Elder John M. Watson (1798-1866)

Elder John M. Watson (1798-1866) was, for a brief period of time, among the most influential and respected Primitive Baptist ministers.  He was the editor of “THE CORRESPONDENT”, an Old School or Regular Baptist monthly published at Murfeesboro, TN from

“How needful for the well being of christians that the Gospel should be preached in all its doctrinal purity! Lest we, like these false teachers, hurt and mislead our hearers.

“Yes, ’tis better to die
Than to strangle in the birth
The free thoughts which cry
For deliverance on earth.
Far better the prison, the iron, the sword,
Than to quench but one spark of the God-given word.”

Have we not, brethren, often felt the effects of false teaching among us, as did these Galatians, whereby many were bewitched and stultified, and thereby became weak and sickly among us? These have occasionally given us much trouble; and we probably have not cared for them as did the Apostle. We have been generally too much inclined to withdraw from them, without taking the proper measures to reclaim them. It is true that we pursue one of the Apostolic modes in dealing with such; we make no attempt to gloss over the plain truths of the Gospel in order to retain them; but speak them out as plainly as if they had not been denied, knowing that they, and not the Gospel truths, to which they may object, are wrong. We say with Paul: “Though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

And does not every minister of the ancient order feel and know within himself that if he pleases men-men of the world- and often men of christian denominations- he cannot please God- cannot be the servant of Christ? How acutely painful does the truth arise in the soul of the honest preacher, that most men have more fellowship and concern for “another Gospel” than for the true one! which, however, is not another Gospel, but a perversion of the true one; – endless are such perversions!

Do we not, according to the example here, call our ministers to an account, if they pervert Gospel truths, let them stand however high they may among us. We know no man after the flesh in instances of this kind. Paul not only censured, condemned and abjured the false teachers who had misled the Galatians, but withstood both Peter and Barnabas when they dissembled before the Jews. We rejoice to know that there is no human authority tolerated in our Churches, by means of which Gospel perversions may be maintained in them, either as regards our Church, or ministry. Neither can any be discerned in the light of that “hidden wisdom” which God gave for the guidance of His “hidden ones.”

Elder John Watson, (excerpted from Hidden Wisdom for Hidden Ones, section 3, para 2-4)

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