OLD BAPTIST RECORDS
The following extracts are taken from the Association Records of the Particular Baptists of England Wales and Ireland to 1660 published by The Baptist Historical Society, 4 Southampton Row, London W.C.I. These fascinating old records are published in three parts:-
Part 1. South Wales and the Midlands at 75p.
Part 2. The West Country and Ireland at Â£1.00
Part 3. The Abingdon Association at Â£3.00
and contain answers to many questions which concerned the Particular Baptist Churches of that period. It is amazing to see the continuing relevance and usefulness of much which they so carefully considered in their day.
Exhortation to Churches.
From the meeting of the Abingdon Association held at Tetsworth on October 17th. 1955.
It is therefore the humble desire of all the messengers:
1. That all the churches should much lay to heart how much it concerns all the saints to be farre from all lightnes and vanitie and to manifest sobernesse, seriousnes and gravitye both in their countenances and speeches and manner of behaviour as at all times and in all the parts of their conversation, so especially when they are employed in any of the affaires of God’s house. As it is one spot of wicked men, that the shew of their countenance doth testify against them, Is. 3.9, so it should be the commendation of the saints that the shew of their countenance doth testify for them. Their speech should be allway with grace, seasoned with salt. Col. 4.6. Their speech should be pure, not onely from filthynesse and foolish talking but also from jesting; which things are not convenient and should not be named among saints, Eph. 5.3f., and the grace of God teacheth them as to live righteously and godly, so also to live soberly in this present world, Titus 2.12. And the righteous man doth guide his affaires with judgement, Ps. 112.5. And it is with special care to be minded, that God will be sanctified in those that draw neere to him. Lev. 10.3. And that in doctrine he will have his servants to shew not onely uncorruptnes and sinceritie but also gravitye, Titus 2.7.
2. That they would in like manner consider the duty of all saints to deal lovingly and faithfully one with another not only instructing and exhorting but also, as need shall require, admonishing and reprooving, considering the word of the Lord in Lev. 19.17, Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour and not suffer sin upon him. Also in Prov. 28.23, He that rebuketh a man shall find more favour afterwards than he that flattereth with the tongue. And again, Prov. 27.5, Open rebuke is better than secret love. Also in Mat. 18.15, If thy brother trespasse against thee, goe and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. In Col. 3.16, 24, The word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisedome, teaching and admonishing one another. In 1 Thess. 5.14, Warn them that are unruly,
or, disorderly. In Gal. 6.1, If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye that are spirituall, restore such a one in the spirit of meekenesse and in Heb. 3.13, Exhort one another daily while it is called today lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfullness of sin. And in Heb. 10.24, Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works. And that saints may not be unwilling to receive both wholsome admonition and also seasonable and necessarie reprove, it is desired that the saying of David may be well minded, Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindnes, and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oyle which shall not breake mine head, Ps. 141.5.
May a Woman Speak and Pray in the Church?
A question answered at a meeting of the Abingdon Association on 30th January 1658.
Query. How far women may speak in the church and how far not?
Answer. We answer: that women in some cases may speak in the church and in some cases again may not.
1. That in some cases they may not speak manifestly appears in 1 Cor. 14.34f. and 1 Tim. 2.1 If. They may not so speak as that their speaking shall shew a not acknowledging of the inferioritie of their sex and so be an usurping authoritie over the man, more particularly,
i. A woman may not publicly teach in the church. This appears to have been much in the apostle’s eye in 1 Cor. 14.
ii. She may not stand up as a ruler in the church and so speak upon that account.
iii. She may not speak in the church by way of passing sentence upon doctrines or cases in the church.
iv. She may not speak in prayer as the mouth of the church. This is very clear in 1 Tim. 2.
2. Yet in the cases that follow and possibly in some other like cases a woman may speak in the church and not be found to offend against the rules of the apostle.
i. If she desire to make confession of her faith and to express her desire of baptism and communion with the church.
ii. If she be a witness concerning the admonition of one that the church is to deal with or must herself tell a matter to the church according to the rule in Mat. 18.17.
iii. If a woman hath sinned and be cast out of the church and God hath given her repentance undoubtedly she may manifest it in the church.
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, not to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”