I have a few postcards of historical interest to Southern Baptists. These days, we Tweet about technical legal terms like “waiver of privilege” and what kind of ice cream we like. Maybe sticking with ice cream is better than hard doctrinal issues.
Gambrell sent Mell two copies of his paper, The Baptist Record, that had articles whose unnamed author joined Mell in his protest against Baptism as a door into the church. In the communication Gambrell brings a Robertson into the matter: “Robertson is caught by an expression, ‘Baptism, a church ordinance’ without looking into its meaning. That is a Graveism and catches not a few.” (The great Greek scholar A. T. Robertson would have been only 21 years of age at that time. Perhaps another Robertson? Some SBC historical geek can inform me.)
I love Gambrell’s language. He calls this error “a theological localism, belonging to the Southwest and is very young. Dr. [J. R.] Graves did not hold it 50 years ago [Gambrell may have been confused on dates here]. It is a Texas water spout and is an offshoot of that baleful church-ism which has done so much harm out this way.” Gambrell must be referencing Cambellism. Still a baleful church in my view.
There were giants in those days…and they wrote to each other. Alas, not many in our day. I love the language and metaphors.
Some Baptist historian may correct any of my historical surmises.
Photograph of Gambrell is from the SBHLA website. Gambrell was 44 when he wrote this postcard. Hues was 71, near the end of his life.
And, you can’t take too many shots at Texans in my view.