Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elder Sylvester Hassell on Translations

Hassell wrote:

"Nowhere in the Bible does God promise to inspire or make infallible translators or transscribers or printers; but the men of God who first wrote the Sciptures were, as they claim, and as is abundantly demonstrated, inspired of God; and He has not allowed these variations of others to affect a single doctrine or practice of His Written Word." (The Gospel Messenger, 1914, page 45 - see here)

It is obvious that Hassell, who lived many years before many of our modern Hardshells became even more cultic in embracing "king James onlyism," did not subscribe to the basic tenets of Hardshell KJV onlyism.

Those today who have embraced the idea that the King James Version is without errors, or is perfect as God is perfect, must believe that God inspired the KJV translators. But, the learned Hassell rejects such a view, as have Hassell's great Baptist forefathers, such as John Gill. But, today's Hardshells in embracing KJV onlyism think they are wiser than their fathers. Hassell did not believe that the KJV was inspired, that it always gave the best translation of the original. Of course, Hassell was right.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Philippine Brother Confronts Hardshellism

A brother in the Philippines (a place where some Hardshells have carried their cult teaching) wrote a blog post titled "My Encounter with PBs in Antipolo" (SEE HERE).  This same brother left the following comment on my blog posting of Chapter 7 - "Time Salvation - A Novel Idea" (SEE HERE):

"I appreciate this BLOG against PB heresy very much. It lessened the time I had to be with them to know what I should before I oppose."

We appreciate this comment very much and lets us again know that our writings are helping some who confront this cult.

On his blog, this brother wrote:

"I attended a conference of Pastors of the Old Line Primitive Baptists in Luzon, and saw their demeanor, beheld their doctrine, and asked them questions."

Boy, would I love to have been there and asked a few questions also! Actually, no Hardshell wants to answer apologetically to such questions!

The brother continued:

"This is to see for myself and hear for myself what they have to say regarding our doctrines, and what they really teach in agreement with each other."

In that encounter, they teach that we Sovereign Grace Landmark Baptists preach a tainted gospel because they insist that all of us do not believe in spirit regeneration."

In other words, because a church doesn't believe in the Hardshell idea of "immediate regeneration" (anti-means, or anti evangelical faith) or "Spirit alone" regeneration, it is not a legitimate church and therefore all it does is to be rejected, including its baptisms. Ironically, the ancestors of the Hardshells, including all the leading founders of the "Old School" or "Primitive" Baptist cult, believed in means, that evangelical faith was necessary for being eternally saved.

What this brother is seeing, though he does not expressly say it, is that the Hardshells are a cult.

The brother continued:

"Because of this tainted gospel, according to them, we are not saved, in a temporal sense (they can not say who really is saved eternally) and because of this we have false authority and therefore we are false churches and have to be rebaptized by their line of churches."

Only those who embrace Hardshellism are members of the church of Christ and enjoy temporal salvation. Again, a cult characteristic.

The brother continued:

"It is good to discern, study, go deep, but when a man or a church would consider churches of God as unchurched, unsaved, based solely on the strictest definitions of doctrine, I believe they are dividing and dissecting the doctrines too much and are forming conclusions which will never end divisions and confusions."

All I can say is "amen"! I thank God that this brother was able by grace and the work of the word and Spirit to see the cult status and heresies of those who boast that they are the "only ones," the Lord's favorites.

The brother continued:

"In my analysis, when American teachers of the PB kind divide and separate from each other, Filipino PBs also follow suit."

He was able to see how the Hardshells are schismatic, strifeful, and full of rivalry. He sees how such actions betray the Spirit of Christ.

The brother continued:

"I must therefore warn our brethren about hearing their teachings. (We also brother at the Old Baptist Blog!) Many are good teachings but some go to the extreme of telling you, you are not in the right church, come to our church and be baptized by us and you would be right with God."

Again, he simply describes the Hardshell spirit and their cult mentality.

One person commented:

"Know their history and you can destroy their foundation."

Boy, is that not the truth?! I have been putting out information on their history for years and all I can say, after all these years, is that no Hardshell has had the courage to step up and give an "apologia" for their beliefs and practices, and deal with their false historical claims.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hardshell Antinomianism IV

Chapter 178

It has been shown, or will be shown, that

1. Hardshells have historically been characterized as antinomian.
2. Hardshells admit to being in some sense antinomian.
3. Hardshells are antinomian in denying that it is the duty of all to believe the word of God.
4. Hardshells are antinomian as a result of their Pelagianism.
5. Hardshells are antinomian as a result of their Hyper-Calvinism.
6. Hardshells are antinomian for denying that men are responsible for their soul's destiny.
7. Hardshells are antinomian for denying that all disciples are under obligation to fulfill the Great Commission.
9. Hardshells are antinomian in avowing "non-lordship salvation."
10. Hardshells are antinomian in denying that perseverance and spiritual growth (or progressive sanctification) are necessary works of God, and what certainly follows a genuine new birth.
11. Hardshells are antinomian for denying that all men are duty bound to repent and seek God.
12. Hardshells are antinomian in practice, being known as "anti-effort" or "do-nothings."

Questions For Hardshells

1. Is every believer under obligation to tell others the good news? If it is, and you tell believers that they are not under such a duty, then are you not antinomian?

2. Is it the duty of all men to "repent" and "seek God"? If it is, and you tell others that there is no such duty binding on them, then are you not antinomian?

3. If professing Christians are commanded to persevere in order to be finally saved, and you tell them they are not under any such obligation, then are you not antinomian?

4. Is it the duty of all men to honor the Son of God?

5. Is it sin to not fear God, or seek God, or love God, or believe and obey God?

Hardshell Antinomianism Excuses Sin

How? In denying that men are under a moral duty to fear, seek, love, believe, or obey God, they cannot condemn unregenerate men for not doing so. Thus, such things are not sins for the unregenerate. That is the conclusion that they must face. The only way for them to free themselves of such an absurd falsehood is to repent of their error and quit denying "duty faith and repentance" as they do today.

Is It The Duty Of All To Honor The Son?

Jesus said:

"The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him." (John 5:23)

Notice "all men" are duty bound to "honor the Son." But, how can one honor Christ in rejecting him? Is not rejecting Christ and his word a dishonoring of him? I perceive that this is but another instance where the average Hardshell will not be willing to face the music. In teaching that all men are not under duty to honor the Son, by believing on him, they are antinomian.

All men are commanded to:

1. Love God with the heart

2. Worship God (includes praise and prayer)

3. Seek God

4. Please God

5. Serve and obey God

6. Fear God

7. Believe God

8. Turn to God in repentance

If we did not have any Scriptures that plainly commanded all men to repent, believe, and confess, there would still be support for the fact because it is a necessary deduction from the fact that all are commanded to love God, fear God, honor God, etc.  Does not the command to love God necessarily involve believing God?

Is It Sin? - Are They Responsible?

"What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one...There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Rom. 3: 9-12, 18)

This is a well known and oft cited passage of the Hardshells.  They use it to prove "total depravity," and once they prove this, they then use this to argue that since men cannot believe, repent, or do any spiritually good thing, therefore such cannot be necessary for regeneration or final salvation. They argue that such things as being righteous, understanding, seeking God, doing good, and fearing God, cannot possibly be requirements for salvation since men cannot do them in their lost condition. I have responded to this argumentation in my series on "Hardshell Proof Texts." For instance, see this chapter HERE.  But, my point here is to argue that this passage destroys their antinomianism.  Here's how.

Notice that Paul's language makes it clear that he views being unrighteous as sin, and if it is sin (see I John 5: 17 - "all unrighteousness is sin"), then men must be under duty to be righteous.  Further, if not understanding is sin, then it is obligatory on men to understand, and their inability is no excuse nor proves that they are not under obligation to understand. The same could be said about seeking God, fearing God, and doing good. Yes, men are not morally able to do this apart from God's grace, but they are still under obligation to do so, and their not doing so is a violation of moral law.

Notice how Paul seeks to prove that all men are "under sin," or "under law," that is, under obligation and duty, to be righteous, to love, fear, and seek God, and to believe all he has revealed, and to turn to him. In verse 19, Paul gives this summation:

"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

Does not being "under law" mean that the law directs them to love God, fear God, trust God, obey God, etc.? And the fact that none do these things (apart from God's grace and power) renders "all the world" to be "guilty." And, what are they guilty of if it does not include the sins specifically mentioned, such as not being righteous, not doing good, not seeking and fearing God, etc.? But, once a Hardshell admits that such things are sins, then he must admit that men are obligated to such things.  It is a very difficult dilemma for them.

Is Unbelief Sin?

Paul, in describing his lost condition, prior to being regenerated and converted on the Damascus road, said that he sinned through "ignorance and unbelief" (I Tim. 1: 13) Was his ignorance and unbelief sin? If so, then why say that Paul was under no moral duty to be wise and believing while unregenerate? Is unbelief not sin? Is sin not the "transgression of the law"? (I John 3: 4)

Here is more proof that unbelief, by "the world," is sin.

"And when he (the Comforter) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me" (John 16: 9)

Notice that the Holy Spirit will "reprove," that is, "convict" or "convince," men, yea, "the world," "of sin." And this sin specifically involves the fact that "they believe not on me." Is it sin for the world, or for any man, to "believe not"? If Hardshells say yes, then they cannot consistently affirm that men are not morally obligated to believe.  If they say no, then they are antinomian and cannot condemn men for their unbelief.

Consider also these words of the Apostle John:

"...he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." (I John 5: 10)

Is this a warning to only professing Christians? To only those who are born again? Is it not rather a warning to all men, including the unregenerate? If a Christian believes not, it is sin and involves making God a liar. But, if an unregenerate man believes not, it is not sin, according to those who deny duty faith.  Consider also these verses:

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3: 18)

"...but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16: 16)

"That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (II Thess. 2: 12)

These verse teach that men are now, and will be in the future, "condemned" for their unbelief. Granted, this is not the sole reason for their condemnation, that is, is not their only sin. But, it does show that unbelief is sin, and is condemned, and this being so, it must be because men are duty bound and responsible for their failure to believe.

Universal Evangelical Responsibility

These verses are integral to a debate over the question of whether unregenerate men are responsible to repent, believe the Gospel, and seek God and salvation.

"And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17: 26-31

From these verses it is obvious that Paul, in proclaiming the Gospel, informed all who heard him that God "commands" them to "repent" and to "seek the Lord." Further, such repentance necessarily involves belief. It is also obvious that such a command is given with a view to being judged on God's appointed day to judge all the world.

There is no way to limit the stated evangelical commands to merely the regenerate, for it is clear that all men are intended. Further, men are not only commanded to seek God, but to "feel after him" and to actually "find" him. What these verses teach are precisely what is denied by today's Hardshell antinomians.

Hardshells are often denying that the Gospel is to be preached "to" all men with a view to their salvation. All that God has done, and is doing in sending out Gospel messengers, is all for the purpose of bringing men to "find" God, and what is this but a description of salvation? Notice also these words:

"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)

To whom is the "everlasting gospel" to be preached? And, for what purpose? What does the text say? It is to be preached "unto them that dwell on the earth." How can this be limited to the elect? It is be preached to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." This is exactly what we saw was affirmed in Acts 17. But, Hardshells deny that the Gospel is intended to be preached to all men and this makes them antinomian.

(as a side note: notice that the Gospel is to be preached to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." In Rev. 5: 9 it is said that the "redeemed" are "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Hardshells argue that this group cannot possibly be limited to those who hear the Gospel, and yet the same group does hear the Gospel in Rev. 14)

Does the preached Gospel give forth any commands to all? Is the command not to "Fear God"? Is it not to "give glory to him"? But, how can this be obeyed by disbelief of what God reveals? Further, men are told, in the preaching, that this is all said with a view to coming judgment, just as in Paul's sermon to the Athenian pagans. All men are commanded to "fear" God, but not to believe God?

Man's Moral Responsibility

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecc. 12: 13)

"The whole duty of man" does not exclude his unbelief, or impenitence, or failure to save himself.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hardshell Antinomianism III

Chapter 177

One Hardshell apologist, with whom brother Fralick and I have engaged, wrote:

"Primitive Baptists are no strangers to the accusation of antinomianism. It is because we preach the same gospel that Paul preached." (see here)

Notice that this writer acknowledges the fact that the Hardshells have historically been labeled as "antinomian." Second, this Hardshell sees such an accusation as proof that the Hardshells preach the same soteriological truth as Paul, who was for the same reason also accused of being antinomian.

The apostle Paul taught that the law could not justify. None are saved by keeping the law, by the deeds of the law. Some did indeed perceive that such a teaching was antinomian, and the apostle was quick to answer.

"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (Rom. 3: 31)

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (8: 3-4)

Though none are saved by the law, nevertheless, the law is fulfilled in those who walk after the Spirit. Being saved does not make one lawless. Faith makes obedience to the law, or pleasing God, possible, and faith is the essence of the life of regeneration. God, in regeneration, has said that he "will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts." (Jer. 31:33, Heb. 10: 16)

Further, sanctification, which is progressive, is the work of God in and after regeneration and such sanctification involves obedience to the stated will of God, or to his commands (law). Faith that is dead, which does not have works of love and obedience to the word and will of God, will save no one now or in the end. But, today's Hardshells have generally rejected the faith of their fathers in denying the truth of perseverance, and of the certain and successful work of sanctification in the life of the believer. Thus, they hold to what is called "non-Lordship antinomianism."

Non-Lordship Antinomianism

The Hardshells err in thinking that the making of faith and repentance to be conditions and requirements for salvation is equivalent to making salvation to be by the law. They reason that if the sinner must "do" anything for salvation, then salvation is not by grace but by works of law. But, such reasoning is not in agreement with the teaching of the Bible.

By such reasoning one can conclude that faith, repentance, confession, perseverance, etc., are not necessary for salvation. Those who do teach that such things are necessary for salvation are teaching salvation by law. Paul, however, did not believe that trust in Christ was equivalent to a work of the law. He testified: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom. 3: 28) If Paul followed Hardshell reasoning he would say "by faith" equals "by the law."

In "The Gospel According to the Apostles" John MacArthur discusses "non-Lordship Antinomianism."

"Contemporary no-lordship doctrine is nothing but latter-day antinomianism....It is important to understand the term antinomianism in its theological sense."

Hardshells, in holding to no-lordship teaching, with its denial of the necessity of perseverance and progressive sanctification for final salvation, are antinomian.

MacArthur wrote:

"To say someone is antinomian is not necessarily to say that person spurns holiness or condones ungodliness. Most antinomians vigorously appeal for Christians to walk in a manner worthy of their calling; but at the same time they minimize the relationship between obedience and faith. Antinomians typically believe Christians SHOULD yield to the lordship of Christ; they just do not believe surrender is a binding requirement in the gosple call to faith. Antinomians do not necessarily despise the law of God; they simply believe it is irrelevant to saving faith. They suggest that obedience to the righteous principles of the law might not become a pattern in the Christian's life (cf. Rom. 8: 4; 10": 4). In short, antinomianism is the belief that allows for justification without sanctification."

Today's Hardshells are often trying to prove that many lukewarm believers in the Bible, people who did not grow and persevere, were nevertheless justified and saved.

MacArthur wrote:

"Antinomianism makes obedience elective. While most antinomians strongly counsel Christians to obey (and even urge them to obey), they do not believe obedience is a necessary consequence of true faith."

Hardshells make faith, repentance, and personal union with Christ, conversion, progressive sanctification, perseverance, etc., all optional, not at all necessary to be finally and eternally saved. Thus they are antinomian.

MacArthur wrote:

"Clearly, no-lordship theology DOES make obedience optional. And that is what makes no-lordship theology antinomian." He also said: "No-lordship antinomianism: Those who hold this view make sanctification an optional aspect of the believer's experience."

He could just as well have said "Hardshell theology DOES make obedience optional."

MacArthur wrote:

"Antinomians minimize sanctification or even render it noncumpulsory. Antinomian discussions of salvation typically omit any consideration of practical holiness."

Again, this is the view of today's Hardshells.

MacArthur wrote:

"No-lordship theology is classic antnomiansim. There is no way around that fact."

And, again we can that "Hardshellism is classic antinomianism."

MacArthur wrote the following under the sub heading "What is Sanctification?"

"Sanctification is the continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in believers, making us holy by conforming our character, affections, and behavior to the image of Christ. Justification is a one-time EVENT; sanctification is an ongoing PROCESS. Justification frees us from the GUILT of sin, sanctification from the POLLUTION of sin. As we are seeing, one is as much a necessary part of God's saving work as the other."

But, Hardshells have rejected the historic teaching of the Old Baptists in refusing to make progressive sanctification a "necessary part of God's saving work."

My Chapter on "Time Salvation"

I have about 177 chapters written in my book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult." Chapter 7 "Time Salvation - A Novel Idea" (see here) should be a must read for my Hardshell brethren.  Let me cite some from the beginning of that chapter.

"Secrecy" of some sort is a characteristic of a cult. Christians have their "secrets" (Psa. 25:14; Prov. 3:32), but the distinctive secrets of the Hardshell cult are not the secrets of God or of His kingdom.

Basically, religious secrets involve "special revelation" that the cult, and it alone, possesses. Christians have "special revelation"; for instance, the knowledge of Christ as being the Son of God (Matt. 16:16, 17). But the claimed "special revelation" of the Hardshell is nothing but the blindness of a heresy.

"Time Salvation"

Their primary "secret" revelation concerns the doctrine they call "Time Salvation." You have to be trained in Hardshell "dogma" to know all that the words convey. What the Hardshells believe the terminology, "Time Salvation," represents would never cross the average Bible reader's mind. You have to hear it from a Hardshell to be introduced to and informed in the meaning of its theological “jargon.”

I encourage all Hardshells to read this chapter.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hardshell Antinomianism II

Chapter 176

In an article titled "ARE WE ANTINOMIANS?" (see here) Hardshell J.F. Poole, wrote the following in "The Remnant" (May - June 1988)

"Antinomianism! Yes; if by that expression we are condemned for opposing the witchcraft of conditionalism, duty faith, and assorted other heresies crept in unawares about us, then we are indeed Antinomians: we are against all such laws."

From these words it is obvious that a denial that evangelical faith is a condition of salvation is a form of antinomianism, and in this respects, by their own admission, Hardshells are antinomian. Also, these words affirm that a denial of "duty faith" is a form of antinomianism, and again the Hardshells plead guilty to being antinomian. "We are indeed Antinomians" says Poole in regard to these things.

Samuel Trott, one of the first leaders in the anti-mission movement, and a founding father of the "Primitive Baptist" denomination, gave the general belief of the first Hardshells on the subject of "duty faith," In an article in the "Signs of the Times" periodical for 1839, titled "Duty Faith & Repentance. An enquiry concerning the duty of the unregenerate to believe, repent or pray," (see here) Trott wrote:  (emphasis mine)

"On the other hand, I understand the Old School doctrine to be, that it is the duty of all rational beings to believe all God has spoken in the scriptures as they have access to them directly or indirectly, and to believe the testimony of the works of creation and providence, where the scriptures have not come. To disbelieve the record, which God hath given of His Son, is to make God a liar (I John 5:10;) and surely no person can do this and be guiltless. The obligation man is under thus to believe God, arises, not from any demand which the gospel as such peculiarly makes upon him, but from the nature and fitness of things, and from what God is. It is a law of our creation."

Thus, it is evident that once again we have today's Hardshells removed from the truth, from what is historically "Old Baptist" teaching on this point. Trott is very clear in stating that the unregenerate are under duty to believe the Scriptures and the Gospel. It is true that Trott, in this article, seems to back peddle from this statement, and to contradict himself, but still the statement is clearly made that all men are duty bound to believe.

Trott also wrote:

"The "duty of the unregenerate to repent," comes next under consideration."

"My own mind I confess has been much difficulted to draw a clear line of distinction between the different relations and senses in which the idea of repentance, is presented to our view in the scriptures, and between the idea of its being a duty incumbent on men at large, and that of its being a free gospel blessing bestowed by the exalted Saviour on the spiritual Israel of God."

Trott struggled with the same issue that Hyper Calvinists have traditionally. How can faith and repentance be both commanded and a gift. Today's Hardshells, sadly, think that they cannot be both, that for something to be commanded excludes it from being God's gift, and vise versa. They do not understand, for instance, the words of Augustine:

"O Lord, command what you will and give what you command."

I have on previous occasions written against the Hardshell notion that men are not commanded to become regenerate.  See "Make You A New Heart".  It seems the Hardshells would have sided with Pelagius rather than Augustine. 

It is good that Trott and the first Hardshells did not reject in toto the truth of duty faith and repentance, as do today's Hardshells.

Trott continued:

"On the other hand I have never been able to receive in all points as correct, the explanations which Doctor Gill and other sound brethren have given of it. There will be found some difference between the explanation of this subject which I have to give, and that given by Brother Beebe in No.14, more particularly in relation to John's preaching repentance; this difference I trust is not such as to break any bones."

Regarding these words, notice how Trott, unlike later Hardshells, thought John Gill to be sound. Of course, I have already shown how Trott believed that conversion, by the Gospel, was the same as being born again, which is the view of Dr. Gill.

Notice also how Trott differs somewhat from editor Beebe on the subject. I have already shown in previous writings how Beebe imbibed the Pelagian premise that "a command implies ability to obey the command." He stated that to call upon sinners to believe and repent implied in them an ability to do so. Trott does not seem to agree with Beebe on this. As I have also shown elsewhere, most Hardshells have not understood that the natural man lacks moral ability, not physical ability.

Trott wrote:

"If on the other hand we suppose that the unregenerate are under no obligations to repent, we must consider them as justifiable in continuing on in their sins of whatever grade they may be. This I think none will admit; for there certainly are instances in the scriptures of unregenerated persons being exhorted or admonished to repent. The query then arises, Whence does this obligation to repent arise?"

Here, Trott demolishes the anti duty faith brethren's argumentation. He states what ought to be obvious to anyone with a reasonable unbiased mind. If it is not the duty of men to believe, repent, convert, or to have circumcised hearts, or to be saved, then their not doing these things cannot be "sin." They cannot be condemned for not doing these things. Trott confesses that this is untenable and a deduction that his brethren should be willing to acknowledge and which should keep them from denying duty faith, etc.

A.W. Pink wrote (1936) the following under the title of "Duty-Faith":

"It is the bounden duty of all who hear the Gospel to savingly trust in Christ, otherwise their rejection of Him would be no sin. Many of our readers will be surprised to hear that this self-evident truth is denied by some who are, otherwise, sound in the Faith. They reason that it is "inconsistent" to call upon the spiritually dead to perform spiritual duties."

Any Hardshell today who denies duty faith ought to come forward and answer the charge that their denial forces them to excuse men for their rejection of the truth and of Christ.

"Whence does this obligation to repent arise?" Trott will answer by showing how he understands that commands do not imply ability, and by showing how he sees that man's inability is not physical, but moral.

Trott wrote:

"This law of Ten Commands, in its spirituality and as addressed to all, both Jews and Gentiles, I understand was given expressly to teach repentance. I do not say, to show that repentance was a part of the original requisition of the law, and a part of the righteousness it required; but that it is addressed to man as depraved and condemned, to call him off from self-confidence, and to repentance. I feel myself fully supported in this by the declarations of scripture, that the law was added by reason of transgression; entered that the offence might abound, &c.; and especially by this text, "What things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law" - for what? - "that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God." What is this but self-condemnation before God, that is designed to be accomplished by the declaration of the law? And what is such self-condemnation, but repentance toward God? It is then I think clear, that it is the law of Ten Commandments in its spirituality that calls for repentance."

Notice how Trott recognizes how the law is spiritual, a fact not generally understood by today's Hardshells. Notice also how Trott correctly states that the law was not only a duty, but intended to produce repentance, or as Paul says, to be a schoolmaster to bring one to faith in Christ.

Trott was closer to the truth on this important issue than later Hardshells have been.  Let us hope that today's Hardshells will repent of their error on this important point of doctrine.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Only Ones

By branching off my Facebook friend list I eventually come across the page of a “Primitive” Baptist elder.  In a discussion which ensued from one of his postings, this comment was made:

“In fact, PBs are the FEW MINOR REMNANT of the Elect Family out of every (nation – KF)- Rev. 5:9. Mat. 7:13-14”

There you have it!  Unmistakable proof that Conditionalist Hardshells feel themselves to be the elite from all the rest of the regenerated community!

This statement is cultic.  All other regenerate souls may constitute God’s elect children, “eternally speaking” (to borrow their language), yet they only comprise a special inner circle.  The remnant within the remnant! Only they walk the straight and narrow into temporal life here on Earth!  Every other Christian is on the temporal road to destruction!

If I could think of a word stronger than heresy, I would use it.

This statement is contradictory.  At times, Hardshells can be found speaking of their beloved time salvation as if it is OF the Lord.  Hence, you will find them using the expressions temporal elect, the elect within the elect, or as in this case, few minor remnant, in order to denote those who they would say have been saved in time.  Most of the time, however, they refer to it as something NOT OF the Lord, and that the child of God must do this for himself!  What a contradiction!  Labeling “Primitive” Baptists as God’s temporal elect or some similar expression is language which, obviously, raises the subject of God’s decree.  It assumes that time salvation is the product of God’s election!!! But this contradicts their usual manner of explanation that time salvation is the effect of the free-will of those said to be “already regenerated”!  So which one is it?  Is time salvation the effect of God’s election as hinted at when the expressions timely elect or the elect within the elect are used?  Or is it the result of free-will, in that we must “save ourselves from this untoward generation”?

I have noticed this contradiction for years now.

This statement discourages a desire for growth.  The smaller the congregation and the lesser number of churches, the more evidence that we are the only ones!  Sad.

This statement lastly raises a very interesting question.  If time salvation is gained only by PB Conditionalists, then what do we call the experience of a so-called regenerated person who hears and believes the gospel as preached by anyone other than a Hardshell minister?  If it wasn’t regeneration and it wasn’t true conversion, then what is it?  Obviously he experienced some kind of change. But what do we call that change?  Are there two kinds of time salvation?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sonny Pyles on Paul's Conversion

Elder Sonny Pyles, a leading apologist for the "Primitive Baptists," preached a sermon on "Justification"  (part one), wherein he made several statements that I wish to examine.  I have previously written against the heresy of Pyles (see here).

About the salvation of Paul on the Damascus road, Pyles said:

"Paul was not a child of God from his mother's womb...that is not Old Baptist doctrine."

Now, I certainly do agree with brother Pyles that Saul (who became Paul) was not regenerated while he was in his mother's womb, as some of today's Hardshells teach (including my dad, Elder Eddie K. Garrett, Sr.), but was not regenerated until the Lord appeared to him on the Damascus road. It is true that none of the first Hardshells took this view, at least none that I am aware, and would have considered calling Saul regenerated while he was a Christ rejecter and persecuter of Christians an absurdity. But, one wonders how such a view ever came about? Is it not a natural result of their heretical views on the nature and means of regeneration? In fact, many Hardshells today will tell you that they believe that most of the elect are born again while they are infants, or even before they are naturally born.

Is it possible to be regenerated and believe and do as Saul did before his meeting with the Lord on the Damascus road? People who teach that Paul was regenerated while in his mother's womb (perhaps like John the Baptist) of course totally reject any idea of perseverance for those who have been regenerated. Obviously so. This, however, is what is difficult for Hardshells like Sonny to accept. It certainly would not have been accepted by the Hardshell founding fathers who believed in perseverance and who believed that the truly regenerated would never be a Christ rejecter and murderer of Christians.

Sonny also said:

"Paul is an example of direct regeneration without the Gospel."

I have in various writings written against this interpretation of Paul's conversion/regeneration. I do agree that Paul's conversion is a "pattern" of how all the elect are called and quickened. (See I Tim. 1: 15-17)  I have shown how Paul's regeneration was not anything like Hardshell regeneration. Here is how they differ.

1. Paul was both regenerated and converted at the same time

2. Paul cognitively and savingly knew and believed in Jesus in his regeneration experience

3. Paul was made a believer in the Gospel in his regeneration

4. Paul heard the Gospel from the mouth of Jesus who said - "I am Jesus"

5. Paul became a willing servant of Jesus in his regeneration, being made free from sin when he obeyed the word of the Lord

6. Repentance and actual turning away from sin and to Christ occurred in his regeneration

7. The Lord's speaking to Saul was not on the subconscious level. Paul knew, in his regeneration, who was speaking to him.

These reasons militate against the Hardshell understanding of the nature and causes of regeneration. So, do they not have any real argument in the case of Paul? Yes, they do have one. They argue that Jesus did not speak to Paul through a medium, through communicators of the word. So, since there was no preacher present, and supposedly no Gospel knowledge previously possessed by Saul, therefore preachers and Gospel knowledge are not necessary to be regenerated. That is their reasoning. What can we say about it?

About no preachers being present with Paul when the Lord regenerated him, such a fact does not prove them to be unnecessary. It is not the view of those who believe that the Spirit regenerates by means of the preached word that regeneration only occurs in the presence of preachers or while they are hearing the preaching. Many have heard the Gospel by preachers, left the church house, and gotten by themselves, reflected on what they heard, and then came to faith and spiritual life. The preacher was the means, yes, but that did not require the preacher to be present when the seed of the Gospel actually germinated. So, this argument is really no argument at all. Further, if this fact is insisted upon by men like Pyles, then by their own argument about Paul being a pattern, then he would have to say that no one was ever born again in the presence of a Gospel messenger. Absurd. Reductio ad absurdum.

Further, though the Lord spoke to Saul directly on the Damascus road, this was not the first time the Lord spoke to him. Did not Paul write in Hebrews that God had in time past spoken to his people "by the prophets"? (Heb. 1: 1,2) When Saul read the Scriptures, was the Lord not speaking to him? Is this not further proven by the fact that the Lord said to Saul - "it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks"? Was it not the pricks of the word of God that he had been taught and which was in his conscience goading him?

Further, did Paul not know the Gospel message he was opposing? Did he not hear preachers like Stephen? Yes, yes, which all disproves the Hardshell contention that there was no Gospel present in Saul's regeneration/conversion. The seed of the word was in Saul's heart and mind, but had not yet been understood or believed. It was a seed that had not yet germinated.

So, was Paul's regeneration a Hardshell regeneration? No. Does Paul's regeneration exclude the use of means? No. Does Paul's regeneration exclude his coming to evangelical faith? No.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sonny Pyles - "I'm a Hardshell Baptist"

Elder Sonny Pyles, a leading apologist for the "Primitive Baptists," preached a sermon on "Justification"  (part one), wherein he made several statements that I wish to examine.  I have previously written against the heresy of Pyles (see here).

I intend to examine some things Sonny said in this sermon, in this and the next postings.

Elder Pyles said:

"There are lots of new things preached today that are not Primitive Baptist doctrine."

Boy, that is the truth! What about their claim to being old and original Baptist then? Further, it is worse than Sonny realizes. In fact, his own belief about regeneration and conversion are new doctrines, not believed by the Old Baptists prior to the rise of the Hardshells. Interesting is the fact that the founding fathers of the new "Primitive Baptist" denomination generally believed in regeneration by means of the Gospel. Pyle's direct and immediate regeneration is neither Biblical nor Baptistic.

Sonny said:

"I don't intend to change.  I'm a Hardshell Baptist without compromise and without apology." (He says at least three times in part one "I'm a Hardshell Baptist")

When I first began to write against those who call themselves "Primitive" or "Old School" Baptists, I stated why I cannot call them such, and why I call them "Hardshells." Some PBs wrote to me and said that my labeling "Primitives" as "Hardshells" was a kind of slander. I have since pointed out on numerous occasions how many "Primitive Baptists" accept with pleasure the label. Certainly Sonny claims it here.

Further, when Sonny says he does not intend to change, he reflects that stubbornness that is part of the definition of what it means to be "Hardshell."

In all the debates I have been engaged in, publicly or privately, I have always expressed a willingness to change my mind on Bible doctrine when I have been shown my error. Does Sonny think that he "got it right" on every point of doctrine the first time he took a position? No, Sonny has never changed because he always got it right the first time. Yea, right.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hardshell Antinomianism I

Chapter 175


Those who call themselves "Primitive Baptist" (aka "Hardshells") have historically been accused of being "Antinomian." When attempting a denial of the accusation, Hardshells have entirely missed the point and have not cleared themselves, by their apologies, for being "Antinomian."

Integral to the system of antinomianism is a denial of duty and responsibility.

Are all men responsible to obey the moral laws of God?

Are all men responsible to acknowledge their sins and just condemnation?

Are all men responsible to repent of their sins and return to God?

Are all men responsible to believe the Gospel or on Christ?

Are all men responsible for their rejection of the Gospel?

Are all men responsible to pray to God?

Are all men responsible to praise and worship God?

Are all men responsible for whether they are finally saved or lost?

Are all men called to salvation?

Is it a sin to be impenitent? Is it a sin to reject Christ and his word and salvation?

Hardshells do not believe that it is sin for lost souls to refuse faith and repentance. The reason for this heterodox view is their denial of duty faith and repentance.

Hardshells are not Antinomian because they deny that all men are responsible to obey the moral laws of God, but are Antinomian because they deny that all men are responsible to believe God and his word, and deny that all men are duty bound to believe the Gospel and repent of their sins.

Article 26 of the confession of the Gospel Standard Strict Baptists Churches states:

"We deny duty faith and duty repentance - these terms suggesting that it is every man's duty spiritually and savingly to repent and believe. We deny also that there is any capability in man by nature to any spiritual good whatever. So that we reject the doctrine that man in a state of nature should be exhorted to believe in or turn to God."

Hardshells agree with this, though some of the first Hardshells did not, at least to the degree of today's Hardshells.

Hardshells are inconsistent in regard to their Pelagianism, or in regard to the idea that commands imply ability.

If we accept the Pelagian criteria, then we would have to say that all men are able to obey the law, for they certainly are all under duty to obey the law. Most Hardshells would correctly affirm that, in the context of obeying God's moral law, men are commanded to obey even though they cannot, and thus would deny the Pelagian idea that a "command implies ability to obey the command." But, in the context of evangelical commands, the command to seek God, pray, believe, confess, repent, etc., the Hardshell will say "such commands imply ability to obey." For evidence of this, see Hardshell Pelagianism I of chapter 138 of my ongoing book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult."

For example, Gilbert Beebe wrote:

"To call on dead sinners to repent and believe the gospel implies ability in them to do so." 

But, why does Beebe not argue that to call upon dead sinners to obey the moral law implies ability in them to do so?  He is grossly inconsistent.  He admits that a moral command does not imply ability to do the thing commanded, but he will not admit that an evangelical command likewise does not imply ability to do the thing commanded.

But, as stated, then the Hardshell cannot call it sin when a person refuses to repent or to believe.  This dilemma they are not willing to come to terms with, and so ignore it, and go on stubbornly being contradictory.

In this series of articles I will expound upon how the Hardshells are indeed Antinomians, particularly because they deny duty faith and repentance.