By Elder James F. Poole
Is it a Bible doctrine? or Is it a recent heresy?
"Truth needs no apology, and error deserves none. Prefatory lies have often atoned for ignorance and ill-will in the Eastern and European worlds; but let the sons of America be free. It is more essential to learn how to believe, than to learn what to believe.
"The doctrine and spirit of the following remarks, are left for the reader to judge of for himself. Truth is in the least danger of being lost, when free examination is allowed." Elder John Leland
We humbly adopt the above sentiment of Leland as we approach this subject.
The purpose of this article is singular. We seek to establish that Conditional Time Salvation is not revealed in the Word of God. If it is not revealed in the Word of God then it must be a fabrication of Arminian bias. We believe that it is just that; an Arminian fabrication, and of recent origin. If Conditional Time Salvation was revealed to the church from the Word of God, then it would have been known by some of the saints of God somewhere before the last century.
In The Remnant January-February, 1993, Volume 7, NO.1 we published an article entitled "Definitions." The article was a study of Conditional Time Salvation. An objector, who shall remain unnamed, boasted he would disprove our conclusions; a boast he failed to achieve. We shall examine his arguments. Consideration will also be given to the subject of Conditionalism as distinct from Conditional Time Salvation, along with a brief history of the origin of Conditional Time Salvation.
The subject with which we differ here is not Time Salvation; it is Conditional Time Salvation.
The advocates of Conditional Time Salvation habitually interchange the expressions, Conditional Time Salvation and Time Salvation, as if they were the same. We expect to show the differences.
THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Many efforts have been made to prove from the Bible that Absolute Predestination is false. Awful and vile imprecations have been heaped upon the doctrine to disprove it. One could as soon prove there is no God. The enemies of truth constantly hurl their favorite weapons at Absolute Predestination, including a new shaft called Conditional Time Salvation. Yet for all this effort, the weapon always falls short of the mark.
It was hatred of absolute predestination that gave rise to the putrid system of Conditional Time Salvation.
WHAT IS CONDITIONALISM?
Conditionalism by its simplest definition is works. By works we mean the attempt to add creature works to what God has told us of salvation.
Conditionalism is not to be confused with Conditional Time Salvation. Both grow from the same rotten root, but Conditional Time Salvation produces a fruit far more poisonous and destructive than common Conditionalism, for it is retailed as the "duty" of God’s children, not the "duty" of the lost. Conditionalism has lurked about since the first sinner attempted to assist God in saving sinners. Conditionalism reared its head when Legalists harangued the Galatians to be circumcised. Circumcision was touted as a necessary addition to faith in Christ. Conditionalism gained considerable ascendancy for several centuries after the Apostles. Those teaching Conditionalism urged the necessity of baptism, good works, oblations, mental assents, and untold other appendages to the grace of God. Chief among the early exponents of Conditionalism were apostate Jews, Catholics, Reformers, and assorted other religionists hungry to satisfy their free will cravings and greedy to nourish their hypothesis of things requisite for salvation. Conditionalists of every stripe aspire to fulfill their perceived capabilities.
Conditionalism appears among all creeds, confessions, publications and utterances of every offspring of Mother Babylon. Tracts to furnish depraved readers with "What you must do to be saved" abound. The paramount feature is, you must do. We have heard, more times than we care to, simple-minded, so-called ministers yelp, "God will save you if you will take the first step." This, and innumerable other religious lures, is Conditionalism. Conditionalism is the carnal endeavor to add to the free grace of God for personal deliverance.
It matters not what the addition is; additions are Conditionalism.
Conditionalism is the harlot mother—Conditional Time Salvation is her corrupt daughter (Satan is the father of both), and though close kin, they are not the same. The harlot mother was alluring fools long before the daughter was conceived. They are similar, however, for both deny grace alone will save sinners. The harlot mother (Conditionalism) denies grace alone will save you for eternity. The corrupt daughter (Conditional Time Salvation) denies grace alone will save you in time. Both cry up "duty" and "works" to obtain deliverance from God. Each expects to be delivered, the mother expects eternal deliverance, and the daughter expects timely deliverance. This harlot and her contemptible offspring answer well to the strange woman in Proverbs 7.4ff.
Paul wrote how God had called out a remnant. His assessment of carnal efforts to make this calling to be works (Conditionalism) rather than grace is as follows: "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work (Romans 11.6)." This text, when applied to the heart by the Spirit of God will totally dispel the notions of both Conditionalism and Conditional Time Salvation.
AN EXAMINATION OF CONDITIONAL TIME SALVATION
The following quote from my article previously mentioned, titled "Definitions" has been frequently assailed but never refuted. It points out the distinguishing differences between Predestinarians and those holding Conditional Time Salvation.
"Without attempting an exhaustive tracing out of the early history of this new doctrine, (a task that is not at all difficult) we will assert that the denial of the doctrine of absolute predestination is the foundational source of conditional time salvation with all its vagarious tenets.
"Conditional time salvation is a very new doctrine, and can be traced back only to the latter part of the last century, and only in the United States. It has no identity in early history anywhere, and the New Testament is totally silent in its support. A few of the proponents of this system have, however, loosely gleaned a number of passages from the Old Testament accounts of God’s governmental dealings with Israel. These they have saddled on the backs of those confused about the distinguishing differences between law and grace. Not a single sermon, tract, letter, or account of this doctrine can be produced dating back before the close of the War Between the States. Dissenters from this statement will search history’s vaults and libraries in vain to produce contrary evidence. It simply does not exist." Page 11, The Remnant, January-February, 1993.
Our unnamed adversary plundered these statements to fuel his rage against it. Did he have any success in attempting to overthrow the clear statement above? He said he would, but did he? We examine his efforts.
This controversy is much, much older than most American Absoluters imagine. The overwhelming majority of them, even many of the Absolute Predeterminists among them (whose doctrine of God’s Government is sound) think that this controversy is only an American phenomena, [sic] arising since the Civil War. In reality, the controversy arose among theologians and philosophers in Europe in the mid to late 1500s, during the maturing decades of the Protestant Reformation."
"Much, much older than most American Absoluters imagine." So opines our adversary. We certainly have not imagined it goes back no further that the War Between the States. We know it goes back no further. But our adversary does not need to trudge back that great distance to the 1500s in his futile attempt to prove us in error. Let him, or anyone else, work back from about 1861, and find anything dating any time before the War Between the States. Should they find something, then they can put us blushingly to shame. If we are in error, why go back 300 years to prove it? It is only necessary to go back one day.
Why not examine the countless thousands of writings in this land since the first white man came here for at least some small, minor hint that someone, anyone, knew of a controversy about Conditional Time Salvation? Surely, if the controversy began 300 years ago in Europe, as claimed, it would have been known here by 1861, or well before. Our opponent says "The controversy arose among theologians and philosophers in Europe in the mid to late 1500s." Then why did it never reach our shores? If it is claimed that it did reach here, then we again insist that someone should prove it.
We are not asking for libraries full of evidence. A few brief scraps will suffice. One sermon, one letter, one book, one record showing there was a controversy between the Absolute Predestinarians and those proponents of Conditional Time Salvation is all we ask for. But what has been given us? Total silence!
May the point be remembered—we do not contest that on some few occasions there were theological infants harping on time salvations—it is Conditional Time Salvation we deny existed among the Old School prior to the War Between the States. Here, in unmistakable language, is why no one has given us a single line of proof that Conditional Time Salvation existed in this country before the War Between the States: It did not exist!
But our adversary proposes, however, that he will yet rout us.
The half-truth that Eld. Poole has crucified himself upon is terminology. The terminology used today to describe the points of difference between Predeterminism and Predestination did arise only in America, and only after the Civil War. However, the concepts debated, and the doctrines they developed, were centuries old by that time."
"Concepts." "Were centuries old by that time." If, as our antagonist claims, the doctrines were developed, the concepts were debated, and they had brewed for three whole centuries, then why did he not produce something of them from America? After all, he blasted Elder Gilbert Beebe, here in America, as the father of Absolute Predestination. He has maligned Welsh Tract Church, here in America, as the "mother of Absoluters." It is evident then, that at least our part of the controversy existed here in the United States before the War Between the States. But where is his part? Where? Where is any proof his little parcel of the controversy existed, using any terminology of any sort, before that time? Was the issue confined to Europe? Had it never invaded our coasts?
If Conditional Time Salvation existed in any form of terminology, here in the United States before the War, who promoted it? Answer: Not a soul! Our adversaries have passed by all the works of every sort in the United States for the most obvious reason: There was nothing for them on which to lay their hands.
Off go our adversaries, sneaking back 300 years, passing by every theological writing that exists in America. Their mission of subterfuge lands them among the dunghills of Catholic superstitions, heresies, blasphemies and Satanic influences where they drag out supposed proofs that their beloved works doctrine existed. They give it new terminology; they call it Conditional Time Salvation, and behold, they exclaim, "These be your gods which will deliver you from the Absolute Predestinarians." In the likeness and image of their own imagination made they it. And they thought they saw that it was good and very good.
But it was only a web spun from their own bowels.
Desperation often breeds deceit. This contrived controversy is no exception. It has already been observed, we Predestinarians are not opposed to salvation in time; we believe in salvation in time. It is Conditional Time Salvation we oppose. But our adversary, desperate to defend Conditional Time Salvation, would crucify us with what is called a half-truth: terminology. What terminology is used to carry out this crucifixion? Why, any words or terms but those contained in our quote. It will be remembered that the article under consideration was titled "Definitions." I defined Conditional Time Salvation as a new doctrine that did not exist prior to the War Between the States.
"Eld. Poole, like virtually all Strict Predestinarians, is sadly ignorant on this point. The major points of controversy between Predeterminism and Predestination, which underlie the Conditional Time Salvation dispute, were argued out over 300 years before the American Civil War by Europeans.
We are told that the "major points of controversy...underlie the Conditional Time Salvation dispute." If our adversary had told us that the Flood in the days of Noah underlies the subject of baptism because both involve much water it would make as much sense.
"In the United States after the Civil War, because of the Absoluter rantings of Eld. Gilbert Beebe, a controversy arose among the Sovereign Grace Baptists. The Old Line Baptists (so called), to better avoid the boo-boos of Beebe, developed a new terminology, expressing more accurately the distinctions between ‘predetermination’ and ‘predestination.’ They maintained the ideas of Molina, the Reformers, the Puritans, and the early Baptist theologians as to God governing by predetermination, but began to distinguish that word from ‘predestinate;’ more correctly emphasizing the binding, limiting, and restraining implied by the definition of ‘predetermine.’ New terminology was devised, such as ‘Conditional Time Salvation,’ ‘3 phases of Salvation,’ and ‘Absolute Predetermination,’ to express the old concepts retained and defended from the 1500s.
" The Old line Baptists did come up with some new terminology as well as a new doctrine. That it was to express the "Biblical doctrine of Conditional Time Salvation" is totally false. What document, tract, sermon, letter, scribble, or anything else has been given us, from before or after the late 1800s and early l900s to prove these things? Nothing! Let it be stated clearly, there is nothing in existence for anyone to lay their hands on to show there were any proclaiming Conditional Time Salvation before the late 1800s or early l900s. There were indeed some few rabble-rousers contending against Predestination, but if they were contending for Conditional Time Salvation they left nothing on record.
We do not deny there are a very few scattered quotations from the mid 1800s lately circulating, wherein the writers mention Time Salvation. We would again say, we are not contending against Time Salvation, we are contending against Conditional Time Salvation.
If the "old concepts" were retained and defended from the 1500s, as is claimed by our antagonist, we must ask again, who were these people, here in the United States called the Old Line, that did all this retaining and defending? We have not heard from them yet. According to the diatribe above, Beebe began his "Absoluter rantings" in 1832 and spread them throughout every State and Territory through his paper, the "Signs of the Times," until his death in 1881. Question: Were the Baptists so retarded, stupid, and inert that it took them nearly 30 years, from 1832 to the outset of the War, to discover this supposed tragedy Beebe had enacted on them with his Absolute Predestination? Was there no one among them who had blessedly digested Conditional Time Salvation that might counter Beebe’s so-called rantings? Surely, if Conditional Time Salvation was the doctrine of the Old School Baptists, and the lone voice of Beebe had launched warfare on that sacred doctrine—then its adherents would not have waited 30 long years to invent new terminology to combat him.
Why was this? Answer: The Baptists in the United States were not divided. The Church of Jesus Christ, known as the Old School, or Primitive Baptists, were Predestinarians. Conditional Time Salvation did not exist. As with practically all errors that invade the church, Conditional Time Salvation crept in slowly, insidiously, a seed here, a denial there, a question or suggestion about predestination (with due caution that the slithering trail of Satan would not be easily detected). After all the original signers of the Black Rock Address had been called home, Beebe being the last, then open warfare was launched. The churches had been sorely tried by the War Between the States. Many able and sound defenders of the faith had been slaughtered on the field of battle. The time was right for the lovers of conditions to strike.
And strike they did!
Conditional Time Salvation is a modern heresy. It is not the same as salvation in time. It developed after the War Between the States as an instrument of opposition against the Absolute Predestination of All Things, but, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper (Isaiah 54.17)."
We have frequently expressed our belief in time salvation, or salvation which takes place in time, so long as it is not Conditional Time Salvation. The Predestinarian doctrine of all or any salvation is one of free grace, first, last, and always; no conditions for eternal salvation—and no conditions for time salvation.
Let it be stated emphatically once again: if the doctrine of Conditional Time Salvation was ever promoted in this land before the War Between the States our opponents totally failed to prove it. They have not submitted one single piece of evidence, and that total lack of evidence positively cries out that such evidence did not exist. Again, if the controversy did not find its way to our shores until after 1861, then it is a fact beyond dispute that the doctrine of the Old School Baptists as declared by Beebe and countless others was Absolute Predestination.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CONDITIONAL TIME SALVATION
The Old Order of Baptists rallied together in the early 1800s to enact the Black Rock Address and other declarations, due to the spread of new doctrines and practices ravaging the assemblies of the saints. Among the more alarming new doctrines facing the Baptists was missionism, frequently referred to then as Fullerism. Of course, missionism was just another conditional system spun from the bowels of Satan, but it was especially onerous because it appealed to the generosity and affection of loving believers. It was soon exposed, however, as the fraud it was: just another conditional contrivance.
When the Black Rock Convention convened in 1832, among the committee to draft a resolution for consideration was Elder Gilbert Beebe, then only 31 years of age. During the proceedings his Prospectus for a paper to be devoted to the Old School was introduced and accepted by the entire assembly. Item two of his Prospectus read as follows: "The Absolute Predestination of all things." Remember, this was 1832!
The paper, to be called the "Signs of the Times," was launched shortly thereafter, and for a number of years was the only paper circulating among the Old School Baptists. For 49 years after, until his death in 1881, Beebe annually incorporated the original Prospectus in the pages of the "Signs" as it had become known. Make no mistake; the Baptists knew what Beebe was publishing, and moreover, it was generously and enthusiastically received and supported.
Beebe was no small-time trumpeter in the back sides of a wilderness. No! Beebe boldly sounded the gospel trumpet to the farthest reaches of our Nation. The record speaks:
"No one who justly appreciates the intelligence of the Old School Baptists, can believe that they could read our paper for twenty-six years, and not know what are our religious sentiments. It is presumed there is not a person in the ranks of the Old School, or Primitive Baptist communion, whose doctrinal views are better understood by the Old School Baptists generally throughout the United States, than are those of the editor and publisher of this paper; and it is arrogant and presuming in persons of but ordinary intelligence, to assume that they know more than all the church of God, are better able to judge and detect heresy, and that they are competent to search the hearts and try the reins of men, and to affirm that men do hold doctrines which they constantly disavow. "But we leave all this to be considered by our brethren, and disposed of as our God may see fit, and our assailants to enjoy all that distinction and notoriety which their efforts to injure us may entitle them to, or earn for them. "Our circulation is now between six and seven thousand, and constantly increasing; and we have the assurance of many thousands of the scattered flock that they are edified and comforted by the perusal of the communications which have appeared in the Signs." Elder Gilbert Beebe, Signs of the Times; December 15, 1858.
A circulation of between six and seven thousand—in 1858. And, be it remembered, this was a paper that began with Absolute Predestination and continued to maintain the same uncompromisingly. The amount of circulation is staggering. Consider the difficulty in sending out mail to the distant States and territories. At that time many copies of the Signs were purchased by one individual, then spread among their church assembly and family, making the number that read the six or seven thousand copies much more. Although the circulation was reduced during the War years, it was estimated at one time the actual circulation reached nearly fourteen thousand an issue.
All this makes it very plain, Conditional Time Salvation was not the doctrine of the Old Order of Baptists, and Absolute Predestination of all Things was the doctrine of the Old Order of Baptists.
A final quote from Beebe relative to the widespread knowledge and appreciation of the Signs, and all it stood for, including absolute predestination:
"In regard to the prospective character of our journal, little more need to be said by us than that to the best ability our gracious God may bestow on us we shall exert to make it profitable and edifying to our readers. Thirty-four years of constant labor on our part, in which we have published about one thousand issues, averaging about five thousand copies to each issue, and making an aggregate of nearly five millions of copies, which have been sent out into every state and territory of our wide spread country, cannot have failed to give our readers a sufficient opportunity to judge of our sentiments, and of the character and usefulness of our publication. Our record is before our brethren, and if we would we cannot recall it. The sentiments and design to which this periodical was pledged in our Prospectus of September, 1831, have ever since been strictly adhered to by us; and to this hour, we see no cause to change, modify or recede from anything therein enunciated." Elder Gilbert Beebe, Signs of the Times, January 1, 1867.
There are several things of great interest here. By Beebe’s conservative estimate, five millions copies of the paper had circulated across the country to untold thousands of hungry and eager readers. During all that time the paper maintained the doctrine of Absolute Predestination, as opposed to any and all forms of Conditionalism. Conditional Time Salvation was not opposed for it did not yet exist and the pages of the old "Signs" reveal no hint of any conflict regarding it. It is certain that had such doctrine existed, Beebe would have spoken out firmly and swiftly. It would thus take the combined audacity of a million imps to fly in the face of this historical record and claim Conditional Time Salvation was the doctrine of the Old School Baptists at that time.
Finally, notice that Beebe said he had strictly adhered to his original Prospectus, including item 2 affirming the Absolute Predestination of all things.
We here examine several absurd remarks made by our antagonist relative to Beebe and his influence:
"But, alas, like many old men whose star is fading, he sought to champion a cause in his senility, in order to save a reputation earned in his virility. In so doing, he became the self-appointed apostle of Absolute Predestination."
"Elder Gilbert Beebe (1800-1881)— was the most responsible American Baptist in promulgating the Terminological Confusion among American Sovereign Grace Baptists. Briefly, he followed the muddled terminology of Zanchius, as did the Puritans and Baptists of England."
Notice the slanders—Beebe is ridiculed as "an old man whose star is fading" who "sought to champion a cause in his senility" who was the "self-appointed apostle of Absolute Predestination." "He promulgated terminological confusion among American Sovereign Grace Baptists and followed the muddled terminology of Zanchius." This is what has been tossed out to us as a learned assessment of what took place, despite the overwhelming evidence of recorded history to the contrary.
"Absoluter rantings of Eld. Gilbert Beebe;" "The boo-boos of Beebe." Does this sound like a humble student of our history, or does it sound more like the very rantings and boo-boos of which Beebe is accused?
Does anyone believe that for 30 years, from 1831 when Beebe published his Prospectus containing the Absolute Predestination of all things, until 1861, when the War broke out, that the Church of Jesus Christ was so ignorant, so lacking in wisdom, or so beguiled, that a young preacher, only 31 years old, and already a senile madman ranting unchecked about a heresy called Absolute Predestination, could not be challenged? Was there not a single soul, endowed with sufficient wisdom to stand up and say that Absolute Predestination was heresy and Conditional Time Salvation was the truth? Was the church so void of men with understanding in the Scriptures and the history of the Baptists in 1831 that the boo-boos of Beebe could terrorize the assembly of the saints for the next 30 years? If so, the low opinion our opponent has of the church that Jesus built upon a Rock is warranted.
Imagine; Beebe had sent out over five million copies of the Signs throughout our nation. Absolute Predestination was constantly promoted therein and not a copy had a trace of Conditional Time Salvation, under any terminology, within them. Can it be that our adversary has not given us a proper assessment of matters? That is exactly what has happened.
OBSERVATIONS FROM HISTORY
None of our adversaries have given us anything documented from history, because they obviously had nothing. We thus offer a few remarks from several well-respected Baptists of the past, showing how they viewed Conditional Time Salvation, and especially how they understood it to be a new doctrine.
Elder Silas Durand
"To me it is a new and strange thing to find Old Baptists claiming praise for works of obedience, and insisting that the favor of God is conditional, depending upon their will and choice, and therefore uncertain, and that when it comes to them it comes as a reward for their obedience. I have heard that kind of talk all my life from Arminians, but never before from Old Baptists. Elder Silas Durand; Letter to J.H.Oliphant, October 6, 1899.
Elder Durand served among the Old Order of Baptists for over 50 years, beginning his ministry in September 1864. He was in a position to know what was new and what was strange. Elder Durand wrote more for the pages of the Signs than any other writer except Elder Beebe. His writings appeared in numerous other publications as well. Elder Durand was held in the highest respect as a man of integrity and humility, even by those in the Conditional Time Salvation camp.
Elder James M True
"Elder F.A.Chick-Dear Brother: I lay down the Signs of the Times, to take my pen at once, to write to you for the purpose of endorsing your editorial upon predestination, in the number for the first of December. It is encouraging to read the same gospel truths, written in this editorial that I was accustomed to read and believe as published in the Signs of the Times fifty years ago. When I read this article, and thought it over, it brought very vividly to my mind, the words recorded in I Kings 19:18, ‘Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.’ "I remember the time when I had never met nor heard of one among Predestinarian Baptists, who did not believe the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and predestination of all things. It was an understood fact, that the denial of this Bible doctrine was alone by professed Arminians." Elder James M. True; Letter to Signs of the Times, December 4, 1897.
If we accept Elder True’s observations, then no one around him for fifty years hawked Conditional Time Salvation, and he never saw it in the Signs; not even after five million copies. Moreover, Limited Predestinarians were considered "professed Arminians."
Elder David Bartley
"BELOVED: The Old Baptist people have long been troubled with the confusing doctrines of ‘means of salvation,’ ‘means of grace’ and such like; but not until the present young generation rose up, who assume to be wise above all the fathers, has the confusing and uncertain sound of ‘conditional time salvation’ been trumpeted forth in almost all the camps of Israel. The last ten years this strange and startling blast of trumpets has echoed and reechoed with exciting and bewildering effect, and great has been the widespread confusion and division, where peace and good-will prevailed before. This dividing of salvation, and subdividing it into fragments and parts, partly eternal salvation, and partly time salvation, (as the teachers of this yea and nay gospel call it,) they boastingly claim, is ‘rightly dividing the word.’ It certainly has a dividing quality, for it has scattered the flock. Yea, it has brought bitter strife and alienation into the rank and file of the conditional Baptists themselves. Thus has God confounded their language, and they cannot understand one another." Elder David Bartley; April 1, 1905, Letter to the Signs of the Times.
Elder Bartley was one of the most respected Old School Baptists of his period. Even those among the Conditional Time Salvation camp appreciate his writings sufficiently that they have republished a number of his books. Several thousands of his "Priesthood of the Son of God" have been sold in the last fifteen years alone and his "The Christ-Man in Type" is still being distributed by us. Bartley was not just a back-woods preacher grumbling about incidental errors. He was without question a well-qualified leader. He swiftly detected the insidious influx of leaven among the churches and saw that Conditional Time Salvation was indeed not only a new but "bewildering" doctrine pestering the saints.
It will be seen that the few quotes given here are from the turn of the century, not immediately after the War. The reason for this is simple. While the division was beginning to take place after the War in some few areas, most notably in the mid-west, the division between Conditional Time Salvation and Absolute Predestination was years in the making. I have affirmed that the Conditional Time Salvation novelty did not arise until after the War because there is positively no documentation to prove its existence prior to that time. It was really many years after the War before the division became widespread. It is worth mention that there was never a major division in the Northeast part of the country. The churches remained solid defenders of Absolute Predestination except for some associations in Virginia which had previously divided from the "Signs" Baptists in the 1850s over the issue of Eternal Vital Union.
The last major division resulting from the introduction of Conditional Time Salvation took place in the Georgia-North Carolina area in the mid-1920s, over 50 years after the War Between the States. I give here some very brief personal knowledge of what took place in Georgia.
Despite constant attacks on predestination, the churches generally stayed together until around 1926 when an Elder (baptized and ordained among the Absolute Predestinarians) introduced new articles of faith in the East Atlanta Primitive Baptist Church; a church of the Yellow River Association. The Elder’s new articles were accordingly rejected. The Elder then rounded up approximately 25 members and sought dismissal for himself and the others so that they might constitute a church to the South of Atlanta. Having gained their end, they moved South—about one mile South—and constituted Bethany Primitive Baptist Church on September 18, 1926, on doctrines much more ambiguous in tone from those of the Predestinarians. From that period on, they were identified with those of the new Conditional Time Salvation theory.
After the duplicitous Elder retired from Bethany, around 1960, the congregation called a young minister up from South Georgia. He had little knowledge of the history of the division, having never heard of Primitive Baptists until just a few years earlier. However, the young minister was preaching the very same doctrine Bethany Church left behind when they and their Conditional Elder withdrew from the Yellow River Association. The young minister was advocating the predestination of all things, although not using that particular expression at the time.
In 1962, when the young elder was called as pastor to Bethany, there were yet there six charter members that had come out of the Predestinarians. There were also many others in the area with a first-hand knowledge of what had taken place. He learned in no uncertain terms that the Baptists were yet one body in that area until around 1926 when Conditional Time Salvation struck its telling blow. He could testify from eyewitness accounts of that period, from both sides of the fence, that the Old School Baptists of that area were identified as Predestinarian Baptists until the 1926 division.
What took place in Georgia in the 1920s is essentially what took place all around this nation beginning sometime after the War Between the States. There are few left today that were there when the divisions occurred, but it can be said with certainty that the many records of history bear out what is here recounted.
The young Elder was excluded from Bethany Church several years later for confessing he believed in Unlimited Predestination. It remains a great irony that Bethany Church was constituted out of an Absolute Predestinarian Church so they could worship the god of Conditional Time Salvation, and then called as its pastor, only 36 years later, an Elder they would exclude for professing exactly what they professed to believe when they were originally baptized years before.
Such has been the disposition of the adherents of Conditional Time Salvation since the new doctrine was first hatched and then openly promoted after the War Between the States. Conditional Time Salvation is found nowhere in the records of history previous to the War Between the States.
Either those that labor to verify its antiquity have received a new revelation of truth from God, unknown to the church until recently, or they are in serious error.
We again challenge those that dispute the absolute predestination of all things to submit their proof that it was not the doctrine of the church prior to their introduction of Conditional Time Salvation. Conditional Time Salvation is the interloper. Absolute predestination is the legitimate doctrine of the church Jesus built.
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