I am sixty years old. I am troubled by it. I know my time is growing short and I will soon, like my beloved father, and the saints of all the ages, be "gathered unto his people." (See Genesis 25:8-9) I look forward to it. That is why I love to hear songs about heaven and the blessed state in eternal life. But, somehow I don't feel ready to go. I have several things I pray to God to be able to do before I am called home to glory. Only God knows whether my course is nearly run or whether there is much distance yet to travel and run before the finish line. I have my doubts that I will live as long as my father. So, I have much to do with little time remaining. My bodily strength weakens day by day, but thankfully, my spirit grows stronger. (See II Cor. 4:16)
I feel sad that I have not helped more souls than I have by my writings against the Hardshells. I often feel tired in spirit by my interactions with the Hardshells. Oftentimes I come away also feeling dirty, as some have wanted to throw dirt at me. I say to myself "if they only knew how much I really care for their souls." Sadly, most Hardshells think only the worst of me. Then I hear the Lord say to me "they have not rejected you but me." (See I Sam. 8:7) Yet, I continue to labor that I might save some. (See II Cor. 9:22) I teach my Hardshell brethren "if peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." (See II Tim. 2:25)
Perhaps one day, probably when I am dead, my writings may get a larger reading. I have written for the benefit of future historians who will no doubt appreciate the enormous labor that has gone into my investigation of the history of the Hardshells.
I am thankful for those that I have helped either to come out of Hardshellism or be prevented from becoming part of the Hardshell cult.
I know many Hardshells will not even give a fair hearing to the things I have written. If they did, they would repent and do the first works.
I wish the Hardshells would simply imitate Spurgeon. He showed how sovereign grace Baptists can be used of God in fulfilling the great commission, in making converts and disciples to the Lord.
One of the areas of doctrine that I yet want to examine closely, besides the KJV onlyism and eschatological errors of the Hardshells, is their error regarding instrumental music. I want to tell you that it is a shame that the Hardshells err on this point. Even my dad was so blessed at times listening to good old gospel songs with instruments. Yet, this same blessing would be a curse if it were done in public worship rather than in private worship. Now, I love the congregational singing of the Hardshells, but I also love the special music by talented members of the church. But, more on that later.
Much has been said about a recipe for the decline in Hardshell churches. I have given them the correct remedy and if they do not take it then they can just continue to die. I will close with this thought of the Apostle Paul in regard to stubborn heretics who become wedded to their theories:
"But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." (I Cor. 14:38)