(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."
"...to 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."