Friday, September 30, 2011

The Old Baptist Faith

Citations from Old Baptists on being born again through the preaching of the gospel from the 17th through the 19th centuries. (All emphasis mine - SG)

From the 17th Century

London Confession of 1644

VI. This therefore is life eternal, to know the only true God, and whom he hath sent Jesus Christ. And on the contrary, the Lord will render vengeance in flaming fire to them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

XXI. That Christ Jesus by his death did bring forth salvation and reconciliation only for the elect, which were those which God the Father gave him; and that the Gospel which is to be preached to all men as the ground of faith, is, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the ever blessed God, filled with the perfection of all heavenly and spiritual excellencies, and that salvation is only and alone to be had through the believing in his Name.

XXII. That Faith is the gift of God wrought in the hearts of the elect by the Spirit of God, whereby they come to see, know, and believe the truth of the Scriptures, and not only so, but the excellency of them above all other writings and things in the world, as they hold forth the glory of God in his attributes, the excellency of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power of the fullness of the Spirit in its workings and operations; and thereupon are enabled to cast the weight of their souls upon this truth thus believed.

XXIV. That faith is ordinarily begot by the preaching of the Gospel, or word of Christ, without respect to any power or capacity in the creature, but it is wholly passive, being dead in sins and trespasses, doth believe, and is converted by no less power, than that which raised Christ from the dead.

XXV. That the tenders of the Gospel to the conversion of sinners, is absolutely free, no way requiring, as absolutely necessary, any qualifications, preparations, terrors of the Law, or preceding Ministry of the Law, but only and alone the naked soul, as a sinner and ungodly to receive Christ, as crucified, dead, and buried, and risen again, being made a Prince and a Saviour for such sinners.

John Spilsbury
(1593–1668) wrote:

"I believe that God of his grace, in his own time, effectually calls such as shall be saved to the knowledge of the truth, who is said, of his own will to beget us by the word of truth: in which work of grace, nature is as passive, as a child in the parents begetting of it; and so God by His Spirit works faith in the hearts of all such to believe in Christ, and his righteousness, only for justification. And thus they are made righteous before God in Christ, and so conformable to the will of God the Father through the Son; and also made holy through the work of regeneration, and the holy Spirit of grace dwelling in them; yet all such have still, as long as they live here in the flesh, remaining in them, an old man, that original corruption, the flesh that wars against the spirit, which hinders them in their obedience both to God and to man, and many times draws them to that which is evil, and contrary to their intentions; yet all of them shall through Christ overcome, and safely be brought to glory at last." (from Spilsbury's personal confession of faith)

See here

John Spilsbury was one who signed the first London Confession of Faith and a leader among the English Particular Baptists. He was associated with such men as Hanserd Knollys, Samuel Richardson, Benjamin Coxe, William Kiffin, John Miles, John Clark, Obadiah Holmes, and Benjamin Keach.

Hanserd Knollys (1599–1691) wrote:

"Thus being by the Spirit and Faith united with Christ, we are made a new creature, or creation, have a new heart, and walk in newnesse of life."

"Our union by Faith, the Pardon of sin, our Reconciliation with God, the sanctification of our hearts and lives, our peace of conscience, and the Salvation of our Souls, are the Benefits of our Redemption by Christ, I Cor. 1: 30. These are as a Cluster of Camphire, full of divine virture, and spiritual sweetness unto believers, when they can apply these benefits unto themselves by Faith." (Song of Solomon)

See here

"By the new man here, we are to understand (as it was meant by the Apostle) a true BELIEVER, or a faithful brother in Christ, one sanctified in Christ Jesus, called a Saint; who is redeemed in the spirit of his mind, and hath put on the new man. (Eph.4:23-24) Which is done, when by the mighty operation of the Holy Spirit, in the promises given unto us, we are MADE partakers of the Divine Nature. (II Pet.1:3,4) Thus being by the Spirit and Faith united with Christ, we are made a new creature, or creation, (II Cor. 5:17) have a new heart (Ezek.36:26,27) and walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:4) And such may be said to have put on the new man, the sum then is this: "Christ is all, and in all, in every true believer, in every justified sanctified person, who hath a new heart, and walk in newness of life."

"But some may thus say within them selves, I hope my soul is in a better condition; I am not so wicked and carnal as some others are, neither am I so vile a sinner as I have been formerly; but I am somewhat reformed, and have forsaken my sinful course, and begin to delight to hear Sermons, and I pray with my family. To this I would answer, although your condition be not so desperate as others, who have lived long under ordinary means of grace, and yet are not at all wrought upon, I must tell you, Professors may (through strong conviction, horror of conscience, and fears of hell) leave the Acts of some sins, and may customarily perform some religious duties, & yet be not regenerated. Professors may have leaves like the unfruitful Fig tree, and Lamps like the five foolish virgins, they may seem to be religious, and have a form of godliness; and not be a New creature, or creation. I might instance many such in the Scriptures. Herod, (Mark 6:20) heard John gladly, and did many things. Saul, (I Sam. 10:6-9) was turned into another man, had another heart, yet unconverted: So thou mayest be another man; and not a New man; may have another heart, but not a new heart.

By incohabition of His Holy Spirit, (Gal.4:6) and by communication of His saving faith. (Eph. 3:17,47) Christ is in your hearts...

Let me tell you, God gives Christ upon Gospel terms, which are these three:

First, God in the dispensation of the Gospel propounds Christ to LOST sinners, as the ONLY necessary, and All sufficient means of salvation: Christ is the ONLY NECESSARY MEANS OF SALVATION. (Acts 4:12) Neither is there salvation in any other. And Christ is the All-sufficient means of salvation, so that we need NONE BUT HIM. (Heb. 7:25) He is able to save them to the uttermost, &c.

Secondly, God doth give Christ to lost sinners without respect to price or person. He invites them that have no money, to come and buy wine, and milk (that is to say, Christ) without price. (Isa. 55:1) And any one that will are invited to take Christ freely. (Rev. 22:17) And, whosoever will, let him take the water of life (that is, Christ) freely.

Thirdly, God requires, that those, who do receive Him SHALL DEPART from iniquity. (lI Tim. 2:19) "Live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." (Titus 2:11-15) And that they SHALL FAIL ALL, LOSE ALL, and have ALL for the sake of Christ, and take up the cross and follow Him.

You will say to me, Alas, here is my misery, to wit, although God propound Christ upon good terms to poor sinners, to me among others, I have no power of myself to receive Christ, to believe in Him, and accept of Him. True, it is not (as I said) in him, that willeth, nor of him that runneth but of God, who sheweth mercy (Rom. 9:16) It is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, which must be put forth in your hearts, to MAKE you believe also, according to the working of His mighty power, which He WROUGHT in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead. (Eph. 1:19-20) And you ought to wait on God in the diligent use of means until the day of His power come upon you, and then you shall be a willing, a believing people. (Psa. 110:3) I may exhort you to repent of your wickedness, profaneness, &c. as Peter did: (Acts 8:22) But God must GIVE you repentance unto life. (Acts 11:18) It is my duty to preach the Gospel to you, and to exhort you to seek Christ, (Acts 17:22,27) but it is the mere mercy and free grace of God to DRIVE you to Christ, which nothing but His everlasting love can move Him to do. (Jere. 31:3) You ought to seek, and wait, ask, and use all the means which God hath appointed, and afforded you, both secret, private, and public. (Rev. 2:29) But God must make the means effectual. (Acts 16:14) And therefore I must say, it is not in me, I cannot draw you to Christ, that is the Father's work. (John 6:44) But having exhorted you to seek Him in the use of means, there I must leave you to wait on God for the moving of His Holy Spirit where you must lie and continue like the poor impotent man at the pool of Bethesda for healing: And though as he did, so you may see many a lame, blind, deaf, dumb, naked-leprous soul get healing and go away rejoicing and praising God, and you remain still so impotent, that you cannot get into the Fountain, set open for sin and for uncleanness, nor have any that can help you in, that you may be cured: yet be not disheartened, as Christ came suddenly and unexpectedly, and healed the impotent man after long waiting; so Christ will come according to His promise to your souls that seek Him. (Mal.3:1) The "The Lord whom you seek shall come, shall suddenly come, saith the Lord of Hosts." ("Christ is All and in All")

See here

Hanserd Knollys
was a signer of the first London Confession and a leader among the English Particular Baptists and lived in America in the early 17th century for a period of time, and was in fellowship with leading American primitive Baptists.

Benjamin Coxe (1595-1664) 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)

"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)

"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)

"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)

Benjamin Coxe
was a signer of the first London Confession and wrote an Appendix to it. He was a leader of the English Particular Baptists.

John Clark (1609-1676) and Obadiah Holmes (1607-1682) wrote:

"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." (article twenty-three of the confession of the church in Newport)

"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." (article 29)

"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." (Holmes letter to his wife, pg. 96)

See here

Obadiah 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)

"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."

"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."

See here

And here

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

John Clark and Obadiah Holmes were pastors of the oldest Particular Baptist church in America, in Newport, Rhode Island, and were in fellowship with their London brethren.

Somerset Confession (1656)

In the County of Somerset, and of some Churches in the Counties neer adjacent.

XIX. THAT the Spirit is administred by or through the word of faith preached (Gal. 3:2) which word was first declared by the Lord himself, and was confirmed by them that heard him (Heb. 2:3.), which word is called the gospel of God's grace (Acts 20:24.), the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19.), the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17.), the weapon of a Christian (2 Cor. 10:4.); a faithful (Rev. 22:6.), quick, powerful (Heb. 4:12.), plain (Prov. 8: 9.), comfortable (Rom. 15:4.), pure (Ps. 12:6.), right, true (Ps. 33:4.), sound (Tit. 2:8.), and wholesome word (I Tim. 6:3.).

XX. THAT this spirit of Christ, being administer'd by the word of faith, worketh in us faith in Christ (John 3: 5; I Pet. 1:22 Acts 16:14; Gal. 5:22.) by virtue of which we come to receive our sonship (John 1:12; Gal. 3:26.), and is further administer'd unto us through faith in the promises of God (Eph. 1:13; Acts 2:38, 39; Acts 1:4.), waiting on him in those ways and means that he hath appointed in his word (John 14:15, 16, 17; Luke 11:9, 13.), this faith being the ground of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1.).

XXI. THAT justification is God's accounting and declaring that man justified from the guilt and condemnation of all his sin, who hath received Jesus Christ and doth believe in him (in truth and power) according to the record given of him by God in scripture (Rom. 4: 5; I John 5:10, 11; Joh. 3:36.).

XXII. THAT justification from the guilt and condemnation of sin is only obtained through faith in that man Jesus Christ, crucified at Jerusalem, and by God raised from the dead (Rom. 5:1, 9; Acts 13:38, 39; Rom. 4:25; 10:9.). And that those who bring in any other way of justification, do therein make void, and acquit themselves of having any interest in the gospel and grace of Christ (Gal. 2:21; 5:4.).

See here

Benjamin Keach
(1640-1704) wrote:

“Therefore this compulsion only denotes the powerful argument they should use, together with those efficacious influences and operations of the Spirit, which Christ put forth with the preaching of the gospel; it being by the ministration of the word, that he makes the souls of obstinate sinners willing; they are said to compel them, whereas indeed it is Christ by them; they are but instruments in Christ’s hand in the doing of it: ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us,’ 2 Cor. IV. 7. The gospel hath to do with men as rational creatures, and as such Christ is presented unto them, and arguments are used to persuade them to accept him, but because all men are naturally blind, and their wills are stubborn and obstinate, ‘ye will not come to me, that you may have life,’ John V. 40. Christ, by the preaching of the gospel, and operations of his Spirit, enlighteneth their understandings, and bows and inclines their wills. And this is that which is only meant by compelling them to come to the wedding. Neither can this seem strange to any that observe divers places of scripture, where the same word is used, it is said Christ ‘Compelled his disciples to go into a ship.’

It is true, all that believe and receive Jesus Christ are compelled; grace hath such power in it, that it doth in some sense constrain the soul, ‘the love of Christ constraineth us,’ 2 Cor. V. 15. And as the spouse says, Cant. I. 4, it draws, but how is it? Is it against the consent of the will? Is there any force put upon that noble faculty? No sure, the will acts freely, and is not denied its own proper choice, but it is overruled and persuaded by the working of the Holy Ghost, cheerfully and freely to choose accept of Jesus Christ. ‘My people shall be willing in the day of my power.’ Psa, XC, 3. Jesus Christ, as I have formerly told you, will accept of no pressed soldiers, no, no, they must be all volunteers, but naturally the will is corrupt, depraved, and wills only that which is evil, and it is averse to all things that are truly and Spiritually good and so remains, until grace, or the Holy Spirit takes away that enmity and averseness which is in it, and so makes it willing; and this is done generally by the powerful preaching of the gospel, God being pleased to accompany it with the operations of his own Spirit and divine power; and this is all, no doubt, which is meant by compelling them to come in." (“Exposition of the Parables,” page 546)

Benjamin Keach
was a leader among the English Particular Baptists and a signer of the second London Confession. He was also pastor of the church that John Gill later pastored.

London Confession of 1689

Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

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 a 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.

2._____ This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.

Chapter 11: Of Justification

2._____ Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.

Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith

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 Lord's supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened.

Chapter 15: Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation

1._____ Such of the elect as are converted at riper years, having sometime lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their effectual calling giveth them repentance unto life.

3._____ This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things.

Chapter 20: Of the Gospel, and of the Extent of the Grace Thereof

1._____ The covenant of works being broken by sin, and made unprofitable unto life, God was pleased to give forth the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman, as the means of calling the elect, and begetting in them faith and repentance; in this promise the gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and [is] therein effectual for the conversion and salvation of sinners.

2._____ This promise of Christ, and salvation by him, is revealed only by the Word of God; neither do the works of creation or providence, with the light of nature, make discovery of Christ, or of grace by him, so much as in a general or obscure way; much less that men destitute of the revelation of Him by the promise or gospel, should be enabled thereby to attain saving faith or repentance.

4._____ Although the gospel be the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace, and is, as such, abundantly sufficient thereunto; yet that men who are dead in trespasses may be born again, quickened or regenerated, there is moreover necessary an effectual insuperable work of the Holy Spirit upon the whole soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual life; without which no other means will effect their conversion unto God.

From the 18th Century

Elder Samuel Jones (1735-1814) wrote:

"That the blessed Spirit should co-operate in manifesting the whole to the world, and applying the same to the chosen ones, namely, by enlightening their darkened understandings, working in them faith and repentance, changing their vile affections, converting them from the service of sin and Satan, to the service of the living God, carrying on the work of grace begun, and keeping them by the power of God, unto salvation; by every means making them meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, and finally bringing them to the full possession of it."
(CIRCULAR LETTER of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, "God's Covenant," 1781)

"The applications of the Gospel under the influence of the divine Spirit, in the work of conviction and conversion, is absolutely necessary, in order to our receiving saving benefit from it. In this precious work of grace in our hearts, the Law and Gospel, considered as means, go hand in hand, and are often found in the same verse. By the one is the knowledge of sin, by the other the discovery of deliverance. The one worketh despair, the other faith and hope.

But if we speak of supernatural and evangelical faith, the Scripture is express. By way of distinction from the other, it is called, the faith of the operation of God, the faith of God's elect, like precious faith with us, that faith which purifies the heart, and worketh by love.

"...who in God's own time and way are renewed and sanctified, made holy here and happy hereafter. To this end means are appointed, chiefly the word and the ministration thereof; wherein the state of the sinner by nature, and the way of recovery through rich grace is unfolded; and it pleases God to enlighten the mind; move on the affections, and subdue the will. The sinner is awakened and convicted; he sees his danger; is filled with concern of mind; enquires what he must do to be saved; has repentance unto life given him; is led to see the fulness, freeness, suitableness, and glory of the way of life through a Redeemer; is enabled to lay hold by faith of this hope; is transformed by the renewing of his mind; has the constraining love of God shed abroad in his heart; is humbled and abased in himself, yet triumphs in the mercy and power of God; and thus being filled with holy zeal, he goes on his way rejoicing. He is sensible the Lord of his mere sovereign unconditional grace and mercy began the good work, is now carrying it on, and will complete it in glory, to whom, therefore, without reserve, he ascribes all the praise, and will to all eternity."
(CIRCULAR LETTER of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, "The Gospel," 1795)

Elder Samuel Jones was a leader in the Philadelphia Association in the 18th century.

Elder John Gano (1736-1804) wrote:

I. The call. This is an act of sovereign grace, which flows from the everlasting love of God, and is such an irresistible impression made by the Holy Spirit upon the human soul, as to effect a blessed change. This impression or call is sometimes immediate, as in the instance of Paul and others; though more ordinarily through the instrumentality of the word and providence of God.

It is a call to Christ, and gives a view of him in his suitableness and ability as a Saviour; the merit of his obedience and sacrifice, and the treasures of his grace are all brought into view, which creates desires of an interest in him, and resolutions of looking unto and relying wholly upon him for salvation; at the same time cordially acknowledging desert of rejection from him, and yet strengthened to rely entirely upon and surrender all unto the disposal of Christ; setting to our seals that God is true; believing the record he has given of his Son, which is eternal life, and that this life is in his Son. The changes produced are from darkness to light, from bondage to liberty, from alienation and estrangedness to Christ to a state of nearness and fellowship with him and his saints. This call administers peace of conscience towards God, and disposes its subjects to peace with mankind, so far as is consistent with righteousness." (CIRCULAR LETTER of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, "EFFECTUAL CALLING," 1784)

Elder Gano
was a leader in the Philadelphia Association in the 18th century and was one who was instrumental in forming the Kehukee Association and welcomed by Shubal Stearnes of the Separate Baptists.

Elder David Jones
(1736-1820) wrote:

"Saving faith may be thus defined, "That grace whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, which is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the word." By this grace the person is enabled to believe all divine truths revealed in the holy scriptures; and in particular to apprehend the Lord Jesus Christ and to rely alone on his atoning blood for acceptance in the sight of God. The apostle, speaking of salvation said, "By grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God," Eph. ii. 8. The same apostle informs us that the Ephesians were dead in trespasses and sins, and were by nature the children of wrath even as others; but when the gospel of Christ was preached, the Holy Ghost working with the word, opened their hearts to receive it, and by his powerful operations implanted this grace, by which they were enabled to believe the record that God has given of his Son. The precious grace of faith is a free and sovereign gift of God, conveyed through the power of the Holy Ghost, and the instrumentality of the word; and is co-existent with regeneration, if not an essential part of it; and as it is not of ourselves, we see that all boasting is excluded, so that we may all say, "by the grace of God, we are what we are." When the apostle was enumerating the fruits of the Spirit, he mentions faith as one, Gal. v. 22. This is a truth which everyone, who is born of God, knows, and in substance will acknowledge." (Philadelphia Baptist Association Circular Letter, "Saving Faith," 1788)

Elder Jones was a leader in the Philadelphia Association in the 18th century.

Isaac Backus
(1724-1806) wrote:

"Those who are looked upon to be converted, though many circumstances of their change are very various; yet all agree in acknowledging the purity and strictness of the divine law, and that their hearts as well as lives have been filled with sin, and from thence give in to the justice of God in their condemnation; and hold their justification to be entirely by Christ's righteousness, received by faith." ("Spiritual ignorance causeth men to counter-act their doctrinal knowledge - A Discourse From Acts 13: 27," pg. 20)

See here

"Divine justice appeared clear in my condemnation, and I saw that God had a right to do with me as he would. My soul yielded all into His hands, fell at His feet, and was silent and calm before Him. And while I sat there, I was enabled by divine light to see the perfect righteousness of Christ and the freeness and riches of His grace, with such clearness, that my soul was drawn forth to trust in Him for salvation. And I wondered that others did not also come to Him who had enough for all. The Word of God and the promises of His grace appeared firmer than a rock, and I was astonished at my previous unbelief. My heavy burden was gone, tormenting fears were fled, and my joy was unspeakable.

Yet this change was so different from my former ideas of conversion, that for above two days I had no thought of having experienced it. Then I heard a sermon read which gave the characters of the children of God, and I had an inward witness that those characters were wrought in me; such as a spirit of prayer, a hatred of sin, an overcoming of the world, love to the brethren, and love to enemies; and I conclude that I then had the sealings of the Spirit of God, that I was a child of His. New ideas and dispositions were given me; the worship and service of God and obedience to His will were the delight of my soul. I found such happiness therein as I never bad in all the vanities of the world; and this I have often experienced since."
("The Life and Times of Isaac Backus" by Alvah Hovey. CHAPTER II. CONVERSION)

See here

Isaac Backus was a leading Baptist preacher and historian in the 18th century.

Elder Daniel Fristoe (1739-1774), and brother to Elder William Fristoe, wrote:

“Tho’ a Sovereign God, may work above, beyond, and without means, according to his own good pleasure; yet as he hath been pleased to ordain means, and accompanied them by the displays of his power for the conversion and salvation of multitudes of poor sinners…”

"Now, lastly, the cause or means that effect this divine change. God is the only efficient cause -- his love the moving cause -- his Spirit and his Word the ministering cause. Thus we are said to be begotten by the word of his truth through the gospel, born again to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that fadeth not away; reserved in Heaven for you; who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.

"Oh, brethren! What a rich display of infinite wisdom, sovereign power and unmerited love, in devising and accomplishing such a glorious system of redemption and deliverance for the wretched self-ruined race, that they may partake of this divine blessing here in time, and receive precious faith, and precious promises, all flowing from the more precious Christ! O, beloved brethren! What infinite obligations are we under unto the adorable Jehovah, who hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, from the dead. O let us prize that blessed gospel, that reveals such a glorious hope -- that accomplishes such divine purposes -- and turns from darkness to light, from the power of sin and Satan, to serve the living God. Let us manifest in our lives, that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, and that by the power of the Holy Ghost."

See here

Fristoe was a leader in Virginia and wrote "A Concise History of the Ketocton Baptist Association" - 1808)

John Gill
(1697–1771) wrote:

"God the Son has also a concern in regeneration...he quickens whom he will, as the Father does; and it is through his powerful voice in the gospel, that the dead in sin hear and live..."

"...will and pleasure, regenerates with the word of truth; and as light was one of the first things in the old creation, so in the new creation, or regeneration, light is the first thing sprung in the heart by the Father and fountain of light (James 1:17,18)."

"Thirdly, The effects of the gospel when attended with the power and Spirit of God."

"The regeneration of men, who are said to be born again by the word of God, and to be begotten again with the word of truth (1 Pet. 1:23; Jam. 1:18), hence ministers of the gospel are represented as spiritual fathers (1 Cor. 4:15)." ("Of The Gospel")

"...such as are begotten again, are begotten to a lively hope, and have it, and believe in the Son of God; and love him that begot, and him that is begotten (1 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 5:1)."

"...but though they are men, and men only, whom God regenerates, yet not all men; all men have not faith, and hope, and love; they are a kind of first fruits of his creatures, whom of his own will he begets with the word of truth..." ("On Regeneration" - Chapter 11 - Body of Divinity)

"2c. The instrumental cause, or rather means of the effectual calling, is the ministry of the word. Sometimes, indeed, it is brought about by some remarkable providence, and without the word; but generally it is by it; "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God". Christ stands in the gospel ministry, at the door of men’’s hearts, and knocks and calls; and having the key of the house of David, he opens the heart by his power and grace, and lets himself in; and in this way, and by this means, the Spirit, and his graces, are received; men are called both to grace and glory by the gospel (Gal. 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:14)." ("Of Effectual Calling" - Book 6—Chapter 12)

"3. Thirdly, The effects of the gospel when attended with the power and Spirit of God.

3b. As in regeneration souls are quickened by the Spirit and grace of God, this is ascribed to the gospel as an instrument, hence it is called the Spirit which giveth life, and said to be the savior of life unto life (2 Cor. 2:16; 3:6)." ("Of The Gospel" - Body of Divinity)

John Gill
was one of the greatest leaders of the Particular Baptists of the 18th century.

From the 19th Century

Abraham Booth

“We have seen in the preceding chapter, that Grace presided in the eternal counsels, and reigned as an absolute sovereign in the decree of election. Let us now consider the same glorious grace, as exerting its benign influence in the regeneration and effectual calling of all that shall ever be saved. Election makes no alteration in the real state of its objects. For, as they were considered in that gracious purpose, in a sinful, dying condition, so they continue in that situation, till the energy of the Holy Spirit, and the power of evangelical truth reach their hearts. The means being decreed as well as the end, it is absolutely necessary, to accomplish the great design of election, that all the chosen, in their several generations, should be born of the Spirit and converted to Jesus; called of God, and bear his image.

“That important change which takes place in the mind and views of a sinner when converted to Christ, is frequently signified in the infallible word, by being called of God---called by grace---called by the gospel. In performing this work of heavenly mercy, the eternal Spirit is the great agent and evangelical truth the honoured instrument. Are men, in their natural state, considered as asleep in sin, and dead to God? When they are called, their minds are enlightened, and spiritual life is communicated. The Spirit of God, speaking to the conscience by the truth, quickens the dead sinner; shows him his awful state, and alarms his fears. The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. Awake thou that sleepest. Are they considered as having departed from God, and at a distance from him; in the way of destruction, yet afraid to return? Then the language of the gospel is, return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon you; and to our God for he will abundantly pardon. Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. Such a revelation of grace being made in the gospel, and such invitations being addressed to perishing sinners, the Spirit of truth, in effectual calling, gives them encouragement from these declarations to return to God, and enables them to look for salvation from the hand of Him against whom they have sinned, and from whom they have so deeply revolted. Such, in a general view, is the nature of that heavenly blessing which is the subject of our present inquiry .” ("Reign of Grace," 1813, page 79)

Abraham Booth was a recognized leader among Particular Baptists and wrote against Andrew Fuller's view of a general atonement.

Elder John Leland (1754-1841) wrote:

"Philemon was the disciple of Paul, and owed himself to him as the instrument of his salvation...Paul begat the fugitive servant by the word of truth to a lively hope." "A Little Good Thing," in "Religion in America," being "The Writings of John Leland," pg. 350)

"Christ delivers by power, as well as by price. There is no intrinsic merit in the gospel, in and of itself, to convert sinners, but by the power of the Spirit accompanying the word...The power of the gospel consists in the authority with which its author is invested...So he sends the Holy Spirit with his word to convince of sin, to discover the glories and fulness of Christ, to apply the blood of sprinkling to the wounded conscience, to lead the soul to Christ, and to his precious promises...So, when the gospel is preached in its purity, sinners are converted, and turn to the Lord. Great things have been achieved by the gospel, through the power of Christ. Witness the effects on the day of Pentecost, and during the apostolic age, and in subsequent periods, down to the present time. There is still the same promise and the same power, and Christ is riding forth majestically in the gospel chariot, from conquering to conquer. I have been endeavoring to recommend this gospel for nearly forty years, and have not grown weary in the service; and I have witnessed the truth of God's word, in the conversion of many precious souls to the obedience of faith--to God be all the glory. Amen." (Leland's "sketch of the discourse" which he had delivered, pg. 378, 379)

"The human family are ruined by sin, all have sinned, all are included in unbelief. There is none that doeth good, they are all out of the way. They are at enmity with God, in alliance with Satan, under the dominion of sin. These are the characters, my brother, to whom you are sent. And, thou, O son of man, cause them to know their abominations. Labor to convince them of the error of their way. Point out their sins, not merely as misfortunes, but as acts of wilful rebellion against the God of love. Discover to them the danger they are in, of dying in their sins, and never going where Christ is. Tell them, that God calls men every where to repent. Justify repentance towards God, and assure them that unless they repent, they will all perish."

"But when you find any who are pricked in the heart, crying out "I am undone," and asking the important question, "what shall I do to be saved," then fly like the prophetic seraphim, with the living coal of gospel promise, saying to the self-condemned, heart-sick sinner, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Represent Christianity as the religion for sinners. Hold forth the Saviour as able, and willing to save all that come unto him." (From "Form Of A Charge To A Candidate At His Ordination," pg. 509)

"So the death of Christ gives eternal life to those who look to him." (pg. 595, ibid)

Primitive or Old School Baptists

Elder Gilbert Beebe (1800-1881) through the "Signs of the Times" wrote:

We also, with brother Buckles, hold that regeneration, in the order of things, and according to the word, must precede the new birth. How can that be born of God that is not first begotten of him?" (Elder Gilbert Beebe, Middletown, N.Y.June 1, 1868. Editorials, Volume 7 – Pages 198-202)

See here

"Regeneration, as we understand it, like generation, involves the begetting, conception and birth, of that which is generated..."

Now all this conviction, contrition, lamentation and distress, is the legitimate consequence resulting from life implanted, and indicates to all who know experimentally the way of life, that the poor sin-burdened soul is drawing near to the time of his birth, or deliverance. He who has thus arrested him, and brought him to a sense of his lost and helpless estate, will perform the work in his own time, but the burdened soul must wait until "God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shines in [not into] his heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." -2 Cor. iv. 6. Or, as Paul relates his own experience, "When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me." - Gal. i. 15. Then by the revelation of Christ in us the hope of glory, the way of salvation through him is brought to view, the burden of guilt is removed, the blood of Christ is applied, the demands of the law are canceled, the curse is removed, the prison doors are opened, the captive is delivered, the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, old things are passed away; behold all things have become new; a new song is put in his mouth, even praise unto God, the gospel pours its joyful sound into his quickened ears, his goings are established and he is a new creature..."

"We have endeavored to give our views on the subject proposed by our brother, and in doing so, to trace the generation of the children of God, as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation; which are born, not of a corruptible seed, but of an incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. What we have written are our views, and what we have understood to be the views of the Old order of Baptists, from the days of John; but if we are mistaken in our views, (and we are liable to be) or in any part of them, we hope that our brethren will in all christian kindness point out to us the more excellent way." ("REGENERATION AND THE NEW BIRTH" - Middletown, N. Y., September 1, 1857 - Editorials of Gilbert Bebee Vol. 4)

See here

Elder Beebe was perhaps the leading spokesman for the "Old School" or "Primitive" Baptists at the beginning of the anti-mission movement, editing the famous first periodical in such cause, titled "Signs of the Times."

Elder Sameul Trott

Thus in the new birth there is a striking correspondence to the natural birth; to each there is a seed implanted, and then a quickening by which life is manifested. And when the natural child is brought to the birth, the sorrows of the woman in travail, the fetus being broke loose from that by which alone it had been hitherto nourished, strongly represents the agonies and the killing by the law belonging to the second birth."

"We might go on to notice the effect of the conception of this incorruptible seed, how it produces faith in God, quickens the man to a sense of his relations, and accountability to God, of the spirituality and broadness of the law, and of the sin in his acts, thoughts, and nature; of the distress occasioned thereby; of the darkness that covers the whole operation within, hiding all excepting certain external effects from the individual view, so that he is a mystery to himself, and can tell no more why he is thus, than he can tell of the wind whence it cometh or whither it goeth. We might show that whilst the soul is thus quickened to such a deep sense of the law or of sin as being against God, that it still evidently is not changed from a natural to a spiritual soul, and therefore it cannot receive the things of the Spirit, or the things freely given us of God, but entirely looks to the deeds of the law as the way of acceptance with God. But we forbear, and come to the BIRTH." ("THE NEW BIRTH" From "SIGNS of the TIMES" - Vol.21 - 1853 - Writings of Elder Samuel Trott, pages 404 - 409)

Samuel Trott was a ministerial companion of Elder Beebe and wrote extensively for the "Signs of the Times," and travelled far and near in promoting the cause of the anti-missionaries.

Wilson Thompson

"The gospel is sent to men as sinners, lying in the ruins of the first Adam, lost and condemned under the sentence of death; and proclaims and reveals the righteousness of Christ, as the justification of the ungodly..." (Triumph of Truth, chapter 8)

Wilson Thompson was one of the first leaders in the newly formed "Primitive Baptist Church" and was in full fellowship with Beebe and Trott. All Hardshells today accept the authority of Thompson.

Elder R. W. Fain
(1866) wrote:

Upon this principle, the Gospel is preached to all, repentance and an interest in a Savior’s blood is offered to all. The charitable invitation “whosoever will” goes out to all inviting them to “take the water of life freely.

While all Gospel Ministers feel the weight of duty in extending this invitation, yet they know at the same time, that a depraved will is under a wicked influence, and that such a will never leads a soul to Christ. But that God is able to subdue the stubborn will, to change the evil disposition, and to prepare the sinner for salvation, in opposition to the devil and all his unholy influences.

Then, Brethren in the ministry, we should take courage. Let us go forth “with the whole armor of God” and do battle for his cause. Let us preach Jesus Christ our Saviour “the way, the truth, and the life.” Let us preach Him a choosing, Electing, and loving Saviour. Let us rear the blood stained BANNER OF THE CROSS, with the blessed and heavenly watchword “whosoever will,” inscribed in living letters over its ample folds.” (pages 9-16 from “Introductory Essay” in "The Old Baptist Test")

Elder Fain was a medical doctor like his ministerial brother, Elder J. M. Watson.

Elder Hosea Preslar (1814-1887) wrote:

"The gospel of the grace of God is food to the children of God, and they all hear it and recognize it, as it is (the truth)." (Page 60)

"...the other is the child of God, that was begotten by the word of truth; James 1: 14; I Cor. 4: 15; I John 5: 1." (Page 112)

"This is the new man begotten by the word of truth; yea, begotten of God; I John 5: 18." (page 185)

"And as to their views of the use and design of the gospel being for nothing but for the edification of the Church, and believers being the only subjects of gospel address, I believe it not." (Page 186)

"But some object (the "ultraist" Hardshells - SG) to these ideas and say all this is the work of the spirit of God; and the gospel has nothing to do with it. Ah, a gospel without a spirit! Well, God save me from a gospel that has not His spirit. God says His word is quick and powerful, and He says by Peter, This is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you; I Peter 1: 25. And as to the subjects of Gospel address, it is to every creature the disciples were commanded to preach the gospel; and Paul said, Whom we preach warning every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, etc.; Col. 1: 28. So we see that their idea on that point is false as the balance, and we will now give their last, but not least error a passing notice."
(From his book "Thoughts on Divine Providence."

Elder Preslar was a member and pastor of Lawyer's Spring Church in Peachland, N.C. (Bear Creek Association) about the time of the division of 1832 and later moved to middle Tennessee and became a fellow minister with Elder (Dr.) John M. Watson.

Elder James Osbourn (1780-?) wrote:

"But if so be that the specific object which the Deity had in-view, and designed to accomplish by means of, or in a way compatible with the gospel which he ordained and promulgated, was the eternal salvation of the bride, the Lamb's wife, Rev. 21; 9; we then of course may safely conclude, that that specific object must and will be accomplished, just in that way and manner as infinite wisdom may have dictated. And lo, this is what we do believe and rejoice in; and in the gospel we also believe, every necessary arrangement and provision is made and permanently settled for the effecting the salvation of that church which was the object of God's everlasting love and delight, and which he gave to his Son before time began.

That God ordained the GOSPEL, and promulgated the same, with a settled purpose to save sinners thereby; and hence in this his gospel he says, "I will give them an heart to know me, that 1 am the Lord; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God : for they shall return unto me with,their whole heart." And again says the Lord, 'Zaccheus make haste and come down, for to day I must abide at thy house.' And again it is said, 'As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.' And we are told that the Lord works in men to will and to do of his own good pleasure; and that Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost; Jer. 24, 7; Luke, 19, 5; Acts, 11, 48; Phil. 2, 13; Luke 19, 10. (14, 15)." (pg. 14)


Elder Osbourn was one of the leading Hardshells during and after the division of 1832 and wrote many books, travelled near and far, and was an in fellowship with most Baptists of the "Old School," including Grigg Thompson, Gilbert Beebe, Samuel Trott, and J. M. Watson.

Elder John Clark (1804-82) wrote:

"Under the quickening power and influence of the Holy Ghost, the Word preached comes to God's people in power, by which they live, hear, and believe with the heart unto righteousness. Now, when the Gospel is preached they know it. It is the voice of their Shepherd, the great Shepherd...For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." [Rom. x., 6, 8, 10]" ("Does the Gospel Ever Produce Division Among the Saints of God" - Written by John Clark - ZION'S ADVOCATE - January, 1880)

"In the first volume of Zion’s Advocate, I have copied an article from it."

“Commenting upon Romans 1:16, he says that the gospel ‘is a means made use of by God in quickening dead sinners, enlightening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, softening hard hearts, and making of enemies friends’ (Vol. VIII. p. 437) Same volume; page 339, upon Acts XXVI, 18, he says ‘Now, though this is all the work of the spirit, by whom only the eyes of the understanding are enlightened; yet this is ascribed to the apostle, not as the efficient cause, but as the instrument and means, through preaching of the gospel, which the spirit of God would, and did, make use of.’”

"But some object and say, Why preach repentance to dead sinners? They can neither hear, see nor understand. That is true; that they hear not, see not, understand not, so far as the preacher is concerned or is able to effect them; but why did the prophet call upon the dry bones to hear the word of the Lord? He answered, “And I prophesied as I was commanded.” That was authority then for all who feared God, and it is still the authority for all such. This objection, however, will lie against all the exhortations and admonitions to the saints as it does against addresses to the ungodly, for the Christian has no more power than the unbeliever. The difference between them is not in the power, but in the will; as it written: "To will is present with me, but to perform that which is good I find not.”"

The theory that we must preach to men according to the power they possess to obey is sublimated Arminianism, and yet; the advocates of it are very fraid of being called Arminians. Christians know, however, by the word of his grace, and by the revelation of that word in their hearts, when it comes in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance, that Christ’s word is true which says, “Without me you can do nothing.” The Spirit takes the word of Christ and shows it to his people, and thus it is verified in the experience.

To preach to men upon the ground that they have power to do what is commanded, or to refuse to preach to them because they have not the power, shows that the confidence is in the flesh and not in God; that they depend upon the will of the flesh and not upon the power God, and that is the very essence, double refined, of Arminianism.

The minister of Christ does not preach to any class of men upon the consideration of their ability or inability. He has the sentence of death in himself, and therefore cannot trust in himself; and he has no confidence in the flesh of any other, but his confidence, his faith and hope, is in God, from whence alone are his expectations." ("What To Preach and How To Preach" Written by John Clark in Zion's Advocate--August 1875)


Elder John Clark was one of the first well known leaders of the Hardshells from the 1830s till about 1880. He edited the famous periodical "Zion's Advocate."

Dr. John M. Watson (1798-66) wrote:

"A gospel without exhortation; without a call on the sinner to repent and believe; a gospel which does not in word address itself to all; is not the gospel which Christ ordained subordinately for the bringing in of his "other sheep." (Pages 84-86)

"Let us take a practical example. We have it on record in the 13th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. When Paul and Barnabas preached at Antioch of Pisidia, had any of our ultra brethren been there and heard their zealous appeal to all those present, they would have called them Arminians." (Page 86)

"While we combat this ministerial deviation of ours on the part of some, which affects to find Arminianism where there is none, let us carefully guard against those tenets which do really involve it. For instance, when we in our doctrine maintain that by means of our devising, we can extend the spiritual blessings of the gospel beyond the ordination or election of God, and employ such means for such a purpose, we then deviate both from the principles and practical course of the gospel, and thereby plainly indicate that we are Arminians in the proper sense of that term, so justly opprobious to the Old Order of Baptists. But as long as we call on men to repent every where, believing that God only can give repentance, and that he will give it to as many as are ordained unto eternal life, even if He does not to as many as we may address, we may escape all Arminianism, and more especially if our practical course in preaching does not involve any unscriptural methods."

"There are yet a few who contend for the general outward call of the Gospel, but we doctrinise it to (sic) much, lest some ultra brother should conclude that we are Arminians." (Page 89)

"Did these Corinthians hear through the preaching of Paul, by his words, or through the "demonstration of the spirit?" By both. The one was of the preacher, and the other of God. Who dare separate them? Who can unite them? God and God only. How do they become united?"

"This vital union of the word and the spirit is of grace; is not of the power of this world." (Page 94)

"As they are all brought by the same spirit, the same gospel." (Page 155)

"My text further says, "They shall hear my voice." – "the still small voice of truth pervading the whole soul in the power of the Holy Spirit." (Page 154)

"The Galatians began in the Spirit, by hearing the voice of Christ."

"Thus did these "other sheep" hear the voice of Christ according to the different modes of expression, as just cited, meaning in every example the same thing–the hearing of the voice of the Son of God inwardly, mystically, effectually. Christ never brought one of them without this." (Page 155)

"But they could not hear without a preacher, hence the divine plan included preaching, and inasmuch as it was embraced in the divine arrangement, it must be directed and maintained by the Lord, as it has always been and ever will be. "God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness," shined into their hearts, not only in the light of Paul’s preaching, but also in the light of the demonstration of the Holy Ghost. Otherwise Paul’s preaching would not have been heeded." (Pages 94,95)

"The blessings of Abraham–of the Gospel–came upon these Gentiles, by Jesus Christ, and not by works of righteousness, which they did...their state, being under sin before conversion, is the state which we know we were in. To be under sin, is to be under the curse of sin, and to be under the curse of sin, is to be under the death of sin. Nothing, then, but the Gospel, as the power of God, can deliver from this actual state of things. The soul must have life, it must repent, it must believe, it must persevere. Gospel blessings only, through Jesus Christ, not works of merit on our part–can produce these spiritual–not fleshy–results." (Page 112)

"The teaching of the Apostle is that the elect were chosen unto salvation from the beginning, through sanctification of the spirit unto a belief of the truth. Hence, as long as these "other sheep" are brought in, there will be a belief of the truth, through a sanctification of the spirit. It cannot, therefore, die out until all the elect are brought in." (Page 127)

"...let them have all the benefits of evangelical preaching, believing, as we do, that the great design of this providence about which I have been treating, is to bring in God’s elect among them, as I have before stated." (Page 142)

"We have often heard certain persons say, if they believed the things which we do, they would not exhort believers to perform their duties, or sinners to repent. They do not perceive how such exhortations and warnings may be transformed by the power of God into grace itself!

By our doctrine we are encouraged to exhort sinners, for we, by faith, look to the grace which sanctions it, and seals it often to the heart.

If these be the means of grace, let us employ them, though we may often fail in the use of them, in our own strength.

There is a palpable difference between a literal declaration of Gospel truths by the minister and a demonstration of them by the Holy Spirit; the former is general and the latter special. Nor does the specialty of the one interfere with the generality of the other. A supposition that these conflict with each other has induced many to conclude that we violate our doctrine whenever we exhort; but such a conclusion is very erroneous. The Gospel must be preached, in its literal fullness, to all, though a ‘demonstration of the Spirit’ he confined to a chosen few. Matt. 20:15,20; 22:16; I Thess. 1:5." (Page 233)

"What said the prophet? "O ye dry bones, hear ye the word of the Lord." I would just state here, at once, that I have no idea that sinners, dead in tresspasses and sins, will ever believe through the exhortations of the Lord's ministers, any more than that the dry bones would have lived through the prophesying of the prophet, apart from what the Lord did for them. But that fact does not nullify the commission to preach to them, but on the contrary greatly strengthens it. The divine assurance that God's word will prosper in the thing whereunto He hath sent it, affords great encouragement to preach to sinners. If it be said by the objector that they are deaf and cannot hear it, faith replies God can open their ears; if said they are dead, faith again says God will give them life; and thus faith can meet all the objections which can be urged against preaching to the very chief of sinners, and at the same time exclude that Arminianism which some affect to see in a course of this kind. Where is the Arminianism, I would ask, in doing what the Lord has expressly commanded us to do? unless, however, it be by doing these things without faith. It seems to me that two very opposite errors may be indicated here:

1. The Arminian takes the means out of the hands of God, in toto, or in part, and uses them according to His own strength, and they then degenerate into Arminian powers.

2. The Antinomian will not regard any thing in the light of means, and in his doctrine will not allow even the Lord to employ them, says that the Lord is not dependent on means, and can do all His work without them. Now, the truth is, had it been the will or the way of the Lord, He could have breathed upon the dry bones as well without the prophesying of the prophet as with it, and could have given repentance to John's converts, or to Paul's, without their preaching; but their preaching to such, even to those dead in tresspasses and sins, had been included in the divine plan, and it needs must be done, let it be termed means, the will or way of the Lord, as you please." ("Old Baptist Test," pages 327, 328)

Elder Watson was a foremost leader among the Hardshells from 1830-66 and was well known among them and accepted as one of their leading spokesmen.

Dr. Purifoy published in Zion’s Advocate in 1879 and here are his exact words taken from it.

“I firmly believe that it is the duty of every gospel minister to preach repentance and remission of sins, in the name of Jesus, to all the unregenerate with whom he comes in contact in his pulpit ministrations. As he does this in the name of Jesus, realizing the utter inability of the sinner to repent until the grace of repentance is given him from on high, he has an assurance from the scriptures, that God’s word will not return unto Him void, but will accomplish that whereunto he sends it, and prosper in the thing he pleases. Thus the gospel ministry is instrumental in God’s hands, through Jesus, in raising dead sinners to newness of life---spiritual life---just as the apostles were instruments in His hands in casting out devils, healing the sick, and raising the dead.”

(citations from the original "Primitive Baptist" periodical with the dates of the writings given. Purefoy was a leader among Hardshells in the late 19th century and his words are from "Zion's Advocate")

Elder W. M. Mitchell (1819-1901) wrote:

"NOW IT IS BY THE WASHING of regeneration and not the act of the creature; and when the creature does receive the washing of regeneration, then and there it is that faith comes, and Jesus Christ is revealed to this soul the hope of glory, and the fairest of ten thousand, and altogether lovely. Why now? Because the time is come for faith to be revealed, or given of God to the creature…" AUTHOR: Rorer, Rudolph in The Primitve Baptist (Oct. 1843)

See here

"IN ORDER TO SALVATION, it is necessary that we be born again; that we have faith, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; but as salvation is of the Lord, these things are as much of him as our redemption, calling or justification, for his “divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” II Pet. i. 4. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”" AUTHOR: Mitchell, William M.

See here

"THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF says: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.”—John x.28. When they are quickened by the lifegiving Spirit and power of God, and hear the voice of Jesus’ pardoning love, then “faith comes by hearing.” They feel personally interested in the atonement by the blood of Jesus. Christ dwells in them by faith. His righteousness is there, his redemption for them is there, his love, his wisdom and all the treasures of his grace are in their heart by faith." ("Faith Cometh By Hearing," The Gospel Messenger, Dec. 1882)

See here

"If our Mississippi correspondent, has ever been truly converted to God, and born of an incorruptible seed by the word of God, he loves the truth in his heart, and there is some hope for his being instructed in the right way of the Lord, though he may have been much bewildered in mind and led astray by the doctrines and commandments of men." ("Questions From a Missionary Baptist," Written by W.M. Mitchell in "The Gospel Messenger," December 1883)

See here

Elder Mitchell is listed in the book "Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers."

First Hardshell Periodicals All Endorsed These Sentiments

Those Periodicals Are These:

1. Signs of the Times
2. Christian Doctrinal Advocate and Spiritual Monitor
3. The Primitive Baptist (Not Cayce's later paper called by the same name)
4. Zion's Advocate
5. Old Baptist Banner

1777 Kehukee Association Articles of Faith

2. We believe that almighty God has made known His mind and will to the children of men in His word which word we believe to be of divine authority, and contains all things necessary to be made known for the salvation of men and women. The same is comprehended or contained in the Books of the Old and New Testament as are commonly received.

7. We believe in God's appointed time and way (by means which he has obtained) the elect shall be called, justified and sanctified, and that it is impossible they can utterly refuse the call, but shall be made willing by divine grace to receive the offers of mercy.

8. We believe that justification in the sight of God is only by imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, received and applied by faith alone.

9. We believe, in like manner, that God's elect shall not only be called, and justified, but that they shall be converted, born again and changed by the effectual workings of God's Holy Spirit.

John Leland Not A Hardshell

The following words by Elder John Leland (1754-1841) demonstrate that he was no Hardshell respecting the gospel being a means in the eternal salvation of the elect. Hardshells will claim that Leland was "one of them," but on the means of the gospel, he was against them! Read! (Emphasis mine - SG)

"Philemon was the disciple of Paul, and owed himself to him as the instrument of his salvation...Paul begat the fugitive servant by the word of truth to a lively hope." "A Little Good Thing," in "Religion in America," being "The Writings of John Leland," pg. 350)

"Christ delivers by power, as well as by price. There is no intrinsic merit in the gospel, in and of itself, to convert sinners, but by the power of the Spirit accompanying the word...The power of the gospel consists in the authority with which its author is invested...So he sends the Holy Spirit with his word to convince of sin, to discover the glories and fulness of Christ, to apply the blood of sprinkling to the wounded conscience, to lead the soul to Christ, and to his precious promises...So, when the gospel is preached in its purity, sinners are converted, and turn to the Lord. Great things have been achieved by the gospel, through the power of Christ. Witness the effects on the day of Pentecost, and during the apostolic age, and in subsequent periods, down to the present time. There is still the same promise and the same power, and Christ is riding forth majestically in the gospel chariot, from conquering to conquer. I have been endeavoring to recommend this gospel for nearly forty years, and have not grown weary in the service; and I have witnessed the truth of God's word, in the conversion of many precious souls to the obedience of faith--to God be all the glory. Amen." (Leland's "sketch of the discourse" which he had delivered, pg. 378, 379)

"The human family are ruined by sin, all have sinned, all are included in unbelief. There is none that doeth good, they are all out of the way. They are at enmity with God, in alliance with Satan, under the dominion of sin. These are the characters, my brother, to whom you are sent. And, thou, O son of man, cause them to know their abominations. Labor to convince them of the error of their way. Point out their sins, not merely as misfortunes, but as acts of wilful rebellion against the God of love. Discover to them the danger they are in, of dying in their sins, and never going where Christ is. Tell them, that God calls men every where to repent. Justify repentance towards God, and assure them that unless they repent, they will all perish."

"But when you find any who are pricked in the heart, crying out "I am undone," and asking the important question, "what shall I do to be saved," then fly like the prophetic seraphim, with the living coal of gospel promise, saying to the self-condemned, heart-sick sinner, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Represent Christianity as the religion for sinners. Hold forth the Saviour as able, and willing to save all that come unto him." (From "Form Of A Charge To A Candidate At His Ordination," pg. 509)

"So the death of Christ gives eternal life to those who look to him." (pg. 595, ibid)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Elder R. V. Sarrel's False Claim

Elder R. V. Sarrels wrote the only existing "Systematic Theology" for the Hardshells and he wrote:

"The view we hold with regard to this fundamental doctrine (no means regeneration - SG) is not new, nor, we hasten to say, has it ever been without a witness. Across the centuries it has been firmly held and consistently defended by men who in the main were unaccredited by the scholarship of the world. Here and there, like monuments in distant lands, these fearless sentinals have stood in defense of the everlasting truth...however, these voices in the wilderness, with their labors little noticed and their names seldom recorded, have left their mark on Christian civilization. We thank God for the privilege of standing where these immortals stood, of defending the unpopular but glorious doctrine which they defended, and of sharing in some small measure the hardships which they endured." (Systematic Theology, page 305, 306)

A present day Hardshell, Elder C. C. Morris, said the same thing.

See here

What is ironic about these claims is the fact that Sarrels and Morris say such things without the least shred of proof! I can produce statements from the Old Baptists of the 17th-19th centuries that show that the traditional and continuous view of the Old Baptists was a belief in regeneration/new birth by means of the gospel, but Hardshells cannot do the same. They can only "claim" to do so, but after years of my challenging them on this "claim," none have come forward with the evidence. Surely Sarrels and Morris could at least give us the evidence to back up their claims. Wonder why they have not done so? Who are those "immortals" that Sarrels refers to?

Tract For Hardshells

This is the title of an upcoming post I plan to make. Instead of "tract" I might rather say "pamphlet," due to the historical animosity of Hardshells against publishing and distributing "tracts." But, I think I will just stick with calling it a "tract." The tract will be capable of being published in tract form and passed out to those in the Hardshell cult with the hopes of delivering them from their errors.

The tract will be a list of citations of leading old Baptists of the past regarding the use of preaching the gospel in saving the elect, as well as from old Baptist confessions of faith. This will be done by century, beginning with the 17th century and ending with the birth of the Hardshell cult in the early to mid 19th century. The citations from the 19th century will conclude with statements from the founding fathers of the "Primitive Baptist Church" which showed how they believed that the preached word of the gospel was a means in bringing about the birth of the Spirit. The oldest Hardshell periodicals will be cited which will show that all the first Hardshell periodicals embraced the belief that God's "effectual calling" was "by God's word and Spirit."

The purpose of this tract will be to demonstrate how they are not really "primitive" or "original" Baptists, and that they have departed from the old Baptist faith.

It would be nice if today's Hardshells could produce such a succession of citations through the centuries (which I will do in the tract to show how the gospel means view is primitive), and which would demonstrate that their views on regeneration are not novel, but this they cannot do.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Time Salvation Challenge: Romans 11:11-15

I have stated for the longest time that time salvation is a paradigm. In fact, this is how I often refer to it when writing about it. It is not simply a single additional point of doctrine which one adds to his theology with little consequence. Adherence to it has major repercussions on leading points of doctrine such as regeneration, justification, sanctification, faith, and repentance. They must be re-worked in the light of its teachings and given alternate definitions from what is more traditional teaching on the subject. Many passages in the Bible containing certain buzzwords are affected, and must therefore be addressed as well. Its advocates know what these words are, and so do I. An alarm goes off in the head when saved, perish, everlasting, faith, born, begotten, etc. are confronted in a text of scripture. This is when eisegesis rears its head as established premises are brought to bear upon the text.

One place in the Bible where this occurs is Romans 11:11-15.

Instead of writing a long posting on the truth taught behind this passage, I thought I would simply provide a list of questions in an attempt to stir the mind. All questions have answers. What are the answers to those below?

11. I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but [rather] through their fall salvation [is come] unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12. Now if the fall of them [be] the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13. For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14. If by any means I may provoke to emulation [them which are] my flesh, and might save some of them 15. For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but life from the dead?

1) Is verse 11 treating of eternal or time salvation?

2) Did time salvation come to the Gentiles through the fall of the Jews?

3) Should the context determine what kind of salvation is under consideration
in verse 14?

4) Does the Apostle Paul switch from writing of eternal salvation in verse 11
to time salvation in verse 14?

5) Does he then switch back to eternal salvation in verse 15?

6) Did the casting away of the Jews result in a temporal reconciliation of the
world (v.15)?

7) If eternal salvation is under consideration in verse 11 and 15, is it
reasonable that the same is true with verse 14 which lies between them?

8) Does switching between eternal and time salvation, and back again,
interrupt the flow of the apostle’s thought?

9) Paul says that he “might save some of them”. Which one of the following is

a) Paul would save them.
b) God would save them without Paul.
c) God would save them through Paul.

10) If Paul saved them, does this mean that God didn't?

11) If God saved them, why does Paul state he would?

12) Was Paul an instrument in the temporal salvation of some?

13) What premises are influencing your interpretation of this passage?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chapter 97 - Hardshells & Perseverance VI

In the preceding chapters it has been shown that the doctrine of the final perseverance of the elect and called is both a bible doctrine and the primitive belief of the Particular Baptists and that the denial of it, by many neo-Hardshells, is more proof that they are not in fact "Primitive Baptists." It was shown that preservation and perseverance, rather than being mutually exclusive, are inseparable, the former guaranteeing the latter.

Perseverance was also defined, a thing many neo-Hardshells assert is not done by those who believe in it. Perseverance was shown to involve remaining a believer in Jesus, and habitually following him. It was shown that perseverance did not deny that born again people fall, sin, and sometimes go astray, but that they nevertheless overcome, that sin does not become the master of their lives. It was also shown that departures from a belief in means, and faith for salvation, brought about serious departures in what is definitive of the experience of regeneration, and this then led to other departures in the doctrine of the perseverance of saints.

It was also shown that the first Hardshells did not deny this doctrine, that it was not till late in the 19th century that Hardshells began to deny the doctrine of perseverance and to strip the word perseverance from their old articles of faith.

It has also been shown how those Hardshells today who still profess a belief in perseverance are nevertheless inconsistent in it, for they believe that conversion to Christ, by the gospel, is no part of regeneration, and that evangelical faith in Christ is no part of or immediate effect of regeneration. But, how can the elect and called persevere apart from faith?

In this posting I will review a writing by present day Hardshell, Elder Zack Guess, one of the minority of neo-Hardshells who still profess adherence to the old doctrine. In his Internet article titled "The Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints" Guess wrote:

"Why do we refer to this truth as both Preservation and Perseverance? We do so because from God's perspective it is Preservation. God's people persevere in grace only because they have been preserved in Christ Jesus. From man's perspective it is Perseverance. If a person is truly saved he will give evidence of his salvation. He will not completely lose his faith and die in a finally impenitent state. Only the wicked will die in his sins (John 8:21). The combined truth of Preservation and Perseverance is clearly seen in Phil. 2:12, 13: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.""

Some Hardshells today are beginning to retrace their steps and are affirming that all the elect will not only be regenerated, but converted, at least those who hear the gospel. From the above words of Elder Guess, one would think he believes it, for he says that a truly saved person "will give evidence of his salvation." He says the regenerated "will not completely lose his faith and die in a finally impenitent state." Those Hardshells today who deny perseverance will not accept this statement of Guess. Guess no doubt knows this and is probably why he has written on it, hoping to convert his brethren from their error.

I have written a review of a sermon by Guess where he denies means in regeneration, affirming that faith is not essential to being regenerated. But, here, he defines perseverance as not losing faith. But, how can one lose a faith that he did not have via regeneration?

Guess wrote:

"It is important to remember that the child of God will overcome the world by his God-given Faith: "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (I John 5:4). This does not mean that the saint will never commit sin. It means that the Spirit of God in him will not suffer him to always live in sin but will work Godly sorrow in him and will bring him to repentance. I John 3:9 means that the born-again person will not continually and habitually live in sin as a way of life. The child of God may backslide temporarily and fall into much sin, but he will not live in it permanently in an unrepentant state. See also Matt. 7:21-23; James 2:20; I John 2:4; I John 2:15; I John 3:3; I John 4:15."

This is well stated and represents the view of those old Baptists who wrote the oldest confessions, and represents the view of leading Hardshells of the 19th century, as has been shown. One can only hope that Guess will be able to reform his brethren and bring them back to the primitive faith of Baptists.

Guess wrote:

"One of the ways that God causes His people to turn from their sins and to persevere in holy living is chastisement. See I Cor. 11:32; Heb. 12:6."

Again, this is what is taught in scripture and in the old Baptist confessions. But, one must ask Guess how he can say this of those "born again" heathen worshippers of false gods, who have no faith in God and Christ? How can one please God apart from faith? (Heb. 11: 6) Do those "born again heathen" people "persevere in holy living" apart from faith in Christ?

Guess wrote:

"There are many Scriptures that people who believe that a child of God can fall from grace use to support their arguments. Most of the arguments can be refuted by the principle taught in I John 2:19, "They went out from us but were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." There are those who make a profession of faith, who seem to show some fruits of the Spirit temporarily, but who are not truly regenerated. In time they show their true colors and manifest their true nature. There is a possibility that some of these hypocrites never openly reveal their true nature in this life. See Matt. 13:30."

Again, this is the historic view of the old Baptists and what is abundantly taught in scripture. But, sad to say, this is not the view of the majority of today's Hardshells.

Guess wrote:

"To restate the doctrine of Perseverance, we say that this means that all of the saints shall persevere in faith and holiness. They will never permanently and fundamentally repudiate their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. While troubled by their sinful natures, they will nevertheless show evidences of their being alive in Christ. Grace in one's heart does not lead to a life of careless, licentious living. We believers in grace have been accused of believing it is okay to "continue in sin, that grace may abound." But we say, along with the Apostle Paul, "God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Rom. 6:2)"

Guess here says that "all of the saints shall persevere in faith and holiness." Again, it is the truth, and is what is being denied by many of today's Hardshells, but it is inconsistent for Guess to say this seeing he denies that all the regenerated possess faith in the one true and living God, and in his Son Jesus Christ, but remain polytheists.

Guess wrote:

"Preservation and Perseverance really represent two sides of the same coin. They inseparably go together."

Again, this is the teaching of scripture and of the old Baptist confessions. It is sad, however, that Guess does not also believe that regeneration and conversion "go inseparably together." Were he to come to believe this, then he would be even closer to true primitive Baptist doctrine. The old Baptist writers who penned the old confessions spoke of regeneration and conversion being "two sides of the same coin," a phrase Guess applies to preservation and perseverance. But, Guess denies that regeneration and conversion are "two sides of the same coin."

Guess wrote:

"Many, many Scriptures teach the doctrine of Perseverance and show the relationship between Preservation and Perseverance. One of these is I Cor. 15:10. There Paul says, "But by the grace of God I am what I am." (Preservation). "And his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all." (Perseverance). "Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (Preservation). Notice that Perseverance is dependent on Preservation. Notice also that God gets full credit for it all. God's children are responsible for doing good works, but when they are blessed to perform them, they must give all the glory to God for His enabling grace." See here for the article by Guess.

Again, Guess is to be applauded for his adherence to the old Baptist doctrine of the perseverance of the chosen and called, and it is hoped that he will be able to bring some of his brethren back to the old Baptist faith.

Guess closes his article by saying that "Elder Bradley preached the same views in a sermon on youtube."

It is no doubt the view of those who are connected with the "liberal movement" among the Hardshells, which is basically a reform movement, to get the Hardshells back to the beliefs of the old Baptists as stated in the London Confession, on both the use of means in regeneration and on perseverance. Elder Lasserre Bradley, Jr. has been one of the leading preachers in the Hardshell cult for the past 45 years or so.

In closing this series of chapters on perseverance, let me mention how some Hardshells are trying to sound orthodox by saying they believe that "God perseveres in his preservation." This is similar to their attempts to ascribe faith to God in those passages where faith is put for a condition for salvation, where they say it is God's faith, God's believing and trusting in the work of his Son. But, the emphasis on perseverance in scripture is not on God persevering, but of the saints persevering. It is the saints who "continue in the faith," and who "do not practice sin," not God.