A few days ago I received an e-mail from a Hardshell preacher who wanted to talk to me about his getting out of the Hardshell cult. So, I sent him my telephone number and he called me and we talked for a couple hours. He not only has come to see the heresies of the Hardshells, and their schismatic spirit, but also their cult status.
This elder is a very well educated man with lots of religious experience and education obtained before he joined the Hardshells. He stated that our writings here on the Old Baptist blog have been of much help to him and we were glad to hear it. I invited him to come and join with Elder Fralick and me and write here. He said that he was afraid that he was at present too angry at the Hardshells to write. I told him that I understood, but that since he also expressed much love for many of the Hardshells, that he would hopefully in time come to see how he might be of help to others like himself, and write for their benefit. It is my hope that others will also come to see the errors of the Hardshells and come out of the cult. I get e-mails periodically from ordinary lay persons who have been helped by our writings and who have been saved from the cult.
What should someone in the Hardshell cult do when they discover that they are in a cult? When they discover that the Hardshells believe and practice serious doctrinal errors? Especially, what should those who are preachers do?
For those who remain convinced of the doctrines of grace, and of the basic tenets of Calvinism, there are really only two choices. First, they can separate from their church with those who agree with them and begin a new church after the order of the genuine Old Baptist faith. This is what Elder Fralick did. Second, they can find another Baptist church in their area that holds to the doctrines of grace. Many Baptist churches called "sovereign grace Baptists" or "particular Baptists" hold to the 1689 London Confession of faith. The Internet makes finding such churches much easier. Further, there are some good moderate Calvinistic churches and there is no reason why one cannot find a home with them. There are even "founders friendly" churches among the Southern Baptists who still hold to the doctrines of grace.
I counseled this elder on how to grow a church if he decides to do so. He certainly must become evangelistic, something that the Hardshells did not teach him to do. He must have a love for souls and a desire to see people converted. If this means knocking on doors in the community, or standing on the street corner preaching or handing out tracts, it must be done. To grow a church requires labor. It is no easy job. But, where the heart is right, and fully engaged, the work will be blessed by the Lord. Many large churches began with a home Bible study or weekly prayer meeting.
In starting a new church, I certainly would not call it a "Primitive Baptist" church, for I would not want people to get the wrong impression. Just simply "Baptist" is sufficient, although "Old Baptist Church" is also worthy of consideration.
This preacher and I both agreed that the Hardshells are generally very ignorant of the Scriptures. I attribute this to their lack of a teaching ministry, to their not having Bible classes and Sunday Schools. I told this preacher that most of the elders in the Hardshell church are also grossly ignorant, especially in the rules of Bible interpretation. People are hungry for the word of God and for a church to grow there has to be a serious teaching ministry. Music is important, yes, but it is only secondarily so.
In closing let me say that I have withheld this preacher's name. He can make his own announcement about his leaving the Hardshells. I pray the Lord will be with him and his family as he seeks the guidance of the Lord.