Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Look Forward and A Look Backward

The past few weeks have brought me to an important time of reflection about my life and service to the Lord Jesus Christ.  I have looked backward and forward.

This month I turned sixty years of age and my wife and I celebrated thirty years of marriage.  God has blessed a few things to happen which have helped me to get my house in order, which is the state I want to be in when God calls me home.  For all this I give thanks to God.

In reflecting on my Christian labors as an apologist (I have had about a dozen public oral debates over the past thirty years), preacher (I have labored as pastor, teacher, in churches and in seminary), author (I have several books on the Internet, some of which are completed and some still in progress), historian (doing intense research into the Hardshell Baptist group), blogger (having several blogs directed towards certain subjects and audiences), and above all, as a Christian (I have been born of the Spirit for over 45 years and baptized into the body of Christ for over 43 years), etc., I have both satisfaction and dissatisfaction. 

I am satisfied with the particular subjects that I have chosen to research and which to make into books and treatises.  I am satisfied with what I have thus far written, though all of these works could be improved.  These subjects are:

1)  The Hardshell Baptist Cult
2)  My Daily Bread
3)  The Post Tribulation Rapture
4)  The Prophet Job
5)  The Canonicity of the Book of Esther
6)  The Weak and the Strong

These are my major works.  I am satisfied with what I have thus far written and they need revision and completion.  All these works involved intense study and research.

Of course I also have many smaller works on various topics.  I also have much information gathered on other topics for possible future use in other works.

I am hopeful that the Lord will allow me the years to complete these works.  If not, I am glad that God has provided brother Fralick to become custodian for all my writings and blogs and perhaps will allow him or some other person to complete and enlarge upon what I have already put forth in print. 

I am now in the process of completing my mammoth work "The Hardshell Baptist Cult." I am also in the process of writing a smaller version of the same.  I am satisfied at where I am in this work and can only hope that the Lord will allow me the time to complete these works.

Not only do I want to complete the afore mentioned major works, but I have other topics that I want to do research on and put into book form for the benefit of others.  These topics include issues in eschatology, coming events in prophecy, the doctrine of election, Two Seedism, eternal security, the ordo salutis debate, etc. 

My dad is now 82 years of age and is still pastor of "Thompson Memorial Primitive Baptist Church" in Franklin, Ohio.  I talk to him a lot about matters I deal with in my book relative to the Hardshells.  A large book about these conversations over the years would make an interesting read in itself.  My nephew, John Davenport, is assistant pastor at this church.  This is the church of my original membership.

Whether I live to the same ripe old age only God knows.  I am not so in love with this world or with my life that I would not exchange it in an instant to be in heaven with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and with the saints of all the ages.  "To depart and be with Christ is far better."  I do hope that I can yet be useful to the Lord and complete these works. 

Further, I must say in closing that I have written against the Hardshells out of love for Christ and out of love for sinners as well as out of love for my "Primitive Baptist" brethren.  It has been my hope to help bring today's Hardshells back to the faith of their forefathers and thus become real "Old Baptists" as brother Fralick and I.  Keep my wife and me in your prayers.  God bless.

For all of you who have visited my blogs and left encouraging comments, I say "thank you."

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Unbelieving Heart

"Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen." (Mark 16: 14 KJV)

"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." (Hebrews 3: 12 KJV)

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God...He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3: 18, 36 KJV)

"And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God." (Mark 11: 22 KJV)

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11: 6 KJV)

Are Christians alone saved? Are all non-Christians doomed?

What do these verses teach us? What does Jesus say? Is he being unjust and unkind to limit salvation to only those who believe in him?

Is the sin of unbelief and rejection of Christ that serious? Is it an "unpardonable sin"?

Are the various religions only different ways of finding salvation?

Can't one believe in "God" without believing in Jesus and the "Son of God"?

The answer to these questions is given by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the one whom Moses foretold would come, "that prophet," who would be also king and priest, the very Son of God, or Lord from Heaven.

Unbelief in Christ is a damning sin. The unbelief that is natural to men is a terrible disease of the soul. It has infected the heart and mind of man. It is natural for him to disbelieve in Christ and the story of his life, passion, and death. Paul said:

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (I Corinthians 1: 18 KJV)

Unbelief is connected with "hardness" and "impenitence" of "heart," with an "evil heart." An "evil heart" is equated with an "unbelieving heart." A good heart is a heart of faith.

God sent a mighty Savior to rescue men from their sins and their depraved natures and bless them with eternal life and immortality for the body. He has commanded and invited all to come to him for deliverance. It is the greatest insult to his kindness for sinner's to reject his Deliverer, his own Son.

To reject God's Son is to reject him. Jesus said - "he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." (Matthew 10 : 40 KJV)

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Revelation 21: 8 KJV)

"And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. " (Acts 16: 30, 31 KJV)

(From My Daily Bread blog)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Elder Sonny Pyle's Heresy

In my previous posting "Pyles vs. Gold," I referred to Elder Sonny Pyle's sermon on "Regeneration."  In this posting I want to take issue with a couple statements that he made in that sermon.  (listen to his sermon here)

Pyles said:

"It would be just as ridiculous to go down in  Virginia or Kentucky and start yelling at the rock and the mountains as it would be for me to preach the gospel to an alien sinner never born again of the Spirit of God."

"It would be just as foolish to go over to the shopping center, walk up to a brick wall and start saying "by grace are ye saved through faith" - and people would think I was a moron."

In this sermon Sonny declares that the leading view of regeneration by the first Hardshells is "heresy."  I dealt with that point in the previous posting.  But, notice, ironically, that the one who is guilty of "heresy" is Pyles.  Is his heresy not evident from the above statements?

In this sermon Sonny correctly views the heart of the alien sinner as being hard as stone.  But, he wrongly infers from this that it is foolish to preach the Gospel to such hearts.  He relies on his logic rather than upon the clear teaching of Scripture.

Do the Scriptures teach that it is foolish and wrong to preach to stony hearts?

Further, if it can be shown that Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles, preached the Gospel to alien sinners, will this not make them fools and heretics, using Sonny's criterion?  Did they preach to "brick walls" when they appealed to the hearts and minds of lost souls?  Sonny thinks so.  And, if so, then he must acknowledge this, reductio ad absurdum.  One or two things is true.  Either Christ preached to stony hearts (unregenerate) or he did not.  If he did, then Sonny must acknowledge that Christ did wrong, and was a fool, and that Christ was no Hardshell.

Preach To Hard Hearts?

Was Ezekiel a fool for preaching to dead dry bones?  If we use Sonny's logic and affirmation of principles, we must conclude that the prophet erred and was a fool.

For a complete proof that Jesus preached to the hearts of alien sinners, see my posting "Jesus Uproots Hardshellism"

"Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?"  (Jer. 23:29)

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."  (Heb. 4:12)

I think these verses are enough to overthrow Sonny's Hardshell Two Seed heresy.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sonny Pyles vs. P.D. Gold

Elder P. D. Gold wrote (1887) (emphasis mine):

"...I will try to explain more explicitly in a brief way what I know by experience of the travail from nature to grace."

"Firstly there is a begetting or quickening, then the sinner has a knowledge he is a sinner before God because his blinded eyes have been opened, and his deaf ears are unstopped, and then he is cognizant of his true condition. — Secondly, there is a travail of soul, and as I have said he probably mourns for weeks, months or years. Thirdly, then at an unexpected and appointed time he is delivered of his load of sin and guilt, and is freed from the law of sin and death, "old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." I possibly might say more on these points, but this I consider enough for the present. My dear brethren, If we are worthy to be called christians, Hardshells, Iron Jackets, or anything else for the sake of Jesus let us glory in such stigmas." (pg. 338)  (see here)

Here is a synopsis of what present day Hardshell leader and apologist, Elder Sonny Pyles, said in his sermon on "Regeneration." (see here ) in regard to this three stage model of spiritual birth (which was the leading view of Hardshells in the nineteenth century).

In this sermon Sonny wanted to deal with "three major questions" regarding "regeneration."  First, is this work "direct" or "indirect"?  Second, is it a "process" that is "long drawn out over time" (a "progressive regeneration"), or is it rather "instantaneous"?  Thirdly, is this work of being born again certain for all the elect?

In combating the "progressive regeneration" view Sonny first describes this view by describing just what Elder Gold (and all the first Hardshells)  believed, i.e., that the regeneration or birth process involves three stages, first the conception, then the time of development in the womb, and then the birth. 

Pyles says that this view is "unsound doctrine" and "heresy" and says that "our people have always maintained" their denial of this view and that "our forefathers" did not believe in progressive regeneration but in "instantaneous regeneration."  Sonny defines "our forefathers" and "our people" as being those, like his uncle, who put out the Fulton Confession in 1900, implying that they all rejected the idea that regeneration preceded the new birth.  But, he can find no Hardshell in the 1830-1860 period who objected to this view.  I have already shown in my writings that the view put forth by Elder Gold as late as 1887 was the view of the first Hardshells, such as Gilbert Beebe, Samuel Trott, William Conrad, Wilson Thompson, etc. 

Sonny's "people," it seems, all believed what he calls "heresy" and "unsound doctrine."  Does Sonny not know the influence of Gold?  Gold was a popular preacher and writer and a frequent visitor to the Bear Creek Association, just as is Sonny today.

In this sermon Sonny mentions an event in his early ministerial life (1958) in which he was present when an elder presented Gold's view (the original view) to about 20-21 ministers and was shocked that not one of those ministers objected to the elder's view.  Sonny says that he was youthful enough, "with no courage and no sense," and so began to attack the view of the elder.  He also says that all this was "to my sorrow."  And he is disturbed by the fact that this doctrine is being advocated today by Hardshell preachers "down south" and from "various quarters."  (Is that not interesting?)

You, see, my Hardshell brothers, your "forefathers" did not believe that conversion to Christ was optional but that it was that very new birth that was necessary for entering into eternal life.  This is why many of the oldest Hardshell churches say, in their individual articles of faith, that they believe that all the elect will not only be "regenerated" but also "converted," that is both conceived by the seed and delivered

Further, if the view of Gold is the view of the first Hardshells, who were the forefathers of those ministers who assembled in Fulton, then Sonny must admit that his denomination descended from heretics.

Bear Creek Association & Two Seedism

In previous writings I have shown that the "Original Bear Creek Association of Primitive Baptists" (here in North Carolina) was formerly the place of some of my early ministerial labors while a Hardshell preacher (see my chapter "Personal Experiences" - see here) and have shown that their association history shows that they were infected with elements of "two seedism" in the nineteenth century per the witness of Elder Hosea Preslar (see the posting "Elder Preslar on Two Seedism" (see here).  In the former I showed how the Bear Creek Hardshells are possessed of a harsh, popish spirit, an arrogant, proud, and critical spirit.  I have also through the years written of my visits to the Bear Creek Association. 

Here is what Elder Preslar wrote about the Bear Creek Association in the days just preceding the Civil War.

"But in the midst of all this confusion, my desire and prayer to God was that the Bear Creek Association might be saved,--saved from the many errors by which she was surrounded, (her well known enemies) And also from some erroneous things or principles, that are now in her midst, or in her ranks, going under the name of "Old Baptist;" but when named by those who are better acquainted with its signs and marks, is the old Two Seed Parkerite heresy."

Now let us notice the following unique expression in the present articles of faith of this association.

Art. 2. We believe in the man Jesus being the first of all God's creation and the pattern of all Gods perfection in nature, providence, grace and glory, and in relative union with the Divine Word, and thus united with the whole Trinity.

What is this article teaching?  The eternal humanity of Christ?  Can anyone see the "two seedism" in these words?  (I will not enlarge upon this in this posting but will do so, the Lord willing, in the future)

Notice also this article (which wording of it was changed in the late 19th century).

Art. 4. We believe the doctrine of Election, that God chose his church in Christ Jesus before the world began.

Proceedings of the Spring Session, 1892.  (see here)

Can anyone see the two seed understanding of election in these words?  (more on this later also)

Perhaps some leader of the Bear Creek Association can help us out here?

Monday, October 19, 2015

J. C. Philpot

Many Hardshells have historically favored the writings and theology of J. C. Philpot.  The first Hardshell periodicals in the nineteenth century were filled with the writings of Philpot and many Hardshells were friends with Philpot.  Some of the citations in Hardshell periodicals had Philpot arguing for the Gospel means position, which many Hardshells confessed to believe in that century.  I ask today's Hardshells if they can accept what Philpot says in the following?

A Spiritual Death and a Hidden Life
Preached on July 20th, 1856, at Gower Street Chapel, London, by J. C. Philpot (see here)

(emphasis mine)

What a remarkable mercy! What a blessing, as beyond all price, so beyond all conception, and all expression, is it to be a believer in the Son of God! Hundreds, thousands, millions, live and die without any knowledge of Him, any faith in Him, any love towards Him. And what must be their eternal destiny? What but the lake that burns with fire and brimstone? Our reasoning mind, when not subdued by divine teaching, our naturally compassionate feelings, when not softened into acquiescence with the divine will, pause and ponder; and when in imagination we seem to look down into the flames of eternal woe, and think of the thousands and millions that will forever welter there, we instinctively shrink back. If such feelings be indulged, we may soon be drawn aside to pity lost souls; when once we begin to pity lost souls, Satan may draw us on to pity lost devils; and when we begin to pity lost devils we rebel against God, until the mind becomes filled with every base imagination too vile for me even to allude to. We must, therefore, at any cost, hold fast by the Word of God's testimony; for when once we depart from that, we wander into mazes of error and confusion.   Now, if we adhere to God's testimony, we seem, to my mind, to come to these three points

1. That the soul which lives and dies without knowing the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be a partaker of eternal life; for He Himself says, "This is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." If, then, eternal life consists in the knowledge of Christ, eternal death must be the consequence of not knowing Him.

2. Again—the Lord says, "If you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins." "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who believes not shall be damned." We come, therefore, to this solemn conclusion, that if one lives and dies without a spiritual faith in the Son of God, he is and must be eternally lost.

3. We come to a third conclusion, from the same inspired Word of testimony, that if a man loves not the Lord Jesus Christ, and lives and dies without His love being shed abroad in his heart, he falls under the curse of God; for the Apostle Paul, speaking in His name, says, "If any man loves not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema," that is, let the solemn curse of God rest upon him.

So that if we adhere to the Word of God's testimony we come to this solemn conclusion, though in coming to it we seem to cut off and indeed do cut off millions, that without a saving knowledge of, without a spiritual faith in, and without a divine love to, the Son of God, there is no salvation; and therefore that those who die without that knowledge, without that faith, and without that love, must perish in their sins.

But the point that concerns you and me is, whether we have this saving knowledge of, this living faith in, and this heavenly love toward the Son of God; for we have to stand before His bar, we have souls to be saved or lost, and the grand question with every one whom God has quickened into spiritual life is, "Lord, is it I? How does my soul stand before God? On what ground does it rest for eternity?"

Philpot expressed what is the historic Baptist faith in these words, and it shows that today's "Primitive Baptists" are not in fact what they claim to be.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Potter on Being an "Old Baptist"

Elder Lemuel Potter, in writing of the English Particular Baptists who wrote the 1689 London Confession, wrote the following:

"In our efforts to identify ourselves with the Old Baptists, against the claims of the missionaries, we claim to be identical with these old English brethren in doctrine. THE ADVOCATE does now stand, and always has stood there, especially on the new birth. We hope that none of our brethren will differ from them, and at the same time claim identity with them." (See my citation in full here)

I agree with Elder Potter that those who call themselves "Old Baptists" and yet disagree with the London Confession, are inconsistent and contradictory.  What say ye, my Hardshell brethren?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Daniel Parker a Means Baptist?

Here is what Elder Sylvester Hassell had to say about Daniel Parker:

"Eld. Daniel Parker seems to me to give up his whole system when, in his "Supplement," he says, on the third page, that "sin is the serpent's seed;" and, on the eleventh page, that "the eternal condemnation of the lost will not be because they were of the serpent's seed, or non-elect, but because of their sin against God in His divine law and their unbelief in Christ;" and, on the thirteenth page, that "the Baptist doctrine of salvation by the sovereign distinguishing grace of God stands completely established by the authority of the word of God, as well as by Christian experience, independent of his own views as to the origin of the two seeds." When the author of this system makes these broad confessions, how can a single one of his followers hesitate to abandon forever this worthless human invention--this heathen corruption of the gospel that has, for sixty years, poisoned, hardened, chilled, confused, and divided the Church of God?"

("Interpreting the Scriptures-The Error of Eternal Vital Unionism" - The Gospel Messenger—September, 1894 (see here)

What this citation helps to prove is the fact that though Parker opposed mission and evangelistic methods of those who were called "missionary" Baptists, he nevertheless did not deny that those who rejected the Gospel would be eternally lost.  "eternal condemnation" for "their unbelief in Christ."  Further, his belief in "two seedism" did not cause him to deny that faith in Christ was essential for being eternally saved, for he knew that such a view would not be in line with "the Baptist doctrine of salvation."

Further, today's Hardshells want people to know that "two seedism" was a temporary problem in the early stages of their formation as a denomination, but notice that Hassell says that the heresy of two seedism "has, for sixty years, poisoned, hardened, chilled, confused, and divided the Church of God."  Further, other Hardshells in the 1870s and 1880s were writing against two seedism, so it was still being battled.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pyles and Oliphant on God Failing

Both Hardshell founding father, Elder J. H. Oliphant, and neo Hardshell Elder Sonny Pyles, both teach that it is okay to believe that God's will for his elect to experience conversion (time salvation) or to persevere, fails, but it is not okay to believe that God's will for his elect to experience eternal salvation fails.

In my classic rebuttal of Elder Pyle's' sermon "Will All The Elect Hear The Gospel?", I reviewed Pyle's' remark on Jesus' words "I would, but you would not" (see here).  Here is what I there wrote:

Argument # 6 (Matthew 23: 37-39)

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."

He says that Christ, in Matthew 23, is "speaking to leaders who are to receive woe, woe, woe." He then goes into affirming that the word "kingdom of heaven" means "where heaven rules" and that there are various "aspects" to the term, saying that sometimes it refers to the "kingdom in your heart" or to the "Old Baptists." He says - "If you try to make this kingdom eternal heaven, you are headed for disaster."

Notice how Sonny has a problem with someone believing that God's eternal purpose to eternally save his elect will fail but not a problem with believing that God's purpose to save his people in conversion and perseverance will fail, and that the former is heresy but the latter is sound doctrine.

He says that "if anyone believes that the 'gathering' is in an eternal sense, then you are forced with the monstrosity that human beings, down here on earth, can prevent the Lord from gathering his people into the heavenly fold." 

Again, God's failing to eternally save his elect is a monstrous heresy but God's failing in bringing his people into his visible kingdom on earth is sound doctrine.

In "Perseverance of the Saints" (Chapter 5)
Written by J.H. Oliphant (see here)

"It is said of him, "The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; as I have purposed, so shall it stand." Isaiah, xiv: 24. Reader, did God ever think he would save any one and yet that one fail of salvation? 27th verse, "For the Lord of hosts hath purposed; who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out and who shall turn it back?"

If God’s hand is stretched out to save his people, is it not wicked to contend that his hand can be turned back? "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning." Acts, xv.18, "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." The work, then, of conversion is God’s work, and not the work of chance or accident; it is one of the works, which he does according to his purpose. "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of sons." So that our being sons is the result, not of chance or human appointment or agency, but of predestination of God.

Our regeneration is an inheritance, which we have, not for our works, but as the end of God’s purpose. "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."

So this eternal purpose, counsel, will, is that all given to Christ shall be saved; and "Thou shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." Will he fail? Will God’s eternal purpose be defeated, and his will unexecuted?

Now, does God’s faithfulness to his Son demand that his children, redeemed by his blood, shall be saved? Unquestionably it does. He will not suffer it to fail, and...From what we have seen, the salvation of God’s people depends on the success of Christ as the surety of the better testament, and as he can not fail, the salvation of all his people is certain."


1.  It is not God's will for his people to be saved in time from their sins, including their impenitent and unbelieving heart.

2.  It is not God's will that his people persevere in the Christian faith, grow in grace, and in sanctification, etc.

3.  Or, it was God's will for his people to be saved in time, and to persevere, etc., but he has failed.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Was Elder John Clark a neo Hardshell?

In "PRIMITIVE BAPTIST HISTORY WITHIN," Compiled by Hoyt D. F. Sparks (see here)
(November 12, 2008), Sparks makes available Elder John Clark's (editor of "Zion's Advocate") writing "EXPOSURE OF HERESIES PROPAGATED BY SOME OLD SCHOOL BAPTISTS.” (see here)  In this work Elder Clark documents many of the doctrinal issues dividing the "Beebe" faction from the "Clark" faction.  In this book Elder Clark makes it clear that he believed in the means position, the position of the first generation of Hardshells, the view espoused by Elder John Watson, Clark's friend, in his book "The Old Baptist Test."  In former postings I have documented Clark's belief in Gospel means.  For example see here

In this posting I want to present further evidence of the doctrinal views of Clark on this subject.

Clark wrote (chapter six):

"In this chapter the doctrine of regeneration is considered doctrinally and experimentally, and proven to be the work of God."

" please Him we must be born of the Spirit – born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever (1 Peter 1:23). In this change, the faith, without which we cannot please God, is given, which is the fruit of the Spirit, and the victory that overcomes the world; and hence those who have faith are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, for “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.” (1 John 1.)

The people of God were in Christ before the world was, according to that choice, and they are in him in time by faith – become children of God by faith in Christ; and hence, some are in Christ, in this sense, before others, as the apostle stated on a particular occasion. (Rom. 16:7.)"

How does Clark define "faith"?  Like today's Hardshells?  Notice how he defines it as connected with believing that Jesus is the Christ.  And, he says, like Abraham Booth, that people are children of God "by faith."  This is how they come to be "in Christ."