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Documents From the Down-Grade Controversy
From the April 1888 Sword and Trowel

RAYER should be continually offered by the people of God at this time. The Baptist Union meets in full assembly on April 23, and the great question then before it will be—"Is this Union to have an Evangelical basis or not?" We trust the question will be discussed with good temper, and that the decision will be of the right kind. Surely, as every other body of Christians avows its faith, the Baptist Union should do the same. Whatever its belief is, let it own it.
    We trust that no personal considerations will be allowed to divert the Assembly from its great topic. The censure need not be taken into account: the object of it would sooner be censured ten thousand times over than have his name and method of protest used as a red herring to be drawn across the scent. If the Council has any more resolutions to introduce of the nature of further censure, let it have ample scope; but we hope no solitary moment will be spent in an attempt to reverse its previous deliverance. The time will be better spent upon weightier matters.
    Should the majority decide that there shall be no Evangelical basis, the conflict will then begin. There is great reluctance to retire from the Union, but there is a strong resolve to continue seeking a reformation by all available means until the attempt shall prove altogether hopeless. We have heard this determination frequently expressed, and cogent arguments used for its support. It certainly does seem rather out of order that the majority should have to retire before the minority; at any rate, it will be wise to see what the respective numbers are.
    An appeal has been made to us to use our influence to prevent the discussion; but this is absurd. Our influence could not prevent the discussion; and we would not prevent it if we could. Do these friends really think that we are playing with words, and have no solemn convictions? So far from ceasing to ask for an Evangelical basis at this particular meeting of the Baptist Union, the brethren who desire it will never discontinue their request until they obtain it. We have come to the parting of the ways, and the old school and the new cannot go much further in company; nor ought they to do so. Let them part with as little friction as possible.
    To answer the various inventions of opponents is a work too weary for one who has enough to bear and to do without replying to rumors. If some accuse, many approve; and, meanwhile, rising above both the wrath and admiration of man, our heart finds rest in debug the will of God.
    No doubt Israel is troubled, and he who exposes the evil is blamed for it; but in truth the troublers of our Israel are those who have introduced strange doctrines among us. If false teaching were put away, peace and prosperity would return. When the mists have rolled away, and brethren, for the while, blinded by a strange infatuation, once more see things as they are, they will no longer be angry because of the purging of the barn-floor, but will praise God for it.

    We are issuing a pamphlet entitled "Creed or No Creed? A question for the Baptist Union." This penny pamphlet, by the brother who first wrote on "The Down-Grade," should be read by all who take an interest in this great discussion.

    An interesting incident of the "Down-Grade" controversy has occurred at Guildford. The Young Men's Christian Association in that town recently held a conference upon the "Down-Grade" question; when it was evident that most of those who took part in the discussion were themselves upon the "Down-Grade." The result was, that lovers of the truth in the town and neighborhood bestirred themselves, a public meeting was called, the ministers and members of the Baptist and other Evangelical churches attended in large numbers, and a strong resolution of sympathy with us was passed, with only two dissentients.
    The Y. M. C. A. scarcely expected such an ending of the discussion, but it shows the advantage of letting in light. The one thing that the "Down-Grade" railway dreads is light.

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