The more I learn of the controversies that have plagued the Church throughout history, the more I realize that we are like mice on that little wheel in their cage; going round and round, repeating the same arguments--over and over and over again. I am beginning to think that many have fallen in love with the squeaking noise that the wheel makes.
I was reading "Differences in Judgement about Water Baptism, No Bar to Communion" by John Bunyon published in 1673 and discovered that the arguments presented in this 40 page publication are the very same arguments one may read by the men of today. Well, actually they are more versed then the arguments of today (on both sides).
John Bunyon answers a book written by the Baptists entitled "Some Serious Reflections on that Part of Mr. Bunyon's Confession of Faith..." he begins his answer by saying:
"But before I enter the body of your book, give me leave a little to discourse you about your preamble to the same, wherein are two miscarriages unworthy your pretended seriousness, because void of love and humility. The first is, In that you closely disdain my person because of my low descent among men, stigmatizing me for a person of that rank, that need not to be heeded or attended unto."
Here was the remark in their preamble that Bunyon is referring to:
"Who is there that reads these reviling of Bunyon for his poverty and mean descent, but must be struck with the unsearchable wisdom of the Almighty. The salvation of the church requires that God should be manifest in the flesh."
What is it that gives a man reverence with you, I know not; but for certain, He that despiseth the poor reproacheth his Maker; yet, a poor man is better than a liar. To have gay clothing, or gold rings, or the persons that wear them in administration; or to be partial in your judgement, or respects, for the sake, or upon the account of, flesh and blood, doubtless convicteth you to be of the law a transgressor, and not without partiality, in the midst of your seeming sanctity.
What need you, before you have shewed one syllable of a reasonable argument in opposition to what I assert, thus trample my person, my gifts, and grace, have I any, so disdainfully under your feet? What kind of a YOU am I? And why is my rank so mean, that the most gracious and godly among you. may not duly and soberly consider of what I have said? Was it not the art of the false apostles of old to say thus--To bespatter a man, that his doctrine might be disregarded".
As one reads through the 40 pages of statements made by the other Baptist men and Bunyon's answers to their arguments; one will find that they are looking at themselves; reflected in either Bunyon or in the other men.
As you read (if you choose to read), ask yourself "Who seems to have a heart and soul more closely knit with, and concerned for: the honor of Christ's name and the love for the brethren? Who seems to exhibit more of the Fruits of the Spirit?". Reflect also on the life of John Bunyon.
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