Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reverencing Elders

"He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name."  (Psa. 111: 9)

"God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him."  (Psa. 89: 7)

"Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."  (Heb. 12: 28)

When I was with the Hardshells I commonly heard them declare how they were against their ministers being called "reverend" and often said, based upon the above Scriptures, that such a title belonged only to God and that it would be robbing God of what belongs to him to call any minister, or any man, "reverend."  For instance, an early 20th century Hardshell leader, Elder James Bibler, wrote:

"The Primitive Baptist ministers are called "El­ders," a New Testament word. (It is interesting to note: that the Strict Baptists of England refer to their ministers only as "Mr.") The title "Reverend" belongs only to God, never to man."  ("What is a Primitive Baptist," see here)

On a leading Hardshell web site we read:

"Question: Why do Primitive Baptists refer to their ministers as elders?

The scriptures offer two alternate titles for preachers. These are bishop and elder (I Tim 3:1-7, Tit 1:5-9, I Pet 5:1). The importance of using these scripturally authorized titles is emphasized by Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees for taking aggrandizing titles to themselves (Mt 23:5-12). The term reverend is use only once in the scriptures where it has reference to God (Ps 111:9). We are therefore unworthy to wear this title."  (see here)

Elder Hoyt Simms answers the same question and says:

"The Bible gives the title elder to preachers; therefore, we would use no other title. "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder..." (I Peter 5:1). New Testament preachers are referred to as "elders" or "bishops." The term bishop is much misunderstood and we do not use it for that reason, but it would be a legal title for a minister. We do not use the term reverend because it is never used in connection with a man in God's Word. This title appears only once in God's Word and there it has reference to God alone: "holy and reverend is his name" (Psalm 111:9). Should any man take upon himself a title that is reserved for God alone?"  (see here)

Yet, such a reasoning is unreasonable.  Have the Hardshells not read the following verses?

"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence (phobeō) her husband."  (Eph. 5: 33)

"Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."  (I Peter 3: 6)

"Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence (entrepō): shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?"  (Heb. 12: 9)

From these verses we see that there is no reason why one cannot call one's husband or father "reverend," or to give them reverence.  In the old testament, kings were reverenced, as was David.  Certainly elders deserve also to be reverenced. 

The same text that says of God - "holy and reverend is his name" would as much condemn calling any man "holy" as calling any man "reverend," if Hardshell logic is accepted.  But, do we find the word "holy" applied to men and angels in Scripture?  We read of holy angels (Matt. 25: 31; Rev. 14: 10), holy apostles (Eph. 3: 5; Rev. 18: 20), holy brethren (I Thess. 5: 27; Heb. 3: 1), holy men of God (II Peter 1: 21), holy prophets (II Peter 3: 2; Rev. 22: 6)

Many of these Hardshells who condemn calling any man holy or reverend will nevertheless use the word "saint" when referring to Matthew, Mark, or Luke.  But, "saint" means holy.  When they say "saint Paul" or "saint Peter," do they not realize that they have violated their own rule? 

It seems to me that their extremism regarding the use of "reverend" for ministers is simply a mere "show of humility." It is a kind of "putting on airs." 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A False Charge Returned

A false charge made against Means Baptists or those who have been dubbed Burnamites is that they have a desire to “help God”.  They’re accused of not believing that salvation is all of grace because they feel that they are instruments in the hand of God for accomplishing His purposes.   This charge actually comes back to haunt the very ones who make this unfounded accusation however, as we demonstrate below.

Instrumentality is established by simple grammar in the form of prepositions used by the Bible writers: through, with, and by.

For example, Paul writes to the Corinthians (emphasis mine – KF):

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” (3:5)

In this passage, evangelical faith is under consideration, and Paul asserts that he and Apollos were ministers by (instrumentally) whom the Corinthians believed.  Following the Hardshell grid, the text must be placed in the category of time salvation.

Let us therefore turn this charge upon the chargers:

Does God need help in accomplishing gospel time salvation?  Did Paul and Apollos help God bring the Corinthians to faith?

If so, then time salvation is not all of grace.  If not, then the charge that something wrought instrumentally is not all of grace is false.

Of course, the real Old Baptists face no such dilemna.  They do not so partition the Bible, nor are they driven to call upon man-made premises to escape instrumentality.  They realize that they are not “helping God” save His people.

They’re discharging their responsibility.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hardshell Landmarkism I

Chapter 135

In previous chapters I have examined the Hardshell claim to being "the one true Church of Christ," or "kingdom of God," showing that this is one of the evidences that they are a cult and that it is a false claim.  Historian John T. Christian 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) ("A History of the Baptists" - CHAPTER VII - "The Anti-Effort Secession from the Baptists")

In our previous series it was shown that though the Hardshells claim to have church succession through the Particular Baptists of the 17th century who wrote the first and second London Confessions, they cannot legitimately claim such for they are not in agreement with them on fundamental doctrine, especially as it relates to the doctrine of effectual calling.  Modern Hardshell historians, such as Elders Harold Hunt and Michael Ivey, have acknowledged this and have sought to find succession through the Welsh Baptists or the AnaBaptists of England.  In a future series I will deal with these other supposed lines of succession.  The bulk of Hardshells have claimed succession through the churches who rallied around the London and Philadelphia Confessions, however.

Since the Hardshells are Landmarkers, and believe that no church or denomination can legitimately claim to be a "church of Christ" who cannot show a clear succession of churches back to the Apostolic churches, the question of succession is paramount.  But, as has already been shown, and will be yet further demonstrated, the Hardshells can show no succession prior to the early 19th century.  Thus, by their own criterion, they cannot be a "church of Christ." 

It would have been better had the Hardshells not been deceived by Landmarker views, for then they could have simply affirmed, as did Alexander Campbell about the same time, that the church had apostatized and needed to be reformed and restored.  This would have led them to simply say that they were finishing the Reformation begun earlier by men such as Luther and Calvin and the Baptists of 17th century England.  In fact, one of the first names that the new Hardshell denomination called themselves, before finally settling on "Old School" or "Primitive" Baptist, was "Reformed" Baptists.  If they had not held to Landmark views on "church succession" then they would not have had to try to claim succession through the London Confession and would not have had to try and distort it.  They would also not be burdened with the impossible task of trying to find churches who believed their unique and aberrant views in previous centuries in a chain linked fashion. 

Further, it makes no difference if we admit that the Hardshells can claim succession through the Particular Baptists of the London and Philadelphia Confessions, seeing that the first Particular Baptists who wrote the first London Confession did not come from a previous succession of churches, a fact that the leaders of that first Confession acknowledged, as will be shown.

Further, the attempts of Landmarkers, including Hardshells, to find a link to link succession of churches back to the days of the Apostles has been futile.  As will be seen in future chapters, their piecing together groups such as Donatists, Novations, Albigenses, Lollards, Waldensians, etc., is nothing but a patchwork which proves nothing.  Most Landmarkers simply believe in chain link succession without proof, accepting it on faith. 

In order to understand these matters more clearly, we need to have an understanding of the basic ideas involved in Landmarkism. Bob L. Ross, who wrote the famous book on the subject, "Old Landmarkism and the Baptists," wrote:

"What is the proper definition of church perpetuity? Is it the view of extreme Landmarkism which contends that each new church down through the ages has been mothered by another church’s authority, extending directly back to the first church of apostolic times, thus forming what is called a linked-chain connection? This is what many Landmark Baptists teach, and it is the logical theory where the Romish position on church authority is held. When it is asserted that valid baptism must be administered by an administrator authorized by a church organization which was formed upon the authority of a mother church, then what other view could one adopt? To be consistent, the mother certainly must be as legitimate as what she demands of her children.Among modern Baptists, the ecclesiastical concepts and practices known as Landmarkism revolve around two basic assertions: (1) That God’s authority for fulfilling the commission of Matthew 28:18–20 lies solely in the corporate church (as an organization); and, (2) A valid corporate church, with the above authority, is one composed of validly baptized members, organized upon authority channeled into it by a previously existing valid church. This is often termed linked-chain church succession, and it supposedly extends all the way back to John the Baptist."  (Introduction to "Landmarkism: Unscriptural And Historically Untenable" - see here)

Ross also wrote:

"Landmarkism involves the authenticity of an organization, the administration and administrator of baptism, and the ordination of ministers. It is asserted that a church is unscriptural, baptism is invalid, and ministers are not duly ordained unless there is proper church authority for them. This is Landmarkism’s “chief cornerstone."  (Old Landmarkism and the Baptists," page 9)

Don Burke, in a thesis paper, wrote:

"However, many, perhaps most, Landmarkers take this concept one step further. These understand succession to be an unbroken chain of Baptist churches linked mother-to-daughter since the time the church was first established, although they largely make such assertions based upon faith, not on hard data. “The system [of Landmarkism] further involves the perpetuity, succession, or continuity of Baptist churches through which authority has descended through the ages and will continue...Landmarkers in general profess either an inability to demonstrate the succession or no necessity of doing so...”  This chain-link succession is the view espoused in the popular booklet The Trail of Blood J. M. Carroll), and is also foundational in G. H. Orchard’s History of the Baptists."  Burke cites Ross, saying (emphasis mine - SG): 

"Ross summarizes this doctrinal position thusly: “Graves’ basic presupposition, or axiom, was that the commission was given to the church as a corporate, visible organization institution. He also held that the authority of Christ can come only through this church institution, so that the authority of Christ, in this age, is synonymous to the authority of the church.” Ross then makes a criticism not uncommon among Landmarkism’s opponents: This group is guilty of the same type of evils as those found in Roman Catholicism. “Both agree that the authority of Jesus Christ is now residing in the visible church as a structured organization and can be received from no other source,” and he later notes “Landmarkism therefore makes the same identical claim to authority as the church of Rome and the Pope.”"  (An examination of the erroneous theories of "CHURCH AUTHORITY" and "CHURCH SUCCESSION" of the so-called "LANDMARK BAPTIST" movement see here)

Wrote Ross:

"The term LANDMARKISM is a nickname which refers to ecclesiastical views arranged as a logical system or ecclesiastical order and popularized by the late James Robinson Graves (1820-1893). According to Landmarkers, there is no authority in either the Word or from the Spirit for doing the work of the Great Commission; this authority comes solely from the local Baptist church.

It is held in theory by an undetermined number of Baptists in various conventions, associations, fellowships and independent churches. The system, sometimes called "church truth," is not exclusive to the Association Baptists, but according to Dr. I. K. Cross, the term "Landmarkism" has been widely used in "derision" for those Baptists in the fellowship of the American Baptist Association of Churches with which Dr. Cross is affiliated. There are quite a number of independent churches that are Landmark, but they do not affiliate with a convention or association. Usually, these churches do not believe there is scriptural authority for anything larger than the local church, although many of them do affiliate in "fellowships" and special "conferences."

Landmarkism involves the authenticity of a church as an organization, the administration and administrator of baptism, and the ordination of ministers. It is asserted that a church is unscriptural, baptism is invalid, and ministers are not duly ordained unless there is proper Church Authority for them. This is Landmarkism's "chief cornerstone." Some writers of the past referred to this position as "high churchism." Consequently, the Landmark view is that Baptist Churches ALONE have the authority of Christ to evangelize, baptize and carry out all aspects of the commission. The system further involves the perpetuity, succession, or continuity of Baptist churches through which authority has descended through the ages and will continue. This position, though not uniformly defined among Landmarkers, is believed to have been taught by Christ in such verses as Matthew 16:18, 28:19-20.

While Landmarkers in general profess either an inability to demonstrate the succession or no necessity of doing so, their efforts to advocate their system of "church truth" are almost invariably characterized by several quotations from secondary sources and their own respected authors, supposedly establishing the historical claim. Generally therefore, they believe that 1) the true and scriptural organization of a church, 2) the valid administration of baptism, and -- 3) the proper ordination of a gospel minister, all MUST be enacted upon the authority of a sound and true, scriptural church — namely, a church that was born through the authority of a "mother" church — continuing in like manner back to the original apostolic church of Matthew 28 where "church authority" first "began".

In refuting these errors, Baptists and other Christians today can believe in the continuity of Christianity since Christ and may devote themselves to regulating their faith and practice by the Scriptures (in an orderly manner) without adhering to the Landmark teachings of church authority and succession. The authority which validates baptism, or any other scriptural action of our time, does not reside in the church institution any more than does the authority which validates salvation itself; authority resides in Jesus Christ and is expressed in His Word. The church itself is dependent upon this authority, but this authority is not dependent upon the church. This book advocates no new or novel views in opposition to Landmarkism.

The first Confession of Faith set forth by English Particular Baptists is the well-known Confession of 1644, and in Article 41 it states:

"The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this ordinance (baptism), the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching disciple, it being no where tied to a particular church, officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered disciples."

Landmarkism, as a system, is of relatively recent origin among the Baptists, although various items in the system have been obvious at certain times in our history. But at least not until J. R. Graves popularized all of the related concepts in systematic form did a significant segment of Baptists finally become a fragmentation from other Baptists (in the Preface of his book, Old Landmarkism — What Is It?, Graves takes credit for "inaugurating the reform" which became known as Landmarkism."  (cited

The "Primitive Baptist Church" holds to several basic teachings of Landmarkism except that they generally believe that there are two phases of the "church" in the new testament, a visible body of local churches, and an invisible body encompassing all those who are of the elect. 

Further, the Hardshells do not believe that the Commission was given to the church, as I detailed in those chapters dealing with "Hardshells and the Great Commission."  In this, however, they are inconsistent and contradictory, as I have shown in the above series.  They believe, as do the Landmarkers, in the supremacy of "church authority," and that nothing can be done apart from it.  They would generally reject the view of Dr. Gill who taught that ministers may baptize without requiring permission, in each case, from a church, and that baptism does not automatically add one to a local church.  They certainly would reject the view expressed in the above citation from the first London Confession which affirmed that any disciple may baptize, and the administrator of baptism does not himself have to be baptized.  The inconsistency is seen in the fact that the Hardshells do not believe that the Great Commission was given to the church, yet in their practice they put all the authority for baptizing into the hands of the church

Another of the chief tenets of Landmarkism which Hardshells do accept is the view that the validity of each church depends upon having a valid ecclesiastical ancestry, that it must have descended from other valid churches.  They teach that no church can be considered a valid church of Christ that does not have this chain link succession.  There are lots of problems with this view, however.  First, as I have already intimated, they cannot show such a succession, and accept the fact without proof and simply upon a leap of faith.  Secondly, by their own admission, many of the churches have descended from churches that were invalid, and from invalid baptisms and church constitutions.  They confess that these irregularities cannot be corrected, and so simply ignore the fact. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fanciful Interpretation

The Hardshells are adept at fanciful interpretation.  It may be due in part to their being against theological education for their ministers.  One example of this may be seen in Elder Guy Hunt, former Governor of Alabama and once a major leader among the Hardshells.  In a book called "Identity of the True Baptist Church," volume I, published in 1971, under an article titled "The Commission," Hunt says this about the command of Christ to "go and preach the Gospel to every creature."  (Mark 16: 15-16)

"The every creature means those who are creatures in Christ.  'Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.'  (II Cor. 5: 17.  If you were to try to embrace every human being in 'every creature,' you would have to also embrace beast, fowls, and fish, for they are also creatures."  (pg. 130)

This is the most absurd thing that I have ever heard!  People who are not married to the Hardshell cult will also see it as ridiculous.  With such men as Elder Hunt it makes no difference to point out to them how common sense excludes the inclusion of animals in the term "every creature."  And, it makes no difference to point out how the text puts those who do not believe into the category of "every creature," for the Hardshells believe that most of those who are "new creatures" do not believe the Gospel, or believe in Jesus.  How can one reason with such people who handle the word of God in this manner? 

Jesus says, that among the "every creature" that hears the Gospel, those who do not believe will be "damned," but this is not enough to convince such men as Hunt.  He would say that the damnation is not eternal damnation, but simply a temporal damnation.  He would likewise say that being "saved" in the passage cannot denote eternal salvation, but a temporal salvation. 

Now, is this not fanciful interpretation?  Does it not show how the cults are blinded by their own suppositions, which they take to the Scriptures and make the Scriptures to agree with their preconceived ideas?  By such hermeneutics one can make the Bible say or mean anything.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Hardshell Baptist Cult

Here is the list of chapters already published (with two chapters on the Great Commission yet to be published but which are reserved). 

You can read these chapters at

Already Published

Chapter 1 - The Primitive Baptist Church
Chapter 2 - Personal Experiences
Chapter 3 - The Hardshell Cult
Chapter 4 - Hardshell History
Chapter 5 - Hardshell Extremism
Chapter 6 - Hardshell Hypocrisy & Peculiarities
Chapter 7 - Time Salvation - A Novel Idea
Chapter 8 - The Spirit Alone Theory of Regeneration
Chapter 9 - Hardshell Logic on Regeneration
Chapter 10 - Hardshellism & The Infant & Idiot
Chapter 11 - Saved By Money?
Chapter 12 - Hardshells on Faith (A Primer)
Chapter 13 - Hardshells On Faith (Conclusion)
Chapter 14 - Hard-Shell Busters (First Cracking)
Chapter 15 - Hardshells On Repentance (Primer)
Chapter 16 - Hardshells On Repentance (Conclusion)
Chapter 17 - Hard-Shell Busters (Second Cracking)
Chapter 18 - Hardshells on Conversion
Chapter 19 - Coming To Christ
Chapter 20 - Direct Voice Speaking (Historical)
Chapter 21 - Direct Voice Speaking (Doctrinal)
Chapter 22 - More On The Voice Of Christ
Chapter 23 - I Peter 1:23
Chapter 24 - James 1:18
Chapter 25 - I Cor. 4:15
Chapter 26 - Hot Shots Returned (1st Volley)
Chapter 27 - Hot Shots Returned (2nd Volley)
Chapter 28 - Hot Shots Returned (3rd Volley)
Chapter 29 - Hot Shots Returned (4th Volley)
Chapter 30 - Hot Shots Returned (5th Volley)
Chapter 31 - Hot Shots Returned (6th Volley)
Chapter 32 - Hot Shots Returned (7th Volley)
Chapter 33 - Romans 10 & Gospel Means
Chapter 34 - Romans 10 (cont.)
Chapter 35 - Parable of the Sower & Seed
Chapter 36 - Pray for the Salvation of your Children?
Chapter 37 - Eternal Children Doctrine
Chapter 38 - Eternal Children Doctrine II
Chapter 39 - Hollow Log Doctrine
Chapter 40 - Biblical Regeneration
Chapter 41 - Infant Regeneration
Chapter 42 - Addresses To The Lost I
Chapter 43 - Addresses To The Lost II
Chapter 44 - Addresses To The Lost III
Chapter 45 - Addresses To The Lost IV
Chapter 46 - Addresses To The Lost V
Chapter 47 - Addresses To The Lost VI
Chapter 48 - Addresses To The Lost VII
Chapter 49 - Elder Leland's Preaching
Chapter 50 - From Law to Grace?
Chapter 51 - Regenerated AND Converted?
Chapter 52 - Beebe-Trott Model
Chapter 53 - Regeneration Evidence?
Chapter 54 - On Conviction I
Chapter 55 - On Conviction II
Chapter 56 - On Conviction III
Chapter 57 - The Original Paradigm
Chapter 58 - Hardshells on Gill I
Chapter 59 - Hardshells on Gill II
Chapter 60 - Hardshells on Gill III
Chapter 61 - Hardshells on Gill IV
Chapter 62 - Hardshells on Gill V
Chapter 63 - Hardshells on Gill VI
Chapter 64 - Hardshells on Gill VII
Chapter 65 - Hardshells on Gill VIII
Chapter 66 - The Great Commission I
Chapter 67 - The Great Commission II
Chapter 68 - The Great Commission III
Chapter 69 - The Great Commission IV
Chapter 70 - The Great Commission V
Chapter 71 - The Great Commission VI
Chapter 72 - The Great Commission VII
Chapter 73 - The Great Commission VIII
Chapter 74 - The Great Commission IX
Chapter 75 - The Great Commission X
Chapter 76 - The Great Commission XI

Chapter 77 - The Great Commission XII (not yet published)
Chapter 78 - The Great Commission XIII (not yet published)

Chapter 79 - Hardshell Proof Texts I
Chapter 80 - Hardshell Proof Texts II
Chapter 81 - Hardshell Proof Textx III
Chapter 82 - Hardshell Proof Texts IV
Chapter 83 - Hardshell Proof Texts V
Chapter 84 - Hardshell Proof Texts VI
Chapter 85 - Hardshell Proof Texts VII
Chapter 86 - Hardshell Proof Texts VIII
Chapter 87 - Hardshell Proof Texts IX
Chapter 88 - Hardshell Proof Texts X
Chapter 89 - Hardshell Proof Texts XI
Chapter 90 - Hardshell Proof Texts XII
Chapter 91 - Hardshell Proof Texts XIII
Chapter 92 - Hardshells & Perseverence I
Chapter 93 - Hardshells & Perseverence II
Chapter 94 - Hardshells & Perseverence III
Chapter 95 - Hardshells & Perseverence IV
Chapter 96 - Hardshells & Perseverence V
Chapter 97 - Hardshells & Perseverence VI
Chapter 98 - Hardshells & Predestination I
Chapter 99 - Hardshells & Predestination II
Chapter 100 - Hardshells & Predestination III
Chapter 101 - Hardshells & Predestination IV
Chapter 102 - Hardshells & Predestination V
Chapter 103 - Hardshells & Predestination VI
Chapter 104 - Hardshells & Predestination VII
Chapter 105 - Hardshells & Predestination VIII
Chapter 106 - Hardshells & Predestination IX
Chapter 107 - Hardshells & Predestination X
Chapter 108 - Hardshells & Predestination XI
Chapter 109 - Hardshells & Predestination XII
Chapter 110 - Mediate or Immediate?
Chapter 111 - Mediate or Immediate?
Chapter 112 - Mediate or Immediate?

Chapter 113 - Mediate or Immediate?
Chapter 114 - Mediate or Immediate?
Chapter 115 - Mediate or Immediate?
Chapter 116 - Mediate or Immediate?
Chapter 117 - Passive or Active?
Chapter 118 - Passive or Active?
Chapter 119 - Conditional or Unconditional?
Chapter 120 - Conditional or Unconditional?
Chapter 121 - Conditional or Unconditional?
Chapter 122 - Conditional or Unconditional?
Chapter 123 - Hardshells & Justification I

Chapter 124 - Hardshells & Justification II
Chapter 125 - Hardshells & Justification III
Chapter 126 - Hardshells & The London Confession I
Chapter 127 - Hardshells & The London Confession II
Chapter 128 - Hardshells & The London Confession III
Chapter 129 - Hardshells & The London Confession IV
Chapter 130 - Hardshells & The London Confession V
Chapter 131 - Hardshells & The London Confession VI
Chapter 132 - Hardshells & The London Confession VII
Chapter 133 - Hardshells & The London Confession VIII
Chapter 134 - Hardshells & The London Confession IX

Upcoming chapter series will deal with these topics.

Hardshell Landmarkism
Hardshell Pelagianism
Theological Schools
Sunday Schools
Protracted/Revival Meetings
Musical Instruments & Choirs
Hardshell Hermeneutics
The KJV Controversy
Hardshell Histories

Hardshells & The London Confession IX

Chapter 134

In the previous chapters it was observed how the Hardshells have historically endorsed the London Confession of 1689, and by extension the Philadelphia Confession, and have claimed that it was through the English Particular Baptists who wrote the old Confession that they claimed to have a "succession" back to the days of the Apostles.  It was further observed that the Hardshells have claimed to be "primitive" or "original" Baptists based upon their identification with those churches who wrote and endorsed the old Confession.  However, as was shown, the Hardshells, for the most part, have departed from what the Confession teaches regarding the absolute predestination of all things and the perseverence of believers.  They have all but totally rejected the Confession's teachings regarding God's use of the word in the effectual calling of the elect.  Though the Confession states clearly that all heathen, all who are not Christian in faith, are lost, Hardshellism denies this.  It was also shown that the work of the Fulton Hardshells was a work of perversion as respects the true teaching of the Confession on these doctrines.  It was shown how many Hardshells candidly acknowledge this and so divorce themselves from the old Confession and attempt to find a "succession" for their churches through some other avenue, as has Elders Michael Ivey and Harold Hunt. 

In the preceding chapters it was shown how the Fulton "footnotes" were but distortions of the old Confession made under the pretense of "clarifying" language that was now archaic.  However, it is interesting that the only places in the Confession where the language was judged to have changed and so needed "explanation" was the sections that the Hardshells reject.  Yet, the same English was used in those sections that did not get any "explanation." 

In my disputations on my Old Baptist blog, Hardshell apologist Jason Brown affirmed that the reason why the Fulton brethren did not offer footnotes to the section dealing with perseverence was because they agreed with that section.  What does this say but that the sections they offered "footnotes" were the sections that they did not agree with and therefore sought to pervert? 

It is clear that the purpose of the Fulton gathering was not for the purpose of convincing any outside of the Hardshell cult of the fact that they were in agreement with the old Confession but simply to deceive the existing Hardshell cult following. 

Elder Crouse, it must be remembered, stated that it was the "right" of every Hardshell to interpret the old Confession as they see fit.  But, as I responded, the Hardshells have no right to affirm that the authors of the Confession agreed with them without proof to the contrary.  Our examination of the Confession showed that the Hardshell interpretation was baseless and nothing but a "torturing" of the language as Elder Sarrels confessed, and an attempt to "explain away" the clear meaning of the Confession as Elder Hunt confessed.  Further, the additional evidence that was presented from the leading authors of the Confession proved conclusively what was meant by the authors of the Confession.

In this final chapter in this series I want to cite from some of the first generation leaders of the Particular Baptists, men who were dead in 1689 but who nevertheless reflected what was the belief of those ancient Baptists.  In the June, 1971 issue of the Christian Baptist, cited in the first chapter of this series, Elder Tolley was cited.  In the following issue of August, Elder G. E. Griffin, a leading Hardshell, wrote to Tolley and said:

"There are some statements in the 'London Confession' that most Primitive Baptist ministers consider contradictive - this seems so to me - but if we could have talked to the ministers who published the Confession, we may have understood them more clearly." 

But, Elder Griffin should have had no need to talk to them!  His making such a statement shows that he had not read any of the numerous writings of the authors of the Confession!  For, had he, he would have realized that they believed exactly what they clearly expressed in their Confession!  In Tolley's article he says ""We believe that there will be millions of the 'elect' saved in heaven who have never, nor will they ever, hear the gospel of the Son of God."  (pg. 13)  This of course was not what the Confession taught, as we have already seen.

John Spilsbury was one of the first leaders of the Baptists who wrote the first and second London Confessions.  Therefore, to ascertain his views on the question of how God saves his elect is further evidence of what was the belief of the Baptists who wrote those old Confessions. 

Wrote John Spilsbury: (see here)

"To which union with Christ, these three things must be minded, as essential to the same:

First, God's revealing and tending of Christ, as the all sufficient and only way to life.
Secondly, a heart fitly disposed by faith to apprehend and receive Christ so tendered.
And lastly, The Spirit of grace uniting and knitting of the heart and Christ together, as aforesaid.

And this I understand to be that effectual and substantial union with Christ, to justification of life, which the Word of God approves of; that must decide all differences in matters of Religion. For justification to life ever presupposes apprehension of Christ, as the subject of life, and a true application of the same by faith, as aforesaid. The Gospel holds forth no other justification to salvation, but what is of faith; and faith ever presupposes the party's knowledge of the thing believe, Rom. 10:14, Heb. 11:6."

This clearly shows that the old Baptists of the Confession did not believe Hardshell views regarding faith and salvation.  It clearly shows what was the doctrine of the Confession, how the word of God was the means employed by the Holy Spirit in effectual calling. 

He also wrote:

"And for any to appoint God a way how to save Infants, or to draw out to themselves a way how the Holy Spirit of Grace must sanctify them to salvation, above what is written, I think it is somewhat too much boldness. God will have His creature to keep only to His Word, as the Rule by which man must judge all things; and the Word of God shows that he has elected persons to the means as well as to the end, being the way unto the same. And that was the Adoption of Sons, to be called and justified by believing in Jesus Christ, as Eph. 1:4,5; Rom. 8:29, 30; I Pet. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13, 14. And therefore the ground of God's calling us, and our believing is attributed unto our Election, Acts 2:47; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28; Rom. 11:7. And to the glory of God, as the cause of all, by the dispensation of His grace upon His chosen in Christ, and their free obedience unto Him again, Rom. 9:23, 24; Eph. 1:6, 12.

These things God has revealed in His Word, and further, I dare not go, but leave the secret things to God, Who gives not account of all His ways.""

Here Spilsbury affirms that the word of God is "the means" whereby sinners are called and justified, and how it is "by believing in Jesus" that they are saved.  Spilsbury and the old Baptists did not know of such a thing as "non-cognitive faith," or a faith that was merely "embryonic" (as Sarrels taught) or a "faith" that was defined as "ability to believe" (Montgomery & Guess). 

He said:

"Not that I hold all that die in their infancy to be damned, but being a secret thing, I leave the same to God."

In previous chapters I have answered all the arguments that Hardshells make regarding the regeneration of infants and have shown how the Confession taught that the regeneration of those who die in infancy was not exactly like the regeneration of adults.  Spilsbury did not teach, as do Hardshells, that the regeneration of infants was exactly like the regeneration of adults.  Spilsbury's opponent, the Presbyterian Blakewell, was arguing that the regeneration of infants proves that the 1644 Confession could not be correct in its assertion that faith in Christ was necessary to salvation, but Spilsbury rejected Blakewell's assertion, which shows what the old Baptists believed. 

Spilsbury wrote:

"But I would not be understood to oppose Infants so, as to exclude them from salvation, no, I am so far from this, that I do not so much as impose any such work of grace upon them, as essential to life, in this or that way, as many do, but leave all in respect of them, as a secret thing to the wisdom and grace of God in Christ, by whom the sin of all the Elect are forever done away at once."

Spilsbury, unlike the Hardshells, refused to make the supposed regeneration of infants the paradigm for how all the elect are regenerated.  With Spilsbury the regeneration of infants was a "secret thing," but with our modern Hardshells it is no secret at all.

In his confession of faith, Spilsbury wrote:

"I believe that God of his grace, in his own time, effectually calls such as shall be saved to the knowledge of the truth, who is said, of his own will to beget us by the word of truth: in which work of grace, nature is as passive, as a child in the parents begetting of it; and so God by His Spirit works faith in the hearts of all such to believe in Christ, and his righteousness, only for justification. And thus they are made righteous before God in Christ, and so conformable to the will of God the Father through the Son; and also made holy through the work of regeneration, and the holy Spirit of grace dwelling in them; yet all such have still, as long as they live here in the flesh, remaining in them, an old man, that original corruption, the flesh that wars against the spirit, which hinders them in their obedience both to God and to man, and many times draws them to that which is evil, and contrary to their intentions; yet all of them shall through Christ overcome, and safely be brought to glory at last."  (Article 5)

Elder Griffin, had he read such writings, would have no doubt about what was in the mind of the writers of the London Confessions.  Not that the Confession itself is unclear. 

Elder J. M. Peck was one of the first to battle the Hardshells in their modern innovation in denying the use of means in effectual calling.  He debated Daniel Parker, one of the first leaders in the anti mission movement.  Peck wrote:

"But there are some things which Regular Baptists have been accused of propagating, and some speculations preached by good men, which cannot be found, or legitimately inferred, by implication from this Confession of Faith (Philadelphia). These things are not there, and can not be implied from the doctrines taught..."

"Some may yet imagine and teach that the Spirit regenerates the elect without means, or the subordinate agency of his gospel. But in this they teach directly contrary to the unequivocal declarations of the Confession of Faith, no less than against the scriptures. The doctrine of means, or the instrumentality of the gospel in regeneration, as well as in all its adjuncts, is taught very plainly and directly in chapters 1st, 7th, 8th, 10th, 13th, 14th, and 20th; and is taught by implication in several other chapters. The only exception made is in chapter X, under "Effectual Calling," sec. 3: --

"Elect Infants, dying in Infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh, when and where, and how he pleaseth. So also all other persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word."

The construction put on the first clause of this section by brethren in the Philadelphia Association was this: That the phrase "Elect Infants" includes all who died in a state of unconscious infancy -- that the second clause referred to adult idiots, and others, who were rendered incapable of being "outwardly called by the ministry of the word," by some providential acts.

The authors and revisors [sic] of this "Confession" would have repudiated with the expressions of horror, the mischievous speculation that God has an elect people, scattered among the nations of the earth -- that he knows his own -- and that he quickens or regenerates these without the gospel or any of the instrumentalities he has provided. REGULAR BAPTISTS were missionary Baptists, and knew the meaning of the great commission to preach the gospel to every creature, specially in view of their conversion and salvation.

The Confession of Faith teaches the doctrine of "particular election," without regard to human merit; but it also teaches the necessity of preaching the gospel to all men, without which sinners capable of hearing the gospel cannot be saved. The anti-christian dogma that the gospel need not be preached to sinners of every class and grade, for the specific purpose of being the instrument of their conversion and salvation through the mighty working of the Holy Spirit, has no place in the Confession of Faith of Regular Baptists." (THE BAPTISTS - Regular, Separate and United" By John M. Peck, 1855) (see here)

Hardshell elder Mark Green wrote:

"It is an easily documented fact that among uninspired writings, the London Confession of Faith and the works of John Gill have been held by Primitive Baptists in high regard and with great respect. We have claimed them as our own and have referred to them time and time again in our defense of the faith against Arminianism and Fullerism. They provided a very visible link for us with the “old country” and those brethren who were not only of our faith, but also of our own language and a similar culture."  ("Two Old and Honored Friends," in the foreward - see here

One thing is very clear to any unbiased and honest mind.  The chapters in this book on "Gill and the Hardshells" and "Hardshells and the London Confession" show conclusively that neither Dr. Gill nor the London Confession are "two old and honored friends" of the Hardshells.  No one but a blinded Hardshell cult member could believe otherwise. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gowens's Question

Let's ask a question.

"Does the objective fact of redemption by Christ depend on man's perception or understanding of that fact?" (Michael Gowens, Temporal Salvation: A Bogus or Biblical Concept?)

This is the question posed by Elder Gowens at the beginning of his work.  An answer in the negative is the starting point for his treatise, and the ultimate starting point for extreme conditional time salvation.  Based on such an answer, salvation can be considered solely an objective thing outside of us which may not affect a real subjective change within us.  If correct, then salvation may exist without perception, knowledge, understanding, faith, repentance and experimental holiness.  Talk about regenerated souls being spiritual vegetables!  What a proposal!

First, it must be stated that the answer to such a question will not be settled by human logic. No amount of reasoning that perception doesn’t make something a fact will suffice. The Word of God alone must provide the answer.  Gowens provides no scripture(s) which prove that salvation can exist without cognitive perception, but merely assumes that it is the case, and proceeds to build his argument upon it.  The question is posed to the reader to see if they will reason to the same conclusion.

Second, there is need of some clarification in understanding "the objective fact of redemption".  There’s a reason why this is so.  During the years I was among this people I noticed the tendency of many to go to the extreme on the finished work of Christ by thinking that nothing else had to happen in the future for the elect to be saved.  “It is finished”, they say, which is certainly true, but not to be construed as they do. “How terribly have these blessed words of Christ been misunderstood, misappropriated and misapplied (Arthur W. Pink)”!  In light of this problem, I can't help but think of John Murray's Redemption Accomplished and Applied and the important biblical lesson conveyed by the title. There is the securing of our redemption accomplished by the Lord at Calvary, and then there is the application of it in regeneration, both essential for salvation.  Now the redeeming work of Christ certainly did not depend upon my subjective awareness any more than my election by the Father did, for these are objective elements of salvation accomplished before I came to be.  However, when we come to consider the application of redemption (and we must) the answer is an absolute yes.  Faith is the instrument through which sinners are saved.

“For by grace are ye saved thru faith…”  (Eph. 2:8)

I find it absolutely amazing how one can especially read the Gospel of John, the books of Romans and Galatians, and deny such.

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (John 1:12)

"But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;" (Rom. 4:24)

"That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14)

Since salvation does not involve solely the death of Christ without the effectual communication of its benefits, the question which ought to be asked is...

“Does the application of redemption by Christ depend on man’s subjective perception or understanding of that fact?”

Unless one understands that salvation involves both the death of Christ, already accomplished, and the on-going application of it to sinners in the new birth, he may be deceived into thinking that since my faith came after the finished work of Christ, therefore it is not necessary for my salvation.  What a lie to tell sinners! The "objective fact of redemption" therefore is most misleading.  Salvation can never be completely viewed as an objective thing.  It may be viewed as such only if we view our election by God and the death of Christ as stand-alone acts without taking into consideration the work of the Holy Spirit in communicating the benefits of these saving works of God.  However, God’s elect were chosen to attain to the subjective experience.  That’s what it means to be saved!  The merits of Christ's work must be applied to our bodies for this end result to be realized, at which time salvation becomes a most "subjective" thing!

Any attempt to strip the subjective experience away from salvation exposes an ignorance as to what salvation is. It's as if, as Elder Thomas Mann correctly noted, that God is only concerned with populating heaven. This is a woeful error for those in the time salvation camp.

Let us suppose for a moment, though, that nothing of a subjective nature is necessary for the objective fact of salvation.  Would this be enough to deny the claim that the two are nevertheless joined together?

Let us suppose that God decreed that eternal salvation was not dependent upon man’s faith, but for whatever reason He was pleased that it would nevertheless accompany those whom He would save.  Consider the sun which shines in the sky.  I am no scientist, but I do not think that the light which comes forth causes the sun to exist, nor does the sun depend upon it to continue.  Now what man would be so foolish to reason that since the sun doesn’t rely upon the sunlight, that must mean we may have one without the other?  Simply turn our eyes to the heaven and what do we see?  Where there is the sun, there is sunlight, for God has joined them together!  In like manner, speaking hypothetically it could have been the case that while God decreed that faith was not to be an instrument in the salvation of sinners, He nevertheless ordained that it would be a definite fruit in those whom He would save.  Gowen’s question does not address this as a possibility, yet rather makes an appeal to logic which says that since an objective fact does not depend upon the subjective perception of such, salvation may thus bypass the mind and the fruits of conversion do not necessarily follow.  Totally unscriptural.

The question which Gowens needs to confront in order to substantiate the doctrine of conditional time salvation is not simply if eternal salvation depends upon the subjective experience but whether or not the latter accompanies eternal salvation (Heb. 6:9).

It would have to be proven that it doesn’t. 

Such a hopeless task, for the subjective experience is what salvation is meant to effect. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Warwick Association Circular

As more evidence that the first Hardshells were not as radical as are today's Hardshells, the following citation from one of their oldest associations will demonstrate.  In the 1834 circular letter of the Warwick Association there was an attempt by the Hardshells to answer some of the charges being leveled against them as a result of their declaring against such things as mission societies and Sunday Schools.

"We are represented as being opposed to preaching “the necessity of faith and repentance;” whereas we constantly affirm the necessity of “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” in order to happiness here and hereafter. But we do not tell impenitent sinners, that they are penitent, and therefore the promises of the Gospel are for them – that they are mourners, therefore they shall be comforted – that they are weary and heavy laden, and therefore they shall find rest – that they hungry and thirsting after righteousness, therefore they can see, hear, and understand – that they are alive, either in whole or in part and that nominal faith and natural repentance being conditions of salvation, they are therefore to perform those conditions. Neither do we tell them, that although they are dead in trespasses and sins – yet they possess natural powers, with which they can perform spiritual things. Nay, but we tell them, that they are deaf, and dumb, and blind, yea dead - that they have no power whatever to perform spiritual things; no will; for Christ said, “Ye will not come unto Me that ye might have life.” No ability; “for no man can come unto Me, except the Father which sent Me draw him.” We tell them, “they were conceived in sin, and brought forth in iniquity,” that “the whole head is sick and the whole heart faith; that, from the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores.” – that, “destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace they have not known, and that there is no fear of God before their eyes.” – that “they are under condemnation already, and the wrath of God falling on them.” Therefore in this condition, there is not a comforting promise for them in all the Word of Godbut on the contrary the woes and threatening, the thundering and curses of the Word of God are their portion, and without repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, they must perish – that a mere external repentance or turning, however socially good in its place, is by no means sufficient – that there is nothing short of that repentance which flows from a Godly sorrow for sin, “which is eternal life,” and “needs not to be repented of,” – that will answer."  (1834 Circular Warwick Baptist Association by Gabriel Conklin, emphasis mine SG see here)

From this it is seen that the first Hardshells did not affirm that faith in Christ was not necessary to be eternally saved.  Yet this is the teaching of today's Hardshells.  This is interesting seeing most Hardshells think that they have not changed in doctrine over the past two hundred years!  If, however, they would do a little more research and reading of their forefathers, they might be led to see the truth about what the modern Hardshell church has become.

Hardshell Doctrine

In the June 1971 issue of "The Christian Baptist," a leading periodical of the time, editor Elder S. T. Tolley wrote:

"We believe that there will be millions of the 'elect' saved in heaven who have never, nor will they ever, hear the gospel of the Son of God."  (pg. 13)  This was said in Elder Tolley's article  "A Re-Statement of our Faith Needed" in which he showed how the Hardshells do not believe what the London Confession says about salvation, about the Gospel being God's means of begetting faith, which faith is necessary to salvation. 

In the past, in this blog, Elder Fralick and I have affirmed that it is the nigh universal belief of Hardshells that one does not have to believe in Christ in order to be saved, and that many idol worshipping heathen will be saved in heaven.  Hardshell apologist Jason Brown, with whom we have debated here in this blog, has said that this is not true.  Yet, we have presented all kinds of evidence to prove that what Elder Tolley affirms is in fact the view of Hardshells and we have called upon Jason Brown to give us the citations from Hardshells today who believe otherwise, but which he has not been able or willing to do. 

In the issues that followed Tolley's article, there were numerous letters published from Hardshells and not one of them objected to Tolley's statement, but those that commented were all in agreement. 

This is the fatal error of Hardshellism!  They tell people, such as Muslims, Buddhists, Hindos, etc., that they may be saved in spite of their not being Christian.  This is truly a "damnable heresy." 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stanley Phillips Agrees

Stanley Phillips, a present day elder with the Absoluter faction of Hardshells, and editor of the Hardshell web page "asweetsavor," wrote:

"Between 1814 and 1840's, this “Means and Measures” Old School party grew rapidly on the frontiers, and were basically considered “brethren” by all other Old School groups. The Means Baptists had no particular quibble about suing churches of our Lord, “brethren” or not; and in the 1840's law-suits by them to claim church properties, strained that relationship between them. By the 1850's the separation between the “Means Baptists,” and the “Anti-Means” Baptists was close to completion. Some who were members of Predestinarian Old School Baptists joined in fellowship with the Means Baptists. The Means Baptists found these former Predestinarians very capable leaders, among the most notable was John Clark, WITH the Ketocton, and William Conrad of the Licking Particular, and their law-suits and bitter slanderous misinformation is still correct tidbits today."  (Stanley C. Phillips January 2009 - see here)

Elder Phillips admits that for many years the "Primitive" or "Old School" denomination had within it many who believed that God saved (regenerated or begat) by means of the Gospel during the first generation of the anti mission movement.  He says that "by the 1850s the separation between the 'Means Baptists,' and the "Anti-Means' Baptists was close to completion."  Actually, however, it was not till about 1890 when there was a formal division.  This is an admission that many of today's Hardshells are not willing to make, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.  Most Hardshells have been led to believe that the Hardshells have always rejected means, and that the original division in the 1827-32 period was over the question of means.  But, the fact is, the original division was not over the question of the use of means in salvation, but over methods, and over "humanly devised means," such as mission organizations and Sunday Schools. 

Elder Phillips also acknowledges that Elders John Clark and William Conrad, who I have cited in previous postings, were "Means Baptists."  Yet, many Hardshells today acknowledge that Clark was "one of them."  It just shows how little they really know of their own history and how far they have removed from what was originally believed by their founding fathers.  Further, Elder Conrad was fellowshipped by Elder Wilson Thompson and labored together.  The first Hardshells could recognize and fellowship those who believed in means but today's Hardshells will not.

Original Hardshells

The founding fathers of the "Primitive Baptist" or "Old School Baptist" denomination were not originally opposed to the belief that God regenerates or begets sinners by means of the preached word.  In fact, as the following citations will demonstrate, many of the first generation leaders of the Hardshells believed in means, just as Dr. Gill and the London Confession of faith affirmed.  In this posting we will first cite five leading elders from the 1830-1880 period who were leading first generation anti mission proponents, namely Dr. John Watson, Dr. R. W. Fain, James Osbourn, Hosea Preslar, and John Clark.  Then, we will cite from elders Gilbert Beebe and Samuel Trott.

Speaking of the "Antinomians" Dr. Watson says:

"In short, we have taught the word of doctrine to our hearers, without stopping to exhort them to be "doers of the word." Such preaching has been a great injury to us as a denomination; it has quenched the spirit of exhortation among us, and the exhorter is afraid to call on sinners to repent, for fear of being called an Arminian. Parkerites and Antinomians call the things which have been so much neglected Arminianism, and they have thus, in a goodly degree, suppressed them. But, as there is some prospect of our getting clear of that heresy, we hope to see the spirit of exhortation revive among us again; to see our ministers take up the long-neglected things just indicated; and to see our Brethren going forth in all the obedience of faith. We had better thus incur the Parkerite’s reproachful term, Arminian, than the Bible penalties for a neglect of them." (Page 330)

"There is, strange to say, an error entertained by some brethren, that the minister of the Lord should not call on "all men every where to repent;" of sinners to look to Christ and be saved; nor on unbelievers to believe. They are constantly saying, to preach in this way betrays Arminianism on the part of the ministry which thus exhorts its hearers, and also on the part of the Church which tolerates such preaching! Observe, shall we become Arminians by faithfully preaching according to the commission given by the Savior? Some, indeed seem to think so! For when the minister discharges his duty zealously, faithfully and in a gospel manner, there are certain ones who cry out, he is an Arminian! The great error, that this is one of the varieties of Arminianism, is affecting both our pulpits and Churches; for instead of requiring this kind of preaching, and sustaining it as a Church, we fear some are opposed to it, and use their influence to suppress it? I ask now, in the name of this world-wide commission, including as it does every creature capable of hearing, and which authorizes and commands the ministerial servants of the Lord to preach the gospel to every creature, who does so? with that love, zeal and regard for the sinner, I subjoin to the question, which the Lord enjoins. Further, is it not to be feared that we have in this way grieved and silenced to some extent the spirit of exhortation in our pulpits? The spirit of exhortation which spoke out plainly and fully, through primitive ministers in the great affair of bringing in these "other sheep" we fear is now with us only in a grieved and vexed state! Primitive preachers did not suppress it, nor attempt to confine its word of exhortation to believers only, as some affect to do among us!" (Pages 84,85)

"It is high time that our Churches were looking after their preachers in this respect, and calling on them for those pointed warm gospel exhortations which accompanied Christ’s primitive ministry. Brethren, have we not deviated somewhat in this particular from the Apostolic mode of preaching? If so, let us correct our errors by the word of God. Who is willing to attempt it? Who is ready to lead off in this great but neglected work as "examples" to more timid and fearful ones? Let those undertake it who are able to convince the gainsayers from the word of God, that such preaching was commanded by the Lord; and that the preaching of his servants as long as we have a Scriptural history of it furnishes a practical example of this mode of preaching the gospel."
"A gospel without exhortation; without a call on the sinner to repent and believe; a gospel which does not in word address itself to all; is not the gospel which Christ ordained subordinately for the bringing in of his "other sheep." (Pages 84-86)

"A gospel without exhortation; without a call on the sinner to repent and believe; a gospel which does not in word address itself to all; is not the gospel which Christ ordained subordinately for the bringing in of his "other sheep." (Pages 84-86)

"Let us take a practical example. We have it on record in the 13th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. When Paul and Barnabas preached at Antioch of Pisidia, had any of our ultra brethren been there and heard their zealous appeal to all those present, they would have called them Arminians." (Page 86)

"While we combat this ministerial deviation of ours on the part of some, which affects to find Arminianism where there is none, let us carefully guard against those tenets which do really involve it. For instance, when we in our doctrine maintain that by means of our devising, we can extend the spiritual blessings of the gospel beyond the ordination or election of God, and employ such means for such a purpose, we then deviate both from the principles and practical course of the gospel, and thereby plainly indicate that we are Arminians in the proper sense of that term, so justly opprobious to the Old Order of Baptists. But as long as we call on men to repent every where, believing that God only can give repentance, and that he will give it to as many as are ordained unto eternal life, even if He does not to as many as we may address, we may escape all Arminianism, and more especially if our practical course in preaching does not involve any unscriptural methods."

"There are yet a few who contend for the general outward call of the Gospel, but we doctrinise it to (sic) much, lest some ultra brother should conclude that we are Arminians." (Page 89)

"Did these Corinthians hear through the preaching of Paul, by his words, or through the "demonstration of the spirit?" By both. The one was of the preacher, and the other of God. Who dare separate them? Who can unite them? God and God only. How do they become united?"

"This vital union of the word and the spirit is of grace; is not of the power of this world." (Page 94)

"As they are all brought by the same spirit, the same gospel." (Page 155)

"My text further says, "They shall hear my voice." – "the still small voice of truth pervading the whole soul in the power of the Holy Spirit." (Page 154)

"The Galatians began in the Spirit, by hearing the voice of Christ."

"Thus did these "other sheep" hear the voice of Christ according to the different modes of expression, as just cited, meaning in every example the same thing–the hearing of the voice of the Son of God inwardly, mystically, effectually. Christ never brought one of them without this." (Page 155)

"But they could not hear without a preacher, hence the divine plan included preaching, and inasmuch as it was embraced in the divine arrangement, it must be directed and maintained by the Lord, as it has always been and ever will be. "God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness," shined into their hearts, not only in the light of Paul’s preaching, but also in the light of the demonstration of the Holy Ghost. Otherwise Paul’s preaching would not have been heeded." (Pages 94,95)

"The blessings of Abraham–of the Gospel–came upon these Gentiles, by Jesus Christ, and not by works of righteousness, which they did...their state, being under sin before conversion, is the state which we know we were in. To be under sin, is to be under the curse of sin, and to be under the curse of sin, is to be under the death of sin. Nothing, then, but the Gospel, as the power of God, can deliver from this actual state of things. The soul must have life, it must repent, it must believe, it must persevere. Gospel blessings only, through Jesus Christ, not works of merit on our part–can produce these spiritual–not fleshy–results." (Page 112)

"The teaching of the Apostle is that the elect were chosen unto salvation from the beginning, through sanctification of the spirit unto a belief of the truth. Hence, as long as these "other sheep" are brought in, there will be a belief of the truth, through a sanctification of the spirit. It cannot, therefore, die out until all the elect are brought in." (Page 127)

"...let them have all the benefits of evangelical preaching, believing, as we do, that the great design of this providence about which I have been treating, is to bring in God’s elect among them, as I have before stated." (Page 142)

"We have often heard certain persons say, if they believed the things which we do, they would not exhort believers to perform their duties, or sinners to repent. They do not perceive how such exhortations and warnings may be transformed by the power of God into grace itself!

By our doctrine we are encouraged to exhort sinners, for we, by faith, look to the grace which sanctions it, and seals it often to the heart.

If these be the means of grace, let us employ them, though we may often fail in the use of them, in our own strength.

There is a palpable difference between a literal declaration of Gospel truths by the minister and a demonstration of them by the Holy Spirit; the former is general and the latter special. Nor does the specialty of the one interfere with the generality of the other. A supposition that these conflict with each other has induced many to conclude that we violate our doctrine whenever we exhort; but such a conclusion is very erroneous. The Gospel must be preached, in its literal fullness, to all, though a ‘demonstration of the Spirit’ he confined to a chosen few. Matt. 20:15,20; 22:16; I Thess. 1:5."
(Page 233)

"Humiliating as may be the concessions, yet it should be made, they culpably neglect the duties which they owe their ministers! many of whom are greatly restricted in their ministerial course by such neglect." (Page 235)

Under the chapter "The New Birth, Union With Christ, Etc." he writes:

"We are great sticklers for the Holy Scriptures; we deduce our doctrinal creed from them with great care, but do not conform our lives to their practical precepts as we should." (Page 234)

"...this book has been written with but little expectation of its being read and approved by any except the Old Order of Baptists." (Pg. 7 - Dedication)

"Reader, if you are not an old Baptist, I fear you may loose your patience, as I must request you to follow me on while I adduce a biblical doctrine on this subject. Our opposition to Missionary institutions is not understood; it needs an explanation, which, when given, will be found to accord with the word of God." (Page 218)

From "Introductory Essay" by R.W. Fain

"Upon this principle, the Gospel is preached to all, repentance and an interest in a Savior’s blood is offered to all. The charitable invitation "whosoever will" goes out to all inviting them to "take the water of life freely."

"While all Gospel Ministers feel the weight of duty in extending this invitation, yet they know at the same time, that a depraved will is under a wicked influence, and that such a will never leads a soul to Christ. But that God is able to subdue the stubborn will, to change the evil disposition, and to prepare the sinner for salvation, in opposition to the devil and all his unholy influences.

Then, Brethren in the ministry, we should take courage. Let us go forth "with the whole armor of God" and do battle for his cause. Let us preach Jesus Christ our Saviour "the way, the truth, and the life." Let us preach Him a choosing, Electing, and loving Saviour. Let us rear the blood stained BANNER OF THE CROSS, with the blessed and heavenly watchword "whosoever will," inscribed in living letters over its ample folds."
(pages 9-16)

Elder John Clark, editor of Zion's Advocate, agreed with Watson and Fain.  In the Mt. Carmel church trial, Elder Mcinturf, an associate of Elder Clark, with Elder Burnam, testified:

"I was going to show you that old Brother Clarke who was the founder of Zion’s Advocate taught the same, and Dr. Gill, the great commentator, did too. And that Dr. Purifoy did the same but we have already spoken of him. On page 59 in the first volume of Zion’s Advocate, I have copied an article from it. Well, it is simply an editorial that I wrote. It is the beginning of the third number, March, 1891.

“Commenting upon Romans 1:16, he says that the gospel ‘is a means made use of by God in quickening dead sinners, enlightening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, softening hard hearts, and making of enemies friends’ (Vol. VIII. p. 437) Same volume; page 339, upon Acts XXVI, 18, he says ‘Now, though this is all the work of the spirit, by whom only the eyes of the understanding are enlightened; yet this is ascribed to the apostle, not as the efficient cause, but as the instrument and means, through preaching of the gospel, which the spirit of God would, and did, make use of.’”

Dr. Purifoy published in Zion’s Advocate in 1879 and here are his exact words taken from it. I can produce the original. Here are his exact words:

“I firmly believe that it is the duty of every gospel minister to preach repentance and remission of sins, in the name of Jesus, to all the unregenerate with whom he comes in contact in his pulpit ministrations. As he does this in the name of Jesus, realizing the utter inability of the sinner to repent until the grace of repentance is given him from on high, he has an assurance from the scriptures, that God’s word will not return unto Him void, but will accomplish that whereunto he sends it, and prosper in the thing he pleases. Thus the gospel ministry is instrumental in God’s hands, through Jesus, in raising dead sinners to newness of life---spiritual life---just as the apostles were instruments in His hands in casting out devils, healing the sick, and raising the dead.” 
(see here)

Elder Clark also wrote:

"Under the quickening power and influence of the Holy Ghost, the Word preached comes to God's people in power, by which they live, hear, and believe with the heart unto righteousness. Now, when the Gospel is preached they know it. It is the voice of their Shepherd, the great Shepherd...For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." [Rom. x., 6, 8, 10]"  ("Does the Gospel Ever Produce Division Among the Saints of God" - Written by John Clark - ZION'S ADVOCATE - January, 1880)

"But some object and say, Why preach repentance to dead sinners? They can neither hear, see nor understand. That is true; that they hear not, see not, understand not, so far as the preacher is concerned or is able to effect them; but why did the prophet call upon the dry bones to hear the word of the Lord? He answered, “And I prophesied as I was commanded.” That was authority then for all who feared God, and it is still the authority for all such. This objection, however, will lie against all the exhortations and admonitions to the saints as it does against addresses to the ungodly, for the Christian has no more power than the unbeliever. The difference between them is not in the power, but in the will; as it written: "To will is present with me, but to perform that which is good I find not.”"

"The theory that we must preach to men according to the power they possess to obey is sublimated Arminianism, and yet; the advocates of it are very fraid of being called Arminians. Christians know, however, by the word of his grace, and by the revelation of that word in their hearts, when it comes in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance, that Christ’s word is true which says, “Without me you can do nothing.” The Spirit takes the word of Christ and shows it to his people, and thus it is verified in the experience."

"To preach to men upon the ground that they have power to do what is commanded, or to refuse to preach to them because they have not the power, shows that the confidence is in the flesh and not in God; that they depend upon the will of the flesh and not upon the power God, and that is the very essence, double refined, of Arminianism."

"The minister of Christ does not preach to any class of men upon the consideration of their ability or inability. He has the sentence of death in himself, and therefore cannot trust in himself; and he has no confidence in the flesh of any other, but his confidence, his faith and hope, is in God, from whence alone are his expectations." ("What To Preach and How To Preach" Written by John Clark in Zion's Advocate--August 1875 - see here)

Elder Hosea Preslar, first of the Bear Creek Association (NC) and then as associate with Elder Watson in Tennessee, wrote the following in his book "Thoughts on Divine Providence."

Elder Preslar wrote:

"The gospel of the grace of God is food to the children of God, and they all hear it and recognize it, as it is (the truth)." (Page 60)

No modern "Primitive Baptist" would confess such to be the truth of the bible! They do not believe that "all" of God's elect will believe the gospel.

"...the other is the child of God, that was begotten by the word of truth; James 1: 14; I Cor. 4: 15; I John 5: 1." (Page 112)

"This is the new man begotten by the word of truth; yea, begotten of God; I John 5: 18." (page 185)

Elder Preslar, in combating the errors of Daniel Parker, a founder of the Hardshell denomination, and his "Two Seed" faction, writes:

"And as to their views of the use and design of the gospel being for nothing but for the edification of the Church, and believers being the only subjects of gospel address, I believe it not." (Page 186)

He says that the gospel "is moreover to be for a witness unto all nations; Matt. 24: 14; and for the awakening of sinners, who are dead in trespasses and in sin." (page 187)

He goes further (same page), saying:

"But some object (the "ultraist" Hardshells - SG) to these ideas and say all this is the work of the spirit of God; and the gospel has nothing to do with it. Ah, a gospel without a spirit! Well, God save me from a gospel that has not His spirit. God says His word is quick and powerful, and He says by Peter, This is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you; I Peter 1: 25. And as to the subjects of Gospel address, it is to every creature the disciples were commanded to preach the gospel; and Paul said, Whom we preach warning every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, etc.; Col. 1: 28. So we see that their idea on that point is false as the balance, and we will now give their last, but not least error a passing notice."

Elder James Osbourn wrote:

"But if so be that the specific object which the Deity had in-view, and designed to accomplish by means of, or in a way compatible with the gospel which he ordained and promulgated, was the eternal salvation of the bride, the Lamb's wife, Rev. 21; 9; we then of course may safely conclude, that that specific object must and will be accomplished, just in that way and manner as infinite wisdom may have dictated. And lo, this is what we do believe and rejoice in; and in the gospel we also believe, every necessary arrangement and provision is made and permanently settled for the effecting the salvation of that church which was the object of God's everlasting love and delight, and which he gave to his Son before time began.

That God ordained the GOSPEL, and promulgated the same, with a settled purpose to save sinners thereby; and hence in this his gospel he says, "I will give them an heart to know me, that 1 am the Lord; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God : for they shall return unto me with,their whole heart." And again says the Lord, 'Zaccheus make haste and come down, for to day I must abide at thy house.' And again it is said, 'As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.' And we are told that the Lord works in men to will and to do of his own good pleasure; and that Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost; Jer. 24, 7; Luke, 19, 5; Acts, 11, 48; Phil. 2, 13; Luke 19, 10. (14, 15)."
(pg. 14)

Thus, we see that many of the great leaders of the Hardshells when first formed were believers in Gospel means. 

Next, we will cite from Gilbert Beebe and Samuel Trott, who despite rejecting the use of means in "regeneration," believed that they were employed in the work of being "born" of God, they believing that regeneration was distinct from the new birth.

In the paper "The Signs of the Times," edited by Elder Beebe, Trott wrote:

"Thus in the new birth there is a striking correspondence to the natural birth; to each there is a seed implanted, and then a quickening by which life is manifested. And when the natural child is brought to the birth, the sorrows of the woman in travail, the fetus being broke loose from that by which alone it had been hitherto nourished, strongly represents the agonies and the killing by the law belonging to the second birth.

"We might go on to notice the effect of the conception of this incorruptible seed, how it produces faith in God, quickens the man to a sense of his relations, and accountability to God, of the spirituality and broadness of the law, and of the sin in his acts, thoughts, and nature; of the distress occasioned thereby; of the darkness that covers the whole operation within, hiding all excepting certain external effects from the individual view, so that he is a mystery to himself, and can tell no more why he is thus, than he can tell of the wind whence it cometh or whither it goeth. We might show that whilst the soul is thus quickened to such a deep sense of the law or of sin as being against God, that it still evidently is not changed from a natural to a spiritual soul, and therefore it cannot receive the things of the Spirit, or the things freely given us of God, but entirely looks to the deeds of the law as the way of acceptance with God. But we forbear, and come to the BIRTH...The name Isaac therefore and Sarah’s being said to laugh, is strikingly expressive of that joy which is experienced when a person is first born again, or brought by faith to behold the light of the Sun of Righteousness into liberty. It is all joy and excitement at beholding the way of pardon and acceptance with God." 
("THE NEW BIRTH" From "SIGNS of the TIMES" - Vol.21 - 1853 - Writings of Elder Samuel Trott, pages 404 - 409)

The same view was taught by Beebe (see here)

Beebe wrote:

"We also, with brother Buckles, hold that regeneration, in the order of things, and according to the word, must precede the new birth. How can that be born of God that is not first begotten of him?"  (see here)

Further, if one will read the Black Rock Address, the document that gave birth to the Hardshell denomination, it is clear that the Hardshells who wrote the Address did not object to the use of means, but to methods of evangelism. 

Thus, not only are today's Hardshells not in agreement with the Old Baptists who wrote the London Confession, and of Baptists of the 17th, 18th, and early 19th century, but are not in agreement with their own founding fathers!