Questions and Answers
The answers given to the questions appearing in this book are mainly the work of that Authoritative Historian, Scholar and Editor:
Elder Sylvester Hassell
Copied from the "Gospel Messenger" and from the "Advocate and Messenger"
Compiled by R.H. Pittman
To my friends everywhere - my kindred in Christ - Lovers of God's Eternal Truth as taught in the Bible and lovingly defended by Elder Sylvester Hassell is this little book dedicated.
One method of gaining knowledge is by asking questions. When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame and wisdom of Solomon "she came to prove him with many questions" (I Kings 10:1). How many questions she asked, and what the questions were, is not stated. But we may infer that she asked many, and that she learned much, for she was astounded and said: "It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom: ... but the half was not told me."
Then in the fullness of time Jesus came. He was a greater than Solomon, as much superior to him as is the sun to a bright and glowing star. And as Jesus walked among men, teaching them by precept and example His eternal and glorious truth, many were they who asked Him questions. Sometimes He answered plainly, sometimes in parables, and at other times He rebuked the questioners - for He well knew the motives of all men. But He always gave the correct and needed answer, for He possessed all knowledge.
But the Perfect Teacher is no longer on earth. He finished the work He came to do and has gone back to heaven where He "sitteth on the right hand of God" (Col. 3:1). We cannot ask Him questions as others did when He lived in the flesh. But He did not leave us comfortless - He sent the blessed Holy Spirit to comfort and teach. And He also called and qualified men as undershepherds and sent them forth as pastors and teachers. This He continues to do, and will, until the end of time. And we believe with all our heart that the late Elder Sylvester Hassell was such a teacher - God-called, God-qualified, and God-sent. Blessed with spiritual understanding, abiding faith, abounding love, and a giant intellect, he became a prodigy in learning. No other evidence of this fact need be cited other than Hassell's Church History, though his editorial work on the "Gospel Messenger," and also his work as Associate Editor of the "Advocate and Messenger," showed an unusual knowledge of the Bible and of various languages. And it was while doing editorial work that the most of the questions in this book were answered by Elder Hassell, the present editor and compiler answered only about ten percent of them.
These answers by Elder Hassell give so much information and are so authoritative that I have for years felt deeply impressed to put them in book form. "Not many wise men after the flesh are called" (I Cor. 1:26), and when God does call and send one among us we should appreciate the gift and seek to profit by his teaching. I pray God's blessings upon this work, that it may be a source of information and of comfort to many thousands of God's people now living and to those of future generations. And, if so, dear Lord, all the glory shall be Thine.
The Way, The Truth, and the Life
"Without the Way, there is no Going.
Without the Truth, there is no Knowing.
Without the Life, there is no Living.
Without the Gift, there is no Giving.
Without the Hope, there is no Hoping.
Without the Faith, there is but Groping.
Without the Love, all love Defying.
Without the Death, all dead, all dying.
Without the Christ, how dark my way would be.
Without Jesus, how could His Truth make free?
Without a Saviour, no Life redeemed could be,
Without God's Gift, The Christ of Calvary!"
Remarks: From Earth to Heaven there are not many ways, but just one way, and Jesus is that way. He did not say I am a way, but "I am the way ... No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (R.H.P.)
Questions and Answers
Q. Have we any certain knowledge as to the color of Adam?
A. We have not. It is thought that the Hebrew word Adam is derived from the Hebrew words meaning "formed of red earth;" and that, therefore, Adam was a white man with the ruddy complexion of health. As the Jews are traced back, in the Scriptures, through Abraham and Shem and Noah to Adam, the latter must have been a white man. The word Ham, the name of Noah's younger son, is thought to mean "black" or "hot;" he was the ancestor of the people in the southern warm countries of Asia and Africa, Arabia, Egypt, and Ethiopia. The word Ethiopia means sunburnt. In accordance with Acts 17:26, Rom. 5:12, I Cor. 15:22, and Rev. 5:9, nearly all scientists agree that the whole human race descended from one pair, and that the races have been, in the overruling providence of God, brought about by differences, of thousands of years, in climate, temperature, moisture, exposure, and environment. We know from the Scriptures (Psalm 68:31; Acts 8:26-40), and are assured, from experience and observation, that Ethiopians are subjects of Divine grace. No human reasoning can exempt any variety of mankind from accountability to God, and from condemnation by His justice or salvation by His mercy.
Q. What is the meaning of the language of God to Adam in the garden of Eden: "In the day that thou eatest thereof (that is, of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17)?
A. The literal translation is, "In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying, thou shalt die;" that is, as soon as Adam should partake of the forbidden fruit, he should become mortal, or begin to die, and at last, at the time appointed of God, he should die a natural death (Eccles. 3:2, Heb. 9:27). The death of Adam, when he ate the forbidden fruit, was a "death in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1-5); and all his posterity are involved in this death (Rom. 5:12); and, unless chosen, redeemed, and quickened by God, which will be manifested in a godly life unless they die in infancy, they will finally go down into the second or eternal death (II Thess. 1:7-10, Rev. 20:14, 21:8, 22:11).
Q. Does the atonement of Christ cover all the sins that the elect commit before and after regeneration?
A. The atonement of Christ is the only real, efficacious satisfaction that has ever been made to Divine justice for any sin; and the very slightest sin not covered by that atonement will certainly sink the perpetrator to everlasting perdition. The sacrifices of clean and unblemished animals in the Old Testament dispensation had no real efficacy in the removal of sin, but were only types and shadows of the atoning death of the spotless Son of God, who by Himself purged our sins, and by His one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified (Heb. 1:1-3; 9; 10); and the New Testament does not give the least intimation that, since the atoning death of Christ, any other real sacrifice for sin has ever been or will ever be made. All sin is the transgression of the law, and deserves the penalty of death, and therefore requires the same atonement (I John 3:4, Ezek. 18:4, 20). God laid on Christ the iniquity of all His people, all classes and conditions, and remembers their sins and iniquities no more, there is no more offering for sin (Heb. 10:10-18). Christ loves us, gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity (Titus 2:14). His blood cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). By the will of God we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. His blood was shed for many for the remission of sins (Matt. 26:28). As the Lamb of God, He took away the sin of the world (John 1:29). By His obedience many were made righteous (Rom. 5:19). He, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21). He saves and washes us from our sins in His own blood, and makes us kings and priests unto God (Rev. 1:5,6). To say that the elect must and can atone, by their sufferings, for their own sins committed after regeneration, belies the word of God which I have thus abundantly quoted; stains the holiness of God by representing Him as accepting an imperfect offering; dishonors the sacrifice of Christ as insufficient to save His people from all their sins; and degrades the Primitive Baptist doctrine far below ordinary Arminianism to the lowest depths of Roman Catholicism, which dares to represent the penance and purgatorial punishment of guilty sinners as more efficacious for their salvation than the atoning death of the holy Son of God. According to my understanding, this is one of the worst errors that have appeared among the Baptists for a hundred years. The atonement of Christ is the central and chief fact of Christianity; and the denial of the perfect sufficiency of the atonement of Christ to satisfy Divine justice for all the sins of all the elect is the overthrow of the entire system of Christianity, and a return to the midnight darkness of heathenism. This recent and most lamentable error arose from an attempt to explain Matt. 12:22-37 and Mark 3:22-30 and Luke 12:10 by Heb. 10:26-31. As I have repeatedly shown in "The Gospel Messenger," nothing but an ignorance that is unqualified to teach can say that blasphemy is sin in general - it is a special sin, the sin of evil speech, and not of evil action, and, as proved by the Scriptures just cited, was committed, not by the disciples of Christ, but by His inveterate, malignant, diabolical enemies, the Pharisees, whom He calls, in that connection, a generation of vipers, having evil hearts and therefore speaking evil things, calling the Holy Ghost an unclean spirit, and He declares that they would never be forgiven for it, and He does not at all intimate that they could themselves ever atone for this unpardonable sin by anything that they could ever do or suffer. As for Heb. 10:1-23 and the whole epistle and the entire Scriptures, and as understood by all the ablest Baptist and Protestant students of the Scriptures up to the present century, the reference of the Apostle in this passage is to the professed but not the real people of God, who were not born of the Spirit of God, but only enlightened in their heads and not in their hearts, having only an intellectual knowledge of the truth (as the false teachers in II Peter 2), and their wilful sinning or falling away was an apostasy from their profession, a renunciation of Christ for Moses, a rejection of the gospel of Christ and banishment from His presence.
Q. What is the difference between Andrew Fuller's and John Bunyan's theories of the atonement?
A. Fuller believed in the inconsistency of Christ's having made a general atonement for the whole human race and yet applying its benefits by His Spirit to the elect only; while Bunyan believed, as do the Primitive Baptists, that Christ's atonement was only and efficaciously for the elect.
Q. Have Baptists always believed in predestination and a limited atonement?
A. All who read and knew the Scriptures and were taught of God on those subjects have. In the Dark Ages and just afterwards few had or could read the Scriptures, and they were not enlightened on these points of doctrine.
Q. Has an Association the authority to sit in judgment and render a decision in church differences?
A. Associations are not mentioned in the Scriptures. The first Baptist Association was formed in Wales, A.D. 1651 more than 1500 years after the death of John the last Apostle, and therefore, associations have no right over the churches; or to render decisions between churches. It would be far better to abolish all associations than to have them rule and ruin the churches, sacred to the Lord Jesus Christ her only head and master. The church is the highest, the last and the only organization on earth authorized to settle differences between its members. (Matt. 18).
Q. Do Councils or Associations have any authority over the churches?
A. None whatever, since the death of the Apostles, the last fully inspired and infallible created teachers of the human race. Any assemblies of men may advise a church of Christ, but they cannot impose their decisions upon her. But if a church, after the humble, loving, and continued labors of gospel churches, stubbornly and permanently persists in departing from the doctrine and practice of Christ and His Apostles, she unchurches herself, her candlestick is removed out of its place, and she becomes a synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:5; 8:9).
Q. How many members and Associations of the Primitive Baptists are there in the United States, and are the Philadelphia and Charleston Associations missionary bodies?
A. The Philadelphia and Charleston Associations have gone into modern, money-based "missions" (some of the oldest and best churches formerly belonging to the Philadelphia Association still remaining Old School or Primitive). No human being on earth knows how many Primitive Baptists there are in the United States; but, according to the latest estimates that I have seen, here are about 126,000 members, about 3,000 churches, about 250 associations, and about 1,500 elders. We have no General Associations or Conventions or Reports.
Q. What is the object of the Circular Letter read at Associations?
A. To set forth and maintain some important scriptural principle or practice. Many of our associations, instead of having a long Circular Letter, have only a short Corresponding Letter addressed to their own churches and to other associations.
Q. Does an Association which is in disorder, make all its churches and their members disorderly, or does an association have power to rule over the churches composing it?
A. Not at all; as the Bible readers know, associations are utterly unknown to the Scriptures; they are modern, human institutions, and, when assuming to rule over its churches or other associations, instead of simply meeting to worship God and edify His people, they are extremely unscriptural and mischievous.
Q. If a church, that is a member of an association, persists, after gospel labor, in a serious error, would it not be proper for the other churches of the association to condemn it, and then cease to associate with it?
A. Yes, unless the unsound or disorderly church purged itself of the error.
Q. How should we regard the Apocrypha?
A. The old London Baptist Confession of Faith, of 1689, very well says in Chapter 1, Section 3: "The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of Divine inspiration (Luke 24:27,44; Rom. 3:2), are not part of the canon (or rule) of Scripture, and therefore are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings." And the same views of these books are held by the Jews, the Greek Catholics, and all Protestants except the Church of England (or Episcopal Church) which, in her Thirty-nine Articles of Faith mentions the Apocrypha as books "which the church doth read for examples of life and instruction of manners, but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine." The Roman Catholic Church has always highly favored these books, and in the Council of Trent (1545-1563) received them in part for edification, but not for "the establishment of doctrine;" yet the Romish Church, in its translation of the Bible, mixes these books with the books of the Old Testament, and derives from them its unscriptural doctrines of purgatory, prayers for the dead, and the meritoriousness of good works; and in the Apocrypha, as derived from the Persian Zend-Avesta, two-seedism, or dualism, finds its strongest arguments. The Apocrypha is not the Hebrew Old Testament, but is in the Septuagint or Greek Version of the Old Testament. It consists of the following fourteen books: 1st, Historical (First Estrous, First and Second Maccabees); 2nd, Legendary, (Tobit, Judith, Additions to Esther, Song of Three Holy Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon); 3rd, Prophetical (Baruch, Prayer of Manassas); 4th, Apocalyptic (Second Eadras); and 5th, Didactic (The Wisdom of Solomon, and The Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus). These books were written between 300 B.C. and 75 A.D. They are not quoted at all by the writers of the New Testament, and they abound in fictitious stories and doctrinal errors, and they show the workings of the carnal Jewish mind just before and after the coming of Christ.
Q. Was John's baptism Christian baptism? and were the baptisms practiced by the disciples of Christ previous to His crucifixion identical with those practiced by His apostles after His ascension? and did John baptize in any name, and, if in the name of Christ, was Christ baptized in His own name?
A. John's baptism was from heaven, and he therefore baptized by the authority or in the name of God. He baptized Christ, although Christ was sinless, to fulfill all righteousness; that is, to do the righteous will of God, to point forward to Christ's atoning death for our sins and His resurrection for our justification, and to show the example that we are to follow. Though Christ had no sin of His own, He was the representative of His sinful people. He was a real man, as well as the real God, and He was baptized and labored and suffered and bled and died and rose as a man. Some of John's disciples whom he had baptized followed Christ, and were not baptized in water again, so far as we are told in the Scriptures. The baptisms performed by Christ's disciples before His crucifixion were undoubtedly in the name or by authority of God (Christ is God), and did not have to be repeated, and were therefore substantially the same as those performed by His apostles after His ascension, though the form of words used was not probably the same; the Scriptures do not tell us the form of words used in the baptisms performed by John or in those performed by the disciples of Christ before His crucifixion, and it is, therefore, not necessary for us to know that form of words. An attempt to be wise above what is written, and speculation upon things that the Lord has not revealed to us, are not only unprofitable but injurious to the people of God, tending, not to edify and unite, but to confuse and divide them.
Q. Do the Scriptures teach that sprinkling or pouring translated to sprinkle, to pour, and to baptize (immerse) are entirely different, and are never confounded with each other?
A. Never. The Hebrew and Greek words translated "baptize" do not mean "sprinkle" or "pour." The Roman Catholics admit that they invented and substituted sprinkling and pouring for baptism, and that Protestants derived from them, and not from the Scriptures, these pretended forms of baptism; and this is the truth.
Q. What passage of Scripture contains the strongest proof that immersion or dipping is baptism?
A. There are so many passages proving this fact that it is hard to say which is the strongest proof of it. Perhaps Rom. 6:4,5 is the strongest passage; but such passages as Matt. 3:13-17 and Acts 8:36-39 are strong enough. But the strongest proof of all is the Greek word baptizo, translated or rather transliterated baptize, which, according to all European and American scholars, never means to sprinkle or pour, but always means to dip or immerse.
Q. It is said that "they were baptized (that is, dipped or immersed) in Jordan, confessing their sins" (Mark 1:5). Did John the Baptist require this, or was it voluntary?
A. Both. John would baptize none unless they "brought forth fruits meet for repentance," that is, unless their lives proved that they were truly penitent, and these he, being sent of God to baptize, no doubt, exhorted to be baptized in token of their repentance for their sins and their faith in the coming Saviour, whom he preached, and they were made of God willing to submit to the Heavenly ordinance.
Q. Does the word of God authorize gospel ministers to baptize or sprinkle infants?
A. Most certainly not, in any passage of the Scriptures.
Q. Does it teach that parents should have their infants baptized or sprinkled?
A. Not at all.
Q. Why do the Old Baptists teach that true believers are the only proper subjects for baptism?
A. Because the Scriptures so teach (Matt. 3:6,8; 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:38,41; 8:36-38; 10:44-48; 16:31-34).
Q. Why do they baptize by immersion only?
A. Because, as all scholars admit, baptism, a Greek word, means nothing but immersion, and does not in a single passage in Greek literature up to A.D. 100, the end of the Apostolic Age, mean sprinkling or pouring. For several years a thousand dollars has been offered, by the Western Recorder, of Louisville, Kentucky, to any person in the world who will show a single instance in ancient Greek literature in which the Greek word baptizo means to sprinkle or pour; and no human being, Catholic or Protestant, has ever been able to show such a passage, and thus earn the thousand dollars - not because they do not want the money, but because no such passage exists.
Q. When was infant sprinkling first practiced, and by whom and why?
A. The first recorded instance of sprinkling for baptism was that of the adult Novatian, said to have been a native of Phrygia in Asia Minor, about 240 A.D., when on a sick bed he was in hourly expectation of death, and his so-called (clinical) "baptism" was generally regarded even among Catholics as invalid. After this the Roman (but not the Greek) Catholics began gradually to recognize the sprinkling of sick persons as "baptism;" but the Roman Catholic Council of Ravenna, in A.D. 1311, was the first council of even that apostate communion that legalized "baptism" by sprinkling, by leaving it to the choice of the officiating minister. The Greek Catholics have never allowed the validity of sprinkling for baptism, and they call the Roman Catholic Pope "an unbaptized heretic." The first known instance of infant baptism was in North Africa in A.D. 256. These two errors, therefore, of the substitution of sprinkling for baptism, and of the baptism of infants, originated in the Roman Catholic so-called "church" about the same time; and the cause of them was the thoroughly anti-scriptural, idolatrous superstition of "baptismal regeneration" - that there is a magical, regenerating, saving power in water, while the Scriptures plainly teach that baptism, immersion in water, is but an emblem of our previous spiritual experience of our death, burial, and resurrection with Christ, our only Saviour and Lord.
Q. Did the Old Baptists ever practice it, and, if so, why?
A. Some called Baptists may have practiced sprinkling for baptism in England in the 16th and 17th centuries; and they did so because they chose to follow man instead of Christ, and because it was much more convenient, and seemed more respectable.
Q. Do those who sprinkle for baptism know that immersion is the scriptural mode?
A. The real scholars among them know it; they know that, in all Greek literature, the Greek word baptizo (from which the English word baptize is formed) never meant to sprinkle or pour, but only to dip, immerse, or submerge. The perversion of the meaning of this word is one of the strongest proofs of the total, willful depravity of the human heart. The Roman Catholics invented sprinkling.
Q. Why was the church of Christ called Baptist and was it the original apostolic church?
A. Because, according to the commandment of Christ, they baptized none but those who gave evidence that they were true believers in Christ, just as the apostolic churches did. Believers' baptism distinguishes the apostolic and Baptist churches from all others.
Q. Do Pedo-Baptists sprinkle infants, knowing it to be unscriptural?
A. They know that there is not one plain command or example of it in the Bible. Faith is an indispensable prerequisite to scriptural baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:41; 8:12; 36-38; 10:47,48; 16:30-34).
Q. Do the Scriptures teach that baptism should be administered as soon as convenient after repentance, faith, and confession?
A. Certainly (Matt. 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:37-41; 8:36-38; 16:29-33).
Q. How does baptism save the baptized?
A. Certainly not by saving them from an everlasting hell, for the blood of Christ alone does that; but by delivering them, at least to some considerable extent, from the vanities, delusions, and errors of the flesh, the world, and the Devil.
Q. What is the meaning of the Greek preposition "eis," rendered "for," in Acts 2:38, "for the remission of sins?"
A. "In regard to" (this is a translation of this word given by Liddell & Scott); "in regard to, or with reference to the remission of their sins," that is "because they had repented of their sins, and believed that Jesus had shed His blood for the forgiveness of their sins," as plainly shown by the use of the very same Greek words by Christ himself in Matt. 26:28, and in Luke 24:47, and as also used in Luke 3:3 and Mark 1:4. The language of Christ in Matt. 26:28 and John 8:24, and that of John in John 1:29 and I John 1:7 and Rev. 1:5, and that of Paul in Rom. 3:24,25; Eph. 1: 7; and Heb. 1:3, 10:14 prove that the actual, procuring cause of the forgiveness of our sins was the shedding of the blood of Christ for us. If eis in Acts 2:38 means "in order to," as many think, then we know, according to the passages just cited, that, as in Acts 22:16, the meaning is "in order to the symbolical or ceremonial remission of sins" - that is, our baptism expresses our faith that Jesus has shed His blood for the remission of our sins.
Q. Why is Jesus called Shiloh? (Gen. 49:10)
A. According to all Jewish and Christian antiquity, Shiloh in this passage refers to the Messiah. Shiloh means "peace" or "peacemaker;" Jesus is so called because He is the "Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6,7); He gives peace and rest to His people, all of whom feel their need of it and come to Him for it (Isa. 11:10; John 14:27; 6:37-40; Matt. 11:28-30).
Q. The Apostle Paul says: "We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15); how could Christ be tempted to a thing without a desire for it?
A. Christ was perfect man as well as perfect God; and, as man, he "had all the original feelings of humanity - hope, fear, desire, joy, grief, indignation, shrinking from suffering, and the like." He thus, as man, experienced all the infirmities or weakness of a human creature, including the power of temptation; but, as God, He perfectly resisted all the temptations of the Devil to put these feelings of human nature before the Fall into sinful exercise. With millions of other mysteries in the universe, this is one that we cannot fully understand; yet we fully receive all that the inspired writers say on the subject. As man, Christ sympathizes with us in all our trials and weaknesses; and, as God, He succors and sustains us in our temptations and infirmities.
Q. What life did Christ lay down?
A. His human, mortal life; not His divine, eternal life (John, 10:15,17,18,28-30). As a man, He could die (Heb. 9:27; 2:9), but as the eternal ever-living God, He could not die, (I Thess. 1:9; I Tim 6:13-16; John 11:25; I John 1:1,2).
Q. Should the word "Saviour" be spelled with or without the u in the last syllable?
A. Either Saviour or Savior is considered correct; but Saviour is the older and the more usual form, and is the form used in the King James or Authorized Version of the Bible.
Q. The Lord Jesus Christ was perfectly holy in soul and body; what change did His body undergo in the resurrection?
A. No doubt it was changed from natural to spiritual, from mortal to immortal. The risen body of Christ, while it could partake of food, appeared and disappeared suddenly at pleasure; and finally, independent of gravitation, ascended from the Mount of Olives to heaven, and a cloud received it out of the gaze of the looking disciples. The exact nature of this change is not revealed; but the bodies of the sleeping saints, and those of the saints then remaining on the earth, will undergo a similar change at the second bodily coming of Christ to this world, and will be made like His glorious body, by the almighty power of their Divine Redeemer.
Q. Did Christ exist in spirit only before He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary?
A. Of course, as He is God, and God is a spirit, except that, like angels who are spirits, He several times in the Old Testament, appeared for a short time as a man.
Q. What was conceived of the Holy Ghost in Mary's body?
A. The human body and spirit of Christ, in which the Godhead dwelt.
Q. Upon what altar was Christ offered?
A. The Scriptures do not say that Christ, the true Lamb of God, was offered upon any altar; but we may consider that He offered His spotless and tender humanity upon the strong supporting, brazen altar of His almighty Divinity.
Q. Who "first trusted in Christ" (Eph. 1:12)?
A. The Jews, who trusted in Christ before the Gentiles did, as proved by the context (Eph. 1:12, 13; 2:11-22), and also by the original language of the Apostle Paul in this place; for the pronoun rendered "who" in Eph. 1:12, is in the plural number, showing that "we" (and not God) is the antecedent.
Q. How did Jesus "taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:9)?
A. There is no word meaning "man" in the original of this passage. The original says simply "every" or every one of the "many sons whom He will bring to glory," as shown in the next verse; every one of the "sanctified" or "brethren" or "church" or "children," as shown in the following verses of the same chapter.
Q. Were the disciples of Christ divinely or humanly first called Christians at Antioch? (Acts 11:26).
A. Humanly, by the Gentiles, either the Greeks or Romans; for the Jews, who did not believe that Jesus was the Christ or Messiah, would not have called His followers Christians. The followers of Christ in the first century generally called each other "brethren," "saints," or "disciples," or "the faithful in Christ Jesus," and the unbelieving Jews called them Nazarenes, or followers of Jesus of Nazareth. As a denominational name, the followers of James O'Kelly, a native of Ireland who came to America about 1777, and lived for some years as a traveling Methodist preacher, withdrew, in 1793 in Virginia and North Carolina, from the Methodist Episcopal Church, on account of their objections to the government of bishops and the use of creeds and disciplines, and in 1794 called themselves "Christians;" they admit the validity of sprinkling or pouring, as well as immersion, for baptism. The followers of Thomas Campbell, of Ireland, and then of Pennsylvania, called themselves "Christians" in 1809; but he and his son, Alexander Campbell, were immersed, June 14, 1812, as members of the Brush Run Baptist Church, which belonged to the Redstone Baptist Association in Pennsylvania. In 1823 Alexander Campbell began publishing a paper called the Christian Baptist; and in 1827 he founded a separate denomination called the Disciples of Christ; but in recent years they have assumed the name Christians, but are generally called by other denominations Campbelites. They agree with the Baptists in considering immersion the only baptism, and that only believers should be baptized.
Q. Is it apostolic for a church to assess its members and compel each one to contribute toward defraying the expenses of the church in proportion to what each is worth?
A. We are not informed, in the New Testament, that the Apostles ever so enjoined upon any church; but the heavenly-minded and self-sacrificing Apostle Paul exhorted each member of the Corinthian Church to contribute as God had prospered (I Cor. 16:1-4), and he declares that "covetousness is idolatry" (Col. 3:5), and that we are no more to eat or commune with a covetous person than with a fornicator, or idolater, or railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner (I Cor. 5:11). If all our churches should follow this apostolic injunction (which of course they ought to do), they would be fewer in numbers, but purer and stronger in character and influence.
Q. Does any Scripture require Christians to give one tenth of their property to the service of the Lord?
A. None. Among the ancient Israelites one-tenth of the yearly increase of the land and of the flocks, which was considered by the later Jews to be one-fifth of their yearly income, was to be given to the Levites (who had no landed inheritance in Canaan) and to the priests and the strangers, the fatherless, and the widows (Gen. 28:22; Levit. 27:32; Num. 18:21-32; Deut. 14: 22-29; II Chron. 31:5, 6; Mal. 3:8-12; Matt. 23:23); but, in the New Testament, no stated amount is mentioned, and Christians are exhorted to give liberally and cheerfully, as the Lord has prospered them (I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 9).
Q. Does the Bible instruct churches how often to commune?
A. No; but it seems that the apostolic church at first communed every day (Acts 2:46), or at least every Sunday, the first day of the week (Acts 20:7); yet Paul, not saying how often they were to commune, says, "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come." (I Cor. 11:26).
Q. What is a church?
A. The word "church" is translated from the Greek word Ekklesia which means called out; a religious congregation; a community of members on earth or saints in heaven; believers of gospel truth called out from the world.
Q. When was the first gospel church established?
A. In the days of Jesus, John the Baptist and the Apostles.
Q. Who is the foundation and builder of the true church?
A. Jesus is both the foundation and the great Masterbuilder. He said, "Upon this rock I will build my church" (Matt. 16:18).
Q. What is "the rock" or foundation of the church?
A. It is the knowledge of truth revealed by God to His children; an understanding of Jesus and His work as "the way, the truth, and the life" - really, Jesus himself.
Q. How many churches did Jesus establish or build?
A. Only one church, but composed of many assemblies or congregations.
Q. What kind of church was the first church?
A. It was composed of baptized believers. And believers who are baptized by a proper administrator and by the proper mode, constitute a Baptist Church.
Q. What is the proper mode of baptism?
A. Immersion in water, or as Paul expresses it, "buried with Christ in baptism." The word "baptism" means to immerse, to dip, as all scholars know.
Q. Was Jesus baptized?
A. Yes. He was immersed in water by John the Baptist, the first man ever authorized to baptize.
Q. Where did John the Baptist get his authority to baptize?
A. He got it from heaven - not from men.
Q. Has the mode of baptism ever been changed?
A. Yes, the mode has been changed by men, but not by the authority of God. Sprinkling of water or the pouring of water on persons is now practiced by some religious people who call it baptism.
Q. When did sprinkling begin to be practiced?
A. About 240 years after Christ in the case of a sick person. The sprinkling of infants began about the same time. Both are errors as are all other religious practices not taught by Christ and the Apostles.
Q. How old is the Primitive Baptist Church?
A. It was organized in the days of John the Baptist, Christ, and his Apostles. Primitive means old, first, original.
Q. When the division came with the Catholics did the Primitive Church die?
A. No. It stood for Primitive Christianity through all the dark ages as it does today.
Q. By what name was the Primitive Church known?
A. By various names such as Anabaptists, Baptists, Puritans, Paulicians, but more often called by the name of prominent leaders in the Church such as Novationists, Donatists, Paternines, Hendicans, Arnoldists, Abigenses, Lollards, Waldenses, etc.
Q. What were the followers of Christ first called?
A. They were first called Christians after Christ, in whom they believed and in whose name (together with that of the Father's and the Holy Spirit's) they had been baptized.
Q. How old is the Catholic Church?
A. The church now known as the Catholic Church was the corrupter of the Primitive or Christian Church and became separate from it about 300 years after Christ.
Q. How did the Catholic Church grow so strong in numbers?
A. By joining in with all kinds of worldly religion, by forsaking the truth and adopting error, by seeking the applause and favor of the world, and by persecuting those who would not follow them in their errors.
Q. Who was the first great Reformer who broke loose from the Catholic Church?
A. Martin Luther who was the founder of the Lutheran Church about the year 1525.
Q. Who was the next great Reformer?
A. John Calvin who formed the Presbyterian Church about the year 1541.
Q. What was the next church that was formed out of the Catholic Church?
A. The Episcopalian or the Church of England, formed by Henry VIII about 1534, who was at that time King of England.
Q. Who was the founder of the Methodist Church?
A. This denomination owes its origin to John Wesley of England - born 1703, died 1791.
Q. Who established the Mormon Church?
A. This sect was founded by Joseph Smith who was born in Sharon, VT, 1805. He claimed that he was informed by an angel that he was chosen to form a new religion and that the Book or Mormon Bible, was given him in visions.
Q. How old is the Moravian Church?
A. Nicholas Lewis, a German Nobleman who died in 1760, is claimed to be the founder. He was associated with John Huss who was also instrumental in the formation of the denomination now called Moravians.
Q. Who founded the Adventist Church?
A. This sect was originated about 1833 by William Miller of New York. Miller predicted that the world would come to an end in 1843. They contend that Saturday, not Sunday, should be the day of special worship.
Q. How old is the Disciple Church?
A. This denomination usually call themselves Christians, and was organized about 1827. They are sometimes called "Campbellites" because Alexander Campbell was the founder.
Q. When was the Dunkers or Dunkard Church founded and by whom?
A. They originated with Conrad Peysel, a German Baptist about the year 1724, and their meetings were first held in a colony about fifty miles from Philadelphia.
Q. How many different denominations in the U. S.?
A. Counting the divisions and sub-divisions the number is difficult to determine. A recent census shows that there are seven bodies of Catholics, six of Adventists, eighteen of Baptists, seventeen of Methodists, twelve of Presbyterians, sixteen bodies of Lutherans, twelve of Mennonites, two of Christians, four of Dunkards, and various other smaller divisions.
Q. What is Calvinism?
A. It is the doctrine advocated by John Calvin who was a "professor of Divinity" at Geneva in 1536 and was noted for his genius, learning and eloquence. Calvin taught that all men by nature are totally depraved; that God chose a certain number to be saved; that Jesus atoned for the elect only; that all whom God predestinated unto life, He effectually calls by His Spirit; and that those called shall never finally fall from the state of grace and salvation.
Q. What is Arminianism?
A. Arminianism is the doctrine promulgated by James Arminus, "a professor of Divinity" at Leydon, who lived in the sixteenth century. It is opposite to Calvinism and is based on man's free will. Its cardinal points are: Christ at His death made an atonement for all mankind, subject to the condition of a belief in Him followed by good works; that men are not totally depraved or helpless sinners; that the grace and callings of God can be resisted and accomplishes nothing without man's acceptance of his own free will; that even those who accept salvation, may fall from grace and be finally lost; that God sent His Son to die for the sins of all the race of men and if any are saved it depends upon the voluntary exercise of faith and the performing of conditions; - in a word, that God is doing all He can to save the world. All denominations of the present day, except the Old School or Primitive Baptists, advocate Arminianism in some of its alluring and plausible forms.
Q. What is Absolutism?
A. It is an erroneous and strained view of the doctrine of predestination. Its advocates teach that God absolutely predestinated all things that come to pass, both good and evil; that what is going on in the world now, that which has transpired in the past, and that which will come to pass in the future was all predestinated before time and could not be otherwise from what it was, is, or will be, that all the acts of men and devils were predestinated. This doctrine is not a Bible doctrine - Elder Sylvester Hassell said it was imported from Italy. It was first published among Baptists by the paper known as the "Signs of the Times" in 1832. Since that time the doctrine has been made a hobby by a few Baptists, yet none of our churches were organized upon such a doctrine - it is not found in the articles of Faith of any Baptist Church. It is a lefthanded confusing kind of predestination and has been the cause of much strife and division. Its advocates are not satisfied with predestination as Paul expressed it. They seek to prop up predestination on one side by "absolute," and on the other side they spread it over "all things." The doctrine, when run to its logical conclusion, is nothing less than fatalism, for it makes God as being the author of sin, though most of its advocates deny this.
Q. Have Baptists been advocates of religious liberty?
A. Yes. By the influence of the Baptists, the first amendment to the constitution of the United States was adopted in 1789, forbidding congress to make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Even the very idea of the local independence of the Governments is believed to have been derived by Thomas Jefferson from a small Baptist Church whose monthly meetings he attended for several months in succession about ten years before the American Revolution. Mr. Jefferson declared that their form of church government was the only form of true democracy then existing in the world. (Hassell's Church History).
Q. Why do Primitive Baptists practice close communion?
A. Because communion is an expression of spiritual church fellowship, and we can have spiritual church fellowship only with baptized, sound, and orderly believers in Christ (Acts 2:41,42; I Cor. 5:11; 10:16; II Cor. 6:14-18; II Thess. 3:6). Baptism is the immersion of a believer in Christ by a minister authorized by a gospel church to baptize. The Apostles communed only with baptized, sound, and orderly believers.
Q. Should the Communion be offered members of other churches who are members of Secret Societies?
A. If Lodgeism is a religion as is claimed by their highest authorities why commune with this type of religion and deny Communion to other forms of Arminianism? Dr. Mackey further said on page 641 of his Encyclopedia: "The religion of Free-masonary * * * is not Christianity." He claims it is broader and more adaptable than Christianity, that it is eminently a religious institution? He said, "Masonry, then, is indeed a religious institution and on this ground mainly, if not alone, should the religious Mason defend it". We claim that Christianity is the only true religion: Masonry is therefore a false one. Should Baptists have fellowship for a false religion under the name of Masonry or any other name? In none of the "sublime ceremonies" of Masonry, or other like orders, is the name of Jesus used. They use much ceremony even in the burial of the dead, yet never do you hear them use the words "Jesus" or "Christ." In the New Testament we find the name "Christ" used 554 times, but not one time in the religion of Masonry. In the New Testament we find the word "Jesus" 961 times, but not a single time is it found in the religion of Masonry. Should Baptists fellowship a religion which denies their Lord and Master? How can a Baptist who knows in his heart that when he comes to die, Jesus, and not his Lodge, will be his only help, how can such a Baptist deny Jesus now! How can he leave the blessed Lord out in the street while he goes into a Lodge where His dear name is never used in the religious service there? Again, the name of Jesus is not used because it would offend the Jew, the infidel, the atheist, the Hottentot and the what-nots. And rather than offend unbelievers in Jesus they leave Jesus out altogether. And why any Baptist wants to join himself to a Lodge where the name of his Saviour is not allowed is hard to understand. Not many of our people have become entangled in this Lodgeism religion. True religion needs no darkness for a covering. Good works done by professors of Christ should be done in His name, not in the name of a Secret Society which will not even use His name in their so-called "sublime ceremonies." P.
Q. What are some of the dangers of open communion?
A. If open communion were generally practiced by Baptists it would do away with the Bible baptism, destroy all church discipline, and finally do away with the New Testament churches. Open communion leads to open membership which will sooner or later lead to the extinction of visible gospel churches by a union or alliance of the church and the world. P.
Q. What duties does the New Testament lay upon churches as a body?
A. To meet together for the public worship of God; to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints; to practice the ordinances, and obey the commandments of God; to maintain gospel discipline, withdrawing from every member who walks disorderly; to be dutiful in all the relations of life; to visit and minister to the afflicted and destitute; to aid with their wordly substance those who minister to them in spiritual things; to help visiting ministers on their way after a godly sort; to be reverent towards God, and kind and forgiving toward their fellowman, even their enemies; to be obedient citizens of their country; to live in peace with each other and, as far as possible, with the world; to be sober, righteous, and godly; to thank the Lord for His mercies, and to pray to Him for their continuance; to be mindful of the shortness and uncertainty of life and the certainty of death and eternal judgment after it; and to watch and be ready for the second coming of Christ, which may occur any moment. Of course, without Christ we can do nothing; but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (John 15:5; Phil. 4:13).
Q. Is there at present, in Palestine, or Italy, or France, a gospel church as we understand that institution?
A. No; nor anywhere else, so far as I know, except in the British Isles, Canada, the United States and Australia; but still the Lord has a people in every nation, kindred, and tongue. Christ, and not the church or any other creature, is the Saviour of sinners.
Q. Were there other churches in the Apostolic Age, besides those to whom Epistles of the New Testament were written?
A. Yes, many; in Jerusalem (Acts 1;2; 15:4); Joppa (Acts 10:23); Cesarean (Acts 10: 24-48); Samaria (John 4:39-42; Acts 8:12, 25); Galilee (Matt. 28:7 with I Cor. 15:6); Antioch (Acts 13: 1); Damascus (Acts 9:10-22); Babylon (I Pet. 5:13) ; Cyprus (Acts 13:4) ; Pisidia (Acts 13:14-49); Lycaonia (Acts 14:6,7); Phrygia (Acts 16:6) ; Pontus, Cappadocia, and Bithynia (I Pet. 1:1); Troas (Acts 20:6,7); and Berea (Acts 17:10-12); and probably in many other places and countries not mentioned in the New Testament.
Q. In Rev. 3:20 Christ says "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." What is the meaning?
A. This language is addressed to the angel, messenger, or minister of the church of the Laodiceans (Rev. 3:14), and to those who have the Spirit of God (Rev. 3:22), and therefore are spiritually alive, but spiritually dormant or asleep to their Christian obligations and privileges; and Christ, by His Holy Spirit and word, thus arouses them to renewed obedience and comfort. We feast with Christ when, hearing and obeying and having sweet fellowship with Him.
Q. What "church" building is the most costly and magnificent in the world?
A. The Roman Catholic Cathedral at St. Peter's at Rome. It will hold about fifty thousand people, and is said to have cost about sixty million dollars, much of which money was raised by selling indulgences to sin. Thus what the "church" of Rome considers her greatest glory is really her greatest shame.
Q. Are there not "church" houses in existence that were three or more centuries in course of construction?
A. One at least "Saint Peter's," the chief Roman Catholic Cathedral at Rome, completed in A.D. 1664, at a cost of sixty million dollars, much of which money was raised by the blasphemous and unblushing sale of indulgences for past, present, and future sins - so-called "grace" being sold for gold, a price having been set upon each kind of sin. This enormity was the immediate occasion for the Protestant Reformation under Martin Luther.
Q. Who organized the church and by what name was it called?
A. "Upon this rock I will build my church." (Mat. 16:18). Jesus said this. This is the first mention of "church" in the Bible. Jesus is the First and Master Builder. If He is the Builder, He must have been the organizer. And as He was baptized by "John the Baptist," His church must have been a "Baptist Church." And as the word "first" means primitive or original, it looks like the first church was a Primitive Baptist Church, though the contenders for the primitive doctrine and practice have been called by different names in the days that have passed, and will be in the days to come. P.
Q. When Did Christ build His church?
A. In the 16th Chapter of Matt. He says, "I will build my church." Evidently He built it there for immediately He instructs His disciples to tell their grievances to the church after other efforts have failed. Then we find the church transacting business before the day of Pentecost which so many have tried to make the birthday of the church. P.
Q. Did The Holy Spirit dwell on the earth before the day of Pentecost?
A. Most assuredly He did. He came to abide with his people on the day of Pentecost and to make every church "a habitation of God through the Spirit." P.
Q. Are the Old Baptists in accord with the chronology of the Bible?
A. Chronology is the science of time, or the science "which treats of measuring time by regular divisions or periods, and which assigns to events their proper dates." Old Baptists are perfectly agreed to all things, whether events or their dates, mentioned in the Scriptures. The dates in the margin of some copies of the King James or Authorized Version of the Scriptures are seldom given in the Scripture text, but were computed and published by Archbishop Ussher, of Ireland, in 1650 to 1654 A.D., and were inserted in the inner margin of the King James Version by order of the British Parliament. These dates are mostly inferences from the Hebrew text, and are generally accepted by our people as about as accurate as they can be made, except that Christ was undoubtedly born four years before the beginning of the "Christian Era," because He was born during the life of "Herod the Great," and Herod died four years before the "Christian Era." This correction makes four thousand years from Adam to Christ; and Christ's baptism A.D. 26 or 27; and His crucifixion A.D. 30; and the death of Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian Church A.D. 33 (the seven years from A.D. 26 to A.D. 33 being the last prophetic week of years foretold by the Angel Gabriel to Daniel in Dan. 9:27, Christ's death being in the midst of that week, and His confirmation of His covenant with His Jewish people being during His earthly ministry of three and a half years, and the special ministry of His Spirit with His Jewish people for the next three and a half years to the martyrdom of Stephen, at which persecution His disciples were scattered among the Samaritans and Gentiles, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles). Daniel 9:24-27 is, with the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, the most unanswerable demonstration, in all literature, of the truth of Christianity and the falsehood of Judaism. No matter what all modern infidel Jews and Gentiles say, these and other similar undoubtedly authentic Scriptures, and the writings of other ancient Jews and Heathens, and the corresponding facts of history prove to all intelligent, informed, and honest minds, both Jewish and Gentile, that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah of the Old Testament, the Christ of God.
Q. Did Roman Catholicism have its origin in the Apostolic Church at Rome, and, if so, what was the cause?
A. No human being on earth knows who founded the original church at Rome; but it is probable that it was founded by the "strangers at Rome, Jews and proselytes" ("sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,") who heard and believed the sermon of Peter at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10), and were baptized and thus added by the Lord to the church at Jerusalem (Acts 2:41-47). The Apostle Paul visited and preached and wrote his longest letter to the original church at Rome (Acts 28:30,31; Epistle to the Romans). Ecclesiastical literature in the second century shows that this became corrupted in doctrine and practice during that century, as all the seven churches of Asia (mentioned in the first three chapters of Revelation) became, in a century or two, corrupt or extinct. Cyprian, "Bishop" of Carthage in Africa (A.D. 248-258), was the father of diocesan episcopacy, and of Roman Catholicism, pretending, in his Epistle 45, that the Bishops (who, in the New Testament, are always the same as pastors or elders) were the successors of the Apostles, and that the chair of Peter is the center of episcopal unity, and that the church at Rome is the root and mother of the Catholic "Church." But the first pope, in the real sense of the word, was Leo I (A.D. 440-461), who was a man of great ability and ambition, and who, as Rome was then the capital of the political world, sought to make the Roman "Church" the mistress of the ecclesiastical world, with himself at its head. Christ gave to the other Apostles, and even to the church, the same disciplinary authority that He gave to Peter (Matt. 16:19; 19:28; 18:15-18). He called Peter "Satan," because of Peter's attempt to rebuke Him (Matt. 16:21-23). Though Peter was warned by Christ, he cursed and swore that he did not know Christ (Matt. 26:34, 69-75). He dissembled, at Antioch, in regard to the ceremonial law, and Paul reproved him publicly before the church (Gal. 2:11-21). And the Scriptures do not say that Peter ever went to Rome, much less that he was bishop or pastor of the church there, and nowhere make the slightest intimation that he was ever to have a successor or line of successors. The vast forgery of the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, made in the ninth century, pretending that the popes from Clement I (A.D. 91) to Damascus I (A.D. 384) ruled over a church in which the clergy were disconnected with the State, and were unconditionally subordinate to the pope, is now admitted by even Roman Catholics to be fraudulent, but was used by the popes and papal writers for six hundred years to establish and increase the power of the popes over the "bishops."
Q. Who was the first pope of Rome, and when and by what authority was he made pope?
A. Leo I, in 440, by his own authority (Church History, page 407). Cyprian, "bishop" of Carthage, A.D. 248-258, was the father of diocesan episcopacy and of Romanism. He represented the "bishop" as successors of the Apostles, the chair of Saint Peter as the center of episcopal unity, and the "Church" of Rome as the root of all (page 301). But the first pretended "bishop" of Rome to realize Cyprian's invention of the supremacy of Peter over the other Apostles, and the succession of the "bishop" of Rome to Peter and consequently that bishop's supremacy over the whole "church" was Leo I in 440 (Church History, page 407). The Roman Catholics, with thousands of other lies, pretend that the Apostle Peter was the first pope, and, with contradicting statements, pretend that other popes have succeeded him ever since; but, in the Seculum Obscurum, the Obscure Age, the dark period of Church History between A.D. 70 and 100, according to all reputable historians, are forever buried all claims to a personal or material succession of the Apostles (pages 18 and 302). There is not a word in the Scriptures to prove that Peter was ever put by Christ over the other Apostles (Matt. 16:19 compared with 16:23 and 18:18 disproves this) or that Peter was ever at Rome, or that the bishops of Rome were his successors.
Q. At What Time did Christ set up His Kingdom on earth?
A. It began with the calling of the twelve apostles. P.
Q. Is it scriptural to call or treat any created being as " pope?"
A. It is utterly unscriptural and anti-Christian. The word "pope" is the same as "papa," and means father; and Christ forbids any of His disciples to call any man on earth their "father" - that is, their spiritual father, teacher, leader, and master, as God alone, their Heavenly Father, is the Source of their spiritual being, and of all truth, authority, and power (Matt. 23:1-12). The Jewish scribes (Pharisees) copyists and expounders of the Mosaic law, loved to be called "Rabbi" (my great one, my teacher, my leader, my master); it "tickled their ears, and fed their pride." But Christ said to His disciples, "Be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren," children of the same God, equal in right and privilege, no one superior to another, or qualified to exercise authority over the faith and practice of another. Utterly despising and disregarding this commandment of Christ, our only Head and Master, Greek Catholics have "patriarchs" and Roman Catholics have "popes" and thousands of "fathers" (they call all their priests "fathers"); and to us - saddest of all - even some Primitive Baptists follow leaders (self-constituted popes or masters) who have departed from the plain teachings of Christ in the Scriptures, and who have thus divided and alienated brethren, the children of God, from one another. In Divine condemnation of this course our dear Saviour commands us to love one another as He loved us; and when He was about to die in shame and agony for us, He prayed that all who believe on Him might be one, even as He and the Father are one (John 13:34; 17:20,21).
Q. What are the works of supererogation?
A. In the Roman Catholic theology these are the good works which it is falsely pretended that Christians can do over and above the strict requirement of the divine law, and which furnish a store of merit to atone for past sins, or to obtain an increase of grace, and to relieve the souls of the dead from the fiery torments of purgatory. The Devil never invented a bigger lie; for the Holy Spirit teaches us that we are born in sin and remain sinners until death, and that, if we are saved, it is alone of God's free and unmerited grace, and of atoning death and justifying resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the regenerating and sanctifying power of the Divine Spirit. The law of God requires us to love the Lord with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. No human being in the flesh, except our perfect and incarnate Saviour, the Godman, Jesus of Nazareth, ever came up to this requirement, much less going beyond it. If a man could save himself, he would not have needed Christ to die for him, nor the Holy Spirit to renew him, and the whole system of Christianity would be a falsehood.
Q. When was the name "Catholic" first applied to a church?
A. This word literally means universal; in the Scriptures it is never applied to a church, but only to the Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude, which were not addressed to a single church or individual. There is no universal visible church; and, if there were, it could not be called Roman Catholic or Greek Catholic or Anglo Catholic, for these are contradictory terms; if a church is Roman or Greek or English, it is certainly not catholic or universal. In the early centuries, after the first century or the Apostolic Age, churches thought to be orthodox were called by some writers Catholic in distinction from those thought to be heretical. After the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the so-called "Church of Rome" tried to monopolize this title; but the so-called "Greek or Orthodox Church" also claimed it. The term "Anglo-Catholic" was invented in England in connection with the so-called "Tractarian Movement," the issuance and influence of what was called "Tracts for the Times," tending to the old and false doctrine of "Roman Catholicism." As stated before, there is no universal visible church on earth; there are hundreds of thousands (in fact millions) of square miles where the gospel has never been preached by any man; and Mohammedanism, a pretended religion which allows the gratification of man's vilest passions, is spreading far more rapidly than even a profession of Christianity.
Q. Can it be possible that the great arrogant leaders of Catholicism are sincere?
A. Impossible, if they have any real knowledge of God or of themselves or of the Scriptures; and, even if sincere, they are no more justifiable in their wicked persecution of the children of God than were the ancient heathens and Pharisees, and the Mohammedans.
Q. Is there any Scripture proof of the Roman Catholic doctrines of the Immaculate Conception or sinlessness of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her Perpetual Virginity?
A. Not the slightest; the Immaculate Conception or sinlessness of Mary was proclaimed, against the entire teachings of the Scriptures, by Pope Pius IX at Rome, December 8, 1854; and the Catholic doctrine of her Perpetual Virginity is disproved by Matt. 1:25.
Q. Is there any need of a "pope" and a long list of his assistants to save us?
A. "Pope" means father; and Christ says, "Call no man on earth your father" (Matt. 23:9), that is, your spiritual father; "for one is your Father, which is in heaven;" yet, in direct disobedience to Christ, Roman Catholics call not only their "Pope" but all their "priests," father. By their inventions and traditions they make the commandments of God none effect (Matt. 15:3-9).
Q. Was the Guy Fawkes attempt to blow up the English Houses of Parliament and King James I November 5, 1605, by Roman Catholics, and how near to success did it attain?
A. It was by Roman Catholics, and was intended to destroy the Protestant government of England, and to restore the Roman Catholics to power; and it was discovered by an anonymous letter received October 26, 1605, by William Parker Montague, a member of the House of Lords, written, it is believed, by his brother-in-law, Francis Tresham, one of the conspirators, warning him not to attend that session of Parliament. Investigation was made, and thirty-six barrels of gunpowder, containing 3,200 pounds, were found, with abundance of fire-wood and coal, in the cellar of the Houses of Parliament. The originator of the plot was Robert Catesby, a cousin of Francis Tresham. Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, John Wright, and Robert Wright, who were among the conspirators, were shot and killed in a house by the sheriff and his men in attempting to arrest them; Guy Fawkes, Thomas Winter, Robert Winter, Everard Digby, Ambrose Robewood, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, and a Jesuit priest, Henry Garnet, were tried and executed; Francis Tresham died in the Tower; while the Jesuit priests, Greenway and Gerard, escaped. Jesuit authors and editors excuse and even justify the diabolical "gunpowder plot" to murder hundreds of innocent people, and the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's August 24-25, 1572, in which the Catholics killed tens of thousands of Protestants in France, and the slaughter of the Albigenses and Waldenses, and all the horrors of the Inquisition, which, as soon as they have the power, they will renew all over the world. But we know, from the Scriptures, that the end will be their own and terrible and everlasting destruction (II Thess. 2:1-12; Rev. 17:15-18; 18; 19:1-3,20; 20:10).
Q. Is kissing the pope's hand and foot an act of worship, or typical of abject submission to his unbounded power?
A. It is both; of course if he is God on earth, as the Romanists pretend, the members of his apostatical communion should be entirely submissive to him. The so-called "cardinals" whom he creates are next in rank and power to him, and, at his death, they elect his successor from their own number.
Q. Do Catholics owe their first and highest allegiance to the church?
A. Unquestionably they do. In a contest with other nations where the church is not involved thousands of Catholics are just as loyal to the flag as Baptists and Protestants, but if the test ever comes no student of history doubts what loyal Catholics will do. They will defend the church and destroy the flag. P.
Q. What is the difference between "the Holy Catholic Church" and "the Roman Catholic Church?"
A. The "church of England" (or the "Protestant Episcopal Church" of the United States) considers itself "the Holy Catholic (or Universal) Church;" but the "Roman Catholic Church" is that organization which acknowledges the Pope of Rome as its infallible earthly head, the vicar of Christ, God on earth, the Lord of Heaven, Earth, and Hell, out of whose communion there is no salvation. The Apostle John, in the 17th chapter of Revelation, gives an exact prophetic photograph of this wealthy, filthy, and bloody institution.
Q. Does not the first beast in Rev. 13th, 17th, and 19th chapters, represent the persecuting world power; and the second beast, and the great whore, and false prophet, in these chapters, represent the false persecuting church, generally supported by the world power, but at last attacked and destroyed by the world power (Rev. 17:16)?
A. I think so. The Pope of Rome has mostly lost, but is regaining, his power over the governments of the world; but we know, from Rev. 17:16-18, that he or his power will finally be destroyed by the nations that have supported him.
Q. What is the meaning of "Selah?"
A. This word occurs 74 times in the Bible - 71 times in the Psalms, and 3 times in the 3rd chapter of Habakkuk, which is a Psalm. It is a musical note, and for more than two thousand years its meaning has been and is yet unknown. Hebrew scholars have conjectured that it means "pause;" or "forever;" or "strong" or "strongest," that is, a change from a lower to a higher note; or that it is a direction for a musical interlude, between stanzas or paragraphs, or for an outburst of music at the close of a Psalm. "Selah" is, in Psalm 9:16, preceded by "Higgaion," a musical note, which occurs in the text of Psalm 19:14 and 92:3; in Psalm 19:14 "Higgaion" is rendered "meditation," and, in Psalm 92:3, "a solemn sound."
Q. What was the Shekinah?
A. Shekinah (also written Shechinah) is a Hebrew word used, not in the Bible, but by the Jews of the second century after Christ and since that time, and means dwelling, that is, the majestic dwelling or glorious manifestation of God among or to men, the Divine presence; and sometimes the Jews used the word to denote God himself. The word is taken from those passages of the Old Testament which speak of God dwelling in the bush or in the pillar of cloud and fire in the wilderness or in the tabernacle or the first temple (that of Solomon) or upon Mount Sinai or Mount Zion; and in the New Testament this Divine manifestation is called "the glory of God." This glory is perfectly and eternally manifested in heaven.
Q. What are the meanings of Aleph, Beth, Gimel, etc., at the beginnings of every eight verses in the 119th Psalm?
A. They are the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, each one of the eight verses beginning, in the Hebrew, with the latter standing above them. The alphabetical arrangement is thought to have been made to help the memory of the Hebrews in repeating or singing the Psalm, and also to show that the simple or elementary truths of the Psalm are for the instruction of all the children of God. The letters of the Hebrew and other ancient alphabets had a meaning, somewhat descriptive of their shape. The following are the meanings of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet: Aleph, ox; Beth, house; Gimel, camel; Daleth, door; He, window; Van, hook; Zain, weapon; Cheth, fence; Teth, snake; Jod, hand; Caph, bended hand; Lamed, ox-goad; Mem, water; Nun, fish; Samech, prop; Ain, eye; Pe, mouth; Tzaddi, fish-hook; Koph, back of the head; Resh, head; Schin, tooth; and Tau, cross.
Q. Does the "all" in John 12:32, and I Cor. 15:22, mean the whole human family?
A. In one sense it may, because Christ will raise all human beings from physical death and will assemble them before His judgment seat (John 5:28, 29; Matt. 25:31-46) ; but in a special and saving sense the "all" here means the elect, redeemed, and regenerated people of God.
Q. Who is the strong man armed in Luke 10:21,22?
A. The strong man is the Devil; his palace is the soul of the unregenerate man; his goods are all the faculties of that man, of which the Devil has undisturbed possession; the Stronger that comes upon him is Christ, who overcomes him in his palace, and deprives him of all his armor, his deceitful wiles, and divides the spoils, takes from Satan's service the regenerated man's endowments, and devotes them to the service of God. Christ having dispossessed Satan, conquers our hearts and occupies them forever.
Q. What is meant by the binding and loosing of Satan (Rev. 20:3)?
A. He is not bound now or excluded from the earth, but he goes to and from in the earth, seeking whom he may devour (Job 2:2; I Pet. 5:8) and deceives the whole world, tempting them and leading them into sin (Rev. 12:9); but in the future he will be excluded from the earth a thousand years by God's almighty Power, and then truth and righteousness, peace and happiness will prevail, the nations not then being deceived by him. When the thousand years are expired, Satan, according to God's purpose, will be loosed or allowed to roam over the earth again a little season, and he will again deceive the nations, and lead them, in the last great apostasy, to attempt to destroy the people of God, and God will then manifest His righteous wrath and infinite power in casting him and his angels and all his wicked followers into the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Rev. 20:21).
Q. How did Christ destroy the Devil (Heb. 2:14)?
A. By destroying his power over the chosen and redeemed people of God, and condemning him, like all his emissaries, to everlasting punishment (Heb. 2:15; Matt. 25:41; 10:28).
Q. Revelation chapter 12:7,8,9 - does this mean that the Devil or Satan, was up in God's heaven and was cast down from there?
A. Not in the third heaven, the habitation of God. There is no discord or fighting there, but peace, love and joy. The church here on this earth is sometimes called heaven. Paul, speaking of the Ephesians, says, "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Chapter 2, v. 6. I think the war between Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels was in this world, and that the Devil was cast out of heaven, or heavenly places, into the earth.
Q. Who is meant by Lucifer in Isa. 14:12?
A. The original word for Lucifer means "the shining one;" and it refers to Venus, the bright morning star. As proved by the context, the direct allusion is to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the head of the first great world empire, who had built that great idolatrous, wicked city, and had conquered the surrounding nations, including the Jews, and proudly boasted of it, but was abased by God to the level of an ox eating grass. But, as shown by Luke 10:18, the indirect allusion is to Satan, whom Nebuchadnezzar represented, and who led the apostate angels in rebellion against God, and who, with his followers, was cast down to hell, reserved, under chains of darkness, to the judgment of the great day (II Peter 2:4; Jude 6). P.
Q. What are the meanings of the word elder, bishop, pastor, and minister?
A. Elder (an ancient Jewish title) means older, one having age and authority over younger persons; in ancient times age was essential to authority, because age is generally accompanied by experience and wisdom, and persons of age are usually appointed or chosen to positions of authority in modern times; among the ancient Jews, elders were the fathers or forefathers, the heads, representatives, judges, and rulers of families and tribes, and the Jewish Sanhedrin or Assembly was composed of elderly men, and it was the Supreme Court of the nation, to whom were referred the more difficult cases from the lesser courts of elders in the towns and cities, but, under the Roman government, while the Sanhedrin could condemn a person to death, only the Roman procurator or governor could have the sentence carried into execution; in the New Testament an elder is a person possessed of superior spiritual wisdom, and authorized by the church of his membership to preach and administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper; even the Apostle Peter (whose false or pretended successors, Roman Catholic popes assume to be lords over the church and the world), calls himself by the humble title of elder (I Pet. 5:1). Bishop (a more modern title) means overseer, and a bishop in the New Testament is a spiritual overseer of a church, and is the same as an elder (Acts 20:17,28); Peter calls Christ the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (I Pet. 2:25). Pastor means feeder or shepherd, and he is one who should provide good pasture for his flock, and guide, heal, and preserve them; God is called our Pastor or Shepherd (Psalm 23:1); so is Christ (John 10:11; I Pet. 2:25); and so are God's ministers (Jer.3:15; Eph. 4:11). Minister means servant or attendant; Christ is called a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man (Heb. 8:2); angels are also called ministers or ministering servants to the heirs of salvation (Psalm 104: 4; Heb. 1:13,14).
Q. Please state in your paper what it takes to constitute an Elder?
A. Paul states the qualifications thus, "He must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. (For if a man, know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." There are other references to the qualifications of an Elder or preacher, but these fully answer the question. No minister perfectly fulfills all these requirements, but all should try to meet them. By aiming at the mark we will come nearer hitting it than by shooting at random. P.
Q. What may be said to comfort one who is troubled because not realizing the love of the dear Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved poor sinners to such an extent that He the eternal Son of God, became a man to suffer, bleed, and die for them?
A. None are troubled on that account who do not believe in and love the Saviour. All our love for Christ, compared to His love of us, is but as the heat of the moon compared to the heat of the sun; it is cold indeed. When by an eye of faith we behold the King in His beauty, we esteem Him as the chiefest among ten thousand, the One altogether lovely, and we desire to love Him infinitely more, and to serve Him infinitely better, and to be with Him and like Him forever. "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6).
Q. When we have small but comforting evidences of our acceptance with the Lord, can we rely on these as coming from Him, or are they the products of an overwrought imagination?
A. If these evidences are in accordance with the teachings of the Scriptures, they come from the Lord. If we feel sinful and unworthy of the least of God's mercies, and yet hope that He has given His dear Son to bear our sins in His own body on the accursed tree, and mourn over His undeserved and unparalleled sufferings for our transgressions, and hate the sins that slew Him, and desire above all things else to be conformed to His perfect character, and earnestly wish to obey all the holy commandments of God, and to be resigned to all His providences, however afflictive, and love his dear people because we believe they are His people, and heartily enjoy the preaching of the pure gospel of salvation by grace, we may be sure that these feelings are from the Lord, and that He is our Heavenly Father, and is preparing us by His Holy Spirit and the blood of His dear Son, for a blissful and everlasting abode with Him in glory.
Q. Does God punish His people, and if He does in what way?
A. "The Lord hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his way; according to his doings will He recompense him" (Hos. 12:2). "You only (God's people) have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities" (Amos 3: 3). God says of the children He gave to His Son: "If His children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with a rod, and their iniquities with stripes." (Psa. 89:30-32). "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace." (Heb. 10:28-29). Various instances could be cited of God's punishment, in one way or another, of His people for their disobedience, and he who does not believe these truths does not believe the Bible. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." P.
Q. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph. 6:12). A brother in Galax wants a sermon on this: I can only give a few ideas here, may others preach it out.
A. Paul was one who was not afraid to meet the enemies of truth. On Mars Hill, surrounded by wise men of the world and worshipers of false gods, he spoke in defense of truth. When false brethren opposed him, he would not be swerved from the truth; and even when Peter gave heed to the clamor of the Jews for the Gentile Christians to be circumcised, Paul "Withstood him to the face, because he (Peter) was to be blamed." (Gal. 2:11). But now he is talking about wrestling "not against flesh and blood," but against principalities, and powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world. Satan is called the prince and the god of this world. He is the father of spiritual wickedness, chief of wicked spirits. And there are many such devils, unclean, proud, lying, deceitful and malicious. These devils occupy high places, sometimes in the church, in the affairs of this world, in our flesh, around, about, and above us watching every advantage to lead us astray. "Wherefore" Paul says, "take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day." God furnishes the armour; we should put it on and fight the good fight of faith, overcome evil with good." Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (Jas. 4:7). P.
Q. "For every man shall bear his own burden." (Gal. 6:5). What is the meaning?
A. Do his own work allotted him; not shift it on the shoulders of others when he is able to bear it. Again, when it comes to the burden of sin, each one must bear it until Christ takes it and bears it for the poor sinner. Also every wicked man will have to bear his own burden, he will not be able to shift it to another. P.
Q. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me," so said Paul. (Phil. 4:13); but Brother R.N. Teare, Kerby, West Virginia, wants to know the meaning?
A. It means the "all things" he is treating about in; his letter, in all trials and sorrow, affliction's and persecutions, with Christ strengthening him, he could be content. He had learned how to be abased and how to abound, and in whatsoever state he was, "therewith to be content," not content with himself, but with God's providence, care, blessings and the duties put upon him to perform. With the help of the Lord he could willingly and cheerfully endure afflictions, reproaches, cruel mocking and torturing death; he could perform all the arduous toil and self-sacrificing labor the Master required at his hand. These are some of the "all things" Paul could do, not that he was omnipotent and could do all things that Christ, his blessed Lord could do. P.
Q. Are all human beings obliged to commit all the sins they do, and do all God's people do all the good that His grace enables them to do?
A. Such wild statements are unscriptural, pantheistic, and fatalistic; they virtually charge all the blame for all sin upon an essentially, infinitely, and eternally holy God, and exempt man from all accountability and all just chastisement or punishment, and they should not be fellowshipped by any sound and orderly church.
Q. About what per cent of Primitive Baptists believe that God decreed all things that occur and all the means necessary to bring about all events?
A. To the best of my knowledge and belief, not more than about one-tenth.
Q. Did some leading ministers of former ages believe in this doctrine?
A. Yes; a few among Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Baptists; though the most of them were careful to modify it as is done in the London Baptist Confession of 1689, which declares "yet so as thereby God is neither the author of sin, nor hath fellowship with any therein, nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established," but God "leaves," "permits," and "gives over" His creatures to sin, and at the same time "most wisely and powerfully bounds, disposes, and governs their sins to His most holy ends."
Q. If the only witnesses against a member charged with disorder are outsiders what course should the church pursue?
A. Appoint a committee to investigate the matter, and if the committee becomes satisfied of the guilt of the member, the church should either reprove or exclude him or her according to the enormity of the offense.
Q. What was the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:6-15)?
A. It is not defined in the Scriptures, but it is supposed to be substantially the same as the doctrine (or teaching) of Balaam and of Jezebel, denounced in the same chapter (Rev. 2:4,20), that is, antinomian libertinism, "turning the grace of God into lasciviousness" (Jude 4), making the doctrine of salvation by grace an excuse for unchastity and idolatry.
Q. Does the fact that God's foreknowledge embraces every act of man make every act of man just what it is?
A. No. God's foreknowledge of what men will do is not the cause of them doing it. P.
Q. If men have to live the lives they do live because God foreknew that they would live such lives why preach the gospel to them?
A. People do not have to live sinful lives because God knew that they would so live. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God, cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." P.
Q. Does the gospel preaching move God?
A. No. God moves the gospel preaching. P.
Q. Does prayer move God?
A. God is before all sincere prayer and has ordained that blessing come to his praying children. "Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear." "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." P.
Q. Why teach and exhort the child of God to live soberly and keep the commandments when he cannot?
A. Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Jesus said to Peter, "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren." God strengthens us for all duties imposed upon us and when we devotedly and faithfully serve him we strengthen others. P.
Q. You criticise the Absoluters for saying they lose nothing in disobedience, nor gain anything in obedience. Now if they gain something in obedience that they would not in disobedience, do they not merit it by their obedience?
A. Merit means reward, and "reward" is found in the Bible eighty times, and to teach the truth as inspired men taught it, my answer must be, yes. Let God's children, however, not get confused here: the rewards spoken of in the Bible never refer to salvation of lost sinners, that is alone by grace. But God's people are under laws or statutes, "and in the keeping of them there is great reward" (Psa. 19:11). "Verily there is a reward for the righteous" (Psa. 59:11). "If thine enemy hunger, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee." (Prov. 25:20-21). Jesus said if in giving alms, if given in the right spirit and in secret - not to be seen of men, "thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Mat. 6:4). Also in the giving "a cup of cold water only .... he shall in no wise lose his reward" (Matt. 10:42). Paul said, "Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor" (I Cor. 3:8). If the preacher preaches willingly, he has a reward (I Cor. 9:17). In Revelation, last chapter, Jesus said, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." These are primitive truths and he who does not believe them should not call himself a Primitive Baptist. P.
Q. Where in the Bible do you find that God suffers, permits, restricts and overrules sin?
A. "That God's attitude to sin is not compulsive, but permissive, restrictive, and overruling is fully and perfectly demonstrated by the following Scriptures: II Chron. 32:31; Psa. 81:12; Mark 1:34; Luke 4:41; 8:32; Acts 2:23; 7:42; 13:18; 14:16; Rom. 1:24,26,28; 9:22. The two strongest passages on predestination in the Scriptures (Acts 2:23 and Rom. 9:22) contain the inspired word "permit," rendered in Acts 2:23 "delivered up," and in Rom. 9:22 "endured." God's attitude to holiness is not permissive, restrictive, and overruling, but positive, stimulative, and inworking all the holiness in all His creatures being the direct creation of His Holy Spirit, as the Scriptures plainly teach and as all Primitive Baptists believe." The above question was asked by a brother in Georgia, and I quote the statement from Elder S. Hassell as an answer. If not convincing I shall be glad to quote other Scriptures. P.
Q. Does it take the unanimous vote of the members of a church, who are present in conference, to restore an excluded member?
A. Yes; even one vote against his restoration would prevent it for such a restoration would at once cause a division and disorder in the church. If one member trespass against another, the offended brother should first go alone to the offender, to try to gain him; and, if he does not succeed, he should take one or two other members with him as witnesses; and, if the offender still refuses to give any satisfaction, the offended member is to report the matter to the church for a final decision. Such is the law of Christ, as stated in Matt. 18:15-18.
Q. Is it apostolic to declare nonfellowship for a gospel church?
A. It is apostolical to cease communing with and to withdraw from all brethren who walk disorderly and not according to the inspired teachings of the Apostles (I Cor. 5:11-13; II Thess. 3:6). And, if an entire church continues to persist in disorder after having been humbly, lovingly, and faithfully labored with by her sister churches, they will be partakers of her sins if they do not separate from her (II Cor. 6:14-18; Rev. 18:4).
Q. Is it right for one church to call in question the dealings of another church with its own members?
A. Only when such dealings are plainly and grossly unscriptural; then the honor of the cause of Christ requires such action.
Q. Is it not a good thing to read our Articles of Faith at some of our conference meetings?
A. It is an old and excellent practice. The children of God believe the teachings of His Holy Word; and our Articles of Faith express briefly the substance of those teachings; and it is well to read them at least once a year, to refresh our own memories, and to show others what we surely believe.
Q. Has a Church a right to declare nonfellowship for the Pastor of a Sister Church without an investigation or Gospel labor?
A. A Church has no right to declare nonfellowship for the Pastor of a Sister Church without an investigation or Gospel labor. I never heard of such a case.
Q. Should we fellowship an Article of Faith which says, "We believe the foreknowledge and the predestination of God are the same to the extent of time, therefore God foreordained and predestinated all things that come to pass?"
A. No. Inspiration made no mistake in separating foreknowledge and predestination. Don't mix them; keep them separated. "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son," not predestinated to do every thing He knew they would do. P.
Q. Are there any conditions in the New Testament?
A. There are, as in Luke 13:3,5; John 8:34; 13:17; but these conditions of repentance, faith, and obedience are wrought in us by the Spirit of God (Ezek. 36:26,27,31; Zech. 12:10-14; Acts 11: 18; Gal. 5:22; John 16:7-14; I Cor. 12:3; Isa. 26:12; Philip 2:12,13).
Q. What is "the common salvation" (Jude 3)?
A. The eternal salvation common to all God's people, of which He alone is the Author. The word "common" here means general to all, participated in by all the elect of God, as in Acts 2:44; 4:32; Tit. 1:4.
Q. Should we fellowship a church that has members in it who are members of religious secret orders?
A. Primitive Baptists may bear with such a church in reason if there be manifest in it a desire to recover themselves from the error, but to approve and fellowship secret-lodgeism would be to reverse the historical position of Primitive Baptists, to forsake the doctrine of God for the doctrines of men, to do our good works (if good works they be) in the name of a lodge instead of in the name of Christ, and to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. P.
Grace and Works
Q. "By grace are ye saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8); how through faith?
A. The Pharisaic and heathen doctrine of salvation by works is false; we are saved entirely by the free grace or unmerited favor of God; and true faith, the fruit of His Spirit (Gal. 5:22; John 16:13, 14; I Cor. 12:3), is the channel or medium through which we realize our interest in His salvation. Even John Wesley, one of the wisest of Arminians, in expounding Eph. 2:8-10, says that not only grace but also faith and salvation are all the gifts of God. "It is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed," says the Apostle Paul in Rom. 4:16.
Q. If we are saved by grace and not by our works (Rom. 11:5-7; Eph. 2:8, 9; II Tim. 1:9; Tit. 3: 4-7), how is it that we are to be judged according to our works (Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6-11; II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:13; 22:12)?
A. Our works show our hearts and our characters. If God's grace is in our hearts and characters, it will shine in our lives; if His grace is not in our hearts and characters, our lives will be dark, selfish, worldly, and devilish. The good fruit shows the good tree; and the bad fruit shows the evil tree (Matt. 7:16-20; 5:16; 12:35; 25: 31-46; Isa. 61:3,11; 55:10-13; 43:21; 44: 1-5; Rom. 6; 13:10; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 2:10; Philip 2:12,13; I Thess. 2-5; James 2).
Q. If we are saved entirely by grace, as the Scriptures teach, how is it that Christ, our Divine Judge, will reward every one according to his works (Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6-11; II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:12, 13; 22:12, 13)?
A. A man's deeds show the spirit by which he is actuated, as the fruit shows the nature of the tree. If a man loves the Lord and His people, he will delight to serve Him and them, and take no credit to himself for such service; but if he has no such love, his conduct will plainly enough prove it (Matt. 25:31-46; Philip 2:12,13; Gal. 5:6, 16-25; Heb. 8:8-12; James 2).
Q. What is the difference between faith and grace?
A. Faith is belief, and grace is favor or gift; it is of God's free favor or gracious gift that we, in our hearts, believe in His Son as our Saviour (Rom. 4:16; I Cor. 12:3; II Cor. 4:6; Gal.5: 22; Eph. 1:19,20; 2:8,9; Philip 1:29; Heb. 12:2).
Q. What is the meaning of Peter's exhortation to his penitent hearers on the day of Pentecost, "Save yourselves from this untoward (crooked, perverse, wicked) generation" (Acts 2:40)?
A. The verb here rendered "save yourselves" is not in the middle voice with the reflexive sense, as this translation implies, but it is the passive voice, and literally means "be ye saved," that is, "be willing for God to save you from the character and doom of this wicked generation," which was soon to perish in the unparalleled suffering of the siege and capture of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus. And being divinely wrought upon, his penitent hearers gladly received his word, and were baptized, and were thus added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:41,47).
Q. Do such Scriptures as I Cor. 1:21; 9:22; Philip. 2:12; I Tim. 4:16; James 5:19,20, refer to a temporal or eternal salvation?
A. A temporal salvation, a salvation here in time, which God works in us by His Holy Spirit (Isa. 26:12; Ezek. 36:26,27; I Cor. 15:10; Ephes. 2:8-10, 18-22; Philip 2:13; 4:13), and which we are to manifest in our outward lives, and we will be more comforted in obedience than in disobedience, and we will gladly and justly give all the glory of both our temporal and eternal salvation to God alone. If the texts mentioned in the first sentence of this question mean our eternal salvation, then Arminianism is true, and the Bible doctrine of salvation by grace is fundamentally wrong.
Q. Does the Bible teach that there is a conditional time salvation?
A. The Bible does not use this phrase, and, as its truth is controverted by some of our brethren, it would probably be best to avoid it. But it is certain that the Bible does teach that there is a salvation or deliverance here in time, which we ourselves are to work out (Philip 2:12; Acts 2:40; I Tim. 4:16); yet we can only do this as God works in us by His grace (Philip 2:12,13; 4:13; John 15:4,5; I Cor. 15:10). The cause of the most controversies is the affirmative of one part and the denial of another part of the truth.
Q. Can any of the elect people of God commit the sin against the Holy Ghost either before or after regeneration?
A. No; for all the elect were redeemed by Christ and will be forgiven and saved eternally (Eph. 1; Pet. 1; Isa. 35; 53; 45:17; John 6:37-40; 10:15, 27-30; 17:1-24). As proved by the Scriptures in Matt. 12, Mark 3, and Luke 12, only the wilful, malicious, persistent enemies of Christ, children of the Devil, given up to hardness and impenitence of heart, ever commit this unpardonable sin.
Q. What does Paul mean when he says, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14)?
A. That the church, the children of God should arouse from their state of carnal security, slothfulness, worldliness, and indifference, which seems like spiritual death, and live more reverently, soberly, righteously, and affectionately, toward one another, more self-denyingly, like Christ, and the Lord would increase their heavenly light and comfort (Rom. 13:7-14).
Q. Do we get rest IN or FOR coming to Christ (Matt. 11:28-30)?
A. It is more scriptural to say that we obtain rest in and not for obedience (Psalm 19:11; James 1:25; Heb. 4:3). If we do not come to or believe in Christ, we do not obtain rest; but God's especial electing grace is the cause why we come to Christ (John 6:37-45; Psalm 65:4; Isa. 27:13; 34:10; 55:1-13; Isa. 61:11; Jer. 31:3, 7-9, 31-37; Ezek. 36:25-27).
Q. Do the Scriptures set forth both a time and eternal salvation?
A. No one except those who are willfully or unintentionally ignorant of the Scriptures deny this fact. Salvation is deliverance, and human beings are delivered from distress both in time and in eternity. Our eternal salvation is alone by the free grace of God through His atoning Son and renewing Spirit; and if we are here in time delivered from trouble in our obedience unto God, that very obedience comes from the grace of God (Isa. 26:12; Philip 2:12,13; Heb. 13:20,21).
Q. What is it "to break one of the least commandments" (Matt. 5:19)?
A. All the commandments of God are of divine authority, and the transgression of any of them is sin (I John 3:4); but Christ Himself speaks of a "greater sin," and a "greater damnation" (John 19: 11; Matt. 23:14; see also Matt. 11:20-24); and He speaks of "the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, faith, and the love of God" (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42). The moral law of ten commandments alone was written by the finger of God upon two tables of stone, and was called the covenant of God with national Israel (Exod. 34:28); and its observance was repeatedly declared by the prophets to be of far more importance than the observance of the ceremonial law. And the commandments of the first table of the moral law, showing our duty to God, are more important than the commandments of the second table, showing our duty to our fellow men. And in each table the greatest and most important commandments are put first, just as, after we are quickened from the death of sin, the light of the Holy Spirit shows us first our greatest and then our lesser sins - the heavenly light of the early morning shining more and more unto the perfect day.
Q. Does the olive tree, differently from other trees, affect the character or quality of the fruit borne by the branch grafted in it, as intimated by the Apostle Paul in Rom. 11:17-24?
A. It does, because of its extraordinary vitality and longevity; the olive tree sometimes lives a thousand years. Spiritually speaking, it is Divine grace, and not human nature, that grafts the wild olive branch into the good olive tree; the root is Christ; the sap is the Holy Spirit; the tree is the true Church, and the branches are His regenerated people, who derive all their heavenly beauty, vigor, and fruitfulness from the Divine Root through His indwelling Spirit.
Q. In II Cor. 6:1 the Apostle Paul, in the King James Version, says, "We then, as workers together with Him, beseech You also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain;" what does he mean?
A. The words "with Him" and "You" are in italics, which shows that Paul did not write them. The exact language of Paul is: "But we also, working together, exhort that you receive not the grace of God in vain." By "we" he means himself and Timothy (II Cor. 1:1), and of course all other gospel ministers. And by exhorting the Corinthians (and of course all other) Christians not to receive the grace of God in vain, he means to exhort them to manifest the grace of God in their conduct and conversation, not to hide the light which God had given them, but to let it shine, to abound in good works in which God had before ordained them to walk, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, to prove that Christianity is not an empty profession, but a Divine reality (I Cor. 15:10; Matt. 5:16; Eph. 2:10; Tit. 2:11-15).
Q. What is meant by "resisting the Holy Ghost" (Acts 7:51)?
A. Resisting or opposing the Spirit of God in His ministers, and persecuting those servants of God (Acts 7:51-53; Neh. 7:30). No human being can withstand the almighty power of the Holy Spirit in regeneration (John 3:8).
Q. What does Jesus mean by saying, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire" (Matt. 7:19)?
A. That all the finally unregenerate and impenitent and unbelieving and wicked will be cast into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41,46; Rev. 21:8).
Q. Please explain in the Advocate the second and third verses of I John.
A. The apostle here gives a rule whereby we may know whether one professing to have the Spirit of God really has it. Jesus is God's Son, born of Mary - God manifest in the flesh - human and divine, and came to destroy the works of the devil and will ultimately do so and save from sin every one God gave Him. Those who confess not that Christ came in the flesh to do the work He came to do, is not of God, but are led by the spirit of anti-Christ. And when John wrote he said, "... and even now already it is in the world." At that early age of the church the spirit of anti-Christ was being manifest. And Paul, a little later said, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (II Tim. 3:12). And Jesus said, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect." (Matt. 24:24). P.
Q. Are regeneration and obedience produced by the same kind of process?
A. According to the Scriptures, they are not. Regeneration is declared by John to be "not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12,13; 3:3,5,6,8; I John 2:29). While in obedience to the commandments of God, the will of man is always represented to be involved, God commanding and commending for obedience, and forbidding and condemning for disobedience (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:16-19; 4:7-12; Exod. 20, 35; Deut. 22, 23; Josh. 24:15-24; I Kings 28:21; I Chron. 38:9: Eccles. 12:13,14; Isa. 1, 19, 20; Ezek. 18, 30; Matt. 16:24,25; John 5:40; II Cor. 8:12; Rev. 22:17); but the will to obey the Lord comes from the inworking and powerful grace of God (Psalm 110:1-3; Phil. 2:12,13; Heb. 13:20,21).
Q. "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death;" (Rom. 6:4). Does this mean water baptism?
A. Yes. "Baptism" means burial, as all good authority admit. The ancient mode was alone by immersion. To be immersed, buried with Christ in baptism, represents the burial of Christ, and our burial with him as our head and representative; and being raised from the watery grave, represents His resurrection from the grave, His victory over death, and His ascension into heaven where all His redeemed children shall ever dwell with Him. No form of baptism except a burial in water represents these truths. P.
Q. What is meant by the parable of the wheat and tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43)?
A. Jesus clearly explains that the wheat is the children of the kingdom, who will at last shine forth in the kingdom of their Father; and that the tares are the children of the wicked one; who will, at the end of the world, be cast into a furnace of fire, where shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Q. What are your views on Phil. 2:12-13?
A. This text tells God's children to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. God had given them eternal life. Eternal life is salvation. "He that hath begun a good work in you." The good work of salvation is begun by the Lord, and begun in you. Now then work it out. Work out what the Lord has worked in. He has given you faith. Now "add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness and to godliness brotherly kindness." Such work is working out, or proving your faith by your works. And do such things, not boastingly, but with fear and trembling. God has worked in you the will to serve and gives strength to serve, and as we serve, He is glorified and we are benefitted. P.
Q. Will ye know each other in heaven?
A. We will know as we are known (I Cor. 13:12), that is, clearly and perfectly, and without any fleshly or sinful feelings, "God, Christ, angels, and glorified saints, and all truth, even as we are known of God, allowing for the difference between the Creator and the creature; that is, we will have as full and complete knowledge of persons and things as we are capable of, like, though not equal to the knowledge which God has of us, and attended with the strongest love and affection to the objects known, even as we are known and loved of God." This is John Gill's explanation of this text, and it seems to me to be correct. When Peter, James, and John saw Christ and Moses and Elijah in glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, they recognized not only Christ, but also Moses and Elijah, though they had never seen Moses or Elijah before (Matt. 17:1-3; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36). These glorified saints retained their personal identity; Moses was Moses, and Elijah was Elijah. The bodies of the. saints that are living on earth at the last day, as well as, the bodies of those who have died, will not be exchanged for other bodies, but will be the same bodies from a natural, mortal, and corruptible to a spiritual, and incorruptible condition (I Cor. 15:12-58; Philip 3:21; Thess. 4:13-18). In the pure and perfect light of heaven, and in the immediate presence and holy likeness of God, we shall be satisfied (Psalm 17:15; I John 3:2; Rev. 21 and 22).
Q. Will the Saviour change the bodies of His people and make them like His glorious body?
A. The Apostle Paul says, in Philip. 3:20,21: "Our conversation (or citizenship) is in heaven; from whence we look for the Saviour (or Vivifier or Life-Giver, as rendered in the Old Syriac Version of the second century), the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change the body of our humiliation (the body in which we are humbled or abased by sin and suffering, decay and death), that it may be fashioned (or conformed) unto the body of His glory, according to the working (or efficiency) whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." Christ, by His Holy Spirit, gives life to the dead souls of His people now, and He will give life to their dead bodies in the resurrection, when He comes again in bodily presence to this world (John 5:25-29).
Q. What is the meaning of Jesus when He says to His disciples. "In My Father's house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2,3)?
A. That in the heaven of immortal glory, where Jesus visibly dwells and reigns, there are many abiding homes for His people; and that, after His death and resurrection and ascension, He would personally and bodily go to that Holy City, that blessed, heavenly country, and prepare these homes for their everlasting abode, and at last take all His people there to live forever with Him. He could have made the heavens and the earth and all things therein instantly; but He chose to take six days in which to make them. While He prepares Heaven for His people, He prepares them for heaven; and He sovereignly chooses to take time for both of these works of His.
Q. Will our flesh, blood, and bones enter heaven?
A. Not as they are now, but when our bodies are changed, spiritualized, immortalized, and glorified, and made like the body of our risen Redeemer, they will be reoccupied by our purified spirits which He will bring with Him, and enter into the immediate, manifest, holy, and blessed presence of God.
Q. Will the wicked be annihilated at death, or will they suffer everlasting conscious punishment?
A. All science and Scripture disprove the annihilation of anything. That the wicked - that is, the unredeemed and unregenerate, the finally impenitent, will suffer everlasting conscious punishment is demonstrated, to all informed and believing minds, by such Scriptures as Matt. 10:28; 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-48; John 3:3,36; Luke 16:19-31; II Thess. 1:6-10; Rev. 14:11; 19:20; 20:10,14,15; 21:8; 22:11. The same Hebrew and Greek words used to describe the duration of God and of the happiness of the righteous are also used to describe the duration of the punishment of the wicked. Annihilation (the doctrine of heathen Buddhism) is not punishment, but the cessation of all punishment; a thing without consciousness (like a stone) can not be punished. The infinite agonies of Christ in Gethsemane and on Calvary prove that He suffered to save His people from everlasting conscious punishment. The delusion of the Devil that the wicked are annihilated at death is a cause and a sign of the most corrupt times. The infidel leaders of the French Revolution inscribed above the gates of cemeteries "Death is an Eternal Sleep." When the majority of the human race really believes that diabolical lie, scenes of far greater horror than those of the French Revolution will turn this world into a pandemonium. Infidelity rejects not only the scriptural doctrine of the everlasting punishment of the wicked, but many other teachings of the Scriptures, such as the total depravity of man, salvation by grace alone, the perfect inspiration of the Scriptures, the Divinity of Christ, the atonement, the resurrection, and the eternity, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence of God. No church should retain infidels in her membership; and, if she does, all sound and orderly churches should not retain her in their fellowship. The tides of materialism and rationalism are deluding the world, showing that the last evil, perilous times are upon us.
Q. "I go to prepare a place for you," John. 14:2. Does this mean that Christ was going to prepare a place in heaven for his people, or does it mean that he was going in order to prepare a place here for them?
A. Heaven above is meant. It is a place prepared by the Father from the foundation of the world; Christ by His presence, intercession, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, goes as it were, to fit up these many mansions. "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am." P.
Q. Do The Scriptures teach the doctrine of Infant Salvation?
A. Yes. All that is said about infants is favorable to their salvation. The Scriptures teach that salvation from sin is by grace. Human works do not save adults, much less infants, but grace does. David felt his child was saved. Jesus said "of such is the kingdom of heaven." P.
Q. Will the everlasting punishment of the wicked be annihilation or endless conscious torment?
A. Annihilation, or the utter extinction of conscious existence, is the doctrine of the heathen atheistic Buddhists; it is contrary to all science and all Scripture; it is a sign and a cause of the most corrupt times. As proved by the context and by other Scriptures, destruction in the Scriptures never means annihilation. The Almighty never made anything for nothing; such an idea impeaches His omniscience and His unchangeability. Nonexistence, instead of being everlasting punishment, is an end of all punishment. The Son of God never endured the infinite horrors of Gethsemane, Gabatha and Calvary to save sinners from unconscious nothingness. To every reverent, intelligent and candid believer in the Scriptures the following passages demonstrate, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the conscious, everlasting suffering of the wicked: Dan.12:2; Matt. 10:28; 13:49,50; 25:41,46; Mark 9:43,44; Luke 16:23,24,28; John 3:36; John 5:28,29; Rom.2:6-16; II Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 14:11; 19:20; 20:10, 15; 21:8; 22:11. Satan, transforming himself into an angel of light, perverts these and other plain Scriptures into fables and nothingness (Gen. 4:4,5; II Cor. 11:3,14,15; II Tim. 4:3,4; Rev. 12:9). The false doctrine of annihilationism was first broached, among professed Christians, in the fourth century, by Arnobius, of Africa, a superficial rhetorician; but it has found many followers, in the last two or three deteriorating centuries, among materialists, pantheists, universalists, infidels and Arminians. Life is not existence (for things without life exist); but life is a condition of existence; and so death (the opposite of life) is not nonexistence, but an opposite or different condition of existence. Adam died (in trespasses and sins) in the day when he ate the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:17), but he still existed as a natural though sinful man. And so the Ephesians, who were "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1), had a natural sinful existence, in which they walked in worldliness and disobedience (Eph. 2:2), until God quickened them, or gave them spiritual and divine life. The cutting off, or consuming, or perishing, or destruction of the wicked on earth (Psalm 37:20,34, 36,38; Mal. 4:1,3) is their judicial, righteous, violent consignment to death, from which they "will come forth unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:29; Matt. 25:41,46). Punishment is pain, physical or mental, and consciousness is essential to pain; therefore everlasting punishment is everlasting conscious pain - everlasting "contempt" (Dan. 12:2), "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish" (Rom. 2:8,9) "everlasting fire" (Matt. 25:41), where there will be"wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 13:41,42). It seems enmity to God and cruelty to sinners to endeavor to soften these awful truths into annihilation or nothingness. Our English word, punishment, is derived from a Latin and Greek word meaning pain or suffering; and the Greek word rendered, punishment, in Matt. 25:46 ("these shall go away into everlasting punishment") means chastisement, and is in I John 4:18 rendered torment. Christ saves His people from the everlasting torment deserved by their sins.
Q. Is there any difference between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit?
A. There is not; the same original word rendered "Ghost" is sometimes rendered "Spirit" by our translators. He is also called "the Spirit of Truth" and "the Comforter" (John 14:16,17), and the Third Person of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19). And by the "gift of the Holy Ghost" is meant in the apostolic age His miracle-working power (Acts 2:38; 5:32; 8:15-25; 10:44-48; 19:5,6); and, if this phrase may be used of persons since the apostolic age, I understand it to mean the refreshing, comforting, sanctifying and establishing influence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of His people (I Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Eph. 2:22).
Q. What does Christ mean when He says that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven "either in this world or the world to come" (Matt. 12:32)?
A. As shown by the 32nd verse of this chapter, and by Mark 3:29, and Luke 12:10, He simply means that this sin would not or never could be forgiven. The Greek word translated "world" in Matt. 12:32 is in the King James version, often rendered "age," and the expression may be rendered either in the legal or in the gospel age (or age of the Messiah).
Q. Jesus said that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost should not be forgiven, what is this sin?
A. Some of the Pharisees no doubt committed the unpardonable sin. They could not deny His miraculous power in healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, raising the dead, etc., but they maliciously and obstinately contended that He performed these miracles by the spirit of the devil. They said, "By the prince of the devils casteth he out devils." Such sinning against the plain manifestations of God's power was unpardonable. But I heard recently an Arminian minister preach that "those who do not accept Christ" join the church and be baptized were sinning against the Holy Ghost." Such preachers wrest the scripture from their true meaning and use them to scare people into their church. The term, "Accept Christ and be saved" has been capitalized by Arminians. They can hardly preach without talking about "accepting" Christ. But this word is not used in the Bible in connection with Christ. Church membership in a gospel church is a position every believer in Jesus should seek to occupy, but church membership is not the means of eternal salvation. "By grace are ye saved." P.
The Holy Land
Q. Is Palestine, or the Holy Land, peculiar above all other countries in the world?
A. It is in four respects: First, in being center of the old world, the great continent of Asia, Europe, and Africa, so that from it the great, fundamental, momentous, and eternal truths of the Scriptures might readily be proclaimed in all the world; second, in being, although only about 12,000 square miles in extent, a world in miniature, containing all the climates and yielding all the productions of the world; third, in being separated from all the world by mountain and desert and sea; and fourth, in embracing all altitudes, from the deepest depression on the surface of the earth to the highest inhabited elevation, thus representing all the changes of Christian experience.
Q. Is the original Mount Sinai yet known?
A. It is believed to be the mountain now called by the Arabs Jebel Musa (Mountain of Moses), 6,540 feet high, between the Gulf of Suez on the west and the Gulf of Akabah on the east, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
Q. Is it known where was Mount Ararat, and also the other mountains mentioned in the Bible, and do they bear the same names?
A. Yes; and some of them have other names given them by the Turks or Arabs or Persians or Armenians who live near those mountains. Ararat, for instance, is called by the Persians the "Mountain of the Ark," and by the Turks "Steep Mountain." There are two peaks of Mount Ararat, one about 17,000 and the other about 14,000 feet high. They are of volcanic origin, and the highest peak is covered with perpetual snow. They are on the boundary between Persia, Asiatic Turkey, and the Russian possessions. The mountains are emblems of the infinite greatness, righteousness, and unchangeableness of God; and, like themselves, so many of their ancient names are unchanged.
Q. Do vessels occupy the Dead Sea?
A. They do not, nor can fish live in its waters, which are seven times saltier than the waters of the ocean, one-fourth of its water being composed of solid matter, so that a human body easily floats upon its surface. Only a few microbes (microscopic vegetable organisms) are found in the waters of the Dead Sea. Other names of this body of water are the Salt Sea, Sea of the Plain, East Sea, Sea of Lot, Sea of Sodom. It is nearly fifty miles long and nearly ten miles wide. From the top of the tableland around this sea to the bottom of the sea the distance is about a mile. It is the lowest, hottest, and most desolate region on the face of the earth. The Jordan and several smaller streams flow into it, but it has no outlet, the seven millions of tons of water that it receives every day being carried off by evaporation. It is believed that Sodom and Gomorrah stood near the southern end of this sea; a pillar of salt there is still called Lot's Wife. The Dead Sea seems to be a most appropriate emblem of the second or eternal death.
Q. Is the temple typical of the believer's house of worship, or of the believer himself?
A. Of the believer himself (John 2:19,21; Col. 2:9; I Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:21,22).
Q. Have you, during your ministerial life, ever found any one, claiming the name of Primitive (or "Hardshell") Baptist, that advocated the doctrine of "infant damnation?"
A. I never have. Only those evilminded persons who misunderstand and hate us have ever made such an accusation. One evident cause of such misrepresentation is our belief of the scriptural doctrine of particular election and a special atonement, without which all mankind would be justly condemned and lost. The Scriptures do not plainly state that all who die before natural birth or in infancy are saved; but such passages as II Sam. 12:23; Matt. 18:2,3; Luke 18:15-17; Rom. 5:12-21; and Rev. 7:9, have perfectly satisfied nearly all Primitive Baptists that all who die before natural birth or in infancy are elect and redeemed of the Lord, and are everlastingly and graciously saved by Him, without any merit or works on their part, just as all of His other people are saved; and that water baptism or sprinkling or pouring has nothing whatever to do with the everlasting salvation of any human being, whether infant or adult.
Q. What is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (Matt. 12:31,32; Mark 3:29,30; Luke 12:10) ?
A. Speaking against, or slandering, or reviling the Holy Ghost, calling Him an unclean or evil spirit, as explained in these passages.
Q. Is the exact spot now known where Solomon located the temple?
A. Yes; it was on Mount Moriah, where now stands the Mohammedan Mosque of Omar, built about 700 A. D.
Q. After all Israel, or the great body of the Jews, are converted to Christ by the almighty power of their Divine Deliverer (Rom. 11:26,27), will any Gentiles be savingly converted?
A. Yes, a great many more than ever before, by the same Almighty Power, so that the unlikely, yet clearly foretold, conversion of the great body of Christ's bitterest and most inveterate enemies, the Jews, to living faith in Him, by His Almighty Spirit's power, will be Divinely blessed to the wonderful spiritual awakening and enrichment of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:12,15). The Jews are already in all nations, and know all languages, and are used to all climates; and, as the prophets and apostles were Jews, they, as the priestly nation, will preach the pure gospel of Christ to every creature in all the world (Exod. 19:6; Isa. 2:1-5; 43:12; 60:1-22; Micah 4:1-5; Zech. 8:22; Matt. 28:16-20; Mark 16:15,16; Luke 24:44-48; Acts 1:8; Rev. 1:5,6).
Q. What is the meaning of John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me?"
A. The word "men" is in italics and was therefore supplied by the translators; it is not in the original. And so the word "man" in Heb. 2:9 - "that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man" - should be in italics, for it is not in the original; and those for whom Christ tasted death were, as the Apostle says in the next verse, the "many sons whom Christ, as the Captain of their salvation, made perfect through sufferings, brings unto glory" (Heb. 2:10). The "all" whom Christ draws unto Himself are His own loved and chosen people, who were given unto Him by His Father in eternal covenant relationship, and whose sins He bore in His own body on the cross, for whom He died and rose from the dead, and ascended to His mediatorial throne and evermore intercedes whom He has redeemed to God by His blood out of every nation and kindred and people and tongue, and whom He will raise in His own image at the last day, and take home with Him to be forever with the Lord (John 6; 10; 17; Eph. 1; 2; Heb. 1; 2; 6; 10; 12; I Pet. 1; 2; Rev. 5; 7; 21)
Q. Is there any scriptural authority for public prayer meetings?
A. Yes; in Acts 1:13,14; 4:23-32; 12:12; 16:13; Isa. 56:7; Matt. 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46.
Q. Are the Jews to possess the land of Canaan again?
A. It seems so from such prophecies as Gen. 17:8; 48:4; Isa. 2:1-4; Jer. 3:18; 30:3-24; Ezek. 36: 24; 37:15-28; Micah 4:1-5; and from the waning power of Turkey, which now holds Palestine; and from the re-gathering of the Jews in Palestine, in the last 25 years, more than ever before since the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70.
Q. How are children saved? A preacher labored at great length last Sunday to prove that since the death of Christ all infants are born without sin.
A. Infants are saved by the death of Christ. Whatever change is necessary for them to enter the kingdom of heaven, God gives them. Repentance and faith (belief) are not necessary for they have not committed actual transgression but a new nature is necessary because they are born into the world with depraved, sinful natures. That preacher is wrong in his statement that since the death of Christ infants are born sinless and pure. P
Is God Unjust?
Q. How can God vindicate His justice in pardoning and redeeming some of the sinful race of Adam from the law, and in punishing others of the same sinful race by the law?
A. Foolish and sinful man must not arraign a wise and holy God, his Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor, before his poor, little, erring tribunal. The Scriptures clearly teach that God is righteous in all His ways and holy in all His works, the Eternal and Infinite Sovereign of the universe, who cannot do wrong, who is accountable to none of His creatures, while all of them are accountable to Him; and that the whole race of Adam are sinful and guilty and condemned by His righteous law; and that the sinless and incarnate Son of God, in accordance with the stipulations of His eternal covenant with His Father, lived on earth and died and rose again for His chosen people, as their Head and Surety, doing all the law required them to do, and suffering all the law required them to suffer, bearing all the wrath of God and all the curse of the law for them, magnifying the law and making it honorable, dying for and making an end of their sins and reconciliation for their iniquities, and rising for their justification, bringing in for them an everlasting righteousness, so that God can be just and yet justify the ungodly who believe in Jesus; and that those sinners of the race of Adam for whose sins Jesus did not atone, who are not quickened by the Holy Spirit, who do not repent towards God and believe in Christ, will have their sins and the wrath of God for their sins forever abiding upon them, and will, at last be righteously consigned by a Most Holy God, who never even tempted much less compelled them to sin, but always forbade them to sin and threatened them with death for sinning, to everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels, the first transgressors of God's holy law. The justice of God shines, in the case of the elect, in His punishment of their Surety, His holy Son for their sins; and, in the case of the nonelect, in His everlasting punishment of themselves for their wilful and inexcusable sins; while His mercy shines in the everlasting salvation of the elect. Why God chose to save some from their sins, and to leave others to perish in their sins, the Scriptures do not reveal. The clearest expression on the subject is the reverent exclamation of the holy and wise and humble Son of God "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight" (Matt. 11:25,26; Luke 10:21). But the Scriptures do repeatedly and emphatically declare that God chose His people not because of their holiness or their work of righteousness (for none of the race of Adam are holy or righteous by nature), but that they should be holy - elected them, not because of their obedience, but unto obedience (Eph. 1:4; 2:1-10; I Pet. 1:1-5). The greatest of all wonders to the true people of God is why He should have loved them, chosen them, redeemed them, renewed them, and prepared a bright and everlasting home in heaven for them; and when they are at last taken to heaven, they will unanimously and joyfully and thankfully ascribe every particle of the glory of their salvation to the Divine Father, Son, and Spirit.
Jews and Gentiles
Q. Do the Jews live now as they did during Christ's personal ministry on earth?
A. They do not sacrifice animals as they did, by God's command, in the ancient tabernacle and temple service, because Jerusalem is the place where they were to make such offerings (Deut. 12: 5,6), and, since the destruction of Herod's temple, Jerusalem has been trodden down by the Gentiles (Luke 21:24), and the Turkish Mohammedan rulers will not allow such sacrifices. But of the twelve million Jews who are now living in the world, about eleven millions (about ten millions in the Eastern Hemisphere and one million in the Western Hemisphere), called Orthodox Jews, who at least profess to believe in the divine inspiration of the Old Testament Scriptures, eat and dress very much as their ancestors did in the time of Christ; but about one million, called Reform Jews, the most of whom live in the United States, are Sadducees, or unbelievers, and eat and dress very much like their Gentile neighbors.
Q. In Rom. 11:25 the Apostle Paul says that "blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in;" what does he mean by "the fulness of the Gentiles?"
A. "Until the Gentiles have had their full time of the visible Church all to themselves, while the Jews are out, which the Jews had till the Gentiles were brought in."
Q. Is the present time the millennium (or thousand years) of Christ's greatest spiritual reign on the unrenewed earth? (Rev. 20:1-6).
A. Certainly not, for the Devil still deceives the whole world, and is inciting the nations to wage the most colossal and awful war ever known in history (Rev. 12:9; 13:14; compared with Rev. 20:3); the present time is the Devil's bi-millennium, or the two thousand years of his reign on earth, by the sufferance of God, since the birth of Christ.
Q. Who are "the all-men-everywhere" whom Paul says in his discourse at Athens "God commands to repent?" (Acts 17:30).
A. The whole world of human beings, the whole human race, whom Paul says, in the next verse, God will judge by Jesus Christ. God is the same since the fall of man that He was before, and His holy law, which requires all His intelligent creatures to love and worship Him exclusively and supremely, is the standard of all creature obedience, and cannot change, even if man, by his own will and sin, has rendered himself unable to obey that law. If a man owes another a thousand dollars, and is not able to pay him a cent, he owes him just the same. Ability is not the limit of obligation. If it were, no human being would be under any obligation to God; for no human being in the present state can spiritually and perfectly fulfill any commandment of God. All men should be told, as Christ told His hearers, that "unless they repent they will perish." (Luke 13:3-5).
Q. What is meant by Christ's reign with His people on earth a thousand years? (Rev. 20:1-10).
A. That in the future (for Satan still woefully deceives the nations) Satan will be bound and prevented, for a thousand years from deceiving the nations, and during that period Christ will reign on earth with the resurrected martyrs and the godly, either in person or by a greater outpouring of His Spirit than ever before, and, as foretold in the closing chapters of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Micah, and Zachariah, righteousness, and peace, and prosperity, and happiness will abound, and then, at the end of the thousand years, Satan will be loosed again, and deceive the nations once more, and lead the wicked against the righteous, and he will be overthrown by Divine vengeance, and cast, with the leading persecutors and deceivers into the lake of fire and brimstone, and be tormented forever. After this will follow the general resurrection and judgment, and the everlasting misery of hell for the wicked, and the everlasting happiness of heaven for the righteous (Rev. 20:11-15; 21; 22; Matt. 25:31-46; II Thess. 1:3-10; II Pet. 3:3-14).
Q. Will this material world be burned up?
A. The Scriptures plainly say so, although the scoffing unbelievers of the last days deny it (II Pet. 3:3-12; Psa. 102:26; Matt. 24:35; Mark 13:31; Heb. 1:11). But burning is not annihilation; and the literal heaven and earth will be changed and pass away, and there will appear a new heaven and earth wherein righteousness will dwell. (Psa. 102:26; II Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1). S. H.
Q. Will the anti-Christian world powers and false church powers mentioned in Rev., 13th and 17th chapters, persecute the true church before or after the thousand years foretold in Rev. 20?
A. Both before (Rev. 19:11-21) and after (Rev. 20:7-10).
Q. Will there be any of the non-elect left living upon this earth after Christ comes?
A. Certainly (Luke 18:8; Rev. 19:11-21; 20:7-10).
Q. When Christ comes will He reign here upon this earth (made new) with His elect - church, bride, or will He and the church dwell above the earth, and He and they reign over those upon the earth?
A. Rev. 20:6 does not say; but, if Rev. 5:10 refers to the same fact, epi with the genitive generally means on or upon, and is so rendered in both the King James and the Revised Version.
Q. What are your views of the Parables of the Ten Virgins and of the Talents, in Matt. 25?
A. That the five wise virgins, who had oil in their vessels with their lamps, and who were ready when the bridegroom came, and were received by him to the marriage; and the five talent and two talent servants, who used their talents in the service of their Lord, and were welcomed by Him, as good and faithful servants, into His joy, were like the sheep in the latter part of this same chapter, who had humbly and lovingly ministered to the King in ministering to His suffering people, and who will be at last received, as the blessed of His Father, into the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. And that the five foolish virgins, who had no oil in their vessels with their lamps, and who were not ready when the bridegroom came, and were shut out by him from the marriage; and the one talent servant, who had hard thoughts of his Lord, and who did not use his talent in His service, and who was cast by Him as a wicked, slothful, and unprofitable servant, into outer darkness where there were weeping and gnashing of teeth, were like the goats, in the latter part of this same chapter, who had proudly and unlovingly not ministered to the King in not ministering to His suffering people, and who will at last be consigned by him, as cursed ones, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
Q. Who are the five wise and the five foolish virgins mentioned in Christ's Parable, in Matt. 25:1-13?
A. During the last half century some have supposed that by the five foolish virgins are meant disobedient Christians, who are shut out of the felt joys of God's salvation: but the old interpretation, and that which I and the great majority of Primitive Baptists accept, is that these five foolish virgins represent only nominal Christians, who have no oil of divine grace in their lamp of profession, whom Christ did not know as His, and who will be shut out and left out of the marriage supper of the Lamb. We know from Christ's language in His parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13:24-43, especially the 24th and 41st and 42nd verses), that by the expression "Kingdom of Heaven," He meant, in His parables, the visible or nominal church, including both the elect and the nonelect, believers and unbelievers; and we know, from His language in Matt. 9:13; 25:26, 27; Mark 2:17; and Luke 5:35, that He calls or addresses men according to their profession, and thus judges them out of their own mouths.
Q. Is public prayer contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, or to the practice of the Baptists?
A. The temple was called God's house of prayer; three times every day there were stated times of sacrifice and prayer in the temple, at the third, sixth, and ninth hours (that is at 9 a.m., 12 m., and 3 p.m.); many of the Psalms, which were recited in the temple, were public prayers; at the dedication of the temple Solomon made a long public prayer. Christ obeyed the ceremonial, as well as the moral laws of the Old Testament; and He taught His disciples to pray not only in private, but in public, saying, "Our Father, who art in heaven," etc. His prayer in John 17 was made with His disciples; and the Baptists have always believed in and practiced public, as well as private prayer. Even the Quakers sometimes use public prayer in their meetings.
Q. What is the explanation of the figure: "Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matt. 24:28)?
A. That upon the dead and unbearably corrupt person or church or nation, the swift and irresistible and destructive judgments of God will descend. The eagle is farsighted and rapacious and powerful and eats living or dead animals; and the primary meaning of Christ in the above saying is that the Roman armies, whose standards were silver or golden eagles, would soon irresistibly destroy the truth-hating, mercy-spurning, prophet-killing, Christ-murdering, unspeakably corrupt Jerusalem (Matt. 23:34-38).
Q. What was "the tree of life" mentioned in Gen. 2:9; 3:22,24; Rev. 2:7; and 22:2?
A. The garden of Eden (or delights) referred to in Gen. 2 and 3 was a natural and earthly garden or park or paradise, in which all natural, earthly good things were provided by the Creator for Adam and Eve while they remained in a state of innocence. I think that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life were natural trees, and that God ordained that the eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree should give them a natural, experimental knowledge of the difference between moral good and moral evil, and should justly subject them to the penalty of natural and eternal death, and that He ordained that the eating of the fruit of the tree of life should perpetually preserve their natural lives; but, after they disobeyed Him by eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, He pronounced the curse of hard labor and suffering and death upon them, and drove them out of the garden, and placed at the east of it cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life, lest man should eat of its fruit and live an everlasting natural life, which was contrary to the purpose and decree of God. But the tree of life in the garden of Eden was a type or figure of the true tree of life, which is Christ, in the spiritual, heavenly, and eternal paradise of God, mentioned in Rev. 2:7 and 22:2, and alluded to by Ezekiel (47:1-12) as the unfading, fruitful, nourishing, healing trees on either side of the river of deep, life-giving waters issuing eastward from under the threshold of the house of God. Christ is "in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7) ; He is the centre and substance of that paradise; and He is on either side of the river of God's love (Ezek. 47:7,12; Rev. 22:2), as expressed in the everlasting covenant of the past eternity and in the everlasting blessedness of all the people of God in the future eternity, the Source and Support of their life, and the Preserver of their spiritual health. His leaves or words, applied by His Spirit, will sustain their graces, and His fruit or works of love will edify and support them forever. He is All and in all to them.
Q. A sower went forth to sow - some seed fell in one place and some in another, but only a small portion brought forth fruit. Were all among whom the seed fell the children of God?
A. I do not think so. Jesus Christ was the sower, His ministers are also sowers. The seed is the gospel. Telling good news does not break up the sin-packed wayside, break stony hearts, or remove and destroy the growth of briars and thorns. The Spirit of the Lord must prepare and make the ground good. When this is done then there will be some fruit. But Jesus said, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.?" (John 15:8). Are we bearing much fruit? "By their fruit ye shall know them." P.
Q. Were all the ten virgins the children of God?
A. I do not think so. It seems that the design of this parable (Matt. 25) was to show how far persons may go in a profession of religion and then be shut out of heaven. Having, as we trust, grace in our hearts, let us not become lukewarm and careless; but let us watch and pray so that when "the bridegroom cometh" we shall not be surprised but shall be looking for Him. P.
Q. "Is it right to pray for rain?"
A. Certainly it is right. Elijah, a man of like passions with ourselves prayed for rain. To say that God has nothing to do with the rain is a species of infidelity. Many times when distress threatens because of drought have God's people prayed for rain and relief has come. The scientist tells us that it only rains when certain atmospheric conditions prevail but we worship a God who controls atmospheric conditions at His will. P.
Q. In I Sam. 17:40, what may be represented by the staff, and the five smooth stones, and the brook, and the shepherd's bag, and the sling, mentioned in connection with David's killing Goliath?
A. I am far from believing, with Emanuel Swedenborg, that every word and every syllable of the Scriptures has not only a literal, but also a spiritual meaning; and, if it has, I do not believe that any human being has ever discovered it; and there is no end to the guesses that may be made as to such meaning. But where no such meaning is affirmed or intended, words meaning literal or natural things, may possibly be illustrations of spiritual things. In I Sam. 17:40, the staff may be an illustration of the support of God; the five smooth stones may represent the truth, the righteousness, the peace, the faith, and the salvation of God; the brook, the Spirit of God, out of which the five stones came; the shepherd's bag, the Word of God, which contains, in description, the five stones used by the soldier of Christ; and the sling, the power of God; and the true soldier always prays and watches. One stone, the truth, from the brook, the Spirit of God, applied by the sling, the power of God, prostrates the giant of error. See "the whole armor of God" described by the Apostle Paul in Eph. 6:13-18. Great Goliath depending on himself, is slain; but little David, trusting in God, conquers his enemy.
Q. In Solomon's Song, 6:8,9, it is said - "There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number; my dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother; she is the choice one of her that bore her; the daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her;" what is the meaning?
A. By "my dove, my undefiled," no doubt the Church of Christ is meant; and by the "threescore queens," Solomon may mean the wealthy so-called State Churches; and by the "fourscore concubines," the less wealthy but more numerous denominations not endowed by the State; some of the leading members of all these orders, while they hate the true church, yet acknowledge her virtues. The "virgins," or daughters" here spoken of, whom man cannot number, have spiritual life, or a hope in Christ, and they see and extol the Church, but have not yet united with her.
Q. What do you think is "the book of life" (Philip 4:3)?
A. It is also called "the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 21:27); "the book of" God's fatherly "remembrance" of those "who feared the Lord," and thought upon His name. and spoke often one to another, the children of God, the righteous who serve Him, who shall be His in the day when He makes up His jewels (Mal. 3:16-18); the book of "the living in Jerusalem" (Isa. 4:3), "the house of Israel" (Ezek. 13:9), "the church of the first-born who are written in heaven" (Luke 10: 20; Rev. 12:23) ; "the book of life, in which the names were written from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 17:8). The ancient kings kept registers, records, annals, or chronicles, as memorials of the important events of their reign; and "the book of life," in the Scriptures, is figurative language, representing God's certain and eternal remembrance, love, care, and salvation of all His covenant people - His unforgetting register of all His elect, to whom He graciously gives His Son and Spirit and eternal life.
Q. To whom did Christ give the commission or commandment to "teach all nations," and "preach the gospel to every creature" (Matt. 28:19,20; Mark 16:15),
A. Primarily to the Apostles, as shown by the connection, and as fulfilled by them initially - (Acts 1:8; 2:5; Rom. 10:18; Psalm 19:4; Col. 1:23), who went and preached the gospel both to Jews and Gentiles, wherever, in all the world, they were directed by the Spirit and Providence of God; and secondarily to all other true ministers of the first and succeeding centuries, as they are directed by the Spirit and Providence of God; and when the latter shall have preached the gospel of Christ (first preached by the Apostles) "in all the world for a witness unto all nations, then shall the end come," says Christ (Matt. 24:14). The end of the world or the age or the Christian dispensation has not come yet, but even until that time Christ will be with His true ministry (Matt. 28:20). The "every creature" referred to in the above passages evidently does not mean every object of the Divine creation, every human being and beast and bird and fish and insect and plant; nor does it mean, I think, every human being on every continent and island and river and lake and sea and ocean; but it is a general term for all human beings, both Jews and Gentiles to whom the Lord sends His ministers to preach His gospel. There are yet millions of square miles on the earth's surface where we have no reason to think that the gospel has been preached.
Q. Is not praying asking God to change a law of nature?
A. No, it is not. An earthly father can grant the requests of his children without changing the laws of family. Surely then our Heavenly Father who is the author of all law can answer the prayers of His children. If it were necessary to change them God could do that. God is not the servant of His laws. His laws are His servants. God is not governed by the laws of nature. He governs them. He can answer prayer through the operation of natural law or he can set aside natural law and perform a miracle. Natural law is just God's fixed way of acting but he is not handicapped from transcending law. P.
Q. Will any persons be saved unless the gospel is preached to them?
A. While it is true that the ministry is to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, as the Spirit of God may direct them, and as the providence of God may open the way to them, and it is the duty of other members to help them on their way after a godly sort, and those to whom they minister in spiritual things should minister to them in carnal things, as the Scripture teach, it is at the same time true that all the elect and redeemed people of God, both infants and adults, will be saved. (Psalm 33:12; Isa. 35:10; 45:17; 53:11; Jer. 31-34; Matt. 1:21; 11:25-27; 16:16,17; John 5:25; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; 17:1-3, 24; Rom. 8:28-39; I Cor. 1:26-31; 12:3; Eph. 1:1-14; I Pet. 1-5; Rev. 5:9,10). Jesus is the Great Preacher, and, by His omnipresent Spirit, He preaches His gospel savingly to His people (Isa. 61:1-3,10,11; Luke 4:16-30; Heb. 2:11,12; Psalm 110:3).
Q. Who were "the spirits in prison" to whom Christ preached? (I Pet. 3:18-20).
A. The spirits in the prison of hell when Peter wrote his Epistle, but alive in their bodies on earth when Christ by His Spirit in Noah preached to them. (I Pet. 1:11; II Pet. 2:5).
Q. Ought women to preach?
A. They may teach privately (Acts 18:26; 21:9); but they should not preach or teach in the churches. (I Cor. 14:34,35; I Tim. 2:11-12).
Q. Was any woman ever sent by the Saviour or the early churches on a public mission?
A. The women who followed Christ from Galilee, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Joanna and Salome, were sent by Christ, after He had risen from the dead, to tell of His resurrection to His disciples, and that He would go before them into Galilee. (Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 23:55,56; 24:1-11; John 20:11-18). And Phoebe seems to have been a messenger from the church at Cenchrea, near Corinth, to the church at Rome. (Rom. 16:1,2).
Q. May a sister talk on religious subjects at a social meeting?
A. Yes; but she is not to teach or preach in a church. (Acts 18:26; 21:9; I Cor. 14:34,35; I Tim. 2:11,12).
Q. Does "prophesying," in the New Testament, mean "preaching?"
A. It means speaking religious truth, whether spiritual or future, under Divine influence. Men, called of God for that purpose, were to prophesy both privately or publicly; but women, so qualified by the Divine Spirit, were to speak only privately and not in the churches. (Acts 2:17, 18; 18:26; I Tim. 2:11,12; I Cor. 14:34,35).
Q. What does Paul mean when he says "help those women who labored with me in the gospel?" (Philip 4:3).
A. He refers especially to Euodias and Syntyche, to whom he had just alluded (Philip. 4:2), and herein he enjoins upon his "true yoke-fellow," probably the pastor of the church at Phillippi, to help to a mutual reconciliation these sisters, who were somewhat at variance, and who had sympathized with and ministered to him and had aided him privately, by word and by deed, in his humble, laborious, and self-sacrificing ministry.
Q. Were the schools of the prophets spoken of in the Old Testament theological schools?
A. "Schools of the prophets" are spoken of nowhere in all the Scriptures. In the books of Samuel and Kings, "sons of the prophets" and a "company of the prophets" are spoken of a few times. There is absolutely no Scriptural evidence to prove that Samuel or any other prophet could teach or did teach any one else to prophesy. If the prophets taught these "sons" or "companies" to do anything, it seems to have been the use of musical instruments in the singing of psalms (I Sam. 10:5); and the wicked King Saul and his messengers were among these so-called prophets (I Sam. 10:10-13; 19:20,21; and Saul acted with great indecency in his so-called prophesying (I Sam. 19:24). May the Lord mercifully deliver His true people from such "prophets."
Q. Outside of the Primitive Baptist Church, do you believe that any ministers are called, qualified, and sent of the Lord to preach His gospel?
A. I feel sure He has, among the Covenanted Baptists of Canada, and the Strict or Particular Baptists of England, Australia, and New Zealand, and some among other denominations in our and other lands, just as the prophets and apostles were Jews, and as there were true Anti-Catholic preachers in the Dark Ages - advocates of a Divine, a spiritual, a gracious, a holy, and an everlasting religion.
Q. How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent? Does this mean that there is no salvation in heaven where there are no preachers to preach?
A. No. Paul was defending the preaching of the gospel, to the Gentiles. And remember, there is a gospel faith - a belief of gospel truths, separate and distinct from the faith of God's elect. The saving faith of God's elect may exist in those who never hear or understand the preaching of the gospel. Infants, idiots, the deaf, and millions cannot be reached by the preached gospel, and surely there is salvation for them. However, there is need for the peached gospel, and a belief of gospel truths is proof that such believer "hath everlasting life." The right living and right preaching of a minister also saves from false ways and false doctrines. In this sense they cannot believe and cannot be saved without the preacher, and there cannot be preaching unless one is sent to preach. P.
Q. Do Primitive Baptist preachers preach repentance?
A. Yes, they preach repentance, but they preach it in the name of Jesus and not in the name of the sinner. Jesus was exalted a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:31). There is a legal repentance and also an evangelical repentance, true heart-felt repentance. The fear of hell produces a legal repentance. Godly sorrow worketh repentance - a hatred for sin. Preach repentance as Jesus and John and the apostles did, and apply it as they did and God's children will be touched - pricked in the heart, others will go away mocking. But the preacher does not know which shall prosper this or that. The gospel is a net in which some good and some bad fish are caught. The bad are not to be used but thrown back. The true meaning of repentance is a turning from, turning not only in word but in deed. It is deeper than reformation which is only a washing of the sow, which goes back to the mire. True repentance is a fruit of the spirit, not the product of human nature. God's regenerated children when enabled to see their condition before God will bear the fruit of repentance. They can no more refrain from a feeling of repentance toward God than they can refrain from praying to Him. P.
Prophets and Apostles
Q. Were there many prophets of the Lord besides those whose writings are in the Bible?
A. While the most of the books of the Old Testament were written by prophets, yet Elijah and Elisha, two of the greatest prophets, did not commit their discourses to writing; and Obadiah hid in caves, from the murderous wrath of the idolatrous and wicked Jezebel, a hundred prophets, whose names are not given, and he fed them with bread and water (I Kings 18:4). And no doubt there were, before Christ, many other prophets whose names are not given, and whose writings, if they wrote, have not been preserved; and so there were, in Apostolic Age, prophets who spoke by the Spirit, and who occasionally foretold the future, as Agabus (I Cor. 11:27, 28; 21:10,11), and who taught, exhorted, and edified believers in Christ (I Cor. 14:3,4).
Q. In Matt. 11:13,14, Christ calls John the Baptist Elias or Elijah; and yet, in John 1:21, John the Baptist says that he was not Elias; how are these statements to be harmonized?
A. The language of the angel Gabriel to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist before the birth of the latter, explains the apparent contradiction. John the Baptist was not Elijah personally or literally come back in the flesh, but he went before Christ "in the spirit and power of Elijah."
Q. Was Paul the wisest or most learned Apostle?
A. He seems not only to have been better educated, naturally, than any of the others, but also to have been more fully instructed, by the Holy Spirit, in regard to predestination and election, and the difference between the law and the gospel, and the fulfillment and end of the shadows of the ceremonial dispensation in the perfect and eternal realities of the work of the Son and of the Spirit of God.
Q. Why was Paul kept a prisoner at Rome two whole years (Acts 28:30,31) without being tried?
A. To await a convenient time for the Emperor Nero to try him. This first imprisonment, or mild confinement, of Paul in Rome was probably from A.D. 60 to 62. He was cleared at his trial; but was arrested again, it is thought in A.D. 64, and confined more closely and securely (only Luke remaining with him, all others but Christ forsook him), and he was condemned, probably for bringing in what was called "a new and unlawful religion," and beheaded A.D. 64 or 65, or 67 or 68, on the Ostian Way, the road from Rome to its port, Ostia. The Emperor Nero, one of the most wicked monsters that ever lived, was condemned by the Roman Senate and fled four miles from Rome and committed suicide, June 9, 68, A.D.
Q. Who are the false teachers, among the Lord's people, that were to bring in ruinous heresies and pernicious ways which many would follow? (II Pet. 2:1,2).
A. The Apostle Peter says that, as there had been under the Old Testament dispensation, among the people of Israel, false prophets (see I Kings 22:11,12) so there would be, in the New Testament dispensation, among the professed people of God, false teachers (Matt. 24:11; Acts 20:29,30; Jude 4) who would stealthily bring in, along with some truths, destructive errors, destructive of the fundamental principles of the gospel, contradicting even the Lord who they claimed had redeemed them, denying either His divinity or His humanity or His mediatorship or His messiaship or His atonement or His saving power, and who would bring upon themselves and their followers sudden destruction; and these false teachers are described, in the same chapter, as covetous, presumptuous, vain, corrupt, sensual, and unclean, like dogs and swine. Paul, in Acts 20:29,30, describes these same false teachers as grievous wolves, destroying the flock, and speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them. The Apostles Paul, Peter, and Jude warn us solemnly and earnestly against all such false and highly injurious teachers.
Q. What is the meaning of Eccles 4:8? "There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother; yet is there no end of all his labor, neither is his eye satisfied with riches, neither saith he, For whom do I labor, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail?"
A. Solomon here in a few words shows the utter stupidity and wickedness of a selfish, worldly, covetous life of the miser (a word which means a miserable man), who lives by himself and only for himself, who works himself almost to death day and night, and denies himself almost every comfort, stints and pinches himself, scrapes and hoards every cent he can get, cares nothing for God or any of his fellow creatures, cares nothing for eternity, and finally dies and leaves every bit of his idolized money behind him to relatives or heirs who will not even thank him for it, because they well know he would never have given them anything if he could have helped it, but would have kept all of it for himself.
Q. What does Jesus mean when He teaches us to pray "Thy kingdom come" (Matt. 6:10)?
A. That God's reign of grace in the hearts and lives of His people may be increased, until His holy will shall be done as lovingly, perfectly, and perpetually on earth as it is done in heaven. The preposition used by Christ before earth is "on," and before heaven is "in," as it is precisely rendered in the oldest (Syriac) version of the second century, and in the latest (Revised) version of the nineteenth century. And in the phrases, "Hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," the verbs are all in the imperative, and not in the indicative mood. The words form a prayer, and not a declaration. No one who has a becoming reverence for God's word will dare to change the imperative mood of these verbs to the indicative mood. If God's name is no more hallowed, nor His kingdom come, nor His will done in heaven than it is now on earth, heaven is not a place of perfect reverence, grace, and holiness; in other words, the heaven of ultimate glory as set forth in the Scriptures, is not a blessed reality, but it is a vain imagination. Sin did not come from the most holy God, who, in the original creation, made everything very good, and who, though now, for some wise purpose, He suffers sin on earth, yet utterly hates, forbids, threatens, and punishes, and will completely and eternally exclude it from that "holy city" of His immediate and fully manifested presence, into which shall never "enter anything that defileth, or worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but those who are written in the Lamb's book of life," and who are thus shown to have been freed forever from these hateful things (Rev. 21). Such is the perfectly pure character of God's coming heavenly and eternal kingdom.
Q. What were the "greater works" which Christ said His apostles would do after His death, resurrection and ascension, and the outpouring of His Spirit upon them (John 14:12)?
A. Gathering in more converts to Christianity by the more plentiful effusion of the Holy Spirit. It would seem that less than a thousand were converted to Christianity during Christ's ministry; but three thousand were converted on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:41). Natural, temporal miracles are only feeble types of spiritual and eternal miracles. It was the Divine Spirit who was to do these greater miracles under the ministry of the apostles. (John 14:12; 16:7-14).
Q. Was the thorn in the flesh given Paul (II Cor. 12:7) figurative only?
A. It was both literal, (because it was "in the flesh") and also figurative. Lest he should be unduly exalted by the great revelations that had just been given him, the Lord graciously and wisely allowed him to receive from Satan (as Job did) a very painful and humiliating bodily affliction, and thus his natural pride was crucified. The exact nature of this physical affliction is not revealed in the Scriptures, and of course no human being now on earth knows what it was.
Q. When were written records first made?
A. No human being now on earth knows; but probably at least two or three thousand years before Christ.
Q. Did the twelve Apostles ever take any action with regard to Paul as an Apostle?
A. The New Testament does not say that they did, although they recognized him as a divinely called and qualified minister, especially sent to the Gentiles. (Acts 9:26-30; 15:1-41; Gal. 1:15-24; 2:1-10).
Q. Why did prophecy cease with Malachi so long (400 years) before the gospel was preached?
A. The Scriptures do not say, but it may have been for several reasons. First: because the prophecies from Moses to Malachi, when applied by the Holy Spirit, were sufficient, in the Divine wisdom, to teach men their need of a sinless, suffering, and triumphant Saviour, and to lead them to look to and trust in Him. Second: because the Lord would thus teach the Jews, His chosen national people, by the vanities and follies, the fables and abominations of the Apocrypha, the 16 books written by the Jews during this period, the certainty of their departing from Him in both doctrine and practice, even after they had all His ancient oracles, unless He restrained them by a divinely qualified and authorized messenger - the New Testament apocryphal writings of the early centuries of the Christian Era proving the same to be true of heretical professors of Christianity. Third: because it is proved, by this interval of 400 years, that there was no collusion, no fraudulent cooperation between the Old Testament prophets, who foretold the life and sufferings and glory of Christ, and the New Testament apostles, who testified that all these prophecies were exactly fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. And fourth: because the Lord thus taught His spiritual people to look away from man to Him for salvation, and to wait upon Him for it. When Joseph and Mary carried the infant Jesus into the temple to present Him before the Lord and to offer in sacrifice, as the law required, not a lamb for a burnt offering, and a dove or pigeon for a sin-offering, but, as they were too poor to buy a lamb, to offer two doves or two pigeons for a burnt-offering and a sin offering, not for the child but for the mother (Lev. 12:8), the humble and devout Simeon, who had been waiting for the consolation of Israel, the Messiah, and to whom it had been revealed by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ, came by the Spirit into the temple, and took the holy Child up in his arms, in wonderful faith, and blessed God, and said, "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel." (Luke 2:21-35). And Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counselor, who also had waited for the kingdom of God, when Jesus had been crucified, begged His dear body of Pilate, and wrapped it in fine linen, and laid it in his own new rock-hewn tomb until it came out, in divine power and glory, on the third day, morning, and after forty days ascended to heaven. (Mark 15:42-46; 16:6; Acts 1-11. "It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord." (Lam. 3:26). "They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isa. 40:31). As Old Testament saints waited for the first coming of Christ, so let us wait for the calling of our spirits to God who gave them and for the redemption of our bodies.
Q. When did God first set His bow in the cloud, and how is it a sign of His covenant? (Gen. 9:13)
A. In the King James Version, God says, "I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth;" but the original literally reads, "I have set My bow in the cloud." As God and His laws (or modes of operation) are unchangeable, the white light of the sun shining on falling drops of Water is always refracted and reflected in the seven beautiful colors of the rainbow--violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red; and this, we suppose, has always been the case; but after the great flood in the days of Noah, God said that the rainbow should be a token of a covenant between Him and the earth or all flesh - a promise that He would never again destroy nearly all living creatures with a flood of water. The rainbow shows that the clouds are broken, and that the sun is shining through them, so that there will no more be a universal deluge. The bow in the cloud is the offspring of storm and sunshine, and is indicative of the retiring wrath and the advancing mercy of God. It has its arch upward, and has no string or arrow - a bow, as it were, hung up to look at and not to use for war, a bow of peace. It is seen and admired by all who have sight and minds. And it has also been appointed by God as a sign of His everlasting covenant of peace with His people, for whose sins Christ has made an atoning sacrifice. (Isa. 54:7-10; Ezek. 1:26-28; Rev. 4:3; 10:1). Jesus, the Holy Son and Lamb of God, has endured the wrath of the Father for all the sins of all His loved and chosen people, and thus made an end of their sins, and reconciliation for their iniquities, and brought in for them an everlasting righteousness (Dan. 9:24-27), and, as their Surety and Head and the Prince of Peace, He blesses them with the benefits of the everlasting covenant of peace, and makes them the children of the God of peace. (Isa. 9:6, 7; 54:7-10; 55:3,12,13; Matt. 5:9, 43-48). The rainbow is chiefly symbolical of peace - delightful peace after a terrible storm. And so, after the Holy Spirit assures us that Christ has borne all the storm of God's wrath, for our sins, we enjoy that peace of God which passeth all understanding (Philip. 4:7), and enter into His glorious rest. (Isa. 32:2; 11:10; 26:1-4; Matt. 11:28-30; Heb. 4:3; Rom. 5:1). In the rainbow it is signified that mercy rejoices over judgment (James 2:13).; heaven and earth are united; God and man are at one (Eph. 2:11-22).
Q. Is it wrong for a preacher to exaggerate either in or out of the pulpit?
A. Exaggeration is common with most People and is inexcusable. Truth is good enough - why enlarge upon it? Jesus said, "Let your communication be yea, yea: Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil." (Matt. 5:37). P.
Q. Does God use any means in regeneration?
A. None whatever, any more than He does in creation or in resurrection, for regeneration is a creation in Christ (which is all of God, Eph. 2:10; II Cor. 5:17,18), and it is a resurrection from the death in trespasses and sins, which God alone effects by His immediate and irresistible power (Eph. 2:1-10; John 5:25; Ezek. 16:6; Mark 5:41,42; Luke 7:14,15; John 11:43,44). It is being begotten or born of God, with which neither the person born nor any other creature has anything to do (John 1:12,13; 3:3, 5-8; I John 2:29; 5:1). It is a direct quickening by the Three-One God, the Father, Son, and Spirit (Jer. 31:33,34; John 5:21; 6:63). It is the giving of spiritual, eternal, and divine life by God to the sinner who was previously destitute of that life (Rom. 6:23; John 10:28; 17:1-3; I John 5:11,12). It is the free gift by the Three-One God of Himself to all His loved and chosen people, to dwell in and with them forever (Gen. 15:1; Psalm 48:14; 73:26; John 3:16; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:25-27; Titus 2:14; John 6:51,58; Col. 1:27; Ezek. 36:21-38; Zech. 12:10; 13:9; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,5; 2:17,18; John 7:37-39; 14:17; II Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:18-22). The Lord Jesus Christ, our only Master, commands us to call no man on earth our father, that is our spiritual father, for one is our Father who is in heaven (Matt. 23:8-10). Therefore, when the Apostle Paul calls himself the father of the Corinthian Church (I Cor. 4:15), he means, as he himself explains his language, not their spiritual, but only their ministerial father (II Cor. 3:3), the minister by whom, or under whose preaching, they first believed the gospel, even, he says, as the Lord gave to every man; he was, under God, the founder or planter of that church (I Cor. 3:5, 6) and it was sinful "carnality" for them to say that they were "of him" (I Cor. 3:4). Christ declares that only they who are of God (that is, as explained by the Greek lexicons, "born of God") hear God's words (John 8:47) ; only they that hear the voice of the Son of God live (John 5:25) - indeed, He Himself is their life (John 11:25; 14:19; Col. 3:4). "God, according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again or regenerated us unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible," etc. (I Pet. 1:3-5). Believing in Christ as the Son of God and our Saviour is not a part, but an evidence of our regeneration (John 1:12,13; 6:47; I John 5:1).
Q. What does Jesus mean when He says, "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3: 5)?
A. The word rendered "and" here, as in more than a hundred places in the New Testament, means "even," and "the Spirit" is added to explain what is meant by "water," which is used repeatedly in the Old and New Testaments as an emblem of the Spirit because of its purifying or cleansing power (Num. 8:7; Psalm 65:9; 72:6; Isa. 41:17; 44:3 ; 55:1; Jer. 2:13; Ezek. 36:25; 47:1-12; Zech. 13:1; John 4:10; 7:38,39; Eph. 5:26; Titus 3:5,6,7; Rev. 21:6; 22:1,17). "Being born of water and the Spirit" is the same as "being born again or from above" (John 3:3), or "being born or begotten of God" (John 1:12,13; I John 5:1). In the same conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus uses the wind as also an emblem of the Spirit, because of its invisibility, and its independence of man, and its irresistibility (John 3: 8). He plainly shows, in this conversation, that the water and the wind are only emblems of the Spirit, and that the essential thing is being born again or anew or from above (John 3:3,7), or born of the Spirit (John 3:6,8). In some of the oldest versions the phrase "water and the Spirit" in John 3:5 is rendered "the Holy Spirit." Romanists and Romanizing Protestants have designedly perverted John 3:5 into a support of the radical heresy of "baptismal regeneration," the horrible doctrine which excludes all unbaptized infants from heaven; and the most of these heretics have also perverted water baptism into sprinkling or pouring, instead of immersion; and the most of them also have the audacity to claim to be the church, the only church of Christ; and the Roman apostasy consigns to perdition all, both infants and adults, that do not belong to her communion!
Q. Is repentance a part of regeneration, or is it an afterwork?
A. It is the subsequent fruit, in man, of the previous work of Divine regeneration (Ezek. 36:24-32; Zech. 12:10-14; Acts 5:31; 11:18; II Cor. 7:10; II Tim. 2:25).
Q. What is it that is washed in regeneration (Titus 3:4-8)?
A. The loved, chosen, redeemed, and regenerated people of God (Jer. 31:3; Isa. 43:1; Ezek. 36: 24-27; I Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 1:4; 5:25-27; Tit. 2:11-14); and this cleansing work of God is wrought in the spirit or heart of His children (Rom. 2:29), and is outwardly manifested in their humble, loving, and obedient lives (Rom. 6; Matt. 5:3,5,16,44,45; 7:17-25; Rom. 5:5; 13:9,10; Philip. 2:12,13; Heb. 13:20,21).
Q. What part of a regenerated man is it that doth not commit sin (I John 3:9)?
A. The new man, new creature, or divine nature within him (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; II Cor. 5:17; I Pet. 1:4) ; and though the old man or old nature sins (Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9; I John 1:8), we are commanded and labor, by the grace of God, to crucify and mortify this sinful nature (Col. 3:5; Gal. 5:24); and, if we are the children of God, we will, by divine grace, prevailingly and habitually do so (I John 3:6,9; Rom. 6; Isa. 43:21; 61:3; Eph. 2:10; I Pet.2:9).
Q. Have Baptists always denied the use of means in regeneration?
A. In careless expressions some Baptists have advanced this error, but the same men, when taking into consideration the entire teaching of the Scriptures on this point, have, in their more exact expressions, repudiated it.
Q. How long was the body of Jesus in the tomb?
A. The Jews, on all occasions, in computing and speaking of the time of their feasts and fasts and circumcision and purifications, called a part of a day a whole day (see I Kings 20:29; Esther 4:16; 5:1; Levit. 12:3; Luke 2:21); so that the expression of Christ that "the Son of man shall be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matt. 12:40) means, as understood by the Jews (Matt. 27:63, 64), and, as interpreted by the recorded facts of the case, a part of three natural days, amounting, I think, to about thirty-seven hours. It is certain that the Jewish Sabbath was the seventh day of the week, our Saturday (Exod. 20:10); and that Christ was crucified on the day before the Sabbath, our Friday (Matt. 27:62; Mark 25:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14,31,42); and that He rose from the dead on the first day of the week, our Sunday, called on that account the Lord's Day (Matt. 28:1-6; Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-6; John 20:1-19; Rev. 1:10). According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke Christ died on the cross about the ninth hour, or 3 p.m. (nine hours after sunrise). The Jewish day (evening and morning, Gen. 1, or night-day, as the Greeks called it) began and ended at sunset, or about 6 p.m. Therefore the body of Christ lay in the grave about three hours of Friday, twenty-four hours of Saturday (resting there the whole Jewish Sabbath), and about ten hours of Sunday (from Saturday 6 p.m. to Sunday about 4 a.m., just before dawn), making about thirty-seven hours in all. According to all the Jewish methods of speech, this period would be called three days and nights or three natural days.
Q. "Did the saints really rise from the dead and appear unto many when Christ was crucified. If so what became of them?"
A. The record is clear in Matt. 27:52 and 53, that "many of the bodies of saints arose and came out of their graves and went into the Holy City after His resurrection." The record is silent as to what became of them. The great lesson however is that Christ had conquered death and the grave and that in due time all who sleep in Jesus will have a triumphant resurrection. P.
Q. Are the doctrines of non-resurrectionism and annihilationism taught in the Scriptures?
A. No, indeed; they are the doctrines of heathenism, and are directly contradictory to all the teachings of the Scriptures and to the faith of the church of God from Abel to the present time, and are not tolerated by any sound and orderly church of Christ.
Q. Was Nicodemus a regenerated man?
A. I think that his coming to Christ for instruction and his tender love for Him after His death (John 3:1-15; 19:39-40) prove that he was.
Q. Can natural men, without regeneration, come to Christ and believe in Him and be saved?
A. All Scripture and experience and observance prove that they can not; but, if men desire the spiritual and holy salvation of Christ above all things else, the Scriptures prove that they are already regenerated (whether they know it or not), and will be eternally saved (Matt. 5:6; John 7: 37-39; 6:47).
Q. What is it to be "sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30)?
A. To be marked and kept, as God's peculiar people, by His Holy Spirit until the resurrection of our bodies (Eph. 1:13,14; Rom. 8:23,38,39).
Q. Did not Jesus rise from the dead in the end of the Jewish Sabbath, before the first day of the next week commenced (Matt. 28:1)?
A. The words "in the end of the Sabbath" are indefinite; the original reads literally "late in the Sabbath," or perhaps "after the Sabbath," which ended at sunset, or six o'clock Saturday evening; the following clause, in the same verse, defines the time more exactly, "as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week." The old Syriac version of the second century reads, "as the first day of the week began to dawn."
Q. What does Paul mean when he says, "We who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them who are asleep" (I Thess. 4:15)?
A. That, as explained in the next two verses, believers living on the earth at the time of Christ's second personal or bodily coming to the world, will not anticipate, will not be changed and be glorified before those who are dead in Christ; but that Christ will first raise His dead saints, and then change and glorify them and His living saints, and then take the whole family of the redeemed home to heaven with Him forever.
Q. What change did Christ's body undergo in the resurrection?
A. It began to undergo and, at His ascension, fully underwent the change that all His people will undergo, at their ascension, from a natural, mortal, and corruptible to a spiritual, immortal, and incorruptible body. His humanity, that is His human body and spirit are like ours, yet without sin; and now it is glorified, as ours will be by His gracious and almighty power.
Q. Are "the priests of God and of Christ who shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Rev. 20: 6) only a part or all of the elect?
A. All of the elect manifested up to that time.
Q. In Rev. 20:5 it is said, "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished," does not "the rest of the dead" mean the non-elect dead?
A. I think so.
Q. Who are the nations that will be deceived by the Devil when he is loosed out of his prison where he has been confined a thousand years (Rev. 20:7-10)?
A. The non-elect, unredeemed, unregenerate, ungodly people then living in the world.
Q. Who are the ten horns or kings that will hate the whore, and desolate her, and eat her flesh, and burn her with fire (Rev. 17:12,16)?
A. The ten kingdoms of Europe into which the Roman Empire was divided after the death of Attila in 453 A.D. (See The Marshalling of the Nations, page 17, by Alonzo Trevier Jones, sold for ten cents by the Pacific Press Publishing Co., Oakland, California.)
Q. Do you believe that this second beast (or false prophet) will ever get in power again?
A. I do, from Rev., chapters 18 and 19. The book of Revelation is the sublimest in all literature; and a blessing is repeatedly pronounced upon those who read and keep the words of this prophecy (Rev. 1:3; 22:7). The most of the book is symbolical and mysterious.
Q. Who are the 24 elder and the four "beasts" or rather four living creatures in Rev. 4:4,6-11?
A. The 24 elders, in allusion to the 12 patriarchs and 12 apostles, are representatives of the Old and New Testament churches, the People of God in all ages; and the four living creatures are representatives of the gospel ministry, with all their various qualifications, in all the four quarters of the earth. Both the elders and the living creatures are near the Lord, and worship Him and Him alone forever.
Q. How and when does a body receive the soul?
A. No human being on earth knows; but of course before natural birth.
Q. When will the marriage of the Lamb and His bride, the Church, take place (Rev. 19:7)?
A. After the resurrection of the body (Rev. 21:1-27) ; it is spoken by anticipation in Rev. 19:7.
Saturday and Sunday
Q. Ought we to observe the seventh or the first day of the week as a day of rest?
A. The word Sabbath means rest, and man needs rest, not only at night, but one day in seven. Under the Old or Legal Dispensation that day was the seventh, now called Saturday (Exod. 20:9-11); but under the New or Gospel Dispensation that day (without any formal commandment, but because Christ arose from the dead on that day and appeared to His disciples especially on that day), has been the first day of the week, now called Sunday (Matt. 28:1,6; John 20:19,26; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1,2; Acts 2:1). But Christian forbearance on this subject is inculcated by the Apostle Paul (Rom. 14:5,6; Col. 2:16). And we should remember that the Sabbath is but a shadow or type, of which Christ is the substance (Col. 2:17; Heb. 3 and 4). When He died and rose from the dead, He rested from His work of redemption; and when we believe in Him as our Righteousness, and the end of the law for us, we rest from our works of self-righteousness and self-boasting, feeling that what our dear Lord has done and suffered for us is all our salvation and all our desire, and we wish evermore to offer up to our adorable Redeemer the spiritual sacrifices of heartfelt thanksgiving and praise. Not only for the above reasons, but also for two others. Primitive Baptists rest from their usual labors and meet especially on Sunday for worship because the laws of most of the States in the Union require such rest, and we are commanded to obey the higher powers (Rom. 13:1-5), and it is good to have a special day of rest from business for the public worship of God. The most of our churches also generally meet on Saturday for worship, as well as occasionally on other days.
Soul and Body
Q. Some Boston doctors think that they have found that the soul of a human being weighs from half an ounce to an ounce, and some Chicago doctors think that, if this is so, the soul must be at least somewhat material, and could therefore be caught in an impervious glass or metallic case; what do you think about these pretended discoveries and speculations?
A. That they are as foolish as they are false, and are but the idle expressions of a heathenish pantheism and materialism, presuming to break down the distinction which the Creator has made between spirit and matter and to prevent God from taking the human spirit from its body, at death to Himself who gave it. The air in the body has a little weight, and when it is all breathed out, the body of course is a little lighter; but the conscious, living, thinking, perceiving, and feeling spirit is not air, and when the lungs do not breathe and the pulse does not beat, the spirit may still be in the body, as in a cataleptic trance (which some times lasts a month), and the body lives, and breath and pulsation return.
Q. What does Paul mean by "the body of this death" in Rom. 7:24?
A. The "body of sin" spoken of in Rom. 6:6; the "old man" spoken of in Eph. 4:22 and Col. 3:9; the "flesh," which "lusts against the spirit," spoken of in Gal.5:17; the old unregenerate self or entire natural man, which has all the parts and members of a man, and acts through the body, and will die only with the body.
Q. In Rom. 8:10 Paul says: "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness;" what does he mean?
A. He means to say that if Christ be in us by His indwelling Spirit (see verse 11), although our body is death-stricken, sentenced to death, doomed to death, as good as dead, in consequence of our union with our sinning natural federal head, the first Adam (Gen. 2:17; 3:19; Eccles. 12:7; Rom. 4:19; 5:12-18; 6:23; I Cor. 15:21,22; Heb. 11:12), yet our spirit, being in-dwelt and animated by the eternal Spirit of God, is instinct with everlasting life (John 3:6; 5:24; 6:47,51,54, 56,57,58; 10:28; 11:25,26; 17:1-3,21) in consequence of our union with our holy spiritual federal Head, the second Adam, the Lord from Heaven (Rom. 5:15-21; 6:23; 8:14-18,28-39; I Cor. 1:30,31; 15:22,23,47-49; Ephes. 1:1-14; 2:5,13-22; Heb.10:14-18; I John 5:11,12). And as Paul in Rom. 8:10 declared that, by virtue of our union with the Holy indwelling eternal Spirit of God, our spirits are forever alive, so, in the next verse (verse 11) he declares that that same Divine and Almighty Spirit, that raised up Jesus from physical death, will also, in the same way, at last quicken or make alive our mortal bodies and make them as immortal as the revived body of Jesus (I Cor. 15:22-57; Phillip. 3:20,21).
Q. Does the word "house" mean a man's body as used in Matt. 10:12-14; Matt. 12:4; Luke 10:5-7; John 2:16-17; Titus 1:11 and many other scriptures of like import?
A. Most assuredly not. Very seldom does the word "house" used in the Bible refer to the human body, but refers to a building in which people lived or worshiped. It is dangerous to try to spiritualize every thing in the Bible. It manifests our ignorance and confuses those who listen to us.
Q. What is meant by having sin in the flesh?
A. It means to be in the flesh. Sin came by man, and death hath passed upon all men for all have sinned. The fleshly disposition of man is sinful and corrupt. The carnal mind is enmity against God. They that are in the flesh, or led by a fleshly spirit, cannot please God. God sent His Son into this world in the likeness of sinful flesh. Yet He was not sinful. All others are. P.
Q. What do you think of Sunday schools? Can you suggest and recommend any plan for gathering our children together on Sunday and teaching them God's word and Zion's songs?
A. God requires parents, not to send their children to some disinterested and unqualified person a few minutes every Sunday, but to bring them up themselves every day at their own homes, both by example and by precept, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). This Parents can and should do by their own lives and by their instruction and advice to their children, and by daily family worship, reading a portion of the Scriptures, explaining it if necessary, singing a hymn and bowing together in prayer with their families, and by encouraging their children to read the Scriptures every day, and by taking them with them to their religious meetings on Sunday, to engage with the congregation in singing spiritual songs, and in the attempt to approach the Divine Father of all our mercies in thanksgiving and supplication, and to hear a called and qualified servant of God expound His Word and preach His pure and everlasting gospel. And, as Sunday is a leisure day, it is desirable for our children to be gathered together on that day in some school or meeting house, so that they may be taught the rudiments of vocal music and be trained in applying these principles to the singing of the songs of Zion - a commendable practice which is observed by some of our members. If on any Sunday it is not convenient for the children to go to meeting or to a singing school, one of the parents might read with them one or more chapters of the Bible, and make such comments as may seem proper, and have their children also read other chapters and instruct the children, so far as they may be able, upon matters that may be obscure; or might question and converse with their children in regard to incidents of Scriptural history and the facts of the plan of salvation. Baptists parents have reared their children in this way for hundreds of years, and they should continue thus to "Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." This is the way in which my father raised his children, and the way in which I have tried to raise mine.
Q. Should Primitive Baptists go into or allow their children to go into a Union Bible Class?
A. No, indeed. Innumerable and fundamental errors are taught in these classes. All true Primitive Baptists and their children should have Bibles, and read and search them at home, looking to God to guide them in the study of His Word. And both Baptists and their children should reverently and habitually attend upon the preaching of the gospel by the called and qualified servants of God. That is the way in which my father reared his children, and the way in which I have reared mine including attendance upon daily family worship. This is worth far more than all the Bible Classes, Sunday Schools, Theological Seminaries, and Protracted Meetings in the world.
Q. Is the body changed in any sense in the new birth?
A. No, except indirectly by the operation of the Divine Spirit on our spirit; the body is not directly changed or spiritualized until its resurrection from the grave at the second bodily coming of Christ to this world (Rom. 8:23; I Cor. 15:22,23,42-57; Philip. 3:20,21; I Thess. 4:13-18).
Q. Was the method of time-keeping the same as now when people lived for centuries?
A. It is believed to have been the same - the duration of a year being reckoned from the shortest day in one year to the shortest day in the next.
Q. How long has it been since the beginning of time?
A. No one knows except the Creator and those to whom He has revealed the period. The inspired writers of the Scriptures do not say, and only human and fallible inferences can be made from the Scriptures on the subject. Of the period from the creation of Adam to the birth of Christ more than two hundred different estimates have been made, the shortest being 3483 years, and the longest 6984 years - a difference of 3501 years. "Archbishop" James Ussher, of Ireland, the most learned of Irish Protestant prelates (born A.D. 1580, died 1656), computed that there were 4004 years from Adam to Christ; and this date, with others computed by him, were put, by order of the British Parliament, in the margin of the Authorized or King James Version of the English Bible published in 1611. But it is now generally admitted that Christ was born at least four years before the beginning of the "Christian Era;" and, if so, and if Ussher's estimates were otherwise correct, the period from Adam to Christ was 4000 years.
Q. When were the first Catholic and Protestant Missions established?
A. By the Catholics at Rome in 1622; by the Episcopalians at London in 1698; by the Moravians of Austria-Hungary in 1732; and by the Baptists at Kettering, England, in 1792.
Q. It is possible for the names of any of God's children to be blotted out of the book of life (Rev. 3:5)?
A. No; all of them will be saved eternally (Rev. 21:27).
Q. Does science conflict with the teaching of Joshua 10:12,13 and Isa. 38:8 in regard to the sun moving?
A. Not in the least; for science, in all the astronomies and almanacs, so as to be understood by the reader, speaks of the sun and moon rising and setting, although present science teaches that this apparent daily motion of the sun and moon toward the west is caused by the real daily motion of the earth on its axis toward the east. By "science" (knowledge) is meant the very little that human beings know of the universe of God; as to the cause, the upholding, or the destiny of the universe, men know nothing except what God reveals to them. The "laws of nature" are only the ways in which the God of nature acts. He who created and sustains all things is an omnipotent sovereign, and does His pleasure in heaven and on earth, and can just as easily stop as move the earth and the heavenly bodies, or turn them backward in their course as well as forward, and prevent all the disasters that we, in our ignorance and weakness, might suppose would result from such cessation or reversion.
Q. When, or by whose authority was the year of the world changed to "the year of our Lord?"
A. Before Christ, time was reckoned by the Greeks from their Olympiads (or Olympic Games, held every four years), beginning B.C. 776; and by the Romans from the building of the city of Rome B.C. 753; and, by other literary or civilized nations, by the year of the reign of their kings or chief officers. About 240 A.D. the Jews began to reckon time from their computation of the creation of the world, 3,760 years before the beginning of the Christian Era (though the Scriptures do not say how many years elapsed from the Creation to Christ, and the shortest estimate of this period is 3,483 years, while the longest is 6,984 years; this period, put in the margin of the English Bibles, by order of the British Parliament, is 4,004 years, which is the estimate of James Ussher, of Ireland). In A.D. 523 Dionysius Erigius, a Romish monk, of Italy, began reckoning time from his computation of the birth of Christ, 4,004 years after the creation; and, by A.D. 900, this computation of the Christian Era was generally accepted throughout Christendom. It is now believed that Christ was born at least four years before what is called the Christian Era; and scholars do not universally agree on the dates of events in the Old Testament. Ussher's system of dates is, on the whole, as satisfactory as any yet devised.
Q. Was it customary in Israel for the patriarchs to bless one son at the approach of death, as Isaac blessed Jacob?
A. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the three chief Jewish patriarchs, who, with their wives, the matriarchs, Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah, were buried in the cave of Macplah, near Hebron, about 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem. The Scriptures do not say that Abraham blessed Isaac, but that God blessed both Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, giving the covenant or Messianic blessing to Isaac (Gen. 17:18,20; 20:12,13). Isaac blessed or invoked the blessing of the Lord upon or prophesied the history of both of his sons, Jacob and Esau, but gave the chief blessing to Jacob (Gen. 27:25-29; 38-40). And Jacob, on his dying bed, made a prophecy of the history of the descendants of his sons, intimating that from his son Judah would be descended the Shiloh, or Peace-Giver, or Messiah (Gen. 49). Among the ancient Jews, by what is called the law of primogeniture, the eldest son was entitled to the birthright - the hardship and priesthood of the family, and a double portion of the property, that is, twice as much as any other child (Gen. 25: 31; 27:36; Deut. 21:17), and the Jewish Rabbis explain that he was to have twice as much of the property as any other child in order to preside with dignity over the family, and to take care of the unmarried female members of the family. By the laws or customs of feudalism in the Middle Ages, the eldest son generally inherited the dwelling or castle and the adjoining houses and lands of the father; but, in some instances, the nearest male relative had this inheritance; and, in the ease of nomadic or wandering tribes, as the youngest son was more likely to be with his parents, he inherited the tent and best furniture and horses and cattle. But the law of primogeniture has, in modern times, been abolished all over the civilized world, except in parts of England, and in succession to a hereditary monarchy.
Q. What is meant by a plague of leprosy being in a woolen or linen garment or in the walls of a house (Levit. 13:47-59; 14:33-57)?
A. There are different skin diseases called leprosy in the Bible, some of which are curable, and some incurable. Genuine or incurable leprosy is distinguished by a specific germ or bacillus, which may be conveyed from a human body to clothing or to the walls of a house; or, as modern physicians think, the leprosy in clothing, in Levit. 13, may have been a mildew, and that in the walls of a house may have been a dry rot; and in either case washing or scraping, and bunion removal, was the prescribed remedy. It is supposed that leprosy in clothing or in the walls of a house was confined to Palestine during the Mosaic or legal dispensation. The ceremonies in the purification of a house were the same as those prescribed in the purification of a leper. Leprosy is a type of sin; and each individual member of a church and the whole church need to be cleansed from it by the blood of Christ applied by the Spirit of God (I John 1:7; 5:8; Heb. 9:14; 10:14,15).
Q. Were the Primitive Baptists the only authors of the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689?
A. The English Baptists made similar Confessions of Faith in 1643, 1644, 1656, 1677, and 1688; but, in their Confession of 1689, in order to show that they believed the same Bible truths, in regard to the eternal salvation of sinners, as the Presbyterians and Independents (or Congregationalists) of that century, although they differed from both of those denominations in regard to the proper subjects of baptism and what is erroneously called "the mode of baptism" (for baptism is immersion in the name of the Trinity, and there is but one mode of immersion), they adopted much of the language of the Westminster (Presbyterian) Confession of 1647, and of the Savoy (Independent) Declaration of 1658. In regard to Church government, the Baptists and Congregationalists hold that each church or congregation should govern itself - according to the laws of Christ in the New Testament; but John Calvin, the founder of Presbyterianism, noticing the four Councils, one above another, in the government of Geneva, Switzerland, where he lived much of his life, invented the plan of ruling his churches by four Councils - the Session (of Pastor and Ruling Elders of a Church), the Presbytery, the Synod, and the General Assembly. Baptists and Congregationalists think that this human invention is a reflection on the wisdom of God manifested in the New Testament, in which Christ makes the Church the last court of resort for an aggrieved member.
Q. Is it right? A sister from another state requests an answer to the question, Is it right for Baptists to play cards and have card parties in their homes?
A. The Bible, and our conscience, when these two agree, rightly answers all questions pertaining to right and wrong; and when they do not agree, or the conscience is silent or seared, take the Bible answer, for its answer is always right. But the trouble with many people is they do not want "the right answer." They do not care to read the Bible or listen to their conscience. They are out for pleasure and popularity. And it is claimed that there is much pleasure in card-playing; and certainly it is popular. It is of the world, and though within itself need not be evil except evil be made out of it, yet the playing of cards have ever been associated with evil. I do not think any one will deny this. Then the safe way, the Bible tells us, it to "Abstain from all appearance of evil." Many who have been reclaimed from lives of sin and disgrace have testified that they began their downward course by gambling with cards, and that they learned the games in the home. Brother John Grove, a Soldier in the Civil War, and for many years afterward, an excellent Deacon in Mt. Carmel Church, told me that in going into battle he had seen soldiers throw away their cards. It seemed they did not like the idea of being found dead with packs of cards in their pockets. We should try to live as we would like to die. We cannot fool the Lord. Personally, I never cared for card-playing before I joined the church, and if I had, I would have quit it as I quit the secret order lodge when I entered the church. I have always felt that those who are not church members may, without condemnation, have their games, and frolics, and innocent amusement that would be improper for church members to engage in. If Primitive Baptists engage in card-parties, dances, unite with unbelievers in a form of worship in lodges of secret orders, use instrumental music in church worship, keep up with the world in its race after popularity and pleasure, wherein will the Old Church be different from other denominations, and why the reason to call ourselves Primitive Baptists? If we are not going to be what our name indicates we should "take down the sign." May God give us grace to be poor if need be, to be few in number, to be ridiculed, to be abused, but to never prove false to our Lord. P.
Q. What are your views on divorce? Are there any other scriptural grounds for divorce than adultery?
A. There are not (Deut. 24:1; Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18). Nothing is plainer in the word of God than His positive and repeated prohibition of divorce except for adultery. The wicked laws of popes and States and Nations that pretend to authorize the dissolution of the marriage bond except for adultery should not be observed or regarded by any true and faithful child of God, who is infinitely above all creatures, and to whom we are finally and eternally accountable.
Q. Does the Bible antagonize education in natural things?
A. Not when such education is true; but it condemns the "oppositions of science falsely so called" (I Tim. 6:20) the profane and vain speculations and babblings of unbelievers in opposition to the eternal truths of the Scriptures (Rom. 3:4).
Q. How large is the endowment of "Chicago University?"
A. This institution was founded in 1891, and has been endowed in all, it is said, with thirty-one million dollars, mostly by John D. Rockefeller, a New School Baptist. No religious tests are ever to be exacted of professors or students; but it is required, in the charter, that the president and at least two-thirds of the trustees shall, at all times, be Baptists. The institution has about 400 teachers, and about 6,000 pupils, and about 500,000 volumes in its libraries. Its annual income is about $1,250,000. The instruction in natural things is, no doubt, of a high older; but, sad to say, as is the case with most of our wealthiest institutions of learning, some of the professors are diligent propagators of infidelity, and at least one is an unblushing advocate of even atheism. The spread of unbelief and consequent wickedness is a dreadful mark of these last perilous, and evil times; but this fact is only a proof of the divine inspiration and truth of the Holy Scriptures (II Thess. 2:1-12; I Tim. 4:1-3; II. Tim. 3:1-17; II Pet. 3:1-18; Rev. 19:11-21).
Q. What is the latest Arminian estimate of the cost of saving sinners in heathen lands?
A. The Protestants claim to convert about 100,000 a year at a cost of about $30,000,000 - which is about $300 apiece. The Roman Catholics (whom Protestants call "veneered Pagans") claim to convert about 100,000 a year act a cost of about $5,000,000 - which is about $50 apiece (see the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 18, page 598; and The Protestant Magazine, Washington, D.C., for October, 1914, page 479; and my Church History, page 351; and I Peter 1:18,19). Even if 200,000 were saved a year, it would take 5,000 years to save the billion heathen now in the world; and, even at one per cent increase, there would be, at the end of the 5,000 years, fifty less one, that is forty-nine billion heathens unsaved in the world. Evidently, God must save men if they are ever saved. According to the testimony of missionary ministers themselves, the most of so-called missionaries do not contribute one cent to foreign missions; and the so-called Christian world spends twenty times as much for vice and crime and luxuries as they spend for all religious purposes.
Q. What is the unpardonable sin?
A. The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost - calling the Holy Spirit, with Whom Christ was filled, an unclean or unholy spirit, Beelzebub or Satan (Matt. 12:22-37; Mark 3:22-30) may be that this sin can not be committed now; and those Christ is not here now in His visible personality, and it who are under the influence of His Spirit will not think or speak evil of the fruit of that Spirit in others (Gal. 5:22-26).
Q. John says, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin" (I John 3:9), what is the meaning?
A. Not that the child of God is not a sinner, for John himself says, in this Epistle, "If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8); but that (as Paul says in Rom. 6) the child of God is dead to sin, freed from its dominions and is a servant to God, having his fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. He hates sin, and loves holiness, and, though still a sinner, he does not continue in the habitual, careless, unrepented practice of sin as before his regeneration. The literal translation of the first clause of I John 3:9 is: "Every one begotten of God does not practice sin" (as in the Interlinear Literal Translation published in 1900 by Arthur Hinds & Co., 4 Cooper Institute, New York City).
Q. Ought our members to make, sell, or use alcoholic liquors?
A. I do not myself, and I would be glad to know that none of our members did any of these things. Alcohol is a poison not found in nature, but manufactured by man; and if it were taken for a medicine, the very small doses of a few drops in which other poisonous medicines, as prescribed by physicians, are taken, it would not do so much harm, and produce so much poverty, crime, and disease as it does now. About twenty-five other rank poisons, with water, are mixed with alcoholic liquors, to expand and adulterate them, and this, of course, greatly increases the danger of their use.
Q. Does the Lord, in Amos 6:5,6, condemn the use of musical instruments during the legal dispensation?
A. He does, on the part of those who are ungodly and idolatrous and unjust, and at ease in Zion, and proud and luxurious and intemperate and effeminate, and who "are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph;" but so does He also condemn the feast days and solemn assemblies, and offerings and sacrifices and the songs of such people, in Amos 5:21-23. Yet we are told, in II Chron. 29:25, that the Lord by His prophets Gad and Nathan, commanded the use of these musical instruments (as He commanded the use of feast days and offerings and sacrifices) in the tabernacle and temple service; but none of these things have been commanded by the Lord in the gospel dispensation, and the use of them now is going back and down from the gospel day into the legal night.
Q. Would you advise a young man, who is honestly and reverently seeking for the truth, to read and study the works of Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Spencer, and Ingersoll?
A. No sooner than I would advise a healthy person to take into his body the rankest poisons. Life is too short and time too precious, to waste on the ignorances, falsehoods, vanities, wickedness, and blasphemies of these men and of their followers.
Q. Is marriage a kind of lottery?
A. It is not. Lottery is chance-work or gambling, and condemned by the laws of England and the United States; while marriage is an appointment of God, commended by Him, and allowed in all nations. Nothing takes place by chance or without cause, though often we do not know the immediate causes of things; but all things are known to God (Heb. 4:13; Acts 15:18), and He works all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11; Isa. 46:9-11; Prov. 16:33; Matt. 10: 29,30). Forbidding to marry is a doctrine of devils (I Tim. 4:1-5), and such a prohibition as this would fill the world with corruption and violence.
Q. What did Jesus mean by saying that not one sparrow should fall on the ground without your Father (Matt. 5:29)?
A. In this charge to His twelve Apostles, Jesus, though telling them that they would meet with the greatest opposition and persecution from the world, and from worldly religionists, encourages them with the assurance that their omniscient and omnipotent Father would be always with them; that not even the smallest and most worthless bird, that was sold in the market for less than half a cent, could be shot and killed without the knowledge, permission, power, and will of God, whose providence extends over every creature, and every event, and who loved and cared for them more than they even loved and cared for themselves, numbering even every hair upon their heads - a thing which they had never done. In Luke 12:6, Jesus, speaking of the sparrows, says that "not one of them is forgotten before God;" and it is certain that much less will He forget one, even the least and poorest one, of His loved, chosen, and redeemed people, whose names the Great High Priest of Israel carries on His heart, and has engraved on the palms of His hands (Exod. 28:29; Isa. 49:16).
Q. In Psalm 149:3, and 150:4 the Psalmist calls on his readers to praise the Lord "in the dance" or "with the dance;" in the margin of the King James Version, the Hebrew word rendered "dance" is rendered "pipe;" which is the correct translation?
A. As shown by all the oldest versions and by all the latest and most authoritative versions, lexicons, cyclopedias, and commentaries, the Hebrew word means dance, and does not mean pipe. "Rhythmical movements of the body, accompanied with music, were usual on solemn occasions of joy (Exod. 15:2,21; Psalm 30:11; Jer. 31:4,13)." The use of musical instruments and of dancing accompaniments in the public worship of God passed away with the legal dispensation and the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem; they were but fleeting types of the exultant rejoicings and thanksgivings of the spiritual Israel of God in the gospel dispensation.
Q. What do you think of vows?
A. A vow is a promise to God to do some good thing hereafter. No vow of man to do something contrary to the law or commandments of God is lawful, nor should a vow be made or kept. A vow is voluntary, and, if in accordance with the Scriptures, is binding (Deut. 23:21; Eccles. 5:4). Vows have been common in all nations; and the laws for their regulation and execution are given in Levit. 27 and Num. 30. The vow of a wife or daughter, if disallowed by the husband or father, was not binding. The first-born of man or beast could not be vowed, because it was already devoted to the service of God. An animal fit for sacrifice could not be redeemed; but an animal unfit for sacrifice, or land or a house could be redeemed by adding one-fifth. The price of redemption is given in the 27th chapter of Leviticus. The head was shaven after a vow (Acts 18: 18; 21:24). Jephthah had no right to murder his daughter; nor had Herod a right to murder John the Baptist; nor had the forty conspirators a right to murder Paul. Christ is the great and all-sufficient Redeemer and Redemption of His people; in Him all the promises of God are Yea and Amen (Isa. 41:14; I Cor. 1:30,31).
Q. What are your views of the eternal condition of such persons as Cain, Lot's wife, Balaam, and Judas?
A. That they were like the five foolish virgins, the one talent man, and the goats in Matt. 25; that they were nonelect, unredeemed, and unregenerate; that their service of God was only a natural, outward, or mental service, not a spiritual, inward, and heart service; that they loved the creature instead of the Creator, served Mammon instead of God; and that, like all other unchanged human beings, children of the Devil and of wrath, they justly went at last to their own place - perdition - and will, after the final judgment, be consigned to the lake of fire and brimstone, the second death. Such is the testimony of the infallible Scriptures of eternal truth in regard to the everlasting state of the unbelieving, ungodly, and disobedient portion of mankind.
Q. Were the ten commandments the Old Covenant?
A. They are so called in Exod. 34:28; Deut. 9:9; Jer. 31:32; and Heb. 8:9,13.
Q. Would John Bunyan be regarded as a good Baptist by the Primitive Baptists of today?
A. John Bunyan was the most profound spiritual and experimental writer since the days of the apostles; but he was not inspired and infallible; he believed in and practiced open Communion with other denominations, which few Baptists of any name in America endorse.
Q. What or who were the "barbarians" mentioned in the New Testament?
A. The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and the Greeks called all other nations but themselves "barbarians" (Rom. 1:14), as the Jews called all other nations Gentiles. Greeks and Barbarians meant the whole human race; just as Jews and Gentiles mean all the race of man. Paul uses "Greeks" the same as "Gentiles" (I Cor. 1:22,24). The Greek word "barbaros" (barbarian) is thought to be imitative, or expressive of the repugnant sound of a foreign language to a Greek. In both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, the original words sometimes rendered "Gentiles" are at other times rendered "nations," "heathen," and "people."
Q. What is the meaning of Gen. 6:3? "And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years"
A. That the Lord's Spirit in His prophets, Enoch, Noah and perhaps others would not continue always to rebuke the carnal and corrupt and violent antediluvians, but, after a hundred and twenty years, during which time Noah was probably engaged in building the ark, He would destroy those wicked people with a flood of water (Neh. 9:26,30; Acts 7:51,52; Heb. 11:7; I Pet. 3:19,20; II Pet. 2:5; Jude 14,15). Jude says that ungodly mockers are sensual or animal, and have not the Spirit (Jude 18,19). The Holy Spirit, like the wind, is mysterious, sovereign and effective in His operations (John 3:8) ; and, like the Divine Father and Son, quickens or gives spiritual and eternal life to whomsoever He will (John 5:21,25; 6:63).
Q. Why was there so long a period (400 years) between Malachi, the last Old Testament prophet, and the birth of Christ?
A. To show the people of God their dependence on Him for a spiritual teacher; and to prove that there be no collusion between the prophets who predicted the coming and work and sufferings and death and resurrection of the Messiah, and the Apostles who bore witness of the fulfillment of these predictions.
Q. Do cyclones come from Satan or from God?
A. Satan is called "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2), and it is implied, in the first chapter of the book of Job, that Satan caused a great wind from the wilderness to blow down the house in which Job's children were feasting, and to kill his seven sons; but it was only by God's express permission, and we know that God is above Satan, and, from numerous Scriptures, that God created the wind and controls it, causing it to blow and to cease as He pleases, and that He works all things after the counsel of His own will, and reigns a perfect, almighty, and eternal Sovereign, over every creature, and every event. While oftentimes His judgments are unsearchable and His ways are past finding out, though clouds and darkness are round about Him, righteousness and justice are the habitation of His throne (Rom. 11:33-36; Psalm 97:2).
Q. What is the difference between inspiration and revelation?
A. They are frequently used as meaning the same thing; but, when distinguished from each other, inspiration means a supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit upon the minds of the writers of the Old and New Testaments, enabling them to communicate religious truth, with either tongue or pen, in an infallible manner, to their hearers or readers; while revelation includes also the divine communication of truth to the inspired writers.
Q. What do you think of the (so-called) "Christian Science" organization?
A. That it is a money-making machine, and, in its denial of the reality of matter and sin and sickness and death and therefore any need of a Divine salvation from sin and death, it is the falsest, stupidest, wickedest, most astounding delusion with which the Devil has ever deceived any of our poor fellow sinners and fellow mortals. It contradicts all Science and all Christianity, stultifies all common sense and Scripture, and is one of the surest signs of these last, evil, and perilous times, demonstrating the rapidly increasing degeneracy and degradation of the human race, both in mind and in heart.
Q. Why did the Lord command the Jews to slay even the children of the Amalikites (I Sam. 15:3)?
A. Because it was His holy and unsearchable will, just as He takes the lives of infants in storms and famines and pestilences, mercifully saving them forever in heaven, as we believe.
Q. Was the temple free at all times for any one to enter it?
A. The temple proper (the temple house) could be entered only by the priests, and at the times appointed by the Lord; the Holy of Holies, or Most Holy Place, the innermost apartment of the temple could be entered only by the high-priest, and by him only on the Day of Atonement; but in front of, or to the east of the temple-house were temple-courts or yards, separated by walls, and containing porches or halls, which could be entered at any time by the classes whose names they bore; easternmost was the Court of the Gentiles; next west of that was the Court of the Women (these two formed the Outer Court); next west of that, the Court of the Israelites; next west of that, the Court of the Priests (these last two formed the Inner Court); and next west of the Court of the Priests was the temple building, or temple proper.
Q. Have we reason to believe that angels are taking part in the affairs of men?
A. Abundant and indisputable reason. See, for instance, Gen. 16; 19; 28; 32; Exod. 23; 32; 33; Num. 20; 22; Judg. 2; 6; 13; Psalm 34:7; Matt. 1; 13:49; Luke 1; 2; Acts 5:19; 7:53; I Pet.1:12, etc.
Q. Did the Jerusalem Church hold its meetings in the temple?
A. No. While the temple stood (until A.D. 70), they seem to have met with other Jews in the temple courts for morning and evening prayer at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the times of the daily sacrifice; but, in their own assemblies, they met in "an upper room," and at "the house of Mary, the mother of Mark" (Acts 1:13; 12:12), and perhaps at other places.
Q. What, in a Bible sense, is an "unknown tongue?"
A. This phrase is found in the King James version of the Bible, but only in the 14th chapter of I Corinthians; and the word "unknown" is not in the original, which simply reads "tongue" or "tongues." Whether the Apostle Paul means, by the phrase, speaking in an articulate foreign language, or in emotional inarticulate utterances or rhapsodies, no person now on earth knows; but we do know that he says it is better to speak five understood words than ten thousand that are not understood, and that words not understood should not be spoken in a church unless they are interpreted and thus made edifying to the hearers (I Cor. 14).
Q. In what sense are husband and wife one flesh (Gen. 2:24)?
A. In the sense that, according to God's purpose and command, they are united in body and soul, and only one woman is to be married to one man, and their marriage should be indissoluble except by death (Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:3-6; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; Rom. 7:2,3; Eph. 5:22-23).
Q. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). What does this mean?
A. See Numbers 21:8 for the history of the brazen serpent. This brass serpent was hung up for the Israelites. Jesus was hung up for "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation." Who could believe that to look upon a brass serpent would heal from the poison? But it did. And so "whosoever believeth in him" (Jesus) shall "not perish, but have eternal life." "Whosoever believeth" does not mean everybody, for some do not believe. Some Jews did not look upon the brass serpent, they died; some looked, they were healed. "Whosoever believeth in Jesus shall not perish" - they do not look upon Him to believe in Him. Believers are born of God. Jesus said, "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." (John 6:47). P.
Q. Please give me your views on the 150 Psalm relative to worshiping with musical instruments?
A. This request is made by Brother E.S. Hicks of Georgia. This is the last of the Psalms. It is upon the same subject as the two preceding ones. Some writers say, "this Psalm was sung by the Israelites, when they came with their first fruits into the sanctuary, with the baskets on their shoulders." The word "praise" is used thirteen times in this short Psalm. It is a fitting closing of the Book of Psalms. Praise was to be rendered with trumpet, psaltery and harp; with stringed instruments and organs; with cymbals and timbrels, and with the dance. These things were suited to the church in her infant state when she was under tutors and governors. But in the gospel church they were all laid aside, just as the sacrificial service by the shedding of blood and the circumcision with hands, was all laid aside. A greater than Moses is here, and they who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth, and the object lessons of the childhood day are no longer needed. The form of spiritual worship and praise in the apostolic church was the song service, the prayer service, and the preaching of the gospel. P.
Q. Is the Doctrine of no-soulism, no-future punishment, and universalism, Old School or Primitive Baptist doctrine?
A. No. Such views have never been held by Baptists and those contending for them ought to be honest enough to leave the Primitive Church and go to those churches that teach such doctrines. They ought not claim to be Primitive Baptists when denying the fundamental doctrine of the church. Every Baptist profession of faith denies such doctrines for the simple reason that the Bible plainly condemns them. P.
Q. "What is meant by saying God is a person? Does He have a body?"
A. "God is (a) spirit." He is "invisible." When we say that God is a person we mean that He is a being who knows and feels and wills and is not simply a blind, unintelligent force. He does not have a body. Hands, feet, eyes, etc. are merely marks of corporeity not of personalty."
Q. Was Abraham a Jew or a Gentile? Please write and tell all about Abraham.
A. To tell all about this wonderful character exceeds my ability. But briefly, he was the founder of the Jewish Nation, a descendant of Shem, one of the sons of Noah. Read 11th chap. of Genesis, which gives fourteen generations to Terah, who was Abram's father. God changed his name to "Abraham" for he was to be the father of many nations or multitudes, Gen. 17:5. He first dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees; immigrated from Chaldea to Haran; moved from thence to Canaan, where he settled amid the oak-groves of Mamre. There it was he was confirmed in the thrice repeated promise that his seed should become a mighty nation, and his name changed from Abram to Abraham. He died at the age of 175 years and was buried in the tomb of Machpelah. Jesus said, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad." (John 8:56). P.
Q. What does I John 5:10-14 mean? Our opposers say Old Baptists do not know they are saved because they have doubts?
A. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself." But there is in the regenerated person, a warfare between the flesh and the spirit. Knowledge sometimes becomes obscure; clouds hide the face of the sun; night with its dark shadows come and then it is that we need "hope as an anchor of the soul." Sometimes Job could say, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," but not always could he feel to say this. Sometimes David could say, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." At other times he felt that the Lord was "clean gone forever." "For we are saved by hope;" (Rom. 8:24), saved from despair. John said, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (I John 3:24). But at times we have doubts that we love them as we should. "By their fruits ye shall know them." P.
Q. Does Matthew 24:29, have a literal or symbolical meaning?
A. The verse reads, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened, the moon shall not give her light and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken." I think this means that after the tribulation which befell the Jews in the siege and fall of Jerusalem, the Shekinah, or the divine presence of God, would no longer shine there as it had; that the moon, representing the ceremonial law would not give light; that the stars, representing the Jewish Rabbins and doctors who departed from the word of God, would fall into disuse; and that "the powers of the heavens shall be shaken," means that the ordinances of the legal dispensation should be shaken loose and removed from among the disciples of Jesus. P.
Q. Why did Jesus stay on earth forty days after His resurrection?
A. To give "infallible proof" of His bodily resurrection from death and the grave. (Acts. 1:3). During this time He often walked with them and talked with them, "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." The number "forty" is prominent in the Bible. It rained forty days and forty nights upon the earth, Gen. 7:4; the "flood was forty days and forty nights upon the earth," Gen. 7:17; Israel "eat manna forty years" in the wilderness, Ex. 16:35; "Moses was in the Mount forty days and forty nights," Ex. 24:18; "Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights," Matt. 4:2. P.
Q. What are "the greater works" spoken of in John 14:12 that believers shall do?
A. This is to be understood of the apostles to whom Jesus was conversing and comforting regarding His leaving them. The "greater works" were to be greater, not in nature and kind, but greater in number, and especially greater in numbers of conversions and turning from darkness to light - from the power of Satan unto God, as the preaching of the apostles, under God's grace, did. True conversion is a great miracle. P.
Q. Is it good order for a church to admit to their communion table members of a sister church who are also members of an oath bound secret order?
A. Primitive or Old School Baptists as a body, have time and again declared non-fellowship for such societies. They think it disorderly for their members to take secret oaths in societies where the name of Jesus, their Saviour, is not allowed to be mentioned in the lodge service. P.
Q. Is it good order for a church to grant a letter of dismission to a member knowing that said member would lay it in a disorderly church?
A. No. Orderly church letters are granted for the purpose of transferring members of good standing to another church of the same faith and order. P.
Q. If a church steps aside in doctrine or practice, what should be the attitude of other near-by sister churches towards her? Should they declare non-fellowship for her without labor?
A. To declare non-fellowship for churches or individuals without gospel labor to save from error would be disorderly. If churches become offended with a sister church, they should go to such offending church with messengers in the spirit of love, seeking reconciliation and peace. A church is a sovereign in governing its own affairs, but not such a sovereign that it may break the laws of her head - Christ - and preach and practice whatever she pleases and still be held in the fellowship of orderly churches. P.
Q. Is a church a sovereign?
A. Yes, in the sense that councils, conventions, synods, presbyteries, associations, etc., have no scriptural authority above churches. Such bodies have no ruling power over churches, for they are the creatures of churches. Associations and councils may labor with and advise a church, but the law of discipline was given to the church. Yet a church, is not a sovereign without restriction, she is held in bounds by the laws of her Law-giver. If she breaks the laws of Christ, if she teaches false doctrines and practices which Christ and the apostolic church did not teach, and will not give them up; if she becomes stubborn, unruly, and unforgiving, then she has become disorderly; and if she continues in her disorders she will lose her identity. Such a church has no scriptural right to plead "church sovereignty" when she continues in rebellion to her Lawgiver. And orderly gospel churches may deny her claims of "sovereignty" and refuse to be bound by her.
Q. Should we retain a fornicator in the church?
A. No, for Paul says, "Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (I Cor. 5:1-11). This is a clear case of exclusion. P.
Q. Is there any scripture for receiving one back into the church who was excluded for fornication?
A. In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, 2nd chapter, 6th and 8th verses, it is evident that "that wicked person" was to be restored upon his repentance and turning from his wicked way, for "sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such an one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love towards him." P.
Q. In doing church work is it proper to say we do it in "gospel order" or in "scriptural order?"
A. As brethren use the term "gospel order" they have in mind order according to the teachings of scripture. Therefore "scriptural order" is a better term to convey our meaning. The word "Gospel" is from the Anglo-Saxon godspell and means good tidings. P.
Q. Jesus said, "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest and finding none. Then he saith, I will return unto my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." (Matt. 12:43-45). What does this mean?
A. This represents those who make pretense of religions profession without reality. The devil goes out, he is not cast out. He wanders around, maybe, in desert and haunted places "seeking rest," and finding none he returns to his own house, the sinner from whom he went out. In the devil's absence the sinner "got religion." He reformed, swept up the old house, raised a dust and cleaned up and polished things generally. But the merely reformed sinner was "empty," that is empty of God and the knowledge of Him. And so the first devil takes with him seven other devils. They enter in and dwell there - the sinner cannot prevent it for he is not regenerated but merely reformed. Christ has not taken up his abode in the man - if He had the first devil, and all the other devils, could not have made the man worse than he was at first. This parable also portrayed the generation in which Christ lived, a generation of pharisaical profession without much reality. P.
Q. What is the difference between Absolutism and Two-seedism?
A. The definition of absolutism is, "the absolute predestination of all things," that all things that come to pass are absolutely predestinated, fixed, prearranged, that good and evil, right and wrong, are all alike chargeable to God's predestination. Two-seedism is the doctrine that there are two seeds, one the seed of Christ and the other the seed of the devil, that the child of God has, from all eternity, been a child of God and comes down into the world and dwells in the flesh, and when the flesh dies the seed goes back to heaven. It denies the need of the new birth, but advocates the idea of an eternal vital union with the God-head. Those who are unsaved are claimed to be the seed of the devil from all eternity. P.
Q. Of what nation was Simon of Cyrene who was forced to bear the cross of Christ?
A. Read Matt. 27:32. He was of the Jewish nation. Cyrene was the name of a city wherein dwelt Jews as appears from Acts 2:10, and this Simon was evidently a converted Jew, and for this reason was compelled to bear the cross. P.
Q. What is the scriptural authority for hanging, or punishing by death, people who commit murder?
A. Genesis 9:6; Numbers 35:30-34; Romans 13:1-4.
Q. Did Judas Iscariot have any of the miraculous powers which Christ gave to the other Apostles?
A. The Scriptures do not say explicitly that Christ gave Judas Iscariot miraculous powers, but they do say that He gave the twelve Apostles (of whom Judas Iscariot was one) a commission to preach the gospel and power to work miracles (Matt. 10:1-8; Mark 3:13-19; 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6); just as Balamm, who loved gold more than he loved God, preached and prophesied the truth about Israel, and blessed the people of God when he wished to earn Balak's money by cursing them. It would seem, from the Scriptures, that a person may preach the truth and even have power from God to work miracles, and yet have no grace in his heart, and be lost at last (Num. 22; 23; 31:8; Josh. 13:22; II Pet. 2:15,16; Jude 11; Matt. 7:22-27; I Cor. 13:1,2; Heb. 6:4-10).
Q. What did Paul mean when he said he was "freeborn" (Acts 22:28)?
A. That, by his natural birth, he was a Roman citizen - a free, governing member of the Roman Commonwealth, entitled to valuable personal and political privileges. It is thought that his father or some other ancestor had obtained Roman citizenship by some valued service that he had rendered to the government.
Q. Who are meant by the sons of God, and the daughters of men in Gen. 6:2?
A. The male descendants of godly Seth, and the female descendants of ungodly Cain, according to the understanding of the best Bible scholars.
Q. What was the "birthright" that Esau sold to Jacob?
A. The right to the father's chief blessing, and to an inheritance in the land of Canaan, and to being the ancestor of the Messiah.
Q. In Gen. 1:26 Moses writes, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;" to whom do the "us" and "our" refer?
A. To the Three-One God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The original Hebrew word translated God in the first chapter of Genesis is Elohim, a plural noun meaning Mighty Ones; and yet the verb of which it is the subject is in the singular number. The phrase "God said" is used in this chapter ten times, showing that God made all things by His Word or Son (John 1:1-3,14,18,34); and the Spirit of God is shown to have wrought in the creation in Gen. 1:2.
Q. How many times is the word "salvation" used in the Bible?
A. It is used 162 times. P.
Q. What does the word salvation mean, and does it always have the same meaning?
A. The word means deliverance - delivered or saved from that which is under consideration. In reference to sin, it means deliverance from sin and its penalty. But in scripture it is not always used in connection with salvation from sin - often it has reference to being saved from error, from false ways and false doctrine, from temporal calamities, temptation, sorrow, enemies, etc. "Eternal salvation" is by grace, Jesus is the author of it - "he became the author of eternal salvation." (Heb. 5:9). But God's children are told to "work out your own salvation" - that is work out that which God has worked in. Peter preached to the people, saying, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." (Acts 2:40). Paul wrote Timothy to take heed to himself and to the doctrine, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee." (I Tim. 4:16). That is, save himself and others from false doctrines and false ways. Many such deliverances are taught in the Bible, which are separate and a part from salvation from the being and the effect of sin - which is alone by grace. (Eph. 2:8). P.
Q. Do Primitive Baptist ministers preach "repentance?"
A. Yes, but not as a means of eternal salvation. Real repentance is a fruit of the work of grace in the heart. "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." (Rom. 2:4). Paul said, "God ... now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." (Acts. 17:30). The first Baptist preacher preached repentance. (Matt. 3:2). To those whose hearts were touched and "pricked" on the day of Pentecost, Peter said, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you." (Acts 2:38). But there is much so-called repentance that is insincere, people who draw nigh to God with their lips while their heart is far from him. (Matt. 15 8). P.
Q. What do you believe regarding "confession?"
A. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. 10:9). Real sincere confession is an evidence that such an one is a child of God, "For whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." (I John 4:15). But we do not have to confess our sins to some priest in order that he might have the Lord to forgive us, Jesus is our Priest. But we ought to confess our sins - not try to hide them, for "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper." (Prov. 28:13). "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another." (Jas. 5:16). P.
Q. How can a sinner be justified before God?
A. "We conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law." (Rom. 3:28). It is God that justifieth through the atonement made by His Son: "Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Rom. 5:9). "A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 2:16). Our faith is imputed to us for righteousness. Rom. 4:8; 8:28-30. P.
Q. What are your views on the scripture: "I have been young, and am now old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Ps. 37:25)?
A. This was David's observation in his long life. Though afflicted of God and forsaken by men, yet God does not forsake the righteous. He withdraws His blessings and felt presence for a season but does not utterly forsake. The righteous may feel to be forsaken, and their enemies may conclude that they are, but not so. The righteous may be brought down to want - they may for a little season ask of others needed help - David at one time asked bread of Ahimeleck, and Elijah asked bread of the widow of Sarepta, and Lazarus, a certain beggar, was laid at the rich man's gate. Yet these are exceptions, there are exceptions to all rules in the affairs of human life, there are times of emergencies when good people ask favors of others; but David had not seen them forsaken. Paul said, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken."
Q. A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet" Rev. 12:1. What does this mean?
A. I cannot tell all it means, probably no one can. But evidently the "woman" represents the apostolic church, the true church on earth. This vision was seen in heaven whither John was called up to, and it was wonderful. This "woman" was clothed with the sun, or with Jesus, for He is called the "sun of righteousness." Though she was attired in sound doctrine, heavenly ordinances and godly practices, yet the most beautiful of her garments was the righteousness of Christ to whom she was married. Christ was her husband - He furnished her clothes. And under her feet was "the moon." The moon here represents the ceremonial law, the law of ceremonies and forms of worship under Moses. These have served their purpose and are to be laid aside or put under the feet of the gospel church.
Q. Do you think that the "prodigal" son was an unregenerated man - an alien sinner?
A. No. The parable does not teach such an idea. The "certain man" represents God. He had two sons. In a secondary sense the two sons may represent the Jews and the Gentiles, but primarily they represent the two classes among the Jews in the days of Christ upon earth and the two classes of worshipers today. The younger son typified the publicans and sinners, the older son represents the scribes and the pharisees. Possibly we have among us some old Baptists who act like pharisees, who are stubborn and get angry if special attention is given to God's wayward children when they repent of their sins and come back to the Father's house, the church. But there should be great rejoicing on such occasions, for when the wayward son returned, "the Father" put "the best robe" on him and the ring (representing unending love) was put on his hand; shoes on his feet; and the feast was spread. The Father had compassion - brothers sometimes do not have compassion. But it is a shame when they do not. God is not pleased with His children when they are angry, stubborn and unforgiving. This "prodigal" was a son when he left home and he was a son when he came back.
Q. Does I Cor. 14: 34-35 and I Tim. 2:11-12 prohibit a sister speaking in church service under any circumstances?
A. No. The Apostle clearly condemns public preaching or teaching by women. The Apostolic churches had no women preachers. But women can do a gospel work - some labored with Paul in the gospel. (Phil. 4:3). Priscilla, with her husband, Aquila, (Acts 18:26) expounded unto Apollos, a preacher of eloquence, "the way of God more perfectly." Some sisters know more gospel truth and understand the Bible better than some young preachers. I wish we had more Priscillas and Lydias. Their private teaching and godly example is of untold influence for good; and in conducting the matters of church government - which is congregational - the sisters have a voice. And often their judgment, as well as their labors of love, is especially prominent among our churches and have been blessed of God to the upbuilding of the cause of truth.
Q. Is The Holy Kiss a Christian duty?
A. Some religious people so consider and practice it. It is a symbol of love and is mentioned five times in the New Testament, namely, "Salute one another with an holy kiss." (Rom. 16:16); "Greet ye one another with an holy kiss." (I Cor. 16:20); "Greet one another with an holy kiss." (II Cor. 13:12); "Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss." (I Thes. 5:26) ; "Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity." (I Pet. 5:14). The practice has never been general among Baptists - they do not consider it a command but a token of love and fellowship one for another. P.
Q. Please explain I John 3:9. Also 3:1-8 and I Cor. 6:18.
A. The first passage reads as follows: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God." In the light of other scriptures and in view of the doctrine of regeneration this passage can only mean one thing and that is: the regenerated cannot live a life of sin because of the holy principle implanted in him in regeneration. He is morally unable to live such a life because the governing disposition of the soul has been changed and he hates sin and loves righteousness. I John 3:1-8. "If we say we have no sin" and do not need the cleansing blood of Jesus "we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." The first passage teaches that no Christian can live in sin. He is not its slave. He is not under its dominion and power. While the second passage teaches all are sinners and need the cleansing blood of Jesus. I Cor. 6:18 - "Every sin that a man doeth is without the body." This passage does not mean that the body is not involved in sin. It is the instrument of sin. Sin is conceived in the heart and executed by the body. And every sin a man doeth is against his body because it leaves its mark on the body.
Q. Is a Christian ever justifiable in resisting civil government?
A. When civil government undertakes to interfere with and prevent one's duty to God, of course obedience to God comes first. "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." "It is better to obey God than man." See Daniel's conduct.
Views on Scripture Requested
A brother in Georgia requests the Editor's opinion on the following scripture, especially verses 3, 4 and 5:
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men: for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (I Tim. 2:1-5.)
Who will have all men to be saved?:
All men agreeable to the context, kings and peasants, rich and poor, bond and free, young and old, all classes and conditions of sinners. Therefore all are to be prayed for. God has a people, an elect people, among all nations, races and peoples. Jesus said, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me." Jesus also said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." God, by his all-mighty power, draws to the Son all classes and conditions of men given to Him. He draws from death in sin to a life in Christ, from nature to grace. He cannot fail. If He gave all the race of men to Jesus, then all the race of men will be saved. God's ordaining, purposing and determining will, can never be resisted so as to be frustrated, but is always accomplished. Election is true: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world." All the race became sinners: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned." (Rom. 5:12). God could have left all the race in sin, saved none, and remained just. But through mercy, some are saved. How many, we know not. But we do believe that as many of all the race as God gave the Son, will come to Him. And all who are saved, God wills they should be saved.
Our brother also asks what is meant by I Tim. 5:9, which reads:
"Let not a widow be taken into the number under three score years old, having been the wife of one man."
This has reference to widows who should be maintained by the church. It would seem that widows under sixty years of age were supposed to be capable of labor, or might marry, and therefore not be desolate or dependent upon the care of the church. Widows above that age became a care upon their brethren and sisters if they had no way of support or others to care for them, and if they had "been the wife of one man," that is, one at a time. Other evidences were also necessary for such aged widows to become worthy charges to the church. They must have been, "Well reported for good works; if she have brought up children, of she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work." If aged widows have a good report by both the members of the church and those that are without, and if they have done such good works as mentioned - all of which are private duties - then they should receive help from their brethren and sisters when they are in need.
"Dear Elder Pittman: I would love to ask you four questions and if agreeable to you, reply to them in your paper - Advocate and Messenger.
First: What part of the old conditional Covenant belongs to the New?
Second: Does the blessing of God secure good works, or do good works secure the blessing?
Third: Are we blessed in the deed or for the deed?
Fourth: Does our peace and happiness in the Spirit depend upon our obedience?"
Years ago I heard the Brother who asked these questions preach, and enjoyed his preaching. I am sure he asks the questions, not from a spirit of controversy, but honestly desiring to know my views. And so I briefly answer the questions in the same kindly spirit:
What part of the old conditional Covenant belongs to the New?
A. The fulfilled part - that which Jesus brought over by his perfect obedience as examples for us. "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But that after faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ" Gal. 3:24-26. But "whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope" Rom. 15:4. "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" Heb. 2:1-3.
Does the blessing of God secure good works, or do good works secure the blessing?
A. God's blessings are first. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" Eph. 1:3-4. There is coming a time when they shall be holy and without blame. They should be more so now. For the grace of God that brings salvation teaches "us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." I do not think God's people always live as they should live. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me" says the Master, "for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls" Matt. 11:29. The rest is found in bearing the yoke.
Are we blessed in the deed, or for the deed?
A. In the deed. For James tells us that "whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed" Jas. 1:25. The blessing is in doing the work. But he must continue therein, be not forgetful, but do the work. The law of the Lord is perfect, the statutes of the Lord are right, "and in keeping of them there is great reward" Psa. 19:11. "The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward" Prov. 11:18. Christ said, "Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again: and your reward shall be great" Luke 6:35. And Paul said, "Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor" I Cor. 3:8. We must believe that God "is a rewarded of them that diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:6) to believe the truth.
Does our peace and happiness in the Spirit depend upon our obedience?
A. Jesus is our peace and the source of all abiding comfort, joy and happiness. Yet "where there is no vision the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" Prov. 29:18. Jesus said, "If Ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" John 13:17. God's people not only experience happiness in doing right, but also in suffering in a righteous cause: "Behold, we count them happy which endure" Jas. 5:11. "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye" I Pet. 4:14. "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven" Mat. 5:11-12. "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword" Isa. 1:19-20. "The wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience" Col. 3:5-6. We do not find in the Bible God's wrath promised for obedience. But we find blessings promised to the obedient. Christ taught that "whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward" Mark 9:41. But no child of God can serve independent of the Spirit, yet He will not command His children to do that which they cannot do. P.
You want me to give my views on three scriptures which you quote, and as these scriptures are considered strong proof-texts by our absolute brethren, I will briefly express my opinion, though my views may have no weight with you:
lst Question: What is the meaning of Job 26:13? "By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens:his hand has formed the crooked serpent."
Answer: All creation is the work of the Creator. Even Satan, the old serpent, the devil, is God's creature, made by him as a creature. But there is no evidence that God made him a devil - his devilish work is of himself. It is fatalism to charge the works of the devil or the devilish works of men to God.
2nd Question: What is the meaning of this scripture, Isa. 45:7? "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things."
Answer: All light is from God; when He withdraws light darkness follows, which is also his creature. He makes peace - Jesus is the peace-maker between God and man. He creates evil; not the evil of sin. God did not create sinful creatures; sin came by man, which suffers and overrules for good: but it is the evil of punishment for sin here under consideration, God's judgement such as war, famines, pestilence, destructive winds and waters and earthquakes, afflictions, adversities and calamities - "I the Lord do all these things."
3rd Question: Is not absolute predestination taught by Solomon (Prov. 16:4)? when he said, "The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil."
Answer: No, this does not teach absolutism. It teaches that with respect to creation all things were made by the Lord. All Baptists, with a very few exceptions, agree with John Gill's interpretation of this text. He said: "It is not the sense of this text, nor of any other passage of scripture, that God made man to damn him; nor is this to be inferred from the doctrine of predestination: God made man, neither to damn him, nor to save him, but for His own glory; and that is secure, whether in his salvation or damnation; nor did or does God make men wicked; He made man upright, and he has made himself wicked; and being so, God may justly appoint him to damnation for his wickedness, in doing which he glorifies his justice."
The work of compiling and publishing this book has been a labor of love. But the book is not perfect, for it is human to err. So, kind reader, use your "mantle of charity," but measure all answers by the inerrant word of God. Receive and defend the truth; and, if you have a desire and the opportunity, please help me in disposing of the book by giving copies to your children, to pastors and seekers after truth, and by recommending it to friends as a text-book on religious knowledge. Solomon said, "Buy the truth and sell it not; also Wisdom, and instruction, and understanding" Prov. 23:23.