In reading the oldest Hardshell periodicals of the 1830s I am stunned by how different today's Hardshells are in doctrine. The first Hardshells were very strict in judging all other groups as not truly Christian, or not truly born again. They were quick to affirm that the true born again child of God would not follow others in supporting mission boards and societies, or Sunday Schools, or theological schools, etc. They constantly referred to those who supported such as being part of the whore of Babylon, and of the AntiChrist. They thought they were wolves, and not sheep. True, they thought that some of the Lord's elect were among these groups, for they were often heard citing this verse - "come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18: 4) But, they did not believe that such chosen people would remain in Babylon once they were regenerated and converted. This was the teaching of the Old Baptists in England also in the 17th century. It showed that they believed in perseverance, and that conversion brought one out of false religion. But, the difference between the Old Baptists of the 17th century and that of the first Hardshells of the 19th century was that the older Baptists did not think that all Arminians or those in other denominations were in Babylon and lost, as did the first Hardshells. Both groups understood that a continuing in the doctrine of Christ was a proof of genuine conversion. (II John 9)
It was wrong, however, for the first Hardshells to so denounce all other Baptists and Christians in such a manner. Basically, they were saying that they were the only professing Christians who had been truly saved. But, though this was an error, it shows how unlike they are to today's Hardshells who think that millions of heathen who are worshipping other gods are born again! It is amazing to behold just how far removed today's Hardshells are from their forefathers! It also shows another similarity between the first generation of Hardshells and of the Campbellites.
On these similarities Brother Bob Ross wrote:
"On this point of doctrine, the Hardshells are much like their Campbellite "twin," while the Campbellites are also divided into many factions, they are generally united in their "Word alone" theory, just as the Hardshells are generally united in their "Spirit alone" theory.
While on the idea of "similarities" between Campbellism and Hardshellism, consider the following:
Both were "born" in the early 1800's, apostatizing from "Calvinism."
Both systems obtained their "followings" primarily from Presbyterians and unstable Baptists.
Both held to a non-Baptist position on the new birth, Campbellism teaching the "Word alone" theory and Hardshellism teaching the "Spirit alone" theory.
Both had significant events in 1827 and 1832:
1827: First Campbellite baptism by Walter Scott "in order to remission of sins."
1827: Kehukee Declaration in opposition to missionary methods.
1832: Union of Campbellites and Stoneites as one "movement."
1832: Black Rock Address in opposition to missionary methods. These are "watershed" events in the early development of both schisms.
Both were molded by magazines -- Campbellism by Campbell's Millennial Harbinger and Hardshellism by Beebe's Signs of the Times and Cayce's Primitive Baptist.
Both were adamantly opposed to the "mission methods" used to send the Gospel abroad.
Both attributed the most contemptible motives and purposes to those who were engaged in the missionary cause.
Both departed from the Baptist Confession of Faith in regard to the Gospel in the Effectual Calling of the elect to Christ.
Both, in the course of time, fragmentized over internal controversies and leaders (usually those who published magazines). "Patternism" produced "factions."
Both made a major issue over "instrumental music in worship."
Both became "exclusivists," claiming that they were the "only" church of Christ, they only held "scriptural" baptism, and they only practiced "scriptural" worship and church order.
Both adopted the "command, example, inference" hermeneutic.
Both developed a strong anti-premillennialist eschatology.
Both promoted the Pelagian philosophy that "command implies ability."
They both appeal to "logic" to set aside the plain statements of Scripture, denying that the power of the Holy Spirit accompanies the Gospel in the new birth." (see here)
To this we may add that both groups claimed to be the only ones truly saved and that both groups first called themselves "Reformers."