Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 27, 1952
NUMBER 46, PAGE 6-9b

Baptist Inconsistencies Reviewed

Geo. B. Curtis

I received under date of January 1, 1952 another letter from H. E. Waller, a Missionary Baptist of the Bogard School, of Little Rock, Arkansas. This letter was written for publication in the Missionary Baptist Searchlight, official organ of this wing of Landmark Baptists.

His open peeve he expresses thus: "You wrongly accuse me and all other Baptists of believing in a doctrine of justification by faith alone...I have never heard of A Baptist ever making this claim or imply that we are saved by faith only. Only Campbellites make that claim about Baptists..." (Those terrible "Campbellites", they do deal poor old Baptists lots of misery. No wonder one of the good Baptist "doctors" tried to get out an aspirin to ease Baptist headaches caused by the — terrible tormentors. Bro. Curtis Porter has taken this potent potion away from them.)

I have never willfully misrepresented any man. If all along I have thought, and taught, that Baptists teach salvation on the basis of faith only, and they do not, I apologize. Maybe I am as ignorant as Mr. Waller says I am, and cannot understand Baptist language either spoken or written. I shall not state what I have heard them preach, but quote what is — in print about this doctrine. My first witness is J. W. Kesner Sr., Ft. Smith, Ark., a Baptist of the same stripe as Bogard and Waller.

"The only qualification (for justification) he names with respect to man is faith." (Campbellism Exposed by J. W. Kesner Sr. p. 18)

"To be saved — to obtain eternal life — there is one requirement the sinner must meet. He must believe." (What Must I Do To Be Saved?" p. 9, Tract by Karl G. Sabiers, distributed by Keener.)

"Faith is the only thing that you can do without doing anything." (H. E. Waller in article in Missionary Baptist Searchlight Jan. 10, 1952).

"Everything said to be necessary to salvation terminates in faith." (Ben M. Bogard in Borden-Bogard debate, p. 315.

If Mr. Waller persists in his contention that Baptists do not teach that one is saved by faith alone, will he tell us what Baptists must do in addition to believing? Will you kindly do that, Mr. Waller? Remember Mr. Waller is trying to get away from the plain teaching of God's word on the necessity of baptism. Let him include repentance under the heading of faith and I shall also include obedience to the gospel of Christ. Try it, Waller.

Mr. Waller tells us, so do other Baptists claim, that when James speaks of justification by works, he refers to justification before man and not before God. To what lengths will men go to uphold error! Who said that the justification was before men only? Not God's word. Waller and other Baptists so state. Why? To uphold error!

Let's look at what James says about this justification. Hear him: "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he have faith, and have not works, can faith save him?" Mr. Waller, is this salvation before man or before God? Who saves, man or God? Remember this is salvation here of which James speaks. Let's do a little paraphrasing here, and modernize the question asked by James.

"What doth it — profit, Mr. Waller, if you say you have faith, and have not works, can this faith without works save you?" Again:

"But wilt thou know, Mr. Waller, that faith without works is dead?" (v. 20)

"Ye see then how that by works a man is justified (saved, v. 14) and not — by faith only."

Mr. Waller, I am heartily ashamed of man who will pervert the word of God in an attempt to save a doctrine. James speaks of this justification as being salvation. (v. 14) You say this justification is only before men.

My respondent accuses me of arraying James against Paul in their teaching on faith. Not so, Mr. Waller! They are perfectly agreed. Read the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. There you find case after case of justification by faith as Paul teaches. To — illustrate: By faith Noah prepared an ark to the saving of his family; by faith Abraham was justified when he offered up his son, Isaac; by faith the walls of Jericho fell when Joshua and the children of Israel did as God commanded. Read the chapter, Waller. Get your blind eyes open before it is too late.

Mr. Waller says: "Pray tell us how you got into that saved state. Did you offer up your son on the altar...did you build an ark of gopher wood like Noah...did you let a Paul down by the wall in a basket?" No, Mr. Waller, God never commanded me to offer up any of my sons. He never commanded me to build an ark of any kind of wood. He never had me lower any one in a basket. (I think the gentleman was somewhat confused in this basket deal. I hardly think Paul present when Rehab justified herself before God in doing the work necessary to that justification.) But he did have me to do something.

Now, you answer a few questions: Would God have justified Abraham if he had refused to offer up his son? Would Noah and his family have been saved had he not built the ark? Would Rehab have — been justified had she refused to conceal the spies and afterwards affect their escape? Will you be justified short of doing that which brings justification before God? "What doth it profit, Mr. Waller, though you say you have faith, and have not the works, can this faith without works save you?" Listen to James: "But wilt thou know, 0 vain Mr. Waller, that faith without works is dead."

We quote again — from Mr. Waller: "It is impossible for GRACE to operate except through sheer unaided FAITH." (Sounds like faith alone doctrine, doesn't it?) The moment — that you start to work, to be saved, your faith in Christ ceases and the object of your faith is in what you are doing and not in Christ." (Unquote) Some reasoning. Let's — try this reasoning — in the light of God's truth. God commands Joshua to march around the walls of Jericho to accomplish their fall. Joshua has faith in God. But he begins to march. His faith is no longer in God but in his marching. God tells Naaman to dip himself seven times in the Jordan, Naaman believes in God. But he starts down to the Jordan to do what God commanded him to do, presto; Naaman ceases to believe in God and puts his faith in the water. God told Abraham to leave the land of Ur. Abraham gathers his family and possessions to start to the land that God is to show him, immediately his faith in God ceases and is centered in the work before him. In the language of Lum and Abner, "Sassafras!"

You ask me to tell you how I got into a saved state. I shall accommodate. I first heard the story of the cross from the lips of my sainted mother as she read to me from the old family Bible. That beautiful story lived in my boyish heart. At the age of seventeen I heard this same story with power and persuasion from the grand old preacher of the gospel H. H. McAfee. I believed that story with all my heart. Every sin of my youth made me so sorry that I had sinned against this loving tender Savior of men, that I determined to turn from every sin and turn to God. My repentance was genuine. As commanded by the word of God I confessed my faith in Christ and the Son of God before men. Then on the seventeenth day of December of 1908, during a snowstorm, I was led into the icy waters of a beautiful mountain stream at Limestone, Arkansas and buried with my Lord in Baptism. You said that you liked personal testimonies of how people are saved. There you have the story of my conversion.

I believed implicitly in — Christ — as my mother read the story to me. I continued to believe this story as I heard it preached by godly men. I believed it as I read it from God's book. Now here are some — things that I read and did. Tell me, pray, when I ceased to have faith in Christ. I read:

"The gospel is God's power unto salvation." (Rom. 1:16). "Without faith it is impossible to please him." (Heb. 11:6) "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24) "He commandeth all men everywhere to repent." Acts 17:30 "Repent ye." (Acts 2:38) "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16) "Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins." (Acts 2:38)

I believed in Christ as the Son of God, I trusted him to fulfill every promise that he made. I submitted myself humbly to his will in everything. I obeyed his mandates in faith, repentance, confession and baptism. At what point, Mr. Waller, did I lose faith in both the Father and the Son? Was my faith and trust any less effective if I believed God meant for me to do what he commanded me to do? Will he damn my soul for obeying even as Abraham obeyed? May God grant that you be converted to the truth to the saving of your soul.