Friday, October 14, 2011

New Birth & Its Effects

In visiting my dad, Elder Eddie K. Garrett, Sr., I got a book from him that was recently published by UPBUILD, a "Primitive Baptist" organization, by editors Jamey R. Tucker, Michael A. Stewart, and J. Andrew Huffman, the latter being a son-in-law to Elder Lasserre Bradley Jr. of the Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church. The book is "Gold, Silver, Precious Stones - A Treasury of Old Baptist Faith and Practice," with the sub-heading "New Birth and Its Effects." This book contains numerous citations on the subject of the new birth from "Primitive Baptists" of the 19th century as well as some statements on perseverance. My dad, a leading Hardshell preacher had several citations underlined. He let me have the book and I too have underlined several important citations and wish to give them to the reader.   (all emphasis mine - SG)

These citations show that many 19th century Hardshells believed

1) That regeneration or the new birth was effected through the preaching of the gospel
2) That faith and repentance are evangelical graces conferred in the new birth
3) That the perseverance of saints was affirmed and defined

"The elect, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, and are effectually called to faith in Christ, and by His spirit working in due season are set apart and kept by His power through faith unto salvation." (Elder J. Bunyan Stephens, Cause Defended 1898, pg. 3)

"In the first place all who are taught of God's Holy Spirit, are brought to a knowledge that they are by nature children of wrath made sinners..." (Flint River Association Circular Letter 1817, pg. 4)

"I Corinthians 1: 9: God is, faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ. Here you will see in this text all saints are called of God to the fellowship of his Son..." (Elder Joshua Lawrence, "Baskets of Fragments for the Children," published in The Primitive Baptist in 1843, pg. 6)

"They differ, firstly in their parentage. The former, having God for their Father, "for ye are all the children of God by faith." The latter are of their father the devil. They differ in their birth.--The former is born by promise. The latter is born of the flesh. The former of incorruptible seed, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever." (Elder Joseph H. Flint, in The Primitive Baptist in 1838, pg. 7, 8)

"The true believer knows, that it takes grace to save and that it is grace; and that grace opened his understanding: so that he believed that he was a lost sinner...leading the soul to faith, faith is belief, belief in Jesus the Saviour...This is what is called a saving knowledge, the belief of which is faith and leads the sinner to repent..." (Elder William McElvy in The Primitive Baptist, 1839, pg. 8)

"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." (Elder Rudolph Rorer in The Primitive Baptist, 1843, pg. 9)

"Not, however, without repentance and faith, though some have been so full of folly, as to affirm that if sinners are saved upon the principles we maintain, then repentance and faith are needless things....Whereas none ever have, or will repent and believe, evangelically, except under the influence of special grace applied to them." (Elder John Rowe, "My Grace is Sufficient for Thee," in the Gospel Messenger, 1881, pg. 9)

"In this way they are taught of God and come from all other hope to Christ, and so walk in the truth." (Elder Wilson Thompson in the Signs of the Times, 1848, pg. 10)

"But not so with living faith: it invariably springs from a living source, and has for its end and object, the final salvation of all those who are its happy recipients." (Elder J. B. Hendrickson in the Gospel Messenger, 1881, pg. 11)

"But, brethren, that individual whom the Lord has visited by His Holy Spirit, enlightening the mind by grace, shining into the heart, the spirit is quickened, life is communicated, and the light of the knowledge of the glory of God given in the face of Jesus Christ (II Cor. 4:6)..." (From the Upper Canoochee Association Circular Letter, 1860, pg. 11, 12)

"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..." (Elder W. M. Mitchell in the Southern Baptist Messenger, 1860, pg. 15)

"Then every man therefore that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh to me. (Christ) Yes, they come and come with full purpose of heart too..." (Elder T. J. Bazemore in The Primitive Baptist, 1840, pg. 20)

"We are told, however, that faith and repentance are necessary for adults, but not necessary for infants. Very true; but are not" (Elder W. M. Mitchell in Signs of the Times, 1904, pg. 22, 23)

"What are we to understand by being born again?" "The memorable instance of Simon Magus and Saul of Tarsus illustrates these remarks; the former believed historically, but the latter by the power of the word and spirit of God, working on the dark powers of the soul and diffusing life divine...This image is restored in the new birth, by the word and spirit of God."

For it is the office of the spirit to illuminate the dark faculties of the soul, and to give it that faith which works by love and purifies the heart. And so wonderfully develops itself in the new born soul, that it shows it all the beauty and graces of Jesus, and enables the creature to receive the Saviour as their prophet, priest, and king. This is to be born again."

"...while God by his spirit sends his word into the hearts as a sharp two-edged sword, piercing or dividing asunder of soul and spirit...There is the time and place that Jesus comes with pardon, and applies his atoning blood. And now the sinner is enabled to look up to Jesus by faith, and see the streaming blood...And then is the time that Jesus applies the water by the word and sanctifying graces of his spirit: and there it is that the soul is regenerated and born again. Jesus is formed in the soul, the hope of glory." (South Carolina Primitive Baptist Association Circular Letter, 1842, pg. 24, 25)

"Then those born again are sure to walk in good works, though imperfectly performed; for what God has ordained will not fail. So where there are no good works in one's life, there is no new birth, nor no home in heaven for such a person. Then no good works--no salvation." (Elder Moses D. Denman in late 1800s, pg. 26)

"...being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever...Brethren, you know this change is not a mere notion, for without a pain there can be no birth. But where there is false conception there is false deliverance; there is brought forth nothing but wind...and the nearest the time of deliverance, the greater the agony and more severe the pain, yet they have it to bear until the time of deliverance comes. And when the babe is born in Zion, then clothe it with the best robe..." (Elder W. M. Rushing in The Primitive Baptist, 1842, pg. 27, 28)

"Regeneration being the implanting of spiritual life in the soul, it will assuredly be followed by spiritual action, and the regenerated soul will be born again as a new creature or new man being created in righteousness and true holiness, will be manifested in the feelings and acts of the person thus quickened." (Columbia Association Circular Letter, as published in the Signs of the Times, 1834, pg. 29, 30)

"The doctine of election will do us no good, if we have not, through sanctification of the Spirit, been elected unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Christ...there must be a work of grace in the soul, as well as a knowledge of doctrine in the mind." (Elder Henry Archer in The Gospel Messenger, 1883, pg. 34)

"When they are quickened by the life giving 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." (Elder W. M. Mitchell in the Gospel Messenger, 1882, pg. 34, 35)

"And God does not forsake his people after their regeneration but still prepares their heart and inclines their will to obey him...Praise the Lord! Jesus gave remission of sins. He gives repentance, He gives faith, and He gives eternal life. God has wrought all our works in us." (Elder Moses Denman, late 1800s, pg. 35, 36)

"Let no man think that he abides in Christ, or is in vital union with him when he can live in sin and take delight in gratifying fleshly lusts." (Elder Gregg M. Thompson in The Primitive Preacher, 1888, pg. 47)

"And that it appears more plain that this change pertains to the quality of the soul, let us for a moment consider the great alteration it effects in the views and apprehensions of the sinner: he has new thoughts of God--of Jesus Christ, and the way of salvation through him. Before, he lived without any true knowledge of God thinking him to be altogether such an one as himself...He also entertains very different views of Christ and the way of salvation through him...But he now views him every way suited to him a poor helpless sinner, in whose blood he has redemption, even the forgiveness of sins, and esteems him the chief among 10,000, and the one altogether lovely...He now sees that salvation is of grace through faith, and that not of himself, it is the gift of God." (Redstone Association Circular Letter as published in the Signs of the Times, 1839, pg. 51, 52)

"Election or God's choice includes the New Birth and belief of the truth. II Thess. 2: 13. So instead of the elect dying in unbelief cursing God as unfairly supposed, we here find that God has chosen them to be changed to walk in good works...God has chosen you to be brought by the Spirit, through sanctification and belief of the truth of salvation." (Elder Moses D. Denman in late 1800s, pg. 55)

"When a man is born again, he, the man, becomes a new creature...but as woman in pangs of travail is delivered by birth, so he is delivered by faith, and rejoices in the truth." (Elder J. R. Respass in The Gospel Messenger, 1883, pg. 57)

"...fellowship flows spontaneously from the implantation of grace in the heart." (Licking Association Circular Letter as published in The Signs of the Times, 1842, pg. 62)

"Every unregenerated human being is a heathen." (Hassell's History, 1886, pg. 63)

All these comments show that today's "Primitive Baptists" are not really primitive at all, for they reject means and perseverance.

These comments also show that the first Hardshells believed that regeneration was not the same as being born again, that the new birth was equated with conversion, or what neo-Hardshells call "time salvation."

No comments: