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. The book here, “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.”


“Eternal Salvation is Unconditional Because:” First and Second Premises  By Elder T.S. Dalton (dec.)

First Premise:
Our next proposition is that “salvation is unconditional” because it is by grace, in proof of which we will call your attention to Acts 15:1 "And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved." That is to say, they taught a conditional system of salvation—that sinners could not be saved unless they did something, and the brethren not having been accustomed to hearing that kind of doctrine, at once began to dispute with them, and they at once determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of the brethren should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question; and when they arrived at Jerusalem and began their consultation about this new theory, there arose one of the sect of the Pharisees (that is, one of those conditional preachers), who by this time had added one more condition to his theory; he said, "It is needful that we should circumcise them, and command them to keep the law of Moses or they cannot be saved." At first they only wanted to circumcise them, but now they want to bind upon them the burden of keeping the law of Moses also.

But Peter rose up and wanted to know why they were going to bind a yoke upon the neck of the disciples that neither they (the disciples) nor their fathers (the prophets) were able to bear. "But we believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they." And we are glad to say that we believe just what the apostles here set forth in this article of their faith, that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ poor sinners are saved yet, and not by the performance of stipulated conditions, as is taught by our Arminian judaizing teachers of today. Again, Paul said, Titus 2:11: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." Not the grace of God that brought an offer of salvation, but brought salvation. From this text we learn what it is that brings salvation to men. Now we have only to learn what brought grace, and the mystery is solved. John says, "The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Now we have it; Jesus Christ brought grace, and grace brought salvation; therefore the sinner's works had nothing to do with it. Paul says again: "By grace are ye saved." And many other passages we might quote in support of this proposition, but space forbids at this time. Let it be distinctly understood that upon grace and grace only, rests our hope of life and salvation beyond this vale of tears, and we hope through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to be permitted to praise Him in that world of bliss and glory, and there among the redeemed throng to join in that sweet chorus which angels cannot sing, which is, "Worthy is the Lamb that hath redeemed us."

Second Premise:
Our next proposition is, "Salvation is unconditional” because Christ redeemed the sinner from all iniquity, and this redemption is eternal." In proof of this, please read Titus 2 :14: "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all us from all iniquity," how much is there left for us, that we must perform conditions in order to be relieved of such? And again, if Christ has redeemed us from all iniquity, and any of us are lost, what is it that condemns us ? It cannot be iniquity, for we are redeemed from all of that; hence, if one of those for whom Christ died goes to hell, he must go there without iniquity, for he is redeemed from that. Again, Gal. 3:13: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." Now we have the sinner redeemed from all iniquity and from under the curse of the law. Now the question arises, what more does the sinner need to prepare him for heaven and immortal glory? Surely, people redeemed from all iniquity and from the curse of the law never can be sent to torment. Again: 1st Peter 1:18,19: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot," etc.

Now, let us notice what we have: Sinners redeemed from all iniquity, from the curse of the law, and also from the vain conversation received by tradition from their fathers, and yet lost to all eternity because they would not perform certain conditions! Surely no sensible man could believe such an idea. "0, well," says the Arminian, "if the sinner fails to perform certain prescribed conditions, his redemption will have an end, and Jesus will withdraw his redemption and send him to hell, because he would not accept the terms and do the work." Now, that would sound very well if the Bible did not contradict the idea, but Paul in Hebrews, 9:12, says: "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."  Now let us sum up. We have sinners eternally redeemed from all iniquity, eternally redeemed from under the curse of the law, eternally redeemed from the vain conversation received by the tradition from their fathers, and at the same time eternally damned! Now, we ask, in all candor, can any sensible person believe such doctrine? How anybody on earth can believe that a sinner redeemed eternally from all the above named evils is not yet saved because he will not perform conditions, we must confess that we are unable to divine, and we are confident that no other man on earth can explain.

Next: The Third Premise: