Johnson, Rev. A. B.
INDIANS AS BELIEVERS IN CHURCH AND ITS DOCTRINES
In an interview with Reverend A. B. Johnson of near Miller, in Pushmataha County, and Reverend K. B. Wade of near Lane, in Atoka County, we have this information about the different church organizations in brief. The Choctaw Indians are in a great sense great believers in church and are members or in some way affiliated with a church denomination. The Choctaw is a great believer in attending church. He believes in God, the Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and whosoever believeth in Him is wise. It is not known that there are infidels in the Choctaw tribe of Indians. Although ninety-five percent of them belong to some denomination or church, yet not all are Christians. The churches to which most of them belong are the Methodist, Baptist, and Southern Presbyterian. The Cumberland Presbyterian, with a few Holiness and Catholic. Each church or denomination has different views and has its own confession of Faith. We shall touch briefly o n each doctrine as to the belief of each individual in this county. First, we have Baptist who believe in immersion. In as much as many of the church wrangles grow out of the difference existing between these two great religious sects, it is necessary to make the distinction of the exact points of difference between the Pedo-Baptist and the Anit-Pedo Baptists. The Pedo Baptists are those who believe in the baptism of children. The Anti-Pedo Baptists are those who do not so believe. It is not everyone, however, that belongs to a Pedo Baptist Church who is a Pedo Baptist. It is not every o ne that has received baptism by this mode or that mode who is a Pedo Baptist. Pedo Baptists are those who believe in and practice infant baptism and the Anti-Pedo Baptists are those who do not believe in infant baptism.
The Methodist Church was organized by John Wesley in England and was opposed to some of the doctrines of the Baptist Church. When he tried hard to keep up the doctrine of Baptismal regeneration and opposed to all spiritual work and believed o nly in regeneration by water baptism. That is the Episcopal Church of which Wesley was a clergyman and in which he lived and died.
The Presbyterians have their Westminster confession of faith. They also differ in their doctrine and baptism to the Baptist belief. The members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church were o nce members of the Presbyterian Church until they dissented from these points of the Westminster Confession of Faith; 1st, that there are no eternal reprobates; that Christ died not for a part but for man kind; that all infants dying in infancy are saved through Christ and the amotification of the Spirit; that the Spirit of God operates o n the world or as co-extensively as Christ has made atonement in much a manner as to leave all men inexcusable.
These are some of the subjects upon which they differ o n and of which they withdrew from the Old Southern Presbytery. The founders of the Church were Finis Weing; Samuel Kin, and Samuel McAdow. they were ministers in the Presbyterian Church, who rejected the doctrine of election and reprobation as taught in the Westminster Confession of Faith. It was these three men who daily knelt and prayed for the origination in the state of Tennessee. The new organization began life February 4, 1810, o n the banks of the Cumberland River in Dickson County, Tennessee, where they knelt and prayed daily for a new church. The people called these men the Cumberland Presbyterian, which was adopted and they have been known as the name since. It was an outgrowth of the Great Revival of 1800, o ne of the most powerful revivals that this country has ever witnessed. The founders of the Church have long since died, but the “Old Log Cabin,” the house where the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was born, has been preserved and remodeled and kept up to date and can be seen at the present time as it was then. Culberson Hudson, a Choctaw Indian Minster, now deceased, of Pleasant Cove, and Indian Church, attended General Assembly at this place as a representative from his congregation and brought back a gallon of water from this place where these three famous men organized the new church as there are three strings of water there, which are always flowing over the top. Reverend Hudson kept this water for a long time and when any parent wished to have their baby baptized, he would use this water, sprinkling it o n the child in the baptismal ceremony. At this meeting of Synod a committee was appointed to prepare a Confession of Faith. The next year, 1814, at Suggs Creek Church, Wilson County, Tennessee, the report of the committee was presented to Synod and the revision of the Westminster Confession of Faith which they presented was unanimously adopted as the Confession of Faith of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
It is necessary that the government of the Church be exercised under some certain and definite form and by various courts, in regular graduation. These courts are named Church-sessions, Presbyteries, Synods and the General Assembly. The Church session exercised jurisdiction over a single Church. The Presbytery over what is common to the ministers, Church-sessions and Churches within a prescribed district; the Synod, over what belongs in common to three or more presbyteries and their ministers. Church sessions, and Churches; the General Assembly, over such matters as concern the whole Church, and the jurisdiction of these courts is limited by the express provisions of the Constitution. Every court has a right to resolve questions of doctrine and discipline seriously and reasonably proposed and in general to maintain truth and righteousness, condemning erroneous practices which tend to the injury of the peace, purity, or progress of the Church; and although each court exercises exclusive of original jurisdiction over all matters, especially belonging to it, the lower courts are subject to the review and control of higher courts in regular gradation. These are the different branches of church courts of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. If o ne should become a candidate to be a minister, he is required to pass an examination. Trials for ordination shall consist of a careful and satisfactory examination of the candidate or licentiates before the Presbytery, or a committee thereof, upon experimental religion his call to the ministry, his knowledge of geography, English grammar, philosophy, astronomy, ecclesiastical history, the Holy Scripture, natural and revealed theology and the Government of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In addition it is earnestly recommended that the Presbyteries use their best exertions to promote and encourage among their probationers the acquiring of a complete knowledge of the original languages, especially the Greek and the Hebrew. The doctrine of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church is the Whosoever will. In Oklahoma the different Presbyters of the Cumberland Church are divided in groups or Presbyteries, namely, the Choctaw Presbytery, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Greek Presbyteries. All are under o ne synod known as Indianola Synod. Under the Choctaw Presbytery, there are twenty-one churches, and under Cherokee are four churches. This organization is o ne of the strongest organizations in the United States. The first General Assembly was held February 4, 1810, at McAdlow’s house in Dickson, Tennessee, with Samuel McAdow, as moderator and Young Ewing as Clerk, with three members. In 1900 the assembly met in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with Reverend H. C. Bird as moderator and J.M. Hulbert as clerk, with two hundred thirty members. There are three hundred forty-two Choctaw members in the Choctaw Presbytery alone. There are 64,099 with an increase of members every year since the last few years.