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.