Monday, July 27, 2015

Powell's Valley Originally Espoused Gospel Means

In "The History of the Baptists of Tennessee" by Lawrence Edwards (August, 1940), University of Tennessee - Knoxville (see here), a work I have just read, I found some interesting information about the history of the Hardshells.  Some of this information I will give in this posting.

Preliminary Observations and Comments

1. The facts here presented by this historian can be added to the other historical proofs I already have put forth and help to substantiate my claim that the no means view of today's Hardshells had its birth among the "two seed" followers of Daniel Parker, but was not the general view of the other Hardshells.

2. The citations to be given are from the Powell's Valley Association of which I was once a member when I first joined the Hardshells and one that is a close ally of the Bear Creek Association here in North Carolina, of which I was also once a member.  These citations will show the Powell's Valley Association, as late as 1879, held to the Gospel means position, though they were "anti missionary." 

As a prelude to the citations regarding the Powell's Valley Association I wish to cite these words of our historian.  It is from Chapter IV, titled "ANTI-MISSION BAPTISTS OCCUPIED BY DOCTRINAL DISPUTES."

"After the mission schism the anti-mission or Primitive Bap­tist churches lapsed into a period of doctrinal disputation that threatened their utter dissolution. Condemning missions as institutions of men unauthorized by the Scriptures, they withdrew doggedly into their stern predestinarian doctrine and for a few years were torn by grave doctrinal disputes."

All I can say is amen!  Anyone who has studied the history of the Hardshells know this.  Further, I don't know any man living who knows more about it than I do.


"The Two-Seed doctrine, which was beginning to occupy the attention of the churches in the early 1870's, continued to plague the Primitive Baptists, especially those of the Powell Valley association, until 1889, when a split occurred in the association. The Nolachucky association, too, felt the impact of this conflict, but no complete rift, such as the Powell Valley experienced, occurred in any of the other East Tennessee associations.

At the 1879 meeting of the Powell Valley association the tenth item of business said: Committee appointed to draft advice to the churches in regard to the Two-Seed doctrine, who reported as follows:

We as an association advise our sister churches to have no fellowship with what is generally known as the two-Seed Heresy or those who teach the doctrine of an Eternally damned or Eternally Justified outside of the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God and teach that the unbeliever is no subject of gospel address. We believe that God makes use of the Gospel as a means of calling his Elect and this means is the work of the Spirit in the church.

But the Powell Valley seems to feed on division and dissension, for in the early years of the twentieth century it was again torn asunder."  (pg. 89)

Now, today's Hardshells of the Powell's Valley and Bear Creek Associations do not declare non-fellowship for those who believe in the Two Seed heresy of anti means, but are two seeders themselves or imbibers of Daniel Parker's heresies!  Those who Elder Watson (who is mentioned in this history) called "ultraists" and "modern innovators" are those who are of the anti means heresy and who Elder Watson and Elder Hosea Preslar identified as being an invention of the two seeders or Parkerites.  (See my posting Hosea Preslar)

Of course, after I found this information about the Powell's Valley, I had to share it with dad, who I am sure was shocked to know that the Powell's Valley believed in means till at least 1879.

What will you do with such facts, my Hardshell brethren?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Praying for the Lost?

Today's Hardshell Baptists do not think it is proper for them to pray for the lost, for any who are unregenerate.  Thus, a Hardshell pastor recently told me how he was scolded for advising a brother to pray for his rebellious son (who has no appearance of regeneration).  Many outside of the Hardshell cult will be shocked to learn that some who profess to be Christians actually think it wrong to pray for the salvation of the lost. 

Is the sin in praying or not praying?

It is a serious error to believe that it is wrong to pray for the salvation of the unregenerate.  Many Scriptures, as we shall see, support the practice, duty, and privilege of praying for the salvation of lost sinners. 

Before we look at those Scriptures which authorize the kind of prayers neo Hardshells think wrong, let us notice how it is a violation of the law not to pray for the salvation of lost souls.  Said the Lord Jesus:

"Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt. 22: 36-40)

I know of no Hardshell who would say that it is not the duty of all men to obey the law, which includes loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. The duty is not to simply love some of our fellow men, as if we could choose to exempt some, but to love all men, for all are our neighbors.

But, how can I love my neighbor if I do not desire his well being? How can I exclude desiring his eternal salvation in desiring his well being? Surely not to desire it, or pray for it, is a failure to love, and is sin or a transgression of the law.  Hardshells, by not desiring and praying for the salvation of their fellow men, their neighbors, are sinning against God.  Notice these words of the prophet Samuel:

"Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way." (I Samuel 12: 23)

Because the Hardshells do not desire the salvation of all men and refuse to pray for their neighbor's eternal well being, they "sin against the LORD."  In Christ's stead I call them to repentance in this regard.

Christ our Example

Christ prayed for his murderers and is our example. So did Stephen the martyr. 

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men...For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour." (I Tim. 2: 1-4)

Is it the Hardshell view that these verses exclude Christians from the duty of praying for the eternal well being of "all men"?  Who can believe that they would make a virtue out of their sin?

"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." (Rom. 10: 1)

Who can believe that today's Hardshells vehemently oppose the common interpretation that affirms that the apostle was praying for the eternal salvation of lost Israelis?  That they think such a prayer to be sin?

Hardshell Prayers

Theology dictates the manner of praying.  Or, we might say, the type of praying reveals the kind of theology. A.W. Tozer once said: "I preach like an Arminian but I pray like a Calvinist."

Tozer reflected the sentiment of many believers in sovereign grace (Calvinists).  Some even say that they, though Calvinists and Predestinarians, not only "preach" like Arminians but "work" like Arminians. 

What the prayers of the apostles and saints of the new testament reveal about the Calvinist/Arminian controversy has long been a matter of debate and discussion.  The denier of Predestinarian theology will find it contradictory for Calvinists to pray at all, for why pray at all if it is already fixed and determined?  It is ironic that Hardshell Hyper Calvinists share this Arminian reasoning, although they would agree with Calvinists who affirm that Arminians belie their belief in the kinds of prayers they offer to God (which are generally like those of Calvinists).

Arminians pray like Calvinists

"Lord, save my friend."  This would be the gist of most Christian prayers for others for whom they fear are lost and in need of salvation. 

What such a prayer request reveals

Such a prayer reveals that the ultimate deciding factor in the salvation of any soul is the prerogative of God.  It shows that the one uttering such a prayer believes that the one for whom they are praying can only be saved if God simply wills and makes it so.  If God is already doing all he can to save the friend who is being prayer for, and is already as disposed as he can be to save that friend, then why pray that God save that friend?  Would it not be more apropos to Arminian theology to pray to the sinner rather than to God?

Said Spurgeon:

"You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say, but you never heard an Arminian prayer - for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying,

'Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a change, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not-that is the difference between me and them.'"

I am sure that every Hardshell apologist would agree with Spurgeon.

Hardshell Prayers

One Hardshell elder wrote this about our topic:

"I as a Primitive Baptist pray that those lost in darkness...Not eternal darkness either might be shown the light in the knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ!...That they might know the extent of their eternal salvation. That they might be brought to the truth...The Biblical Truth!"  (see here)

What does such a view of prayer reveal?  Before that question is answered, let us first notice the Hardshell presuppositions that the above reveals.

Hardshell Presuppositions

1. Anything connected with eternal salvation is not to be prayed for
2. No prayer is to be for the regeneration of sinners
3. Prayer requests for the unregenerate must only be for temporal good
4. Prayer requests for the regenerate must likewise concern only temporal good

Hardshells Pray Like Absoluters

A typical Hardshell will pray, for instance, "Lord, save my friend (who is already born again) from error."  In looking at this prayer, can we not apply the same reasoning we used in regard to how Arminians betray their theology by their prayers?  Do not Hardshells (Conditionalist faction) betray their theology by their prayers?  Does their prayers not reveal that the time salvation of their friends is a matter solely up to God?  But, they do not  believe this, but like the Arminian believe that temporal salvation is not up to God to determine, but up to the friend for whom they pray.  Whether a man believes in Christ, repents of his sins, is converted to God and Gospel truth, perseveres and grows, etc., is not ultimately up to God, but is all the result of the will and effort of that friend for whom prayer is made.

A Sample of Paul's Payers

"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."  (Eph, 3:14-19)

"I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."  I Thess. 5: 23)

According to neo Hardshell soteriology, Paul is being inconsistent to pray to God to do the things enumerated in the above passages, for it is not God who ultimately decides whether a Christian receives the good things listed, such as being strengthened to persevere, or to have Christ to dwell in the heart by faith, or to know the love of Christ, or to be preserved blameless to the coming again of Christ, for these are the result of the Christian's own free will and effort.

Further, note how Paul uproots Hardshell presuppositions and carnal reasonings by his praying for the saint's preservation to final salvation.

"by the gospel"

"Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it (the mystery) is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.   Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;   And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ..."  (Eph. 3: 5-9)

What is meant by "partakers of his promise in Christ"?  Would not even the Hardshells be inclined to interpret this as relating to their eternal salvation?  What does it mean to be saved if it does not involve partaking of God's promise in Christ? 

However, when the Hardshell reads "by the gospel" he is at once prejudiced against the idea that eternal salvation is involved in becoming "partakers of his promise in Christ."  He must do one of two things.  He must either give up his anti means position or twist the words, take them out of context, and make them to deal with a mere temporal salvation.

John Gill wrote the following in his commentary:

"Now all these promises, and all others, are in Christ, yea and amen, safe and secure; and it is through being in Christ that any come to partake of them; and that by the means of the Gospel, as these Gentiles were to do, and did: the Gospel is a declaration of what God has promised in covenant to his people; this was carried among the Gentiles, and was made effectual to their participation of the things contained in it."

The other problem that Hardshells have regarding these inspired words of the Apostle is the fact that Paul says that all his preaching was for the purpose of enlightening all.

"to make all men see—Greek, "to enlighten all" (Eph 1:18; Ps 18:28; Heb 6:4). "All" (compare Col 1:28)...the same word used above (Ephesians 1:18), “the eyes of your heart being enlightened.”
 And what did Paul say in that companion passage in Colossians 1: 28?

"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

Combining these verses we see that Paul preached with the purpose of warning, teaching, and enlightening and that his audience, the ones to whom he was sent and who he addressed, were "all," and "every man." 

These verses destroy Hardshellism. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

My Talk With Elder Charles Smith

Elder Charles Smith is an old ministerial friend of mine from the years I was with the Hardshells here in Monroe, N.C.  He was ordained here in the Bear Creek Association at the same time as my former father in law, Elder Newell Helms.  They are both about the same age as my dad (early 80s), who is a long time friend of them both.  I have a lot of memories of time spent with brother Charles and his wife Dora (who he said was very ill, a thing I was sad to hear).  I had a high regard for him when I was a fellow Hardshell, although he did do some things that highly disappointed me.

I was in Walmart days ago and I saw Charles walking and I immediately called out to him, realizing that this was no accident, but the result of divine providence.  We shook hands and I said, "you know who this is, don't you?"  Not getting an immediate reply and seeing some curiosity in his eyes, I said - "this is Steve Garrett." 

Now, I have not seen Charles in I suppose 15-20 years.  In fact, I have several times over the past few years thought of the trip my wife and I took with him to Atlanta, Georgia to Nancy's Creek Primitive Baptist Church where Elder Harvey Fulmer was the pastor.  This is the Fulmer who has published Watson's "Old Baptist Test" in modern times.  In fact, I may have gotten my copy from Fulmer at that time.  But more on this shortly.

After we exchanged info about how we were doing (I told him about both my wife's and my health problems over the past couple years and he told me about Dora) I immediately began to talk to him about Hardshell beliefs.

He obviously does not have a home computer, as many his age do not, and so probably was unfamiliar with my Internet writings.

In recounting our conversation, I cannot give the exact order for the subjects discussed, so will simply group them together by the nature of the subjects.

John 6:37and the Necessity of Faith

I cited Jesus' words where he said "all that the Father gives to me shall come to me."   I told Charles that this verse affirms that all the elect would come to faith in Christ and that this was denied by him and neo Hardshells. "What does it mean to 'come to' Christ?" I asked him.  "Does the context not show that it is identified with believing in Jesus?" I asked.  He did not say anything.  How could he?

I affirmed that this verse, like many others, taught the necessity of evangelical faith in Christ for being eternally saved.  What did Charles say in rebuttal?  Well, he went to talking about the difference between evangelical faith in Christ and faith in a Creator, how the latter may exist without the former, and that it is faith in a God/Creator that is "the faith of God's elect," or the faith that is universal to all the regenerated.

I was familiar with this line of reasoning from Hardshells and knew just what to say to him.  I first asked him, "a belief in what God?"  "Any god?"  "So, all Muslims are saved?"  He gave me a slight shake of the head with a look of disapproval but said nothing.  "A person does not have to believe in the one true God of Israel?"  This was the view espoused by Elder Sarrels in his Hardshell "Systematic Theology" and which I have soundly refuted.

Faith Does Not Come By Hearing

At some point in our discussion Charles said "there was no Bible (written revelation) for 3800 years and yet men had faith during that time" (paraphrase).  Again, I thought to myself "I've heard that one before."  I knew that Charles was going to try to prove that "believing" in God, or having saving "faith," did not require a written word of God, or a hearing of the word of God.  My first response was to attack the premise of Charles that affirmed that there was no Bible for 3800 years.  I knew that I could not give all the arguments against his assertions for reason of time constraint, so I would give a limited yet forceful reply.  I first simply said, "Charles, you are wrong."

I first asked him "how do you know that there was no written revelation during that time?"  I then said, "besides there was surely oral testimony of the word and truth of God."  In other words, there was still no case where a person had faith (belief) apart from knowledge of revealed truth.  I said to Charles that the Scriptures speak of the prophets of God existing from the beginning (or during that 3800 years).

“As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began” . (Acts 3:21)

"...the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world..."  (Luke 11:50)

I also asked Charles - "did not Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesy of the coming of Christ?"

I told him how I had heard Hardshells argue this stuff, affirming the following:

1.  Abel had faith (Heb. 11)
2.  Abel had no word of God to believe
3.  Faith does not require a word of God

Of course, it is premise #2 that is false, yet often assumed to be true by Hardshells. In fact, it is totally against the teaching of the apostle in Romans 10, who concluded, saying "so then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (vs. 14). What the Hardshell attempts to prove as true is the conclusion of the above syllogism which affirms that "faith does not come by hearing the word of God," the very opposite proposition of the apostle.

Further, as I told Charles, Abel did have faith that came by hearing the word of God, which word was first uttered in Genesis three when the Lord foretells of the coming of the Messiah, the "seed of the woman," and how the Messiah would suffer a wound in the conflict with the Serpent and his seed and who would however obtain the victory and undo the work of the Serpent. 

Charles cited that portion of Romans 10 where Paul speaks of "their sound went into all the world."  Again, I knew immediately where he was going to go with that and let him know basically that he need not elaborate the point for me to reply to it.  The argument is put forth that this knowledge of God (sound, word, revelation) went into all the world apart from human messengers and thus must refer to that revelation of God in creation.  In other words, Hardshells read the apostolic words as if they read - "the knowledge of God as Creator was universal because it is evident in creation itself."  So, the faith that is necessary to salvation comes not by hearing the word of God as given through God's written revelation, but through his revelation in creation (a view utterly denounced by the London Confession and Dr. Gill and the Old Baptists).

Basically, Hardshells affirm, as I said, that faith does not come by hearing the word of God.  And, when they read "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," they see these words - "faith in God as Creator comes from the seeing the creation" or "God is seen and understood by the things that are made" (as in 1: 17).  They affirm that God's revelation of himself in creation is sufficient for producing that faith which is necessary for final salvation, and therefore requires no additional revelation for its production.

Thoughts in the back of my mind

He just doesn't know how extensive was a knowledge of the Gospel in times before Christ.  If he knew the significance of Mazzaroth he would not have thought that the Gospel was not known in ancient history. 

What does he think of the Scriptures I cited about the prophets prophesying of Christ since the world began?  Of Enoch's preaching?  Of Noah's preaching? Does he not see how his thesis is overthrown?

John 3: 36

I asked Charles if he believed that "he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him"?  (John 3:36)  I said that the Hardshell view denies that all those who do not believe in Jesus are under wrath and that this is no minor error.

The Means Issue

We discussed the issue of means, either in regeneration or for final salvation.  I knew that Charles had struggled in time past with this issue so I asked him - "You struggled with the issue of means at one time?" 

I affirmed that the no means view was a new doctrine and that 1) no Baptist believed it prior to the birth of the Hardshell denomination, and 2) his own Hardshell forefathers of the 1830s and 1840s all believed in Gospel means and that being converted by the Gospel was essential for final salvation.  He seemed to doubt what I was saying so I offered to send him the proof, the historical facts, but I asked him - "if I sent you the proof, would it make any difference?"  And, what do you think his response was to my offer and query?  Did he say - "oh yes, I would love to see that proof"?  Did he say that he would gladly change his view of history (regarding his own denomination) if given proof of his errors?  You guessed it!  He cared not for proof or for facts!  Again, this is simply more proof of his cult thinking, of him being wedded to his heresies.

Original Hardshells (including Bear Creek)

I even told Charles that the first Hardshells of the Bear Creek Association (formed in 1832 as a result of the Black Rock Address and the Hardshell separation/secession) were believers in means in the new birth and gave him these proofs (I have more than I could give him at this time.  Besides, he already showed that he cared not for facts).

I told him that all the first great leaders of the Hardshells in the 1830s believed in Gospel means, including leaders in North Carolina (who were in fellowship with the Bear Creek Ass.) such as Joshua Lawrence and C. B. Hassell. 

I asked him - "was not the Bear Creek Founded on Philadelphia confession?"  He nodded yes.  I said that the confession is clear on the use of means. 

I informed him that Elder Hosea Preslar was a member of Lawyer's Spring church (Bear Creek) in the early 1800s at the time of the organization of the Bear Creek and that he taught the Gospel means position in his book "Thoughts on Divine Providence."  He said the anti means view was a new doctrine and began among the followers of Daniel Parker.  I told him that Preslar moved to middle Tennessee and became a close friend of Elder John Watson who also opposed the anti means brethren among the Parkerites.

In fact, I asked brother Charles if he had ever read Watson's "Old Baptist Test" (assuming that he had).  I was surprised to learn that he had not read it.

Old Baptist Test Book

I could not believe that Charles had not read Dr. Watson's classic work.  What did that reveal to me?  Well, a lot.  It certainly showed that he had done no real studying of the history of his Hardshell denomination.  I saw that as a sad thing, revealing that he had his mind made up about the history of his people, and had no need to read any history or to get corrected by facts. 

Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall

Charles brought up the fact that the oldest churches in this area were established by Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall of the Separate Baptists (he knew this much history).  In fact, Hardshells acknowledge that nearly all the Hardshell churches in the southern states were formed by the preaching of ministers from the Sandy Creek Association of Separates, chiefly Daniel Marshall.  However, what Smith does not know is that the Sandy Creek fathers were believers in Gospel means and did not hold to Hardshell heresies.

In fact, it is my intention to lay out more evidence in the future to show how the Separates were not Hardshell on the use of means and on the necessity of conversion for salvation.  I also will show that the first preachers in the Bear Creek Association were generally believers in means.

Name Claim

I asked Charles how he could claim to be the old, primitive, or original Baptists and yet could not show how his Hardshell views were the historic and traditional views of Baptists prior to the 1840s.  He made no reply.


When I was giving Charles such historical information, he looked at me and said "Steve, you are a very intelligent person" while his fingers were pointing to his head.  I cut him off because I perceived where he was headed with those words.  I have had this said to me by the Hardshells several times.  I responded to Charles - "what has intelligence got to do with what I am talking about?"  "I am talking about what are facts of history that require little intelligence to comprehend." 

Charles then began to point to his heart (rather than to his head) and said "God revealed to my heart" what I know is the truth (or something to that effect).  In other words, I was blinded by my intelligence while his lack of it was proof that he knew the truth.  He had God reveal truth to his heart, but I had not had that experience.  Again, more cult psychology.

Hardshell Liberal Movement

I asked Charles in a hurry as he was needing to go, "What do you think about Bradley and the 'liberal movement'"?  

Well, he said he did not think much of it.  Again, I was a little surprised because I thought Charles (at one point after joining the Hardshells) thought of returning to a belief in means and so would be sympathetic to Bradley and the liberal movement.  He said that he thought that Elder Bradley had probably returned to a belief in means but has not announced it publicly.

Final Observations

I was glad for this meeting.  It imputed great responsibility to him.  He cannot plead ignorance.  When he is judged by the Lord, he cannot claim that he was not warned.  I gave him the facts, he is accountable to God with what he does with them.  He gave all the marks of being a cult member and made me glad to have been set free from their schism.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hardshell Lies & Coverups

The following is from Chapter 20 "Direct Voice Speaking (Historical)" of my ongoing book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult."

Brother Ross writes further:

"In the course of these chapters, it will be noted, Hardshells have no Baptist writings prior to the 1800's which affirm the type of doctrine they believe as to the New Birth, Effectual Calling, the Work of the Holy Spirit, and the "Place of the Gospel," or the Truth, in relation to the Spirit's work."

(From HISTORY AND HERESIES OF HARDSHELLISM, #2 [04/24--2006] - some emphasis mine)

Both Brother Ross and I have challenged the Hardshells to produce the proof of anyone prior to Gilbert Beebe who espoused the heterodox view of "Direct Voice" or "Direct Speaking" of Christ. None have yet produced the evidence! Some, however, rather than giving us the "names" and the "proofs," say such things as these.

From Elder C. C. Morris:

"Some few years ago, a man (Brother Ross?) raised a question about whether there was “any writer among the Baptists who taught the view of "direct voice" or "direct speaking" regeneration before Elder [Gilbert] Beebe....”

By his question the man implies that Elder Gilbert Beebe, along about the year 1832, is the one who originated the doctrine of “direct regeneration.” It is not our intention in this article to prove such a writer or writers existed before Elder Beebe and to name them, but rather it is to prove the ancient, widespread, and accepted proclamation of the doctrine of regeneration without the “benefit” of human help. In so doing, the answer to this man’s question should be apparent.

Also, it has been falsely said, “There weren’t any who believed in the direct operation of the Holy Spirit before the Hardshells came along. In their opposition to Missions, the Hardshells concocted this new doctrine.”
(I think this latter citation is a reference to my writings)

Either the ones who perpetuate this falsehood are ignorant of history, or they would deliberately deceive those who are, or both. In the next few pages, we propose to look into some historical truths about the doctrine of immediate regeneration, hoping our understanding will be enlightened by the light that comes only from Christ Himself."

Is it not striking that this Elder did not simply give Brother Ross and myself the answer we want? Why did he not just cite another Elder, prior to Beebe, prior to the rise of the Hardshells, to prove we were wrong? He states that we are wrong in our charge, but he does not give us the evidence that we are wrong! If we are so wrong, where are the citations of Baptists prior to Beebe who believed as he on the "Direct Speaking" theory?

If we are "ignorant of history" then why does he not cite the sources? He does go on to cite from a work to try and prove that some Anabaptists and others perhaps believed as he does (which he does not even prove), but he never produces one historical proof that any prior to Beebe believed the "Direct Voice" view, and certainly not among the Baptists.

He said: "It is not our intention in this article to prove such a writer or writers existed before Elder Beebe and to name them."

Why not? Why not take a few minutes and name them? Who is really the "deceiver" here? Anyone with enough sense to lick a postage stamp can discern that this Elder does not have any "historical proof" that the Baptists, prior to the Hardshells, believed this new novel and aberrant view of what it means to hear Christ for salvation.

After trying to prove that there were some possible heretics among the Anabaptists who believed in "immediate" regeneration without means (which he does not do), he says:

"As we find in every century an extensive, unbroken chain of believers in the virgin birth of Christ Jesus, His deity, His effectual blood atonement, and His literal bodily resurrection, even so we find in every age those who believed in regeneration by the Holy Spirit without human intervention. The fact that many denominations besides the Old Baptists held to this doctrine of regeneration without human means or instrumentality does not militate against its truth, any more than such a fact could be used successfully to argue against the deity of our Lord, His virgin birth, His blood atonement, or His bodily resurrection.

When we cite the beliefs of the Anabaptists and the Mennonites, we are not necessarily tracing Old School Baptist “perpetuity” through them, as though we of necessity are their modern descendents and counterparts, nor are we saying that we necessarily have any other particular point in common with them. Rather, for now, we are pointing out as straightforwardly as possible that down through the ages, the belief in the Holy Spirit’s direct operation in regenerating His elect has always been far more common and widespread than our doctrinal opponents suppose or will admit."

(Elder C. C. Morris -

Again, he gave no long list, or chain, of those who have believed Hardshell ideas on the new birth and gospel means. Why claim there is such a "chain of witnesses" and then not gives us some names in that chain? Why not cite some Baptist sources? Why not cite the London and Philadelphia Confessions? Why not quote some leading Elder in the 1700s, like John Gill or John Gano? Why not some some pre-1800 association minutes or circular letters?

Let me now cite another Hardshell who trys to say the same thing, without any evidence whatsoever, saying that there have been great men down through the ages of the church who held Hardshell views on the new birth.

Sarrels wrote:

"The view we hold with regard to this fundamental doctrine is not new, nor, we hasten to say, has it ever been without a witness. Across the centuries it has been firmly held and consistently defended by men who in the main were unaccredited by the scholarship of the world. Here and there, like monuments in distant lands, these fearless sentinals have stood in defense of the everlasting truth...however, these voices in the wilderness, with their labors little noticed and their names seldom recorded, have left their mark on Christian civilization. We thank God for the privilege of standing where these immortals stood, of defending the unpopular but glorious doctrine which they defended, and of sharing in some small measure the hardships which they endured." (Systematic Theology, page 305, 306)

Let us ask ourselves these questions in view of the above writing.

1. Why did Sarrels and Morris simply not give us the "names" of all these great "immortals"? If their "names" have been "seldom recorded," why not take the time and RECORD THEM!?

2. How can you decry, in one breath, the fact that these esteemed "immortals" have been "little noticed," and then not give us their "names"!? Why not give us their writings that supposedly support Hardshell views? Unbelievable!

3. If these supposed people are the "great sentinels" of "this fundamental doctrine" of the Hardshell church, surely the Hardshells would want to record their "names" and to perpetuate their writings! And yet, what do both these Elders do? They do not produce the evidence that they say exists in such abundance! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Elder James Osbourn's Creed

Previous citations from Osbourn (see here):

"But if so be that the specific object which the Deity had in-view, and designed to accomplish by means of, or in a way compatible with the gospel which he ordained and promulgated, was the eternal salvation of the bride, the Lamb's wife, Rev. 21; 9; we then of course may safely conclude, that that specific object must and will be accomplished, just in that way and manner as infinite wisdom may have dictated. And lo, this is what we do believe and rejoice in; and in the gospel we also believe, every necessary arrangement and provision is made and permanently settled for the effecting the salvation of that church which was the object of God's everlasting love and delight, and which he gave to his Son before time began.

That God ordained the GOSPEL, and promulgated the same, with a settled purpose to save sinners thereby; and hence in this his gospel he says, "I will give them an heart to know me, that 1 am the Lord; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God : for they shall return unto me with,their whole heart." And again says the Lord, 'Zaccheus make haste and come down, for to day I must abide at thy house.' And again it is said, 'As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.' And we are told that the Lord works in men to will and to do of his own good pleasure; and that Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost; Jer. 24, 7; Luke, 19, 5; Acts, 11, 48; Phil. 2, 13; Luke 19, 10. (14, 15)."
(pg. 14)

Now let me supplement this with these citations from Osbourn's book "The Lawful Captive Delivered; Or, the Prey Taken from the Mighty," (see here) wherein Osbourn, a ringleader among the first Hardshells, gave us his creed. (page 327)

Osbourn's creed
"But now, that all. men who read this work, may fully know and understand what are my views of the great leading points of the gospel of the Son of God, I will present unto them a compend of what I believe.
1. I believe in one only true God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Maker of heaven and earth, and Upholder of all things, visible and invisible; and that he dwelleth in a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are One in nature, and equal in all the divine perfections, each Holy Person having the whole of the divine essence, and yet is not the essence divided: and that those three Glorious Persons are equally concerned and interested in the great work of redemption, and in the complete salvation of all and every one of those persons whom the Father gave to his Son before the foundation of the world. “Thine they were and thou gavest them to me,” John, 17. 5.
Osbourn was a leading opponent of those first Hardshells, like Wilson Thompson and Samuel Trott, who were Sabellian as regards the Trinity.  Here Osbourn gives the truth of Scripture and of the Old Baptist confessions.

2. I believe in the prescience, or foreknowledge of God; and that all things which to us are past, present, and to come, are to this living and true God, one eternal now; and that all wisdom, power, and authority are with him; and that he can and does, Work all things after the counsel of his own will; and that he is of one mind and none can turn him; and that in all and every thing, both in providence and grace, which he hath ever done, or is now doing, or ever will do, he consulteth his own glorious honor and the best interest of his church.
3. I believe that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, loved a people from everlasting, which people compose that church which is called “the fullness of him that filleth all in all,” Eph. l. 23; and who are also emphatically denominated the “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the, Father,” 1 Peter, 1. 2. All those will eventually be saved in that way, and by just such means as a righteous God hath ordained should be made use of to bring about their complete deliverance from Satan, sin, and hell.

4. I believe that the ancient covenant of grace with all its appendages; together with the gospel and its glories and beauties; and also the oath and promises, and gracious declarations, and all the divine perfections of an immutable God, are for, and in the behalf of, his well beloved and chosen church.
5. I believe in the total depravity of man, and that all men by nature are dead in trespasses and sins, death having passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, Eph. 2. l; Rom. 5. l2; and an actual deliverance from this wretched and helpless state, is effected by an act of mere clemency on the part of him who loved all and every one of those whom he thus rescueth from eternal ruin by an act of his grace.
6. I believe that Christ the Son of God, engaged in eternity to be the Deliverer and Saviour of all those persons whom the Father gave to him in covenant; and that in the fullness of time he actually came into this world and suffered, and died in their stead, and rose again for their justification, and now liveth in glory for them.

7. I believe that to all and every one of those persons, thus beloved by the Father from everlasting, and in time redeemed by the Son; the Holy Spirit is sent for the purpose of quickening, and enlightening, and preparing them for glory above; and that this Holy Spirit never was, nor can be, defeated in his design and work with those persons composing the true catholic church, or the mystical body of Christ.
8. I believe that all the ways, and works, and means, which the God of heaven hath ordained to make use of in effecting the salvation of men, ought, so far as they are binding on us, to be made use of by us, that we thereby may be benefitted, and the Lord God honored and adored.
9. I believe the Old and the New Testament to be the true and only written word of God; and that the Lord hath ordained that this his written word, and the preaching of the gospel shall be the chief means whereby to accomplish the conversion of sinners, and the edification of saints; and that whereever those means are sent, it is the duty of all men to attend upon them in due order, and also to believe the report which those means make, which thing can be done as easily as to believe the report of common things, when such reports are made. Yes, the report of the gospel can be believed, and often is, by natural men, or men in a natural state. But to believe the written word of God, and to receive the gospel, as preached by the Lord’s true sent servants, TO THE SALVATION OF THE SOUL, is effected in no other way than by the energetic influence of divine grace in the heart of the man so believing the written word of God, and so receiving the gospel preached.

10. I believe that the bodies as well as the souls of elect persons, are the purchase of a Redeemer’s blood; consequently their bodies will be raised from their graves, and their souls re-enter them in a day yet to come, and so both bodies and souls ascend with Christ to glory; and that the happiness of the saints, and the misery of the wicked, are alike interminable.
11. I believe in the doctrine of eternal union of Christ and his church; and that in time, this church receiveth divine life, and light, and glory, and beauty, and wisdom, and strength, and comfort, and joy, and peace, and faith, and hope from Christ, her covenant head; and that those things thus received from him, make up what we call, vital union between Christ and his people. And as they are thus brought to believe in the Lord of glory, and from him to receive eternal life, they shall never perish, for “who shall lay any thing to the charge -of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth,” Rom. 8. 33. 7
12. I believe that Christ as a substitute, stood in the room and place of his church and people and for them magnified the law, and satisfied divine justice, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and bore in his own body upon the tree their iniquities, shame and guilt, and thereby discharged their whole debt of sin; and by reason thereof, those his beloved ones, will never suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.
The above points of the gospel, I do most cordially and soberly believe in, and receive, and defend from the pulpit and press."

Now, it is clear that Osbourn, like all the first great leaders of the Hardshell denomination, believed in Gospel means.  As a note it is interesting that Osbourn was one of the elders who ordained C. B. Hassell and who later died at the home of Hassell in 1850.

Notice how he upholds duty faith, a truth denied by today's Hardshells.  He spoke of the "duty of all men to attend upon them in due order, and also to believe the report."

Again, today's Hardshells are not primitive.

From "The Primitive Baptist" (1837)

"The following article was prepared for the 1st No. of this volume ("The Primitive Baptist" periodical - see here - pg. 25 of April 8 issue) but it happened to be mislaid: —


This number begins the 2nd vol. of the Primitive Baptist. In the last number of vol. 1st we promised to give in this a synopsis of our faith. We now proceed to redeem this promise.

1. We (as an individual,) believe that the true God is one, and triune; and his names are, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

2. We believe that the only right rule of faith and practice is clearly laid down in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

3. We believe that God, before the foundation of the world, did elect a certain number of men and angels to eternal life; and that this election is eternal, particular, and without merit or condition on the creature's part.

4. We believe in God's distinguishing Foreknowledge, his unalterable Purpose to Save, his Predestination to salvation, his Triune Covenant; in Christ's righteous obedience, his atoning death; the imputation of his Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption, to his elect; and that all God's gracious decrees and gospel blessings in Earth and Heaven are the effect of his eternal love to his chosen.

5. We believe that man was made upright & in the image of God, that the law was delivered to all our race in Adam; and that in his transgression, and by hereditary sinfulness, all his posterity became guilty.

6. We believe that mankind cannot keep the law of God perfectly; and that they can neither repent nor believe evangelically, but by the sovereign influence of the Holy Ghost.

7. We believe that all the chosen of God shall be called with a special, sweetly-subduing, call to a feeling sense and blessed enjoyment of forgiveness, justification, and sanctification.

8. We believe that justification before God is by the imputed righteousness of Christ, received by faith, in him.

9. We believe that God's elect shall be converted, changed from the love and practice of sin, to the love and practice of holiness; and that all such will be saved eternally.

10. We believe that such as are truly converted will make it manifest by a well ordered life.

. — Ed.

Now, if we want to know what the first Hardshells of the 1830s believed, here is evidence of it. 

Do today's Hardshells believe as did these first Hardshells?

S. Hassell's Apology For Anti-Means

In a question and answer format, Elders Sylvester Hassell and R. H. Pitman answered questions.  Here is one answered by Hassell that I want to focus attention upon.

Q. Have Baptists always denied the use of means in regeneration?

A. In careless expressions some Baptists have advanced this error, but the same men, when taking into consideration the entire teaching of the Scriptures on this point, have, in their more exact expressions, repudiated it.

This is a statement that desperately needed enlargement and proof for its validity.  Oddly, the learned "historian" failed to give us this.  He obviously wrote this for the average unlearned Hardshell cult member who would take his word as fact without checking him out. He certainly would not want to say such a thing with scholarly ears listening.  Noble Bereans would call on him to prove this totally unfounded assertion. 

Before I enlarge upon all that is apparent from the above words of Sylvester Hassell, I would like to ask who were those designated as "some Baptists"?  Were the following named people guilty of giving "careless expressions" when discussing the modus operandi of the Spirit in begetting children of God?  And, did they "in their more exact expressions" contradict themselves?

Was this true of the signers of the 1644 and 1689 London Confessions? 

Was it true of those who put forth and endorsed the Philadelphia Confession? 

Was it true of Willian Kiffin, Hanserd Knollys, John Spilsbury, Hercules Collins, Benjamin Keach? 

Was it true of John Gill? 

Was it true of all the first leaders of the Hardshells of the 1830s?  Was it true of Sylvester's own father?  Of Joshua Lawrence, Mark Bennett, and those who published the original "Primitive Baptist" periodical?

Hardshells like Hassell think that they are the only ones who now put forth those "more exact expressions" that define the new birth experience, that they are superior theologians to the names mentioned above.

What the question and answer affirms/implies

1. That only a small minority of Baptists have historically and traditionally believed in means"Some" Baptists have advocated means?  Now, Hassell surely knows that this is false, and that all Baptists prior to the rise of the Hardshells believed in means.  So, then, why does he say "some Baptists"?  Does he not want to leave the impression that the anti means view has been the view of the great majority of Baptists of prior centuries?  Is he not being deceitful?

2. That the Baptist forefathers contradicted themselves in expressing their views on this matter.  But, he asserts this but gives no proof for it.

3. That the Baptist forefathers repudiated the means position in their "more exact expressions."  Again, if there ever was a need for evidence to prove this assertion, it was here!  Why did Hassell not give us samples from those forefathers to substantiate his fantastic claim?  Is it not because he had none?  I have challenged today's Hardshells to give us those citations and they, like Hassell, remain silent as the grave.  They assert things without the least shred of evidence.

4. Hassell does say that these Baptists did sometimes seem to affirm belief in means, but advises the Hardshell cult members to just ignore it as being as example of the fact that the Hardshell forefathers were not exact in their understanding as is Hassell and as are today's Hardshells. In other words, Hardshells are to apply Hassell's formula in interpreting the writings of Baptist forefathers.

5. The Baptist forefathers of the Hardshells denied the use of means and did so in their more exact expressions but did write some things carelessly at times that seemed to imply their belief in means, or to contradict their more exact statements of faith.  But, again, we want the proof!

6. That Sylvester Hassell and his brethren, in the late 1800s, had finally given to the world a statement of Baptist belief on the new birth that was the most exact of all, having no careless expressions any longer.  That is Hardshell arrogance, a trait that has characterized them from the beginning.