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.