The Hardshells of today make arguments, relative to the heathen (those who are ignorant of the one true and living God and of the Gospel), based upon emotion rather than upon the plain statements of Scripture. Relative to these heathen, the American Indians are often brought up as an example. Can we say that they are all lost because they knew nothing about the Father and Son? Emotion would want us to deny that they were all lost because they lacked knowledge of and faith in Father and Son, or in the Gospel revelation. An appeal is often made to man's sense of fairness in consideration of the question. Is it fair (or just) for God to deny salvation to the heathen who, through no fault of his own, was never taught the truth? If the American Indian died without faith in Christ because he had not heard of Christ, how can such a system be right?
The Hardshells will also argue that the Devil is more successful than God, which they say proves that the Gospel means position cannot be true.
If the American Indian was saved in spite of his having died without evangelical faith and knowledge, then being called, quickened, regenerated, born again, created anew, renewed, transformed, etc., do not involve cognition, enlightenment, nor evangelical faith, repentance, and conversion.
We can expect such arguments to be made by Universalists. And, interestingly, the Hardshells have had problems over Universalism and No-Hellism.
We are not to be guided by our reasoning or judgments, but by what is clearly taught in Scripture. When the Hardshells give us the Scripture evidence that affirms that those who die as heathens or pagans are nevertheless saved, we will be glad to listen to them. But when they put forth arguments and reasonings not founded on the express teaching of Scripture, we will turn away from them.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." (Prov. 3: 5)
"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. 8: 20)
Where in "the law and the testimony" is the salvation of faithless people affirmed? The burden is on the Hardshells to give us the Scriptural evidence. Keep in mind that we want plain statements of Scripture and not faulty deductions from texts of Scripture.
The Hardshell thinks that there are serious theological problems in denying the salvation of many of the heathen, such as the American Indians who died knowing nothing of Christ or true religion. That may or may not be, but let the Hardshell acknowledge how his own position creates far more theological problems.
Further, consider the historical evidence concerning the American Indian. Who took the Gospel to the Indians? The Hardshells or the Missionary Baptists? If the Hardshells had such a concern for the state of the Indian's soul, why has he not had any preachers to preach to the Indians? Was it not Missionary Baptists or other evangelicals who gave the good news to the Indians? The Hardshells have been no friend to the Indians, and had it been left to them alone, the Indians never would have heard the Gospel. I'll take the example of Isaac McCoy over that of Wilson Thompson, I'll take the example of J.M. Peck over that of Daniel Parker. When the Scripture speaks of "those who turn many to righteousness" (Dan. 12: 3), were they describing men like McCoy and Peck, or Thompson and Parker?
John Leland, in writing to John Taylor, cited this verse and thought that it was expressive of men like Taylor who were instrumental in winning the lost to Christ. Who is more like the character "they who turn many"? The Hardshells or non-Hardshells?
They who turn many to righteousness "shall shine like the brightness of the sky above," "like the stars forever and ever." God help us to be evangelical! More like Paul! More like Spurgeon and Moody! More like Carey and Fuller!