The Two Words 'Sent' In Acts 13:1-4
Where Is The Authority?
Willian J. Stang
Member Bryan Station Baptist Church - Lexington. Kentucky
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. {2} As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. {3} And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. {4} So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. (Acts 13:1-4)
    " the scripture cannot be broken;" neither can it be set at odds against itself, nor caused to contradict itself. Wherever the authority is found in The Great Commission and other passages of scripture, there it will be found in Acts 13:1-4.
    Appeals are being made to "several great Landmark Baptist of the past" few hundred years in an attempt to "disprove" church succession. It is this writer's conviction that "great Landmark Baptists of the past" must be interpreted and understood in the light of the scriptures; we are not to interpret and understand the scriptures by "great Landmark Baptists of the past." The Scriptures are a great commentary upon the unfolding of the history of man. The Scriptures alone, all the Scriptures, must be taken in consort.
    Yet, many are they who claim to get their authority from the Bible alone; who upon closer inspection, give little regard to what that Great Book teaches. For example, when the "Jesus only" people baptize in the name of "Jesus only," taking their cue from such passages as Acts 8:16 and 19:5, they fail to take into account that the pattern was established in Matthew 28:19 to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: " In other passages where it is merely and "only" mentioned that some were "baptized" (such as Acts 2:41, 8:38, 9:18, 16:15, 16:33, 18:8, etc.) are we to understand that they were baptized in no name whatsoever? Certainly not! In Acts 19:5, for example, we are told that "they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" in contradistinction to their having been baptized in the name of John the Baptist (verse 3). And we are thus let in on an additional piece of information in the process: the authority which John had could not have been passed on at his death, it having been given to man which dies; but authority given to a perpetuating institution, the Lord's kind of church, does pass on from church to church. They "knowing only the baptism of John" at the hands of Apollos, needed scripturally authorized baptism from one sent by the New Testament Institution of the Lord's church (Acts 18:24 19:5). If I were to hire you and form a contract with you to take care of the maintenance of my property and then you were to die, that contract would be dissolved. But if you had formed a corporation, and I had made that contract with the corporation, then the contract would remain in force with the successors in the corporation in spite of your death. Here are some principles that we all know naturally speaking. Ah, but how men willingly 'selectively' apply that which they know when it comes to the spiritual realm! But these principles do apply. And if we do not apply them, they are a testimony against us, in that we know them by nature. (I shall continue further with this illustration in a moment). Nevertheless, the Scriptures do not have to repeat the whole formula for baptism here in order to teach us this added bit of information. For once the precedent is set we are to presume and understand, unless we are told otherwise, that in the Divinely recorded account the precedent is followed. And so, all scripture on any particular subject must be taken together in order to define that subject. We all know this. So also is Acts 13:1-4.
    Acts 13:1-4 is not an isolated passage of Scripture that teaches all that there is to know about church truth, church authority, nor even the scriptural pattern for doing mission work under such authority. No one would even take such a position except they had a preconceived ax to grind, a predetermined position to defend, or an unscriptural past practice "to justify," as opposed too: "to depart from."
    The questions which ought to arise in our minds as we read Acts 13:1-4 are, "Why didn't the Holy Spirit just speak to Barnabas and Saul?" "Was the ordination service of verse 3 just practiced by individuals without church capacity?" "Is ordination so practiced by anyone?" One cannot help but wonder if a lack of scriptural ordination lies at the root of the refusal to recognize where the authority is in this passage. Instead of "Lay hands suddenly on no man," some would lay hands on none!. Responsibility and authority are the twin teachings of an ordination service, both of which are teachings repugnant to the old nature. In Acts 13:1-4 the Holy Spirit first began dealing with those who were the pillars of the church that was at Antioch, else, why is the church mentioned at all in v: 1? Why does it not just say that "there were certain prophets and teachers at Antioch?" And can the authority in Acts 13:1-4 to " Go" and "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things " be any different than it is found in Matthew 28? I think not.
    In I Corinthians 12:28 it says: "God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." Every one of those underlined words are adverbs of time. This is chronological order. During the first century, even in the Book of Acts, but beginning during Christ's earthly ministry, He "set some in the church, first apostles," Luke chapter 6 is where they were first called "apostles" and first chosen out to be assembled unto Himself. You cannot have officers of a corporation without a corporation for them to be officers of. Luke chapter 6 marks the incorporation of the Lord's Church. The first act of incorporation: is the naming of the officers thereof. There is nothing odd about that. They were first "named apostles" (not "called" apostles, but "named" apostles; as in the naming of officers) in Luke chapter 6. Now these are they to whom The Great Commission is given. It is given in church capacity (they comprised the first church), and it is the "authority" to "Go" and to do that which is the emphasis of that passage, as even the word "exousia," in Matthew 28:18 translated "power" but entailing the meaning of "authority," indicates. It is the same authority exercised in Acts 13:1-4 under the direct intervention, supervision, and endorsement of the Holy Spirit of God twice mentioned in that passage, and that not without significance, even as the mention of the "church" in verse 1 is not without significance.
    It is presumed that I am writing to those who believe in "church perpetuity." That is the teaching that there would be churches after the kind that the Lord started, existing in every day till our Lord Jesus Christ come again to receive them unto Himself which is all, it appears, that some "Landmark" Baptists are willing to contend for. Therefore, I shall not attempt to prove that here, other than to list a number of passages that do teach it some directly, some indirectly: Matthew 16:18 & 19, Matthew 18:15-19, Matthew 28:18-20 ("even unto the end of the age." aionol), Mark 16:15, Ephesians 3:21, Hebrews 10:25 (how could we so assemble till that day come, otherwise?), I Corinthians 11:26 (The Lord's Supper is a church ordinance. How could it be observed "till He come" without church perpetuity?), I & II Thessalonians, which was written and addressed to a local church, tells them in I Thessalonians 1:10 "to wait for His son from heaven,". In chapters 4 & 5 it tells them of the rapture and subsequent judgment to fall on those left behind, in II Thessalonians 2:1 Paul beseeches that local church "by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him," that's the rapture. And in chapter 2 in the context of 'that Wicked One being revealed' we are told that that won't happen till we be taken out of the way. The Wicked One has not yet been revealed. The Lord's kind of church is going to be here till he is. And when he is, we'll already be gone. And then, Revelation chapters 2 & 3 wherein are the letters to the seven churches (seven being the number of completion) the completion of the church age leads right up to Revelation 4:1, the "... things which must be hereafter" (after the church age). How else is it we speak of it as "The Church Age" but that the Lord's churches will be here throughout? All of these, when properly understood, teach church perpetuity.
    And yet, "church perpetuity" is not that about which there is current contention. Error always tests the bounds of any doctrine from a different angle from generation to generation. Look and see if that is not so! Today, the doctrine of "church succession" has been called into question. Nonetheless, it is necessary to establish the one (perpetuity) in order to build upon it the other (succession). In like manner, in the last century "Verbal Inspiration" was being attacked, and our brethren vigorously defended it. Today, "The Preservation of The Scriptures" is under attack, and most of us are asleep as to the implications involved: 'So what, God inspired His Word; if He did not preserve it, you do not have it!' Everyone who uses a modern version based upon corrupted texts has already surrendered. Howbeit, those two doctrines go together; Preservation and Inspiration cannot be separated. They are twin doctrines which stand or fall together. And yet, the art of preaching is the art of discerning between things which differ. How else can we defend them?. So also is "church perpetuity" and "church succession," you cannot have the one without the other. And so it is for our generation to vigorously defend the doctrine of the preservation of the Scriptures; and, so it may seem, the doctrine of church succession as well; as today, these are the legs under attack.
    The current controversy has been brought about by men quoting "great Landmark Baptist of the past" who were defending the doctrine of church perpetuity; quoted, I say, as though that were all that they believed. Now there is an argument from silence if ever there was one! And yet, if one will study history and not just quote it, it may be readily seen that there were certain high minded "Baptists" who sent their sons to Europe to "polish" their education; but they came back teaching things that shall forever be a tarnish upon their good names. For they went to such Protestant schools as the famous Tdbingen University in Germany where Protestant scholars, with over 1800 years of Baptist history on their very doorsteps, had to come up with a way in which to deal with that history. Can you imagine trying to explain away known massacre sites throughout your very own countryside?
    Now, Darwinism had swept over all the academia of Europe influencing even the schools of theology, planting ideas and rationale with which to dismiss truth. And so, what did these Protestant schools teach? Only, 'that there were Baptist "principles" and there was a Baptist "faith" as it were, but Baptist churches didn't really "evolve" into being until about the time of the Reformation.' This was the doctrine of evolution applied in the theological realm. Thus they could deal with the evidence on the one hand, and dismiss the facts on the other. We might well say, "How could you have Baptist principles and Baptist faith without having a people who held to those principles and practiced that faith? What? Were they empty baskets wondering around Europe without body and soul, without blood to give for the cause of Christ their Savior?"
    The Northern Baptists were the first to so lean, and the Southern Baptists within but a decade or two were marching their aspiring young collegians off to Europe as well. If you want an example of it in the north, look at Thomas Armitage's revised and enlarged edition of his History of The Baptists published by Bryan, Taylor, & Co., New York, 1890, Volume I, Introductory Chapter, page 3, where he quotes from Tertullian (who wrote within two centuries after Christ) in the last paragraph of that page:
    "Tertullian says, 'If any of the heretics dare to connect themselves with the Apostolic Age, that they may seem to be derived (underlining is my emphasis) from the Apostles, as existing under them, we may say: Let them, therefore, declare the origin of their Churches, let them exhibit the series of their bishops, as coming down by a continued succession from the beginning, as to show their first bishop to have been some apostle or apostolic man as his predecessor or ordainer, and who continued in the same faith (Armitage emphasizes and italicizes the word faith) with the Apostles. For this is the way in which the Apostolical Churches calculate the series of their bishops.'"
    Armitage passes over what Tertullian says about "derived" authority, he's blind to what he says about "the origin of their churches," "the series of their bishops," and even "a continued succession from the beginning, ..." Armitage actually misses that word, though he copies it! And then he jumps upon the word " faith," when Tertullian says that they had "continued in the same faith with the Apostles." Armitage italicizes and emphasizes that word, giving all the emphasis to it in all his relative comments both before and after that quote, actually denying church succession outright, and teaching that only the " faith" is that to which is promised perpetuity. But again I ask: "How can you have a " faith" without a people who held that faith?"
    Or again, you can look at H. C. Vedder's Short History of The Baptists published by the American Baptist Publication Society (a Northern Baptist Convention publishing house), copyright 1907, preface page vi, where it is said that his book "provides a unique (now there's an admission!) approach" which "is a sharp corrective to Landmarkism," because it is a "presentation in some detail of the historical development of Baptist principles set in the general context of Christian history." He goes on to say that he "blends an appreciation for the contributions of these early protestants (his emphasis) with historical objectivity, with no attempt to maintain a thesis or minister to denominational vanity." Oh, how condescending to his protestant admirers.
    If you want an example of it in the south, look and study about "The Whitsitt Controversy" when W. H. Whittsitt came back to America teaching the same rubbish at Old Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky. And Baptists throughout the south were up in arms about it! This was shortly after that great Baptist historian J. H. Spencer, a contemporary of J. R. Graves, said that all Baptists throughout the south believed in the principles of Old Landmarkism of 16 major Baptist publications, 15 agreed; and the editor of the 16th had a personality conflict with J. R. Graves. J. H. Spencer said that all Southern Baptists agreed with J. R. Graves on the principles of Old Landmarkism.
    But if you want to see what has happened today, just take out your phone book and call the Southern Baptist churches in your area and ask the pastors where and when the first Baptist church came into existence, and you'll see that though they were once up in arms about it, what W. H. Whittsitt taught is now standard teaching in all their schools. For some will give this one and some will give that (whichever church they give will usually always be one somewhere around the time of the Reformation, if they will give you one at all). True Baptists wouldn't have any problem answering that.
    Brethren, the beginning of these things is what our "great Landmark Baptists of the past" century were dealing with, and they combated it by showing that there were full grown Baptist churches in every century, even predating the Reformation, all the way back. Their faith, as well as ours, is not dependent upon proving an "unbroken chain link succession" all the way back to Christ. Our faith is dependent upon the teachings of the Word of God alone. Because they saw the teaching in the Word of God, they looked in history to see the fulfillment thereof. Because the Word of God is true, history is loaded with examples. Because any example given which predates one which some liberal may give as being the "first" disproves such foolishness, they gave such examples. But that is not to say that they did not believe that succession was necessary nor did they doubt that it existed, only that it was not to be proved by history, nor was it the point of contention with which they were engaged at the time. Nevertheless, I have myself seen many examples of our churches of the last few centuries predating J. R. Graves which sent "helps" to see that new churches were "properly constituted." One should ask himself, "What did they mean by that?" If one church "helps" in another's organization, and if the first church, as a church, votes to send such "helps" (as can be seen in the very minutes of the church which this writer is a member of, Bryan Station Baptist Church, Lexington, Ky., in the early 1800's) then does that not constitute a recognition of the necessity of church succession?
    When Tertullian, whom I believe we would all consider being one of us, while contending with erring churches two hundred years after Christ, spoke of a "succession," did that not give some indication of what our forefathers believed? If you will read Tertullian's statement in Armitage's Vol. I, pg. 3, you will see there the seeds of the Catholic doctrine of "Apostolic Succession," but such can be overlooked on the basis of the fact that that error had not yet even developed and was not identifiable as yet to be contended with. Tertullian was contending for a pure and regenerate church membership. A state church did not even exist at that time. Nevertheless, such a doctrine did arise and has become the hallmark of Roman Catholicism. Now, reasoning backwards, I might here point out that the devil is ever and always the imitator and counterfeiter of truth, he is not an originator of anything new. Therefore, that there is a doctrine of "Apostolic Succession" is telling in itself. What is it a counterfeit of? But the Bible does not teach "Apostolic Succession" for it does not say " upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against him." It does say, " upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The Bible teaches "Church Succession" not "Apostolic Succession." But what is the false doctrine of "Apostolic Succession" a counterfeit of? And who was teaching what, that led them to counterfeit it?
    Now, one of those "great Landmark Baptists of the past," D. B. Ray, wrote a book entitled Baptist Succession, A Hand-book of Baptist History. Now what did he believe? What did I underline? Is it no wonder that he has not been referred to by our antagonists? This too was put out by the Southern Baptists in 1870, a book of almost 400 pages, the last three pages of which, as well as the preface, are filled with testimonials from major Baptist newspapers, professors of theology, and Baptist leaders of the south. What did they then believe at that time? Is it not a wonder that our antagonist have not referred to this book, this is the era they love to quote? The very title of this book refutes them. It was first published in 1870, again in 1912; my edition is a 1984 reprint published by Church History Research & Archives, Gallatin, TN. It was evidently thought important enough that successive generations sought to keep it in print! S. H. Ford, J. R. Graves, W. A. Jarrell, A. C. Dayton, Pendleton,.. all of these men who are appealed to in an attempt to disprove succession, were Southern Baptists too! And J. R. Graves, whom they have quoted to disprove what J. R. Graves believed, gives his endorsement to succession in D. B. Ray's book on page 395! So much for proving that J. R. Graves did not believe in succession! His testimonial is included. These men were overlapping contemporaries of D. B. Ray's day. One may quote Graves or Ford or Jarrell on what they believed on perpetuity, but to go from that to say that they did not believe in succession is like accusing them of not believing in salvation in that context, for in the context of perpetuity they mentioned not salvation! Our antagonist ought to be ashamed of such chicanery! D. B. Ray is but one example. Another can be found in J. B. Moody's book My Church (referring to our Lord's words "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.") published 1907, my edition is a 1974 reprint by The Attic Press Inc., Greenwood, S. C. J. B. Moody was the president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the first of the 1900's (this is not the D. L. Moody of Moody Bible institute fame). On page 322 of his book he uses the word "succession" three times on that one page alone, insisting on that doctrine. He was fooled by Professor Whitsitt at that time because Mr. Whitsitt was not honest with him, but J. B. Moody left this recorded testimony in his book that their leadership held to the doctrine of church succession at the turn of the century. Read what he says of succession on pages 159 162. He uses "succession" over and over again, and uses the exact same argument that we use today: 'about the law of primogenitors, that like begats like, everything living reproduces after it's own kind, and something dead cannot give birth to something living..;' the exact same argument our antagonist seethe over when we use it today. Will they be boiling if they read those four pages of Moody's book? This, again, from the era they love to quote to prove that nobody believed these things then. J. B. Moody, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention a century ago, contended for both church perpetuity and church succession at a time when our antagonists say that nobody believed that then!
    I am sure that others who better know the writings of our "great Landmark Baptist brethren of the past" can produce other examples that will repeatedly be setting such 'arguments from silence' upon their ears to the eternal embarrassment of our dear brethren who take such presumptuous and untenable positions against the truth. How much better to turn and agree with the truth even if it might perchance "unchurch" you, than to have the truth constantly going against the grain so that it is all that you can write, and hiss, and spit against. Those who try to prove doctrine from history will always find themselves in such a position. Let us derive our doctrine from the Word of Truth. History is important because we're still here; but if we do not get our doctrine from the Bible, our own history will only record how that we ourselves went astray.
    Anybody can challenge somebody to prove that nobody believed in the QRZT theory throughout the last two thousand years! But what would that mean? I can make up anything I like for the letters QRZT and say that if you can't show me in history what I just invented, then nobody should believe what the Bible teaches! But should we not believe what the Bible teaches in spite of how many 'straw men' arguments are arrayed against it? I think so; anyone's "EMDA" theory not excluding. This is the foolishness we would get into by trying to use history to prove doctrine.
    And so I would challenge those who are opposed to succession, to pray tell, give answer: why are there two different words translated "sent" in Acts 13 verses 3 & 4? In verse 4 "... they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, ..." it is the Greek word "ekpempw," meaning "to thrust forth." It speaks of that inner compulsion of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, it says that they were there "sent forth by the Holy Spirit." If that were all that were involved, why even mention the "church" in verse 1? Why did the Holy Spirit even speak to the church? He speaks to the leadership, to the "messengers" of the churches, as He did in Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18 & 3:1, 7, 14. They who were "amongst" the church, Acts 13:1 ("kata" with reference to, pertaining to, with respect to the church; Dana and Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, page 107).
    Then too, He uses a very strong emphatic particle "dZ" (Dana and Mantey, page 261) to say "Separate indeed unto me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" verse 2. May our dear brethren tell us why He did not just speak to Barnabas and Saul? Then the church ordained them to this work in verse 3. May our dear brethren tell us: does any body practice the laying on of hands to the ministry apart from a church that they would like to be identified with? May they pray tell us what they do with I Timothy 1:5? Or even what is spoken of here in verse 3? Or even what Acts 6:6 is speaking about? Under what authority is ordination done?
    And may one please, please tell us why there is a totally different word "sent" in verse 3 which involves a "sending" differentiated from the "sending" of the Holy Spirit in verse 4? This word: "apwluw," involves a sending with authority and with substance. You see it, in another form, with 'substance' in Acts 11:30. Whether some would care to balk at the 'substance' aspect of it (and certainly if they are against missions they will) there can be no denying that they were loosed and sent forth by the church in verse 3. They who are denying church succession, are in effect, denying church authority.
    The church at Antioch "sent" Paul and Barnabas with authority. The Holy Spirit oversaw both ends; both the leadership of the church, and the "unction" from on high to do the work. There are two words "sent" in verses 3 & 4, two different words.
    Men may claim to be led of the Spirit; yea, men have been led of the Spirit to do God service, and have erred in the way they do it. Stick with the Scriptures! Stick with the Scriptural way. Hand picked examples from history do not overthrow the Word of God.
    Study Paul's journeys. Many churches were started doing things God's way. Paul was sent out by the church of Antioch. He reported back to his sending church in Acts 14:26. You do not need to call the church of Antioch the "mother church" if you don't like. You do need to recognize that they sent Paul out with authority to make disciples, baptize them, and start churches, wherein is to be taught the "all things" of Matthew 28:20. By the time you're into the "baptizing," you're into forming a church where once there was not one, as long as there is authority. The church of Antioch sent him with that authority. Without a recognition of that authority, you're denying Scriptural principles.
    If the argument were just about at what point a church becomes a church: we might well bear with them. Let them be as loose as they like. Let us be as careful as the Apostle Paul. He was yet setting things "in order" (I Corinthians 11:34) fifteen years later, yet instructing the young preachers to "set in order" and to "ordain elders" some twenty years later (Titus 1:5). Heresy has caused us to do nothing hastily.
    You do not have to use the term "mother church." Some use that term to facilitate teaching; perhaps it would be better if they did not. But there is no Baptist Pope forcing anyone to use that term. But in reality, it's not the terminology that people are balking at; it's the teaching that "church" authority is necessary in the propagation of church succession. Yet they themselves would like to leave successors! Would they not? Such foolishness! Why listen to them quibble with a phrase which they themselves are striving to accomplish! Let's make clear the issue: these men are attacking church authority, clear and simple: that is what is behind church succession; they are simply using another word to attack authority.
    The Catholics who believe in Apostolic Succession believe that they have the authority. Yet Christ said, "... the gates of hell shall not prevail against" "it" not "him." The devil does not originate anything; he just corrupts it, or twists it; or, as in this case today: he just denies it; denying that there is even any such thing as Succession, all the while pretending it doesn't have anything to do with "authority".
    I would simply ask the question: Is there no such thing as church authority as taught in the Scriptures? For that is what is being challenged in the name of "succession". If there is not, then is not every man an authority unto himself? And is not this where this would lead? And is not that the history of every Alexander Campbell and every Daniel Parker that has come along before?
    We extend an arm of authority. We take pains to see that a new church is properly constituted. We send "helps" (men "sent" by existing churches under the authority of those churches) to help "set things in order." If what our antagonists are saying is true, what harm could there be in this? What possible harm? That church, once organized, is a church in its own right, and it's been taught by example to take these things seriously from the very first. If we're wrong, and I most seriously believe we are not, what harm has it done? But if, on the other hand, those who deny the necessity of church authority in the starting of other churches; if they're wrong, just think of the implications! If all the sound Baptists which remain were to begin to haul water with that bucket, in one generation all would be parched. There would no authority remain. I pray to God that some in that camp might see the need of authority in their baptism and their ordinations.
    Let me give one more suggestion for study along this line. From Acts chapter 13 study Barnabas backwards. Barnabas was first "sent" by the church of Jerusalem "that he should go as far as Antioch" (Acts 11:22). He was "sent" with specific authority, the word "sent" there literally means "to send forth as on a mission". That mission had to do with believers who were at Antioch, news of whom had come to the ears of the church in Jerusalem. The believers at Antioch were never yet, to this point, referred to as a "church." Barnabas from thence went to Tarsus "for to seek Saul" 11:25. Which Saul, had been "sent" from the same church, the church of Jerusalem in Acts 9:30. It is the same word "sent" in Acts 9:30, "sent forth as on a mission" ( Strong's Concordance). Paul was "sent" to Tarsus in Acts 9:30. Barnabas brought Saul back to Antioch, in chapter 11, where they continued there "a whole year" setting things in order; and that 'setting things in order' became a hallmark of New Testament missions. And it wasn't until that point, that they were first recognized as a "church" in Antioch (Acts 11:26).
    They obviously united with the church in Antioch, and in Acts 11:30 began to be "sent" on missions by that church. It is from the same root word, meaning "to send out" (as on a mission) ( Strong's number 630 & 649). And when "they had fulfilled their ministry" they returned to Antioch (12:25). And were sent out again in chapter 13, and reported to that church again in 14:26 & 27. And thus did the Lord propagate the Gospel; and where it was received and the saved submitted to scriptural baptism at the hands of one authorized, were true churches started: one church successfully started from another, and on, and on.
    Here, I am going to repeat the argument that those who really hate this doctrine get so upset about, for it is indeed a valid point and I will not be deterred from it. It is a natural argument for those of us who believe that all the seed doctrine of the Bible is laid down for us in seed form in the fertile soil of the first few chapters of Genesis: that being 'that from the beginning God so created that in the law of primogenitor of all species like begets like, everything reproduces after it's own kind, and something dead cannot give birth to something living; while every living thing has, by the express will of God, been restrained to only reproducing it's own kind. And that, not by accident. And that, not without purpose. Else there would be confusion, and God is not the author of confusion. No! Not even in the churches. Especially, in the churches! Is not His bride the focal point of all creation from His point of view? How then is it wrong to point out the focus of God's creativity?'
    Baptists make Baptists, that's where they come from! Baptist churches start Baptist churches, that's church succession! You can't have church perpetuity without church succession (even as you would not have the horse if that species had ever failed to reproduce). Perpetuity and Succession go together. The doctrine of church perpetuity necessitates church succession, and church succession is the mechanism by which church perpetuity is fulfilled.
    Here, it becomes a simple matter to demonstrate that we know, and understand, and observe these principles naturally speaking. And if so, then what shall we answer to our Lord if we do not practice them in the spiritual realm of which this world is but a poor reflection. If we see it in the mirror what shall be our excuse if we miss it in reality? For we all understand these things naturally speaking: No man goes out to erect golden arches to sell hamburgers without first obtaining a franchise from the parent corporation. If a man were to do so he would be found to be operating without authority, would he not? Who would risk such a thing when naught but material wealth is all that's involved? Perhaps an illustration from multilevel marketing is even more exact, for one obtains the right to market a thing from one who has obtained the right to market that thing from another who has obtained that same right all the way back to the founder. And no court in all the land would uphold an usurper's right who was not found to be legitimately in that succession.
    Are you in a church after the kind that the Lord started? Mark it down, the Lord knows who they are. True churches come from true churches; but that's not all: they remain true to their Lord. For in every franchise there is, if the franchisee will not abide by the guidelines of the franchiser, the franchiser is within full right to revoke the franchise.
    We are in a truly blessed position in that our Lord is a merciful God. And not for money and not for price, but because He loved us with an everlasting love, He bought us with His own precious blood, and appointed us a place to fill. If it be in one of His kind of churches, let us fill it with all that is in us, for He is worthy Who hath called us. Let us rightly discern and contend for all truth both aspects of every twin doctrine (for there be many: preservation and perseverance, outward and inward calling, general and effectual, the first Adam and the Second, the old man and the new, etc., etc., inspiration and preservation of the Scriptures, perpetuity and succession of the Lord's churches ) remembering that the only proper balance is a right dividing of the Word of Truth. May God help us to so do. For as members of His churches we are the elect of the elect, and have been made to "sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come " Oh, what a thought! Is it not worth our all?

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