Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Where is this Info?

In a book about Missionary Baptist pastor and historian, Robert Samuel Duncan, titled as "Life Story of R. S. Duncan" (see here), and written by Wiley J. Patrick, I have discovered that a written debate, lasting two years, was carried on by Dr. J. R. Graves, and Dr. R. W. Fain (Hardshell Baptist), which discussion involved the writings of Duncan.

I plan to keep researching the history of men like Dr. John M. Watson and Dr. R. W. Fain, two leading elders of middle Tennessee who sided with the anti-mission Baptists and were opponents of the mission Baptists and leaders such as Dr. R. B. C. Howell.

Here is what I have discovered about this two year discussion, about the book by Duncan on the Primitive Baptists, and on his other writings on the history of missions, and on Dr. Fain.

First, let me cite from the biography of Duncan.

"My aforesaid publications did not complete my literary work. In the early years of my missionary agency, I wrote a series in six chapters, under the caption: "Who Are the Primitive Baptists, the Missionary or the Anti-Missionary?"

This series was published in the Religious Herald of Richmond, Va., in 1872, and attracted some attention. They fell under the eye of J. R. Graves, editor of "The Baptist" of Memphis. He wrote, asking a more elaborate treatment of the same topic, in a series of articles for his paper, stipulating to pay me therefor liberally. I agreed thereto, and commenced, in Midsummer, 1873, an exhaustive treatise of the subject. These articles appeared weekly in "The Baptist," in some forty chapters. I traced the missionary principle and practice of the Baptists as existent among our churches of that day, back through the early American churches, thence up to and in the English and Welch churches (Baptists). I then passed on through the Dutch churches, the Paulicians, the Waldenses, the Donatists, the Novatians, and thence to the Apostolic churches. All along the line I found a missionary people. They were Propagandists.

Rev. R. W. Fain (Anti-Mission), editor of the "Baptist Watchman," Nashville, Tenn., solicited Dr. Graves for a discussion of the subject I had treated in his paper. He offered to publish my original articles in "The Watchman," if permitted to review them. I consented, and Dr. Graves accepted his offer. The discussion followed and was read by thousands of people. Thus the light shined out, where, possibly, it was most needed. This newspaper discussion lasted the larger part of another year, making almost two years' agitation of the missionary problem in the Southland.

I once thought of publishing in book form my above named articles, but the means were not available. I even did a considerable amount of work on the manuscript, which I have-yet on hand. The whole, if finished, would make a book of from three to five hundred pages." (pg. 135-136)


I am desperately wanting to find the issue of the "Religious Herald" for 1872 and the six chapters on "who are the Primitive Baptists?" written by pastor Duncan! I have not been able to find these old issues on the internet. I am also hoping to find old issues of "The Tennessee Baptist" and of the "Baptist Watchman" published by Dr. Fain. There are so many lost manuscripts like this that need locating by Baptist historians and preserved. The information in many of these old works is invaluable. If anyone has information on how to locate, especially on the internet, these old issues of the "Religious Herald" and the "Tennessee Baptist," please let me know.

Here are some tidbits of other information I have collected on Elder R. W. Fain and his publication work. Please note that he was a dear friend to Elder Watson, even completing the work of Dr. Watson on the book "The Old Baptist Test," and dying four years after his dear friend and both having a lasting effect on the history of middle Tennessee Baptists and of the mission controversy.

"The Baptist Watchman was established at Jasper, Ala., in 1868. It was moved to Murfreesboro in 1869, and to Nashville by C. W. Nance in 1872. B. E. Mullins and R. W. Fain were at that time the editors, and I, Bunyan Stephens, associate editor." (Page 369)

("History of Nashville, Tennessee" By John Wooldridge, Elijah Embree Hoss, William B. Reese")

See here

From the "Baptist History and Heritage"‎ (Page 41) by Southern Baptist Historical Society, Southern Baptist Convention Historical Commission - Baptists (1975), I found a tidbit of information in which there is mention of "a discussion with R. W. Fain, a Primitive or "Old Baptist," and the mention of "Dayton," probably Dr. A. C. Dayton, and the mention of a comment "To Elder Samuel Boykin," Baptist Banner, January 23-June 25, 1864."

I hope I can locate more information about this debate.

From the book "Biographical Sketch of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers," we read this about Dr. Fain.

"Fain, Elder R. W. (M.D.), of Nashville, Tenn., was born December 8, 1807; died February 2, 1870. Dr. Fain was a close friend and fellow-laborer of the late Elder John M. Watson and revised and greatly enlarged the second edition of Dr. Watson's book entitled "Old Baptist Test." He was a gifted preacher and able writer, skillful physician and higly esteemed by his brethren as a minister and by his contemporaries in the medical profession."  ("Biographical Sketch of Old School Baptist Ministers" by Elder R. H. Pittman, page 101)

There is mention in Dr. Watson's "Old Baptist Test" a paper he supported called "The Herald of Truth."  And one source says:  "About the same time the Herald of Truth, a Baptist paper, was published by Dr. R. W. Fain."  (See here)

If anyone has information on where information can be had on these items of interest mentioned, please let me hear from you.  I have done Internet searches for "The Baptist" periodical that Dr. Graves edited and have not found it.  I have also searched for the 1871 issue of "The Religiious Herald" of Richmond, Virginia.  I have also searched for "The Baptist Watchman" that was edited by Elder Fain.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hassell on Universal Commands

Elder Sylvester Hassell, probably the greatest spokesman for Hardshellism, from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries, is a unique character to study for anyone researching the history of the "Primitive Baptist Church."  He is a kind of "link" between the first generation of Hardshells (1820s-1860s) and the second (1860s-1900) and third (1900-1940s) generations.  In Hassell's doctrinal views one can see reflections of the first generation's views, and one can also see the reflections of the second and third generation's views.  Notice what Hassell says about preaching repentance to all men, a view that most of today's modern Hardshells reject.  (emphasis mine)

Q. Who are "the all-men-everywhere" whom Paul says in his discourse at Athens "God commands to repent?" (Acts 17:30).

A. The whole world of human beings, the whole human race, whom Paul says, in the next verse, God will judge by Jesus Christ. God is the same since the fall of man that He was before, and His holy law, which requires all His intelligent creatures to love and worship Him exclusively and supremely, is the standard of all creature obedience, and cannot change, even if man, by his own will and sin, has rendered himself unable to obey that law. If a man owes another a thousand dollars, and is not able to pay him a cent, he owes him just the same. Ability is not the limit of obligation. If it were, no human being would be under any obligation to God; for no human being in the present state can spiritually and perfectly fulfill any commandment of God. All men should be told, as Christ told His hearers, that "unless they repent they will perish." (Luke 13:3-5).   (see here)

First Hardshells Believed in Means

In the "Christian Doctrinal Advocate and Spiritual Monitor," a writer wrote (see here): (emphasis mine)

Extracts From Circular Letters. The Elders and Messengers, composing the Lexington Particular Baptist Association—to the several independent Churches, of which it is composed, send greeting (1841).

"It therefore plainly follows, that every person must undergo a radical change and become 'a new creature,' before he can properly & truly be styled a child of God. And this change cannot be effected by any creature, whether in heaven, Earth, or hell; but must be accomplished by Him alone, whose prerogative it is to create. God alone, and only God, can give 'a clean heart.' He alone, and only He can make a man, who is dead in trespasses & sins, to become a living member of Christ's mystical body, which is the Church. It is the resurrection power of Christ, that awakens the sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, to a sense of divine things; and puts him in the possession and enjoyment of everlasting life.

Whatever may be the instrumentality, which may be employed, the Holy Ghost alone begins and completes the work of awakening the dead sinner, and giving him, and supporting in him, eternal life. It is the Holy Ghost alone, that causes the sound of the Gospel, "the voice of the Son of God" to reverberate through the cold and dreary regions, of the sinners heart, and that brings him to the sense of hearing. It is the Spirit alone that accompanies the sense of hearing, in the sinner, with the sense of seeing; and removes all impediments to his having a view of the rays of light, which beam forth from the Sun of Righteousness; from whence he now hears a Voice that speaks, as never man spake: by which illumination he is brought to discern, that the great things—the incomparable accents of the said voice, are irrefragible truth. By this light the Spirit leads the awakened sinner, to a knowledge of the only true God." (pgs. 38. 39)

"But notwithstanding this, he desires happiness as much as ever; but he does not desire it at the expense of God's glory. He now is prepared to be brought to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Spirit leads his mind to trace these rays of light to their source; and to his unspeakable astonishment, he discovers that the source of this incomparable light, is the Lamb of God..— The Sin Atoning Lamb!!—that all these emotions within him, have originated from the Spirit of Christ!—generated &. nourished by the fructifying rays, that emanate from this Sun of suns,— the Sun Of Righteousness! His soul is absorbed with wonder mid amazement! Here he beholds the Way, the only way to God,—here he beholds the Truth, the truth of God,—and here he discovers and realizes the Life, the life of God. These views [brought home in the Spirit's power,] transform his soul into the likeness of Christ—He now has the Spirit of Christ."

"These divine realities take possession of every Christian heart; and when the sinner is thus taught, he may then be said to know the Lord Jesus Christ. And this knowledge is eternal life. "And this is eternal life, that they may know the only true God, & Jesus Christ whom he hath sent." This knowledge has a transforming influence upon his soul, and he aspires to a greater knowledge of this kind—to "grow in grace and increase in the knowledge of Christ Jesus." All this knowledge &, change, is free sovereign grace." (pgs. 38, 39)

Today's Hardshell are much newer in their views on means than they imagine.  Not only did the Old Baptists of the pre-nineteenth centuries not believe in the Hardshell "anti-means" view, but not even the leading founding fathers of the Hardshell demonination denied the use of means.  From the above abstracts it is clear that they believed that evangelical knowledge and faith were essentials of the regeneration experience.  Neo-Hardshells would not agree with their founders, however.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Regeneration = Conversion

In the "Christian Doctrinal Advocate and Spiritual Monitor," an "Old School" or Hardshell periodical of the 1830s, a Hardshell writes the following about regeneration and conversion and demonstrates that today's Hardshells have departed from the faith of their founders.

The writer, Elder Elisha Andrews, wrote (emphasis mine):

"Thus stands the testimony of God of the inspired writers and of the ancient saints; and they all speak the same language and agree perfectly in the same point, that conversion, that is, a saving change from nature to grace, is a work of God, and emphatically the effect of divine graces. Here I might, with propriety, close up my argument, and conclude that the evidence is triumphant and incontrovertible. Nor do I see what can be said against it, unless some one should choose to distinguish between regeneration and conversion, and say that, although the former is the work of God, yet the latter is the work of the creature. All I have to say on the subject is, that the distinction is gratuitous, and wholly baseless; no such distinction is recognized by the sacred writers; they uniformly use these two words, as convertible terms; Neither do I conceive that, if we philosophize ever so much, we can make out any other distinction than there is between cause and effect: the production of a principle of holiness in the heart, and the active exercise of that principle. I suppose that, if Lazarus was raised from the dead by the miraculous power of Jesus Christ, and consequently acted, that is, performed the duties and functions of life, those acts ought to be considered as the effects of that miraculous, power, without which, they never would have existed..."  (page 181, see here)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hassell on Perseverance

In our recent series on "Hardshells and Perseverance," I showed that the denial of the doctrine of the perseverance of the chosen and called is a departure from the old Baptist faith, and also against the teaching of the Hardshell forefathers in the nineteenth century.  Here is what Elder Sylvester Hassell, the most revered spokesman for Hardshell beliefs in the last 150 years, had to say about the perseverance of the saved.  Hassell lived from 1842-1928. (emphasis mine)

Q. Please explain I John 3:9. Also 3:1-8 and I Cor. 6:18.

A. The first passage reads as follows: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God." In the light of other scriptures and in view of the doctrine of regeneration this passage can only mean one thing and that is: the regenerated cannot live a life of sin because of the holy principle implanted in him in regeneration. He is morally unable to live such a life because the governing disposition of the soul has been changed and he hates sin and loves righteousness. I John 3:1-8. "If we say we have no sin" and do not need the cleansing blood of Jesus "we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." The first passage teaches that no Christian can live in sin. He is not its slave. He is not under its dominion and power. While the second passage teaches all are sinners and need the cleansing blood of Jesus. I Cor. 6:18 - "Every sin that a man doeth is without the body." This passage does not mean that the body is not involved in sin. It is the instrument of sin. Sin is conceived in the heart and executed by the body. And every sin a man doeth is against his body because it leaves its mark on the body.   (see here)

I encourage our modern "ultraist" Hardshells to go back to the old Baptist faith of their forefathers.

From Keach's Catechism

Benjamin Keach was a signer of the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689 and a leader of Particular Baptists in England and America.  He was also a prolific writer and defender of the faith.  He wrote "Keach's Catechism" which was often attached to the London and Philadelphia Confessions, the confession that all the oldest Hardshell churches endorsed.

The Hardshells who met in Fulton, Kentucky, in 1900, met to restate their continued acceptance and endorsement of the old London/Philadelphia confession.  One wonders how they could do this since the confession clearly teaches that God saves his people through faith, through the preaching of the gospel.  The Fulton "elders" put "footnotes" to the old confession in those sections teaching the necessity of gospel faith for salvation, and in those footnotes they restate the words of the confession to conform to Hardshell "anti-means" dogma, making the old confession to say what it does not say.  It was a dishonest undertaking, as many later Hardshells have admitted.  Elder John R. Daily, a leading Hardshell debater, debated W. P. Throgmorton, Missionary Baptist, on the question of means, and Daily argued the same thing about the London Confession, as did the Fulton elders, that the old confession did not teach means.  Then they will defend their own twist of the words of the confession, a confession which clearly teaches means in "effectual calling." 

Had I been in debate with Daily, I would have cited from the writings of the leading men who signed the London Confession which would clearly show, in greater detail, how they believed in the use of the gospel in producing faith unto salvation, and that this additional proof shows that the interpretation of the Hardshells on those sections supporting means, does not say what the Hardshells try to make them to say.  For instance, here is Keach's catechism, and the following questions and answers show that Keach believed in means, in the same way the confession states.

From Keach's Catechism (see here emphasis mine):

Q. 34. How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?

A. The Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.

(Eph. 2:8; 3:17)

Q. 35. What is effectual calling?

A. Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, He does persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the Gospel.

(2 Tim. 1:9; John 16:8-11; Acts 2:37; 26:18; Ezekiel 36:26; John 6:44,45; 1 Cor. 12:3)

Q. 92. What does God require of us, that we may escape His wrath and curse, due to us for sin?

A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption.

Q. 93. What is faith in Jesus Christ?

A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation, as He is offered to us in the Gospel.

(Heb. 10:39; John 1:12; Phil. 3-9; Gal. 2:15,16)

Q. 94. What is repentance unto life?

A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, does, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

(Acts 2:37; Joel 2:13; Jer. 31:18,19: 2 Cor. 7:10,11; Rom. 6:18)

Q. 96. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?

A. The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith unto salvation.

(Ps. 119:11,18; 1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Peter 2:1,2; Rom. 1:16; Ps. 19:7)

Q. 97. How is the Word to be read and heard that it may become effectual to salvation?

A. That the Word may become effectual to salvation we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation and prayer, receive it in faith and love, lay it up in our hearts and practice it in our lives.

(Prov. 8:34; 1 Peter 2:1,2; 1 Tim. 4:13; Heb. 2:1,3; Heb. 4:2; 2 Thess. 2:10; Ps. 119:11; James 1:21,25)

Of course, one could cite from other signers of the old confession, such as William Kiffin, Hanserd Knollys, Hercules Collins, etc., to further prove that the confesssion is saying the same thing as these said in their public writings. Thus, the Fulton "footnotes" are lies, perversions of the words of the Old Baptists, and is unworthy of those who call themselves "Primitive Baptists."

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Faith of Ephesians 2:8

One place in which the Anti-Means Baptists assert their persuasion is Ephesians 2:8. Following the “system of two’s” that is conditional time salvation, the almost universal opinion among them is that the faith mentioned here is contrary to the “kind of faith” which comes through the gospel. As Elder S.T. Tolley writes:

"If, in fact, it should be(as some assume and wish it to be) that the faith mentioned here refers to gospel faith, which is brought about by the preaching of a preacher who must preach the gospel to a sinner who must hear, believe the message, and accept Christ (sic) as his Savior in order to be born again. But that simply cannot be allowed by the scriptural language where it says this is "...NOT of yourselves," but it is "...the gift of God...not of works..." The faith mentioned here is the faith that God GIVES to the ones chosen to salvation before the world began. It is that spiritual element which enables the born-again child of God to understand the gospel message and believe it. This is bestowed in the operation of the new birth---not by the preaching of the gospel." ("Must the Elect Family of God Hear and Believe the Gospel of Christ in Order to be Saved into Heaven's Glory?", The Christian Baptist, vol 35)

This is typical argumentation from those within the anti-means camp. It contains the faulty premise that appears over and over again when the ultraists approach the scriptures: If means are involved, then the transaction is not of God but of men, and any blessing resulting from it cannot properly be called a gift of God, but must be by the works of men. To anyone who knows the scriptures correctly, though, this premise is not biblical. Not only in salvation, but in the government of His creation, the God of Heaven has often used means for the accomplishment of His purposes. In not one of these cases can it be said of the event that it was not performed by the power of God. Would we say, for instance, that the feeding of Elijah by the brook was not of God because ravens were the means by which bread and flesh were conveyed? Or that I cannot render total praise unto God for anything I learn in a church service because the message was conveyed through a gospel preacher?

Take the faith of the Corinthian believers. Since wrought through Paul and Apollos (1 Cor. 3:5) was their faith in Christ therefore not a gift of God? If not a gift, then how did they receive it, seeing that God GIVES unto His people not some, but "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3)? Did they attain it by their own efforts maybe???

If the Hardshell premise regarding means is correct, then evangelical faith can never be claimed by anyone as being "of the Lord", but must be obtained by works. The terrible conclusion resulting from this is that every Christian who feels they've come to believe in Christ through some gospel influence must not render all the praise unto God, seeing that means were involved. God is either robbed of His glory, or must see it shared with men. The solution to much of what is wrong with the Hardshell doctrine lies therefore in coming to the understanding that the faith which comes through the gospel (Eph. 1:13) is still a gift (v.19).

The charge of Tolley that "Means Baptists" ASSUME or WISH the faith of Eph. 2:8 to be evangelical is therefore faulty. It is no wish on our part that such is the case. Rather, the matter is settled by subscribing to the analogy of faith. If the bible teaches that transactions involving means are yet "of the Lord" then there is no just cause in creating a premise which says otherwise. If we do, then all of God's instrumental workings amongst men must always be looked at as Arminian transactions, which is exactly the thing of which are moderns are guilty. If there are explicit passages which teach that faith is evangelical (e.g. Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:13; Romans 10:17; 1 Cor. 3:5; Gal. 3:2) then it is only being consistent with sound rules of interpretation to say that the SAME faith is recorded in Eph. 2:8. What evidence is there to the contrary, apart from the argument that God's gifts can't come through means, which is utterly refuted by the Bible itself? Where are all the passages in the Bible which speak of non-evangelical faith? It is so central to the defense of time salvation, there ought to be some biblical verses which speak of it in so many words.

Furthermore, the determination that Eph. 2:8 speaks of evangelical faith is not a WISH on the part of "Means Baptists" because that is what is suggested by the context. Here we borrow the popular expression of our moderns which they erroneously say describes their approach to scripture: rightly dividing the word of truth. Let us see who is actually following that rule.

The FIRST faith mentioned in the Ephesian letter is evangelical. As Paul writes in chapter 1, verse 13:

"In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise..."

Absolutely clear are the Apostle's words. What is especially uncomfortable to our moderns is that the surrounding context is language descriptive of eternal salvation. Try putting a time salvation twist on this!

A few verses down in verse 19 the same writer informs us that faith is a gift:

"And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power"

Now is it an example of rightly dividing the word of truth to say that the faith of verse 13 is the same or different than the one mentioned in verse 19? The answer is obvious to anyone who does not operate from a pre-conceived mental grid. The two faith's are actually one faith. The faith coming through the gospel in verse 13 is spoken of as a gift in verse 19. When we thus come to Ephesians 2:8, it is the context which leads to the conclusion that the faith mentioned here is the same as that presented thus far in the epistle. To assert otherwise, as the teaching of extreme time salvation must claim, is to say that there is an implicit switch from unnecessary evangelical faith in Eph. 1:13 to necessary non-evangelical faith in verse 19, and that the faith of Eph. 2:8 is the same as that of the latter, but different than that of the former! This example of sudden alternation, a common "hermeneutic" in the conditional time salvation heresy, is one of the things which led me to see the anti-means position as an unfair, dishonest press upon the word of God. It divides the word of truth alright. Divides it against itself!

Thus it is no wish on the part of "Means Baptists" to see evangelical faith taught in Eph. 2:8. Rightly dividing the word of truth using the analogy of faith and the context of the Ephesian letter settle the matter.

It is rather a WISH on the part of others to not see it this way.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hassell on Hardshell Succession

Elder Chastain, in his book "Discussion on the Worship of God" (1916) cited from Elder Sylvester Hassell, who was still living at the time, and who is regarded by the Hardshells as their greatest church historian. Chastain wrote:

"In reply to a question of how we can trace church succession, Brother Hassell writes me January 1, 1916, "In regard to an uninterrupted succession of churches from the apostles, no person on earth can trace it; and succession is buried in the unfathomable gulf of the obscure ages." (pg. 146)

What is more true, however, is the fact that no Hardshell church can show a succession prior to 1832! Yet, in spite of this fact, they boast that they are the one true church, or kingdom of God, and that all others are Babylonish and Anti-Christian. They claim to be "primitive" or original Baptists, but they cannot prove it.  The Hardshell elders and "historians" tell their members such things and, as Solomon said, "the simple believe every word."  (Prov. 14: 15)  These things show their cult characteristics.

More Hardshell Absurdities

My dad, a Primitive Baptist elder, sent me a book that records the debate that was occurring among Hardshells in the early 1900's concerning "protracted meetings." Such meetings were declared against by the Hardshells in 1832 in the infamous "Black Rock Address." The declaration was against "protracted" and "revival" services that the "Arminians" were conducting with the purpose of reaching the lost. The Address attacked the tactics and methods of revivalist preachers in evangelizing the lost and also took the position that meetings that lasted more than three days were "Arminian" and unscriptural.

The topic became a hot issue in the early twentieth century because many Hardshell churches in the Mid-West were holding meetings for more than three days and some Southern Hardshells saw this as a departure from the old Baptist faith and practice. Elder W. A. Chastain of Springfield, Illinois defended having meetings for more than three days and Elder G. W. Stewart of Georgia opposed them. It is an interesting discussion and I have been taking notes for future writings on the topic. But, I would like to cite one statement made by Elder Chastain at this time.

The book is titled "Discussion on the Worship of God" and was published in the year 1916. On page 218 Elder Stewart wrote:

"I believe that one should worship the Lord just as soon as he is capacitated to do so, by being born again, all the days of his life..."

It is ironic that Stewart should say such a thing when he has, in this debate, been warned of the dangers of "Antinomianism." Does not one of the ten commandments say - "thou shalt worship the Lord thy God"? Does Chastain not believe that this applies to all men? Does he not believe that all men are obligated to keep the law whether they are able or not?  Obviously, from the above words of Chastain, he does not believe that the lost are under obligation to worship God.  What a gross error!

Chpt. 125 - Hardshells & Justification III

Hardshells will often argue that Abraham being justified by faith, or accounted righteous, before God, cannot be part of salvation, because Abraham's being justified by faith occurred in Genesis 15, though he was a believer, and already saved, in Genesis 12.  But, the fact that Abraham was justified by faith in Genesis 12, when he first believed and obeyed, does not disprove that justification by faith is not required for being eternally saved.  I agree with the Hardshells that Abraham was a man of faith prior to Genesis 15 where we first have the words "and Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness."  But, I do not agree with the inferences and conclusions that they attempt to draw from the facts.

In an article titled "When Was Abraham Justified?" (Part 1), by Phil Gons (see here), this issue is addressed.  Gons wrote:

"When was Abraham justified? This might seem like a rather elementary question with an obvious answer: Abraham was justified when he believed the Lord and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness, which is recorded in Genesis 15:6. Certainly Paul’s use of this text in defense of justification by faith apart from works in Romans 4 and Galatians 3 confirms that Genesis 15:6 was the precise point of Abraham’s justification, doesn’t it? This is probably what most people assume."

After saying this, Gons affirms:  "Abraham was already justified prior to the events recorded at the beginning of Genesis 15." 

But, affirming this does not support the Hardshell notion that justification by faith is different from that justification which is by blood and grace.

Gons wrote:

"Removing all doubt, Hebrews 11:8 makes clear that Abraham’s faith in Genesis 12 was genuine faith: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” The author of Hebrews, in setting forth examples of faith to be followed, intentionally begins the story of Abraham with Genesis 12, when he “by faith” obeyed the Lord, believing His promises to him to be reliable. Had Abraham still been an idolater (cf. Joshua 24:2) and his faith something less than genuine, surely the author of Hebrews would have cited Genesis 15 or some point later in the narrative as the start of Abraham’s exemplary faith.

Paul quotes (with slight modification) Genesis 12:3 in Galatians 3:8 and says that Abraham had the good news preached to him, which—I have sought to demonstrate—he believed. This calls into question the notion that Abraham had substantially different revelatory content—which would have been insufficient for Abraham to have been saved—prior to Genesis 15.

The language of God’s reckoning as righteousness is perhaps used as non-conversion language. Paul’s use of Genesis 15:6 in Romans 4:22, where he says, “Wherefore it was reckoned to him as righteousness (διὸ [καὶ] ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην),” is connected to Abraham’s faith in Genesis 18, which is post-conversion for both the Genesis 12 and Genesis 15 views. Some argue on this basis that God reckoned Abraham’s subsequent faith as righteousness as well. This would mean that God’s reckoning righteousness need not be connected merely to conversion, but to faith as often as it is exercised throughout the Christian life. This is essentially the point Calvin makes. We are always considered or reckoned righteous through faith—from start to finish.

As confirmation to the above conclusion, it is nice to know that virtually all the commentators and theologians that I have come across who deal with the issue are in agreement that Abraham was justified by the events recorded at the beginning of Genesis 12. Luther, Calvin, Brakel, and Spurgeon defend a Genesis 12 justification, as do O. Palmer Robertson and Brian Vickers.

Luther:

Therefore if you should ask whether Abraham was righteous before this time, my answer is: He was righteous because he believed God. But here the Holy Spirit wanted to attest this expressly, since the promise deals with a spiritual Seed. He did so in order that you might conclude on the basis of a correct inference that those who accept this Seed, or those who believe in Christ, are righteous.

Calvin:

Therefore, by a consideration of the time in which this was said to Abram, we certainly gather, that the righteousness of works is not to be substituted for the righteousness of faith, in any such way, that one should perfect what the other has begun; but that holy men are only justified by faith, as long as they live in the world...But now since after such great progress, he is still said to be justified by faith, it thence easily appears that the saints are justified freely even unto death.
Spurgeon:

I take it, beloved friends, that our text does not intend to teach us that Abram was not justified before this time. Faith always justifies whenever it exists, and as soon as it is exercised; its result follows immediately, and is not an aftergrowth needing months of delay.

Robertson:

The fact that this declaration concerning the faith and resulting righteousness of Abraham comes at this particular juncture does not imply that now for the first time he believes and his faith is reckoned to him for righteousness. To the contrary, he continues in a state of faith and its resulting righteousness. But the placing of this declaration of righteousness at this juncture of the patriarch’s life underscores the fact that nothing has been added to faith as the way to righteousness."

Not only was Abraham justified by faith in Genesis 12 and 15 when he believed God and the gospel, but James says that he was also justified when he put his faith into action.

"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." (James. 2: 21-23)

When was the scripture "fulfilled" that says "Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness"?  We have already seen that it was "fulfilled" when he first believed and obeyed the Lord in Genesis 12, when he forsook his idolatrous surroundings and embraced the living God.  We have seen also that it was "fulfilled" in Genesis 15 when he believed God, and when he heard the good news about the coming of his "seed" and of the great salvation that would be the effect of the seed's coming.  And, according to James, it was also "fulfilled" when Abraham performed those activities that resulted and proved the genuineness of his faith. 

It is sometimes argued that this justification by works was not "before God," or "in his sight," but in the sight of others. But, this is obviously against the text. James does not deny that it is God who "sees" Abraham's work of faith.  It is true that we "see" it, but it is more important that God "sees" it.  By the works of faith was faith "made perfect."  By the works of faith was God's testimony concerning Abraham's faith "fulfilled," or demonstrated.  Abraham's works proved the genuineness of his faith.  Upon Abraham's offering of Isaac God says to him - "for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."  (Gen. 22: 12)  Certainly God already "knew" that Abraham feared and believed God, but the statement by God was meant to be a formal declaration of the fact.  In other words, God was saying - "now I formally acknowledge that you fear and believe me." 

When Abraham believed God, his faith in God and in the gospel promises moved God to declare him righteous.  But, every time a believer trusts God and believes his word he is declared righteous, and every time the believer puts his faith into action, God declares him righteous.  By the actions of faith a believer is justified in his public person, or in his profession.  By faith he is justified in his private person, but faith in action justifies him in his public person.  His faith is shown to be real by the actions of faith.  Works of faith do not make faith real but only show that it is real.  The acts of faith prove the veracity of God's testimony concerning the justified state of a man. 

Faith alone saves, but not a faith that is alone.  The works of Abraham demonstrated that God's declaration concerning him was true, that he was indeed a man of faith.  The actions of Abraham proved that God was true in his declaration concerning Abraham.  Every time a person believes God he is declared righteous.  Every time a believer demonstrates his faith in works of faith he is declared righteous.  God continuously "sees" and "knows" and declares the believer justified.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tough Time Salvation Questions on Romans 10

The tenth chapter of Romans is perhaps the boldest place in scripture in which the Apostle Paul asserts the gospel as the means whereby God saves sinners. Naturally it presents a significant challenge to those who are opposed to such. It is my hope to look at Romans 10 more closely in the future, but in the meantime I wanted to stir the thoughts of those who are adamant in their claim that this chapter lays out the method for achieving simply a gospel or time salvation.

Practically all our moderns feel that those for whom Paul is praying are already saved eternally (i.e. regenerated), but are not saved temporally.

With that claim in mind, let us ask these questions.

If those for whom Paul is praying (10:1) are already saved eternally, then why does he write in Romans 11 that a remnant of this group only is saved(v.5-7)?

If the WHOLE of whom Paul is praying (10:1) are already saved eternally, then how could there be a remnant (11:5)?

If the remnant only is saved (11:5), does this not suggest that the rest of the nation (10:1) was not?

Can it be said that the WHOLE of something is true (10:1), while it yet be true only of a PORTION OF THE WHOLE (11:5) at the same time?

If the REMNANT of Romans 11:5 is described as receiving eternal salvation (v.6-7), then is this not the SAME salvation Paul has under consideration when praying for the WHOLE (10:1)?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chpt. 124 - Hardshells & Justification II

Dr. A. H. Strong, in the "Relation of Justification to Faith," wrote:

A. We are justified by faith, rather than by love or by any other grace:

(a) not because faith is itself a work of obedience by which we merit justification, for this would be a doctrine of justification by works,

(b) nor because faith is accepted as an equivalent of obedience, for there is no equivalent except the perfect obedience of Christ,

(c) nor because faith is the germ from which obedience may spring hereafter, for it is not the faith which accepts, but the Christ who is accepted, that renders such obedience possible, but

(d) because faith, and not repentance or love or hope is the medium or instrument by which we receive Christ and are united to him. Hence we are never said to be justified dia pistin, = on account of faith, but only dia pisteos, = through faith, or ek pisteos, = by faith. Or, to express the same truth in other words, while the grace of God is the efficient cause of justification and the obedience and sufferings of Christ are the meritorious or procuring cause, faith is the mediate or instrumental cause."  (pg. 160, 161)

Strong, a moderate Calvinist, states the correct Calvinistic and Baptist view about union with Christ being first in any sound ordo salutis.  And, in that tradition, he says that the Bible teaches that men are joined to Christ "by faith."  Thus, faith precedes everything connected with salvation, though faith is the result of God's working through the Spirit and the word.  This view of faith being the means of union with Christ, and with justification and salvation, is clearly taught in scripture.  For instance, Paul wrote:  "...whatsoever is not of faith (relative to salvation - SG) is sin."  (Rom. 14: 23)  From this proposition it is deducible that all is from faith, since whatever is not from faith is sin.  The word "sin" here is "hamartia" and literally means to "miss the mark," and involves faulty aim.  Thus, a salvation that is "not of faith," as Hardshellism and many non-Christian religions teach, misses the mark of truth.  According to Hardshellism, justification, regeneration, santification, and salvation are "not of faith," and therefore Hardshellism makes the foregoing things to be "sin," an error.

A "regeneration" that is not from or by faith leads to the absurdity that there are regenerated people who cannot please God, for Paul says that "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11: 6).

Union with Christ is by faith, by coming to him with the heart.  In chapter 11 of Book 3 of his Institutes, John Calvin wrote:

"I trust I have now sufficiently shown how man’s only resource for escaping from the curse of the law, and recovering salvation, lies in faith; and also what the nature of faith is, what the benefits which it confers, and the fruits which it produces. The whole may be thus summed up: Christ given to us by the kindness of God is apprehended and possessed by faith, by means of which we obtain in particular a twofold benefit; first, being reconciled by the righteousness of Christ, God becomes, instead of a judge, an indulgent Father; and, secondly, being sanctified by his Spirit, we aspire to integrity and purity of life." 

Calvin recognized, of course, as do all Calvinists, that there is an eternal mystical or virtual union between Christ and the chosen people.  In God's eternal decree of election the people chosen are joined together, in the mind of God, with Christ their appointed Head.  This union does precede faith and salvation.  However, actual union in time occurs at the point a soul is brought to faith in Christ.  Calvin also appropriately places union with Christ ahead of justification and sanctification, the latter including regeneration. 

Paul wrote:  "...he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."  (I Cor. 6: 17)  Marriage is one of those kinds of union that the scripture adopts to describe the union that exists between Christ and his church bride.  (Eph. 5: 23-33) 

Paul wrote:

"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."  (Rom. 7: 4) 

Saved people are people who have been "joined" or "married" to the Lord, who are "bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh." 

Paul also spoke of Christ being made to "dwell in your hearts by faith."  (Eph. 3: 17) 

Throughout the scriptures people "believe in (Greek "eis," or "into") Christ."  Faith is the medium by which Christ is entered and possessed.  Without this possession and union with Christ, there is no salvation. 

Strong mentions, as have others, such as Berkhof, that scripture never says that men are justified "dia pistin" but "dia pisteuo."  Had the biblical writers believed that "by faith" meant that justification was based upon faith, they would have used "dia pistin," the accusative case inflection.  Thus, the Hardshell accusation that those who teach that justification is "by faith" must teach that faith is the ground or foundation for justification, is without merit.

Craig Hawkins, on the same point, wrote:

"Another point of misunderstanding that some have is regarding the role and relationship of faith to justification. It is not our faith or the faith of the individual believer that justifies, but God who justifies by grace through faith. That is, faith is what is called the instrumental means or cause of salvation, not what is termed the efficient cause. As J. I. Packer rightly remarks: “Paul says that believers are justified dia pisteos (Rom. 3:25), pistei (Rom. 3:28), and ek pisteos (Rom. 3:30). The dative and the preposition dia represent faith as the instrumental means whereby Christ and his righteousness are appropriated; the preposition ek shows that faith occasions, and logically precedes, our personal justification. That believers are justified dia pistin, on account of faith, Paul never says, and would deny.” Packer also remarks: “faith is…personal trust and confidence in God’s mercy through Christ; that it is not a meritorious work, one facet of human righteousness, but rather an appropriating instrument, an empty hand outstretched to receive the free gift of God’s righteousness in Christ….”

Hawkins then cites B.B. Warfield:

"It is, accordingly, solely from its object that faith derives its value. This object is uniformly the God of grace…Jesus Christ, God the Redeemer, is accordingly the one object of saving faith…The saving power of faith resides thus not in itself, but in the Almighty Saviour on whom it rests…It is not faith that saves, but faith in Jesus Christ…faith in any other saviour…brings not salvation but a curse. It is not, strictly speaking, even faith in Christ that saves, but Christ that saves through faith. The saving power resides exclusively, not in the act of faith or the attitude of faith or the nature of faith, but in the object of faith…"  ("Justification – A Right Relationship with GOD" by Craig S. Hawkins see here)

Thus, the argument by Oliphant that those who teach that justification is "by faith" teach that faith is the ground or foundation of justification is without merit.

Oliphant wrote:

"I want first to assign some reasons why faith can not be the ground, or condition, on which justification is based; and then I will try to point out what is intended by those texts in which we are said to be "justified by faith."

Many places speak of "little faith," "O ye of little faith," "Lord, help my unbelief." "Increase our faith," and such texts. Now, if faith is to be understood as the condition or cause of our justification, then justification would necessarily be in different degrees, one man would be just, and another more just, according to the degree of faith, and none could be perfectly justified, seeing that none have perfect faith, for "now we see through a glass darkly." So our justification would have an imperfect cause, or foundation, whereas I think it is admitted on all hands that justification admits of no degrees."  ("Justification and Kindred Subjects: Chapter 8" - See here)

But, though faith is the "condition" for justification, it is not the "ground" of it.  Oliphant, however, thinks that if faith be a condition, it must therefore be the foundation, or the meritorious "basis" for it.

Oliphant's argument is that whatever results from faith cannot be "perfect," for faith is always imperfect.  But, this is untenable.  Has he not affirmed that faith is the gift of God?  God gives an imperfect faith for imperfect results?  Oliphant also again affirms that faith being a "condition" makes faith the "foundation" of justification and salvation, but this is false.  The righteousness of Christ is the efficient cause of justification, but faith is the instrumental cause. 

It is also once again apparent how Oliphant has to resort to such logical arguments to prove his doctrine rather than to express statements of scripture.  He denies that justification is by faith because it is not logical, in his mind, and not because he can refute it by scripture. 

Oliphant wrote:

"So the righteousness of God’s people is of God, Christ is their righteousness; hence it is not the office of faith to produce it. It exists aside from, and independent of faith."

Yes, it is "of" God, but it is "by" faith.  Faith does not "produce" the justifying righteousness of Christ, but merely receives it.  It is amazing that Oliphant and the Hardshells fail to see these simple things.  Oliphant is very frank in affirming that the righteousness of Christ "exists independent of faith," which is contrary to the whole of Romans chapter four.  The scriptures teach that sinners are justified by faith but Hardshells say apart from faith.
 
Elder Joe Holder, Hardshell apologist, wrote:

"The Bible speaks of justification by the blood of Christ, by grace, by faith, and by works. Many sincerely attempt to make every statement in the Bible on justification refer to eternal justification. Justification is the New Testament term for a judge's verdict of "Not guilty." In our judicial system there are many different courts to hear and judge the large variety of issues which must be adjudicated. A traffic violation and a mass murder should not be heard by the same court. Applying this principle to the New Testament teaching on justification, we can see the eternal court of justice which heard the evidence against the elect and declared the "Not guilty" verdict at the resurrection of Christ, based on his death and the grace of God, Romans 4:25. Yet in the same chapter, we can see the court of conscience, before which Abraham was justified by works, Romans 4: 3. Paul did not teach that a dead effortless faith is acceptable any more than James taught that eternal justification is by works."  (Chapter 5, "Justification By Faith" - see here)

Thus, according to Hardshellism, being justified by faith pertains only to the "court" of the believers conscience.  But, this is not what Paul taught.  This was shown in the last chapter where Paul does not make justification by grace to be a different justification from that which is by faith.  The whole purpose of this paradigm of justification is to affirm that justification by faith is not necessary for being eternally saved.  But, where there is no justification by faith, then there is no "peace with God" (Rom. 5: 1), and thus one is not reconciled to God, and is still his enemy.

Holder and the Hardshells fail to understand that the realization of pardon and justification in the conscience occurs when one is actually justified and regenerated.  In this experience the conscience is cleansed by the application of the blood of Christ.  At the same time that God declares that a sinner is justified, at the same time the sinner experiences peace with God.  Or, to state it according to the Hardshell paradigm, when the court of Heaven declares the sinner acquitted, the sinner's "court of conscience" receives and welcomes the verdict.

Not only does Romans chapters three through five show that the same justification is under consideration, but so does the Book of Galatians.

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."  (Gal. 2: 16)

"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." (Gal. 3: 11)

This "justification" is "in the sight of God."  And, it is "by faith."  "We have believed," said Paul, "that we might be justified by the faith of Christ." 

In closing this chapter, let us notice these verses:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."  (John 5: 24)

"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)

Who is justified?  The believer in Jesus.  Who is condemned?  The one who does not believe in Jesus.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chpt. 123 - Hardshells & Justification I

In a word, Hardshells reject the belief that justification which is "by faith" has anything to do with a man's actual justification before God or the condemning law. To the Hardshells, justification which is "by faith," is as unnecessary for being eternally saved as is being converted to Christ.  The typical manner in which Hardshells attempt to defend this strange and novel idea is to affirm that there are three different kinds of justification in scripture, each pertaining to a different court of justice.  Only one of these three kinds of justification, however, is necessary to salvation. 

Elder R. V. Sarrels, Hardshell apologist who wrote what is called a "Systematic Theology," wrote the following on "Justification By Faith" in chapter 16:

"The principles set forth in this chapter regarding the Doctrine of Justification by Faith differs fundamentally from the generally accepted view concerning this important doctrine.  The opinion of Christian scholarship predominantly favors the idea that faith is the medium or instrument by which the unregenerate person is united to Christ." 

Sarrels basically proves what I have affirmed, that the Hardshell interpretation and understanding of the doctrine of justification by faith is not orthodox, nor the traditional view of Christians in general or Baptists in particular.  Sarrels admits that Hardshell teaching on this Bible doctrine is an extreme minority view, and lends credence to the fact that they hold a cultic and novel view.  Sarrels admits that the teaching that interprets "by faith," in the context of justification, teaches "that faith is the medium or instrument by which the unregenerate person is united to Christ."  From this citation it is clear that Sarrels shifts from the idea of justification to that of regeneration and union with Christ.  Sarrels implies that those theologians who affirm that faith logically precedes justification also affirm, or must logically affirm, that faith precedes regeneration.  But, this is not true.  Most of today's "Reformed" Baptists, such as James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries, believe that faith follows regeneration but precedes justification.  The position of the first Particular Baptists, in England and America, taught that faith logically precedes all.  It is the means of joining one to Christ.  Being justified, regenerated (reborn), and being sanctified are the results of this union.  They taught that these things were concomitants, "things that accompany salvation."  (Heb. 6: 9)  One does not exist without the other.  There is no such character who is regenerated but not justified, and vice versa.  There is no such character who is justified and regenerated but not joined to Christ.  There is no such character, as the Hardshells invent, who is justified, regenerated, sanctified, and joined to Christ, but who "has not faith."   I will expand upon this point shortly.

Sarrels also wrote:

"By the phrase "united to Christ" this prevailing view means the work which makes one a new creature in Christ...In contrast to this common idea concerning the place of Justification by Faith in the Christian system, is the view that this justification follows regeneration and that it plays no part in either leading up to or in bringing about the birth from above." 

Sarrels in not correct when he says that the "common idea" about "the place of Justification by Faith" among Christian scholars affirms that justification follows regeneration.  The "common idea" is rather that justification logically precedes regeneration.  This is certainly the teaching of classical Arminians, of men such as Arminius and Wesley.  The view of "Reformed" and "Hyper" Calvinists teach that the ordo salutis is:  first regeneration, then faith (conversion), and then justification and sanctification.  But, many of them argue that regeneration only logically precedes faith and justification, not chronologically.  These Calvinists are not consistent nor reflective of the Puritans and old Baptists who wrote the first English confessions of faith. 

It has always been the peculiar difference between Protestants and Catholics, relative to the ordo salutis, that justification logically precedes regeneration.  Protestants have emphasized, among other things, that Paul says that God "justifies the ungodly," which would not be the case if men were regenerated (made godly) before being justified.  To say that men are regenerated before they are justified is to say that men who are yet condemned are "regenerated."  Nearly all scholars, both Arminian and Calvinist, affirm that union with Christ logically precedes all, precedes justification, precedes regeneration, precedes sanctification.  They also teach that actual union with Christ is "by faith."  Those who affirm that union with Christ is primordial, and that union with Christ is "by faith," and who affirm that regeneration precedes faith, are inconsistent.  It is good thing, that despite this inconsistency and opposition to Protestant views, these Reformed Calvinist theologians nevertheless teach that there is no chronological order, that justification, regeneration, faith, and sanctification, are all concomitants.

Sarrels identifies the chief error of Hardshellism on the Christian doctrine of justification by faith, saying that justification "plays no part in" being born again.  Though he mentioned that being justified does not "lead up to" or "bring about" the new birth, he really believes that being justified does not occur at the same time one is born again.  Thus, they have a man born again who is still condemned!  If a man is not justified, then he is still condemned.   He denies the historic Protestant doctrine that says that justification logically precedes regeneration, and he does not believe that justification is always linked with regeneration.  He certainly does not believe that being justified by faith is necessary for escaping Hell and going to Heaven.

Sarrels wrote:

"It is the purpose of the author in this chapter to show that this, exactly this, is what the Bible teaches concerning this doctrine.  But it must not be inferred from what is here stated that a new concept in theology has been bornFrom the days of the apostles till now there has been a succession of Christian thinkers, in the main unaccredited by the world, who have, with varying degrees of clearness, stood forthrightly and unafraid in defense of the view we hold."  (pg. 373)

Sarrels claims that they has always been Christians who believed as he does, "from the days of the apostles till now," he says, "there has been a succession" of Christians who believed as Hardshells do on the doctrine of salvation, on justification and regeneration.  But, he states a falsehood, for Hardshellism was born in the early to mid 19th century in America.  I have repeatedly challenged the Hardshells to prove this "succession."  They cannot find anyone, prior to the 19th century, who held to their peculiar views and so it is the height of deception for them to state that their views have a "succession" of adherents since the days of the apostles.  The typical Hardshell will read such claims as Sarrels gives and, being a good cult member, simply accept what Sarrels avers, and will not study the matter for himself. 

The Hardshells say that the only justification that is necessary for being eternally saved is that justification which is "by grace" (Rom. 3: 24; Titus 3: 7) or "by his blood" (Rom. 5: 9).  Being justified "by faith" (Rom. 3: 28; 5: 1), however, is a "different kind of justification" than that which is by grace and the blood of Christ.  Thus, they teach that many are justified by grace and blood who are not justified by faith. 

The Hardshells argue that justification by grace and blood is "before God," or "in his sight," or before the court of Heaven, or before the law.  On the other hand, justification by faith is not "before God," or "in his sight," but simply and solely in the "court of conscience," before the eyes of believers themselves.  Being "justified by faith," to the Hardshell, is receiving assurance that one is already elected and regenerated, equivalent to conversion or to their "time salvation."  And, "justification by works" is also not "before God," but "before men," in the "court of public opinion." 

In Hardshellism, justification occurs by faith when the previously "regenerated" soul trusts in the atoning death and righteousness of Christ and receives a sense of acquittal in his conscience, when he comes to realize that he is "freed from condemnation."  Hardshells argue that this is not when God actually justifies the sinner before the law, and removes actual guilt before the eyes and judgment of God, but when guilt is removed from the burdened and convicted conscience. 

One of the problems with this view is the fact that it makes the Holy Spirit to bear witness to a falsehood.  In the Hardshell paradigm, the Holy Spirit convicts the regenerated soul of his guilt.  But, the soul is not really guilty of sin, for he has already been justified prior to his conviction of sin and faith in Christ.  Thus, when the Spirit convinces a soul that it is guilty, he is convincing him of what is not true, for the soul the Spirit convicts has already been justified by blood and grace. 

But, the scriptures are clear about all who do not believe in the one true God, and in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the only Savior and Lord.  Jesus said:

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  (John 3: 18)

The soul that does not believe in Jesus "is condemned."  The soul that believes in Jesus, however, is one who is "not condemned," that is, is "justified."   This simple teaching overthrows Hardshellism and its unscriptural teaching that many unbelievers are "not condemned." 

Jesus also said:

"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)

To be justified is to be delivered from the judicial "wrath of God."  All sinners are condemned, and are therefore "under sin" and "under wrath."  Unbelievers are condemned and under wrath.  But, Hardshells will not accept this to be true.  That makes them enemies of the gospel of Christ.

Another problem with this paradigm is the fact that Paul, in Romans and Galatians, where he discusses justification in detail, does not distinguish between that justification which is by grace and blood from that which is by faith.  In Romans 3: 20-31 Paul speaks of the same justification, not of different kinds of justification.  The Hardshells do the same thing with the word "salvation" as they do with the word "justification."  Just as they make all passages that make salvation to be conditioned upon faith and repentance to be a temporal or time salvation, so they make all passages that make justification to be conditioned upon faith to be a temporal justification.  In verse 20 of Romans chapter three Paul speaks of being "justified in his sight."  The context clearly shows that the justification that Paul is discussing is that which justifies a sinner in God's sight, before his law.  Paul then continues with these words:

"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."  (vs. 24-28)

It requires great dishonesty to make the justification which is "by faith" (vs. 28) to be different from that justification which is "by his grace" (vs. 24).  When Paul says "therefore we conclude," he shows that he is not making that justification which is "by faith" to be different from that which is "by grace."

Further, Paul says that "faith" in Christ "excludes" any possibility of "boasting," and shows that he does not consider faith to be "works," for works promote boasting.  The Hardshells often argue that salvation cannot be "by faith" because faith is a "work" and Paul says we are not saved or justified "by works,"  that is, "not by faith."  But, such hermeneutics has Paul contradicting himself, saying on one hand that salvation and justification are "by faith" and then turning around and saying that they are not "by faith (work of faith)."  Salvation and justification are "by faith" but "not by works," which clearly shows that Paul did not, like the Hardshells, see faith as a work.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chpt. 122 - Conditional or Unconditional?

Elder Oliphant, who was critiqued in the last chapter, wrote:

"A system of salvation that provides for the absolute justification of those stained and blackened by sin, could originate with God only. It may be difficult to see how we may be pardoned and justified both, but the gospel reveals both to be true. If I should forever be unable to explain how God both pardons and justifies sinners, or how these apparent opposites unite in the salvation of man, I say, if I never can explain how they both can exist in the sinners’ case, yet they are both taught in the Bible beyond dispute.

There are many things, both in nature and in grace, that we know to be true, which we cannot explain."  (Chpt. 4 Justification and Kindred Subjects - see here)

It is odd that Oliphant would appeal so much to logical deduction to support Hardshellism and then confess that there are "many things" in scripture that seem contradictory, things "which we cannot explain," or harmonize, and yet say that those things "we know to be true."  Throughout my writings against Hardshellism I have often charged the Hardshells with relying too much upon their human reasoning rather than upon plain declarations of scripture.  In spite of Oliphant's failure to see how salvation is both conditional and unconditional, logically speaking, he should have acknowledged nevertheless that it is so in scripture.  He could not "explain" how salvation could be sure and certain for all the elect if faith and repentance were conditions for salvation, and yet these truths are clear in scripture.  Why could he not say that he knew it was true that salvation was conditioned upon faith, what he knew to be true from scripture, though he could not "explain" how it could be so and yet salvation be unconditional?  Though he could not "explain" how salvation was the result of the mediate as well as immediate work of God, why could he not say "yet we know it is so from scripture"?  Though he could not "explain" how the salvation experience includes both passive and active elements, why could he not say "yet we know it is so from scripture"? 

Oliphant wrote:

"As to what is meant by those texts that speak of our being "justified by faith," we have seen that faith is to be regarded as a gift, and hence it is something to be thankful for, "for which our praise is due." Paul says many times over, "The just shall live by faith," Gal. iii. 11, Rom. i. 17, Heb. x. 38, and also Heb. ii. 4. I should think that in these places faith, as an instrument in the way of prevention, appropriates the blessings in God’s word and promises to our growth and strength. It receives and applies the finished righteousness of Christ, in a way to quiet our fears and to silence the accusations of conscience. The inner man receives his food by faith. The food is not produced by faith, but he receives it by faith. Paul speaks of some whom the word did not profit, "not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." The truth that we are the redeemed of God, and heirs of God, is not produced or made by faith, but these things are understood and enjoyed by faith, and in some sense we are justified in the court of conscience by faith, for conscience will accuse and condemn us until faith applies the atonement of Christ, which brings peace with God, that is, we realize in our hearts a peace. Nothing satisfies our conscience but that which satisfies law and justice, and the atonement and finished righteousness of Christ satisfies law and removes every claim against us, and when faith understands and applies this truth; peace and contentment ensue in the conscience. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God."  (chpt. 8)

Oliphant affirms that "faith is the gift of God," what is given efficaciously to all the elect, and yet he will not allow that this faith is what brings actual salvation, but only what brings recognition and peace about salvation.  In the next short series, I will deal with the Hardshell teaching about justification in more detail. 

Elder S. F. Cayce, father of C. H. Cayce, argued for "Unconditional Salvation" and did not allow that it was conditional in any sense.  According to a Hardshell Internet web page:

"Elder S. F. Cayce met Elder Lee Jackson (a Campbellite) in a public debate at Lafayette Springs, Mississippi, in November 1895. The first proposition was: The eternal salvation of sinners, as set forth in the Scriptures, is the work of God, independent of any conditions to be performed by man.

In support of this proposition Elder S. F. Cayce made the following thirty-six affirmative arguments."

Elder S. F. Cayce was the originator of "The Primitive Baptist" periodical, the one that his son, C. H. Cayce, expanded and turned into a leading voice for the Hardshell denomination in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries.  This was not the first periodical called "The Primitive Baptist," however, as one was begun in the 1830s in North Carolina and sponsored by the Kehukee Hardshells.  Cayce, as we shall see, went to extremes in his affirmation of "unconditional salvation."  When he speaks of salvation being "unconditional" he means that men are saved whether they believe or not, whether they repent or not.  This, however, is not true Old Baptist doctrine.

Cayce begins his defense of unconditional salvation with these arguments:

1. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that none in nature do good. Proof: Ps. xiv. 1-3; Jer. 13:23; Romans 3:12.

2. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that none seek God. Proof: Rom. 3:11; Psalms 10:4.

These arguments by Oliphant show that he, like Gowens and today's Hardshells, do not understand how salvation is both unconditional and conditional.  They failed to see that unconditional salvation guarantees that the conditions of salvation will be performed by the elect in their effectual calling.  That is, God's unconditional decree to save a person causes him to call them by the gospel, and causes them to believe and obey it.  Thus, doing good and seeking God are conditions produced in the hearts and lives of the elect by the Lord.  The verses cited by Oliphant state what men cannot do in themselves, apart from divine grace.  For a fuller treatment of Hardshell false reasoning on the doctrine of total depravity, see chapter 85.

"For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought. Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel."  (Amos 5: 4-6)

Here the Lord advises sinners to "seek" him so that "you shall live."  In order that they might escape the avenging unquenchable fire of the Lord.

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."  (Isa. 55: 6, 7)

In this passage seeking the Lord is a condition for finding the Lord, for obtaining mercy and being pardoned by him.  How could anyone divorce these blessings from salvation?  But, the Hardshell has no difficulty asserting that men will find the Lord without seeking him, will be saved whether they "return" to him or not, will find saving mercy of the Lord whether they find him or not, will be pardoned whether they seek him or not. 

"Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger."  (Zeph. 2: 3)
 
Here the Lord commands men to seek him and his righteousness so that they may be "hid in the day of the Lord's anger."  Surely this is dealing with salvation.

"And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us."  (Acts 17: 26, 27)

Notice that it is "all nations of men" that God commands to "seek" and "find" him.  Obviously the statement of Paul that "none seeks after God" cannot be interpreted to mean that seeking is not a condition of salvation.  Again, Paul was simply affirming that men do not seek God apart from God's word and Spirit, apart from God's initiative.

Throughout scripture the Lord's people are specifically styled as they who seek the Lord while the wicked are styled as they who seek him not.  But, this must be denied by the Hardshells.

Cayce continues with his list of arguments in favor of a strict unconditional salvation:

3. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that man, being corrupt, has to be made good before he can bear good fruit. Proof: Matthew 7:17,18; Luke 6:43,44; Heb. 9:14.

The fallaciousness of this argument is evident when one considers the fact that Oliphant affirms that a man's heart may be made good without being made a believing heart.  Oliphant affirms that an "unbelieving heart" is a good heart, yet the apostle calls such an "evil heart."  (Heb. 3: 12)  If God make the heart good in salvation, then he of necessity makes it a believing heart. 

Cayce then gives his next argument:

4. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that none can come to Christ until DRAWN to him by the father. Proof: John 6:44, 45; Psalms 65:4.

The error of Oliphant is in equating being "drawn" with actual salvation, rather than what is the cause of salvation.  If the drawing is the actual saving, then what is meant by "coming to Christ"?  Oliphant's interpretation would affirm that a man is saved before he comes to Christ.  How can he be saved if he is apart from Christ?  Further, what does it mean to "come to Christ"?  Surely it means all the same as "believing in Christ."  But, this affirmation of Christ condemns Hardshell views, for they do not teach that all who are drawn come to, or believe in, Christ!  Oliphant and the Hardshells would have done well to have read the writings of Bunyan on this passage.

Oliphant continues with his list of arguments:

5. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that those in the flesh (those in an unregenerate state, not born of God) cannot please God. Proof: Rom. 8:7-9; Heb. 11:6.

But, what Oliphant fails to understand is this:  the scriptures also say that "without faith it is impossible to please God."  (Heb. 11: 6)  Oliphant creates a fictional character when he creates a creature who is "in the Spirit" (and "not in the flesh") but who does not have faith.  Can such a man "please God"?  At the very moment a man believes he is no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit.  At the same time a man becomes a man "in the Spirit" he becomes a believer.  In the same passage Paul says:  "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."  (vs. 6) 

How can one be "spiritually minded" who has an unbelieving and impenitent heart?  Is not the unbelieving and impenitent heart equated with being "carnally minded"?  Paul says that they are "dead" who are "carnally minded," who have a mind devoid of faith, saving knowledge, and repentance.  But, he affirms that they have spiritual "life" who are "spiritually minded," who have the mind of Christ, a mind that embraces Christ. 

Oliphant gives his next argument:

6. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that the natural (unregenerate) man is not susceptible of being taught spiritual things. Proof: 1st Cor. 2:14; I. Cor. 1:23; John 8:43-47; I. John 4:6.

God is not able to teach the unregenerate?  Does Oliphant not deny the omnipotence of God?  In the same chapter where Jesus talked about the "drawing" of the Father, and of men "coming to Christ" for life, Christ said:

"It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."  (John 6: 45)

Notice how God teaches sinners before they come to Jesus.  And, what do sinners come to Jesus for?  Jesus said to alien sinners - "you will not come to me that you might have life."  (John 5: 40)  Taught by the Father in order to come to Jesus for life!  Hardshellism uprooted!  "Learning" is integral to the "drawing" of the Father.  The Father draws when he teaches.

"Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."  (Isa. 55: 3)

These words affirm the same thing taught by Jesus in John 6.  Sinners are taught, or incline the ear, and they come to Jesus and they live. 

Oliphant gives his next argument in support of unconditional salvation:

7. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that the sinner is in a state of death, hence, not able to act in order to life. Proof: Gen. 2:17; Gen. 3:22-24; Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1.

Not able to act before living?  Was this true in the case of the bringing to life of the dry dead bones in Ezekiel's vision?  Did the bones not act and move prior to the breath of life entering into the re-formed body?  Also, did Jesus not say that "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and live"?  (John 5: 25)  The dead "hear" before they are alive!  Further, what is impossible with the dead is possible with God.

8. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that the sinner is quickened (or made alive) by the same power and means that it takes to resurrect those who are naturally (or corporeally) dead. Proof: John 5:21; Eph. 2:1-7; John 5:24, 25.

Yes, but God has used prophets and apostles to resurrect the dead!  Cayce even refers to John 5: 25, already referred to, where the dead hear and live.

Cayce gives his next argument:

9. Salvation is unconditional because the change which the sinner undergoes (in being prepared for heaven) is represented, in the Bible, as a resurrection or passing from death unto life, hence, he is passive in that work. Proof: Col. 3:1-4; I. John 3:14; Eph. 2:1-7.

He is passive in the action of coming to life, yes.  But, the whole work of quickening includes believing in Jesus (Eph. 1: 19) and sinners are active in "receiving" Christ and "believing" in him.

10. Salvation is unconditional because this change is represented in the Bible as a birth, therefore a work in which the sinner must be passive. Proof: John 3:1-7; John 1:11-13.

Again, no one denies that some aspects of spiritual birth and resurrection are passive, but to limit it all to only what is passive is an error, as I have shown in previous chapters.  When Jacob and Esau were in the womb it is said that they "struggled" and that Jacob actively took hold of the heel of Esau in the act of birth.  Thus, there is action on the part of infants when they are in the womb and in the process of birth. 

11. Salvation is unconditional because those who do righteousness are (already) born of God. Proof: I. John 2:29; I. John 3:7; I. Peter 1:22,23.

Certainly men must be born of God before they can "do" good works, as Ephesians 2: 10 affirms.  But, the scriptures teach that men believe in order to be "saved."  Paul said to the trembling jailer - "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, and your house."  (Acts 16: 31)

Cayce's next argument is this:

12. Salvation is unconditional because the change which the child of God has undergone is represented, in the Bible, as a death, hence a work in which he was passive. Proof: Rom. 6:2-8; Col. 2:20; I. Peter 2:24; II. Tim. 2:11.

Just because an action of a sinner in being saved is passive does not mean that the action is not a means or condition for being saved.  Cayce speaks of "the change which the child of God" experiences as being passive, but it is still a change or action that the child of God experiences and does.  Further, this "change" does not exclude a change of heart, does not exclude the changing of the heart from one of unbelief to belief.

Cayce continued:

13. Salvation is unconditional because the change which the sinner undergoes is represented, in the Bible, as a deliverance; hence, a work performed by a higher power. Proof: Col. 1:13; II. Cor. 1:9,19; I. Thess. 1:10; Psalms 56:13.

In answer to this argument all we have to do is to remind the Hardshells that they believe that conversion is also called salvation, what they call "time salvation."  But, they do not deny that faith and repentance are necessary for being saved through conversion.  By such argumentation of Cayce, however, Hardshells do not believe that being saved by faith is a "deliverance," a "work performed by a higher power"!  If God give faith and repentance, the conditions of salvation, then this argument has no validity.

Cayce continued:

14. Salvation is unconditional because the work which puts the sinner in Christ or makes him (manifestly) a child of God, is represented as the work of God. Proof: I. Cor. 1:30; Eph. 2:10; I. Cor. 6:11; I. Cor. 12:13.

But, is not conversion also the work of God?  Is not coming to Jesus the work of God?  Are not faith and repentance the work of God?  Was the healing of the man with the withered hand not the work of God?  Yet, Jesus told him to "stretch forth thine hand."  The healing of the paralytic man by Peter and John in the Temple was the work of God, yet it was done through the apostles.  Notice how Cayce inserts the word "manifestly."  This is a common tactic of the Hardshells in dealing with those passages that speak of the instrumentality of faith and repentance for salvation and for being made a child of God.  When Paul says - "you are all the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3: 26), the Hardshells will add the word "manifestly" and read it as saying - "you are all the sons of God manifestly by faith."  They do the same with Acts 26: 18 and other passages.  But, Cayce says that being manifested as a child of God, in conversion, is "the work of God," and "unconditional."  Has he not contradicted himself?

Cayce continued:

15. Salvation is unconditional because the work done in making us children of God is represented as a creative work, and because we are then NEW creatures (not merely reformed creatures) and because, also, this work is UNTO, hence, prior to the performing of good works. Proof: II. Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10.

But, God creates faith and repentance when he makes new creatures.  If these "new creatures" are still unbelievers and impenitent, how can we say that their heart is "new"?  Yes, it is true that one is created unto good works, but faith and works are set opposite to each other in scripture, as I have shown.  In the passage in Ephesians 2: 8-10 salvation is "through faith" but "unto good works." 

Cayce continued:

16. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that eternal life and all things pertaining thereto, is a gift, not something merited or purchased. Proof: Romans 6:23; John 17:2; John 10:27,28; Romans 8:32.

This argument has no weight for Hardshells confess that faith and repentance, like salvation itself, are gifts of God.  The fact that salvation is a gift does not exclude faith and repentance from being conditions of salvation.

Cayce continued:

17. Salvation is unconditional because faith is represented as being a fruit of the Spirit, therefore, not possessed by any until they have the Spirit, or have been born again. Proof: Hebrews 12:2; Gal. 5:22; I. Cor. 12: 6-9; Romans 12:3; I. Peter 1:21-23; John 6:47; I. John 5:1.

The word "fruit" in Gal. 5: 22 means what is "begotten," and is in agreement with the words of the apostle John who also said that faith is "begotten."  (I John 5: 4)  Faith is begotten at the same time that life is begotten.  Scriptures also represent life as being a fruit of the Spirit, but man is not alive till he possesses the fruit of the divine begetting. 

Cayce continued:

18. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that obedience to the commands of God (properly or acceptably rendered) is an evidence of an internal work having been done by the Lord. Proof: Phil. 2:12,13; Heb. 11:6; Matt. 7:18.

Regeneration or spiritual resurrection is an act of obedience, however.  Jesus speaks to the dead, commands them to come forth, and they obey.  Obedience is not an after effect of regeneration, but integral to it.

Cayce continued:

19. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that it is not of works, neither a debt, but all of grace. Proof: Titus 3:5; Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 11:6; II. Tim. 1:9; Rom. 3:23,24; Eph. 1:7; Rom. 4:4,5.

But, faith is not a work of the law, but the gift of God, even as Hardshells admit.  Faith thus given is not meritorious, though it be a condition.  This line of argument forces the Hardshells to confess that their conversion to Christ is a matter of debt and given on the basis of merit, and is not "all of grace."

Cayce continued:

20. Salvation is unconditional because it is the work of God and according to His purposes. Proof: Matt. 19:16-26; Jonah 2:9; Isa. 53:1-5; Isa. 52:16; II. Tim. 1:9.

But, Paul affirms that faith and repentance are the work of God.  The healing of the man with the withered hand was the "work of God" and yet he was commanded to stretch forth his hand.

Cayce continued:

21. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that the mission of Christ was to SAVE, not to offer, nor to try, but to SAVE SINNERS; not those who have ceased to be sinners by complying with terms, etc. Proof: Matt. 1:21; Matt. 16:11; Luke 19:10; I. Tim. 1:15.

But, conversion is also salvation, and is the result of faith and repentance, as Hardshells admit.  It is the work of God to cause all that he draws and teaches to come to Christ in conversion.  The offer of salvation is guaranteed success in the case of the elect.

Cayce continued:

22. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that God has, and ever has had, but one way of saving people; whether they be infants, adults, idiots, heathens, learned or unlearned, in whatever age of the world. All therefore, who are saved at all, are saved in precisely the same way. Proof: John 6:44,45; John 14:6; Luke 18:16,17; Acts 15:11; Rev. 5:9.

This argumentation has already been answered in our book on Hardshellism.  It is true that God has only one way of saving people, and it is "through faith."  All are "begotten by the gospel."  Further, conversion is the work of God, a salvation that is the same for all who are converted.

Cayce continued:

23. Salvation is unconditional because the church is (figuratively) represented, in the Bible, as a building, hence the material of which the church is composed must be passive in its preparation. Proof: Proverbs 9:1; Matthew 16:18; I. Peter 2:4,5; Eph. 2:19-22; Psalms 127:1.

But, the error of Cayce and the Hardshells, as I have shown, is to view the whole of the salvation experience as being passive, and to exclude all active verbs and participles from the experience.  All the oldest Hardshells affirmed that God's people are "made willing" in the work of regeneration.

Cayce continued:

24. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that God is a Sovereign, that He does His will, and that He, therefore, saves all whom He purposes, or desire, to save. Proof: Genesis 1 (entire chapter); Isaiah 46:9-11; Isaiah 14:26,27; Romans 8:28-39; Isaiah 55:8-11.

But, is it not God's will that all the elect come to Christ, and be converted?  Do not all the oldest Hardshell churches have articles of faith that say - "we believe that all the elect will be regenerated and converted"?  Further, God's willing to save sinners also includes his willing of the means and conditions.

Cayce continued:

25. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that God's love, like Himself, is eternal and immutable, and that those saved are embraced in His love. Proof: Jeremiah 31:3; Malachi 3:6; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:25-27; John 17:22-24; I. John 3:1; Romans 9:11-16; Romans 5:7-9.

How does such an argument exclude faith and repentance as conditions?  It is out of unconditional love that God gives faith and repentance unto salvation. 

Cayce continued:

26. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that God's love for His people, when manifested to them, produces in them love for God, and that His love for us, is, therefore, the cause of why we love Him. Proof: I. John 4:19.

All of the old Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries also taught that God's love for his people is effectual, but this fact did not lead them to affirm that faith and repentance were not necessary for being saved.  Further, Cayce says that God's unconditional love for his chosen people produces "in them love for God," and if he can produce love for God in regeneration, then surely he can, and does, create faith in him also.  How can one love God if he does not know him?  Or believe in him?  Or turn to him?

Cayce continued:

27. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that the heirs of salvation were elected thereunto before the world began. Proof: Psalms 65:4; Romans 8:28-33; Romans 9:8-16; Ephesians 1:3-5; II. Timothy 1:9.

But, Cayce has already admitted that God's unconditional choice of sinners before the world began does not exclude God's bringing them to love him when he calls them.  Has he not affirmed that love for God is a necessary element of being saved and regenerated?  If he can say that love exists in all the called, why not faith and repentance also? 

Cayce continued:

28. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that Christ suffered (to render satisfaction) for the sins of those for whom he died, and bring them to God. Proof: Isaiah 42:4; I. Peter 3:18.

But, how can they be brought to God apart from faith and repentance?  How can they be brought to God without coming to Christ in faith?  Does he bring them to himself apart from faith? 

Cayce continued:

29. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that those for whom Christ died are justified by his blood, and made righteous. Proof: Romans 5:6-9; Romans 3:24; Romans 4:25; 5:15-19; Matthew 5:18; Isaiah 53:11.

This argument, like most of those already noticed, are not logical.  It is true that election is unconditional, but salvation itself is not conditional.  God gives faith to a man because he has previously chosen to justify him.  It is all the work of God.  He secures the condition in bringing about the end (salvation). 

Cayce continued:

30. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that those for whom Christ died are reconciled to God, by his death, and that being reconciled they SHALL BE SAVED by his life. Proof: Romans 5:8-10; II. Cor. 6:18-21.

But the scriptures also affirm that men are justified by faith, that they are reconciled to God when they "receive the atonement (reconciliation)" by faith.  (Rom. 5: 11) 

Cayce continued:

31. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that the people for whom Christ died are designated in the Bible as his seed, his generation, his people, his portion, his sheep, etc., and that to these eternal life is GIVEN. Proof: Isaiah 53 (entire chapter); John 10:11-16, 27, 28; John 5:37-39; John 17:1-5.

The fact that the Bible teaches that the elect are designated has his offspring and that he gives to them eternal life does not exclude his giving them love for him, faith in him, and repentance towards him, when they are in fact saved.  One cannot divorce knowing God and Christ from having eternal life.  (John 17: 3)

Cayce continued:

32. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that Christ gave his life a ransom for those for whom he died, and that he purchased them with his blood. Proof: Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; I. Corinthians 6:20; I. Peter 1:18,19.

But, again, this argumentation is illogical.  Those who have been redeemed and purchased by Christ are guaranteed to receive the fruit of his mediatorial work, which include love for God and faith in Christ.

Cayce continued:

33. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that those who have redemption in Christ (those redeemed by him) have, also, forgiveness of sins. Proof: Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 1:7; Matthew 26:28.

Yes, but "forgiveness of sins" is conditioned upon faith.  "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)  God, in ordaining the end (forgiveness of sins) also ordained the means and conditions, as the old Baptists have ever taught.

Cayce continued:

34. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that Christ gave himself to redeem the people for whom he died FROM ALL INIQUITY. Proof: Psalms 130:8; Titus 2:14; Isaiah 53:6.

But, unbelief is sin (iniquity).  Thus, if Christ gave himself to redeem from "all" iniquity, then he died to redeem them from unbelief and impenitence. 

Cayce continued:

35. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that Christ obtained ETERNAL REDEMPTION for those for whom he died. Proof: Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 10:13,14; I. Peter 1:18,19.

Christ indeed died to obtain eternal life and redemption for the elect, but he died in order that they obtain faith and repentance too.  He died to redeem them from death, from unbelief, from an impenitent heart. 

Cayce continued:

36. Salvation is unconditional because the Scriptures teach that Christ redeemed the people for whom he died (all the way) to God. Proof: Isaiah 35:8,9; Revelation 5:9.  (see here)

But, this is a repetition of previous arguments.  Christ redeemed his people from unbelief and impenitence. 

In conclusion we emphasize the fact that the Hardshells went to an extreme in their defense of unconditional salvation and failed to see, as did Bunyan, Keach, Gill, and Hassell, how salvation was also conditional, that faith and repentance were conditions and means of God's salvation.