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“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God”  1 Pet. 4:14-17a

[I have included my preface to Dr. Culpepper’s letter in blue below. Dr. Culpepper’s letter follows.]

This writer is a 1996 alumnus of Louisiana College and also a native of Alexandria, LA. While at LC, after having been raised in a theologically liberal environment, I had become a blasphemer who denied the deity of Christ.  (That’s not something that I blame on the LC faculty of that time.) Within a few years, the Lord graciously drew me to Himself and I repented of my unbelief.

Louisiana College is the only accredited college in Louisiana that is affiliated with an evangelical Bible-believing denomination.  After commencing my pilgrimage to the Celestial City in 1999, I had longed for a Louisiana College that would provide a more distinctively Christian education while also maintaining (and hopefully exceeding) the quality of the education that was currently being provided there.

I was hopeful when Dr. Malcolm Yarnell was announced as the choice for President of Louisiana College in 2004.  He eventually withdrew, notably citing “governance issues which would significantly impact my ability to lead the school” as the reason for his withdrawal.  While much good has been accomplished at LC since then, mostly due to certain faculty who were brought in, from an administrative standpoint things at Louisiana College have steadily gone downhill. For every step forward, it has seemed to me that LC has taken two steps backward.   The school has continually given the world occasion to scoff, and not for the sake of the gospel. And by no stretch of the imagination are all of the critics of LC “liberal” or “Calvinist.”  Dr. Yarnell’s conservative credentials are impeccable and he is one of the more prominent non-Calvinist Southern Baptist academicians. Yet he cited problems with the Board of Trustees and perhaps other issues back in 2004.

It is my prayer that Louisiana Baptists in general, and the Louisiana College Board of Trustees in particular, will act before it is too late and will appoint leadership at LC that is capable of administering the college in a way that glorifies God.

Former Louisiana College faculty member and alumnus Dr. Scott Culpepper has written an open letter to the Louisiana College Board of Trustees. His letter is irenic while also presenting information about the state of LC over the past several years to which many Louisiana Baptists and other interested parties have not been previously exposed. It was first posted on Facebook and he has kindly given me permission to share it here.

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the Louisiana College Board of Trustees,

As an alumnus (1996) and a former faculty member (2007-2012) of Louisiana College, I urge you to take decisive action to restore the academic and spiritual integrity of our college by immediately terminating the employment of Joe Aguillard as president of Louisiana College and dismissing all charges against Joshua Breland and all other students involved in this recent fiasco.  I do not make either of these requests lightly or without good reason.  There are many who would attest to my conservative credentials, but I found that I could no longer serve under Joe Aguillard in good conscience because his leadership contradicts the very core of the scripture he claims to defend.  Public and private dishonesty, spiritual manipulation and intimidation, irresponsible anti-intellectualism, and presumptuous attempts to implement poorly conceived pipe dreams rather than responsible planning has characterized life at Louisiana College during Joe Aguillard’s tenure.  His recent attempt to penalize students for exercising their First Amendment rights is only the latest in a long series of poor decisions that have compromised the academic and spiritual integrity of Louisiana College.

I was initially a supporter of Joe Aguillard and excited about the new direction of Louisiana College.  I had been concerned about issues at Louisiana College as a student and was hopeful that the new direction of the college would provide a fresh start in a positive direction.  Even when I started to hear disturbing stories about how the transition had been engineered, I hoped that reconciliation could be achieved and that the college would move forward.  None of that happened.  As my first year at LC continued, I began to be concerned about the grandiose announcements that were being made regarding the establishment of a law school with no clear plan for funding the venture.  I also became aware that many of my colleagues were struggling financially and yet vast amounts were being funneled for the building of a new football stadium.  Only the first phase of that project is completed nearly four years later.  I told myself that maybe the administration was just operating with the hope that athletics would make money to support academics, but it became increasingly obvious that little fundraising was going on to support the undergraduate program.  In fact, the undergraduate program, the traditional core of Louisiana College’s liberal arts program, seemed to be taking a back seat to the dizzying array of proposed graduate ventures that were being advanced by the administration.

I thought I was alone in my concerns for a while and possibly overreacting.  As evidence began to accumulate that my impressions were accurate, I started to compare notes with colleagues.  I discovered that several of them had similar concerns and also new information to add to what I had observed myself.  It also became obvious that there was no forum for faculty to safely speak to the administration about these issues.  Conversations I had with Dr. Aguillard about them generally degenerated into attempts on his part to find out who I had been talking with and reminders that we need to be careful of idle gossip.  We were told that anyone who went directly to the Board of Trustees without first speaking with Aguillard would be immediately terminated for insubordination.

My first direct encounter with Aguillard’s style of managing subordinates came in the spring of 2009 when I voiced concern, first through a series of e-mail messages and then through a letter sent to leading administrators as well as select faculty members, about comments made by David Barton at the spring commencement.  Mr. Barton made several comments at the ceremony that were erroneous.  Not only students but faculty members seemed to be taking his false assertions as fact.  I had already communicated to the administration before the event Barton’s well known reputation for distorting facts and his nearly universal repudiation by Christian academics.  I requested that Aguillard allow us to present the other side of the argument for students and faculty who might be aware of Barton’s factual distortions.  The response was bizarre.  Dr. Chuck Quarles had also written a letter in which he echoed some of my concerns about Barton’s presentation.  Aguillard requested that his personal assistant, Joseph Cole, vet my letter and Dr. Quarles’ for factual accuracy because we probably “misunderstood Bro. Barton.”  Cole was a music major with no background in history who had not even completed his undergraduate degree.  Aguillard finally called me in for a rather strange conversation in which I tried to convince him with historical evidence that Barton was incorrect, and he responded by continually asserting that I would believe otherwise if I felt the spiritual vibe at Barton’s headquarters in Aledo, TX.  The meeting ended with Aguillard saying that he forgave me for my letter.  When I tried to diplomatically say that I stood by the letter and was not apologizing for its content, Aguillard said it would be best for my long term future at Louisiana College to forget about Barton.  I am still convinced that if Dr. Quarles had not been involved as well and I had not just been selected as Professor of the Year by the student body that spring that my treatment at  this time might have mirrored the ordeal that Rondall Reynoso endured two years later.

My second direct encounter occurred in the early summer of 2010.  I had become increasingly aware of the deteriorating infrastructure on campus.  The information technology services were and continue to be an embarrassment.  The dorms and library were rotting even then.  I had just returned to my office after teaching a May term class.  My students in the class were upset because they had not been able to access e-mail for days; they were unable to read primary sources for the class that day because the blackboard server was down; several of them had major registration issues, and the classroom computers did not function that day.  As I sat contemplating all these frustrations, the melodic strains of “Home on the Range” wafted over Alexandria Hall from the sparkling new chimes that had been installed in our dilapidated headquarters through the generosity of an anonymous donor.  Sick and tired of the complete cloak of silence imposed by the administration on any hint of a statement that sounded like a critique or criticism, I placed a statement on my Facebook page expressing my frustration that we had money to install bells to play American folk anthems on the hour, but none to provide an adequate infrastructure for our students.  Several students and faculty members responded with their own frustrations.  Joe’s response was immediate.  He called me and two other faculty members to his office with no warning.

In my meeting with him, he claimed that the donor was very upset and that the donor had specified which songs he wanted played.  “Home on the Range” was supposedly one of them.  I am guessing he liked “The Wizard of Oz” as well because we often heard other triumphant songs to advance the Kingdom of God such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  I was very open and honest with Aguillard at this meeting.  I told him that I wanted to trust him but that I had serious questions about the direction of the college and his leadership.  He responded by giving me a trite illustrative story on gossip printed from one of those web sites that provides cribbed illustrations for sermons.  When I said that there were others who shared my concerns, Aguillard responded, “Who?  I want to know all their names!”  When I refused to provide him with names, he accused me of lying about there being other concerned parties.  When he asked why I did not think that the administration was working to raise money to care for the campus, I indicated that the library roof was in disrepair, the dorms were falling apart, and the information technology infrastructure was shot.  When I mentioned the library roof, Aguillard shouted, “That is a lie!  You have been a pastor and you are lying about the state of our campus!” I later learned that a crew was brought in just a few weeks later to examine the roof.  Two years later, I learned from a student that both a donor and the Board of Trustees were going around campus asking questions but not about the condition of the campus.  They were asking questions about me.  To this day none of them, including the donor, has ever approached me or asked me anything about my reasons for expressing those concerns.  I am convinced again that it was only my good record and the verbal support of many students that protected me.  I am also convinced that this was the moment that the administration decided to make Rondall Reynoso the scapegoat for faculty dissent.  Rondall was only one individual involved in the Facebook posts, but as an Art professor with a small cohort who was unknown to many students on campus, he was easier to slander than the rest of us.  He also was known to challenge the administration on ethical issues when they were in the wrong.  Aguillard directly called Rondall poison in our meeting that day and said I needed to “pray about the influences on my life.”

While these two encounters represent occasions when I attempted to express concerns directly to Dr. Aguillard, we daily lived in an atmosphere of tension and paranoia.  Aguillard and many of his associates routinely acted in ways that were spiritually immature.  They made a regular practice of shunning people who displeased them by refusing to acknowledge their presence when they passed them in the hallway.  There was an expectation that, in the words of an administrator, “You must love everyone Joe loves and hate everyone Joe hates.”  My department chair increasingly put pressure on me to stop allowing people to come to my office who were considered critical of the administration.  Information technology personnel who could not keep the campus network operating in the best of circumstances spent an inordinate amount of time monitoring faculty e-mail and Facebook to look for “subversive” activities.  A spirit of fear and paranoia pervaded the campus.

We hung our heads in embarrassment as Joe launched a crusade against the “Satanic” Town Talk which dared to print the truth about his administration.  I listened to hateful diatribes in chapel and faculty meetings that contradicted everything we were trying to teach our students about developing the mind for God’s glory.  We watched as Joe ate worms twice, hired an actor to play a mentally retarded person to make a point about how we needed to be open to admitting people with mental handicaps, listened as he slandered Baylor University as a godless and secular school, and chuckled at the great bat infestation which the administration would never admit happened.  I listened to Joe lie repeatedly about the extent of our problems with SACS when I knew the truth and was threatened for sharing it.  The entire time my heart broke for my students, some of whom had no idea what they were not getting at Louisiana College and others who endured threats and intimidation because they knew exactly what was happening and would not stand for it.  In fact, those who are rightly expressing concern for the students now being repressed should know that there were many before them who were quietly dealt with by the administration and whose cause was not taken up simply because they were not ministerial students.  In fact, the Christian Studies department often warned their students to stay away from these students because they were “troublemakers.”

The tactics of the administration reached a new low with the Rondall Reynoso prosecution.  I will not retell the entire story because Rondall has told it well himself on several forums.  For my part, I was walking a very thin line because of my friendship with Rondall and my obvious agreement with his critique.  I was “asked” to recuse myself from his case, the only faculty case ever to reach the Faculty Advisory Committee during my tenure of service, because evidence would be presented about situations in which I had been involved.  This directive was sent down despite the fact that Carolyn Spears, a fervent supporter of Aguillard, was allowed to serve on the committee even though she was implicated in evidence that Rondall was presenting in his defense.  Aguillard’s “request” was delivered to me by Joseph Cole.  Cole walked into an upper-level class and interrupted me mid-lecture to hand-deliver me the document in front of a room full of startled students.  In addition to Rondall’s dismissal, another of my colleagues, Beth Overhauser was released from her contract despite the fact that she had been given a promissory notice that her contract would be renewed a month earlier.  Beth had testified on Rondall’s behalf, a practice that was permitted by the faculty handbook, and she also dared to suggest to Aguillard that she was concerned that his rhetoric in chapel regarding homosexuality might be tempered with more references to God’s willingness to forgive anyone who would repent.  Several faculty members assisted the administration in branding Beth a radical because we had read George Orwell’s 1984 in a faculty reading group.  They also said she was disparaging Louisiana because we read John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces. This book had been chosen by another member of the group.  All other books we read were chosen from a list of acknowledged classics by group consensus.  It did not matter.  She was given no contract while other faculty members received ours in our boxes during commencement exercises.  She had to request a meeting to get face-to-face confirmation from acting president Tim Johnson and Vice President of Academic Affairs Tim Searcy that she was not being renewed..

I could write an entire book chronicling the issues at Louisiana College.  Since this document is already longer than I planned, I will close by saying that the examples here could be supported by a ream of other incidents.  By God’s grace, He delivered my family from these circumstances last year when we received a call to teach at another private Christian college.  While I will not chronicle all of our personal issues due to our LC experience, suffice it to say that it was unbelievably stressful for our entire family.  Louisiana College administrators often brought up our families when reminding us that we needed to toe the party line, regardless of the truth.  They constantly displayed callousness towards concerns about the welfare of families and other innocents that stood in direct contrast to the compassion Jesus commands us to have for even our enemies.

For these reasons and many others that I have not had time to record, I state once again my impassioned request that you begin the rebuilding of Louisiana College by removing Joe Aguillard from power, rescuing the Christian Studies students he is persecuting currently, and dismantling the network of supports who have enabled his ruthless leadership.  This task will not be easy.  There are many who would still be at Louisiana College who have been willing instruments in implementing Aguillard’s reign of terror.  Others have enabled him through their silence or by reporting on other faculty and students who sought to bring change.  Anyone who takes the helm will have to deal with these remaining corrupt elements as well as with a Louisiana Baptist constituency that has no understanding of how to foster a quality conservative Christian education.  In other words, you and the future president of Louisiana College have your work cut out for you.  But I am praying that you have been sent for this time, to this place, in this role, for such a time as this.  May God bless you and Louisiana College!

Sincerely,

Dr. Scott Culpepper

LC Class of 1996

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Chapter 5:  Why Baptist and Not Methodist

The differences and distinctions between the Baptists and the Methodists are sufficiently numerous and radical to make it necessary and possible for one to tell why he is the one and not the other.  The object of this paper is to give some reasons why I am a Baptist and not a Methodist.  The differences between these respective organizations are both Ecclesiastical and Doctrinal.

I. ECCLESIASTICAL.

1. The constituency of the organisation. The Methodists hold that not only penitent believers are to compose the church but those who have a desire to be saved, a willingness to be saved, are likewise entitled to membership.  That this is their position is so generally understood as to make it unnecessary to quote any special authority as proof. Unconverted persons are urged to join the church as a means of grace, a means of conversion.

I am a Baptist and not a Methodist because I believe the New Testament teaches that a scriptural church is composed exclusively of regenerate persons, or what in effect is the same, penitent believers.  This is manifest from two considerations: (a) The first duty required by Jesus and the apostles was repentance and faith. The exercise of these is the beginning of that new relation and life which marks the distinction between the Christian and the non-christian, the saved and the lost, the spiritually dead and spiritually alive.  These are attendant upon regeneration by the Spirit and are its first fruits.  So Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born from above, born of the Spirit.  But he likewise said that God gave his Son, that whosoever believed in him should have everlasting life.  The penitent believer is therefore “born from above,” “born of God,” “born of the Spirit,” and is saved.  This new birth and its accompanying expressions of faith and repentance are indispensable to admission into the kingdom of God and to salvation.  Jesus taught his disciples that they were in the kingdom and in a state of salvation.  Whatever organization he left as a church, was composed of these renewed and penitent believers.  The preaching of the apostles after his ascension required repentance and faith as one of the indispensable conditions to membership and fellowship with the one hundred and twenty whom Jesus left as his representatives and church in inchoate form.

(b) Again, the Epistles show that the New Testament churches were composed of those who had been renewed in their minds, raised up with Christ, passed from death unto life. The church at Rome was composed of the called of Jesus Christ – those who were dead to sin and alive to Christ and in Christ.  The church at Corinth are the sanctified in Christ Jesus called to be saints.  The churches of Galatia began in the Spirit, being called in the grace of Christ.  The church of Ephesus “heard the word of the truth of the gospel and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise;” once aliens and now brought nigh by the blood of Christ; they are of the household of God.  The same characteristics attached to the church at Philippi, at Colosse, and Thessalonica; likewise of those Peter addressed, and all the rest.  The Baptists are loyal to God’s word in this respect.  They admit none to membership in a church except those who claim to be penitently trusting Jesus Christ for salvation, and who give credible evidence of renewal by the Holy Spirit.  But the Methodists admit any who express a desire to be saved.  Repentance and faith are not made conditions to church membership.  I am not and can not be a Methodist, since I can not willfully disregard the plain teaching of the New Testament in a matter so vital.

2. The Ordinance of Baptism. Baptism, according to New Testament teaching, is the immersion of a penitent believer in the name of the Holy Trinity, (a) That baptism was by immersion is manifest. It is shown (1) by the meaning of the word Baptiso, expressive of the act commanded.  (2) The accounts of its observance as recorded in the New Testament.  (3) The symbolism of the ordinance.  (4) The testimony of competent authorities of all denominations.  (5)  The question as to the mode of New Testament baptism is now almost entirely relegated from the realm of debate.  (6) That all who were members of the Apostolic churches were baptised believers is too clear to admit of denial.  Baptism was the divinely prescribed method of confessing Christ.  It was the first response of the renewed soul to the authority of the ascended Lord.

(1) Peter required baptism on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:38, “And Peter said unto them, repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins.” Verse 41, “They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousands souls.” (2) Philip baptized the eunuch. Acts 8:36-38, “And the eunuch saith, Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? …. and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” (3) Cornelius was baptized. Acts 10:48, “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”  Paul was baptized. Acts 9:18, “And he received his sight forthwith, and he arose, and was baptized.”  (4) The Philippian jailer was baptized. Acts 16:33, “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately.”  (5) The members of the churches in Rome and Colosse and Corinth were baptized believers. Rom. 6:3, “Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death.” Col. 2:12, “Having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”  I Cor. 12:13, “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body.”

Since baptism is immersion and nothing else in the New Testament I could not be a Methodist.  They sprinkle and pour for baptism, thus substituting a meaningless form for the sacred rite which our Lord commanded to be observed for all time.  I could not be loyal to God’s Word and lend myself to an organization which prides itself in a constant violation of Scriptural teaching.

(c) But since immersion only is New Testament baptism, and since only penitent believers are Scriptural subjects for baptism, infant baptism is unwarranted by the word of God and fraught with evil.

That there is Scriptural precept or example for infant baptism no one has ever been able to show, and that there is prima facie evidence against it is as plain as the noonday’s sun.  (1) There is no mention of the baptism of infants. (2) There is not one single passage from which the practice can be securely inferred.  (3) The requirements of repentance and faith as conditions to baptism forever preclude the baptism of infants.  (4) The sanctity of individualism as taught in the New Testament, making the individual soul responsible to his Lord, makes infant baptism an impossible thing. The writer was christened a Methodist in infancy, by a Methodist preacher.  When he grew almost to young manhood he made a profession of faith in Christ, wished to be baptized, not only as a personal duty, but as a joyous privilege, but he was informed by the Methodist pastor he had been baptized in infancy and that he would not repeat the act.  The writer then and there felt his parents had usurped a personal right and privilege; that he was forced to accept what had been done by proxy for him, which he and he alone had the right to do, or was under obligation to do.  The sacredness of his personal relation to his Saviour and Master had been tampered with. He was forced to break either with the Methodist church and disregard the christening which his parents had effected for him, or he must stultify his own conscience, and throw to the winds his convictions as to duty in a matter of such vital importance.  He broke with the Methodists.  I am a Baptist and not a Methodist, therefore, because I believe the Methodist’s views and practice of the sacred rite of baptism, both as to the subjects and mode, are utterly without Scriptural warrant, contravening the precepts, example and Spirit of New Testament teaching.

3. The Church Polity, (1) That the churches of New Testament times had some uniform polity must appear reasonable to all.  Since the form of church government is so intimately related to the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, as history has proved, it is hardly conceivable that Christ would have left his followers without some form of government by which to regulate their affairs in a corporate capacity.

That form of church polity which would best emphasize the absolute and exclusive rulership of Jesus Christ over each individual believer, as responsible to him, would be the only consistent one, since Jesus Christ would not authorize a form of church government which would forbid the individual believer’s being individually loyal to his king.

(2) The New Testament teaching and church organization and life in apostolic times shows that the churches were autonomous.  Each church controlled its own affairs.  Every member was on equality with every other.  Each was animated by the Spirit and united to Christ and responsible to the Master.  The Holy Spirit creates and operates the church by renewing each individual member, and the mind of the Spirit is made known through each individual composing the organization, and not through a ministerial or priestly episcopal class, who are set up to govern the church of churches.  That the apostolic churches were autonomous, or self-governing, is made to appear from several considerations, (a) They received members into their fellowship.  (b) They excluded members from their fellowship.   The disciples had the power to receive or reject Paul; at Rome they were commanded to receive him that is weak in faith.  The Corinthian church was censured for retaining the incestuous young man, and was charged with the responsibility of his expulsion, afterwards of his restoration.  The Thessalonian church was instructed to withdraw from every brother walking disorderly.  The action of a local church was final in dealing with an offending brother, (c) The churches elected their own deacons, pastors, agents, missionaries and messengers to advisory bodies.  There is not the slightest indication in the New Testament that there was a ruling class in the apostolic churches, whose function and duty it was to regulate the affairs of the church. The ruling function belonged to the body as a whole.  The Holy Spirit created no autocracy in the person of certain individuals, but a democracy, pure and simple.  The Methodists deny that there was any uniformity in the government of the New Testament churches, or that any form of government therein practiced is of any binding force. They insist that conditions must determine the form of government, and not New Testament precedent or practice.

One of their standard writers has recently stated the Methodist position on the subject as follows:

“Theories are often maintained on the presumption of a divinely ordered polity; but there is no such polity; consequently such discussions are groundless. The question of chief importance is the adaptation of the polity to the attainment of the spiritual ends for which the church is constituted. This should always be the determining principle. The principle means that the construction of the polity is left to the discretion of the church” (Miley’s Theol., Vol. 2:416). The Methodists have the Episcopal form of polity, with exceptions of course, and they seek to apply this everywhere.  Dissimilarities in conditions are not regarded by them in their practice.  Believing as I do that the New Testament polity is binding, I could not be a Methodist.  I can not separate the New Testament church polity from pure Christianity.

4. Church Officers. These autonomous or self-governing churches of apostolic times had only two orders of officers, the pastor and the deacons.  There are two passages which show that bishop, elder and pastor are one and the same officer.  Acts 20:17-28, “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders (Presbuterous) of the church, and when they were come to him he said to them (ver. 28), take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to the flock, in which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops, to feed (shepherd, to be pastor of) the church of God which he purchased with his own blood.”

Verse 17 represents these men as elders (presbuteroi), but in verse 28 they are called bishops (episcopoi). They are exhorted by Paul to shepherd (act the pastor over) the church.

I Peter 5:1, 2, “The elders (presbuterous) among you I exhort, who am a fellow elder (sum-preshuteros) and a witness of the sufferings of Christ tend (shepherd, serve as pastor) the flock of God which is among you, exercising (acting as bishops, episcopountes) the oversight, etc.

Bishop and elder were synonymous with pastor-bishop emphasizing the function of the office, elder that of the dignity. The pastor was to tend, shepherd the flock, and feed it.  He was a minister of the word.  The deacon was a helper of the pastor, subordinate to the pastor, and with him is charged with the spiritual welfare of the flock.  Every duty incumbent upon the pastor is equally binding upon the deacon, save that of teaching the word officially.  The Methodists disregard the New Testament precedent and practice, and have three orders of ministers, ranking one above the other, the bishop, the elder, and the pastor.  The New Testament knows no such gradation.  In apostolic times the ministers were on equality.  I could not be a Methodist in the face of such a flagrant disregard of the New Testament teaching and practice.  Besides, the Methodists clothe these three orders of the ministry with an authority over the churches which the apostles themselves did not presume to exercise.  They utterly disregard the sovereignty of the local churches and invest all government in the bishop, elder, and pastor.  This I believe to be a pestilential error, one to which I could not be a party nor lend my influence.  The Baptists hold to one order of the ministry of the Word.  These are leaders of the churches and not lords over them.  I am therefore a Baptist.

Since the Methodists are unscriptural in their views of the constituency of a church, and unscriptural as to the subjects of baptism, and unscriptural in the form of baptism, and unscriptural in their teaching and practice as to the New Testament church officers, I can not possibly ally myself with them, nor encourage them in the theory and practice of error.

II. DOCTRINAL.

There are doctrinal differences between the Methodists and Baptists which would forbid my being a Methodist. The Methodists are essentially Arminian and I believe unscriptural in their doctrinal system.  The Baptists are Pauline, i. e., Paul was the first expounder of these doctrines which the Baptists generally hold.  When these doctrines had well nigh been lost sight of, they were reproduced and restated by Calvin, with a clearness and systematic arrangement which bind them in an inseparable union with his name.  Baptists are generally known as Calvinists.  This in spite of the fact that few of them are willing to adopt Calvin’s views on all the points involved in the system wrought out by him. The Methodists are Arminian though they can hardly be said to hold the system of doctrine formulated by Arminius.  Mr. Wesley modified the system in some important respects.  Methodists are governed by Mr. Wesley’s statements of the doctrines.  His image and subscription is stamped upon the currency which makes up the volume of their thought and gives confidence in its value and permanency, on the part of his followers.  Wesleyanism is Methodism, doctrinally considered.

1. I can not agree with my Methodist brethren in respect to the effect of Christ’s death.  They hold that Christ’s death brought all men into a state of justification, freeing them from all guilt or liability to punishment, which came to them in consequence of Adam’s sin.  That all liability to punishment now must be the result of personal transgression is a fundamental doctrine with them.  This I believe to be contrary to the teaching of God’s word.

2. Again I can not agree with them in respect to what they hold as “gracious ability;” that in consequence of the death of Christ man’s inability to cooperate with God has been removed and that men, all men, now have the ability to believe without further divine interposition.  This I believe to be unscriptural and dangerous in the extreme.

3. I can not agree with them as to the doctrine of election and predestination.  They hold that God’s election unto salvation was based upon his foreknowledge; that God foreknew that some would believe and as many as he knew would believe he elected to salvation.  The sovereign will of God had nothing to do in deciding his electing grace.  This I believe to be contrary both to reason and revelation.

4. I can not agree with them as to the order of salvation as practically realized in the individual soul, (a) They hold that because of a gracious ability the unrenewed man believes in Christ, in consequence of which he is justified as a reward of his faith.  God does not inspire the faith, but he rewards it with justification.  (b) The next step in the saving process is the regeneration of the heart, or the impartation of a holy disposition.  This view I believe to be a destructive error and hence without Scriptural warrant.  I could not accept it as the truth of God.

5. I can not agree with them in their doctrine of perfection.  They hold that it is possible for one to reach a state of perfection here.  This doctrine Mr. Wesley seeks to justify on the ground that the Christian lives under an economy which takes no account of the little faults and foibles, peccadillos, and moral delinquencies such as are incident to men.  His theory is that men may touch the skies, not by growing heaven high, but by bringing the stars down to them. This I believe to be unscriptural and erroneous.

6. Again I can not agree with my Methodist brethren as to the doctrine of final apostacy.  They hold that it is not only possible for a believer to apostatize and be finally lost, but that this possibility is often realized.  As a consequence they hold that one may be in a saved condition to-day, and in a lost condition to-morrow, and in a saved condition again the next day.  I can not agree with them in all this.  I could not therefore be a Methodist.

There are other important doctrines about which I am as remote from agreement with my Methodist friends as are the poles apart.  But these must go without mention in this paper.  I may be allowed to express my regret that my Methodist brethren are in my judgment so far away from the Bible teaching in doctrine and organization.  I was reared among them, in the bosom of a Methodist family.  All my early associations and attachments were with them.  Once a member of the Methodist church, and first licensed to preach by these people, I would be disloyal to much that is sacred and uplifting if I did not love them.

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