1. Inasmuch as many deny the Bible teaches that the Church of Christ should never totally apostatize, I will here prove that it teaches its preservation until the Second Coming of Christ. Let us first settle what is the church.
The M. E. Discipline defines the church: “The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinance in all things that are of necessity requisite to the same.”1 Substituting ordinances for “sacraments” and adding Scriptural Church Government, this definition is good.
Dr. Hiscox: “A Christian Church is a congregation, of baptized believers in Christ, worshipping together, associated in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; practicing its precepts; observing its ordinances; recognizing and receiving Christ as their Supreme lawgiver and ruler; and taking His Word as their sufficient and exclusive rule of faith and practice in all matters of religion.”2 This expresses what the Methodist Discipline seems to mean, but with much more clearness. With equal clearness J. M. Pendleton, D.D.,3 E. Adkins, D.D.,4 H.…
1 Art. 13.
2 Baptist Church Directory, p. 13.
3 Pendleton’s Church Manual p. 7.
4 Adkins’ The Church; its Polity and Fellowship, p. 18.
…Harvey, D.D.,1 Henry M. Dexter, D.D.,2 W. W. Gardner, D.D.,3 William Crowell, D.D.,4 say the same thing. The New Hampshire Confession says: “We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word,”5 etc.
Ekklesia — the word for church occurs 114 times in the New Testament. In all but three it is rendered church. It refers to the Christian Church once typically, (Acts 7:38) the remaining 110 occurrences antitypically. In 99 instances, by counting, I find it denotes local organizations; in 12, by synecdoche, it means all the local organizations. It is used by synecdoche in Matt. 16:18; Eph.3:10, 21; 5:23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 32; Heb. 12:23, and, possibly, one or two other occurrences.
Says E.. J. Fish, D.D.: “All investigation concurs with 'unequivocal uses of the term in pronouncing the actual church to be a local society and never anything but a local society.'”6 “The real Church of Christ is a local body, of a definite, doctrinal constitution such as is indispensable to the unity of the Spirit.”7 Alluding to its application to all professors, of all creeds, scattered everywhere, as an “invisible,” “universal church,” Dr. Fish well says: “Not a single case can be adduced where the loose and extended use of the collective can be…
1 The Church, p. 26.
2 Congregationalism, p. l.
3 Missiles of Truth, pp. 189,190.
4 Church Members' Manual, p. 35.
5 Art. 13.
6 Ecclesiology, p. 114.
7 Idem, p. 116.
…adopted without a forced and unnatural interpretation. The New Testament is utterly innocent of the inward conflict of those theories which adopt both the invisible, or universal, as it is now more commonly called, and the local ideas.”1
H. M. Dexter, a Congregationalist, was forced to say: “The weight of New Testament authority, then, seems clearly to decide that the ordinary and natural meaning of ekklesia, rendered church, is that of a local body of believers.”2
Says Ralph Wardlaw, D.D., a Congregationalist: “Unauthorized uses of the word church. Under this head, I have first to notice the designations, of which the use is so common, but so vague — of the church visible and the church mystical, or invisible. Were these designations to be found in the New Testament, we should feel ourselves under, obligation to examine and ascertain the sense in which the inspired writers use them. This, however, not being the case, we are under no such obligation.”3
A. Campbell: “The communities collected and set in order by the Apostles were called the congregation of Christ, and all these taken together are sometimes called the kingdom of God.”4
Moses E. Lard, of the difference between the kingdom and the church: “My brethren make none.”6 On the same page: “God has not one thing on this earth called his kingdom and another called his church.” That church refers to a local body, any one can see by such as Matt. 18:17; Acts, 8:1; 9:31; 11:26,32; 13:1; 14:23,…
1 Idem, p. 102.
2 Congregationalism, p. 33.
3 Wardlaw's Cong. Indep., p. 54.
4 Christian System, p. 172.
5 What Baptism is For, No. 3, p. 5.
…27, 15:3, 4, 22, 41; 16:5; 18:22; Rom. 16:1, 5; 1 Cor. 1:2; 4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 2 Cor. 8:1, 18, 19, 23, 24; 11:8, 28; 12:13; Gal. 1:2, 22; Rev. 1:4; 2:1, 7, 8, 11, 12, 17, 18, 23, 29; 3:1, 6, 7, 13, 14, 22; 22:16. A careful comparison of these references will prove that the church is a local body, administering the ordinances, discipline, etc., known as church when but one in any locality, and churches when several of them are spoken of. Kingdom, in the New Testament, means the aggregate of the churches, just as any kingdom means the aggregate off its provinces — or countries of which it is composed. A kingdom includes the unorganized part of its geographical territory. In the New Testament, likewise, the term kingdom may include regenerate persons who have been misled so as to have never united with any of the churches or organized parts of the kingdom, such an instance is Rev. 18:4, where Christians are exhorted to come out of the Romish church. But, in no instance, either politically or ecclesiastically, can the application of the term kingdom to the organized localities, or parts, exclude the organized as necessary to the kingdom.
W. M. F. Warren, D.D., President of Boston University, Methodist: “Christian Church is the kingdom of God, viewed in its objective or institutional form.”1 “In an earlier period this kingdom was identified with the church…The Protestants regarded it…as the Christian institution of salvation.”2
Barnes: The kingdom means “the state of things which the Messiah was to set up his spiritual reign began in the church on earth, and completed in heaven.”3
* Except that there is no general organization of the churches but each church is in organization, independent of every other church, save as Christ is King over them all.
1 Essay before the Proph. Conf., held in N. Y., in 1873.
2 Schaff-Herzog Ency., vol. 2, p. 1246.
3 Com. on Matt. 3:2.
Neander, while stating that the kingdom is used in other sense, — which, by the way, can easily be included in the one he mentions — says: “The idea of the Church of Christ is closely connected in the views of Paul with that of the kingdom of God.”1 “At the time of which we are speaking, the church comprised the whole visible form of the kingdom of God.”2
Andrew Fuller regards the kingdom and the church indissoluble when he says: “If the nature of Christ's kingdom were placed in those things in which the Apostles placed it, the government and discipline of the church would be considered as means not as ends.”3
G. W. Clarke: “This kingdom, reign, or administration of the Messiah is spiritual in its nature (John 18:36; Rom. 14:17) and is exercised over and has its seat in the hearts of believers. — Luke 17:21. It exists on earth (Matt 13: 18, 19, 41, 47) extends to another state of existence (Matt. 13:43, 26, 29; Phil. 2:10, 11) and will be fully consummated in a state of glory (1 Cor. 15:24; Matt. 8:11; 2 Pet. 1:11). It thus embraces the whole mediatorial reign or government of Christ on earth and in heaven, and includes in its subjects all the redeemed, or, as Paul expresses it, (Eph. 3:15) 'the whole family in heaven and earth.' Kingdom of heaven and church are not identical, though inseparately and closely connected. The churches of Christ are the external manifestations-of-this kingdom in the world.”4
In an excellent article in Smith's Bible Dictionary.5 A. Hovey, D.D., President Newton Theological Seminary, says: “This kingdom, though in its nature piritual, was to…
1 Plant, and Tr. of the Chr. Ch., p. 455.
2 Idem. p. 458.
3 Fuller's Works, vol. 2, p. 639.
4 Com. on Matt. 3:2.
5 Vol. 2, pp. 1541, 1543.
…have, while on earth, the visible arm in Christian Churches, and the simple rites belonging to church life were to be observed by every loyal subject (Matt. 28:18; John 3:5; Acts 2:38: Luke 21:17: I. Cor. 11:24.) It cannot, however, be said that the New Testament makes the spiritual kingdom of Christ exactly co-extensive with the visible church. There are many in the latter who do “not belong to the former, (1 John 2:9,) and some, doubtless, in the former, who do not take their place in the latter.”
Tholuck: “A kingdom of God — that is an organic commonwealth.” “The New Testament kingdom of God, is both from within and from without, in the individual as in the whole community.” “The idea of the kingdom of God …is an organized community, which has its principle of life in the will of the personal God.”1
In the invisible church and kingdom theory are all disorganizers who reject baptism and church organization. Under the pretense of great zeal and spirituality they make the invisible everything and the organization nothing. This is illustrated by the following from The Watchman, of Boston:
“But, of late, there has been a marked disposition among certain thinkers to contrast the 'kingdom' with the 'church,' to the disadvantage of the latter. What we need today, they say, is not to strengthen the church, but to extend the kingdom of God; to work for the reorganization of society and the influence of Christian principles and motives in every department of life, and not for the salvation of individual men and women, which is the peculiar work of the church. Some of these writers have gone so far as to imply that the church is the greatest obstacle in the way of the advance of the kingdom of God.”
1 Sermon on the Mount, by Tholuck, pp. 71, 74.
As Luke 17:21 is the main passage for an invisible kingdom, I submit the following from that critical scholar,
Dr. Geo. Varden:
“The weight of critical authority inclines mightily to 'in your midst.' Lexicon Pasoris (1735) so renders. Raphel (Nota Philologica 1749) similarly. Rosenmuller (Scholia, 1803) seeks to show at some length that, though entos may in general mean within, the character of the persons addressed forces the other meaning. Bretschneider (Lexicon, 1829) translates, 'The: founder of. the divine kingdom is already in your midst.' Alford (Critical Greek Testament) 'The misunderstanding which rendered these words within you, should have been prevented by reflecting that they are addressed to the Pharisees, in whose hearts it certainly was not.' Then, 'among you' is the marginal reading of the authorized version: and it has justly been said that, as a rule, these readings are preferable to the text. Moreover, the latest revision of the A. B. Union reads, 'The kingdom of God is in the midst of you.' Writes Thayer in his Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (the latest and by many regarded the best) 'In the midst of you, others within you (id est, in your souls) a meaning which the use of the word permits, but not the context.' And Godet, in his recent critical Commentary on Luke, writes, 'These words are explained by almost all modern interpreters in the sense of in the midst of you.'”
To this I add the words of Dr. Bloomfield, on this passage: “Is among you ...On this interpretation the best commentators are agreed and adduce examples of this use of evroc …The kingdom of God has even commenced among you, i. e., in your own country and among your own people.” So Paulus, Fleck, Bornemann, DeWette, Doddridge, Beza, Raphaelius, et al.
Inasmuch as Acts 19:32, where ecclesia is rendered “assembly,” is presumed to prove it means, also, a “mob,” I submit the following conclusive critical refutation, from the late and lamented J. R. Graves, LL. D.:
“Let us, without prejudice, look into this question. (1.) Ecclesia is nowhere in the whole range of classical Greek usage used to denote a 'mob' or an unorganized or riotous crowd. (2.) It is nowhere so used in Septuagint Greek. (3.) It is no-where else in the 111 instances of its occurrence in. the New Testament used to denote a mob or riotous crowd. This should arouse suspicion that it may not have this unwonted meaning here. Certainly if it can mean a lawful and organized assembly here, we should give it that signification. It certainly can, and I believe should be, given the sense of a lawful assembly— even a political body possessed of civil functions.
“Ephesus was a free city of Greece. Every free city was governed by (1) jury courts — Diakastres — that had jurisdiction over all criminal cases. (2.) The ecclesia, which was an organized body composed of all free citizens entitled to vote, and presided over by a recorder. The meeting place of the ecclesia at Ephesus, as at Athens, was in the theater — as the capital at Frankfort is for the sessions of the Kentucky Legislature, (3 ) The council of five hundred corresponded to our Senate or the House of Lords. Ephesus, then, had an ecclesia, and its meeting place the great theater of the city, and its duty to look after the general peace and welfare of the city — not to sit as a criminal court to try personal offenses.
“Let us now examine Luke's account of what took place, remembering that the ecclesia may have been in session before the uproar commenced, or that it, as it was its duty to do, came immediately together as soon as cognizant of it. Demetrius and his workmen and the mob, Laving seized Gaius and Aristarchus, rushed with them into the assembly, 'and some [of the mob] cried one thing and some another, and the ecclesia was confused' by these varied cries, while no definite charge was brought to its notice of which it could take cognizance. Now mark it was not the ecclesia that was riotous, but 'oklos' — crowd that had rushed into the theater where the ecclesia assembly of Ephesus was in orderly session, or had gathered to hold one; for it was the 'oklos,' not the ecclesia, that the presiding officer of the ecclesia quieted. (See Acts 19:35.) He informed this riotous, 'oklos' crowd, 'if Demetrius and the workmen with him had a charge against any man, there were the courts and the proconsuls; but if it was about other things the ecclesia would settle it.' The ecclesia was responsible for public tumults, insurrections, etc., and the officer appealed to the crowd to be quiet and disperse, 'for,' said he, speaking for the ecclesia, 'we are even in danger of being accused about the tumult of today, there being no cause by which we [the ecclesia] can excuse this concourse' — sustrophes — not ecclesia. And having said this, he adjourned, dissolved, the assembly — ecclesia — not the sustrophes — mob — which he could not dismiss. Now, in this account, we have, in Greek, four terms used: 'deemos,’ people; 'oklos,' crowd; 'sustrophes,’ mob; 'ecclesia,' assembly — a body having civil jurisdiction. Ecclesia and sustrophes are never used interchangeably, never mean the same body.”
Were we to admit that ecclesia here meant a “mob,” since the church in no way involves a mob, this passage has no bearing on what is the church. Liddell and Scott, in their Greek Lexicon, define the word, “ekklesia, an assembly of citizens summoned by the crier, the legislative assembly.”
Dean Trench says: “Ekklesia…as all know, was the lawful assembly in a free Greek city o£ all those possessed of the rights of citizenship, for the transaction of public affairs. That they were summoned is expressed in the latter part of the word; that they were summoned out of the whole population, a select portion of it, including neither the populace, not yet strangers, nor those who had forfeited their civic rights — this is expressed in the first. Both the calling and the calling out, are moments to be remembered, when the word is assumed into a higher Christian sense, for in them the chief part of its peculiar adaptation to its auguster uses lie.”
If the kingdom and the church mean “the reign of grace in the heart without a visible organization,” as grace had reigned in the heart, at least, from the time of Abel, Dan. 2:44 and Matt. 16:18, could not have spoken of the kingdom and the church as not built before the New Testament age.
A kingdom without organization — definite, ascertainable laws, is but the creature of the babel of sectarianism. It never did exist, in nature, in politics or in grace; and never can exist. It is twin brother to the notion that there is an “invisible church” — as if there were invisible men and women! The only part of the church which is invisible is the internal part and that part which has “crossed over the river.”
That the term church in the New Testament, always means, literally, in the language of the New Hampshire Confession, “a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ,” and, in its few figurative uses, the aggregate of the local churches, and that the church and the kingdom are so related that neither can exist without the other, I have now clearly demonstrated.
THIS BEING THE CASE, EVERY PROMISE OF PRESERVATION AND PERPETUITY, MADE TO THE KINGDOM, IS A PROMISE TO THE CHURCHES OF WHICH IT IS COMPOSED, AND vice versa.
I will now proceed to prove the Bible promises that the church should never so far apostatize as to lose its existence as a true church.
I. “I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” — Jer. 32:40. (1.) That this refers to the New Testament none will deny. (2.) That the church and the “covenant” are indissoluble, will not be denied. (3.) That this covenant and its subjects are in contrast with the old covenant and its subjects, is equally evident. From this it follows, that, inasmuch, as the people of the old covenant apostatized, and that they were repudiated of God, the new covenant and its people are everlastingly united to Him. This is positively affirmed: (a) an “everlasting covenant;” (b) “fear in their HEARTS;” (c) “that they SHALL NOT DEPART from me” — no departing from God, as under the old covenant, no apostate Israel, hence Church Perpetuity. The only possible way to deny that this is a positive promise of Church Perpetuity is to affirm that God departs from His people, who do not depart from Him, which is affirming that He is unfaithful.
II. “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” — Dan. 2:44. (1.) Here God affirms He will set up a kingdom — but one kingdom. (2.) This kingdom includes the church or churches, as the United States government includes the State or the States. (3.) That this kingdom and church or churches are indivisible, is certain. (4.) He affirms this kingdom, including His church, shall not be left to other people; i.e., under the law of the old covenant, the kingdom, because of apostasy, was given to the Gentiles — “other people,” but under the law of the new covenant there shall be no apostasy of the church, so as to cause it to be given to “other people” — to Wesley, Calvin, etc., and their followers. No room here for men to set up churches of their own on the ground of the original churches having all apostatized. (5.) This kingdom “ shall NEVER be destroyed.” (6.) This kingdom “shall stand FOREVER.” (7.) This kingdom, instead of becoming apostate, shall be aggressive — “shall break in pieces and consume all 'other kingdoms.'” (8.) The days of these kings refer to the days of the Caesars. The only possible way of avoiding this promise of Church Succession is to deny that this kingdom and church are indissoluble. That this denial is vain is evident, from the fact, that, in the New Testament, the two are never separate, and the promises of preservation therein to the one are equally to the other. So writers of all denominations hold them one. Here, then, in the Old Testament are the most unequivocal promises of Church Perpetuity.
III. “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” — Matt. 16:18. (1.) This is church, but one kind of church — a kingdom — not “branches.” The New Testament says that, as individuals, Christ's disciples are “branches” of Him. But it nowhere so much as intimates there are “branches of the church.” If there are “branches of the church” where is their trunk?? (2.) Christ built His church. Wesley, Calvin, Campbell, etc., built theirs. He built it on a sure foundation. — Isa. 28:16; Ps. 118:22; Eph. 2:20; 2 Tim. 2:19. (4.) The church and its foundation are indissolubly joined together by undying love. (5.) “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” — it “shall never be destroyed,” but “shall stand forever.” Bengel well says: “The Christian Church is like a city without walls, and yet the gates of hell, which assail it, shall never prevail.” “A most magnificent promise.”1 So say Stier, Adam Clarke, Scott, Barnes, G. W. Clarke, Bloomfield, Horsley, Vitringa, Olshausen, Doddridge and Lange, et mul al. Has Christ's promise failed?
The following are Campbellite concessions:
“The rock is not that against which the unseen is not to prevail; neither has the church ever become extinct. These we deem gross errors.”2 Mr. Fanning: “The church was built upon the rock laid in Zion; that she has withstood the rough waves of eighteen centuries, and that she will finally triumph over all the principalities and powers of earth.”3 David Lipscomb: “God founded a church that 'will stand forever;' that the gates of hell shall not prevail against.”4 “True witnesses of Christ never failed from the earth.”5 †
† That these Campbellites and Pedo-baptists, when they come to justify the origin of their churches, say the gates of hell did prevail against the church, is true. But, then they speak from their churches; here they speak from the Bible.
1 Com. in loco.
2 Lard's Quarterly Review for 1886, p. 309.
3 Living Pulpit, p. 520.
4 Gospel Advocate for 1867, p. 770.
5 Isaac Errett's Walks about Jerusalem, p. 142.
IV. “Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” — Matt. 28:18-20. (1.) Christ here promises His presence. (2.) His presence is here implied to be the only guarantee of the fulfillment of the mission, but the sure one. (3) This promise is to His church. That this is true is evident from the Great Commission having been committed to only the church. This will hardly be questioned. (4.) Christ's promise is to insure that the nations will be discipled, baptized, etc. That He has promised to be with His church to guarantee the preservation of baptism — all things included in the commission — is, therefore, clear. (5.) Christ promises His presence always, all the days — pasas tas heemeras — not leaving a single day for apostasy. (6.) If this church has gone into Babylon He is gone there too, and all are lost — “Lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Bengel says on this : “A continual presence, and one most actually present.” “This promise also belongs to the whole church.”1 Inasmuch as Methodism, Presbyterianism, Campbellism, etc., are “but of yesterday,” this promise cannot apply to them. On this Stier says: “He is present with his mighty defense and aid against the gates of hell, which would oppose and hinder His church in the execution of His commands.”! So, G. W. dark, Scott, Matthew Henry, Barnes, Doddridge, Olshausen, and Adam dark, et. mul. al.
1 Com. In loco.
V. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Savior of the body…Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it…that He might present it to Himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” — Eph. 5:2S, 29. (1.) This is taken from the relation of husband and wife. (2.) The husband that does not use his utmost power to save his wife is an unfaithful husband. (3.) Only his lack of power prevents him from saving his wife. (4.) For Christ to not use His utmost power to save His church would be for Him to be unfaithful to her. (5.) Only by His lack of power can the church apostatize. (6.) But, “all power m heaven and in earth” belongs to Him; therefore the church is insured forever against apostasy. He “gave Himself for it” and He is its “Savior.'' (7.) An apostate church is not a “glorious” church, has spots, wrinkles, serious blemishes. (8.) But, inasmuch as Christ's church has “no such thing,” His church shall never apostatize. On this Adam Clark says: “Christ exercises His authority over the church so as to save and protect it.”1 Verses 26 and 27, Bengel, Matthew Henry and Adam Clark say allude to “the different ordinances which He has appointed;'' hence they agree that the passages speak of the Church organization.
VI. Having been “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord.” — Eph. 2:20, 21. (1.) This building — the church — is “fitly framed together.” (2.) It is framed — JOINED to its foundation — “in whom.” (3.) A church being framed…
I Com. in loco.
…to the foundation so as to be removed from the foundation is not “filly framed,” the only “fitly” framing, according to the spirit and the design of Christianity, is that which so frames the church into its foundation, that it can never be razed by the devil; and, thus, Wesleys, Campbells, Calvins left to rebuild it. (4.) As it is “fitly framed” into its foundation, if the devil has forced it into Babylon, the foundation, too, is gone, for they are “fitly framed together.”
VII “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved.” — Heb. 12:28. Greenfield, Liddell, Scott and Thayer define the Greek, here rendered “moved,” “shaken,” and the Bible Union and the New Revision render it “shaken” instead of “moved.” (1.) If this kingdom cannot be “shaken,” surely the church cannot be forced from its foundation into Babylon. (2.) The church, therefore, must ever be faithful to its husband — Church Perpetuity.
VIII. Christ is the King of His church. — Matt. 21:5. (1.) To destroy the kingdom is to destroy the king as king. (2.) If Christ's church has been destroyed, as king, Christ is destroyed, † (3.) But as His kingship in His church is essential to save a lost world, if for no other reason, He would preserve His church from apostasy. (4.) In no instance has a king ever lost his kingship, except by being too weak to save it. (5.) But Christ has “all power,” therefore, He will save His kingship by saving His church from apostasy.
IX. Christ is “High Priest” of His church. — Compare Heb. 10:21 with 1 Tim. 3:15. (1.) Christ's priesthood is essentially related to His church. (2.) Therefore to destroy His church is to destroy His priest…
† To the attempt to evade the force of this argument, by the fact that Saul became King, and thence inferring God then was no longer King (1 Sam. 18:23) is a sufficient reply.
…hood. (3.) Inasmuch as He can never permit His priesthood to be destroyed, He can never permit apostasy to destroy His church.
X. Church Perpetuity grows out of the nature of the truth as the instrument of the Spirit. The spirit through the truth preserved the apostolic church. Unless the Spirit and the truth lose their power, they must thence preserve the church from apostasy until Christ comes. The same cause, under like conditions, will always produce the same effect. The truth is conditioned for all time only by sinful nature and the unchangeable Spirit; therefore Church Perpetuity.
XI. Church Perpetuity grows out of the mission of the Church. Her mission is to preach the gospel to the world, preserve the truth and the ordinances. The Scriptures make the churches the custodians of the ordinances and of all affairs of the kingdom of Christ, on earth. The Commission says, disciple, baptize and teach them to observe all the institutions of Christ — Matt. 28: 19, 20. (a) Those who make disciples are, naturally, the judges of the progress and the rights of the disciple, (b) Peter, on Pentecost, in that he commanded certain persons to be baptized, judged of their fitness for baptism. — Acts 2:38. (c) In asking “can any man forbid water,” Peter implied that water can be scripturally forbidden for persons who are unfit for baptism. — Acts 10:47, 48. (a?) In Philip saying to the eunuch, “if thou believest with all thy heart thou mayest,” he implied his right to refuse to baptize him, if he regarded him as not born again. Compare Acts 8:37, with 1 John 5:1.
Through the Apostles the churches were given the ordinances. (1.) Compare Acts 16:4; 1 Cor. 11:2. (2.) The Church is “ the pillar and the ground of the truth.” — 1 Tim. 3:15. (3.) In caring for the things of the kingdom, the churches baptize into their membership — through their officers — those whom they think are believers. “Him that is. weak in the faith receive.” — Rom. 14:1- (a) How receive if no authority to receive or reject? (b) Again, if the Church is not the judge, how can it know whether the candidate is “weak” or strong in the faith — or whether he has any faith at all? (c) Proslambanesthe means, “to admit to one's society and fellowship.” — Thayer's, Robinson's and the other Lexicons. Adam Clarke: “Receive him into your fellowship,”1 so Comp. Com., Doddridge, etc. See 1 Cor. 5:4-5, where the church excluded a member and 2 Cor. 2:6-10, where she receives him back into her membership. (4.) In caring for the interests of the kingdom the churches exclude members. — 1 Cor. 5:4-9; 2 Thess. 3:6; Rev. 2:14, 15, 20; 3:10; Matt. 18:17-19. (5.) The church is to watch, guard the interest of the kingdom as a soldier, on guard, guards what is under his care. Teereo — rendered “observe” in the Commission — Matt. 28:20 — means to “watch, to observe attentively, to keep the eyes fixed upon, to keep, to guard, e.g., a prisoner, a person arrested.…to keep back, to keep in store, to reserve.”2 In the following passages it, and its family, are rendered, “watched,” “keepers,” “keep,” “kept.” — Matt. 27:36; 28:4; Mark 7:9; John 2:10; 12:7; 17:12, 15; Acts 12:5,6; 16:23, 24:23; 25:4, 21; 2 Tim. 4:7; James 1:27. Thus the “keepers did shake;” “they watched him;” “Peter was kept in prison;” “the keepers before the door kept the prison;” “charging the jailer to keep them safely;” “commanded a centurion to keep Paul;” “that Paul should be kept in Caesarea;” “I commanded him to be…
1 In loco.
2 Thayer's, Robinson's and other Lexicons.
…kept;” “keep yourselves in the love of God.” Thus the church, at Philadelphia, is commended concerning the interests of the kingdom, in that “thou didst keep my word.” — Rev. 3:8.
In 1 Cor. 11:2, katekete — “to hold down, to detain, to restrain, to retain, hold firm in grasp, to maintain” — see the Lexs. — is used — “keep the ordinances” — Revised Version, “holdfast.” Thus we see, as plainly as that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that as the Jews, under the Old Dispensation, had the exclusive care of the word, the ceremonies, etc., so has the church under the new; that the church, as a soldier, with its eyes fixed on the interests of the kingdom, is to propagate, practice and guard them — as the Commission reads, “teach them to guard all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” As the Church, according to the word and the Spirit, obeys the Great Commission, Jesus is with it. — Matt. 28:20. † If the church were necessary in apostolic times it is necessary “alway, even unto the end of the world.” — Matt. 28:20. Did not Christ provide for this necessity by providing for Church Preservation? Or, was there, here, a little omission which Wesley, Calvin, Campbell and other church builders provided for?
No doctrine of the Bible is more clearly revealed than is the doctrine of Church Perpetuity. As easily can one deny the atonement. Convince me there is no church today that has continued from the time of Christ, and you convince me the Bible is false. “Pedo-baptists” and Campbellites have admitted that Church Perpetuity is a…
† Inasmuch as the objection against Restricted Commission is based on the presumption that the church is not the custodian of New Testament institutions, the reader now has. In a nut, shell. the key to the whole subject of “Close Communion.” No church which believes itself a New Testament church can extend Its privileges to those outside its membership— those who differ from It.
Bible doctrine, so clearly is it taught in the Bible. Prof. Bannerman, a Presbyterian, says: “There are statements in Scripture that seem distinctly to intimate that the Christian Church shall always continue to exist in the world, notwithstanding that all is earthly and hostile around her. He has founded it upon a rock; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”…That Christ will be with His church 'alway, even unto the end of the world,' ministering the needful support and grace for its permanent existence on earth, we cannot doubt.”1 “He has left us a promise that the powers of evil shall never finally prevail against or sweep it entirely away; and as belonging essentially to the due administration of that kingdom, and forming a part of it, the outward dispensation of the ordinances and worship in the church shall never fail.”2 “The ministry, embracing an order of men to discharge its duties, is a standing institution in the Christian Church since its first establishment until now, and Leslie, in his Short Method with the Deists, has fairly and justly appealed to the uninterrupted existence of the office as the standing and permanent monument of the great primary facts of Christianity, and, therefore, as demonstrative evidence of its truth.”3
Eld. J. M. Mathes, a leading Campbellite, adduces the recent origin of the Methodist church as one evidence that it is not the church of Christ. He says: “The M. E. church, as an organism is not old enough to be the church of God.”4
“In the darkest ages of Popery, God never 'left Himself without a witness.' It is true that from the rise…
1 The Church of Christ, by Bannerman, vol. I, p, 51.
2 Idem., p. 333.
3 Idem., p. 439.
4 Letters to Bishop Morris, p. 140.
…of that anti-Christian power till the dawn of the Reformation, the people of Christ may be emphatically denominated a 'little flock,' yet small as their number may appear to have been to the eye of man, and unable as historians may be, to trace with accuracy the saints of the Most High, amidst 'a world lying in wickedness,' it cannot be doubted that even then, there was a remnant, which kept the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ. If God reserved to Himself 'seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal,' in the reign of idolatrous Ahab, can we suppose, that during any preceding period. His Church has ceased to exist, or that His cause has utterly perished?”1
The attempt is made, in two ways, to weaken the force of these Scriptures for the Perpetuity of Churches. (1.) By resorting to the loose, assumed meaning, of the word church, as not including organization. But in reply (a) I have shown that ekklesia always indicates organization. (See the first part of this chapter.) (b) No man can show where it ever excludes organization.2 (c) There can be no reason why God — if there is such a church — should care so much for a general, indefinable, intangible, “invisible” body of men and women who have no definite places of meeting, no gospel and gospel ordinances committed to it, no definite and tangible objects before it, as to promise to preserve it, while He cared so little for a special, definable, tangible, visible body of men and women, with definite places of meeting, tangible objects before it, and gospel and gospel ordinances committed to it, as to give it no promise of preservation! (d) The preaching, the ordinances, the administration of discipline — all the work of the gospel — having been committed,…
l History Waldenses, Published by American Sunday School Union.
2 Ecclesiology, p. 102.
…not to a general, indefinable, intangible, invisible, body of men and women, with no places of meeting, no objects before it, but to organization, it is clear that, whatever may be promised to a non-organization, the very mission and the very design of the church lead us to expect its preservation. When Paul directed Timothy “how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth,” — 1 Tim. 3:15 — he spoke of organization with officers — “bishops” and “deacons” — see the context, in verses 1-13. The election of officers, the receiving, the discipline and exclusion of members, the keeping of the ordinances, — everything necessary for the work of the gospel and the salvation of a lost world was committed to “organized churches.” Compare Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 1:26; 6:2, 3, 5; 10:47; 15:22; 16:4; Rom. 14:1; 1 Cor. 5:4, 5; 2 Cor. 2:6; 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 3:6; Rev. 2:14; 3:10, in which it will be seen that the churches elected their officers, received, excluded members, preached the gospel, kept everything in order. In preaching, baptizing, receiving, excluding, the churches are the powers through which the king of Zion governs, extends His empire. A. Campbell, of the churches, says: “But as these communities possess the oracles of God. …they are in the records of the kingdom regarded as the only constitutional citizens of the kingdom.”1 Few deny this necessity for the churches, until they come to meet the impregnable stronghold of Bible promises of Church Perpetuity, when they disparage the churches for their own general, intangible, invisible — I must say it — nothing; and then they have Church Perpetuity promised to their pet — nothing. Some of them will say: “Yes, we admit, that
1 Christian System, p. 172.
through all ages there were men and women who held Bible principles, Bible doctrines, Bible ordinances, etc.” Yet, in the next breath, they deny that these were churches! Just as if the life, evinced by the maintenance of these “principles,” these “ordinances” and the “doctrine” would not maintain the scriptural church organization! Where, today, find we men and women who maintain Bible principles, Bible ordinances, Bible doctrine, etc., without scriptural organization? Indeed, what is such a, life in manifestation but organization and the work of organization? The Scriptures represent the organization as indispensable to the purity, the preservation of the doctrine, the gospel and the ordinances. But, to rob the church of the promise of preservation, it is denied that the church is necessary to such purposes. What these deniers of Church Perpetuity think the church was instituted for, would require more than the wisdom of Solomon to tell. (2.) It is claimed that the apostasy of some churches proves the apostasy of all. Excuse me for reducing the objection to a logical absurdity, in stating it. As well prove that a whole army deserts from some having deserted. The Scriptures speak of some churches being spewed out, their candlesticks being removed. The Romish church is only apostasy. But the promises to the church and to the kingdom, as institutions, are, that “it shall stand forever,” that “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
The attempt is, also, made to weaken the statements of commentators, etc., that the Scriptures promise Church Perpetuity. This is done in the same way by which the attempt is made to weaken the direct statements of the Scriptures, viz., by saying that these commentators mean the general, indefinable, intangible, “invisible” body of men and women — church means men and women — with no place of meeting, no objects before it — the “invisible church.” To this I reply: Some of these writers have fallen into the error of speaking of an “invisible church,” but (1.) I have shown that they speak of the “visible” church as being preserved. For example, Adam Clark says, that the church, of Eph. 5:23-29, is a church with ordinances. † (2.) But, if every one of these writers understood these promises as applicable to only an ''invisible church” it does not, in the least, weaken their testimony to these promises guaranteeing Church Perpetuity. The promises of perpetuity to a church are one thing; to what kind of a church is given .these promises is quite another. I have not quoted any of these writers as defining the church to which the promises were given; but I have quoted them all to prove that the promises clearly leave no ground to doubt that perpetuity of some kind of a church if promised. Having proved that the churches‡ of the New Testament are organizations, to which are committed the gospel, the doctrine, the ordinances, the discipline — that they are thus “the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the PILLAR and GROUND of the Truth,” (1 Tim. 3:15.) whoever denies that these are the church to which the promises of preservation are given has his controversy not with me so much as with the King of Zion. § So far as the use of the…
† An invisible church — if there is such a thing — has neither ordinances nor anything else. If any passage, in the Bible, seems to mean an “invisible” church, this passage is that one. The bad results of the “invisible” notion is seen in Cowboy Deanism, now in Texas, and elsewhere. On the plea that the church is made up of all believers, wherever they are and to whatever they are connected, it is calling our churches “ Babylon,” those who maintain them, “church idolaters,” etc , and is endeavoring to destroy them. This is but the Pedobaptist notion of an “invisible church” “gone to seed.” The “invisible” notion is the seed of ecclesiastical nihilism and anarchy.
‡ “The learned Dr. Owen fully maintains, that in no approved writer, for two hundred years after Christ, is mention made of any organized, visibly professing church, except a local congregation of Christians.”— Church Members' Manual, p. 36, by William Crowell.
§ That the reader may neither be confused nor think that I am contused I will again state that I use “ church,” in the singular, to denote the aggregate of churches. Just as it la used In Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22; 5:24; Col. 1:18. It is thus used by synecdoche, and I use “churches” for the Independent organizations- the literal churches, as in Acts 9:31; 15:41; 16:6; 19:37: Rom. 16:4, 16; 1 Cor. 7:17; 11:16; 14:33,34; 16:1, 19. To say “Baptist church” for all Baptist churches is, therefore, correct, so is it to say Baptist churches.
…testimony of these writers is concerned, it matters not, if these writers believed the churches of the New Testament are Romish or Mormon churches. They agree that whatever the churches of the New Testament are, they are promised Church Perpetuity. And I have proved them all organizations.
I will close this argument with the testimony of one Methodist and two Presbyterian scholars.
Adam Clarke: “The church of the living God. The assembly in which God lives and works, each number of which is a living stone, all of whom, properly united among themselves,” — this is organization, — “grow up into a holy temple in the Lord.”1
Barnes, Presbyterian: “Thus it is with the church. It is entrusted with the business of maintaining the truth, of defending it from the assaults of error, and of transmitting it to future times. The truth is, in fact, upheld in the world by the church. The people of the world feel no interest in defending it, and it is to the Church of Christ that it is owing that it is preserved and transmitted from age to age …The stability of the truth on earth is dependent on the church …Other systems of religion are swept away; other opinions change; other forms of doctrine vanish; but the knowledge of the great system of redemption is preserved on earth unshaken, because the church is preserved and its foundations can not be moved. As certainly as the church continues to live, so certain will it be that the truth of God will be perpetuated in the world.”2
1 Com. on 1 Timothy, 3:15.
2 On 1 Timothy 3:15, in “Old Landmarkism,” p. 44.
Again, says Bannerman: “The visible church is Christ's kingdom; and the administration of government, ordinance, and discipline within it, is but a part of that administration by which He rules over His people. That kingdom may at different times be more or less manifest to the outward eye and more or less conspicuous in the view of men. But He has left us a promise that the powers of evil shall never finally prevail against it or sweep it entirely away; and, as belonging essentially to a due administration of that kingdom, and forming a part of it, the outward dispensation of ordinances and worship in the Church shall never fail. * * * There are express announcements in Scripture, warranting us to assert that the various institutions and rites that make up the outward provision of government, worship, ordinance, and discipline in the Church of Christ, should be continued to the end of the world.”1
“The ministry, embracing an order of men to discharge its duties, is a standing institution in the Christian church, since its first establishment until now; and Leslie, in his Short Method with the Deists, has fairly and justly appealed to the uninterrupted existence of the office as a standing and permanent monument of the great primary facts of Christianity, and as therefore demonstrative evidence of its truth. …There are a number of Scripture declarations of the promises, of the permanence and perpetuity of a ministry in the church, which have been appropriated and perverted by the advocates of apostolic succession into arguments in favor of the doctrine. …In short, most of those Scripture statements, which afford us warrant to say that there shall be a church always on this earth, and that the office of minister and pastor is a standing appointment…
l Bannerman's Church of Christ, vol. 1, pp. 332, 333.
…in the church, have been pressed into the service of the theory that an apostolical succession in the line of each individual minister is essential to the validity of the ministerial title, † and, as most, if not all, the advocates hold essential also the existence of a church at all. Now, with regard to such statements of Scripture, it may readily be admitted — nay, it is to be strenuously affirmed — that they demonstrate this much, that a Church of Christ, more or less visible, is always to exist on the earth; but this conclusion has nothing to do with apostolic succession in the church. Further still, many of these texts may be held as demonstrating that the office of the ministry is a standing and permanent one in the church. …There are not a few statements in Scripture that justify us in believing that the office of the ministry in the church can never, as an office, become extinct; that an order of men set apart to its public duties can never, as an order, be interrupted and come to an end, so long as the church itself endures.”1
Prof. Bannerman, feeling the force of this, against the Presbyterian church, tries to evade it by a resort to the notion of a “universal Christian society, and in all the branches of the Christian church.” But this does not weaken the force of the quoted statements. How significantly, then, is every honest scholar bound to voice the Lord's statement: “Upon this rock I will build, my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” — Matt. 16:18.
XII. “Unto Him be glory in the church, by Jesus Christ, throughout all ages, world without end.” — Eph. 3:21…
† Advocates for receiving persons into our churches, on alien immersions, have fallen into the Romanist and Episcopal error; for they claim that we can have no proof of a regularly constituted ministry until we can trace “every minister's pedigree back to apostolic times!” Just as if a Scriptural Church is not the authority to baptize !
1 Idem, pp. 439, 442.
….By her fulfilling the great commission — her godly life — the church perpetuates and extends Christ's glory. Many, in our age, rather reverse this by having this glory out of the church. But this makes His glory dependent on the church. As this glory is “in the church throughout all ages, world without end,” the perpetuity of the church is assured.
The Scriptures more than justify the lines of Newton:
“ Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
He whose word cannot be broken,
Formed thee for His own abode.
Lord, thy Church is still thy dwelling,
Still is precious in thy sight,
Judah's temple for excelling,
Beaming with the gospel's light.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
What can shake her sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
She can smile at all her foes.”
Or of Kelley:
“Zion stands with hills surrounded,
Zion kept by power divine;
All her foes shall be confounded,
Though the world in arms combine;
What a favored lot is thine.
In the furnace God may prove thee,
Thence to bring thee forth more bright,
But can never cease to love thee;
Thou art precious in His sight;
God is with thee;
God, thine everlasting life.”
Thus poets join scriptural expositors in declaring church preservation a fundamental Bible doctrine.
Having proved that the church should never apostatize is a fundamental Bible doctrine, I pass…
To notice that it is a fundamental infidel doctrine that it should apostatize.
A few years ago I met in debate a Spiritist, who affirmed, as a proposition, that the church has apostatized. So Mormonism teaches. Swedenborg says of the church: “Its condition may be compared with a ship, laden with merchandise, of the greatest value, which, as soon as it got out of the harbor, was immediately tossed about with a tempest, and presently being wrecked in the sea, sinks to the bottom.”1
Says Buckle: “The new religion was corrupted by old follies, …until after a lapse of a few generations, Christianity exhibited so grotesque and hideous a form that its best features were lost, and the lineaments of its earlier loveliness were altogether destroyed.”2
Infidels, of the present, seeing that the church yet stands, are preaching its apostasy. Voltaire said the church would be extinct before A. D. 1800. Robert Ingersoll, and every infidel lecturer and writer, proclaim the doctrine of the apostasy. The Devil has believed in and worked for church apostasy ever since its birth. Christ said: “The gates of Hades shall not prevail against” the church; the combined powers of hell have ever said “they shall” and “that they have prevailed against it.” With which of these parties do you, my dear reader, agree? Remember, you cannot evade the question, by resorting to the assumption of an “invisible” church; for we have seen (a) that the only church which the New Testament speaks of is a local organization, and…
l True Christian Religion, p. 269.
2 Buckle's, History of Civilization, vol. 1, p. 183.
…(b) if there were “invisible” churches, the promise of preservation is given to the “visible.”
Modern churches are essentially based on the infidel assumption, viz., the apostasy, harlotry of the blessed Bride or Church of Christ.
A. wife is “off on a visit.” To steal the wife's place, a woman circulates the report that the wife has been lost at sea. The woman knows this report is necessary to make room for her. So, every new sect builder and new sect — and sects now number hundreds — knowing there is no room for another Bride of Christy while the first is alive or true to Him, proclaim the death, or the unfaithfulness of His first Bride. Bangs, one of the earliest Methodist writers, said: “That the state of society was such in Great Britain at the time Wesley arose as to call, in most imperious language, for a Reformation, no one, at all acquainted with those times, I presume, will pretend to question.”1 Again: “Methodism arose from the necessity of the times.”2 Mr. Bangs omitted telling his readers that the very church — the Episcopal — that then ruled Britain, was a church which originated with the bold assumptions of the apostasy or harlotry of the Bride of Christ, and of the necessity of a “reformation.”
Porter, another standard Methodist writer: “More than a thousand years the church was sunk in the deepest ignorance and corruption, so that it is exceedingly doubtful whether there was a valid bishop on earth.”3 “The church was dead.”4 A sect, calling themselves “Bible Christians” — wonder if the Campbellites cannot get a suggestion from this name, as to what to call their church? — says: “In subsequent times, when reformation…
1 Bangs' Original Church, p. 103.
2 Idem, p. 302.
3 Compendium of Methodism, p. 329.
4 Idem, p. 337,
…was needed, a Luther, a Calvin, a Melancthon and others have been raised up, etc. …Under Providence” — by the way, these sect builders all talk of a Providential call, but no one of them recognizes the others' call as sufficiently doing the work for which they were called, and none of them shows us what wonderful Providence called them! — “the body, known by the appellation of Bible Christians, began to assume an external, visible existence as a church, about the year 1800, principally through the labors of Rev. William Cowherd.”1 Of the German Seventh Day Baptists (?), William M. Fahnestock, M.D., of that sect, says: “About the year 1694 a controversy arose in the Protestant churches of Germany and Holland in which vigorous attempts were made to reform some of the errors of the church …In the year 1708, Alexander Mack …and seven others, in Schwartzenau, Germany, began to examine carefully and impartially the doctrines of the New Testament, and to ascertain what are the obligations imposed on Christians; determined to lay aside all preconceived” — the special plea of Campbellism — “opinions and traditional observances. The result of their inquiries terminated in the formation of the society, now called the Dunkers, or First Day German Baptists.”2 Of a sect called “The Free Communion Baptists” (?), Rev. A. D. Williams, one of its ministers, writes: “At the close of the seventeenth century two pernicious errors had crept into ecclesiastical matters in some parts of New England.” As a result: “During the first-half of the eighteenth century a number of these societies were formed in Rhode Island and Connecticut.”3
1 Religious Denominations, p. 123.
2 Religious Denominations, p. 109.
Rev. Porter S. Burbank, of the “Free Will Baptists” (?), writes: “Generally there was but one Baptist denomination in America till the origin of the Free Will Baptists, a little more than sixty years ago. …The Free Will Baptist connection in North America commenced A. D. 1780, in which year its first church was organized.” Then he proceeds to justify its organization, by such statements as: “Churches were in a lax state of discipline, and much of the preaching was little else than dull, moral essays, or prosy disquisitions on abstract doctrines.”1 John Winebrenner, the founder of the Winebrenarians, who call themselves “The Church of God” — a suggestion for the Campbellites as that name is as near as any name, which the Bible calls the church, nearer than most of the names they have given their church — says: “We shall accordingly notice…that religious community, or body of believers, who profess to have come out from all human and unscriptural organizations” — just what the Campbellite church professes — “who have fallen hack upon original grounds, and who wish, therefore, to be called by no other distinctive name, collectively taken, than the Church of God.” So he says: “In October, 1830,” some persons “met together” and organized the “Church of God.”2 Of course, though Mr. Winebrenner founded his church, like A. Campbell, he says it was originated in the first century! In a tract, published by the “Seventh Day Adventists,” at Battle Creek, Mich., — a sect which is doing far more than Ingersoll to introduce Sabbath desecration and materialism — entitled “The Seventh Day Adventist: a brief sketch of their origin, progress and principles,” we read: “Our field of inquiry leads us back…
l Idem, pp. 74,75.
2 Idem, p. 172.
…only to the great advent movement of 1840-'44. Respecting that movement, it is presumed that the public are more or less informed; but they may not be so well aware of the causes which have led since that time to the rise of a class of people calling themselves Seventh Day Adventists.”1 Then, on the assumption of all things needing reforming, it says: “A Seventh Day Baptist sister, Mrs. Rachel D. Preston, from the State of New York, moved to Washington, N. H., where there was a church of Adventists. From them she received the doctrine of the soon-coming of Christ, and in return instructed them in reference to the claims of the fourth commandment in the Decalogue. This was in 1844. Nearly that whole church immediately commenced the observance of the seventh day, and thus have the honor of being the first Seventh Day Adventist Church in America.”2
Thus, we see how sects arise, how Christians are divided, how the world is led into infidelity by sectarianism. THE INFIDEL DOCTRINE, THAT THE BLESSED BRIDE OF CHRIST IS DEAD, OR HAS BEEN UNFAITHFUL TO HIM, IS THE BASIS, THE LICENSE OF THE WHOLE OF THE SECTARIAN TROUBLE. Once it is admitted, every one, good or bad, who becomes offended, and who can get a few followers, can get up a “new church,” so on ad infinitum. †
Thus, here comes Alexander Campbell, like all the other sect founders, claiming to reform the church, to “get back to the Bible,” etc. A. Campbell says that he originated the Campbellite church from ''a deep and an abiding impression that the power, the consolations and joys — the holiness and happiness of Christ's religion were…
† These sects, in the same breath, profess that “to have existed from the apostolic age is not necessary,” then exhaust their ingenuity in “refuting Baptists,” by attempting to prove them of modern origin!! Why this. If age is not necessary to a church???
1 Page l.
2 Idem, p. 5.
…lost in the forms and ceremonies, in the speculations and conjectures, in the feuds and bickerings of sects and schisms.”1 †
† See “Gospel In Water or Campbellism,” p. 620; cloth bound, price, $2.00, by the author of this book. It Is the most thorough refutation of Campbellism ever published and is recommended by Dr. John A. Broadus, Dr. Angus, of London, and many of our ablest scholars.
l Christian System, p. 6.