Thursday, May 28, 2015

To The Reader

Dear Reader,

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.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hardshells Adopting "Expository Preaching"

Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church, pastored by Lasserre Bradley Jr., has a web page ( and one of the links leads one to the question and answer section.  These answers were given by reps of the church under the heading "Questions and Answers With Our Pastors."  One of the questions was "What is expository preaching and why do you do it?"  Elder Bradley gave the audio reply.

Bradley first defines "expository preaching" as

"...selecting a book of the Bible and going through it verse by verse to draw from the text the message that is there."

He says that some of the advantages of "expository preaching" is that it forces people to face difficult texts, "texts which they can't ignore."

To his credit he did say that it is justifiable to preach on topics or short texts sometimes, saying "there are relevant issues that are needed at a particular point.  For example, we have done a series on money."

Types of Sermons

In this discussion it is taken for granted that sermons have been categorized into textual, expository, and topical.  (For instance see Broadus in his "Preparation and delivery of sermons")  All do not agree on the definition of these categories, but Bradley's definition of "expository preaching" is defective, as I shall show.

It is also to be noted that not everyone defines these categories exactly alike nor that sermons cannot be a mixture of the above categories.

Perhaps a definition of "sermon" might also require some attention.

Problem #1 - The Definition

According to brother Bradley's definition, we have to conclude the following:

1.  Only those who go through a book of the Bible verse by verse, fully explaining its meaning (doing exegesis), are doing "expository preaching."  Thus,

2.  Those who are not doing "expository preaching" by this definition are not doing the best kind of preaching.  Thus,

3.  All the Hardshells of the past, and 99% of the present, are not preaching in the most profitable way.

4.  Elder Bradley himself has spent most of his years as a textual or topical preacher and so confesses that he did not do his best preaching then.

5. Elder Bradley is also affirming that his preaching style, recently adopted, is superior to not only the preaching style of his forefathers, and of his own former preaching, but that of Spurgeon, whom he admires.

Of course, people like Spurgeon, who take texts, either short or long, do "exposition."  But, Bradley's definition implies that only those who go verse by verse, Sunday by Sunday, through a chosen book of the Bible, do "expository" preaching.

In this posting I will look at the negatives of this style of preaching and recommend how the three types of sermons can be utilized.  But, before doing this, I would like to ask - "why is this method being adopted by Bradley and some others of his ilk?" 

A Remedy?

It is an old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  Obviously Bradley and other Hardshells think something is defective in traditional and historical Hardshell preaching (as well as in the preaching style of other textual preachers as Spurgeon).  They know that they are dying as a denomination.  Each year 100 churches go out of existence for every one that comes into existence.  Most of the churches that remain today only have a handful and these are mostly old people.  But, Bradley's church seems to be working hard to stay alive.  Over recent years they have added Bible classes, schools, programs for the young, missionary work, etc.  And, it seems, that it has helped to keep them from death.  Now it seems that the Cincinnati church wants to adopt the Reformed Baptist trappings, which includes their insistence on what they call "expository preaching."  One wonders, however, whether this latter experiment will yield the results intended and hoped for.  Has it, or will it, increase the growth of the church?  As we shall see, in part two of this mini series, the track record of those who promote "expository preaching" is not good.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

From Burkett & Read's History of the Kehukee Association

Elders LEMUEL BURKITT and JESSE READ published their history of the Kehukee Association in NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, October, 1803.  Here are some of the things I have copied from this history and which should be read by all Hardshells who think the "History of the Church of God" by C.B. and Sylvester Hassell is the standard Hardshell history apologetic.

These citations are given in order and are cited mainly to counteract Hardshell false claims about the history of the Baptists and of their own denomination.

Burkett and Read wrote the following about how their history first came into being (emphasis mine):

"It has been, of late, the wish of some of the leading characters in the churches belonging to the Kehukee Association, for a brief history of that Association to be published, from its origin to the present time (1765 -1803 - SG), hoping it may prove a blessing to the churches in general, and their posterity in particular; that they may be fully acquainted with the faith and practice of the churches to which their forefathers belonged. It was, therefore, the request of some of the churches and ministers that we should engage in this work.  It was a subject which had not engaged our attention before; but, upon a serious reflection that, whereas, we had been members of this Association as long perhaps as any now living, and one of us had been Clerk of the Association for thirty years, and acquired a considerable degree of information relative to the Association and churches in general, and being persuaded of the general utility of such an history, we were encouraged to undertake the publication thereof." (pg. 7 - Burkett-Read History)

No one can doubt the authority of Burkett and Read to write about the beliefs and practices of the Kehukee Regular Baptists from 1765 to 1803.

They write:

"The most of these churches, before they were ever united in an association, were General Baptist, and held with the Arminian tenets. We believe they were the descendants of the English General Baptists...They preached, and adhered to the Arminian, or Free-will doctrines, and their churches were first established upon this system. They gathered churches without requiring an experience of grace previous to their baptism; but baptized all who believed in the doctrine of baptism by immersion, and requested baptism of them. The churches of this order were first gathered here by Elders Paul Palmer and Joseph Parker, and were succeeded by a number of ministers, whom they had baptized; and some of whom, we have no reason to believe, were converted when they were baptized, or first began to preach." (pg. 15)

According to Hardshells, a church is not valid unless it has been established by other valid churches.  The General Baptists did not all receive new baptisms when they became Calvinistic Regular Baptists.  With their Landmarker views, how can they say that their churches are valid since they were descendents of Arminian churches and invalid baptisms and ordinations?

They also write:

 "This was the state of these churches until divine Providence disposed the Philadelphia Baptist Association to send Messrs. Vanhorn and Miller, two of the ministers belonging to that Association, who lived in New Jersey, to travel into the southern Colonies, and visit the churches and preach the Gospel. And it appears that it was attended with an happy effect...Through their instrumentality, many people were awakened; many of the members of these churches were convinced of their error, and were instructed in the doctrines of the Gospel; and some churches were organized anew, and established upon the principles of the doctrine of grace. These churches, thus newly constituted, adopted the Baptist confession of faith, published in London in 1689, containing thirty-two articles, and upon which the Philadelphia and Charleston Associations are founded."

The Kehukee Association was started by missionaries "sent" by the Philadelphia association (who obviously then were missionary Baptists).  Further, the Association even designated the field of labor, a thing the Hardshells of the 1830s charged as being a new thing among Baptists.  Further, the Association also paid these missionaries.  Clearly the first Baptists of the Philadelphia, Charleston, and Kehukee Associations were missionary Calvinistic Baptists.

They write:

"THUS, by means of those ministers who visited the churches, several were reformed, and the work of reformation progressed, until the greater part of what few churches were gathered in North Carolina, both ministers and members, came into the Regular Baptist order."

"The churches thus reformed, although but few in number, entered into an association compact about the year of 1765, and first convened at Kehukee, from whence the Association took the name of the “Kehukee Association.”

"The principal ministers which belonged to the Association on its first establishment, were, Elders Jonathan Thomas, John Thomas, John Moore, John Burges, William Burges, Charles Daniel, William Walker, John Meglamre, James Abington, Thomas Pope, and Henry Abbot. All of whom, except Elders John Meglamre and James Abington, we believe, were baptized by ministers of the Free-will order."  (Chpt. 1, pg. 17)

"The distinction between us and them was, that they were called Separates, and the Philadelphia, the Charleston, and the Kehukee Association, were called Regular Baptists."  (Chpt. 2, pg. 20)

abstract of the principles in 1777

2. We believe that Almighty God has made known his mind and will to the children of men in his word; which word we believe to be of divine authority, and contains all things necessary to be known for the salvation of men and women.

Obviously these first Kekukee Baptists believed that there are things in the Scriptures that are "necessary to be known for salvation." But, today's Hardshells do not believe that any revelation that is to be found only in the Scriptures is necessary to be saved.

6. We also believe that it is utterly out of the power of men, as fallen creatures, to keep the law of God perfectly, repent of their sins truly, or believe in Christ, except they be drawn by the holy spirit.

Notice how they were not guilty of the Pelagian notion that a command implies ability and were therefore not in agreement with today's Hardshells (who claim to represent the true faith of the first Kehukee Baptists of North Carolina).

7. We believe that in God’s own appointed time and way (by means which he has ordained) the elect shall be called, justified, pardoned, and sanctified; and that it is impossible they can utterly refuse the call; but shall be made willing, by divine grace, to receive the offers of mercy.

 Many Hardshells would later attempt to explain "by means which he has ordained" to exclude the preaching of the Gospel, and evangelical faith and repentance.  But, this is reading into facts what one pleases and is dishonest interpretation.  It can be easily discovered just what "means" these first Kehukee Baptists had in mind by reading their other writings of the period.  But what Hardshell wants to do that kind of honest research?

Did the first Kehukee Baptists not adopt the London Confession of faith?  Is it not clear on what "means" are under consideration?

Notice also how they explained what it meant to be "called" (quickened, regenerated).  It involved "receive" the call (or not "refuse").  They also viewed this "call" as involving "offers of mercy" which must be accepted in order to have been called.

8. We believe that justification in the sight of God is only by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, received and applied by faith alone.  (Chpt. 2, pg. 25)

"Received and applied by faith"?  Is this not what today's Hardshells deny?  Also, is it not clear that these Kehukee Baptists believed that "faith" was one of those "means"

9. We believe in like manner, that God’s elect shall not only be called, and justified, but that they shall be converted, born again, and changed by the effectual working of God’s holy spirit.

Today's Hardshells will not accept this article.  They do not believe that God's elect will all be "converted."  They believe they will all be "called" and "regenerated" but not all "converted."

XV. The Association shall have power

5. To appropriate those moneys by the churches contributed for an Association Fund, to any purpose they may think proper. (yr. 1789 - pg. 54)

Today's Hardshells say that Associations have no power to distribute money to missionaries!

Burkett and Read write of the following early evangelistic practice:

"Shaking hands while singing, was a means (though simple in itself) to further the work. The ministers used frequently, at the close of worship, to sing a spiritual song suited to the occasion, and go through the congregation, and shake hands with the people while singing; and several, when relating their experience, at the time of their admission into church fellowship, declared that this was the first means of their conviction. The act seemed so friendly, the ministers appeared so loving, that the party with whom the minister shook hands, would often be melted in tears. The hymn

“I long to see the happy time,
When sinners all come flocking home,
To taste the riches of his love,
And to enjoy the realms above:”
And especially that part of it,
“Take your companion by the hand;
And all your children in the band,”

— many times had a powerful effect. Giving the people an invitation to come
up to be prayed for, was also blessed.

The ministers usually, at the close of preaching, would tell the congregation, that if there were any persons who felt themselves lost and condemned, under the guilt and burden of their sins, that if they would come near the stage, and kneel down, they would pray for them. Shame at first kept many back, but as the work increased, numbers, apparently under strong conviction, would come and fall down before the Lord at the feet of the ministers, and crave an interest in their prayers. Sometimes twenty or thirty at a time. And at some Union Meetings, two or three hundred would come, and try to come as near as they could. This very much engaged the ministers; and many confessed that the Lord heard the prayers of his ministers, and they had reason to hope their souls were relieved from the burden of their sins, through the blood of Christ. It had a powerful effect on the spectators to see their wives, their husbands, children, neighbors, &c., so solicitous for the salvation of their souls; and was sometimes a means of their conviction. Many ladies of quality, at times were so powerfully wrought on, as to come and kneel down in the dust in their silks to be prayed for. The act of coming to be prayed for in this manner had a good effect on the persons who came, in that they knew the eyes of the congregation were on them, and if they did fall off afterwards it would be a disgrace to them, and cause others to deride them; this, therefore, was a spur to push them forward."  (pg. 76, 77)

No Hardshell today, if he is honest, will confess that the above practices are the practices of sound and orderly churches and yet, this is what the first Kehukee Baptists practiced.  This practice shows what they believed about salvation and its relation to the preaching of the Gospel.  Also, the word "means" is used three times in the above citation which explains what the Kehukee brethren meant by "means which he has ordained."  It was by the means of preaching, urging and inviting lost sinners, to come to Christ for salvation and that prayer was also one of those "means."

They write:

"This gracious work in this Association, has been differently manifested in its operations, and the effects it took on the people. Some were deeply affected under a sense of their lost state, and their hearts ready to burst within them, whilst reflecting on their past conduct; yet under the ministry of the Word made no noise. Others, sensible of these things, were in floods of tears, and at last constrained to give vent to their passions, and cry out in the presence of the multitude, What must I do to be saved? Some were taken with a tremor, like a fit of the ague. And others fell to the ground like a person in a swoon, and continued helpless and motionless for some time; and this power was manifest at times, on persons at home about their secular concerns in the house, and in the field."  (pg. 80)

Notice how these first Kehukee Baptists believed that the means of salvation involved "the ministry of the word."

They wrote:

"Let the politician with all his maxims of policy; the deist with all his deistical reasoning, endeavoring to invalidate the Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures; the soldier with all his arms and ammunition, see if any, or all of them together, can by all their art, sophistry, or power, or even by the force of gunpowder, effect such a reformation in the morals of men. Can they do what the simplicity of the Gospel of our dear Lord Jesus has done? Can they make those who hate God and religion, with all their hearts love him and his service? Can they make men at variance and enmity love one another? This the Gospel has done in this revival. In some neighborhoods, persons at enmity with each other, and when they met would not speak to one another, after receiving the benefits of the Gospel’s gracious influence, could take each other in their arms with the greatest pleasure, and cause an unbelieving world to say, Behold how these Christians love."  (pg. 81)

Here again is language that shows that the first Kehukee Baptists believed that the Gospel was the means of regeneration.


The Messengers of the several Baptist churches belonging to the United
Baptist Association, formerly called the Kehukeee Association, met at the,
Flat, Swamp meeting-house, in Pitt county, North Carolina, October, 1791:
To the several churches in union with this Association, send greeting:

And since Almighty God, in carrying on this glorious work, is pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe, it therefore becomes necessary that there should be a number of preachers or ministers of the Gospel. And according to the direction of our last Association, we proceed, in our circular letter, at this time, to make a few observations on the necessary support or maintenance of Gospel ministers; although we are very sorry that there should be the least occasion to write or speak upon that subject."  (pg. 82)

There is not hint anywhere that these Kehukee Baptists interpreted the salvation coming via the Gospel as a mere "time salvation."  It is clear that by "means which he has ordained" that they intended "the foolishness of preaching."

They write:

"After the removal of Elder White, the church labored under great coldness and barenness until about 1801, when the church consisted of not more than twenty members in full fellowship. About this time, Elder Burkitt on a circuit of meetings attended this place. He preached, prayed, and sung, but no good effect seemed to attend his labors. At the close of the meeting, he at last told them, “that if there was any person in the congregation who desired to go to heaven or be converted, if he would come up to the pulpit, he would pray to the Lord for him.” No person came for some time. At length a young man came, with tears in his eyes, and requested his prayers. — Some months after, this young man was converted and related his experience at a Union Meeting, Warren, Ready Creek, and declared this was a mean in the hand of the Lord for his conviction and conversion; and said he was a thousand times obliged to the man for praying for him; and ten thousand to the Lord for putting it in the mind of his minister to do so. Soon after this a revival took place in this church, since which about one hundred have been baptized; and sometimes as many as twenty-four at one time. The church now contains one hundred and twenty members." (pg. 124)

This was the practice of the first Kehukee Regular Baptists and one in which the Hardshells have all departed, to their death.

Now, my Hardshell brethren, in light of such historical facts as these, will you still persist in saying that your views are those of the first Calvinistic, Particular, Regular Baptists?  That you are "old school" and "primitive"?

Enumerated Hardshell Heresies

1. Men devoid of Christian faith are regenerated elect.

2. Belief of the Gospel and in Christ is no duty of lost sinners.

3. It is not sin for unregenerate sinners to reject Christ and the Gospel.

4. When the Holy Spirit convicts a sinner of his lost state, the Holy Spirit lies.

5. A born again child of God can practice sin and still be finally saved.

6. A born again child of God may not keep himself.

7. God has not the least will or desire for the salvation of the non-elect,

8. God does not call or invite all men by the Gospel.

9. Commands imply ability to obey the commands.

10. Everything not specifically authorized in Scripture is forbidden ("patternism").

11. The fall of man involved a physical change in man's inner being, rather than mere moral change.

12. Regeneration is a physical rather than a moral change.

13. The church of Christ has no administrative oversight in teaching ministry.

14. The Great Commission is not binding on the church institution or to every Christian,

15. The teaching that men are born again apart from faith via Gospel preaching.

16. The teaching that only Hardshell churches are valid churches and baptisms.

17. The teaching that the King James Version is without error, and the only valid Bible translation.

18. The acceptance of the allegorical method of interpretation, especially in eschatology,

19. The belief that churches must have a valid genealogy (Landmarkism) to be valid.

20. The belief that only few are going to Hell and most are going to Heaven.

They are (in one degree or another):

1. Antinomians
2. Hyper Calvinists
3. Pelagians
4. Arminians
5. King James Onlyists
5. Landmarkers
6. Schismatics (heretics)
7. Cultists
8. Finger Pointers
9. Elitists and Egoists
10. Scripture Spiritualizers
11. Corrupters of the Word (perverters)
12. etc.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Let's Talk About The Ordo Salutis

In beginning this series on the modern "Hardshell ordo salutis" I would like to first give what I understand the order of salvation to be among Hardshells.  I would like to hear from my Hardshell brethren to see if they think it correct.  Then I will begin to analyze the Hardshell ordo in detail.

Hardshell Ordo Salutis

Before Time

1.  Election, foreknowledge, and predestination
2.  Covenantal union with Christ
3.  Justification (from eternity)

In Time

4.  Justification (at the cross)
5.  Regeneration
6,  Initial salvation
7.  Vital union with Christ
8.  Sanctification (initial)
9.  Faith and Repentance
10.  Conversion
11.  Justification (experimental)
12.  Daily Sanctification
13.  Preservation
14.  Perseverance
15. Good Works

After Time

16. Glorification
17. Final salvation


Where do we put redemption?  Does it have more than one aspect or fulfillment? Where do Hardshells put forgiveness (pardon) of sins?  How and when is one made righteous?


I know that there will be some disagreement between today's Hardshells on this, as there is a difference between today's Hardshells and the first Hardshells of the 1830s.

What are the difficulties for Hardshells respecting their ordo salutis?  That will be the task in upcoming posts in this series.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Uprooting Hardshellism

The following is from "Chapter 30 - Hot Shots Returned (5th Volley)" of my ongoing book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult."


"And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." (Isaiah 49: 5,6)

"Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. (Acts 13: 46-49)

"And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and (to turn) from the power of Satan unto God, THAT they may receive forgiveness of sins, and (in order that they may receive) inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." (Acts 26: 14-18)

It is very clear that Isaiah, Paul and Barnabas, yea, every gospel minister who "brings glad tidings of good things," were and are predestined and made by God to be his "servants" in order "to bring salvation." God had determined to make Isaiah a preacher of the good tidings, and by him, as a means, to "bring again the captivity" of his people, to effect their "return" to the Lord, and to work and effect their "salvation."

There is no way to distort or twist these verses as to make them concern only a "salvation" from temporal trials and errors but to a "salvation" which, by its description in the above verses, can be only that which delivers and rescues from sin and eternal condemnation, of that "salvation" which the Scriptures overwhelmingly speak, and which brings with it the "forgiveness of sins." People, in the "salvation" under consideration in the above passages of scripture, are delivered from the "power of Satan," from his bondage, and who were therefore not "free," nor "saved," nor "born again," prior to hearing and believing the gospel.

In this "salvation" sinners were brought to see and confess their sins and their need of Christ, and were "effectually drawn" to him as a suitable Savior. This "salvation" includes, as the above passages show, "receiving the forgiveness of sins," and "receiving an inheritance among the saints." How anyone can make this "salvation" something unconnected with eternity, and to refer strictly and simply to only some "timely deliverances," of those who are already eternally saved, is to pay absolutely no attention to the "context" and to shut ones eyes to what is obvious in the language of the passages cited.

It is by means of the gospel and gospel ministers that the Lord "gathers" his "sheep," and by which he "calls" and "brings" them into the "sheepfold." This was the view that Elder Watson expressed, in his book, "The Old Baptist Test," as being both his and the truly "Old Baptist position." It is by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ that sinners are brought to faith and repentance, by which they are converted and changed, and whereby they truly come to "know God" and to "know Christ," and whereby they are instructed in the truth about Christ and his salvation.

Dr. Gill wrote:

"...thus what was decreed and resolved on by God the Father, and was declared by him to his Son, is applied to his ministers and ambassadors, who represented him; so that what they did, he may be said to do; and who by them was to go, and did go to the Gentiles, and enlighten them with the light of the Gospel, and became salvation to them; so that this prophecy is produced by the apostles, to vindicate their conduct, as well as to show the agreement between the command of Jesus Christ to his disciples, and the decree of God the Father; as also to illustrate and confirm the particular order, which the Apostle Paul had, to go to the Gentiles, and to which he may have a regard here; see Ac 26:17." (Commentary on Acts 13)

Dr. Gill believed the reference in Isaiah referred first to Christ and secondarily to the ministers of the gospel. Paul definitely cites the passage in Isaiah in order to authenticate his ministry and to show that it was the "work of the Lord" and the result of his making his own appointed means effectual.

Hardshells, in excluding gospel ministers and gospel preaching, a "belief of the truth," as the God ordained "means" he uses to accomplish his salvation, are clearly against these plain facts from inspired witnesses.


"Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: THAT the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning." " (Acts 15: 14-20)

This "taking out of the Gentiles a people for his name" is connected with the work of conversion through the preaching of the Apostles. God was "saving" and "calling out from among" the Gentiles those whom he had "chosen to salvation." Christ sent his ambassadors to offer the "conditions of pardon" to "every man." Those whom the Lord had thus "taken out," by the ministry of the Apostles and gospel preachers, from among the Gentiles, were those who had received that gospel and who had, thereby, sought, called upon, and found the Lord.

This work of "converting" sinners, of "making disciples," is part and parcel of that "salvation" and "regeneration" that God promised to bring by the hands of those whom he sends with the message, "Be ye reconciled to God."

It is interesting too that the Apostle James calls this "work" of "calling out" the Gentiles by the gospel, of "taking out from among them a people for his name," is the "work of God." But, it is Hardshell "logic" that says that such a work cannot possibly be the "work of God" because it involved means! If the Hardshells make the "salvation" and "conversion" of this passage to be a "time salvation," then they are forced to accept the Absoluter argument and position that says "conversion," like "regeneration," is always "effectual" and "irresistable," because it is the "WORK OF GOD." Conditionalists, the predominant sect within the Hardshell cult, will not, however, accept this position. These have staked it out, as their position, that "conversion" is the result of the free will choice and work of the child of God himself, and is, therefore, not certain nor "irresistably" the "work of God."

Dr. Gill wrote:

"James speaking to an assembly of Hebrews...observes, that he (Peter) had given a very clear and distinct narrative, how God at the first preaching of the Gospel, quickly after the day of Pentecost, was pleased to look upon the Gentiles, and show favour to them, and visit them in a way of grace and mercy, by sending the Gospel to them, and his Spirit to make it effectual: this was a gracious visit; he came and looked upon them, quickened them, and spoke comfortably to them, and bestowed special favours upon them; the set time for such a visit being come..." (Commentary Acts 15)

THAT expresses truly the Old Baptist position on this matter, does it not? Neither Dr. Gill, nor the truly Old Baptists, saw it as detracting from the glory of God in salvation, in the least, for God to use the means of his own gospel and the means of his own created witnesses to it! They certainly did not see the idea of regeneration, by the "means of the gospel," as a "blasphemous," teaching, as do those who arrogantly and wrongly claim to be "Old Baptists"!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Who Gets The Credit in Time Salvation?

In three of my recent postings I have 1) refuted an anti-means article from a leading Primitive Baptist elder (Here), 2) shown how this order advocates Pelagianism (Here), and 3) shown how they tolerate contradictory views of faith, as long as it’s an anti-gospel view (Here).  Each of these were responses to articles in The Banner of Love periodical, one of the leading publications spreading heresy via snail mail.

Today I demonstrate a non-sequitur.

Don Richards, publisher and editor of this same paper, wrote in the latest issue:

"Man cannot take credit for his, or others, eternal salvation.  Neither can we take credit for our timely salvation of comfort, security and peace which comes from believers hearing the foolishness of preaching" ("Foolish things...", April 2015)

While all the glory and praise certainly redound unto God for a sinner’s eternal salvation, it simply does not follow what the editor states next.  If my deceived brethren are consistent within their own system (and many times they are not) they cannot claim that God receives all the credit for what they call gospel time salvation.  To affirm that He does engages the Conditionalist in the worst of contradictions, denying the very premises he uses to uphold his heretical notions.  To say that God gets all the credit for this “second unnecessary salvation” which they affirm does involve the means of the gospel, my Hardshell brethren end up affirming the following, whether aware or not.

The Lord receives the credit for that which involves gospel instrumentality.

The Lord receives the credit for that which involves human instrumentality. 

The Lord receives the credit for that which involves human action. 

The Lord receives the credit for that which depends on man.

The Lord receives the credit for that which is affected by free-will.

The Lord receives the credit for that which He did not ordain.

The Lord receives the credit for that which He does not do. 

NOTE: Hardshells argue from Acts 2:40 that gospel conversion is where the regenerate child of God “SAVES HIMSELF”.  Yet somehow the Lord receives credit for that which He does not do???  Laughable!

The Lord receives credit for that in which he requires "help".

NOTE: Hardshells claim that preaching is helping God.

These are the conclusions, a couple of them absurd, which result from an affirmation that God gets all the credit for a transaction involving means, in light of the premises that the Conditionalists take in advance to the scriptures (eisegesis).  Yet when these premises are individually considered, my deceived brethren cry out in bitter opposition.  They affirm that instruments and human action do rob God of the credit! Why, this is one of the main premises that they use to erect their own anti-means system and distance themselves from Calvinism and Arminianism!!

So let me try and understand.  The editor may affirm that God gets all the credit despite human actiondespite gospel instrumentality…despite human instrumentality.  But when a Calvinist does the same thing in his system, all of a sudden, he’s a heretic out trying to rob God of His glory!!!  I need only refer to a statement made by another elder just a few issues back in the exact same periodical who asserts that gospel/human instrumentality DO rob God of the credit:

“It is not the WORD MEANS that I or my people object to but the unscriptural use which is made of it in dividing the honor of our salvation and giving credit for something outside the purpose of God in the salvation of sinners” (Elder Ricky Harcrow, The Banner of Love, January 2015)

Now these words, in reality an erroneous conclusion about the gospel means position, do in fact follow from the Hardshell premises.  If it were correct to say that God gets all the credit only when He operates in what we might call a direct manner, then it would be true to say that administration through instrumentality divides it.  But if God receives the credit as well when instrumentality IS involved, as the editor’s words imply, then what's the problem with the gospel means pattern of salvation?

Harcrow's words, though an error, are consistent with his own paradigm. Not so with Richards. One of two things must be true.  He is either unaware that his words contradict the Hardshells’ belief that means rob God of the credit, or he simply does not want to admit the conclusion which results from gospel time salvation.  After all, who would want to openly announce to their readers that since time salvation involves gospel means, human action/free-will,and works, this means we are robbing God of His glory and taking credit for our conversion experience.  Better to just tell the deceived audience that though time salvation requires these things, we nevertheless affirm in contradiction that all the credit goes to God.  But when Calvinists assert that regeneration is all of grace through the instrumentality of the gospel, let’s just make sure that we call them all heretics, and that they’re trying to “help” God save his people and take some credit for it!!!

If God receives the credit for that which flows through the gospel, then means cannot be cited as the reason why He would not.  To what then must the Hardshells defer as to why they blast Calvinism if it can no longer be claimed that the involvement of men and gospel preaching rob God of the credit? What scheme of salvation must it require for them to continue identifying Calvinists as being basically the same thing as Arminians, it if isn't their view that the preaching of the gospel is instrumental in salvation? It would have to be something else which causes them to see the two as one in the same.  There's only one thing which my deceived friends could possibly say at this point.  They could only say that the Calvinist is referring to eternal salvation, whereas they are referring to time salvation.  In other words, Hardshells reserve the right to say God gets all the credit given their position on means, but Calvinists may not do so in their system. It boils down to the following proposition which they would have to set forth and prove.

God gets all the credit for MEANS transactions when the matter is of a temporal nature, but He doesn't when the matter is of an eternal nature.

Is this what my confused friends are wanting to affirm?

Ridiculous and laughable!  It is not the duration of the consequence which determines whether something is all of God, but the act itself.  Administration through means either robs God of the credit, or it doesn't.  If it does then you can't say this out of one side of your mouth, only to turn around and utter an obvious non-sequitur in order to hide the shame of admitting that your beloved time salvation doctrine is an Arminian system.  If administration through means does not rob God of the credit then quit claiming Calvinists are "helping God" and desirous of the credit themselves.