Thursday, April 30, 2015

Look And Be Saved!

"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (Isaiah 45: 22)

This is another difficult passage for Hardshells.  How and why?

Problem for Neo Hardshells - God exhorts the unsaved to be saved

A) It is not a sufficient reply to say that the command/exhortation is to "Israel"

because

1) "they are not all Israel which are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6)

2) it includes all the Gentiles or "the ends of the earth" (the command is thus universal)


B) It is not a sufficient reply to say that it is a "time salvation"

because

1) The context shows that it is not a mere time salvation. Verse 17 says this:

"But Israel shall be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever."

It is not some temporary or physical deliverance, but rather an "everlasting salvation."  It is set against everlasting disgrace

2) Those designated by the "ends of the earth" are those who are unsaved, but exhortations for obtaining "time salvation" are for those already saved (in neo hardshellism)

Hardshell Presuppositional Stance

1. Those already chosen and regenerated are the only ones being addressed
2. These only are being exhorted to a time salvation and this salvation is by works and not by grace

But, clearly such a stance subverts the clear teaching of the passage. 

The Hardshell thinks that the salvation cannot be eternal salvation because it is conditioned upon a person "looking" to the Lord, or upon belief.  Any salvation that results from looking to the Lord, or coming to Christ, etc., cannot be eternal salvation according to Hardshell reasoning.  But, clearly this verse overthrows such Hardshell reasoning and presuppositionalism.

John Calvin in his Commentary on this verse wrote:

He invites the whole world to the hope of salvation, and at the same time brings a charge of ingratitude against all the nations, who, being devoted to their errors, purposely avoided, as it were, the light of life; for what could be more base than to reject deliberately their own salvation? He therefore commands all “to look to him,” and to the precept adds a promise, which gives it greater weight, and confirms it more than if he had made use of a bare command.

And ye shall be saved. Thus we have a striking proof of the calling of the Gentiles; because the Lord, after having broken down “the partition-wall” (Ephesians 2:14) which separated the Jews from the Gentiles, invites all without exception to come to him. Besides, we are here reminded also what is the true method of obtaining salvation; that is, when we “look to God,” and turn to him with our whole heart. Now, we must “look to him” with the eye of faith, so as to embrace the salvation which is exhibited to all through Christ; for “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him may not perish.” (John 3:16.)

Said Spurgeon:

"Look," this is all he demands of thee, and even this he gives thee.

So a sinner believes in a moment; and the moment that sinner believes and trusts in his crucified God for pardon, at once he receives salvation in full through his blood.

A Sermon (No. 60) Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 6, 1856

Further, Hardshells do not believe that it is sin, or a thing to be condemned, for men to refuse to look to the Lord for salvation.  They do not believe it man's duty or responsibility to do so.  But, if it is not his duty, then he cannot be charged with sin for not doing so.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hardshell Founder Gregg Thompson A Mason

In an article titled "AN ERROR CORRECTED," Elder R. W. Thompson wrote on the debate that took place between him and Hardshell great C. H. Cayce.  Here is what he wrote in his paper "The Primitive Monitor":

"UNDER the caption, “Was he a Mason?” appears an editorial by Elder C. H. Cayce, in his paper, The Primitive Baptist, Vol. 32, page 8, Sep­tember 11, 1917, in which he calls in question some statements made by Elder Chastain in his late book, A Discussion on the Worship of God. He quotes from his book as follows:

Elder Gregg M. Thompson, who lived in Georgia for years and who was one of the ablest debaters our people have ever had, and who met Elder Burgess, a Campbellite and a champion debater, and made a grand defense of our people and doctrine, which debate is down in history as one of the grandest victories for our people that has ever been won was a Mason, so I have been told. Yet, the Georgia Baptists did not non-fellowship him. But this would not make Masonry right, understand. I am not saying this in defense of any secret order, but to show that this is no test of soundness of doctrine.”

“The reader will notice that Elder Chastain emphasizes the statement that Elder Gregg M. Thompson was a Mason, and then adds, ‘“so I have been told.”’ To this we wish to say that Elder Chastain should have better informed himself before making such a statement, if he did not know. Elder Thompson has gone to his reward, and is not here now to defend himself. It seems to us that this great man had enough to contend with while he was living, without a thing of this kind being published to the world about him when he has gone to his long eternal home, and is not here to defend his own practice. But, fortunately, Elder Thompson left on record his position and principles as to how a member of the church should live, and what the church member should belong to.”

"We doubtless should have made no reference to the above through the MONITOR had it not been for the unfavorable reflection cast on Elder Chastain. Since we are, perhaps, mainly responsible for the statement made by him, which Elder Cayce criticizes; “that, Elder Gregg M. Thompson was a Mason,” is correct. The late Elder Gregg M. Thompson was my father’s oldest brother. We very well remember him and have heard him speak of his membership in the Masonic order. Elder Chastain is correct when he says he was a Mason when he resided in Georgia, and “the Georgia Baptists did not non-fellowship him.” And now we adopt and subscribe to the following statement made by Elder W. A. Chastain: “But this would not make Masonry right, under­stand.” He, too, was a fallible man. We all need to be reminded of this."

"Before closing this article we will give a quota­tion from Elder Gregg M. Thompson which will not be called in question. We quote him directly from his published debate with Elder O. A. Burgess: (Debate page 258.)

“Good, benevolent institutions may be gotten up among men and great good may be effected by them. No one can see the great improvement in agriculture, that has been made in the last few years, but what will acknowledge that agricultural societies have had much to do with it. If the intoxicating bowl is driven from the sideboard, and a man feels degraded to be seen in a tippling-shop, the temperance movement has, doubtless, had much to do with it. Many poor widows have been fed, and orphans educated and reared to respectability by the Masons. These, as worldly institutions, may be called good; I have nothing to say against them. But they have no power to impose their laws upon the church of Christ, neither has the church any power to adopt their laws, or to form an alliance with them. If it is true that John the Baptist and John the Divine were Masons (which I am inclined to credit), they were such as individuals, as citizens of the world, and did not attempt to impose the laws of that institution upon the church, or to form a union and communion between the two institutions. This would have been a violation of the laws of the King, and would have destroyed the distinct visibility of the church. For the church to become united with any of these worldly institutions, and to adopt their laws and govern­ment, changes her organization, and she ceases to be the church of Christ.”

"We give these facts in support of truth and right, and to the injury of no man dead or living. Truth will stand and will win its own fame. We all should be careful not to misjudge the motives of our brother and put him in an unfavorable light before the world. If we all could be more charitable one to another, be sure we have just cause for censure be­fore we accuse him of willful wrong, how much smoother the world would then run. Judge no man rashly. We all need more of Paul’s charity— “Charity suffereth long and is kind.” O that we were all filled with that spirit! Wrongs in doctrine and practice can often-times be more easily cor­rected through the spirit of kindness than otherwise, “and a soul saved from death;” saved to a use­ful life in the church."

by R. W. T." (http://www.salvationbygracealone.com/anerrorcorrected.html)

I have already shown how Gregg's father, Wilson, was a heretic, Sabellianism being one of his grave errors.  Now we see how Gregg was a Mason, and Hardshells do not accept such.  Thus two of the Hardshell founding fathers would not be fellowshipped by today's Hardshells.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Samuel Trott & A.W. Pink

A. W. Pink, I am told, flirted with the idea of joining the Hardshells.  If he did, I am sure that he could fellowship with the old Hardshell view (as expressed below by Elder Trott) but not with today's Hardshells who have rejected the view of their founders.

I do not accept the view of either Pink or Trott, but it is far more scriptural and less dangerous than today's Hardshell paradigm.

Hardshell founding father, Elder Samuel Trott, wrote (emphasis mine - SG):

"Thus in the new birth there is a striking correspondence to the natural birth; to each there is a seed implanted, and then a quickening by which life is manifested. And when the natural child is brought to the birth, the sorrows of the woman in travail, the fetus being broke loose from that by which alone it had been hitherto nourished, strongly represents the agonies and the killing by the law belonging to the second birth.

"We might go on to notice the effect of the conception of this incorruptible seed, how it produces faith in God, quickens the man to a sense of his relations, and accountability to God, of the spirituality and broadness of the law, and of the sin in his acts, thoughts, and nature; of the distress occasioned thereby; of the darkness that covers the whole operation within, hiding all excepting certain external effects from the individual view, so that he is a mystery to himself, and can tell no more why he is thus, than he can tell of the wind whence it cometh or whither it goeth. We might show that whilst the soul is thus quickened to such a deep sense of the law or of sin as being against God, that it still evidently is not changed from a natural to a spiritual soul, and therefore it cannot receive the things of the Spirit, or the things freely given us of God, but entirely looks to the deeds of the law as the way of acceptance with God. But we forbear, and come to the BIRTH...The name Isaac therefore and Sarah’s being said to laugh, is strikingly expressive of that joy which is experienced when a person is first born again, or brought by faith to behold the light of the Sun of Righteousness into liberty. It is all joy and excitement at beholding the way of pardon and acceptance with God." 
("THE NEW BIRTH" From "SIGNS of the TIMES" - Vol.21 - 1853 - Writings of Elder Samuel Trott, pages 404 - 409)

He said:

"...I feel sorry to see the children of God so bewildered as to their deliverance (new birth - SG), and as having no clearer evidence to their minds, to refer to at times, of their having passed from death to life. I know how to pity them, having been in like situation; from not having been conversant with clear, experimental persons, and not having heard discriminating, experimental gospel preaching, when Christ was revealed in me to the apprehending of Him by faith as a Saviour suiting my case, I had no idea that the exercise I had at that time was a being born again, or a first believing in Christ with that faith which is the gift of God."

"A coming to Christ is admitted as necessary by all professors. I will, therefore, here show that Christ has said that none can come unto Him except they are taught of God. The words are, "No man can come to Me except the Father which hath sent Me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me, etc.," (John 6:44-45). Thus He evidently represents the drawing and teaching as the same thing."

"But God's teaching is not like man's, a mere enlightening of the head whilst the heart is untouched. It is a revelation of truth in the heart, so that the affections are arrested; there is a heart-feeling of the truth taught, and a heart-love for it. To come to Christ, or to be believers on Him, we must know Him in His true character as the Saviour of sinners; as said he that had been blind: "Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on Him?" (John 9:36)."

"The Spirit had probably implanted in Brother Burroughs the principle of life, causing a desire after God before the exercises he speaks of; but it may not have been till some time after this that he was truly drawn to Christ. I think if he will review his past experience there will be brought to his recollection a time when the awful depravity of his heart was so laid open to his view as to make him feel the justice of his condemnation, and the utter impossibility of anything good or acceptable to God coming from him; so that all idea of seeking salvation on his part was excluded; "Lord, save or I perish", was his cry in substance. Again, that in reading the Scriptures, or in hearing preaching, or in some passage of Scripture being presented and opened to his mind, he had a view of Christ crucified as a foundation just suited for such a condemned and helpless sinner to lean upon and trust to for salvation..."

"The position I have taken relative to this subject will, I think, be admitted by every reflecting Christian as the Scriptural one when he considers that the promises of salvation run alone through faith in Christ, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36 and Mark 16:16). And that faith implies a knowledge of Christ, and this knowledge evidently is only from being taught of God. "No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal him" (Luke 10:22). I hope this brother, on a re-examination, will be able to tell us something of what he has learned of Jesus and of His saving power."

(Elder Samuel Trott, 1845, Centreville, Fairfax County, VA)

See here

See also here

Pink wrote:

"We shall now confine ourselves to the initial operation of the Spirit within the elect of God. Different writers have employed the term "regeneration" with varying latitude: some restricting it unto a single act, others including the whole process by which one becomes a conscious child of God. This has hindered close accuracy of thought, and has introduced considerable confusion through the confounding of things which, though intimately related, are quite distinct. Not only has confusion of thought resulted from a loose use of terms, but serious divisions among professing saints have issued therefrom. We believe that much, if not all, of this would have been avoided had theologians discriminated more sharply and clearly between the principle of grace (spiritual life) which the Spirit first imparts unto the soul, and His consequent stirrings of that principle into exercise.

Quickening Is the Initial Operation of the Spirit

In earlier years we did not ourselves perceive the distinction which is pointed by John 6:63 and 1 Peter 1:23: the former referring unto the initial act of the Spirit in "quickening" the spiritually-dead soul, the latter having in view the consequent "birth" of the same. While it is freely allowed that the origin of the "new creature" is shrouded in impenetrable mystery, yet of this we may be certain, that life precedes birth. There is a strict analogy between the natural birth and the spiritual: necessarily so, for God is the Author of them both, and He ordained that the former should adumbrate the latter. Birth is neither the cause nor the beginning of life itself: rather is it the manifestation of a life already existent: there had been a Divine "quickening" before the child could issue from the womb. In like manner, the Holy Spirit "quickens" the soul, or imparts spiritual life to it, before its possessor is "brought forth" (as James 1:18 is rightly rendered in the R.V.) and "born again" by the Word of God (1 Pet. 1:23).

James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23, and parallel passages, refer not to the original communication of spiritual life to the soul, but rather to our being enabled to act from that life and induced to love and obey God by means of the Word of Truth—which presupposes a principle of grace already planted in the heart. In His work of illumination, conviction, conversion, and sanctification, the Spirit uses the Word as the means thereto, but in His initial work of "quickening" He employs no means, operating immediately or directly upon the soul. First there is a "new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10), and then the "new creature" is stirred into exercise. Faith and all other graces are wrought in us by the Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word, but not so with the principle of life and grace from which these graces proceed.


Quickening Imparts Life

In His work of "quickening," by which we mean the impartation of spiritual life to the soul, the Spirit acts immediately from within, and not by applying something from without. Quickening is a direct operation of the Spirit without the use of any instrument: the Word is used by Him afterwards to call into exercise the life then communicated. "Regeneration is a direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon the human spirit. It is the action of Spirit upon spirit, of a Divine Person upon a human person, whereby spiritual life is imparted. Nothing, therefore, of the nature of means or instruments can come between the Holy Spirit and the soul that is made alive. God did not employ an instrument or means when He infused physical life into the body of Adam. There were only two factors: the dust of the ground and the creative power of God which vivified that dust. The Divine omnipotence and dead matter were brought into direct contact, with nothing interposing. The dust was not a means or instrument by which God originated life. So in regeneration there are only two factors: the human soul destitute of spiritual life, and the Holy Spirit who quickens it.

"The Word and Truth of God, the most important of all the means of grace, is not a means of regeneration, as distinct from conviction, conversion and sanctification. This is evident when we remember that it is the office of a means or instrument to excite or stimulate an already existing principle of life. Physical food is a means of physical growth, but it supposes physical vitality. If the body is dead, bread cannot be a means or instrument. Intellectual truth is a means of intellectual growth, but it supposes intellectual vitality. If the mind be idiotic, secular knowledge cannot be a means or instrument. Spiritual truth is a means of spiritual growth, in case there be spiritual vitality. But if the mind be dead to righteousness, spiritual truth cannot be a means or instrument."The unenlightened understanding is unable to apprehend, and the unregenerate will is unable to believe. Vital force is lacking in these two principal factors. What is needed at this point is life and force itself. Consequently, the Author of spiritual life Himself must operate directly, without the use of means or instruments; and outright give spiritual life and power from the dead: that is, ex nihilo. The new life is not imparted because man perceives the truth, but he perceives the truth because the new life is imparted. A man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because he has been regenerated" (W. T. Shedd, Presbyterian, 1889).


First the Work of the Spirit, Then the Word

Under the guise of honoring the written word, many have (no doubt unwittingly) dishonored the Holy Spirit. The idea which seems to prevail in "orthodox" circles today is that all which is needed for the salvation of souls is to give out the Word in its purity, God being pledged to bless the same. How often we have heard it said, "The Word will do its own work." Many suppose that the Scriptures are quite sufficient of themselves to communicate light to those in darkness and life to those who are dead in sins. But the record which we have of Christ’s life ought at once to correct such a view. Who preached the Word as faithfully as He, yet how very few were saved during His three and a half years’ ministry?!

The parable of the Sower exposes the fallacy of the theory now so widely prevailing. The "seed" sown is the Word. It was scattered upon various kinds of ground, yet notwithstanding the purity and vitality of the seed, where the soil was unfavorable, no increase issued therefrom. Until the ground was made good, the seed yielded no increase. That seed might be watered by copious showers and warmed by a genial sum, but while the soil was bad there could be no harvest. The ground must be changed before it could be fertile. Nor is it the seed which changes the soil: what farmer would ever think of saying, The seed will change the soil! Make no mistake upon this point: the Holy Spirit must first quicken the dead soul into newness of life before the Word obtains any entrance.

To say that life is communicated to the soul by the Spirit’s application of the Word, and then to affirm that it is the principle of life which gives efficacy to the Word, is but to reason in a circle. The Word cannot profit any soul spiritually until it be "mixed with faith" (Heb. 4:2), and faith cannot be put forth unless it proceeds from a principle of life and grace; and therefore that principle of life is not produced by it.

...the deadly enmity of the sinner must be removed by the immediate operation of the Spirit, communicating life, before the Word enters and affects him.

"It is said the Lord opened the heart of Lydia, that she attended unto the things that were spoken by Paul (Acts 16:14). It would be a contradiction, and very absurd, to say that God’s Word spoken by Paul was that by which her heart was opened; for she knew not what he did speak, until her heart was opened to attend to his words and understand them. Her heart was first opened in order for his words to have any effect or give any light to her. And this must be done by an immediate operation of the Spirit of God on her heart. This was the regeneration now under consideration, by which her heart was renewed, and formed unto true discerning like the single eye" (Samuel Hopkins, 1792).

The soul, then, is quickened into newness of life by the direct and supernatural operation of the Spirit, without any medium or means whatever. It is not accomplished by the light of the Word, for it is His very imparting of life which fits the heart to receive the light. This initial work of the Spirit is absolutely indispensable in order to have spiritual illumination. It is depravity or corruption of heart which holds the mind in darkness, and it is in this that unregeneracy consists. It is just as absurd to speak of illumination being conveyed by the Word in order to have a change of heart, or the giving of a relish for spiritual things, as it would be to speak of giving the capacity to a man to taste the sweetness of honey while he was devoid of a palate.

No, men are not "quickened" by the Word, they must be quickened in order to receive and understand the Word. "And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God" (Jer. 24:7): that statement would be quite meaningless if a saving knowledge of or experimental acquaintance with God were obtained through the Word previous to the "new heart" or spiritual life being given, and was the means of our being quickened. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov. 1:7); the "fear of the Lord" or Divine grace communicated to the heart (spiritual life imparted) alone lays the foundation for spiritual knowledge and activities." ("THE HOLY SPIRIT," Chapter 11 - "The Spirit Quickening")


http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Holy_Spirit/spirit_11.htm


Listen to Simmons, my Hardshell Brothers

Hardshells should go to school on the Bible teaching of effectual calling.  T. P. Simmons wrote the following in his systematic theology (emphasis mine).

"The Outward and Inward Calls has to do with the purposing and planning of salvation. The atonement has to do with the provision of it. We come now to study the application and communication of salvation to the elect.

I. THE OUTWARD CALL The Scripture clearly speaks of two different calls. The first one in the order of occurrence is known generally as the outward or external call. The following Scriptures refer to this call: Isa. 45:22; 55:6; Matt. 9:13; 11:28; 22:14; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32; Rev. 22:17. There are other Scriptures that evidently refer to both calls. These are reserved until we take up the inward call.

1. THE CALL IS THROUGH THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL. It was by means of the gospel that Jesus called sinners to repentance. Today every presentation of the gospel is a call to men to forsake sin and trust Christ. The preaching of the gospel is also properly attended by a setting forth of man’s need of salvation and of his duty and responsibility under God to repent and believe (Acts 17:30). There should also be the earnest entreaty to men to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20) and an invitation to all that labor (Matt. 11:28), and are athirst (Isa. 55:1; John 7:37; Rev. 22:17).

2. THIS CALL IS AN INDIRECT CALL OF THE SPIRIT. See the discussion of the indirect work of the Spirit in the lost in Chapter IX.

3. THIS CALL, THEREFORE, IS GENERAL. By this we mean that it is not confined to the elect (Matt. 22:14). We are commanded to preach the gospel to all. This call is intended for all men, though all do not hear it. This is true just as all men are commanded to repent (Acts 17:30), even though all men do not hear this command.

4. THIS CALL, OF ITSELF, IS ALWAYS INEFFECTIVE. To Israel God said: "When I called, ye did not answer" (Isa. 65:12). The call referred to here was an outward call similar to the call now under discussion. Because of man’s depravity, the preaching of the gospel alone is never sufficient to bring him to Christ. He needs more than an outward call. The gospel "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:16); but "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him, and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged" (1 Cor. 2:14). Man must be enabled to turn from sin and believe on Christ. Jer. 13:23; John 12:39, 40; 6:44, 65. Nevertheless it is the immediate duty of all to accept this call. Acts 17:30.

5. THIS CALL IS SINCERE.

Arminians object that the Calvinistic system of doctrine makes a general call insincere. Sincere means "being in reality as in appearance. Intending precisely what one says or what one appears to intend." Having defined the term under discussion, we are now prepared to examine into the exact grounds of this objection. Three Calvinistic teachings are pointed out as rendering a general call insincere. They are: (1) The teaching that man by nature is unable to turn from sin to Christ. Arminians say if the case with the natural man were such as Calvinists represent it, and this were fully known to God, then God could not be sincere in inviting men to come to Christ. But there is nothing in the general call that makes it appear that all men are able to respond to it. This is nothing more than an unwarranted inference. And it has its foundation, not in the call itself, but in an erroneous conception of man’s state by nature. Hence this call is not insincere.

"God’s call to all men to repent and to believe the gospel is no more insincere than His command to all men to Love Him with all the heart. There is no obstacle in the way of men’s obedience to the gospel, that does not exist to prevent their obedience to the law. If it is proper to publish the commands of the law, it is proper to publish the invitations of the gospel. A human being may be perfectly sincere in giving an invitation which he knows will be refused. He may desire to have the invitation accepted, while yet he may, for certain reasons of justice and personal dignity, be unwilling to put forth special efforts, aside from the invitation itself, to secure the acceptance of it on the part of those to whom it is offered" (Strong).

Does God’s invitation or call to all men any more appear to indicate that all men can accept it than His command to all men to love Him supremely appears to indicate that all men can do it?

(2) The teaching as to God’s elective purpose to save only a portion of Adam’s race.

Arminians say if God has purposed to save only a portion of Adam’s race, then He cannot sincerely invite all men to come to Christ for salvation. Let it first be remarked as to this phase of the objection that the objector, to have even the semblance of consistency, must deny the foreknowledge of God. For, if God foreknew everything, then He certainly foreknew that all men would not believe the gospel, since we see that all do not. And certainly no evangelical would say that God purposed to save those who reject the gospel. So, if the foreknowledge of God be true, then God purposed to save only a part of Adam’s race, believers. Hence consistency demands that the Arminian surrender either this phase of the objection or else surrender the foreknowledge of God. He cannot be logical and hold both.

(3) The doctrine of a limited atonement.

This was touched on in relation to the sincerity of God’s general call through the gospel in the previous chapter. However we give it further brief notice. If one is going before a large number of people to offer to each one of them a ten-dollar bill, and he has inerrant knowledge before hand that only a hundred out of that number will accept his offer, need he in order to make a sincere offer to all have more than one hundred ten-dollar bills? Surely not. Knowing that he has a sufficient number to supply all that will accept the offer, he can most freely and sincerely say, "Let every one of you that desires a ten-dollar bill come to me and I will give you one." Is it not manifest to all who can think logically that, in a case such as is described above, the failure of all the people except the hundred to receive a ten-dollar bill would be due to their refusal of the offer, and not to lack of provision? God’s general call is in appearance no more than it is in reality. And He appears to intend no more than He does actually intend. This does not appear as something that all men can respond to nor as something that will enable men to come to Christ or that will necessarily impel them to come. Nor does this call appear to affirm that God has made a futile provision of salvation for those who persist in unbelief. In this call God appears to intend that all men are welcome if they will come; that all who come will be received. He actually intends just this. It is just as much a Bible truth that all who come to Christ will be saved as it is that only the elect will be saved. We can heartily and gladly subscribe to the New Hampshire Declaration of Faith in saying that "nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth except his own inherent depravity and voluntary refusal to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ."

In other words, these are the things that send the sinner to Hell.

II. THE INWARD CALL

The following Scriptures refer to the inward call: Acts 2:39; Rom. 1:6; 8.28, 30; 9:11,24; 1 Cor. 1:1,26; 7:15; Gal. 1:15; 5:8; Eph. 4:4; Col. 3:15; 1 Thess. 5:24; 2 Thess. 2:14; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 9:15; 1 Pet. 1.15; 2:9; 3:9; 5:10; 2 Pet. 1:3,10; Jude 1. Some of these Scriptures, as has been indicated already, seem to allude to both the inward and outward call.

1. THIS CALL IS A DIRECT CALL THROUGH THE SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit takes the preached gospel and opening the heart of the sinner (Acts 16:14), applies the word to the heart in regenerating power. It is then, and only then, that man is able to understand and receive the things of the Spirit of God. Thus the inward call is also through the gospel, but it is through the gospel as applied by the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures touching on this work of the Spirit through the word will be given when we study regeneration.

2. THIS CALL IS PARTICULAR. By means of it the chosen objects of God’s saving grace are singled out. The difference here between the outward and the inward calls may be imperfectly illustrated by the difference between a general invitation extended by a church to the people of a community to attend its services and the personal invitations that are extended to particular individuals by the membership of the church. Of course, as we have said, this only imperfectly illustrates the difference between God’s two calls. Rom. 8:30 shows the particularity of this call.

3. THIS CALL IS ALWAYS EFFECTIVE. It is manifest that the Scriptures given at the beginning of the discussion of this call refer to an effective and efficient call. This call is never resisted; yet, in responding to it, man acts voluntarily and freely. See chapter on "The Free Agency of Man." The effectiveness of this call is shown by Rom. 8:28, 30; 1 Cor. 1:24.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Potter Also Said

Potter also said:

"I think myself, that if a man believes a thing, he has a right to preach it, but I have my serious doubts about any man, even if he is a minister in the Regular Baptist church, having the right to make war on any sentiment of doctrine that has always been held by that church, and fighting it to the grief of those who do believe and preach just what the church has always believed, and what she still believes. I believe, and the Old School Baptist church believes, the doctrine of the following pages, and in order to set forth the Baptist doctrine, and defend it against the assaults of those who do not believe it, and to teach our people what the doctrine of the church is on this subject, this little book is offered to the public."  ("Regeneration, Christian Warfare, and State of the Dead", CHAPTER 1 - see here)

I find it bewildering that Potter and neo Hardshells of his ilk would say that no Baptist had "the right to make war on any sentiment of doctrine that has always been held by that church...just what the church has always believed" and yet begin to preach that

1. Men can be saved and regenerated who remain heathen in belief
2. The new testament, when speaking of "believers," may allude to many heathen idolaters
3. Man must have faith in God and Christ before he can have knowledge of God and Christ
4. That the preaching of the Gospel by heaven sent men is no means for producing faith and regeneration

Where is Potter's evidence that the Baptists believed such things prior to the rise of the anti mission Hardshells?  The truth is, Potter was as much an "innovator" in doctrine as Alexander Campbell.

Potter may have had mission methods, Sunday Schools, and seminaries in mind when he said what he did, thinking that such things were entirely new, when in fact they were not, but his statement indicts himself for he cannot, nor can his followers today, show that their aberrant and novel views are the historic teaching of his Baptist forefathers.

No wonder then that Potter would give his doubts about the London Confession.  Notice these words:

"THE CHURCH ADVOCATE believes that the sinner, the Adam sinner, is the subject of salvation; that it is the man that is the subject of the new birth, and that this man has a soul and a body, and that the soul is born again, in the work of regeneration in time, and that it goes immediately to heaven when the body dies. We believe that in the resurrection, the body will be born again, and go to heaven, and that the soul and body will be reunited in heaven, and thus the sinner will be born again, and saved. This has been the doctrine of our people for the past two hundred years, provided it was our people who first drew up and published the London Confession of Faith, in England, in the year 1689. In chapter 23, of that confession, we have the following..."

Why was he questioning the confession that his predecessors all endorsed?  Further, Potter wrote these words and was dead prior to the Fulton Convention wherein his fellow Hardshells endorsed the Confession as having been the document that their churches were all founded upon.

As stated above, Potter preached the novel view that one must have faith (belief) before he can hear the Gospel or receive knowledge of Christ.  Notice these words of his:

"Those who hear the gospel profitably must first have faith. If the gospel must necessarily be preached to them before they have faith, then it follows that they must of necessity hear the gospel unprofitably before they can have faith. If this preaching must be done in order that a man have faith, then we have it that a man must hear the gospel unprofitably in order that he may have faith, after which he will hear the gospel profitably. Now the truth taught in this text is that a man must have faith to enable him to hear the gospel in a profitable manner. This faith is the fruit, of the Spirit of God. Gal. v, 22 : "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.'' If faith is the fruit of the Spirit, and a man must have faith in order to hear the gospel profitably, then a direct or immediate operation of the Spirit upon the heart is necessary; for man believes with the heart, and the Spirit is not likely to bear fruit where it is not. If it produces faith in the sinner's heart it must be in his heart. This must take place before he receives the gospel. If this is not so, tell us what is, and how you know."  (Labors and travels of Elder Lemuel Potter, pages 325-326  - see here)

"If the gospel must necessarily be preached to them before they have faith"?
"If this preaching must be done in order that a man have faith"?

Potter's New Doctrine (Neo-Hardshellism)

Faith does not come by hearing the Gospel preached by preachers

Apostle Paul's Doctrine

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 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?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.


Potter's Contradiction

Lemuel Potter may have been a man of little physical stature, yet he stood tall among Hardshell debaters and apologists of the second half of the 19th century.  In my mind he is to be credited with leading the Hardshells further into error, being one of the founding fathers of the neo Hardshells who Elder Watson called "ultraists" and "modern innovators."  In debate Potter said (emphasis mine):

"I do not worship a God that tries to do things and cannot. I do not worship a God that does not know what he is about. I do not serve a God that has any purposes or plans the results of which he does not know. I do not serve a God that, when he does know the results of his plans for which he made them will never be brought about, will trust in them. I do not serve a God who will invent a plan for the salvation of his people that he knows will fail and never save them." (Discussion on Foreign Missions, page 538)   

Now notice this from him:

"I will make a statement of our religious principles. That is this, our faith is, that if the church and minister will teach exclusively what the Bible teaches, and practice just precisely what it requires, that all the good results that God intended to accomplish by that means will be brought about."  (see here)

Notice how Potter here makes an "if...then" argument relative to one of the purposes of God.  If the "minister will teach," then "all the good results that God intended to accomplish by that means will be brought about."

Questions

What if the minister does not teach?

Is it God's purpose to teach and convert to faith in Christ all the elect?


Monday, April 13, 2015

What do you say?

In my writings against the absurdities of Hardshellism I have often shown how the Hardshell understanding of "regeneration" (in relation to being convicted of sin) makes the Holy Spirit into a liar. This argument was made by brother Throgmorton against Hardshell debater John R. Daily, as I shall show.  First, however, let me cite from chapter 18 of my book on the Hardshell cult to remind the reader of the argument

Sarrels says again:

"True conviction is exclusively the experience of the quickened or regenerate man. Like conversion to which, under the working of the Holy Spirit, it leads, conviction results from regeneration. He who is convicted of sin sees himself to be a guilty sinner (BUT IS HE REALLY?) in the sight of God, and perceives that his own righteousness is as "filthy rags." He knows and feels that if he is ever saved it can be only by the grace of God. With no righteousness of his own to plead, this broken, penitent wretch--wretch in his own sight, but not in God's sight--is ready to turn to God." (ibid)

Did you notice that? "Not in God's sight." In other words, the convicted soul is not really what the Holy Spirit is convincing him that he is! One senses that Sarrels felt the weight of such a "reductio ad absurdum," for he writes in closing these words.

"...the quickened person in conviction sees himself NOT as he actually is, but as he would be without the grace of God." (ibid)

Can you believe that bunk? A man under conviction is being convicted of only hypothetical sin! He is not being convicted of actual sin! The Holy Spirit is telling the convicted soul a lie when he tells him he is lost and condemned! The Holy Spirit lies when he convinces such an one that he is unclean and in need of pardon and justification! Unbelievable!


Notice this from Dr. Danbury.

"Dr. Danbury on the Daily-Throgmorton Debate" (emphasis mine SG)

"The Daily-Throgmorton debate has come and gone, and I, having had the privilege of hearing every word of the same, thought it might be of some use to those who did not hear it, to say something of my impressions of the same.

As to the men, Mr. Daily is a fine appearing man, and speaks with force, as well as eloquence. He impresses one with the thought that he wants to be known as a scholar and to this end he endeavors to make it appear that what he says is not to be called in question. He is not clear however in his statement of the position he takes, nor does he appear to get the force of his opponent's arguments. He frequently misquotes, as well as misapplies the argument of his opponent. He does not seem to care for the rules of controversy, as he did not, in this discussion, attempt to define his position at any time. His affirmative speeches were delivered principally from manuscript which he read quite well.

Brother Throgmorton on the other hand is clear in statement, quick to comprehend an argument, logical from first to last. He does not deal in sophistry, but from the start goes to the question in debate telling what he means by each term in the proposition that all may know what the point at issue is.

Mr. Daily in this debate gave more time to what was not in the questions being debated than he did to the questions under consideration. It appeared to me that he was not satisfied with the questions as stated. It frequently occurred that he would state what ought to have been the question instead of trying to prove his position.
 
Yet he had signed both propositions as satisfactory and spent four days trying to make the people believe that he should have been allowed to discuss something else. It frequently seemed he made statements that would involve him in the most absurd positions.

As to the arguments on each side it was in my judgment one of the greatest victories for the position held by Brother Throgmorton that could have been gained. Some of the positions taken by Mr. Daily were that the Gospel was to call out those for whom Christ died, and to make known to them the fact that they were God's children by exciting in them a conviction for sin and making them know that they were vile sinners, while at the same time they were really born of God and the elect of God.

Brother Throgmorton showed that if this was the case that the Holy Spirit made them believe a lie, to which Daily did not reply. I wish that all of our Baptist people could have heard this discussion for themselves as I did."  (From the book section titled "FIFTY DEBATES," page 119.

"to which Daily did not reply"!  Says it all, does it not?

And what about Sarrel's attempt to solve the difficulty?  Laughable, is it not?  Very sad too to see such blindness and deception.  It is the mindset of cult members.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

More Evidence From Zion's Landmark (1887)

Elder P. D. Gold was a most influential second generation minister and apologist for the newly formed "Primitive Baptist" denomination.  A synopsis of his bio is as follows (highlights mine):

"A prominent publisher and religious leader, Pleasant Daniel Gold was born in 1833 to Milton and Martha Fortune Gold in what in now Cleveland County, North Carolina. An ambitious young man, P. D. Gold sought to attend school and move beyond his agrarian upbringing. As such, he borrowed money and went to school, studied law, and received his license in 1856. He began to practice law in Shelby as a partner with future governor John W. Ellis. Soon after establishing himself in Shelby, Gold decided to enter the ministry. He then attended Furman University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His educational pursuits were interrupted by the Civil War when he enlisted in the Confederate army, serving as a chaplain and nurse until a fever ended his military service.

In the late 1860s, Gold decided to change his church affiliation and switched from the Missionary Baptist Church, or “New School,” to the Primitive Baptist Church, or the “Old School.” He joined the Kehukee Primitive Baptist Church of Halifax, home of the state’s most active Primitive Baptist organization. Gold was such a dynamic personality in his new calling that he joined the church, was baptized, ordained, and preached a sermon all in the same day. As part of his new mission, he co-founded a newspaper called Zion’s Landmark in 1867 with L. I. Bodenheimer. Gold became associate editor in 1871 and served as editor from 1872 until 1920. The paper became the leading publication of the Primitive Baptist Church."

Here are some additional citations that every Hardshell today should know exists.  It is more evidence that as late as 1887 it was still acceptable to believe that being born again was equivalent to evangelical conversion.

A TRUE CHRISTIAN (page 338)

"Every one that has "passed from death unto life," has had his burden of sin and guilt removed, feels and can realize that there has been some kind of miraculous change from some source, but after this change there is necessarily something else ahead. But in order to scrutinize this subject closely I will briefly enumerate some of the changes and conflicts through which God's children have to pass."

"2nd. We believe that all believers arc born again of an incorruptible seed, and as I have herein before stated that sinners are convicted and quickened into life thus pass from death unto life; but now I will try to explain more explicitly in a brief way what I know by experience of the travail from nature to grace."

"Firstly there is a begetting or quickening, then the sinner has a knowledge he is a sinner before God because his blinded eyes have been opened, and his deaf ears are unstopped, and then he is cognizant of his true condition. — Secondly, there is a travail of soul, and as I have said he probably mourns for weeks, months or years. Thirdly, then at an unexpected and appointed time he is delivered of his load of sin and guilt, and is freed from the law of sin and death, "old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." I possibly might say more on these points, but this I consider enough for the present. My dear brethren, If we are worthy to be called christians, Hardshells, Iron Jackets, or anything else for the sake of Jesus let us glory in such stigmas."

see here

An Important Historical Snapshot

"...natural birth is a figure of spiritual birth."

"But such a thing cannot be;  for there cannot be a child without a father and mother, and there cannot be a father and mother without a child."  ("Being Born Again," in "Zion's Landmark, page 1, Dec. 15, 1887)

I have previously shown in my historical writings on the development of the Hardshell denomination that the common view of the first Hardshells was to view "regeneration" as distinct from being "born again," the former being compared to the planting of the male seed in natural birth and the coming forth out of the womb to the new birth.  From the above citation it is clear that this view was still being believed and taught.  It was not a view that had as yet in 1887 been totally discarded.

It was about this time, however, that Potter had his debate with Throgmorten, a debate which helped to change the new denomination's view on regeneration and the new birth.  It was about 1890 when Elder Clark died, and when a serious debate over means began.  Those leading the "modern innovators" or "ultraist" Hardshells, in addition to Potter, were men like Dr. C.H. Waters, T.S. Dalton, John Daily, C.H. Cayce, Walter Cash, and Sylvester Hassell. 

I want every neo Hardshell to know that the above view was the view of his founding fathers.  If the Hardshells were baptized by these men, and they were heretics, how can they say their baptisms today are valid?

I have for years asked today's Hardshells to tell us who is the mother in spiritual birth.  Do they not have a birth without a mother?



Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Serious Hardshell Heresy

"Every effort to impart spiritual knowledge to the natural man must prove abortive."  ("Zion's Landmark," Dec. 1st, 1887 - see here)

This was stated in one of the leading Hardshell periodicals after the Civil War.  In reading this I was taken aback by the utter nonsense uttered by second generation Hardshells.  No leading Baptist apologist prior to the birth of the Hardshell cult would have uttered such utter unscriptural propositions,  There are a number of things I want to say about this man-made proposition.

First, it is certainly true that "every effort to impart spiritual knowledge" to "the natural man," will fail where that "effort" lacks the spiritual influence and blessing of the Spirit of God.  The word of God by itself cannot "impart spiritual knowledge" of course,  But, a denial of the "word alone" view of the Campbellites and Pelagians does not force one into the Hardshell "spirit alone" view.

These Scriptures uphold this view of things:

"Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."  (Psa' 127:1)

"So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."  (I Cor. 3:7)

So, indeed yes, every effort to impart spiritual knowledge to the non-spiritual apart from the blessing of God will prove abortive.

Second, we must accept the implied truth that affirms that EVERY EFFORT, WITH THE BLESSING OF GOD, RATHER THAN BEING A CERTAIN FAILURE, MUST PROVE A SUCCESS.

If all effort (at anything) must prove a failure ("in vain"), or be futile, when that effort lacks God's blessing, as taught from the above passages, then it must be true that all effort, with God's blessing and the special influence of the Spirit, must be successful (the opposite of what it means to be in vain).  But, the Hardshells will not likely want to face such a logical fact.

Third, accepting such a man made and unscriptural proposition puts the Hardshells into great difficulty when they read passages where a prophet, teacher, or Christ himself, was involved in the act of imparting "spiritual knowledge" to lost souls.  In such a case, the Hardshell heretic must go to work on such passages and do one of these things.

1) Deny that in a given passage (where it seems that spiritual knowledge is being imparted) that it is "spiritual" knowledge being imparted (in cases where it is clear that unregenerate or natural men were being addressed or taught).  For instance, if a Hardshell says that the moral law is to be imparted to all men, then he must deny that the law contains spiritual knowledge.

2) Deny that in a given passage it is "natural," rather than "spiritual," men who are being taught.  (And what is "teaching" but a way to "impart" knowledge?)

3) Deny that there is any case example in scripture where God, directly or indirectly, put forth effort to impart knowledge to men who were devoid of the Spirit (which is what it means to be a 'natural' man).

It is amazing to me how any serious and honest Bible student can read the Bible and make such a statement.

The whole old testament was addressed to the Jews, and most of these were unregenerate men.  The book of Proverbs is addressed to all rational men and Wisdom, or spiritual knowledge, is there viewed as the responsibility of all to receive.

The ministry of the Baptist, of Christ, of the apostles and new testament evangelists, all make it their mission to impart the Gospel (which is true spiritual knowledge) to all men.  Did not Paul write the following?

"Whom we preach , warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."  (Col. 1:28)

Will the Hardshells say that it was not "spiritual knowledge" that Paul labored to impart?  Will they deny that this teaching was to "every man"?

The above Hardshell proposition is not only grossly anti scripture, but it makes Jesus and the Bible teachers all fools for trying to do the impossible in their efforts to teach the lost spiritual truth.

Further, who can doubt that the Hardshells who invented this anti biblical premise have used it as an excuse for their being "anti effort" Baptists?  For their lack of effort in imparting spiritual knowledge?

Also, my own experience is against this Hardshell proposition.  Others (thank God for them) made "efforts" to get me to think about God and his word while I was a natural man.  God blessed that effort and I received that knowledge and was saved just like the first Christians.