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The Presbyterian of the South : [combining the] Southwestern Presbyterian, Central Presbyterian, Southern Presbyterian. [volume] (Atlanta, Ga.) 1909-1931, July 30, 1919, Image 5

Image and text provided by Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/10021978/1919-07-30/ed-1/seq-5/

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to baptism. What, then, does it mean? A
method of determining the meaning of a doubt
ful passage of Scripture is by comparing it
with other passages.
Jesus eluded Nicodeuius for not khowing
something. "Art thou a master (ho didas
kalos, the teacher) of Israel, and knowest not
these things?" (Jno. 3:10). What things?
Surely not that the new birth is by water, for
that, admittedly, had not been previously
taught, for the word baptism does not even
occur in the Old Testament. What he ought
to have had in mind then was the common and
well-understood symbolism of water. As a
teacher of Israel he should have remembered
that water, as the symbol of the Word, is con
nected with the Spirit in t lie Old Testament:
"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you,
and ye shall be clean . . . and I will put my
Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in
my statutes [words], and ye shall kepp my
judgments [words], and do them" (Ezek. 36:
25-27).
"Horn of water" finds its explication in 1
Peter 1:23, "Being born [begotten ] again, not
of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by
the word of God, which livetli and abideth
forever." To the same import is James 1:18,
"Of his own will begat he us with the word
of truth." That by water the Word is intend
ed, is settled by Epli. 5:26, "The washing of
water by the Word"; and as to the Spirit John
6:63 makes it plain: "It is the Spirit that
quiekeneth . . . the words that I speak unto
you, they are spirit, and they are life."
It must, of course, be allowed that Jesus'
first statement, verse 3, carries what is suffi
cient to salvation. If so, then the supplemen
tal words in the second statement, verse 5,
"boru of water," cannot mean something fur
ther that is essentially prerequisite to salva
tion, for the first is sufficient; i. e., the phrase
is not an addition, but an amplification. And
the Greek connective, kai, most often tendered
"and," is translated by twelve different Eng
lish words in the New Testament, being ren
dered many times by "even. "So thea we may
have the text with which we started out. thus:
"Except any one be begotten of water, even
of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the king
dom of God." (And Titus 3:5 may be ren
dered, "By washing of regeneration, even re
newing of the Holy Ghost.")
The natural man is a creature of God ; he
can beeome a child of God only by being "born
again" or "begotten from above," i. c, of
God. At a "mission" in the Church of the
Immaculate Conception in Washington, I). C.,
we heard a priest give as a reason why Catho
lics should give large remunerative financial
support to the Church, this: "Because the
priest made you a child of God when he bap
tized you." In the Roman Catholic (Douay)
version of the Bible there is this footnote to
John 5:1, "Is born of God. That is, is justi
fied, and become a child of God by baptism."
In the baptismal office for infants, in the Epis
copal prayer book, the minister is required to
say ? the baptism having been performed ?
"Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, this
child is regenerate." The Scripture teaching
is that the Holy Spirit, using the word which
water symbolizes, is the sole and only author
of regeneration. This being so, it is plain that
the doctrine of baptismal regeneration is with
out any Scripture warrant whatever ? impo
tent, an intrusion, an impossibility.
"Born of water" does not mean baptism.
Do you want to work for nothing? Then
don't throw away the results of your work on
trifling expenditures. War Savings Stamps
are a solid, growing return.
SPIRITUALISM.
By Rev. Thomas D. Wesley.
The clergy of England are deeply concerned
over the increasing hold that spiritualism is
taking upon the bereaved and stricken people
of that country.
Spiritualism bases its claims of communica
tions through medium's with the spirit world
upon the Scriptures.
It is true that Moses, at the burning bush
and on Mt. Sinai; the disciples, at the Mount,
of Transfiguration; Paul, in the way to Da
mascus, and John, at the Isle of Patmos, com
municated with the spirit world; but this was
granted by the direct will of Cod, to carry out
His divine purposes and for the fulfillment
of some great mission to man, and not by the
bock and call of spiritual mediums, and not
for private ends.
There are no scriptural instances of com
munion with deceased relatives b}r persons in
this life. After David's infant son died, he
said, "I shall go to him, but he shall not re
turn to me."
The Holy Bible is our light of vision and
comfort and its message is our means of com
munication in the spirit of meditation and
prayer.
May God bless all bereaved souls in the
spirit and comfort of God's word.
Sharps, Va.
NORTHERN PRESBYTERIAN.
By Rev. J. W. Moseley, Jr.
The papers and magazines of the Presby
terian Church U. S., together with many of its
members, have a habit of referring to the
TJ. S. A. Presbyterian Church as the "North
ern" Presbyterian Church. As a missionary
minister of the U. S. Presbyterian Church in
Oklahoma, I wish to enter a mild protest and
to show briefly the reasonableness of the
position.
The cheapest reason that I would suggest
is that it is good policy. As the pastor of
the Durant Presbyterian Church it was my
invariable rule never to say "Southern" or
"Northern" Presbyterian Church. This church
was" started on its career of wonderful suc
cess by the organic union of a U. S. A. and
U. S. Church. The Durant Church, so far as
I remember, never lost a member 011 sectional
grounds. No sectional feeling was ever de
veloped in the church by 'the use of sectional
terms and this was the strong factor for suc
cess in that typical Oklahoma city.
As a matter of fact, there is 110 such institu
tion as the "Northern" Presbyterian Church.
The U. S. A. Church has always had strong
Synods in the South, made up of Southern
people. Since the union with the Cumberland
Presbyterian church it has had a membership
in the South of Southern people nearly as
numerous as the U. S. Presbyterian Church
has in the same section. This membership is
not "Northern" in the sectional sense, but
almost wholly "Southern." If the truth were
known there are possibly more "Northern"
people in the U. S. Presbyterian Church than
in the Southern Synods of the U. S. A. Pres
byterian Church. Historically and geogra
phically, the U. S. A. Presbyterian Church has
a prior right to that greatest of all names
"The American Presbyterian Church."
In Oklahoma when you say "Southern" or
"Northern" Presbyterian it puts a bad taste
in the mouth of the average American who
knows nothing about and cares less for the
so-called distinctive differences. All that he
thinks of when he hears this unfortunate mis
nomer is the bloody-shirt with its brutality and
its bitterness, and he is thoroughly disgusted
that everybody can 'bury the dead past but
the ecclesiastics. The philosophy of these un
churched thousands in the Middle West is
"Settle your sectional differences and then
come talk to me about the cosmoplitan Christ."
A convincing reason that ought to appeal
to the cultured "Southerner" is that the
epithet "Northern" is extremely offensive to
very many Southerners who are native and
conscientious members of the U. S. A. Pres
byterian Church. Common courtesy should
compel us to be careful how we hurl sectional
names at our brethren in Christ. 1 have an
idea that the Presbyterians of the U. S. A.
Church are just as much members of the fam
ily of God as those of the U. S. Church. If this
is true then it would do better to have a mill
stone around one's neck, out in the deep blue
sea, than to offend the least one of these.
In conclusion, if there is to be no organic
union as our conservative cousins of the Farv
East tell us, then let us begin to smooth down
the rough places so that we can live together
in peace. The U. S. A. Presbyterian Church
is in the South to stay. And why not, if there
are distinctive differences that constitute in
superable obstacles to organic union? She is
here to play a great part in evangelizing the
millions never to be reached by the U. S.
Presbyterian Church. She has hundreds of
pious men and women, and millions of con
secrated money to help overcome the awful
destitution of our beloved Southland. My
prayer is that the Church of my fathers may
be able to rise above every selfish interest and
say with sincerity "On! On! with your won
derful work and God be with you and bless
you abnndantly."
Lawton, Oklahoma.
THE FAITH OP THE GOSPEL.
The faith of the gospel is like a beautiful
and simple strain of music, which floated down
from the heavens centuries ago, entered the
world, and took captive the spirit of man. At
first the strain was echoed in the hearts of
those who heard, and all wanted to hear it
for themselves. But little by little men be
gan to think it necessary to write down the
score of the music, and as they wrote it down
there were certain variations in its notations,
in its harmonizing, in its orchestration, and
when the differences were observed they began
to dispute about them, and each man declared
that his notation was the notation, and as
the conflict grew louder, men ceased to play
the music at all or listen to it; they were en
tirely engaged with the scores. When it oc
curred to them that they must bear the mes
sage to the heathen, they took their score
books, and each assured the heathen that his
was the correct rendering of the music which
came down from heaven, and then your Uganda
is torn with the conflicts of the men who have
two scores of the music, and who try to per
suade the heathen that they are each right,
and the heathen do not care, ilor do I, nor
do you, but they say: "Why do you not play
the music t" Give them the symphony; let
it ring out the same glad sound that came into
the world centuries ago, and all men will hear
and be glad, they will listen and be ravished
by the music that fell from heaven ? the "peace
on earth and good-will to men!" the coming
of the Lord of light and life and peace ? this
music of the risen Christ, as one who lives for
evermore ; this gospel from his lips ? and from
his heart ? a gospel unstereotyped, unfrozen ?
all alive. This is the preparation for the high
way of our God ! ? R. P. Hortou, D. D.

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