went to Kentucky and took charge of Clear Creek Academy, near Nicholasville.

 

 

Uniting with Mount Freedom Church, Kentucky, he was “licensed” to preach, but without his knowledge or consent. For so great a work, he felt himself wholly unqualified. But he believed in preparedness for any calling and in hard work as an essential to success.

 

 

He was notably a self-educated, self-made man. For four years he gave six hours a day to teaching and eight hours to private study, covering a college course without a teacher, and mastering a modern language each year. Meanwhile he was digging into his Bible, with great

admiration for Paul as a model preacher, and purposing in his heart to be himself a preacher when he should be “qualified” for a calling so high and holy.

 

At the age of 24 he was called to ordination and set apart to the work of the ministry, Dr. Dillard, of Kentucky, being chairman of the “council” and preacher of the ordination sermon. July 3, 1845, at the age of 25, he came to Nashville and opened, in a rented building, the “Vine Street Classical and Mathematical Academy,” joining “by letter” the First Baptist Church. In the fall of the same year he took charge of the Second (now the Central) Baptist Church, served the church one year as pastor, but declined further service, in order to become associated with Dr. R. B. C. Howell as one of the editors of The Baptist.

 

 

His connection with the paper was editorially announced November 21, 1846, as follows: “We have the pleasure of announcing to our readers that the committee of publication have, at length, succeeded in procuring the services of an assistant editor for this paper, whom we here introduce in the person of our beloved Brother J. R. Graves, the indefatigable and successful pastor of the Second Baptist Church in this city. Brother Graves is already favorably known to many of you as an eloquent speaker and a very handsome writer.”

 

 

This was the beginning of an editorial career which lasted nearly half a century. As editor, Dr. Graves wielded a facile and a pungent pen, and week after week, did a prodigious amount of editorial and other work. When he took charge of The Baptist he was only locally known, and his paper had about 1,000 subscribers: at the beginning of the Civil War it had attained the largest circulation, it was claimed, of any Baptist paper in the world and no man in the South was more widely known than its editor, or had a greater influence upon the denomination.

 

 

In addition to editing and publishing his great paper he edited a monthly, a quarterly and an annual, besides editing hymnbooks for our churches and the great numbers of standard works issued from the presses of the Southwestern Publishing House; such as Robinson’s History of Baptism, Wall’s History of Infant Baptism, Orchard’s History of Foreign and English Baptists, Moses Stuart On Baptism, and other similar works – a character and volume of literature that necessarily influenced in a marked degree the thinking, the pulpit teaching and the denominational life of the Baptist people.

 

 

As author, he wrote and published, among other works, the following: The Desire of All Nations, The Watchman’s Reply, The Trilemma, The First Baptist Church in America, The Little Iron Wheel, The Great Iron Wheel, The Bible Doctrine of the Middle Life, The Exposition of Modern Spiritism, Old Landmarkism–What Is It?, and The Work of Christ in Seven Dispensations. Most of these works, as nearly all of his writings, were of a controversial nature and exerted a distinct influence wherever read.

 

 

As an organizer and promoter of Baptist interests he originated the first ministers’ institute in the State, and perhaps in the South, to train and equip pastors and help young ministers who were unable to attend theological schools. Without salary, or other compensation, he raised funds for the endowment of a theological chair in Union University, and without “fee or reward” he solicited and collected funds and other equipment with which to start the Mary Sharpe College–and drafted its “admirable curriculum.”

 

 

In 1848 he planned and set on foot the Southwestern Publishing House, Nashville, for the publication and dissemination of a sound Baptist literature, and later was instrumental in establishing the Southern Baptist Sunday School Union. Both these institutions did great good, and promised large success, but were destined to be destroyed by the Civil War.

 

 

In 1870 he submitted to the Big Hatchie Association the plan and constitution of a Southern Baptist Publication Society, and, in 1874, turned over to the society $130,000 in cash and bonds; but the financial crisis which followed, and other adverse conditions, wrecked the society’s plans

and caused its suspension.

 

 

As a logician and thinker, he was masterful and lucid, possessing in a high degree the gift which enabled him to so state his propositions that they came from his lips or pen with the force of axiomatic principles or self-evident truths. A judge in the city of Memphis, lecturing the bar on the importance of a clear statement of propositions, said: “The gift is as rare as genius, but may be cultivated. Of living ministers I know of no one who possesses it in a higher degree than Dr. Graves of the First Baptist Church in this city. He lays down his propositions so clearly that they come with the force of axioms, that need no demonstration – you can see all through and all around them.” (Borum)

 

 

As a polemic, controversialist, debater, Dr. Graves was a master. He was quite certain that he, and every other divinely called Baptist preacher was set for the defense as well as the propagation of the truth, that he was directly commissioned by the great Head of the Church to contend earnestly for the faith delivered “once for all” to the saints; and this he did amidst shot and shell from every quarter throughout a stormy life. His conviction in regard to truth and duty forced him to unsheath the sword-”the sword of the Lord and of Gideon,” against the Lord’s enemies, against error and the sword was never sheathed; he fell fighting.

 

 

Dr. Graves had something like a dozen public oral discussions with representatives of other denominations, the last one, “The Graves-Ditzler Debate,” being a two weeks’ discussion with Dr. Jacob Ditzler, a professional debater of the Methodist persuasion. The debate was published, making a volume of several hundred pages, and was widely read. This contest has been called the “battle of the giants;” in it Dr. Graves fully sustained his reputation for fairness and scholarship, for ability and skill as a debater, and again proved himself to be a fearless, peerless and successful champion of Baptist and New Testament orthodoxy. He did not lend himself and his great powers to sarcasm and invective, vices all too common in polemical discussion. His one serious purpose was the refutation of error by correct interpretation of the Scriptures and sound reasoning. He would be courteous toward his opponent, but not at the expense of loyalty to Christ. He esteemed loyalty to Christ and his truth, above everything else, a cardinal virtue in a Christian minister.

 

 

He found no Scripture which commanded him to love error, or tolerate false doctrine; and if in his zeal for the truth and in the heat of debate he failed to exemplify perfectly the apostolic injunction to speak the truth “in love” (which is ideal), and if in his effort to cut off the head of error with the sword of truth he decapitated the errorist at the same time– that only proves that he was “human.”

 

 

The truth is, that while Dr. Graves could not make much allowance for the teachers of error he very greatly sympathized with the common people who, blindfolded, were led into the ditch by their “blind guides.”

 

 

The spirit and bearing of Dr. Graves, among his brethren and elsewhere, also his appearance and marked personality, are justly represented in the following newspaper reports of The Nashville American: “On the rostrum sits Dr. Graves; upon whose forehead is stamped strength, activity and vim, whose power from the press and pulpit is felt and acknowledged all over the Southwest; a man on whose every lineament is strongly marked immobility and stern inflexibility, driving with ungloved hand his Damascus blade into the vitals of error–a bold and fearless defender of the faith; yet gentle and meek as a child.” One of the most quiet and unassuming men in the convention is the great Landmark champion and upholder of the most strictly Baptist principles, Dr. J. R. Graves, formerly of this city but now of Memphis, editor and proprietor of The Baptist.

 

 

In personal appearance Dr. Graves is about five feet ten inches high, will weigh about 160 pounds, and has a fine face with a well-balanced head. His dark and almost black eyes show the true ring of metal, his fine brow and broad forehead give evidence (from the phrenologist’s point

of view) of a more than ordinary brain, his finely chiseled nose marks him as a man possessed of penetrating thought, indomitable zeal and energy, his mouth is expressive of sublime sentiments, and upon the whole his physiognomy indicates great reasoning ability.

 

 

His discourse, full of unction, full of logic, was eloquent and convincing.” “ As an orator, he is very powerful, and as a writer he unites strength, pointedness and clearness. He is fearless and boldly avows his sentiments and opinions, though they may differ much from those of others. “He has a wonderful command over his audiences, holding them spellbound for hours at a time. He uses no clap-trap, no trick of oratory, no prettiness of speech, but he is deeply in earnest, utters the strong convictions of his own mind and carries his hearers with him as by the force of a tornado.

 

 

Teachers, doctors, lawyers, judges, statesmen, as well as the illiterate, all go to hear him, and bow before his power. Men bitterly prejudiced and hating him, hear him and are fascinated, go away resolved never to hear him again, but break their vows and hear him as often as they have opportunity.

 

 

His sermons are mostly doctrinal and as a rule strongly controversial. He is a great preacher, in the best sense of the word.” Controversial as he was and with all his fierce antagonism to error, he was nevertheless a gospel preacher in the fullest sense of the term. He never failed to emphasize the vital doctrines of grace and the necessity of the new birth. As in ancient times, “all roads led to Rome.” So in Dr. Graves’ preaching, “all roads,” led to Christ and the plan of salvation.

 

 

Great crowds went great distances to hear him, not altogether or mainly through curiosity, not because he was personally magnetic, which he was, but because they wanted to hear a man who was master of great subjects as well as of assemblies, discuss the great doctrines of the Word of God. The writer, [or J. J. Burnett, HLW] when a boy, went thirty miles to see and hear J. R. Graves, of The Tennessee Baptist and the Great Iron Wheel, and listened closely to a two hours’ sermon, a part of the time standing.

 

 

It is not generally known, I believe, that Dr. Graves was a specially gifted revivalist; and it is of record, however, that in his earlier ministry and before he was thirty years old, he had witnessed, in special meetings and under his immediate ministry, more than thirteen hundred conversions.

 

 

We have spoken of Dr. Graves as the author and recognized champion of a system of teaching known as “Old Landmarkism.” The system, the author claims, is contained, expressly or by necessary inference, in the New Testament Scriptures, and consists of ten distinct points of doctrine, constituting, like the ten commandments, an organic whole, so that, in the author’s view, to “break one” is to “break all.”

 

 

The title of the little book [i.e., Old Landmarkism, HLW] was suggested by two Old Testament Scriptures, “Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set” (Solomon), and “Some remove the old landmarks” (Job.). I let Dr. Graves state the points himself, since his book is before me. At the close of chapter XI he asks the question,

 

 

What is the mission of Landmark Baptists? and his Tenfold Answer constitutes the substance of Old Landmarkism:

 

 

(1) As Baptists we are to stand for the supreme authority of the New Testament as our only and sufficient rule of faith and practice. This is the distinguishing doctrine of our denomination.

 

 

(2) As Baptists we are to stand for the ordinances of Christ as he enjoined them upon his followers, unchanged and unchangeable till he come.

(3) As Baptists we are to stand for a spiritual and regenerated church, the motto on our banner being, Christ before the church, blood before water.

 

 

(4) To protest, and to use all our influence, against the recognition on the part of Baptists of human societies as scriptural churches, by affiliation, ministerial or ecclesiastical, or by any alliance, etc., that could be interpreted as putting such societies on an equality with Baptist churches.

 

 

(5) To preserve and perpetuate the doctrine of the divine origin and sanctity of the churches of Christ, their unbroken continuity, etc.

 

 

(6) To preserve and perpetuate the divine, inalienable and sole prerogatives of a Christian church,

 

(a) to preach the gospel,

 

(b) To select and ordain her own officers,

 

(c) to control, absolutely her own ordinances.

 

 

(7) To preserve and perpetuate the scriptural design of baptism, and its validity and recognition only when scripturally administered by a gospel, church.

 

 

(8) To preserve and perpetuate the true design and symbolism (of the Lord’s Supper, as a local church ordinance, and for but one purpose–the commemoration of the sacrificial death of Christ, and not as a denominational ordinance, etc.

 

 

(9) To preserve and perpetuate the doctrine of a divinely called and scripturally qualified and ordained ministry, holding office and acting for and under the direction of local churches alone.

 

 

(10) To preserve the primitive fealty and faithfulness to the truth, that shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God, and to teach men to observe all things whatsoever Christ commanded to be believed and obeyed.

 

 

This is the author’s own synopsis of his system, to which he adds these words: “Not the belief and advocacy of one or two of these principles constitutes a full Old Landmark Baptist, but the cordial reception and advocacy of all of them.” Of course these are not intended to be the landmarks bounding the whole Biblical system of truth or of Christianity, but only the landmarks of a New Testament church. He contended most earnestly for the preservation of all the great landmarks of the world’s spiritual heritage in the truth of God; not only for the local church and church ordinances, but for

 

 

(1) the inerrancy, the all-sufficiency and supreme authority of the Scriptures;

 

 

(2) the proper deity and atoning work of Christ:

(3) justification by faith; and

 

 

(4) the personality, power and work of the Holy Spirit landmarks, and more than landmarks, the very essence of Christianity, to be preserved at any cost by the churches of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

 

 

As to the acceptance by the denomination of Dr. Graves’ view of a New Testament church and its ordinances, it may he said:

 

 

(1) Many brethren (pastors and churches) gave him their endorsement and adherence, avowing their full belief in the landmark system, going the full figure and refusing to “commune” except in the local church where they held their membership, and only with fellow-members of the same

church.

 

 

(2) Other churches and pastors, making a difference between membership rights and non-membership privileges and recognizing the doctrinal unity and solidarity of the Baptist family, continued the practice, as aforetime, of so-called “inter-communion,” the members of one Baptist church communing, upon invitation, with members of another Baptist church.

 

 

(3) Still other churches (but very few in the South or Southwest), holding that the ordinances belong to the “kingdom” and not to the local churches and considering that the validity of baptism depends upon only two necessary things, no more and no less, that is, the right faith and the right act (immersion in water), continued the practice of recognizing so-called “Alien Immersion,” or the immersion of a professed believer by a denomination other than Baptist, or by no denomination, and at the same time practiced, accordingly, a communion more or less unrestricted.

 

 

As to the question of “church succession” the denomination has ever been divided. Everyone who believes the Bible [Matthew 16:18; 28:20, HLW] believes, of course, in some sort of succession, perpetuity or continuity for the church built by the Christ; and certainly every true Baptist is interested in discovering and verifying the succession promised by the great Head of the Church, and would be glad to see any visible foot-prints, to catch any possible glimpse, of a genuine Baptist or New Testament church along the track of history through the “Dark Ages” of Catholic apostasy and persecution, when the true church was evidently “in the wilderness,” whither she had been driven by Satanic power and where she was “nourished” and preserved by her divine Lord.

 

 

But whatever may be the truth of history and whatever our individual beliefs may be in regard to the question of succession, all must admit, I think, that “visible” succession, however well or however poorly established, is not the most vital thing about a church; the vital thing is that it succeeds directly from Christ and the New Testament.

 

 

The subject has its difficulties, involving three questions of importance:

 

 

(1) a question of correct interpretation of a passage of Scripture;

 

 

(2) a question of history;

 

 

(3) a question of emphasis.

 

 

Dr. J. B. Gambrell’s illustration of the “Lost Horse” [as I remember, this was of Robert E. Lee’s famous horse, Traveler. He was lost awhile after the Civil War. And the retired General offered a handsome reward to anyone who found him. HLW] shows the gist and relative merit of Baptist contention and differences on this point: “I do not place much stress,” he says, “on historical succession–but the New Testament reads as though things were started to go on. “Let me illustrate my idea of succession: a man lost a gray horse. He finds some horse tracks step by step for a hundred miles. Then he comes upon the horse–but it is a black horse. That is historical succession.

 

 

Tracks are not worth a cent. If, on the other hand, you find the gray horse, it does not make any difference if you do not find any tracks. The whole business lies in the identity; we have the horse hunted for. So, the man who takes the New Testament and finds a church in his neighborhood or elsewhere like the one in the Book, has succession.”

 

 

This puts the main emphasis in the right place, while it may be thought to depreciate in a measure, at least inferentially, the value of a history of an ancient and “peculiar people” with whose fortunes have been bound up in an age-long conflict the fortunes of the kingdom of God. In

this connection I may be permitted to say that while Dr. Graves was a successionist there is no evidence, I think, that he put undue emphasis on the fact of succession or on any sort of “mother-church” notion; he did emphasize church authority and with apostolic zeal contended for the recognition of the same.

 

 

As to the “validity” of ordinances, the Baptists of the South and Southwest stand almost solidly for four’ necessary things:

 

 

(1) A proper subject (a believer),

 

 

(2) A proper act in baptism (immersion),

 

 

(3) A proper design (to show forth), and

 

 

(4) the proper authority (a New Testament church)–all these being held as Scriptural requirements conditioning the valid administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper alike.

 

 

The Baptists of the North and East, we think, are coming, and will come, more and more to this position–a position that would seem necessary, if Baptists are to justify their continued existence as a separate denomination and assure for themselves a denominational future.

 

 

And these results, it must be admitted, have come about, in large measure, through Dr. Graves’ strenuous contention for a “Thus saith the Lord” in all matters of religion. His slogan was “Back to the New Testament.” And whatever may be our theory or practice in regard to some of the questions involved, or supposed to be involved in Landmarkism, there can be no doubt that Dr. Graves’ manifold contention and protest, by voice and pen, has been a great service not only to the Baptists but to the whole religious world.

 

 

For well-nigh half a century he stood as a bulwark against error, as a mighty breakwater against the incoming flood of a false liberalism which is the constant menace of a pure Christianity in a “Laodicean Age.”

 

 

Dr. E. T. Winkler, editor of The Alabama Baptist, writes: “Extreme as the views of Dr. Graves have by many been regarded as being, there is no question that they have powerfully contributed to the correction of a false liberalism that was current in many quarters thirty years ago.”

 

 

Dr. S. H. Ford, in his Christian Repository, endorsed this statement, adding these words: “We differ with Dr. Graves in some things, but honor his heroic life-work in meeting and exposing error wherever uttered.”

 

 

Dr. Cathcart, in The Baptist Encyclopedia, speaking for Northern Baptists, says: “Dr. Graves in his peculiarities represents a section of the Baptist denomination, a conscientious and devoted portion of our great apostolic community, but in his earnest and generous zeal for our heaven-inspired principles, he represents all thorough Baptists throughout the ages and the nations.”

 

 

Dr. Graves, as already indicated, took a great interest in young preachers. He was jealous of any influence that might affect their moral or doctrinal stamina, or turn them aside from apostolic ways. He was ever anxious that our theological seminaries turn out New Testament prophets after the order of Paul and John the Baptist.

 

 

The writer has a vivid recollection of his first personal acquaintance with Dr. Graves. It was during a seminary vacation and while acting as a supply pastor for a church in Memphis. In going his rounds he dropped into the office of The Baptist to have a talk with the editor. Though busy furnishing “copy” to the printer, he arose from his desk to greet his visitor, but most of the greeting, as we remember, was

a sudden and dramatic reference. to a “Jacob staff,” a “Gunters chain”, and a “compass.” For five or ten minutes he warmed to his subject, giving the young preacher “points” on theological surveying, running boundary and divisional lines, giving metes and bounds, establishing corners, setting up landmarks, etc., that in future generations no “true Israelite might ever lose his inheritance;” in it all laying special emphasis on the fact that there is and can be no true “orientation” of doctrines, creeds and systems, except as they are brought to and examined in the light of the New Testament Scriptures.

 

 

Dr. Graves was a thorough believer in the equality and spiritual democracy of all believers, and was opposed to a minister accepting any title of distinction that would put him above or apart from his brethren. For this reason he refused more than once to be made a D. D. [Doctor of Divinity] Whether or not he accepted the LL.D. conferred upon him by Union University and appearing after his name on the title page of some of his works, I cannot speak advisedly. Perhaps the publisher, following a time-honored custom, used his own discretion in the matter.

 

 

Dr. Graves was a popular presiding officer and a skilled parliamentarian, presiding with dignity and consideration for his brethren. He knew how to preserve order and dispatch business, and was ever watchful in keeping from before a Baptist deliberative and advisory body matters over which it could have no jurisdiction. He was frequently president of the West Tennessee Baptist Convention and for a number of years was moderator of the Big Hatchie Association.

 

 

Dr. Graves was married three times–all “fortunate” marriages, his companions being women of “taste and refinement.” His first marriage (1845) was without issue. His second and third wives were sisters, Miss Lou and Miss Georgie Snider, daughters of Dr. George Snider. The living children of the second marriage are Mrs. O. L. Hailey and James R. Graves, of Dallas, Texas, and Mrs. R. H. Wood, San Antonio, Texas. The living children of the third marriage are W. C. Graves and Z. Calvin Graves, of Memphis, Tenn.

 

 

Dr. Graves died at Memphis, TN. closing his earthly career, June 26; 1893.In this sketch the writer has purposely refrained from eulogy, believing that facts are more eloquent than eulogistic words.

 

As to Dr. Graves’ gifts as an orator many competent judges will agree in the opinion and endorse the unqualified statement of one of our ablest speakers and writers when he says: “I regard J. R. Graves as the greatest orator America ever produced in any calling.”

 

(From Sketches of Tennessee’s Pioneer Baptist Preachers by J. J. Burnett, originally printed in Nashville, 1919, now by The Overmountain Press, Johnson City, TN.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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119 – April 29 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Ritualism to Reality in Christ

 

Dover Mills, Goochland County, VA – 1865

 

From the time of his youth, William Baskett purposed to know God.  William was born in 1741 in Goochland County Virginia.  As a youth, William envisioned the blessings of sincere Christianity, and he regularly attended public worship services, and because of his sincerity, he was allowed to participate in the communion service of the established state church (Anglican).  In time William saw himself as a guilty, undone sinner.  Great conviction gripped his heart and he continually examined God’s word.  Finally one night God brought the Scripture to mind: “He that trusts in the Lord shall never be confounded.” (Douay-Rheims bible) At that moment he trusted Jesus Christ as his Saviour and threw himself on the Lord’s grace.  He found immediate peace with God.  In the mean time  Elijah Craig and David Thompson, faithful Baptist preachers, had entered the area, and the Basketts were immersed upon their profession of faith.  Soon a small congregation was gathered, and the work of God grew, when in 1788 a revival in the area brought significant growth to the local church.  William Baskett was called to assume the pastorate of the Lyle’s Baptist Church.   After twenty -one years of an exemplary ministry, the amazing event of the home going of the Basketts took place.  On April 21, 1815, his life partner fell asleep in Jesus.  One week later on April 29, 1815, he preached his last sermon from the words: “We have no continuing city, but seek one to come.”  On the following day, William’s tranquil spirit took flight to Glory.

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins) p.p.  248   –   249

 

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J.R. GRAVES Life, Times and Teachings 10


NASHVILLE AND THE SECOND CHURCH

Dr. R.B.C. Howell was then in the zenith of his power and usefulness. He had recently written and published his great work on Communion, which has already passed through several editions. He was a man of culture and eloquence and of great literary ability, a tremendous worker, and at that time the most influential man among the Baptists of the South. In addition to his pastoral labors in connection with the First Baptist Church, of Nashville, he also was editor of The Baptist. In that paper of November, 1845, he wrote this commendatory word concerning Graves: “He has lately come from Kentucky and, although quite young, is thoroughly educated, exemplary in piety, ardently devoted to his work, and not without ministerial experience.”

A year of indefatigable and successful labor followed, during which time young Graves was brought into conflict with the almost supreme of Methodism in that city. The influence of such a man as Dr. Howell on him must have been very great. Some one has said: “A man is the sum of his antecedents.” As we shall see, young Graves imbibed much of this great man’s spirit and adopted many of his ecclesiastical views. Here, in fact began to operate those influences and reactions which in later years led to his writing The Great Iron Wheel.

BECOMES EDITOR OF THE BAPTIST

And now opened before young Graves a new and untried field of labor, and his real life work began. It came about in this way: In 1835 R.B.C. Howell started a small quarto paper in Nashville called The Baptist. It continued for three years and was then merged in the Banner and Pioneer, which was published in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Howell retained the position of associate editor, or Tennessee editor. Five years later, in 1842, The Baptist, was resuscitated under the ownership of the General Association of Middle Tennessee and Northern Alabama, with Dr. Howell again as editor. The paper did not pay expenses and its circulation ran a little more than one thousand. Young Graves, while pastor of the Second Baptist Church, wrote stirring articles for The Baptist often controversial, which made a most favorable impression. At the General Association of 1846, Dr. Howell resigned the editorship and the executive committee of the Association elected J.R. Graves his successor. He at first declined because, in becoming editor, he would have to assume somewhat heavy responsibilities. It was characteristic of Dr. Graves that he sought to avoid heavy responsibilities, especially in the denominational life, but he at length accepted and his real life work was already begun.

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CLOSE COMMUNION A CHURCH ORDINANCE


BY RICHARD M. DUDLEY, D.D.
(Editor’s Note: According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, “close” means “not open, confined to specific groups; restricted.” HLW)

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)

This sermon is devoted to a discussion of the question of Close Communion. In one word, this is our plea: We ask, for ourselves, the simple liberty to administer the ordinances of the Lord’s House in such a way as our consciences tell us that His Word requires.

We ask the charity of others that they recognize our right to do this, and that they charge our course to this motive alone – not to bigotr, uncharitableness, or illiberality. We ask no more, and surely there will be granted no less, than this.

We do not arrogate to ourselves a wisdom or piety superior to others; but, “with malice towards none, and charity for all,” we ask that we be allowed to follow our conscentious convictions in all matters pertaining to the Kingdom of Heaven. As it is by the Word of God that we are to be approved or condemned, we feel bound to follow that Word just where it leads us.

Throughout the land there is an outcry against Baptists, because of their Close Communion. This is because their views and motives are misunderstood. There are persons who never will be brought to understand the true position of Baptists in this matter. Not that the position itself is difficult, or that the position itself is difficult, or that the persons lack the ability to understand, but they do not care to understand.

The cry of “Close Communion” is a convenient cudgel with which to pound Baptists; and a ringing rally-word with which to excite popular passion and prejudice against them. To reason with such persons if the idlest of idle tasks; and Baptists may as well make up their minds to endure their carping. But we are glad to believe that this class is a very small majority of their fellow Christians of other names honestly and really misunderstand. (JC note:There was a day when there was not one Baptist that did not believe and practice “close” or as we call it now, “closed” communion. This demands an explanation of why Baptist are practicing “open” communion now, were they wrong when all Baptists practiced “close or closed” communion or are they wrong now. Both practices can not be right.

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KINDS OF BAPTISTS AND THEIR ORIGIN


There are some thirty different groups of people calling themselves Baptist, and this presents the problem of just who is scriptural. It has always been the practice of true Baptists to examine the doctrine and practice of the local Baptist church in determining the scripturalness of their baptism. I propose to give a quick list and run down of what a scriptural New Testament Church believes and teaches.

I. SALVATION BY GRACE AND GRACE ALONE. EPHESIANS 2:8-10
There are those religions and denominations that claim they believe in salvation by grace. The problem is they add to this. Now I call this adding to God’s Word which we are not to do. Some add sprinkling (which they call baptism but is not) and or church membership and or the Lord’s Supper to make a person’s salvation complete. This is not Biblical. The simple statement is “For by grace are ye saved…” When we add these other things, we have added to the truth and it then becomes untruth and therefore a lie and God hates lies. If any one that calls themselves a church, adds to grace anything for salvation, they cease to be a true church. That makes them a false church.

II. SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER/PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS.  EPHESIANS 4:30
W
hat the Holy Spirit seals cannot be unsealed. To be held in the hand of God states preservation and safety. I know some say we can take ourselves out of the hand of God. That would make us more powerful than God and if more powerful than God we become a God unto ourselves. We are sealed unto the “day of redemption.” There is no room left there for losing ones salvation.

III. BAPTISM BY IMMERSION OF SCRIPTURAL CANDIDATE BY SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY. MARK 1:9-11
Being a
Dunkard is a wonderful thing. Now you say, what is a Dunkard? Why that is one that gets dunked all the way under the water to show the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:3-5 say we are buried with him. Sprinkling can never represent a burial. So in baptism we are buried just as he was buried and we rise just as He rose in newness of life. There is no way to represent this by sprinkling. Any so-called church that sprinkles, distorts the gospel of Christ. Sprinkling disqualifies a church from being a church approved by God to represent His Son here on this earth.

A scriptural candidate is one that has been saved. After salvation come baptism. Acts 2:41 and many other scriptures. Any church that violates any one of these five proofs does not have authority to baptise.

IV. LORD’S SUPPER FOR THOSE THAT ARE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OBSERVING IT.  I CORINTHIANS 5:11-13
The
church that is observing the Lord’s Supper must have authority to deny the Supper to people by with drawing fellowship from members that have committed any of the sins listed in verse 11. For a church to not exercise this command is disobedience. To permit those that are not members is a direct contravention of the Word of God and indicates that the church is out of the will of God. This passage proves that the church at Corinth practised closed communion. To take God’s Word and Supper and make it a social event upon the whim of humanistic thinking disqualifies a church from being called a true church.

V. THE CHURCH IS LOCAL ONLY.
There
are those that saw that if they wanted to maintain some unscriptural practices that I have listed above, they would have to  change the definition of the church. To be able to practice close or open communion these people knew that they would have to have a universal church. Therefore they borrowed a little something from the Catholics. The seven churches of Asia are said to be seven individual and distinct churches. There were 2 New Testament books written to the church at Corinth. Understand that the scripture used to prove a universal church is a passage addressed to a local church and was meant for that church. Misapplication of scripture has brought heresies into the world and this is a gross misapplication of scripture.

I know some say, well now there are a number of other truths that must be applied to see if a church is scriptural. here is my basis for using these five as a criteria of Judgement.

First of all, the church is the Bride of Christ. Jesus determined what His Bride would look like. To change any of these would be to change the Bride. Take away baptism and you would have a one legged Bride. Take away closed communion and you would have a one armed Bride.

Second, a church that believes these five will believe in the virgin birth, the inspiration of scripture, and the depravity of man. A church begins, normally, going wrong in the Lord’s Supper, baptism, or the church being universal and invisible. A church that holds the line on these five things will hold the line on women preachers and many other truths of the Word.

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A LITTLE MORE ON THE LORD’S SUPPER


I Corinthians 11:27 “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord,
unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28. But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread, and
drink of that cup.
29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself,
not discerning the Lord’s body.
30. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you,
and many sleep.”


Please read all of the above. not just verse 28 that speaks of self examination, but EVERY BIT OF THE ABOVE. I say this because when I talk to people, they demonstrate their blindness by referring to self-examination. They are totally blind to everything else. I have asked my self – why is this? I have come to several conclusions. (Now if this offends you then you may be guilty. And if it offends you, get right instead of staying wrong.) Those that would speak only of self examination are in rebellion which is an abhorrent sin to God. They also want to think that they are in charge and not got and that the Church, the bride of Christ, should have not right of expectation on their life. These would totally ignore I Corinthians 5:11. This is instruction to the local Church at Corinth to deny the Lord’s Supper to those that have been involved in the sins listed in those verses.

I Corinthians 11 deals with with several conditions in the Church. Notice what Paul said to the Church in verse 2. “…and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” My firm belief is that Paul is talking about the Supper being for the members in the Church at Corinth. Understand, that chapter 5 Paul deals with church members involved in a shame full sin and still partaking of the Supper. Paul’s instruction was that these should be put out of the Church so as to deny them the table. Chapter 11 is a commendation that they kept the ordinance closed. Now Paul continues on to other infractions which were listed in my previous article. Closed/restricted communion was being practiced by the Church at Corinth and the commendation was for this proper practice.

Practicing close (which is really open, whether you preachers want to admit it or not. Close is simply open with a limitation. And by the way preachers, if you were consistent in belief, and practice, you should accept any baptism, and if you are going to accept open communion be consistent and accept sprinkling to.) Now some of you are going to say I am going too far. Think what you may we already have a few churches (so called) that fellowship in the ABA that have accepted sprinkling for baptism (so I have been told). Now all ya’ll that practice close communion, when you have a candidate for baptism send them down the road to the next baptist church request they baptise them with the authority of your church and then have that baptised person be called one your church members. You say ridiculous; I say yes!!! but then so is the communion that so many want to be a social supper.

We must understand that Jesus called HIS church from the shores of Galilee and those He called had been saved under the preaching of John and baptised by John and with the authority of John. Jesus was the head. Within HIS church He put Salvation by Grace; Security of the believer; the office of pastor; the office of deacon; and then two ordinances. We don’t quibble about baptism is immersion; nor that Jesus Church has authority to baptise. Now we quibble about the Lord’s Supper? What kind of sense does this make?? NONSENSE – THAT IS  the kind of sense it makes. Do you understand that the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is the only ordinance with a penalty? Oh!! I see – that is the place that you blithely skipped across like a field nymph. Yes I see it now – you have become an authority on the Lord’s Supper because you base it on your feelings instead of the facts of the Bible and have totally missed “…he that eateth and drinketh UNWORTHILY eateth and drinketh DAMNATION TO HIMSELF NOT DISCERNING THE LORD’S BODY.” Do you see that now? Paul even tells you what happens when one takes it unworthily. “For this cause many are WEAK AND SICKLY among you and many SLEEP.” Sleep means they are DEAD!!!!! Do we understand that there is a serious penalty for partaking the Lord’s Supper in the wrong manner or with the wrong motive. Any preacher that has not warned his sheep of this is guilty of dereliction of duty and putting the members of his congregation in harm’s way. Shame, shame, shame.

One cannot make pretty the ugliness of being contrary to God. Many need to get right. God’s Word is clear.

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