Let me assure you there is no misrepresentation occurring on this blog. It’s important for you to know that Brother Stephen and I are not your typical apologists engaged in refuting errors with which we have no personal acquaintance. We were ordained elders within the “Primitive Baptist” denomination. We didn’t learn of their false teachings from just hearing or reading about it as is the case with many others engaged in apologetics. Rather, we lived and breathed it. It is what we ourselves once taught! We are examples of individuals who were reared up believing one thing, only to have the Lord open our eyes to see that we were in grave error, and subsequently leave the order. It’s understandable that folks may disagree with what we now believe, but when we are describing what Hardshells themselves teach, we draw from many years of experience among them. We came to our position having been given by God a full, clear understanding of the heresies being promoted. I would not hesitate one bit in saying that we actually know their doctrine better than they do!
It’s part of our business on this blog to point out all of the strange, exclusive doctrines which they espouse. So be not shocked or think we misrepresent when we write of these things. If your jaw drops at the thought of a professed Christian claiming that conscious faith in Christ is not necessary to be saved, then guess what? They believe it. If you revolt at the notion that it could be said of many antichrists and Christ-rejecters that they are somehow “new creatures in Christ” nevertheless, then guess what? We revolt with you.
It’s also our business to expose Hardshellism for what it truly is. It is an attempt to distance itself from Arminianism but not end up with Calvinism, which is where the average person should suspect it would. It sees correctly the former as an error. The problem is that it does what human nature often does at this point. It rebels to the opposite extreme only to entangle itself in other errors! The Hardshells of the mid-19th centur erred when they discarded any and all notions of instrumentality in salvation or that there are certain necessities/conditions for sinners to be saved. Instead of inventing an additional time salvation (optional to the sinner) in which these ideas should be relegated, they should have seen the decree of God provides for these things, solving any possible conflict with the notion of salvation by grace. Failing at this point, they allowed for Arminianism to remain with respect to this newly-invented time salvation. Anything which comes through the gospel or constitutes a necessity or condition would be things that the child of God has to acquire by himself! By his own free-will.
Sad. Sad. Sad.
I think it accurate to say that we write for three classes of people.
First, to the errant Hardshells themselves, that they might come to see that they are in grave error with respect to their soteriology and the claim to being primitive, when in fact their current distinctive teachings can be traced back no further than the Civil War. The ball is in their court to prove otherwise. So far that ball has not been successfully hit back. And it won’t be, for their own historical records are against them.
Secondly, for the reformers among them, secret or not, to let them know that we are in general support of their efforts. I can personally think of about a dozen men or so who in recent years have come to a more sound Calvinistic position, more or less. In fact, within the past month I received an email personally thanking me for what I am doing. Since I’ve already been “excluded”, I can and do openly declare what he and others are probably trying to slowly instill.
Lastly, we write for the general audience. It requires someone such as myself and Brother Stephen to really do this because of our personal acquaintance. Prospective members should be warned (again I have had correspondence with some) about what they believe and teach. It can be very deceiving. Since Hardshells have a general claim to the TULIP (which is correct), it’s to be expected that any potential member would immediately identify them as Calvinists. Ah, but there are other things taught as well! Secret things! Things which no one else in Christendom knows about. Things which puzzle the average Christian.
Conditional time salvation? What in the world is that?
A person can know God but not know that he knows Him? Say that again.
The gospel is not supposed to be preached to every creature. If it was then we would have to preach to cows and horses.
The Philippian jailor only wanted to be saved from the earthquake. It had nothing to do with his ‘eternal salvation’.
It is such nonsense as this which the typical outsider knows little to nothing about. We are here to expose these secrets at the outset.