Elders’ Journal, November 1837

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 24
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prefer an oral debate to a written controversy, that others may be profited thereby, as the subject is one of general interest. If this were your only objection I could obviate the difficulty by procuring an insertion in a public periodical, but as you have other reasons, I shall not refuse to investigate the subject as you proposed, provided we agree upon the time, place and manner of discussion.
It will of course devolve upon you to decide the time, as you first made the proposition.
Having now attended to all the items of importance in your letter, I submit this to your critisism, hoping I shall hear from you again in due time, I think the ground I have taken is tenable, although I have not as strongly fortified it as might have been done.
Be pleased to accept
the assurance of my respect,
.
Wm. Hayden.
Several letters followed the above, but as they only relate to the arrangements for the debate, would not be of much interest to the public. The preliminaries were finally settled and the debate commenced at Bently’s mills in Solon on the 3 day of Jan. 1837.
There was only one proposition agreed upon to be discussed and that was proposed by Mr. Hayden, viz.
Was the christian church perfect at the close of the apostles lives.
This seemed to cover the whole ground of difference between us, we both agreed spiritual gifts were to cease when the church became perfect. Mr. Hayden affirms the above proposition and I denyed it, as Mr. Hayden had the affirmation it became his duty to lead the way, in prosecuting the subject, and mine to respond. I shall therefore give all his arguments, first, and mine follow, although on the stage each spake twenty minutes alternatively.
Hayden, My first arguments is from 1 Cor. 13; 9, 10, Charity never faileth but whether there be prophecies they shall fail, whether there be tongues they shall cease, whether there be knowledge it shall vanish away, for we know in part and we prophecy in part, but when that which is perfect is come then that which is in part shall be done away.
Now we both agree when the church become perfect, spiritual gifts were to cease, and Paul says they were to continue until that time Eph. 4; 13, It is now a notorious fact that miracles and spiritual gifts have ceased, consequently the church must have been perfect at the time they became extinct, although she has since apostatised and is a great distance from that perfection, yet there is no necessity of miracles being restored as the gospel facts, have been fully demonstrated and to prove them again would be wholly superfluous.
The design of miracles was the confirmation of the gospel as evidently appears from the languge of Mark, 16, 20, “and they went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following.
God never sent a messenger to mankind without accompanying his testimony with visible displays of his power, as the message perports to be from heaven, so the evidence must be supernatural or miraculous.
The gospel never could have been promulgated in the world, nor mankind condemned for rejecting it without its having been thus confirmed; hence, the necesssity of miracles in the days of the apostle. But when the gospel was preached and established, the testimony of the apostles recorded, and the churches put in possession of all the necessary information concerning those facts, miracles were no longer necessary.
Spiritual gifts were to assist the church in its infancy, or minority.— The manners & usages of the christian institution, are alike now, to both Jews and Pagans, and the apostles could not be always in every church to teach them their duty, wherefore God gave them spiritual gifts for their mutual instruction, until there were those born and educated in the christian church, who were able to teach others also.
Thus the whole church became instructed in righteousness and thoroughly furnished unto every good work, speaking the truth in love, they grew up into him in all things, who is the head even Christ making increase of the body unto edifying of itself in love. Paul says these gifts were “for the work of the ministry” that is to instruct the disciples how to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by [p. 24]
prefer an oral debate to a written controversy, that others may be profited thereby, as the subject is one of general interest. If this were your only objection I could obviate the difficulty by procuring an insertion in a public periodical, but as you have other reasons, I shall not refuse to investigate the subject as you proposed, provided we agree upon the time, place and manner of discussion.
It will of course devolve upon you to decide the time, as you first made the proposition.
Having now attended to all the items of importance in your letter, I submit this to your critisism, hoping I shall hear from you again in due time, I think the ground I have taken is tenable, although I have not as strongly fortified it as might have been done.
Be pleased to accept
the assurance of my respect,
.
Wm. Hayden.
Several letters followed the above, but as they only relate to the arrangements for the debate, would not be of much interest to the public. The preliminaries were finally settled and the debate commenced at Bently’s mills in Solon on the 3 day of Jan. 1837.
There was only one proposition agreed upon to be discussed and that was proposed by Mr. Hayden, viz.
Was the christian church perfect at the close of the apostles lives.
This seemed to cover the whole ground of difference between us, we both agreed spiritual gifts were to cease when the church became perfect. Mr. Hayden affirms the above proposition and I denyed it, as Mr. Hayden had the affirmation it became his duty to lead the way, in prosecuting the subject, and mine to respond. I shall therefore give all his arguments, first, and mine follow, although on the stage each spake twenty minutes alternatively.
Hayden, My first arguments is from 1 Cor. 13; 9, 10, Charity never faileth but whether there be prophecies they shall fail, whether there be tongues they shall cease, whether there be knowledge it shall vanish away, for we know in part and we prophecy in part, but when that which is perfect is come then that which is in part shall be done away.
Now we both agree when the church become perfect, spiritual gifts were to cease, and Paul says they were to continue until that time Eph. 4; 13, It is now a notorious fact that miracles and spiritual gifts have ceased, consequently the church must have been perfect at the time they became extinct, although she has since apostatised and is a great distance from that perfection, yet there is no necessity of miracles being restored as the gospel facts, have been fully demonstrated and to prove them again would be wholly superfluous.
The design of miracles was the confirmation of the gospel as evidently appears from the languge of Mark, 16, 20, “and they went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following.
God never sent a messenger to mankind without accompanying his testimony with visible displays of his power, as the message perports to be from heaven, so the evidence must be supernatural or miraculous.
The gospel never could have been promulgated in the world, nor mankind condemned for rejecting it without its having been thus confirmed; hence, the necesssity of miracles in the days of the apostle. But when the gospel was preached and established, the testimony of the apostles recorded, and the churches put in possession of all the necessary information concerning those facts, miracles were no longer necessary.
Spiritual gifts were to assist the church in its infancy, or minority.— The manners & usages of the christian institution, are alike now, to both Jews and Pagans, and the apostles could not be always in every church to teach them their duty, wherefore God gave them spiritual gifts for their mutual instruction, until there were those born and educated in the christian church, who were able to teach others also.
Thus the whole church became instructed in righteousness and thoroughly furnished unto every good work, speaking the truth in love, they grew up into him in all things, who is the head even Christ making increase of the body unto edifying of itself in love. Paul says these gifts were “for the work of the ministry” that is to instruct the disciples how to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by [p. 24]
Page 24