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.

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