"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.IV No.X Pg.2-3a
May 1942

A Timely Rescue

This is a rescue that saved a life and saved a soul. A pagan was in the very act of bringing a gory end to his life on earth and plunging his soul into eternal anguish. He was the jailor in Philippi in whose prison Paul and Silas were in stocks. An earthquake had shaken the foundations of the prison, the doors were jarred open and all the prisoners were free. Awakened by the shock and overwhelmed by the sudden disgrace that faced him, the jailor was about to end it all in bloody suicide and was dramatically restrained by Paul's timely intervention. The heathen wretch was wrecked with fear and prostrated himself before his two saintly charges and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They had saved a life and the opportunity demanded the saving of a soul.

"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house." He had been snatched as a brand from the burning, and the bright star of hope suddenly gleamed where there had before been unrelieved darkness. The contrast between the jailor a suicide and his house in tears and disgrace, and all of them together rejoicing in Christ is one that stirs the imagination. This rescue was timely and fertile. The situation guaranteed that the jailor would do all that he was told to do. It was no time to haggle about trifles or argue over technicalities. Everything mentioned in this connection must be considered important.

It is clear that Jesus Christ is the Saviour and faith in him is indispensable. "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved." "But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 15:57) "He became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation." (Heb. 5:9) "Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7:25) "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation: to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation." (2 Cor. 5:17-19).

The jailor was an alien and the need was for him to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Paul was a minister of reconciliation whose duty it was to work on the jailor with "the word of reconciliation." He and his fellow minister Silas immediately proceeded to take care of the matter. "And they spake the word of the Lord unto him, with all that were in his house." (Acts 16:32) "Verse 32" did you say? Some people would never know from some preaching that there is a verse 32, 33, and 34 in Acts sixteen. The faith only doctrine of justification receives support from the impression that "Believe on the Lord Jesus" is all that the jailor was told to do and that it is all that he did. It is further assumed, and violently so, that faith in the heart accompanied by no physical act of obedience whatsoever, accomplished his salvation. Who teaches such a doctrine Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and a multitude of smaller sects in this country and throughout the world. It goes along with the doctrine of hereditary total depravity and the direct operation of the Holy Spirit in conversion.

This jailor was not totally depraved either at or subsequent to his birth and there is no evidence whatever that he received a direct operation of the Holy Spirit. "The word of reconciliation," the gospel, "the word of the Lord" which Paul and Silas `spake unto him" was the power that generated faith in his heart. "How shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14) The preachers on this occasion did their work well, even if some preachers in later centuries have made a sorry mess of things in their sectarian abuse of the record. The jailor could not have intelligently believed on the Lord Jesus had not the preachers followed up their exhortation for him to do so by speaking the word of the Lord" unto him so that he could do so. The jailor was told to do something. He did what he was told to do. What did he do? Let it be observed that the act of believing is an act of the creature, something that he does. Let it also be understood that there is no more saving merit in this act of man than in any other mere act he may perform. The merit is in the Lord Jesus and pardoning power belongs to God. Man can do nothing to deserve it. Pardon is an extension of divine grace, regardless of the conditions man is required to comply with in order to obtain it.

What did this jailor do? He believed. The record says as much. The same record also says this: "And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes: and was baptized, he and all his, immediately." (Verse 33) We are gravely told that the jailor was baptized in the house and that "therefore" baptism in this case could not have been immersion. Many people have been immersed in houses, but this man was not. After his baptism, he "brought them up into his house." (Verse 34) So, if baptism was performed by sprinkling or pouring, why did they have to go out somewhere in the middle of the night to perform such a simple act requiring so meager an amount of water? And, further, if baptism was considered the nonessential that many regard it to be today, why was it attended to "immediately" at such an inconvenient hour" the same hour of the night," and that hour closer to midnight than dawn? If I clung to as many errors on this question as some preachers do, I think I would either give them up, or stop at verse thirty-one also. It would be interesting to see a Baptist try to establish a vote of the church on this case. The jailor believed. The jailor was baptized. Jesus said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16) The jailor was reconciled to God. Reconciliation is in Christ. It involves becoming "a new creature." "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature." We are baptized into Christ and into his death. (Rom. 6:3).

Among the abuses this clear bit of narrative has been subjected to is the effort to support the practice of, infant baptism by it. The jailor "was baptized, he and all his." "All his," of course must mean the babies too! The little darlings were all waked up in the middle of the night to hear Paul preach and get baptized! There must have been a bunch of them, possibly at least two sets of twins. They must have greatly enjoyed the preaching for it is said that "they spake the word of the Lord unto him, with all that were in his house." Paul surely preached to them for it is said that they all believed, and also "rejoiced greatly."

These were precocious infants, considering their heathen ancestry and lack of opportunities otherwise. If I ever find a baby who will get up in the middle of the night to hear me preach, believe what I tell him and do some rejoicing, I think I'll go ahead and baptize him. Since some gentlemen of the cloth are such monumental guessers, they cannot quarrel with me if I risk some mild speculations as a sort of diversion. If the jailor had any little babies, they must have all been sound asleep, or else at that time of night they would have been howling their little heads off so that their Papa and Mama could not have even listened to Paul. If they were present and quiet Paul was not talking to them. I often preach when there are babies in the audience, but I do not preach to them and they often interfere with my preaching to anybody else. Sometimes a blessed mother will sit like an idiot and let the howling little sinner on her lap ruin a whole service. Then it doesn't do anybody much any good, and surely not the baby. No, Paul did not preach to babies, and the ones he preached to were the ones who believed and were baptized. Babies do not need any preaching with all their needing and there is no scriptural reason on earth for baptizing them. Paul didn't.

The case of the jailor not only lends no support to the doctrine of justification by faith only, when fairly examined, but utterly discredits that doctrine. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." The jailor did both. And he did so because Paul told him to.-C. E. W.

What these men have done with public law and practice, the Catholic church has done with religious law and practice. 4.-, has discovered the things the people like to

do; and has them incorporated them into her church life, and given them the "blessings" of the church. '

A few illustrations might demonstrate the justice of this charge. For one thing, dancing has been practiced in the Catholic church for many years. Catholic leaders saw that many people liked to dance; churches generally would not permit members to dance and remain in good standing; so the Catholic church began to sponsor dances in its own halls' and buildings. For another, there is card-playing. Long before respectable people would permit -a deck of playing cards in the house, the Catholic church had been sanctioning card parties in the church.

Gambling could also be mentioned. Many people have a weakness along this line. But they know it is frowned on by most of those who profess Christiniaty. So what hap pens? Why the Catholic church gives "Bingo" parties, offering prizes as rewards, and sells tickets to raffles at which everything from pocket knives to automobiles are awarded the holder of the lucky ticket.

There is also the matter of drinking. The practice may not be general, but in these sections, Catholic churches have been known to raise no small amount of money by selling beer at their church parties. Believing that people are going to drink beer, regardless, the Catholic church has decided the best policy is to give the "sanction" of the church to such a practice.

Although there may be no way of proving it, it stands to reason that the same attitude likely prevails in Catholicism as regards the moral question of relations between the sexes. Since fornication is a popular diversion, is it not reasonable to assume that it is much more prevalent among those people who teach that it can be forgiven most easilyby a confession to the priest and the performance of whatever "penance" he may impose?

In short, and to sum the matter up, Catholicism has let the people indulge in almost any sort of life. they cared to follow, only provided that they "remain loyal to the church." She has satisfied the innate hunger of the average man for a religious sanction to his life; and she has given this sanction without demanding a corresponding moral character. And in doing this she has fallen under the curse and condemnation pronounced against an earlier generation of Gnostics, "turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." (Jude 4)

Here, in part at least, we have the explanation for her `hold upon the masses. She gives them that for which they hunger-the comfort, security, and hope of heaven provided by religion-without demanding that they give up any of the worldly and sinful practices to which they are addicted. She allows them to "eat their cake, and have it, too.

In every church there are some people who are very pious and devout. In every church there is also another group of people who belong to the church only as a sort of "insurance against hell." The Catholic church is such that the premium on its "insurance policy" is the most attractive in all the earth for the person to whom religion is only a means of escaping hell. It requires of the member that he attend mass every Sunday, but does not require of him that he do much by way of moral character and clean living. The Protestant churches so far have not been able to compete with this sort of an offer. There are signs that they are beginning to do so. If the Protestant churches, and the church of Christ can ever lower their standards to the same level as the Catholic church, undoubtedly they will be able to offer some competition in the matter of at

tendance. But until they do, they may expect to continue. discouragingly unfilled. "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby."