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:” By Elder T.S. Dalton (dec.)

Fourth Premise:

Our next premise is: "Salvation is unconditional because the saints and not the ungodly sinner are required to perform the conditions of the Bible," in proof of which please read Col. 3:1-4: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

Now, my friends, suppose that we should teach that poor ungodly sinners must seek those things which are above in order that they may arise with Christ. Can you not see that we have contradicted Paul? Surely the blind could almost see that. Does any person teach poor sinners to seek those things which are above in order that they may arise with Christ? Yes, all conditionalists teach that. Well, do they not contradict the Bible? Of course they do, and get mad with us because we do not join with them in denying the Bible. Suppose, again, we were to teach that seeking those things above was the condition upon which we are killed to sin and made alive to God: Can you not see how we contradict Paul again, for Paul says "ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God"—not will be if' you seek; but this is already the condition of those who seek those things which are above. And to show the condition of those that have arisen with Christ please read Eph. 2:4-6 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

Hence, the man that has arisen with Christ has been quickened into life and saved by grace, and raised up with Christ, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. Now, my friends, this is the character of persons commanded in Paul's language to "seek those things which are above." And to apply such language as the above to poor ungodly sinners is to do violence to the word of God and teach poor souls a great error, and yet all Who teach a conditional system of eternal salvation do this, and we had much rather it was they than we. We do hope and pray that God will refrain our tongue from this erroneous doctrine of conditional eternal salvation.

Please read again, John 14:15: "if ye love me, keep my commandments." Suppose we were to teach that ungodly sinners are required to keep the commandments of the Lord in order that they might love Him, can you not see, my dear readers that we have taught contrary to our blessed Saviour? You surely can see that. Does any person teach that men are required to keep the commandments of the Lord in order to love Him? Yes sir, every denomination on earth that teaches that the eternal salvation of the sinner is dependent upon conditions for him to perform, teaches that God has commanded certain things and if the sinner will do those commandments that God will love him and shed abroad His love in the sinner's heart, and thereby cause the sinner to love God because he has done these things, which every candid reader on earth can see is a positive denial of the Saviour's language, and a reversal of His saying; He said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments," and they teach "keep the commandments, and thereby learn to love the Lord."

Let us next learn the condition of the person that loves the Lord, and then we will know the character of persons the Lord calls upon to keep His commandments, and in order to learn this please read I John 4:7,8: "Beloved let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." From this we learn that the persons Jesus called upon to keep His commandments are those that are born of God and know God. Hence, to teach poor ungodly sinners who do not love the Lord, neither do they know the Lord, to keep the commandments of the Lord in order that they may love the Lord is (to say the least of it) teaching things contrary to the Bible, and causing many poor souls to be deluded and led away from the truth, for which these false teachers will be held personally responsible, and their blood will God require at the hands of these teachers of error. That God has laid down certain commandments for His children after they are made new creatures in Christ Jesus we fully believe, but that those commandments are to be obeyed by poor ungodly, unborn sinners, the Bible positively denies. The law of commandments was never delivered to Israel until after they had been brought out of the land of bondage and darkness, and they delivered from the hands of their enemies, and their pursuers had been swallowed and drowned in the sea, and all Israel had drunk of that spiritual Rock that followed them, which Rock was Christ. And they had by then sung the song of deliverance, and had started on their journey through the wilderness, and had come to Mt. Sinai. Here Moses, their leader, was commanded to go up on the mountain and receive the law of commandments and deliver them to the children of Israel.

Now, for men to teach that these commandments were given for them to perform as conditions of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage is (to say the least) sheer nonsense, and too much after the order of children's play to be believed--- and taught by men of sense and talent. But that these commandments were to be obeyed as conditions upon which they were to overcome their enemies and live under the continual smiles of God, and at last possess the fruitful land of Canaan, is a Bible truth, and should be taught and believed by all lovers of God and preached by all ministers of the gospel everywhere. God says, "Ye must be born again," but nowhere does He lay down conditions for them to perform in order that they may be born. We can imagine that if we were to start out teaching that literal children had to perform certain conditions in order that they might be born into this world that even the rankest Arminian on earth, who believes the most fervently in conditions to be performed by the sinner in order that he be born again, would be willing to sit on a jury to condemn us to a lunatic asylum; and yet it is just as simple to require the poor unborn child, spiritually, to perform conditions in order to his birth as it is to require an infant to perform certain things in order that it be born into this world; for it is simply requiring them to act in a sphere in which they do not exist, and it is just as easy for an infant to act in a sphere in which it does not exist as it would be for one five hundred years old, for both would be absolute impossibilities. It does not seem to us that any reasonable, sensible man would teach such things. Conditional salvation belongs to the children of God; those that are born again; and unconditional salvation belongs in those dead in trespasses and sin. Let us strive to “rightly divide the word of truth,” and let us lean upon the arm of Jehovah, which is girded with omnipotence; and fully know that He doeth all things well. In so doing, we will enjoy the blessings, and God will receive His due praise and glory.

Next: Fifth Premise