Before I respond to what you last said, let me make this one preliminary comment.
You know, this is the kind of debating or discussing that we should be doing. We have treated each other with respect and talked in conversational and friendly, yet frank, terms. For this I thank God and I hope that this will lead us to a longer and more thorough discussion of our differences and on what is good for the "Primitive Baptist" church. For, I think, you and I have the same goal in mind, yet we disagree on the means to the end. I want the old Hardshell church to be in the will of God and fully enjoying his presence and approbation.
I want the "Primitive Baptist" church to experience heaven sent revival. I want to hear their preachers preaching Jesus to thousands rather than to a small handful. I want to see the lives of sinners transformed by the preaching of the gospel, just as it was in the days of the first Christians and of our Baptist forefathers. I want to see the people really enjoying our present or "time salvation," and to show them the way, which is by working for the Lord, by doing his business. But, hopefully we can discuss this more in detail as we continue our time of conversation together.
But, let me respond to the last things you said before our little break. You said that you were concerned about the present state of the church and not what errors our forefathers may have entertained for a time. First, I am glad that you are staying away from the idea that a church cannot now be pure if she had ancestors who were not. That was Sylvester Hassell's view, and mine also, but it is not the view that is avowed by modern primitives, the ones you say you are defending.
Your statement about concern for the present state of the church is not unrelated to what I just said about us both wanting what is good for the Hardshells, which of course is one and the same with what God characterizes as good. You know, if the Lord wrote letters today to the Hardshell churches, as he did to the seven churches of Asia, what would he condemn, and what would he condone? How would his condemnation be different from mine as respects the Hardshells? Could it be that he has, to some degree at least, already written to them through yours truly?
Well, Stephen, I too have enjoyed our discussion. It is not like I thought it would be. I fully expected you to be combative and to be hurling insults. As long as our talks continue in this mode I see no reason why we can't continue to have them. You are unlike your dad in how you dialogue with your opponents. I know you have had several debates as he did and I never entered into them because they seem to make those who engaged in them combative, argumentative, forward, and disrespecting to others who disagree with them. But, that doesn't seem to have been the case with you.
About wanting the church to prosper, I do want it, but I hardly believe you when you say you are only interested in the good of the old Baptists, while we see you as only interested in destroying the old Baptists out of hatred. About the way to accomplish this, we are not going to employ Arminian or Missionary methods that our forefathers declared against in the Black Rock Address.
About problems in Landmarker principles as held to by Primitive Baptists. I do not doubt that many of our brethren have gone overboard in this area, but I deny that baptisms and other church work done by churches in disorder are valid and I think I can prove it by the bible. And, so, the practice of our churches in not recognizing the baptisms and ordinations of other groups, Baptists or otherwise, we do so on biblical authority.
Well, as much as I would like to talk in greater detail with you about the difficulties that Landmark ecclesiology has had in the Hardshell church, concerning which I have written extensively, and I hope you have read or will read, we can save that for later as other things seem to be of greater importance, in my mind, for us to discuss at this moment. This relates to our common goal, which is to see the prosperity of the "Primitive Baptist Church." I also hope that when we return to the subject of Landmarkism that brother Helms can also be present. I am sure as an old elder in the Bear Creek association that he too would like to see them prosper and experience heaven sent revival. Further, a few years ago the difficulty with Landmark sentiments involved a man who wanted to join Union Grove church from a Sovereign Grace Baptist church, but who did not see why he needed to be baptized again, believing his first baptism was scriptural and pleasing to the Lord. Your insistence, Newell, that he be baptized again was a result of your Landmarker views, which are not scriptural.
I hope that you all can get back to discussing Landmarkism sometime as I would like to hear it. And, as far as what we can do to see Zion prosper, I am all for, as long as it is scriptural and does not disturb the peace of the church.
Well, surely, the Lord will arrange for us to discuss this important area of doctrine then in the future. That being said, we lay that subject aside for the present and move on to how we can achieve our common goal, and that is the health and well being of the Hardshell flock.
We have already agreed that charity is of the utmost importance. Love gives birth to faith, and from faith all other Christian gifts and graces proceed. So, what can we do to bring the Hardshells into closer communion and fellowship with Christ so that the love of Christ burns in their hearts and produces hard working disciples? For surely, revival and gospel blessings will then come down as showers of blessing.
Lunch is ready. You all come.
Well, brothers, we will continue our talk after lunch.