Monday, December 30, 2013

History of Baptist Mission Work I

Chapter 170

As has been shown in the previous series, the particular Baptists of England and America, in the 17th and 18th centuries, were supporters of ministerial training and education. It was also seen how the first particular Baptists churches in the 17th century formed organizational agencies of their formal associations to oversee the collection and discharging of monies collected from individuals and the member churches.

The church of Jesus Christ has always been a missionary organization, as Howell, Peck, and the early apologists against the Hardshells, were constant to affirm. The claim of the early 19th century Hardshells that such missionary organizations were then entirely new things, is as false as is their claim about religious training for ministers being a 19th century invention.

Hugh L. Tully, writing in "A Brief History Of The Baptists," wrote:

"Hardshells oppose education and missions. American Baptists were Missionary Baptists before the Hardshells left them."

This is a fact that Baptist leaders, who first rose to oppose the Hardshells, men such as Howell and Peck, tried to remind the first Hardshells. The Baptists had a long history of support for missionaries and missionary work prior to the rise of the Hardshell schismatics. There were only missionary Baptists in existence the 17th and 18th centuries. There were no anti missionaries, no Hardshells. We saw how this was essentially acknowledged by Elder Gilbert Beebe in his apologetic response to the historical evidence of Howell and Peck.  Also, in the early part of this book, in chapter four, titled "Hardshell History Primer," in introducing this subject, it was shown how Elder Griffin, early Hardshell apologist and historian, in his book "History of the Mississippi Baptists" (1853), also acknowledged that the first Baptists in the Mississippi territory were all supporters of cooperative mission work.  This acknowledgment, however, forced him to say reluctantly, on page 124, that "were we not bound by the truth of history to speak of these things we would gladly hide them in oblivion."

Tulley also wrote:

"Baptists were missionaries before they came to America. The English and Welsh Baptists were missionaries in 1669, nearly 200 years before the Hardshell separation, the English Baptists raised money for ministerial education and missions. The General Assembly of English Baptists met in Londen in 1689. At this convention it was "resolved to raise a fund for missionary purposes, and to assist feeble churches; also, for the purpose of ministerial education." Benedict Bapt. Hist; p. 336.

These are facts to which I have already called attention. They demolish the Hardshell claim that such things were newly formed in the 19th century, and had no precedence. No Hardshell with such facts before him has any right to continue to make such claims.

Recall how the London Association, in 1689, formed a committee of nine brethren which was entrusted with "the collection and the administration of the fund for the assistance of weak churches" and for "the sending forth of missionaries," and for the education of ministers.

Accepting the criteria given by the Hardshells for determining the cause of the 1832 division, we can say that the Hardshells are the guilty party. What was new in the Baptist fellowship? It was not missionary organizations or theological schools, but was the sudden outspoken opposition to mission agencies, ministerial education, Sunday schools, etc. What was new was a violent war, begun by the newly formed Hardshell faction of Baptists.

Howell called them "new test men" to reflect the fact that the Hardshell faction had brought in something new into the Baptist family. They made a "new test" of "fellowship." Further, it was this "new test" that was the culpable cause of the division. It is interesting to note how their first notorious act of putting forth a new test of fellowship later became a habit and characteristic practice of the denomination. One might say it is part of their group psyche. They have a long history of continuing to make further tests of fellowship, new tests for determining orthodoxy.

Also, accepting the criteria given by the Hardshells for determining who are the descendents of the Particular Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries, we can say that the Hardshells are not the primitive, old, or regular Baptists. They did not exist before the 1827-1832 period. But, Hardshell Newman, as we have seen, said that whoever cannot find their beliefs and practices in those former centuries, before 1832, cannot be the church of Christ.

Tulley wrote:

The Dutch Baptists established a college for ministers at Amsterdam, nearly 250 years before the Hardshell separation. The ancient Waldenses, who were Baptists, had ten schools in Valcomoncia alone in 1229.  They were great missionaries. The church at Antioch was a missionary church. The Jerusalem Church was missionary. In fact, the true churches of Christ have always been missionary. The Hardshells are anti-missionary and cannot be the Churches of Christ. They are, therefore, not the "Primitive'' Baptists. "Primitive" means first, and the first Baptists were missionaries. Missionary Baptists are the true Primitive Baptists, and did not originate with Hardshell separation." (PART TWO, CHAPTER ONE Introduction (see here)

These are facts and difficult for the Hardshells to accept. Beebe could not deal with these facts. Many Hardshells attempt to do what Elder Griffin could not do, and that is to hide them in oblivion. They ignore these facts and yet continue to call themselves "Primitive" Baptists and say that missionary Baptists are not.

Dr. William Dudley Nowlin, author of "Kentucky Baptist History, 1770-1922," in discussing "The Anti-Missionary Controversy of Baptists in Kentucky from 1832 to 1842" (see here) wrote (emphasis mine):

"Those who think that the "Old Baptists" or "Primitive Baptists" because of their ancient sounding names are the original Baptists would do well to read history. Spencer (Vol. I, p. 570) says "Previous to 1816, there was not an Anti-mission Baptist in Kentucky, so far as known. In every association, where a missionary enterprise was proposed, it met with universal favor." A long account is given by Spencer showing that the early churches, and associations of Kentucky sent missionaries to Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and to the Indians, paying them for their services, the amount paid, in one case, being named."

What is true of the first Baptists of Kentucky and Tennessee is also true, as we have seen, with the first Baptists of new England, with the Philadelphia Association, and with the first Baptists in the Mississippi territory. We could easily add to this the Kehukee Association, the Charleston, two of the oldest associations.  Later in this series we will look at the evidence of Spencer, Christian, and others that shows that the first Baptists in America were missionary.

Nowlin also wrote:

"It is an interesting fact, too, that history records that one of the men who afterwards became a leader of the anti-mission forces, went to Tennessee as missionary in 1791. Here are the facts as given by Spencer (Vol. I, p. 570). "In the early period of the first churches, planted on the soil of Kentucky, missionaries were sent to the surrounding country. The oldest church in what was then called West (now Middle) Tennessee, was constituted by Ambrose Dudley and John Taylor. These ministers in 1791 traveled through a wilderness, on horseback, nearly two hundred miles, where they were constantly exposed to destruction by the Indians, to establish the Redeemer's cause in this remote settlement. John Sutton and James Sutton were afterwards sent, in turn, by Elkhorn Association, to minister to this church, and the Moderator was directed to pay them 13, 12s, 8d, for this service." These missionaries were "sent" and "paid" for their services."

Ambrose Dudley died in 1823, before the Kehukee Declaration (1827) or the Black Rock Address (1832).  He was a co-laborer with John Taylor in Kentucky.  He was the father of Elder Thomas P. Dudley, one of the initial leaders of the "anti mission", or "old school" faction.  Though John Taylor came out publicly against the "modern mission system" (1820), he nevertheless believed, like Ambrose and his other fellow ministers in Kentucky, such as William Conrad, that all the elect would be regenerated and converted, and that the Gospel would be God's means in regeneration and conversion. 

As Spencer shows, both Ambrose Dudley and John Taylor were missionaries.  Notice also how the old Elkhorn Association sent out John and James Sutton as missionaries and gave them financial support. 

Nowlin also wrote:

"The early Kentucky Baptists not only sent missionaries to the Indians, but established schools for their children, as the following shows: "The Kentucky Missionary Society established a school for Indian children near Georgetown, Kentucky, to which they gave the name of Choctaw Academy. The school opened with eight red children, in the spring of 1819. The number of students increased from year to year, till it became a large and flourishing school. In 1828, seventeen of the Indians in this school were baptized into Great Crossing Church, in Scott County, and of the number, Sampson Birch and Robert Jones, became preachers of the gospel among their people in the far West" ("History of Kentucky Baptists," Vol. I, p. 579).

This shows that the early Baptists in Kentucky were favorable to both missions and education, and not only in sentiment, but in their efforts."

What is shown to be true with regard to the first Baptists of Kentucky, relative to beliefs and attitudes about mission work, is also true of all the other states and territories.  Griffin, as previously noted, said that the first settlers in the Mississippi territory were all supporters of mission efforts.  This is also true with Baptists in New England, in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, etc.

Nowlin also wrote:

"The decade extending from 1810 to 1820 was one of great prosperity to the Baptists of Kentucky. There were ten associations formed during that period," says Spencer (Vol. I, p. 579). This shows that the anti-mission spirit had not yet become prevalent in Kentucky.

In the history of the Salem Association Spencer records the fact that "In 1818, the association earnestly recommended the churches to contribute to missionary purposes, and expressed the opinion that educational societies greatly conduce to the promotion of the Redeemer's Kingdom." (Vol. II, p. 54).

These are stubborn facts which will not leave the Hardshells alone but will act like gadflies to irritate them.  With such facts before us, we see how the Hardshells have little claim to being the genuine old or primitive Baptists.

If we could go back in time between 1810 and 1820, and take a snapshot of what those Baptists who endorsed the Philadelphia Confession believed about missions, preaching the Gospel, religious education, and the way of salvation through faith, we would not be seeing a Hardshell anti mission, anti education, church. Hardshells, when they go back to this time period, envision or imagine a Hardshell anti church. The problem is that it is all a "pipe dream" or wish. They have no historical facts to prove that their views were the general views of their Baptist forefathers on these things.

John T. Christian in "A History of the Baptists," CHAPTER VII - "The Anti-Effort Secession from the Baptists," wrote (see here):

"Contemporaneous with the formation of the Triennial Convention there began among some Baptists an aggressive campaign against missions, education, Sunday schools, and indeed almost everything that organization fostered. The history of the Baptists of that period would be incomplete which did not give an account of the anti-effort secession variously called anti-missions and hardshellism. One can hardly, in this day, understand the rancor of speech which prevailed for years in many of the churches, and most of the early associations."

Notice the important words "there began." Something just happened, almost suddenly and without warning. It was something new. The "innovators" were the Hardshell "old school" folks, which Elder Watson, in his "Old Baptist Test" also said of his extreme ultraist Hardshell brethren.

Christian also wrote:

"While there was great opposition to missions, which gradually augmented as time went on, there was, if possible, a more bitter opposition to education, and to the establishment of Baptist colleges. The expressed opposition to these benevolent enterprises, as they were designated, was a conviction that they were human institutions, inventions and schemes, and contrary to the simplicity of the instructions enunciated in the New Testament for the spread of the gospel. There were also, of course, lower considerations, such as that preachers would not receive their support if mission collections were pressed, and some dissatisfaction because some preachers failed to receive appointments which they desired. Others feared that educated men would take their places. The Holy Spirit instructed preachers what to say, and therefore human learning was unnecessary. So missions and mission societies, Sunday schools, colleges and education, paid ministers, and temperance societies were denounced as contrary to the Word of God and human liberty."

This is well stated by Christian and gives a fair appraisal of the reasoning behind the opposition of the Hardshell faction.  This opposition, frankly, was due to ignorance of scripture.  It was in a large measure due to the Hyper Calvinism and Antinomianism that had infected many Baptist churches in the 18th and early 19th centuries.  It is also based upon the false hermeneutic rule that says that all religious belief and practice is to be condemned unless specifically described in Scripture, what we have called "patternism."  Many of the things that Christian says we have already introduced in previous chapters.

But, why object and vehemently begin opposing religious schools when they had been in existence among Baptists since their formal beginning in 17th century England?  Why now?  Why not previously?  Doubtless there are reasons, psychological, sociological, and historical. 

Christian also wrote:

"The name by which they designated themselves was Primitive, or Old School, Baptists; and they claimed that all Baptists were originally of their contention, which certainly was not the fact. "They arrogate to themselves," says J. M. Peck who was a contemporary, "the name of Old School Baptists because they reprobate all these measures (missions, education and Sunday schools, etc.), and declare non-fellowship with all Baptists who have anything to do with missionary work or any of those forms of active benevolence, and with all who hold correspondence with or fellowship missionary Baptists. In this charitable act they cut themselves off from at least nineteen-twentieths of all our Baptists in the United States, unless we can admit that a mere fragment of a party can exclude a vast majority" (J. M. Peck, Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer, July 4, 1839)."

Peck points to the arrogance and pretentious claims of the Hardshells.  It is true that the Hardshells have historically "claimed that all Baptists were originally of their contention."  Peck showed by historical evidence how such a claim was "certainly not the fact."  Peck also makes use of sarcasm when he calls the act of declaring non-fellowship a "charitable act."  It was anything but charitable, as Peck implies.  How can a body of people lacking charity towards their brethren be the home of the Lord?  Peck also points out how the antis were a minority, a VOCAL minority.  Peck showed how the Old Baptists of former times were supporters of missions and religious education.

Christian also wrote:

"The following extracts are from the minutes of the Licking Association, the largest anti-missionary body in the State:

The Licking Association has noticed with deep regret the various efforts which have been made to involve the memory of several valued ministers of the gospel, who lived and died members of her body, in the modern missionary institutions of the day. Some are curious to know why the Elkhorn Association has not introduced Peter, James and John, the Master, or some other inspired witness, to sustain her missionary operations, instead of Ambrose Dudley, Joseph Redding, John Price, and others who make no pretensions to being inspired? A solution of the question is not difficult, when it is known that the Bible is as silent as death on that subject . . . Suppose some of our aged brethren had given countenance to missionary operations; we ask, is the church justified thereby (in absence of Bible authority), in giving her support to an institution which it is believed has done, and is doing more to corrupt her, than, perhaps, any other?"

From this citation, taken with other evidence, it seems clear that Ambrose Dudley cannot be claimed as a Hardshell.  Thomas Dudley, the son, would have the dishonor of departing from the faith of his father and of the real Old Baptist faith and practice.

These Hardshells could not deny that many of their oldest ministers would not agree with the views of the Hardshells. What do they say about this?  "Well, they were wrong.  We do not follow them."  That all sounds really pious and orthodox, but one must doubt the claim if it is not proven in practice.  Notice again how the first Hardshells argued based upon the silence of Scripture, or from the premises of "patternism."  But, as we have shown, they do not practice their own precepts or follow their own advice.

Christian also wrote:

"Many reasons may be given for these divisions. The Baptist denomination, at this time, was not consolidated or unified. The Baptists until recently had been few and scattered, the churches were often located far apart, they had preaching very seldom and no local pastor, the associations met only once a year and were frequently turned into debating societies, there were few Baptist newspapers and they only had a small circulation, and the Triennial Convention had just been organized, and was perhaps the occasion for the attack. There was as yet no common rallying point. The methods of work were new and untried. The anti-missionary newspapers, The Signs of the Times and The Primitive Baptist, were widely circulated and from every standpoint attacked the new institutions. Many of the charges preferred were unjust but they produced the desired results."

Notice that Christians says that the Baptists, at the time of the division, was not a unified denomination. But, according to the Hardshell historians, all the Baptist were unified before the division.

In the remaining chapters of this series, we will continue to look at the history of Baptist support for mission work.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

History of Baptist Seminaries III

Chapter 169

In the first chapter of this series, it was shown that the Baptists who produced the London Confession of faith met in 1677 and collectively supported organizations to collect monies for ministerial education and mission work. Interestingly, it was 150 years later, in 1827, when the Kehukee Asoociation of churches (NC) declared non fellowship with Baptists who continued to do, though on a larger scale, the fundamentally exact thing as did the Old Baptists of 1677. This was 145 years before the Black Rock Address.

It was also seen how in 1722, the Philadelphia Association, the oldest in America (and a close ally of the London Association of churches that produced the 1689 confession), proposed to the churches "to make inquiry among themselves, if they have any young persons hopeful for the ministry, and inclined to learning" that they might be recommended to the academy of Mr. Hollis. There was no outspoken protestations against the practice of the churches of the Philadelphia Association, not even by old Kehukee, who corresponded with the Philadelphia Association throughout the 1700s. Where were the Hardshell churches in the 1700s who declared the Philadelphia Association in disorder for this?

We saw how the first Particular Baptists who put forth the London Confession supported Bristol college, which trained Baptist ministers throughout the 18th century. We saw how the Philadelphia Association of churches not only supported academies for preachers, but the creation of Rhode Island college (now Brown University). We also saw how the first American Particular Baptists supported churches contributing money to a general fund for the support of missionaries.

It is important to understand that the Baptist ancestors of the Hardshells, the Particular Baptists of England and America of the 17th and 18th centuries, believed and practiced providing school for the special education of young ministers, and training disciples in Bible classes and by catechisms, and cooperative mission work by agents and standing committees of the association. The Hardshells, as I have stated, claim that the things declared against in the Black Rock Address were new things introduced into the faith and practice of Baptists who adhered to the London and Philadelphia confessions of faith, and that it was the introduction of these new things that was the cause of the division..

In the Potter-Throgmorton debate Elder Potter, arguing for the Hardshells and giving his apology for the Hardshell conduct in the division, said:

"I wish to notice some things in the speech we have just listened to. The first thing Mr. Throgmorton does is to say that he is not bound to show that the Baptists had Sunday Schools, missionary boards, etc., during all the ages. He is under no obligation to show that they always had them. He admits that. He is begging the question. I challenge him to tell what divided us except these very things. It was after the introduction of these things among us that we divided. If we never had them we would not have been divided yet." (Potter-Throgmorton Debate, page 86; published in 1888 in St. Louis by J. N. Hall and J. H. Milburn, representing Missionary Baptists, and by H. C. Roberts and S. F. Cayce, representing the Primitive Baptists).

It is interesting that Potter only mentions "Sunday Schools" and "missionary boards" as being newly practiced in the 19th century. He could not say that organizations to train Baptist ministers was new. He could not say that revival or protracted meetings were new. He could not say that special classes for new converts was new. He could not say that agencies set up by associations of churches for mission work were new. But, how does one define "board"? Further, the London Baptists, as we saw, had people who were appointed to oversee the collection of mission funds on behalf of churches, and see that the money was dispersed to the ministerial students. Was that not a kind of board?

Notice how Potter does not say that the division resulted over doctrinal questions, over disagreements over the means of the Gospel, over the nature of perseverance, or over the absolute predestination of all things. It was initially a division over the means and methods of evangelism. Potter wants people to believe that the Baptists who began the practice of Sunday Schools and of mission boards were guilty of causing the division, or separation of the Hardshells from the general Baptist family. Elder John R. Daily, one who later also debated Dr. Throgmorton, in an article titled "A Loving Appeal to Primitive Baptists," wrote:

"Those who bring about division always accuse others of being the cause of it. Unfounded accusations amount to nothing. The rule by which to determine this question is that the one who introduces the new thing that results in severing the fellowship of the saints of God is the one who causes the division. It is never difficult to determine who this is in any case where innovations make their appearance."  (see here)

Elder J. S. Newman in his history, says in Chapter 11 "The Division of 1832" (see here):

"I have before me a copy of a small book called "Christian Union," written by Ben M. Bogard. I wish to quote the following from page 56:

"Before the year 1832 the Baptists believed and practiced the same things. At that time (1832) they divided on the following questions: Missions, salary to preachers, boards, conventions, schools and colleges, etc. Previous to this all were one, and such a question, as who were the Primitive Baptists, was never asked, because they were all primitive. Whatever was practiced and believed before the year 1832 by the Baptists was the practice and belief of Primitive Baptists. Those Baptists who do not teach the doctrines which Baptists taught before the year 1832 are not Primitive Baptists."

"If we can find out what the Baptists believed before 1832, and then can find a group of Baptists believing the same things now, they are Primitive Baptist; and those who do not believe the same doctrine, are not Primitive Baptists."

This is sufficient evidence to demonstrate what has been the apologetic response of the Hardshells about their being the cause of division. They deny being the cause of the division of 1832, and affirm rather that the supporters of mission and educational organizations were the guilty party, causing the division by introducing new beliefs and practices among the Baptists. So, the question of whether such things were new, in the 1830s, is very important. Also, whether the protests of the Hardshells represented something new.

By the criterion given above by the Hardshell apologists, the "Primitive Baptist" denomination must show how its views and practices were the views and practices of pre 19th century times. But, this is the very thing that they cannot do. Beebe could not find his brand of Hardshell Baptists in the intervening period between the time of the apostles and the 1830s. But, such an admission is not easy to obtain from Hardshells. When they can show the existence of Baptists, in the 17th and 18th centuries, who denied the use of the Gospel in regeneration, or the necessity of evangelical conversion to be eternally saved, and who opposed and declared non fellowship for any who support religious education and cooperative mission work, then they will have some reason to call themselves "primitive" or "old school" Baptists.

In the same article as cited above, Elder Newman says:

"Elder Keach, being a Primitive Baptist."

But, if this is so, then to be a primitive Baptist one needs to believe in Gospel means, for this is the teaching of Keach. Also, Keach was a supporter of the London Association's work in providing educational training for ministers and agencies to oversee collections for mission work.

Primitive Baptists today do not want to debate the question as to who is the real primitive Baptist. The reason is obvious. They cannot show from history how their particular sect has existed unchanged since the days of the apostles, ironically the very thing they say they must be able to prove to be a genuine church of Christ.

Now, in closing out this series on the history of religious training for ministers among the ancestors of the Hardshells, let me return to analyzing the rebuttal apology of Elder Gilbert Beebe who sought to explain how the Hardshells were the real descendants of American Particular Baptists.

Beebe continues:

"But shall we ask this valiant historian, this learned novice, what was the state and condition of the church of Christ prior to the setting up of these abominations among the Baptists? Could he! would he! dare he tell us? The truth is they were then precisely what the Old School Baptists are now, “a poor and afflicted people which trust in the name of the Lord.” They did not trust in E. Ferrel’s large estate, nor this Bristol minister-making machine, before the first gave his bequest, or the other was erected. They had no confidence in the flesh."

We might ask Beebe and his brethren, after the same manner, "where were the "antis" in the days of Bristol college"? Where were the protesters? Does he not admit that these things existed for centuries without any Hardshell existing to protest? All Beebe can do is assert that he and his brethren are the ancient church, without any historical proof, just as his twin brother, the Campbellite! He says that the establishing of Bristol college by the 17th century London brethren, was the setting up of an idol of abomination! But, if so, where were the loud opposers of these things in the 17th century? In the 18th? There were none! Ergo, there were no Hardshells.

Beebe continued:

"Go back then, Mr. F. and W., with your researches into the ancient history of the church, as far as the third of Matthew, and from thence trace down the channel of time the history of the people of God. Read it not in ostentatious bequests, in the erection of Theological Seminaries, or the formation of unscriptural Mission Boards, but read in characters of blood, the rise and progress, the persecutions, afflictions and the deliverance of the people of God, placed by grace in the Old School of Christ. You may find them, with some few interruptions, steadfastly adhering to the doctrine of the apostles, and conforming to the laws of Christ."

Again, when Beebe can't meet the historical argument and proof, he simply claims that they are like the apostolic church. He shows that he cannot prove his "primitive" status by appeal to history. Yet, in spite of this admission, his followers continue to affirm that they are most like the Baptists of the old confessions! Notice the arrogance of Beebe and his brethren! This is their cult mentality. He asserts that those who oppose religious schools are students in "Old School of Christ," while those who support such are not students in the school of Christ. Again, this is a cult phenomenon. By Beebe's standard, the Old Baptists of England and Wales who wrote and endorsed the London Confession, were not students in the school of Christ. John Gill was not by the same standard.

Beebe continues:

"Should you be at any loss to recognize them, remember the infallible mark by which they shall be known. Such as will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. The Old School, of whom we write, and among whom we desire to be numbered, were persecuted by the Jews, Scribes, Pharisees and priests, then by the Pagans, afterwards by the Papists, subsequently by Protestants, and now by the New School Baptists, but thanks be to God who giveth them the victory, they are the same people, one in the Lord their Savior, who will bring them one and all up out of great tribulation, having their robes made white in the blood of the Lamb."

Because Howell, Peck, and other Baptist historians overthrew the pretensions and claims of those who boasted of being "primitive" Baptists, therefore they are "persecutors"? But, by the same standard, Beebe and his Hardshell brethren were gross persecutors of those they judged as "new school" Baptists. Notice again how Beebe makes his Hardshell brethren to be equated with the elect few who will persevere, and how he equates Baptists who supported missions and theological education with being opposed to them. More evidence of cult thinking.

Beebe continued:

"We once saw when a boy a bird called, where we were raised, a woodpecker, dash his bill against the trunk of a very large tree, and immediately flew round the tree, apparently to see if he had not forced a hole through its diameter. We were reminded of the circumstance when we read the conclusion of our hero’s silly attack, for in his conclusion he apprehends that some of the readers of the Watchman may conclude that be should not have exposed the Old School Baptists so far; but should they not be satisfied with this hint, he threatens to give them another or two in a future number. O, spare us, Mr. Mule, (for we suppose by your significant anonymous title you must be something of a mongrel,) spare us the trouble of sifting out your trifling trash, for the game will but too poorly pay for the amunition." (ALEXANDRIA, D. C., August 25, 1838. Elder Gilbert Beebe, Editorials Volume 1, Pages 441–446)


Notice how Beebe cannot rebut the evidence against him but can only hurl epithets against Howell and Peck. Does this not speak volumes?

Beebe continued:

"We could no sooner take them as our guides than we could any other set of men, any farther than they followed Christ, and in our use of the distinctive appellation, we have, as we have frequently published, not the remotest allusion to any school of men, we reject alike every system of scholastic divinity, and profess to be pupils in the school of Christ, who as a teacher, teaches as never man taught; we call this the Old School, because it is the original gospel school, and in it the same divine lessons are taught now which were taught eighteen hundred years ago. And although, to our mortification, we confess that we are but dull scholars in this blessed school, yet it is our mercy to be found among those despised ones, who renouncing every other kind of religious teaching, are taught of God, come to Christ, learn of him, for he is meek and lowly, and here alone we find rest to our souls. It is the privilege of all Regular Old School Baptists to set where Mary sat, at the feet of Jesus, where they may receive his gracious words and divine instruction. It is our peculiar glory to wait on him; not like the New School, to plan, contrive, chalk out and dictate, and then call on the Lord to lay aside his plan and wisdom and adopt ours, or to come on in our rear, and succeed our undertakings, and follow with his blessing our efforts, &c. "Tis his to command, and ours to obey.”

Beebe wants people to know that the name "Old School" or "Primitive" does not affirm that they are kin to the Baptists who endorsed the old confessions, the Baptists of the 17th and 18th century! Being Landmarkers, however, where is his historical chain or linkage to the apostles? Who can believe that they only meant to affirm apostolicity by giving themselves the name of "Primitive" or "Old School" Baptists?

Beebe continued:

"Go back then, Mr. F. and W., with your researches into the ancient history of the church, as far as the third of Matthew, and from thence trace down the channel of time the history of the people of God. Read it not in ostentatious bequests, in the erection of Theological Seminaries, or the formation of unscriptural Mission Boards, but read in characters of blood, the rise and progress, the persecutions, afflictions and the deliverance of the people of God, placed by grace in the Old School of Christ. You may find them, with some few interruptions, steadfastly adhering to the doctrine of the apostles, and conforming to the laws of Christ."

Again, when Beebe can't meet the historical argument and proof, he simply claims that they are like the apostolic church. He shows that he cannot prove his "primitive" status by appeal to history. Yet, in spite of this admission, his followers continue to affirm that they are most like the Baptists of the old confessions. The arrogance of Beebe and his brethren is clearly evident.

In the next short series, we will give more detailed evidence that the Old Baptists who were in support of the old London Confession were supporters of organizations, set up by associations of churches, that promoted mission work. Therefore, the charge of the first Hardshells that such organizations were new is false.

Friday, November 29, 2013

History of Baptist Seminaries II

Chapter 168

In the 1830's a debate was carried on, a war of words, between the leaders of the "anti mission movement" and those Baptist leaders who supported organized missions, theological and Sunday schools, revival meetings, and other such things. Elder Gilbert Beebe was viewed as the chief leader of the Hardshell, Old School, or Primitive Baptists and Dr. R. B. C. Howell was a vocal leader of Baptists who supported missions and education, with others, like J. M. Peck. The following is an interesting exchange of words between Beebe and Howell, which was published in each side's periodicals. First, we will cite Beebe's response to Howell's writing entitled "ANTIQUITY OF NEW SCHOOLISM," (see here) wherein he sought to prove that missions and education had a long tradition among Baptists of the prior centuries and that the Old Schoolers or Hardshells were uttering falsehoods when they claimed that such things were new inventions among the Baptists.

Beebe wrote (emphasis mine - SG):

"THIS is truly a singular head for an article, but the subject to which we have to advert is perhaps no less singular. John M. Peck, now associated with J. L. Waller, R. B. C. Howell & Co., in conducting the Banner and Pioneer, of Kentucky, has poured forth nearly three columns of foaming wrath upon the Old School Baptists in their Fourth of July number. He charges us with forgery in appropriating to ourselves the name “Old School,” and attempts a justification of the charge by alleging that the Philadelphia Association, the Old English Baptists, and some Welsh Baptists, have in some instances so far turned aside from the divine rule as to practice some of those things which we, as bible Baptists, denounce; and having from history found men in the Baptist connection, in England, Wales and America, from 1654 extending to 1801, capable of projecting and practicing such innovations on Baptist doctrine and order, claims the appellation of “Old School” as belonging to the practices which they advocate."

Howell and Peck had the historical facts to prove that the Baptists of the preceding centuries practiced and supported cooperative mission work, theological schools, and bible classes. This being proved, the Hardshells were shown to be false in their claims that 1) such things were new among Baptists, and 2) they were most like the primitive Baptists. You will see how Beebe responded, which is no different than all the rest of the Hardshell brotherhood, when confronted with the historical facts. Does Beebe respond with counter historical evidence? Does he deny the evidence presented by Howell? No, he does not. How could he with the facts before him? What Beebe does is to push all this evidence aside and simply say that those Old Baptists of prior centuries ought to be condemned. But, the fact is, there were no Baptists who opposed these things in those prior centuries. So, what does this prove about the antiquity of the Hardshells? It shows that they are new in their opposition to theological education and missionary work. For these reasons it would have been better had the Hardshells stuck with their first choice for a dnominational name, which was "Reformed Baptist" rather than "Old School Baptist" or "Primitive Baptist."

Today's Hardshells, when confronted with these same facts, will often respond in a similar manner as did Beebe. They will say "we are not primitive because we are descended from those who have the same views as we have, but because we hold the same view as the first apostolic churches." But, there are all kinds of problems with this rebuttal.

First, the Landmarker views of the Hardshells creates problems for them. They argue, as I showed in my series on "Hardshell Landmarkism," that a church, to be the legitimate "church of Christ," to whom Jesus promised perpetuity, must have maintained a continuous uncorrupted existence since the days of Pentecost. But they also argue that participation in missionary work and theological training for ministers corrupts a church. Ergo, they must admit that they have descended from churches that are corrupt, from churches that supported such things. They cannot show that they descended from Baptist churches who, in the 17th and 18th centuries, denounced and declared non fellowship for theological schools. How then can they claim to be uncorrupted? Further, as I have shown, they have no logical or scriptural reasons for opposing such things.

Beebe continued (highlighting mine):

"Having, as he appears to suppose, stripped off our covering and shown that we are not twenty years old, (and so the appellation cannot belong to us,) his benevolent soul (moved perhaps with compassion) has dealt out to us a volley of epithets; but as all of them, strung together, would make rather an inconvenient jingle, perhaps he only intends we shall wear them one at a time. Henceforth all who take John M. Peck as their oracle are to recognize us as the hyper-Calvinistic, Antinomian, Excrescence of a Party, a most unpleasant and cumbrous excrescence, Monstrosity, Snake Species, New Cohort, New Test Party, a mere fragment of a party, a few scattered fragments, a clan, not twenty years old, misnamed Old School Baptists, of the Lawrence, Beebe, Trott and Dudley stripe, Lickingites, base metal, deceptive, counterfeit, &c."

Notice that Beebe does not attempt to meet the evidence or argument of Howell and Peck! He only asserts that Howell and Peck were making false charges, but offers no rebuttal with hard historical facts. Anyone who reads the first Hardshell periodicals of the period will see that Peck and Howell "hit the nail on the head" in their descriptions of the Hardshell character and mindset. On Howell's calling the Hardshells "New Test Men," see my posting here. It was an easy task for Howell and Peck to unmask the pretensions and claims of Beebe and his Hardshell brethren.

The fact is clear that the Hardshells were indeed a new denomination as Howell and Peck showed. They showed that the ancestors of the 19th century Particular Baptists were not Hardshells, did not object to the things the Hardshells objected to and made a "new test" for determining orthodoxy. To show that they are genuine Old Baptists they must show that they had churches who believed as they do in the 17th and 18th centuries. They must show their succession, how their present "orderly" churches are descendents of "orderly" churches.But, this they cannot do. So, they have no antiquity.

Their claim to being genuine churches of Christ simply because they claim to believe and practice what the first Christians supposedly believed and practiced is the same claim made by Alexander Campbell and his followers. But, Campbell, unlike the Hardshells, did not claim an unbroken chain of churches, but believed that true churches with their pure doctrine had ceased to exist, and that they must therefore be restored. Traditionally the Hardshells, however, have advocated that they had an unbroken chain of churches back to the days of the apostles.

Howell, Peck, and Waller were correct to call the Hardshells "new test" men, for they began a new thing among the Baptists. They made support for religious education and missionary societies a "test" for deciding whether a church is legitimate and orthodox or not. No Baptist group had made such things a test of fellowship in the previous 150 years of Baptist history.

What evidence should Beebe have produced to counter the charge of Howell and Peck, the charge that they were a new denomination? Should he not have shown the existence of churches who agreed with him in the 17th and 18th centuries?

Beebe continued:

"As to the instances adduced by Mr. Peck, in which professed Baptists of by-gone days have turned aside from the good old way, they only show, if true, that there was then, as there is now, corruption in the nominal kingdom of the Redeemer; but the imperfections of those of former times can no more justify us in departing from the laws of Christ than the present corruptions of New Schoolism can justify those of generations to come in following their pernicious ways."

Notice that Beebe does not disprove the claims of Howell and Peck about the Baptists of former centuries supporting the things denounced by the Hardshells. In fact, he admits that the advocates for theological education and for mission societies had ancestors in the prior centuries, a thing Beebe could not do for his own group. His only rebuttal is to claim that those former Baptists were apostates. But, he cannot deny that the "New Schoolers" were truly primitive and original in continuing the long Baptist tradition of supporting missions and education. Beebe cannot find his pedigree prior to the 19th century.

When I have confronted my dad (a Hardshell preacher) with these facts, he retorts - "I'm only interested in what the Bible says." Yet, in spite of the falsity of Hardshell claims, they still claim to be the true original Baptists in opposing missions and education. They are willing to tell untaught men that they are the true original Baptists, but when a knowledgeable historian confronts them with the historical evidence that overthrows their false claims, they run from the historical debate to the scriptural debate. But, they cannot find support in scripture either.

According to the "Northen Virginia Primitive Baptist Church" (see here) the Hardshells call themselves "primitive" because they are in agreement with the English Baptists who wrote and adhered to the 1689 London Confession.

"The Primitive Baptist Church holds to the London Baptist Confession of Faith adopted in the late 17th century. Churches of this faith were planted in the American colonies during the 18th century. Some of the churches drifted away, but many remained true to the 'first,' Or 'original' doctrine, hence the term 'primitive'."

But, how can they claim to be in league with the Baptists of 17th century England in light of the fact that those Old Baptists supported theological schools and societies created by the churches for support of missionary work? They claim to be descendants of the Baptists who wrote and first supported the 1689 Confession, as the above citation shows. This is what anyone who would think when they hear the terms "old" and "primitive" as adjectives for the noun "Baptist." The intent is to affirm that those wearing the title have a continuous succession of churches and that they represent what the oldest Baptists believed.

Beebe continued:

"Who the legitimate successors of the Philadelphia Association, of the English Baptists, or of the Welsh Baptists are, is not the question with us; but the grand point is, Who are followers of the Lamb? Who are walking in the footsteps of the primitive church? Who are teaching for doctrines the commandments of men?"

This is the same kind of language that the followers of Alexander Campbell have used since their inauguration (about the same time as that of the Hardshells). They also claimed not to care what Christians had believed in prior centuries, claiming that they were in agreement with the first Christians, and that, they affirmed, was sufficient. But, the Campbellites at least were honest enough to admit that their peculiar brand of church doctrine did not have a continuous witness since the days of Christ, believing that the true church had gone out of existence and that they were at work to restore it. This is what the Hardshells, if they were honest, should have claimed also. Beebe comes very close to affirming this by his language. Yet, he does not believe that the true church went out of existence. But, if it did not, and the true church must agree with the Hardshells on theological schools and missionary work, then they must be able to show a line of churches in the previous centuries who agreed with them on those things. They cannot find churches who denied Gospel means, nor who declared churches in disorder who supported associational support for seminaries and mission work, prior to the 19th century, yet they want others to believe that they are "primitive" Baptists.

Again, this is a case of running from the historical debate, yet their name arrogantly affirms that they are the true primitive Baptists, the ones who held to the practices of their forefathers! Notice that Beebe and the Hardshells assert that the Baptists who wrote the London and Philadelphia confessions are apostates and yet they claim to be their successors! The "legs of the lame are not equal."

Beebe continued:

"These references to the history of Baptists of a few centuries past have been often met and refuted." But, that is a falsehood! If Beebe truly had evidence to support his contention, he would have offered it in his rebuttal. Does he not say that the former Baptists who supported missions and ministerial education were apostates? Not followers of the Lamb?"

Beebe continues:

"We have often informed the New School that anything short of the apostolic age is too late to have weight with us. The foibles of professed Baptists three hundred years ago are entitled to no more consideration with us than those of yesterday. But as Mr. Peck says all genuine Old School Baptists were missionary Baptists, from their own mouths we will judge them. Let us sum up the testimony and strike the balance."

Notice how Beebe says that the Baptists of former days, who had supported missions and ministerial education were creating "foibles" and were made by those who were not really Baptists, being only "professed" Baptists. Why didn't Beebe simply cite historical evidence to show how Baptists of prior centuries protested against missions and ministerial education? Where can he find evidence of the existence of his brethren prior to the 19th century?

Beebe continued:

"The Philadelphia Association, just seventy years ago, approved the establishment of Rhode Island College (now Brown University); directed collections to be made to it in all the churches; and all the ministers pledged themselves to promote the object. In 1767 this venerable association sat in legislation over the churches, and supplied them with laws concerning family prayer. In 1770 collections were made for certain students of Rhode Island College. In 1754, and subsequently, sent out missionaries under pay, viz: Gano, Miller and Van Horn. In 1775 seventeen shillings were contributed for Rhode Island College. In 1778 more money was collected for preaching the gospel in destitute places. Further testimony from this deponent, Mr. Peck thinks unnecessary; he will, we presume, now suffer us to cross-question his witness.

Question. By what divine authority or New Testament rule did the Philadelphia Association engage in these anti-christian practices?

Answer. This deponent saith not."

Notice again how Beebe does not dispute the historical evidence submitted by Howell and Peck. All he can do is to say that his forefathers were engaged in anti-christian practices! That they had departed from the faith, the same kind of charge that the Campbellites made. He really proves how he and his Hardshell brethren are not the real "Old" Baptists but a new sect of Baptists, espousing doctrines that no Baptist espoused prior to the 19th century. But, Howell, Peck, and other Baptists not only demonstrated that Baptist history was against the claims of the Hardshells but the Bible as well. The reason why the Old Baptists supported missions and education is because they saw it supported in scripture.

Beebe continues:

"Q. Did the Philadelphia Association ever organize missionary, Tract, Education, Sabbath School, Temperance, or even Bible Societies, by selling membership, directorship, and other high sounding titles, to professors and non-professors) and by electing presidents, treasurers, agents, &c., until within the last twenty-five years?

A. They did not."

Beebe is raising a "red herring" in his rebuttal. It was not necessary for Howell and Peck to show that the organizational makeup of prior entities for the promotion of missions and education were exactly the same as those in the 19th century. It was enough to show that the Baptists who endorsed the confessions all supported mission and educational methods, either by individual churches or by groups of churches. The Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries, as we have seen, did create societies, overseen by messengers from the associations of churches, to receive funds that were regularly promised by the churches. Further, those organizations established by those Old Baptists had agents, trustees, and other such people to collect those funds and to be in charge of them.

Beebe continues:

"If the present race of New School Baptists are the regular successors of the Old English and Welsh Baptists, and of those of the Philadelphia Association of 1707, why have they, within a few years past, discarded the Old Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith, which was originally adopted by the Old English Baptists?"

Beebe here charges the Baptists who continue the tradition of supporting missions and education with discarding the old confessions. But, this charge is not correct. Some Baptist churches did begin to place less emphasis on the old confessions as a means of determining church fellowship, like the Separate Baptists, but this was not universal among Missionary Baptists. Interestingly, it is today's "Primitive Baptists" who do not accept the oldest confessions!

Beebe continued:

"Will John M. Peck have the assurance to tell us that the present Philadelphia Association has not discarded the old published a new and improved edition - an altered edition, more congenial with the doctrines of the new order? We think he will not."

It is not possible to comment on this retort by Beebe as it is not known what he is referring to. Is Beebe trying to say that the old confessions are "more congenial" with Hardshellism? If so, we have already shown this to be false, for the Hardshells do not subscribe to the beliefs of the 1689 London Confession.

Beebe continued:

"In looking over the April number of the Baptist Record, (so called) we are greeted with a copy of the speechifying of some of the great men of New Schoolism, at their spring anniversaries in Philadelphia; of which, as they will serve to help us out in showing the antiquity of New Schoolism, we will notice a few specimens.

Baron Stowe, of Boston, offered a resolution in favor of the Tract Society; and during his remarks in support of his motion, it is said adverted with peculiar feeling to the origin of the society; the honored names of Davis, Knowles, Staughton and Reynolds, who were engaged in it. They were all there then. But fifteen years have passed away, and all these are gone! Only the brother who first spoke and himself were now here of all its founders! Having assisted in rocking the cradle of the society, (how appropriate the idea to lull the little new comer,) in its infancy, he felt a very strong desire to see and to aid it now in assuming the manly attitude of mature years.”

Beebe thinks he has a proof that shows the Mission and Education Baptists are new because a particular tract society was only fifteen years old! Poor debater and apologist! Can he show that the Baptists of former centuries were opposed to printing and distributing tracts on bible topics?

Beebe continues:

"New School institutions, like mushrooms, are soon matured; hence J. M. Peck may plead for the antiquity of Tract Societies as fifteen years of age. The American and Foreign Bible Society held her second anniversary also in Philadelphia last April; so we may venture to put down her age at about two years and three months. A very reverend set of digniare now engaged in rocking its cradle; but, poor thing, it must either be very weakly, greedy or ill-natured, for with all their rocking, it continues to cry, like the horsleech’s daughters. As for the old American Bible Society, which the New School Baptists have helped into being, and which they assisted to rock for several years, they have at length found out that it is an Ishmael; so they have weaned it and sent it forth into the wilderness."

With this kind of logic one can prove the Hardshells began in 1832! They had no periodicals or organs of protest prior to 1827 and so this proves them to be new, using his own brand of "logic." No societies = No Missionary Baptists ----> No Hardshell periodicals = No Hardshell Baptists. However, as we have seen, the Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries supported the things Beebe charges as being new.

Beebe continues:

"The same paper from which we have collected the above items, being a kind of family record of New Schoolism, has put down the age of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society at twenty-five years. Mr. J. M. Peck, as we have noticed, very sneeringly asserts that the self-styled Old School Baptists (as he calls us) are not of lawful age, not twenty-one years of age. What will he say of this ancient institution at the very advanced age of twenty-five years, when he reads the following extract which we make from the report of its board of cradle-rockers, viz: “The time is not come to restrict our operations. The work is only begun; the laborers are few. From almost every mission the cry is help, and helpers are waiting to be sent. Let the advance be made. Let fervent unceasing prayer ascend to God, and prayer lead to effort,” (i. e., cradle rocking,) “earnest, united effort, that the treasury of the Lord may be full.”

Is this the best retort Beebe and his Hardshell brethren can make? Prior to Benjamin Keach the Baptist churches did not generally sing in their worshipful gatherings. Does this prove that singing in worship is an error? Also, just because a particular society was new, that does not mean that other societies for the support of mission work did not exist. So, Beebe's argumentation is nothing.

Beebe continues:

"We might go on and give, from documents by them furnished to our hand, the birth, age and insatiable appetites of the Sunday School, Education (for the ministry) and Temperance Societies, and every other institution belonging to New Schoolism, and we should find that the most aged among them all has not yet numbered forty years; and the fullest fed among them have never been satisfied, nor is there the least prospect they ever will be. Their revenue now, we believe, exceeds the expense of our national government. So much for the antiquity of New Schoolism among the Baptists. The most ancient horn by which they are distinguished from the church of Christ is not yet thirty years old; yet they claim to be the Old School, and denounce the disciples of Christ as a “New Test Party,” to which epithet we would not object if they would not abbreviate it; we claim to be a “New Testament Party,” and the only test of fellowship we admit is that of the New Testament." (ALEXANDRIA, D. C., August 15, 1839. Elder Gilbert Beebe Editorials Volume 1 Pages 516 – 521)

Again, this is poor rebuttal. Howell and Peck gave all kinds of historical evidence to show that Baptists of prior centuries, those who wrote and endorsed the London and Philadelphia confessions, supported missions and theological schools. What does it matter that a particular organ or means of doing this work is new?

Beebe, in another writing, responds to another article entitled "ANTIQUITY OF THE OLD SCHOOL," and responds by saying:

"In the “Recorder and Watchman” we find an article over the anonymous signature “Faith and Works,” copied into that sink of corruption edited by Mr. Waller, advertising the Old School Baptists as impostors, and calling on the Baptist denomination to beware of them as such! The writer defines an impostor to be one who practices a cheat or imposture upon a people or community, and adds that the impostors he alludes to call themselves Old School Baptists. He says moreover, “If he establishes the fact that they (meaning the Old School) are of a New School, and not the Old School order, he proves them cheats or impostors.” Well, be it so, we will on the part of the Old School Baptists pledge ourselves, as far as we are concerned, that we will yield the ground, if this or any other writer will prove that we are not of the Old School order, and as he has unhesitatingly and unreservedly charged us with imposition, we hold him bound to prove his assertion, or he must be considered a vile calumniator, a slanderer, and a fit companion for such as Wailer, Sands, Meredith, and the whole clan of our persecutors."

What evidence does Beebe give to prove that he and his Hardshell brethren are of the old school? Does he show the existence of churches in the previous centuries who believed as do the Hardshells? No, he does not. And, what does this show? Does it not show that he cannot disprove the evidence which shows that the Hardshells are a completely new denomination?

Beebe continued:

"Now for his proof, the first item of which is palpably false, viz: “They assume the title of Old School because they oppose Bible, Education. Missionary and Sunday School Societies.” All who are acquainted with the sentiments of Old School Baptists know that they oppose these institutions because they are Old School Baptists, and as such feel themselves bound, by their allegiance to King Jesus, to reject from their religious order, all that is invented by men and unsupported by any direct warrant from his royal throne. So it is not their opposition to these inventions that constitutes them Old School Baptists; hence if the writer has proved anything by this part of his testimony, it is that he has mistaken or wilfully misrepresented the ground of our claim to antiquity. “If these objects, therefore,” says this anonymous writer, “were taught and practiced by the Old School Baptists, such pretenders are to all intents guilty of a gross trick, palpable imposture, which should be exposed.” To this proposition also we cordially consent; let him prove that in the Old School of Christ, these humanly invented institutions had a place, in the primitive age of the church, and we will be content to pass for impostors. But hear him! He proceeds to his proof thus: “They must claim their seniority from the English or Welsh Baptists, or from the Waldenses of Piedmont.” What a consummate scholar! He appears to have read something in the history of the church as far back as the days of the English and Welsh Baptists, and of the Waldenses of Piedmont, and forsooth he concludes he has got to the end of the row, into the remote depths of antiquity. Poor, infatuated, stupid soul, when he has finished his study of Ivimy’s history, if he will read a few volumes of church history, indicted by divine inspiration, and written by such as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, Jude and James, he may learn that he has greatly erred, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God."

Beebe belies the claims of his brethren by rejecting the historical proofs that show that the Baptists who preceded the Hardshells were ardent supporters of missions and education, by various means. He no longer wants to say he and his brethren are "primitive" because they are like the Baptists of the 17th or 18th centuries, but because they are like the apostles! Notice how he runs from the historical criterion.

Next, he thinks that because one cannot find a bible, mission, or temperance society mentioned specifically in the bible, that they cannot therefore be supported! What logic! Can he find his Hardshell "associations" mentioned specifically in the good old book? Can he find his church periodicals? Can he find his hymn book? Of course, the great Baptists who fought the Hardshells, did not run from debating these things from scripture, just as they did not relative to church history.

Beebe continued:

"We must claim our seniority from the English or ‘Welsh Baptists or the Waldenses, must we? Has any Old School Baptist ever set up such a claim? Never. We do claim, however, that even these, with, some few discrepancies, which the New Order are hard run to dig up in justification of their course of hostility to the gospel, were Old School Baptists; but we are far, very far from claiming them as the originators of our faith and order."

What a dodge is this! We claim them but we don't claim them! We call ourselves "primitive" Baptists, but we claim no direct connection with those who endorsed the old confessions! Who ever argued that the Baptists who endorsed the old confessions were the "originators" of the "faith and order" of the apostles? The question is - were the Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries, who wrote and endorsed the old confessions, followers of the apostolic faith? Notice also how Beebe concedes that the "New School" Baptists, who supported missions and education, like their forefathers, did rightfully claim that they were more kin to their forefathers, while the Hardshells reject the faith and practice of their Baptist forefathers prior to the rise of the Hardshells. "Few discrepancies"? Is it not rather the case that history shows a continuous widespread support for missions and ministerial education among Baptists prior to the Hardshells?

Beebe continued:

"We could no sooner take them as our guides than we could any other set of men, any farther than they followed Christ, and in our use of the distinctive appellation, we have, as we have frequently published, not the remotest allusion to any school of men, we reject alike every system of scholastic divinity, and profess to be pupils in the school of Christ, who as a teacher, teaches as never man taught; we call this the Old School, because it is the original gospel school, and in it the same divine lessons are taught now which were taught eighteen hundred years ago. And although, to our mortification, we confess that we are but dull scholars in this blessed school, yet it is our mercy to be found among those despised ones, who renouncing every other kind of religious teaching, are taught of God, come to Christ, learn of him, for he is meek and lowly, and here alone we find rest to our souls. It is the privilege of all Regular Old School Baptists to set where Mary sat, at the feet of Jesus, where they may receive his gracious words and divine instruction. It is our peculiar glory to wait on him; not like the New School, to plan, contrive, chalk out and dictate, and then call on the Lord to lay aside his plan and wisdom and adopt ours, or to come on in our rear, and succeed our undertakings, and follow with his blessing our efforts, &c. "Tis his to command, and ours to obey.”

Beebe wants people to know that the name "Old School" or "Primitive" does not affirm that they are kin to the Baptists who endorsed the old confessions, the Baptists of the 17th and 18th century! Being Landmarkers, however, where is his historical chain or linkage to the apostles? Who can believe that they only meant to affirm apostolicity by giving themselves the name of "Primitive" or "Old School" Baptists?

Beebe continues:

"But this mighty champion of New Schoolism, by dint of study, has found that some English Baptists, in 1686, set up an abomination in Israel (if their historian does not belie them) called the Baptist Bristol Education Society, and one Edward Ferrel was silly enough, even as long ago as 1686, to bequeath his large estate to sustain this idol, and that a swarm of young men have been instructed, &c. From this beginning Mr. Faith and Works, (as the writer has been silly enough to nickname himself,) has in attempting to prove that the school to which we belong did not exist anterior to that date, has succeeded in proving the origin, rise and progress of the New School Baptist anti-christian beast. From this small beginning, this little harmless looking horn, the Bristol Divinity School, and the estate of E. Ferrel, this inlet of corruption in faith and practice found its way among the Baptists, has gathered force and impetus, as it has dashed its headlong way for centuries, and has now become a mighty flood; but agreeably to the divine assurance given in the book of God, the Spirit of the Lord has now set up a standard against it."

Beebe cannot rebut the proof that the Baptists had theological schools back in the 1600s, so all he can do is indict the true primitive Baptists by calling them abominable idolaters! He admits that those who support missions and ministerial education are in line with the Baptists of former years! One wonders why they call themselves primitive Baptists. Then he boasts that his Hardshell brethren were raised up, finally, to set things right!

History of Baptist Seminaries I

Chapter 167

Having examined the scriptural and logical arguments that the Hardshells made, in the Black Rock Address, against Sunday and theological schools, mission work, etc., I wish in this short series to look at the historical evidence for Baptist support for theological education and cooperative mission work.

One of the reasons given by the Hardshells, in the 1830s, for their opposition to such is the fact that such was something new among Particular or Regular Baptists. This, as we shall see, was not true, and men such as Dr. R.B.C. Howell and Dr. J.M. Peck, rose to answer the arguments of those opposed to theological schools and mission work. We will first look at what the Baptists who wrote and endorsed the 1689 London Confession believed about these matters. Then we will look at the history of theological education and mission work among American Particular Baptists who followed the London and Philadelphia confessions of faith. We begin with a look at historical Baptist support of ministerial education among the English Baptists of the 17th century.

According to The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Volume 1 (see here) the Baptists who produced the London Confession of faith met in 1677 and recorded this of their doings.

"The Bill of Indulgence (1675) opened the way for efforts to strengthen the ministry of dissenting churches. In the same year the Particular Baptist ministers of London requested the churches in England and Wales to send representatives to meet in London the following May, with a view to taking measures for "providing an orderly standing ministry in the church, who might give themselves to reading and study, and so become able ministers of the New Testament." The meeting seems not to have occurred till 1677, when a confession of faith, that of the Westminster Assembly with necessary modifications, was adopted and formally promulgated. In 1689 (just after the Revolution and the promulgation of the Act of Toleration) representatives of about a hundred churches assembled for the expression of fellowship and the reaffirming of the confession of 1677. The meeting was most harmonious, scarcely a note of dissent being heard. A dearth of properly qualified pastors is lamented. During the Civil War and Commonwealth times many highly educated ministers from the Established Church had joined the Baptist ranks. This source of supply had failed. Failure "to make gospel-provision for their maintenance" is thought to be one of the reasons why so few competent men devote themselves wholly to the work. For remedying this defect it was decided to raise "a public stock or fund of money," "first by a free-will offering to the Lord; and secondly, by a subscription, every one declaring what he is willing to give weekly, monthly, or quarterly to it." "A general fast in all the congregations" was arranged for, a list of "evils to be bewailed and mourned over" is given, and special prayer is to be offered for the conversion of "the poor Jews." The assembly was careful to disclaim "superiority and superintendency over the churches" and determined that in future assemblies no differences between churches and persons should be debated. Nine London brethren were entrusted with the collection and the administration of the fund for the assistance of weak churches, the sendinp forth of missionaries, and the assistance of gifted and sound men "in attaining to the knowledge and understanding of the languages, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew."

This is sufficient proof to show that the Old Baptists in England in the 17th century, the authors of the 1689 London Confession, were supporters of raising money to support both missionaries and theological education, the things that the Hardshells have said were new in the early 19th century. Further, I have found no Particular English Baptist who arose to denounce or declare non fellowship for those Baptists who supported theological education and mission work through general church cooperation.

The encyclopedia continues:

"The assembly of 1691 was made up of representatives of a hundred churches belonging to twelve associations. In 1692 it was decided to divide the assembly, one portion to meet in London and the other in Bristol, at different seasons of the year, these assemblies not to be accountable to each other and each to send messengers to the other...The Broadmead church, Bristol, was one of the earliest and strongest of the Particular Baptist Churches outside of London and the importance of Bristol as a Baptist center was greatly enhanced by the endowment left by Edward Terrill (d. 1686) with the Broadmead church for ministerial education, which became available in 1717. Out of this foundation grew the theological college that from its inception has been one of the chief factors in the progress of the denomination...In 1717 the London ministers inaugurated another missionary fund."

Again, this shows that the Old Baptists of the 17th century supported ministerial education and that the charge that the Hardshells made in the early 19th century that such schools for ministers were new things is false.

In "A Brief Essay Towards an History of the Baptist Academy at Bristol: Read Before the Bristol Education Society, at Their Anniversary Meeting, in Broadmead, August 26th, 1795," (see here) JOHN RYLAND, D.D., President, wrote:

"It is not easy for me to say with precision, how early in the last century our learned brethren, in this country, began, among themselves, to educate their juniors for the work of the ministry. Though it is certain, if they had not been much inclined to it before, the act of uniformity in 1662, made it necessary for them to turn their attention to this object. For now the feats of learning were made so difficult of access by oaths and subscriptions, as to prevent the admission of the wise and good, who were of nonconforming principles."

Ryland observes that the first Particular Baptist churches of the 17th century would no doubt have earlier begun their efforts at training their ministers had the Baptists not been under legal censure and persecution prior to the act of uniformity in 1662. As soon as they were able, these Old Baptists made it a priority to see that their ministers were educated.

Ryland continued:

"By a manuscript letter in my possession, dated London, the ad of the 8th month 1675, many copies of which were sent to the churches in the country, I find that our ministers of London invited their brethren of the Baptist persuasion, throughout England and Wales, to meet the following May, in the metropolis, with a view to form a plan for the providing an orderly standing ministry in the church, who might give themselves to reading and study, and so become able ministers of the New Testament. This letter is signed by most of the London pastors, among whom were the learned Daniel Dyke, William Collins, Henry Forty, and William Kiffin. The result of this proposal I am yet to learn."

Ryland here confirms what was stated by the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge cited previously. The first Particular Baptists, who are the forefathers of the Hardshells, were positively in favor of religious training for their ministers.

Ryland continued:

"It is of general publicity, that the ministers and messengers of more than 100 baptized congregations in England and Wales met, in a General Assembly at London, in September 1689, to consult the good of the whole denomination. At this convention they resolved to raise a fund or stock, for the advantage of churches who were not able to maintain their own pastors or teachers,—for sending duly qualified ministers from the city and the country, to visit the churches, and to preach the gospel where it was not at that time published,—and for assisting members of churches who had promising gifts, were sound in fundamentals, and inclined to study, in attaining to the knowledge of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Towards these benevolent purposes, different congregations made collections, and among them the church in the Pithay, Bristol, sent up by the hands of their pastor, the renowned Andrew Gifford, thirty pounds."

One thing is important to note from this citation. It is the fact that the Particular Baptists of Wales were in fellowship with the London Baptists, a fact that some Hardshells, like Michael Ivey, have sought to deny, trying to insist that the Welsh Baptists disagreed with the London churches who wrote the 1689 confession, and did not have fellowship with them. The fact is, the Particular Baptists of Wales agreed with the London Baptists, and believed in Gospel means and in the church's support of missionary work and theological education. But, more on this later when we examine Hardshell revisionist histories.

Notice that the churches cooperated together by forming a kind of society or organization created by churches meeting in a general assembly. This is the very thing that the Black Rockers condemned as being new and against the Scriptures. The general assembly or association of churches agreed to raise a fund or stock to support missionaries and theological education for those with promising gifts. Thus, the argument that these things were new, in the 19th century, is false.

Ryland continued:

"About four months after the General Assembly had met, our brethren, from the church at Plymouth, wrote a letter to the metropolis (the original is before me) with which they remit to the trustees of the fund a collection of 27I. 3s. 8d. and a promise of nine pounds per annum, to be entirely disposed of in the education of young ministers—observing that if this contribution were applied to the general uses of the fund, and not to the very purpose for which it was collected, no more would be sent. This letter contains the recommendation of a Baptist student, at Bristol. As he was the very first, of whom I have any account, who was educated in this city, though not on our present foundations, a short account of him may be admissible."

Again, more proof of the first Particular Baptist churches of 17th century England were zealous to see that their ministers received a theological education.

Ryland continued:

"He devised—he planned—he executed. It was a structure of faith, founded in hope, on the basis of charity; to which he, its father, gave the name of The Bristol Education Society—a society of Christian Philanthropists, before whom I appear with a respect bordering on reverence."

"This society was formed in 1770, in aid of the Baptist Academy in Bristol, with the design, "That dissenting congregations, especially of the Baptist denomination, in any part of the British dominions, may, if it please God, be more effectually supplied with a succession of able and evangelical ministers; and that missionaries may be sent to those places where there is an opening for the gospel."

Again, more proof that our Old Baptist forefathers, well into the 18th century, continued their support for the training of ministers.

Now, let us look at the history of theological education among the churches in America who were in fellowship with their English and Welsh brethren.

John T. Christian in his history writes of the early doings of the Philadelphia Association in regard to ministerial education. He wrote:

"He likewise corresponded with the Philadelphia Association on the subject. That body, in 1722, proposed to the churches "to make inquiry among themselves, if they have any young persons hopeful for the ministry, and inclined to learning; and if they have, to give notice of it to Mr. Abel Morgan before the first of November, that he might recommend such to the academy of Mr. Hollis, his account" (Minutes of the Philadelphia Association, 27)."

Notice the early date of 1722 and how the American churches followed the lead of the 17th century English Baptists in the efforts to train their ministers. We have already seen how Elder Bradley referred to this incident as showing precedence for the training of ministers, a fact that the vast majority of Hardshells ignore. Further, there is nothing in history that suggests that Baptists objected to this work. Elder Sylvestor Hassell would later try to deal with this evidence by saying that it is true that the Philadelphia Association, the oldest in America, supported theological education, but that the Kehukee Association never did. However, the Kehukee was for years in direct fellowship with the Philadelphia Association and yet they did not raise any objection to theological education until the cantankerous Hardshells came into being in the early 19th century.

Christian next writes:

"Isaac Eaton, who was the pastor of the church at Hopewell, New Jersey, from 1748 to 1772, set up a school for the education of youth for the ministry as well as other callings, in 1756, and kept it for eleven years. To him belongs the honor of being the first American Baptist to establish a seminary for the literary and theological training of young men. For this work his natural endowments of mind, his varied attainments of knowledge, and his genuine piety happily qualified him. In the welfare and progress of this academy, the Philadelphia and Charleston Associations ever manifested a lively interest. They appointed trustees, had some oversight and liberally supplied funds. Some of the most distinguished men in the country were there educated."

Again, these facts are clear. The Hardshells who denounced such things as new, in the early 19th century, simply stated falsehoods.

Christian continued:

"The following extract from a letter, addressed to the Particular Baptist ministers of London, by the Philadelphia Association, in 1762, has an allusion to the academy at Hopewell:

Our numbers in these parts multiply; for when we had the pleasure of writing you in 1754, there were but nine churches in our association; yet now, there are twenty-nine all owning the Confession of Faith put forth in 1689. Some of the churches are now destitute; but we have a prospect of supplies, partly by means of a Baptist academy, lately set up."

Again, the Baptist churches in the 18th century were supporters of theological schools for ministers.

Christian continued:

"There follow some very interesting statements from the Charleston Association. "In 1755, the Association taking into consideration the destitute conditions of many places in the interior settlements of this and neighboring States (then provinces), recommended to the churches to make contributions for the support of a missionary to itinerate in those parts. Mr. Hart was authorized and requested, provided a sufficient sum should be raised, to procure if possible a suitable person for the purpose. With this view he visited Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the following year, and prevailed with Rev. John Gano to undertake the service; he attended the annual meeting and was cordially received. The Association requested Mr. Gano to visit the Yadkin first and afterwards to bestow his labors wherever Providence should appear to direct. He devoted himself to the work; it afforded ample scope for his distinguished piety, eloquence and fortitude; and his ministrations were crowned with remarkable success. Many embraced and professed the gospel. The following year he received from the Association a letter of thanks for his faithfulness and industry in the mission. At the same time, the expediency of raising a fund to furnish suitable candidates for the ministry with a competent share of learning, was taken into consideration, and it was recommended to the churches generally to collect money for the purpose. The members present engaged to furnish one hundred and thirty-three pounds to begin the fund; and Messrs. Stephens, Hart, and Pelot were chosen trustees. In 1759, Mr. Evan Pugh was proposed by Mr. Gano as a candidate for the ministry. He was examined, approved, and put on a course of studies. Having gone through them, he preached before the Association in 1762 with acceptance, and was soon afterward ordained."

Again, notice how not only the Philadelphia Association, but the Charleston also were supporters of missionary efforts and theological schools and believed that the churches should be solicited to support a fund for those ends. Further, Elder Gano was on a missionary journey when he helped to convert people in North Carolina from Arminian beliefs to those of the Regular Calvinistic beliefs, and these new converts formed the Kehukee Association. It is remarkable that the Kehukee Association would later denounce missionary work by the cooperative efforts of churches when their very beginning was the result of such activity.

Christian continued:

"The general contribution from the churches was not so great as wished. But a society instituted in Charleston in 1755, which was called ‘the Religious Society’ and flourished many years, was highly useful in aiding the Association in its benevolent design. Several young men were furnished by it with the means of pursuing studies preparatory to the ministry."

Notice the use of the word "society." A society was formed for the purposed of supplying the means for young men to be theologically educated. Where were the Hardshells in the 17th and 18th centuries? If they were then in existence, why is there no declarations against these things?

Christian continued:

"Rhode Island College, now known as Brown University, originated in the Philadelphia Association and was likewise intimately connected with the Warren Association. On October 12, 1762, the Association with twenty-nine churches, met at the Lutheran church building, in Fifth street, Philadelphia. Rev. Morgan Edwards was chosen moderator, and Abel Morgan clerk. At this meeting, says Backus, "the Association obtained such an acquaintance with the affairs of Rhode Island, as to bring themselves to an apprehension that it, was practicable and expedient to erect a college in the colony of Rhode Island, under the chief direction of the Baptists, in which education might be promoted, and superior learning obtained, free from any sectarian tests" (Backus, II. 137). The principal mover in this matter was Morgan Edwards, to whom, with the Rev. Samuel Jones, the business in general appears to have been entrusted. This gentleman, who had but recently settled in Philadelphia, was a native of Wales, having come to this- country upon the recommendation of Dr. Gill and other prominent ministers in London."

So, in the early to mid 18th century, the Baptists had created Hopewell Academny and Rhode Island college towards their efforts at schooling their ministers. Thus, the oldest Associations in America were supporters of theological education, including the Philadelphia, Chareleston, and Warren Associations. These practices existed for nearly a hundred years before the Hardshells began to object to them.

These citations from Christian are from "A History of the Baptists," Volume II, CHAPTER IX.

In the next chapter we will look at how the first Hardshells answered these facts.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Another New Article of Faith

In the past I have made a few postings about the evolving articles of faith seen in the “Primitive Baptist” churches.

Articles of Faith Departure
Time Salvation Now An Article of Faith
New Articles of Faith

With the rise of the conditional time salvation paradigm, any expressions about the certainty of gospel conversion and perseverance are being removed.

As part of this evolution, I noticed where the following has been included in one church’s Articles of Faith.

“We believe that only a remnant of the innumerable host of God’s elect family will believe and obey the true gospel and persevere in the straight and narrow way that leads to the joys of abundant life in God’s kingdom here on earth. (Matt. 7:13-14; Heb. 6:4-6; II Tim. 4:10)”

Sadly, such is the case now that the original views of the Kehukee brethren in 1777 on these matters have been completely abandoned.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Benjamin Keach on the Ordo Salutis

Benjamin Keach was one of the signers of the second London Baptist Confession of Faith and a pastor of the church later pastored by John Gill and Charles Spurgeon. He was one of the greatest Particular Baptist apologists. He believed that men were begotten by faith in the gospel.

This is important to realize because some "Reformed" or "Hyperist" Calvinists claim that the London Confession upholds the notion that men are born again or regenerated before they can and do believe the gospel. Clearly, Keach did not hold this view. We can expect that the Confession reflects the views of Keach. Keach did not hold to the "born again before faith" error.

Keach wrote (emphasis mine - SG):

"The work of conversion itself, and in particular the act of believing, or faith itself, is expressly said to be of God, to be wrought in us by him, to be freely given unto us from him; the Scripture saith not that God gives us ability or power to believe only, namely, such a power as we may make use of, if we will, or do otherwise, but faith and conversion themselves are said to be the work and effect of God.

Object. But it may be objected that every thing which is actually accomplished is in potentia before. There must therefore be in us a power to believe before we do so actually.

Ausw. 1. The act of God working faith in us, is a creating work, "For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus," Eph. ii. 10, and "he that is in Christ is a new creature." Now the effects of creating acts are not in potentia any where but in the active power of God, so was the world itself before its actual existence...all these preparatory works of the Spirit of God which we allow in this matter, there is not by them wrought in the minds and wills of men such a next power, as they call it, as should enable them to believe without further actual grace working faith itself. Wherefore with respect to believing, the first act of God is to work in us to will; so Phil. i. 13, "He worketh in us to will."

And again:

"It might be further demonstrated by considering how conversion, with the manner how it is effected, is set forth in the Holy Scripture; "The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart," etc. Deut. xxx. 6. What is this but the putting off the body of sin? Col. ii. 11. This is the immediate work of the Spirit of God, no man ever circumcised his own heart. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you, aud will take away the stony heart," Ezek. xxxvi. 26, that is, impotency and enmity which is in our hearts unto conversion."

And again:

"1. Gospel grace is glorious, because, when received in truth, it delivers the soul from bondage, it breaks the bonds. For the soul is not set at liberty by the here shedding of Christ's blood, without the application of it by the Spirit or infusion of grace into the heart.

2. The Gospel through the grace of it when received in truth, opens blind eyes, it makes them see, that never saw, in a spiritual sense, before; it opens their eyes that were bom blind; how blind was Saul till the Gospel grace shone upon him, or rather in him?

3. The Gospel through the grace of it, when received in truth, raises the dead soul to life. It is hereby we come to be quickened, the flesh profiteth nothing, it is the Spirit that quickeueth; that is, the human nature without the divine cannot accomplish salvation for us; nor shall any soul receive any saving benefit by the flesh, or death of Christ, unless he be quickened by the Spirit.

4. The Gospel in the grace of it, when received in truth, casts out that cursed enmity that is in the heart against God, and thereby reconciles the sinner to the blessed Majesty of heaven.

5. The grace of the Gospel works regeneration, makes the sinner another man, a new man. It forms the new creature in the soul.

The Gospel is glorious in respect of the tenders and offers made therein to the sons of men."

Question - What is tendered?

Answ. Repentance is tendered, pardon is tendered, peace is tendered, bread and water of life is tendered, perfect righteousness is tendered, adoption is tendered, glorious liberty is tendered; in short, God is offered, he makes a tender of himself. Christ is tendered with all his benefits, who is the Pearl of great price, worth millions; yea, more than ten thousand worlds; a marriage with Christ is tendered, the Spirit is tendered with all the blessings of it, a kingdom is offered in the Gospel, a crown is offered, a crown of endless glory, a crown that fadeth not away, eternal life is tendered."
("Tropologia: a key to open Scripture metaphors")

See here