Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Missionaries Not Needed?

Elder Sylvester Hassell (1842-1928), Hardshell historian and apologist, wrote:

"Jesus is the Great Preacher, and, by His omnipresent Spirit, He preaches His gospel savingly to His people (Isa. 61:1-3,10,11; Luke 4:16-30; Heb. 2:11,12; Psalm 110:3)."  (see here)

I believe that this position of Elder Hassell represents a middle position between today's Hardshells and the position of the Old Baptists prior to the rise of the Hardshells in the early 19th century.  The position of most Hardshells, since the days of Hassell, has been to affirm that only a few of the elect will hear the Gospel and believe in Jesus, and that believing in Jesus is not necessary for final salvation.  Some Hardshells today are seemingly going back to the position of Hassell and it is hoped that all will.  However, going back to the view of Hassell, though better than today's neo-Hardshell view, nevertheless only goes halfway back to the original view of the Old Baptists who endorsed the Philadelphia and London Baptist confessions.  Further, it is a serious error, one fraught with dangerous consequences. 

Elder David Pyles, present day Hardshell leader, wrote:

"We allow that God has every right and all ability to preach the gospel himself without the aid of man. According to Galations 3:8, God preached the gospel to Abraham long before there ever was an apostle, elder, or missionary. It is presumptuous for us to take any position asserting that only man can preach the gospel."  (see here)


"I believe I speak for all Primitive Baptists by saying that God will reveal Himself, in His own chosen way and degree, to all of His elect people here in time. In this sense it could be said that the gospel will reach all of the elect."


"These texts also show that without the "gospel" preached by God, one will never receive the gospel as preached by man. Observe that in the last verse, it is asserted that the Jews would not receive the outward word because they did not possess the inward word. Only God can implant this inward word, and He will do it to all of His chosen in time."


"While we allow that God may, in His own sovereign pleasure, quicken whom He will, where He will, and when He will, and while we allow that God may do all of these even among those who are, and shall remain, deprived of the true gospel as preached by man, the scriptures deny that uninspired man can identify the presence of a regenerate heart in the absence of belief in the Lord Jesus. Accordingly, we have no authority to offer the promises of the gospel to anyone who has not accepted it."

Jason Brown wrote:

"They have no Biblical hope of eternal salvation as long as they reject Jesus Christ, as all the elect have Christ revealed directly and spiritually at regeneration (John 17:3, 1 John 4:4), and this testimony of Christ and the spirit (1 John 3:24) quite precludes the worship of idols, even in those apart from the preached word by mental competence or geography."  (see here)

This view says that the elect will hear and believe the Gospel, will believe in Jesus, but only as it is personally and directly preached to them by Jesus. 

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"  (Rom. 10: 13, 14)

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."  (Vs. 17)

There is no denying that Jesus preached the Gospel.  There is no denying that he personally preached the same Gospel to both elect and non-elect.  Further, there is no denying that Jesus revealed himself directly to certain men while he was on earth, both before and after his resurrection.  But, does Jesus still speak directly to people today?  Does he personally appear to people today as he did to the apostles?  Apparently the Apostle Paul did not believe so, for he says that God has ordained that men hear the Gospel through preachers.

Jesus connected the salvation experience (called regeneration, conversion, or the new birth) with Christ being revealed to a person and hearing Christ speak.

"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."  (John 6:39-41) 

On this verse Dr. Gill wrote:

"That everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him; who so sees him as to believe in him; for this is not to be understood of a corporeal sight of Christ, or of a mere speculative knowledge of him, or historical faith in him; for it is not so to see him, as merely to believe what he is, the Son of God, the Messiah and Saviour of the world, or what he says, but to trust in him for righteousness, life, and happiness. Men are by nature blind, their eyes are shut to all that is spiritually good; it is the Spirit of God that opens blind eyes, and illuminates the understanding: and in his light men see not only themselves, their sin, and want of righteousness, and their lost state and condition, but Christ, and a beauty, glory, and excellency in him, ability and willingness to save, a suitableness in him for them, and a fulness of all grace..."

On Gal. 3: 1 Gill wrote:

before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth; meaning in the ministry of the Gospel, in the clear preaching of it by the apostle; Jesus Christ was the sum and substance of his ministry, in which he was set forth and described, and, as it were, painted to the life by him; the glories and excellencies of his divine person, the nature of his office, as Mediator, the suitableness of him as a Saviour, the fulness of his grace, the efficacy of his blood, sacrifice, and righteousness, were so fully, and in such a lively manner expressed, that it was as if Christ was personally and visibly present with them; yea, he was so described in his sufferings and death, as hanging, bleeding, dying on the accursed tree, that he seemed to be as it were, as the apostle adds,

crucified among you: for this cannot be understood literally, for he was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem; nor does it respect the sin of the Galatians in departing from the Gospel, as if that was a crucifying of him again, and a putting him to open shame; nor their sufferings for the sake of Christ, as if he, in that sense, was crucified in them, and with them: but it intends the clear Gospel revelation of a crucified Christ, in the preaching of him by the apostle, which was such that no picture, no image, no crucifix would come up to, and which, where such preaching is, are altogether vain and needless; and the clear view these saints had, by faith, in the glass of the Gospel of Christ, and him crucified, which so realized the object, as if it was present and before the natural eye. Now this was an aggravation of their weakness and folly, that after such clear preaching, and clear sight, they had of the Gospel, and of Christ in it, that they should in the least degree depart from it.

Christ is revealed through the Gospel.  Christ speaks through the Gospel.  Christ spoke through Paul.  (II Cor. 13: 3)  It is in the Gospel that men "see" and "hear" Christ.

If the view is correct that Christ preaches the Gospel personally to all the elect, then Paul would not have written these words:

"Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:  But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand."  (Rom. 15: 20, 21)

On these words Dr. Gill commented:

"...he chose rather to go to such Heathen nations, as were wholly without any knowledge of him; who had only the dim light of nature to guide them; had had no promises nor prophecies of the Messiah, nor so much as any hints, at least very distant ones, concerning him; and where as yet the sound of the Gospel bad not reached."

But, if the heathen must have Christ to personally preach the Gospel to the heathen before Paul could have any success in preaching the same Gospel to them, then Paul could not categorically say that Christ was not known among the heathen.

"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world."  (Eph. 2: 12)

On Ephesians 2:17 Dr. Gill wrote:

"And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, &c.] Which is to be understood not of Christ's coming in the flesh; for when he came in the flesh, he came only to the Jews that were nigh, and preached the Gospel in his own personal ministry to them, and not to the Gentiles, who are the persons afar off; ( Ephesians 2:12 Ephesians 2:13 ) but of his coming by his Spirit in the ministry of his apostles, to whom he gave a commission after he had made peace and reconciliation by the blood of his cross, to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the Gentiles in the furthest parts of the earth; and on whom he bestowed gifts, qualifying them for such service, and succeeded them in it by his power and grace..."

Dr. Gill did not believe that Christ personally preached the Gospel to the heathen before they heard the Gospel preached by him.  He says that they were "without Christ" and "without hope" before they heard him preach Christ to them.

Here are the statements that represent leaven in the lump.

"He preaches His gospel savingly to His people" (Hassell)

"God has every right and all ability to preach the gospel himself without the aid of man" (Pyles)

"God will reveal Himself, in His own chosen way and degree, to all of His elect people here in time." (Pyles)

"...without the "gospel" preached by God, one will never receive the gospel as preached by man."  (Pyles)

"...all the elect have Christ revealed directly and spiritually at regeneration..." (Brown)

But let us notice the problems with this view.

Problems with this view

1)  It is not supported by Scripture
2)  It is not supported by the London Confession
3)  It makes apostles of all the saints
4)  It makes Gospel preaching unnecessary
5)  It makes Paul's teaching in Romans 10 false

"Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?"  (I Cor. 12: 29)

Two of the qualification for being an "apostle" was to have seen the resurrection Christ and to have heard him speak the Gospel, or impart revelation, directly.  Thus, the view of the Hardshells who affirm such make apostles of all the elect.  Thus, Paul could not have denied that all the elect were apostles.

These verses also show this view to be false.

"Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."  (Matt. 26: 13; Mark 14: 9)

If Jesus has preached the Gospel to the heathen prior to their hearing the Gospel preached by missionaries, then there should be evidence that the heathen know of the above story. 

"And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."  (Mark 16: 20)

These words show that the Lord does not work apart from the Gospel preached by the disciples, but works with and through them.

"Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus."  (Acts 8: 35)

But, if the Eunuch was already born again, as Hardshells affirm, then he must have already heard of Christ by the direct preaching of Christ to the Eunuch.  But, obviously, the Eunuch had not heard of Christ prior to hearing of him through Philip.

"Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into."  (I Peter 1: 12)

These verses affirm that preachers preach the Gospel "with the Holy Ghost," and thus with the power of God, and this is sufficient to reveal Christ.

Brother Bob Ross, in his book "The History and Heresies of Hardshellism," wrote the following in chapter six:

Is the Word Spoken by Christ More Powerful Than
Other Inspired Revelation?

According to various Hardshell sources, the new birth (regeneration) is performed by the direct Word of Christ, spoken to the "dead alien sinner;" allegedly, there is power in that Word, but there is no such power in, with, through, or by the Written Word or preached Word, according to this view.  

The position of the Baptists who wrote the London Confession of 1644 [articles 14, 15] and the London Confession of 1689 [articles 10, 14] is rejected by the Hardshells, as both of those Confessions conjoin the Gospel, or Word, and the Spirit, creating the immediate, simultaneous repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ by the sinner. R. V. Sarrels wrote the only book by a Primitive Baptist which is represented as a "systematic theology."  He does not quote a SINGLE Baptist Confession of Faith to represent the historic Baptist position.  Rather, he repudiates what he calls the "Reformed" doctrine, which is set forth in the Westminster (Presbyterian), London (Baptist), and Philadelphia (Baptist) Confessions of Faith (pages 303-359).  He didn't quote a single Baptist confession because Sarrels was not a historic Baptist; he was part of the modern "Primitive Baptist" CULT which at HEART is opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ being preached to the unregenerate.  This malice against preaching to the unregenerate is the "axle" on which the wobbly wheel of the "Old School" turns in its BACKWARD path.

According to Hardshellism, the historic Baptist position would make regeneration "conditional" on the sinner, despite the fact that this position by Creedal Baptists asserts that the SPIRIT ALONE is the "efficient cause" of both repentance and faith.  Irrespective of the Hardshell allegation, this was the position of 17th century Baptists, William Kiffin, Benjamin Keach, Elias Keach, John Bunyan, John Myles, John Gill, and the Baptists of the Philadelphia Association, the first association in America.  (see here - capitals and bold lettering are the author's)

Bob also wrote:

"Gilbert Beebe (1800-1881), editor of the Signs of the Times magazine, the foremost Anti-mission periodical following the 1832 split, was perhaps the first one -- at least, one of the first -- to propagate this new theory of "direct speaking" regeneration.  He says:
"The word of the Lord, which is Spirit, and which is life, which liveth and abideth forever, is that by which regeneration is affected; not MERELY by the Scriptures in their LETTER, not reading or preaching them, but the words which Jesus himself SPEAKS to the individual persons who are made to hear and live."  [Compilation of Editorial Articles, Vol. IV, pages 21, 22].

Bob also wrote:

"This theory gives precedence of power to the spoken words of Christ, which He supposedly speaks directly to the individual.  Notice that the "speaking," according to Beebe, PRECEDES the "hearing" and the "life."  This would mean that Christ speaks to the "dead alien sinner" BEFORE the sinner is "alive."  Therefore, the Word of Christ is addressed to the "dead," yet the Hardshells object to the Baptist position that the Gospel, or Word, is to be preached to the "dead," and is accompanied by the Holy Spirit in pursuance of God's sovereign purpose in effectual calling."

Bob also wrote:

"According to the Scriptures, Jesus preached the Gospel (Luke 4:16-21).  Is the Gospel a part of the "WORDS" spoken by Christ which are "SPIRIT" and "LIFE"?  Is this not the SAME Gospel that was preached by Peter, Paul, and the Apostles -- the "Words" of Christ which are "SPIRIT" and "LIFE"?  Is not this SAME Gospel recorded in the Scriptures by the INSPIRATION of the Holy Spirit?  Is not this Gospel "the WORD that goeth forth out of My mouth" (Isa. 55:11)?  Is this Word void of spirit and life in its SPIRIT-INSPIRED WRITTEN FORM?"

Bob also wrote:

"If Jesus speaks this Gospel DIRECTLY to the dead alien sinner, then it is "spirit and life;" but when Peter and Paul spoke the SAME Gospel in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit which was "sent down from Heaven" (1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Cor. 2:4; 1 Peter 1:12), this SPIRIT-INSPIRED WORD which proceeded out of the mouth of the Lord (Matt 4:4) does not have "spirit and life," according to the Hardshell theory.  The only time this Gospel has "spirit and life," according to the Hardshells, is when Jesus Himself speaks it directly to the dead alien sinner!  When preached by Peter and Paul it was only to "comfort" those who had already been regenerated -- that is, if Hardshellism is true."

Bob also wrote:

"If Jesus speaks directly to dead alien sinners like He did to Saul of Tarsus, we who hold to the Gospel as a "means," according to the Baptist Confessions of Faith, marvel that the Hardshells who hear the Lord's words do not know their experience as Paul knew his.  I have read numerous "experiences" in various Hardshell literature, and I have yet to read one that relates the details such as Paul recalls of his experience in Acts (chapters 22 and 26) and in the epistles he wrote." 

Bob wrote:

"Hardshells are very "short" of any knowledge of what the Lord spoke to them, where He spoke it, and when He spoke it."

Bob wrote:

"We who have been born again under Gospel preaching do not have the same identical experiences, but we do know something about how it was that we became Christians.  We hardly had the type of experience that Paul had, nor that the thief on the cross had, nor that Simon Peter had -- and I have yet to meet a Christian who claims such an experience.  We don't believe the Lord speaks directly to the sinner, but we do believe that the SAME GOSPEL comes to us in the SAME POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT that the Gospel came to Paul.  Whether it is spoken by Jesus, by Peter, by Paul, or read in the Bible, it is the SAME WORD OF GOD that is blessed by the SPIRIT OF GOD and it produces the NEW BIRTH."

Bob wrote:

"This is the Old Baptist doctrine of our Confessions.  This is the true primitive Baptist Gospel.  It is not a theory such as that concocted by those who are given to oppose Gospel preaching to dead alien sinners.  It is not an excuse for avoiding the responsibility and privilege of obeying the Lord in bearing the Gospel message to the world as a means of reaching the elect of God whom He will call to Christ."

What an overthrow of Hardshellism and their "direct voice" speaking!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Time Salvation Extrapolation

The simplest yet most deceitful way in which conditional time salvation is promoted begins with the claim that the term saved in scripture does not always refer to eternal salvation.  Those seeking to convince others of this teaching often do so by relying upon this very basic bible fact.  Texts are often presented where the term has definite reference to a temporal deliverance from some certain danger or situation.  This is where the heresy gains an initial foothold in the minds of many.

The average Bible reader with just the slightest bit of study understands that "saved doesn’t always mean eternal salvation".  Here, however, is where many of those within the Primitive Baptists seek to capitalize on this very fundamental observation.  Having understood that saved can be expressive of deliverance from something of a temporal nature, a move is then made to a gospel means (e.g. Acts 16:31; Romans 1:16) or perseverance (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:1-2) passage.  The explanation is then given that the same holds true in these places.  Where practically all of the Christian community correctly sees these passages as descriptive of eternal salvation, our moderns say differently.  Just as the Hebrews were saved temporally from the Midianites (Judges 7), for instance, perhaps the same "kind" of salvation is received when one hears the gospel!  That's the sort of thinking often found where this doctrine is upheld.  It is in this manner that the modern novelty of conditional time salvation is used as an alternate explanation to passages which place emphasis on human responsibility in salvation, and an escape can be made from “dreaded” Calvinism.

I can only wonder how many unfortunate souls have been duped by this deceitful bait-and-switch tactic.  I have personally sat in on one of these proselyting sessions where a potential “convert” was being told that he need not believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.  The first thing done was fill his mind with modest examples of temporal deliverances (e.g. the Hebrews’ deliverance from Egypt, Daniel being saved from the lion’s den, etc.).  After planting this seed, reference was then made to the case of the trembling jailor (Acts 16: 25-31).  Having been shown that "saved doesn’t always refer to eternal salvation" this young man was being persuaded into now pondering the idea that the jailor was inquiring, not how to be reconciled to God, but how to be saved from the earthquake or delivered from Roman punishment! 

Now I have no doubt that some honestly feel this extrapolation from modest to extreme is warranted and are very sincere in their endeavor to promote what they feel is rightly dividing the word of truth.  Nevertheless, the one being taught this is being woefully deceived!

A prime example of this can be found in the current issue of The Banner of Love, May 2012.  In an article simply entitled ‘Time Salvation’, Elder Adam Green writes:

“That is our favorite salvation (eternal - KF) to talk about, for sure!  However, it is not always what the Bible is referring to when the words “saved” or “salvation” are being used.  Sometimes it is talking about being saved from some danger or harm here in time (which is why we call it “time” salvation).

For example, when Peter stepped out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Christ, you will recall that he looked at the waves and became afraid and began to sink.  What did he do then?  He cried, “Lord, save me!”

By the context of the story we know instantly when reading that Peter was not asking to be saved (delivered) from his sins.  He was asking to be kept from going down into Davy Jones’ locker, way down there among the sharks and other fishes!  He was afraid he was going to drown and was asking Jesus to rescue him, to save him from that awful fate.

When we see the concept of salvation mentioned in our Bible reading, we need to make sure we know if it is talking about eternal salvation (from Hell) or timely salvation (from some danger here in time).  It often is not as easy to determine as in the passage regarding Peter walking on the water, but it is important that we try t understand.

Let us look at a couple of examples.  Romans 11:14:  “If by any means I may provoke emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”  Paul is talking in this chapter to Romans (who were Gentiles), and he is talking about his kinfolk – the Jews.

He says very plainly that he wants to save some of them, and if they will emulate (copy, follow) him, then he will be able to save some.  What does he want them to be saved from?  When he started talking about the Jewish countrymen and relatives back in the first part of Chapter Ten, he said that they were in a sad condition.  That condition was legalism.

The Jews had the idea that they had to work their way to Heaven and constantly were trying to prove that they were good enough to go there because of their good works, day after day.  Paul said that he wanted to save them from that by showing them that Christ has fulfilled the law for them and paid for their sins.

He wanted to save them from trying to accomplish something that they could not do something that had already been done for them.  That was a timely salvation.  It did not affect their home in Heaven.  Another way we can know this is a timely salvation is to consider who is doing the saving: Paul is.  He said he wanted to save them.  If Paul saved them, then it was not Christ who saved them.  We can see that it is NOT referring to the saving work of Christ on the cross.”

In reading this I can’t help but sympathize with what is probably a sincere young elder with good intentions.  I used to wear the same shoes and make similar such arguments to circumvent certain Bible passages, all under the pretense of rightly dividing the word of truth.  You will notice that the argument begins by relating the story of how Peter was rescued when he began to sink into the sea, and that this was a temporal deliverance.  With the foundation having now being laid in the reader’s mind that the word "saved doesn’t always mean eternal", migration is made to a passage in scripture where gospel and human instrumentality are involved.  The reader is now asked to accept that Romans 11:14 is referring to the same "kind" of salvation that Peter desired.  Thus, in the short span it takes to read these words, a soul is baited with something elementary which no one will deny (Peter was delivered temporally) but is ultimately asked to swallow something much more substantial (the gospel only saves temporally).

This is a serious error, as Romans 11:14 is clearly speaking of eternal salvation, and one unto which I have previously posed a challenge.  The error that the young man makes, just like many of those of like mind, is in equating instrumental with efficient causation.  Paul does not mean, as he thinks, that HE would literally be the one who saves his brethren.  He would simply be the tool that God used in doing so.  By failing to see this though, he attributes efficiently to Paul what he should have attributed to Christ.  Consequently, he ends up removing the Lord from His throne (“it was not Christ who saved them”), and puts Paul in his place for this particular "kind" of salvation.  By such argumentation, MAN becomes the savior in time salvation, and not Jesus!  Though probably unaware of where this has landed him, the young man is advocating Arminianism from a temporal perspective.

This same strategy is often seen in sermons.  I should know, because I used to do it myself and have heard many do the same.  If proceeding to discourse on or to prove the existence of time salvation, a common thing done by elders is to first lay a foundation by referring to some random passage(s) wherein "saved" treats of some temporal deliverance.  This is done in order to provide justification for what follows.  The thought is then carried in the direction of some crucial passage or doctrine central in the controversy of Calvinistic vs. Hardshell soteriology, and an attempt is made to place it as well into a temporal framework.  The sad thing is the victims of this heretical product seated in the congregation, who are persuaded to believe that this extension of thought is valid.

The manner in which this leap of argument is performed is similar to how materialists make certain leaps in their theory of evolution.  The leaders who now dominate the scientific community seek to convince everyone of macroevolution (i.e. large scale change), yet the evidence they produce is repeatedly that of microevolution (i.e. small scale change) such as the variation of the size of finch beaks.  Gullible souls who can't see the difference between the modest examples of species' variation as opposed to the actual origin of new ones take the bait and accept the extreme notion that we all came from a single-celled organism.  This is the same sort of thing employed by those who are out to spread the time salvation gospel. The ultimate intent is to convince people that gospel/human instrumentality, perseverance, and absolute predestination are wrong.  To this end, as we’ve demonstrated both above and in prior postings, a presentation of modest examples of temporal deliverances is often provided.  The hope, however, is that the individual will see this as credible evidence that those passages teaching the above doctrines can be considered in the same light, and make the mental leap of accepting this heresy in its extreme form.  Thus, he will have an alternate explanation for those passages which tend towards Calvinism, and be converted to, or further indoctrinated into Hardshellism.

In light of this error, it needs to be pointed out that no one denies the fact that “saved doesn’t always refer to eternal salvation”.  Not everyone, however, believes in conditional time salvation.  The difference lies when the concept is extrapolated.  Where the average bible reader, for example, sees Peter being saved from drowning as a mere anecdote, the Primitive Baptist mind seeks to capitalize on it and proceeds to make a mountain out a mole hill.  It infers from the narrative the existence of temporal deliverances, and uses it as a rule whereby he can then explain away weightier doctrines he refuses to acknowledge.

This is unjustifiable procedure.  It must be remembered that these are two completely different levels of thought.  It is one thing to say that the Hebrews got a time salvation when they were rescued from Egyptian bondage; it is quite another to say that the application of biblical truth to the mind is to effect the same thing.  We can certainly say that Peter was not saved from his sins when he was rescued from drowning, but it is wrong to extend a derived thought from this in order to claim that 3,000 souls got only a time salvation when they repented under his preaching (Acts 2:37-40)!  Right or wrong, the one who believes in this teaching ought to at least admit that this is quite a leap.  The fact that other writers---yea, Christians in general---know that there are temporal deliverances experienced in life, but do not strive to make this inference from modest to extreme proves a bias within the Hardshell mind to do so.  That bias consists of a refusal to allow instrumentality in the outworking of God’s redemptive plan due to a misunderstanding of what it would suggest. As long as the teaching of time salvation remains on the level of claiming that the term saved sometimes has reference to deliverance from temporal dangers, it speaks a truth.  We would only question the felt need to continually harp on something which is common knowledge and produces no tension between the means vs. anti-means controversy.  It is when the thought is extrapolated that it ceases to be a simple lesson in word usage and escalates to the point of outright heresy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Brown's Logomachy

I had not intended to say anything else on the subject of entering into God's rest as it relates to I Cor. 10, Jude 5, and Hebrews 3 & 4, but Jason Brown, Hardshell apologist, has made some statements that I cannot let pass.

Jason Brown wrote (see here):

"Now, Brother Garrett infers from Hebrews that those who do not receive the promises of God in the gospel in time are eternally damned.  In this he is rebuked by the plain declaration of Hebrews 11:13, 39, and 40.  To the same degree that the Old Testament saints stood apart from the reception of the promises of God in the gospel dispensation, is the same degree that eternal inheritance is separable from gospel belief.  He cannot say that there is no difference because the gospel dispensation gives gospel dispensation believers, "some better thing".  If it was the view of the Apostle that there was no substantive difference, surely he would not have asserted that they, "died in faith having not received the promises", which emphasis Garrett must deny in order to defend a standard of knowledge for eternal life that is plainly controverted by Paul."

Here brother Jason asserts classical Hardshellism.  He says that those who do not believe the Gospel ("receive the promises of the Gospel") are not eternally damned.  Yet, Dr. Gill taught no such thing.  The 1689 London Confession taught no such thing.  The only ones who have taught such are the Hardshells and Universalists.  In previous postings, Jason has admitted that all those who hear the Gospel and reject it are lost.  But, he will not say that all who have died without hearing the Gospel are lost. 

"Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name."  (Psa. 79: 6)

The heathen do not know God, and the record says that the Lord Jesus Christ, when he returns, will come "in flaiming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God and obey not the Gospel," and that their fate is to be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord."  (II Thess. 1: 7-9)  Jesus defined the "eternal life" as knowing "the only true and living God," and in knowing Jesus Christ.  (John 17: 3)  John said - "he who has the Son has life."  (I John 5: 12)

The word "hath" ("exei" from "echō") means to have or to hold, to have (hold) in the hand, to have or hold in the sense of wearing, to have (hold) possession of the mind, to hold fast, keep, to have or comprise or involve. Thus, to "have" Christ is to lay hold of Christ with the heart, mind, and understanding. It is a cognitive "having." It is simply preposterous to affirm that heathens "have" Christ even though they have no knowledge or faith in him.  "Hath" in Greek is indicative present active voice and shows that the whole of regeneration is not passive.

Jason says that not all who fail to hear the Gospel are lost, and yet, at other times, he has said that all the elect will hear the Gospel preached directly from the mouth of Jesus.  Jason does not believe that the Scriptures teach that "those who do not receive the promises of God in the gospel in time are eternally damned."  However, if Jesus preaches the Gospel to all the elect, then do they not all "receive" it?  Further, if they hear the Gospel preached to them by the personal appearing of Christ and believe it, then they cannot be "heathen," and so Jason must agree that no heathen is saved. 

Jason says that Hebrews 11: 13, 39-40 proves that not all Gospel unbelievers are lost, and that some who are heathen will be saved. 

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."  (vs. 13)

"And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."  (Vs. 39, 40)

I do not see anything in these verses that prove that the heathen "who know not God and obey not the Gospel" will be saved.  I do not see where they teach against the Gospel being a means in salvation.

Commenting on verse 40, Dr. Gill wrote in his Commentary:

"...and the saints then were saved as now, by his grace and righteousness: only with this difference between them and us; they had Christ in the promise, we have him himself that was promised; they had him in type and shadow, we have him in reality and truth; they believed in, and were saved by Christ, who was to come; we believe in him, and are saved by him, as being come. Hence our case is, with respect to these circumstances, better than theirs; we have a better covenant, or a better administration of the covenant of grace; we have a better priesthood, and a better sacrifice; the Gospel is dispensed in a better manner, more dearly and fully: our condition is better than theirs; they were as children under tutors and governors, and were under a spirit of bondage; but we are redeemed from under the law, and are clear of its burdensome rites, as well as of its curse and condemnation; and have the spirit of liberty and adoption."

What promises did the Old Testament believers not receive?  Some have argued that they were not born again (such as Scofield) and use the above verses to prove it.  But, clearly they were regenerated and had been circumcised in heart and ears.  Further, these are technically new covenant blessings, though received in old testament times.  Some even use the above verses to prove that believers did not even receive the promises when they died, teaching soul sleep. 

The promises that they did not receive are in two categories.  The first concerns new covenant blessings that saints now receive since the resurrection of Christ.  The second concerns that "heavenly country" and the promised "city."  Notice the context of Hebrews 11.

"For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God...These all died in faith, not having received the promises (respecting the antitypical promised land), but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."  (Heb. 11: 10, 13-16)

What did Old Testament believers receive and not receive?  That is the question.  They did not receive the promised city, the better and heavenly country, at least not while they lived on earth.  But, neither do New Testament believers.  They all, from under both testaments, confess that they are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth."  Not till the "new heavens and the new earth" come into being will all believers no longer confess that they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  The New Jerusalem will not come down from God out of Heaven until after the beast has been slain and Armageddon has occurred.  (See Rev.  chapters 19-21)

They also did not receive certain new covenant blessings that believers do now.  Christians do have something "better" than what believers had under the old covenant, or under the law.  Christians enjoy greater revelation, a more abundant life in Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a superlative measure.  Christians have a better priesthood, a better sacrifice, a better covenant, a better temple and worship, etc.  But, how does this fact prove that the Gospel is not a means in salvation?  How does the fact that old testament believers did not enjoy the same blessings as do Christians now prove that the Gospel is not a means?  Why use logic to prove such a proposition anyway?  Why not just state the bible verses that teach that those who do not hear and believe the Gospel are nevertheless saved?

Jason wrote:

"To the same degree that the Old Testament saints stood apart from the reception of the promises of God in the gospel dispensation, is the same degree that eternal inheritance is separable from gospel belief."

But, what he says makes no sense.  It is somewhat unintelligible and incoherent.  For a man who bases so much on "logic" for his faith, it is surprising to see Jason make so many of these kind of arguments.  Jason can cite no Scripture that affirms the salvation of any of the heathen, so he must rely on the kind of tortured logic as given in the above words.  What does he mean by "stood apart from"?  I think he is making the same argument that he has made before, though he tries to state it in a different manner, which says:

If the Gospel is a means in salvation, then it must be the same Gospel, in degree of revelation.  Since the Gospel that was believed by Old Testament believers is different in degree from that which is believed by New Testament believers, therefore the Gospel cannot be a means.  We can put his argument into the form of the following syllogism.

1. For the Good News to be a means in salvation, it must be the same in degree for all the elect.
2. The Good News is not the same in degree for all the elect.
3. Therefore the Good News cannot be a means in salvation.

But, where did Jason get his major premise?  Where does the Bible support it?  Jason asserts premise number one, and yet the Bible is against him on it.  This premise, or presupposition, is like so many other Hardshell premises that I have dealt with in my book on the Hardshells.  Apparently the Apostle Paul was not in agreement with Jason's man-made proposition.  Paul says that "the Gospel" that was preached to the ancient Israelites was "the Gospel" that was preached to New Testament believers.  (Heb. 4: 2)

"For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them..."  (Heb. 4: 2)

"And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed."  (Gal. 3: 8)

Gill wrote this on Heb. 4: 2:

"For unto us was the Gospel preached as well as unto them, or "even as they"; for though the Gospel was preached to the Israelites in the wilderness, in the ministry of Moses, and by types and sacrifices; yet they were not evangelized by it, or cast into a Gospel mould, or brought into a Gospel spirit: however, it was preached unto them; which shows the antiquity of it; the sameness of the method of salvation in all ages; the necessity of salvation by Christ, and the unity of Christ's church under different dispensations..."

Brown wrote:

"So, it is not a chief problem of the "Hardshells" to explain how all of the elect inherit eternal rest apart from the same degree of gospel revelation, but a problem for Stephen Garrett who has to explain how Old Testament saints could have had eternal life when they died in faith without receiving the promises."

Here Jason repeats the argument he made in the previous incoherent citation.  It is not logical.  It is based upon anti-biblical presuppositions.  It is not based on plain Scriptural citations.  This is quite revealing.  I have many times, in my book and in my blog writings, challenged the Hardshells to simply cite bible verses where their premises are stated.  I have challenged the Arminians in the same manner in regard to Christians losing salvation.  Where is the verse that says this in plain words?  And, that don't rely upon inferences and deductions? 

In reading Jason's words, one has to wonder whether he believes that any amount of Gospel revelation must be believed to have "faith."  We have already noticed Brown's "double speak" on this topic. 
Brown wrote:

"All the "hubbub" is because Brother Garrett misses the epistemic focus of Hebrews, as can be evidently seen from a consideration of Hebrews 11:13,39 and 40.  The concern in Hebrews is not centrally about inheriting eternal life, but it is a call to professed believers to ensure that they have true belief, as there is no rational basis to hope for immortal glory by any that fail to embrace the promises of God in time.  I take the thesis of Hebrews to be introduced in 2:1-4, and it is this theme that is central to this epistle.  In this way, Brother Garrett's insistence on his interpretation fails to account for the application of the truth that only true believers inherit eternal life, which is to, "examine whether you be in the faith or not"."

This is more double speak.  The book of Hebrews does not concern inheriting eternal life and yet is concerned about making sure that professing believers are genuine believers!  What is the purpose of exhorting them to make sure they are "true blue" Christians?  Is it not so that they might be eternally saved?  How are these two things mutually exclusive as Jason supposes?  Are they not rather joined together?  Has Paul not already affirmed, in chapters 3 & 4, that "for Gospel believers only" is written over the entrance to the heavenly city and country, the antitypical promised land?  Is not entering this "city" and "heavenly land" called "inheriting eternal life" in Scripture?  Only Hardshells and Universalists want to separate entrance into eternal life from Gospel faith and repentance.  They want to offer hope for salvation to those who are not Christians. 

Further double speak is seen in Jason's affirming that "there is no rational basis to hope for immortal glory" for any who fail to embrace the Gospel and yet constantly arguing that faith in the Gospel is not necessary for salvation.

Brown wrote:

"Hebrews asserts that gospel unbelievers have no rational basis to hope for eternal rest.  Those apart from gospel revelation have no gospel knowledge as a basis to hope for anything but the damnation of God."

"No rational hope"?  What about any hope from Scripture?  Quit relying upon reason!  Take what the Scriptures say as the basis of your faith!  Also, quit speaking by way of circumlocution and tell us forthwith - are those without "gospel knowledge" lost or not?  Does their having no "basis to hope" for salvation mean that they will in fact be damned?  Or, can some of those who have no "basis to hope" be nevertheless saved?  "Shell down the corn" and just tell us plainly. 

Brown wrote:

"There is no rational basis to affirm that those outside of gospel revelation will enjoy the eternal rest of God, nor is there any rational basis to affirm that those that depart from the living God by rejecting the gospel will enjoy eternal rest.  All of this follows from the fact that Paul asserts gospel belief as the only sufficient grounds for hope (Hebrews 3:14)."

This is repetition.  Again, if one is not a Christian, and does not believe in God the Father of Christ, and in Christ the Son of God as Lord and Savior, though having no "rational basis" to expect salvation, will he perhaps be saved any way?

Jason is guilty of double speak when he affirms, on one hand, that all the elect will have the Gospel preached to them by Christ himself, and become Gospel believers by such preaching, and then on the other hand attack the idea that only Gospel believers will inherit eternal life!  Truly "the legs of the lame are not equal."  (Prov. 26: 7) 

Brown wrote:

"Notice that Paul quotes the O.T. promise in Psalms 95:7 in Hebrews 3:7 and 13, which is available TODAY."  

When Paul speaks of "Today" he does not mean "entering Heaven today" but "hear his voice today."  The text is "Today if you will hear his voice" and not "Today if you will enter into God's rest, city, and heavenly country."  The message is, chiefly, "hear today and enter tomorrow."  This does not mean that nothing is entered or enjoyed in initial conversion (rebirth), but that the focus of the Apostle, in talking about entering the promised rest, and the eternal city and heavenly realm, is on tomorrow.  Many passages of Scripture promise present benefits to believers, resulting from the sacrifice of Christ, but many also promise future benefits. 

Brown wrote:

"This is not a reference to a future enjoyment of the eternal promise of God, though it is analogous to it.  This is the same promise that was made to the faithless generation of Israel.  It is for this reason that it is evident that the rest of God in Hebrews 4 is not a direct reference to eternal rest, though analogous to it..."

Jason has been guilty of more double speak on this subject than I can now list.  He sometimes seems to allow that "eternal rest" is included in Paul's discussion of God's "rest," but then at other times says plainly that the promised rest of God "is not a reference to a future enjoyment of the eternal promise of God," and "is not a direct reference to eternal rest."  Thus, the "rest" only denotes a "time salvation"!  This is silly and 99% of all Christians will stand bewildered at the few Hardshells who, in cult fashion, so stubbornly resist what is the plain and normal meaning of the text.  Jason leaves himself a way out, however, for he always is willing to grant that eternal rest is under consideration by way of similitude and analogy.  So, more double speak, more effort to "have it both ways."  Of course, as I have shown, such attempts only involve Jason in more absurdities and contradictions.

Brown wrote:

"It does not follow from this that vital union is impossible without propositional knowledge or critical cognizance of the union..."

Though the average reader will be somewhat puzzled at the precise point that Jason is making here, being a former Hardshell, I am familiar with the argument, and can state it more clearly than Jason has in the above words.  It is an affirmation that people can be saved and yet not know it.  That they can be regenerate while still outwardly an unbeliever, one who has not publicly confessed Christ.  When Hardshells reason along this line, they are often heard to say - "you do not have to believe a fact for it to be a fact."  In other words, you do not have to believe that you are a child of God to be a child of God.  The argument is further made that you can be a believer internally and sub-consciously but be an unbeliever externally and consciously.  The argument is made that you can have non-cognitive "faith" without cognitive faith. 

But, as Jerry Falwell once said, "if you can have salvation and not know it, then you can lose it and not miss it."  So very true!  Though Jason wants to distance himself from the "Hollow Log" view of regeneration (see my posting on this here), he nevertheless is often seen reverting to it.  Jason is obviously reasoning from the premise that "propositional knowledge" is not a conjunct of regeneration ("vital union" with Christ), is not one of the things that "accompany salvation."  (Heb. 6: 9)

How can one have "knowledge" without "propositions"?  And, how can one have "faith" (belief) without knowledge? 

Jason has argued, when forced into logical corners, that all the elect have Gospel faith, for all hear the voice of Christ, Christ directly preaching the Gospel to them, and yet here he argues that it is wrong to assert that Gospel propositions are received into the mind when one hears Christ preach to him personally.  He is a classic example of people who "oppose themselves."  (Acts 18: 6: II Tim. 2: 25)

I have many times challenged the Hardshells on their idea of a non-cognitive and subconscious belief (faith).  There is absolutely no justification for such an absurdity.  It is an oxymoron to speak of non-cognitive faith.  Faith, in Scripture, always presupposes knowledge.  Again, the average Christian who hears such proclamations from Hardshell "apologists" must stand amazed to hear them speak such non-sense.  A "faith" that does not believe or know anything!  That is calling faith ignorant. 

The Apostle Paul defined faith, and in such a manner that he made propositional knowledge to be integral to it.

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."  (Heb. 11: 6)

Here Paul equates "faith" (belief) with acceptance of propositions!  First proposition - "God is."  Second proposition - "God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him."  Of course, "faith" is not limited to these propositions, but it must include them. 

Further, Paul speaks of "believing to the saving of the soul" in the context.  (10: 39)   Had Paul been a Hardshell he would have said - "saved to the believing of the soul."  A soul is not saved till it believes, and this is the theme throughout the Book of Hebrews. 

Brown wrote:

"Reality is not dictated by our intellectual knowledge of it; rather, knowledge is reflective of reality. Surely there is a correlation, but what is real is the foundation of what is known to be real.  What is known is not the foundation of what is real, which is the philosophical and Biblical truth in which most of Christendom, and, even, the atheistic, secular world errs.  It seems a common habit of man to forever arrogantly confound reality with what he apprehends of it."

Again, this is repetition.  He made the same argument in a previous citation already examined.  Though I do not have to believe in order to be elected to salvation, and though I do not have to believe in order for Christ to love and die for me, yet the Scriptures teach that I must believe in order to be finally saved.  (See Mark 16: 16)  The Scriptures teach that there is no real salvation where there is no real faith.  Faith "accompanies salvation."  Jason says that it is not logically possible to believe that I am saved unless I am first saved.  Who denies this?  But, has Jason not said that we cannot say of any unbeliever that he is saved?  That we have "no rational basis" to do so? 

It is possible to believe in the reality of a future event, however, a thing which Jason's logic would seem to deny.  Since the new heavens and the new earth, and my resurrection to immortality, are not yet realities, Jason's logic would say that I cannot know it.  Since he uses the word "real" in the sense of "already existing," then he has no foundation to his knowledge of what is yet future. 

Brown wrote:

 "I want to note two things here.  First, my Primitive Baptist brethren all concede that the sense in which people are exhorted to enter into the rest of God is in entering the temporal rest of God, which is a foretaste of the eternal rest.  No PB would disagree with that.  No one, not even Garrett, can argue that Paul is exhorting Christians to enter the literal eternal rest of God because the literal rest cannot be fully entered until death."

Comparing "let us labor therefore to enter into that (future) (promised) (eternal) rest" with other similar passages, shows that final salvation is the object to be gained by perseverence.

"...but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."  (Matt. 10: 22)

"So run, that ye may obtain."  (I Cor. 9: 24)

"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."  (Rev. 2: 7)

"He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."  (2: 11)

"And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations."  (2: 26)

"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."  (3: 5)

"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."  (3: 12)

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."  (3: 21)

Thus, in light of such verses, it is perfectly appropriate to exhort all to believe and persevere in order that they might partake of those things promised to the "overcomer."  And, who is the "overcomer"?

"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"  (I John 5: 5)

And, how does one become a "believer"?  "The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe."  (John 1: 7)  "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?"  (I Cor. 3: 5)  And, Paul asked - "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"  (Rom. 10: 14)

Further, the verses I cited in my previous posting, about "winning Christ," and "winning the prize," and "being found in him" at the last, do also show that an act in time determines future condition. 

Further, Paul is not exhorting believers in Hebrews to enter God's rest, but to hear his voice, and to labor and persevere, so that they might have the right to enter.  Just as John said that those who receive Christ and believe on his name receive "the right to become the sons of God," (John 1: 12) so those who believe have other rights, rights to the city of God, and to the heavenly and eternal land of rest.  Notice these words of the Apostle John:

"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."  (Rev. 22: 14)

Brown wrote:

"So, the sense in which people can be exhorted is only to the end of being personally assured of the final rest.  In that the temporal rest is a foretaste of the eternal rest, there is a logical sense that all Primitive Baptists are exhorting people to the eternal rest of God when they exhort them to the temporal rest, as these two are not fully separable."

Brown is full of "in this sense" yes, and "in this sense" no.  A little of this is sometimes necessary, but to do it inordinately demonstrates double speak.  Jason does not believe that people can be exhorted to final salvation, but can only be exhorted to assurance of it.  But, we have already shown that to be false.  Notice the preaching of the apostles in these words:

"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. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you."  (Acts 3: 19-22) 

Here sinners are exhorted to faith and repentance, to be converted, "that your sins may be blotted out," and "that the times of refreshing shall come," which time is equated with the return of Christ and "the restitution of all things." 

Brown wrote:

"The sense in which Paul "obtains" final, eternal salvation is from the sense in which temporal preservation and sanctification are the necessary effects of the spirit's presence in the inner man."

Paul never obtained what he sought and hoped for in this life!  What he hoped for was to be saved after death, and at the time of Christ's return.  How can one obtain "final" salvation in this life?  Notice these words of our Lord and Savior:

"Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."  (Mark 10: 28-30)

Notice that those who have forsaken all to follow Christ are promised, for so doing, not only temporal benefits, but "in the world to come eternal life."  If one can obtain eternal life apart from following Christ, then why did Jesus limit it to those who follow him?

Brown wrote:

"So, in terms of the effects of the spirit's presence, there is a sense in which final, eternal salvation is "obtained" or progressed toward by the regenerate as the effect of being effectually called."

Again, one cannot obtain final salvation in this life!  Jason ought to be more honest and simply admit that he does not believe that sinners should be exhorted to repent and be converted so that they might be eternally saved in the world to come.

Brown wrote:

"Some degree of "running" in sanctification is the necessary effect of the predestination of God.  What is specifically obtained is not final salvation, as this cannot be fully realized in time, but a greater conformity to the image of Christ..."

Who ever argued that final salvation can be obtained in this life?  Did Jason not?  Did I not say that such was absurd?  Of course final salvation cannot be obtained in this life.  The question is whether we do anything in this life in order to obtain salvation in the life to come.  Have I not shown that men believe and repent in time in order to be saved after death and in the resurrection?

Brown wrote:

"Logically, Brother Garrett cannot affirm that the basis of man's obtainment of eternal salvation is his actions in time.  Man's actions in time are simply the effects of this obtainment..."

Brother Garrett can affirm it, however, because Scripture asserts it.  How can Jason deny what is so clearly taught in Scripture?  By such a stance does not Jason deny that one must believe and repent for salvation?  I have cited numerous passages in this and in other posts that disprove Jason's statement.  Do we not "sow to the Spirit" so that we might "reap everlasting life"?  (Gal. 6: 8)  And, does Paul say, in view of this, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not"?  (vs. 9) 

Brown wrote:

" quote Romans 10:13 and imagine that God, with bated breath, waits for man's confession of belief to elect man from eternity.  I find such views of the Holy Scripture utterly repugnant because they reek of the odious assertion of the flesh, "I am the center of the universe." It shocks me that Garrett wants to embrace ignorant applications of mainstream Christianity yet reject what he considers the shallow, ignorant, and non-wholistic applications of some Primitive Baptists."

Jason has more than once misrepresented my views even though he has been warned not to keep doing so.  I have never taught that God chooses us because we believe but rather that we believe because we have been elected, just as Paul taught in II Thess. 2: 13, 14.  I have never taught that men can produce saving faith, but that saving faith is the work of God. 

Brown wrote:

"It is clear that Brother Garrett, though he claims otherwise, cannot actually affirm that the passages he quotes make the obtainment of eternity contingent on time..."

The passages I cited clearly prove what Jason denies and he is simply stubbornly refusing to acknowledge it because he will not let go of his Hardshell presuppositions.

Monday, May 21, 2012

William Collins

William Collins, was one of the signers of the 1689 London Baptist Confession and was a co-pastor of the Baptist Church at Petty France, London.  In the year 1675, William Collins and Dr. Nehemiah Cox were ordained joint elders of the church in Petty France.

Said one author:

"Joseph Ivimey asserts "it is probable that the Baptist Catechism was complied by Mr. Collins, though it has by some means or other been called Keach's Catechism"."

"Such a testimony of his character and abilities well suits one thought to be co-editor (along with Nehemiah Coxe) of the Confession of Faith (see Documentary Sources and Origins of the Confession) and one to represent his church and subscribe it."  (see here)

The following extracts from "Keach's Catechism" (see here) make it apparent what Collins and the other signatories of the 1689 Confession believed about the preaching of the Gospel being the means God employs for producing faith and salvation.  Thus, Collins, like Keach, was no friend to Hardshell "anti-means" doctrine.  Also, it is further proof that the Confession itself is but the reflection of what Collins and the other signatories wrote in their personal writings.

Collins gave us these questions and answers (emphasis mine - SG):

Q. 3. How do we know there is a God?

A. The light of nature in man, and the works of God, plainly declare that there is a God; but His Word and Spirit only, do effectually reveal Him unto us for our salvation.

(Rom. 1:18-20; Psalm 19:1,2; 2 Tim. 3:15; 1 Cor. 1:21-24; 1 Cor. 2:9,10)

Q. 4. What is the Word of God?

A. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

(2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Isaiah 8:20)

Q. 33. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?

A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us, by His Holy Spirit.

(John 3:5,6; Titus 3:5,6)

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.

(Acts 20:21; Acts 16:30,31; 17:30)

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. 95. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption?

A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption are His ordinances, especially the Word, Baptism, the Lord's Supper and Prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.

(Rom. 10:17; James 1:18; 1 Cor. 3:5; Acts 14:1; 2:41,42)

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)

Q. 98. How do Baptism and the Lord's Supper become effectual means of salvation?

A. Baptism and the Lord's Supper become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them or in him that administers them, but only by the blessing of Christ and the working of His Spirit in them that by faith receive them.

(1 Peter 3:21; 1 Cor. 3:6,7; 1 Cor. 12:13)

This old Catechism was adopted, used, and recommended by the Charleston Association in 1813.  Whoever agrees with this catechism is a real "Old Baptist."

Entering God's Rest Conclusion

In this posting I want to add a few comments to my postings on what Paul had in mind in Hebrews 3 & 4 when he spoke of believers entering God's rest, and reply to some things that Jason Brown said in response to those postings.

Brother Jason wrote (see here):

"Even if it is conceded that the entering in is future, it could simply refer to the full eternal inheritance, not that there is not still a temporal entering, which is consistent with the full eternal entering."

In these words brother Jason does not seem to have any serious objection to the "rest" being equated with receiving "the full eternal inheritance."  Then why all the hubbub?  Further, I never objected to the idea of there being a "temporal entering," but simply argued that an entering of the rest, in time, was not the focus of the Apostle in those chapters. 

But, it seems clear that the chief problem for Jason and the Hardshells, in view of rest being an eternal rest, is in the fact that Paul restricts entrance into God's eternal rest to those who are Gospel believers.  But, Hardshells do not limit entrance into God's rest to Gospel believers only. 

Brown wrote:

"Those that truly believe are already resting, and it is those that will fully inherit the eternal rest..."

Is this an admission that Gospel unbelievers will not inherit eternal rest?  What about the unbelieving heathen?  They have not been converted, and so have not entered into the rest of God even now.  Thus, if only those who have entered God's rest now, in conversion, are the only ones who will enter the eternal rest, then Jason holds a position that is not in keeping with today's Hardshells.  When Jason speaks of those "that truly believe," does he not mean the same as Paul, i.e., those who have believed the Gospel?  Is this not a cognitive believing?  Does it not embrace the propositions of the Gospel?

Brown wrote:

Brother Garrett stated:

"How does one determine the time of the present tense verb? Context! The context of Hebrews 3 & 4 show that the writer focuses upon a future entering of the land of rest, as I have shown. He exhorts his readers to strive to enter this rest, which would not be the case if they were already viewed as being in the rest."

"Even if this is true, and I believe it is, the exhortation to enter into the eternal rest is in time. If there was not a sense that believers could enter into an earnest of this rest in time, the exhortation makes no sense."

Jason admits that the context of Hebrews 3 & 4 deals with "eternal rest."  He says that this "exhortation" is given in time.  But, no one denies this.  Jason admits that sinners are exhorted to believe and thereby be assured of entering God's eternal rest.  I know that Jason's brethren will not agree with him in affirming that people are exhorted to enter God's eternal rest.

Jason contradicts himself in these words.  He says that he agrees that "the exhortation" is in order "to enter into the eternal rest," but then says that such an exhortation "makes no sense."  How can he agree with it and then say it makes no sense?  Is it not attacking his own stated view?

Further, it is not true that the exhortation would not make sense if it were confined to entering eternal rest.  Other Scriptures speak of laboring and striving for final salvation.  Notice these passages:

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."  (I Cor. 9: 24)

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."  (Phil. 3: 8, 9)

If the Corinthians had already obtained the prize, then why is Paul exhorting them to run in order to obtain it?  Further, the "race" is correlated to the Christian's life service, and thus the end of the race is the end of his life and service.  I see a parallel between Paul's exhortation to "run that you may obtain" and his exhortation to "labor to enter into God's rest." 

Even though Paul had been initially saved in conversion, yet he still labors that he "may win Christ," and to be finally "found in him."  So Paul said elsewhere:

"Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him."  (II Cor. 5: 9)

Brown wrote:

"Paul is not asserting that they are presently true believers, but that they must take care to ensure that they are true believers because only true believers enter the rest of God in any sense - in time or eternity."

I agree with Jason.  But, this is not the teaching of his Hardshell brethren.  It seems that Jason is more in agreement with the original founders of Hardshellism, and with us here at the Old Baptist blog.   

Brown wrote:

Brother Garrett stated:

"Why is it that Jason Brown argues so intensely against the view that makes this entering to be Heaven? Is it not because he does not limit entrance into Heaven to only Gospel believers? Is it not because he rejects the idea that perseverance is necessary for being eternally saved?"

"I do argue that the rest of God is ultimately eternal rest. But the sense in which Christians are exhorted to labor to enter it, presumes that true believers can enter a foretaste of this rest in time. So, even if I were to concede that the "do enter" of verse 3, referred to a future entering of all true believers into eternal rest, it would still prove that a foretaste of this rest can be enjoyed in time, and that it must be so enjoyed, if there is to be any rational hope of the full eternal rest of God."

But, I never denied that "a foretaste of this rest can be enjoyed in time."  I denied that any timely enjoyment of it was the focus of the apostle in Hebrews. 

Brown concluded:

"Above all, Hebrews 4:3 does not exclude a temporal entering in by true believers in the present, either by implication or by word denotation, and it is to true belief that Paul is exhorting the Hebrews."

In all the years I was in the Hardshell church, however, I never heard one preacher exhort sinners to believe in Jesus in order that they might enter God's eternal rest.  I congratulate brother Jason for his rejection of standard Hardshell teaching.

They Believed in Means

Benjamin Coxe believed in means (see here)

John Spilsbury believed in means (see here)

Benjamin Keach believed in means (see here)

Hanserd Knollys believed in means (see here)

Hercules Collins believed in means (see here)

Nehemiah Coxe believed in means (see here)

These were the principal men who were behind the first and second London Baptist confessions and it is clear from their writings that they believed that men were effectually called (saved and regenerated) by the preaching of the Gospel, just as the confessions state.  Thus, it is a perversion for Hardshells to claim that the London Confession does not teach the use of the Gospel as a means.  But, more on all this in our upcoming series on "The Hardshells and the London Confession." 

What Hardshell wants to come along and show how the above men did not believe in means?  If they show that they believed in means, in their public writings, why would they endorse a confession that denied means?

Nehemiah Coxe

Nehemiah Coxe was the son of the early Particular Baptist leader Benjamin Coxe.  He died in 1688, one year before the adoption of the 1689 Confession.  Coxe was a co-pastor with William Collins and it is said that he and Collins wrote the draft of the 1689 Confession.  Coxe was a qualified physician, skilled in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and a discerning theologian.

Coxe wrote:

"It is sad to consider, how many there are among professors, that live in the world, as if there were no truth in the report of that which is to come, and have the meanest esteem of the most necessary means of salvation, viz., the Word, and ordinances of Christ, and a Gospel ministry; can expend perhaps an hundred pounds per annum, more or less, for the convenience, ornament, or delight of a frail carcase, but will not bestow half so much for the poor, or the support of Gospel worship."  (From a funeral sermon preached by Coxe in 1681 -  see here)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hercules Collins

Hercules Collins was a leading Particular Baptist pastor in London and was a signer of both the 1644 and 1689 London Baptist Confession. 

In his Catechism we read (see here):

Q. 21 What is true faith? A. True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in his Word is true; it is also a deep-rooted assurance, created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel, that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ, not only others, but I too, have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation.

1John 17:3, 17; Heb. 11:1-3; James 2:19
2Rom. 4:18-21; 5:1; 10:10; Heb. 4:14-16
3Matt. 16:15-17; John 3:5; Acts 16:14
4Rom. 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:21
5Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10
6Gal. 2:20
7Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:10

(Note: This destroys the Hardshell notion that saving faith is non-cognitive and brings no Gospel knowledge.  This saving faith, said Collins, is "created in me by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.")

Q. Is then Salvation restored by Christ to all men who perished in Adam?

A. Not to all: but to those only who by a true Faith are ingrafted into him, and receive his benefits.

John 1: 12 and 3: 36. Isa. 53: 11.  Psall. 2: 12. Rom. 11: 20. Heb. 4: 2 and 10: 39.

Q. What is Faith?  (page 7)

A. It is not only a knowledge, whereby I surely assent to all things which God hath revealed unto us in his Word, but also an assured trust kindled in my heart by the Holy Ghost, through the Gospel, whereby I make my repose in God, being assuredly resolved that Remission of Sins, everlasting Righteousness, and life is given not to others only, but to me also, and that freely through the Mercy of God, for the Merits of Christ alone.

Heb. 11:13. Jam. 2: 19. Gal. 2: 10. Rom. 4:16. and 5: 1 and 10:10.  Rom. 1: 16 and 10:17. I Cor. 1: 21. Mar. 16: 16. Acts 16:14. Mat. 16: 17. John 3: 5. Gal. 5: 22. Phil. 1: 19. Rom. 3: 24, 25. Acts 10: 45

On page ten, in answer to a question, Collins said:

"...for it must needs be that either Jesus is not a perfect Saviour, or that those who imbrace him as their Saviour with a true faith, possess all things in him which are required unto Salvation."

I Cor. 1: 13 and 30. Heb. 12: 2. Isa. 9: 6. Col. 1: 19, 20 and 2: 10. Isa. 43: 11 and 25. John 1: 16.

Q. But why art thou called a Christian? (pg. 12-13)

A. Because through Faith I am a member of Jesus Christ, and partaker of his anointing, that both I may confess his name, and present my self unto him a lively Sacrifice of thankfulness, and also may in this life fight against Sin and Satan  with free and good conscience, and afterwards enjoy an everlasting Kingdom with Christ.

Acts 11: 26. I Cor. 6: 15. I John 2: 27. Isa. 59: 2. I John 2: 28. Matt. 10: 33. Rom. 12: 1. Apoc. 5: 8. I Pet. 2: 5. 2 Tim. 2: 12. Rom. 6: 12, 13. Apoc. 1: 6. I Tim. 1: 18, 19.

Q. But when thou believest all these things, what profit redoundeth thence unto thee?

A. That I am righteous in Christ before God, and an Heir of eternal Life.

Rom. 1: 17. John 3: 36. Rom. 3: 4 and 22, 24, 25, 28. Rom. 5: 1. Gal. 2: 16. Eph. 2: 8,9.

Q. How art thou righteous before God? (pg. 22-23)

A. Only by Faith in Christ Jesus.  So that although my Conscience accuse me that I have grievously tresspassed against all the Commandments of God, and have not kept one of them, and further am as yet prone to all Evil, yet notwithstanding if I embrace these Benefits of Christ with a true Confidence and Persuasion of mind, the full and perfect Satisfaction, Righteousness and Holiness of Christ, without any Merit of Mine, of the meer Mercy of God is imputed and given unto me, and that so, as if neither I had committed any Sin, neither any Corruption did stick unto me, yea as I my self had perfectly accomplished that Obedience which Christ accomplished for me.

Rom. 3: 9. Rom. 7: 23. Rom. 3: 22. Joh. 3: 18. Tit. 3: 5. Eph. 2: 8,9. I John 2: 2. Rom. 3: 24. Deut. 9: 5,6. Ezek. 36: 22. I John 2: 1, Rom. 4: 4,5. 2 Cor. 5: 19. I Cor. 5: 21.

Q. Why affirmist thou that thou art made Righteous by Faith only?  (pg. 23-24)

A. Not for that I please God through the Worthiness of meer Faith, but because only the Satisfaction, Righteousness and Holiness of Chrit is my Righteousness before God, and I cannot take hold of it, or apply it unto my self any other way than by Faith.

I Cor. 1: 30 and I Cor. 2: 2. I John 5: 1.

Q. Seeing then that only Faith maketh us Partakers of Christ and his Benefits, whence doth it proceed?  (Pg. 25)

A. From the Holy Ghost, who kindleth it in our Hearts by the preaching of the Gospel, and other Ordinances, and confirmeth it by the use of the Sacraments.

Eph. 2: 8 and 6: 23. John 3: 5. Phil. 1: 29. Mat. 28: 19,20. I Pet. 1: 22, 23.

Q. Of what Parts consisteth the Conversion of Man unto God? (pg. 47-48)

A. It consisteth of the mortifying of the old Man, and a quickening of the new Man.

Rom. 6: 4,5. Eph. 4: 22, 23, 24. Col. 3: 5, 8, 9, 10. I Cor. 5: 7. 2 Cor. 7: 11

In his book "Mountain of Brass," Collins wrote (see here):

"The sanctification of the church at Thessalonica, and their belief of the truth (2 Thess. 2:13), was in order to that salvation they were chosen and appointed unto from the beginning (1 Thess. 5:9). In a word, our calling, justification, and glorification, are all the effects of God's eternal purpose."

This is a death knell to those Hardshells who "interpreted" the 1689 London Confession and added their "footnotes" to it and published it under the name of the "Fulton Confession."  Does the 1689 Confession not express the views of Hercules Collins on faith and salvation? 

Not only Collins, but the other leaders of Particular Baptist leaders in the 17th century believed like Collins, such as Hanserd Knollys, Benjamin Keach, William Kiffin, John Spilsbury, Benjamin Coxe, etc.  I have cited their works previously in proof of this. 

Thus, it is additional proof that the 1689 Confession says the same thing that their other writings do, on the subject of faith and salvation and the use of the preaching of the Gospel in begetting souls.  Two things prove that the Fulton work is a perversion of the London Confession.  The clarity of the statements on salvation, and the other works of the signers of the Confession on the subject.

In this "Fulton Confession," the Hardshells twisted and distorted the clear statements of the Confession in the same way they had begun to twist Scripture in support of their denial of means, absolute predestination of all things, and perseverance.  I will be presenting a short series on the "Hardshells and the 1689 London Confession."

Elder Crouse in his Hardshell apology on the new birth and the "means question," an orthodox work among the Hardshells, said, in regard to the London Confession, that they had a right to interpret any way they pleased.