Sometime back I made a posting regarding the fact that we had been getting lots of readers from Russia due to some Hardshells doing "mission work" there. ("Interest From Russia?" - see here) We continue to get huge amounts of hits on this and my BaptistGadfly blog from Russia. I believe it is because many Baptists in Russia are investigating the Hardshells. The same thing has occurred in the past by some in the Philippines. Just recently this was posted on the Cincinnati Primitive Baptist church web page:
"Pastor Justin will be traveling to Russia this March in order to train indigenous pastors in the churches there." (see here)
Others have also made such trips. For instance, Elder Herb Hatfield wrote about his trip in "Pray for My Upcoming Ukraine and Russia Trip" - Aberdeen Primitive Baptist Church (see here).
Not only is Cincinnati and Aberdeen churches involved in such work but Elder David Pyles and others have also been involved in such work.
In a "Letter from David Pyles" (see here) we find this information from Pyles:
"In March 2006, several Baptist churches in Russia requested dialogue with Primitive Baptists of America. They initially made contact with me, but later contacted several other Primitive Baptists after finding information about them on Internet. These churches had formerly been members of the Russian Baptist Union, but because of sharp and growing differences over doctrine and practice, they made a break with the union, with some churches leaving late in 2005 and
others leaving only weeks prior to their contact of me."
Thankfully many of these brethren in Russia are also finding information on the Internet about the Hardshells in reading our blogs. Interesting is the fact that the Hardshells continue to do proselyting work rather than true mission work.
Pyles writes further:
"I have continued correspondence with the Russians since initial contact, and made a trip there along with other ministers in July 2006. In all of this we have found them to be remarkably
sound. They firmly adhere to the doctrines of grace. They reject Fullerism -- a corrupted variation of these doctrines that has lately become prevalent in this country. Our greatest surprises concerning them were that they reject gospel regeneration, affirming rather that
regeneration is by the direct and unaided work of the Holy Spirit, and they reject the idea that the preached word is a cause or means in rendering the elect righteous before God. With respect to the latter, they affirm that the elect were rendered righteous by the death of Christ alone -- and as of the time He died -- and that the role of faith is to declare and certify this fact in the experience of the elect. These are of course points where other believers in the doctrines of grace almost invariably differ from Primitive Baptists, and for this reason, we were not expecting the Russians to agree with us either. After persistently querying them (even to the point of annoying them), we became satisfied there was in fact
agreement. As far as I know, nothing like this has ever happened in the evangelical efforts of Primitive Baptists, and I would be pleasantly surprised were it to ever happen again."
How true this is to the facts only the Russian brethren can tell us. I could perhaps say more but will forego doing so at this time.
Pyles wrote further:
"The greatest point in need of correction is baptism. I and all other Primitive Baptists dealing with the Russians would strongly prefer to see them rebaptized, and we have attempted to cast our influence in that direction. However, we can offer no assurance that such an objective will ever be achieved. This movement is large and growing, both in terms of churches and members, and it covers a large geographic region. Persuading the Russians to rebaptize all these
people could be a formidable task. It could also be a very delicate task, because some of the older Russians were baptized by ministers who were executed for their convictions. In the event we fall short of attaining official fellowship, our hopes are to achieve conformity on all else, and as already indicated, this evidently will involve very little, and should be an easily-achievable objective given the blessings of God. Even on the point of baptism there seems to be a great deal of agreement. As of our visit in 2006, they were still receiving the baptisms of churches in the Baptist union, but seemed to agree with our contention that a change in policy had to be made. My understanding is that at least one of their churches has
implemented a policy of rebaptism in the last year."
I just have to laugh at all this! The whole idea of "rebaptism" is a difficult issue for the Hardshells. They cannot defend this practice and it is one of the things that shows them to be a cult. The old Baptists who published the first London confession of 1644 would not agree with them on this issue and if the Russian brethren are imitators of those old London brethren, then they will resist the idea that their baptisms are not valid. Perhaps in the future I can write further on this but we have already written much on it in our series titled "Hardshell Landmarkism" (see August, 2008 archives at the hardshellism blog - see here, and here and here).
"The Russians seem to be elated over the discovery of Primitive Baptists in America, and I have seen nothing from them but utmost respect for our people."
That may be so with some of them, but I suspect that there are many of them not so elated.
I suspect that some of the foreign interests in Hardshells may be due to some hoping for pecuniary support from the Hardshells, who have begun to send money oversees to poor preachers in Africa, India, and in Russia.
Why don't the Hardshells send preachers to places where there are no Christians?