Friday, November 29, 2013

History of Baptist Seminaries II

Chapter 168

In the 1830's a debate was carried on, a war of words, between the leaders of the "anti mission movement" and those Baptist leaders who supported organized missions, theological and Sunday schools, revival meetings, and other such things. Elder Gilbert Beebe was viewed as the chief leader of the Hardshell, Old School, or Primitive Baptists and Dr. R. B. C. Howell was a vocal leader of Baptists who supported missions and education, with others, like J. M. Peck. The following is an interesting exchange of words between Beebe and Howell, which was published in each side's periodicals. First, we will cite Beebe's response to Howell's writing entitled "ANTIQUITY OF NEW SCHOOLISM," (see here) wherein he sought to prove that missions and education had a long tradition among Baptists of the prior centuries and that the Old Schoolers or Hardshells were uttering falsehoods when they claimed that such things were new inventions among the Baptists.

Beebe wrote (emphasis mine - SG):

"THIS is truly a singular head for an article, but the subject to which we have to advert is perhaps no less singular. John M. Peck, now associated with J. L. Waller, R. B. C. Howell & Co., in conducting the Banner and Pioneer, of Kentucky, has poured forth nearly three columns of foaming wrath upon the Old School Baptists in their Fourth of July number. He charges us with forgery in appropriating to ourselves the name “Old School,” and attempts a justification of the charge by alleging that the Philadelphia Association, the Old English Baptists, and some Welsh Baptists, have in some instances so far turned aside from the divine rule as to practice some of those things which we, as bible Baptists, denounce; and having from history found men in the Baptist connection, in England, Wales and America, from 1654 extending to 1801, capable of projecting and practicing such innovations on Baptist doctrine and order, claims the appellation of “Old School” as belonging to the practices which they advocate."

Howell and Peck had the historical facts to prove that the Baptists of the preceding centuries practiced and supported cooperative mission work, theological schools, and bible classes. This being proved, the Hardshells were shown to be false in their claims that 1) such things were new among Baptists, and 2) they were most like the primitive Baptists. You will see how Beebe responded, which is no different than all the rest of the Hardshell brotherhood, when confronted with the historical facts. Does Beebe respond with counter historical evidence? Does he deny the evidence presented by Howell? No, he does not. How could he with the facts before him? What Beebe does is to push all this evidence aside and simply say that those Old Baptists of prior centuries ought to be condemned. But, the fact is, there were no Baptists who opposed these things in those prior centuries. So, what does this prove about the antiquity of the Hardshells? It shows that they are new in their opposition to theological education and missionary work. For these reasons it would have been better had the Hardshells stuck with their first choice for a dnominational name, which was "Reformed Baptist" rather than "Old School Baptist" or "Primitive Baptist."

Today's Hardshells, when confronted with these same facts, will often respond in a similar manner as did Beebe. They will say "we are not primitive because we are descended from those who have the same views as we have, but because we hold the same view as the first apostolic churches." But, there are all kinds of problems with this rebuttal.

First, the Landmarker views of the Hardshells creates problems for them. They argue, as I showed in my series on "Hardshell Landmarkism," that a church, to be the legitimate "church of Christ," to whom Jesus promised perpetuity, must have maintained a continuous uncorrupted existence since the days of Pentecost. But they also argue that participation in missionary work and theological training for ministers corrupts a church. Ergo, they must admit that they have descended from churches that are corrupt, from churches that supported such things. They cannot show that they descended from Baptist churches who, in the 17th and 18th centuries, denounced and declared non fellowship for theological schools. How then can they claim to be uncorrupted? Further, as I have shown, they have no logical or scriptural reasons for opposing such things.

Beebe continued (highlighting mine):

"Having, as he appears to suppose, stripped off our covering and shown that we are not twenty years old, (and so the appellation cannot belong to us,) his benevolent soul (moved perhaps with compassion) has dealt out to us a volley of epithets; but as all of them, strung together, would make rather an inconvenient jingle, perhaps he only intends we shall wear them one at a time. Henceforth all who take John M. Peck as their oracle are to recognize us as the hyper-Calvinistic, Antinomian, Excrescence of a Party, a most unpleasant and cumbrous excrescence, Monstrosity, Snake Species, New Cohort, New Test Party, a mere fragment of a party, a few scattered fragments, a clan, not twenty years old, misnamed Old School Baptists, of the Lawrence, Beebe, Trott and Dudley stripe, Lickingites, base metal, deceptive, counterfeit, &c."

Notice that Beebe does not attempt to meet the evidence or argument of Howell and Peck! He only asserts that Howell and Peck were making false charges, but offers no rebuttal with hard historical facts. Anyone who reads the first Hardshell periodicals of the period will see that Peck and Howell "hit the nail on the head" in their descriptions of the Hardshell character and mindset. On Howell's calling the Hardshells "New Test Men," see my posting here. It was an easy task for Howell and Peck to unmask the pretensions and claims of Beebe and his Hardshell brethren.

The fact is clear that the Hardshells were indeed a new denomination as Howell and Peck showed. They showed that the ancestors of the 19th century Particular Baptists were not Hardshells, did not object to the things the Hardshells objected to and made a "new test" for determining orthodoxy. To show that they are genuine Old Baptists they must show that they had churches who believed as they do in the 17th and 18th centuries. They must show their succession, how their present "orderly" churches are descendents of "orderly" churches.But, this they cannot do. So, they have no antiquity.

Their claim to being genuine churches of Christ simply because they claim to believe and practice what the first Christians supposedly believed and practiced is the same claim made by Alexander Campbell and his followers. But, Campbell, unlike the Hardshells, did not claim an unbroken chain of churches, but believed that true churches with their pure doctrine had ceased to exist, and that they must therefore be restored. Traditionally the Hardshells, however, have advocated that they had an unbroken chain of churches back to the days of the apostles.

Howell, Peck, and Waller were correct to call the Hardshells "new test" men, for they began a new thing among the Baptists. They made support for religious education and missionary societies a "test" for deciding whether a church is legitimate and orthodox or not. No Baptist group had made such things a test of fellowship in the previous 150 years of Baptist history.

What evidence should Beebe have produced to counter the charge of Howell and Peck, the charge that they were a new denomination? Should he not have shown the existence of churches who agreed with him in the 17th and 18th centuries?

Beebe continued:

"As to the instances adduced by Mr. Peck, in which professed Baptists of by-gone days have turned aside from the good old way, they only show, if true, that there was then, as there is now, corruption in the nominal kingdom of the Redeemer; but the imperfections of those of former times can no more justify us in departing from the laws of Christ than the present corruptions of New Schoolism can justify those of generations to come in following their pernicious ways."

Notice that Beebe does not disprove the claims of Howell and Peck about the Baptists of former centuries supporting the things denounced by the Hardshells. In fact, he admits that the advocates for theological education and for mission societies had ancestors in the prior centuries, a thing Beebe could not do for his own group. His only rebuttal is to claim that those former Baptists were apostates. But, he cannot deny that the "New Schoolers" were truly primitive and original in continuing the long Baptist tradition of supporting missions and education. Beebe cannot find his pedigree prior to the 19th century.

When I have confronted my dad (a Hardshell preacher) with these facts, he retorts - "I'm only interested in what the Bible says." Yet, in spite of the falsity of Hardshell claims, they still claim to be the true original Baptists in opposing missions and education. They are willing to tell untaught men that they are the true original Baptists, but when a knowledgeable historian confronts them with the historical evidence that overthrows their false claims, they run from the historical debate to the scriptural debate. But, they cannot find support in scripture either.

According to the "Northen Virginia Primitive Baptist Church" (see here) the Hardshells call themselves "primitive" because they are in agreement with the English Baptists who wrote and adhered to the 1689 London Confession.

"The Primitive Baptist Church holds to the London Baptist Confession of Faith adopted in the late 17th century. Churches of this faith were planted in the American colonies during the 18th century. Some of the churches drifted away, but many remained true to the 'first,' Or 'original' doctrine, hence the term 'primitive'."

But, how can they claim to be in league with the Baptists of 17th century England in light of the fact that those Old Baptists supported theological schools and societies created by the churches for support of missionary work? They claim to be descendants of the Baptists who wrote and first supported the 1689 Confession, as the above citation shows. This is what anyone who would think when they hear the terms "old" and "primitive" as adjectives for the noun "Baptist." The intent is to affirm that those wearing the title have a continuous succession of churches and that they represent what the oldest Baptists believed.

Beebe continued:

"Who the legitimate successors of the Philadelphia Association, of the English Baptists, or of the Welsh Baptists are, is not the question with us; but the grand point is, Who are followers of the Lamb? Who are walking in the footsteps of the primitive church? Who are teaching for doctrines the commandments of men?"

This is the same kind of language that the followers of Alexander Campbell have used since their inauguration (about the same time as that of the Hardshells). They also claimed not to care what Christians had believed in prior centuries, claiming that they were in agreement with the first Christians, and that, they affirmed, was sufficient. But, the Campbellites at least were honest enough to admit that their peculiar brand of church doctrine did not have a continuous witness since the days of Christ, believing that the true church had gone out of existence and that they were at work to restore it. This is what the Hardshells, if they were honest, should have claimed also. Beebe comes very close to affirming this by his language. Yet, he does not believe that the true church went out of existence. But, if it did not, and the true church must agree with the Hardshells on theological schools and missionary work, then they must be able to show a line of churches in the previous centuries who agreed with them on those things. They cannot find churches who denied Gospel means, nor who declared churches in disorder who supported associational support for seminaries and mission work, prior to the 19th century, yet they want others to believe that they are "primitive" Baptists.

Again, this is a case of running from the historical debate, yet their name arrogantly affirms that they are the true primitive Baptists, the ones who held to the practices of their forefathers! Notice that Beebe and the Hardshells assert that the Baptists who wrote the London and Philadelphia confessions are apostates and yet they claim to be their successors! The "legs of the lame are not equal."

Beebe continued:

"These references to the history of Baptists of a few centuries past have been often met and refuted." But, that is a falsehood! If Beebe truly had evidence to support his contention, he would have offered it in his rebuttal. Does he not say that the former Baptists who supported missions and ministerial education were apostates? Not followers of the Lamb?"

Beebe continues:

"We have often informed the New School that anything short of the apostolic age is too late to have weight with us. The foibles of professed Baptists three hundred years ago are entitled to no more consideration with us than those of yesterday. But as Mr. Peck says all genuine Old School Baptists were missionary Baptists, from their own mouths we will judge them. Let us sum up the testimony and strike the balance."

Notice how Beebe says that the Baptists of former days, who had supported missions and ministerial education were creating "foibles" and were made by those who were not really Baptists, being only "professed" Baptists. Why didn't Beebe simply cite historical evidence to show how Baptists of prior centuries protested against missions and ministerial education? Where can he find evidence of the existence of his brethren prior to the 19th century?

Beebe continued:

"The Philadelphia Association, just seventy years ago, approved the establishment of Rhode Island College (now Brown University); directed collections to be made to it in all the churches; and all the ministers pledged themselves to promote the object. In 1767 this venerable association sat in legislation over the churches, and supplied them with laws concerning family prayer. In 1770 collections were made for certain students of Rhode Island College. In 1754, and subsequently, sent out missionaries under pay, viz: Gano, Miller and Van Horn. In 1775 seventeen shillings were contributed for Rhode Island College. In 1778 more money was collected for preaching the gospel in destitute places. Further testimony from this deponent, Mr. Peck thinks unnecessary; he will, we presume, now suffer us to cross-question his witness.

Question. By what divine authority or New Testament rule did the Philadelphia Association engage in these anti-christian practices?

Answer. This deponent saith not."

Notice again how Beebe does not dispute the historical evidence submitted by Howell and Peck. All he can do is to say that his forefathers were engaged in anti-christian practices! That they had departed from the faith, the same kind of charge that the Campbellites made. He really proves how he and his Hardshell brethren are not the real "Old" Baptists but a new sect of Baptists, espousing doctrines that no Baptist espoused prior to the 19th century. But, Howell, Peck, and other Baptists not only demonstrated that Baptist history was against the claims of the Hardshells but the Bible as well. The reason why the Old Baptists supported missions and education is because they saw it supported in scripture.

Beebe continues:

"Q. Did the Philadelphia Association ever organize missionary, Tract, Education, Sabbath School, Temperance, or even Bible Societies, by selling membership, directorship, and other high sounding titles, to professors and non-professors) and by electing presidents, treasurers, agents, &c., until within the last twenty-five years?

A. They did not."

Beebe is raising a "red herring" in his rebuttal. It was not necessary for Howell and Peck to show that the organizational makeup of prior entities for the promotion of missions and education were exactly the same as those in the 19th century. It was enough to show that the Baptists who endorsed the confessions all supported mission and educational methods, either by individual churches or by groups of churches. The Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries, as we have seen, did create societies, overseen by messengers from the associations of churches, to receive funds that were regularly promised by the churches. Further, those organizations established by those Old Baptists had agents, trustees, and other such people to collect those funds and to be in charge of them.

Beebe continues:

"If the present race of New School Baptists are the regular successors of the Old English and Welsh Baptists, and of those of the Philadelphia Association of 1707, why have they, within a few years past, discarded the Old Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith, which was originally adopted by the Old English Baptists?"

Beebe here charges the Baptists who continue the tradition of supporting missions and education with discarding the old confessions. But, this charge is not correct. Some Baptist churches did begin to place less emphasis on the old confessions as a means of determining church fellowship, like the Separate Baptists, but this was not universal among Missionary Baptists. Interestingly, it is today's "Primitive Baptists" who do not accept the oldest confessions!

Beebe continued:

"Will John M. Peck have the assurance to tell us that the present Philadelphia Association has not discarded the old published a new and improved edition - an altered edition, more congenial with the doctrines of the new order? We think he will not."

It is not possible to comment on this retort by Beebe as it is not known what he is referring to. Is Beebe trying to say that the old confessions are "more congenial" with Hardshellism? If so, we have already shown this to be false, for the Hardshells do not subscribe to the beliefs of the 1689 London Confession.

Beebe continued:

"In looking over the April number of the Baptist Record, (so called) we are greeted with a copy of the speechifying of some of the great men of New Schoolism, at their spring anniversaries in Philadelphia; of which, as they will serve to help us out in showing the antiquity of New Schoolism, we will notice a few specimens.

Baron Stowe, of Boston, offered a resolution in favor of the Tract Society; and during his remarks in support of his motion, it is said adverted with peculiar feeling to the origin of the society; the honored names of Davis, Knowles, Staughton and Reynolds, who were engaged in it. They were all there then. But fifteen years have passed away, and all these are gone! Only the brother who first spoke and himself were now here of all its founders! Having assisted in rocking the cradle of the society, (how appropriate the idea to lull the little new comer,) in its infancy, he felt a very strong desire to see and to aid it now in assuming the manly attitude of mature years.”

Beebe thinks he has a proof that shows the Mission and Education Baptists are new because a particular tract society was only fifteen years old! Poor debater and apologist! Can he show that the Baptists of former centuries were opposed to printing and distributing tracts on bible topics?

Beebe continues:

"New School institutions, like mushrooms, are soon matured; hence J. M. Peck may plead for the antiquity of Tract Societies as fifteen years of age. The American and Foreign Bible Society held her second anniversary also in Philadelphia last April; so we may venture to put down her age at about two years and three months. A very reverend set of digniare now engaged in rocking its cradle; but, poor thing, it must either be very weakly, greedy or ill-natured, for with all their rocking, it continues to cry, like the horsleech’s daughters. As for the old American Bible Society, which the New School Baptists have helped into being, and which they assisted to rock for several years, they have at length found out that it is an Ishmael; so they have weaned it and sent it forth into the wilderness."

With this kind of logic one can prove the Hardshells began in 1832! They had no periodicals or organs of protest prior to 1827 and so this proves them to be new, using his own brand of "logic." No societies = No Missionary Baptists ----> No Hardshell periodicals = No Hardshell Baptists. However, as we have seen, the Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries supported the things Beebe charges as being new.

Beebe continues:

"The same paper from which we have collected the above items, being a kind of family record of New Schoolism, has put down the age of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society at twenty-five years. Mr. J. M. Peck, as we have noticed, very sneeringly asserts that the self-styled Old School Baptists (as he calls us) are not of lawful age, not twenty-one years of age. What will he say of this ancient institution at the very advanced age of twenty-five years, when he reads the following extract which we make from the report of its board of cradle-rockers, viz: “The time is not come to restrict our operations. The work is only begun; the laborers are few. From almost every mission the cry is help, and helpers are waiting to be sent. Let the advance be made. Let fervent unceasing prayer ascend to God, and prayer lead to effort,” (i. e., cradle rocking,) “earnest, united effort, that the treasury of the Lord may be full.”

Is this the best retort Beebe and his Hardshell brethren can make? Prior to Benjamin Keach the Baptist churches did not generally sing in their worshipful gatherings. Does this prove that singing in worship is an error? Also, just because a particular society was new, that does not mean that other societies for the support of mission work did not exist. So, Beebe's argumentation is nothing.

Beebe continues:

"We might go on and give, from documents by them furnished to our hand, the birth, age and insatiable appetites of the Sunday School, Education (for the ministry) and Temperance Societies, and every other institution belonging to New Schoolism, and we should find that the most aged among them all has not yet numbered forty years; and the fullest fed among them have never been satisfied, nor is there the least prospect they ever will be. Their revenue now, we believe, exceeds the expense of our national government. So much for the antiquity of New Schoolism among the Baptists. The most ancient horn by which they are distinguished from the church of Christ is not yet thirty years old; yet they claim to be the Old School, and denounce the disciples of Christ as a “New Test Party,” to which epithet we would not object if they would not abbreviate it; we claim to be a “New Testament Party,” and the only test of fellowship we admit is that of the New Testament." (ALEXANDRIA, D. C., August 15, 1839. Elder Gilbert Beebe Editorials Volume 1 Pages 516 – 521)

Again, this is poor rebuttal. Howell and Peck gave all kinds of historical evidence to show that Baptists of prior centuries, those who wrote and endorsed the London and Philadelphia confessions, supported missions and theological schools. What does it matter that a particular organ or means of doing this work is new?

Beebe, in another writing, responds to another article entitled "ANTIQUITY OF THE OLD SCHOOL," and responds by saying:

"In the “Recorder and Watchman” we find an article over the anonymous signature “Faith and Works,” copied into that sink of corruption edited by Mr. Waller, advertising the Old School Baptists as impostors, and calling on the Baptist denomination to beware of them as such! The writer defines an impostor to be one who practices a cheat or imposture upon a people or community, and adds that the impostors he alludes to call themselves Old School Baptists. He says moreover, “If he establishes the fact that they (meaning the Old School) are of a New School, and not the Old School order, he proves them cheats or impostors.” Well, be it so, we will on the part of the Old School Baptists pledge ourselves, as far as we are concerned, that we will yield the ground, if this or any other writer will prove that we are not of the Old School order, and as he has unhesitatingly and unreservedly charged us with imposition, we hold him bound to prove his assertion, or he must be considered a vile calumniator, a slanderer, and a fit companion for such as Wailer, Sands, Meredith, and the whole clan of our persecutors."

What evidence does Beebe give to prove that he and his Hardshell brethren are of the old school? Does he show the existence of churches in the previous centuries who believed as do the Hardshells? No, he does not. And, what does this show? Does it not show that he cannot disprove the evidence which shows that the Hardshells are a completely new denomination?

Beebe continued:

"Now for his proof, the first item of which is palpably false, viz: “They assume the title of Old School because they oppose Bible, Education. Missionary and Sunday School Societies.” All who are acquainted with the sentiments of Old School Baptists know that they oppose these institutions because they are Old School Baptists, and as such feel themselves bound, by their allegiance to King Jesus, to reject from their religious order, all that is invented by men and unsupported by any direct warrant from his royal throne. So it is not their opposition to these inventions that constitutes them Old School Baptists; hence if the writer has proved anything by this part of his testimony, it is that he has mistaken or wilfully misrepresented the ground of our claim to antiquity. “If these objects, therefore,” says this anonymous writer, “were taught and practiced by the Old School Baptists, such pretenders are to all intents guilty of a gross trick, palpable imposture, which should be exposed.” To this proposition also we cordially consent; let him prove that in the Old School of Christ, these humanly invented institutions had a place, in the primitive age of the church, and we will be content to pass for impostors. But hear him! He proceeds to his proof thus: “They must claim their seniority from the English or Welsh Baptists, or from the Waldenses of Piedmont.” What a consummate scholar! He appears to have read something in the history of the church as far back as the days of the English and Welsh Baptists, and of the Waldenses of Piedmont, and forsooth he concludes he has got to the end of the row, into the remote depths of antiquity. Poor, infatuated, stupid soul, when he has finished his study of Ivimy’s history, if he will read a few volumes of church history, indicted by divine inspiration, and written by such as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, Jude and James, he may learn that he has greatly erred, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God."

Beebe belies the claims of his brethren by rejecting the historical proofs that show that the Baptists who preceded the Hardshells were ardent supporters of missions and education, by various means. He no longer wants to say he and his brethren are "primitive" because they are like the Baptists of the 17th or 18th centuries, but because they are like the apostles! Notice how he runs from the historical criterion.

Next, he thinks that because one cannot find a bible, mission, or temperance society mentioned specifically in the bible, that they cannot therefore be supported! What logic! Can he find his Hardshell "associations" mentioned specifically in the good old book? Can he find his church periodicals? Can he find his hymn book? Of course, the great Baptists who fought the Hardshells, did not run from debating these things from scripture, just as they did not relative to church history.

Beebe continued:

"We must claim our seniority from the English or ‘Welsh Baptists or the Waldenses, must we? Has any Old School Baptist ever set up such a claim? Never. We do claim, however, that even these, with, some few discrepancies, which the New Order are hard run to dig up in justification of their course of hostility to the gospel, were Old School Baptists; but we are far, very far from claiming them as the originators of our faith and order."

What a dodge is this! We claim them but we don't claim them! We call ourselves "primitive" Baptists, but we claim no direct connection with those who endorsed the old confessions! Who ever argued that the Baptists who endorsed the old confessions were the "originators" of the "faith and order" of the apostles? The question is - were the Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries, who wrote and endorsed the old confessions, followers of the apostolic faith? Notice also how Beebe concedes that the "New School" Baptists, who supported missions and education, like their forefathers, did rightfully claim that they were more kin to their forefathers, while the Hardshells reject the faith and practice of their Baptist forefathers prior to the rise of the Hardshells. "Few discrepancies"? Is it not rather the case that history shows a continuous widespread support for missions and ministerial education among Baptists prior to the Hardshells?

Beebe continued:

"We could no sooner take them as our guides than we could any other set of men, any farther than they followed Christ, and in our use of the distinctive appellation, we have, as we have frequently published, not the remotest allusion to any school of men, we reject alike every system of scholastic divinity, and profess to be pupils in the school of Christ, who as a teacher, teaches as never man taught; we call this the Old School, because it is the original gospel school, and in it the same divine lessons are taught now which were taught eighteen hundred years ago. And although, to our mortification, we confess that we are but dull scholars in this blessed school, yet it is our mercy to be found among those despised ones, who renouncing every other kind of religious teaching, are taught of God, come to Christ, learn of him, for he is meek and lowly, and here alone we find rest to our souls. It is the privilege of all Regular Old School Baptists to set where Mary sat, at the feet of Jesus, where they may receive his gracious words and divine instruction. It is our peculiar glory to wait on him; not like the New School, to plan, contrive, chalk out and dictate, and then call on the Lord to lay aside his plan and wisdom and adopt ours, or to come on in our rear, and succeed our undertakings, and follow with his blessing our efforts, &c. "Tis his to command, and ours to obey.”

Beebe wants people to know that the name "Old School" or "Primitive" does not affirm that they are kin to the Baptists who endorsed the old confessions, the Baptists of the 17th and 18th century! Being Landmarkers, however, where is his historical chain or linkage to the apostles? Who can believe that they only meant to affirm apostolicity by giving themselves the name of "Primitive" or "Old School" Baptists?

Beebe continues:

"But this mighty champion of New Schoolism, by dint of study, has found that some English Baptists, in 1686, set up an abomination in Israel (if their historian does not belie them) called the Baptist Bristol Education Society, and one Edward Ferrel was silly enough, even as long ago as 1686, to bequeath his large estate to sustain this idol, and that a swarm of young men have been instructed, &c. From this beginning Mr. Faith and Works, (as the writer has been silly enough to nickname himself,) has in attempting to prove that the school to which we belong did not exist anterior to that date, has succeeded in proving the origin, rise and progress of the New School Baptist anti-christian beast. From this small beginning, this little harmless looking horn, the Bristol Divinity School, and the estate of E. Ferrel, this inlet of corruption in faith and practice found its way among the Baptists, has gathered force and impetus, as it has dashed its headlong way for centuries, and has now become a mighty flood; but agreeably to the divine assurance given in the book of God, the Spirit of the Lord has now set up a standard against it."

Beebe cannot rebut the proof that the Baptists had theological schools back in the 1600s, so all he can do is indict the true primitive Baptists by calling them abominable idolaters! He admits that those who support missions and ministerial education are in line with the Baptists of former years! One wonders why they call themselves primitive Baptists. Then he boasts that his Hardshell brethren were raised up, finally, to set things right!

History of Baptist Seminaries I

Chapter 167

Having examined the scriptural and logical arguments that the Hardshells made, in the Black Rock Address, against Sunday and theological schools, mission work, etc., I wish in this short series to look at the historical evidence for Baptist support for theological education and cooperative mission work.

One of the reasons given by the Hardshells, in the 1830s, for their opposition to such is the fact that such was something new among Particular or Regular Baptists. This, as we shall see, was not true, and men such as Dr. R.B.C. Howell and Dr. J.M. Peck, rose to answer the arguments of those opposed to theological schools and mission work. We will first look at what the Baptists who wrote and endorsed the 1689 London Confession believed about these matters. Then we will look at the history of theological education and mission work among American Particular Baptists who followed the London and Philadelphia confessions of faith. We begin with a look at historical Baptist support of ministerial education among the English Baptists of the 17th century.

According to The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Volume 1 (see here) the Baptists who produced the London Confession of faith met in 1677 and recorded this of their doings.

"The Bill of Indulgence (1675) opened the way for efforts to strengthen the ministry of dissenting churches. In the same year the Particular Baptist ministers of London requested the churches in England and Wales to send representatives to meet in London the following May, with a view to taking measures for "providing an orderly standing ministry in the church, who might give themselves to reading and study, and so become able ministers of the New Testament." The meeting seems not to have occurred till 1677, when a confession of faith, that of the Westminster Assembly with necessary modifications, was adopted and formally promulgated. In 1689 (just after the Revolution and the promulgation of the Act of Toleration) representatives of about a hundred churches assembled for the expression of fellowship and the reaffirming of the confession of 1677. The meeting was most harmonious, scarcely a note of dissent being heard. A dearth of properly qualified pastors is lamented. During the Civil War and Commonwealth times many highly educated ministers from the Established Church had joined the Baptist ranks. This source of supply had failed. Failure "to make gospel-provision for their maintenance" is thought to be one of the reasons why so few competent men devote themselves wholly to the work. For remedying this defect it was decided to raise "a public stock or fund of money," "first by a free-will offering to the Lord; and secondly, by a subscription, every one declaring what he is willing to give weekly, monthly, or quarterly to it." "A general fast in all the congregations" was arranged for, a list of "evils to be bewailed and mourned over" is given, and special prayer is to be offered for the conversion of "the poor Jews." The assembly was careful to disclaim "superiority and superintendency over the churches" and determined that in future assemblies no differences between churches and persons should be debated. Nine London brethren were entrusted with the collection and the administration of the fund for the assistance of weak churches, the sendinp forth of missionaries, and the assistance of gifted and sound men "in attaining to the knowledge and understanding of the languages, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew."

This is sufficient proof to show that the Old Baptists in England in the 17th century, the authors of the 1689 London Confession, were supporters of raising money to support both missionaries and theological education, the things that the Hardshells have said were new in the early 19th century. Further, I have found no Particular English Baptist who arose to denounce or declare non fellowship for those Baptists who supported theological education and mission work through general church cooperation.

The encyclopedia continues:

"The assembly of 1691 was made up of representatives of a hundred churches belonging to twelve associations. In 1692 it was decided to divide the assembly, one portion to meet in London and the other in Bristol, at different seasons of the year, these assemblies not to be accountable to each other and each to send messengers to the other...The Broadmead church, Bristol, was one of the earliest and strongest of the Particular Baptist Churches outside of London and the importance of Bristol as a Baptist center was greatly enhanced by the endowment left by Edward Terrill (d. 1686) with the Broadmead church for ministerial education, which became available in 1717. Out of this foundation grew the theological college that from its inception has been one of the chief factors in the progress of the denomination...In 1717 the London ministers inaugurated another missionary fund."

Again, this shows that the Old Baptists of the 17th century supported ministerial education and that the charge that the Hardshells made in the early 19th century that such schools for ministers were new things is false.

In "A Brief Essay Towards an History of the Baptist Academy at Bristol: Read Before the Bristol Education Society, at Their Anniversary Meeting, in Broadmead, August 26th, 1795," (see here) JOHN RYLAND, D.D., President, wrote:

"It is not easy for me to say with precision, how early in the last century our learned brethren, in this country, began, among themselves, to educate their juniors for the work of the ministry. Though it is certain, if they had not been much inclined to it before, the act of uniformity in 1662, made it necessary for them to turn their attention to this object. For now the feats of learning were made so difficult of access by oaths and subscriptions, as to prevent the admission of the wise and good, who were of nonconforming principles."

Ryland observes that the first Particular Baptist churches of the 17th century would no doubt have earlier begun their efforts at training their ministers had the Baptists not been under legal censure and persecution prior to the act of uniformity in 1662. As soon as they were able, these Old Baptists made it a priority to see that their ministers were educated.

Ryland continued:

"By a manuscript letter in my possession, dated London, the ad of the 8th month 1675, many copies of which were sent to the churches in the country, I find that our ministers of London invited their brethren of the Baptist persuasion, throughout England and Wales, to meet the following May, in the metropolis, with a view to form a plan for the providing an orderly standing ministry in the church, who might give themselves to reading and study, and so become able ministers of the New Testament. This letter is signed by most of the London pastors, among whom were the learned Daniel Dyke, William Collins, Henry Forty, and William Kiffin. The result of this proposal I am yet to learn."

Ryland here confirms what was stated by the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge cited previously. The first Particular Baptists, who are the forefathers of the Hardshells, were positively in favor of religious training for their ministers.

Ryland continued:

"It is of general publicity, that the ministers and messengers of more than 100 baptized congregations in England and Wales met, in a General Assembly at London, in September 1689, to consult the good of the whole denomination. At this convention they resolved to raise a fund or stock, for the advantage of churches who were not able to maintain their own pastors or teachers,—for sending duly qualified ministers from the city and the country, to visit the churches, and to preach the gospel where it was not at that time published,—and for assisting members of churches who had promising gifts, were sound in fundamentals, and inclined to study, in attaining to the knowledge of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Towards these benevolent purposes, different congregations made collections, and among them the church in the Pithay, Bristol, sent up by the hands of their pastor, the renowned Andrew Gifford, thirty pounds."

One thing is important to note from this citation. It is the fact that the Particular Baptists of Wales were in fellowship with the London Baptists, a fact that some Hardshells, like Michael Ivey, have sought to deny, trying to insist that the Welsh Baptists disagreed with the London churches who wrote the 1689 confession, and did not have fellowship with them. The fact is, the Particular Baptists of Wales agreed with the London Baptists, and believed in Gospel means and in the church's support of missionary work and theological education. But, more on this later when we examine Hardshell revisionist histories.

Notice that the churches cooperated together by forming a kind of society or organization created by churches meeting in a general assembly. This is the very thing that the Black Rockers condemned as being new and against the Scriptures. The general assembly or association of churches agreed to raise a fund or stock to support missionaries and theological education for those with promising gifts. Thus, the argument that these things were new, in the 19th century, is false.

Ryland continued:

"About four months after the General Assembly had met, our brethren, from the church at Plymouth, wrote a letter to the metropolis (the original is before me) with which they remit to the trustees of the fund a collection of 27I. 3s. 8d. and a promise of nine pounds per annum, to be entirely disposed of in the education of young ministers—observing that if this contribution were applied to the general uses of the fund, and not to the very purpose for which it was collected, no more would be sent. This letter contains the recommendation of a Baptist student, at Bristol. As he was the very first, of whom I have any account, who was educated in this city, though not on our present foundations, a short account of him may be admissible."

Again, more proof of the first Particular Baptist churches of 17th century England were zealous to see that their ministers received a theological education.

Ryland continued:

"He devised—he planned—he executed. It was a structure of faith, founded in hope, on the basis of charity; to which he, its father, gave the name of The Bristol Education Society—a society of Christian Philanthropists, before whom I appear with a respect bordering on reverence."

"This society was formed in 1770, in aid of the Baptist Academy in Bristol, with the design, "That dissenting congregations, especially of the Baptist denomination, in any part of the British dominions, may, if it please God, be more effectually supplied with a succession of able and evangelical ministers; and that missionaries may be sent to those places where there is an opening for the gospel."

Again, more proof that our Old Baptist forefathers, well into the 18th century, continued their support for the training of ministers.

Now, let us look at the history of theological education among the churches in America who were in fellowship with their English and Welsh brethren.

John T. Christian in his history writes of the early doings of the Philadelphia Association in regard to ministerial education. He wrote:

"He likewise corresponded with the Philadelphia Association on the subject. That body, in 1722, proposed to the churches "to make inquiry among themselves, if they have any young persons hopeful for the ministry, and inclined to learning; and if they have, to give notice of it to Mr. Abel Morgan before the first of November, that he might recommend such to the academy of Mr. Hollis, his account" (Minutes of the Philadelphia Association, 27)."

Notice the early date of 1722 and how the American churches followed the lead of the 17th century English Baptists in the efforts to train their ministers. We have already seen how Elder Bradley referred to this incident as showing precedence for the training of ministers, a fact that the vast majority of Hardshells ignore. Further, there is nothing in history that suggests that Baptists objected to this work. Elder Sylvestor Hassell would later try to deal with this evidence by saying that it is true that the Philadelphia Association, the oldest in America, supported theological education, but that the Kehukee Association never did. However, the Kehukee was for years in direct fellowship with the Philadelphia Association and yet they did not raise any objection to theological education until the cantankerous Hardshells came into being in the early 19th century.

Christian next writes:

"Isaac Eaton, who was the pastor of the church at Hopewell, New Jersey, from 1748 to 1772, set up a school for the education of youth for the ministry as well as other callings, in 1756, and kept it for eleven years. To him belongs the honor of being the first American Baptist to establish a seminary for the literary and theological training of young men. For this work his natural endowments of mind, his varied attainments of knowledge, and his genuine piety happily qualified him. In the welfare and progress of this academy, the Philadelphia and Charleston Associations ever manifested a lively interest. They appointed trustees, had some oversight and liberally supplied funds. Some of the most distinguished men in the country were there educated."

Again, these facts are clear. The Hardshells who denounced such things as new, in the early 19th century, simply stated falsehoods.

Christian continued:

"The following extract from a letter, addressed to the Particular Baptist ministers of London, by the Philadelphia Association, in 1762, has an allusion to the academy at Hopewell:

Our numbers in these parts multiply; for when we had the pleasure of writing you in 1754, there were but nine churches in our association; yet now, there are twenty-nine all owning the Confession of Faith put forth in 1689. Some of the churches are now destitute; but we have a prospect of supplies, partly by means of a Baptist academy, lately set up."

Again, the Baptist churches in the 18th century were supporters of theological schools for ministers.

Christian continued:

"There follow some very interesting statements from the Charleston Association. "In 1755, the Association taking into consideration the destitute conditions of many places in the interior settlements of this and neighboring States (then provinces), recommended to the churches to make contributions for the support of a missionary to itinerate in those parts. Mr. Hart was authorized and requested, provided a sufficient sum should be raised, to procure if possible a suitable person for the purpose. With this view he visited Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the following year, and prevailed with Rev. John Gano to undertake the service; he attended the annual meeting and was cordially received. The Association requested Mr. Gano to visit the Yadkin first and afterwards to bestow his labors wherever Providence should appear to direct. He devoted himself to the work; it afforded ample scope for his distinguished piety, eloquence and fortitude; and his ministrations were crowned with remarkable success. Many embraced and professed the gospel. The following year he received from the Association a letter of thanks for his faithfulness and industry in the mission. At the same time, the expediency of raising a fund to furnish suitable candidates for the ministry with a competent share of learning, was taken into consideration, and it was recommended to the churches generally to collect money for the purpose. The members present engaged to furnish one hundred and thirty-three pounds to begin the fund; and Messrs. Stephens, Hart, and Pelot were chosen trustees. In 1759, Mr. Evan Pugh was proposed by Mr. Gano as a candidate for the ministry. He was examined, approved, and put on a course of studies. Having gone through them, he preached before the Association in 1762 with acceptance, and was soon afterward ordained."

Again, notice how not only the Philadelphia Association, but the Charleston also were supporters of missionary efforts and theological schools and believed that the churches should be solicited to support a fund for those ends. Further, Elder Gano was on a missionary journey when he helped to convert people in North Carolina from Arminian beliefs to those of the Regular Calvinistic beliefs, and these new converts formed the Kehukee Association. It is remarkable that the Kehukee Association would later denounce missionary work by the cooperative efforts of churches when their very beginning was the result of such activity.

Christian continued:

"The general contribution from the churches was not so great as wished. But a society instituted in Charleston in 1755, which was called ‘the Religious Society’ and flourished many years, was highly useful in aiding the Association in its benevolent design. Several young men were furnished by it with the means of pursuing studies preparatory to the ministry."

Notice the use of the word "society." A society was formed for the purposed of supplying the means for young men to be theologically educated. Where were the Hardshells in the 17th and 18th centuries? If they were then in existence, why is there no declarations against these things?

Christian continued:

"Rhode Island College, now known as Brown University, originated in the Philadelphia Association and was likewise intimately connected with the Warren Association. On October 12, 1762, the Association with twenty-nine churches, met at the Lutheran church building, in Fifth street, Philadelphia. Rev. Morgan Edwards was chosen moderator, and Abel Morgan clerk. At this meeting, says Backus, "the Association obtained such an acquaintance with the affairs of Rhode Island, as to bring themselves to an apprehension that it, was practicable and expedient to erect a college in the colony of Rhode Island, under the chief direction of the Baptists, in which education might be promoted, and superior learning obtained, free from any sectarian tests" (Backus, II. 137). The principal mover in this matter was Morgan Edwards, to whom, with the Rev. Samuel Jones, the business in general appears to have been entrusted. This gentleman, who had but recently settled in Philadelphia, was a native of Wales, having come to this- country upon the recommendation of Dr. Gill and other prominent ministers in London."

So, in the early to mid 18th century, the Baptists had created Hopewell Academny and Rhode Island college towards their efforts at schooling their ministers. Thus, the oldest Associations in America were supporters of theological education, including the Philadelphia, Chareleston, and Warren Associations. These practices existed for nearly a hundred years before the Hardshells began to object to them.

These citations from Christian are from "A History of the Baptists," Volume II, CHAPTER IX.

In the next chapter we will look at how the first Hardshells answered these facts.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Another New Article of Faith

In the past I have made a few postings about the evolving articles of faith seen in the “Primitive Baptist” churches.

Articles of Faith Departure
Time Salvation Now An Article of Faith
New Articles of Faith

With the rise of the conditional time salvation paradigm, any expressions about the certainty of gospel conversion and perseverance are being removed.

As part of this evolution, I noticed where the following has been included in one church’s Articles of Faith.

“We believe that only a remnant of the innumerable host of God’s elect family will believe and obey the true gospel and persevere in the straight and narrow way that leads to the joys of abundant life in God’s kingdom here on earth. (Matt. 7:13-14; Heb. 6:4-6; II Tim. 4:10)”

http://www.irwinvillepbc.com/pbarticlesoffaith.html

Sadly, such is the case now that the original views of the Kehukee brethren in 1777 on these matters have been completely abandoned.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Benjamin Keach on the Ordo Salutis

Benjamin Keach was one of the signers of the second London Baptist Confession of Faith and a pastor of the church later pastored by John Gill and Charles Spurgeon. He was one of the greatest Particular Baptist apologists. He believed that men were begotten by faith in the gospel.

This is important to realize because some "Reformed" or "Hyperist" Calvinists claim that the London Confession upholds the notion that men are born again or regenerated before they can and do believe the gospel. Clearly, Keach did not hold this view. We can expect that the Confession reflects the views of Keach. Keach did not hold to the "born again before faith" error.

Keach wrote (emphasis mine - SG):

"The work of conversion itself, and in particular the act of believing, or faith itself, is expressly said to be of God, to be wrought in us by him, to be freely given unto us from him; the Scripture saith not that God gives us ability or power to believe only, namely, such a power as we may make use of, if we will, or do otherwise, but faith and conversion themselves are said to be the work and effect of God.

Object. But it may be objected that every thing which is actually accomplished is in potentia before. There must therefore be in us a power to believe before we do so actually.

Ausw. 1. The act of God working faith in us, is a creating work, "For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus," Eph. ii. 10, and "he that is in Christ is a new creature." Now the effects of creating acts are not in potentia any where but in the active power of God, so was the world itself before its actual existence...all these preparatory works of the Spirit of God which we allow in this matter, there is not by them wrought in the minds and wills of men such a next power, as they call it, as should enable them to believe without further actual grace working faith itself. Wherefore with respect to believing, the first act of God is to work in us to will; so Phil. i. 13, "He worketh in us to will."


And again:

"It might be further demonstrated by considering how conversion, with the manner how it is effected, is set forth in the Holy Scripture; "The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart," etc. Deut. xxx. 6. What is this but the putting off the body of sin? Col. ii. 11. This is the immediate work of the Spirit of God, no man ever circumcised his own heart. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you, aud will take away the stony heart," Ezek. xxxvi. 26, that is, impotency and enmity which is in our hearts unto conversion."

And again:

"1. Gospel grace is glorious, because, when received in truth, it delivers the soul from bondage, it breaks the bonds. For the soul is not set at liberty by the here shedding of Christ's blood, without the application of it by the Spirit or infusion of grace into the heart.

2. The Gospel through the grace of it when received in truth, opens blind eyes, it makes them see, that never saw, in a spiritual sense, before; it opens their eyes that were bom blind; how blind was Saul till the Gospel grace shone upon him, or rather in him?

3. The Gospel through the grace of it, when received in truth, raises the dead soul to life. It is hereby we come to be quickened, the flesh profiteth nothing, it is the Spirit that quickeueth; that is, the human nature without the divine cannot accomplish salvation for us; nor shall any soul receive any saving benefit by the flesh, or death of Christ, unless he be quickened by the Spirit.

4. The Gospel in the grace of it, when received in truth, casts out that cursed enmity that is in the heart against God, and thereby reconciles the sinner to the blessed Majesty of heaven.

5. The grace of the Gospel works regeneration, makes the sinner another man, a new man. It forms the new creature in the soul.


The Gospel is glorious in respect of the tenders and offers made therein to the sons of men."

Question - What is tendered?


Answ. Repentance is tendered, pardon is tendered, peace is tendered, bread and water of life is tendered, perfect righteousness is tendered, adoption is tendered, glorious liberty is tendered; in short, God is offered, he makes a tender of himself. Christ is tendered with all his benefits, who is the Pearl of great price, worth millions; yea, more than ten thousand worlds; a marriage with Christ is tendered, the Spirit is tendered with all the blessings of it, a kingdom is offered in the Gospel, a crown is offered, a crown of endless glory, a crown that fadeth not away, eternal life is tendered."
("Tropologia: a key to open Scripture metaphors")

See here

Garrett-Reeves Debates

If anyone would like to listen or watch the debate I had with "Church of Christ" pastor Bruce Reeves on the question of whether a born again child of God can sin and be finally lost, then see here.

If one would like to listen or watch the debate we had on the doctrine of election, then see here.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Denying Arminianism or Hating It?

"We, the ministers and messengers of, and concerned for, upwards of one hundred baptized congregations in England and Wales (denying Arminianism), being met together in London, from the third of the seventh month to the eleventh of the same, 1689, to consider of some things that might be for the glory of God and the good of these congregations, have thought meet (for the satisfaction of all other Christians that differ from us in the point of baptism) to recommend to their perusal Confession of Our Faith, granted for and sold by John Marshall, at the Bible in Grace-church-street, which Confession we own as containing the doctrine of our faith and practice; and do desire that the members of our churches respectively do furnish themselves therewith."  (see here)

Historically, the Hardshells despise Arminianism and even those who believe it. It doesn't matter if one is only a one, two, three, four, of five point Arminian, the Hardshells do not want anything to do with Arminians. They consider Arminians to be part of Antichrist, or mystery Babylon, and will not accept them as genuine churches, or have any fellowship with them.

Though the churches who first wrote the 1689 London Confession of faith, and many churches that have since endorsed it, were deniers of Arminianism, they were not haters of Arminians. This is true today with many Calvinistic Southern Baptist churches. They tolerate those with Arminian beliefs in their fellowship and work together with Arminians to spread the Gospel of the Son of God. But, Hardshells want no cooperation with Arminians and look down on them as being inferior Christians. I think this is a terrible mistake.

It is true that there are certain doctrines that are to be "hated," such as the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes (Rev. 2: 15). But, is Armianinism such a hateful doctrine that a church cannot hold them in their fellowship? I think not.

If one reads the writings of the Hardshells, especially in the 19th century, he will see how the Hardshells used very hateful language in talking about their Baptist brothers who accepted certain Arminian beliefs, such as a general atonement. Those Hardshells despised what they called "Fullerism," the beliefs of Andrew Fuller. They even call him an "Arminian" because he believed in a general atonement, yet he was not an Arminian, for he was at least a 4 and 1/2 point Calvinist. The truth is, the Hardshells call certain doctrines "Arminian" when they are in fact not.

The English Particular Baptists who denied Arminianism nevertheless accepted the baptism of less Calvinistic churches, and have some fellowship and cooperation with them. But, Hardshells are intolerant and will not have any fellowship with anyone who is not of their Hyper Calvinistic brand of Calvinism. This is one of the things that makes them into a cult. I do not believe that their standoffishness is pleasing to the Lord. It has not been good for them as a group to have cut themselves off from other Baptists who hold to Arminian beliefs. They have missed out on the opportunity of sharpening iron, of discussing differences and commonalities, and of the good that comes from such open fellowship.

Deny Arminianism, yes. But, to refuse all interaction, cooperation, and fellowship with them, even to the point of being condescending and hateful to them, is another thing.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Songs Of Perseverence

Here are the lines to "Am I A Soldier Of The Cross" that Hardshell churches sing.

Am I a soldier of the cross,
a follower of the Lamb,
and shall I fear to own his cause,
or blush to speak his name?

Must I be carried to the skies
on flowery beds of ease,
while others fought to win the prize,
and sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
to help me on to God?

Sure I must fight, if I would reign;
increase my courage, Lord.
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
supported by thy word.

Thy saints in all this glorious war
shall conquer though they die;
they see the triumph from afar,
by faith they bring it nigh.

When that illustrious day shall rise,
and all thy armies shine
in robes of victory through the skies,
the glory shall be thine.

The author of this hymn realized the truth that being saved by grace, and being chosen and predestined to salvation does not exclude the chosen and called having to fight to win heaven. Also, it is clear that the author is not talking about obtaining some temporal good, but the obtaining of heaven and final salvation. The lines in bold, in the above song, make this clear.

Today's Hardshells think that salvation being of God and by his grace excludes any idea of the saints having to "win" the prize of salvation. Notice, however, these verses.

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." (Phi. 3: 8-11)

Notice that Paul perseveres, works to stay true to Christ, in order that he may finally "win Christ." Again, this cannot be something unconnected with eternal or final salvation, or made to refer to a mere temporal deliverance. Further, notice the other language that is coupled with the idea of winning Christ. Paul says that he has endured suffering for Christ, not only to win Christ (an event not yet realized, but one expected in the future), but in order to "be found in him." Again, this cannot be made into a mere temporal good and unconnected with final salvation. It is also a being found in him with that righteousness which is "through the faith (belief) of Christ," or "the righteousness which is of God by faith." It is also in order to "know him" (in the intimate joys of heaven's full communion) and to know the power of his resurrection, and to "attain the resurrection of the dead," or "the out resurrection," or "first resurrection," that is, in order to experience the resurrection of the just. This salvation that Paul labors to finally obtain involves "being made conformable unto his death," which is not a mere temporal salvation.

In commenting upon what the apostle means by "If by any means I, might attain unto the resurrection of the dead," Dr. Gill wrote:

"...but in a literal sense and designs not the general resurrection of the just and unjust, which he believed; for he knew that everyone must, and will attain to this, even Pharaoh, Judas, and the worst of men; but the special and particular resurrection of the righteous, the better resurrection, which will be first, and upon the personal coming of Christ, and by virtue of union to him, and in a glorious manner, and to everlasting life and happiness: and when the apostle says, "if by any means" he might attain to this, it is not to be understood as if he doubted of it, which would be inconsistent with his firm persuasion, that nothing should separate him from the love of God, and with his full assurance of faith, as to interest in Jesus Christ; but it denotes the difficulty of attaining it, since through various afflictions and great tribulations a believer must pass, before he comes to it; and also the apostle's earnest desire of it, and strenuous endeavour for it..."

Further, Paul makes an additional summation in verse 14, saying:

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Dr. Gill says that this prize is "...the incorruptible crown; the crown of life, righteousness, and glory, that fadeth not away, (James 1:12) (2 Timothy 4:8) (1 Peter 5:4), styled "the prize of the calling of God"; because it is what God in the effectual calling calls his people to, even to a kingdom and glory, and to eternal glory and happiness; of which they have a sight, though but a glimmering view of it, and are blessed with hope in it; in which they rejoice, and see their right unto it, in the righteousness of Christ, and have a meetness for it..."

The Greek word for "press" means "to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing" (Strong).

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (I Cor. 9: 24-27)

Notice how Paul exhorts the Corinthian Christians to strive to win "the prize." I do not see why this prize is any different from that described in the Phillipian passage just examined. Some believers in the sure perseverence of the saints find it difficult to interpret "the prize" as being the final winning of Christ and heaven, thinking that such an interpretation gives too much credence to Arminianism. Yet, many of these same Calvinists do not think that the striving to win Christ and obtain the resurrection of the righteous, in the Phillipians passage, can be anything but final salvation. But, if the Phillipians passage, which speaks of "winning" salvation, is consistent with the doctrines of grace, then why is this passage not also compatible with them?

It is obvious that the running of the marathon race, or the fighting contest, are symbols of the Christian life and therefore, the prize must be something that is obtained after the race is run, or contest is finished, which must correspond to the end of life, when the race and contest are finished. Paul says that the prize that is won is is an "incorruptible crown." This cannot be disconnected with final salvation in heaven or with the obtaining of immortality.

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (II Tim. 4: 8)

Notice that the crown is given to the overcomers at the return of Christ and therefore cannot be anything that is received in this life.

Paul says that he runs, fights, keeps his passions in check, all to win the prize and in order not to become a castaway, reprobate, or disqualified, that is, that he not fail to receive the prize and crown.

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Gal. 6: 7-9)

Notice how this verse also demolishes the Hardshell reasoning against the idea that the saints are ever exhorted to persevere in order to be finally saved. Paul says that we should labor in sowing, and not to be weary and faint in that activity, in order that we might reap. And what is it that is reaped by our persevering in sowing and well doing? It is "everlasting life." Now, let the Hardshells who deny perseverence come forward and tell us how these verses do not overthrow his reasoning and belief.

"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Heb. 4: 11)

Notice that Paul speaks of the rest, or promised land, as that which is yet to be obtained. He also does not think that salvation being by grace excludes the need of the elect to persevere and strive to obtain heaven.

Thus, the author of the hymn cited at the outset of this article understood these verses of Scripture, and others like them, and of how the Christian must fight if he would gain heaven.

Those who God has chosen and predestined to salvation, to receive the prize, will surely persevere and win. God has promised to give them the victory. The victory, though the result of striving, is nevertheless the result of God's grace. Paul said "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 15: 57) He also said that the gift of Christ, as a sacrifice for sin, is proof that the elect will be given all things, which must include the will and strength to persevere. (Rom. 8: 32) Solomon said "safety (victory) is of the Lord." (Pro. 21: 31) With Christ as the coach of the Christian fighter and runner, how can he fail to win?

Another song that Hardshells sing is called "Palms of Victory," and which also expresses the truth that the saint must persevere to win heaven.

I saw a wayward traveler in tattered garments clad,
And struggling up the mountain, it seemed that he was sad
His back was laden heavy, his strength was almost gone,
It [sic] shouted as he journeyed, 'Deliverance will come!"

Then palms of victory, crowns of glory,
Palms of victory I shall wear

While gazing on that city, just o'er that narrow flood,
A band of holy angels came from the throne of God
They bore him on their pinions, they bore the dashing foam,
And joined him in his triumph, "Deliverance has come!"

When is this "deliverance"? Is it a reference to a mere temporal salvation? The words of the song will not allow such an interpretation. First, there is allusion to Revelation 7: 9 and the saints having "palms in their hands" as they stand in heaven. Also, the last line of the hymn says that the triumphant traveler does not exclaim "deliverance has come" until he has been born by the angels to his rest, and after death.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Choice Is Made

“O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior and my God!


Yesterday in church we sang the hymn ”O Happy Day” from which the above lyrics are taken.

Yet this time was different.

It was, along with several other hymns I could name, no longer sang hyprocritically as it had been done dozens of times before when I was part of the “Primitive Baptist” Church.

As part of their continuing journey to truth, I have considered it my duty to point out to my little congregation certain expressions in the hymns we sing which overthrow that false system of which they were once a part. Gospel means, praying for the lost, preaching to the lost, and the perseverance of the saints are doctrines taught in several of the hymns which are sung on a regular basis among the churches. The odd thing is that they are sung without hesitation, only to have ministers ascend into the pulpit and proceed to preach against the very thing which they sang.

“Let us tell them of the Savior…”, yet no one tells anyone of Christ.

”Is there here a trembling jailor…”, looking for a time salvation?

The Articles of Faith are already being rewritten. Will the same hold true for hymns, or will they cease to be sung altogether?

As hinted at by our title, one area of inconsistency in the singing and the preaching involves the role of the will in salvation. As other men have done, Hardshells have over-reacted to the modern evangelistic appeal of “accepting Christ”. While I agree with those men who say that this is not the best way to express to sinners what is really required of them in being saved, we should not cast the baby out with the bathwater. There is a tendency in human nature to go to the opposite extreme when it sees what it thinks is an error. I am quite sure that this has happened in some men’s opposition to decisional regeneration.

One of the biggest steps toward truth which today’s Hardshells can make is to come to see that the will plays a role in salvation. God in His sovereignty does not, as Spurgeon would say, rob man of his manhood by saving Him apart from his will. If the new man is made to believe, then obviously the will was turned in the direction of faith! If the new man is said to receive Christ (John 1:12), then how could this be done without volition of his will? If the saints have “made a covenant” with God (Ps. 50:5), then the will made a choice to do so!

None of this implies salvation is not of grace, for there yet remains the question “How did the will come to choose what it did?”

As one who used to be in terrible error, I can now say assuredly:

A choice is made.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Was S. Hassell Right?

Elder Sylvester Hassell's views on the Gospel being a means in regeneration may be viewed by looking at his answers to the following questions.

"Q. Have Baptists always denied the use of means in regeneration?

A. In careless expressions some Baptists have advanced this error, but the same men, when taking into consideration the entire teaching of the Scriptures on this point, have, in their more exact expressions, repudiated it."  (see here)

In the same question and answer writing, however, Hassell says:

"Jesus is the Great Preacher, and, by His omnipresent Spirit, He preaches His gospel savingly to His people (Isa. 61:1-3,10,11; Luke 4:16-30; Heb. 2:11,12; Psalm 110:3)."

Obviously Hassell thinks that his forefathers who affirmed the use of means in regeneration used "careless expressions" in their defense of the means position. One could take that to mean that Hassell denies that his forefathers actually believed and taught such a view, only seeming to do so. But, this seems unlikely because he says that these same Baptists in using such "careless expressions" actually "advanced this error." But, then he contradicts this statement by saying that the same people who advanced this error did not really believe or mean what they said, affirming that the same people "in their more exact expressions, repudiated it." So, he says that they at the same time both affirmed and denied the use of means in regeneration?

Hassell's apologetic is cunning and intended to deceive the Hardshell brotherhood to whom he is writing. He wants his Hardshell brethren to believe that his forefathers who affirmed the use of means in regeneration did not really mean or believe what they were saying, and that they sometimes wrote and advocated the exact opposite view. Yet, in our series on "What the First Hardshells Believed," we saw that the founding fathers of the Hardshell denomination were very clear and exact in affirming their belief, in harmony with the 1689 London Confession, that God regenerated his elect by the preaching of the Gospel. I have examined all the Hardshell periodicals of the 1830s and 1840s and the writings of the first generation of Hardshell leaders who wrote in those periodicals, and I cannot find where they ever spoke out of both sides of their mouths on this issue, where they ever denied that regeneration was accomplished by the means of the Gospel. So, when Hassell affirms that they had "more exact expressions" where they repudiated what they elsewhere clearly affirmed, we find no evidence to substantiate what he says . Why did not Hassell simply give us those "more exact expressions"?

In my previous posting I cited the words of Sylvester's father, C.B. Hassell, who was very clear and exact in saying that when the elect "are made to believe" the Gospel, "by the teaching of the Holy Spirit." that they are "then no longer under the law but under grace--no longer dead in trespasses and sins but alive." and that this coming to evangelical faith was "their creation anew in Christ Jesus." Now, I do not find this to be in the category of "careless expressions," nor do I find where the older Hassell ever wrote denying what he here affirms.

I cited from the May 25th, 1839 issue of "The Primitive Baptist" where it was affirmed that the Gospel was "the power of God," the instrument "effecting regeneration and implanting in them eternal life." And, in the January 1840 issue of this paper, it is said that the Gospel "actually gives life to them that were dead" and speaks of the "gospel's quickening influence." Are these mere "careless expressions"?

Sylvester, after accusing his Baptist forefathers (including his own father) of using "careless expressions," and of advocating opposite views, being unstable on the issue, offers to give us what he considers to be an exact and careful expression of the question. He says that all the elect will hear and believe the Gospel because Jesus will personally preach it to each of them! Yet, this is not what was taught in "The Primitive Baptist" paper, Vol. 10, January 25th, 1845, for they say, about evangelical faith, that they "know of no other way" to come to faith in the Gospel, or in Christ, "but the way prescribed in the written word of God," saying "For we are told that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; and how can we hear without a preacher, and how can they preach except they be sent?"

But, it must be observed how the younger Hassell did not go so far as today's Hardshells, for he was still willing to affirm that all the elect will hear and believe the Gospel. His view, however, was one step away from the faith of his father, and one step short of today's Hardshells. Further, it is Sylvester's father that was clear and exact and Sylvester's statement on the question is what is a very "careless expression."

All this presents great difficulties for Hardshells as it respects their Landmarker views of church succession. Today's Hardshells would say that any church that believes in regeneration by the Gospel is not a genuine church and that a genuine church must come from a genuine church. By this standard, today's Hardshells are not genuine churches, for they have come from churches that believed in Gospel means.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What the first Hardshells Believed VII

Vol 10 of "The Primitive Baptist" (Jan. 25th, 1845)

"Well, says one, how are we to come in possession of that of which you have been speakiing? (belief of the truth - SG) I know of no other way but the way prescribed in the written word of God. You must receive it by the hearing of the word of truth, when spoken unto you in the demonstration of the spirit and power of God, who is the author of it. For we are told that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; and how can we hear without a preacher, and how can they preach except they be sent?"

The first Hardshells believed that all the elect would come to a knowledge and belief of the truth and often cited II Thess. 2: 13 in proof of it. But, notice how they say that they "know of no other way" to come to this faith except by the preaching of the word of truth. Today's Hardshells, however, think they know of another way to come to saving faith, one that is apart from hearing and believing the Gospel.

Elder C. B. Hassell was the father of Elder Sylvester Hassell. The older Hassell believed in Gospel means, but the younger Hassell departed from the faith of his father, which was the faith of the Old Baptists. C.B. Hassell often wrote for the North Carolina periodical "The Primitive Baptist," and we have already seen how this paper was strong in its belief that regeneration was accomplished by the preaching of the Gospel and in the final perseverance of the saints. Let me now give a citation from C. B. Hassell.

He wrote:

"On the contrary we believe, the gospel is God's system of salvation for ruined man, and that He saves them by grace of His and not by works of theirs. Kehukeeites believe, that the Saviour took the law place and stead of his people, and for them and in their behalf fulfilled it to a punctilio...This they are made to believe by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and this belief is counted to them for righteousness without the deeds of the law. They are then no longer under the law but under grace--no longer dead in trespasses and sins but alive to holiness,-- having their fruit unto the same and the end thereof everlasting life. This belief in Christ, caused by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, is their creation anew in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that they should walk in; and henceforward they abound in good works to God, begotten by the active principle of grace within them, not from a principle of slavish fear, by which they expect to escape eternal punishment." (March 8, 1845)

Is this not clear? Sinners are not spiritually alive until they are "made to believe" the Gospel. This coming to believe the Gospel "is their creation anew in Christ." Is this what Hardshells believe today? Is this what the Kehukeeites believe today?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

What the first Hardshells Believed VI

From Vol. 4 (1839) of "The Primitive Baptist"

"And now, brethren, this will lead us to speak of the faith of God's elect, (Paul to Titus, 1: 1) that which is peculiar to the followers of God, (Eph. 2: 8) with which salvation is connected, which purifies the heart and works by love. This faith consists not only in the belief of the gospel revelation of redemption, and salvation by Christ alone; but, also, in a sole trust in, and dependence on Christ, and the word of his grace, for eternal life, as you may read in Isaiah 36: 4, which reads thus: "Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." Then, surely, this faith is worth contending for."

(April 13, 1839, being an "Extract from the Minutes of the first session of the Ebenezer Baptist Association, held at Fort Dale meeting house, Butler county, Ala. from the 7th to the 10th December, inclusive, A.D. 1838)

One thing is obvious from these words of the first Hardshells. They believed that the faith of God's elect, the faith that they all possess, was a faith that involved a belief of the truth. They knew nothing of the kind of faith that later Hardshells invented, a faith that is a mere metaphysical substance, that believes nothing. They affirm that this evangelical faith has salvation connected to it, and involved trust in the Lord. They did not believe that this salvation was a mere "time salvation." Further, this belief and trust is "for eternal life."

From Vol. 5 (Jan. 1840)

"Pray for us, that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for all men have not faith. If they had evangelical faith, which is the witness of the Holy Ghost, called the faith of God's elect, working by love, purifying the heart, they would not depart from the traditions received of the apostles." (Jan. 11, 1840)

Notice again how the faith that saves, the faith of God's elect, was an "evangelical faith," a faith that comes by hearing the Gospel. Notice also the affirmation of the doctrine of perseverence, that the gift of evangelical faith prevents departing from the Gospel.

From Vol. 4 (1839)

"...but also his goodness manifest in the descent of the Holy Ghost, communicated through the medium of the gospel to the children of men, and especially to the church of the first born, thereby becoming the power of God, and by that power making Jesus Christ to every believer wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. And also his peculiar regard manifest in providing a gospel ministry, and through them to communicate the bread of life and cause that river to flow the streams whereof make glad the city of God." (May 11, 1839)

Notice how the first Hardshells believed that it is "through the medium of the gospel" that the Holy Ghost and the bread of life are communicated. Today's Hardshells have left the teaching of their forefathers in denying these truths.

"Together with everlasting love of God the Father, treasured up in the covenant of redemption from all eternity, and thus manifest through Christ the Son or mediator, and made known to sinners through the gospel which is the power of God; thus effecting regeneration and implanting in them eternal life. And hence it is said: And this is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent." (May 25, 1839)

Notice again how the first Hardshells taught that regeneration was effected through the Gospel and that it was by the Gospel that eternal life was implanted.

"But the true believer knows, that it takes grace to save and that it is grace; and that grace opened his understanding, so that he believed that he was a lost sinner, a blind sinner, a helpless sinner, a condemned sinner; all these things are brought to pass by the spirit of grace leading the soul to faith, faith is belief, belief in Jesus the Saviour, who came to seek and save that which was lost; and faith points to that grace given in Christ, that did and does, and will save. This is what is called a saving knowledge, the belief of which is faith and leads the sinner to repent, and that with a godly sorrow, and that godly sorrow works repentance, not to be repented of and that work is a good work; but it was not that work that saved the sinner, but it was produced from a knowledge of his salvation; it produced obedience, humbleness, meekness, faithfulness, honesty in righteousness, and all the rruits of the Spirit, which grow out of the new birth." (July 27, 1839)

Notice again that "faith is belief." Today's Hardshells need to return to the Old Baptist position on what is faith and leave off their modern definitions of it.

Vol. 5 Jan. 1840)

"And that gospel, instead of requiring legal duties of the dead, as a condition of their receiving life; actually gives life to them that were dead--spiritual life to such as had no such quality in them before; divine life, and union with God to such as were really his enemies, and far from righteousness of any kind until it was communicated by the gospel's quickening influence...The law was an administration of death to all that were found transgressors of it; the gospel was, and is the power of God unto salvation, to all the chosen seed."

Again, this is very clear. The Gospel is the instrument whereby God gives spiritual life to the dead.

What say our modern Hardshells to all this evidence about how the first Hardshells believed that regeneration was effected by the preaching of the Gospel?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Hardshell Blunder

The Hardshell apologist at theearstohear blog wrote this in a posting in which he takes issue with the learned Adrian Rogers, well known past president of the Southern Baptist Convention. This Hardshell said:

"God’s intent was not to have the love and worship of all of humanity." (see here)

Rogers was discussing the problem of evil and the fall of man and of the angels. In doing this he also discussed the freedom of will that the angels and man had before their fall into sin and death. This Hardshell found fault with this, misunderstanding Rogers, and applying what Rogers said about the will of unfallen angels and men to fallen angels and men. But, in reading this Hardshell's comments it is obvious that this Hardshell does not understand how there are two kinds of will in God, how God can be said to will, and not will, something. John Piper has written on this and I recommend that Hardshells read it (see here).  This Hardshell, not understanding this, assumes that since all men do not love and worship God, then it must not be his will for them to do so.  This would be true if we were talking about God's irresistable will, or his secret will, or his predestination, but it is not true regarding his revealed will, that will which is resisted and opposed.

Still, it is the worst of blunders to say that God has no intent or command for all men to love and worship God. Let us look at Scripture that teaches the opposite.

"Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matt. 4: 10)

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." (Deut. 6: 5)

"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." (Rev. 14: 6-7)

Obviously these verses teach that God indeed commands or wills that all men love and worship Lord God. If this is not so, then let the Antinomian Hardshells explain the above verses, and let them tell us how hating and not worshipping God are sins, and are condemned, if it is not an obligation.

"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen...haters of God..." (Rom. 1: 25, 30)

"And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk." (Rev. 9: 20)

"Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." (Exo. 20: 5)

These verses show that not loving and worshipping God are transgressions of God's commands. And, who can deny that God's commands are an expression of his will? Does God will that men lie, steal, murder, etc.? According to the Hardshell apologist at theearstohear blog, it is his will, and is not in any sense against his will.

In this same posting, the Hardshell also said:

"This is all philosophical speculation with no basis in scripture...he’s not using scripture to make his case here – he’s using vain philosophy that is completely disconnected from the bible’s testimony...Again, this is pure conjecture on his part without a shred of scriptural evidence to support it." (see here)

I had to chuckle when I read these words because this is the very thing that this Hardshell does himself, as I have pointed out in recent postings against this Hardshell apologist! It would be good if this Hardshell followed his own advice.