Saturday, June 2, 2012

Redford's Hardshell Apology

Elder S. N. Redford was a leader of the Hardshells, especially in Texas, and wrote a book on Hardshell history.  He also wrote a book titled "As a Man Thinketh," which is a composition of articles he wrote during his fifty years as an Elder from 1900-1950. (For sale here)  I have had my copy for many years.  In this posting I want to cite from this book and make some comments about what has been written.

"Saved By The Gospel" (page 34)

"If it is a fact that God saves sinners through the preaching of the gospel, the Old Baptists would have all the saving to do, for they are the only people in the world who are preaching the gospel." 

This statement shows that the "Primitive Baptist Church" is a cult.  One of the characteristics of a cult is that it sees itself as the "one and onlys," some highly favored group with God. (see in chapter 3 here)  Redford makes the claim of a cult when he says that only the Hardshells preach the Gospel.  This also leads Hardshells to say that they "only" are the "Church of Christ," similar to the Campbellites, the Hardshell "twin" brother, who say the same about themselves.  It is the "we be Abraham's seed" syndrome.  Further, if the Hardshells are the only ones who preach the Gospel, then they are the only ones who have been saved by the Gospel.

"Two Salvations" (pages 36-37)

"Arminians and Absoluters both say there is but one salvation taught in the Bible, and hence they are continuously trying to harmonize their doctrine with the Bible.  The Old Baptists have the truth on this point and I know it."

Of course, by "Old Baptists" Redford means those who call themselves "Primitive Baptists."  Again, we have more of the "we be the only ones" kind of statement.  He says the Hardshells, and they only, "have the truth on this point." 

Further, no one denies that the word "saved," or its equivalents, is sometimes used to refer to a temporal deliverance.  But, to give a temporal signification to how these words are generally used by Christ and the Apostles is to do violence to the Scriptures. 

"Two Salvations" (page 85)

"I told him further that God's Word teaches that the eternal salvation of sinners is unconditional on the sinner's part, and that in every instance where it bases salvation on conditions it has reference to a temporal, or time salvation of God's people."

This is how the Hardshells "interpret" Scripture.  They take a presupposition to Scripture and make the Scripture to conform to it.  It is a classic example of faulty hermeneutics.  Further, it is so easy to overthrow this presupposition, as the Scriptures show that there are conditions for being eternally saved.  For a look at how salvation is both conditional and unconditional, see my series on this. (see here, here, here, here, here, here)

"Endure To The End" (pages 263-265)

"He that endureth to the end shall be saved." Matthew 10: 22

"This salvation could not mean eternal salvation because it is based on conditions, and we know our eternal salvation depends alone upon what Christ does for us.  Then it must mean a Time or Common salvation."  (pg. 263)

Here Redford applies his false premise and faulty hermeneutics.  He does not prove anything by the context but simply interprets the words of Jesus according to his own mind.  However, Jesus did not go around using the word "saved" in various ways, but spoke of that singular salvation which was the subject of his discourses.  Further, how could this be a "time salvation" seeing that it comes after one has endured to the "end"?  End of what?  Is it not the end of one's life? 

"Time Salvation" (pages 82-83)

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;  but he that believeth not shall be damned."  (Mark 16: 15, 16)

I think the salvation spoken of in the text is a gospel salvation, or time salvation.  Because we know that the Bible teaches that in order to believe the gospel we must first be made spiritual;  and likewise the damnation, or condemnation, spoken of is a time condemnation.  This text applies strictly to the obedient and disobedient children of God, as I understand it." 

How could this be a mere time salvation, or a temporal condemnation?  One would expect Universalists to argue such.  Hardshells are so much akin to the Universalists.  Further, this message is to be preached to "every creature."  This in itself shows that the Hardshell interpretation is false for they do not preach that every creature is to be told how they can be temporally saved by conversion.

"We Know By Revelation" (pages 57-58)

"I know that this doctrine of salvation alone by the grace of God is a death blow to the Arminian world...I believe we all know Christ just alike, by revelation.  I believe infants that die know Christ by revelation.  If they do not know Him that way, then how do they know Him?  I believe where it said, "They all shall know me from the least to the greatest," that it meant we have an experimental knowledge of Him.  God has never had but one way of saving sinners;  and since we have found that God revealed Christ to Peter without the aid of man, we are sure that is the way He saves all that He saves."

First, it is odd how the Hardshells make so many arguments about the inability of infants and idiots to believe the Gospel, and of how this proves that the Gospel cannot be a means in salvation, and then turn around and admit that God is able to make infants to hear and believe!

What God is able to do and what he has chosen to do are two different things.  God is able to raise up children unto Abraham from stones.  But, who would affirm that this is what God has chosen to do?

Also, is God not able to use the Gospel to save?  Do Hardshells not say that God is not able to do this?

Further, by "experimental knowledge" Redford probably means a non-cognitive knowing, which is ridiculous. 

"Saving Believers" (page 69)

"I believe there will be millions of Adam's race reach heaven who never heard the preached gospel, and so do all Old Baptists, but who else believes this?  To say that God saves only those who hear and obey the gospel would damn all that die in infancy.  And what would become of idiots?  Where could the poor heathen hope for salvation?  The gospel is to save the believer..." 

Who else believes this?  The Universalists!  Also, if Jesus himself reveals himself, and preaches the Gospel to his elect, then how can it be affirmed that many will be in Heaven who did not hear and know? 

Further, he says that God cannot save infants by the Gospel and yet he has already said that the infant will hear the voice of Christ and come to know Christ!  What contradictions!

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