Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 18, 1962

Miscellaneous Matters From "Burnett's Budget" --- (I)

Bill Cavender, Greggton, Texas

Recently in a meeting at Bonham, Texas, I was privileged to read some old issues of "Burnett's Budget," a paper published in Dallas, Texas, in the early years of this century by Bro. T. R. Burnett. The issues I saw were published in 1905, 1907 and 1911. Bro. Burnett had been a staff writer for the Gospel Advocate, being added to the staff of that paper by Bro. David Lipscomb in 1895, the same year that Bro. J. D. Tant became "Field Editor" for the paper. Burnett had a column in the paper called "Burnett's Budget" which contained his thoughts and comments on a variety of matters. This column aroused much interest as Burnett was noted for his wit, his sharp tongue and pen, his skill of repartee, and his biting and cutting retorts and comments. Burnett became involved in a very bitter argument with the Christian Courier and Firm Foundation in the fall of 1898, and as the argument grew personal and very bitter, Lipscomb finally refused to publish any more articles from Burnett concerning this matter. Burnett was offended, and Lipscomb subsequently removed him from the Advocate staff in January of 1899. It was shortly after this that Burnett began publication of "Burnett's Budget" from Dallas, Texas. It was printed on a four page paper, almost the size of our daily newspapers. It continued in the same vein, and with the same variety, that had characterized his earlier writings in the Advocate.

During this time not only were the missionary society and instrumental music in worship controversies in full swing, but the "re-baptism" controversy had sprung up. The Firm Foundation, Joe, S. Warlick, J. D. Tant and others opposing the receiving of Baptists into fellowship without immersing ("re-baptizing") them. The Gospel Advocate with Lipscomb and James A. Harding taking the lead, contended that the immersed could he received into fellowship, even though such a one was immersed into the Baptist church by a Baptist preacher. Burnett was of the latter persuasion on this question. This will explain some of the comments printed in these articles, as comments on this "re-baptism" question are freely found in these issues of the Budget It is my purpose to reproduce now in a series of articles matters mentioned in the Budget. I believe they will be of interest to us who live more than half a century since these things were first written. We may be benefitted by having this insight into conditions of the brotherhood in those days. Any views from the Budget published in this series of articles do not necessarily reflect my own. All that follows is from the Budget of March 15, 1905:

1. Here is a preacher that wants a job: "Amity, Ark. If any congregation in Arkansas will pay traveling expenses, I will preach one week. I am a singer; also a political speaker. I am a middle-of-the-road preacher; also a populist." That will certainly bring a call. If he were a horse-doctor and a baseball artist, it would be better still. Also, if he could manufacture chill-tonic. Nothing like being "thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

2. Have you observed that those re-baptist advocates who read the Budget out of the ranks of orthodoxy, also read Alex. Campbell out of the kingdom of God? Well, they do. They say he was not even a Christian, and lived and died in the kingdom of the devil! He was baptized by a Baptist preacher, and did not know till eleven years afterward that baptism was "for remission of sins." Their doctrine requires them to say he was not saved.

3. The subject of "frenzied finance" does not trouble the preachers. They do not have enough finance to produce a frenzy. They sometimes get a little frenzied because there is no finance...A progressive church has given a "Pie Party" to raise money for the Lord. It mistakes pie-elty for piety... It is said that a certain Texas preacher wears a collar thirteen inches high, and preaches a sermon thirteen minutes long... Baptists sit in council over a case of baptism before it occurs. Re-baptists sit in council over it after it occurs. Which is the worse? A man who understands the Scriptures will not do either one...A Texas brother is troubled because the Gospel Advocate Sunday-school literature advertises organs. No use to be troubled: There is as much Scripture for the organ as there is for the Sunday-school and its literature... Andrew Carnegie announces that he will add ten per cent to the salary of any of his employees who is a total abstainer... The newspapers tell about a Baptist preacher who lived near Texarkana, married there, left his wife and ran off with his step-daughter, lived with her a year, left her and went to Tennessee and married two other women, got sanctified, and then got in jail. He was a business man, truly:.. Addison Baker (Baptist) and Thos. Quarles (Methodist) lived on Kingdom Come Creek, in the commonwealth of Kentucky. They got into a controversy on infant baptism, and grew exceedingly warm. Baker advanced an argument that he considered unanswerable by his Methodist opponent, but he was in error. Quarles whipped out a pistol and shot Baker dead. It is not thought the Baptist will not controvert the "sacred rite" in that section anymore. If that is the way they discuss the question in Kentucky, we do not wish to do any debating in that state. When Rev. J. C. Weaver reaches the argumentum ad pistolum in our present discussion on infant baptism, we expect to adjourn the debate.

4. MILBURN AFTER HIM. "Eld. Warlick has quit the Firm Foundation Campbellite party and has identified himself with the 'Shaker Campbellites.' He now believes they must be 'shaken before taken.' Eld. Warlick preached in Nashville, Ark., on the night following the discussion, and the wife of a Campbellite, who had been baptized by a Baptist preacher on the statement that her sins had been forgiven, came forward and a Campbellite shook her hand and she became a 'Christian'." --- Elder John H. Milburn in Baptist Flag.

Bro. Warlick has not changed his views on the Firm Foundation hobby, only he is perhaps not so ultra as formerly. This lady is not the first Baptist he has shaken. Eld. Milburn is in error to think that any of his so-called Campbellite friends at Nashville supposed that a shake of the hand brought that lady into the kingdom of God. Only a Baptist or a re-baptist could make such a mistake as that. She entered the kingdom when she believed and was baptized. The mistake she made in supposing that her sins were forgiven before baptism did not invalidate her baptism. God forgave her sins at the right place, and she found out where the right place was in your debate with Warlick. A man who comes into Dallas county, without knowing where the county-line is, does not have to go out and come in again when he learns the exact location of the line. God forgives Baptists when they obey his commandments, just like he does all other sinners, and that forgiveness depends upon the faith of the person and not upon his knowledge of God's time to forgive. Our God is very merciful, and he knows the ordinary Baptist is enveloped in a vast amount of fog on religious questions.

5. MASON' UGLY CHARGE. "The chief stock in trade of the conservatives in the church of Christ is gross misrepresentation. They tell of the expensive boards, of pride and pandering to the sects, of fairs, festivals, grab bags, etc., until hundreds of simple folks dependent upon such teachers are almost broken-hearted because so many brethren have gone off after modern fads and fancies, and are thus dividing the churches. Of course, ninety per cent of all this kind of talk is lying, pure and simple." J. C. Mason, Corresponding Secretary, in Texas Missions.

We do not wish to spoil the above pretty story, nor to upset the pretty man that wrote it, but ninety per cent of it is --- made out of whole cloth! The writer does not read the papers and does not know what is going on in the country, or he would not deny that the society disciples are doing everything that is charged against them in the foregoing item. We see it mentioned in the local papers, in the towns where the things occur, and we know they do occur. If the brother would inform himself, he would not publish such an outrageous charge against the conservative brethren. The editor of the Budget is a conservative, and the editors of the Gospel Advocate and the Leader-Way are conservatives, and they will deny that their "chief stock in trade is misrepresentation." They stand ready to meet you in honorable discussion, and prove all the charges they make against your departures. But you will not debate with us and will not print what we write in your papers. The chief organ of societyism in Texas will not exchange with this paper, because it does not want us to criticize its crookedness. Now we will not charge that Bro. Mason engages in church festivals, grab bags and donkey parties, (for he is quite an old man,) But he does not read about such things in the papers? The unfounded charge he makes above should be retracted before it gets cold. A brother writes us that the "Corresponding Secretary" preached in his town not long ago, and placed a man at the church door with a bundle of his paper (containing this ugly slander) and gave a copy to each attendant. That is bad, very bad. Wonder if it is the brother's "chief stock in trade" to circulate such literature as this? It is enough to break the hearts of hundreds of simple folks to see him go off in such bad work!

6. A Chicago professor has discovered that Adam and Eve never existed, and that man is a mere chemical phenomenon. But that is better than Darwin, who tried to make monkeys of us. Most men would rather be the accidental result of a chemical combination than the grandsons of baboons. But this professor should now tell us there has been no accidental phenomenon in the last six thousand years, and that nothing as important as a tadpole has been produced in all the realm of nature.

7. A certain preacher tells about a fix he got into in one of his sermons. He "could not talk, and he could not stop," and so there he was... The statement has been made that no preacher in Texas discussed Hades in his sermons on the three cold Sundays in February...The Texas legislature has enacted a law to tax "intangible assets."

That will hit the preachers. Their assets are mostly intangible... A Dallas wife says she fished for her husband when he was a young man, and thought she caught a fine fish. Afterwards she discovered that she had caught a bear... Many people think that God is now chastising Russia for the way that nation has treated the Jews... A Christian should be serious and dignified, but not gloomy. A gloomy saint makes the impression on people that he has more dyspepsia than religion... "Brer Williams, does yer tink de debbil am a white man or a black man?" "De Lawd knows. De biggest race problem I got is ter keep ten yards ahed of him!" ... The "female form-divine" is sometimes the work of the dress-maker.

8. A preacher was once sent for by a woman, to help her cure her husband of drinking. As they sat at the dinner table, he saw the victuals were not half-cooked. He told the woman the first step in the reformation of her husband was for her to give up her club business, buy a cook book and learn how to cook. Then her husband would not need whiskey to help him digest his food. She got mad, but afterward decided to take his advice, and her husband gave up drink.