Monday, September 30, 2013

Hardshells & Mission Opposition XX

Chapter 163

In writing against some of the Hardshells who today are part of what is called the "liberal movement," Elder Claud McKee has an Internet article titled "Today's Primitive Baptist Missionary Movement" (see here) in which he tries to show how those involved in this movement, in sponsoring missions to foreign countries, are violating the principles of the Black Rock Address. At this time I want to analyze some of the things McKee says. In the first paragraph he writes (emphasis mine):

"Would the Brethren who wrote or supported the Black Rock address support today's Primitive Baptist Missionary movement? Even though some in today's movement have implied their compatibility with those Brethren, the truth is that the present movement among us has very similar markings to the early 1800's movement, which the Black Rock brethren opposed and finally declared against. The similar marks are: Soliciting funds through various sales schemes (today tapes and books); emphasizing the spread of the gospel and outreach ministries; perverting the teachings on giving (tithing) to gain monetary support; teaching that the commandments commonly referred to as the great commission was given to the church rather than to the Apostles; having ministers conferences and meetings to train their followers. Basically these same marks re-appeared around 1900 in the progressive movement. Both the 1800 and 1900 movements culminated into further departures from the faith and practices and gave faithful brethren of that time no other course but to oppose the departures."

Whether or not today's Hardshells are violating the principles of the Black Rock Address should not be of concern. Rather, the greater question is whether they are violating the Scriptures. And secondarily, are they in keeping with the practice of the first Particular Baptists in England and America? But, this will not be sufficient to such men as Elder McKee who puts the Black Rock Address on a par with Scripture.

It is a good thing that some Hardshells are seeing the truth about the Great Commission. Remember that Elder Watson confessed that the Hardshells had violated their commission. Further, the missionary movement of the early 19th century was not a new thing among Baptists, as we shall see, but it was a great expansion. Also, the Progressive movement was simply another attempt to bring the Hardshells back to the place from which they had departed, to bring them out of their extremist position. I plan to have a chapter towards the end of this book on various reform movements among the Hardshells which have tried to bring the "Primitive Baptist" church back to the Old Baptist position. Also, it is good that some Hardshells are seeing the error of denying that the church is under the Great Commission. In my series on the Great Commission I fully show that the church was indeed given the commission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel and to baptize or make disciples.

What can possibly be wrong with selling items and giving the money to the work of the Lord? Is this not what the early Christians did? Luke wrote:

"Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need." (Acts 4: 34-35)

I can see very little difference in selling tapes and books and selling lands and houses. Granted, the monies raised were to support the poor saints, but the Scriptures also show that the churches supported missionaries as well as the poor. Luke also mentions a Christian woman named Dorcas and, at her funeral, those in attendance showed Peter the "coats and garments which Dorcas made." (Acts 8: 39) It may well be that Dorcas sold some of these clothes and donated the money to the church for support of the poor and of the missionaries.

Further, as I have already mentioned, some Hardshell churches have raised money to build meeting houses by selling items and through various fund raising enterprises. Will McKee condemn these also? Or, is it that he thinks it is okay to sell items to build meeting houses, and to pay for radio preaching, but not to support missionaries? And remember, such opposition to using funds raised by selling tapes, for support of Gospel missionaries, does not mean that the Hardshells are opposed to spreading the Gospel!

Further, throughout the years Hardshell editors of periodicals have frequently "solicited" funds for the support of their papers. Hardshell preachers have also solicited support for radio programs. Of course, men like McKee may find fault with this also, but most Hardshells would not. Thus, all solicitation of funds cannot be an evil. However, Jesus said - "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." (Matt. 5: 42) I see no difference between "asking" for money and "soliciting" for money. But, Hardshells are famous for calling anyone who asks for money for missionary support "beggars." The early periodicals of the 1830s are filled with Hardshells calling all preachers who asked for money for mission work as "beggars" and denounced them as being covetous, preachers for filthy lucre, and "hirelings."

Paul also taught the early Christians to be givers. He wrote:

"Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. " (Eph. 4: 28)

Is it wrong for preachers and other Christians to stand up in a gathering of Christians and inform them of needs and request that any who could help to do so? Most Hardshells would not find it wrong to do so when it came to helping a member who was suffering from lack of necessities, or to help with a radio ministry. But, they will think it the worst evil to request money to help preachers out on the mission field.

It is astounding that McKee would condemn others for "emphasizing the spread the Gospel"! He says this is what the Black Rock Address condemned! And, in spite of such condemnation, we are not to believe that Hardshells are against preaching the Gospel! McKee condemns "outreach ministries." Would that not condemn all Hardshell periodicals and other printed media? Would it not condemn all radio preaching? Paul commended the church at Thessalonica for their outreach ministry and their desire to spread the Gospel, saying "for from you sounded out the word of the Lord," and that "in every place," so that the Gospel was "spread abroad." (I Thess. 1: 8)

McKee also thinks that it is a great departure from the faith, and worthy of declaring non-fellowship, that some teach tithing, which he says is "perverting the teachings on giving (tithing) to gain monetary support." Now, I am not saying that tithing is the new testament way, but I am saying that it is wrong to condemn other preachers for teaching it. If God thought 10% was a good rule for the old testament saints, under the law, it ought to be good for Christians to give at least this much, if not more, under the new testament or under grace. But, what McKee chiefly objects to is teaching the people about the importance of giving to the support of the ministry.

McKee also condemns preachers having meetings where they help each other learn more about how to be effective pastors and teachers! He says that this is against the Black Rock Address. But, we have already shown how the Black Rock Address went to an extreme in their condemnation of all biblical schooling, whether it be Sunday schools or seminaries.

McKee wrote:

"Some of those supporting today's movement claim harmony with the supporters of the Black Rock Address, indicating that the errors made in 1832 are being avoided by closely following historical and scriptural precedence. "Great effort was made to build these churches while following historical and biblical precedence. Historical study was made of the Baptist division of 1832 so that the errors of that day would not be repeated" (Elder Gus Harter, Atlanta Newsletter Jan 1997)."

Here are some Hardshells who want to be obedient to the Great Commission and in such a way as to keep the local church the base of operations and yet this is still not acceptable to the general body of Hardshells, to such men as Elder McKee. It becomes quite apparent that the Hardshells just do not want to do anything to help take the Gospel to those who have never heard it.

And, in spite of such opposition as McKee shows, we are to believe that he is not against preaching or spreading the good news!

To show what the Hardshell mentality is in regard to supporting preachers who desire to act as missionaries in preaching the Gospel in foreign lands, let us recall these words from the Mt. Carmel Church Trial (part 4 - see here). A Hardshell is being questioned about supporting preachers who have a burden to go and preach to those who have never heard the Gospel.

Q. Now, Mr. Compton, you are some sort of a missionary Baptist, aren’t you?
A. Well, I don’t know about that.
Q. You heard Brother Dalton’s deposition with reference to missions. Do you endorse Brother Dalton’s views?
A. Well, I would say this: so far as the bible directs missions, I am a missionary; but no further.
Q. You are a missionary Baptist on bible plans?
A. I don’t like to be called a Missionary Baptist.
Q. But you believe in missions on the bible plan?
A. I believe that if a minister of the gospel feels a call, a spiritual call, to go out and preach the gospel anywhere at all, it is his duty to go. Now, if you call that missions, why, then I am.
Q. Well, suppose one of your ministers would feel himself to be called to go into foreign lands and preach the gospel, would you believe that he ought to go?
A. Yes; if he felt like he ought to go.
Q. Would you believe that he ought to be encouraged in that?
A. No; I wouldn’t encourage him at all.
Q. You wouldn’t encourage him, even though you thought he felt in his heart---
A. If he felt like going anywhere at all, let him go. Let him go like he is directed by the bible, go without purse or scrip.
Q. But you would not encourage him in it?
A. No.

This is a good example of Hardshell opposition to supporting those who go forth to preach the Gospel. All who are outside of the cult will recognize this stubborn opposition for what it is.

McKee continued:

"The present day movement has alluded to this quote to emphasize that the ministers involved in the Philippine endeavor worked out of local churches and not out of distinct separate societies or "outside boards". The impression is left that all is well because the new movement is working out of local churches. "We did not form mission boards but worked out of local churches"(Elder Gus Harter, Atlanta Newsletter Jan. 1997)."

Next, McKee cites the following words of Elder Bradley who is also involved in mission work.

"Obviously for a people who had always believed that the church is the highest ecclesiastical organization on the earth, the idea of having ministers approved, sent and sponsored by an outside "Board" was cause for alarm." (Elder Lasserre Bradley Jr. Baptist witness, Nov. 1996)"

Of course, as we shall see, none of this was acceptable to the extremists.

McKee cites Bradley again, who wrote:

"Did some fail to rejoice when the Lord opened a door in the Philippines and a number of our brethren went there preaching without the direction or support of man made societies but with the approval of their own local churches?" (Elder Lasserre Bradley Jr. Baptist Witness, Nov. 1996)

Not only did some fail to rejoice, but most Hardshells got angry at such news! It is more proof that the Hardshells are against preaching the Gospel, no matter what they may say. Thus, as has been said, it is not a question of which way to support missionaries, but whether to support them at all!

The Hardshells of today obviously do not share the view of Elder C.B. Hassell, one of the founding fathers of Hardshellism, for he wrote:

"Should the Lord create an humble, teachable and inquiring disposition in the heart of an inhabitant of China, Japan or the unexplored parts of Africa, He would sooner send an angel from Heaven, or a minister from the uttermost part of the earth, to show him the way of salvation, than leave him destitute of that knowledge, for which he longs and prays without ceasing. The alms and supplications of such persons spring from right principles and motives, and go up as a memorial before God, not to merit His favor, but to plead with Him to fulfill His gracious promises." (pg. 203 of Hassell's History)

The Hardshells of today either do not value the Gospel and therefore lack any desire to see that others have what they have, or else they will have to admit that others besides themselves have been sent of the Lord to give the Gospel to those who have never heard a Hardshell preacher. Those in destitute areas of the world who now have the blessing of hearing the good news owe no thanks to the Hardshells.

McKee wrote:

"In the Black Rock address it is stated:

"...the Lord has manifestly established the order, that his ministers should be sent forth by the churches. But the mission plan is to send them out by a mission society."

After citing these words, McKee then cites Elder Gus Harter, one who is involved in mission work.

McKee then wrote these words as a rebuttal to the practice.

"The Black Rock brethren's opposition was to a man made system (any men, churches included) implementing a money based mission society (in or out of the church) that departs from the order the Master commanded. They stated "But we at the same time contend, that we have no right to depart from the order which the Master himself has seen fit to lay down, relative to the ministration of the word". In their address concerning missions they clearly emphasized the belief that the Spirit of God should be the guiding influence in determining where a minister labors and gave no indication that it should be part of a churches duty to sponsor any outreach mission program. The Black Rock brethren's statement "ministers should be sent forth by the churches" is expanded and clarified as to their meaning by re-emphasizing where the ministers were to be sent. "Again, each gospel church acts as the independent kingdom of Christ in calling and sending forth its members into the ministry." [Not into the mission field or on mission trips but into the ministry to be guided by the Spirit of God!]"

It is interesting that McKee left out these words from the Black Rock Address:

"We also believe it to be the duty of individuals and churches to contribute according to their abilities, for the support, not only of their pastors, but also of those who go preaching the gospel of Christ among the destitute."

Why would he omit this? Is it not because it overthrows his interpretation of the Black Rock Address? Is this a "money based" system? Do the preachers not depend on the financial support of the churches?

McKee judges that the Holy Spirit was not guiding Bradley, Harter, and other ministers in their efforts to preach the Gospel in foreign lands. But, how can he set himself up as a judge in this matter? Are we to believe that the Holy Spirit was rather guiding McKee to denounce their efforts? Further, why would the Holy Spirit put it in the hearts of such ministers to preach the Gospel in foreign lands but not also put the same desire into the hearts of churches to support them?

McKee then tries to defend the idea that the Black Rock Address does not condone a church giving any support to missionaries, or for ever sending out an already ordained preacher to preach in a certain area. But, we have already seen how the Address speaks of churches supporting missionaries. McKee takes umbrage at the thought that churches can be involved in the decision where missionaries ought to go, that the minister should do this without any advice from the churches. Does McKee think that the church cannot have any thoughts on the matter? The example from Acts 13 has already been cited as proof that a church may send out missionaries.

In chapter 66, in the first chapter on the series "The Great Commission," I cited Hardshells who wrote:

"We find no scriptural basis for the belief that the "great commission" was given to the church and that the church is responsible for the spread of the gospel in the world today...We stand with our Baptist forefathers in rejecting the heresy that the "great commission" was given to the church body."

It is obvious that the only ones who are supposed to have a burden to see that others hear the good news are Hardshell preachers, and the overwhelming majority of them only go preaching it to those in existing Hardshell churches. What spirit is motivating such an opposition to seeing that those who have never heard the Gospel get an opportunity to hear it? They must not care much for the Gospel nor want to share it with those who have never heard it!

McKee wrote:

"The scriptures teach that churches should recognize God called men among their membership by ordaining and sending them into the Ministry. God does the calling and the Holy Spirit still influences/guides the minister into his field of labor. A minister's field of labor should not be under direct control of the church or any other set of men. This is not to say the church has no rights of discipline concerning where a minister labors. A minister has no authority to take part in the services of churches not in fellowship with his home church without ample evidence of God's Spirit moving and a general support or willingness of orderly brethren to try the spirit and see if the Lord is truly in the matter. Neither should he generally visit and fellowship those that clearly entertain unscriptural practices in their services.

I find this highly inconsistent. A church can condemn a preacher for going to certain places to preach but has no authority to tell him where he can go preach?! McKee wants to have it both ways. He wants to say that a minister's field of labor is his own decision, but here he wants to say that a church does in fact have some say. They cannot tell him where to go, but they can tell him where not to go?

The subject of the above words of McKee really concerns the relationship of a minister to a church or churches. I have thought that this might be worth having a separate chapter as the Hardshells entertain errors regarding this relationship. From the words of McKee, the church is the organization or society that determines whether a man is given the credentials of an elder or minister of the Gospel. Also, Hardshells will acknowledge that the church judges of a minister's calling and gift. Generally this is done by giving a person opportunities to preach or teach in the church for a time and to see whether this person is truly called and gifted. This is a good and long standing practice in the Baptist church and is based upon Paul's instruction regarding prospective gifts. He said that they should first be "proved" or tested prior to being officially ordained. (I Tim. 3: 10) This time of proving is also a time for the newly called minister to develop his gift, a kind of qualifying of him. This is interesting because the Hardshells, in condemning seminaries for supposedly "qualifying" such men to preach, actually do the very thing that they condemn. The only difference is that the church oversees the developing of the young gift, or his becoming qualified, but in the latter case it is done by a theological school. In many Hardshell churches, there is at least one elder in the church where the young gift begins to "exercise" himself in preaching.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hardshells Make The Spirit A Liar

In chapters 54-56 of my book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult," I deal with the Hardshell view on the Spirit's work of conviction of sin. The Hardshells believe that conviction of sin is what results from regeneration or the new birth, but I show how this is an error. One of my arguments is one that the Hardshells never choose to deal with, but ignore it because they cannot overcome it. If a sinner under conviction is being witnessed to by the Holy Spirit and that witness is to convict the sinner of his condemned state, then the Spirit is lying to that sinner if that sinner is really already saved and justified. The fact that the Spirit bears witness to a sinner that he is lost and ruined, and on his way to Hell, is proof that conviction of sin is no proof of a gracious state. When the Spirit thus testifies, he is bearing witness to the true condition of the sinner. Our Old Baptist forefathers understood this and is why they taught that mere conviction of sin was no evidence of regeneration, but was rather, in many cases, a preparation for regeneration.

The Name "Hardshell" III

Elder C.C. Morris and other Hardshells of the "Absoluter" faction have a web page (see here) in which they have this at the heading:

"Welcome to the Primitive Baptist Web Site! This site is dedicated to the Old School, Hardshell, Absolute Predestinarian Primitive Baptist beliefs."

Thus, here is further evidence that not all Hardshells consider the name "Hardshell" to be a derogatory term. Thus far, we have seen that the first Hardshells did not object to the label, and even embraced it. We saw how an old sister who had been in the Hardshell church for fifty years, and who was the daughter and wife of Hardshell preachers, did not shun to declare herself to be a Hardshell Baptist.

So, to those Hardshells who think we are using derogatory language with malicious intentions, we put this evidence forth. Also, as I have elaborated upon in the early chapters of my book on the Hardshells, many others accept the name with pride. However, I have used the term as others, to denote the stubbornness of the Hardshells to listen to reason.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Name "Hardshell" II

In the "Primitive Baptist" periodical of July 13, 1839 we read these words:

"Dear Brethren Editors: I have taken the present opportunity to let you all know, how matters of religion are going on in our part of the country. There are various sorts of religion in our country, and I do not wonder at any and every person getting religion, for they can have any sort they choose, as brother Thomas Trice said in the Primitive, No. 7, vol. 4th p, page 109, from the real old hard shell down to no shell at all."

Thus, this is more evidence that the oldest Hardshells did not think that referring to themselves as "Hardshells" was any kind of defamatory speech.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hardshell Ad Hominems

A person, probably a Hardshell, recently left this comment on my blog posting Another Visit with the Hardshells:

"Respectfully sir, you sound like an angry, bitter old man who was scorned and seeking vengeance. All the serious issues in Christendom today, and you think a grave threat is a little group of 35 to 40 thousand in the Southeast US."

This person appears to be a member of one of the churches in the Bear Creek Association and knows of my time there in the mid and late 70s. I responded with a couple comments to this person but feel like more needs to be said in response, and feeling that it will be of benefit for all who read this blog, I am adding some more of my thoughts to the comment.

Of course, it is an accusatory comment given without any proof and was obviously intended to bias the minds of readers. This is a tradition with the Hardshells as they have been denouncing and scorning all Baptist groups, and others, since their formation in the 1830s. I have numerous citations in my ongoing book that prove this to be true. Also, if anyone will simply read the four Hardshell periodicals of the 1830s, he will see how scorn for mission Baptists is plentiful. The author of the comment commits a number of logical fallacies. One, he attempts to "poison the well" in regard to my writings. What does it mean to "poison the well"? According to, "Poisoning the Well is not, strictly speaking, a logical fallacy since it is not a type of argument. Rather, it is a logical boobytrap set by the poisoner to tempt the unwary audience into committing an ad hominem fallacy. As with all forms of the ad hominem, one should keep in mind that an argument can and must stand or fall on its own, regardless of who makes it." It is basically an attempt to create a bias against a person's character with the intent that such a character cannot possibly be stating a truth. It is indeed a kind of "ad hominem" attack. What is that?

"Ad hominem" is defined as

1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

In all the years I have been writing against Hardshellism, all the Hardshells, except one, have responded, not by refuting our arguments and evidence, but by making ad hominem attacks. What does this show? I need not answer the question because any reasonable person knows what it shows.

The commenter mentions the fact that I was "scorned" by the Hardshells. The truth is that I was indeed scorned by a few in the Bear Creek Association. But, I was warmly received by the large majority, preaching often in some of the churches, and having a regular monthly appointment at Bethel church where my membership was until I resigned to become pastor of two independent churches, which I served till my marriage fell apart in the early 80s, having found out that my wife had committed adultery. The "scorn" from the few was, to my mind, nothing in me personally, but was due to hatred for my father, which hatred stemmed from his views on the origin of Satan and on the story of the rich man and Lazarus. I remember preaching at Union Grove on Sunday morning and a Hardshell and his wife got up and walked out, and it was apparent to all that it was to show contempt for me. Everyone told me afterward that they thought it was wrong for this man to act like that. I was also scorned some at my home church in Bethel by two elders there, who threatened me about teaching that Satan was an angel fallen from heaven, and teaching that the story of the rich man and Lazarus showed what happens to people when they die.

Looking back on some of this scorn, I remember reacting as did Job who said - "My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God." (Job 16: 20) I did not return evil for evil, scorn for scorn, but patiently endured it. What does it mean to scorn someone? "Scorn" (noun) is defined as "the feeling or belief that someone or something is worthless or despicable; contempt." "Scorned" (verb) is defined as "feel or express contempt or derision for."

I recall how the first Psalm says that the "blessed" man is one who does not sit in "the seat of the scornful." (vs. 1) There are "scorners" who "delight in their scorning." (Prov. 1: 22) I have seen this in my recent reading of the old Hardshell periodical "The Primitive Baptist" of the 1830s. Those Hardshells delighted in scorning missionaries, supporters of Sunday and theological schools, etc. But, consider the words of the Psalmist who said that Lord God "scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly." (Prov. 3: 34) There are a lot of other useful things said about scorners in the Scriptures and we all need to consider those things.

The commenter also said that I "sound like an angry, bitter old man." I would like to know how he came to this judgment? Was it based upon anything I said? The choice of words that I have used in talking about the Hardshells? Other Hardshells have accused me of having "an axe to grind."

I have searched my heart and memory for evidence that I have written in anger against any Hardshell. I cannot find it. In fact, the opposite is true. I have a deep love and concern for the Hardshells, believing that there are many good and honest Christians among them. I have written forcefully against the false views and the hypocrisy of the Hardshells and I think some Hardshells interpret this as being anger and bitterness. Job said - "How forcible are right words!" (Job 6: 25) I believe my words against Hardshellism have been right words and forcible and this accounts for there being none, except one, who has attempted to refute them, and for some thinking that the force of my words and arguments imply anger and bitterness.

Bitterness? What can I say? There is indeed warnings in Scripture about bitterness. For instance, we are warned of it in these words - "lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." And, Paul said - "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." (Eph. 4: 31) But, there is a natural "bitterness of soul" that those in suffering know. (See I Sam. 1: 10; Job 7: 11, 9: 18, 10: 1, 21: 25, etc.) Certainly I felt some of this bitterness of soul when I was scorned by a few Hardshells. It was painful and hard to bear at times. In fact, I think it helped to alienate my wife from me, who could not bear the scorn.

Now, I do not think that I am writing against Hardshellism because I am out for vengeance. Vengeance belongs to the Lord. But, should we not expect that those in cults will personally attack those who write against them? Will the Mormons not say evil things against those who write against them? Will the Catholics not do the same? Will the Jehovah's Witnesses not also do the same? Why should I be surprised when members of the Hardshell cult attack me personally rather than respond to the arguments and evidence I present in refutation of their errors?

Again, let me say, that I only want to see people kept from the pernicious errors of Hardshellism. I would love to see many of them repent of their errors and become real Old Baptists, and not ones in name only. Further, it won't be long till I am finished with my book on the Hardshells. It has been an exhausting work but I believe it will prove to be beneficial for many, even after I have gone to be with the Lord. I expect to be finished by the end of the year and look forward to getting back to my other books that I have already done much to write, such as a book on the weak and strong brothers mentioned by Paul in Corinthians and Romans, the Book of Esther, the book on the character Job, etc. Lots of books have been written on the "Primitive Baptist" church, and I simply add mine to the list. I do believe that mine is the most exhaustive and is written not only as a history, but also as a refutation of their errors.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hardshells & Mission Opposition XIX

Chapter 162

Before we examine a couple more apologies that Hardshells have offered in their defense for being in opposition to Baptist missionary work and organization, I wish to state a few additional things relative to inter-church cooperation and joint efforts.

Solomon said that "two are better than one" and that "a threefold cord is not easily broken." (Eccl. 4: 12) This scripture is applicable to many relationships in life, such as marriage and the family. But, the principle can also be applied to churches. Surely two churches are better than one, because when bound together, like strands of rope, they become stronger as a unit and are able to do more than one alone. The Hardshells recognize this to some extent, for they have historically been very supportive of church Associations being formed. But, sadly, the history of the Hardshells reveals how the work that their Associations have done, cooperatively, has been strictly in the area of discipline and heretic marking.

Hardshell Associations are well known in history to have had many "council meetings" to decide on inter-church disputes over doctrinal and disciplinary matters. They see no problem with this kind of church cooperation, but will decry churches cooperating together to support ministers who are called to preach the Gospel in areas where it has not been preached. I find this an inconsistency that reveals the stubborn opposition that the Hardshells have against preaching to the lost, even though they claim not to be against preaching the Gospel.

Paul spoke of believers being "yoked together" (II Cor. 6: 14). Certainly this is not only true of an individual Christian being yoked with another individual Christian, but is also true of churches being yoked together. The "yoke" carries with it the idea of being united in work. Individual believers should work together with other individual believers, but the principle applies to churches also being yoked together in working for the Lord. Just as two Christians may "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Phi. 1: 27), so also may two or more churches.

Churches are indeed to be independent, as Baptists have always taught. But, they are at the same time to be inter-dependent. Just as individuals may say "stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou" (Isa. 65: 5), so may churches also. This spirit of standoffishness is characteristic of the Hardshells who will not cooperate with any Christians or churches outside of their own denomination.

Elder C.H. Cayce wrote:

"Now as to mission work. Primitive Baptists do not object to gospel preaching. What we object to is the modern system which men have invented and introduced in the name of Christianity for the professed object of having the gospel preached, and that under the pretext that it is necessary for it to be preached in order that sinners reach heaven. This makes the eternal salvation of sinners in every age and country and clime dependent on the liberalities of the people in sending the gospel by those who have it to those who have it not. It makes the eternal salvation of the heathen depend on the liberalities of the people in those countries where they have the gospel. If the heathen fail to have the gospel preached to them, then they are sent to hell on account of our neglect. This is the foundation upon which the whole modern mission system rests, and it is unknown to the Bible and was unknown to the Baptist Church until the days of Andrew Fuller and William Carey. They organized the first missionary society among the Baptists in 1792." ("Reply to H.L. Whitehouse, Editorial Writings, Vol. 5, pgs. 116-117, July 18, 1829)

There are a number of errors in these remarks by one of the greatest debaters the Hardshells have ever had. He at least had more debates than any other. He was a leader of the Hardshells in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His father, S.F. Cayce, was also a well known Hardshell preacher. He started a paper called "The Primitive Baptist" later in the 19th century. This paper is not to be confused with a previous Hardshell paper by the same name that was published in the 1830s out of North Carolina. Claud Cayce, the son, continued the paper and used it to advance the Hardshell cause. After his death the Hardshells began to publish his editorial writings and to promote them. I bought my six volumes at the Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church when I was a teenage preacher. Claud had much to do with shaping the Hardshells into what they are today, which is a good distance from what they were in the 1830s when the denomination first began. He was a spiritualizer of the Bible and had much to do with the Hardshells going from bad to worse in hermeneutics.

Cayce says that the Hardshells do not object to Gospel preaching. His need to say this is due to the fact that this is what anyone would think from reading their writings and studying their history. When they brag about how some of their ministers have travelled thousands of miles to preach the Gospel, they are referring to such ministers traveling to hold services in existing Hardshell churches. It does not include their going to preach the Gospel where there are no Christians.

Cayce says that he objects to "the modern system which men have invented and introduced in the name of Christianity." But, in reality, he also objects to the ancient system, the biblical system. The modern system, as he calls it, is simply a system based upon churches banding together to promote and support missionary endeavors. Cayce wants to give the impression that the Hardshells are missionaries after the biblical order or example. But, as has been observed by others who have analyzed this claim, it is really a question of having a system or having no system. It is a question of doing something for mission work or doing nothing. The Hardshell system is a "do nothing" system and is the reason why they have been labeled as "do nothings." The Hardshells have done nothing towards supporting preachers who go forth to preach to the heathen. Some Hardshells realize the truth of this and accounts for why a few today, who are part of the "liberal movement," are now going to foreign countries to preach. While this is commendable, it can scarcely be called missionary work because they are going to existing Christian groups and trying to proselyte them to Hardshellism. Those in the liberal movement have gone to Europe, Russia, Africa, and the Philippines to establish Hardshell churches.

Cayce says that he objects to modern mission work because the "professed object of having the gospel preached" is "in order that sinners reach heaven." But, this objection simply shows that the Hardshells are a cult. As has been shown already in this book, the Bible teaches that the Gospel is preached in order that sinners be saved, and not merely with a temporal salvation, but with an eternal salvation. For instance, Jesus sent Paul to preach to the Gentiles in order to "open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." (Acts 26: 18) And, Paul later testified, saying "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." (II Tim. 2: 10) This cannot possibly be a mere "time salvation" for it is "the salvation" 1) "which is in Christ Jesus," and 2) "with eternal glory." Notice how the word "eternal" is connected with the word "salvation." Further, the salvation which is in Christ cannot possibly be simply a temporal salvation.

Further, the teaching that the salvation that comes by believing the Gospel is not only the teaching of the Bible but is the teaching of the 1689 London Confession, which Cayce is on record as endorsing, as expressive of the faith of the Old Baptists from which the Hardshells have descended. The series on "Hardshells and the London Confession" clearly showed that the Confession, and the writers of it, believed what Cayce denies relative to the purpose of preaching.

Cayce said that the view that makes Gospel preaching a means in the eternal salvation of sinners "makes the eternal salvation of sinners...dependent on the liberalities of the people in sending the gospel" and "makes the eternal salvation of the heathen depend on the liberalities of the people in those countries where they have the gospel." Notice that Cayce argues against the idea that salvation comes by the preaching of the Gospel based upon his use of human logic and reasoning, and not upon any clear statements of Scripture. Why does he not simply cite Scripture that affirms that sinners are saved apart from faith? And, apart from the preaching of the Gospel? Cayce says that preaching the Gospel requires men and money and he does not believe that eternal salvation can be made to depend upon men and money. But, I have already overthrown this false reasoning in previous chapters, in "Chapter Nine - Hardshell Logic on Regeneration," and "Chapter 11 - Saved by Money?" Does not the eternal salvation of sinners depend upon the death of Christ? And, did not the death of Christ depend upon "men" putting Christ to death? Well, there goes Cayce's Hardshell logic!

Cayce does not have any problem with saying that receiving a knowledge about Jesus depends on preaching, and that preaching depends upon men and money. But, he thinks that it is no big deal if a person does not come to know Jesus. It certainly won't cause a sinner to miss heaven!

It is interesting how this is not how Cayce's forefathers argued when opposing the mission work of the Baptists in the early 19th century. They believed that God chose to save his elect by the preaching of the Gospel and that the Lord would insure that his elect would be sent preachers to tell them about Jesus and his salvation. The first Hardshells in the 1830s who defended the Black Rock Address would reject Cayce's logic! They believed that the preaching of the Gospel did not depend upon men and money but upon God. They thought that too much emphasis was being put upon human effort and money in spreading the Gospel, but they did not go to the extreme of Cayce and later Hardshells in denying that the Gospel was the means of calling the elect to life and salvation.

One of Cayce's fellow debaters and apologists was Elder S.A. Paine, who died in 1910 at the age of 36. He wrote the following in an article titled "Missions."

"Modern missions are a fraud both in method and design, living upon name rather than merit, and if any of its recognized leaders will give the veterans of the cross an opportunity in public discussion and repeat the same to a finish, they will soon lead thousands out of the delusion...If they will not meet us in open fair battle it becomes our duty to expose the human invention with is unscriptural evils through the press." (Writings of S.A. Paine, published in 1980, page 93)

Paine argues the same way as Cayce, that the sending out of missionaries was wrong because it was intended to save sinners by it. He calls it a "fraud." But, he would also have to call the preaching of Christ and his Apostles also a "fraud." He then boasts about how easily he can uphold Hardshellism against any who believes that God saves sinners by Gospel preaching. But, the boast of Paine has not proven to be true. The debates that men like Cayce and Paine had with Missionary Baptists did not turn out as he predicted. I have read many debates that the Hardshells have had on the purpose of Gospel preaching and they got their tails whipped. The Bible, after all, is so plain on this question! Further, today's Hardshells lack the same confidence that Paine confessed to have. The chapters of my book have been published, as they were written, over the past five years or so, and I have not had but one Hardshell attempt to debate these matters, and that one soon gave up! I have two blogs that have published numerous postings against Hardshell errors and very few have attempted to debate the points in dispute. So, what does this prove? That they lack the confidence of Paine? That the arguments against their errors are so cogent that their mouths are shut?

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Name "Hardshell"

Over the years, since I first began to write against the Hardshells, I have had several Hardshells accuse me of using derogatory language when I refer to "Primitive Baptists" as "Hardshells." I have often stated that not all Hardshells view the term "Hardshell" as a negative. Elder Tolley, who edited the paper "The Christian Baptist" for many years, defended the term "Hardshell." He reasoned that the term meant "stedfast" and "unmoveable," and said that when Paul exhorted the Christians to be "stedfast and unmoveable" (I Cor. 15: 58), he was exhorting Christians to be "Hardshell." My dad put out a paper for years called "The Hardshell Baptist." Dad too was proud of the term. He, like other Hardshells, thought that the church has always accepted the names that others gave to them, like the term "Christian."

I will not call Hardshells "Primitive" or "Old" Baptists, because they are not such, but are a new sect that began in the 1830s, and have no Baptist who held to their unique views prior to their origin in the 1830s. I claim to be an old Baptist for I believe what our forefathers taught in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many Calvinistic Missionary Baptists have written on this topic, proving that the Hardshells are not old or primitive, but new kids on the block. The Baptist church has always been a missionary church.

In further proving that many Hardshells do not consider being called "Hardshell" a negative label, I wish to cite from the Mt. Carmel church trial, which can be found on a leading Hardshell web page. The testimony is from Mrs. John K. Booton (see here).

Q. Mrs. Booton, will you please give the stenographer your full name?
A. Emily Heiskell Lauck Booton.
Q. Will you please give the stenographer your age, residence, and occupation?
A. Well, sir, I was born in 1834. I would be 75 the 7th day of May next; lived in Luray all my life; minister’s wife.
Q. Mrs. Booton, are you a daughter of Mr. William C. Lauck?
A. Yes, sir; I am---proud to say.
Q. How long have you known the Old School Baptist church in Luray?
A. Well, all my life, sir, since I had any knowledge of anything.
Q. Do you belong to that church?
A. I have been a member 50 years this April of Mount Carmel church.
Q. You have had a division in that church, have you not?
A. Well, yes sir; there was a division about the time of my father’s coming to Page in 1830. My mother and father were baptized in 1832, just about the time it was leading to a separation.
Q. Separation of what?
A. Of the Old and the New School Baptists for the very issues that this is for.
Q. When did this separation occur?
A. Well, I suppose in about 1890, somewhere along there. I don’t know when it was mooted. The pill was so nicely coated, it was gradually brought in, when we Old Baptists were not thinking of anything of the kind. I know of Elder Burnam’s two visits here prior to my father’s death, and he didn’t say a word about such things, not until after my father’s death.
Q. Which faction of the Mount Carmel Church is the true faction of the Old School Baptist Church known by the name of Mount Carmel.
A. Why, of course, the one that I belong to.
Q. Well, which one do you belong to?
A. I belong to the Old Hard-shell Baptists; that never believed in men’s  instrumentalities.

Notice that this old sister did not shun being called an "Old Hardshell Baptist"! She wore the label proudly. Now, why don't those who object to the label simply accept it like this old sister? Like Elders Tolley and Garrett? Of course, I deal with all this in chapter five of my ongoing book.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Another Visit with the Hardshells

Two years ago I attended the annual session of the Bear Creek Association of "Primitive Baptists" and wrote a short report of my visit. I did not attend last year's session. However, since I was in Charlotte today, I decided to drive over to Albemarle to attend the afternoon session. I wanted to see my former father-in-law, Elder Newell Helms, and chat with him a little. I made copies of some of my recent entries here where I showed what the first Hardshells believed relative to regeneration being by means of the preaching of the Gospel. I also had some citations showing him the heresies of Wilson Thompson, and also how the first Hardshells believed in the absolute predestination of all things. I got to talk to him some but did not stay that long as I was very tired.

I listened to three preachers preach and took some notes. I must say that I was nodding off to sleep during the second preacher. The preaching was generally dry as saw dust. There were about 150 people there with 90% of them being elderly.

I want to mention a couple things that were said by the Hardshell preachers. One preacher spoke of how God reveals truth to his people when they are regenerated, citing Matthew 11: 25 as a text. I thought about how this idea of connecting enlightenment with regeneration is not generally preached by Hardshells. Most of them say that regeneration gives no ideas, but is a work on the subconscious level. I thought - "what does God reveal to the infant in regeneration then?" Also, I thought - "what truth is revealed to a sinner when he is regenerated according to today's Hardshells?" They certainly don't believe that it involves any Gospel truth, or any truth about who is the one true God.

Another preacher mentioned how Paul chose to go to large populations centers so he would have a larger audience in which to proclaim the Gospel. I laughed inwardly because the Black Rock Address condemned Missionaries for choosing to go to large population centers, saying that such showed that they were not interested in souls but in their own fame. Obviously this brother would not have agreed with what the Black Rock brethren said on this point, whether he realizes it or not.

I don't expect that I will be visiting the Bear Creek Association any more in the future seeing that Elder Helms is getting more and more aged. But, I am glad that I have the opportunity every now and then to visit Hardshell churches as it reminds me of what the Lord delivered me out of. I am glad that I am the real Old Baptist and that the Hardshells are "modern innovators" as Elder Watson called them.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hardshells & Mission Opposition XVIII

Chapter 161

Elder Grigg Thompson wrote:

"The devil is your enemy, and a cunning, artful one; and when he sees that persecutions and tortures will not destroy you, but that you grow and prosper under them, he will clothe himself as an angel of light, and come to you claiming to be a humble follower of Christ, whose soul is full of love for the blessed cause; and he wants to see the standard of Immanuel planted in every land, and the world converted to the religion of Jesus; and to effect this, we must have a system of cooperation through which we can concentrate all our forces and means; and we will soon see the world converted, and the millennial glory ushered in upon us."

Elder Grigg Thompson was the oldest son of Hardshell founding father Wilson Thompson. Grigg was a young minister at the time of the Black Rock Address and the Hardshell separation from the Baptists. He, like his fellow seceders, does not have anything good to say about his Baptist brethren who were supporting missions and trying to fulfill the Great Commission. He says that the devil was behind the mission movement, was motivating these Baptists. He says it was really the devil's scheme to send the Gospel to the heathen. What an outrageious charge! How ludicrous! The devil wants the Gospel preached in all the world? No one in his right mind will believe such a thing! Talk about calling good evil! All the people who desired to see the Gospel go to where it had not yet come are in league with the devil and doing his business! This is simply more proof that the Hardshells are a cult.

What Thompson is really objecting to is churches cooperating together, or acting in concert. As I highlighted in the above citation, Thompson rejects churches having "a system of cooperation" in doing the Lord's work. In reply to this, it must be stated that such cooperation was not unknown in the apostolic churches. Let us look at some Scriptures which show that this cooperation existed.

"And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind...Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ." (II Cor. 8: 18-19, 23)

What we learn from this passage is that a single brother was chosen and sent by not one church, but by "the churches" (plural) to travel with the apostle, both to preach and to assist in missionary work. Obviously these churches acted in concert and cooperation, the very thing that Thompson and the Hardshells condemn and call a new thing! Dr. Gill in his commentary said these things about this brother:

"...this brother's praise seems to be on account of his preaching the Gospel...he was also appointed by the joint suffrages of the churches, which were made by the lifting up or stretching out of the hand, as the word here used signifies; this brother was not chosen to this service by a few private persons, or by a single church only, but by several churches..."

Notice that Gill says that the churches acted in concert in appointing this brother to travel with the Apostle, and who was in charge of the "grace," or funds, collected by the churches, and to be administered and distributed by Paul and those with him. Gill says that this brother was appointed by the "joint suffrages" or votes of the churches, who acted together in inter church cooperation!

Thompson continued:

"You love Christ and want the glorious gospel preached to all the world, and ask him, How is this to be effected? He answers you: "By forming a great national convention, and then State conventions; and let your churches, associations, and State conventions be auxiliary to the national convention. Let memberships, life memberships, and directorships be sold to raise money; let salaried officers be appointed to transact the business, and let salaried agents be appointed to travel all over the country to raise funds for this glorious purpose, and then the world will soon be evangelized." When you have heard all this, go to your copy, and see if you find it there; hunt for the agents Christ sent out to collect money from the people; look, and find if you can, where a great convention, and auxiliary conventions were formed; and find, if you can, where he ordered that members, directorships, etc., should be sold for money. If you find nothing of the kind in your copy, shun it as you would the devil; for it is one of his devices to lead you away from Christ; and by following it you will forfeit your communion with Christ and his church."

Again, this is more proof that the Hardshells are a cult. To denounce the entire Christian world in such terms shows it clearly. All who support mission enterprises are following the devices of the devil! Who can believe such nonsense? Those who support missionary work are led away from communion with Christ and his church! Only the Hardshells, by their opposition to such mission work, are in communion with Christ and his church! The devil motivates all the Christians who support mission work! Yet, as we shall see, Thompson condemns not only the apostolic churches, but the Old Baptists who put forth the 1689 Confession in London, and the Philadelphia Confession put forth by the churches of the Philadelphia Association in 1742, for they acted together in supporting mission work.

Again, we see the argument from silence used. We see the error of Hardshell patternism. By this same reasoning, Thompson would have to say that associations, singing schools, and all forms of cooperation among churches are devil inspired! The devil created associations and singing schools among the Hardshells! How can I say this? By simply applying the reasoning of Thompson! If you cannot find something specifically mentioned in the Scriptures, then it is of the devil! That is his argument and it is absolutely ridiculous. He said - "If you find nothing of the kind in your copy, shun it as you would the devil." But, where can he find his associations? His singing schools? His church clerks? His church buildings? His radio preaching?

How does Thompson know that preachers and others, in the days of the Apostles, did not solicit money from the churches to support missionaries and poor saints? An argument from silence, in this instance, is no proof. We know that the churches did send money for such purposes and this is enough proof. Did not the Apostles and other preachers constantly tell the early Christians to "remember the poor"? (Gal. 2: 10) Why would they have excluded the command to remember the missionaries? Did not Paul say this to the first Christians?

"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." (Gal. 6: 6)

What does he mean by communicating? Does he not mean the same thing that he wrote to the church at Phillipi when he wrote these words?

"Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only." (4: 14-15)

Paul instructed Timothy to say this to Christians with financial means:

"That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate." (I Tim. 6: 18)

He also said the same to the Hebrews, saying -

"But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." (Heb. 13: 16)

On Galatians 6: 6 Dr. Gill wrote:

"communicate to him that teacheth; who is commissioned, and qualified and sent forth by Christ, and whose office in the church is to teach the word, to preach the Gospel, to instruct men in the truths of it, and teach them their duty also to God and men, such are to be communicated to; that is, such as are under their instructions ought to impart of their worldly substance to them, for their honourable and comfortable support and maintenance; for since they spend their time, and make use of their talents, gifts, and abilities, for their instruction in spiritual things, it is but reasonable, and no such great matter, that they partake of their carnal things; and especially since it is the will and ordinance of Christ, that they that preach the Gospel should live of it."

In commenting upon Philippians 4: 14 Dr. Gill wrote:

"yet he observes they did well in communicating to him; for communicating to poor saints or ministers is a considerable branch of well doing; it is a good work when it is done in faith, and from love, and with a view to the glory, honour, and interest of Christ; it is what is agreeable to the will of God, and is an odour of a sweet smell, and acceptable to him."

In commenting upon Hebrews 13: 16 Dr. Gill wrote:

"But to do good and to communicate forget not,.... Which is to be understood, not of doing good works in general, but of acts of beneficence, or communicating to "the poor", as the Syriac version renders it: the apostle proceeds to take notice of another sort of sacrifice, which continues under the Gospel dispensation; and that is, alms; which should be attended to: alms should be given, or beneficence be exercised to all men in need, even to our enemies, as well as to our friends and relations; and especially to poor saints, and ministers of the Gospel: and this believers should not "forget"; which shows that it is a duty of importance; and that men are too apt to neglect it, and should be stirred up unto it."

Obviously then, it was a practice for the Apostle to teach new converts about what good works they should do, and one of them was to support teachers of the word, and certainly this would include those who were on the mission field taking the Gospel to where it had not yet gone. So, they taught the people not only to remember the poor but to remember those who were laboring in teaching and preaching the Gospel. Thompson and the Hardshells would charge the Apostle with soliciting funds!

And, about mission organizations selling positions in a mission organization, that is probably not a good practice. But, it certainly does not rise to the level of being an evil as Thompson makes it out to be. Now, for a mission organization to simply have officers can be no evil. If it is, what shall we say about Hardshell organizations that have them? I already referred to some examples of this. Further, do not Associations have officers, such as Moderators and Clerks? Do they not also appoint committees? Committees to investigate church problems and to write circular letters, for instance? Do they also not send agents (representatives) to visit their fellow Associations? "Consistency thou art a jewel"!

Further, Thompson's condemnation of state conventions and of such supporting missionaries is also highly untenable and unsound. What are conventions but an association of associations? Since the Hardshells condone Associations, and Associations doing work on behalf of the churches, what is wrong with an Association of Associations? In fact, the Hardshells have such in the fact that all their Associations have "sister Associations" with whom they have "formal correspondence." In this we see the practice of associations cooperating together. Hardshells have traditionally used such as a way of executing decrees. In other words, when one Association declares non-fellowship with a minister or church, the sister Associations who are in direct fellowship are called upon to officially recognize that act. I referred to this in the early chapters of this book in the case of the Powell's Valley Association declaring non-fellowship with my dad and his church for their views on the fall of Satan and a sister Association, the Bear Creek Association of North Carolina, was obligated to recognize it. Thus, they have, practically speaking, a kind of convention themselves.

Consider also the fact that the Black Rock Address, which Thompson was proud to defend, is itself a called convention! "Consistency thou art a jewel"! Also, the Fulton meeting in 1900, which was for the purpose of endorsing and editing the 1689 London Confession, was called a convention! Further, many times in Hardshell history there have been churches who acted in cooperation to call and hold what were called "peace meetings"!

Thompson continued:

"I shall not speak of all the institutions gotten up by men, called benevolent, and claiming your fellowship and support, as efficient means of grace for the conversion and salvation of sinners. Not one of their agents, or missionaries have ever yet said, "I am full and abound;" but their covetous hearts are forever crying, "Give, give; we must have more money, or our cause will perish;" and to raise the funds, church festivals, oyster, or strawberry suppers, sham post-offices, etc., are gotten up, and tricks of deception practiced. Dear child of God, look at your copy, and ask yourself the question, Can I live in fellowship with these things, and practice them, and say, "I abide in Christ, and walk as he walked?" ("The Primitive Preacher," section titled "Abiding In Christ")

In addressing these complaints by Thompson, let us begin with his cry against benevolent work. Hardshells are against any kind of church benevolent work, although they claim that they believe it is a good work for individual Christians to do, like giving to the poor. Now, it is not my intention to deal with the question of church benevolent work fully at this time. However, it seems to me that if it is good for a single Christian to give to the poor, then nothing could be wrong with a church acting together to do the same. When Paul said that Christians "remember the poor," there is no reason to restrict this to individuals working alone to the exclusion of the churches. In a passage already referred to, did not the churches act together to give funds to Paul and "the brother" to be for the poor saints in Judea? Are we to believe that this was right but not right to give to any other of the poor? Did not Paul say - "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith"? Certainly believers are to come first, given precedence. But, when the needs of poor believers have been met, and there is still means and opportunity, the poor among "all men" should be helped.

Thompson next objects to benevolent work, such as helping the poor, being an "efficient means of grace." We certainly do agree that such benevolent work can never be an "efficient" means in saving sinners. The efficient means would be the will and power of God, and the atonement of Christ and work of the Spirit. But, such may become instrumental means when the Lord blesses and intends for it to be such. I do not doubt that there have been many occasions where a poor lost soul has been given food, clothing, and shelter from good Samaritan Christians and who have later been converted, and that the inititial kind deed was enough to bring the lost soul to listen to the Gospel message.

Next, Thompson draws a false comparison between Paul once saying that he had sufficient support on hand to minister to his necessities, and the fact that missionary organizations are never saying "we have enough for now." The two cases being compared are not alike. First, Paul himself was not always in such a situation, for at other times he was in want. In I Corinthians 4: 11 he wrote - "Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace." In II Corinthians 11: 27 he spoke of being "in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."

Consider also the fact that Paul was referring to himself, not to every missionary then preaching the Gospel. Mission organizations never have enough because there are always new places to send missionaries and always new people volunteering for missionary work.

Thompson once again shows the Hardshell spirit when he attacks his Baptist brethren for supporting missionary work and speaks of their "covetous hearts." Again, who made him a judge of the hearts of men? How can he so judge the motives of others? If anyone, however, can be judged as being covetous, at least in practice, it is the Hardshells who say that they will not give a single penny to help ministers who have gone to destitute areas to bring the saving Gospel of Christ to lost souls!

Thompson objects to churches and missionary organizations raising funds by having sales and suppers. Yet, many Hardshell churches have used these same methods to help raise money to build nice church buildings. In the past few years, Union Grove Primitive Baptist church here in Monroe, North Carolina, where I used to attend, built a grand new building and they raised money by baking cakes and selling them, and by other methods. Many churches have yard sales to raise funds. But, Thompson would have to condemn all these Hardsehll churches! Or, would it be okay to raise money by these methods for building church meeting houses but not okay to do it to help the poor and to help missionaries?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hardshells & Mission Opposition XVII

Chapter 160

Having Addressed the objections that the Hardshells made against tract publishing and distribution, Bible publishing and distribution, protracted and revival meetings, Sunday schools, theological schools, and mission organizations, in the infamous "Black Rock Address" of 1832, we will now look at what other Hardshell apologists have added in the way of argumentation against missions. However, opposition to all the things mentioned above were in essence opposition against missions and to the Great Commission and this is why I have put my responses to their objections to each of these things under the chapter heading of "mission opposition."

We will begin with Elder John Clark. He was a Hardshell elder at the time of the Black Rock Address and supported it. I have cited from the works of Clark in my blogs and have demonstrated that he, like other anti mission Baptists at the time of the Black Rock Address, believed that God used the preaching of the Gospel as a means in the eternal salvation of sinners. I intend to add a chapter at the end of this book with citations from the leading men in the 1830-1870 period to show that this was the commonly accepted view in that time. It was not till later in the 19th century that the Hardshells gave up this view and began to teach that God employed no such means in the eternal salvation of sinners, and also began to teach that knowledge of, and faith in, Christ was not essential to being regenerated or eternally saved. This was also the time when they invented the "time salvation" paradigm to deal with their paradigm shift regarding means and the necessity of evangelical faith for being regenerated or eternally saved. Clark began a major Hardshell periodical in 1852 titled "Zion's Advocate" and published out of Luray, Virginia. He was a bridge builder in Virginia and in his ordination to the ministry he had Daniel Fristoe, a father in the Ketockton Association.

In an article titled "Missonaries," Clark wrote (1870) the following (see here):

"We deeply deplore the division which has existed among the people of God, so far as they have been identified with eith­er party in the controversy about missions, but whenever the division is manifestly between Christ and Belial, or the Church of Christ and Antichrist, we have labored to promote it, as there can be no concord between those two interests, or communion between light and darkness..."

In these words Elder Clark puts himself into agreement with what his Hardshell brethren had been saying about those Baptists, be they five point Calvinists or not, who supported Baptist missionary organizations. Clark agrees that such Baptists, like Jesse Mercer, were to be identified with Belial, and not with Christ, with AntiChrist and not with Christ, with darkness and not with light. How uncharitable is this of Elder Clark and his brethren! As I have shown in my blog writings, it was common for the first generation of Hardshells to view supporters of the things denounced in the Black Rock Address as not being true Christians. This was an extreme and today's Hardshells will probably generally acknowledge it to be so. This is no doubt due to the fact that they have gone to another extreme and have moved close to universalism. Today's Hardshells would acknowledge that such Baptists were saved, but that they were in ignorance. They would admit that they were saved but say that they were no part of the visible body of Christ.

Clark continued:

"The division that ensued in the Baptist denomination be­tween thirty and forty years ago was based, appar­ently upon the missionary question; but we have ever believed that the true cause was doctrine and not missions, simply. Ac­cording to the etymology of the word, missionary is one sent to propagate religion, to perform any work embraced in his mission, and, in a gospel sense, every minister of Christ is a missionary, because they are sent of God."

The idea that the division was over doctrine needs some discussion. It certainly was not over whether God employed the Gospel as a means in the eternal salvation of sinners. For instance, Elder James Osbourn was a leader of the anti mission Baptists in 1832 and here is what he wrote in the 1830s in the Hardshell periodical "The Christian Doctrinal Advocate and Spiritual Monitor":

"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..." (pg. 14, year 1838, - see here)

Further, Clark agreed with Osbourn in saying that the salvation that comes to those who believe the Gospel is "eternal salvation." So, when Clark says that doctrinal disagreement was at the heart of the division between Baptists who supported mission organizations and those who did not, it was not because of a disagreement on the means question. This does not mean that there were no Hardshells who began to deny the use of means in the eternal salvation of the elect in the 1830s, for in my studies of their history I have found that such a view began among the followers of Daniel Parker. Both Elder John Watson and Elder Hosea Preslar, both believers in means, testified to this fact in their books, Watson in "The Old Baptist Test" and Preslar in "Thoughts On Divine Providence."

So, from Clark's perspective, what doctrinal difference did he have in mind when he said that there was doctrinal disagreement behind the objections to the mission movement? He will explain what he means in the subsequent citations from the article from which we are citing. But, before we look at his explanation, let me say that it was clearly ignorance that was the reason. Many of those first Hardshells were not well grounded in the Scriptures and in understanding what was taught in their acknowledged confessions and articles of faith. These went too far in their Calvinism and embraced what is called "Hyper Calvinism." It first showed its ugly head in the 18th century, mostly among the English Particular Baptists. I will also add that Hyper Calvinism during that time did not include a denial of God's use of means in the eternal salvation of sinners. This would later become a part of the Hardshell brand of Hyper Calvinism in the middle to late 19th century.

The Hyper Calvinism that became evident in the 18th century began with a denial of what is called "duty faith," a denial that it was the duty of all men to believe the Gospel, to believe in Christ, to confess their sins and to turn from them to Christ. It also involved a denial that lost sinners were to be directly appealed to in Gospel address, and a denial that they were to be strongly urged to accept Christ. It also involved a denial that the Gospel makes any "offers" of salvation to the lost. Again, it must be strongly stated that such men were not denying that the Gospel was a means in the eternal salvation of the elect. In 1707 Joseph Hussey wrote "God's Operations of Grace: But No Offers of His Grace." This book sets forth the Hyper Calvinist opposition to Christ being offered to sinners. Concerning Hussey James Leo Garrett, in his book "Baptist Theology: A Four-century Study," wrote:

"Joseph Hussey exhibited more of the defining teachings of Hyper-Cavlvinism after undergoing a theological shift. In 1693 in "The Gospel Feast Opened" he likened the gospel to a gigantic feast with "all kinds of spiritual provision," now available and to which sinners are invited. By 1706 in "The Glory of Christ Unveil'd, or The Excellency of Christ Vindicated," Hussey had adopted supralapsarianism, and in the next year in "God's Operations of Grace but No Offers of Grace" he had rejected "offers of grace" as "antievangelical." Sharply differentiating offering the gospel or salvation from preaching the gospel or preaching Christ and distinguishing external offers from the Spirit's enabling sinners "to close savingly with the offer," Hussey contended that "an offer of grace is no gift of grace" and sought to explain how to preach the gospel wihout offering grace. Only God's operations through the preaching of the gospel can bring the conversion of the elect." (pg. 91 - see here)

A large number of Particular Baptists began to accept the views of men like Hussey, such as John Gill and John Brine. The method of evangelism of these Hyper Calvinist leaning men became known, according to John Leland, as the "Gillite method." Further, as already stated, many of the Hyper Calvinists of the 18th century opposed "duty faith."

So, when Clark speaks of doctrine as being behind the debate over "methods" of evangelism and of fulfilling the Great Commission, he is somewhat correct.

Further, other Hardshells argued that it was the teachings of Andrew Fuller regarding duty faith, evangelistic methods, and on the extent of the atonement, that were behind the debate over methods. This may be true with some who supported missions, but it certainly was not true of them all. There were many like Jesse Mercer who believed in limited atonement but who nevertheless supported Baptist missionary efforts. The Hardshells have been denouncing Andrew Fuller for a long time, calling him an Arminian (when in fact he was not), and calling him the father of the Baptists who supported missions. But, this is also false. We shall see, in upcoming chapters, on Andrew Fuller and on the history of missions and theological education among the Baptists, that these charges are false.

Clark continued:

"Concerning the priesthood it is written that, “No man tak­eth this honor to himself, but he that was called of God, as was Aaron,” and the gifts conferred upon the Church are by Christ, who ascended upon high, led captivity captive—(Ephes. iv. 8), and the word of Christ, who is head over all things to the Church, is imperative in the commission: “Go ye” not to send any one, "Go teach. all nations," (Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature); The order or commis­sion is delivered by Christ to the ministers of the gospel (not to the Churches), and they have to watch the developments in Providence which indicate the mind of Christ and the will of God as to where and when they shall go; and He has never failed in any instance to make provision for them when they move at His bidding for that is pledged in the commission under which they act: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”-- Matt. xxviii. 20. He that sends them also calls and qualifies them for the work. Not all the colleges and academies of learning that were ever established upon the earth ever gave to one of God’s ministers a single spiritual idea, and it is a usurpation of power for any man, or combination of men, to undertake to qualify men to preach the gospel and then to appoint the field of labor for them. The former is a gift bestowed by Christ, the head of the Church, who led cap­tivity captive and received gifts for men; and the latter solely under the supervision of His divine Providence."

Clark repeats the errors of the Hardshells in affirming that the Great Commission was limited to the called ministry with the church excluded. In the series on "Hardshells & The Great Commission" it was shown that the Hardshell views are false. He also repeats the Hardshell apology that says that ministers have the sole power in deciding where to go preach and that they only go where they see "the developments in Providence" pointing out "the mind of Christ and the will of God." And, as we said, it must be the mind of Christ and the will of God that no Hardshell preacher, for the past 180 years, go anywhere outside of the United States! He also says "He that sends them also calls and qualifies them for the work," and the logical conclusion to this is to blame the Lord if some of his ministers remain uneducated like Daniel Parker! Is not being educated in the doctrine part of what it means to be qualified to teach? Clark thinks that theological schools are not able to qualify a man to preach. Now surely no such school can impart the gift to preach, or call men to the office, but they certainly can help to qualify him to successfully fulfill his mission and work. Theological schools may not be able to make preachers, but they can be helps in making them to be better preachers, to help them develop their gifts.

Further, it is no usurping of the prerogatives of the Lord to educate ministers. Why are schools such a usurpation but not such when an older minister personally helps a younger minister to understand more perfectly the doctrine of the Lord? Truly "the legs of the lame are not equal" here. Was Paul usurping the power of the Lord when Paul had an ongoing mission and work to train young ministers such as Titus and Timothy?

Clark continued:

"When He wanted a minister to be on the way as the Ethiopian Eunuch passed along, to preach to him Jesus, he is sent there by the fire of persecution, and was found at the right time and in the right place, without any of the appliances or contrivances of Boards and Conventions, When it was necessary in the grand arrangement to build up Zion that the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel amid believe, the order is given: “Send men to Joppa and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter. He shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.”—Acts x. 6."

What Clark says here, from the Scriptures, is true, but the conclusions which he draws from those passages is false. Again, the logical conclusion to what Clark is affirming leads to giving the Lord the blame for no Hardshell preacher going outside of the United States to preach the Gospel. One has to conclude this or else conclude that God has no elect persons, or persons he wants to see converted, in countries outside of the United States. Which horn of this dilemma do the Hardshells want to grab? Are there no people like the Ethiopian Eunuch in lands outside of the United States? Have any foreigners sent word to the Hardshells saying come and preach to us? If not, why not?

Further, Clark assumes that the only children of God who can have a burden for lost sinners in places where there is no Gospel knowledge are ministers! Do they not think that Christians who are not ministers may have such burdens and concerns? Why do they exclude the Lord burdening an entire church about this matter? And, if the Lord should burden an entire church, or group of churches, about doing what they could to see that such heathen lands hear the Gospel, is there nothing they can do about it? Would it be wrong for them to call out to the ministry for volunteers to go into those areas with their help?

Clark continued:

"The apostles, therefore, were missionaries, because called and qualified of God to preach the gospel, to preach the Word, to preach Christ and Him crucified—the unsearchable riches of Christ. They did not receive the gift or the authority from man but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. When therefore, we speak of missionaries, let us understand what is meant by the term. Do we mean those who are qualified and sent of men, or those whom God hath put into the ministry? “The man of God thoroughly furnished unto all good works;” furnished out of the “Scripture given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”—II Tim. iii. 16, 17."

Again, most of what is here said by Clark is misrepresentation of the facts. Men like Jesse Mercer did not believe that theological schools were qualifying or calling men to preach! What they believed was that they were helping those already called to become better qualified so as to be more successful in their work and a greater blessing to the people of God. Also, when Clark speaks of the Apostles being qualified "by the revelation of Jesus Christ" and says that the same is still true with regard to all God called ministers, he his stating a gross falsehood. When Paul refers to "the revelation of Christ" he is referring to the fact that Christ personally appeared to him, and not only once, but on several occasions. (See Acts 26: 16 and Gal. 1: 12) Therefore, for Clark to affirm that this is how the Lord has continued to call and make ministers is grossly wrong.

It is interesting that Clark cites II Timothy 3: 16-17 in the context of ministerial qualifications. He seems to agree that the learning of the Scriptures helps to qualify men to teach. And, in affirming this, he has given up his whole case against missions and theological education! When Paul speaks of the Scriptures as fully furnishing (or equipping) the "man of God," he clearly is saying that a man who is ignorant of the Scriptures is not equipped. Further, by Paul's use of the word "fully" he shows that not all ministers are equally qualified to fulfill their calling, for some are more knowledgeable of the Scriptures than are others. Therefore some are more "furnished" or "equipped" than are others. Simply being initially gifted or called does not mean that one is at that point fully equipped! Hardshells argue that the instant a man is called to preach he is at that time fully equipped! Further, the "man of God" in this passage is not to be limited to preachers.

Clark continued:

"The Churches of Christ and ministers of God’s Word would have borne with, a great deal of false zeal and weakness about missions, if the pure doctrine of the gospel of Christ had been maintained by all the ministers and Churches of our denomination. But alas, alas! how has the fine gold become dim, and the most fine gold changed Institutions and schools of various kinds to teach religion; to drill and mould the tender mind in what are called “Nurseries of the Churches,” are accomplishing the same thing for Baptist Churches that infant membership, by rantism, has done for the Pedo-Baptist societies. The plants are all in due time transplanted into the Churches from the nurseries, and the consequence is that the carnal element in the bodies predominates, and Ichabod is written upon their walls."

The first thing to notice is how Clark attributes "false zeal" to the Baptists who supported mission work. How can he act as judge of the motives of his brethren? The Hardshells often speak of the supporters of missions usurping the prerogatives of the Lord in mission work, but here Clark usurps the authority of the Lord, who is the only one who can judge the hearts of men. Such judgments show a lack of charity, which is the chief grace. One could easily argue that it was "false zeal" that motivated the Hardshell opposition to the mission work of Baptists.

He then charges the Baptist supporters of missions as not preaching "the pure doctrine of the gospel of Christ." Again, this is a harsh judgment and one that is simply not the case. Many of the Baptists who supported missions were five point Calvinists, or 4 1/2 point Calvinists, such as Jesse Mercer and R.B.C. Howell. To accuse such men of preaching a corrupted Gospel because they supported mission work is truly horrendous.

He then condemns schools for teaching the Scriptures, whether they be Sunday schools or seminaries. But, as I have shown, such condemnation is nothing but a condemning of brethren who are obeying the Great Commission. He thinks that no one who is taught in a Bible class will become a true convert to Christ! What extremism! He judges that all churches who school people in the Scriptures will soon have "Ichabod" written over their churches! From reading some of the writings of Elder Clark towards the end of his life (about 1890) he seems to be more open to Hardshells having Bible schools. But, it was too late a date to change the dyed in the wool Hardshells.

Clark continued:

"But we have, notwithstanding, true missionaries——those who go, as God in His providence opens the way, and “preach Jesus and the Resurrection.” We have nothing to boast of, but we know many of these devoted servants of God, who travel more, preach oftener, and in every way that God’s ministers work in His vineyard, labor more abundantly, endure more hardness, suffer more losses and privations than any of the so-called missionaries who are laboring under the direction and patronage of some Board. Now, if we are to be together, let us come upon the apostolic platform. The King commands: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you,” and whatsoever is not commanded is forbidden."

Clark, in speaking of Hardshell ministers who go preaching, and who he is willing to call "missionaries," says "we have nothing to boast of." But, the opposite is true. They have been boasting about themselves since their beginning. Even in this article, has he not boasted that he and his Hardshell brethren are the only ones who are preaching a pure Gospel? That Hardshell churches are the only ones who do not have "Ichabod" written over their churches? Further, he goes on to say - "we know many of these devoted servants of God, who travel more, preach oftener, and in every way that God’s ministers work in His vineyard, labor more abundantly, endure more hardness, suffer more losses and privations than any of the so-called missionaries." What a boast! Further, what he is referring to is the practice of Hardshell preachers going on preaching tours where they preach in existing Hardshell churches! This can hardly be called missionary work! It is interesting that he should cite the words of the Great Commission, seeing it condemns all that he has said in his diatribe against mission work! The instruction of Christ to the assembled group was to teach all the nations, making disciples, and teaching those disciples to observe the command to go and teach! He says that "whatsoever is not commanded is forbidden." Okay, but disciples are taught to observe every command that God gave to those who were first addressed, and there is the command to "go" and the command to "teach." All disciples are to observe these two commands. Further, the command to teach is the authority for teaching disciples in schools, be they Sunday schools or theological schools.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hardshells & Mission Opposition XVI

Chapter 159

The Black Rock Address in condemning mission societies, wrote:

"But the mission administration is all lodged in the hands of a few, who are distinguished from the rest, by great swelling titles, as Presidents, Vice Presidents, &c."

"President" and "Vice President" are "great swelling titles"? What about the numerous Hardshell societies, organizations, and corporations that have such officers? I have several books that have been published by Hardshell publication "societies." For instance, I have a book titled "The Writings of S.A. Paine" (a Hardshell debater at the turn of the twentieth century) and on the inside cover is this information:

Third Printing
Harp Of Ages, Inc.
Harvey L. Bass, President
A.E. Richards, Vice President

I also have copies of the "Old School Hymnal" and at the end of the Preface is this information:

E.D. Speir Sr. President
Lasserre Bradley Jr. Vice President
Roland U. Green Music Editor
Joe F. Hildreth Treasurer
R. Wayne Peters Secretary
I. Morgan Holcombe Director
Daniel R. Hall Director

Most, if not all, of these men are Hardshell elders. I could give more examples of such "societies" that the Hardshells have in existence. It seems that they are not averse to "presidents" and "vice presidents" and such "great swelling titles" when it comes to societies of their own making! "Consistency thou art a jewel"!

The Address continued:

"Very different from this is the mission order. The mission community being so arranged that from the little Mite Society, or the State Conventions, and from them on to the Triennial Convention, and General Board, there is formed a general amalgamation, and a concentration of power in the hands of a dozen dignitaries, who with some exceptions have the control of all the funds designed for supporting ministers among the destitute, at home and abroad, and the sovereign authority to designate who from among the professed ministers of Christ, shall be supported from these funds, and also to assign them the field of their labors."

One can oppose certain kinds of mission organizations and still not be opposed to them all. J.R. Graves led many in the Landmarker movement to oppose the board system of mission organizations, in the mid 1800s, yet they nevertheless supported church sponsored missions. Ben Bogard would continue the war against the board system into the twentieth century, holding a debate in 1910 with I.N. Penich over the question. It is not my intention here to get fully into this controversy. It is sufficient to point out that one can support mission organizations without supporting the board system. Many have written in support of the board system and their arguments seem to be sound. Who, after all, controls the boards? Is it not the churches themselves? Thus, if someone on the board is judged to not be doing things properly, he can be removed by a vote of the churches.

Further, the board of trustees of most Baptist mission organizations only appoint men to mission work who have been first recommended by a church or churches. Also, the board considers the minister's qualifications and his own mind relative to his field of labor. If two candidates apply to a board to be sent to a mission field in China, for instance, the board would look at the candidates qualifications and interview them to see which, if any, had a special burden or impression to go to China. Suppose one of them had such a burden that he had begun to learn the Chinese language and about Chinese history? Would such a person not be looked upon more favorably? Why would such investigation be wrong?

The Black Rockers condemn a board of trustees having so much power to appoint ministers as missionaries, and yet they forget that such boards are directly under the supervision of the churches themselves. The sovereignty remains with the churches. Further, do the Hardshells not know what it means to be a steward? Do stewards not have great power in supervising and controlling the assets of others? Trustees on Baptist boards are simply stewards.

The Hardshells object to mission boards assigning the field of labor for ministers who apply to the board to be appointed as a missionary. But, they fail to realize that this is done in conjunction with conversations with the churches and with the missionaries. If Baptists have been led of the Lord to send missionaries to Africa, for instance, and want to send missionaries to that part of the world, is ti wrong for them to raise money for that purpose and to ask ministers who may have a burden to go there, to apply to their appointed stewards and trustees for examination? Does not each minister have the right to apply or not? If he would rather go to India, rather than Africa, then he can make his thoughts and purposes known.

The Address continued:

"Yea, the authority to appoint females, and school-masters, and printers, and farmers, as such, to be solemnly set apart by prayer, and the impositions of hands, as missionaries of the cross, and to be supported from these funds. Whereas in ancient times the preachers of the gospel [were called] by the Holy Ghost. - Acts xiii. 1,4. 2nd."

This is not logical and is against what the Address has already acknowledged. They have affirmed that a person can, at the same time, be sent forth by both the church and the Lord. One does not exclude the other. Further, this was seen from the citation from Acts 13: 1-5 where Paul and Barnabas were sent forth by the church and by the Spirit. The church and Spirit often work together. John said "the Spirit and the bride say come" (Rev. 22: 17). In the area of mission work, it is the same. Both the church and Spirit act and speak as one.

The Address continued:

"In reference to ministerial support. - The gospel order is to extend support to them who preach the gospel; but the mission plan is to hire persons to preach. The gospel order is not to prefer one before another, and do nothing by partiality. See 1 Tim. v. 17,21. But the Mission Boards exclude all from participation in the benefits of their funds, who do not come under their direction and own their authority, however regularly they may have been set apart according to gospel order, to the work of the ministry, and however zealously they may be laboring to preach the gospel among the destitute."

But, those who decide on the qualifications for missionaries are godly men who have been appointed as stewards and overseers by the churches. If the churches feel as though a particular minister has been wrongly shunned by the board of stewards, then they may appeal to the board, and if need be, remove particular stewards.

And, as far as showing partiality is concerned, the Black Rockers are not ones to judge! They continuously do what they here condemn. They show partiality to their own anti mission ministers! Further, did not Paul say that the elders who rule well should be given "double honor"? (I Tim. 5: 17) Would it being showing partiality for the churches and ministers to decide which preachers were worthy of double honor? Further, the "honor" in these verses involved financial support. Some preachers deserve double support because of their qualifications. But, according to the Hardshells no one should make such a judgment, because it would be showing partiality!

Also, funds are always limited and there is no way that every minister who desires to be a missionary can be supported. The board, acting on behalf of the churches, should appoint the best qualified. Of course, no baptist board is going to appoint missionaries who do not recognize the authority of the board. Why should they? To reject the authority of the board is to reject the authority of the Baptist churches who appointed the board's members.

It seems obvious that some of the Black Rockers felt slighted when they were not approved for support by the mission organizations. Some of the most vocal of anti missionaries had at first applied to the boards, and being rejected, then went on a crusade against them. Daniel Parker applied and was rejected before he went on his tirade against them. So too with men like James Osbourn and Samuel Trott. Further, had the Hardshells not been so much at war with the mission organizations, and discouraged so many from financially supporting the boards, there would have been more funds for missionaries, and thus more missionaries.

The Address continued:

"And what is more, these Boards by their auxiliaries and agents, so scour every hole and corner to scrape up money for their funds that the people think they have nothing left to give a preacher who may come among them alone upon the authority of Christ, and by the fellowship of the church."

There is no doubt some truth in these words, but there is also likely some exaggeration. Was it wrong for preachers to seek financial support from Christians for mission work? Paul thought that it was good for Christians to give of their money to support those who were preaching the Gospel in areas where it has not been preached before. I have already cited his words to the church at Phillipi where he said "ye have well done" in sending funds to him, and "not because I desire a gift," he said, "but I desire fruit that may abound to your account." Those preachers who sought financial help in supporting missionaries wanted the people to please the Lord, to do well, to bear fruit that may abound to their accounts. Paul said the church at Corinth was "inferior" to other churches in this area and that he should have encouraged them to give of their money to support him and his fellow missionaries. Thus, missionaries who call upon the people of God to give of their money to support missions are really inviting them to become superior and to bear fruit that God will be pleased with.

Further, did not the Hardshells force themselves into the extreme of never teaching their people about their responsibility in giving? Every Hardshell preacher who reads this will know that this is the truth. And, so far as taking money from people to the point where they "have nothing left to give a preacher," one suspects again that many Hardshells opposed missionaries seeking financial support because they saw it as taking money away from them. It is the same movitation that we have already observed. The ignorant Hardshell preachers opposed educated ministers because they felt threatened in their own positions. Here they oppose their people giving money to mission organizations because it will take money away from them.

The Address continued:

"Formerly not only did preachers generally feel themselves bound to devote a part of their time to traveling and preaching among the destitute, but the people also among whom they came dispensing the word of life, felt themselves bound to contribute something to meet their expenses. These were the days when Christian affections flowed freely. Then the hearts of the preachers flowed out toward the people, and the affections of the people were manifested toward the preachers who visited them. There was then more preaching of the gospel among the people at large, according to the number of Baptists, than has ever been since the rage of missions commenced. How different are things now from what they were in those by-gone days."

There is so much that can be said in response to these things. The context of their examples are Baptist preachers in America, such as John Leland, in the 18 century, who often made excursions into the frontier lands to preach in areas that were seeing new settlers. Many of these settlers were already familiar with the Christian religion, to some extent, having immigrated from areas that had already been settled. So, to go preach in those areas was not the same as going to a heathen land. These preachers, like Leland, often had a church or churches to pastor, but may have only had to preach once or twice per month. During those times in the month when they did not have a regular preaching engagement in the churches they pastored, they would venture out into these destitute and thinly populated areas. Oftentimes these open air meetings were greatly blessed so that many were converted to Christ and new churches established. And, it is true that these traveling preachers would often receive donations from their new converts. But, it is also true that they received support from churches they pastored. This we shall show in later chapters when we get into the history of Baptist mission work.

It is not always the case, however, that the new converts in those destitute areas supported the new preacher. This was the case with Paul in Corinth, was it not? They did not support him after they had been converted. Why? Is it not because they did not know better? If Paul had not received support from other churches when he went to Corinth, he would have suffered want.

The Address continued:

"Now, generally speaking, persons who are novices in the gospel, however learned they may profess to be in the sciences, have taken the field in the place of those who, have been taught in the school of Christ, were capacitated to administer consolation to God's afflicted people."

Again, it is quite obvious that many anti mission preachers felt slighted and that this feeling motivated many of them in their opposition to missions. Daniel Parker no doubt felt insult when he was rejected for mission support. But, had I been on a Baptist mission board, and had limited funds, insufficient to support all who wanted support, I too would have excluded supporting Parker, a man who boasted of his ignorance. He certainly was one of the least qualified to be supported. Further, not supporting Parker as a missionary did not mean he could not continue to do what he had been doing in preaching and pastoring churches.

The Address continued:

"The missionary, instead of going into such neighborhoods as Christ's ministers used to visit, where they would be most likely to have an opportunity of administering food to the poor of the flock, seeks the more populous villages and towns, where he can attract the most attention, and do the most to promote the cause of missions and other popular institutions. His leading motive, judging from his movements, is not love to souls, but love of fame; hence his anxiety to have something to publish of what he has done, and hence his anxiety to constitute churches, even taking disaffected, disorderly, and as has been the case, excluded persons, to form a church, in the absence of better materials."

By these remarks the Black Rockers condemn the great Apostle Paul who often went into the most populous of cities to preach! By their own criterion they would have to say that in doing so he was seeking fame and money! And, that he went to these cities because he did not have any love for souls! Further, once again the Hardshells make ad hominem attacks in an attempt to prove their points. But, such prove nothing. They also attack the motives of those missionaries who went into population centers as if they were judges of the hearts of men. "His leading motive" they have the nerve to judge. But, again, they are doing what the Scriptures denounce.

And, as far as taking in excluded persons, the Hardshells later did this in great numbers themselves! Many of their churches have a history of doing this, especially in taking in members from Missionary and Arminian churches! But, it is doubtful that this was ever a common practice among missionaries who established churches in destitute locations. Probably, in some of the cases, these persons confessed their former sins and were taken into the newly formed churches. They may have immigrated from the eastern seaboard, but were now in the western wilderness, and to wait for them to get in contact with that former church would take months. Thus, the missionary preacher would in such cases simply take them in based upon their confession of wrong. I personally see no wrong in this in such cases.

The Address continued:

"And the people, instead of glowing with the affection for the preacher as such, feel burdened with the whole system of modern mendicancy, but have no resolution to shake off their oppression, because it is represented so deistical to withhold and so popular to give. Brethren, we cheerfully acknowledge that there have been some honorable exceptions to the character we have here drawn of the modern missionary, and some societies have existed under the name of Mission Societies which were in some important exceptions from the above drawn sketch; but on a general scale we believe we have given a correct view of the mission plans and operations, and of the effects which have resulted from them, and our hearts really sicken at this state of things. How can we therefore forbear to express our disapprobation of the system that has produced it?"

It seems to me that the above represents a very weak case for declaring all mission work of Baptists to be anti Christian. It certainly offers no reason to have declared all Baptists who supported missions as being in disorder and part of AntiChrist and Babylon! Truly the Hardshells have "thrown out the baby with the bathwater," as we have said. They acknowledge that their criticism and denunciation did not apply to all missionaries and mission organizations, but still they go on and declare non-fellowship with them all! Because some few Baptist church members "feel burdened" under the pleas for financial help with missions, therefore all pleas for such are wrong? Is it not the case that when some courageous Hardshell preachers began to teach their people about their duty to support their ministers, after a long period of their forefathers condemning all such preaching, that some covetous members felt anxiety? But, is this a reason to stop teaching the people about their duty? And, as fas as giving a "correct view of the mission plans and operations," that is simply not the case. In reading the Black Rock Address it becomes apparent that they did not represent things accurately.

Thus, we are finished looking at the Black Rock Address and have shown how their arguments against supporting Baptist mission organizations simply lack credibility. They do not show from the Scripture how such organizations are wrong or evil as they judge. In the next chapter we will look at some of the further argumentation against missions that was made later, after the 1832 Black Rock Address, by Hardshell apologists.