Thomas Campbell, Worship, Baptism

Thomas Campbell of the Restoration Movement defines Baptism as the first act of spiritual service to God.
Campbell's notes in Blue

Spiritual service is defined by God in Isaiah:
God has give His free Word as the only information we have from Him.
This Word is like water and its use is like the water cycle.
We worship God by hearing, understanding and obeying His Words.
We recycle His Words by directing them back to Him in Prayer.
We recycle His Words by directing them through those who have never heard them.
The result is that we plant and water and God gives the increase.

The Samaritan woman, perhaps almost uniquely, understood the meaning of Messiah:

He will tell us all things.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman about Spiritual Worship:

Worship is in spirit (in the mind) and in truth by "giving head" to His Word.

Paul repeats this "Spirit cycle" in His "singing" passages:

We fill up with the Words of Christ.
These words are Spirit and Life.
We recycle them by teaching one another.
The result is singing and melody in the heart.

In an Essay on the Religion of Christianity in the Christian Baptist, October 4, 1824, Thomas Campbell wrote:

WHILE many writers and teachers, some of them too of high repute in the christian world, so called,

compliment christianity, I mean the New Testament exhibition of it, upon the superexcellency of its moral dictates,
who, at the same time
are ignorant of, and even averse to, the religion it inculcates;

and whilst others profess to embrace it as a system of religion, without imbibing the spirit, realizing the truth, and experiencing the power of its religious institutions;

but merely superstruct to themselves, rest in, and are satisfied with, a form of godliness; and that, very often, a deficient, imperfect form,

or such as their own imagination has devised;

See Why Thomas Paine was a Deist.

let us, with an open bible before us, distinguish and contemplate that religion which it enjoins and exhibits--I mean the religion of christianity, for it also exhibits the religion of Judaism;

but with this, in the mean time,
we christians have nothing directly to do--
we derive our religion immediately from the New Testament.

[Note those who superstruct their own religion are consistent in defining Bible-based religion as legalistic. True grace understands that God has not required us to do the impossible: to decide by what actions and words we will address True Deity into whose presence we now want to come with loud music or preaching for the audience. History and the Bible knows that attempting to 'improvize songs' like David or to add instrumental music is the most works-intensive and therefore legalistic form of worship--using the works of human hands.

Grace does not permit us to do whatever we please in the name of worship; Grace frees us and allows us to rest on our direct access to God in prayer and His access to us in His Word.]

Tomas Paine whom Thomas Campbell undoubtedly read along with John Lock and Thomas Jefferson wrote:

"The modes of worship are as various as the sects are numerous; and amidst all this variety and multiplicity there is but one article of belief in which every religion in the world agrees. That article has universal sanction. It is the belief of a God, or what the Greeks described by the word Theism, and the Latins by that of Deism.

Upon this one article have been erected all the different superstructures of creeds and ceremonies continually warring with each other that now exist or ever existed.

[NOTE: French : " in the thousand and one religions of the four quarters of the world." -- Editor. (Conway)]

But the men most and best informed upon the subject of theology rest themselves upon this universal article, and hold all the various superstructures erected thereon to be at least doubtful, if not altogether artificial.

The intellectual part of religion is a private affair between every man and his Maker, and in which no third party has any right to interfere.
The practical part consists in our doing good to each other.
  But since religion has been made into a trade,
[NOTE: French: "since the most scandalous hypocrisy has made of Religion a profession and the basest trade." -- Editor.]
the practical part has been made to consist of ceremonies performed by men called priests;
and the people have been amused with ceremonial shows, processions, and bells.
By devices of this kind true religion has been banished; and such means have been found out to extract money even from the pockets of the poor, instead of contributing to their relief.
[NOTE: French adds: "du superflu de la richesse." (from their superfluous wealth). -- Editor.]

No man ought to make a living by Religion. It is dishonest so to do.

Religion is not an act that can be performed by proxy. One person cannot act religion for another. Every person must perform it for himself;

and all that a priest can do is to take from him; he wants nothing but his moneyand then to riot in the spoil and laugh at his credulity.
[NOTE: The ten preceding words are replaced in the French by: "to take from us not our vices but our money." -- Editor.]

The only people who, as a professional sect of Christians provide for the poor of their society, are people known by the name of Quakers. Those men have no priests. They assemble quietly in their places of meeting,

and do not disturb their neighbours with shows and noise of bells.
Religion does not unite itself to show and noise.
True religion is without either. Where there is both there is no true religion.
[NOTE: "A Religion uniting the two [noise and show] at the expense of the poor whose misery it should lessen, is a curious Religion; it is the Religion of kings and priests conspiring against suffering humanity." -- Editor.]

The first object for inquiry in all cases, more especially in matters of religious concern, is TRUTH.

As to bells, they are a public nuisance. If one profession is to have bells, and another has the right to use the instruments of the same kind,
or any other noisy instrument, some may choose to meet at the sound of cannon, another at the beat of drum, another at the sound of trumpets, and so on, until the whole becomes a scene of general confusion.
But if we permit ourselves to think of the state of the sick, and the many sleepless nights and days they undergo, we shall feel the impropriety of increasing their distress by the noise of bells, or any other noisy instruments.

"The author and ultimate object of our holy religion, is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by his Spirit, speaking in Christ and his holy apostles.
The principle of this holy religion within us, is faith, a correspondent faith; that is, a belief, or inwrought persuasion by, and according to, the word of truth, in all points corresponding to the revelation which God has made of himself through Jesus Christ by the Spirit. Hence, being rooted and grounded in the truth of this revelation, by faith in the divine testimony,
we contemplate and worship God inwardly; that is,
and reverence him in our souls,
according to the characters and attributes under which he has revealed himself to us.
Thus we worship the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit,
relying upon his teachings in and by the word,
to lead us into all the truth which he has testified for our edification and salvation; [i.e. "Worship in Spirit (mind) and in truth (His Word)]

and also upon his internal influence to excite, instruct, and comfort us, by the truth; to help our infirmities, and to enable us to think and pray as we ought, both as to the matter and manner of our prayers. See Rom. viii. 26, and Jude 22, 21, with a multitude of other scriptures.

Thus we have the internal religion, the habitual worship of the real believer, the sincere bible-taught christian with its principle; which is the faith above described. See Rom. x. 12-15.

Worship "in spirit" does not mean with excitement. Rather, it means that the temple, the naos, the mind is the only place of worship.

For we are the circumcision, which
worship God in the spirit,
and rejoice in Christ Jesus,
and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3

Now this internal religion, externally manifested by certain acts and exercises of divine appointment, is what is commonly called worship, and rightly too. See the whole bible upon this word.

The first instituted act of christian worship is baptism into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Why is it translated "in the name," &c contrary to the literal and almost universal translation of the particle eis? In the name of any dignified character, universally imports, by the authority of such a person. Whereas this is not the proper and obvious meaning of the baptismal institution.

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Mt.28:18

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Mt 28:19

Authority is: Ecousia (g1849) ex-oo-see'-ah; from 1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subj.) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (obj.) mastery (concr. magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: - authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.

Name is: Onoma (g3686) on'-om-ah; from a presumed der. of the base of 1097 (comp. 3685); a "name" (lit. or fig.) [authority, character]: - called, (/ sur-) name (-d).

The authority envisioned under the "titles" (not names, plural) was vested in ME which was Lord Jesus Christ. His name is Jesus or Joshua which means "Jehovah-Saves." Father, Son and Spirit are not "names" but offices or modes of God expressing Himself. We affirm every way in which God makes Himself known to us.

Luke confirms that baptism is not just a "washing" of the body but the first act of worship in affirming the Word of God and accepting His counsel for ourselves.

And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30

For although it is done by virtue of the divine authority enjoining it, that is, by the authority of Christ;

yet its proper and primary import
not a mere exhibition of authority on the part of the institutor,
and of
submission on the part of the baptized,
though this is certainly implied in
every act of worship;

In the baptism of John which had the same function of "remission of sins," Luke wrote that we cannot blame God for our sins if we are baptized for their remission:

And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29

However, one repudiates God's provision for removing the burden of sins (not just guilty feelings) by refusing to be baptized:

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. Lu 7:30

Thomas Campbell says that it is remission of sins and more:

but it is of a much more consolatory and blissful import, being an expression of faith and obedience on the part of the baptized; nay,the very first instituted act of the obedience of faith,

in and by which the believing worshipper is openly declared to be of the household of faith and of the family of God, being baptized into "the name of the Father," of whom the whole redeemed family in heaven and earth is named; and into the name of the Redeemer, the Son, and heir of all things, who makes his people free; and into the name of the Holy Spirit, the sanctifier, the comforter, and perfecter of the saints; that by virtue of his indwelling and sanctifying presence,

he, the baptized believer, may be separated to God, with all the redeemed, for a habitation of God, through the Spirit.

Thus a new and blissful relation to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, is publicly recognized towards the believer, by an ordinance divinely and graciously instituted for this purpose.

Being thus openly and explicitly

declared to be of the family of God, through Jesus Christ, by the Spirit, he is declared free-

justified from the guilt,
washed from the pollution of sin,
by this washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,

which is the privilege of all those that believe and thus obey the gospel,
by a
worshipful and obediential compliance with this divine appointment.

His faith corresponding with every item of the divine testimony, thus exhibited, he joyfully recognizes his new, justified, sanctified, and filial relation to God; and realizing this, is filled with peace and joy in believing; and so goes on his way rejoicing, as well he may. See Acts viii. 39. So much for the first divinely instituted act of the worshipful obedience of faith.

The next in the immediate order of connexion is prayer. See Acts xxii. 16, with Luke iii. 21. With what a beautiful and holy consistency is the religion of christianity ordained and exhibited! First, "Be baptized and wash away your sins," then "Call upon the name of the Lord."

The heart first sprinkled from an evil conscience by faith in the blood of atonement;
and next,
the body washed with pure water, declarative of the universal sanctification of the whole man, body, soul and spirit.

Then, and not till then, can the believing subject draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,

  1. first having believed
  2. and obeyed the gospel.

Scholars such as Martin Luther and Alexander Campbell understand that all belief has a object. For instance, when we believe something we must act upon what we believe or it is not faith.

For "it is not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to his mercy

he saved us,
  1. by the washing of regeneration,
  2. and renewing of the Holy Ghost,

which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Tit. iii. 5-7.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5

Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; Titus 3: 6

That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3: 7

When we are baptized, we are baptized by the Spirit Christ. In an example of refusing to allow Christ to wash:

Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. John 13:8

Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. John 13:9

Now, and not till now, can the believing sinner,

  1. first sprinkled at the altar,
  2. and then washed in the laver,

    enter into the holy place without fear, as a qualified and acceptable worshipper.

For as it was in the typical, so it behoved to be in. the antitypical worship;

the laver still keeps its appointed place; still stands between the altar and the tabernacle.

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest of all, by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and a high priest over the house of God;

having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith. Compare Exod. xl. 30, with the above quotation from Heb. x. 19-22. The christian's faith, duly realizing those things, and observing the appointed way, he can draw near with confidence to his Heavenly Father, under the gracious and powerful protection of his Great High Priest, who ever lives to make intercession for him.

Let him now pray with all manner of prayer and supplication, and intercessions for all saints, and for all ranks and degrees of men; let him also abound in praise and thanksgivings; offering up the sacrifice of praise to God by Jesus Christ continually; for this is he graciously instructed and authorized to do in his religious directory,

with the goodly assurance that he is heard and accepted in all his addresses, according to the word of God; and that even when through ignorance he asks amiss, the Lord will graciously pardon.

Hence praise and prayer become the christian's delightful exercise, because he realizes the greatness of the privilege; not only of being thus permitted to address the glorious fountain of being and blessedness without servile fear, in confidence of being always graciously heard and accepted;

but more especially because it gives vent to the grateful and dutiful feelings of his heart, both toward God and man, and always increases them;

and thus constantly furnishes him with the happy opportunity of growing in every grace, of subduing every vice and promoting and strengthening every virtue; also, of alleviating every woe, of mitigating every affliction.

In a word, of bringing down upon himself all the blessings of Heaven that can be enjoyed upon earth--as well as of doing much good, both spiritual and temporal to others. Where is the genuine bible-taught christian, then, that does not delight to abound in the exercise of praise and prayer--to embrace and improve every favorable opportunity for those goodly purposes.

No one can do this for us: no one can lead us into the presence of God in prayer any more than they can lead us into His presence with a musical worship team.

But that this may be the case, the next immediate ordinance of the christian religion, namely, the reading, I mean the musing upon, or studying the Holy Scriptures; taking them up in their connexion, and meditating upon the subjects they propose to our consideration, with a fixed contemplation of the various and important objects which they present.

You cannot meditate with a "team" singing as a wired-up mediator. You cannot meditate when someone reads verse 10z to fulfill the "act" of reading after which we rush into the next unsacred hymn. Thomas Campbell defines worship "in spirit and in truth."

This dutiful and religious use of the bible, (that most precious, sacred record of the wonderful works of God,

the only authentic source of all religious information,) is inseparably connected with, and indispensably necessary to, the blissful and all-important exercises of prayer and praise.

Without this, those exercises must dwindle away to a trite form--must degenerate into a lifeless formality.

It is from this dutiful and religious use of the divine word, that we derive the proper materials for those holy exercises.

[Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are all the inspired text]

Hence says the Apostle,

"let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever you do (of a religious nature) in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." Col. iii. 16, 17. And again,

Paul told the musical Dionysics and musical Orphics in Romans 14 how to meet together and carry out the teaching or synagogue function without division:

For whatsoever things were written aforetime

were written for our learning (teaching),

that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Rom 15:4
That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 15 6

In this table, the resource is the word of Christ which, in the form of parallelism is "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs."

let the word of Christ dwell in you richly

Teaching and admonishing one another

in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs

Singing with grace in the heart

"Be you filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always to God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Eph. v. 18-20.

In a direct parallel, the "word of Christ" dwelling richly is identical to "be filled with the Spirit."

Be you filled with the Spirit

speaking to yourselves

in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs

Singing with melody in the heart

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

Therefore singing self improvized songs violates these two explicit commands describing the resource of what we erroneously identify with modern "singing."

Hence it is evident, that if we would be spiritually minded, spiritually exercised in this delightful and heavenly employment,

we must be filled with the Spirit;
and if we would be filled with the Spirit,
we must be filled with the word;
the word of Christ must dwell in us richly; for we have no access to the Spirit but in and by the word.

Therefore, "he that has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." To take up the Word, then, in this manner,

that we may thus come to God by it, learn his glorious character, be taught by him, enjoy the blissful communications of his Spirit, be made wise to salvation, thoroughly furnished to all good works,

is to make the proper and religious use of it;is to worship God by it; and to enrich our souls with all spiritual and heavenly blessings that can be enjoyed in this life.

[Isaiah 55 God condemns the usual forms of worship and makes it clear that the "water" is His Word. For the "water cycle" to be of value it must cycle through others and return to God who Gave it. Therefore, if we return our own words we are violating an explicit command of God. In describing a spiritual fast which was contrary to the traditions of the elders God promised Himself only--

"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Is.58:13

Thus says the Lord, "Hearken diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear and come to me; hear, and your soul shall live." Isaiah lv.2, 3. Again,

"Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein." Rev. i. 3.

"Moreover, we have more sure the prophetic word, to which you do well to take heed (this is a worship word), as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts; for the holy men of God, spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2d Pet. i. 19-21.

Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 1 Peter 1:11

"This second epistle, beloved, I now write to you, that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us, the apostles of the Lord and Saviour." 2d Pet. iii. 1, 2.

"For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope." Rom. xv. 4.

So much for the three primary, comprehensive and all-important ordinances of the christian religion; the particular and individual observance of which, constitute the religion of every real christian. Here let its pause a little, reflect, and compare these ordinances, in their proper and primitive import, order and connexion, as above deduced from the holy scriptures,

and contrast them with the present views and practice--with the dull, listless, formal, ceremonious--nay,even superstitious and absurd formalities, which have almost every where, taken place of these.

What is the sprinkling of a few drops of water upon the face of a thoughtless, unconscious infant, when contrasted with the all-important significancy, and blissful effects of that first great ordinance of christian worship--that first constitutional act of the obedience of faith. Courteous reader, do but reflect, compare, and consider.

Laying aside all popular prejudice, say which you would choose--the joyous, blissful baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch, or the unauthorized sprinkling of a poor unconscious babe; never to be so much as remembered;

and, in consequence of which, it is never after allowed to enjoy this blissful privilege; for which, through the grace of God, it might be duly qualified in due time.

Again, consider the principle upon which this baptism is to be enjoyed; the inward preparation essential to its profitable reception, and then say what a sorry substitute is even the scriptural administration of this ordinance, (I mean as to the external form of it,)

for the most part, in our day, when, instead of the demand of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in consequence of correct views of the gospel, rightly taught, understood, and believed;

the demand is concerning inward impressions, exercises, and feelings; predicated upon some peculiar inward work of the Spirit,

in order to ascertain the regeneration of the subject; which, if approved, the person is then admitted to baptism;

not, indeed, as the first instituted act of christian worship; as a divine appointment, declarative of the justification, adoption, and entire sanctification of the believing worshipper;

but merely as an act of obedience to a positive command, and in imitation of Jesus Christ; having, thus, no farther tendency to produce a good conscience, than merely the pleasing sense of having performed a duty--of having obeyed a divine command. [Thomas Campbell declares the so-called "believer's baptism" a purely legalistic act. Indeed, it has parallels to pagan baptism.]

Thus this great gospel ordinance is sunk to the dead level of a mere moral duty; an ordinance great indeed in its import, and corresponding privilege, to the intelligent, believing worshipper; who, in the faith of its declarative and real import,

receives it; and therein, and thereby, yields and presents himself, soul and body, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. See Romans, 6th chapter, upon the doctrine of baptism, with the consequent exhortations tendered thereon, chapter xii. 1f

But herein is that old saying verified, "There shall be like people, like priest." "For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and destroy the way of their paths."

Therefore "have they turned away their ears from the truth, and are turned unto fables;" for "they have heaped to themselves teachers, having itching ears."

Again, to what a lifeless formality nay, even disgusting drudgery, is that next immediate and delightful ordinance, prayer, reduced under the present corruptions of christianity!

Formerly it was from the altar to the laver, from the laver into the holy place. Ex. xl. 30.

Jesus being baptized, and praying, the heavens were opened to him; and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, like a dove, upon him. Compare Matthew iii. 16. with Luke iii. 21. &c.;

Paul, also, having washed away his sins,

calls upon the name of the Lord, (Acts xxii. 16.) and so of all the rest.

The uniform doctrine was,

First, believe the gospel--next be baptized--and then pray. Look back, courteous reader, to the doctrinal exhibition of this article, and you will not only see the propriety, but also the indispensable necessity of this order of proceeding,

God having so ordered his worship; and, in this order and connexion, made ample provision for the comfortable and profitable access of his people.

But how is it now? Some are taught forms of prayer from their infancy; others are taught to pray by set forms all their days.

Prayer, or rather saying of prayers, is taught and considered by many merely as a duty, the neglect of which brings guilt upon their conscience; and the performance, no other comfort but merely a sense of having done their duty.

Men are indiscriminately urged to pray, as a means of salvation, that they may escape hell, without any immediate respect either to the altar or the laver.

Hence the great majority pray in their sins all their days, and, for aught that appears, die so.

Do you not hear those men-taught, formal people, confessing always, from day to day, the same sins; the sins of their nature and practice; of omission and commission; of thought, word and deed; of childhood and youth, &c or under whatever terms they are accustomed to make their confessions; withal, praying continually for pardon of the same sins: thus daily confessing their unbelief, their unpardoned, guilty condition.

Not so the apostolic christians.

These primitive worshippers, once purged, had no more conscience of sins. Heb. x. 3. For Jesus, that he might sanctify the people with, his own blood, suffered without the gate, (xiii. 12.) and by one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified. (x. 14.)

Whereas the ancient sacrifices could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience, (ix. 9.) for in those sacrifices there was a remembrance again made of sins every year, (x. 3.)

Hence those poor, men-taught, formal people,

are in a much worse state than the ancient Jews, whose sacrifices, &c being a shadow of good things to come, though they could not perfect them as pertaining to the conscience,

yet afforded them some relief others against despondency, in hope of the good things that were to come: but now the good things prefigured being come, and, after all, those formal worshippers

not being perfected, not being purged from the guilt of dead works, to serve the living God with a true heart, in full assurance of the faith of the remission of their sins, through the offering up of the body of Jesus Christ once--

there remains for them no farther hope, no other sacrifice to be hereafter offered for sins: so they must either receive and enjoy pardon through faith in his blood, or live and die with a guilty conscience. Alas! for the present corruptions of christianity!

Alas! alas! for its corruptors! Thus says the Lord of Hosts, Hearken not to the words of the prophets that prophesy to you: they make you vain.

They speak a vision of their own heart,
not out of the mouth of the Lord.
They say still to them that despise me, The Lord has said you shall have peace: and they say to every one that walks after the imagination his own heart, No evil shall come to you.

[Note: "Prophets" and "Prophetesses" in the following passages stole their messages from others during their "workshops." They were condemned first because they were professional: that is they spoke their own messages for money. Seondly, their "prophesying" was, in all pagan nations, "singing, dancing and playing instruments to arouse the "customers." Then they could sell the mumbled ventriloquism from an old wineskin (i.e. Witch of Endor, Hebrew owb or familiar spirit) as a message from God. Modern singers and song writers truly believe that they are inspired but God will judge]

For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord, and has perceived and heard his word? Who has marked his word and heard it?--

I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

Therefore, behold I am against the prophets, says the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbor. Behold I am against the prophets, says the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He says. Behold I am against them that prophesy false dreams, says the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness.

The prophet that has a dream, let him tell a dream;
and he that has my word, let him speak my word faithfully;

what is the chaff to the wheat? says the Lord.
Is not
my word like as a fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Jer. xxiii. 16-32.

In consequence of such teaching as this, how is the third great and fundamental ordinance of our holy religion,

the religious use of the Divine Word, obscured and perverted.

With what uninteresting formality, and coldrife indifference, do many read it; even of those who place some part of their religious worship in daily reading a portion of Holy Scripture, as if the mere reading of it were to save them.

Under what a cloud of errors and prejudices are the generality introduced to this sacred book! Some calling it a sealed book; others, a book hard to be understood, nay, almost unintelligible, except to the learned or inspired; and others again, a dead letter.

The great majority of our modern teachers, like the false prophets of old, countenance and promote these errors and prejudices by their pretendedly learned or whimsical interpretations,

spinning out lengthy discourses from a single sentence or clause of a sentence, thus teaching the hearers to believe that nobody can understand it but themselves.

In this manner they steal the word from the people,

feeding them with their own dreams and notions, instead of causing them to hear, and attend to the word of the Lord.

From this brief scriptural view of the private and personal religion of every intelligent bible-taught christian, both internally and externally considered; and this briefly contrasted with the popular religion of our day, we may clearly perceive an essential difference, and be hereby enabled both to examine ourselves, and admonish others.

T. W.   (Thomas Campbell)   

[The Christian Baptist, October 4, 1824, pp. 98-101.]

Spiritual worship, according to Thomas Campbell of the Restoration Movement, begins with submitting to Christ in baptism.

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Ezekiel and False Prophets defined by Thomas Campbell

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