Monday, May 21, 2007

Daniel Parker on associations

"The propriety and benefit of an association is taught us by the same spirit that taught the primitive saints to combine and unite in church capacity. When Christ was in the world, he never directed his disciples to collect members together, and plant, or establish churches. Thought often using the word church, when speaking to them, but tells his disciples, that when the Holy Ghost, the spirit of truth, should come, the comforter he would send, that he should not only give them power to be witnesses, but guide them into all truth...

"But the association should never be a head over the churches as a law giver, nor even as an advisory council; this is making an improper use of an association. It would be in its nature oppressive, and an infringement on the rights of the churches, contrary to gospel order, destructive of christian liberty, and eventually turn our blessings into an awful curse.

"The use of an association for the benefit of the churches, is only a medium of correspondence with each other, in order to extend, strengthen and preserve the fellowship of the Saints, and union of the members of the body of Christ, through which correspondence, each member of the individual churches can be consulted in all matters relative to the redeemers' kingdom."

-- Excerpt from The Author's Defence, etc. by Daniel Parker, Vincennes, IN: E. Stout, 1824. Reprint by the Primitive Baptist Library, Carthage, IL, n.p.

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