Friday, May 25, 2018

An exhaustive listing, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Gift, the Guidance, and the Gratitude

As copies of the Holy Scriptures, though made by fallible hands, are sufficient for our guidance in the study of divine truth; so translations, though made with uninspired human skill, are sufficient for those who have not access to the inspired original. Unlearned men will not be held accountable for a degree of light beyond what is granted to them; and the benevolence of God in making revelation, has not endowed all with the gifts of interpreting tongues. When this gift was miraculously bestowed in ancient times, it was for the edification of all: and now, when conferred in the ordinary course of providence, the purpose of conferring it is the same. God has seen it wiser and better to leave the members of Christ to feel the necessity of mutual sympathy and dependence, than to bestow every gift on every individual. He has bestowed the knowledge necessary for the translation of his word on a sufficient number of faithful men to answer the purpose of his benevolence; and the least accurate of the translations with which the common people are favored is full of divine truth, and able to make wise to salvation.
A full conviction that the Bible is the word of God, is necessary to give us confidence in its teachings, and with respect for its decisions. With this conviction pervading the mind when we read the sacred pages, we realize that God is speaking to us, and when we feel the truth take hold of our hearts, we know that it is God with whom we have to do. When we study its precepts, all our powers bow to them, as the undoubted will of our sovereign Lord; and when we are cheered and sustained by its consolations, we receive them as blessings poured down from the eternal throne. Nature and science offer no light that can guide us in our search for immortal bliss; but God has given us the Bible, as a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path. Let us receive the gift with gratitude and commit ourselves to its guidance.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The end of the means

The God who designs the end devises the means to the end.
Text: 2 Kings 5:1-15

God doth devise means... 2 Samuel 14:14

And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. Luke 4:27

The means to the end.
  • The successful soldier’s leprosy, 5:1
  • The captive maid’s wish, 5:2-4
  • The Syrian king’s blessing, 5:5
  • The Israelite king’s despair, 5:6-7
  • The bold prophet’s messages, 5:8-10
  • The Syrian captain’s anger, 5:11-12
  • The wise servants’ advice, 5:13
  • The Syrian captain’s cure, 5:14

The end of the means.
  • The Syrian captain’s knowledge and faith, 5:15

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

All Beth Moore critiques, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Translation opposition, 1850

Translation opposition complained of, in 1850
OPPOSITION.“The opposition we have had to encounter originates mainly in ignorance or vulgar prejudice. There are some good brethren, Baptists as well as persons of other denominations, who are seriously alarmed at our movements. They suppose that because, under the rule of translating every word of the Scriptures which is susceptible of translation, our Missionaries have translated baptizo with its cognates by a word equivalent to immersion, that therefore we are altering the common English version! It has been gravely said in print, that ‘the friends of Missions are encouraging one Judson, in m a king a new English translation, called the Burman Bible, which materially differs from the good old King James version!!!’ Such persons will confidently maintain that Paul and the rest of the Apostles spoke in English, and that the original Scriptures w ere written in pure Anglo-Saxon! They appear to think it utterly impossible that a German can understand the conversation of a brother German, and that no other language except their own, is intelligible!— That the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, &c. &c., were consequent upon the confusion of tongues at Babel, and from that time to this it has been so that all who do not speak the English do not ‘understand one another’s speech!’ This view of matters have induced some of the Baptists to make violent opposition to our efforts, and to declare a non-fellow ship for our Society. We hope that the time is not far distant when they will become better informed, and consequently entertain better opinions of our operations.”
– pp. 48-49 General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, Minutes October 24-?, 1840

Monday, May 21, 2018

Bethel Baptist Association, 1850

Minutes of the 16th Annual Meeting of the Bethel Baptist Association, Crooked Creek, Monroe County, Missouri, September 6-7, 1850

The Missouri Whig (Palmyra, MO) Thursday, September 26, 1850, page 1

W. C. Bitting and KJVO in 1898

W. C. Bitting seemed to think that there were KJVO Baptists – those who believed “that the King James’ Version was dictated by the mouth of God” – among the Northern Baptists in 1898.
“Side by side in our fold exist the allegorist and the literalist; the scientific student, and the traditionalist interpreter; the higher critic and the one who believes that the King James’ Version was dictated by the mouth of God: the eager recipient of every ray of light from history, the spade, philology, comparative religion, and every possible source of illumination, and the one who was scorning all these helps, looks for immediate and direct illumination by the Holy Spirit.”
– W. C. Bitting, “The Opportunity for Baptists in Present Religious Progress,” in Proceedings of the Baptist Congress at Buffalo, NY, 1898, p. 40 (as quoted in The Making of a Battle Royal: The Rise of Liberalism in Northern Baptist Life, 1870-1920, by Jeffrey Paul Straub, p. 236)

When sacred texts are primarily read in private

“Long before the books of the Bible were bound in a single volume, the unity of Christian’s sacred texts was discovered in the lectionary and life of the Church. Sacred texts were like genealogical entities, copied and transmitted down both generations of manuscripts and generations of churches’ lives. Beautiful and laboriously produced biblical manuscripts were icons of the connection between the authority of Christ and the faithful reception and transmission of that authority by ordered communities of his people, a reception and transmission that was fundamental to their existence. The hearing and interpretation of the Bible also occurred in the Church.
“When sacred texts are published by secular publishers and primarily read in private by individual owners, who interpret them for themselves, the politics of texts change considerably. This change is one primarily brought about by technology, yet it can have far-reaching theological and political implications.”
Alistair Roberts

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Let All the World in Every Corner Sing

Let All the World in Every Corner Sing 
By George Herbert (1593–1633) 

1. Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing, 

“My God and King!” 
The heav’ns are not too high, 
God’s praise may thither fly; 
The earth is not too low, 
God’s praises there may grow. 
Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing, 
“My God and King!” 

2. Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing, 

“My God and King!” 
The church with psalms must shout: 
No door can keep them out. 
But, more than all, the heart 
Must bear the longest part. 
Let all the world in ev’ery corner sing, 
“My God and King!”

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Peter’s three calls, by Spurgeon

Peter’s three calls:
And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. (John 1:37)
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishermen. And he says to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:18,19)
And he called to him his twelve disciples…the first, Simon, who is called Peter. (Matthew 10:1,2)

I will venture here to trace an analogy between this and the calling of the Christian minister. You will observe that this call comes last. The call to the apostleship does not come first. Peter is first the disciple, secondly the evangelist, and thirdly the apostle. So, no man is called to be specially set apart to the ministry of Christ, or to have a share in the apostleship until he has first of all himself known Christ, and until, secondly, as an ordinary Christian he has fully exercised himself in all the duties which are proper to Christian service. Now, some people turn this topsy-turvy. Young men who have never preached, who have never visited the sick, never instructed the ignorant, and are totally devoid of any knowledge of gospel experience except the little of their own, are dedicated to the Christian ministry. I believe this to be a radical and a fatal error. Brethren, we have no right to thrust a brother into the ministry until he has first given evidence of his own conversion, and has also given proof not only of being a good average worker but something more. If he cannot labour in the church before he pretends to be a minister, he is good for nothing. If he cannot perform all the duties of membership with zeal and energy, and if he is not evidently a consecrated man whilst he is a private Christian, certainly you do not feel the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit to bid him enter the ministry. No man has a right to aspire to come into that office until he has shown that he is really devoted to Christ by having served him as others have done.

From a sermon, and used in 365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 2: A Unique Collection of 365 Daily Readings from Sermons Preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon from His Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit; edited by Terence Peter Crosby; Day One Publications.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Kentucky, King James, and A. Campbell

According to Frank M. Masters, “The occasion of Alexander Campbell’s first visit to Kentucky was to engage in the proposed debate with Rev. W. L. McCalla.” William Latta McCalla (1788-1859) was a leading Presbyterian preacher, and the debate took place October 15-21, 1823 in Washington, Mason County, Kentucky.[i]

Many Baptist preachers supported Campbell in this debate, and in the aftermath many viewed him as a champion of Baptist faith. Campbell chose Jeremiah Vardeman – a very well-known and popular preacher – as his moderator. According to Masters, Jacob Creath (who was enveloped by the Restoration),[ii] Walter Warder, and William Vaughan (who became chief opponents of Campbell) “were known to have been present.” “The debate, being so popular among the Baptists, prepared the way for the rapid spread of Alexander Campbell’s views throughout the state. The conditions were favorable for such a man as he, to gain a good following among the Baptists.”

The Campbell Restoration movement fueled controversy over the Bible. That controversy led to Baptist statements in favor of the King James Bible in the late 1820s and early 1830s. Henry K. Shaw’s reference to John Randolph (1773–1833), himself a Virginia planter and an Episcopalian, gives voice to the sentiments of many Baptists of that day. According to Shaw:
Among the orthodox, the King James text was thought to be the only true word of God. Therefore, they were suspicious of Campbell’s new publication.[iii] There are cases on record of ministers who had to stand trial before ecclesiastical bodies for reading Campbell’s translation or quoting from it in their pulpits. In this connection, the case of John Randolph, the Virginia statesman, is most interesting. Both Campbell and Randolph were elected delegates to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829. Randolph represented the Virginia aristocrats on the Atlantic seaboard, and Campbell represented the common people in the western part of the state. Campbell put up a strong fight for free public schools and libraries – a position which Randolph opposed…Campbell’s stubborn opposition to the aristocrats, who were accustomed to having their own way, so provoked the wrath of Randolph that he once stood up in convention and pointing his finger at Campbell, declared,
“That man is never satisfied. God Almighty could not satisfy him with the Bible which He gave and Mr. Campbell went and wrote a Bible of his own.”[iv]
According to Spencer, “Campbellism took root early, in North District Association.”[v] Alexander Campbell visited the Mount Sterling Church “as early as 1824, and preached three sermons there.” ‘Raccoon’ John Smith “was speedily converted to his views.” Smith’s conversion and adoption of views inconsistent with the Baptist faith led to problems in the North District Association.[vi] At its meeting in 1827 the Lulbegrud church sent up several charges aimed at the practices of John Smith. The accusations included: 
“1. That, while it is the custom of Baptists to use as the word of God King James translation, he had on two or three occasions in public, and often privately in his family, read from Alexander Campbell’s translation…”[vii] 
As in the North District Association, the Reformation doctrine of Alexander Campbell and Raccoon John Smith caused problems in the Green River Association of United Baptists. Alonzo Willard Fortune quotes from the Minutes of the 29th Session of Green River Association, 1828 (pp. 4-5):
“The query from Mount Zion Church, to wit, ‘What ought to be done with a preacher in our union that publicly declares that our translation of the Bible is a very imperfect Book, and that there is human agency in the conversion of a sinner, and that man has got physical power to do all that the Lord requires of man,’ was taken up.”[viii]
According to Fortune, the committee advised caution and charity. Ironically, the Mount Zion Church may have been too cautious and charitable! When the Green River Association took action against the Reformers in 1832, “It was ordered that the Mount Zion church should be dropped...”[ix]

About this time, a writer identified only as “Titus” reported to Campbell’s Christian Baptist periodical on a sermon by George Waller.[x]
It is presumption, it is wicked, for an individual, and he a mere smatterer, to take the work of a translation out of the hands of king James’ translators, men so renowned for their learning and piety, who were so providentially protected, and who lived so much nearer the age of the apostles, that they must, consequently, have been much better acquainted with the original language than any man can be in the present age.”[xi]
When the Barren River Association of Baptists organized in 1830, they included as their first Article of Faith:
“We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as translated by the authority of King James, to be the words of God, and is the only rule of faith and practice.”[xii]
Considering the time frame, it is likely that the felt-need for mentioning the King James Bible specifically was the raging Campbell controversy.

A Baptist remnant of the North District Association – which was destroyed by the followers of Campbell – met at Howard’s Upper Creek, Clark County, Kentucky, on the 4th Saturday in July 1831. The committee on “Baptist Customs and Usages” reported on “Constituting Churches,” “Subjects of Baptism,” “Words of Baptism,” “Mode of Baptism,” “Manner of Eating the Lord’s Supper,” and then concluded with this statement on the Bible:
“That translation of the Scriptures called King James’s is the version that the five names of Baptists treated of in this report receive, refer to, and confide in as authentic. The principles of government are exhibited in the proceedings of the council at Lulbegrud [the church where they met for a special meeting in April 1830, rlv].”[xiii]
The old veteran, John Taylor (1752-1835), broached the subject in 1830 in A History of Clear Creek Church: and Campbellism Exposed (Frankfort: KY, Printed by A. G. Hodges).[xiv] Perhaps slightly tongue-in-cheek, he proposed a debate between Alexander Campbell and Daniel Parker.
“Let this debate begin on Monday morning in long days, and continue six days. On the seventh, both the men preach to the same congregation, and neither of them exceed two hours in their address. Let the only book used in this debate, be the translation of the Bible, made under the reign of king James. If half the Baptists of the western world, will be drawn off by Campbell and Parker, the balance will refuse to be hoodwinked by either of them, and will stick together as united Baptists, in the name of the Lord.”
He further criticized Jacob Creath’s use of Campbell’s New Testament, as well as emphasized what he thought was Campbell’s own reason for despising the old Bible.
“This produced a fresh source of contention in the church. This young brother [Jacob Creath, Jr.], a few years before had preached in Kentucky with good acceptance among the churches. But now he would read and preach from the new, or Campbell’s translation of the New Testament, cast contempt on the Old translation, that the Bible was much corrupted by that translation.”
“This, I suppose too, is the reason why Campbell is better pleased with his new translation, for the word repentance is rarely seen in the whole work. The old translation mingles too much godly sorrow with gospel religion, for Campbell’s use.”[xv]
Frank Masters summed up the Campbellite defection (numerically) in this way:
“The available statistics of the Baptists in Kentucky in 1829 give thirty-four associations, six hundred fourteen churches, and 45,442 members; but the report in 1830 showed a loss of forty churches and 5,485 members largely as a result of the division. In 1832, an additional decrease of 4095 members was reported, which made a total loss of 9580 members in three years. The total membership in 1832 was 35,862, and in 1835, 39,806, which showed a gain of only 3,947 members in three years; and still 6,636 members less than reported in 1829.”
In his preface to the history of Clear Creek Church, John Taylor wrote, “The worst of all heresy, is corrupt views of the Scriptures, put into practice; and this is more seen in Campbellites, than any other people with whom we are acquainted.”[xvi] Perhaps this well sums up the problems Kentucky Baptists had with Campbell and his followers in the 1820s to 1830s – a poor view of the scriptures, and practice of the poor views they had. Most historians know well the problem of Campbell’s view on baptism “as a regenerating ordinance, and by which remission of sin is obtained” but fewer probably recognize that embedded within the Kentucky Campbellite struggle over contrary practices were contrary views of the scriptures themselves.

[ii] I suppose this to be Jacob Creath, Jr. His uncle, Jacob Creath, Sr., also embraced the Restoration movement.
[iv] Buckeye Disciples: a History of the Disciples of Christ in Ohio, St. Louis, MO: Christian Board of Publication, 1952, pp. 67-68
[v] The North District Association organized in August 1801, a friendly division of large territory of the South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists.
[vi] A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume II, J. H. Spencer, 1885, p. 121; The trial of Raccoon John Smith is also related in Raccoon John Smith: Frontier Kentucky’s Most Famous Preacher, John Sparks, pages 235-260; See also Old Cane Springs - A Story of the War Between the States in Madison County, Kentucky, revised edition by J. T. Dorris, 1936
[vii] The other two complaints were related to baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Life of Elder John Smith: with Some Account of the Rise and Progress of the Current Reformation, John Augustus Williams, Cincinnati, OH: R. W. Carroll & Company, 1870, p. 146
[viii] The Disciples in Kentucky, A. W. Fortune, Lexington, KY: Convention of the Christian Churches in Kentucky, 1932, p. 82
[ix] Ibid, p. 93
[x] George Waller pastored Buck Creek Baptist Church in Shelby County, Kentucky for nearly fifty years, and is buried in the Buck Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. S. H. Ford wrote, “As a preacher, George Waller was argumentative, Calvinistic, and really eloquent. He was, in his day, amongst the most laborious and influential ministers in the West.”
[xi] Letter from ‘Titus’ to the Christian Baptist, Vol. IV, No. 10, May 7, 1827, as quoted in Alexander Campbell and His New Translation,” by David W. Fletcher, p. 11 (originally in The Seminary Review 20, No. 2, June 1984: 45-61). Fletcher also relates an account of George’s brother, Edmund Waller, burning Campbell’s New Testament: “I subscribed for Mr. Campbell’s Testament, and received it, paid $1.75 for it, kept it five or six months and compared it carefully with one I have loved ever since I was 13 years old. On the first reading I condemned it, but let it remain in my house some two or three months; then tried it again, condemned and burnt it.” (p. 9)
[xii] The Articles of Faith of the Barren River Association, adopted at her constitution at the Mount Pleasant Meeting House, Barren County, Ky., Sept. 15, 1830, recorded in Pioneer Church Records of South Central Kentucky and the Upper Cumberland of Tennessee 1799-1899, C. P. Cawthorn & N. L. Warnell, Dayton, OH: Church History Research & Archives, p. 23; See also Minutes of the One Hundred Sixty-Ninth Annual Session of the Barren River Missionary Baptist Association, August 26, 1999, p. 15. The Bethlehem Anti-Mission Baptist Association in their Abstract of Principles in 1838 declared “the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as translated by King James, to be the Word of God.” Though this is slightly later, the similarity to Barren River’s article suggests the residual effects of the Campbell controversy (A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume II, J. H. Spencer, 1885, p. 508).
[xiii] Life of Elder John Smith: with Some Account of the Rise and Progress of the Current Reformation, John Augustus Williams, Cincinnati, OH: R. W. Carroll & Company, 1870, pp. 422-424; without inspecting the original document, it is hard to understand what is meant by “the five names of Baptists treated of in this report.” Perhaps it meant something like Regular Baptists, Separate Baptists, United Baptists, etc., or perhaps there were five churches represented.
[xiv] Clear Creek Church was in Woodford County, near Versailles, Kentucky.