Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reviewing Ivey's Work II

Ivey wrote:

"In the general conference of 1646 Elder Benjamin Cox, pastor of Abington Church, presented an appendix to the Confession. The existence of this document indicates that at least one church in London, of the original seven, considered the Confession either too vague or else inaccurate in presenting the doctrine of regeneration. Lumpkin describes Cox's work as characterizing a "higher Calvinism than the second edition.""

This is a blatant falsehood! Ivey says that Cox's "appendix" to the old London confession is proof that Cox and his particular church disagreed with the confession on the question of means in regeneration. But, if one reads the appendix, it is clear that Cox believed in gospel means, and wrote more clearly on that point than the confession itself! See my posting on this here.

Ivey wrote:

"Particularly, Elder Cox took exception to the Pelagian implications of Gospel agency in regeneration. In article seven of his appendix he wrote;

Though we confess that no man doth attain unto faith by his own good will; John 1:13, yet we judge and know that the Spirit of God doth not compel a man to believe against his will, but doth powerfully and sweetly create in a man a new heart, and make him to believe and obey willingly, Ezekiel 36:26,27; Psalms; 110:3. God thus working in us both to will and to do, of His good pleasure, Philippians 2:13."

Where does Cox deny gospel means in these words? Where does he divorce faith from the experience of regeneration? Where does he deny that faith in Christ is necessary to salvation? It is unbelievable how Ivey or any Hardshell can read these words and yet affirm that Cox was Hardshell! Cox clearly affirms that the "attaining of faith" is part and parcel of what it means to be born of God! He says that the "new heart" given in regeneration is one that is "made to believe and obey"! Further, most Hardshells say that being "made willing" is no part of regeneration for they say it is all a non-cognitive and sub-conscious experience.

Also, if Ivey would cite other statements from Cox in his appendix, it would further show that he believed in gospel means. But, conveniently, Ivey does not cite those other clear statements where Cox denies hardshellism.

Ivey wrote:

"Also, it is reasonable to conclude that the 1689 London Confession accurately represents the beliefs of its ratifiers and their congregations. To think otherwise is to accuse the Particular Baptists of surrendering conscience to political opportunity. Such a possibility flies in the face of all they suffered prior to 1689. Liberty of Conscience was, from the beginning, a fundamental tenet of the Particular Baptists. It seems highly unlikely these courageous brethren would have abandon certain elements of their doctrine simply to gain religious toleration."

In my previous posting in this review I have already commended Ivey for disagreeing with his Hardshell brethren who make liars out of the old Baptists who wrote the London confession by affirming that they wrote what they did, not because they really believed what they did, but wrote falsehoods in order to avoid persecution. In the above statement he again condemns those Hardshells who argue this way.

Ivey wrote:

"With regard to gospel instrumentality in regeneration, there is evidence that at least some of the early leaders of the Particular Baptists held Calvinist Presbyterian religious views. Hansard Knollys expressed his support for this tenet in an exposition of the work of the ministry, to preach the gospel, in relation to God's sovereignty in regeneration. He declared, "I say then when they (ministers) have done this, they must leave the issue to the Lord, who onely (sic) makes this ministry powerful to whom he pleaseth, giving them repentance...enabling them to believe in him unto remission of sins and everlasting life. And surely God hath appointed the Ministry, especially for this end, that by means thereof he might worke faith in all those whom he hath ordained unto eternal life."

Only "some" of the first Particular Baptists believed in gospel means as did Knollys? Where is the evidence to support Ivey's idea that some others did not believe as Knollys? He gives no evidence but only makes such unfounded statements. Further, it is clear that Knollys was in full fellowship with Clark of the church in Newport, who Ivey claims rejected gospel means! Notice the citation of Ivey regarding the faith of the real primitive Baptists! "believe in him UNTO remission of sins and everlasting life"!

Ivey wrote:

"Knollys demonstrated a position which balanced gospel agency and election in a sermon titled The World that Now is, and the World that is to Come. He stated, "If the sinner be willing to open the door of his heart, Christ will come in by his holy Spirit and He will communicate of his Grace to his soul. Not that you can do those things of your selves; I have told you, without Christ you can do nothing, John 15.5. But it is your duty to do them and it is the Free Grace of God, to work in you to will and to do, according to his good pleasure, Phil. 2.12,13. That he so working in you, you may work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Clearly Knollys, by Ivey's own admission, rejected Hardshell ideas about regeneration occurring apart from faith and means. Yes, it is a "balanced" view, contrary to hardshellism, which is an unbalanced view.

Ivey wrote:

"Elder Cox's appendix suggests that in 1646 not all Particulars Baptists embraced certain principles of Calvinism. But, adoption of the overtly Calvinistic tenets of the 1689 Confession indicates if dissenting arguments were presented at the general conference, they were not publicly acknowledged."

"If dissenting arguments were presented"? Ivey wants to insinuate that such dissenting views were present, even though there is no record of such! Further, it seems that Cox's appendix came out stronger on gospel means than the old confession itself!

Ivey wrote:

"Inclusion of Chapter Ten, parts one and three, which deals with gospel instrumentality in the effectual call, and Chapter fourteen, part one, which describes saving faith through a concert of divine impartation and rational belief of the gospel, together with supporting scriptural references, all serve to demonstrate the commitment the conferees had to Calvin's doctrine. By expressing the heart of Calvin's theory of regeneration in their Confession they moved away from those brethren who held to primitive faith. This tends to indicate the theology of the 1689 Confession went beyond political expediency and embraced conscience. These brethren were Calvinists with regard to Gospel agency. It must be assumed they heartily believed what they wrote into their Confession."

Again, we commend Ivey for his refusal to make the old Baptists, who wrote the confession, dishonest liars, as some of his Hardshell brethren have done. But, we disagree with him in his assertion that the gospel means position originated with Calvin, but with the scriptures. We also disagree with Ivey's unfounded assertion that the London brethren "moved away from...the primitive faith." Ivey cannot prove such a base falsehood, but makes such statements in the Hardshell tradition of uttering falsehoods.

Ivey wrote:

"Such practices were in contrast to the early Baptists of Wales in the Midlands, who claimed their succession of Baptist heritage through the mother church in Olchon Valley located on the Wales/England border, which is part of that area of Britain known as the Midlands. Their ancient Baptist heritage included principles of closed membership and communion. They were not reformed, claiming a succession to Christ through the Apostle Paul. Former pastor of Olchon Baptist Church, John Howells, states the ancient Britons of Wales, around Olchon, maintained an unbroken chain of succession from Christ."

Ivey is wrong to insinuate that the Particular Baptists who wrote the two old London confessions, men like Knollys, Kiffin, and Spilsbury, did not claim succession from the apostles. Ivey implies that the Particular Baptists did not claim a succession to Christ, but he is wrong and his baseless assertion shows how ignorant he is of the history of the English Particular Baptists of 17th century England. Ivey is also wrong, as I have already shown, in affirming that the Welsh Baptist were not in agreement with their London brethren.

Note: The above citations from Ivey are from Chapter 3 of his book.

Ivey wrote:

"We have described the faith and order of the Primitive Baptists of Olchon. We have detailed their reluctance, as late as 1654, to open their communion; that Howell Vaughn would not accept the irregularity of open communion, which was evidently an acceptable practice among at least some of the London Particular Baptists. (We here also note how Olchon sent no representatives to subsequent meetings of the London Confession Conferences, held regularly for several years after the 1644 Confession was signed, and none to the 1689 Conference). The writer will now attempt to satisfy those who must have a clear expression of the beliefs of the Olchon Baptists." (Chapter 5)

I have already addressed these statements of Ivey in my rebuttal to Jason Brown. I showed how the churches that were associated with the church at Olchon were served and established by ministers from the London churches! Further, the Welsh churches had, like the London churches, those who practice open and those who practice closed communion. The same is true relative to the practice of "laying on of hands." But, how does such disagreement prove that there was disagreement regarding the nature and means of regeneration?

Ivey wrote:

"Fellowship is acceptable proof of common theology since it is documented that Olchon Church was very strict in matters of faith and practice."

What an interesting confession is this! It reveals the inconsistency of Ivey who will argue that inter-church fellowship sometimes proved agreement and at other times argue that it does not prove agreement. But, seeing he affirms that the church at Olchon would only fellowship churches which they agreed with in doctrine, then it is clear that Ivey's thesis is wrong and shows that the fellowship that the Olchon church had with their London brethren, and with churches in Wales that were constituted by the London brethren, demonstrated agreement with them on the means of regeneration!

Ivey wrote:

"One significant trait of the Midland churches, as with their nearby Welsh sisters, was their independence from the London churches during the seventeenth century. As we have noted, they opposed an open communion, which was sometimes practiced in the London churches. Further, it appears from Davis' statements concerning the practice of open communion that the ordinances of the church are where these brethren drew the line of fellowship. According to Davis, Powell, Wroth, Erbury and Penry were all allowed to preach in the Welsh churches; however, it appears they were not allowed to commune. The statement of the Midland Association Constitution regarding closed communion may be similarly interpreted."

Here Ivey admits that the Welsh Baptists of the Midland Association recognized those London Baptists who practiced closed communion, and these believed in gospel means! What Ivey did not show is how the Welsh Baptists refused to recognize the London brethren because of their belief in gospel means and on the necessity of faith for salvation.

Ivey wrote:

"However, the most significant indicator of the Midland Association's independence and theological distinction from the London Particular Baptists is their Confession of Faith. While the 1644 London Confession is termed mildly Calvinistic by Lumpkin, the Midland brethren penned a confession which closely resembles eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century Primitive Baptist Confessions."

Yes, but as we have seen, the Midland Confession does not differ from the London Confession regarding the nature and means of regeneration! So, the Midland Confession does not reflect Hardshell beliefs. Also, if one examines both confessions, it will be clear that Ivey's characterization is false, for the Midland Confession was not "independent" of the London Confession, and was not "theologically distinct" from it. Ivey asserts such things but offers no evidence to support his assertions.

Ivey wrote:

"Article eight of the Midland Confession plainly marks a divergent theology from the tenets of Calvinism. However, according to Lumpkin and Tull, it was actually a response to the growing number of free will Arminian Baptist churches appearing in the mid-seventeenth century. The Midlands, in particular, experienced a considerable increase in Baptist churches which professed the tenets of semi-pelagian Arminianism. However, the wording of the article also contradicts Calvin's modified pelagian theories of divine impartation of a saving faith before regeneration. It reads:

8. That all men until they are quickened by Christ are dead in trespasses; and therefore have no power of themselves to believe savingly. But faith is a free gift of God, and the mighty work of God in the soul, even like the rising of Christ from the dead. Therefore (we) consent not with those who hold that God hath given power to all men to believe to salvation.

By stating that man is dead and has no power to believe savingly of himself, they removed precursor faith as an instrument of justification prior to actual regeneration. Their order is new birth, belief. They indicated that men who are dead in trespasses and sin cannot believe until they are quickened. This principle eliminates requisite gospel agency in regeneration. Calvinism teaches belief is in reaction to a concerted medium of the Holy Ghost and the gospel; whereby one believes and is justified, and after being justified is born again. This distinction separates primitive faith from Calvinism."

When Ivey says that "Article eight of the Midland Confession plainly marks a divergent theology from the tenets of Calvinism," he is stating a falsehood. No unbiased mind would read the eighth article and see hardshellism in it. Only one who wants to see it sees it, it being a case of someone "seeing what he wants to see."

Ivey's sources even say that "it was actually a response to the growing number of free will Arminian Baptist churches," and not, as Ivey affirms, a response to the growing number of London Calvinistic Baptist churches!

Ivey says that "the wording of the article also contradicts Calvin's modified pelagian theories of divine impartation of a saving faith before regeneration," but as I have said before when Ivey has said the same thing, this shows Ivey's ignorance. Again, Ivey is falsely characterizing Calvinists views on the relation of faith to regeneration. They argued that faith and regeneration were inseparable. Some Calvinists did affirm that, logically speaking, regeneration preceded faith, but they did not argue that it did so chronologically, but all confessed that faith was produced in regeneration, and this is exactly what the Midland Confession affirmed! Ivey is blinded by his own bias not to see it. Further, it is laughable that Ivey would accuse Calvin of holding to "Pelagianism"! Actually, it is the Hardshells who are Pelagian in inbibing the "command implies ability" proposition!

Notice how the eighth article speaks of believing to salvation (believe savingly). So, that in itself is enough to prove Ivey's contention to be false! They speak of not once, but twice, of "believing to salvation." They also define "faith" as what is given in the divine quickening! They say that faith is created by the same power that quickens! Hardshells today do not believe that faith is created efficaciously in the hearts of those quickened!

Ivey said - "By stating that man is dead and has no power to believe savingly of himself, they removed precursor faith as an instrument of justification prior to actual regeneration." But, this is Ivey's "reading into" the words of the Confession what is not there and demonstrates the bias of Ivey, and shows that he is no better than the Fulton brethren who did the same type of thing to the London Confession. Again, what Ivey needs to show is how the article divorces faith from the experience of regeneration! This he cannot do, however, as anyone who is honest will observe.

Ivey wrote:

"With inclusion of article eight in their Confession of faith, the Midland brethren denied the Arminian tenet of free-willism. However, it is both ironic and significant; it also distinguished the theology of the Midland Churches from all who subscribed to a theology of saving faith through the concerted agency of the Holy Ghost and the gospel. They rejected the theory of saving faith in response to Arminian teachings; but, in so doing, they also rejected the Calvinistic notions of gospel instrumentality in regeneration. Their statement regarding the relationship of regeneration and faith is an acceptable representation of what orthodox twentieth century Primitive Baptists believe."

I must confess that such torturing of the words of the Midland Confession, by Ivey, stirs up my righteous indignation! Is this all Ivey has to prove that the Welsh Baptists were Hardshells? People will laugh at such attempts! Their statement regarding the relationship of faith to salvation is clear! They said "believe to salvation"! Why can't Ivey cite a clear-cut article that says "we deny that faith is required for regeneration or salvation"? Why can't he cite a statement by the Welsh Baptists where they said - "we deny that the gospel is a means in salvation"?

Ivey wrote:

"An interesting aside to the writing of the Midland Confession of faith is the involvement of Benjamin Cox who was Pastor of Abington Church in London. As already mentioned, he attended the 1646 ministerial conference of the London Confession where, not fully satisfied with the language of the 1644 Confession, he presented a twenty-two point appendix to the 1646 edition. At the request of Warwick Church Cox attended the first session of the Midland Association as a corresponding messenger from Abington Church. It may be supposed this request was the result of his authorship of the proposed appendix. It may also explain the markedly polemic tenor of the Midland Confession. It is reasonable to believe, as an invited representative to the Midland Association, Elder Cox's views were given significant consideration."

All this reasoning by Ivey is false for I have shown how Cox argued for the necessity of faith for salvation, and of gospel means, in his appendix! Further, Cox endorsed the confession that Ivey says the Midland churches opposed! Yet, they invited and welcomed Cox! Ivey's whole thesis is overthrown!

Ivey wrote:

"We have already presented his (Cox) statement concerning regeneration."

But, this is not true! Ivey only cited a part of Cox's appendix, and even the part he cited does not say what he wants it to say! The article he did cite from Cox's appendix support gospel means and the necessity of faith for salvation. Other articles in Cox's appendix are even more clearly in support of gospel means, as I have previously shown in my posting on Cox.

Ivey wrote:

"Lumpkin asserts the Midland Confession is modeled after the 1644 London Confession. He believes Daniel King's friendship with the Particular Baptists in London establishes an argument for his assertion. Further, he notes certain similarities. However, none of these claims explain the differences between the two documents, which will be discussed in greater detail in Part Three of this work. With Elders King and Cox present, both having access to the London Confession, if the Midland Brethren had fully endorsed the London document, it seems reasonable they would have adopted it, in some form, as their confession. They did not. Lumpkin's conclusion, that the Midland Confession is modeled after the 1644 London Confession, is probably the result of his lack of familiarity with primitive Baptist doctrine. It is probable he mistakenly presumed these primitive Baptists were Calvinists. His error is understandable assuming he was not versed in the doctrinal distinctions of the two theologies."

All this is but speculation on the part of Ivey, who can only offer such because he can find no proof that the Welsh Baptists rejected the stated beliefs of the London churches relative to regeneration and salvation. Ivey gives no proof that shows that the Midland Confession differed from the London Confession on the doctrine of salvation. He disagrees with Lumpkin who says that the two confessions were not different in substance, affirming that the Midland Confession was "modeled after the 1644 Confession." Ivey disagrees but produces no evidence to back his claims. Ivey speaks of the "error" of Lumpkins but does not offer any proof that Lumpkins was in error. Ivey offers no support from other historians either.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reviewing Ivey's Work I

Elder Michael N. Ivey wrote "A Welsh Succession of Primitive Baptist Faith and Practice" (1994) (see here) and I have reviewed parts of his writing already. See


And here

Ivey's errors in this writing are numerous. His writing is mostly commentary on history, and very little real history. In the preface of his work he says:

"It is not that historians are intentionally dishonest; rather, often they do not have complete information or understanding. This has certainly been my case."

Whether Ivey was "intentionally dishonest" is a matter for each person to decide for himself, based upon what Ivey wrote. Certainly the Hardshells have shown that they can be intentionally dishonest when they want to be. Several instances of this dishonesty is evident in several of their historical documents. For instance, the leading Hardshell history, "Hassell's Church History," or "History of the Church of God," has parts in it that are incorrect, and some of them are examples of wilful dishonesty, mostly by Hassell's intentional omission of pertinent information about certain Baptist forefathers, such as John Gill, William Fristoe, John Leland, and others. But, I cannot go into detail about Hassell's history at this time but will save it for future postings and additions to my ongoing book on the "Hardshell Baptist Cult" (See here) when I come to review the "historians" of the Hardshell church.

Second, those Hardshells who assembled in Fulton, Kentucky (1900) for the purpose of supposedly endorsing the London Baptist Confession of 1689 but who butchered it by adding footnotes to that document which totally twisted and distorted the words of that confession, were dishonest. Bob Ross has written about this dishonesty. (See here)

A third example of Hardshell "historians" presenting erroneous and dishonest historical information and commentary is seen in how many Hardshells affirm that Dr. John Gill agreed with Hardshell views. I have written in response to this false charge in my series "Hardshells on Gill" in chapters 58-65 of my book on the "Hardshell Baptist Cult."

But, even if we allow that Ivey was not intentionally dishonest, he was nevertheless one of those historians who did "not have complete information or understanding." He even says "this has certainly been my case." Whether Ivey had the information available to him which disproves his false assertions is a fact that only he can know for sure, but I suspect he knew this information and chose to ignore it and to present his own revisionist history anyway.

Ivey said - "I am not trying to replace one succession with another," and yet that is clearly what he tries to do in his book. He says this in response to what his Hardshell forefathers did in Fulton, and yet he obviously disagrees with the conclusions drawn by them. The elders who assembled in Fulton attempted to affirm their belief in the old London Confession. What else could they do seeing that all their churches originally endorsed it? Their claim to be "Primitive" forced them to affirm the authority of the old confession. However, Ivey believes that the London confession taught gospel means, but his Hardshell forefathers, rather than being as honest as he, nevertheless denied that it taught means, and reworked the confession to make it agree with their no-means view. Why does Ivey not denounce the dishonesty of his Hardshell forefathers who assembled in Fulton? Other Hardshells have been honest enough and confessed that the Hardshells in Fulton were dishonest. Elder R. V. Sarrel who wrote a book presenting Hardshell doctrine, called a "Systematic Theology," very candidly confesses that Primitive Baptists "do not believe" chapter three of the London Confession, and he charges that the Fulton Convention of 1900 wrote a footnote "to make this old article MEAN WHAT IT DOES NOT SAY." (Systematic Theology, pages 109, 110) Wrote Brother Ross:

"Sarrels indicates that the sweet brethren who gathered at Fulton, Ky. in 1900 were engaged in a "literary effort of TORTURING of language" when they tried to "clarify" and "explain" the London Confession. He says, "Moderate or Non-fatalist Calvinists must either repudiate this statement [in the London Confession] or resign themselves to the endless task of trying to make it mean what it does not say" (page 111)."

Other Hardshells have confessed the same. And, in doing so, have they not indicted their Hardshell brethren for "dishonesty"?

Ivey, in his preface, said:

"Therefore, I cannot claim every assumption is correct, nor every conclusion satisfactory. My research was not exhaustive. Financial and geographic limitations compelled me to rely on local libraries, and the generous kindness of several Elders who loaned me books. My efforts were far from perfect. Thus, they cannot be considered the final word on this subject."

It is interesting that Ivey mentions "assumption" and "satisfactory conclusion," dealing with his "history," seeing his work is filled with unfounded assumption and unsatisfactory conclusions. It is also interesting that Ivey admits that his "research" is "not exhaustive." That is true. His research is very limited and represents a piecemeal or patchwork of citations, often taken out of context, or misinterpreted. Truly his work is, as he says, "far from perfect." And, his work cannot at all be "considered the final word on this subject" of old Baptist beliefs.

Ivey also wrote:

"I tried to be scrupulous in the selection of reference material. Because some Baptist histories were written with the intent of denominational promotion, with almost every event and character it is possible to find a historian who has written the exact opposite of other historians."

"I tried to be scrupulous in the selection of reference material"? As can be see from his work, he was rather a biased researcher, ignoring facts which opposed his interpretation of historical facts. Histories "written with the intent of denominational promotion"? That is exactly what Ivey's work is! Ivey is a "historian" who has "written the exact opposite of other historians," other more reliable and honest historians.

Ivey wrote:

"Further, I wish to offer observations and conclusions I have developed for myself over these two years spent researching and compiling this information. I do not present this work as a comprehensive study of the subject of Primitive Baptist origin and succession. It is a view of my own insights and understandings based upon certain events in history uncovered by my limited research. I have tried very hard to be honest and objective."

Ivey admits that his "observations and conclusions" are novel and contrary to what all other historians have said! That ought to be enough to convince people that Ivey is writing with denominational bias. Ivey says he is offering his "own insights and understandings," and this is true, for he concludes things that no other historian, other than Hardshells, conclude. He says he offers his own private "insights," but they are anything but insightful. In all of Ivey's work he never offers any direct statements from any pre-19th century Baptist source to prove that they believed hardshellism. He offers no proof that shows that people believed hardshellism prior to the "rise of the Hardshells" in the early to mid 19th century. Ivey speaks of his "limited research," and yet how can he make such dogmatic conclusions about Baptist history? Especially conclusions that are so against all reliable histories? Ivey says that he "tried very hard to be honest and objective," which implies that he fought against an impulse to be just the opposite. It ought not to be "very hard" to be "honest" and "objective," but ought to be easy. I can see, however, how it would be hard for a cultist to be so, how one with "denominational bias" would find it very hard. However, in his efforts to fight his impulse to be dishonest he nevertheless does not get a complete victory.

Ivey wrote:

"Incorrect identification of Primitives as Calvinists is a common trap most religious historians seem to fall into."

It may be incorrect to identify Hardshells, or those who today call themselves "Primitive Baptists," as "Calvinists," but it is not incorrect to identify the old Baptists prior to the 19th century "rise of the Hardshells" as such. But, historians are not wrong in identifying "Primitives" (Hardshells) as Calvinists. It is true that some Hardshells don't want to be called "Calvinists," but this does not mean that they are not so. Are Hardshells "Arminian"? Besides, many Hardshells have historically confessed to being "Calvinist." But, they meant that they believed in the "five points of Calvinism," and not that they were followers of Calvin. Ivey admits that the London Confession is "Calvinistic" and that the great assembly of leading Hardshell elders endorsed it in Fulton in 1900!

We have already seen how Ivey wants to give new definitions to the terms "Hyper Calvinism" and "High Calvinism."

See here

Ivey writes:

"This work relies upon distinctions of primitive and reformed doctrine to identify groups. Specifically, Baptists which believed in election and predestination, and also believed that a saving faith is imparted prior to actual new birth in regeneration, I identify as holding to reformed theology."

Here Ivey shows his ignorance. Those today who identify themselves as "Reformed" do not generally affirm that "saving faith is imparted prior to actual new birth in regeneration." James White is a classic "Reformed Baptist" and he avows that "regeneration precedes faith." Now, it is true that most Calvinistic Baptists, such as those who wrote the oldest Baptist confessions, and of Dr. Gill and his successor, C. H. Spurgeon, taught that regeneration and faith were inseparably connected, so that one does not exist without the other. They did not believe that regeneration, biblically speaking, preceded faith, nor vice versa. Even those Reformed or Calvinistic Baptists who affirm that "regeneration precedes faith" do not believe that it precedes it chronologically, but logically only. Therefore, Ivey shows his ignorance when he says that "reformed theology" puts faith prior to regeneration.

Ivey wrote:

"In the case of the Particular Baptists, based upon Article XXIV of the 1644 London Confession and Articles X and XIV of the 1689 Confession, as these several articles appear to be statements of Calvin's theology as expressed in his Institutes of Christian Religion Book 2, Chapter 2, Number. 6 and Book 3, Chapter 11, Numbers 16, 17, they are identified as Baptists of reformed theology. Baptists which believed in election and predestination, but also believed new birth precedes faith, are identified as Baptists of primitive theology. They are not reformed."

Again, this is all false. Again, James White, a "Reformed Baptist," puts regeneration before faith, logically speaking, but he would not be identified as being "Primitive Baptist" or Hardshell. Further, Ivey makes statements like this without any proof, but only offers them as his assertions. He does not speak as a historian and his definitions are novel and untrue. Ivey affirms that the old Baptist who signed the old London confession of 1689 were not "primitive" but "reformed." But, how can he say the brethren who wrote the confession were not "primitive"? No, they were "primitive" but today's Hardshells, who falsely call themselves "primitive," are not so, for they can find no old Baptist prior to the 19th century who held their views.

Ivey wrote:

"However, such distinctions are not always clear. From the beginning, there were some among the Particulars, such as Benjamin Cox, who were primitives in their theology. Conversely, there were those among the primitives, such as William Carey, who embraced Calvin's reformed theology."

First of all, this is confusing. He seems to use the label "primitive" in two different senses. In the first instance he seems to use the term "primitive" as synonymous with "Hardshell," but then uses it in the sense of "original." He says "some of the Particulars were primitive (Hardshells)." He mentions Benjamin Cox as one of them. But, then he says that William Carey was a "primitive"! Is Ivey saying that "some of the originals were originals"? How does that make sense? We know who the "primitives" are! They are they who wrote the oldest Baptist confessions of faith, and by this standard, today's Hardshells are not "primitive."

Ivey wrote:

"For this reason, I make distinctions in this work based upon identifying documents rather than affiliations. I rely upon confessions of faith, articles of faith, statements of belief and circular letters as documents which reveal a group's belief relative to faith and new birth."

Ivey states a number of falsehoods in these words. First, he says he makes "distinctions based upon identifying documents" and yet he produces no documents that clearly and expressly avow Hardshell views on regeneration and faith. All he can do is read a statement from a document and twist its meaning as did his forefathers, in Fulton, to the London confession. Second, Ivey says that he makes no distinctions based upon "affiliations." But, he does exactly that when he argues that the supposed lack of affiliation between the Welsh and London Baptists proved that the Welsh Baptist disagreed with the London Baptists on the means of regeneration!

Ivey says - "I rely upon confessions of faith, articles of faith, statements of belief and circular letters" but he clearly does not do so in his work. He never produces any such pre-19th century records which affirm Hardshell views regarding regeneration and God's use of means to effect it. He produces no confession of faith from the old Baptists that shows that they clearly denied the use of means in saving souls. When we cite today's Hardshells "relative to faith and new birth," we do not deduce their views from statements, but cite clear-cut statements, but Ivey cannot do so with the writings of the old Baptists of the centuries prior to the existence of Hardshells.

Ivey wrote:

"This is necessary because of a unique phenomenon which occurred during the reformation, Baptist groups with variant theologies first fellowshipped, then generally merged together. Beginning in the mid-seventeenth century primitives and reformed Particular Baptists in England often worshipped together."

They fellowshipped and worshipped together but they disagreed on the fundamental doctrine of regeneration! Again, Ivey must argue this way for he will not accept the fact that there were no Hardshells in the 17th century. When it suits Ivey, groups fellowshipping each other denotes agreement, and when it doesn't suit him, such fellowshipping does not denote agreement. Ivey offers no proof for such an assertion! First, he does not prove that there were any "primitives" or Hardshells in England at the time of the writing of the old confessions by the "Particular Baptists." He says that the old Hardshells in England (which didn't really exist except in Ivey's biased and blinded mind) "fellowshipped" with the "reformed Particular Baptists," and "worshipped together," but today's Hardshells will not "fellowship" or "worship together" with such! How is he "primitive" then? But, ironically, later Ivey will argue that the Welsh brethren, who he identifies as Hardshells, did not fellowship and worship with the London brethren and argues that this proves they were not Hardshells! But now he says just the opposite.

Ivey wrote:

"This general merger resulted in primitives in Northern England, the Midlands and Wales adopting the London Confession and losing their distinct identity as primitives. By the early nineteenth century the merger was nearly complete. The result was loss of the primitive faith in England."

Ivey says that those who accepted the old London Confession of faith lost their identity as churches of Christ. But, his brethren in Fulton, Kentucky endorsed the London confession! Thus, by Ivey's own admission, his Hardshells lost their identity in doing so!

Ivey wrote:

"In 1638 primitive doctrine was the doctrine of Dr. John Clarke, pastor of Newport Baptist Church in Rhode Island, the first Baptist church constituted in America. It was also believed by the Separate Baptists led by Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall according to their statement of belief in 1758."

But, I have already shown how Clark believed in gospel means and that faith was required to be eternally saved. Thus, Hardshells are not "primitive"! Later Ivey will try to prove that Stearns and Marshall also preached hardshellism, but he fails in this as he has in trying to prove that Clark, Holmes, and the old Welsh Baptists were Hardshells.

Ivey wrote:

"Because Primitives believed in election and predestination, but did not believe in gospel instrumentality in regeneration (saving faith), they are often referred to as hyper-Calvinists. Of course, they weren't."

But, I have previously shown this to be false. Hyper Calvinism was not a term that included, prior to the "rise of the Hardshells," in the 19th century, a denial of means in regeneration. When historians refer to "Hyper Calvinists" of the pre-19th century period, they did not have a denial of means in mind, for there was no such denial by people at that time, but they referred to those who denied the well meant offer of the gospel, or to those who believed in limited atonement. But, what is interesting in this citation from Ivey, is the fact that he said Hardshells are not "Hyper Calvinists," and yet defines the term as referring to those who denied the means of the gospel in regeneration! Such glaring contradiction!

Ivey wrote:

"The inclination of historians to identify them as extremist Calvinists, not only exacerbates the problem of correct identification, it also tends to hide their history by folding it into the history of more visible reformed Baptists such as the Particulars. For this reason, distinctions in Primitive Baptist history are often missed or ignored. Therefore, a study of their history includes searching for similar misnomers, consistently incorrect statements of their beliefs and practices, and similar disparaging descriptions. This tends to make researching Primitive Baptist history a bit of a treasure hunt."

Ivey shows, by these statements, how his treatment of history is novel, how it goes against all other histories. But, surely, a man who gives a totally novel twist to Baptist history ought to have a pile of evidence to back him up. But, we have already seen how he has no such evidence for us to accept his conclusions over those of all other Baptist historians.

"Researching Primitive Baptist history" is a "treasure hunt"? Well, it certainly is! But, it is a fruitless hunt! Because no one can find a Hardshell prior to the 19th century! In this statement Ivey shows his bias and purpose in doing his research. It is to go on a hunt for evidence to prove his Hardshells existed prior to the 19th century. But, his search only led him to find evidence that he could twist and make to support his view which affirms that the Hardshells have existed since the days of the apostles.

Ivey wrote:

"If a group claimed common origin with the writers of the first or second London Confession, I interchangeably call them Regular or Particular Baptists."

But, his great band of Hardshell elders who assembled in Fulton claimed a common origin with the London brethren who wrote the London confession! And yet Ivey claims that the Hardshells are not "Regular" or "Particular" Baptists! More glaring contradiction. Notice also more evidence of how Ivey defines terms, not as they have been traditionally defined by historians, but as he wants to do so, giving new definitions to the terms "Regular" and "Particular" Baptists.

Ivey wrote:

"However, in some few instances, I suspect varying accounts of history are the result of denominational prejudice."

Ivey is one to talk here! His work is nothing but an example in "denominational prejudice"!

Ivey wrote:

"Sometimes histories were written with a polemic attitude, to indict some group or defend oneself. The phenomenon of revisionist histories reached almost epidemic proportion with works written in the period immediately following the mission/anti-mission divisions of the 19th century. I have tried to pick through this category of histories. If I could not find generally collaborative accounts, I tended to reject them."

All this is simply absurd and ironic. It is Ivey and his Hardshell brethren who have been the most guilty of writing "revisionist histories." Is that not what his brethren attempted to do in Fulton in 1900? Further, the leading assertions of Ivey relative to the supposed existence of Hardshells in the years prior to the 19th century, has no other historian to collaborate him! Laughable! No, what Ivey rejects is the "collaborative accounts" of all reliable historians who show no existence of hardshellism prior to the 19th century.

Note: all of the above citations from Ivey are from his "Preface" to his work.

Ivey wrote

"This book began as a simple desire to understand a seeming inconsistency which I believed existed in Primitive Baptist history relative to the question of our succession as Christ's church."

A "desire to understand"? To accept the truth of history even though it overthrew his belief about Hardshell churches existing in a succession from the apostles? If he truly had a desire to understand and accept the historical records, then he would acknowledge that there were no Hardshell churches in existence prior to the 19th century.

"Inconsistency" relative to Hardshell history? There is lots of that! It is inconsistent for them to claim that hardshellism was the general belief of Baptists prior to the 19th century and yet can produce no proof of it! It is "inconsistent" for Hardshells to have once claimed succession from the Baptists who wrote and endorsed the London confession and then later claim otherwise. As an old Calvinistic Missionary Baptist I can show Baptists who believed in gospel means in generation after generation by their clear-cut statements, but Hardshells cannot do so, but have to resort to twisting records and documents in an attempt to do the same.

Ivey wrote:

"I could not resolve the differences I perceive between Primitive Baptist Confessions of Faith and the 1689 London Confession of Faith. I heard various arguments relating to differences in language, but did not accept them because the King James Version of the Bible is written in the same language and is readily understandable. I was given an explanation that the London brethren were attempting to escape persecution and so, wrote an "acceptable" confession. This did not seem to make sense to me since the church has always been a dissenting body from popular religion and always suffered persecution for her convictions. It did not seem reasonable that men who came to Baptist conviction knowing full well the persecution they must suffer would suddenly lay their convictions aside to avoid persecution."

The Hardshells have had a "trying time" in regards to what to do with the old London and Philadelphia confessions! Their forefathers in Fulton stated that they recognized their succession was through the churches who embraced those confessions. How could they do otherwise and yet claim to be "Primitive Baptists"? All pre-19th century Hardshell churches universally adopted these confessions. So, the Fulton assembly of Hardshell leaders acknowledged this much, but became dishonest in reinterpreting those portions of the confession which stated things contrary to Hardshellism. So, the effect of this has put all Hardshells on the spot to choose whether to indict the Fulton brethren for dishonesty or to agree with them in their reworking of the confession. Most Hardshells today will agree with Hardshell apolologist R. V. Sarrels who said that those Hardshells in Fulton attempted to make the confession to say what it clearly did not say.

The Hardshells who assembled in Fulton gave their reasons for reworking the old London confession by saying that the language of the old confession was archaic and that it therefore does not really say what it seems to say. But, Ivey rejects that view and gives good reasons for doing so. The KJV is also written in the same archaic language but no one misunderstands what it says. Ivey also rejects another argument that some Hardshells advance relative to the London confession, which argues that the London brethren did not really believe in gospel means but only said they did in order to avoid persecution! Ivey rejects that blasphemous charge also, and for good reason, for such an argument indicts the honesty of those old Baptists who wrote and endorsed the confession. Is this not more evidence of the "inconsistency" in "Primitive Baptist" history that Ivey referred to?

Ivey wrote:

"My problem with resolving the language of the London Confession to Primitive Baptist faith was centered around the concepts of saving faith, and gospel agency as it is described in Articles 10 and 14 of the 1689 edition. In part these articles state:

Article 10, Part 1. Those whom God hath predestinated unto Life, he is pleased, in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call by his word, and Spirit, out of that state of sin, and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and Salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds, spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his Almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his Grace.

Article 14, Part 1. The Grace of Faith, whereby the Elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts; and is ordinarily wrought by the Ministry of the Word; by which also and by the administration of Baptism, and the Lords Supper, Prayer and other means appointed of God, it is increased, and strengthened.

The archaic language and punctuation of the London Confession, to some measure, leaves the meanings of the these articles open to interpretations. However, inclusion of proof texts seem to indicate the London brethren believed in gospel agency, or instrumentality, in regeneration. Particularly, the use of II Thessalonians 2:13-14 as a proof text for Article 10 led me to conclude the authors believed that gospel utility includes its employment as a verbal instrument of effectual calling in regeneration. In addition, the use of Romans 10:14-17 to define the Ministry of the Word in Article 14 caused me to believe they were writing of the preached word, despite the use of capital punctuation. If I understand what they wrote, it is: The divine influence of faith, whereby the Elect are enabled to believe and thereby save their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts; and is ordinarily produced by the agency of the preached word."

Ivey indicts his Hardshell forefathers who abused the old London confession and who tried to make it say what it didn't say. But, this only shows how dishonest are the Hardshells who are so intent on holding to their man-made doctrines that they will twist and distort both scripture and the old Baptist confessions. Ivey is to be commended for his honesty about what the confession says, but he is to be condemned for not denouncing his Hardshell forefathers for attempting to make the old confession say something other than what it actually says.

Ivey wrote:

"As I continued to ponder these things, it came to my attention that certain brethren, who no doubt are struggling with these same questions, are teaching gospel agency in regeneration and citing an historic perspective of church succession through the Particular Baptists as a point to support their theology. Simply put, they assert Primitive Baptists abandoned their true beliefs in the 19th century, claiming that until then all orthodox churches subscribed to the tenets of the 1689 London Confession of Faith. They reason abandonment of the London Confession occurred gradually through minor deviations in theology, which developed as an extremist response to anti-missionary, anti-Arminian sentiments. They have asserted that gospel means, or agency in regeneration is first, a bible doctrine and second, an historic belief of the Primitive Baptists owing to our historical connection to the London Confession. I knew this could not be the case. I have read articles of faith written prior to the 19th century, which do not support gospel means."

It is true that the Hardshells have abandoned the London Confession and this is why Ivey looked for another "line of succession," even though he claimed that this was not his purpose! But, his forefathers did not claim succession through the Welsh Baptists, but through the Philadelphia and London confessions. It is obvious to the honest person that those who called themselves "Primitive" are not really primitive at all. That is why I have consistently challenged the Hardshells to produce the clear evidence that there were Baptists who held to hardshellism prior to the 19th century and this challenge yet remains unmet. I can see how this is a real "struggle" for today's Hardshells! They struggle in their consciences about this matter! Will they heed the witness of their consciences and confess that they are not "Primitive" at all?

Ivey wrote:

"All this deepened my desire to know more about the circumstance of the writing of the London Confession. I did not initiate this study to find some non-London Confession succession of the church; rather, my intent was simply to understand how the 1689 London Confession came to such wide acceptance among the Baptists. Also, from a historical perspective, I was anxious to know what events caused the Primitive Baptists to leave it. What I found was a Baptist succession which does not embrace the London Confession or, for some, has only coincidental contact."

Ivey makes a number of interesting testimonials in these words. First, he testifies that he "did not initiate this study to find some non-London Confession succession," and yet that is exactly what he does in his book! He throws away the London confession as a means of determining succession, even though this is the historic document that all Hardshell churches endorsed, prior to their separation from the main body of Baptists in the 1830's. Second, he admits that it was this old confession that had traditionally had "such wide acceptance among the Baptists," including the first Hardshell churches. Third, he confesses that the Hardshells had forsaken the old confession! Fourth, he says he was "anxious" about this matter! I am sure these questions entered into his mind (as they did mine as I began to study the history of the Hardshells as a Hardshell).

1. How can I claim to be "primitive" or "original" when the Philadelphia and London confessions, which was the standard of all original Hardshell churches, teach contrary to my views on regeneration apart from means and faith?

2. Since I believe that the "one true church" of Jesus Christ is the Hardshell denomination, and that the "one true church" must have never been non-existent, why is there no evidence of Hardshell views on regeneration in existence among Baptists prior to the 19th century?

3. How can I admire the great assembly of elders who assembled in Fulton, men who are greatly admired by today's Hardshells, when they clearly were dishonest in attempting to make the old London confession to say what it does not say?

Ivey wrote:

"I have been asked why the line of succession this work claims is not listed elsewhere. My answer is, I do not know; perhaps it does exist elsewhere. However, I did not find it in any of the major works of Baptist history. Bits and pieces, sometimes hints, were found in the works of Crosby, Armitage, Underhill, Jones, Benedict and Hassell. But I could find no place in their works where these renowned Baptist historians suggested a consistent Welsh line of succession (though most note the existence of Baptists in England as early as 600 A.D.). Neither did I find a Welsh succession in the works of modern Historians such as Lumpkin, Torbet, or Armstrong. (Modern historians generally deny the existence of an unbroken succession of the church from Christ). Dr. Roy Mason does mention the existence of ancient Christians in Wales in his history, but he mostly quotes the work of Dr. John Christian. However, when all the pieces were placed together, a Welsh succession of the church unfolded."

What a "struggle" of conscience Hardshells face in regard to their claim of being the genuine old Baptists! Again, Ivey makes some noticeable confessions.

First, he admits that previous Hardshell historians argued for no other succession of churches apart from the London confession. But, how could they? That is the nagging thought in the minds of all honest Hardshells who investigate their historical claims. He says none argued, as he would do, for a "Welsh line of succession." I have shown, however, that there is no such line, for the old Welsh Baptist, contrary to what Ivey asserts (without proof), did not believe hardshellism. He also says that not only did his Hardshell "historians" not identify a "Welsh line of succession," for the Hardshell denomination, but neither have any other historians. Yet, in spite of this, Ivey comes along and says he has discovered what no other historian has discovered! The irony in this is seen in the fact that Ivey does just exactly what his brethren did in Fulton! As they attempted to rewrite and misinterpret the old London confession, Ivey attempts to rewrite and misinterpret the articles of faith of the old Welsh Baptists, and the stated beliefs of Elders Clark and Holmes of the church in Newport!

Ivey wrote:

"I do not claim that such renowned historians were dishonest, or even incorrect. Each wrote books which greatly contribute to our understanding of Baptist history. However, in each case it is apparent their focal perspective was different from mine. They wrote to present a panoramic landscape of Baptist history. I have sketched a crude portrait."

He does not say the historians were dishonest or wrong? He believes that his brethren in Fulton were honest? That they were correct? Ivey may not overtly say that his Hardshell histories are incorrect, and histories written by other Baptist are incorrect, but he does so covertly, for he substitutes another line of succession for the previously accepted one! I challenge Ivey and the Hardshells to produce the statements of faith of Baptist churches and leaders, prior to the 19th century, that avow hardshellism. How does what the Fulton Hardshells did "contribute to our understanding of Baptist history"? Ivey refuses to overtly condemn his forefathers, who tried to affirm belief in the London confession by altering what it says, but rather tries to excuse them!

Ivey wrote:

"The absence of an assimilated account of Welsh succession is troublesome to me."

Why was it "troublesome" to Ivey? As a former Hardshell I know why! It was at one time troublesome to me also. What really troubled the conscience of Ivey, however, was the lack of any genuine succession of Hardshell churches! He had enough good conscience to reject the attempts to make the London confession to agree with hardshellism, but he was convinced that there was a true succession somewhere and so went looking for that "treasure"! But, rather than finding one, he rather invented one! This is why one historian who has reviewed Ivey's work has appropriately called it a "wish history." Ivey ought to become more "troubled" if he reads my review of his work! For I show that he has no proof for any succession of Hardshell churches back prior to the 19th century!

Ivey wrote:

"However, such a void probably resulted from the obscurity of many of the documents used by Welsh Baptist historians."

Yes, there is a scarcity of historical documents about the Welsh Baptists, but, as I have shown, there is sufficient to show that they believed in gospel means and the necessity of faith for salvation, and thus to show that they were not Hardshells. The problem is, Ivey does not approach those old historical documents with honesty, to accept what he finds, but only goes looking for evidence that will help him sustain his proposition that avows that the Hardshells are the true original Baptists, and finding none, does exactly what his forefathers did in Fulton. He hacks and hews on the writings of the old Welsh Baptists like the brethren at Fulton did on the old London confession.

Ivey wrote:

"Both Joshua Thomas and Jonathan Davis, who will be quoted often in the course of this work, were Welshmen."

Yes, and none of these Welsh historians produce any evidence that the old Welsh Baptists of the 17th century held to Hardshell "anti-means" views!

Ivey wrote:

"Much of their original research involved Welsh documents and manuscripts. Because of the obscurity of the Welsh language outside of Wales, it is reasonable to conclude that much of this information was hidden from both early and modern historians."

What is interesting is the inconsistency and contradition in Ivey's words. He disowned the Fulton brethren's reason for reworking the London confession which said that it was due to the archaic nature of the language, and yet this is exactly the reason he is now giving for his altering of the old writings of the Welsh Baptists!

Ivey wrote:

"I do not claim that Thomas and Davis are major historians. Their work is perhaps of little interest to those who are not specifically researching Welsh Baptist history. Also, with the exception of the Welsh Tract Church in America, most historians have considered Welsh Baptist history to be of little consequence. The Welsh Baptists were an obscure people."

But, in my first rebuttal to Hardshell apologist Jason Brown, who cited Ivey and argued as he did, I showed how the first Welsh Baptists in America all believed just as the London confession says about regeneration! The old Welsh Tract Church endorsed the London Confession when it became on of the first churches to form the oldest association in America, the Philadelphia confession. Roger Williams was a Welshman, and I have shown how he believed in gospel means.

Ivey wrote:

"Because a single line of Baptist Succession is found in Wales, it cannot be assumed that all Welsh Baptists were primitives. We know this is not so."

This is interesting testimonial. He acknowledges that not all the old Welsh Baptists were Hardshells. But, he ought to go further and acknowledge that none were Hardshell! The old Welsh Baptists were "primitive," but since the Hardshells don't agree with their Welsh and London and early American brethren, they are the ones who are not "primitive."

Ivey wrote:

"The denominational polarizations which exist today among Baptists were less acute in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Evangelists and other itinerant Baptist ministers were welcomed to preach wherever a Baptist congregation was gathered...Thus, a church which for centuries was primitive in faith one day would find herself with a reformed Pastor. This happened very often."

So, is he saying that the "Welsh line of succession" for which he argues has "missing links"? That a church was one day "primitive" and then became Missionary? And, that this "happened very often"? The truth of the matter is, that all were Missionary at the first until the Hardshells came into being in the early 19th century.

Ivey wrote:

"Neither am I attacking our forefathers who met in Fulton, Kentucky, in 1900. To the contrary, I thank God for their efforts."

What an indictment of Ivey! He knows they were dishonest and had no good reasons for claiming a line of succession, via the old London confession, and yet he will not come out plainly and say so! That is evidence of his cult status. He "thanks God for their efforts"? How can he? Elder Sarrels did not "thank God for their efforts" but condemned them. So have other Hardshells. Ivey even agrees that the old London confession clearly taught means in regeneration, but his brethren in Fulton said just the opposite. If they were not dishonest, then surely they were incorrect and yet we cannot get Ivey to overtly say so.

Ivey wrote:

"These brethren were evidently struggling with the same issues, concerning the London Confession, with which I have struggled. They give historic precedence to my struggle. They arrived at a solution which satisfied themselves and their congregations. I applaud their efforts and its outcome."

"They arrived at a solution"
to the problem of Hardshell lack of succession? What "solution" was that? To affirm that the confession was a lie? That it really does not mean what it says? Their "struggle"? Is it not the same one that all Hardshells possess when they come to see the real facts about their history?

Ivey wrote:

"However, we cannot assume their solution is the last word on the matter. If they felt at liberty to scrutinize the London Confession from a theological perspective, is it not our privilege to scrutinize it from an historical vantage? I do not see the result of my work as confrontational towards theirs, rather as a complimentary addendum. Theological truths must always take precedent over historical perspective. But when theology and history agree, historical perspective compliments truth."

But, the "solution" to the Hardshell problem of succession, prior to the 19th century, given by the brethren at Fulton, was no "solution" at all! It did not solve anything but only made matters worse, for it revealed the cultic spirit of the Hardshells, their adherence to their cult views over any solid evidence to the contrary. Also, the "solution" that Ivey offers is no better! Ivey would have done better to divorce himself from the kind of historical dishonesty manifested by his Hardshell brethren who distorted the old London confession. Rather, he says he is continuing in their tradition! A tradition of twisting the statements of the old confessions and primitive documents of Baptist faith!

Ivey wrote:

"The Fulton brethren exercised their theological perspective of truth by adding footnotes to the London Confession. I have now come along and offered my applause for their work."

But, many Hardshells acknowledge that their Fulton brethren were dishonestly trying to make the old London confession to say what it did not say by twisting their words in what they add in those infamous "footnotes" that they added to the confession! But, Ivey will not denounce them but rather "applauds" them!

Ivey wrote:

"I say to them, bravo! History affirms that your concerns were valid and your corrections accurate. Brethren in years past made the same corrections. It proves that the truths you penned at the bottom of the page are the same truths held by Old Baptists through the years. My work is merely an appreciative reaction to yours, a standing ovation."

Yes, their "concerns" may have been valid, but their motives and tactics were not! Their footnotes were accurate corrections? How can Ivey say this when he admits that the London confession taught gospel means, denied hardshellism, and was a true statement of the faith of the oldest Baptists with records? Yes, the footnotes that the Fulton brethren attached to the London confession may accurately state Hardshell views, but they do not state the views of the confession itself.

Note: The above citations are from the "Forward" of Ivey's book.

In future postings I will continue my review of Ivey's work.

Beliefs of Benjamin Cox

Michael Ivey, who I have been reviewing, relative to his book "A Welsh Succession of Primitive Baptist Faith and Practice," has argued that Benjamin Cox, one of the signers to the first London confession of faith, was a Hardshell and rejected those portions of the confession which taught means in regeneration, and the necessity of faith in the gospel for salvation. But, just like his false claims relative to John Clark and Obadiah Holmes, he is stating falsehood about Cox.

Ivey thinks that the addition of Cox's remarks on the confession show that he was Hardshell and did not agree with his London brethren on means in regeneration. But, let us look at some of Cox's statements from that addendum and see if Ivey is correct.

Cox wrote:

"We teach that they only do, or can believe in Jesus Christ, to whom it is given to believe in him by a special, gracious, and powerful work of his Spirit: and that this is (and shall be) given to the Elect in the time appointed of God for their effectual calling; and to none but the Elect: John. 6:64,65; Phil. 1:29; Jer. 31:33,34; Ezek. 36:26; Rom. 8:29,30; John. 10:26." (article for of his appendix)

Here Cox states that saving faith, or believing in Christ, is effectual and irresistible, as regeneration. Again, this is contrary to neo-Hardshellism. And what does he say is "given" to the elect, to all of them? Faith in Christ! He does not divorce saving faith in Christ from the experience of salvation, a salvation the elect are chosen to obtain.

Cox wrote:

"Though some of our opposers do affirm, that by this doctrine we leave no Gospel to be preached to sinners for their conversion; yet through the goodness of God we know and preach to sinners this precious Gospel; God so loved the World, (that is, hath been so loving to mankind) that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life; John. 3:16; and this faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation, That Jesus Christ came into the World to save sinners, I Tim. 1:15; viz., all those sinners (how vile and grievous soever) not only which already do, but also which hereafter shall believe on him to life everlasting, I Tim. 1:16; and that to Christ all the Prophets give witness, that through His name, whosoever believeth in him, shall receive remission of sins, Acts 15:7. This is the Gospel which Christ and his Apostles preached, which we have received, and by which we have been converted unto Christ. And we desire to mind what Paul saith in Gal. 1:9: "If any man preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be anathema." (article 6)

These words are a clear denial of hardshellism! It makes me think that the Hardshells are dishonest in affirming that Cox was a Hardshell, for surely they cannot be that ignorant as not to understand plain speech. Why does Cox preach to sinners? That they might be eternally saved and converted! He also says he believes that sinners "believe on him to life everlasting" per the words of Paul.

In the appendix Cox wrote:

"Though we confess that no man doth attain unto faith by his own good will, John. 1:13, yet we judge and know that the Spirit of God doth not compel a man to believe against his will, but doth powerfully and sweetly create in a man a new heart, and so make him to believe and obey willingly; Ezek. 36:26; Psalm. 110:3; God thus working in us both to will and to do, of his good pleasure; Phil.. 2:13." (article 7)

"Make him to believe and obey willingly"? Is this not contrary to many Hardshells today, like Hardshell apologist Jason Brown, who affirms that obedience is always the result of free will, and is never passive? Who affirm that obedience can never be effectually and irresistibly caused by God? Also, Cox puts coming to believe in Christ as the defining experience of those who are regenerated. The scriptures he refers to prove this. The "new heart" is a heart that believes in Jesus!

Cox wrote:

"Though all our workings for life be in vain, irregular, and not accepted of God, (Jesus Christ being our life, Who is freely given to us of God,) yet we believe and know that being made partakers of Jesus Christ, we do, and shall, and must, through Him, and walking in Him, bring forth the fruit of good works, serving God (in true obedience, and love, and thankfulness unto Him) in holiness and righteousness, being His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which He hath before ordained that we should walk in them; Eph. 2:10; Luke 1:74,75." (article 8)

This is a denial of neo-Hardshellism! Hardshells do not believe that Christian good works always follow the new birth. In fact, they believe that most of those who are "born again" never come to faith! But, how can one please God in good works apart from faith? (See Heb. 11: 6)

Cox wrote:

"As the preaching of the Gospel, both for the conversion of sinners, and the edifying of those that are converted; so also the right use of baptism, and the Lord's Supper, ought to be till the end of the world, Matt. 28:19,20; I Cor. 11:26." (article 18)

The preaching of the gospel is "for the conversion of sinners"? Does that not overthrow hardshellism? Also, in Cox's writings, he used the word "conversion" to denote "regeneration."

Cox wrote:

"A disciple gifted and enabled by the spirit of Christ to preach the Gospel, and stirred up to this service by the same spirit, bringing home to his soul the command of Christ in his word for the doing of this work, is a man authorized and sent by Christ to preach the Gospel, see Luke 19:12, &c. Mark 16:15, and Matt. 28:19, compared with Acts 8:4, Phil. 1:14; 3 John 7. And those gifted disciples which thus preach Jesus Christ Who came in the flesh, are to be looked upon as men sent and given of the Lord, I John 4:2; Romans 10:15; Eph. 4:11,12,13. And they which are converted from unbelief and false-worship, and so brought into Church-fellowship by which Preachers according to the will of Christ, are a seal of their ministry, I Cor. 9:2. And such preachers of the Gospel may not only lawfully administer Baptism unto believers, and guide the action of the Church in the use of the Supper, (Matt. 28:19; Acts 8:5-12; I Cor. 10:16.) but may also call upon the Churches, and advise them to choose fit men for officers, and may settle such officers so chosen by a Church, in the places or offices to which they are chosen, by imposition of hands and prayer, Acts 6:3-6; Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5." (article 19)

"Converted from unbelief" by preachers? Further, notice how Cox does not limit the duty of the great commission to only the ordained ministers, but to all disciples.

See here

What is interesting also about Cox is the fact that he was a leader among the Welsh Baptists of the Midland Association, the Association that Ivey says were Hardshells!

Holmes and Clark Addenda

Hardshell "historian," Michael Ivey, is not only in error regarding the ancient Welsh Baptists of the Midlands Association, but he is also wrong about Elders (Dr.) John Clark and Elder Obadiah Holms of the Baptist church in Newport, Rhode Island, a church formed about the same time of the formation of the church pastored by Baptist Roger Williams. In the previous posting it was shown how Clark and Holmes were not Hardshells in spite of Hardshell claims to the contrary. In this posting I will give some more citations from Clark and Holmes which demonstrate their denial of hardshellism.

Clark wrote:

"Election is the decree of God, of his free love, grace, and mercy, choosing some men to faith, holiness and eternal life, for the praise of his glorious mercy; I Thes. i. 4, II Thes. ii. 13, Rom. viii. 29, 30. The cause which moved the Lord to elect them who are chosen, was none other but his mere good will and pleasure, Luke xii, 32."

See here

This is a clear denial of Hardshellism and no manner of Hardshell twisting can make it agree with them in their aberrant and novel views. It shows that the first Old Baptist church in America was not a Hardshell church. First, notice that Clark affirms that election chooses "some men to faith." But, Hardshells reject the idea that election is "unto faith." They rather believe that only few of the elect ever come to have faith in Christ and his gospel. Second, "faith" cannot be defined as some kind of "seed faith," or non-cognitive "faith," because there is no such thing in scripture and because the verses given by Clark in support of his belief show that it is a cognitive faith in Christ. It is not a faith that men have apart from the gospel. Paul said "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." He did not say "this kind of faith," as though there were more than one kind. There is not one kind of faith that comes by hearing the gospel and another kind that comes apart from hearing, as the Hardshells are often affirming.

The scriptures cited by Clark in support of his statement show that it is a faith in Christ that comes by the gospel. I challenge the Hardshells to demonstrate otherwise.

Obadiah Holmes, Clark's associate pastor, wrote:

"And so remission and a free pardon is granted forth, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life..." (pg. 76 of Holmes' last will and testament)

Does that sound like hardshellism? Does Holmes affirm that any but believers will be saved?

Holmes, in his private letters, wrote:

"Oh, therefore, I travel in heart day and night in my spirit until Christ be formed in man; I labor by prayers both day and night that the elect may be called and that God would send laborers into the harvest." (pg. 78)

What does Holmes allude to when he speaks of Christ being "formed in man"? Is it not salvation and regeneration? Further, for what does Holmes "labor in prayers"? Is it not so that the "elect may be called"? Again, that is a denial of hardshellism and so it is ludicrous for them to affirm that Holmes was Hardshell. Obviously Holmes believed that he, as a preacher of the gospel, was a means in the salvation of the elect, just as Paul said he was. (II Tim. 2: 10)

Holmes wrote:

"For I look at every ordinance of His to be but a means of His own appointment to convey and communicate Himself through those who are but mere men that cannot see the face of God and live."

"Means" that are ordained by God "to convey and communicate Himself"? "Men" as "means" for such a conveyance? How can the Hardshells honestly affirm that Holmes denied means in salvation?

Holmes wrote to his children, saying:

"Wherefore my dear children...such great love as cannot be expressed by men nor angels hath the Lord sent and held forth even his son his only son to save and deliver from wrath as not to perish but to have eternal life even to all and every one that believes in his only son for in him is life."

Again, Holmes says Christ is "held forth," in the gospel, for the purpose of "delivering from wrath" and giving "eternal life" to all who "believe in his only son." Again, Holmes was no Hardshell.

Holmes wrote:

"Now my dear children consider how great love the Lord hath held forth in his son and to him for life and for cleansing and pardoning that you may be delivered from that great bondage and slavery that by nature you are in. Know you it is the Lord only that must draw you by his own power unto his son and that the son came to seek and to save that was lost even to the sick the whole need him not and therefore be ye careful ye reject him not and defer not the present tender of grace but while it is called a day harden not your hearts but turn to the Lord by true repentance and give credit to the Lord and testimony concerning his son that is to believe on him and so shall ye be saved. My soul hath been in great trouble for you to see Christ formed in you by a thorough work of the Holy Spirit of the Lord that it may appear you are born again and engrafted to the true vine that so you being true branches may bring forth fruit unto God and serve him in your generations although my care and counsel hath been extend to you as you all know yet it is the Lord must...if you would be Christs disciples ye must know and consider ye must take up your cross and follow him through evil report and losses, but yet know he that will lose his life for him will save it, and if you put your hand to the plough you must not turn or look back, remember Lots wife but be constant to death and you shall receive the crown of life."

"Believe on him and you shall be saved"? Again, Holmes shows he was no Hardshell. He is talking about being eternally saved, about being "born again," about being "cleansed," and "pardoned." It involves conversion, or faith and repentance, or "turning" to the Lord. A "tender of grace"? It would be a sight to behold the Hardshells deal with this passage from Holmes in view of their claims that Holmes was a Hardshell. For these citations

See here

And here

Holmes also wrote:

"...a great difference between that faith that is feigned and according to man's wisdom, and that which comes by a man that is born thereto unto God." (Last Will and Testimony, On My Life, page 71)

Born to faith? Is that what Hardshells believe? Do they believe that the divine begetting produces faith just as it produces life?

Holmes wrote:

"I understood that there was no preparation necessary to obtain Christ..." (pg. 76)

See here also

This statement is opposed to Hardshell views which avow that one must be previously prepared by regeneration in order to obtain Christ in conversion.

In conclusion, it is clear, from these two postings on Clark and Holmes that the assertion of Hardshells that the Newport church was a Hardshell church is a great glaring falsehood. When Hardshells can avow such things, in spite of the evidence to the contrary, who can take them seriously in their other historical commentary?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

John Clark & Obadiah Holmes Hardshells?

It is the contention of the Hardshells that John Clark and Obadiah Holmes of the Old Baptist Church of Newport, Rhode Island, one of the two oldest Baptist churches in the United States, were Hardshells, and that both Clark and Holmes rejected the view that faith in Christ was necessary for salvation, and that the gospel was the means of begetting faith. But, nothing could be further from the truth.

It is a common practice for the Hardshells, who cannot find any historical evidence for any who believed their errors prior to the early to mid 19th century, to nevertheless go searching for that "link" to the true primitive Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries. Some, like Michael Ivey, have attempted to find Hardshell churches among the Welsh Baptists of the 17th century, especially within the Midlands Association, but their efforts are a dismal failure. All they can do is to twist certain statements of those old Baptists in a futile attempt to make them conform to their novel and heretical views. Ivey, for instance, argues that the Welsh Baptists of the Midland Association were at odds with their London brethren who wrote the old confessions of 1644 and 1689 over the issue of "gospel means" and the necessity of faith for salvation, but again, nothing could be further from the truth. I have shown recently in my debate with Hardshell apologist, Jason Brown, that the Welsh brethren were in full fellowship with their London brethren, and that the London brethren who penned those old confessions were laborers in the area of the Midland Association and cordially received by them. (See here) I plan to add to this evidence against Ivey's claims in the near future. Already I have shown how the first Baptists in America, men like John Clark, Obadiah Holmes, and Roger Williams, were not hardshell on the new birth or on the means of salvation.

Hardshells affirm that the church at Newport, pastored by Clark and Holmes, was a Hardshell church and denied means in salvation and the necessity of faith for salvation. But, that is not the case, as the evidence presented in this posting will clearly demonstrate.

First, let me cite from "The Last Will and Testimony of Obadiah Holmes" to show what was the belief of Clark and Holmes.

In article twenty-three of the confession of the church in Newport, Clark and Holmes affirmed:

"I believe that although God can bring men to Christ and cause them to believe in Him for life, yet He has appointed an ordinary way to effect that great work of faith which is by means of sending a ministry into the world to publish repentance to the sinner and salvation, and that by Jesus Christ. They that are faithful shall save their own souls and some that hear them."

First, it is clear that Clark and Holmes believed that bringing men to Christ was equated with causing them to believe. So, when they read of Christ stating that all the elect would "come to me," they interpreted that to mean, as the context of John six shows, that all the elect would believe in Christ. But, "how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" So they affirm that this coming to Christ and faith "is by means of sending a ministry into the world to publish repentance." How is that hardshellism?

Second, they mention that this bringing of men to Christ and causing them to believe, was "for (in order to) life." This too is in accordance with scriptures where Jesus spoke of coming to him "for life." (John 5: 40) Thus, Holmes and Clark were not Hardshells.

Third, Holmes says - "They that are faithful shall save their own souls and some that hear them." This plainly is opposed to Hardshellism and it is amazing how Ivey can deny it. The Hardshells do not believe that the faithful, those who hear, believe, and obey the gospel, "save their own souls," nor do they believe that they "save" others by preaching the gospel and by bringing them to faith in Christ.

The best that Ivey and the Hardshells can do with such clear statements from Holmes is to say that the salvation alluded to by Holmes is not eternal salvation, but a "time salvation." But, this is an example of reading into the words of Holmes a false interpretation, for the Hardshell doctrine of "time salvation" was a late 19th century invention. Let Ivey and the Hardshells produce evidence that this novel Hardshell doctrine of "time salvation" was believed and taught by earlier Baptists, and by Elders Clark and Holmes.

Consider also the context of Holmes' words about being "saved" by hearing the word. Clearly the article of faith is intended to convey Holmes' views on eternal salvation. This in itself destroys any Hardshell attempt to twist the words of Holmes and make them to deal with a temporal salvation.

Thus it is a blatant falsehood, unworthy of a Christian historian, for Ivey to say:

"From Elder Holmes confession of faith it may be concluded he held firmly to the doctrines of sovereign grace. Not only so, but his theology is best described as primitive, rather than reformed. Elder Holmes was not a Calvinist."

But, Elder Holmes was a "Calvinist," not that he was a Presbyterian or follower of John Calvin, but that he was not "Arminian," and that he believed as his London brethren, the ones who wrote the two great confessions of 1644 and 1689. Ivey admits that these old confessions were "Calvinistic" but affirms that Clark and Holmes did not accept them as their own, or agreed with their sentiments. But, more on this point later.

Next, in article twenty-nine of Holme's confession, we read:

"I believe that as God prepared a begetting ministry, even so does He also prepare a feeding ministry in the church, who are a people called out of the world by the word and Spirit of the Lord, assembling themselves together in a holy brotherhood, continuing in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, breaking bread and prayer."

Regarding this article of faith Ivey said:

"Elder Holmes divided the functionality of the gospel into two categories. He wrote it "begets souls to the truth" and "feeds the church." He explains the instrumentality of the gospel with two separate articles In neither article does he intimate the gospel is in any way linked functionally to regeneration."

But, again, this is false, and represents the typical way Ivey and other Hardshells twist and distort words when they want to. Clearly the "begetting" that Holmes is talking about is that "begetting" mentioned by Christ and the apostles. What does Holmes affirm about this divine "begetting"? That it is a non-cognitive and sub-conscious experience? One that produces no faith in Christ and the truth, as the Hardshells teach?

Elder Holmes connects this "begetting" with being "called out of the world by the word and Spirit of the Lord." Clearly Holmes connected being "born again" with being "called," and affirmed that it is "by the word and Spirit of the Lord," just like his brethren in London affirmed in their confessions.

Elder Holmes also contrasts the "begetting" ministry with the ministry of "feeding." Clearly the begetting ministry relates to lost sinners, those outside the body of Christ, while the feeding ministry relates to those sinners who have believed and were incorporated into the body of Christ. It is absolutely absurd for Ivey to say that the words of Holmes "does not intimate the gospel is in any way linked functionally to regeneration." But, "begetting" or being "begotten by God," in the new testament, is the same as being "regenerated." Thus, a "begetting ministry" is the same as a "regenerating ministry." Let Ivey give us the evidence to prove that Holmes was not using "begetting" in the same way as did Jesus and the apostles, or as his London brethren, or as something different from "regeneration."

But, this is typical of Ivey in his "history." He is not an honest historian, but one who is intent on presenting his interpretations of history as historical fact. We can accept historical facts, but we cannot accept such distortions of facts, or the commentary of dishonest historians as Ivey and other Hardshell "historians." Hardshells are infamous for their "revisionist histories."

Ivey wrote:

"Concerning new birth he (Holmes) wrote: "I believe that no man can come to the Son but they that are drawn by the Father to Him, and they that come He will in no wise cast away. I believe none has power to choose salvation or to believe in Christ, for life is the gift only of God.""

It is interesting that Ivey says that Holmes, in this article, is talking about the "new birth." How does he know? He can say that Holmes did not have the new birth in mind when he talked of "begetting," but he can here? That is ironic and comical. I certainly believe that Holmes is talking about salvation or new birth in the above words, but I am consistent, and believe he also was talking about it in the article concerning a "begetting ministry."

Clearly Holmes, in this article as in the previous one, associates "begetting" (new birth) with "calling" and with "coming to Christ" and "believing in Christ." But, the Hardshells do not associate these things together. Holmes clearly associates spiritual "life" with coming to Christ and believing in Christ. And, in the previous article, Holmes spoke of believing in Christ "for life." He is not contradicting himself here in these words, as Ivey would have him do if we accept Ivey's interpretation of the words of Holmes.

When Holmes says "none has power to choose salvation or to believe in Christ," he teaches against Hardshellism, for Hardshells believe that "power to choose" and "power to believe" precedes actual choosing and believing. They teach that those who believe are they who have been previously given "power" to do so. But, Holmes believed that those who believe are not they who had a power to do so before they believed! Hardshells believe that God, in "regeneration," gives power to choose and believe, but does not itself produce choice and faith. Thus, those who do choose and repent do so because they have power to do so, but this is what is denied by Holmes.

When Holmes says "none has power to choose salvation or to believe in Christ, for life is the gift only of God," he clearly is defining what he means by "life." "Life" is defined as involving choosing salvation and believing in Christ. Let us quote again the words of Holmes and put "faith" in the place of "life" and see how it makes perfect sense. "I believe none has power to choose salvation or to believe in Christ, for faith (life) is the gift only of God." It is faith life that Holmes is talking about. There is no evidence in these words to demonstrate that Holmes believed that "life" existed where there was no "faith," as do the Hardshells.

In commenting upon the words of Holmes in this article, he wrote:

"The first statement resembles the primitive belief that God must aid preachers with liberty of explanation and hearers with liberty of comprehension for the doctrines of grace to be understood and accepted as truth. "I believe the precious gift of the Spirit's teaching was procured by Christ's ascension and given to men, begetting souls to the truth and for the establishment and consolations of those that are turned to the Lord.""

The first thing to notice about the commentary of Ivey is how he attempts to dilute (corrupt) the words and sentiments of Holmes. He wants to severely limit the statement of Holmes to a single minor premise, one involving the success of preaching to those already saved. But, Holmes again mentions "begetting" by such preaching, and this begetting is always the same as regeneration, both in scripture and in the writings of the old Baptists. Holmes is affirming that both the preaching of the gospel and the acceptance of it by believers, or of their being "begotten," were "procured by Christ's ascension and given to men." But, this is Calvinism, what is taught in scripture and in the old Baptist confessions, and is what is denied by Ivey and the Hardshells. They do not believe that faith in Christ, by the gospel, is one of the things procured for the elect by his death. Does Ivey believe that "time salvation" (conversion) was procured for all the elect by the death of Christ?

In Ivey's work, he attempts to prove that the old Welsh Baptists of the Midland Association rejected Calvinism and the old London confession of 1644. How does he prove it? He says that it can be deduced from these facts. First, they wrote their own confession. Second, they did not have inter-church fellowship with the London brethren. Third, they did not attend several conferences of the London brethren. Ivey admits that the London brethren did not believe in Hardshell views on salvation and on the instrumentality of the gospel and on the necessity of faith in being saved or born again and thus has to argue this way in order to uphold his thesis that affirms that the Welsh Baptists believed hardshellism. However, consider these facts.

"Louis Asher, late professor at the Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary, Jacksonville, TX in his biography JOHN CLARKE (1609-1676), Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc., Pittsburgh, 1997, supports the above remarks concerning John Clarke being a particular Baptist. On page 75, Asher states: “Outside of publishing his book ILL NEWES, one of the first things that Dr. Clarke did when he arrived in London was to join a Particular Baptist Church, the one that William Kiffin pastored.”

Thus, using Ivey's own criteria, Clark was a Particular Baptist who was in full fellowship and doctrinal agreement with the London brethren! If not fellowshipping and associating with the London proved disagreement (Ivey's argument), then conversely, fellowshipping and associating with them must demonstrate agreement! Clark shows his agreement with the London brethren by his "joining" with a "Particular Baptist Church," and that pastored by the famous William Kiffin, who was involved in writing the old Baptist confessions, which Ivey admits taught gospel means!

Asher is further cited as saying:

"On page 95, he further states: “particular redemption or limited atonement was a descriptive tenet of the Particular Baptists of London, a group with which Dr. Clarke was associated. Like the Puritan and Presbyterian theology, the Regular Baptist with Clarke believed the doctrine of God’s election to eternal life was according to His sovereign will and pleasure. To Clarke, the atonement was for believers as he stated in Article 12: [to] all that are or shall be saved.” Read appendix B of Asher’s book for a more detailed ’articles of faith’ by Obadiah Holmes and John Clarke. I highly recommend Asher’s book for those who want to know the truth about John Clarke and the First Baptist Church in America. Read The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 for a much more detailed understanding of the doctrinal position of the Particular Baptist of England. William Kiffin, mentioned previously, was a signer of this confession."

See here

Again, more evidence of the close fellowship between Clark and the London brethren, with men like Spilsbury, Knollys, and Kiffin, all who taught means in regeneration.

Our author states:

"The Calvinist character of these New England Baptists in the seventeenth century is thus apparent, and the Testimony of Obadiah Holmes places him centrally in that tradition."

But Ivey denies such facts and argues that Clark and Holmes were not Calvinists, not Particular Baptists, not in agreement with their London brethren regarding means in regeneration.

But, let us cite more from the confessional teachings of Clark and Holmes. They said:

"Now in this faith or belief I stand, not doubting but it is the faith of God's elect, for He knows who are His and the elect shall obtain it." (pg. 87)

In speaking of the "faith of God's elect," these old Baptists were talking about a "faith" which all the elect would possess, not what some few of them would possess. And, how did they define this faith that all regenerated souls possessed? This "faith" was the beliefs stated by Holmes and Clark in their confession! All the elect will believe those things, for it is "the faith of God's elect." This "faith," said Clark and Holmes, "the elect SHALL obtain it." This is hardshellism denied. They clearly believed that all the elect would come to believe the gospel and be converted as part of their being "begotten" or "regenerated."

In Holme's private letters he wrote:

"Yet, my dear wife, those things are but common favors that many may have their part in. But consider that the choice particular favor that many receive not which God has given to thee in choosing and calling thee to the knowledge of Himself and His dear Son which is life eternal." (Letter to his wife, pg. 96)

To read the articles of faith of Holmes, from his "last will and testimony," see the account given by Edwin Scott Gaustad

See here

Here Holmes clearly identifies the gift of salvation, which results from God's "choice particular favor," and that it involves "choosing and calling thee to the knowledged of Himself and His dear Son," and argues that such an evangelical knowledge "is life eternal." Clearly Holmes cannot be classed as "Hardshell" in his beliefs.

Writing on Dr. Clark, Louis Franklin Asher, Ph.D, wrote:

"In 1651 Clarke made public an expression of his beliefs. The first pronouncement of his religious convictions demonstrated his repugnance of the Puritan religious beliefs and intolerance. This was illustrated by both his liberal spirit of toleration and his own theological beliefs. While theologically they were strongly hostile to the Congregational Puritans, they were remarkable in harmony with the English Particular Baptists of London."

But, Hardshell Michael Ivey disagrees, affirming that Clark and Holmes were not in "remarkable harmony" with the "English Particular Baptists of London"! Further, Ivey disagrees with such and gives absolutely no evidence to prove it, and even ignores the evidence that overthrows his empty assertions.

Asher wrote:

"Unlike Roger Williams and his vacillating opinions in religious practices, Clarke opposed even the slightest compliance to the Puritan rule; that is mere attendance in one of their churches. Moreover Clarke never wavered from his Baptist convictions. Clarke’s beliefs bore a kinship to the Antinomians but in a way which was both confusing and misleading to the Puritan magistracy. He did not share in the Antinomian religious notions altogether, but according to his own account, he opted to associate with the Antinomians for two basic reasons: He believed in the free exercise of the individual conscience, and he held to the basic premise of Antinomianism, a “covenant of grace.”

Clark was no "antinomian" of the Hardshell variety.

Asher wrote:

"Another minister, Hanserd Knollys, who became a non-conformist in England and came to New England for awhile, was later identified with Clarke and Lenthal among the Particular Baptists of London." (pg. 46)

Notice how Knollys, of the London brethren, was "identifed with Clark"! Knollys believed, like Spilsbury, Kiffin, and Keach, that the gospel was a means in regeneration and that none would be saved who did not believe the gospel. Thus, Clark, like his London brethren, was not Hardshell.

Asher wrote:

"By 1644, when Lucar joined the group, he could have brought the strict Baptist order from the British Baptists, which constituted the church along more modern lines. Yet Lucar may have treated the church as a mission church, and the church without any visible changes in practice or doctrine voted to cooperate with the Particular Baptists of London. Soon after this, in fact, such a church posture was publicly revealed without any indication of reorganization." (pgs. 52, 53)

Thus, the Newport church, pastored by Clark and Holmes, cordially received their London brethren, embracing the same faith as them. It was also a missionary church, not a Hardshell church.

Asher wrote:

"The only active Baptist ministry, in fact, in all of New England by 1650 was initiated and supported by the Newport church under the leadership of Dr. Clarke, Elders Lucar, and Obadiah Holmes." (pg. 61)

But, notice that Lucar came from the London churches! He was received by the Newport church by letter!

Asher wrote:

"Like the Anabaptists, Clarke conceived salvation apart from Christ as unobtainable, and no one has the power or initiative to choose God’s gift; rather it begins with God. The way in which one is to learn of Christ, the free gift, is by His God-sent ministry which teaches Christ as the only Savior. Following this calling and sending through the exercise of such a ministry, lost mankind — on an individual basis — is drawn to Christ by the Father through the Holy Spirit." (pg. 98)

Again, this is all contrary to Hardshell teachings about regeneration and salvation. Clark believed that the "God-sent ministry" is the means of bringing men to Christ, of drawing them to Christ.

Asher wrote:

"Clarke expanded on his position of a sent ministry by adding, “Although God can bring men to Christ, and to cause them to believe in him for life, yet he hath appointed an ordinary way to effect that great work of faith, which is by means of sending a ministry into the world.” Since Clarke believed the Gospel exists as a general message to all mankind, here it would seem he denounced “hardshellism.” Yet, at the same time, Clarke held that the power of Satan kept men from choosing God." (pgs. 100-101)

"He denounced 'hardshellism'"! (or what would be later become hardshellism) Notice that Clark says - "cause them to believe in him for life." How is that in agreement with hardshellism? Further, this believing in order to spiritual life is equated with "that great work of faith." Again, this is a denial of hardshellism.

Asher wrote:

"Clarke believed in and practiced missionary work. His method of spreading the “Good News” was through preaching and teaching. He was persuaded that coercion could not accomplish what the power of the gospel through preaching could. People voluntarily receive the message of God, Clarke argued, when the heart is awakened by the quickening Spirit of God. To him, therefore, if this method failed to accomplish the intended result, then no power or force of men on earth could perform the task." (pg. 107)

Clark a Missionary Baptist! Notice that Asher says that Clark believed that part of being quickened was voluntarily receiving the gospel message! Again, hardshellism denied!

Asher wrote:

"Clarke’s Eschatology was chiliastic — that is, he believed in a form of the premillennial coming of Christ in His second advent. This belief set forth the notion that a 1,000-year reign on earth would begin when Christ returned the second time." (pg. 111)

And, in the same line, wrote:

"To Clarke the Kingdom would not be ushered in by mankind through social or political reforms but only by Christ when He returns to earth at His second coming (parousia). In fact, when this event occurs, as Clarke expressed it, Christ will descend from Heaven “in the form of a King with his glorious Kingdom, according to promise.” Only at this time will the saints of God reign with Christ in His millennial Kingdom. f431 During this future worldsaving event, the righteous faithful, Clarke maintained, will be rewarded by certain vested priorities. Indeed, in his discussion of Matthew 25, Clarke posited that the Lord will then say: “Have thou Authority (in my Kingdom) over ten cities.” (pgs. 111-112)

Asher wrote:

"Baptists, as revealed through Clarke’s faith, became known by their evangelistic or missionary efforts. A mission spirit and its emerging widespread practice were obviously a challenge to the Baptist way from its earliest New England inception. This became evidenced by the long and controversial missionary crusade waged by Clarke and Mark Lucar at Seekonk in 1649. The repercussions from this venture were shocking, to say the least, but the overall effect was gratifying to the Baptists. Very soon Baptists appeared in numbers, and their impact ranged far and wide, being felt throughout all New England in record time." (pg.112 - "JOHN CLARKE, 1609-1676" by Louis Franklin Asher Ph.D.)

See here

Regarding the millenial views of Clark, Ivey wrote:

"Evidently, Elder Holmes was a millennialist. Concerning the resurrection of the just he wrote: "I believe the promise of the Father concerning the return of Israel and Judah, and the coming of the Lord to raise up the dead in Christ, and to change them that are alive that they may reign with him a thousand years, according to the Scriptures.""

Let it be known that today's Hardshells will not generally fellowship any who hold to premillenialism and so it is very inconsistent and dishonest for the Hardshells to claim that Clark was a Hardshell, for this reason alone.

On this Ivey wrote:

"Excluding his millennial reign theory, Elder Holmes' confession of faith is orthodox in all other areas."

He was Hardshell but not orthodox! Laughable! And Ivey wants us to take his work seriously?

In conclusion, let us notice these words of Ivey:

"It demonstrates a clear understanding of both eternal salvation and gospel deliverance. It plainly distinguishes new birth as a precursor to acceptance, or rational belief, in Christ. His handling of regeneration, together with his definitions of the functionality of the gospel indicates Elder Holmes was not reformed, despite his earlier exposure to Puritan Congregationalism. One must wonder if the harshness of Puritan Calvinism compelled him to look beyond the reformer's theology until he found in the scriptures and by Dr. Clarke's preaching a primitive doctrine, which "begot" his soul to gospel truth, which is the faith once delivered."

But, these are baseless assertions which the facts presented prove to be false. Why cannot Ivey simply quote words from Clark or Holmes which clearly affirm hardshellism? Does Ivey believe that the divine begetting (regeneration) produces faith in gospel truth, as did Holmes and Clark? How can he think that people will not see through his deceptions?

Ivey also wrote:

"As has been noted, beginning with Elder John Clarke, the churches and Elders of this succession had frequent and numerous contact with the Particular Baptists in England, and later, with the Regular Baptists in America. However, their friendly relations with the Particulars does not mean these brethren were themselves Particular Baptists. Their succession was primitive. Newport Baptist Church was constituted, fully embracing the principles of believers baptism and baptism by immersion, four years before the first baptismal service was held by the Particular Baptists in London."

Did you see how Ivey divorces the evidence of fellowship and agreement between the Newport church and their London brethren? They only had "friendly relations"? All the evidence presented show how this is a severe "down-playing" of the relationship and a stubborn refusal to see how it was far more than simple "friendly relations."

Ivey wrote:

"Dr. Barrows mistakenly characterized John Clarke's theology as that of the Regular Baptists. We shall presently demonstrate that his theology was primitive."

Wrong! Dr. Barrows was correct and Ivey is wrong! Barrows and others prove their assertions but Ivey has no proof of his views about Clark and Holmes.

Ivey says - "In faith and practice, the Newport Church was primitive Baptist…" But, he says this without any evidence, and against all the evidence to the contrary.

Ivey wrote:

"In late 1651 Elder Clarke sailed to England to administer the affairs of Rhode Island. He remained as the Colony's representative to the Crown for twelve years. During this time Elder Holmes served as interim pastor of Newport Church. He was ably assisted by Elder Mark Lucar, who was a charter member of Mr. Spilsbury's church in London, being baptized with fifty-two others in 1641 at the Particular's inaugural baptismal service."

This is all detrimental to Ivey's assertions! By Ivey's own admission, Lucar was a "charter member" of Spilsbury's church, and yet he received him into the communion of Newport Church. Spilsbury is on record as stating his belief that men were saved by the preaching of the gospel, and was one who helped to write the oldest London confession.

And again, on the relationship between Clark and the London brethren, Ivey wrote:

"The primitive Baptists of Newport maintained a cordial correspondence with the Particular Baptists in London. Numerous examples of their friendly relations are contained in letters written by both Elder Clarke and Elder Holmes. One such letter was written to Mssrs. Spilsbury and Kiffen by Elder Holmes shortly after his beating. In it he mentions Elder Clarke's impending journey to London, noting they will soon be able to hear Elder Clarke's account of the ordeal. The introduction of Elder Holmes letter suggests the close fellowship he felt toward the brethren in London. He began the correspondence, "Unto the well beloved brethren John Spilsbury and William Kiffen, and the rest that in London stand fast in the faith, and continue to walk steadfastly in that order of Gospel which was once delivered unto the saints by Jesus Christ; Obadiah Holmes, an unworthy witness that Jesus is Lord, and of late a prisoner for Jesus' sake at Boston, sendeth greetings."

How Ivey can say these things and yet deny that Clark and Holmes were in agreement with their London brethren on the means of salvation, is ludicrous.