"Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch." (Acts 11: 22)
From these words it seems quite clear that the Jerusalem church not only sent Barnabas on a preaching mission but also marked out the area where he was to labor. Of course, had Barnabas felt a burden to go to areas beyond what is specified, he could relate such to the church for their consideration. And, whether or not they agreed to support him in going in those further areas, he of course would be free to go on his own. But, the Jerusalem church did not send out Barnabas with the instructions - "go where you feel like going." Rather, they told him precisely where to go, a thing the Hardshells condemn. The commission of Barnabas, from the Jerusalem church, was for him to "go," and it was obvious that he was to go and teach. Surely this was by authority of the Great Commission. So, the Great Commission allowed churches to send forth missionaries with the order to the missionaries to "go." And, so, all the talk about the Great Commission saying "go" rather than "send" is no argument at all, a point I enlarged upon in my series on the Great Commission. And, the allegation that a church cannot specify a missionary's field of labor is also found to be unscriptural.
It is true that a church cannot compel a minister to go to a certain area to preach. That minister is free to interpret his own impressions from the Lord. But, to say that a church cannot also be impressed by the Lord to see that the Gospel is preached in certain barren areas, is a falsehood. Why do Hardshells think that only ministers have a burden to see that the Gospel is preached, especially in those areas where the people are ignorant of the Gospel? And, if a church is burdened to see the Gospel go into certain destitute areas where the people are heathen, is she unable to do anything to see that the Gospel goes to those places? Can she not send out a call to those with a burden to preach to go to those places? Although it is true, for instance, that a minister is free to go where he pleases to preach, the church also is free to choose, with its limited funds, which ministers to support, and base this decision on where she is particularly desirous of seeing the Gospel preached. In other words, is a church obligated to support a minister in his mission work solely based upon that minister's lone impression, disregarding any impressions that she might have of her own? It seems that McKee thinks that the minister chooses his own field of labor without any input from the churches from whom he might expect support.
"The present day movement is more in line with the Landmark Missionary Baptist church than with the Primitive Baptists in the area of missions. The Landmark Baptists opposed other Missionary Baptists (Southern Baptist) in the mid 1800s because of their belief that the separate mission board/society was not scriptural. They held the view that the local church was given a commission to spread the Gospel and each local body should therefore be active in church sponsored missions, foreign and domestic. As far as I know their Doctrine and practices are not presently or ever have been such that any orderly Old Line Primitive Baptists would embrace them in church fellowship."
Whether or not those Hardshells in the "liberal movement" are in agreement with Landmark Missionary Baptists is beside the point and proves nothing. All through McKee's attack on Hardshell support of mission work there is not the slightest bit of proof given to condemn it. What the Black Rock Address teaches or what the Landmarkers teach is not proof. What is needed is proof from Scripture above all things. Do the Scriptures condemn churches supporting missionary work? Also, is such work in accordance with traditional Baptist practice? Did the Baptists who wrote and endorsed the 1689 London Confession believe in church sponsored missionary work? It can be easily shown how the Baptist church has always been a missionary church. This will be done in our next series following the present.
"There are some doctrinal points being taught by the Present day Movement that the Black Rock Brethren did not believe. (1) The Commandments commonly referred to as the great commission were given to the church and not to the Apostles. "In Matthew 28:19-20, baptism was given as a church ordinance and inseparably linked to baptism was the command to teach all nations. You cannot accept baptism as a church ordinance without accepting that the command to teach all nations is also addressed to the church." (Elder Gus Harter, Atlanta Newsletter Jan. 1996)"
If church support of missionary work be dependent upon proving that the Great Commission was given to the church, then the case is easy to decide. I have already proven, in the series on the Great Commission, that it was indeed given to the entire body of professing Christians. Did Elder Watson not believe that the Hardshells had violated this commission? Elder Harter was correct to point out the inconsistency of saying that baptism is a "church ordinance" while denying that the church was given authority to baptize per the Great Commission. Further, as I have argued, the Lord's Supper was given to the apostles, but what Hardshell argues that this proves that it was only for the apostles and ministers? Also, when Jesus said that the apostles should teach the disciples to observe "all things" that they themselves had been commanded to do, this cannot exclude the command to go and teach.
"The Black Rock Brethren wrote: "that we [ministers] do regard as of the first importance the command given of Christ, primarily to his apostles, and through them to his ministers in every age, to "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," and do feel an earnest desire to be found acting in obedience thereunto, as the providence of God directs our way, and opens a door of utterance for us. They believed the minister should go 'as the providence of God directed." [NOT THE CHURCH DIRECTING OR SPONSORING]"
But, as I have shown, the Black Rockers were in error to limit the Great Commission to apostles and ministers. If, however, we affirm that all disciples are "ministers," or servants, then it is true that the command to go and teach all the nations is given "primarily to his apostles and through them to his ministers (disciples) in every age." Who did Jesus have in mind by the pronoun "them" in "teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you"? Was it ministers or disciples? Truly the latter. It is not the will of the Lord that only ministers be taught to observe the commands of the Great Commission but that all disciples be taught to observe them.
"A final quote from the Black Rock address further reveals that the present day movement is infected with more of the same diseases the leaders of the 1800 movement were plagued with."
Is it a "disease" for ordinary disciples to want to do all that the Great Commission commands? Is it a disease to desire that others hear the blessed Gospel? Is it a disease to support those who go forth to preach the Gospel among the heathen?This is hardshellism! The condemnation and slander of all efforts to see that the Gospel is taken to the uttermost parts of the earth!
McKee cited these words from the Black Rock Address:
"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."
I have already refuted these words from the Black Rock Address. But, Mckee, writes these words concerning them:
"This is true in today's movement also. There are some among us that are hungering and thirsting for numbers more than righteousness (staying in the old paths)."
Again, this is another example of how the Hardshells consider themselves judges of the hearts of the Lord's people. McKee makes himself such a judge. How does he know that those in the "liberal movement" are more interested in money, for its own sake, than they are for righteousness? Surely such an accusation demands proof from McKee. But, like his Hardshell forefathers, he is accustomed to making such slanderous accusations against the motives of others without the least shred of evidence to support his case. Again, McKee is "speaking evil" of his brethren, a thing the Scriptures condemn, as we have seen. Did not James write these words against such a practice?
"Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge." (James 4: 11)
By setting himself up as a judge and condemner of his brethren, McKee shows himself to not being a doer of the law. As John Gill said, in commenting upon this verse, "such a person not only infringes the right of the law, but assumes the place of the Judge and lawgiver himself."
Further, it seems obvious that McKee condemns as an evil any desire "for numbers." Though he condemns having a greater desire for numbers versus a desire for righteousness, it is really a condemnation of having any desire for numbers that McKee really condemns. Such a condemnation has been a tradition with the Hardshells and was begun as a way of defending their loss and lack of numbers. They often say that the large numbers of conversions by other Baptists only show that such Baptists are heretics, and that their own lack of numbers proves that they are the true Baptists. However, if one searches the Scriptures, he will see how the biblical authors had a different attitude about numbers than do the Hardshells.
"And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." (Luke 14: 23)
It is obvious from these words of Jesus that he was interested in numbers. "Go," said Jesus, and "compel" all, by preaching and exhortation, to "come," and that so that the house of the Lord would be filled.
The writer of the Book of Acts was not someone who looked upon large numbers of conversions as a sign of corruption, but as a sign of the Lord's blessing. In Acts 2: 41 Luke says - "the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." In Acts 4: 4 he wrote - "and the number of the men was about five thousand." In Acts 21: 20 we read - "And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe." In Acts 19 Luke wrote:
"And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." (vs. 18-20)
Notice the use of the word "many." Notice also how Luke sees the fact of many conversions as a sign that the work of God was growing mightily and prevailing.
"The present domestic and international radio program conducted by Elder Lasserre Bradley Jr. seeks to be in large markets (populous areas) here and abroad. Self-promoting letters of praise are frequently read to the listeners to gain support for their effort by implying their success and usefulness. The program appears to be edited, produced and marketed by offering for sale, self-promoting, expository sermon series. The Program is promoted as an outreach ministry and has taken on the same flavor and tactics of most other worldly religious radio programming in the use of 800 numbers, credit cards, operating the program with a deficient of thousands of dollars and increasing appeals for monetary support."
The attitude of Elder McKee is the end result of a long Hardshell history of condemning all efforts to fulfill the Great Commission. If McKee had been present in the time of the Apostle Paul, he no doubt would have condemned the Apostle for preaching in major cities like Athens, Corinth, Phillipi, Jerusalem, Rome, etc. Further, I have no doubt that the Apostle would have used radio preaching had it been available in his day. McKee can find no good in the efforts to preach the Gospel to as many as possible. He again shows himself as a judge of the hearts and motives of others, and one who speaks evil of his brethren.
"I realize my stating this about the Baptist Bible Hour will disturb many who go by the name Primitive Baptist and will bring charges of jealousy from many quarters. This would not be new because all those in the past that led or supported departures in faith and practices, have always accuse the one’s opposing them of jealousy and being against the spread of the Gospel."
McKee realizes what his denunciations give the appearance of, and thinks that his assurances to the contrary are sufficient to counter them. But, he is deluded to think so. Had McKee himself been a great evangelizer, going to destitute and unpopulated areas, to preach the Gospel, and brought this up as evidence that he was not against preaching the Gospel, he would have more to offer than simply his denunciations and denials. Further, it is not only jealousy that seems to be guiding men like McKee, but an opposition to preaching the Gospel.
"As God as my witness I do not desire any harm or tearing down of any of God's people that I feel faithful brethren must oppose. My little efforts have already estranged me from many of those that I count as dear children who have become followers of those attempting to change the Primitive Baptists. I'm convinced that many of them would once have firmly opposed any 'outreach ministry' or use of worldly tactics knowing that it is in direct opposition to the plain teachings of the scriptures, which teach us that the world knows us not, and we are to be a separate people and come out from among them. (1John 3:1, IICor 6:11-18)."
Again, McKee tries to persuade people that his opposition to preaching the Gospel is not really an opposition to preaching. But, in this effort he miserably fails. All except the blind can see that the spirit that is motivating him is not one that is favorable to seeing the Gospel preached to as many as possible. He says that the Scriptures condemn the practice of preaching the Gospel to the masses! He even thinks that I John 3: 1 condemns it! He thinks that this passage teaches against preaching the Gospel to the world! But, he would no doubt condemn Christ for telling his disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole world! McKee's method is let others preach the Gospel to the world, reveal the elect, and then McKee will come along and preach to the elect thus revealed.
"In conclusion: the Black Rock brethren, just as true old Baptists are today, were in support of true biblical missions which took place during the birth and infancy of this nation. Most old Baptist Ministers that traveled on foot and horseback to preach the Gospel during the early part of this nations (sic) history did so because they were lead by the Spirit of God. Ministers such as Elder Wilson Thompson tried the spirit of Modern Missionarism and rejected it."
Thus, according to McKee, "biblical missions" is where a minister goes forth to preach the Gospel without any support from Christians, using his own money. One wonders how much of this kind of biblical mission McKee has done? As far as what Baptist history shows us about church sponsored missions, we will see how she has always practiced mission work. McKee has the idea that only those who go out preaching with their own money and without support are being led by the Spirit of God! Also, based upon the history of the Hardshells, the Spirit of God must get the blame for the lack of Hardshells going forth to preach the Gospel to the heathen and the destitute.
"We should be thankful for those that blew the alarm in that day as the seeds of the 1800's mission movement were being sown by those that repeatedly tried to institute a itinerant church/associational mission plan by encouraging the association to gather money and send out ministers to destitute churches within their bounds."
Oh yes! let us be thankful for the Hardshells opposing all efforts to preach the Gospel to those who have never heard it! Let us praise the Hardshells who have done a better job at taking the Gospel to those who have never heard! Also, as far as associations being involved in mission work, we will see in our next series how the Philadelphia Association, the oldest in America, was involved in mission work in the 18th century. We will also see how the London brethren who authored and endorsed the 1689 confession, also formed associations to promote mutual support of missionaries.
"This plan found strong objections among the Kuhukee (sic) assc. Members and was not generally implemented until the cry of works! Works! Works! (Spread the Gospel) far exceeded the sounds of alarm and many timid souls halted between two opinions and became polluted by designing men. The exact situation now exists among the Primitive Baptists in America. Many good Old Baptists have been captured by the "syren song of "No danger"; be not deceived; it leads to destruction..."
In regard to the Kehukee Association, it will be seen how she herself was formed into a Regular or Calvinistic Association by the missionary efforts of John Gano, who was sent out as a missionary by the Philadelphia Association! Also, for many years the Kehukee Association supported missionary work until the rise of the Hardshells.
Oh yes! it leads to "destruction" for a church or group of churches to be involved in supporting missionaries who go forth to preach the Gospel! But, the history of the Hardshell church shows that it was their opposition to missions that have rather destroyed them, not the supporters of missions. The Hardshells today are not a hundredth percent of what they were when they first began. Yet, mission Baptists have steadily grown throughout the years.