Elder T. S. Dalton

The article below is from the book “A Treatise On Salvation” By Elder T.S. Dalton. The book has preserved many of the points of his debate with Elder T.R. Burnett.- Disciple or Church of Christ, which took place in 1886 and was published in 1897, by The Gospel Advocate Publishing Company.  “A Treatise On Salvation” was published after Elder Dalton's death (Elder Dalton went to be with his Lord in 1931).

The thoughts set forth in this writing were published by “The Baptist Bible Hour Publications” of Cincinnati, Ohio, sometime in the 1950's or 60's (Estimated, as the publication is not dated), and are rarely available in book form today.

These articles were written in a time, when there were sundry discussions and debates between the Primitive Baptists and those who advocated for “Universal Atonement and a Conditional Salvation.” During these times, the believers of “Conditional Grace, or Salvation,” were called by the name “Arminians” to identify them in a general way.

The term “Arminian” is not to be confused with the country of Armenia, and it's citizens, “Armenians.” Arminianism, is the subscription to the doctrines identified as “Arminian.” The Arminian doctrine is defined thusly in the Noah Webster's Dictionary of 1828:  Arminian, is an adjective Pertaining to Arminius, or designating his principles.

ARMINIAN, is a noun: “One of a sect or party of Christians, so called from Arminius or Harmansen, of Holland, who flourished at the close of the 16th century, and beginning of the 17th century.

The Arminian doctrines are:

    1. Conditional election and reprobation, in opposition to absolute predestination.
    2. Universal redemption, or that the atonement was made by Christ for all mankind, though none but believers can be partakers of the benefit.
    3. That man, in order to exercise true faith, must be regenerated and renewed by the operation of the Holy Spirit, which is the gift of God; but that this grace is not irresistible and may be lost; so that men may relapse from a state of grace and die in their sins. The term “Arminian” was commonly used among the Regular and/or Primitive Baptists until the mid 1980's, and is used on a limited basis today. The main reason for limiting the use of the term today is, that people take it as a derogatory label, because of their lack of understanding of what it means. However, in contrast, The Primitive Baptist are proud to be identified by what they declare to be the truth.


Eternal Salvation  “Conditional or Unconditional?”   By Elder T.S. Dalton (dec.)

The issue on the subject of salvation is, whether it is conditional or unconditional. Thus far our object has been to show that salvation is the work of God; now we shall endeavor to show how God saves, whether He does it on account of something the sinner does, or whether it is the gracious act of God, without the performance of conditions on the part of the sinner.

We propose to affirm that it is unconditional, because it is not of works, in proof of which please read Rom. 4 :1-8: "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh (well, what about him, Paul? He is sure to be saved if he works, is he not?) is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt."

We can but conclude that if Paul has here told the truth (which we cannot doubt) that a man would do well not to work in order to gain salvation, for if his reward for his work is reckoned of debt all the time, the quicker he quits work the better it will be with him; but let us hear the rest of Paul's language on the subject; "But to him that worketh not (well, what about him, Paul, he is lost is he not? Arminians teach that he is, and of course they know better than Paul), but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Oh! how different are the teachings of our day! In this our day of wisdom (?) it is the man that works that possesses the faith that is counted for righteousness. There is a problem in the above language of Paul that we want some of our Arminian friends to solve for us; that is, if belief is a work, as they teach, tell us how a man can believe and not work. Paul says: "To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Will some expert Arminian try his hand on it? But let us trace Paul further: "Even as David describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness (how, for his works? No, sir) without works, saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."

The above quotation from Paul is enough, of itself, to forever put a quietus to this everlasting Arminian works mongrel system. But we have plenty more. Please read Eph. 2:8, 9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."

If salvation is not of works, and Paul says it is not, then why tell the poor sinner that he must do certain works in order that he may obtain it? Can you not see, my Arminian friend, that you flatly contradict the Bible? God forbid that I should be so wedded to a creed that I am necessitated to deny the plain teachings of the word of God in order to sustain it. But let us quote again: Titus 3:5-7: "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; 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."

It does seem to us that the above is plain enough that men might run and read and understand, and yet our college bred preachers will tell poor sinners, "you can't have salvation unless you work for it." Let us read some more Scripture: 2nd Timothy 1:8, 9: "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."

It seems, from the reading of the above text, that Paul must have known that there would be professed ministers of the gospel who would deny God's plan of salvation and substitute one of their own. He therefore took particular pains to tell us how God saved the sinner, and then in immediate connection tell how God did not save them, and yet as minutely as Paul has described it, strange to say, nine-tenths of the preachers are teaching that sinners are saved in the very way that Paul says God does not save them. Paul says, "It is not of works." Yet Arminian preachers say, "It is of works, and if the sinner does not do something he is sure to be lost."

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