Dec 19, 2012

Preaching to Sinners by Gilbert Beebe

THERE is a general murmuring among the New School tribes, that the ministers of the Old School, or Regular order, do not preach to sinners. Let us examine this charge a moment. If they do not preach to sinners, to whom do they preach? If we be answered that they preach to the saints, we reply, that they only preach and apply the promises and encouragements of the gospel to that description of saints who know and acknowledge that they are sinners, and hope that they are sinners saved by grace. And is it not right to preach to saints? The direction is, “Feed my sheep, and feed my lambs.” “Feed the flock of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” These they endeavor to feed and comfort. But do they not also preach to another description of sinners, viz; to sinners in Zion? Do they not warn the unruly of the evil consequences of abandoning the divine rule given in the scriptures for our faith and practice, and of running with the multitude into the New School operations of the day? Certainly they do.

Again. Do not the Old School Baptist ministers preach to, and warn the New School Baptists, and labor incessantly to convince the unconvinced among them, of the abomination of their way, while they profess to be disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, are laying in wait to deceive the people of God, and are teaching for doctrines the commandments of men? Do they not warn them of the awful judgments, and fearful threatenings of wrath which will soon overtake them? They certainly do. But, why, says one, do they not preach to that class of sinners who make no pretension to religion? We answer, they do preach to all who come within the sound of their voice, and leave all who have an ear, to hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; but where they have no ear to hear the sayings of the Spirit of truth, they do not attempt presumptuously to furnish them; nor do they feel themselves at liberty to preach what their Lord has not authorized them to preach, for the sake of accommodating their discourses to the condition of any class of sinners. But why should it be thought more important to preach to, and warn the class last described, than those who pervert the word of God, and bear a false testimony in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are these less dangerous to the simple, less troublesome to the church of God, or less sinful in the sight of a holy God, or less exposed to that judgment which now of a long time lingereth not, and that damnation which slumbereth not? To what description of sinners did our Lord apply these expressive words: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Was it to professors, or non-professors? It was to those whom he addressed as Scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites. And let it not be forgotten, that all the prophets of the Lord in olden time, were stoned by zealous professors of religion; our Lord was crucified by the most popular class of professors of religion then upon earth; the apostles and primitive saints, with all the children of God in subsequent ages, down to the present, from those who profess the most ardent zeal for the Lord.

If, therefore, we have in the ranks of the Old School Baptists, those who do not preach to such sinners as these, on all suitable occasions, we shall feel constrained to preach to them as sinners, for the wicked neglect of their bounden duty.

We therefore wish to be understood as calling on the New School sinners; (these being the worst sort) we warn them in the language of the scriptures, saying, “Ho, ye despisers, wonder and perish; for behold I work a work in your days, which ye shall in no wise believe, though one shall declare it unto you.”

October 19, 1838,

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 457 – 459

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