Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hardshells & The London Confession III

Chapter 128

In  chapter three of "Regeneration," written by Elder W.H. Crouse, published in 1928, Elder Crouse attempts to defend the "anti-means" side against those of the "means" side from both Scripture and Baptist history.  His main antagonist was Elder Screws of the "Progressive" faction.  You can read the entire work here.

Crouse wrote:

"Much has been said about the London Confession of faith. It was written by a number of English Baptist ministers in 1689. Their manner of expression was quite different from ours. In so long a time language has naturally undergone some change. Some sections, standing alone, seem ambiguous. These sections, separated from the remainder of the Confession, and without explanation, have never been accepted by American Primitive Baptists as clearly and correctly expressing their faith. Taken as a whole, and properly explained, our ministry has most universally accepted it as a true expression of our faith. That there might be no misunderstanding in reference to its teaching the meeting at Fulton, Ky., in 1900, added explanatory footnotes. To illustrate let us notice a few sections."

Elder Crouse wrote his work as a result of controversy with some Hardshells in the 1920s who were returning to the teaching of the London Confession regarding God's use of means in salvation, a phenomenon that is even now occurring in a limited way among today's Hardshells.  Some in the Progressive wing of the "Primitive Baptist Church," such as Elder Screws, were giving historical proof for the contention that the denial of means by the Hardshells was a modern innovation, just as Elder Watson had affirmed in his book "The Old Baptist Test." (1866)  Elder Crouse attempted to rebut all the historical evidence that was against him on this point and one of those proofs was the London Confession of Faith. 

Elder Crouse admits that some sections of the Confession, read by itself, teaches against the Hardshell anti-means position and that such sections "have never been accepted by American Primitive Baptists."  Yet, this is clearly not the case.  Most of the first generation Hardshell leaders believed in means in the new birth and eternal salvation, men such as Gilbert Beebe, Samuel Trott, William Conrad, Hosea Preslar, John Watson, R. W. Fain, John Clark, James Osbourn, Daniel Jewett, etc.  Also, the fact that there was a division in the 1880s over this issue shows that even at that date many Hardshells and Regular Baptists still believed in means. 

Elder Crouse says that those sections which teach means are "ambiguous," and by this he wants his fellow cult members to believe that those sections really do not mean what they say.  Well did Solomon say - "The simple believeth every word."  (Prov. 14: 15)  It is not doubted that the average cult member will believe everything that their leaders tell them, but Elder Crouse was delusional to think that anyone who looks at the issue honestly and researches the matter would believe him.  The words of the old Confession were not "ambiguous" to the original Hardshells and to those who originally wrote the Confession.  They are not ambiguous to me, nor are they ambiguous to Elders Tolley, Hanks, Hunt, Garrett, Sarrels, Ivey, nor many other Hardshells who have forsaken the Confession. 

Elder Crouse says "Taken as a whole, and properly explained, our ministry has most universally accepted it as a true expression of our faith."  "Properly explained"?  How is it proper explanation to attempt to "explain away" the clear meaning of the document?  The "explantory footnotes," as we shall see, are not "explanations" at all but perversions and distortions and many Hardshells candidly acknowledge this as we have seen. 

Crouse cited this from the LBC:

Chapter 7, Section 2: “Moreover, man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a Covenant of Grace, wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and  salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him that they might be saved, &c.”

Crouse then made these comments upon it.

"Primitive Baptists would not accept this section without explanation. Therefore a footnote was added setting forth our interpretation and calling attention to seven other sections where their teaching clearly shows that they held the same view we do on this point."

What Elder Crouse should have said was - "Primitive Baptists would not accept this section without twisting it to say something else."  He admits that he cannot accept what it says.  Further, what is "ambiguous" about what the Confession says in the section cited?  Where is the "archaic language" that needs "explanation"?  The first generation of Hardshells accepted the Confession and did not feel that it needed such "explanations."  It was not till the year 1900 that Hardshells felt like the Confession needed to be reworded. 

Elder Crouse thinks that the brethren who wrote the old Confession contradicted themselves, that they said things in other sections that showed that they did not mean what they said in the words cited above.  But, no where in the Confession do the writers of the Confession say anything that denied what they said here.  They believed that sinners are freely offered life and salvation, and this through the proclamation of the Gospel.  The section also says that faith is required of sinners "that they might be saved."  Basically, what Crouse is saying is - "we can accept what this section says if we can make it say something totally different."  Hardshells do not believe that sinners are offered life and salvation!  Therefore, they are not in agreement with the Confession and are not "primitive" Baptists.

Crouse continued:

"Thus the reader will see that Primitive Baptists accept the London Confession, ONLY when taken as a whole, and giving to each section that interpretation which the complete Confession demands. It seems strange to us that they would say, “wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation”; but the remainder of the Confession clearly shows that those words did not mean to them what they would, without explanation, mean to us. The most of our American associations and churches in drafting their articles of faith have entirely eliminated this ambiguity and set forth their faith in language so clear that all may easily understand."

Crouse admits that he cannot accept the Confession at face value.  He can accept it as changed and when made to say something else.  Why doesn't he just admit, like other Hardshells have done, that he does not believe the old Confession?  When Crouse says that "most of our American associations and churches...have entirely eliminated this ambiguity," he means that he has rejected what it says and substituted something totally different.  What the Fulton document "eliminates" is not "ambiguity" but the actual clear teaching of the Confession.  Besides, as I have said, all one has to do is to read the other writings of the London brethren who wrote the old Confession to discern what they meant.  It is also to be noted that the new articles of faith that Crouse says the Hardshells wrote did not have anything like what the Confession says.  You will not find anything close to the idea that God offers unto sinners life and salvation. 

Crouse wrote:

"Since we deny that God regenerates sinners through the means of the ministry and the preached word we are no longer to be considered as Primitive but as “Modern” Baptists...And all our ministers, present and past, whom we considered true Primitives, we are now informed, were only “Modern” Baptists, all because they did not believe that God uses such means in the regeneration of sinners."

Did not Elder John Watson in his "Old Baptist Test" say that those who were beginning to deny the use of means in salvation were "modern innovators"?  Would he not know?  When Crouse says "all our ministers, present and past, whom we considered true Primitives...did not believe that God uses such means in the regeneration of sinners," the key phrase is "whom we considered true Primitives."  It is easy to show how all our Baptist forefathers, prior to the 19th century, believed that God used means in the eternal salvation of the elect, as we have shown in previous chapters and will yet show in future chapters.  But, in doing so, all Crouse has to do is to say "we don't consider them true Primitives."  But, this will be difficult for him to do.  Was Elder John Watson and Elder R. W. Fain not true Primitives?  Was Elder John Clark and Elder James Osbourn not true Primitives? 

Crouse continued:

"Let me state clearly his line of reasoning:

1. To be a Primitive Baptist one must believe the  London Confession, which confession teaches that God uses the gospel as a means in the regeneration of sinners.

2. We repudiate that Confession in that we deny that God uses the gospel as a means in the regeneration of sinners.

3. Therefore, we are not Primitive Baptists."

This was the "line of reasoning" that Elder Screws made against Crouse and it is the same which I have made throughout this book on the Hardshell Baptist cult.  The ancestral line of Hardshell churches were churches that endorsed the London and Philadelphia Confessions of Faith and believed that the Gospel was God's ordained means for calling the elect to life and salvation.  But, this is now denied by the Hardshells and therefore they have no right to be deemed to be "primitive" or "original" Baptists.  It was because Ivey saw this problem that he sought to find another line of succession than that which goes through the churches who endorsed the London and Philadelphia Confessions.  He thought he found it in a "Welsh Succesion," but in this he failed as I have shown in other writings which I will eventually include in this book.  Elder Harold Hunt, who I have already cited, also saw that a succession could not be legitimately made through the churches who endorsed the London and Philadelphia Confessions and also sought to find another ancestral line which he thought he found among the "Anabaptists" of England.  But, he also failed as I shall show in future chapters wherein I review various Hardshell histories. 

Crouse continued:

"To escape that conclusion we MUST prove at least one of the premises to be false. The second we readily acknowledge to be true. We must therefore prove the first false or admit that we are not Primitive Baptists-we must either prove that one does not have to believe the London Confession to be a Primitive, or that the Confession does NOT teach that God uses the gospel as a means in regeneration."

Elder Crouse admits that he repudiates the Confession's belief in means but denies that one must be in agreement with the Confession in order to be deemed a "primitive" or "original" Baptist.  The problem that Crouse has is in the fact that his forefathers all attempted to prove their succession by claiming agreement with the old Confession.  Crouse chooses, like the Fulton elders, to deny that the old Confession taught means.  But, in this he can only convince those Hardshells who will believe anything, the dishonest ones.  As I have shown, many Hardshells admit that the Confession teaches the means doctrine.  And, anyone not in the cult, and who has no bias, will acknowledge that the Confession clearly teaches the use of means. 

Crouse continued:

"But let us apply the syllogism to the Editor:

1. To be a Primitive Baptist one must believe the London Confession, which confession teaches that God does NOT use the gospel as a means in regeneration.

2. The Editor repudiates that Confession in that he teaches that God does use the gospel as a means in regeneration.

3. Therefore, the Editor is NOT a Primitive Baptist."

Elder Crouse is taking the position that the London Confession does not teach the use of means in salvation, as did the Fulton brethren.  But, in doing so, he only shows how dishonest he is, and how he is a devoted member of a cult.  That the Confession teaches the Gospel means position is clear to any unbiased minds.  As I have shown, even many Hardshells acknowledge that the Confession teaches the means doctrine.  But, Crouse will not admit it.  Is this not typical of the cults?  Show them in the Scriptures where their false doctrines are taught against and all they will do is to deny it.  Just as cults twist and distort the Scriptures so do the Hardshells twist and distort the London Confession.

Crouse continued:

"I have already shown what Throgmorton said about that Confession. He insisted that he, as a Missionary Baptist minister, was standing on that confession, so far as it relates to the use of the gospel in the regeneration of sinners. And you remember that HE charged Elder Daily with denying that faith. Said he, “In denying my proposition, Brother Daily is out of harmony with the Old Baptist Faith! If he shows that I am wrong in this discussion, he will show that the Old London Confession of 1689, of which his people have boasted so much, is wrong. If he shows that my proposition is wrong, good-bye to the doctrine of the old Baptists. I am here to defend the Old Baptist Faith, as to what is involved in this discussion. Brother Daily is here to oppose it, and to overthrow it, if he can! Will you ‘Old School’ Baptists follow him in this?”"

What could such argumentation prove to anyone?  It is only intended to be an argument to those in the Hardshell cult who have made such men as Elder Daily into a cult leader who could not possibly be in error.  Crouse assumes that he must be right about the teaching of the old Confession on means because Elder Daily took the position of Elder Crouse!  Crouse, rather than using the London Confession as a criterion for judging who is "primitive" uses rather the beliefs of Elder Daily as the criterion!  The truth of the matter is, Throgmorton was right about what the Confession taught about means, and many Hardshells agree with Throgmorton.

Crouse continued:

"So you see when these “Original”(?) Baptists charge US with having repudiated the London Confession, and they assure the brethren that in contending for gospel regeneration they are standing on the London Confession and defending Old Baptist Faith, they are only joining hands with Dr. Throgmorton, the Missionary; and they are publishing to the world that Elder John R. Daily and those who stood with him were traitors to Old Baptist Faith and that Throgmorton was faithful and true! The idea of Elder John R. Daily trying to repudiate and destroy Old Baptist Faith, and W. P. Throgmorton weeping and wailing over it, and declaring that Old Baptist faith SHALL NOT be destroyed!

And after thousands of prayers have gone up in thanksgiving to God for such a man as Elder Daily to so ably present and defend our faith, as he did in that discussion; and after thousands of volumes of that published discussion have been circulated in the interests of our cause, these self-styled “Original” Baptists fly to the defense of Throgmorton and declare to the world that he was right and Daily was wrong! And then they ask us to be quiet, that there is no principle involved, that there is no need for a fight, and will be none!"

What baseless argumentation is this from Elder Crouse!  The Hardshells are right about the London Confession because John Daily took the position of the Fulton brethren in denying that the London Confession taught the use of means!  The Hardshells are right because Throgmorton could not have been right!  Elders Hunt and Ivey, two later day "historians" for the Hardshells have both put out books where they say that the London Confession is a "New School" Baptist document in teaching the means doctrine!  Seems like they don't agree with either Daily or the Fulton Convention. 

Further, thousands of Particular Baptist churches today embrace the London Confession and believe that it teaches means.  Are they all deceived about what the Confession plainly says?  The ones who wrote the original Confession have shown what they meant by their statements on means by looking at their other writings and yet we are to believe, if Crouse is right, that they really did not mean what they wrote! 

Crouse continued:

"As we have said before, if the London Confession does teach that God uses the preached word in regenerating sinners, that is NOT the faith of Primitive Baptists. Primitive Baptists have the right to interpret that Confession for themselves when they adopt it, and they have NEVER so interpreted it."

What an admission!  "Primitive Baptists have the right to interpret that Confession for themselves"!  They have the right to twist and distort it!  I guess they have the same right to interpret the Scriptures in any way they want, regardless of the facts?  Do citizens have a right to "interpret" the statutes in any way they want?  Do they have a right to misinterpret the writings of others?  Frankly, Elder Tolley was right in calling on the Hardshells to write their own confession rather than trying to pretend to believe in the old London Confession.  That would have been the more honest thing to do.

Elder Crouse then cites this section from the London Confession:

"Chapter X, Section 1. “Those whom God hath  predestinated unto life he is pleased in his appointed and accepted time effectually to call by his Word and Spirit out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace of salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds, spiritually and savingly, to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made most willing by his grace.” 

Then he adds these comments:

"Undoubtedly they were here speaking of regeneration or the impartation of eternal life to dead sinners. This is the effectual call, as they say in Section II. This work is done they say conjointly by the Word and Spirit.

They positively mention no other way in which this work is done. So, if by the “Word” they mean the gospel, then where do our brethren who hold that interpretation and harp on the London Confession, find in this section any ground for saying that sinners are ever regenerated without the gospel? Here again they bind themselves to the position that eternal salvation is limited to the scope of the gospel. And it is another rule in logic that whatever proves too much for one’s proposition proves nothing."

Notice that Crouse is not trying to properly explain or interpret the Confession, but trying to find fault with it, trying to argue with it.  Crouse gives the impression that the authors of the Confession may not have possibly meant by "the Word" the Gospel or the Scriptures, but could have meant that "the Word" means Christ.  But, as Ivey observed, the texts given in the Confession shows that they did not mean Christ but the Gospel.  Further, it is not true that the writers of the Confession were saying that all sinners must be called externally by the preaching of the Gospel, for they spoke of the regeneration of infants as being done without it.  That is why they spoke of God's ordinary method, in regard to adults who are called and quickened, and God's extraordinary method in regard to infants.  Further, they were not denying that even infants attain to faith and enlightenment, but felt that such cases were mysteries of which the Scriptures were silent.

Crouse wrote:

"They must do one of three things, viz.,

1. They must renounce this section of the Confession altogether, or
2. They must deny that the “Word” means the gospel, or
3. They must admit that none can be regenerated where the gospel has not gone."

But, all this is false, as I have already shown.  The "Word" does mean the Gospel as the section with its Scriptural references show, and as other sections of the Confession also show.  Further, the Confession does say that all, except those who die in infancy, who die without hearing the Gospel are lost, a fact which Elder Hunt acknowledges is the teaching of the Confession. 

Crouse continued:

"But this was NOT the meaning of this Section. In the Fulton Meeting, 1900, this footnote was added: “We do not understand that sinners are effectually called by the written word IN ANY SENSE out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature to grace and salvation but by Christ, the Word of God. The quickening and renewing of the holy Spirit prepares the sinner to answer the gospel call, as seen in Section 2 (2 Tim. 1: 9; 1 John 4:6).”"

It is not my intention to deal with this false accusation now for I will look at the Fulton footnotes in a separate chapter.  However, I will say that the "footnote" does not "explain" anything but simply denies what the Confession plainly says.  All the footnotes does is to give their own views on the subject which are in opposition to what the Confession plainly says.  Further, many Hardshells are honest enough to admit it and confess that these Hardshell elders are simply trying to "explain away" the teaching of the Confession.  At least Elder Hanks in giving his approval of the Confession's parts he could agree with, left out this section.

Crouse continued:

"We all KNOW that they meant by the “Word” the Word which John says was made flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14)-the Word which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23). “And this is the word,” says Peter, “which by the gospel is preached unto you.” This Word is NOT the gospel. It is the Word which the gospel declares unto us-even the Lord Jesus Christ. By this Word (Christ) ye are born again.

But concerning these footnotes Elder Screws, who claims to be an “original”, says: “In 1900 the Fulton Convention, composed of representatives from nearly all parts of our country, adopted this confession, with some explanatory footnotes, which footnotes are more confusing than explanatory.”"

But, the "Word" of the Confession is not Christ, as Elder Ivey admits, though he praised the Fulton Sanhedrin for their misinterpretations!  But, again, we shall have more to say on this later.  Further, Elder Screws was correct when he said that the Fulton footnotes were "more confusing than explanatory." Further, would not the numerous writings of the authors of the London Confession not show what they meant by this section?

Crouse continued:

"If the Editor could prove (which he can not) that our representatives erred in their explanation and that the London brethren did mean to teach that sinners are effectually called out of a state of death by the written word he will have established fellowship with London, but NOT with the Primitives of the United States whom our ministers at Fulton represented, nor yet with Christ and the inspired Apostles upon whose teaching our faith is founded."

But, it is an easy thing to prove that the Fulton brethren "erred in their explanation" of the London Confession.  All Baptist writers prior to the birth of the Hardshells who discussed this article of the Confession all interpreted it as teaching that God calls by the Gospel or written word of God.  Even the founding fathers of the "Primitive Baptist Church" interpreted it this way.  It was not till later in the 19th century that some Hardshells began to say that the Confession really does not mean what it says.  Further, as I have said, Elders like Hunt and Ivey who have written extensively on this topic have admitted that the Hardshells cannot claim agreement or succession through the London Baptists.

Crouse continued:

"Let us note other parts of the Confession:

Chapter X, Section 2  “This effectual call is of  God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature co-working with his special grace; the creature being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, UNTIL, being quickened and renewed by the holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.”

That doesn’t sound much like they thought sinners were regenerated through the ministry and the preached word."

Again, all Crouse is doing is attacking what he perceives to be contradictions in the old Confession.  But, the Confession is not contradictory.  This section does not contradict the previously cited section.  All this section does is to explain what happens in the effectual call.  Sinners are brought to "answer this call," this call which they affirm is "by the Gospel," and which causes them to "embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it."  Also, it is again clear that they believe that grace, life, and salvation are "offered and conveyed" through the Gospel call.  Nothing could be plainer.  There is no "archaic" or "ambiguous" language here.  Crouse tries to make an argument on the fact that the article seems to teach that one is quickened or regenerated before answering the call, but the article is not affirming that any who are called do not instantly answer the call and believe the Gospel.  The authors associate the "calling" with the "offering" and one cannot be said to be "called" unless he has answered the call, and one canot be said to have obtained what is offered until he has willingly received it.  They certainly did not believe that any were "effectually" called until the call effected an answer.

Crouse continued:

"We call special attention to this section. Here is the “effectual” call; the call from death to life. This is regeneration. FIRST there must be life imparted by no less power than that which raised Christ from the dead; then there is the outflow, the effect, the  “answer” as they call it, and the laying hold upon or embracing of the grace or promises of God. And in this outflow is to be found all the Christian graces, faith, love and everything else. The preached word may and often does manifest, increase and develop these graces, but the preached word has no more to do in this work of quickening the dead than it had with raising Christ from the grave. The ONLY agency or means mentioned in this work is the Holy Spirit; and as to any avenue or channel or medium through which or by which the Holy Spirit flowed into the soul to accomplish this Work they are as silent as the grave. Now note that in the fourth section, which we will quote, they turn to the gospel call-the call by the ministry of the word, and note carefully how clearly they distinguish between the effectual call and the gospel call-how separate and distinct they are from each other, and that the gospel call is wholly ineffective UNTIL the sinner is made alive; and to be made alive is to be regenerated.

Section 4: “Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit; yet, not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ.”"

 Again, Crouse thinks that the Confession teaches that regeneration precedes faith and conversion, and that the authors of it believed that people can be regenerated who are not converted.  Yet, this is clearly not what they are saying as the rest of the Confession makes clear, a fact even acknowledged by Elder Hunt who confessed that they taught that one had to believe the Gospel or burn in Hell.  All this section of the Confession is making clear is that the authors of the Confession did not believe that the "word alone" was sufficient to effectually call or quicken anyone.  But, they also did not believe that this work was by the "Spirital alone."  They rejected what would later be known as Campbellism (word alone) and Hardshellism (Spirit alone).  Certainly they made a distinction between the "word" and "Spirit." 

Crouse continued:

"To this section our representatives at Fulton added the following footnote:  “We understand for man to be spiritually profited by the gospel he must have been born of God and made partaker of his divine nature, and by the words ‘common operations of the Spirit’ is understood as teaching that the gospel has an enlightening and moral influence upon all rational men.”

We would not need to tell our readers that this is Primitive Baptist doctrine."

But, this is nothing but a willful misrepresentation of the words of the Confession.  I will deal with it at length when we examine the Fulton footnotes in greater detail.  How the Hardshell elders in Fulton "understood" the Confession is no argument at all, for they operated from a clear bias, and were not honest with the Confession, a fact which many Hardshells acknowledge.  Again, even if we admit that they argued for a logical priority of regeneration preceding conversion, as do many "Reformed" writers today, such as James White, it does not argue that they believed in any chronological order, or that they believed that any were effectively called who were not converted.  What they were saying was that the word alone was of no effectiveness apart from the work of the Spirit. 

Crouse wrote:

"Our people WILL NOT accept this doctrine. They WILL NOT fellowship nor condone it."

Yes, we know this, but they ought to be honest, as the elders I have cited have been, and admit that the London Confession does not support the view of the Hardshells, which view says that many are "regenerated" who are still heathens, who are still believers in other gods and religions other than the Christian.  The Fulton brethren would have been better off to have done as Hanks and simply omitted those sections of the old Confession that they did not agree with, and then endorsed those parts which they could have endorsed.  They had every right to write their own confession, but they had no right to twist and distort the meaning of the Confession to suit their own ill designs.  In doing so they showed themselves to be dishonest men and members of a cult.

Crouse next cites this section of the Confession:

Chapter XIV, Section 1: “The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the word.”

He then responds:

"We will examine this section carefully presently, but first let us notice the position of our means brethren. If this section teaches what they would have us believe that regeneration is by the ministry of the word, then we draw the following conclusion, and challenge successful contradiction:

First:  Faith and belief MUST precede regeneration."

But, this is all a false analysis.  The view of the London brethren was that conversion and regeneration were synonymous or concurrent.  They were teaching that where there is regeneration, there is faith in Christ, and vice versa.  They did not believe that one could define salvation, effectual calling, new birth, or regeneration, by the causes alone but also by the effects.

Crouse continued:

"Whatever is meant by the expression “to the saving of their souls” follows and is dependent upon faith and belief."

"Whatever is meant by 'to the saving of their souls'?  Only a Hardshell would question what such an expression means.  Is Crouse implying that the London brethren believed in the later Hardshell novel invention of "time salvation"?  Where is his proof for insinuating such an idea?  The Confession confesses in several sections that faith in Christ and in the Gospel is necessary for being eternally saved, a fact which Elder Hunt and other later Hardshell elders admit.  Further, the founding fathers of Hardshellism also confess that faith in Christ via the Gospel is required of every adult sinner.

Crouse continued:

"An unregenerate sinner is dead in sins-destitute of eternal life. He is in the flesh-carnal- sold under sin. In this condition he must exercise faith and belief, if faith and belief precede regeneration. But the Bible teaches us that faith is a fruit of the Spirit and that those who have the Spirit are children of God. It also teaches us that he that behieveth IS born of God, and that they that are in the flesh cannot please God." 

In these words of Crouse, he is not "explaining" the Confession but arguing against it!  Why would he need to argue against it if it was actually teaching what he believed?  Further, if for the sake of argument we admit that the London brethren were Hardshells and did not believe in the means doctrine, could they not have clearly said so?  Would they have left any doubt?  Further, the arguments that Crouse offers to rebut the teaching of the Confession and of the Scriptures have been answered by me in previous chapters of this book.  He refers to I John 5: 1 that says "whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God."  But, is this what Hardshells believe?  Do they not believe that many who are not believers in Christ are likewise "born of God"?  The words of John deny that any who is not a Christian is born of God.  I have already dealt at length with this argument in previous chapters and simply refer the reader to those chapters for a more complete rebuttal of Crouse's argument.

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