Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Preaching Repentance & Faith

Elder John M. Watson, who wrote "The Old Baptist Test" (1866), was a founding father of the "Primitive Baptist" denomination but he would not fellowship today's Hardshells who have gone to extremes and deny that hearing the gospel and faith in Christ are means of being eternally saved. These he called "Antinomians," "ulraists," and "modern innovators." He also chided these Hardshell brethren with having "violated" the great commission. He wrote:

"Their connection with each other involves, in the plainest manner, the duty of preaching to every creature "repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." The Lord has ordained this way; our violation of it in the 19th century will not cause it to fail; others will do the work; it needs must be done; and this may be the cause why so few are coming into our churches! We have violated our commission. "Let us search and try our ways, and turn to the Lord."" (Pgs. 520)

Notice that Watson confesses that the "Primitive Baptists" had violated the great commission.  He also says that this violation was "the cause why so few are coming into our churches!"  It is sad that the Hardshells did not listen to Elder Watson and repent. 

Watson wrote:

"Let us learn our duty as ministers, examine our commission, and see how fully it authorizes us, in faith, to exhort the sinner to repent, believing that the Lord can give him repentance; so as to believe, believing that the Lord can give faith." (Pg. 329)

How did the first Baptist preach? "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." To whom were these words addressed? to the pentitent or impenitent? To the impenitent of course. Who gave repentance? The Lord. How did Christ? "Repent ye and believe the gospel." How did the twelve? "They went out and preached that men shoud repent." (Pg. 517, 518)

"Were all of John's hearers converted before he said, "repent ye"? Were those (already-SG) repenting and believing to who Christ preached repentance and faith? Were those addressed by the twelve? Were the Athenians? What was Simon's state? Were those "quickened" who were bidden and refused to come to the feast? These questions, when properly answered, show most conclusively that we should preach repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, "to every creature"--to "all men everywhere." If we say our preaching is to the (already-SG) called of the Lord, and to them only, and make no distinction between the many called and the few chosen, we will involve the tenet of universalism."

"For if we preach only to the "quickened," all must be in that state, as our commission and work embraces "every creature." The commission includes those who believe not, as subjects of our address, as plainly as those who believe. Mark 16:16" (Pg. 519)
(Mark 6: 12)

These are words of condemnation for the Hardshells, coming from one who helped to form the denomination.  Again, it is sad that the Hardshells did not heed the words of Watson.  Notice how Watson warned the Hardshells about becoming involved in the "tenet of universalism," a common occurrence among the Hardshells in their history.  Watson condemns the modern Hardshell notion that the gospel was only to be preached to those already saved. 

Before we look at some additional things stated by Elder Watson, let us notice some scripture on the subject of preaching to the lost.

"And they went out, and preached that men should repent."

This was not just preached to some men, but to all men, without distinction. 

"I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5: 32)

"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent..." (Acts 17: 30)

Notice that Jesus refers to "calling" sinners.  Sinners are "called" to Christ and salvation, called to faith and repentance.  All the elect are predestined to be "called."  (Rom. 8: 29, 30)  This calling is "by the gospel."  (II Thess. 2: 14)  Jesus did this "calling" of sinners himself through his own preaching of the gospel.  But, he now calls sinners through his sent ministers.  Paul says that "God now commands all men everywhere," but he did this through the preaching of the apostle.  Paul's commanding and calling of sinners to repentance was God's commanding and calling. 

The Hardshells are forced into the position of affirming that it is the "righteous" who are called by the gospel, for they believe that the gospel is only addressed to those who are already born again and saved, already justified and made righteous.  But, Jesus said that it is the unrighteous, the sinner, the uncalled, who are "called" by preaching.

Sometimes the Hardshells will affirm that "repentance" is a grace "given in regeneration," but deny that is is given through the medium of preaching.  They will therefore teach "two kinds of repentance," one evangelical and one not.  They are infamous for saying there are "two kinds" of things, such as "two kinds of saving faith," and "two kinds of salvation," etc. 

They will affirm that the repentance that results from hearing the gospel call is not that repentance which is said to be "given" by God, affirming that evangelical repentance is not "given" as the non-evangelical and necessary kind of repentance. 

"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13: 3, 5)

Jesus announces the fate of those who do not heed the gospel call and repent.  They shall perish.  The typical Hardshell twist on this passage is to insist that the "perishing" is temporal, and they say that the word "likewise" proves it.  The perishing that Christ alluded to, they say, was a temporal perishing, was a strictly physical death and destruction.  Of course, the Universalists also argue the same way.

But, consider how their view is the untenable view.  Is Christ saying - "except you repent, you shall die physically"?  Will they not die physically even if they repent?  Such nonsense! If they say that it is not physical death, per se, but a calamitous death, such as occurred to those upon whom the tower fell and who were butchered by Pilate, this still does not help them in their denial that the perishing is eternal.  Is Christ saying - "except you repent, you shall suffer a temporal destruction like those on whom the tower fell"?  But, this is not true of all those who fail to repent!  They do not all suffer such a calamitous death.

Now, it is true that many Jews, in 70 A.D., did suffer a calamitous fate similar to those mentioned by Christ.  But, Christ is not hear addressing the Jewish nation, but individuals, some of whom no doubt died prior to 70 A.D.  Further, the statement is no less true after A.D. 70 than before it.  Will the Hardshells say that the warning about perishing for failure to repent was only true for Jews prior to A.D. 70?

Who can deny that the terrible and horrible death of those mentioned is "like" to the destruction of Hell? 

"And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24: 27)

These were the words of Jesus in his commissioning of disciples to preach the gospel.  What does Christ want his disciples to proclaim and announce?  Announce repentance and remission, two things that are linked together, and which cannot be divided.  Where there is no repentance there is no remission.  Notice how Peter fulfilled these commission orders on the Day of Pentecost and after it.

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2: 38)

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3: 19)

 What was the end in view, the outcome and result, of repentance?  "The remission of sins."  Do Hardshells tell sinners to "repent for the remission of sins"? 

"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20: 21)

Again, this is not what was testified to only some Jews and Greeks, but "to" all Jews and Greeks.  But, the Hardshells do not so testify to all men.

"But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance." (Acts 26: 20)

Again, there is no limitation in these words of exhortation.  It is not some Jews and some Gentiles, but all Jews and Gentiles.  Notice also that the command is both to "repent" and to "turn to God," things which are necessary for salvation. 

"And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13: 39)

If all that believe are justified, then those who do not believe are not justified.  This proclamation was so that men would know the way of salvation. 

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3: 9)

Whether by "any" and "all" are meant "all men" or "all the elect," the Hardshells have a problem either way.  Of course, they all affirm that the reference is to "all the elect."  And, they affirm that this "will" of God is determinate, being what has been predestined.  Thus, they will say that all the elect will "come to repentance."  The problem is, they do not believe that this repentance is the same repentance commanded of men, but is a repentance that is non-evangelical, a repentance that even idol worshipping pagans possess.  But, they have no scripture that describes a "repentance" that does not involve a changing of the mind regarding God and Christ.  Further, their statements that "regeneration produces no ideas" or produces no conviction, and that it is "non-cognitive," goes against the very meaning of the word, which denotes a change of mind.

Since God has willed that all the elect come to repentance, and repentance is always evangelical and cognitive, in scripture, then they must acknowledge that God's willing that all come to repentance is the same as saying that all will come to hear and believe the gospel.

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." (II Tim. 2: 24-26)

This text, like the one in II Peter 3: 9, gives the Hardshells great difficulty.  Most Hardshells have traditionally applied this to the experience of regeneration, making it the result of effectual calling, or what is certain to be given to all the elect when they are regenerated.  But, notice how this "repentance" is the result of gospel instruction and entails "acknowledging of the truth."  Thus, it is clearly an evangelical repentance.  This has led some of them to affirm that this "repentance" is indeed evangelical, but is not what is necessary for eternal salvation, but to a "time salvation," one that is conditioned upon the already regenerated person choosing, after the Arminian fashion, to repent.  The problem here is in the fact that this repentance is said to be "given," and they, as Calvinists, have traditionally argued that God's "giving" faith and repentance denotes what is effectually given.  Thus, when they debate Arminians and argue that the divine "giving" that is connected with regeneration denotes what is effectual and irresisitible, all the Arminian has to do is to say - "well you don't believe that God's giving repentance in II Tim. 2: 24-26 means that it is given effectually." 

Elder Watson wrote:

"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)

"Some of our ultraists are occasionally heard to say, in our pulpits, that they have no authority to preach to sinners, and they seem to glory in their fancied exemption. Nothing appears to give them greater offence, or savors more of Arminianism with them, than for sinners to be exhorted to repent!" ("Old Baptist Test," pages 327, 328)

"Our not exhorting sinners to repent and believe, is a gross deviation from the gospel rule, and a palpable perversion of the great commission under which we preach. Let us pursue the revealed method of God, and not the assumed one which we now follow. If ultraist, in their blindness, call us Arminians, let us bear it for the truth's sake. We had better suffer ourselves than deviate from our commission. I know I shall have to dispute every inch of ground here; that many are ready to catch at my words, and dispute all I may write; therefore I appeal to "the law and to the testimony."

"This violation of our commission has engendered a spirit of coldness and indifference about those yet unbrought; by some they are not cared for, prayed for, nor preached unto; this spirit in like manner extends to the "babes" in Christ, the sheep, and the sheep only, are fed. Let us examine our commission again, and search out the things therein included." (Pg. 521)

"These deviations, great, grievous and palpable as they are, do not..." (Pg. 522, 523)

"The very commission itself assures us that some would not believe, and yet includes them in the gospel address. It is in this and similar ways that the spirit of exhortation has been grieved and lost in our pulpits. This shows the great propriety of rightly dividing the word of God, and not shunning to declare all of it--to feed the lambs, to feed the sheep, to exhort all, every creature to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ...If our Old Baptist system be right, it will be found in agreement with every text, and if we have to alter or abridge the commission to preach the gospel, it is plain evidence of an error among us." (Pg. 535)

"The Lord has plainly revealed the great truth, that all christians are saved by grace, but in our predestinarian ultraisms we are too little inclined to study the Lord's way of saving His people; His plan as connected with earthly things, signs, means, methods, or what you please to term them. The Antinomian affects to despise them because the Arminian perverts them. Both are wrong. If it be the Lord's method to have us say to sinners dead in tresspasses and sins, repent and believe, we should practice it. Our exhorting sinners to repent and believe, is according to the Lord's plan, and how can we reject it, or neglect it, without the very consequences which have followed. Our commission, alas! brethren, has been narrowed down to the words "feed my sheep."

To exhort sinners to repent does not conflict with the doctrine that God alone can give life and repentance; or to believe does not conflict with the truth that faith is the gift of God; nor do the exhortations, warnings and threatenings oppose the doctrine that the believer is kept by the power of God; no more indeed than if it were now said that the leper's cure was not of God, because he bathed in Jordan; that the bringing forth of fruits meet for repentance was not of God, because John exhorted them to repent. Our ultraists would then have said, why bathe in Jordan, as God only can cure the leprosy?" (Pg. 536)

"We call on sinners to awake from the sleep of death by faith, believing that God will give them life; to repent because he has promised to give repentance; to believe because He gives faith, to persevere because He is the finisher of our faith. Shall we give up this part of the work of the ministry because it has been Armianized, and call all Arminians who carry it out? Faith divests all these things of Arminianism; faith which has regard to what the Lord will do, and not a false trust in what we may do ourselves." (Pg. 537)

"Our system should not only embrace the doctrine of salvation by grace, but also the method or way of grace. The way of grace is to call on sinners to live as well as to give life, to exhort them to repent, as well as to give repentance, to exhort unbelievers to believe as well as to give faith. It both leads by the spirit, and exhorts by the word." (Pg. 537)

"But alas! Where are our exhorters? They are characters almost unknown among us. Where is the preacher who stops in his ultra doctrinal course to exhort either saint or sinner? Some particular dogma must be proved by a perversion of revealed truth; the sincere milk of the word is withheld, strong meats are poisoned, and the great spiritual interest of the congregation is disregarded--all this, and even more, the peace and well being of the household of faith is broken up, if necessary, to establish some ultra tenet." (Pg. 537)

"But to return: after all that has been preached and written on the subject of means, the whole doctrine resolves itself into this truth, that means are nothing more or less than the ways or methods of the Lord in doing the things which He has purposed. He could do the same things by any other methods or ways were he disposed so to act, or without any means at all; at least without such as involve human acts." (Pg. 537, 538)

"We believe the Lord can save sinners without our preaching to them, but that does not excuse us from saying to them, repent ye and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that He can save them without water baptism or the Lord's supper, but that He does not authorize us to dispense with them. But verily we have deviated so far from the Bible in our views and feeling, if one were to call on sinners to repent, in the earnest, warm and emphatic way, which Christ and His disciples did, he would be regarded as an Arminian." (Pg. 538)

"But until the spirit of exhortation shall revive, and cease to be vexed, grieved and quenched, as it has been for a long time, we need not expect much reformation in our mode of preaching. There are, however, a few who have eyes to see, and hearts to deplore the things now under consideration. The errors of preachers are not private ones, but are disseminated from the pulpit among the brethren, and produce among them contentions, divisions, coldness and barrenness; they act on their minds as doth a canker on the body." (Pg. 538, 539)
See this posting for further citations from Watson.

Thus, we see that today's Hardshells are against the scriptures and that they are not really "primitive" or "old" Baptists on this important subject.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hardshell Falsehoods

Elder Lemuel Potter, in his debate on the "means question," with Elder W. T. Pence, in 1890, said:

"I took the position that none of the Baptists, Gill, the London Confession of Faith, Dr. Watson, or any of the Old School Baptists took the position that he did; that the anti-means position was not a new thing among the Old School Baptists."  (Copied from "Zion's Advocate," 1890, pages 243-250)

What gross falsehood!  John Gill, in all his writings, taught means in regeneration/new birth.  He taught it in his Commentary, in his Body of Divinity, and in his Cause of God and Truth.  What can one say of a man who would utter such falsehood?

The London Confession of Faith also clearly teaches means in regeneration and effectual calling.  Again, it is just utter falsehood.

Finally, it is clear that Elder Watson also taught means, and I have given numerous citations from Watson in my writings that prove it. 

Elder W. H. Crouse, in his book on "Regeneration," a Hardshell textbook on the subject, said about Elder Watson.

"If “belief of the truth” is connected with regeneration, HOW much of the truth does one have to believe to be regenerated? Elder Screws says all “thus chosen are caused to believe the truth.” (Vol. 3, No. 7, page 1.) He admits that but few of our people throughout the United States for many years have believed that God regenerates through the preached word; Dr. Watson, in his attack upon our people, charged us with having woefully ignored the teaching of the Bible on this line. Now if Elder Screws and Dr. Watson have the truth, the rest of us have not--the denomination has not believed the truth on this point."  ("Regeneration," Chapter 6)

Crouse followed Daily in saying that John Gill changed his mind and taught against means in his Body of Divinity and in his Cause of God and Truth than what he taught in his Commentary.  But, I have shown how this is false.  I have cited numerous statements from these latter works where Gill affirmed the same thing that he taught in his Commentary.  But, Crouse never denies that Dr. Watson taught means, and thus would disagree with Potter about the views of Watson.

Elder David Montgomery, present day Hardshell, wrote:

"Elder John M. Watson in his book, "The Old Baptist Test or, Bible Signs of the Lord's People" (Pub. 1867), said many good and necessary things that would be pertinent to the church today, but to be honest, there are several passages from the book that I completely disagree with. Perhaps an examination of Elder Watson's book could become another item of discussion among us."  ("Proving Time Salvation")

I wonder which parts of Watson's book that Montgomery disagreed with?  Was it not his belief in means in regeneration?  Yes, let us have some honest discussion about the testimony of Elder Watson!

In the "Mt. Carmel Church Trial," we find these words:

"Now, we will quote some more recent authorities on the subject of Means. Elder Burnam in his deposition, page 17, quotes the Old Baptist Test, edited by John M. Watson, in 1867, who visited this very church in Luray and was well received and greatly esteemed and admired by Baptists here. He says, in Old Baptist Test:

“As the Father draws sinners to Christ by means which he has ordained to that end, let us not fail to employ them.”

Elder Burnam says that this Old Baptist Test was a recognized standard in the faith, and he had never heard it contradicted."

Was Burnam not correct about the views and authority of Elder Watson?  What Hardshell can deny that Watson was a recognized leader of the Hardshells in the beginning?

Elder S. Hassell on Watson:

"Nearly thirty years ago “the beloved physician,” Eld. John M. Watson, professor of obstetrics in the medical department of the University of Nashville, Tenn, wrote in the "Old Baptist Test,' these wise and warning words: "We have become too ultra in most things. How great the change! Watchman! what of the night? I hear one respond, All is not well! another, that strange winds of doctrine are blowing; another, that the sickly dews of heresy are falling thickly around us, many are sickly and weak; another, that the sound of another gospel is heard in our midst, whereby many are being bewitched. I hear something of heavenly origin! Listen: "Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.' O, Israel, to you tents! Gird on the sword of the Spirit! put on the whole armor of God! Set up the waymarks and, in holy boldness and meekness, defend them against all heretical defacers! Above all things, avoid those prevailing ultraisms which are now eating on the Old Baptist Church as doth a canker--dividing churches and Associations, and disturbing the order and peace of the Baptists generally. Rebuke the ultraist whenever you meet with him--reclaim or reject him--let him be regarded constantly as the worst enemy of the Baptists of the present day!"  ("Interpreting the Scriptures-The Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture" - The Gospel Messenger--April 1893)

Hassell did not denounce Watson but considered him a leader among the Hardshells. 

What Hardshell wants to come along and defend the statement of Elder Potter about the teachings of Gill, the London Confession, and of Elder Watson?

Hardshellism's Fundamental Tenet

Elder W. H. Crouse, in his book "Regeneration," a textbook for Hardshell beliefs on the subject, wrote:

"If regeneration precedes faith and belief, then it is wrong to say that all who do not have faith or belief are children of wrath and subject to everlasting death. And why should any of our ministers get 'sick and tired' of hearing some of us say that there will be thousands in heaven who never had gospel faith?" (Chapter 3, page 66)

It would not be surprising to hear Universalists affirm such as this, but for those who believe that some men will be eternally condemned, as do the Hardshells, to affirm such, is bewildering. 

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3: 36)

Clearly Jesus did not share the Hardshell belief, for he says that all those who do not believe in the Son of God "shall not see life," but will be "condemned" (Mark 16: 16).  Paul plainly says "that they all might be damned who believed not the truth."  (II Thess. 2: 12)  Jesus says that "the wrath of God abides on" those who do not believe in Jesus.  How Crouse and the Hardshells can so contradict Christ and yet claim to be bible believers, is astonishing. 

Here is what the London Confession of 1689 said about the state of the heathen, of those who are without faith in Christ.

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

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. 

John Gill taught the same thing on the state of the heathen.  The Hardshell tenet is practical Universalism and is to be rejected as heresy.

Paul spoke of "the faith of God's elect" (Titus 1: 1).  This is the "faith" that is possessed by all those who are chosen to salvation.  Thus, one cannot be "elect" who is "without faith."  Further, Paul says "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."  (Rom. 10: 14)

I rest my case.

Is J. P. Dale Correct?

Elder David Montgomery operates a leading "Primitive Baptist" web site. In an article titled "Proving Time Salvation," he wrote:

"I once telephoned Elder J.P. Dale to ask him about this subject. Elder Dale was at that time 87 years old and had been ordained to the ministry for almost 70 years. He did not know Elder Sylvester Hassell personally, but he knew several who did know him. Elder Dale had read Hassell thoroughly and in his opinion, Brother Hassell did not subscribe to the doctrine that teaches that all the elect will hear and believe the Gospel."

Hassell, however, wrote:

"There is no salvation, no eternal life, no enjoyment of heaven, without the renewing power of the Holy Ghost and the atoning death of the Son of God; and, unless we are first regenerated, or born again, or born from above, or born of God, or born of the purifying power of the Holy Spirit (called by Paul "the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit," Titus 3:5), we will never truly repent or believe or obey or enter heaven; and, if we are thus born of God, we will certainly repent, believe, obey, and inherit the fullness of eternal life." (Gospel Messenger, 1896)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fate of Unbelievers

"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8: 24)

These words are very clear and uproot the Hardshell and Universalist notion that affirms that unbelievers, some or all, will be saved, will not "die in sins."  To make the indictment and judgment into a temporal one is a serious misinterpretation of the words. 

"Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also." (vs. 19)  "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world."  (vs. 23)  You "shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come."  (vs. 21)

The unbelievers addressed by Christ are identified as not knowing either the Father or the Son, and who are "from beneath" and "of this world."   They cannot go the heaven, the place where Christ was going.  Clearly then, the unregenerate, lost, dead alien sinner, is the character addressed by Christ.

To "die in sins" is to die guilty of them, to die unpardoned and unforgiven.  To make this destiny strictly temporal and to deny that it is eternal, is a serious error on the text, and cannot be justly claimed to be the actual teaching of Christ, but a perversion of his teaching.  On the phrase "die in your sins," Dr. John Gill wrote: 

"...the sense is, that in the midst of their calamities, which should come upon them, for their sin against him, they should in vain seek for the Messiah, as a temporal deliverer of them; for their nation, city, and temple, and they therein should utterly perish, for their iniquity; and their ruin would not only be temporal, but eternal: since it follows,

whither I, go ye cannot come
, signifying, that whereas he was going to his Father, to heaven and glory; to enjoy eternal happiness at his Father's right hand, in the human nature; they should never come there..."  (Commentary)

The denial that the consequences of rejecting Christ are everlasting is a serious error but it is the teaching of the Universalists and Hardshells.  Though Christ clearly condemns all unbelievers, the ones who do not believe in him as Savior, Lord, and Christ, the Universalists and Hardshells, resist Christ's teaching and twist his words by their denial that "die in your sins" denotes eternal punishment, destiny in Hades and in the Lake of Fire (Gehenna).   These heretical groups misrepresent Christ in his intended meaning when they so "re-state" or "interpret" the words of Christ.  Three times in Christ's address to these doomed sinners he says "you shall die in your sins." 

 Why would Christ be threatening them with a mere temporal loss?   The word "die" refers to the death of the body, when the soul separates from the body.  They were already dead spiritually.   They were also already "in sins," and would end their life in such a state and condition. 

So, what does it mean to be "in sin(s)" and to "die in sin(s)"?  Paul speaks of lost, unregenerate souls, as being "dead in sins." (Eph. 2: 1)  Thus, Christ is saying - "you shall die (physically) in your existing state of spiritual death."  For one to be described as "dead in sin" or to have "died in sin," is to be described as a damned soul.  These words describe only the lost, and can never be used to describe any of the chosen and called.  To be "in sin" is to be in a lost unregenerate state.  To be "in Christ" is not to be "in sin." 

Clearly Jesus is focusing on what a man becomes at the end of his life.  He cannot therefore be speaking of a consequence in life, prior to death, or to a temporal loss.  He is not focusing on the state or condition of a man's soul prior to his death, but to his state and condition after he has died.  Thus, he can only be talking about what is eternal, for whatever the state be after death, the same will be the state forever.  There is no change of state, no salvation or condemnation, after death.  Those who die lost cann never be saved, and those who die saved can never be lost.

To not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, to fail to trust in him, absolutely seals doom.  This is the obvious teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ and to twist the passage, as do the Universalists and the Hardshells, is to be denounced.

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3: 36)

Another clear verse that destroys the Universalist and Hardshell affirmation about the salvation of many or all those who are "unbelievers"!  These heretics will affirm that all believers in Jesus will be saved, but deny that all unbelievers will be lost.  Their proposition may be thus stated - "all believers will be saved, and some unbelievers too."

Clearly Jesus is talking about "eternal" things for he first speaks of "everlasting life."  This he promises to those who "believe on the Son."  After first speaking of what is given to believers in the Son, he then speaks of what is denied to those who "believe not the Son." 

Clearly all men are classed in one of these two groups.  There is not a third group.  Men either believe in Christ the Son, or they do not believe.  What is denied to such "unbelievers"?  They "shall not see life."  What, temporal life?  It cannot be, however.  The context will not allow such an interpretation.  Honesty of interpretation forces us to deny that the "not see life" is a merely temporal consequence.  The "life" not seen, possessed, or experienced, is the "everlasting life" that the believer will actually "see," will really possess and experience forever.  The very same thing, "life" or "everlasting life," that is "seen" or obtained by the believer is denied to the unbeliever.  Thus, "shall not see life," the fate of unbelievers, cannot be anything other than an eternal punishment.  Eternal life for believers and eternal death for unbelievers, thus both Universalism and Hardshellism is uprooted.

"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." (II Thess. 1: 8, 9)

"That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."  (II Thess. 2: 8)

These words cannot be twisted so as to make them to deal with temporal losses and ruin in this life.  They declare that all unbelievers in the gospel, will be finally condemned "with everlasting destruction."  These words are clear to any except those blinded by the Universalist and Hardshell cults.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Time Salvation: Its Latitude

In my first challenge to Time Salvation back in September I stated that there were certain buzzwords which shroud this system. Some of the primary ones are saved, faith, perish, everlasting, or some comparable expression. He who adheres to this doctrine will become familiar with these words which make up the time salvation vocabulary as they are the life-blood of his erroneous assertions, becoming the source of manipulation when he goes to the scripture to interpret it in the light of his anti-means prejudices. The strategy of time salvation in its extreme form is to take passages, containing these buzzwords which seem to place emphasis on the human side of salvation, and to explain it in a way different than that of Calvinistic and/or Reformed theology. If a virtue or disposition is discovered to be necessary for salvation, one thing facing the “interpreter” is to determine if it should be designated a subconscious or cognitive experience. If the former, then it becomes a subconscious condition for eternal salvation. If the latter, then it MUST be an optional temporal condition applicable to this life only. Furthermore, if there be a declared condemnation mentioned in the verse, the task becomes as well to determine if it is an eternal or temporal judgment. If the condition mentioned was deemed to be subconscious, then an eternal judgment may be allowed; cognitive, then it must be a temporal judgment. A third component enters the mix if there is a promised blessing contained within the text. Then it must be determined as well whether this should be considered temporally or eternally. The determining factor as to which of these is "correct" is neither context nor sound hermeneutics, but preconceptions against those things peculiar to the gospel-means pattern for salvation.

This is the realm within which advocates of time salvation must operate; and if you can master the above “hermeneutics” then you can receive your time salvation certification.

And to think that one adherent told me when I left this teaching that I was walking away from the “simplicity that is in Christ”!

What makes this way of discerning God’s Word dangerous is when the key words around which time salvation pivots appear together in a single passage. By dividing up many of the virtues in the Bible into the two categories of “‘subconscious and necessary” and “cognitive and optional”, considerable room for differing interpretations has been granted to our innovators. To this add the current tendency of distinguishing God's temporal versus His eternal judgment, and the receiving of temporal versus eternal life, and our innovators have much latitude when it comes to interpreting a passage of scripture. There is so much freedom granted in certain passages when these concepts appear together, that the "interpreter" can make the verse mean sometimes two or three different things, and still remain within the borders of time salvation. The problem facing our innovators at this point, though, is how to determine which particular term should be the focus of the time salvation twist. Should the condition, the judgment, or the blessing be that which is manipulated and given its one-of-two definitions? I can still remember when I used to teach this doctrine, and how I always juggled such questions in my mind when certain texts were confronted. Do I make the faith out to be seed faith, and allow the condemnation and blessing to be eternal? Or, should I make the faith to be cognitive, and the promised blessing be fulfilled in “coming into the kingdom”, with only a temporal judgment to face if I fail to do so? When I realized that I received the freedom to choose from as much as two or three interpretations of a passage based on the latitude granted by following a “system of two’s”, and yet still remain safe from what I thought an error, a growing conviction settled over me that I was not handling the Word of God honestly. It is our plea that those entrenched in this system would come to see the same.

What we've asserted above will make more sense once we demonstrate the latitude which promoters of this heresy have by looking at certain key scriptures. Each of them contain key words which today's Hardshells have learned to split up and say that there are two kinds of each.

First, we have Mark 16:16:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

There are two things of note in this passage: the condition of faith and the promised fate. As both believeth, saved, and damned have two permutations each based on the latitude granted by time salvation, the following interpretations can be maintained:

1) He that believeth subconsciously and is baptized shall be saved eternally; but he that believeth not subconsciously shall be damned eternally.


2) He that believeth cognitively and is baptized shall be saved temporally; but he that believeth not cognitively shall be damned temporally.

Next, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

With the latitude granted by time salvation, these two interpretations can be had:

1) Whosoever believeth cognitively should not perish temporally, but have temporal life.


2) Whosoever believeth subconsciously should not perish eternally, but have eternal life.

Flabbergasted is probably the word to best describe the Christian community were they to hear that the most popular passage in the Bible is not to be understood in the way they've always thought! Save it for our modernists to tell us that God sent His Son into the world that whosoever believed in Him should not die temporally, but have a better life here on Earth! I can still recollect an Elder who took pains to make a distinction between everlasting and eternal all to show that John 3:16 was speaking of time salvation, thereby allowing for unbelievers to be saved.

Contrary to this, however, the latitude of the time salvation buzzwords would allow one to turn right around and say something completely different by placing the twist on faith instead. He could say that eternal death and eternal salvation were under consideration and that seed faith is what is necessary for salvation.

The latitude of faith, perish, and everlasting combined together in a passage thus allow for Hardshell elders to disagree as to the single correct interpretation of it, but yet remain in accord in their opposition that true faith in the mind and heart are necessary for eternal salvation!

Third, we have John 3:36:

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

There are three key words in the passage which ring the time salvation bell: believeth, everlasting, and wrath.

Our modernists have the following wiggle-room by maintaining either:

1) He that believeth cognitively on the Son hath temporal life: and he that believeth not cognitively the Son shall not see temporal life: but the temporal wrath of God abideth on him.


2) He that believeth subconsciously on the Son hath eternal life: and he that believeth not subconsciously the Son shall not see eternal life: but the eternal wrath of God abideth on him.

Fourth, John 6:40:

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Here again two interpretations are available from which our modernists may choose. It could be read as…

1) Everyone that seeth the Son subconsciously, and has seed faith, may have eternal life.


2) Everyone that seeth the Son cognitively, and has cognitive faith, may have temporal life.

Fifth, John 8:24:

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.

Available interpretations:

1) I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die temporally in your sins: for if ye believe not cognitively that I am he, ye shall die temporally in your sins.


2) I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die eternally in your sins: for if ye believe not subconsciously that I am he, ye shall die eternally in your sins.

Who can believe such nonsense? Only if one went to the Bible determined to defy the fundamental teaching that faith in Christ is necessary for eternal salvation would he ever so slice and dice the scriptures!

We might could provide further examples demonstrating this treacherous partitioning of the Bible, but this should suffice for making our point. Wherever multiple buzzwords of the time salvation scheme occur together within a passage, this latitude is available for our extremists to play with. Of course, the correct interpretation of the above verses is that faith is cognitive, and both the promised blessing and judgment are matters of an eternal nature!

The reader might be asking what the purpose is behind all this. The intent is to make salvation possible for men who really don’t believe in Jesus Christ. The chief aim behind time salvation is to make an unbeliever into a "believer". It makes it possible for it to be said of those who really don’t believe in Jesus Christ in their hearts and minds, that they are nevertheless believers in some sense. And if they fail to so believe in Christ, they will only be the subjects of God's temporary displeasure.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our Forefathers on Romans 8:28 - PART 5

Probably the most common error made by those who assert their limited view of Romans 8:28 is the failure to take notice of one simple word in the passage: together. A popular tactic used by Hardshell elders in defense of their proposition is to isolate some single event or tragedy and then boldly claim that no good could come from such things. Therefore, a limitation must be placed on the text. It is most unfortunate that such a faulty application of the passage meets with such success among the people, causing them to renounce the glorious truth that the passage was meant to convey. It makes the most simple error in presuming that the text speaks of good coming as a result of things as they work independently from each other, and not rather in union. But as Spurgeon rightly said (emphasis mine):

"'All things work together for good:' that is to say, none of them work separately. I remember an old divine using a very pithy and homely metaphor, which I shall borrow to-day. Said he, 'All things work together for good; but perhaps, any one of those 'all things' might destroy us if taken alone. The physician," says he, "prescribes medicine; you go to the chemist, and he makes it up; there is something taken from this drawer, something from that phial, something from that shelf: any one of those ingredients, it is very possible, would be a deadly poison, and kill you outright, if you should take it separately, but he puts one into the mortar, and then another, and then another, and when he has worked them all up with his pestle, and has made a compound, he gives them all to you as a whole, and together they work for your good, but any one of the ingredients might either have operated fatally, or in a manner detrimental to your health." Learn, then, that it is wrong to ask, concerning any particular act of providence; is this for my good? Remember, it is not the one thing alone that is for your good; it is the one thing put with another thing, and that with a third, and that with a fourth, and all these mixed together, that work for your good. Your being sick very probably might not be for your good only God has something to follow your sickness, some blessed deliverance to follow your poverty, and he knows that when he has mixed the different experiences of your life together, they shall produce good for your soul and eternal good for your spirit. We know right well that there are many things that happen to us in our lives that would be the ruin of us if we were always to continue in the same condition. Too much joy would intoxicate us, too much misery would drive us to despair: but the joy and the misery, the battle and the victory, the storm and the calm, all these compounded make that sacred elixir whereby God maketh all his people perfect through suffering, and leadeth them to ultimate happiness. ‘All things work together for good.’” (The True Christian’s Blessedness, 1857)

It must be understood that the word together implies that two or more things must be involved. It would be most foolish of me to state, for example, that "I went together to church". You would naturally respond, "Together with who?". After all, the thought must be completed, correct? If I go together to church, there must be someone with whom I go! Otherwise, what I stated is illogical. Yet this is the exact same error which many of my Conditionalist friends make when addressing Romans 8:28. An individual event, such as the death of an infant, is presented, and then the question is asked, "How can that work together for good?" Such an analysis makes the simple mistake of assuming that that which is singular works together.

The denial that all things work together for good by failing to see how a single event leads to good in and of itself is therefore faulty, as this is not what the text is teaching. To any particular case brought up by our innovators, we would rightly reply with...

Work together with what? Complete the thought, and then perhaps I could attempt to answer the question!

To speak of a single event "working together" is nonsensical. It must be coupled with an additional component in order to even be considered a rational thought. It is not logical to speak of something working together for good until it is yoked with something else. Only then can the term together be given a reason for its occurrence.

Reader, please notice in some of the below quotations this distinction being made. Things by themselves may seem to be harmful, but they work together for our good!

"On last Sunday (December 24th) we preached the first discourse we had been able to preach for seventy days—or ten weeks. The greater part of that time we were in extreme sufferings, and often excruciating torture. During the greater part of our ministerial life it has been our lot to suffer. None but the God of heaven knows, or ever will know, how much bodily pain we have endured, even when we were preaching to the people the unsearchable riches of Christ.

Often, too, have we felt to be 'pressed out of measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.' But God has had mercy, and still sustained us, even in the furnace; and were it not that we know that the Lord has said, 'His fire is in Zion and his furnace in Jerusalem,' we should long since have despaired of being a citizen of that holy city. But when we know that the Lord doth 'sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He shall purify the sons of Levi (or the spiritual priesthood), and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness,' there is hope still that these afflictions are in the end to work for our good and for God’s glory
." (William M. Mitchell, The Gospel Messenger vol. 4 no. 2, Feb. 1882)

"At Jacksonville, Fla., a serious matter occurred with me. While changing cars I was robbed of every cent of money I had with me, amounting to between fifty five and sixty dollars. I never missed the money until the pickpockets who robbed me were all out of the way. There I was, among strangers, without a cent of money. For awhile I was so bewildered, so surprised and confused in mind that I did not know what to do.

I made my loss known to Captain Mahoney, the conductor I came with, and addressing him and a number of others standing near him I told them who I was, and what I was doing, and then asked if there was one in that crowd who would trust me, stranger as I was to them, and lend me enough money to get to Folkstone, Ga., the nearest point to my next appointments, promising at the same time to return the amount loaned as soon as I was in funds again, and in reach of a money order post office. Captain Mahoney promptly replied, 'I'll trust you,' and handed me three dollars.

Thus I was helped along, and I am now near Blackshear, Ga., filling my appointments as arranged for me. I can now, and expect on to morrow, to pay back the money loaned by the kind conductor; the Lord bless him. What made my situation more trying, I had no funds at home to draw on, and ten or fifteen dollars of the amount lost belonged to brethren who had given it to me to send for papers, &c. I will make it all good; I consider the loss mine, not theirs. As soon as I can on this tour I will make it good.

Though I am sorely tried and matters are gloomy with me now, my hope and trust is in the Lord. He is my help, and I hope to realize all that befalls me while trying to do what I feel and believe he has given me to do, will work together for my good and make me more useful as the servant of his people
." (J.H. Purefoy, The Gospel Messenger vol. 10 no. 5, May 1888)

"So when the poor tempest tossed child of God has to meet with sore conflicts of this life, being tempted, persecuted and afflicted, he can only hope in the grace of God for the glorious resurrection of the dead. Yes, dear child of God, tribulations are necessary even if they seem hard to endure, yet they work a great good; for they work patience, the sweet fruit of the Spirit, that is so needful; for, said the apostle, 'ye have need of patience, that when ye have done the will of God ye may receive the promise.' 'And this is the promise he hath given to us, even eternal life, and this life is in his Son.' And in possessing that sweet fruit of the Spirit, patience, we are prepared to learn of him (Jesus). We experience more of the tender mercies of God, and learn to trust less in the flesh and more in him who said, 'my grace is sufficient.'" (Lewis H. Stuckey, "Hope", The Gospel Messenger vol. 10 no. 8, Aug. 1888)

"As we look back over our past lives, we may not be able to see how it is that God has directed our course. His influences may have been imperceptible to us, yet we know that he in some way directed us. Our prosperity, if we have it, is a matter calling for gratitude and if we have adversity, even this we must know in some way is for our good, if we love the Lord. 'All things work together for good to them that love God.' Rom., viii, 28" (James H. Oliphant, Regeneration, Or the Doctrine of the Quickening ch. 10, 1888)

"And let us not count it strange when those fiery trials come upon us, for it certainly is no more than what is coming at this present time among the dear children of God, and I am persuaded it will work together for good to them who love God, who are the called according to his purpose and will." (Henry D. Johnson, Old Baptist Banner vol. 2 no. 6, Oct. 1839)

"The growing of the gourd over the head of Jonah shows how good and merciful the Lord was to him in his afflicted and angry condition, and is a standing testimony of his faithfulness to his promises made to his children, that he will not forget or forsake them in any circumstance. God designed to try Jonah by the Gourd, in like manner as he often tries his children, to see if their blessings are received with gratitude, and whether they will be humbled by their undeserved favors or not (not but what God knows what the result will be,) to prove to them something special, as in this case to prove to Jonah more fully the folly of his hasty and unjustifiable conclusions, and the turpitude of his unsanctified nature.

The Gourd was smitten and withered as a just rebuke to Jonah for his ingratitude and fretfulness at the mercy of God in sparing Ninevah on her repentance, and by this circumstance is proven, not only to Jonah, but to the world, the justice as well as the mercy of God in sparing this great city. The circumstances of this case prove conclusively to all Christians that it is not their privilege to conjecture what may be the result of obeying divine commands, and that they should not murmur if the result should not be to their expectations or desires, but be not only resigned to the divine hand but truly thankful that all things are under the rightful control of infinite wisdom, and that whatever may be the result all shall be for the glory of God and for the good of his children
." (James W. Walker, "Jonah’s Gourd", The Southern Baptist Messenger vol. 3 no. 15, Aug. 1853)

"Then, reader, why blame the Old Order of Baptists for preaching the final perseverance of those called of God? Of those 'other sheep' brought by the Lord? I ask, were all things working together for their good? Or were any of these things working together for their ruin? Now if all things good and bad, agreeable and disagreeable, grievous and pleasant were all under the care of the Great Shepherd working together for their good, by what means could they apostatize? Just, Christian reader, as all things are strangely working together for your good, in the same mysterious manner, in which they did for the Romans!" (John Watson, "Bible Signs of the Lord’s People", The Old Baptist Test Section XII, 1867)

"Then one of the strongest marks of regeneration is true humility, which is opposed to pride and arrogance, and this humility is a fruit of our Father's rod. Then we should be thankful that the rod is in his own hands, who always uses it with much mercy and for our profit, causing the peaceable fruits of righteousness to flow from its correction. Then let it be outward affliction or inward grief, it shall all work together for the good of every regenerated soul. For God’s grace is sufficient for them, and their strength is made perfect in weakness." (L.L. Walden, The Messenger of Peace, 1877)

"But, if in his inquiries and considering, he cannot understand why it is that he is afflicted; cannot trace it back as a chastisement for his misconduct in any way, then he is brought to submit to a wise dispensation of God's providence towards him, for some good purpose known unto the Lord. So, whether, in his feelings, the Christian decides that his affliction or trial is a chastisement, or not, he is brought to be resigned to it in a great measure; is, at least, brought to patiently endure it without murmuring against God, or charging God foolishly." (Thomas J. Bazemore, Ruth the Moabitess, 1881)

"The children of God are an afflicted and poor people, but their trust is in Israel's God; he will never leave nor forsake them, though an host should encamp against them. My mind is often dark, sometimes I walk in darkness and have no light, but, Why should I complain? God maketh darkness as well as light, and both are alike unto him. Yet are they safe.—Safe even when they walk in darkness, their every trial is for their good, all things work together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose.

God has given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, yet we are prone to think that all things are against us, when in reality they are all for us. Trials are good for us, and we have reason to be thankful that we are not without them, 'For what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?' 'If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.' 'But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.' Heb. xii.8. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing had happened unto you. But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad with everlasting joy. 1 Pet. iv. 12, 13.

The above with many other portions of Scripture, assure us that the Lord's children are chastised, and tried, yet it is hard at times for us to draw comfort from our trials; they rather look to us as a mark of God’s displeasure, but when the glass seems more clear then we can rejoice, and glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, &c
." (Phildander Hartwell, The Southern Baptist Messenger vol. 7 no. 4, 1857)

"He may suffer us to get into doubts and fears, and wars, pestilence, and temptation may seem to surround us so that at times we feel as though we were sinking in despair, but at other times, hope springs up and seems to say, 'O, ye of little faith!' Then it is I think these trials are for our good, and to teach us most forcibly that our whole dependence is in God, and him alone." (Thomas S. Whitely, The Southern Baptist Messenger vol. 7 no. 3, 1857)

"Many events, such as trials and afflictions, may not be, in themselves, good things. Many prosperous steps of man may not, in themselves, seem to have any seeds of disease, nor any latent sorrows. Jacob saw no good in his supposed bereavements and the grievous famine; nor was there, seemingly, any token of want in the seven plenteous years in Egypt; yet how one is framed for the other, and the super abundance of one is swallowed up by thirst of the other. One is set over against the other and nothing is left.

Human life is an illustration of God’s abounding goodness and man's hunger that feeds on it, of prosperity followed by adversity. Often, if one has all that heart could wish, he is denied the appetite or power of enjoyment; if one has the sharp appetite, he has not so much to try it on. So man is hedged and fenced by metes and bounds. Yet this is right and good. In christian experience there is so much of sorrow where we had expected joy, and so much of joy where we had expected sorrow, that we know not which to choose, and could not do well without either: one involves the other.

Afflictions are in themselves grievous, yet under the rod we are chastened into the sweetest humility, and the best fruit bearing, and ourselves eat of the fruit: 'it was good for me to be afflicted,' &c. Prosperity is joyous and exhilarating in its nature, and its tendency is to exaltation, hence the need of the thorn, lest we be exalted above measure. Both, then, are needful in their time, season, and place.

Throughout the whole journey of life, or in the entire history of the church, there is equally as much wisdom as power shown in sustaining the entire chain of events, foreknown and purposed by Him who works all things according to the counsel of his own will; so that each and every event, whether good or evil in its isolated, individual nature and bearing, is needful, and all, put together, work for good to them who love God and are the called according to his purpose. They work together, not separately: 'And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose
.'" (P.D. Gold, "Working Together", Zion’s Landmark vol. 9 no. 13, 1876)

"And God is omnipresent, omniscient, eternal, all wise and all powerful, and that His will is His purpose, and His purpose is His will, inseparably the same, and that he works all things after the counsel of His own will, His purpose is as unchangeable and immutable as God Himself. Therefore the redemption of the children of God stands complete in the person of Christ. Now it is that they are called with an holy calling to the knowledge of the same. And Christ being exalted a Prince and a Saviour, seated at the right hand of the Father, ever making intercession for the saints according to the will of the Father.

Therefore, brethren, it is said that all things work together for good to them who love God. Though temptations may assail us, afflictions seem severe, and misfortunes bereave us, we should not be of a murmuring disposition, but we should look out from ourselves, even to God, and wait patiently on Him who works all things for our good. Brethren we have every cause to rejoice, and not one to complain. And if we are the happy recipients of God’s grace, will He forsake us after He has done so much for us? No, He has said that He will not leave us in the sixth trouble, nor forsake us in the seventh
." (1859 Circular Letter of the Springfield Association)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jesus Uproots Hardshellism

"But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you...If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him." (John 10: 26, 37, 38)

These words of Jesus uproot Hardshellism.  Jesus is clearly preaching to those who are not his sheep, not his elect, those who are not believers.  Let the Hardshell come forward and deny these plain facts.  Jesus is addressing a group who he says "are not of my sheep."  That much is clear.  But, the fact that they are not his sheep, are not believers, does not keep Christ from preaching to them.  This in itself shows that Christ was no Hardshell, for Hardshells do not address those who are not Christ's sheep, believing that gospel preaching is only to be addressed to the sheep.  Consider also the fact that Christ says to these "goats," these unregenerate souls, "believe the works that you may know and believe."  If Christ commands the non-elect to "believe" on him, then is it not their duty to do so?  How then can Hardshells deny that it is the duty of all to believe the truth about Christ?  How can they deny that all men are responsible to believe in Christ?

It is not only the duty of all to believe "the record that God gave of his Son" (I John 5: 10), but it is also their privilege, for believing assures one of salvation.

"And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not...And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life...But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you."  (John 5: 38, 40, 42)

Who can doubt that these people, like the ones addressed in John 10 (above), are unregenerate, "dead in tresspasses and sins"?  They are identified as unbelievers, as those who have no will to come to Christ, who have no life in them, who have not his word abiding in them, and who have not the love of God in them.  Let the Hardshell come forward and deny that these are dead sinners.  But, what does Christ say to them?  "These things I say, that ye might be saved."  (John 5: 34)

Do Hardshells follow Christ's example?  Do they admonish the lost to believe in Christ for salvation?  For an enlarged treatment on this subject, see my chapters in "The Hardshell Baptist Cult" under the series title "Addresses to the Lost," at

Abraham Booth on Regeneration

Abraham Booth (1734-1806), a leading 18th and 19th century Particular Baptist leader, wrote:

"But it is impossible for us to conceive of the mind being enlightened, of the conscience being relieved, of the will being regulated, and of the affections being purified by the word of truth, any further than it is believed. It may therefore be concluded, that regeneration is not, in order of time, prior to faith in Christ, and justification by him." 

"...there is no such thing as priority, or posteriority, respecting them, either as to the order of time, or the order of nature. THEY ARE INSEPARABLE, NOR CAN ONE EXIST WITHOUT THE OTHER."  ("Glad Tidings to Perishing Sinners," page 122)

Did not Spurgeon say that Booth represented his views?

Spurgeon Endorsed Stock

An old book, "A handbook of revealed theology," published in 1861 by John Stock, had a chapter on the "new birth," and was a book recommended by Spurgeon. Before I cite from that chapter, let me first cite from the words of Spurgeon. He wrote:

"With these ideas in my mind I longed for the reproduction of the Puritan divines, and the extensive circulation of a cheap text-book of the old theology. My first desire I have at length seen fully realized by the wonderful enterprise of my excellent friend, Mr. Nichol. May his work of reprinting the old divines at the lowest price be carried on to a fair conclusion, and crowned with the divine blessing. The second I rejoice to see accomplished in the present Handbook by my respected brother, Mr. Stock. He undertook the labour at my earnest request; he has favoured me with a perusal of the sheets as they appeared, and I am only too happy to prefix my commendation. I have suggested no alteration, although my friend's kindness allowed me that liberty, because I had rather he should be the author and compiler of the entire work, bearing the sole responsibility of its statements. We might have differed about words and phrases, and have wasted time without effecting improvements; and even had I been right in any proposed emendations, my peculiar modes of speech would have betrayed the hand of Joab in the matter, and have led the reader to think of the author and corrector, rather than of the doctrine and the scriptural proof. I do not endorse every sentence in the book; nay, in the Part on "the Constitution and Discipline of Christian Churches " I might have desired several alterations; but as a whole the book has my cordial approval, which I have shown in the most practical manner by purchasing five hundred copies for the use of the young men in the Theological Institute at the Tabernacle.

Go forth, thou unpretending teacher of the gospel of the grace of God, and may the Spirit of the Lord go with thee!"

Chapter 8 - "The New Birth"

Stock writes:

"It is unprofitable to dispute as to which mental faculty is the first to feel the converting influence, whether the intellect or the affections. Into the metaphysics of regeneration we decline to enter. It is enough to know that the Divine Spirit operates upon the whole mental and moral man. Besides, though we speak of the faculties of the soul, we must not forget that the soul itself is one. It is a simple, indivisible spirit. It is not, like the body, compounded of various elements, and possessed of various members. Hence the regeneration of the soul involves the regeneration of all its powers—of the whole soul."

"In these and in other parallel passages, regeneration is ascribed to the truth which the Holy Spirit leads us to receive. It is in connection with the hearing, reading, or remembering of the Word of God, or of the general truths which it makes known, that the Holy Ghost puts forth His power. It is to induce us to receive this truth that the Divine Spirit is imparted. Hence it is that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." The word is the occasion of the new birth. The Holy Spirit works by the truth. The Word of God is His sword (Ephes. vi. 17). It is the fire with which He burns up our dross, and the hammer with which He breaks our rocky hearts in pieces (Jer. xxiii. 29)."

"The great difficulty in this doctrine, however, yet remains; we mean the question whether regeneration precedes faith in the Saviour, or faith in the Saviour precedes regeneration, or whether the two are simultaneous—Two things are clear.

First—That the reception of Christ by the sinner is ascribed to a divine influence. Hence faith is styled "the gift of God" (Ephes. ii. 8), and "a fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. v. 22); "the heart is opened" to receive Christ (Acts xvi. 14); "flesh and blood do not reveal Jesus to the soul, but our Father who is in heaven" (Matt. xvi. 17 ); "God reveals these things unto babes" (Matt. xi. 25); "They are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. ii. 14). But another truth is as clearly asserted in Holy Scripture, viz. :

Secondly—That until a man has received the Saviour he has no life in him. Thus our Lord testified, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, ye have no life in you" (John vi. 53). Until a man by faith receives the sacrifice of Christ, he has no life, not even its first elements, in his soul. There are several other passages which are in the same strain. "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God" (John i. 12). "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. iii. 26). "If a man eat of this bread he shall live for ever" (John vi. 51). "He that eateth Me shall live by Me" (John vi. 57). Thus Christ is emphatically our life, while without faith in Him we have no life.

Here, then, is the difficulty; if men receive a divine influence in order to believe in Christ, are they not made alive to God by this influence, and are they not consequently regenerated before receiving Christ into the soul? But if they are regenerated before believing in the Saviour, and if they were to die in this state, they would assuredly go to heaven (for no regenerate soul can be lost), and would thus obtain eternal life without having believed in Christ, which is contrary to one of the first principles of revelation. Our Lord emphatically says that, except we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we have No life in us.

Besides, regeneration is the implantation of a holy life, and no man can become holy until he has believed in Jesus. "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. xi.6). No action can be holy until it is performed under the influence of love to Jehovah; and no sinner can be brought to love the whole character of God, until he has learned to look upon that character as it is revealed in the death of Jesus. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them" (2 Cor. v. 19). Hence, as no man can love God without faith in Jesus, no man can be holy without faith in Jesus, for love to God is the essential principle of holiness. As, then, without faith in the Saviour, we cannot be holy and cannot please God, it is manifest that without faith we cannot be regenerated.

The explanation of this grave difficulty we apprehend to be simply this : The influence by which men are awakened and convinced, and made to see their need of Jesus, is only preliminary to regeneration.—We are not regenerated or made holy until we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son. Then we receive Christ, "who is our life." To those who receive Christ He gives the privilege of becoming instantly the sons of God (John i. 12). We are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. iii. 26). Faith purifies the heart (Acts xv. 9), overcomes the world (1 John v. 4), and works by love (Gal. v. 6). "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God" (1 John v. 1). The preparatory influence, though not regeneration, is absolutely necessary to its production.

Many are awakened by natural conscience who are never converted, and the only decisive evidence that our convictions are of God, is their leading us to a hearty reception of the gospel plan of redemption. Out of Christ there is no salvation (Acts iv. 12); but if men are regenerated who have never been to Christ, they are in a state of salvation without faith in that precious name. The influence by which we are regenerated is the sovereign grace of the Holy Ghost; but the influence by which we are regenerated is one thing, regeneration itself is another. It is confounding the efficacious cause with the blessed result that has created the difficulty now under consideration. All the elect shall infallibly receive this life, and the influences necessary to its production. None of them shall die in a state of nature, or even in one of mere conviction, but all shall be brought to Christ by faith, shall live in Him (Gal . ii. 20), die in Him (Rev. xiv. 13), sleep in Him (1 Thess. iv. 14), rise in Him (1 Cor. xv. 49), and be for ever with Him (1 Thess. iv. 17). The sovereign influence may extend over a long period of awakening and conviction before it ends in regeneration; while in other cases it may lead the vessel of mercy gently to Christ, almost at the outset. The influences of the Spirit are not regeneration, but are simply the mighty power by which that stupendous work is wrought. In short, we are not regenerated until we believe; and we never believe until led to do so by the gracious and almighty influences of the Eternal Comforter, the glorifier of Christ in the hearts and consciences of men. Thus regeneration is, from beginning to end, the effect of the Spirit's power; though the change is wrought in us at the instant of closing in with the Messiah as the hope of Israel.

There is no evidence of the new birth in the mere dread of hell. The fear of punishment is an instinct of human nature. Many ungodly men are at times most terribly alarmed on account of the prospects lying before them. But, obviously, there is no moral excellence, and, consequently, no evidence of a renewed state of mind, in a mere conviction that the effects of our sins will be ruinous.

Many men who know this well enough persist in hugging the sins which are sinking them to hell. There is no proof of regeneration until we have learned to abhor and forsake sin at the foot of the cross. We must not confound a mere dread of the punishment of sin with the turning of the heart from sin itself. Conviction of sin, even when wrought by the power of the Spirit, is not to be confounded with the new birth, though all the people of God have to pass, more or less deeply, through this preparatory discipline. Some are much more powerfully agitated with these terrors than others, but all alike pass from death unto life, when through grace they believe in Jesus, "to the saving of the soul" (Heb. x- 39).

"We close this chapter with the confession that the regenerating grace of the Spirit is undoubtedly a great mystery. The fact of its existence we believe, but the mode of its operation we cannot explain. We receive it as a fact, upon the testimony of revelation and our own consciousness; but we confess our inability to unravel many questions arising out of its existence. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth : so is everyone that is born of the Spirit" (John iii. 8). The influence is real, positive, and direct, notwithstanding its mysteriousness. The unlettered rustic, who is in perfect ignorance of all the physiological phenomena of inspiration and expiration, knows, nevertheless, that he breathes, and that by breathing life is sustained."

See here

Brief comment on "Elder Waters & Non-cognitive Faith"

For the benefit of the reader, I wish to elaborate on something Brother Stephen stated in his most recent post below.

He writes:

"But, they admit that eternal salvation, in all its parts, including election, calling, justification, and sanctification, has been Paul's topic in the chapters leading up to the tenth chapter. Thus, they have a problem making the "salvation" of the tenth chapter into a different "salvation" than mentioned in the preceding nine chapters. How can they legitimately do this? Is there anything in the context to indicate that Paul is now going to talk about a salvation which is not eternal? Romans chapter ten begins this way."

A severe problem for those within the anti-means camp is here demonstrated by Brother Stephen. If the Apostle Paul has been developing eternal salvation in the chapters prior to the tenth, should we not expect him to continue with this thought as he enters Romans 10? Is it not more reasonable to suppose that he would proceed forward with the foundation he has laid, than that he would do an about face on his readers? The answer is obvious to anyone not guilty of eisegesis.

I wish to recall the thought of mine in my latest Time Salvation Challenge in which I stated that the way our innovators handle the book of Romans is like a tennis match. They find themselves alternating back and forth between eternal and time salvation throughout the book. I probably will make a separate posting demonstrating this more fully in the future, but for now let me simply summarize.

In Romans 9, according to this teaching, it is affirmed that Paul is writing of eternal salvation. As the Apostle Paul begins chapter 10, however, we find that he has pulled a switch on us! He is now going to write of a salvation completely different than the one he has been treating of. Since human and gospel instrumentality are mentioned, Paul must now be writing of time salvation!

So far so good throughout the chapter.

Unfortunately, as we read the opening words of chapter 11, we confront the doctrine of election and the wonderful declaration that salvation is all of grace(v.5-6). Therefore, Paul has switched back to eternal salvation!

Hold on, we’re not done yet.

Paul then mentions himself as an instrument in salvation in verse 14 stating “If by any means I may provoke to emulation [them which are] my flesh, and might save some of them”, which must mean that he has returned back to his doctrine of time salvation!

If you can picture a tennis ball going back and forth across the net, you’ll get the idea.

It is because of such butchering of God’s Word that I claim my deliverance from such teaching that very thing. A deliverance.

Elder Waters & Non-cognitive Faith

Elder (Dr.) Charles Waters was a leading Hardshell preacher in the later 19th century. According to Elder R. H. Pittman's book "Biographical History Of Primitive Or Old School Baptist Ministers," first published in 1909, Elder Waters was born in 1849 in Hancock, Maryland. He graduated from medical school in 1871, joined the Columbia "Old School" Baptist church the next year, and began preaching in 1878, a critical point in the history of the Hardshell denomination.  I have previously written about Elder Waters and his view that sinners are "saved, faith or no faith."  See

One interesting thing about Elder Waters is the fact that he supported a "Seminary," one for young girls.  In this biography, Pittman wrote this about Elder Waters:

"Having a large family and wishing to educate them well he established, in 1886, the "Fairview Seminary," a school of high reputation and moral standing. In which many Baptist girls not of Baptist persuasion were educated. Among the girls from our own people as patrons of this high-class and popular school might be mentioned, the daughters of..." (a long list of preachers is given)

"The work of this seminary was terminated after eighteen years of usefulness when the furniture and building were destroyed by fire."

"He is also editor of Zion's Advocate." (pg. 284)

It is interesting how Waters could be for such schools but be against Sunday Schools!  It is okay to have schools, but not to teach the gospel!  But, more will be said on this topic when I discuss the Sunday School issue in an upcoming series for my book on the Hardshells.

Waters wrote:

"I do believe that all who are regenerated will and do have faith, but deny that the "faith" -- that is, the believing response to God -- is in all cases "cognitive" or "informed" faith -- for cognitive faith necessarily depends on hearing the rational proclamation of the gospel; rather, I do not hesitate to affirm that it is, in all cases, below the level of consciousness--Lazarus-like, the sinner responds believingly to Christ in response to His Divine fiat in regeneration, being made willing in the day of His power, believing according to the working of His mighty power, and coming to Christ in "vital" relationship (Ps. 110:3; Eph. 2:8; Eph. 1:19; Jno. 6:37, 44)." 

Hardshells cannot deny that all who are regenerated have faith, for it is too plain in scripture that "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11: 6) and that whoever "believes" in Christ "shall be saved."  (Acts 16: 31)  A man who in theory is "regenerated" but not a "believer" is one who "cannot please God."  What kind of "regeneration" is it when the "regenerated" person still cannot please God?  To "please God" one must both be regenerated and must have faith in Christ.  Thus, the Hardshell is forced to conclude that a regenerated man is, at the same time, a believer in Christ.  The scriptures know no such character as a "regenerated unbeliever."  Elder Waters acknowledges this much and so he affirms that all who are regenerated are possessors of faith. 

But, in order to uphold his Hardshell premise that "faith in Christ" is not necessary to salvation, he creates a paradigm of two kinds of "faith," one that is cognitive and involves consciousness, and one that is non-cognitive and below the level of consciousness.  Of course, Elder Waters, nor any other Hardshell, presents any biblical evidence for such a division and so asserts it without biblical authority.  If there is no biblical authority for a non-cognitive faith, then Waters and the Hardshells are guilty of perverting scripture in order to uphold their man-made propositions. 

Faith, by its very nature, requires knowledge, and the involvement of the heart, mind, and will.  This is such a fundamental principle that it is absurd for Waters and the Hardshells to deny it.  Waters contradicts himself on this point, for he speaks of believing in Christ as involving the "will," affirming that the unconscious and non-cognitive "believing" that the soul does, in regeneration, is the fulfillment of the promise that "thy people will be willing in the day of thy power."  But, how can a person will or choose non-cognitively or unconsciously?  Such is an absurdity. 

The scriptures not only speak of the experience of regeneration as making an unbeliever into a believer but of also bringing the soul to "know" God in Christ.  But, how can one "know" non-cognitively?  The very word "know" is equated with cognition.  Further, when one is regenerated, he is brought to "love" God in Christ, but how can one "love" one he does not know?  Further, when one is regenerated, he is said to have been "enlightened" in his "understanding," to have received "revelation," but how can this be so without cognition and consciousness? 

If such a definition of "faith" be accepted, then we could not say of any unbeliever, yea, of any "Antichrist," that he is not a "believer," for  though he may be an unbeliever in his conscious mind, nevertheless, he may be a believer in his unconscious mind.  Such absurdities!  The Hardshells can make any unbeliever into a believer by such a paradigm and definition of "faith." 

Waters continued:

"Cognitive faith is indeed present in some, but the gift of faith is present in all of God's children; hence, I concur that no one goes to heaven without faith, but deny that no one goes to heaven without rational knowledge of the truth."

So, a man may be an unbeliever, cognitively speaking, but a believer non-cognitively, all at the same time!  Who can believe such nonsense?  Who ever heard of a person "believing" something "without rational knowledge"?  Where is the scriptural authority for such a definition of "believing"?  Clearly the scriptures uproot such an idea.

"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"  (Rom. 10: 14)

How shall they believe without knowledge?  That is Paul's question.  They can't!  So, Hardshells are in error to teach that sinners can believe without knowledge. 

Waters continues:

"A teaching does indeed take place in the new birth, for God teaches the heart directly and immediately to know Him (Jno. 6:65). Cognitive faith, however, must necessarily come after this initial work of grace in the soul, for it depends on the instrumentality of the preached word."

Waters makes some admissions here that go against him, involving him in serious contradiction.  He admits that "teaching does indeed take place in the new birth."  But, how can he then say that this teaching and the faith it produces is non-cognitive?  How can teaching be non-cognitive?  Is that not a most absurd idea?  Who can believe it?  He says this divine teaching causes a sinner "to know Him."  But, how can one "know" God unconsciously and non-cognitively?  Waters affirms that such divine teaching produces a "non-cognitive faith."  It is pure silliness!  It goes against both scripture and reason.  Waters says that "cognitive faith...depends on the instrumentality of the preached word."  But, is his divine "teaching" not a "preached word"?  Has Waters given any scripture or reason for asserting that teaching, knowing, and believing can be non-cognitive?  The person knows, but doesn't know, all at the same time.  A contradiction indeed!  His "learning" is non-cognitive learning!  But, anyone who is honest and unbiased, knows that this is all nonsense.  It is an oxymoron to speak of non-cognitive learning or non-cognitive faith.

Waters wrote:

"Obviously, if such cognitive (or evangelical) faith is necessary to eternal salvation, then every infant who dies in infancy and every individual without average mental capacities would miss salvation. But my position -- i.e. the position that defines "saving faith" (if I must use the term) as that faith that is given to the soul in the work of regeneration -- is adequate to include every potential case in which a person is in need of salvation. By the same token, I do believe that the ultimate evidence that a person possesses salvation is an evangelical faith in the Lord Jesus Christ -- a faith that expresses itself in voluntary obedience to Christ. Where such faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is present, a person gives indisputable evidence of salvation."

What a strange doctrinal invention!  All the regenerated have "non-cognitive faith," but very few of them have "cognitive faith."  Faith is defined by Waters as a "believing response to God," but this "believing response" may be done without knowing it!  May be done without cognition or knowledge!  May be done while in a coma!  May be done without the participation of the heart, will, or mind!   

Is there such a division in scripture of saving faith into "cognitive" and "non-cognitive" kinds?  Dr. Waters admits that saving "faith" that is "cognitive" is produced by the gospel, but thinks that this kind of "faith" is not necessary for eternal salvation.  But, this division of saving faith into cognitive and non-cognitive, is an invention of the Hardshells and has no scriptural or traditional Baptist basis for it.  They will call it "rightly dividing the word of truth," but it is rather a "dividing asunder of what God has joined together."  Anyone can see this if he simply looks at all the bible passages where faith and belief (nouns), and believe, trust, receive (verbs or participles), are used and defined, and he will see that there is no evidence that "faith" was ever non-cognitive or was not produced by the application of gospel truth to the mind or cognitive powers.  Rather than being a "rightly dividing of the word of truth" it is rather an example of "twisting" or distortion of the scriptures.  Hardshells have given a novel and strange definition to the word faith.

The verses in Romans 10 are enough to overthrow Hardshellism, at least the modern variety of it.  This passage is a devil of difficulty for the Hardshell anti-means scheme.  Hardshell ingenuity has gone to work on the passage to make it conform to Hardshell anti-means propositions.  Though the passage affirms that those only will be saved who "call upon the name of the Lord," meaning the Lord Jesus Christ, the Hardshell resists what it says because his scheme on no-means is denied by what it says.  And, rather than discarding his unscriptural schemes and propositions, he rather retains them and goes to work on the passage to make it say something different from what it says.  He even convinces himself that the obvious meaning cannot be right, so he begins by imposing false definitions on leading terms in the passages, such as "believe," "hear," "faith," "salvation," etc. 

The Hardshell cannot believe that "calling upon the name of the Lord" can be a condition for obtaining eternal salvation, because this would mean, he thinks, the condemnation of all those who die in infancy, and of those who are mentally incapable of cognitive thought and understanding. 

He cannot accept that this "calling upon" the Lord is necessary for salvation, for he thinks that this would make salvation to depend upon human agents, and that this would make salvation uncertain.

He also thinks that this would be unfair of God to condition salvation upon this calling on the Lord, unless he gives to all the opportunity to hear the gospel.  The heathen would be damned if this statement of Paul is true relative to eternal salvation, they think, for then the heathen would be damned for no fault of their own.

Many Hardshells today will affirm that the "salvation" of this passage is not "eternal salvation," but a "time salvation" for those already eternally saved.  Others take a different route, such as Dr. Waters, and will say that all the regenerated, including infants and the mentally incompetent, do call on the name of the Lord, and believe in him, though it is not cognitive nor done on the conscious level.  These say that this "calling upon the Lord," and "believing" in his name, and "learning" of Christ, is non-cognitive, and is done while in state of unconsciousness, a kind of "subliminal" learning, a kind of giving instinctual knowledge.  But, it is all just absurd.

Thus, in combating both Hardshell explanations of the Romans 10 passage, one needs only to show two things from the context:  1) the "salvation" is eternal, 2) the "faith" is faith that is produced by the gospel, or faith that involves cognition or knowledge.  This is not hard to do.  The Hardshell apologist who attempts to prove that the salvation is not eternal is in a tough spot.  He has much explaining to do.  The Hardshell defender who tries to make the "calling upon" the Lord and "believing in him" to be non-cognitive has an equally difficult time. 

First, there is nothing in the context of Romans, nor of the tenth chapter, that would naturally give anyone the impression that the salvation it discusses is a temporal salvation from temporal evils, and that the faith and believing of the book was non-cognitive.  Hardshells have to read "time salvation" into the Book of Romans.  They also have to give a novel and uncommon definition to the word faith to make it lack cognition and understanding. 

Besides, scripture not only puts "faith" as a condition of salvation, but also "knowing" and "loving" God.  How can these words also be defined as being non-cognitive?  Those who are saved are always denominated as they who know the Lord and love him.  How can one know without cognition?  The idea is preposterous. 

Further, Paul says "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God."  He does not say "one kind of faith comes by knowledge and information," but that "faith" comes, or is produced this way.  Hardshells disagree with Paul and deny that faith comes by hearing and so twist the words of the apostle.  Paul asks - "how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?"  But, the Hardshell does not accept the implications of Paul's rhetorical.   Paul argues that "believing" requires information, but such an assertion goes against Hardshellism.  Before anyone can believe in Jesus he must first be informed about Jesus.  Faith must have an object, be it a person or proposition.

In Zion’s Advocate for August, 1898, page 225, Elder Waters stated - "Every saved child of Adam is saved eternally, faith or no faith; infants and idiots must be so saved for they cannot believe, though they must be regenerated, faith (belief) therefore is not necessary to eternal salvation.”


Notice that Waters here speaks of "faith" as "belief," its standard meaning in the scriptures.  There is no definition of "faith" in scripture that excludes the idea of belief, and there can be no belief without knowledge.   In fact, I have often heard Hardshell preachers say that "faith" requires testimony, and argue that one cannot believe that he is saved unless he has evidence that he is so.  But, they contradict themselves when they say, at other times, that there is such a thing as a non-cognitive faith that requires no evidence, and which needs no cognition.

This view of Elder Waters was not the original teaching of the Hardshells, but was a view that developed later in the denomination, during the latter part of the 19th century.  This view was introduced first by affirming that there were "two kinds" of saving faith clearly described in the bible.  One kind was "seed faith" that is "planted" in the hearts and minds of all who are regenerated, and this they would appear to be in agreement with all those numerous passages which affirm the necessity of faith for eternal salvation.  When a Hardshell confronts a passage that he cannot deny that the "salvation" is eternal, he will go with the option of affirming that the "faith" that it is predicated upon is not "belief," or cognitive faith.  When he confronts a passage where he cannot deny that the "faith" is cognitive, then he will go with the option of affirming that the "salvation" is temporal.  He will not accept that any scripture affirms that eternal salvation is predicated upon a cognitive faith.

Elder Waters wrote:  

“Faith is the fruit of the spirit and not the soil into which the spirit is planted. Hence it, like repentance, knowledge of the truth, power to hear the gospel and further the growth in Christ is the evidence of spiritual life in the soul and not the means by which life is obtained. Eternal life may exist without all or any of these evidences. Take, for instance, the case of John, the Baptist, had he not the spirit before his natural birth when he leaped at the salutation of the mother of his Lord. Regeneration had certainly taken place but could it have been manifested by his exercise of faith, repentance, etc.? Certainly not. Upon this principle we can rejoice in the hope of the salvation of the infant, the idiot and the heathen who has never heard the name of Jesus. Spiritual and eternal life may exist then apart from a belief in Jesus, repentance towards God or knowledge of spiritual things, all of which are consequent upon and follow after regeneration, and it may please the Lord to remove the subject of his grace from this time state, ere he has developed this spiritual growth, and rear him up beyond the River.”  (Zion’s Advocate and Herald of Truth of June 1891)

Waters says that life must come before repentance, and may exist without repentance.  But, do the scriptures not speak of  "repentance unto life"?  (Acts 11: 18)  These words uproot the view of Waters and of the Hardshells.  Had Luke been a Hardshell he would have rather said "life unto repentance."  If spiritual "life" may exist without a change of mind, without faith and repentance, then what kind of "life" is it?  Certainly not the kind of "life" the scriptures describe.  Where is the scriptural authority for calling a man spiritually alive who is still an unbeliever, still impenitent?  What kind of "life" is it that does not involve "coming" to Jesus?  Jesus spoke of sinners coming to him that they might have "life."  (John 5: 40)  It speaks of sinners believing "that they might have life."  (John 20: 31)

To speak of spiritual life, "the life of God" (Eph. 4: 18),  that lacks love, faith, knowledge, righteousness, peace, joy, etc., is like saying a man is "alive" who is not breathing, and whose heart is not beating, and whose brain is dead.  To speak of life existing without its essential elements or attributes is to define "life" by "death."

Most Hardshells simply contradict themselves on this most important subject.  Sometimes you will hear them say that they believe that sinners come to know God in regeneration and then hear them say, at other times, that knowing God is on the sub-conscious level or non-cognitive.  Sometimes you will hear them say that they believe that all the regenerated love God, but will say that they love him who they do not know.  Sometimes you will hear them say that regeneration teaches a man, or gives him revelation, and then at other times, you will hear them say that a man's mind or cognitive abilities are not involved in it. 

Some Hardshells see the force of Paul's words in Romans 10 and admit that the "faith" mentioned is cognitive, for they see that such faith requires knowledge and revelation.  So, their only choice is to make the salvation of Romans 10 to be a strictly temporal salvation.

But, they admit that eternal salvation, in all its parts, including election, calling, justification, and sanctification, has been Paul's topic in the chapters leading up to the tenth chapter.  Thus, they have a problem making the "salvation" of the tenth chapter into a different "salvation" than mentioned in the preceding nine chapters.  How can they legitimately do this?  Is there anything in the context to indicate that Paul is now going to talk about a salvation which is not eternal?  Romans chapter ten begins this way.

"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved."  (vs. 1)

Clearly Paul must be talking about the same salvation that he was talking about in the preceding verses, where he spoke of being foreknown, predestined, called, justified, glorified, and kept in the love of God.  This fact will not be denied by the Hardshells.  They will agree that eternal salvation is what is under consideration in the preceding verses.  So, they must find something in the above words of verse one in order to justify their affirmation that Paul has only a temporary salvation of those already eternally saved in mind. 

But, clearly, "that they might be saved" refers to the salvation Paul has been discussing up to this point.  The first mention of the word "salvation" is in Romans 1: 16 where Paul says - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes."

This is the same "salvation" that is discussed throughout the Book of Romans.  Thus, Paul is either speaking about a time salvation or an eternal salvation, in the epistle, but not both. 

"Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."  (Rom. 5: 9, 10)

"For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?"  (Rom. 8: 24)

"Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved."  (Rom. 9: 27)

Are these passages not talking about eternal salvation?  Paul speaks of being "saved" as the same as being made righteous, or receiving the righteousness of God, of being justified, reconciled, propitiated, liberated, and called.

What rule do the Hardshells use to decide which passages are talking about the "two kinds of salvation"?  Is it not by applying their man-made proposition to each passage where salvation is discussed?  If the salvation involves hearing the gospel, or "cognitive faith," then the Hardshell will affirm that the salvation cannot be eternal.  He does this in spite of the context, and will alter the context to make it harmonize with his interpretation and application.  They show that they are not honest interpreters of scripture in doing so.

Waters said - "Spiritual and eternal life may exist then apart from a belief in Jesus, repentance towards God or knowledge of spiritual things."

He surely defined Hardshellism!  Who can read the scriptures and accept such a proposition?  Notice how Waters contradicts what he said earlier, when he said a person can and does "believe" in Jesus on the sub-conscious level, non-cognitively!  But, here he affirms that one who is regenerated and has eternal life does not believe in Jesus!  He here affirms that "belief in Jesus" and "repentance towards God," and "knowledge of spiritual things," was not produced when the Lord directly taught the sinner in his non-cognitive regeneration!