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.

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