This polemic is aimed at Hardshell "humility." It is the result of years of study and meditation upon the subject. It is also the result of recent months of literary and research work. I have gathered the material that relates to the subject over many years of reading Hardshell literature and from many years of personal experience as a former Hardshell elder and pastor. It has been a challenge to categorize the material into an organized and edifying whole. Even the choice of a title required much thought. What is the thesis of the writing? What arguments and evidence will be presented in support of it? What division should be made of the material? What chapters, if more than one? What will be the theme and title to these subsections? Who is my audience? What is the purpose of the polemical writing? To persuade and convict? To warn? To instruct? How shall the material be presented? Strictly forensic and logical? Appealing only to reason? Or, to the emotions as well?
Of all the things to study and write about, why choose such a topic? Especially when it concerns such a small unknown sect? Could your time not be better spent on some other topic? Does this polemic not manifest that you are simply writing out of anger and hatred towards the Hardshells?
In considering these questions my mind has made a diligent search and I feel a need to preface this polemic with some answers to them, especially knowing my audience, as I do.
First, I am not sure that I chose this topic, per se. I think it rather chose me. The subject has been on my mind many times over the years, often being provoked by examples of what I call "Uriah Heep" type Hardshell "humility." Recently, after encountering more examples of such, I finally decided to put on paper what was already in my inner thoughts.
Second, though a small sect, yet this has been where I have had the most experience, and believe that God wants me to use that experience in fighting the errors of the Hardshells, for their salvation, and for the glory of God. Also, there are still thousands and thousands of Hardshells still in existence today. Finally, the kind of "false humility" that is often seen in the Hardshell cult is the same that is found in other heretical sects and so the polemic on the topic will be applicable to other heretical groups.
As far as the writing being simply a "diatribe" produced out of anger towards the Hardshells, I feel no need to reply, other than to say that it makes me think that I should perhaps follow up this posting on the true meaning of humility with one on "anger." God and the reader will need have to judge whether this booklet is in accordance with his will and sentiment or not.
"The Humble" and "The Proud"
It is true that "the humble" are generally viewed as being in possession of the nature and life of God, or as being "the people of God." And, it is true that "the proud" are they who are not the people of God. Indeed, the terms have come to be identifying adjectives for the "two seeds," in historical "Primitive Baptist" jargon, the humble being the seed of Christ and the proud being the seed of the devil.
In Hardshell thinking, there is more genuine humility and lowliness of spirit among the Hardshell populace than anywhere else. To them, "the Arminian world," or "the religious world," are proud, and their system of "salvation by works" shows it. On the other hand, to them, Hardshell "grace" teaching alone produces humility. As we will show, this is all imaginary on their part, and actually is a "cloak" for their denominational pride. We will point to the irony of it all, and show how the Hardshells have a Uriah Heep type humility, a false humility, being proud of their humility.
Who was Uriah Heep? He was a fictional character in Charles Dicken's novel "David Copperfield" and who was known for his "sweet talk" but which was insincere. As one writer has said:
"The character of Uriah Heep is known for his unduly overt humility who keeps referring to his “umbleness” through out the novel. In fact his name can be used synonymously to that of a yes man." (SEE HERE)
Another writer in an article titled "False humility and Christians" wrote:
"When Charles Dickens wrote the classic novel “David Copperfield”, he created an unattractive character called Uriah Heep – a greedy, insincere, ambitious manipulator who constantly proclaimed his “humbleness”. But Uriah Heep was not humble. He was proud, and self-absorbed and self-serving. The words that came out of his mouth were false. Someone who is really humble is not even aware of their humility. They aren’t absorbed with themselves at all." (SEE HERE)