It appears that Queries have been common among Baptists for a long period of time, and have appeared in the proceedings of their Associations, Union Meetings and monthly church meetings. We proceed to notice some of those that have appeared in the proceedings of the Kehukee Association since it was organized. They may be both interesting and instructing to the reader, as showing the views of brethren, on various subjects, at different periods of time. The first we notice was submitted in the year 1777.
Query 1 (from the church in Chowan): Suppose a man to be a member of the Presbyterian Church, and therein ordained a minister of the gospel, and administrator of the ordinances thereof, with approbation of them in their way, afterwards submits to believers' baptism,--is his ordination valid to the Baptists ? Answer: No.
Query 2 (from the church in the Isle of Wight): What shall a church do with a minister who labors to make them believe that difference in judgment about water baptism ought to be no bar to communion? Answer: Such a practice is disorderly, and he who propagates the tenet ought to be dealt with as an offender.
Query 3 (from brother Thompson's church): What shall a church do with a member who is suspected to be guilty of a fault and denies it, and no plain proof can be had, and yet circumstances appear very plainly that he is guilty ? Answer: That if the church shall think the circumstances are good, they ought to act accordingly and deal with him.
Query 4 (1778): By what rule shall a church approve or disapprove of a minister's gifts, who thinks he is called to the work of the ministry ? Answer: We give it as our opinion that if the following things attend the ministry of a brother, the church may approve of his gifts, and encourage him to go on in the work: 1. If he preach the truth. 2. If his preaching tends to the conviction and conversion of sinners. 3. If it be instructive and consolatory to the people of God; and, if need be, we advise the church to call other ministers to the examination of his call to that work.
Query 5: Is the marriage of servants lawful before God, which is not complied with according to the laws of the land? Answer: Yes.
Query 6: Is it duty to hold a member in fellowship who breaks the marriage of servants ? Answer: No.
Query 7: Suppose a member is accused of a fault and denies it, and a person who is not a member, and is not interested in the matter has made oath before a Justice of the Peace that he is guilty--what shall a church do in that case ? Answer: That the church shall judge of the veracity of the person who swore, and the circumstances attending it, and act accordingly.
Query 8 (1782): Is washing feet an ordinance of Christ's church which ought to be continued in the church? Answer: We look upon it a duty to be continued in the church.
Query 9: Has a church of Christ any right to try causes of a civil nature? Answer: We look upon it that the church has a right from God's word to try all causes which may arise amongst themselves.
Query 10: Has a church any right to suspend a member from communion who has been guilty of a crime, and still hold him as a member of the church ? Answer: As our Lord, in the eighteenth of St. Matthew's gospel, has given a sufficient rule to deal with offending members, we generally think there is no degree of church censure to be inflicted on an impenitent member, after a public hearing in the church, besides excommunication; which we believe consists in putting him out of communion and membership.
Query 11: Has a church any authority from God's word to lay it upon their minister to get up in a congregation and publish the excommunication of a disorderly member ? Answer: We think that the offending member, being dealt with in a public conference, is sufficient without any more publication.
Query 12: What way is thought best for a church to act in supporting their minister ? Answer: That each member ought to contribute, voluntarily, according to his or her ability, and in no wise by taxation or any other compulsion.
Query 13: What method shall be taken with a member who shall rend himself of e from his own church and join another ? Answer: We think it is disorderly for a member to rend himself off from his own church, and disorderly for a church to receive him.
Query 14: What shall a church do with a member who shall absent himself from the communion of the Lord's Supper ? Answer: That it is the duty of the church to inquire into the reason of his thus absenting himself from the communion, and if he does not render satisfactory reasons, the church shall deal with him.
Query 15: Is it agreeable to God's word for Christians to marry unconverted persons ? Answer: We do not know that God's word does actually forbid such marriages, but we would advise the members of our churches to comply with Christian marriages, as nearly as they can judge, for their own comfort and satisfaction.
Query 16: What shall the master of a family do with his slaves who refuse to attend at the time of public prayers in the family ? Answer: We think it is the duty of every master of a family to give his slaves liberty to attend the worship of God in his family, and likewise it is his duty to exhort them to it, and endeavor to convince them of their duty; and then leave them to their own choice.
Query 17: Is it thought regular for a church to restore a Deacon, upon repentance, from suspension to office, as well as to membership ? Answer: It is our opinion that if the church he fully satisfied with his conduct in executing his office before, they may restore him to office again, as well as to membership.
Query 18: What way is thought best for a church to put members upon a trial of their gifts who think they are called to the work of the ministry ? Answer: We judge it necessary that all ministers should be called of God to preach the gospel, and when any member thinks he has a call to preach, he ought to inform his church of it; and then we would advise the church to deal very tenderly with him, and give him all the encouragement necessary; and we would advise that brother to follow the direction of the church with respect to the manner of beginning to preach.
Query 19: What shall a church require of a person for satisfaction, who had been excommunicated from another church at a great distance, and now, being removed convenient to them, desires fellowship with them ? Answer: That such a person ought (if possible) by a letter of recommendation from the church where he lives, apply to the church from which he was excommunicated, and regain fellowship with them, and then take a letter of dismission from them and join the church amongst whom he lives.
Query 20: What are the essentials of church communion ? Answer: That a person shall, before being admitted to commune, give a satisfactory account of being savingly converted to the Lord Jesus Christ, and publicly declare the same by being regularly baptized by immersion.
Query 21 (1784): Is it thought that a Bishop or Pastor of a church stands upon the same footing in the church as any other member with respect to his having a right to a dismission at his request ? Answer: It is our opinion that as a member he is accountable to the church, and as a minister he is accountable to God.
Query 22: Is it agreeable to gospel rule and order to call a minister to take the pastoral care of a church without the unanimous consent of the members of said church ? Answer: We think they ought to be unanimous.
Query 23: Has a woman any right to speak in the church in matters of discipline unless called upon ? Answer: We think they have no right unless called upon, or where it respects their own communion.
Query 24 (1786): Is it legal to administer the Lord's Supper to a single person, in case of inability to attend worship ? Answer: We believe it may be lawful in some cases.
Query 25: Is it orderly for a church to hold communion with a member who frequents the Free Mason Lodge ? Answer: We think it disorderly.
Query 26: Has a church a right to excommunicate a member on the single testimony of a worldling, in a single case ? Answer: Not unless corroborating circumstances be sufficient to induce the church to believe the testimony to be true.
Query 27: What number of ministers are sufficient to compose a Presbytery. Answer: Two or more.
Query 28: What measures shall a Deacon take who sees the necessity of the minister's support, and his conscience binds him to do his duty, in consequence of which he frequently excites the brethren to their duty; yet after all, he finds they neglect their duty ? Answer: It is our opinion that it is the members' duty voluntarily to contribute to the minister's support; and if the Deacon discovers any member remiss in his duty that he shall cite him to the church; and if the church finds him negligent in his duty, we give it as our advice that the church should deal with him for covetousness.
Query 29(1788): What is the real work of a Deacon? Answer: We think there ought to be such officers in the church as Deacons, and that their work is to serve tables. That is the table of the Lord; the table of the minister; and the table of the poor. And to see that the church makes proper provision for them.
Query 30: How far can a church that has no pastor or ordained minister (though they have some other ordained officers) proceed in discipline to receive or turn out members, and be orderly in their proceeding ? Answer: We think that such an organized church has full power to receive persons to baptism, and call upon an authorized minister to baptize them; and that such a church has full power to excommunicate disorderly members.
Query 31 (1789): Is it the duty of a minister to take little children in his arms (at the request of their parents or others) and name them and pray to the Lord to bless them ? Answer: We think it duty for ministers to pray for infants as well as others, but not to take them in their arms at that time.
Query 32: Is it orderly for a minister to withdraw from a church he is pastor of, and refuse to preach or administer the ordinances amongst them because they do not pay him ? Answer: By the law of Christ ministers are required to watch for souls as they that must give an account, and their hearers are required to communicate unto them in all good things. Heb. xiii. 17; Gal. vi. 6. We believe that no minister can justly refuse to feed the flock he had taken the charge of, without either having their consent therefor, or else referring the case to the judgment of impartial brethren.
Query 33 (1797): What shall a church do when one member brings an accusation against another
member, and he denies the charges; shall the testimony of the accuser, unsupported by any other
evidence, be received by the church or not ? Answer: No.
Query 34 (1799): Is it not wrong for a man who is a member of a church and the head of a family, wholly to neglect family worship on account of the smallness of his gifts in prayer ? Answer: It is wrong.
Query 35: Ought not Deacons to be regularly ordained before they use the office of a Deacon in any respect ? Answer: Yes.
Query 36: Would be the one submitted by Elder Martin Ross at Conoho in regard to the organization of "Missionary" Societies; but this has already been noticed in a previous part of this History, and need not be repeated.
Query 37: Are professors of religion, whose children live with them as members of their families, justifiable in allowing or even suffering them to go to dances, or associating with those who delight in that evil practice and its concomitants ? Answer: Let parents under such circumstances not forget the case of old Eli (1 Samuel), nor the express word of God elsewhere; that children should be trained up in the way they should go, and brought up in the admonition of the Lord; for we think it inconsistent with their religious professions to indulge their children in that which they cannot allow them to participate.
Query 38: Is it right for a church in this Association to hold in fellowship a member who openly avows the Arminian tenets, or that person should be appointed a delegate to the Association to represent the church in its deliberations ? Answer: We suppose it is not right to hold such person in fellowship, and therefore of course it would be improper to appoint him a delegate to the Association.
Query 39: Is it right for a church, in our connection, repeatedly to send her letters to this Association without representing herself by delegates ? Answer: It is not regular.
Query 40 (1807): Is it right for the ministers or the members of the Baptist denomination to publish meetings for preaching for such whose religious principles or practices they have no fellowship with ? Answer: No.
Query 41 (1809): Is it thought disorderly in a member of one of our churches to attend the preaching of such persons as may be excommunicated from other churches of the same faith and order ? Answer: The Association give it as their opinion that, as it highly favors confusion, it would be disorderly.
Query 42 (1819): When a church has made an order for a letter of dismission for a member, and he, before he receives it, proves guilty of misconduct which breaks fellowship, ought the letter to be given by the person appointed ? Answer: We think members of churches, being once so, are always so, until excluded, or when joined to another church of the same faith and order; wherefore a member who has received a letter, or is about to receive one, is still amenable to the church, and if fellowship is broken the letter should be withheld; or if given, regained.
Query 43 (1821): What shall a church do with a member who believes himself called to preach, when, after hearing him for twelve months or more, she receives no edification; shall she stop him or not ? Answer: As a direct question requires a direct answer, we therefore say such member ought to be stopped.
Query 44 (1822): How shall a church proceed, who knows that two of her members are not in fellowship with each other ? Answer: Let the parties comply with the directions given in the eighteenth chapter of St. Matthew's gospel; and should they refuse to comply, and yet be unreconciled, let them be called before the church, and the church enter into an investigation of the subject or matter of difference, and deal with the parties as they appear to deserve.
Query 45 (1823): Is it thought proper to retain in fellowship a member who clears out race-paths, or suffers it to be done on his land, or who erects five batteries ? Answer: No.
Query 46 (1824): Is it agreeable to gospel order for members of a Baptist Church to withdraw themselves from the church to which they belong, or join another of the same faith and order, without a regular dismission ? or for another church to receive such members without such dismission ? Answer: On gospel principles we think that in each case it is wrong.
Query 47 (1834): Is it according to gospel order for any member or church of our Association to invite into our pulpits, to preach, any minister of any other order ? Answer: No.
Query 48 (1835): Can the Lord's Supper be rightly or scripturally administered by any man but an ordained minister of the gospel ? Answer: No; as he who does so acts unscripturally.
Query 49 (1845): Is it agreeable to the word of God for a church that has no male member to ask visiting brethren to assist them to hold a conference and receive and baptize members ? Answer: Yes.
Query 50 (1853): Does this Association think it right for an Old Baptist Church to receive a member on a written experience, written out by a " Missionary," when the member is present, and refuses to relate his experience ? Answer: No.