BAPTIST CHURCH PERPETUITY TESTED BY THE FRUITS
OF BAPTIST CHURCHES.
Christ says: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Matt. 7:20.
In fruit-bearing Baptist churches of today need dread no comparison with Baptist churches of the apostolic age.
1. The life and the influence of Baptist churches for a spiritual church.
Rejecting all inherited church membership, rejecting bringing people into the church in infancy, rejecting bringing them in on motives of policy and rejecting bringing them in on motives of policy and rejecting bringing them in anyway or for any reason before they are born of God, and contending for exclusion of all known unregenerate persons from church fellowship; among the great denominations Baptists today, as in all the past, stand alone. Thus, they stand alone for a church of only spiritual persons. On other churches Baptists have exerted an inestimable influence for good. In 1863 the adherents of the Heidleberg Catechism celebrated its three hundredth year and published of it a handsome tercentenary edition, edited by prominent divines and with an elaborate historical introduction. These learned writers say: This Catechism assumes that “the baptized children of the church are sealed and set over to the service of God by the sanctifying and separating act of baptism itself, and…
† The reader read this chapter in connection with the Introduction to this book.
…that they belong to the congregation and the people of Christ. …In this respect, however, it was only in keeping …with the general thinking and practice of the church in the age of the Reformation; and it is not difficult to see that the entire catechetical system in particular of the sixteenth century, owed its whole interest and vigor and success to the same theory of Christianity and no other. It is not intelligible on any other ground; and with the giving away accordingly of the old belief in BAPTISMAL GRACE and educational religion we find that it has in a large measure lost its hold upon the practice of our modern churches, in large measure altogether.”1
Listen to these writers tell what has, in such a great measure rooted out the Romish doctrine of infant church membership and baptismal grace, on which the writers say the sixteenth century Reformers built modern churches: “The BAPTIST PRINCIPLE, as it may be called, has entered widely into their theology and church life, bringing them to make large concessions practically; so that they find it hard to bear up against its assumptions and pretensions, and are more and more in danger of being swept away by it from their ancient moorings, and driven forth into the open sea of spiritual fanaticism and unbelief. This unquestionably is the great reason why in certain quarters within these communions such small stress has come to be laid on infant baptism. …We are surrounded now, as we have just seen, with a wholly different practice which is the fruit and evidence of a wholly different faith. What that faith is, or rather what it is not, has been mentioned already in general terms. It is the absence of a belief in that side of Christianity which is represented to us in the idea of the church being in any…
1 Tercentenary Edition of the Heldleberg Catechism, pp. 112-113.
…way the organ and medium of grace for the children of men. In this respect our modern sects are generally of one mind. …They are all of them thus constitutionally Baptistic; having no power to see in the church membership of infants and young children anything more than an empty form, and never daring to make any practical earnest with the thought of their sanctification to God. Such has come to be the reigning habit of thought, it is but too plain with our American Christianity in general at the present time.”1 Thus, these great Pedobaptist scholars lamentably concede that Baptist principles have almost wholly converted the Pedobaptist world from infant baptism, from baptismal grace and from a consequent unspiritual church — they concede that Baptist influence has led them to abandon the infant baptism part of the old catechism, which was “at once cordially welcomed by all but Romanists and extreme Lutherans,” and which “was speedily translated into many different languages,” and which “is, virtually, the platform occupied at the present day by the largest portion of the Protestant church, especially in regard to its moderate Calvanistic and sacramental doctrines.”2*
Before the British Congregational Union, Dr. Bonner, the Moderator, in 1858, said: “The preeminence given by the Baptists to the personality † of the Christian character and profession becomes a valuable force arrayed on the side of scriptural evangelism against human traditions, sacredotal and ecclesiastical pretensions. It is the…
* The Christian Register (Unitarian) says: “We believe that no branch of the Christian church has done more to uproot a superstitious belief in the pernicious doctrine of baptismal regeneration than the Baptists. It is just here that a sharp line has divided them from the Romanists, Lutherans and the old-time Episcopalians.”
† This is the principle that rejects inherited Christianity and Infant baptism.
l Tercentenary Edition of the Heldleberg Catechism, pp. 118-119.
2 Kurtz's Church History, vol. 2, p. 152.
…direct antidote and antagonist to the official virtue and authority upon which the church of Rome has based the grand apostasy. …On this principle, perhaps, we may account for a new reformation in Germany, being apparently identified with the diffusion of Baptist sentiments in so many States, and for the virulence with which those who teach them and those who adopt them are so persecuted and oppressed by governments inspired by ecclesiastical jealousies and alarm.”
Froude, an eminent English historian, not a Baptist, in his Life of Bunyan, says: “The Baptists, the most thoroughgoing and consistent of all Protestant sects. If the sacrament of baptism is not a magical form but is a personal act, in which the baptized person devotes himself to Christ's service, then to baptize children at an age when they cannot understand what they have done may well seem irrational if not impious.”
Joseph Cook, Congregationalist: “I remember where I am speaking; I know what prejudices I am crossing; but I know that in this assembly, assuredly nobody will have objection to my advocacy, even at a little expense of consistency with my own supposed principles, of the necessity of a spiritual church membership, if I say that” the Baptists have “been of foremost service in bringing into the world, among all the Protestant denominations an adequate idea, of the importance of a spiritual church membership. I know that no generous heart or searching intellect will object to this statement.” Again, says Mr. Cook: “I thank the Baptists for having compelled other denominations to recognize the necessity of a converted membership.” †
† That “other denominations,” especially Methodists, to a deplorable degree, yet retain the doctrine of an unconverted church membership must not be overlooked. Southern Methodists are more Romish than are Northern Methodists.
(2.) In Baptists remaining faithful to the great evangelical trusts we have their scriptural fruit.
A mispronunciation of a word led to the slaughter of the gallant six hundred in the charge of Bal-a-kia-va. A slight error in information left Napoleon ignorant of the sunken road at Waterloo, which lost him the battle upon which his destiny depended. The great Romish apostasy began and reached its full development by underestimating the importance of contending for the great principles and the particulars of church ordinances and church constitution. This is but the logical and inevitably final result of calling anything which is in God's word “non-essential,” † Thus, giving his reasons for leaving the Baptist for a Pedobaptist church, a prominent New England minister said : “I no longer regard the Scriptures as final authority in any such precise and formal matters as I have heretofore done. I believe them to be divine, but divine in the sense of revealing principles of action rather than precise examples. I have come to regard Christianity as a growth almost as much as a revelation, and that very nearly as much attention is to be paid to its development as to its establishment. Arising from this view of the Scriptures, I have felt a growing indifference to theological distinctions. Forms of doctrines and modes, both as they relate to the organization and the ordinances, appear to
me of less moment. Baptism itself is of less consequence to me, and, as I now think, a change might occur in the form when in the judgment of good men it might be wise and necessary.”
On the same line Mr. Daugherty, formerly pastor of the Stoughton Street Baptist church of Boston, on leaving the Baptists, said: “I was born and brought up a…
† The reader please distinguish between essentials for salvation and essentials for the preservation of the gospel and full obedience to Christ.
…Baptist and in due time entered Andover Theological Seminary and commenced my ministry a conscientious Baptist. But have come gradually to feel the narrowness of my faith, or, at least, the intense literalness of the interpretation of that faith. …While I have no doubt that, philologically and historically, baptism by immersion was the primitive mode, I consider it today among the nonessential things of the Christian church. …I cannot be conscientiously any longer tied to the intense literalness of the sect. So I join the Congregationalists.”1
This reminds us of John Calvin's words, when he was originating the Presbyterian church and substituting the change of “men” for God's plain word: “Whether the person who is to be baptized be wholly immersed, and whether thrice or once, or whether water be only poured or sprinkled upon him is of no importance; churches ought to be left at liberty in this respect, to act according to the difference of countries. The very word baptize, however, signifies to immerse; and it is CERTAIN that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”2
A writer well says: “A Pedobaptist minister, the other day, asked the writer why Baptists were so orthodox on the question of eternal punishment, and other questions now agitating the churches, while Congregationalists and others were becoming so loose and unsound. The question is a suggestive one. The only Baptist minister in this vicinity, so far as we know, who has favored Universalism and other errors is an open communion Baptist. The answer is not a difficult one. We believe in the Word of God as the supreme authority. We dare not put our wish in the place of God's word. We dare not talk of essentials and non-essentials. We bow before every command…
1 The Standard, of Chicago.
2 Calvin's Institute of Christian Religion, book 4, chapter 15, section 19,
…of the Lord Jesus. If men make light of one command, why not of another? If in any particular we place our authority above Christ's why not in every particular? If a man will say, 'Yes, Christ commands baptism on a profession of faith, but I think something else will do, then the foundation of all authority is taken away. Our only hope is unquestioning loyalty to the divine word.'”
At the faithfulness of Baptists to the truth, without being constrained by ecclesiastical authority over the churches, Baptist opponents stand in admiration and wonder — not seeing that this is the logical result of the Baptist starting point, faithfulness to God's word. Dr. Charles Hodge once said to a Baptist preacher: “It has always appeared to' me a remarkable fact in providence that, although your church organization allows such freedom to the several congregations, your ministers and people have ever been so distinguished for adherence to sound doctrine. The experience of Congregationalists in New England is very different from yours.”
Before the Congregational Union, Henry Ward Beecher said: “Among all the churches whose flag, red with the blood of Calvary, has never lowered or trailed in the dust of defection, who while the Congregational church suffered eclipse, while the Presbyterians in England suffered eclipse, stood firm, testifying to the truth as it is in Jesus, none deserve more love and more gratitude than the Baptist churches of America. In that church the faith of our fathers has never received a shock, nor been moved. Faithful in the field, enterprising, and for the last quarter of a century, with growing enterprise towards education, and now affording some of the ripest scholars in Biblical literature, which the world knows, and thousands of ministers that are second to none in zeal and success.”
J. L. Winthrow, D. D., of Chicago, one of the most prominent of American Presbyterians: “I suppose there is not a denomination — I speak in no fulsome praise but literally — I think there is not a denomination of Evangelical Christians that is thoroughly as sound theologically as the Baptist denomination. I believe it. After carefully considering it I believe I speak the truth. Sound as my own denomination is, sound as some others are, and I do not cast unfriendly reflections upon any particular denomination, I do say, in my humble judgment, there is not an Evangelical denomination in America today that is as true to the simple, plain gospel of God, as it is recorded in the Word of God, as the Baptist denomination.”
John Hall, D. D., who is perhaps the most prominent Presbyterian preacher in America, not long ago, said: “There is a tendency to heap censure on the Baptists of this country, because of their views, generally held and acted upon regarding the Lord's Supper. 'Close Communion' is being assailed by many in the interests of Catholicity. It is a doubtful Catholicity to raise a popular cry against a most valuable body of people, who honestly and consistently go through what they deem an important principle. Our love for our brethren should surely include the Baptist brethren. And it is doubtful considering the lengths to which liberal ideas in this country have been carried, if there be not some gain to the community as a whole from a large denomination making a stand at a particular point, and reminding their brethren that there are church matters which we are not bound, and not even at liberty, to settle according to popular demand, as we would settle the route of a railroad.” Baptists by taking their “stand” where, in crying “non-essential,” the enemy makes his opening assaults on the faith, have thus guarded the precious gospel and been of inestimable blessing to all churches, and to the whole world. Thus Baptist influence on, other denominations is more than ample justification for their existence.
3. As to freedom, Baptist fruit has ever been only good.
Starting from their great principles, that religion is a personal matter between the soul and God only, and that every Christian is a priest to God, Baptists have always and inevitably, opposed parent, church or State, making the spiritual choice for any souls. Hence they, as does the New Testament, have always left every believer as a free man or woman in Christ Jesus. This constitutes every believer a ruler in God's kingdom and every citizen a ruler in the State. In a former chapter we have seen that Baptists have given the world religious freedom.
In a recent volume, entitled “The Puritan in Holland, England and America,” Douglas Campbell, A. M. LL. B., member of the Historical Association, says: “No words of praise can be too strong for the service which the English Baptists have rendered the cause of religious liberty. …They have never lost their influence as a leaven in the land. In purity of life and in substantial Christian work, they have been surpassed by the members of no other religious body. Having been the first British denomination of Christians to proclaim the principles of religious liberty, they were also the first to send out missionaries to the heathen. …In fact, taking their whole history together, if the Anabaptists of Holland had done nothing more for the world than to beget such offspring they would have repaid a thousand fold all the care shown for their liberties.”
The Nonconformist and Independent, of London, the ablest Pedobaptist paper in the world, is thus quoted by The Standard, of Chicago: “To the Baptists must be credited the proud distinction first of doctrinal relationship to the earliest Christians in Great Britain; and secondly, their priority in asserting the principle of liberty of conscience. Their essential doctrine was held firmly by the Christian communions which St. Augustine found in England when he arrived on his missionary enterprise, and no efforts of his could convert the Baptists to the ecclesiastical polity of the church of Rome. Coming to a more historical period, 'it is,' says Mr. Skeats, in his 'History of Free Churches,' 'the singular and distinguished honor of the Baptists to have repudiated from their earliest history all coercive power over the conscience, and the actions of men with reference to religion. …They were the proto-evangelists of the voluntary principle. …From the remote period referred to above, the principles of the Baptists have more or less permeated and leavened the religious life of England. The Lollards are said to have held their views. And Wickliffe is claimed as one of the early adherents of their theory of Christ's teaching. …They have had to endure imprisonment, pain and death, for their rejection of the supremacy of the crown, and their assertion of a doctrine which cut at the very root of priestism.'”
The New York Tribune recently said: “THE BAPTISTS HAVE SOLVED THE GREAT PROBLEM. They combine the most resolute conviction, the most stubborn belief in their own special doctrines with the most admirable tolerance of the faith of other Christians.” †
† Recently, Romanists and their apes, in the face of Rome having only a red garment, of her principles being persecution, and of Romish priests and bishops being set to persecute “heretics” are presenting Maryland as proof that Rome is entitled to the credit of giving religious liberty to the world. Acting under a Protestant sovereign Lord Baltimore could not persecute other religionists. But listen what law he did pass: “Whosoever shall blaspheme God, or shall deny that the Holy Trinity, or any or the person thereof, shall be punished with DEATH.” — Bancroft's Hist. U.S., vol. 1, p. 256. Death to Unitarians, Jews and Infidels. If Rome is in favor of freedom why did she at that time, every where else persecute; and why does she persecute today, wherever she has the power to do so; and why does she frequently mob opposition speakers in “free America”?
George Washington wrote to the Baptists: “I recollect with satisfaction that the religious society of which you are members, have been throughout America, uniformly and almost unanimously the firm friends of civil liberty, and the persevering promoters of our glorious revolution.”1
Everywhere Baptists have opposed any union of church and State. Founding Rhode Island, they welcomed all to find refuge under their banner of freedom. Judge Story says of the Baptist founding of Rhode Island: “In the code of laws established by them we read for the first time since Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars, that conscience must be free.”2 Bancroft says Rhode Island “is the witness that naturally the paths of the Baptists are the paths of pleasantness and peace.”3 The article on religious liberty in the American Constitution, “was introduced into it by the united efforts of the Baptists in 1789.”4
Early in this century, the king of Holland proffered the Baptists State financial aid. This, of course, they refused. In Virginia, in 1784, when Baptists, in their struggle for the separation of church and State had well nigh conquered, Pedobaptists proposed the compromise of taxing the people to support all denominations. This compromise they vehemently rejected.*
* See Curry on Religious Liberty and the Baptists, p. 45; also, Taylor on the same subject, pp. 23-24; Bitting on the same subject, p. 52.
1 Washington's Life, vol. 12, p. 155.
2 Taylor on Religious Liberty, p. 23.
3 Bancroft's History United States, vol. 2, p. 459—old edition.
4 New American Encyclopedia.
Through the influence of Episcopalians in Georgia, in 1785, a law was passed to establish churches — union of church and State. It gave all denominations equal privileges. But the year it was passed Baptists sent messengers to the legislature and finally procured its repeal.
Thus, that the United States would have been a union of church and State, had it not been for Baptists — for Baptist principles nipping it in the bud — is clear.
In various parts of Europe, England, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, etc., Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and Lutherans, are united with the State. In the United States, near all the leading Protestant denominations, with the Romish church, receive government aid for their Indian missions. The Protestant Standard says: “During three years, the Methodists have received from the government, for Indian missions, $33,345; in six years, the Presbyterians, $286,000; the Congregationalists, $183,000; the Friends, $140,000; the Episcopalians, $102,000; and the Romish church the modest sum of one million, nine hundred and eighty-nine thousand dollars.” Not knowing Baptist principles this paper says: “We are surprised to learn that the Baptists have not received anything from the government for the work among the Indians.”
President Eliott, of Harvard University, is quoted by Dr. Lorimer, as saying: “The chief gain of three centuries has been freedom of thought;” and Bancroft says that “freedom of conscience, unlimited freedom of mind, was from the first the trophy of the Baptists.”
The German philosopher, Gervinus, in his “Introduction to the History of the Nineteenth Century,” says of the Baptist of Rhode Island: “Here in a little State the fundamental principle of political and ecclesiastical liberty prevailed before they were even taught in Europe. …But not only have these ideas and these forms of government maintained themselves here, but precisely from this little State have they extended themselves throughout the United States. They have confused the aristocratic tendencies in Carolina, New York, the high church in Virginia, the theocracy in Massachusetts, and the monarchy in all America. They have given laws to a continent and through their moral influence they are at the bottom of all democratic movements now shaking the nations of Europe.”1 †
Thus with their motto, freedom for all, and their spirit:
“ They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
Hatred, scoffing and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
For the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.”
With this motto and spirit, by the cost of their liberty, of slander, of their blood and their lives, Baptists have bequeathed the world its religious and civil liberty.
4. Baptist fruits are gloriously manifest m giving the Bible to the people in their own language.
The first Bible Society for the world was originated in 1807, by a Baptist — Joseph Hughes. The Romish church has always opposed giving the Bible to the people in their own tongues. Only when the light of Christianity made it necessary to give the people the Bible in their own tongues, to save them to their church, did the Romish rulers ever consent to do so. Then they must not…
† See substantially the same statement from Dr. Philip Schaff, on p. 195 of this book.
l See a little work by the author of this book, entitled “Liberty of Conscience and the Baptists,” published by the “National Baptist publishing Co.,” St. Louis.
…interpret it for themselves. Under that condition reading the Bible is so much disencouraged by the Romish rulers that comparatively few Romanists, speaking the English language, own a Bible. Excepting into the Latin and English languages the Romish church has made but few if any versions of the Bible. Among “Protestants” the only Bible society that has aver existed to render the Bible into the English language according to the meaning of all the original words, was a Baptist Bible Society — the American Bible Union. Its rules required every translator, according to the world's unsectarian scholarship, to render every word of the originals into the English. Under these rules the American Bible Union employed translators of different denominations. It assigned to Pedobaptist scholars parts of the New Testament in which baptizo occurs.
In answer to my question: “Does any Greek Lexicon which is a standard authority with scholars define baptizo by sprinkle, pour, or any word meaning affusion?” I have the following letters: Prof. Thayer, author of Thayer's New Testament, Lexicon — a Lexicon which is of all Lexicons in English, preeminently the standard authority on New Testament Greek — wrote me: “See Thayer's N. T. Lex.” Turning to Thayer's Lexicon, under baptizo, I read: “BAPTIZO — I. (1.) To dip repeatedly, to immerge, submerge. (2.) To cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water; in the mid. and the I aor. pass. to wash one's self, bathe; so Mark 7:4; Luke 11:38; II Kings 5:14. (3.) Metaph. to overwhelm, and alone, to inflict great and abounding calamities on one; to be overwhelmed with calamities of those who must bear them. II. In the New Testament it is used particularly of the rite of sacred ablution, first instituted by John the Baptist, afterwards by Christ's command received by Christians and adjusted to the contents and nature of their religion, viz.: an immersion in water, performed as a sign of the removal of sin. …With prepositions; eis, to mark the element into which the immersion is made, to mark the end, to indicate the effect; en with dat. of the thing in which one is immersed.”
Having quoted the standard New Testament Lexicon on baptizo, I will also stop to quote the standard Classical Lexicon on it — Liddell's and Scott's. I will quote from the English edition which Prof. Fowler, of the Texas State University, says is the Lest. To him I am indebted for this quotation:
“BAPTIZO. To dip in or under water, of ships, to sink or disable them; to draw wine by dipping the cup into the bowl; to baptize.”
In defining baptizo the American edition does not differ essentially from the English.
Prof. M. L. Dooges, Professor of Greek in Michigan State University, answers the question: “Does any Greek Lexicon, which is a standard with scholars, define baptizo by sprinkle, pour, or any word meaning affusion?” “None.”
Prof. Ezra Abbott, Professor of New Testament interpretation in Harvard University — recently deceased — who was a Bible translator and Biblical scholar of international reputation, answers: “I know of no standard Greek Lexicon which defines baptizo by the words to sprinkle, pour or bedew.”
Prof. Van Name, Librarian of Harvard University, answers: “None; so far as I am aware.”
Prof. W. W. Goodwill, senior Professor of Greek in Yale University, author of several Greek text books for our colleges and universities, answers: “I have never seen any such definitions as those to which you refer.”
Prof. Lewis L. Paine, of Bangor Theological Seminary, Maine, answers: “Originally immersion was the practice of the first churches.”
Prof. A. H. Buck, Professor of Greek in the great Methodist University of Boston, Mass.: “I can find no trace of any such lexicon and I have no reason to believe that any such exists. I suppose that such meanings as those you have noted in your question are confined to commentaries and DENOMINATIONAL works and would not be recognized as having any authority OUTSIDE.”
In answer to my question: “Does the world's unsectarian scholarship sustain you in your answer?” Prof. Louis L. Paine says: “Yes.” In answer to my question: “Do you, as a Greek scholar, agree with the Professors of Greek in Yale, Harvard, Michigan and Boston Universities, etc., in saying: I know of no standard Greek Lexicon which defines baptizo by some word meaning affusion?” Prof. Fowler, Professor of Greek in the Texas State University says: “Yes.”
These are all, I believe, Pedobaptist scholars. Yale, Harvard, Boston Universities and Bangor Theological Seminary are leading Pedobaptist institutions. To add pile on pile of such Pedobaptist testimonies, representing both European and American Pedobaptist scholars, is easy. But, surely, these are sufficient to satisfy any unprejudiced person. In the testimony just quoted, without long study, research and much expense, the reader has before him the decision of the world's unsectarian
scholarship as to the meaning of baptiso. In it, that only immersion is the act which Christ commanded for baptism, is as clear and certain as that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. To render baptizo into the English would destroy all churches which practice affusion for baptism. Consequently, as does the Romish church, all denominations that practice affusion dare not give the people a full translation of the Bible. They transfer instead of translate baptizo into the English. Into some heathen languages, where they are not so much exposed to the criticisms of scholars as they are in English-speaking countries, they translate it into ambiguous terms which they can easily pervert into the interest of sectarianism. They have ever opposed with all vehemence, strategy and bitterness, the true rendering of baptizo. To say this about professed Christians gives me great pain at heart. But the people should know the facts. That I do not misrepresent the facts let the following editorial of The Independent, of New York, — the leading American Pedobaptist paper — witness:
“In the early years of the American Bible Society the Baptists, as well as others, contributed their money † to its support. In 1835 a by-law was passed by the society discriminating against certain versions made, by Baptist missionaries, and the Baptists, all but a very few, considering themselves unjustly excluded from common rights in the society, withdrew from its support. We remember how earnestly Dr. Leavitt and others, not Baptists, opposed this action of the society. Four years ago, in a revision of the rules, this by-law was omitted. This action was regarded by many as an abandonment by the society of its previous position, and a circular was issued by certain prominent Baptists declaring that, in their view, no reason existed why Baptists should not resume their former position in support of the society; but to test the matter, an application was made for aid to circulate the Burmese translation of the Bible by Dr. Judson. After some delay, this application has been…
† I have not the figures at hand. But as well as I remember, the Baptists
had before this put a large amount of money into this society.
…directly refused, the society adhering to the principle of the by-law of 1835. The anticipated reunion is, therefore broken off, Dr. Howard Osgood, the Baptist member of the society's Committee on Versions, resigns his position; and the alienation of the Baptists from cooperation with the society may now be considered permanent. We are glad to say that again a strong and able
minority was opposed to the decision.
“The Burmese version of Dr. Judson, who was a man of scholarship as well as Christian zeal, is admitted by the English bishop of Rangoon to be 'a model of idiomatic rendering and of faithful and painstaking labor.' The society condemns it merely on the ground that it translates the Greek word for baptise by a Burmese word meaning immerse.
“That this is a mistranslation the society does not declare. That it is not a legitimate rendering no true
scholar would assert. When the late Dean Stanley declared that 'on philological ground it is quite correct to translate John the Baptist by John the Immerser,' he gave the opinion of the real scholars of all sects. The latest standard lexicons — as Cremer's, Wilk's and that of Sophocles — define baptism as immersion and they all give it no other meaning.
“The officials of the society do not charge that Dr. Judson's translation is unscholarly, they condemn it SIMPLY BECAUSE IT is A TRANSLATION. They declare that the Greek word shall not be rendered into the vernacular but must be transferred from the one language to the other, simply transliterated into the Burmese sentence. They do not say that there is no word in the Burmese to express the act of Naaman and of John, an act so common that one can hardly conceive a language so meager as not to have a word of its own therefore; they do not say that some other Burmese word would present the Greek idea better than the word Dr. Judson has chosen; they say that the Greek word must not be rendered into Burmese at all, but simply transferred so that its original meaning may not be expressed. To be consistent, they should forbid anything to be made known of John's place of baptizing at Enon, near to Salim, except that 'there was hudata polla there,' and of Philip and the Eunuch it should be reticently divulged merely that 'they katebased eis the water' and 'anebased ek the water.' If it be wrong to give the exact meaning of the words denoting a certain act, we ought to becloud the mention of the attending circumstances, lest they disclose the nature of the act.
“No translator like Judson claims, and no scholar stands forth to deny, that the Greek word is adequately rendered by a certain Burmese word; for the society say that the vernacular term shall not be used, but that the Greek word, which of course, to the native will be utterly meaningless, must be transferred to the Burmese page, is to say that the New Testament shall not be placed before the Burman as clearly as it is before the eyes of the Greek peasant, † The society is guilty of the most outrageous obscurantism. It binds its vast powers to the work of suppressing a complete knowledge of the meaning of Holy Writ. IT PLANTS ITSELF SQUARELY ON THE POSITION OF THE CHURCH OF ROME — THE POSITION THAT THE COMMON PEOPLE SHALL NOT BE allowed every word of the Scripture's page, to read if with their own eyes and draw from it what conclusions they think reasonable; BUT THAT A PORTION, AT LEAST, OF THE SACRED ORACLES SHALL MERELY BE DOLED OUT TO THEM BY THEIR SPIRITUAL GUIDES. The Society…
† This is exactly the way the English speaking and other peoples are
treated in baptizo not being rendered into their languages.
…says that the meaning of this Greek word shall not be given the Burman through an equivalent word of the vernacular. It must be imparted to him only through the explanations of the missionary. This is not the Protestant but only the ROMAN CATHOLIC SYSTEM OF Bible translation.* There may be weighty reasons in the case of this Greek word for transferring it to the Burmese, as there may be for preferring the transferred denarius and presbyter to fifteen cents and elder; but none are evident except sectarian ones and our objection is that the society should stringently forbid a legitimate translation and require a transfer.
“The officials of the Bible society are guilty of real sectarianism. It is vain to deny that the only objection they have to Judson's translation is that it may have a certain effect in certain controversies. But what has the Bible society to do with sectarian controversies? If a certain translation is incorrect, let them condemn it. But what have they to do with the question how will it effect this or that dispute. † If a certain translation seems to be scholarly, they should publish it, no matter what effect it may have on ecclesiastical conflicts. The officials of the society abandon the majestic neutrality of scholarship and the love of truth which asks merely whether a given version is correct. They stoop to inquire how it will affect the interests of contending sects. Gentlemen of the big brick house, it is not a right thing to do. The…
* In this the Independent is correct only in part. Protestant Pedobaptist Bible societies and boards of Bible translators, without exception, notwithstanding the demands of scholarship, of loyally to God or of the needs of the people, have never done otherwise than refuse to let the people have baptizo in their own language!
† In this the Independent concedes that Pedobaptlst scholars know the very life and existence of Pedobaptists sects depend on keeping the people from knowing God's command. To save their sects, like Rome, they all decided the people shall not have God's word in their own language — save where it does not destroy their sects. Having come out from Rome they are the Reformation incomplete. Hence their Romish course.
…only question you have a right to ask is whether the translation of Dr. Judson is faithful to the Greek. If it is not, condemn it; if it is, then publish it, no matter what parties of controversialists be helped or hindered thereby. You were not appointed, gentlemen, to watch the interests of contending sects; but to circulate correct translations of the Scriptures; and for you to refuse to circulate a given version, NOT BECAUSE IT is INCORRECT; but because it may have a certain effect on certain controversies is a violation of the solemn trusts committed to your charge.”
Baptize, in all the Chinese versions published by Baptist missionaries, is translated by Tsiny, to immerse, to dip, to put into water. This term gives no uncertain sound. Says M. T. Yates, “When I had completed the translation of two of the gospels into the Shanghai vernacular, I asked the agent of the American Bible Society in China for means to publish them. He replied: 'I will publish all your translations if you will not translate baptizo.’ I asked by what authority he could demand of me to have any portion of God's word untranslated? He replied: 'Such are my instructions.' But the answer of the American Bible Society's agent will seem very extraordinary when it is known that no word can be transferred into the Chinese, and all words must be translated, and that baptiso is actually translated by the word see-lee, the washing ceremony, in all the versions in Chinese, which have been published by the American Bible Society, and the British and Foreign Society. As the term see-lee never means to sprinkle or pour — other and entirely different words being used to express these ideas — it conveys no definite idea to a Chinese mind. A Chinese wishing baptism once with only this word to guide him, and seeing that Christ was baptized in a river, went into a river and gave the region around his heart a good scrubbing; and not being satisfied with this and supposing that perhaps he ought to receive the washing from heaven, stood out in a heavy rain till washed from head to foot. These great Bible societies are determined, if possible, to hide the true reading of God's word, in regard to this ordinance, from the heathen.”
M. T. Yates and A. B. Cabaniss are authority for these statements.*
“As a member of the Madras Revision Committee, Dr. Jewett had up till 1872 been engaged on the Old Testament only. In that year he was asked to unite in the revision of the New Testament, as it was most needed. He declined at first, but consented, on condition that when the version was published, if not satisfactory to Baptists, our mission would have the right to revise it and publish its own version at its own expense. In 1880 the Madras version was published. It was found to be a version Baptists could not circulate. The word for baptism was snanamu. Respecting this word Mr. Loughridge says: 'It is a very unfair statement of the case to say that snanamu means merely ablution or bath. True, missionaries speak of making their snanamu daily for bodily cleanliness, but ordinary Telugus do not so use the word.' I hope this does not imply that missionaries do not know the meaning of the word, or that they use a word that 'ordinary Telugus' would not use in the same connection. But I have never heard any one say that snanamu meant 'merely' 'ablution or bath.' It does mean that, but it may mean more. It may mean and sometimes does mean immersion, but not, as Mr. Loughridge affirms, 'nine cases out of ten' when used…
* Yates is yet a foreign missionary in China, and Cabaniss was formerly one.
…as a religious rite. A Telugu pundit, whom Dr. Jewett declares to be the best he has ever known, told me that Hindus make snanamu, every day, but they immerse the whole body but once a week; so that snanamu instead of being immersion 'nine cases out of every ten,' is not immersion six cases out of every seven. When the question of a word for baptism was put to the vote of the mission, nine-tenths of the brethren repudiated snanamu and adopted a word which means immersion, and never means ablution, bath, sprinkling or pouring. But it is a mistake to suppose that snanamu was the only objection to the Madras version. A far greater objection was the fact that it REVERSED the order of Christ's great commission, making it plainly teach that baptism preceded discipleship. Beside these there were numerous errors of translation which we felt bound to correct.”1
“Here is another fact of great significance. The British and Foreign Bible Society, which ever since 1832 has refused to aid in the circulation of our foreign Baptist version, has directed its missionaries to insert the word ‘immerse’ in the margin of their translations, and this important action of that society has received the approval of the distinguished prelate just referred to, the Archbishop of Canterbury. In his address at the anniversary of the British and Foreign Biblical Society he took occasion to say with reference to this action of the society: 'I thank them very much for having put the word 'immerse’ in the margin of their translations. I must say I think they were justified in taking this step; and do not doubt that this conclusion, based upon the real root meaning of the word, will have its effect.1 According, then, to the testimony of this distinguished scholar, the 'real root meaning' of the word baptize is immerse, and…
l A missionary in The Watchman, Boston.
…the English missionaries 'were justified in putting it in the margin.'”1
Quoting from the Herald of Truth: “In view of the refusal of the American Bible Society to aid in circulating the Burmese version of the Bible translated by Dr. Judson, a refusal which more than all others necessitated the action of Baptists at Saratoga, in May last, the Christian Union, a leading Pedobaptist paper, says: ‘In the actual posture of things the American Bible Society is in the wrong. That wrong should be corrected.'”2
In Baptist growth is great encouragement. The following table on Baptist growth in the United States, is worth preserving and consulting:
1 The Watchman, Boston.
2 Texas Baptist and Herald.
In 1893 there were 176,077 persons in the United States baptized into Baptist churches. As showing that Christ is a blessing to our physical bodies the death rate of Baptists is far below that of the population of the United States. Baptist net gain in the United States for 1893 was 113,828 — being a net gain in one year of more Baptists than there were in the United States ninety-three years ago. There is, in the United States, an average daily increase of 310 Baptists. The Baptist increase in the United States is 160 per cent., while that of its population is 73. A careful estimate shows that for the last decade . Congregationalists have increased at the rate of 42 per cent.; Presbyterians at 55 per cent.; Methodist Episcopal church at the rate of 82 per cent.; Baptists at the rate of 99 per cent.; Campbellites at a less per cent. than any of them, while in a number of States they have rather lost.
In the United States Baptists have 54 charitable institutions; 7 theological seminaries; 35 colleges and universities; 32 female seminaries; 47 academies for both sexes. In the theological seminaries there are 54 teachers and 776 pupils, all but four of whom are preparing for the ministry. In the universities and the colleges are 701 teachers and 9,088 pupils. In the female seminaries are 388 teachers and 3,675 pupils. In the academies are 369 teachers and 5,250 pupils. The property of the theological seminaries is valued at $3,401,618; of the universities and the colleges at $19,171,045; of the female seminaries at $4,211,906; of the academies at $3,787,793; of the charitable institutions at $1,360,021.
There are in the United States also 31 Baptist institutions for the education of Negroes and Indians, with 176 teachers, 5,177 pupils and property estimated at $1,380,540.
Under the head of education the grand total is: One hundred and fifty-two institutions, 1,791 teachers, 23,966 pupils and property worth $31,866;902. The entire number of pupils preparing for the ministry in the different kinds of schools is 2,223.
The value of Baptist church property in the United States is $78,605,759. In the United States the aggregate reported of Baptist contributions for salaries of pastors, education, mission and miscellaneous objects in 1893 is $12,560,713.95.
In the United States are, in 1893, 20,838 Baptist Sunday schools, with 143,765 officers and teachers and 1,430,933 pupils.
Advocating all these interests are one hundred and twenty-five periodicals.
Being the originators of foreign missions Baptists therein are in the lead.
The Missionary Review, a Pedobaptist periodical, some time ago gave the following figures for foreign missions:
Native preachers 567
Missionary membership 17,165
Native preachers 220
Missionary membership 12,607
Native preachers 666
Missionary membership 26,702
Native preachers 1,052
Missionary membership 85,308
Thus, Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregationalists spend annually on foreign fields $1,347,462.98, while Baptists annually spend but $274,961.91. Thus, for less than one-fourth of the missionary money that these leading Pedobaptist churches expend, Baptists have near twice the number of converts on foreign fields that they have. When we consider that every one of these Baptist converts has professed regeneration, while a large proportion of theirs came into their churches without that profession, these figures make the number of souls saved by Baptist missions far more than double that of theirs! †
In Great Britain, for thirty years, the Baptist increase has been 122 per cent., the Methodist 114, Independent 43.
The following from the Baptist Year Book of 1894 is…
† I have Methodist authority that Methodists, in some foreign work, where there is no Baptist opposition, like the Romish church, have taken the heathen in by whole villages at a time !!
A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF THE BAPTISTS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
Churches Ordained Reported Reported
Ministers Baptisms Membership
Canada: Ontario, Quebec, 428 279 2,685 36,860
Manitoba, & N.W. Territory
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and 396 259 2,035 43,782
Prince Edward Island
Mexico 45 29 164 1,813
United States 38,122 25,354 176,077 3,496,988
West Indies: Cuba 6 23 169 2,299
Hayti 7 3 ----- 202
Jamaica 177 64 2,220 35,269
Other Islands and Central America 12 11 370 6,865
39,193 26,022 183,720 3,624,078
Argentine Republic 1 1 5 90
Brazil 12 11 96 453
Patagonia 1 ----- ----- 24
14 12 101 567
Austria-Hungary 6 5 566 2,675
Denmark 25 15 190 3,015
Finland 21 15 140 1,329
France 45 35 337 1,979
Germany 139 277 2,596 27,332
Great Britain: England 1,611 1,198 10,568 208,728
Ireland 26 23 273 2,200
Scotland 104 96 1,300 13,208
Wales and Monmouthshire 749 471 5,859 98,122
Channel Islands 5 20 6 249
Non-reporting churches 330 90 ----- 20,000
Holland 20 11 105 1,316
Italy 33 31 175 1,151
Norway 27 26 ----- 1,950
Romania and Bulgaria 4 5 4 325
Russia 67 59 1,337 16,443
Spain 5 4 5 100
Sweden 539 618 2,097 36,585
Switzerland 4 4 21 439
3,760 3,003 26,579 437,146
Assam 28 22 866 2,971
Burma 580 203 2,187 31,672
Ceylon 9 5 45 1,088
China 51 48 444 4,675
India, including Telugus 138 187 6,075 58,432
Japan 16 25 218 1,364
Orissa 20 9 ----- 1,436
Palestine 3 1 ----- 156
845 500 9,835 101,794
Central (Congo) 22 57 292 982
South 23 23 ----- 2,450
West 4 5 20 144
St. Helena and Cape Verdes 2 2 ----- 125
New South Wales 31 25 167 2,016
New Zealand 29 17 204 2,915
Queensland 24 20 ----- 2,035
South Australia 57 31 298 4,128
Tasmania 12 8 84 559
Victoria 53 46 424 5,568
206 147 1,177 17,221
Grand total, 1893 44,069 29,871 221,724 4,184,507
Total, 1892 42,617 28,820 211,346 4,049,984
Increase 1,452 1,051 10,378 134,523
To summarize some Baptist fruits:
1. Baptists have been truer to the great truths of Christianity than has any other church.
2. Baptists principles have kept and keep the monument of the death and the resurrection of Christ — burial in baptism — before the world, ever since Christ walked this earth.
3. Of all the leading denominations, Baptists are the only church which has kept and keeps before the world the blood before the water, Christ in possession before Christ in profession; and are the only church which has, consequently, ever been and are the great bulwark against baptismal regeneration.
4. Of all the leading denominations, Baptists are the only church which has never believed and does not believe that baptism is any part or any condition of salvation to either the infant or the adult. Consequently, they have never been even tinged by the doctrine of infant damnation, which has colored infant baptism throughout its history. As Dr. Philip Schaff, the leading American church historian, and he a Presbyterian, says: “The Baptist and Quakers were the first Christian communities which detached salvation from ecclesiastical ordinances and taught the salvation of unbaptized infants and unbaptized but believing adults.”1
5. Of all the great religious bodies, Baptists are the only church which has always taught and teaches there can be no proxy Christianity, by infant baptism, etc., but, that salvation, its conditions and requirements are a strictly personal matter, between only God and the individual soul.
6. Among all great denominations, Baptists are, consequently, the only church which has always stood and stands for only a professedly regenerate or spiritual church.
1 “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” p. 56, by Dr. Schaff.
7. Among all great denominations, Baptists are the only churches which contend and have ever contended for excluding from their church fellowship all known non-spiritual persons.
8. So far as only a spiritual church is the doctrine and the practice of the leading denominations it is due to the standing Baptist testimony, and the persistent Baptist uncompromising war on an inherited and unregenerate church membership.
9. Of all leading denominations which have not been originated within the present century, Baptists are the only churches which have never been united with the State, and which have never persecuted.
10. Baptist churches are the only churches which have, during the Christian era, and until the present
century, contended for separation of church and State and for absolute liberty of conscience.
11. By their principles of liberality, of freedom of conscience and of every Christian being a priest to God and Christian ruler, Baptists have given the United States their religious freedom. This they have done at the cost of their property, their good name, their liberty and their lives. This, too, in the face of not only Romish but of Protestant Pedobaptist union of church and State, and of persecution. As Hallam, a secular historian, of Protestant Pedobaptists, well says: “Persecution is the deadly original sin of the reformed churches; that which cools every honest man's zeal for their cause, in proportion as his reading becomes extensive.”1
1 Hallam's Const. Hist. of England, p. 63, also Wilson's Outlines of Hist., p. 769; May's Const. Hist. of England, vol. 2, p. 203.
Dr. Leonard Bacon, a Pedobaptist, in “Genesis of the New England Churches,” remarks of the Baptists: “It has been claimed for these churches, that from the Reformation they have been always foremost and always consistent in maintaining the doctrine of religious liberty. Let me not be understood as calling in question their right to so great an honor.”
12. As Guizot, in his “History of Civilization,” shows that the despotical and oppressive civil governments of Europe originated from the government of the Romish church, so Gervinus, Philip Schaff and other historians have shown that the free church government principles of Baptists have “extended themselves throughout the United States,” “have given laws to a continent” and are “at the bottom of all democratic movements now shaking the nations of Europe.”
13. Rhode Island, the first absolutely free government of the Christian era, was a Baptist government.
14. A Baptist originated the marginal references to our English Bible — John Canne, in 1673. Baptist loyalty to the Bible, Baptist study of it and comparison of Scripture with Scripture, naturally led to the meeting of the necessity of these references.
15. The first public free school from which has originated the excellent free school system of the United States, was conceived and originated by Dr. John Clarke — a Baptist preacher — in Rhode Island, in 1675.
16. While the Romish, the Episcopal and the Methodist — the Methodist was not then separated from the Episcopal, but was a party to it — churches were almost solidly with Great Britain against the American colonists, in their struggle for independence, Baptists were the foremost promoters of the glorious Revolution, and the name of but one Baptist is given who was a Tory.
17. Bible Societies were originated by a Baptist — Joseph Hughes — being the prime mover of the British and Foreign Bible Society. This is the natural result of the Baptist preeminent love to all the teaching of the Bible and loyalty to all its commands.
18. The first church which was organized in what was then called the “Northwestern Territory,” was at Columbia, now a part of Cincinnati, which was a Baptist church. This was in 1790.
19. The originator of what is called “Modern Missions,” was William Carey — a Baptist. This was in 1792. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian church of Scotland, by a large majority, put on record, in 1796, the following resolution — says Zions Advocate: “That to spread the knowledge of the gospel among barbarous and heathen nations, seems highly preposterous, in so far as it anticipates, nay, even reverses the order of nature.” As we have seen in a previous chapter, no Baptist church or general Baptist meeting ever tarnished its fair name by such a resolution.
20. The Baptists have near twice more converts to Christ in heathen lands than have all the other leading denominations; that, too, when the others have taken many of them into their churches, as only nominal Christians.
23. Baptist foreign missions cost less than one fourth the money that those of leading Protestant Pedobaptists cost.
24. The International Uniform Sunday School Lesson Service was originated by a Baptist — B. F. Jacobs. This is the natural result of the preeminent Baptist love of Bible study and Bible obedience.
25. The world's greatest preacher since the Reformation was a Baptist — C. H. Spurgeon. The purer the gospel, the greater its preacher.
26. The first organized society for the much needed revision of King James' version of the Bible was the American Bible Union — a Baptist society. This was the natural result of Baptist love and loyalty to the Bible.
27. Out of the American Bible Union agitation and work originated the Episcopal organization, resulting in the Revised Version of 1881, on which was employed European and American representative scholars. The revisions of the American Bible Union and its successors are of incalculable value to the world.
28. The only Bible Society which has ever existed for the translation of “every word” of the Bible into the English, according to the world's unsectarian scholarship, was the American Bible Union — a Baptist Bible Society. In this it is measurably succeeded by the American Baptist Publication Society.
29. By their Bible translation enterprises Baptists have proved themselves the only leading denomination that has thoroughly rejected the Romish doctrine of keeping the Bible out of the language of the people; and in rendering every doctrinal or practical word, they have, wherever and whenever they have made a translation of the Bible, not “shunned to declare all the counsel of God.”
30. In the language of the New York Tribune: “The Baptists have solved the great problem. They combine the most resolute conviction, the most stubborn belief in their own special doctrines, with the most admirable tolerance of the faith of other Christians.”
Before the Evangelical Alliance, of Chicago, but a little while before his death, Dr. Schaff, the great Presbyterian church historian, said: “The Baptist is a glorious church; for she bore, and still bears testimony to the primitive mode of baptism, to the purify of the congregation, to the separation of church and State, and the liberty of conscience, and has given the world the 'Pilgrim's Progress' of Bunyan, such preachers as Robert Hall and Charles H. Spurgeon and such missionaries as Judson.”
“For modes of faith let graceless bigots fight,
His must be right whose life is in the right.”
…are very misleading. From the foregoing that life is the fruit of loyalty to all things Christ has commanded is the inevitable conclusion. Not that Baptist human nature has made Baptists better than others but their many peculiar scriptural principles, doctrines and practices have done so.
Looking over Baptist fruits we see that Baptists, standing ALONE for most important practical principles and doctrines their abandonment or compromise of these principles and this doctrine can but work disaster to the world, to Christians of other churches, to themselves and great dishonor to our precious Christ. Thus Baptist fruits attest Baptists as the only true successors of Christ, of His Apostles and of their being the true witnesses from the apostolic to the present age.
Now, that the liberty of the age presents an open field for Baptists to push the great New Testament “fight of faith” to the final victory, as Prof. G.D.B. Pepper, D.D., has so well said, for them to not do so would be to prove themselves unworthy of the great trust committed to them, recreant to their duty, dishonoring to the blood of Baptist martyrs which has bequeathed this opportunity to them and disloyal to God.
With Christian love to all blood-washed souls — whatever their creed — with a joyful recognition of the broken and mixed fragments of truth held by others and the good fruits they bear, let us work and pray for the blessed time when all others will have planted themselves on the whole truth and nothing but the truth as it is plainly in the New Testament.
To this end let us cultivate more vital piety, more liberality of heart and fervency of prayer for true pastors and all other faithful preachers, for home and foreign missions, for educational and charitable institutions, less conformity to the world, stricter discipline in our churches, less compromise with the false liberality of an infidel and immoral age, more consecration and faithfulness of the ministry, and a more eager and loving hastening and “LOOKING FOR THAT BLESSED HOPE, AND THE GLORIOUS APPEARING OF THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.”