Friday, March 28, 2014

J.W. Dale on the Baptist Rejection of the Family from the Kingdom of God.

The doctrine that the kingdom of God = the Church, is made up solely of individuals on the basis of a personal repentance and faith, without recognition or provision for the relation of parent and child in family unity, any more than for the relation of a lawyer to his clients, of a physician to his patients, or a merchant to his customers, is a doctrine, which the Lord of that kingdom rejects on the ground of that folly and ruin which must be the portion of "a kingdom divided against itself."

That the constitution of this world is divine, will be admitted by all who believe that there is a God. That the constitution of the human race has its fundamental element in the Family Institution and not in the individual man will be admitted by every rational being. That the strongest, the tenderest, and the most influential ties bind parent and offspring together under divine constitution, the brute creation would testify, if men should deny. That moral duties and responsibilities inhere in the relation of parent and child, making the parent responsible (who shall fix the limits?) for the moral wellbeing of the child, none can rationally deny, who admit the moral nature of the new-born babe and the claim of God—" all souls are mine."

Now, from this kingdom, under a Family constitution, God has by sin been rejected. And he has declared his purpose to overthrow his enemies and to re-establish his kingdom—"Every knee shall bow to me;" "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast ordained praise." The doctrine under consideration declares, that God will not re-establish this kingdom; but will set up another kingdom under a radically diverse constitution, from which family life shall be rejected and a solitary individualism be substituted. There would, thus, be two kingdoms of God in the world; the one having the Family Institution as its controlling feature, and the other refusing to give the Family institution any admission. "If Satan cast out Satan, Satan's kingdom cannot stand." If God's Family be cast out of God's kingdom the result remains to be developed. There has been no trial of such evisceration. The church for five thousand years has accepted this as the divine Constitution of the human race, nor has she ever supposed that God has set up another kingdom radically antagonistic to his own original kingdom. It does not, however, remain to be shown, that no nation or community organized on a basis rejecting or subverting the divine Institution of the Family can stand. This has abundantly been proved. Throughout heathenism generally the family is in ruins; and the moral ruin is as abounding. China has a singular history both as to permanence and as to regard for the family. Mohammedanism has substituted the harem for the family. France, at her influential centres, is largely destitute of family life; history declares the result. Romanism receives individual men and women into her monasteries, and nunneries, and priesthood, and rejects the family; the result is on record. Communism, Fourierism, Shakerism, Mormonism, reject or subvert the family; and the balance-wheel of permanence, and the germ of development and moral blessing is gone.

They who are attempting to build up a kingdom in God's name of individual men and women, rejecting from it the Family Institution, have been engaged in the task too short a time and their piety is too much better than their logic, to show the natural and fully developed fruit.

Should a father and mother, with their newly born babe, appear before the custodians of such an organization, and ask admission into the Church, the visible kingdom of God, the answer must be: 
"You can be received because you can repent and, believe; but there is no provision for the impenitent and the unbelieving." 
"But our babe has not performed one act of impenitence or originated one act of unbelief." 
"That is true; but he must personally repent and believe or he cannot come into the kingdom of the gospel; 'Repent and be baptized every one of you;' 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned.' Your child is a child of the Devil." 
"Is our babe under the curse of the Law without any personal act of his but solely by the act of his parents and his birth from them, and yet incapable of being received into the kingdom of the gospel by their act, acknowledging the sovereign right of God in him, the commands of God laid upon us for him, confessing his need of cleansing by the blood of Christ the Redeemer, and accepting with adoring faith the promises 'made unto parents and their children,' and holding him forth by the prayer of faith to be received into a Saviour's arms?"
"Your child is under the covenant of DEATH as your child; but he is not under the covenant of life as your child. No provision is made in the gospel for the salvation of children with their parents.''
"Will you, then, receive us as PARENTS?" 
“No, we cannot. When we reject your child as your child received from God to be nurtured, trained, taught in his kingdom for his glory, we reject the family in all its elements and therefore cannot receive you into the kingdom of God as Parents, Father and Mother. We have no fathers and mothers, or sons and daughters, in our kingdom. And if your child (now unprovided for and left out in the kingdom of Satan because he cannot repent and believe) should live long enough to repent and believe, he could not come into the kingdom as your child; and when in it, he could not he related to you as your child under the laws of the kingdom, but only as any other individual believer." 
"Well, then, we will enter the kingdom of God as husband and wife. In God's name, and by God's ordinance, we twain have been made one. Marriage, no doubt, is a part of the law of God's kingdom." 
"No, it is not. The only elements which can be considered in receiving into the kingdom of God is individualism, not twain-unity any more than family unity. We cannot recognize you in your relation as husband and wife, any more than we can recognize Richard Roe and John Doe as partners in business, when they come together to be received into the kingdom. Besides, if we were to recognize Marriage as an element in the kingdom of God, and you entering that kingdom as husband and wife should have a child born to you, what could we do with it? We would be placed in the dilemma of recognizing Marriage, and Husband and Wife, as belonging to the kingdom of God, and casting the fruit of the womb which is His reward out of his kingdom as unholy." 
"When your members intermarry do they marry in the kingdom?" 
"No; Marriage is God's institution, it is celebrated by God's minister, it is performed in God's house, it is sanctified by prayer in God's name, but it is all out of His kingdom, and in the world (Satan's kingdom?) to which marriage and the FAMILY BELONG (!). In the kingdom of God there is nothing but naked individualism (man, woman), repenting and believing."

Does not the Bible address Husbands and Wives as in the kingdom and as having duties to perform toward each other? "That is an accident not entering into the constitution of the kingdom any more than when it addresses rich men and poor men, and enjoins just weights and equal balances. Marriage no more enters into the kingdom of God than does a commercial partnership; nor the Family with its parents and children, any more than an Orphan Asylum with its Steward and Matron and orphan waifs."

Thus rejected. Father and Mother bear away their babe, saying, "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united."

And let all who fear God and keep his commandments say Amen.

from pages 227-230 of Christic and Patristic Baptism, Wm Rutter & Co., 1874

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