Debate on Baptism
Elder John Harper (Regular Baptist) vs. Elder John Rigdon (Campbellite)

For the Signs of the Times.

St. Mary, Hancock Co., Ill., Feb. 1, 1841.

BROTHER BEEBE:- I have been a member of the Regular Baptist Church of Christ more than twenty-one years, and I have been endeavoring to preach the gospel about fourteen years, in the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and during the whole time I have never been disconnected from the Old School, or Regular Baptists. Although I have never before written to you, it has now become important, for the honor of the cause of the Redeemer, for the satisfaction of our brethren in Christ, and for the justification of an injured fellow laborer, that I should ask the favor of your columns.

Last June I had a debate with a Campbellite teacher, on the subject of baptism for remission of sins, and it had been agreed that we would prove our positions by the New Testament alone. After we had commenced the debate, he contended for the right of reference to the Old Testament, to aid him. While the debate was in progress, I said, (as will be seen in the printed record of the debate,) the New Testament scriptures are peculiar with the Campbellites; one of their preachers told me in Indiana, that the Old Testament was the Word of God of old, but not to us at this time. Mr. John Rigdon, my opponent, denyed this, and Mr. Levi Hatchett, a Campbell teacher, wrote to Jarvis Gales of Indiana, also a Campbellite, and I will here present a copy of the letter which Mr. Fassett, the Campbellite preacher referred to by me, wrote and sent back to Mr. Hatchett, and it was forwarded to John D. Ketiston, Esq., also a Campbellite, by whom the debate was published. And he went thirty miles, as I was informed by the publisher at Rushville, for no other reason than to have the said letter published in the pamphlet.

The following is a copy of the letter, viz:

Columbus, Aug. 3, 1840.
BRO. HATCHET:-- I learned with some surprise by a letter that you wrote to Jarvis Gale, that I denied that the Old Testament was the Word of God; but when I became acquainted with the fountain from which the unfounded and base slander came I could not long wonder at the stream. A person that is so reckless of truth cannot long enjoy the esteem of the virtuous.

To all whom it may concern. We do hereby certify that we have been personally acquainted with Joseph Fassett, for a number of years; we have often heard him preach; in his discourses he often speaks of the Old Testament, as being written by inspiration of God, and that every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward. And we do consider the charge preferred against Bro. Fassett by Mr. Harper, in his debate with Brother Rigdon, to be most base and unfounded.

Signed, William A. Washburn, Joseph Robinson, Hiram Troutman, Jacob Edwards, Mary P. Washburn, Henry Dickerson, William Mounts, M. J. Nelson, Milton Troutman, W. J. Jones, Jarves H. Gale, J. H. Ferrell, Samuel Nelson, J. C. Miller.

N. B. Hundreds of witnesses could be obtained if necessary to testify that Mr. Harpers charge is false.
Your brother in hope of eternal life,
Cole Brook P. O., Warren Co., Ill.

Every reader of sufficient capacity to put two ideas together, will see that my accusers have in their certificate, established what I charged Mr. Fassett with, and this was done by the Campbellites, without letting me know anything about it, until I saw it in print.

I wrote to one of my old neighbors, requesting him to write a line, and get my old neighbors to say whether I was a man reckless of truth, as Mr. Fassett had said and the following is a copy of the reply, viz:

We, the undersigned having been personally acquainted with the private character and standing in this neighborhood for a number of years, of Rev. John Harper, of the Baptist Church, do hereby certify that, so far as we have any knowledge of him, he has been perfectly correct and moral. Many of us have had pecuniary dealings with him, and have always found him, in our various transactions, correct and honest. He left this neighborhood with an unimpeachable character for honesty, morality, veracity and strict integrity; and we have no hesitation in saying that he is in every way worthy of confidence and support, so far as we have any knowledge. We have seen the list of signers to the certificate procured for Rev. J. Fassett, in this neighborhood, and we know them all to be members of his society here. And we certify, none of us are members of the society to which Mr. Harper belongs, and that we are only influenced by personal friendship for the man, to certify what here precedes our names.

[Here follow THIRTY-EIGHT signatures which we here omit for want of room; likewise a special certificate of Joshua McQueen, which is unfortunately so torn by the sealing-wafer that we could not copy it with a certainty of accuracy. Editor.]

I am your brother in gospel bonds,

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