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?