Posted tagged ‘John Dagg’

John Dagg on The Duty of Baptists

February 26, 2009

In his highly influential Manual of Theology, John Dagg concludes with a small portion entitled “The Duty of Baptists.”  I want to provide an excerpt from his final point, which was:

“It is our duty to promote the spiritual unity of the universal church, by the exercise of brotherly love to all who bear the image of Christ.”

Dagg explains:

“We yield everything which is not required by the word of God; but in what this word requires, we have no compromise to make.  We rejoice to see, in many who do not take our views of divine truth, bright evidence of love to Christ and his cause.  We love them for Christ’s sake; and we expect to unite with them in his praise through eternal ages.  We are one with them in spirit, though we cannot conform to their usages in any particular in which they deviate from the Bible.  The more abundantly we love them, the more carefully we strive to walk before them in strict obedience to the commands of our common Lord.  And if they sometimes misunderstand our motives, and misjudge our actions, it is our consolation that our divine Master approves; and that they also will approve, when we shall hereafter meet them in his presence.”

– John J. Dagg, Manual of Church Order (Harrisonburg, VA: Gano Books, 1990; originally published 1858), 303-04.

The Duty of Every Southern Baptist Church

June 12, 2008

On the heels of the convention consensus regarding the necessity of a regenerate church membership and our corporate repentance thereof, I thought it would be pertinent to provide this quote by John L. Dagg, who has arguably written the best book on Baptist polity among Southern Baptists.

Exactly 150 years ago, Dagg wrote the following,

“Some have thought that because no church on earth is perfectly free from false professors, it is folly to aim at a perfect church. But we may, with equal propriety, charge any individual man with folly who is striving after personal perfection. The duty of every individual church is, to press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus; and the duty of every church, and of every church member, is, to strive in every lawful way for church perfection. Though full perfection may not be attained, yet approach to it sufficiently rewards our continual effort; and, apart from all respect to reward, we are obliged to this course, by the command of Christ.”

– John L. Dagg, Manual of Church Order (Harrisonburg, VA: Gano Books, 1990), 98.

Considering Dagg’s biblical logic, to say that we should not strive for pure churches is tantamount to saying that Christians should not strive for holiness. No one would endorse the latter, but we have heard the former ringing in our ears.

May there be a new song sung from the bride of Christ, adorning herself in holiness and faithfulness to her Husband.

For more articles on church membership, go here.

Criminal Negligence Notwithstanding

May 29, 2008

John L. Dagg, in his excellent book Manual of Church Order, writes the following:

In our definition of a church, we have called it an assembly of believers in Christ.  This definition tells what a church is according to the revealed will of God, and not what it becomes by the criminal negligence of its ministers and members, or the wicked craft of hypocritical men who gain admittance into it.  When we study the Word of God to ascertain what a church is, we must receive the perfect pattern as presented in the uncorrupted precepts of that word, and not as marred by human error and crime.

Later, Dagg adds:

Churches are often criminally careless, both in the reception of members, and in the discipline of them when received.  If the piety of churches were very fervent, men of cold hearts could not remain happy among them, and could not continue to have their true character concealed.

– John L. Dagg, Manual of Church Order (Harrisonburg, VA: Gano Books, 1990), 80, 99.

If indeed we have been “criminally negligent” in our churches, should not the solemn words of our elder brother be calling us to repentance?