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.