Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 21, 1952
NUMBER 41, PAGE 10-12b

Dissolving A Few Baptist Aspirins

W. Curtis Porter, Monette, Arkansas

The "Absolute Infallibility" Aspirin Misrepresentation is the ally of a weak cause. When men must misrepresent religious people in an effort to arouse prejudice against them, the cause which they represent is badly in need of support that cannot be obtained otherwise. Certainly "Doctor" Garner falls within this classification. The people whom he calls "Campbellites" are people who are determined to be guided by the unerring word of God. They simply ask for a "thus saith the Lord" for the things they do in religion. They want to be nothing in religion but Christians, to follow faithfully the divine standard of eternal truth. But such a desire and effort on their part arouses the hatred of Baptist "Doctors" like Mr. Garner, who cannot meet them on the basis of the teaching of the word of the Lord and must, therefore, try to arouse prejudice by base misrepresentations. He may talk about "notorious liars" who "peddle falsehoods" and seek "through chicanery and deception" to create prejudice in the hearts of people toward the Baptists, but when he does so he gives a vivid description of his own efforts to destroy what he calls "Campbellism." This is manifest in his first paragraph of this chapter of his booklet as he presents to his brethren his "absolute infallibility' 'aspirin that he hopes may be swallowed by them before they have time to look at it. He says:

"There are two religious sects in the world that claim infallibility—the Roman Catholics and the Campbellites (choosing to fly their religious kite under the guise of church of Christ). Of these two sects, the Campbellites have become the most sectarian. The Catholic Church lays claim of infallibility for their church only and that only when he speaks on matters of their church. The Campbellites 'Out-Pope' the pope of Catholicism and CLAIM ABSOLUTE INFALLIBILITY for their entire church or sect." Page 14.

There you have it in the "Doctor's" own language! Poor, deluded "Campbellites"! They are worse than the Catholics ever dared to be. The "Doctor" still thinks he can get Baptists to swallow his aspirins if he can keep them thinking that the Catholics and "Campbellites" are Siamese twins. But the people whom Mr. Garner hates so desperately have never made any claim to infallibility.

This is another of those things that have originated in the fertile imagination of this Baptist giant.

But upon what does he base this reckless charge? He bases his whole contention upon the slogan we often use that "we speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent." Read it in his own words as he endeavors to soothe the headaches of his suffering comrades:

"I have charged that these people CLAIM ABSOLUTE INFALLIBILITY. Sane people can see through the claim when they have it called to their attention. If one believes that the Bible is inspired and infallible, then to speak where it speaks and be silent where it is silent,' is to be infallible. Baptists do not claim to do this. The Catholics do not even claim not to err, but these people, dubbing themselves 'church of Christ,' do." Page 14,.15

Let us dissolve this aspirin a little at a time and let Baptists see what its ingredients really are. There are many honest people among the Baptists, and when they see the stuff that "Garner's Aspirins" are made of, they will refuse to be "doped" with any such "drugs." You will notice, in the first place, that the "Doctor" says that "Baptists do not claim to do this"—to "speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where the Bible is silent." This is quite an admission to be made by a "Baptist Doctor," but I have been fully aware of this truth for many years. This fact accounts for the things that Baptist preachers preach and the things they do in religion.. This explains, in the first place, why such a thing exists as the Baptist Church. If men had been willing to "speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where it is silent," there never would have been one, for the Bible in no way authorizes the existence of one. It is no where named in the Bible. Neither is there any statement made in the Bible that would lead to a scriptural conclusion that any such church has any right to exist. Men had to depart from Bible teaching in order to establish any such institution. Furthermore, men cannot be governed by the Bible as their rule today and become members of the Baptist Church of any style or description. "Doctor" Garner is a member of the Baptist Church today, and he is a Baptist preacher, because "Baptists do not claim" to speak where the Bible speaks. Upon this same ground you can account for their false doctrine of "salvation by faith only." The Bible says that men are "justified by works and not by faith only." (Jas. 2:24) But Baptists do not claim, to speak where the Bible Speaks. They, therefore, can say, as I have shown by many quotations from them that men "are justified by faith only." If you wonder why Baptists teach that sinners may "pray through to salvation" at the mourner's bench, you don't need to wonder any longer. In the Bible, of course, inspired men told sinners, who were praying, to "arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins." (Acts 22:16)' But Baptists do not claim, according to Garner's admission, to "speak where the Bible speaks." So you should not be surprised that they make statements in direct conflict with Bible statements. If you have been puzzled as to why Baptists teach that baptism is "non-essential to salvation," your puzzle has been solved by the "Doctor." The Bible tells men to "be baptized for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38), and it informs us that men are "baptized into Christ." (Gal. 3:27) But you don't need to expect to hear Baptist preachers, repeating these statements—"Baptists do not claim to do this." Therefore, they can be expected to say that "baptism is not for the remission for sins" and that men get "into Christ before baptism." The course one follows depends entirely on his attitude toward what the Bible says. If you have been trying to figure out why Baptist preachers teach "once in grace, always in grace," you have the solution to your problem. Paul in Gal. 5:4 actually said, "Ye are fallen from grace." But since "Baptists do not claim" to speak where the Bible speaks, you can understand why they teach otherwise. And if you have ever wondered why they are willing to wear the name "Baptist" instead of the name divinely authorized, you can now relax. "Baptists do not claim" to speak where the Bible speaks. The "Doctor" says so. The Bible says "the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" (Acts 11:26) and "the churches of Christ salute you." (Rom. 16:16) But these modern day "Doctors" of religion of Garner's type say that "the disciples should be called Baptists" and that "Baptist churches should send their greetings." Is there any Bible for it? Oh, no. They don't need any, for "Baptists do not claim" to speak as the Bible speaks.

After saying that "Baptists do not claim to do this" the "Doctor" goes on to say, "The Catholics do not even claim not to err, but these people, dubbing themselves 'church of Christ,' do." Since the poor, deluded "Campbellites" claim to "speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where the Bible is silent," but neither the Baptists nor Catholics make such a claim, then I wonder who is more like the Catholics—the "Campbellites" or the Baptists. Here again the brilliant "Doctor," while trying to hem the "Campbellites" in a corner with the Catholics, finds himself in the corner with them. Does he think that "sane people" among the Baptist will not be able to "see through" this claim "when they have it called to their attention"? The truth of the matter is that Baptists have many things in common with the Catholics.

Both of them claim to be able to trace a succession back to the apostles; both of them wear sectarian names unauthorized by the Bible; both of them teach the doctrine of inherited depravity; both of them claim not to go by the Bible in many particulars; both of them use instrumental music in their worship; both of them substitute human traditions for the word of God. Who is the great "Doctor" Garner to try to create prejudice against the "Campbellites" because he thought he found a similarity between some of their teaching and the teaching of the Catholics? "They who live in glass houses should not throw stones."

Then, too, I might inform Mr. Garner that Baptist preachers do not seem to be agreed about this matter. In a recent debate which I had with Mr. Hoyt. Chastain in Memphis, Tennessee, Mr. Chastain repeatedly said that "Baptists speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent." But Mr. Gamer says that "Baptists do not claim to do this." It might be well for these two men to get together on this matter. Both of them attended the same school and got their "doctoring' authority from the same source. But "Dr." Chastain says one thing; and "Dr." Garner says the very reverse. Well, the difference was that "Doctor" Chastain was on the spot in a public discussion, and he had to make some effort to justify his doctrine by the Bible, but "Doctor" Garner was in his room, with no one to disturb him, while he prescribed his aspirins. Likely, if he changed places with Mr. Chastain he would want to change doctrinal positions also.

But does the claim, "to speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where the Bible is silent," mean absolute infallibility? Hear Mr. Garner as he rants and raves about it:

"If the church does what it claims in the slogan, then it is infallible; if it does err even in one point, then its slogan contains a PLAIN FALSEHOOD. To believe that the Bible is infallible, then to 'speak where it speaks and be silent where it is silent' is to be infallible. If this sect -(known to history as Campbellites _ has an infallible church as they claim in their slogan, it follows that EVERY MEMBER OF THEIR CHURCH MUST BE- INFALLIBLE." Page 15.

This sort of profound reasoning, which is characteristic of the great "Doctor," puts the apostle Peter in a tight place. He said one time: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." (1 Pet. 4:11) I suppose that "Doctor" Garner, with all of his medical skill, and with all of his authority to prescribe aspirins, would not deny that "the oracles of God" simply means "the word of God"—the Bible. Then Peter simply said that "if any man speak, let him speak as the word of God speaks —let him speak as the Bible speaks." And notice that he said, "If any man speak." That simply means, "Let every man speak as the oracles of God." "Let every man speak as the word of God speaks." It is too bad that "Doctor" Garner was not present when Peter wrote that statement. He could have straightened him out on the matter. He could have said, "Now, Pete, I know that you are one of the apostles chosen by Jesus and that you are inspired by the Holy Spirit, but you don't realize just what you are saying. If you could have had a course in the Missionary Baptist Seminary at Little Rock, Arkansas, founded by the great Ben M. Bogard, and if you could have obtained a "Doctor's" degree from this non-accredited institution, which would have given you the authority I have—the authority to prescribe aspirins—you would be able to see that you are suggesting ABSOLUTE INFALLIBILITY for EVERY MAN IN THE CHURCH.

Don't you believe, Peter, that the oracles of God are Infallible? If you do, then to 'speak as the oracles of God' is to be infallible. And since you tell every man to speak in this way, you are suggesting that 'every member of the church must be infallible.' So if the men to whom you are writing even claim to do what you are telling them to do, they are claiming absolute infallibility. And if any local congregation has one member that is not perfect, infallible, then their claim contains a plain falsehood. Be careful, Peter. You are lining up with these arrogant, religious bigots and persecuting zealots', who are 'known to history as Campbellites,' constituting 'a sect that claims a franchise on the gospel of Christ'."

Yes, it is too bad that Mr. Garner was not there to set right the apostle Peter when he said: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." He could have told him that this sort of language was calculated to give Baptists a throbbing headache. But Peter rushed recklessly on, according to the "Doctor's" blusterings, and suggested the very thing that would cause the "Doctor" to raise the charge of absolute infallibility for all members of the church.

Mr. Garner might have told him also that this "idea" did not originate with God but with an unbaptized man.

Such is his language as found in his booklet, according to the following quotations:

"In the first place this slogan: 'Speaking where the Bible speaks and silent where the Bible is silent,' is a statement originated by Thomas Campbell, a man who had not even been baptized." (Page 14)

"Just be reminded that their slogan that lays claim to infallibility was originated by Thomas Campbell and not by the Lord. It was made by Mr. Campbell and is the idea of an uninspired, unbaptized man." (Page 2)

One might well admit that the exact expression was framed by Thomas Campbell. Certainly, they are words that were spoken by him. But to say that the "idea" originated with Campbell is as far from the truth as is most of the other statements of the deceptive "Doctor." The words of the apostle Peter, which have already been given, contain the same idea that is expressed in the words of Thomas Campbell The idea, therefore, did not originate with man, but the Holy Spirit revealed it to Peter and directed him to write it in the divine record. I am not surprised that it causes headaches among Baptists who do not claim to speak where the Bible speaks. And it will take more than any aspirin yet prescribed by the "Doctor" to bring them much relief.

The dyspeptic "Doctor," made bitter by a long spell of nervous headache, gives expression to his acrimonious feeling in the following elegant style:

"I ask myself, 'Why do they require the HOLY CRACKER episode every Sunday if they are, as a church, infallible as the Scriptures?' (Page 16)

The "Doctor" might well examine himself on other points. He might ask himself' "How can a man with a HOLY CHARACTER speak of the Lord's supper as 'the HOLY CRACKER episode'?" If, as Jesus says, "from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," we can have a pretty good idea as to what is on the inside of Mr. Garner's heart. A heart and mouth given to such blasphemy as to call the Lord's supper "the holy cracker episode" needs something more than a few aspirins. A good gospel purgative that will cleanse the inner man of his corruption and depravity is the kind of prescription the "Doctor" sorely needs for his own malignant malady. We would be exceedingly glad if someone should be able to induce him to try a little of it. I feel sure it would do him good.

The final strokes of the "Doctor's" pen, as he finishes his prescription for this aspirin, spell out the following words:

"If you are persecuted by these conceited, arrogant, religious bigots, stick this article under their noses and let them smell of it" (Page 16)

We gladly admit that this aspirin has a "smell' all right, but the odor is that of the infernal regions, the smell of brimstone, indicative of the place from which the "Doctor" got the ingredients for this potent little pill. But the people who take their stand on the rock of eternal truth, maliciously called "Campbellites" by Mr. Garner, are not likely to be put to sleep by the vapors of a dissolving aspirin that came from the lake of fire, and brimstone. Having imbibed the essence of divine truth they will likely be immune to the "smell" of an aspirin prescribed by a Baptist "Doctor," and the headaches of Baptists will continue unabated.