Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Howell on being "Old School"

From "The Baptist" for January 1838, Howell wrote (page 2 - emphasis mine):

"I have not changed my ground in any particular. My position was taken, deliberately, sixteen years ago, after protracted investigation, and earnest prayer to God for direction. It cannot be expected, therefore, that I shall be blown about, as some others, by every wind of doctrine. I have been, from the beginning, still am, and ever expect to remain, a Baptist of the "Old School." I do not mean, by this, that I believe in the mummeries gotten up within the last twenty years, mainly by the agency of the noted Parker of "two seed" memory, and dubbed, for effect, with this name, now so ripe in Tennessee. No--far from it. The Parkerism, Campbellism, Mormonism, anti-effortism, antinomianism, and every other similar fantasy, which has originated, or been maintained, by wrong-headed enthusiasts, in Tennesseee, or elsewhere, whether through ignorance, from motives of interest or ambition, or because their imagination has gotten the better of their judgment, and their religion, I totally repudiate. I cannot consent to follow any of these fables, however cunningly devised."  (see here)

Elder Sylvester Hassell, writing in the late 19th century, thought that it was a novelty that some Calvinistic Missionary Baptists, at that time, were claiming to be the real "primitive," "old school," or "original" Baptists.  However, as I have before pointed out, in responding to Hassell's claim, sovereign grace Mission Baptists, who held to the 1689 London Confession, FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, disclaimed that the Hardshells were indeed the true descendants of the Particular Baptists of former centuries.  For instance, J. M. Peck, early on, refuted the claims of the Hardshells to being "primitive."  Howell is another example of how the Hardshell claim was denied and overthrown.  Howell's views on regeneration and the doctrines of grace, and concerning God's use of means, represent the true "old school" doctrine of Baptists.  Howell rightly claims that the views of Parker and the Hardshells represented real novelty.

Wrote historian John T. Christian:

"The name by which they designated themselves was Primitive, or Old School, Baptists; and they claimed that all Baptists were originally of their contention, which certainly was not the fact."

J.M. Peck, a leading opponent of Parker and Hardshellism, wrote:

"They arrogate to themselves the name of Old School Baptists..."  (see here)


"But of late some of less information, or candor, contend that the "Missionary Baptists" broke off from the "Old School" or "Hard-Shell" Baptists, about thirty or forty years ago. And the Anti-Mission brethren even call the missionaries the "New School Baptists." And some even tell us that they can remember very well when the "Missionaries" started! Now, all that is necessary in order to settle this question of the priority of the Missionary or Anti-Missionary parties among Baptists, is to appeal to historic facts and documents."

Hardshells claim that they are the "old" Baptists and that the Mission and Means Baptists are the "new" Baptists. This is a falsehood and often made by those "of less information," or of less "candor."  The question of who is "new on the block," or who has "priority" in age, is easily settled by looking at the "historic facts," a thing which I have been trying to get today's Hardshells to do for many years now. In fact, though I have called upon the Hardshells to prove their "succession," to prove that Baptists prior to the 19th century believed basic Hardshell doctrine, none have come forward with the historic evidence.

Ray also wrote:

"The Regular Baptists and the Anti-Mission Baptists were once together as one people; and, therefore, their history up to the separation was the same. The opposition of our Anti-Mission brethren to the mission work, and kindred objects, is a new feature among Baptists."

Again, this is an historical fact, and one which we again call upon our Hardshell brethren to disprove.

Ray also wrote:

"This declaration of Dr. Howell is fully sustained by historic facts. The opposition among Baptists to the mission work, is of recent date. But our Anti-Mission brethren tell us that they are not opposed to Bible missions, but only to the modern missionary system. Actions speak louder than words. If the modern Baptists, who claim to be the "Old School" or "Primitive" Baptists, have ever sent out a missionary, either to the home or foreign field, I have not been informed of the fact. What "Hard-Shell" church has ever employed a missionary, upon the Bible or any other plan? They are emphatically Anti-Mission Baptists."

Since it has been easily proven that missionary and educational efforts have been part of Baptist history for centuries, then what is new is the "rise of the Hardshells" and their creating a "new test" for determining orthodoxy and fellowship.  Dr. Howell wrote:

The name given by them to the antimissionaries is the most appropriate we have yet seen--New Test men. We propose that the self styled Old School, be hereafter called New Test. What say you brethren? It is not reproachful, and conveys the exact description of those brethren and Churches, who have done so much evil by introducing a new test of fellowship that is, making friendship to the Convention a crime for which they will exclude a member, and enmity the ground of his reception." (Page 38 - "The Baptist" - Vol. V. Jan. 1839 No. 1)

Ray also wrote:

"But were the ancient Baptists, up to the time of the separation, Missionary or Anti-Missionary? In his Letters to Dr. Watson, Dr. Howell says:

"But it is particularly to the fact, that the Philadelphia Association from our earliest account of it, was a missionary body, that I wish to call your attention. To place this beyond dispute, I shall quote a few items from the official records of that body."

Again, these are facts. We have presented the same historical evidence in our chapters dealing with the history of Baptist mission work, sabbath schooling, and theological education, showing that the old Baptists have always been involved in these things.

Ray also wrote:

"Thus, in examining the history of the old Baptists of America, more than one hundred years before the Hard-Shell separation, we find that these old Baptists were missionary Baptists."

Well, what say ye to all this, my brother Hardshells?

Ray also wrote:

"Again: Dr. Howell, in his Letters to Dr. Watson, has furnished us with the following valuable account of the missionary work of the old Baptists, not "Hard-Shells" of the old Charleston Association:

"The Charleston Association, honored for its antiquity, formed the 21st day of October, 1751. In 1755, four years after its constitution, and eighty-two years ago, there is this record — [Furman's History of the Charleston Association, Charleston edition of 1811, pp. 10, 11, etc.]: 'The Association, taking into consideration the destitute condition of many places in the interior settlements of this and the neighboring States (then provinces), recommended to the churches to make contributions for the support of a missionary to itinerate in those parts."

So, the old London brethren in the 1600s supported the above things, and so did the earliest churches and associations in America. So, how can the Hardshells say that such things were newly begun in the early 19the century?

Ray also wrote:

"From the foregoing reliable documents, and others which might be introduced, it is fully settled that the American Baptists, from the very first down to the Hard-Shell separation, were missionaries. And, instead of the Anti-Mission brethren being entitled to the appellation, "Old Baptists," by way of distinction, they are "a new fangled set of Baptists, never heard of until within the present century." but it is altogether a misrepresentation, to call the Anti-Mission brethren Old Baptists. It not only does injustice to the Regular Baptists of America, but it also tends to confirm the Anti-Mission brethren in their opposition to the spread of the Gospel, through missionary labor."

Again, let the Hardshell who can deny these things come forward and be heard.

"Mr. Benedict says: "Old School and Primitive Baptists are appellations so entirely out of place, that I can not, even as a matter of courtesy, use them without adding, so-called, or some such expression."

We feel the same way here at the Old Baptist blog. We consider ourselves the real Old Baptists and today's Hardshells to be imposters who arrogate to themselves the appellation.

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