Go, and teach

Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).

D12 DAVIS, John. Ewch, a dysgwch. (Go, and teach.) Merthyr Tydfil: Printed by J. Davis, Georgetown, [1850].

2 pp. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 39.

The title for this two-page leaflet is taken from Matthew 28:19–20: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” John Davis explains that this injunction, given by Christ to His Apostles after His Resurrection, has application to modern believers as well. Davis addresses two main issues: the proper teachings of the true religion and the appropriate mode of baptism.

Go and Teach

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you,”—MATT. XXVII, 19, 20.

Few know what is meant by “teach all nations;” not that it is a difficult thing to understand, but because of lack of consideration. Teaching all the nations is the same as “preaching the gospel to every creature.” After teaching, the next thing is to baptize; and whoever believes, or accepts the teaching, and is baptized, will be saved; but whoever does not believe, or refuses to be taught, will be damned. Christ had given something special to the apostles, which they were to teach to all nations; and while they continued to do that, he prom­ised to be with them always until the end of the world. It does not appear that it was the Bible that Christ gave to them, for that was not near to being completed; neither is it likely that he gave them any other book. What, then, were they to teach? We answer that it was the gospel, namely that which they had taught to the Jews previously. The most particular things they had taught to the Jews were faith and repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, exhorting them to wait for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The work of the apostles was not to teach anyone to read, rather to teach “the words that lead some to Christ;” or, in other words, to teach that it is necessary to be “born of the water and of the Spirit,” before being able to enter the kingdom of God; and having gotten a man into the kingdom, then teaching him to keep all things that Jesus Christ has commanded. The apostles were sent not to please the ears of anyone with invented tales, rather to teach men that which was required of them to do in order to be saved. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” To strive to save all nations was the work of the apostles; and in order to save them, there was but “one faith, one baptism,” and “one Spirit.” They did not dare teach this thing to one, and that thing to another; rather they taught the gospel to everyone, exhorting them to believe, repent, be baptized with water, and with the Holy Ghost. They still preach the same obligations, until they see men obey; and after that they are taught to keep all things. The apostles did not care to whom they preached; the priests and the people were equal in their sight; and they taught the one and the other the way to the kingdom of God. The devout who prayed on street corners were as far from being saved as were publicans and sinners; for they disregarded the counsel of God, by not doing the works that lead some to Christ. The greatest godliness was not sufficient to save anyone, unless he was taught and baptized. Many practiced with godliness, but they denied its “power,” by not being born of the water and of the Spirit, so they could receive it “in power and much assurance.”

Now, inasmuch as all nations have not as yet been taught and bap­tized, the servants of God must do the same thing in this age as they did in earlier times. “Go ye therefore, and teach,” is still the com­mission, “baptizing.” There is no use shouting and singing about the sufferings and the death of Christ to men who are in the kingdom of darkness, and neglect to show them that they must “be born of water and of the Spirit,” before they can enter into the kingdom of God. Faith and baptism for repentance must be preached to everyone, until they believe; for only he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Many are displeased with the Latter-day Saints, because they preach the same thing still, namely faith, repentance, baptism for forgiveness, the laying on of hands, &c. People suppose they have heard enough about such things; “and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables,” having itching ears. (2 Tim. iv, 3, 4.) Instead they go to listen to teachers they heap to themselves, those who are not so exact in mentioning baptism to repentance, &c., and in explaining and perverting the scriptures, disestablishing church and state, building Normal schools, abolishing the church tax, and describing the bottomless pit. All may choose for themselves their own baptism, and their own faith; the only thing that saves is membership anywhere except with the Papists and the Saints. Nothing is more approved in the chapels than to hear someone lecturing either against the deceit of old Joe Smith, the whoredoms of the Church of England, the over-supremacy of the leaders of the Wesleyans, the education plan of the government, &c. Oh, how that is approved by shouting “hear,” and clapping hands! But while one of the preachers of the Saints is exhorting people to believe, repent, and be baptized, promising the gift of the Holy Ghost, like Peter of old (Acts ii, 38, 39), the behavior towards him is with the greatest contempt, and he is considered a terrible deceiver! What is this but failing to endure “sound doctrine,” and refusing the only thing that will save all nations?

Obviously, that which was said to the three thousand on the day of Pentecost, to the eunuch, the keeper of the prison, &c., is that which also ought to be said to every creature who does not have a knowl­edge of God, until he obeys the instruction to be born again; and that is the first teaching in the commission. The second “teaching” is to teach those who were born thus, or who became disciples, to keep all things which Christ has commanded, going before them to perfection, “not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands,” &c. (Heb. vi, 1—6.) Therefore, let every man receive the doctrine that relates to him, and he shall have a knowl­edge of the truth, according to the promise.

J. Davis.