Sound Preaching Of Yesteryear

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Rippon, May 3, 2007.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I have been paging through Iain Murray's book : Revival and Revivalism . In it Murray quotes David Benedict , a Baptist historian writing in the 1850's . Benedict's work is called Fifty Years Among The Baptists ( pp.138,142-3 ).

    The kind of preaching now much in vogue ... would have been considered the quintessence of Arminianism , mere milk and water , instead of the strong meat of the gospel ... At present , the modes and manners , and the eloquence of their ministers , engage more of the attention of the people , than their doctrinal expositions ; and most of all , they look for attractions which are pleasing to young people , and which will collect large assemblies , and enable them to compete with their neighbours in numbers and style . With this end in view , nothing that will sound harsh or unpleasant to very sensitive ears must come from the preachers ; the old-fashioned doctrines of Predestination , Total Depravity , Divine Sovereignty , etc. , if referred to at all , must be by way of circumlocution and implication ... As a general thing , now , our people hear so little , in common conversation , in their every-day intercourse with each other , on the doctrinal subjects , before , at the time and and after they become church members , and are so much accustomed to vague and indefinite references to them , that , different from former years , they have but little desire to hear them discussed . Indeed , many of them would sit very uneasy under discourses in which the primordial principles of the orthodox Baptist faith should be presented in the style of our sound preachers of bygone years .
     
  2. rsr

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    It is something of a shame that Benedict's book - based on his personal experience - in not so readily available on the Internet as his other works because it provides a glimpse of Baptist life that is often overlooked.

    About Baptist associational meetings: "Then, in all places and among all people, the ardent article [Benedict's euphemism for alcoholic beverages] was freely used, and no one seemed conscious of any thing amiss in the practice, and to have failed to have had an ample supply of the popular beverage at gatherings of all kinds, and especially at associations, would have been considered an indication of parsimony or neglect. And on the other hand, some sort of apology was deemed necessary for a non-com pliance with invitations to partake of it."

    On the role of associations and conventions: "As to the doings of Baptist associations, I would merely observe, that while they keep to the original design of their organization, namely, the spiritual welfare of the churches which have voluntarily united to compose them, they are always found to be harmless, interesting and useful; and no encroachment on the independence of the churches need be eared in their operations. But when they become arenas of debate, especially on matters of an extraneous character, their sessions are scenes of trial rather than enjoyment; and when, moreover, they assume a tone of dictation and control on any subjects whatever, they are rather to be dreaded than desired, and the churches composing them may well prefer an unassociated and strictly independent condition."

    On music: "The Introduction of the Organ among the Baptists: This instrument, which from time immemorial has been associated with cathedral pomp and prelatical power, and has always been the peculiar favorite of great national churches, at length found its way into Baptist sanctuaries, and the first one ever employed by the denomination in this country, and probably in any other, might have been seen standing in the singing gallery of the old Baptist meeting house in Pawtucket, about forty years ago, where I then officiated as pastor; and in process of time, this ... was adopted by many of our societies which had formerly been distinguished for their primitive and conventicle plainness. The changes which have been experienced in the feelings of a large portion of our people has often surprised me. Staunch old Baptists in former times would as soon have tolerated the Pope of Rome in their pulpits as an organ in their galleries, and yet the instrument has gradually found its way among them, and their successors in church management, with nothing like the jars and difficulties which arose of old concerning the bass viol and smaller instruments of music.

    ... How far this modern organ fever will extend among our people, and whether it will on the whole work a re-formation or de-formation in their singing service, time will more fully develop. The original purpose of our small instrument was to assist the old-fashioned gallery choir, and to gather it in full strength around it, and so long as the musical concern in question is thus employed, we may reasonably expect it will be viewed with favor by spiritual worshipers, but whenever it shall assume an overwhelming influence, and only a few artistic performers be retained in the singers' seats, to be directed by men who take but little interest in any of the services of the sanctuary, except what pertains to their professional duty, then a machine, harmless in itself, wilt be looked upon with disfavor if not with disgust by the more pious portion of our assemblies."

    Also interesting is Benedict's description of the slide of some congregations in New England into Unitarianianism, as well as debates over slavery and Masonry.

    You'll also find the precedent for today's dedication of children: "John Leland, in his Virginia Chronicle, in 1790, informs us that the dry christening ceremony prevailed to some extent in the Old Dominion at that time. This unusual rite among the Baptists, which long since went out of use, was founded on the incident of parents bringing little children to Christ to bless them, and was thus performed: as soon as circumstances would permit,'after the birth of a'child, the mother carried it to meeting, when the minister either took it in his arms, or laid his hands on it, thanked God for his mercy, and invoked a blessing on the little one, in a public manner. At the same time the child received its name. This rite, by those who practiced it, was called devoting children to God, while outsiders, as they saw no water connected with it, called it a dry christening."

    If you're interested, you can download the entire text at http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/tex... text;page=viewtextnote;idno=AJK2010.0001.001.

    The format is not ideal, but you can make your way through the pages easily enough.
     
    #2 rsr, May 5, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2007
  3. Brother Bob

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    The Old Regular Baptist of which I am associated with, still do not use musical instruments, for the very reason given since the days after Christ, and that is the NT scripture says to sing in the Spirit, and no where does it give scriptural support for musical instruments. We feel it would be leaving the foundation, laid down for us in the scripture. I think musical instruments were first introduced by the Catholics. I believe the old saying of, give an inch and they will take a mile, is proving out in the use of musical instruments. They are using what they call, "get down" music now in some churches, loud drums and electric guitars. What I have heard, in no way seems to be worshipping God, but showing how well they can play and sing the rock songs. I really believe many are using the churches to promote their music, so as to advance into the seculiar world of music.
     
    #3 Brother Bob, May 5, 2007
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  4. tinytim

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    Wow, that sounds like a lot of complaints here on BB...
     
  5. Squire Robertsson

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    Can sombody tell me how to search the University of Michigan site?

    I want to see if they have Hiscox's new Directory in their digital collection. I got Wayland's Principles and Practices there.
     
  6. rsr

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  7. Squire Robertsson

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    Thank you, regretfully the UM's text is from the '59 edition not the later New Directory of '94 (1894 that is). Need to check it against my annotated copy. (Dr. Weeks used it as the class text for Baptist Polity.)
     
  8. rsr

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  9. csl

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    so maybe the shift towards liberalism began with all the beer drinking at baptist associational meetings?


    Lets all drink a six pack and talk about Bible doctrine. hee! hee!
     

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