Sunday, June 22, 2014

Harold Hunt's Falsehoods

These citations are from Elder Harold Hunt, a Hardshell apologist, and are found in his book "An Anthology of Primitive Baptist Literature." (See here)  I have previously examined some of the falsehoods of Hunt, see John Watson vs. Harold Hunt, and our series on "Hardshells and the London Confession."  See also Hardshell Abrasive Language.

Hunt wrote:

"Our Primitive Baptists have a rich heritage of literature on a wide range of subjects. In an unpublished manuscript, Elder David Pyles makes the comment, “On points of emphasis and on methods of explanation, I have long preferred the Primitive Baptists of the 19th century over any generation of Christians since the Apostles.” I would probably expand that expression to take in the early 20th century, but I agree entirely. In the first century and a half after America gained her independence our people produced some of the brightest minds the Lord’s church has known. Blessed with a hitherto unknown freedom of religion, and liberty of free speech, those brethren soared to heights previously unknown in their examination of God’s Word."

The literature of the "Primitive Baptists" from 1776 to 1926? What can we say about it? I can understand why Hunt would want to include "the early 20th century," as this is the time when the Hardshell church, as we know it today, took its final gross form. But, more on that later.

Hunt wrote:

"We call to mind names like Sylvester Hassell, Claud Cayce, T.S. Dalton, James Oliphant, Joseph Newman, John R. Daily, Walter Cash, and John Clark. The list goes on and on and on. Those are not the best known names among the denominational world, but for true insight into the most profound of Bible subjects, they leave the John Calvin’s, the Martin Luther’s, and the Augustus Strong’s in the dust. None of them were such linguists and rabbinical scholars as John Gill, and J. B. Lightfoot, but for sound and accurate explanations of Bible principles, not even the great Gill could keep up. We are not likely to see their kind again."

Look over the names Hunt mentions. Look at whose writings and teachings he lauds. Are there any from that period of time from the late 18th or early 19th century? None! Isn't that interesting? The names of the men he mentioned, with the exception of John Clark, were men whom Elder John Watson (1866) called "modern innovators" and "ultraists." In fact, why does Hunt not mention Watson? Could it be because he opposed the newly spawned Hardshell heresy?

These men were the ones who led the anti means faction to take over the new denomination and force all others out. Both Hunt and Pyles say that they are in agreement with the Old Baptist literature of the 19th century. Well, why then can they not produce evidence to show that the Baptists of that period taught their views?

I have already shown how Elder E.H. Burnam was correct when he testified that Hardshellism was born in the last quarter of the 19th century, the very period of time Hunt holds up. The end of the 19th century, and the start of the 20th, was the "heyday" for all the men, except Clark, that Hunt names. Though he upholds the time period of 1776-1926 as superior, he really excludes the first half or three quarters of the 19th century.

Of course, as I have shown in previous writings (herehere, for instance), Clark believed in the Gospel means position. Is Hunt ignorant of this fact? Further, Clark died about 1888, before the Hardshell sect took over.

I have previously shown how Hunt, a seeker of preeminence among the Hardshell cult, in one of his books, said that the Baptists who adopted the 1689 London Confession were Missionary Baptists and taught the Gospel means position. Yet, the men Hunt mentions above, in 1900, endorsed that confession! I showed in chapter one of my series "Hardshells and the London Confession" how Hunt wrote:

"They reaffirmed what they could accept;  they explained away what they could not accept; and they looked aside, and walked past what they could not explain away." (This sentence was in bold in Hunt's book - SG)

Most of the men Hunt mentions signed the Fulton Confession which endorsed the London Confession as being the historic confession of the Old Baptists. He holds them in high esteem, even more than the Old Baptists who wrote the 1689 confession, or who wrote in the 1776-1826 period, or even John Gill. Yet, he then says such things about these men? They were great interpreters of the Bible and yet they were perverting and falsely interpreting the words of the London Confession?

Hunt continued:

"It is the great tragedy of our age that so few of our people are acquainted with the work of those men. A few days ago in talking to one of our young ministers, I mentioned the name Claud Cayce. He wanted to know, “Who is he; I never heard of him.” The brother is one of our brightest and best, and I certainly mean no reflection on him, but I fear that is the case with more of our young generation than we have been aware. They are well acquainted with writers like Arthur Pink, and John MacArthur, and John Piper, but they never heard of those able Primitive Baptist ministers of the past, who had far more insight into God’s Word than any of those writers ever had."

No, elder Hunt, the real "great tragedy" for the Hardshells of this age is not that they are unfamiliar with Claud Cayce, but rather that they have been fully indoctrinated into his teachings. Claud Cayce is no one to hold up as one of the great lights of Old Baptist tradition, though he became one of the ringleaders in making the Hardshell church what it is today. When I was a young teenage preacher, I got my copies of "Cayce's Editorials." I can tell you this, he was a gross spiritualizer, and hurt the cause of genuine rules of bible interpretation among the Hardshells.

Further, as indicated, it matters not that this young preacher was not personally acquainted with the teachings of Cayce, as men like Hunt, one of Cayce's disciples, have parroted his notions since the early 20th century and put them forth as the iron dogma of "the church." When I first moved to North Carolina and spent time with the local pope, Elder C.M. Mills (mentioned in my chapter on "personal experiences" in my book) thought that Cayce was the standard that all must conform to in their interpretations of certain passages.

Claud Cayce does not even come close to being on the same par, theologically speaking, with men like MacArthur and Piper. Hunt cannot be taken seriously. He is simply admiring, for his own advantage, the cult's esteemed leaders.

Hunt continued:

"At the present time our people are being torn apart by a Calvinist\Liberal Movement from one direction, and a Pseudo-Conservative Movement from the other direction. Between those two extremes are the other eighty percent of solid, conservative Primitive Baptists, who are still faithful to the Bible, and faithful to those unchangeable principles that have guided our people for two thousand years now. Truth will prevail; it always has; but we would be so much better prepared if our people were as well acquainted with our literary heritage today as we were, when I first came among the Primitive Baptists over forty years ago."

And who does Hunt think he represents? Why the 80% who are "solid," like Hunt, and "conservative" like Hunt. Those in the movements Hunt mentions are not "faithful to the Bible" as is Hunt and the Hardshell schismatics he desires to represent.  They are not "faithful to those unchangeable principles" that have supposedly "guided our people for two thousand years." Hunt, of course, is one who is faithful to what the Old Baptist church has believed. Yea, right. Want to give us the evidence Hunt?

Also, Hunt cannot find "our people," the Hardshell church, for the past two thousand years, as he asserts without the least proof. He knows that he needs no proof for the cult members, who he knows will accept what he says without any questioning.  Hunt has already gone on record as saying that the Particular Baptists who wrote the 1644 and 1689 London Confessions (which would also include those who put forth and adhered to the Philadephia Confession) were Calvinistic Missionary Baptists.  So, where are the Hardshells in the 17th century? Hardshell Michael Ivey tried to find them among the Welsh Baptists, but in this he miserably failed, as I have shown in postings here in this blog's archives.  Hunt tried to find them among the AnaBaptists of the time, but in this, as I have shown, he miserably failed.  Whether he likes it or not, Hunt must face the fact that his forefathers believed what he now condemns.

I do not know who Hunt has in mind by the two movements he mentions.  They do represent, according to Hunt, at least 20% of the Hardshell denomination.

Also, what does Hunt mean when he says "truth will prevail"? Will it prevail like the old Hardshell church?

Hunt wrote:

"And, very importantly, we want every person, who is willing to do so, to go carefully over this work. We will always have differences of opinion; we cannot expect to agree on the explanation of every passage. But if you find any expression, or any point of view, that you feel is fundamentally unsound, we hope you will call it to our attention. We cannot promise to make every change suggested, but we will give the matter our serious consideration."

"Call it to our attention"? Any "fundamentally unsound" "point of view"? Is he serious?  Perhaps someone should get our writings into Hunt's hand? I wonder if he would give it "serious consideration"as he has promised?

Hunt wrote:

"Even though they differ in insignificant ways, in their most basic precepts Calvinism and Arminianism are very similar. Regardless of the ways in which they are very different, both insist eternal salvation is limited to those who hear and believe the preached gospel. If that is true, the grace of God reaches no farther than the preacher does. That enormously limits the grace of God, to say the least."

Hunt here seeks to redefine the terms "Calvinism" and "Arminianism." He then wants to pawn these newly invented definitions off on the cult brotherhood and leave them with the impression that he has gotten insights that no other, or few others, have.

There is only "insignificant" differences between the systems of Calvinism and Arminianism? How can Hunt say such things and expect any theologically learned person to take him seriously?

Hunt's Hardshell logic gets in his way.  By the same line of argument Hunt advances, I could say that Calvinism and Arminianism differ little because they both accept the Bible as the word of God, confess faith in the Trinity, etc.!  Further, by the same logic I could say that Hardshellism and Arminianism differ very little.  Both believe that conversion, perseverance, and progress in sanctification and the Christian life are not certain for any saved person, but only for those who exercise their free will.

Hunt wrote:

"But having said all that, this new form of Calvinism insists that if one has been born again, it is inevitable that someday —after he is born again—he will hear and believe the gospel. In other words, if he never hears the preached gospel and believes it, it is proof positive he was never truly born again."

What "new form of Calvinism"? Is it a new form of Calvinism to teach that all the elect will come to faith in Christ when they are regenerated? Where is his proof that this is new? Is it not rather the traditional and historic view of Calvinists?  How can Hunt make such false historical claims and expect to be taken seriously by any learned ones outside of his cult?

Further, the view that Hunt condemns is actually the teaching of the Old Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries (and since then too), and is even THE TEACHING OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF HIS OWN DENOMINATION.

Further, does the Scripture not say that all the elect will be "called"? (Rom. 8: 29-30) Are they not called by the Gospel? (II Thess. 2: 14) Does it not say that all will be "drawn" to Christ? (John 6: 37) Does it not say that they will all "hear his voice" and follow the Savior? (John 10) Does it not say that all the elect will be given faith in Christ? (Eph. 1: 18) Does it not say that all the elect will be brought to know God and Jesus and trust in them?

Can Hunt give us the Scripture that says people who are not believers, who do not know God, are saved? Can he point to one person in Scripture who was born again but who did not know the word of God?

Hunt wrote:

"I would hate to believe the family of God is limited to the little number we preachers can reach. But that is clearly not what the Bible teaches. God will have the victory, even in numbers."

"I would hate to believe"? Is that how Hunt decides what to believe? His emotions control his faith? His likes and dislikes determine his biblical interpretations? By his logic, he should be a "no-heller," for surely he would hate to believe that anyone would suffer in Hell forever, right?

Hunt thinks that God is limited in making his family for having made the hearing of the Gospel a condition of salvation. Well, with such logic he certainly must admit that God is limited in his efforts to "convert" his people, right? 

If God had no problem making the Assyrians to be his instrument, he certainly will have no problem making his ministers into his instruments. Does Hunt deny that God is able to get preachers to the place he intends?

Next, Hunt reveals the thinking of that "80%" of "solid" Hardshells who spout the idea that only a few will go to Hell. Why?  Because, in Hunt's thinking, if more go to Hell then God does not get the victory! How's that for logic?  Does such thinking not lead to Universalism? Is Hunt not a pseudo Universalist?  Why would God settle for a mere 51% victory? Why not go for the "rout" and the "shut out"? Don't you see how this thinking leads to Universalism?

Further, why does not God, in Hunt's Hardshell thinking, not "have the victory...in numbers" when it comes to converting the regenerated? When it comes to God's work of converting the regenerated, God is a miserable failure! When it comes to insuring that God's newly begotten children get an education, or grow up healthy and into his image, God is a failure as a parent. That is what one can conclude by following Hunt's twisted logic.

Further, when the disciples asked - "Lord, are there few that be saved?" (Luke 13: 23) - Jesus answered in the affirmative.  "Many" walk the broad way that lead to destruction, and "few" walk the road that leads to indestructible life.  Also, Peter said that it is telling and prophetic that only "few" were saved through the flood.  (I Peter 3: 20) 

Hunt wrote:

"They point to those texts that identify the saved as those who believe in Christ, and they are sure the sinner could not possibly believe until they talk to him—and tell him what to believe—as if the Spirit of God is unable to witness in the heart of the sinner."

Well, I'll just take the plain word of God over the speculations of cult apologist Hunt. Who wrote these words?

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10: 13-14)

John Gill in his commentary had these words to say about this text.

"Ver. 14. How then shall they call on him in whom they, have not believed?.... The apostle having observed, that whoever, Jew or Gentile, believe in the Lord and call upon his name, shall be saved; and that the same Lord was ready and willing to dispense his grace, without any difference to them; suggests, that it was therefore absolutely necessary, that the Gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; that it was the will of God it should be; that what he and others did, was by a divine commission; that they were sent by the Lord to preach the Gospel to them; that hearing they might believe, and so call upon the name of the Lord, and be saved; and therefore the Jews ought not to blame them for so doing, for there was a real necessity for it, since there can be no true calling upon God without faith, no faith without hearing, no hearing without preaching, and no preaching without a divine mission."

Note that the Old Baptist, Dr. Gill, enlarges upon what is clearly the intended meaning of the apostle's words. Gill says it is "absolutely necessary" that the elect hear and believe that Gospel to be saved. But, as we have seen, Hunt has little estimation of Dr. Gill and the real Old Baptists.

Dr. Gill also commented:

"and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? the meaning is, that there is no faith in Christ without hearing of him; as it is in human, so in divine faith, there may be believing without seeing, but not without hearing; so we believe that there were such men as Alexander and Julius Caesar, and other persons now in being, though we never saw them, having heard of them, or had a report made of them, which we have reason to give credit to; so there may be, and is faith in Christ without seeing him with our bodily eyes, though not without hearing of him; for of an unheard of person, there can be no faith in him, because no exercise of thought about him. This is to be understood of outward hearing of the word, and of adult persons only; for that, infants may have the grace of regeneration, and so faith wrought in them by the Spirit of God, without hearing the word, is not to be denied; since as they are capable of the principles of corruption, why not of grace? and also of such persons as have the right and free exercise of the faculties of hearing and speaking, and not of such who never could hear, and speak; for as the Spirit works where, and how he pleases, so he can work faith in the hearts of such persons who never heard the word, and enable them to exercise it on the proper object, and cause them secretly to call upon the name of the Lord, with groans which cannot be uttered. Moreover, this is to be, understood of the ordinary way and means of believing; for though God can, and sometimes does work by other means, and even without any, yet his usual way and method is, to bring men to faith and repentance by the hearing of the word...and how shall they hear without a preacher? ...There is no hearing of Christ, and salvation by him, without the preaching of the Gospel."

Hunt's words are in direct contradiction to the words of Paul. Paul thought preachers were necessary. Paul's logic is good. Hunt's is not. Paul says that all who call upon the Lord will be saved. He then reasons that one must first know about the Lord in order to call upon him. He also reasons that in order to know about Jesus, and to call upon him, one must hear about him from a teacher/preacher. Hunt attacks the reasoning of the Apostle! Be astonished, o heavens!

He would also not agree with the great Old Baptist Dr. Gill. Hunt and his Hardshell brethren are superior to Gill, remember?

Hunt wrote:

"They point to those texts that talk about the personal relationship between the sinner and his Savior. It seems never to have occurred to them that the Lord Jesus Christ—living in the heart of his child—is a deeper, and more personal, relationship than the mind of any man can imagine."

Again, Hunt's criticism is as much directed against the Apostle as any other person.

Imagine that! A man can have a loving relationship with Jesus, yet know nothing of Jesus, and who is yet a believer and worshipper of false gods! A man can have a loving relationship with someone they do not even know!

Hunt wrote:

"It is hard to imagine that any person could believe he is able—by his preaching—to provide the sinner with a more personal relationship with his Maker, than God himself can provide by dwelling and witnessing in the heart of his child. To imagine such superiority of the work of the preacher over the work of the Spirit of God is arrogance in the extreme."

Notice again how Hunt uses what he thinks is logic to convince others of the Hardshell scheme. Where is his Scripture? Again, all his words are simply an attack upon the reasoning of the Apostle.

Further, just because Paul believed that he was a means in the hand of God for the saving of sinners does not mean that he must have possessed the mental state described by Hunt. Did Paul think that he was able by his preaching alone to bring sinners into a loving relationship with Jesus? Did he think that it was all of Paul's power? Hunt's logic would force us to say yes. But, let us see where this logic leads Hunt. Did God use preachers as means to convert him to Christ? Does this mean that those preachers, in and of themselves alone, converted people?

The answer to all this is, of course, in the Scriptures. Recall how the apostles when questioned about a miracle they had performed, said:

"if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole." (Acts 4: 9,10)

"BY WHAT MEANS"? Was it not by the "name of Jesus Christ"? But, does that exclude Peter and John being means?

Notice also the words of Peter in response to another healing miracle.

"And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" (Acts 3: 11-12)

What was the rationale of the people on this occasion, the reasoning attacked by the Apostle? Was it not the people reasoning that since the Apostles had done the miracle, therefore it must be by the power of the Apostles? Is this not the same reasoning as Hunt and the Hardshells? Peter does not deny that he was a means in the working of the miracle, but he says that the power was not his, that he was but God's instrument.

Hunt wrote:

"To cast a little more light on the subject, consider, if you will, what happens when a person is quickened by the Spirit. When he is born again; the Lord Jesus Christ—in the person of his Spirit—comes into his heart. There are not many things the Bible tells us more often than it tells us that...In regeneration Jesus Christ, personally and vitally takes up residence in the heart of his child."

It is good that Hunt admits this much. However, when he says that a man can have Jesus Christ living in his heart and yet not know Christ, he greatly errs. Further, Jesus does not just "break in" to the heart uninvited and unwanted. (See Rev. 3: 20)

Hunt continued:

"First off, the Bible teaches in the clearest language that the Holy Spirit teaches us to know Jesus Christ—as a person.

John 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”

That sounds plain enough to me; the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus Christ as a person. But there is more.

John 15:13-15, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” That ought to make it plain enough. It is the special work of the Spirit—not to glorify himself—but to glorify the Son. This is the province of the Holy Spirit, and there is nary a word about the preacher."

Can you imagine that? A man has the Spirit to testify personally of Christ and the Gospel and yet that person does not know cognitively anything about Jesus!

What is Hunt doing here? Is he not making regeneration into conversion? What is conversion but coming to understand, know, and believe the Gospel? In saying that regeneration makes one a believer in Jesus makes Hunt to contradict himself. Still, we are glad that Hunt believes that regeneration involves one hearing the Gospel preached personally by the Spirit. This was the view of Sylvester Hassell, as I have previously shown.

1 comment:

Kevin Fralick said...

Bro. Stephen,

A great rebuttal to many false claims, caricatures of Calvinism, and pseudohistory.