Saturday, June 13, 2015

Meeting Hardshellism (for the first time)

Over the past several days I have been in e-mail correspondence with a young person who has been introduced to the "Primitive Baptist" or Hardshell sect. In the last e-mail I was asked some questions which I thought would be of interest to others and so take this as an opportunity to answer not only this person but also to put something forth that would help others.

I will keep this person's name and info private.  This person asks:

"Do you have any recommendations on where would be a good place to start? Or some major chapters to be sure to read?"

I would first suggest reading articles in the Old Baptist Test blog  In the ongoing book I would definitely read the first 25 chapters or so, then skip to those chapters coming in a series of chapters, such as these series:

 Addresses To The Lost (42-48)
 On Conviction (54-56)
The Great Commission (66-76)
 Mediate or Immediate? (110-116)
Passive or Active? (117-118)
Conditional or Unconditional? (118-122)
Hardshell Pelagianism (138-142)
Hardshell Antinomianism (175-180)

"Regarding my thoughts on Primitive Baptists, I must take one step further back and address Calvinism in general...I have come to the conclusion that Calvinism is not supported by scripture. I am not sure what your stance on the subject is, and I do not mean to offend or to engage in a debate. So it logically follows that if I believe Calvinism to be in err then the Hyper-Calvinistic views of the PB would clearly throw up a red flag...In general, it's the Calvinistic and Hyper-Calvinistic doctrines that I have the most issue with."

I am Calvinistic in the tradition of men like Spurgeon and Whitefield. 

Yes, you certainly would want to avoid Hyper Calvinism and Hardshellism, especially if your sentiments are Arminian (or the opposite of "Calvinism").  Further, it is your duty as a Christian, not only to be converted to truth but to convert others.  If you can help the Hardshells to be delivered from their errors, then you should know how to answer their arguments and scripture distortions.  I have several online debates with Arminians on issues of Calvinism and Arminianism.  I fight Hyper Calvinism and rank Arminianism.  Yet, I have greater affinity for many classical Arminians than I do the Hyper Calvinists.

"Oddly enough I think there are many things about the PB that I like: they do not Salary their leaders, or demand a tithe, and they have many men in a church body teach (plurality of elders as is spoken of in 1 Timothy 3)."

I agree.  But the things that are unattractive about them greatly obscure what is seemly.

"A couple questions: I've heard teaching from Bradley regarding the Gospel not being important for salvation. That the Gospel just brings peace and awareness to a salvation that was already present in the individual (I heard this on a video on youtube, not in person). Has he ever recanted that belief? Has he admitted that he was wrong? Or simply stopped teaching that doctrine? I have read some things on your blog to indicate that he no longer teaches it, but does he still agree with it?"
I don't think he has recanted that belief publicly, although he should!  He seems willing to fellowship with those who have either recanted it or are close to doing so.  His criticism of the Hardshell "time salvation" doctrine indicates a change in direction.  So also does his views on perseverance. 
"Do most Hardshells agree that the Gospel is not important in one's eternal destiny? Or do they believe that it is?"
Nearly all of today's Hardshells believe that the Gospel has nothing to do with saving people eternally.  However, as I have shown, the first Hardshells (1830s-1860s) believed otherwise.
"I'm just trying to get more of a handle on what they do in fact believe, and what they don't."
You are to be commended for this.  There is no better place to find out what they believe than here in this blog.

"Thank you for spending time to talk with me. I am just a young person, hungry for the truth, honestly seeking and trusting that the Lord will lead me to truth. Your input and effort is greatly appreciated as I search."
You are one of the reasons why brother Kevin and I spend our time here.  We want to save you from a dangerous cult.  God bless you.  I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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