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We should know the doctrines of those of whom we oppose

broadusII. MEANS AND METHODS OF PERFORMING THIS DUTY

3. If we wish to teach our distinctive views to others, it is neccessary to understand those whom we propose to reach. I remember a teacher of modern languages who would often elaborately explain some French or German or other idiom with which had no difficulty at all, and then pass over as not needing explanation many a phrase we could not understand. He knew the language he was teaching, but was not well acquainted with the language of his pupils.

If we would in any way teach effectively, we must know things look of the persons addressed; we must get their point of view. Now, Baptists are not, on the whole, so ignorant of denominational opinions of other Christians as they are of ours, because our circumstances have compelled us to give some attention to that matter. Yet we need a much better acquaintance with them if we would speak to any purpose in public or private. I respectfully urge upon all ministers and upon intelligent private members of both sexes that they shall study, by reading and personal inquiry, each of the leading religious bodies with they have to do, shall study them in three respects:

(a) Inquire what are the characteristic peculiarities of this body of Christians differencing them from others, and if possible at the fundamental opinions which account for these peculiarities.

(b) Consider in what respects they particularly deserve our admiration and, with the necessary changes, our imitation. Denomination emphasizes certain aspects of truth or departments of duty, and will in regard to these present a very instructive and inspiring model.

(c) Strive to ascertain how they regard tenets, practices, and spirit. What things in us they especially dislike, and with what they might easily feel sympathy.

Such inquiries will help us in several ways. They may restrain the tendency to react from what we regard as the errors of others into an opposite extreme, as Protestants have done with reference to some errors of Popery, and many Baptists with reference to prelatical or pastoral domination, to clerical support, etc. They may check the unconscious adoption or imitation of opinions, sentiments, or phrases which are inconsistent, or at least incongruous, in us.

We rejoice in that “progress of Baptist principles” among Paedobaptists which Dr. Curtis’s book so well describes, and perhaps fail to inquire whether there be not a counter-influence which deserves attention, and which may not be wholly beneficial. And then this study of other denominations will enable us better to adapt ourselves to those whom we would influence. When you address to Methodists an article suited to High Churchmen or vice versa, what in the world are you thinking about?

John A. Broadus-The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views

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