Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Hardshell Baptist Cult

Chapter One - The Primitive Baptist Church

By Stephen M. Garrett

This is the general name of a denomination or sect of Baptists that owes its origins to the anti missionary spirit among Baptists in the early 1800's in America. They are also known by other names, such as Old School Baptists, or as Hardshells. They are primarily based in the South, both presently and historically.

“Primitive Baptists are a group of Baptists that have an historical connection to the missionary anti-missionary controversy that divided Baptists of America in the early part of the 19th century. Those currently denominated Primitive Baptists consists of descendants of churches and ministers that opposed the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions (organized in 1814), as well as other innovations such as seminaries and temperance societies. Early leaders include Joshua Lawrence, John Leland, Daniel Parker, and John Taylor. Other names by which Primitive Baptists are known are Predestinarian Baptists, Old School Baptists, Regular Baptists, Particular Baptists and Hardshells. The word “Primitive” is sometimes taken by outsiders to mean “backward,” but in context of this division among Baptists, it means “original.” These churches attempt to retain and/or restore primitive (or original) patterns of the church, such as unsalaried ministers, a capella singing (usually shape note singing), and feet washing.

The Primitive Baptists can be sub-divided into four main groups: 1)Absolute Predestination; 2) Limited Predestination; 3) Progressive; and (4) Universalists. This last group is the smallest and consists of 5 or 6 small associations in Appalachia that adapted the theory of universal atonement to the doctrines of Primitive Baptists.

The Limited Predestinarians (also called Old Line, Conditionalists, etc.) are the largest group with around 50,000 members in about 1500 churches. While opposing the aforementioned “mission boards,” some churches among the group are still very evangelisticm having constituted churches in such countries as the Philippines, India, and Africa. While believing in the sovereignty of God in salvation and daily life, they deny that God is the author of sin.

The Absolute Predestinarians are similar to the Limited Predestinarians, but hold to the absolute predestination of all things. They number about 350 churches.

The Progressive Primitive Baptists separated from the main body around the turn of the 20th century, and have adopted such practices as Sunday School, instrumental music, homes for the aged, and various auxiliaries to the church. They have about 8000 members in over 100 churches.

In addition to these predominantly white Primitive Baptist groups, there are at least two types of Colored Primitive Baptist–Old School & National Primitive Baptists of the U.S.A. The Two-Seed-in-the-Seed Predestinarian Baptists and Old Regular Baptists departed from the Primitive Baptists in the latter part of the 19th century.

The division of “Primitive Baptists” and “Missionary Baptists” cannot be recognized as occurring at a particular time. The Baptists of the early 19th century were separated by distance and lack of communication. In addition to this, each congregation was independent and autonomous. Though some confusion still existed as late as the 1840's, the declaration now known as the Black Rock Address clearly defined the issues and marked the separation of the two different philosophies. Representatives convened at Black Rock, Maryland on September 28, 1832 and set forth the “Primitive” position on tract societies, Sunday Schools, Bible societies, missions, theological schools, and protracted meetings (revivals).”
(From Wikipedia)

The above information is fairly accurate, although the statement that some Conditionalist churches “are still very evangelistic, having constituted churches in such countries as the Philippines, India, and Africa,” will be later discussed and shown not to be accurate.

The Primitive Baptist Church (herein referred to as PB) has had an interesting history. I am familiar with it, having been an ordained minister and pastor in that denomination from 1974-1982. My father is still a leading elder in that denomination. I have read most of their literature, know most of their leading ministers, both present and past, and am familiar with their theology and peculiarities.

The PB Church is a cult, a Baptist cult, a rare thing. What it is that constitutes them a cult will be the substance of this book. There are several key essential elements necessary to constitute one a cult and thus a serious danger to religious souls. One of those elements is what the Bible calls heresy.

All error in Bible doctrine and interpretation is not heresy and worthy of anathemas. It has been said – “In Essentials, Unity; in Non-essentials, Liberty; in All Things, Charity.” Heresy concerns essential teachings of the Bible, the very bedrock of fundamental truth. To be a heretic is to be guilty of believing and teaching contrary to the essentials of the faith.

The PB Church, or “Hardshells,” are heretics on several matters relative to essential articles of faith of the Bible and of the real Old Baptists. This will become clear from the evidence presented in this volume.

Not only will I show evidence from the Scriptures that the Hardshells are heretics on essential Bible teaching, answering all their arguments in support of their heresies, and also correcting all their false statements regarding their own and Baptist history but will also show that the Hardshells are infamous for their distortions both the sacred record of Scripture and the records of Baptist history.

I will also record my personal experiences among them, noting their peculiarities, sociologically and psychologically, and of their other characteristics as a cult and heresy. The Hardshells are indeed an odd sort, having their own peculiar social mentality, as a group; for instance, they view themselves as peculiarly favored above all other Christians, being a veritable “elect within the elect,” or super elect. This too is characteristic of a cult; cult followers view themselves as the elite of the elite, the “we be Abraham’s seed” or “we be the only ones” self view (or self portrait). The Hardshells, as a cult group, are egocentric and a certain fleshly pride is often pervasive in cults and heresies. Some cult groups will seek to identify the exclusivity of the cult by labeling them or otherwise identifying the group with a special group in the Bible, like the “144,000" of the Book of Revelation.

Yes, the Hardshells are Calvinists, of a sort, or believers in the Doctrines of Grace. Some are High Calvinists (“Absoluters”), others Low Calvinists (“Conditionalists” or believers in “time salvation”), but all factions are Hyper (or Hybrid) Calvinists. What is a Hyper Calvinist?

In my studies in theology and its history, including systems commonly and traditionally known as Calvinism and Arminianism, I accept these definitions regarding variants of Calvinism.

High Calvinism - the belief in absolute predestination of all things, the belief that everything that exists or comes to pass does so due to the will and decree of God. High Calvinists are often known as supralapsarians, and some supralapsarians are Hyper Calvinists, but not all. I am a supralapsarian Calvinist, like other great Baptists theologians, as John Gill and A.W. Pink, and I believe in the proclamation of the gospel to all men and that Christ invites, yea, commands all men to receive him and to acknowledge him and his salvation.

Low Calvinism - the belief in either conditional or limited predestination or the absolute predestination of some things only, certainly not of all things. Low Calvinists are always infralapsarians.

Hyper (or Hybrid) Calvinism - The belief that God works independently of human means in the saving of sinners, the belief that regeneration precedes faith in Christ, that faith in Christ or conversion to the Christian religion are not necessary for regeneration.

Hardshells have a sect that are High Calvinists (Absoluters) and a sect that are Low Calvinists. But, they all are Hyper Calvinists.

PB’s or Hardshell Baptists believe that the gospel is not a means used by God to regenerate, birth or save his elect. They believe that regeneration is something that happens to men on the “sub-conscious level.” Men are regenerated, born again, according to Hardshellism, who are heathen and pagan worshipers and who have no knowledge of or allegiance to the God of Abraham or to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a fantastic idea, one that has no foundation is holy scripture nor in true primitive Baptist history. They are, therefore, appropriately known as Anti-Mission Baptists, Anti-Means Baptists, Hardshells, and sometimes as “do nothings.”

I will deal with these things in greater detail in later chapters, going into a deeper discussion of their peculiar beliefs and practices, the things that are distinctive about them and which constitutes them as an heretical cult. I will take notice of their leading figures, their founding fathers and leading apologists, as well as their outlandish claims and unfounded assertions relative to their heresies and their history. In doing so I will be judging their claim to being the truly Primitive or Original Baptists, whether they are in line with the Old Baptist Confessions of Faith. In other words, Who are the REAL Primitive Baptists? Also, how did the “primitives” get the nickname of “Hardshells”? And, what is meant by the terms “Old School” or “New School” in relation to Baptist history and theology?

I too will show, thanks to B.H. Carroll, and Brother Bob Ross, that Hardshellism is but the “Twin Brother” of Campbellism and that their descendants, religiously speaking, are of same mold as their theological parents, namely, Daniel Parker and Alexander Campbell.

Brother Bob Ross and myself have issued challenges to the PB’s to come forth and debate these issues. Some of their forefathers did it (far more with the Campbellites than with those Baptists who remain believers in the Old Confessions, which is an interesting fact in itself, very revealing). Will any of them stand up today and defend their positions on their novel, heretical views? Will any of them come forth and debate the question, “Who are the real Primitive Baptists?” As Hardshell forefathers John Daily and Lemuel Potter were willing to do? It is hoped and believed, nevertheless, than many of the Hardshells will read what Brother Ross and I have written and make an attempt to “face the music.”

Definition of the word “cult.”

“In Religion and Sociology a cult is a cohesive group of people (often a relatively small and recently founded religious movement) devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture or society considers to be far outside the mainstream. Its separate status may come about either due to its novel belief system, because of its idiosyncratic practices or because it opposes the interests of the mainstream culture. Other non-religious groups may also display cult-like characteristics. In common usage, "cult" has a negative connotation, and is generally applied to a group by its opponents, for a variety of reasons.” (Ibid)

An internet web site by a Hardshell seeks to answer the question, “WHAT IS MEANT BY "OLD SCHOOL BAPTISTS" OR "HARDSHELLS"?” The Elder Writes:

“These terms were given to Primitive Baptists after the division among Baptists in 1832. The term Old School does not refer to a college or university, but to a school of thought or belief. The missionary Baptists were referred to as New School because of their new beliefs. The term Hardshell is a colloquial expression given to Primitive Baptists in certain sections. Ideas about the origin of this term vary. Some believe it is derived from the emphasis that Primitive Baptist preachers placed on the "shalls" of the Bible. They emphasized greatly the word shall as in "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me" (John 6:37). Eventually the expression hard shall changed to the term Hardshells.”

And again:

“At one time only one group of Baptists was in existence, with all Baptists holding similar beliefs concerning the basic doctrine of the Bible, especially those Bible teachings relating to the salvation of sinners. About 1832 the first division of Baptists occurred with one group becoming known as "Primitive Baptists" and the other as "Missionary Baptists." Since that time the Primitive Baptists have held to the original beliefs of Baptists while other Baptist groups have divided many times until a great many different Baptist factions are now in existence.”
(www.grace-through-faith.com)

Of course this Elder makes numerous false assertions, parroting what he has been told by his Hardshell forefathers and Hardshell “historians”. I will deal with these falsities and the “revisionist histories” put forth by the Hardshells in detail in the appropriate sections of this book. But, now I want to call attention to how many Hardshells view their nickname of “HARDSHELL.”

It is true, regarding this nickname, that “ideas about the origin of this term vary,” as the Elder says. He offers one explanation that I have heard some Hardshells spout. It is a cute twist. Hardshells are such because they emphasize, in their preaching, the “shalls” of the Bible?! I can, of course, think about several “shalls” in the New Testament dealing with preaching the gospel to all men, but these “shalls” the Hardshells emphasize not at all!

Where did this Elder get any proof at all for his assertion that “eventually the expression hard shall changed to the term Hardshells”? Did he cite any works on word etymology? Actually, as will become more evident, this is the same type of bold unfounded assertions that Hardshells make about many things relative to history.

I have heard other Hardshells argue that the term denotes someone who is “stedfast, unmoveable, and unwavering” in his views on Bible doctrine. I even remember reading a defense of the term (a virtual proud acceptance of the nickname) by Elder S. T. Tolley (to be referred to again in this book and also referred to by Brother Ross in his book on the “History and Heresies of Hardshellism”) where he equated the term “Hardshell” with stedfastness in the faith. He cited Paul’s command, “be you stedfast, unmoveable,” as being all the same as saying, “Be you Hardshell.” My dad even published a periodical for years called “The Hardshell Baptist.” Not all PB’s are so fond of the nickname and therefore do not like to be called Hardshells. These few view the use of the term in the same way the followers of Alexander Campbell don’t like the term Campbellites.

I rather think that the term was given to the anti mission Baptists to signify their stubbornness and hardheadedness, their unwillingness to listen to reason. I think it is also connected with a kind of ignorance and false humility, willing or not, and a cantankerousness that is often seen in those who, though having little real knowledge of truth and things, nevertheless boast great things. Truly, with the Hardshells, as a cult, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

On the term “Hard-shell” (hyphenated) Webster says:

Adjective

“Unyielding; insensible to argument; uncompromising; strict.” Some of the Synonyms given for the adjective are:

“severe, strict, hard, harsh, dour, rigid, stiff, stern, rigorous, uncompromising, exacting, exigent, inexorable, inflexible, obdurate, austere, hard-headed, hard-nosed, hard-shell, relentless, Spartan, Draconian, stringent, strait-laced, searching, unsparing, iron-handed, peremptory, absolute, positive, arbitrary, imperative; coercive; tyrannical, extortionate, grinding, withering, oppressive, inquisitorial; inclement; (ruthless) a; cruel; (malevolent); haughty, arrogant...”


I affirm, by both personal experience within the cult and by a thorough examination of the beliefs and practices of this sect that they fit all these words.

Such a people will naturally draw a circle around themselves and have inflated views of themselves. With such it will always be a question of us versus them. Cults practice exclusivity to a very high degree and this is true of the Hardshells. They also use methods of intimidation and mind control over each other to keep the group cohesive and secretive. One of the famous mottos of the Hardshells has been – “Give us our Bible and leave us alone.” They practice it too, putting their churches as far away from communities as possible, often locating in some backwoods hollow. Rather than following the example of the truly Old Sovereign Grace Missionary Baptists, of the pre-Hardshell period, who took the Bible to heathen peoples who did not have it, the Hardshells want to keep it to themselves!

Not all of the original Hardshell forefathers, in the late 1700's and early 1800's, objected to the mission movement, then sweeping the Baptists with great fervor, for doctrinal reasons, or because they believed in “Spirit Alone Regeneration,” or “Pre-Faith Regeneration,” (that would become a later novel idea, intended to justify the movement, by mostly second generation Hardshells), but rather, as Brother Bob Ross has pointed out, was mainly due to “mission methodology”.

Brother Ross stated it very clearly when he said,

“The ORIGINAL issue in the Anti-Missionism Movement was METHODOLOGY, NOT THEOLOGY”.

He also was correct in saying that the “Hardshell "Spirit Alone" Regeneration Theory Was of Later Development”.


As I will show also, this novel idea, with others to follow, were reactionary views created to justify opposition to some of the methods being practiced by some Baptists in the area of missions.

Brother Ross states further:

“The very heart of the PRIMITIVE BAPTIST religious denomination is its opposition to the Gospel's being preached to the unregenerate as a means providentially and sovereignly used by the Holy Spirit in bringing lost souls to Christ for salvation. The Hardshells contend that regeneration, or the New Birth, is a work performed by the Holy Spirit apart from and without the necessary use of any means whatsoever.”

And further:

“Originally, at the rise of "anti-missionism" in the early 1800's, this does not appear to have been the case. If the Baptist histories can be relied upon, the original issues in the anti-missionism schism focused upon MISSION METHODOLOGY. The Kehukee Declaration, set forth by the Kehukee Association (North Carolina) in October 1827, objected to "the modern missionary movement and other institutions of men," and it specified "Missionary Societies, Bible Societies, Tract Societies, Sunday Schools, Dorcas Societies, Mite Societies, Religious Fairs and Festivals, Temperance Societies, Sectarian Schools and Theological Seminaries" as the objects of their repudiation.”

“Likewise, the Black Rock Address, put together by GILBERT BEEBE (1800-1881), and set forth at Black Rock meeting-house, Baltimore, Maryland, September 1832, focused on similar mission methods, and not the particular theory of regeneration which later became the central issue with Hardshellism. All references to regeneration, or the new birth, in both the Kehukee Declaration and the Black Rock Address, appear perfectly consistent with the Baptist position set forth on Effectual Calling "by His Word and Spirit" in the London Confession of Faith. For example, note this statement:

"The plans of these [protracted or 'revival'] meetings are equally as objectionable; for, in the first place, all doctrinal preaching, or in other words, all illustrations of God's plan of salvation, are excluded from these meetings. Hence they would make believers of their converts without presenting any fixed TRUTHS to their minds to believe. Whereas God has chosen his people to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the TRUTH.--2 Thess. 2:13." (Black Rock Address, pp. 35, 36, Primitive Publications' reprint).

This objection sounds more like a Calvinist objection to Hardshellism than vice versa. It emphasizes the importance of "truth" in God's saving of His people.

The "means" to which the original anti-mission Baptists objected was not the Gospel as such, but to the METHODS which were being devised and used in various mission efforts. The objectors do not focus their opposition upon the Gospel as a "means" as presented in the London Confession which affirms that the elect are effectually called out of their state of sin and death "by His Word and Spirit" (London Confession, chapter 10, para. 1).”
(Chapter 3 in “History and Heresies of Hardshellism”)

Brother Ross makes some very important points here; points, I might add, that no Hardshell has come forward to dispute. Why did the first anti mission Baptists, or Hardshells, not oppose the mission enterprises based upon a doctrinal departure on the subject of regeneration? Because it was not a departure at all but was rather the faith of the Baptists generally, except for some few closet Hyper Calvinists, prior to what B.H. Carroll, Jr. called the “rise of the Hardshells.” Further, it was the stated belief of all the Old Baptist confessions. I have asked my dad to produce one Hardshell article of faith, from one leading Baptist preacher or church, prior to the 1800's, who espoused Hardshell views on regeneration. Not one document or historical record has been produced to show that any preacher, prior to Gilbert Beebe, taught “Pre-Faith Regeneration” or “Spirit Alone Regeneration.” This book, along with Brother Ross’s book, will go forth and hopefully many Hardshells will read it. Will one of them produce the evidence that all Baptists prior to the 1800's believed that regeneration occurred without the gospel as a means, without a person being converted and coming to faith in Christ Jesus? They can no more do it than can the Campbellites find a “Church of Christ” prior to the rise of Alexander Campbell.

Brother Ross writes further:

“In the Potter-Throgmorton Debate, held at Fulton, Kentucky in 1887, Elder Lemuel Potter of the Primitive Baptists insisted upon the fact it was over the missionary methods, such as boards, and such things as Sunday Schools, that the "split" occurred in the year 1832 between the anti-missionaries and the missionaries. He says:

"I wish to notice some things in the speech we have just listened to. The first thing Mr. Throgmorton does is to say that he is not bound to show that the Baptists had Sunday Schools, missionary boards, etc., during all the ages. He is under no obligation to show that they always had them. He admits that. He is begging the question. I challenge him to tell what divided us except these very things. It was after the introduction of these things among us that we divided. If we never had them we would not have been divided yet." (Potter-Throgmorton Debate, page 86; published in 1888 in St. Louis by J. N. Hall and J. H. Milburn, representing Missionary Baptists, and by H. C. Roberts and S. F. Cayce, representing the Primitive Baptists).”

In addition to objecting to "mission methods," the anti-mission people focused their attacks upon the MOTIVES of those who favored missions. Greed, avarice, and other such carnal, worldly, and money-centered motives were the motivation of the "means Baptists," according to the anti-mission leaders and magazines.

However, this ad hominem charge evidently began to "wear thin;" in time, the common Baptist membership did not generally respond to character assassination and unsubstantiated broadside incriminations of Baptists who promoted missions. The Hardshells wanted people to believe the worst about the missionary leaders, even applying prophetic Scriptures on the "apostasy" and the "Man of Sin." There just were not enough gullible people among the Baptists for such extremism to continuously find much acceptance.

As time passed, and the Hardshells found it more difficult to defend anti missionism by harping against methodology and motives, they eventually developed their "Spirit alone" regeneration theory, a more doctrinal approach than the original pure negativism. This, too, was very similar to the type of evolutionary development of theology in their anti-missions "brother," the Campbellite movement.

Campbellism, at the first, ridiculed the "hireling clergy," "aspiring priesthood," "missionary schemes," and other victims of Alexander Campbell's choosing, which were featured in his magazines [The Christian Baptist in the 1820's and The Millennial Harbinger from 1830]. But Campbellism, also, had to have something other than pure negativism with which to beguile the naive and gullible, and they developed the baptismal remission of sins hobby-horse. Around this "Kaaba" they have marched ever since.”
(From HISTORY AND HERESIES OF HARDSHELLISM, #3 [04/27--2006])

Brother Ross certainly gave a truthful and well written analysis concerning the birth of the Hardshells, or Primitive Baptist Denomination. I consider Brother Ross’s remarks to be in the tradition of the remarks made by the late B.H. Carroll, Jr. who wrote about anti missionism among the Baptists and even had a chapter on “The Rise of the Hardshells.”


Chapter Two - Personal Experiences

I was eight years old in 1963 and had been exposed to much Christian influence. From 1963-1972 I was primarily under the religious influence of my maternal grandfather (Clyde Rickles) and of my mother. They often witnessed to us children, read and talked the Bible, though they weren't regular church-goers. But during those years, and chiefly between 1970-1972, I began to seek the Lord. I was beginning to ponder my destiny and to see that I was a lost sinner. I attended several Missionary Baptist churches, including the old Lindenwald church. I even "went forward" there at around the age of 13. But the church was so far away, and not having transportation, I didn't get to return to be baptized.

At around the age of 16 I went forward again in a Missionary Baptist Church nearer our home, Mom and grandpa also attending. I received "assurance of salvation" about this time. It was also about this time that Dad started showing a greater interest in talking to me about God and the Bible.

I was awaiting baptism at the local Missionary Church, but through his influence I began to see the "doctrines of grace." This caused me to wait before being baptized by the Missionaries. I remember Dad taking me on a trip to Middlesboro, Kentucky to special services at the local Hardshell church in which they were "dedicating" a new building. During this four-day meeting I was also impressed in many ways with the Hardshells.

My "First Impressions" of "Hardshells"

I remember that the building to be dedicated was a small rectangular brick building with a basement. Hardshell meeting-houses are generally very small and simple. There are no special "choir sections," "Sunday School" rooms, or a "Pastor's study." Just one large room with a slightly elevated "stand" where the pulpit was located. In this building, like many Hardshell meeting-houses, there were two main rows of pews or benches, facing the stand and pulpit, with one main aisle in the middle. There was the common "amen corner" pews at right angles to the "stand." In many cases, the preachers and deacons sat in one of those "amen corners" while the older females and widows sat in the other.

Though Dad spoke several times during the four-day meeting (protracted?), there were other preachers who also preached. I think the church met for three sessions per day on both Friday and Saturday, then once on Sunday morning. It was a common practice at such meetings to preach two or three preachers at each session. One certainly heard a variety of "preaching styles."

I remember also that the building was filled to overflowing (having about 150 people). This was not due to the fact that the church was large, but because it was in the heart of the "bounds of the Powell's Valley Association" of churches, and also a member of that Association. Many of the Hardshells from the other churches in the area were in attendance. A non-Hardshell visitor might have initially thought that this church had "busted the seams" in growth! But this is the case in many Hardshell churches at such meetings. Many of them have "traditionally" only met "once a month," and in areas where two-or-more Hardshell churches exist, members attend each other's churches. This often gives the impression of being a larger church than it really is. You often hear Hardshells talk of their "off-Sundays," meaning the Sundays that their own particular church doesn't meet. On these Sundays, Hardshells either don't go at all or attend another Hardshell church. In many areas where there are, say, four churches, with each meeting on a different Sunday, generally the people go from church-to-church, sometimes to hear the same preacher or preachers. This troubled me when I was Hardshell, as I'm sure it did others. From all appearances, they seemed to be "one" church meeting in four buildings and wearing four names. I know that in one case, at least, it became an "entangled mess."

I pastored two churches at the same time in the early 80's near Wilmington, N.C. called "Grassy" and "Haws Run" Primitive Baptist Churches. When I first started going down there, I would preach at one "church" on one Sunday a month and then at the other church and its building on a different Sunday. But it was basically the same body of people.

I, of course, began to ask each of the group of members "which church" they were members of, and many could not tell. They would try to recall which building they were in at the time they "joined the church," but could not. To them, they had simply joined that group of people. Seeing this, I tried to get the group to sell one building and choose a single name. I was making some progress before I left, but the "tradition" was too deeply imbedded.

But let's get back to my first meeting in a Hardshell church and of my "first impressions" in Middlesboro, Kentucky. Let me say one other thing about the "stand," or pulpit area, in this and most Hardshell churches. Most of the "stands" have chairs in them, behind the pulpit, for visiting preachers. It is the usual custom for pastors to "invite into the stand" the preaching brethren who are present for the given occasion. Those chairs are for them. There's generally a small table with two chairs on either side, just in front of the "stand" and pulpit. This is used for flowers, placing and collecting money, the Lord's Supper, and for the moderator and clerk to use at the monthly or quarterly "business meetings."

At this meeting in Middlesboro, I did enjoy most of the preaching. It was, as I remember, mostly on the glories of Christ and of the "old church." They also spoke much about the "doctrines of grace," with an occasional reference to the "Arminians".

This particular church was in the coal mining area of eastern Kentucky. They were emotional and almost "pentecostal" in their "shouting" and "liveliness." About half of the preachers spoke very fast or else "sang" out their sermons in some rhythm. You often heard the usual "uh" or "ah" between phrases. I was impressed, however, with how the people enjoyed the service. They sang loudly and with rather good harmony. The songs were simple, old-time Christian tunes.

I remember being a little disturbed when one "lay preacher" began to talk and cry wildly while walking around the building and shaking hands with everyone. He did this while the scheduled preacher was in the stand preaching. This walking lay-preacher was later "ordained" as an "Elder" and began "serving the churches." His outburst was believed to be an "evidence" of his "call to preach."

A few short months after this first visit to a Hardshell church, I went on another trip with Dad to visit other Hardshell churches. That was in August of 1972. Dad had a ten-day trip arranged. On the second week-end he was to be at the annual session of the Sequachie Valley - Blue Ridge Association, then meeting at Tickanetly Church in Elijay, Georgia. On the Monday through Friday following this association, Dad was scheduled to have a "debate" with Thomas Thrasher, of the so-called "Church of Christ," with whom I have since also had two debates. The debate was held at the Campbellite meeting-house in Decatur, Alabama and the proposition was, "The scriptures teach that the church of which I am a member is scriptural in origin, doctrine and practice." Elder S.T. Tolley acted as Moderator for Dad. This was the first time I had met brother Tolley and we became close friends.


Joining the Hardshells

It was actually through this debate that I came to the decision to "join the church." I had already been saved. Now I was ready to be baptized and become a member of the church. It was through this debate that I came to believe the "doctrines of grace" and to repudiate Arminianism. We left the debate that Thursday night in order to attend the annual session of the Powell's Valley Association, then being held in the Middlesboro, Kentucky area. Our church in Middletown, Ohio was a recent new addition to the Association; it had churches in four states. I united with the Hardshells at that Associational meeting, being voted upon by the few members of the Middletown Church who were present. I was baptized by my father the next day in a creek in the foothills of the Smokies, near the Cumberland Gap.

Licensed to Preach

During this trip I was introduced to "associations." Of these, I will have some more to say later in this book. Over the next two years I studied the Bible exhaustively, and I began to be schooled in the Hardshell faith under the direct tutorship of my father. I also began to travel extensively among the Hardshells, visiting their associations, the leading churches, and becoming acquainted with their beliefs, customs and practices.

I had been "licensed to preach" by the Middletown Church just shortly after being baptized. This enabled me to preach anywhere among the "Primitive Baptists." During those first two years among the Hardshell, I preached and visited over a wide area of the country. I also became well acquainted with Elder Lasserre Bradley of the "Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church". I preached at this church several times during my time with the Hardshells, and whatever comments I might make about that church and Elder Bradley come from this first-hand experience. In fact, it was at this church, shortly after my baptism into the "Old Church," that Dad bought me my copies of "Cayce's Editorials," from Elder Bradley and the Cincinnati Church.

Claud Cayce

Elder Claud Cayce was, during his time (1890 to around 1945), the leading spokesman for Hardshell doctrine and practice. He edited the famed Hardshell periodical, “THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST”, started by his father, Elder S.F. Cayce.

He is reported to have had nearly three-hundred debates with Campbellites and others, and was considered the ablest defender of Hardshell doctrine in modern times. He has had a tremendous impact on Hardshell doctrine and practice. He probably was the primary cause of the Hardshell’s imbibing the doctrine known as "Time Salvation." But more on that later.

Cayce became a recognized "authority" on Hardshellism. Today, a quote from Cayce is of immense authoritative value. In fact, when I moved to North Carolina in 1976, and became a member of one of the churches in the Bear Creek Association, I met the association's "pope," the aged C.M. Mills. He spoke very highly of "Brother Cayce" and advised me and all young preachers to study his "editorial writings" along side of the Bible. It is ironic that the oldest Baptist Association of America, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, recommended all their young preachers to study John Gill’s commentaries and Body of Divinity. Now it is Cayce who is recommended by today’s Hardshells.

Elder Mills himself obtained many of his "views" on Hardshell doctrine and practice from this veritable "patriarch." Elder Cayce was one of those who helped to "chop-up" the Old London Confession of Faith while at the Fulton Convention in 1900 (which brother Ross has discussed in his articles and I will deal with later in this book).

In studying Cayce's Editorials, I recall how troubled I was at some of the views which Cayce had advocated. I particularly remember how he "spiritualized" many plain passages of scripture. For instance, he believed that the story of "The rich man and Lazarus" (Luke 16) was not teaching what happens at death, i.e., heaven and hell, but taught rather that the Jews were cut-off from the "church kingdom" and the Gentiles grafted in. (More on this will be discussed later).

I also remember visiting the old home place, in Arkansas, of the Cayce’s. Claud’s son, Hartsell, also a Hardshell preacher, still lived in the old home. Dad and I were there in the late 70's on a preaching trip. I remember going into the building where the Cayces published their famed periodical, “The Primitive Baptist,” and admiring the enormous library of books that this family had collected over the years. Truly impressive.

My Father and His Ministry

Dad, in my opinion, has been one of the top "Elders" within the Hardshell denomination for the past 25-30 years. He is one of their most theologically-trained. He attended a Baptist Bible college, prior to becoming a Hardshell, for about two years. He also has one of the largest personal libraries of all their preachers and has been one of the most laborious in his private studies (Cayce, an exception, of course). He has been about the only Hardshell of the last 50 years to engage others, chiefly among the Campbellites, in "debates" to defend Hardshell Doctrine. He certainly is well-read in Hardshell history (although, sadly, not as much as he should be). For several years my father was the leading writer, among the "contributing editors," of one of the leading Hardshell periodicals of the past thirty years, namely “THE CHRISTIAN BAPTIST,” edited by Dad's and my friend, Elder S. T. Tolley, of Atwood, Tennessee. I too wrote numerous articles for this paper when I was with the Hardshells.

I myself have been "ordained" twice by the Hardshells, once in August of 1974 in Middletown, Ohio and the other time in June of 1979 in Shalotte, North Carolina. It was in the fall of 1972, within weeks of my baptism, that I began to be called upon, by my Dad, to "introduce the services," as the Hardshells are accustomed to say. This was at the Middletown church. It was a small church with about 30-40 regular attendants, but it was very warm and lively. Both the singing (which was "acapella" and "congregational") and the preaching were very "spirited." But more of that later.

Let me first get back to Dad and his influence on me and of his standing among the Hardshells. I also want to address the question of how both Dad and myself (and later three brothers and one sister) all became Hardshell Baptists. I will also relate some of my personal experiences while among the Hardshell brethren.

Dad and Mom had been married only a few years when Dad was "saved" at a service of the Lindenwald Baptist Church of Hamilton, Ohio. This church was a Missionary Baptist church, of which my maternal grandparents were members. Mom and Dad already had two children and I was on the way. They lived with my grandparents and it was through their encouragement that Dad and Mom attended the Lindenwald church. Grandmother (Eva Rickles) died that year (shortly after seeing Dad "saved") and six months before I was born.

Dad had just ended his "stint" in the Korean War and had been a typical teenage, depraved sinner, as he himself would testify. And indeed Dad had been "saved," or at least his entire life had been drastically changed. His commitment to Christ and the Christian faith was fervent and his zeal was very great. So, when I was just an infant, Dad quit his job and he and Mom sold their house, packed everything and left with 3 kids to go to Springfield, Missouri so that Dad could attend the Baptist Bible College, which is under the Baptist Bible Fellowship.

After conversion, Dad had felt an almost immediate "call to preach," and so, with reluctance from Mom (God rest her soul), but with money and prayer support from the Lindenwald church, they took off. Mom and Dad both attended the college but Mom soon had to drop-out (because of the birth of my younger sister, Judy, in June of 1957), a decision she said that she later regretted. She immensely enjoyed the fellowship there.

Near the end of Dad's 2nd year at the college, he came to be a believer in the "doctrines of grace." The college was basically "Arminian," however. But through his own studies of the scriptures and sovereign grace literature, Dad came to be an adamant "Calvinist." His outspokenness on these things in class soon caused problems. He felt that he could no longer stay in fellowship with them and so, he and Mom and the four kids all returned to Hamilton, Ohio.

Dad, as brother Bob Ross knows firsthand, came to Ashland, Kentucky around 1958 to search-out a fellowship of "Sovereign Grace" or "Calvinistic" Baptists. After visiting with the brethren of Calvary Baptist Church of Ashland, Dad and Mom were both "re-baptized" (they had been baptized previously into the Lindenwald church). The Ashland church were "Landmarkers" and I assume that they had a strong influence on his embracing basic "Landmarkism."

I know that in these days, and for a few years following, Dad was an ardent believer in the leading tenets of Calvary Church's fellowship, namely, "Landmarkism," "Calvinist doctrine," "Premillennialism," "Absolute Predestination," "Means" and "Missions," etc. From what I've read and seen of his writings and debates of that period, he was a very sound teacher (except for his Landmarkism). I remember, even at a tender age of 5 or 6, meeting brother Ross while Dad and the family were visiting him, brother John Gilpin and the Calvary Church.

During those early days of fellowship with Calvary Baptist and her circle of churches of like fellowship, Dad labored (under "authority" from the Calvary Church) in the Hamilton area to begin a domestic mission with the intention of forming a church. I remember those days. We met first in our house and later in a small building on Walnut Street. The church was called "The New Testament Baptist Church." We had Sunday School at first, until Dad "came to see their evil" (his words). The church had a piano and even at that young age I can remember my Mom teaching in the Sunday School and the church, singing "At the cross, At the cross, where I first saw the light . . . It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the way." Vividly, I can also hear the church singing, "Leaning on the everlasting arms," and "Alas, and did my Saviour bleed," etc.

Dad Joins the Hardshells

Actually, it was when Dad began to preach against Sunday Schools that he began to have trouble with Calvary Baptist's fellowship and lost a few members of his church. I personally think that Dad felt alone and isolated at this time. He began to look around and, as he says, to "study the scriptures more closely." He told me that he first attended a Hardshell church in Carlisle, Ohio on a Sunday afternoon at a church called "Tapscott." They only met once a month, and in the afternoon. Dad said that there were only about 6-8 people there and that they were all old. Dad said he was somewhat scared to go because he had heard so many "bad things about them" by his former fellowship. But he was "impressed" with their "simplicity" of "worship" and of the "humility" and "mannerisms" of the preacher and people. The preacher had no written "notes," was rather old, and not well-educated. But, as Dad would say, he "spoke from his heart" and "with tears." He said he was also "impressed" with how they "ended their services"; the preacher gave no long, drawn-out "invitations," but simply stopped preaching and started singing. At this point, the congregation also started singing as they all left their seats to go in a line to "shake hands with," "kiss" and/or "embrace" the preacher. This is a common and much promoted "tradition" in the Hardshell churches.

Dad had become "attracted," but it was, in my opinion, a "fatal attraction" in many ways. Dad has said he felt, while at that service, he had "gone back in time" and was "sitting in one of the original apostolic churches." He began to think that he had "found the Church" at last. This church became, in his view, "Canaan's land." The Hardshell church was the "True Church" and "Kingdom of God." After experiencing this great attraction for the Hardshells, but still having some "serious doctrinal issues" separating him from them, he began to visit other Hardshell churches and preachers to discuss those "Issues," chiefly with Elders Bradley and Tolley. He was already an "Anti-Sunday Schooler," and it seems to me that the Hardshells were able to use this as an advantage in getting him to "oppose" other such "inventions" for the same reasons that he opposed Sunday Schools and such as "musical instruments," "choirs," "salaried ministry," "women teachers," "revival meetings," "seminaries," "missions," etc.

Dad had embraced the idea, like the Hardshells, that anything pertaining to the church's doctrine, work or practice must have been originated by the apostolic churches and that any "new" work, doctrine or practice of later origin was "evil," "man-made" and "modern." With the Hardshells, anything in those areas which is post-apostolic is to be anathematized. Patternism, a deadly cancer, has been a major error in both the Hardshells and the Campbellites. Brother Ross has written against the dangers of Patternism and more will be said on that later in this book.

Dad later took the unusual view, even for the Hardshells, that the Apostle John's "sin unto death" was "marital adultery." The "death" was not physical death, but permanent loss of membership in the Hardshell Church and, of course, its "blessings and privileges," i.e. baptism, the Lord's Supper and feet-washing.

Not all Hardshells share this view, but it is the "mainstream" position and is, with most, a "test of fellowship." Many "splits" and "divisions" have occurred over this issue, particularly when one "sister church" takes in another church's "excluded" adulterers or retains one in their fellowship. One of their leading preachers in Alabama, former Governor Guy Hunt, and one who has been in my home, reportedly believes that if you ever had "premarital sex," then you also could never become a member of the church or be baptized.

The issue of "perseverance" also became an issue for Dad to re-address and he also did some "reforming" on this issue. He continued to believe in "preservation" and "eternal security," but not "perseverance," at least not as held by the brethren of the Old Baptist Confessions. But more on that later.

After all this "changing," or as Dad would say, "coming to more light," he decided to "join the Primitive Baptists." He had already been teaching these "new things" to his small church. The church got smaller still. Finally, those few who were left, all voted to "join" the Hardshells. Both being Landmarkers, the Hardshells "re-baptized" the whole church (Dad's third time).

(Mom did not join because she and Dad had divorced prior to his uniting with the Hardshells. I and the other kids lived with Mom and my step-father, with Dad visiting us regularly)

Really, Dad was not only isolated and alone religiously just prior to joining the Hardshells, but also socially and domestically. Mom continued, till she died, to be an "Absoluter" and a "Calvinistic Missionary Baptist," and was definitely not a "Landmarker." I was not at that time under Dad's Hardshell influence; that was around 1963 and 1964. Dad became a Hardshell around 1966.

Let me now tell some of my experiences relative to my Bible and Hardshell history studies. I began to collect the current Hardshell literature, subscribing to most of their periodicals, and reading the "debates" of the Hardshell fathers, i.e., Cayce, Daily, Thompson, Dalton, Paine, Holder, etc.

I also received my copy of the famed “HASSELL'S HISTORY,” and I also read numerous other writings of men such as Newman, Redford, Hanks, Potter, Craig, Oliphant, etc. Particularly did I study the things that these Hardshells had to say about the "Great Division" between the so-called Old School (Hardshell) and the New School (Missionary, or as Hardshells would say, the "Softshells").

The question naturally arises as to how I could accept the view that the Hardshells were the "true," "Old," “Original,” or "Primitive" Baptists. Briefly stated, I was in error in accepting the statements of Hardshell "Historians" without diligently checking out their claims. (Many others also need to be enlightened) Today I realize that those Hardshell “histories” are fraught with serious "deceptions." Actually, these so-called histories are a very good example of what is called “revisionist histories.” Those Hardshell “revisions” are serious errors in "interpretation" of those events and times by Hardshells with "faulty vision" and an evil agenda. Much of what they write in regard to their history is bunk, perhaps wishful thinking. Very few of them have been honest historians. The few honest ones have sometimes left the Hardshells to associate with those truly Old Baptists who accept the Old Confessions (like the Kirklands, but more on that later).

I remember discussing with Dad, during those early years in the Hardshells, about the so-called "split" between the "Old" and "New Schoolers." I remember asking Dad about the so-called "Sovereign Grace Baptists." I affirmed that they were not "Arminian" or "Fullerite," but "Gillite" and believers in grace just as the Hardshells. In the "split," where did these folks go? Was there a "third party" to the famed old "split?" Dad responded by saying that there was indeed some groups who were aligned with neither (such Baptists as J.R. Graves would later be identified with) the Hardshells nor the "modern mission movement" and that these were the grand-parents of the modern Sovereign Grace Baptists (or Independent Baptists).

I also asked him about the London and Philadelphia Confessions. I asked whether these "Sovereign Gracers" weren't more like the "Old Baptists" of the Confessions, rather than the Hardshells, especially since they believed in "gospel means" as did the signers of the old Confessions. His response was that “the Confessions were not totally sound” and did not express the position of all the Baptists of the time. This, however, I have found to be false, for no "Old Baptist" prior to 1800 and the days of Gilbert Beebe held to Hardshell belief on the new birth. So, basically, I left this issue somewhat unsettled in my mind until I could research it more at a later time.

Hardshellism and the Bible

Now let me relate some of my other early experiences in reconciling Hardshell views with the Bible itself. I did not find it difficult to find what is called "Calvinism" in the scriptures. So, with this much, I was content with what the Hardshells preached. The problems that arose in my mind, however, during those early stages of Bible study, concerned their views on "Spirit Alone" regeneration, without "gospel means.” I also, as a young pastor and teacher in the church, and constant reader of God’s word, often felt guilty about not being able to call upon those who heard me to “repent” or to “believe,” to “receive” or “trust Christ,” to “be saved” or “born again.” In fact, fear kept me from doing what I felt burdened to do. I would be branded an “Arminian” and would be shunned and spoken against, have doors shut, etc.

Other issues also aroused suspicion in my mind at that time, such as "marriage and divorce," "Church Government," "Landmarkism," "Eschatology," "Sunday Schools," "Musical Instruments," etc. I remember calling Dad on the telephone regularly with "questions about a certain verse" which, it seemed to me, taught contrary to Hardshellism's "anti-means" doctrine. For instance, I remember asking Dad about II Thess. 1:7-9 and the fact that Paul said that "those who do not know God and obey the gospel would be lost eternally." Dad's "explanation" and attempt to "harmonize" the verse with Hardshellism did not satisfy me. His idea was that the text did not affirm that all who disobeyed the gospel would be eternally lost (which in my mind it obviously did). His idea was that there were basically four groups in the scriptures relative to this verse. They are:

(1) Those who know not God and obey not.
(2) Those who know not God and obey.
(3) Those who know God and obey not.
(4) Those who know God and obey.

To Dad, Paul was affirming the eternal damnation of group #1 and not of group #3, as the Missionaries taught. But the question in my mind was, is there a group representing #3? To Hardshells, there are folks who truly know God BUT do not know Christ or the gospel and do not obey the gospel. This, however, I later came to see was a great falsehood. All the "sheep" (elect) "follow" Christ (obey him). Those who do not "obey" are ignorant of God and eternally lost. Needless to say, there were many other phone calls to Dad in order to get the Hardshell "explanation" of those scripture passages that seemed to contradict Hardshellism. I will have more to say on these when I examine more closely Hardshell positions on regeneration and other pertinent doctrines.

"Popery"

In those early years in the Hardshell church, I soon had my first confrontation with Hardshell "popery," especially in their beloved "Associations." In 1973 Dad, while a contributing editor of THE CHRISTIAN BAPTIST periodical, wrote an article on "Satan" and it was published on the front page of the paper. In this article Dad took the Baptist and historic Christian position that Satan was once in heaven as an angel of God until he "sinned and was cast out." That position was rejected by most of the Hardshells and became a "test of fellowship" with many.

After the article was published, the "peace and fellowship" of the churches in the Powell's Valley Association were greatly "disturbed". Soon, one church after another in that Association took up measures to "withdraw fellowship" and "declare against" Dad and our church in Middletown.

Finally, amidst the turmoil, one of the churches, under the influence of "pope" John Robbins, "called for a council of sister churches" to settle the matter. A council was held with the Oak Ridge, Tennessee church. In this council I saw first-hand the ignorance, tradition and "kangaroo court" tactics of these Hardshells. It was typical of the "power struggles" that occur in cults and heretical sects.

The "resolution" that was drawn-up and agreed upon demanded that Dad and the Middletown Church agree to "never preach in any way, publicly or privately, the view that Satan was once in heaven and fell from it." If he and the church did not agree to this, then they would be "dis-fellowshipped" by the other churches in the Association. Of course, Dad and the church could not in good conscience do this and subsequently were "excluded" by other churches. This caused confusion and division in other areas as well as in the Powell's Valley Association.

Most of the churches among the Hardshells, for one reason or another, refused to side with Dad on the issue. Most agreed that his views were "heretical." Others did not side with Dad, such as Elder Tolley, not so much because of his views, for he shared them, as did some other Hardshells, but because the Middletown Church had "taken in excluded members" of the other churches of the Powell's Valley Association who sided with him. In any case, Dad and the Middletown Church found themselves somewhat isolated from the Hardshells at large. If Dad preached at a certain church after that, the Powell's Valley Association would threaten that church, "call them on the carpet," etc. In most Hardshell associations, there is either a direct or indirect correspondence with other associations in America, so the "controversy", proverbially speaking, "spread like wild fire."

My "Ordination"

During those days of "endless controversy," I myself experienced many "closed doors" to go and preach. It was during this time of a "break in fellowship" that I was first called to be "ordained" to the "full work of the gospel ministry" by the Middletown Church. Letters were sent out to the sister churches in the area to come to the Middletown church and assist in forming a "presbytery" to "ordain" me. Several local "Elders" attended in spite of the "threat of retaliation" by the Powell's Valley Association and her "correspondents".

The Elders at this ordination were Dad, Boggs, Trautner, Bolender, Jones, together with various deacons from the churches in the area. Later the Minutes of this "ordination service" were published in “THE CHRISTIAN BAPTIST.” All these Elders were recognized as leaders in the Hardshell denomination.

This ordination took place in August of 1974. Over the next eighteen months or so I continued to travel and preach where I could. Many churches and preacher brethren did not agree with the act of the Powell's Valley Association in making this issue a "test of fellowship" and so tried to "side-step" the issue. But the Powell's Valley brethren, under the leadership of "pope" Robbins, continued to put the "pressure" on those who were using and recognizing Dad, the Middletown Church, and me.

Dad continued to affirm that the "real issue" was not the "origin of Satan," but rather the "ignorance" of the Hardshells in general and the "ambitions" of "pope" Robbins in particular, who, Dad thought (and I agree), felt "threatened" by Dad's position in the Association.

From my study of Hardshell history within the associational framework, and from personal experience, this "butting of heads" among preachers, seeking the "moderatorship" of the association, is a common occurrence. It is a fact that most associations have one great leader who "rules the roost." (Note: There are "pecking orders" in nearly all groups) In the larger and leading associations, this one "great leader" controls several associations far and near, due to the "direct correspondence" with other associations. It is my honest observation that there is much "jockeying for position" in most Hardshell associations. While these associations often give lip-service to the idea that associations have “no authority over the churches," they nevertheless exercise practical authority and sway over them.

No wonder that Hardshell and "Absoluter", Elder W. J. Berry, could write (in 1958) and say that "there are now not more than nine men whose dictates control all the principle groups of Primitive Baptists throughout the United States." (From the "Old Faith Contender")

When I moved to North Carolina in 1976 (to be married to a girl who was the daughter of Elder Newell Helms, who then and now (2006) continues to be a leader among the Hardshells in this area (NC), namely the "Bear Creek Association") I found that Elder C. M. Mills (referred to earlier) was probably one of those "nine men" that brother Berry spoke about. The Bear Creek Association was in "direct correspondence" with Powell's Valley and so my move to N.C. ran me smack into the controversy over the "devil doctrine" and the "orderly standing" of the church in Middletown.

My Second "Ordination"

Shortly after my move to N.C., in the spring of 1976, I met with Elder C. M. Mills at his home in Charlotte. Elder Newell Helms was also there, as was "pope" John Robbins and his cohort, Ray Wells, the "official" Powell's Valley Association "clerk;" the latter two had driven 300 miles from Tennessee to "help out" with "my situation." Elders Mills and Robbins believed that my "ordination" was "invalid," "illegal" and not "recognizable" because it was done by the Middletown Church while in "disorder," having been "declared against" by the Powell's Valley Association.

My argument, with some assistance from Mill's protege and my father-in-law, Newell Helms, was that it was conducted by sound brethren, i.e. Trautner, Jones, Bolender, etc. I also argued that the reason for non-fellowship was invalid. Never had a Baptist church made the "origin of Satan" an issue effecting fellowship, excepting that our forefathers rejected Daniel Parker's "Two-Seedism" with its "eternal and uncreated Devil" belief. However, seeing that Robbins was himself a smaller "pope" under the greater "pope" Mills, and yet "close friends," Mills was insistent on seeing me "re-ordained" so that, as he said, this "cloud" would not hang over me and my ministry for the rest of my life.

Needless to say, I was in a "tight spot". I agreed with the Middletown Church on this issue. But I had recently married and "settled down" in N.C. and had to find a way to "get along" with the brethren among whom I hoped to labor. I began to pray over the matter and to ask "counsel and advice" from many "elders" far and near. The "elders" I spoke with were primarily the following: Trautner, Bolender, Jones, Bradley, Tolley, Watts, and some few others. All of the "elders" in my former "presbytery" were all sympathetic and gave consent for "re-ordination" if it would help me and "keep the peace," except for Dad and Boggs, who were both of the Middletown Church.

I remember talking in particular with Elder Bradley. Why, I don't know, for he was one of the "cowardly" preachers who, when invited to be in the first ordination, failed to come. I suppose that it was because he was a recognized "leader" among the Hardshells and did not want to risk his "standing." In any case, he advised a "re-ordination."

Brother Bradley had himself been conversant with "pope" Mills when he first came to "spy-out" the "Old Church." Bradley certainly didn't want to "butt heads" with Mills. The Cincinnati Church was an "independent" church, i.e. not in an association. Though not in an association, they were still somewhat amenable to associational "politics."

So I agreed to be "re-ordained." This meant my "exclusion" from the Middletown Church and caused "hurt feelings" with Dad. I united with Bethel Primitive Baptist Church in the Bear Creek Association of N.C. and later was "re-ordained" by them. The "cloud" did somewhat disappear, but only to be followed by other ones. I filled regular "appointments" at this church for some time and also preached regularly by invitation in several of the churches of that Association.

Over the next few years (1976-1982), the churches in the Bear Creek, Powell's Valley, and a few others, began to magnify the issue of the "origin of Satan." In nearly every "ordination service," whether of preachers or deacons, "presbyters" would ask the candidate his views on the subject. Several "elders," like Tolley, took issue with this practice. They were opposed to making this issue a "test of fellowship." I stood up in one "ordination service" and objected to this type of query. But I was ignored and viewed as a "trouble-maker."

In fact, I myself had been asked at Bethel Church, during my ordination service, whether Satan "fell from Heaven." My answer was Luke 10:18 - "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." I was ordained with this answer, to my surprise. I was also asked whether the "story of the rich man and Lazarus" taught that the rich man went to a "literal hell." I said that he went to "Hades." Again, this satisfied the brethren. One visiting "elder" from West Virginia, Norvel Mann, later confessed to me his shock and disgust at the line of questioning. It was obvious to him that the so-called presbytery was doing everything they could to find a reason not to ordain me. Due to the influence of Cayce and Mills, the belief that Luke 16 taught what happens at death to the saved and lost was regarded as "heresy."

Looking back on these times makes me thankful to be out of such a tyrannical cult. It wasn't until I began to pastor two non-associational churches in eastern N.C. in the early 80's that I received some relief from this "tyranny." I pastored there until leaving with a letter of dismissal around 1983.

In the few years following this, I came to see the errors of the Hardshells as to their "Articles of Faith." When I saw the truth of "means," I immediately contacted the Sovereign Grace Baptists here and there, including brother Ross, and thus began a new search for fellowship. Today, I feel liberated from the "shackles" of Hardshell heresy and popery. My experiences among them and my acquaintance with their teachings make me desirous of "exposing" their unscriptural ways and beliefs for the benefit of others whom they might lead astray.

Chapter Three - The Hardshell Cult

It is my firm conviction that those groups of churches that call themselves Primitive Baptists, or Hardshells, are by definition a cult. They teach “heresy” and are an “apostate” group of “Baptists.” This does not mean, however, that I believe they never preach the gospel or that all Hardshells are unregenerate. I do not doubt that many of them are sadly deceived and that others genuinely love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hardshells are Christians by profession. They believe most fundamentals of the faith, being trinitarian, Baptistic (generally), Calvinistic (generally), and conservative. They are not a cult if we define cult as a group of those who deny the Deity of Jesus. But, I think the word cult also can be applied to groups who have proper views on the doctrine of Christ’s person, but nevertheless have certain other beliefs and practices that are fundamentally “heretical.” This is the case with the Hardshells.

Brother Ross said:

“A group becomes such a cult when it becomes so distinct from other sects within the Christianity cult that it has reason to reject all of the other sects as not being basically Christian. In other words, the group declares "exclusivity" for itself, and theoretically and practically separates as "an island unto itself."

“In declaring its own uniqueness from all other Christian sects, and from all other religions as such, it has "culticized" itself.” When does this happen? It happens when (1) no other sect is regarded as having any "true Christians" in that sect, and (2) no other sect is regarded as preaching the true Gospel which is capable of producing a "true Christian."


Thus, as Baptists and other Christians of the same basic Gospel faith and brotherhood, we do not unilaterally declare "who" is a cult by our own determinations; rather, the cult creates and declares its very own "culticization." The cult REJECTS US. It declares itself to be exclusive from others, and considers itself to be a distinct and unique entity from all other sects, a group wherein, they say, alone, may the truth of God be found, along with the legitimate adherents of that truth. (From his article entitled "Cult.")

In further clarifying what it means to be a Christian cult, I cite these helpful remarks.

“The ambiguity of the term ‘cult’ makes it necessary to determine in what sense the word is used. For instance, a sociological definition will differ from a religious one, and a Christian definition will differ from, say, the Mormon or Islamic view. Therefore, if and when you use the word ‘cult,’ you should qualify it.

Given the fact that there’s currently no universal definition of a cult, it seems est to ask simple questions whenever someone talks about cults: “Just what do you mean by the term ‘cult’?” You may not agree with the way the person uses the term, but at least you’ll know where he or she is coming from.

You may also want to ask yourself the same question before referring to any group as a cult. It may not be such a bad idea to begin by explaining what you mean by the term “cult” in order to avoid any potential misunderstanding.”
(A Cult Recipe?, in “Prophets of the Apocalypse,” by Kenneth Samples, Erwin de Castro, Richard Abanes, and Robert Lyle)

Another source adds this information and criteria.

“As if defining the term ‘cult’ weren’t already difficult enough, there is another distinction to be aware of: the term can be defined either sociologically or theologically.”

“Sociological definitions of the term ‘cult’...include consideration of such factors as authoritarian leadership patterns, loyalty and commitment mechanisms, lifestyle characteristics, and conformity patterns (including the use of various sanctions in connection with those members who deviate).”
(Ronald Enroth, “What Is A Cult?” in A Guide to Cults and New Religions, e.d. Ronald Enroth (Downers Grove, Ill., Intervarsity 1983), p. 14)

“Theological definitions of the term ‘cult’ make note of the reasons why a particular group’s beliefs and/or practices are considered unorthodox – that is, in conflict with the body of essential teachings of the movement the group compares itself to.”

“A religious group originating as a heretical sect and maintaining fervent commitment to heresy. Adj.: “cultic” (may be used with reference to tendencies as well as full cult status).”
(Robert Bowman, A Biblical Guide To Orthodoxy And Heresy)

“A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.” (Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults, Zondervan, 1995)

Let it be clearly understood then that the word cult is not entirely evil or negative, but that the word itself can be used to describe the true "body of Christ". All believers are a cult. But, as in most debates, one must be careful to define terms. This is what I will do in charging the Hardshells with being a cult, heretics and apostates from the Faith.

There are certain words that are called by speech and communications experts “motive” or “emotive.” These are words that speakers know will evoke certain feelings, thoughts, and emotions from a particular audience. For instance, a grand dragon leader of the KKK can stand before his hooded knights and say “Jew” or “Nigger”, knowing that it will evoke ill and angry feelings. Needless to say, words stand for concepts. What thoughts and emotions certain words stir in a person will be based upon that person’s definition and understanding of the concept behind the word.

Cult is such a word. It evokes certain thoughts and emotions, though not always the same ones, in various people, phenomenologically speaking. So, let me further define the word as I have used it of the Hardshells. I believe cult has come to be recognized by the following characteristics.

1) A denial of some fundamental teaching of the Bible. Such a denial being unique to that group (i.e. their “hobby horse” or “unifying principle”).

2) Exclusiveness – the belief that this group consists of the “one and only ones,” the purest religion and the only true representatives of “the faith.” Involved here are bigotry, pride, and egotism.

3) Psychological Entrapment – wherein the individual members are “brainwashed” and “mesmerized.” The leaders manipulate and control the minds of the members. Escape from the group becomes rare. These folks are ruled by intimidation and the fear of man.


4) False Claims – wherein the cult expresses its extravagant view of itself. Many cults believe that they are “special,” yea, in the highest and most restrictive sense, the “chosen” or “favorites” of the Lord. For instance, a cult might claim that their members are the 144,000 of the Apocalypse. They also may claim to have “special revelation” that other groups do not have.

In each of these areas, the Hardshells “fit the bill.” They are by scriptural definition a “heresy”; that is, they are a “schism,” “sect,” “faction,” “party,” “division,” “split,” etc. They are “apostate” because they have “removed,” “departed,” “left,” and “changed positions” from the faith of the apostles, early church, and of the historic Baptists. They are anything but “primitive,” “original,” or “Old” Baptists. Life brother Ross has so clearly shown, this is a “farcical” and “spurious” claim, to say the least. They have “apostacized” from the faith of the “Old Baptists” (as expressed in the London and Philadelphia Confessions) and yet continue to boldly claim to be the “Old” or “Original” Baptists! That is like the fellow who claimed to have his great grandfather’s “old” and “original” pocket knife EVEN THOUGH HE HAD REPLACED NEARLY EVERY PART OF IT WITH NEW PARTS! It is almost laughable.

The question, “Who are the Primitive Baptists?” has been debated a few times by the Hardshells. The ones I have read (Potter-Throgmorton and Daily-Throgmorton) had this as a major issue, the proposition debated. Though Throgmorton could have done a better job, nonetheless, he demonstrated how the Hardshell "claim was a gross falsehood. Today no Hardshell “elder” will come forward to publicly defend their many "claims." This is often another characteristic of a cult. Some tend to “go underground” and become secluded, especially when their false claims are being exposed.

Hardshells preach many sermons in which they extol their own peculiar virtues and characteristics while condemning the supposed evils of other churches and denominations. They are often making erroneous charges against the “Arminians,” “New School Baptists,” “Missionary Baptists,” “Means Baptists,” etc. When asked to defend those charges and claims in public debate with those prepared for a rebuttal of their claims, today’s Hardshells have “tucked in the tail and run.”

However, brother Ross documented the history of the movement, which is itself a part of the history of the Baptists in general. He certainly shows that “Old Baptists” are men like Gill, Spurgeon, Kiffin, Keach, and the brethren of the old confessions. Bob has also shown that the “chief error” of the Hardshell cult is “regeneration” by the “Spirit Alone” without the Gospel or word of God as a “means.” He shows this to be a novel idea and recent invention among Baptists. He has also demonstrated in many ways how their errors are against the scriptures and the gospel and the true facts of history. I hope I can enlarge upon that in this work.

To some, the question as to who are today the true “Primitive” or “Original” Baptists is an all important one. The question is most important to “Landmarkers,” those who believe that the Baptist Church is the church that Jesus established and promised “perpetuity” (Matt. 16:18) These define “church” as being any group that adopts and follows their “credo” or “articles of faith.” Any group not accepting those tenets are not recognized as a “true church.” These Hardshell Landmarkers believe that the “authority” to baptize, evangelize, eat the Lord’s Supper, etc., resides strictly with the “church” so defined. Therefore, only the work done by the “true church” is "valid."

This belief necessitates that a group have a proper “genealogy.” A church is “authorized” by another church. This led the Landmarkers into controversy on criteria for deciding if a “church” is really a “church.” The relative nature of the question as to who are in fact the true Old Baptists” should be apparent. All Landmarkers agree that the “true” church that Jesus set up has existed in visible form since the apostles. Having agreed that the “Baptists” of the Reformation and Dark Ages were the rightful descendants of the apostles, the question then is, who today, among the Baptist sects, are the present descendants of those “Old” Baptists?

Having said all this, Let me say that the Hardshells boldly and constantly affirm that they only are the “true,” “old,” or “primitive” Baptists and that all other Baptist groups are “heretics” and “apostates.”

The Hardshells, being a cult, do not have an environment that fosters free thinking and exchange of views. “Tradition” reigns almost supreme in the Hardshell churches. Whatever has been the historic Hardshell theory or practice (in a given area) becomes the “Old Baptist position.” A quote from a Hardshell forefather and patriarch, like Daily, Cayce, or Hassell, is oftentimes more authoritative than the scriptures themselves. And the foremost reason for their nick-name, Hardshell, is due to their stubbornness in refusing to listen carefully to the arguments contrary to their traditions. They are truly “set in their ways.”

The cultic nature of the Hardshell denomination is further seen in the fact that they like to place their meeting houses way out “in the sticks” and away from populated areas. Elder Mills expressed the prevailing attitude of them when he said, “give us our Bible and leave us alone.” This too was expressed by Hardshell fathers, C.B. and his son Sylvester Hassell, Hardshell authorities on their “history,” to say:

“Genuine Baptist churches are seldom found in cities, and when found in such localities, are apt to be in a sickly condition.” (History of the Church of God, pg. 836)

Well, this certainly would cast suspicion of many modern day Primitive Baptist Churches! Certainly of one of their leading churches, the Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church! If you are a Hardshell church with your meeting house in any place other than the “back-woods,” then you are probably of “inferior grade,” “sickly,” or to be “declared in disorder” by the country or frontier churches.

Hassell also, on the same page, says that such "city-churches" follow the lead of the Missionaries (and Arminians) and meet more than once per month or week! Laughable.

Probably the largest congregation and meeting house that the Hardshells have is the one in Nashville, Tennessee, called Bethel Primitive Baptist Church.” This church is envied by some Hardshells who wish they were as prosperous. Others think that the “grandeur” of the meeting house, with its “cathedral” style and “pastor’s study,” is too much like the “Missionaries,” “Arminians,” and/or “denominational churches.” This would be the view of Hassell and Mills and many others who think Nashville, being a city, would not likely have a sound church.

Most Hardshells pride themselves on being “quaint” and “simple,” “small” and “few,” and believe that the more Hardshell a church is the smaller it will be. The most “prosperous” churches are those belonging to that faction called “Progressives.” These are Hardshells who are viewed as “heretical” because they have “Bible classes,” “Sunday Schools,” “Missions,” “Musical Instruments” and “Choirs,” etc.

To many Hardshells, a large membership, over 150, is a sign that something is amiss and that there are too many Missionary or Arminian "tendencies" and characteristics present, and probably they are too “loose” in discipline, doctrine, and practice.

Actually, the Hardshells, do just about everything they can to be unlike the Missionary Baptists. They work hard to oppose whatever the Missionaries and Arminians believe and do. It has gotten to be absurd and the source of much difficulty.


Chapter Four - Hardshell History (Primer)

Hardshells make many false and erroneous "claims." Nowhere is this more evident than in the so-called "histories" that they have produced. They "claim" to be the "true," "Old," and "Original" Baptists. They "claim" that they only have stood "unchanged" from what their "forefathers" were, prior to the "Great Division" in 1832. They try to "prove" this from scripture and from history; however, both are against them, as we will continue to show.

The Hardshell denomination was born and developed between 1820-1840 in America. Many Hardshells refer to the year 1832 as the precise time when the Hardshells severed all ties with "Mission Baptists." This was the year of the famed "Black Rock Address," wherein the Hardshells, under the leadership of Gilbert Beebe, and assembled at the Black Rock meeting-house in Maryland, declared "non-fellowship" for all Baptists who supported the "mission movement."

It took time for the controversy to reach the various parts of the country, but as it did, association after association took up the issue. Associations, churches and even families, soon divided and thus began what Hassell called a "war of words" that continued to this day. And it will become obvious to the reader that the Hardshells have been the primary "combatants" in this "Cold War," "throwing stones" and "taking pot-shots" at the so-called Mission Baptists.

Elder Claud Cayce himself put out a booklet entitled "HOT SHOTS" in which he "lambasted" the "Arminian" or "Missionary Baptists." And as you will see from the quotes to follow from Hassell, the Hardshells have been the most "violent" in their "attacks" upon non-Hardshell groups of Baptists, almost to the point of using "terrorist tactics." You will also see that, to the Hardshells, the number one "enemy" is the "Mission Baptists." This will justify my "claim" that the Hardshells are, in many ways, a "hate group." They have very little good to say of the "New School" Baptists. This practice of "preaching against" the Missionaries has had its "adverse effects."

After you have been shown some of this "garbage" that the Hardshells spew forth against the Missionaries, you will then be amazed, like brother Ross and I have been, that some Hardshells ask us, saying, "What has gotten your ire up? What have we done to upset you? Why don't you leave us alone?"

Actually, these are questions that the Missionaries should have been asking the Hardshells, because it is they who will not leave the Missionaries alone, and it is they who have become "upset!" This is evident when we read the writings of Hassell and others.

The Hardshell "Name"

Hassell's view of the "Old School" or Hardshell faction of Baptists was that they were the "true," "orderly" and "original" Baptists and the "only ones" entitled to the name "Old School" or "Primitive" Baptists. He recognizes, however, that the so-called New Schoolers repudiate that claim, especially those who still hold to the Calvinism of the old Confessions and yet are missionary, such as brother Ross and myself.

Hassell says:

“This claim on the part of the New School has been set up by some of them, perhaps, since the year 1870. Lectures have been given, sermons delivered, newspapers have teemed, magazines have been filled, and books have abounded with argument, declamation and sophistry, to prove that the New School are the Old School-that the Old School are the New School-that white is black, and black is white-that the pharisaical, money-loving, money-hunting, money-begging, mesmerizing, passion-exciting, 'do and live' Baptists of the present day are the Simon-pure, old fashioned, Primitive Baptists of a hundred years ago; and that Kehukeeites [Hardshells-S.G.] and Blackrockers need not lay claim to any such title at all! Thus it is seen after all what advantage there is thought to be in a good name" (page 749).

Talk about a "war of words!" Talk about "ad hominem" attacks! There is surely plenty of "venom" here! These words of Hassell reveal how much in love the Hardshells are with a "name!" They are like their "twin" brother, the "Campbellites," in their love of a name and title. The so-called New Schoolers did not fall in love with a name, as their churches generally just kept the name of "Baptist." The fact that Missionary Baptists, who remained Calvinistic, contend that they are the really "Old" Baptists, does not mean that they, like the Hardshells, covet the "name." On page 759 of this venerated Hardshell "history," Hassell says further:

“How much does this advance the claim of these men [Missionary Baptists], who made or cling to this society [missions] to the title of 'Primitive Baptists?' Primitive Baptists! How Primitive? Why Primitive as far back as 1814. Born then . . . renounced the Church of Christ in 1814, and denounced her as an old-fashioned, worn out concern . . .”

Oh! how these Hardshells love their name! But the name does not fit them. Their rejection of the Old Confessions denies them to be "entitled" to the name of "Primitive" or "Old" Baptists! Hassell believed that the Missionary Baptists were the "new party, just sprung into existence during the present century" [19th] (page 755).

But the opposite is true, as brother Ross has shown already in his writings. The Hardshells are the ones newly "sprung!" No Baptist, prior to the 19th century, held that the Lord saved men apart from the preached gospel. Gilbert Beebe was the "innovator" of this "new" idea.

Dr. and Elder John Watson, whom the Hardshells claim as one of their own, but who is not one with them, affirms in his book, “THE OLD BAPTIST TEST”, published in the middle of the 19th century, that these Hardshells who reject "gospel means" are the "innovators!" He was opposed to much of the "methodology" of the mission movement, but he believed, like the old Confessions, that the gospel is "God's ordinary means" of saving sinners.

What about Change?

Jesus condemned some who erroneously contended, when they should not have, that “the old is better.” (Luke 5:39) Hardshells claim that they are the "original" Baptists because the Missionaries were the party who "changed" and brought in "new things," which they say was "the cause" of the "division." The argument that they make runs like this; Missions are new among the Baptists. We don't have them. We are therefore the "old" Baptists. Sunday Schools, musical instruments, seminaries, Bible and Tract Societies, etc. are all "new" among the Baptists. We don't have them. We are therefore the "Old" Baptists.

But all this is "farcical." According to Hardshell, Elder W. J. Berry, who knows the true facts of history in the case, testifies that the Hardshells of his day (1960) had "changed" in many ways from the Hardshells of the 1820-1840 era. He points out that many of those Hardshells were against divorce, even for adultery, and were also opposed to Baptists having life insurance! (See his pamphlet entitled, WHAT WERE THE OLD SCHOOL BAPTISTS IN 1840?-IN 1960?)

According to the statements that brother Ross has quoted from Dad and Elder Tolley, the Hardshells repudiate much of the old Confessions, especially as it concerns "gospel means," "predestination" and "perseverance." I ask the Hardshells: Who are the "old" Baptists? The Baptists who believe these things in the Confessions or those who do not? Who has "changed?"

Deception & Contradiction

One of the things that I have noticed in Hardshell "histories" is the deceptive way that they account history. They will often omit pertinent information about those ancient Baptists in order to give the "appearance" of being the truly old Baptists. These are nothing but the same kind of “revisionist histories” that dictators, like Stalin, have done. They are false histories. Brother Ross certainly has shown that with Hassell's reference to the Ketocton Association and its first moderator, Elder Fristoe. Hassell speaks of Fristoe and Ketocton as being "like one of them." However, Fristoe believed the confessions and in "gospel means." Did Hassell know that? Yes, he did. Then why not tell the reader? Because it served his purpose better not to mention it. He shows that he is not a true “historian.”

Actually, while I was with the Hardshells, I often heard them "claiming" certain 18th century Baptists as being "on their side," when in fact they were not. They claim Elder John Leland, but Elder Leland believed in gospel means, and accepted the Philadelphia and London Confessions of the Baptist Faith, and though he opposed many of the mission methods and of the “board system,” yet he is still not a 32nd cousin to the Hardshells. They claim, as I said, Elder Watson. But, he is against them too in their "anti-means" doctrine. The list could go on and on.

Some Hardshell "historians," unlike Hassell and others, make an attempt to appear or be somewhat "honest" in presenting the "facts of history." Elder Benjamin Griffin wrote a "History of the Primitive Baptists of the state of Mississippi," published first in 1853. He was honest enough to record how active the Mississippi Baptists were in the beginning in supporting and promoting "missions" of all kinds, both foreign and domestic. He also gives lengthy quotes from the histories of Mississippi's first Associations which show that they accepted the London and Philadelphia Confessions together with their belief in "gospel means." They were "Gillites" but, like Gill himself, believed that the elect were called, converted and regenerated by the word of God. More on that later.

Elder Griffin says, reluctantly, on page 124 of his history, that "were we not bound by the truth of history to speak of these things [the missionary zeal of those early Baptists-S.G.] we would gladly hide them in oblivion."

Hassell, Hanks, and other Hardshells have not been so honest and candid. You might wonder, at this point, how Griffin and other Hardshells can continue to claim to be "Old" or "Original," at least in Mississippi, in light of these revelations of true history. Basically, Griffin argued that those "Old Baptists" in Mississippi were "duped" by the wily Missionaries! This is interesting because he calls these Mission Baptists the "Old Baptists!" How could he not? They had been missionary ever since their beginning. And if these are they whom he "claims" as his "forefathers," i.e. the "Old" Baptists, what does that say of them today? If they are "Old" Baptists, then they are also "duped!" Or else they are not "old" Baptists!

Griffin shows that the missionary spirit continued until the late 1840's in Mississippi and that not a word was uttered against missions until the Hardshells came along. How does he handle that? He says on page 124:

“The reader, however, if he has paid strict attention to the history of this Association [the oldest in that state-S.G.], is now prepared to understand, that it is composed of two people, struggling against each other, sometimes one having the ascendancy, and sometimes the other.”

But the strange fact is, Elder Griffin never produced a single historical record until the late 1840's to indicate that anyone ever opposed the missionary work of the Baptists in that state! He wants his Hardshell readers to believe that they were there all along, but with their "mouths shut in silence!" But if this is the case, then how can they claim to be descended from that "silent minority?" Hardshells today don't "keep silent" in the presence of missionaries. Those "Old" Baptists in Mississippi did! It seems to me that Griffin would be more "Old Baptist" if he also kept his mouth shut and supported missions, both foreign and domestic.!

Actually, Griffin is not unlike Hassell in his "violent attacks" upon the Old Missionary Baptists! But I will not detail such. Suffice it to say that they consider the mission movement among Baptists as the "Man of Sin," "Anti-Christ," "Babylon," and as "abominable," "priestcraft," "worldly," "evil," etc. He also considers the "Anti-Mission" or Hardshell Baptists as being the descendants of Isaac and Sarah and the "Mission Baptists" as the offspring of Hagar and Ishmael! If this doesn't constitute them as a "hate group" and a "cult," then I don't know what you would call them!

There are so many contradictions in Griffin's and in Hassell's "histories" that it would take a lengthy book to expose them all. Let me give some further examples.

First, Griffin says, on page 143, that the Hardshells "never have crept into Armenian (sic) churches and attempted to draw away members from them."

But then on page 162, he says to those Arminian churches:

We believe that you have among you some of the Primitive Baptists; to them we say "Come out of her my people..."

He also says that those coming out of Missionary churches are like Lot coming out of Sodom"!

Another example of the contradictions and hypocrisy in Hardshell “history” is found on pages 133 and 186. On page 133, he says:

“It is the right of every sect, society, Denomination or Fraternity to fix the rules of their own government . . . and for this privilege the Primitive Baptists will ever pray.”

But the on page 186, he says:

“Hence, we believe Jesus Christ is King in Zion, and has the sole right to give laws for the government of His Church . . .”

Well, which way is it?

Let me also show you an inconsistency in Hassell's so-called history. He states on page 742 that the Kehukee Association passed a resolution that said:

“We will not countenance any preacher who travels within the bounds of this association, establishing societies for the collection of money, or who may be himself collecting money to support any institution whatever.” (Emphasis mine)

But later, after this was passed, we find that at the 1843 session of the Association, that "the churches were recommended to increase their future contributions specifying how much is intended for the association fund, and how much towards defraying the expenses of their messengers . . ."

Is the church not an "institution?" Are not their associations such? Hardshells must be blind not to see their hypocrisy. Perhaps it is the old "Do as I say and not as I do!"

Division

The Hardshells, as I have said, constantly charge those Old Missionary Baptists of early American history with being the sole cause and "guilty party" of the "Great Division" among the Baptists. Their only reason for this charge is given as being the introduction of something "new." It has been argued by them in court cases over church property and in public debate, that “when a political body has a division over a new innovation among them, then the side bringing in that "new" thing is the cause of the division.” They are the ones responsible for the division.

The problems with “arguments” like that are easily discerned. First of all, missions existed among Baptists for many years before anyone "got up in the air over it.” In the case of the Mississippi Baptists, missions were a big part of the collective work of the Baptists for over fifty years before a "protest" was ever uttered by a Baptist!

In most cases, the years of mission work continued among Baptists for over a hundred years in America before a Hardshell sprang up to "object," "dissent" and to "separate."

Now let us return to the Hardshell "argument" on who are, in fact, the "innovators" and "guilty party." If a body brings in a new thing and continues in possession of it for a hundred years without one protest, then who can say that it caused division?

Actually, it is the Hardshells who caused the division. In the above scenario, the Baptists were at peace for many years with their "missionary zeal," a fact of history that Hardshell "historians" reluctantly acknowledge, and didn't have any division until the Hardshells sprang on the scene!

Hassell unknowingly confirms this when he testifies, saying:

“The example of the Kehukee Association [in declaring non-fellowship for Mission Baptists in 1827-S.G.] . . .was encouraging to other similar bodies; and from 1827 to 1840 there was a stir among churches and associations all over the land, and many followed the example of old mother Kehukee-p. 738]."

What does Hassell say caused the "stir among the churches and associations?" The act of "old mother Kehukee!" Would there have been a "stir" had the Hardshells not acted as they did? (And, if they were all Hardshells?) What was it that "encouraged" those Baptist churches to separate and rail on their brethren? It was the few Hardshells in "old mother Kehukee!" Hassell also testifies that the act of the "old mother" was by no means unanimous. Several churches and associations remained missionary within the Kehukee and her circle of correspondents.

Is the "Old" Better?

The Hardshells have slanderously accused the Mission Baptists of being "idolaters" (Hassell, Griffin, Beebe, etc.) and worshiping their "golden calf" of missions, seminaries, Sunday Schools, etc. But if anyone has become an "idolater," it is the Hardshell. What is it that they "idolize?" Why, "antiquity!" To them, the "old is better." They are therefore not unlike the Pharisees in this regard.

This is why they continuously talk of being "old." They even strive to look "old” with their old buildings and customs. This is their means of brainwashing and deceiving themselves and others. They have told themselves for so long that they are "old," they have "hypnotically" believed it and become entranced with things old.

What can we say of the premise that "old is better?" Is it valid? Well, for one thing, the Hardshells themselves, as Elder Berry and others have testified, and which history proves have "changed" so many times! They have not lived-up to their boast! If the old is indeed better and they themselves have changed, then they must admit that they have degenerated and gone backward!

Actually, error is nigh as old as truth. Falsehood has an ancient history (Gen. 3). Many examples could be given to show that many changes have occurred in Baptist history and that many of them have been improvements.

I've heard Hardshells argue that the Lord established the Church as a perfect institution. As such, they argue, it didn't need any "change." But again we insist that the Hardshells of today have "changed" in many ways from their forefathers and from the first churches of the apostles. So, they themselves being judges, they have become imperfect!

The question that I have for my Hardshell brethren is, doesn't "growth" involve "change?" The Baptist church of the early part of American history was "growing" by “leaps-and-bounds.” This necessitated some change and improvement. Doesn't the word "repent" involve the idea of change? Were those Baptists prior to the rise and growth of Missions not in need of repentance on some things?

Speaking of change and innovation, who departed from the old Confessions on "means," "predestination" and "perseverance?" If the old is indeed better, then return to it, Hardshell! For the old is what is expressed in those confessions.

Hardshells admit that the basis of "modern missions" is the belief that the "gospel is a means" in the "salvation of sinners." This being so, what does that say for all that "missionary zeal" that the Hardshells admit characterized the early American Baptists? It says clearly that those Baptists believed in "gospel means!"

Another question for Hardshells to consider is how the overwhelming majority of the Baptists of the early 1800's could endorse, with little or no opposition from within, the "Missionary cause" at all if they were of the Hardshell character. If the pre-1800 Baptists were primarily Hardshell, how did they allow missions to enter among them in the first place? Would Hardshells today allow the same to occur? Hardshells argue that those "Old" Baptists were "duped" and "asleep on the job." But such debate tactics and attempts at “Sophistry” will not work except with the spiritually gullible. Well, in this case at least, the Hardshells would have to say that the old is not better. It also shows that today's Hardshells are unlike the pre-1800 Baptists.

Also, what does this Hardshell "line of argument" say for their coveted "associations?" These are also a "new invention!" Have these "existed from the days of the Apostles"? Hassell quotes Baptist historian, David Benedict, saying that the pre-1800 Baptists "were noted for their familiarity with the Scriptures" just like his Hardshell cohorts of his (Hassell’s) day (page 755). But how can this be so if the Hardshells are correct in reasoning that those old Baptists were "duped" and "asleep on the job?" "The legs of the lame are not equal" here!

But I suppose that this is enough argument from history to show that the Hardshells are the ones who have "departed from the faith" and caused division within the body of Christ. I would welcome the opportunity to expound on this further, even in "debate" with an acknowledged Hardshell "historian." But no Hardshell today wants to come up to the task. They show in this how much unlike they are from their Hardshell parents. Cayce, Daily, the Thompsons, Dalton, Potter, Webb, Holder, Oliphant, Durand, and several other Hardshell “patriarchs” of bygone days were all "ready to answer" the call to defend their "claims!" Is the old better in this regard, Hardshell?

Elder Tolley made these remarks in his paper:

"They [Hardshells] have debated with every denomination that issued a sincere challenge." He also said that the "Primitive Baptists have the soundest and most tenable position of all who avow such [Calvinistic-S.G.] teachings."

Well, their forefathers may have been of that character, but not the "modern" Hardshells. Is the old better in this case, Hardshell?


Hardshell "Splinters"

Before we leave the subject of Hardshell history, I want to say something concerning the "major divisions" that have occurred among the Hardshells since their separation from the old-line Calvinistic Missionary Baptists.

Those "divisions" concern Predestination and the two factions involved, i.e. the "Absoluters" and the "Conditionalists," and the division over changes in practice with the so-called Progressives. There is also that "split" with Daniel Parker's group over his "Two-Seedism." Needless to say, there have been many minor "splits," mainly over "personalities," but also over such issues as the "origin of Satan," of which we have had firsthand experience and have already related.

There is no doubt that the "Absoluter" faction of Hardshells is more in line with the old Confessions of the Baptists than the so-called Conditionalist faction, which is of recent production. Elder S. T. Tolley knows this to be so. My Dad knows it. The Conditionalists cannot endorse those statements in the Confessions relative to the "predestination of all things." The Conditionalists believe in "free will." Some will try to deny it, but the attempt is in vain; for to the extent that one does not accept predestination, he must accept "free will" in its place.

The Hardshells split over predestination around the turn of the 20th century. Elder Gilbert Beebe was a devout believer in the "absolute Predestination of all things" and would not compromise on it. In this regard, he preached the faith of the Baptists.

It was also in the early part of this century that the Hardshells, especially in the state of Georgia, divided over the introduction of "Bible classes" and "musical instruments" and other such "innovations." Those who believed that these things were not "evil" were soon cut-off from the Hardshells. Some of these so-called Progressives also began to promote missions and ministerial education.

The particular Progressive churches that I have seen are much more "prosperous" in growth than the stubborn, "set in their ways," old Hardshells. Some of them have also come to see the truth of "gospel means" and, though they still retain the name of "Primitive," are more like the Sovereign Grace Baptists of the present.

Some Hardshell churches, like the Whitehaven Church in Memphis, Tennessee, have their own school for their children. They also have seen the need of more "systematic teaching" of the Bible and therefore have additional meetings through the week to present those lessons.

Actually, many Hardshells over the past several years have seen the "extremism" that has come to characterize their people. They, like Elder E. D. McCutcheon of Mississippi, believe that the Hardshells have gone overboard in their attempt to be contrary to everything the Missionaries practice. He is to be praised for this, but he is finding the road tough. "Tradition" is so embedded within the Hardshell denomination! Change does not come easily.

More examples such as this could be cited. Today's Hardshells have their "singing schools," "camp meetings," "conventions" and such like. And I am sure that those old Hardshells of years gone by would "turn over in their graves" if they could behold those things today.

Lastly, but not least, a word about Daniel Parker and his "Two-Seedism." Daniel Parker was an adamant opponent of the "mission movement" of the early 1800's. He may have even imbibed the "Spirit Alone" theory. In this regard, he must be regarded as one of the Hardshell "founding fathers." However, he began to teach that the devil was an "eternal and uncreated being" and that he had his "offspring" just as God had his. These two groups of children had eternally existed with each of their "fathers." Those who are "children of the devil" were the physical offspring of the devil.

There came to be two lines of thinking on this point among his followers. There were those who are called "Two-seed in the flesh Predestinarian Baptists" and "Two-seed in the spirit Predestinarian Baptists."

The Hardshells of Parker's day, for the most part, rejected all this. But many were nevertheless "led off" with this heresy. Again, however, what does this say of those Hardshells familiarity with the scriptures? It seems to me that, with so many "divisions" among the Hardshells, they have surely been duped and "asleep on the job" rather frequently!

Some Hardshells are very much prone to split even over the pettiest of issues. Time would fail to tell all about those "minor divisions." But they do show how cantankerous and stubborn they really are as a people. Hence, the name "Hardshell." They are truly "hard-headed!"

I will be writing further upon Hardshell "history" in later chapters. Consider this chapter a "primer."


Chapter Five - Hardshell Extremism

Hardshell "historians," C. B. and Sylvester Hassell, frankly and candidly make the following admission concerning those first Hardshells:

“It seemed lamentable that the old soldiers of the cross, instead of preaching Jesus and the resurrection all the time, did take up a good portion of their time in defending the faith and denouncing those who had brought in these heresies” (page 748).

"Instead of preaching Jesus!" Well, that is a significant admission! He implies that their negative preaching "against" those old Mission and progressive-minded Baptists was NOT "preaching Jesus!" This is a true statement. And from experience I can testify that their "children" are no better than their parents. Today's Hardshells spend, in my opinion, at least half of their teaching time being "negative" and this accounts for the stigmatism that they have of being strictly "anti."

They quit being positive in their preaching and became opposers of almost everything imaginable. They unfairly accused many of ill motives, when in fact, only the Lord can judge the motives of the heart. "To his own master" every servant "stands or falls."

All of this negative ("anti") preaching has clearly had its adverse effects, as Hassell testifies and many present-day Hardshells themselves confess.

There is no doubt that many of the Mission Baptists went to extremes themselves. But that doesn't concern me in this writing; the extremism of the Hardshell party does, however.

The areas where the Hardshells are willing to admit of becoming extremists, and are experiencing those “adverse consequences,” are "Christian giving," "ministerial support," "evangelism," "meeting times," "special meetings," "systematic Bible teaching," "Bible classes," "ministerial education" and a host of other areas.

Many Hardshell elders have admitted to me that they agree that the Hardshells have developed a "complex" of mind that says that "we will do and be whatever the Missionaries are not." I have heard Dad and other Hardshell preachers say publicly that the attitude has become such that many Hardshells would “refuse to wear shoes simply because the Missionaries wear them”! This desire to be any thing that the "Arminians" are not has been a "shackle" around the necks of the Hardshells.

If you check old Hardshell association records, you will see that those Hardshells were often found combating the very "extremism" that they created! This child has surely turned on its parents and has just about rent the denomination asunder.

The Hardshells, in opposing "salaried ministers," dote over the fact that their ministers, like the seventy whom the Lord sent out "two-by-two," also go "without script or purse" and "work with their own hands." But now they have found it like "pulling eye-teeth" to ever get them to give much of anything!

Countless sermons have been preached by present-day Hardshells in an attempt to stimulate the giving of the people to the care of their ministers and of other such needs. They have preached for so long against "begging for money" and for the idea that the "church can get along without money" that today's Hardshells give very little in proportion to their abilities.

You know by now how strenuously the Hardshells have preached against "money based institutions." Recall the "resolution" of "old mother Kehukee" in denying a place among them for anyone to come and solicit money for “any institution whatsoever.” And yet, we find them later continuing to solicit money from the churches for their beloved associations. Is this not an "institution?" Is the "Church" not an "institution?"

You also recall how the old Hardshells have falsely accused the Missionaries of "covetousness," "greed," "avarice" and of being followers of the god "mammon." But it is the Hardshells who have "fallen in love" with their money. For I have seen in many of the Hardshell churches a large number of "well-to-do" parishioners who, as some Hardshells admit, "squeeze the dollar so hard that the eagle screams!" These folks, who would rather hold on to their wealth than to give it for the help of the kingdom of God, are the ones, in my opinion, who are guilty of covetousness.

They have so long preached that money has absolutely nothing to do with advancing the kingdom and church of God, that they are now "eating those words" and "suffering the consequences!"

Things have changed a good bit, however, thanks to a return to preaching the truth on these things. Today we find Elders like Lassere Bradley, an import from the Missionaries, who frequently "solicit contributions" for a host of things, such as "radio ministries," "book publishing," "video and TV production," "singing schools," etc. Elder Tolley himself is frequently asking (begging?) for money. I don't say, like their Hardshell forefathers, that such earnest solicitation is evil. I know that Elder Tolley and others have legitimate requests and they are "worthy of their hire." I just say these things to remind them that they created this mess themselves.

According to the "resolution" of the old Kehukee, Bradley and Tolley would not be welcome in their midst! Oh! how things have changed!

The next area where there has been grave "extremism" is in ministerial education. Looking negatively upon the efforts at education among the early Baptists, and in opposing "theological schools," "Church Schools," "classroom training," "Bible classes," and such like, the Hardshells glorified "ignorance."

They are constantly feeling the necessity of cautioning people "not to think that they are opposed to education." Why the need of saying this? Why the caution? Is it a "false alarm?" Is there real danger?

The same holds true in other areas as well. After they preach so long against missionaries, they feel obligated to say, "But this does not mean that we oppose preaching the gospel." Why say this? Why the "word of warning?" Isn't it due to the fact that they know that the "average person" would think that they were so opposed?

The truth is, Hardshells are indeed against preaching the gospel and offering Christ and the gospel to the world at large. They ridicule that! They denounce it as "evil" and "sinful" - the very "mystery of iniquity!" Now honestly, who is "Anti-Christ?"

Many Hardshells "cloak" their sins. They oppose every effort (except their own) to "spread the gospel." They simply have to "cloak" this sometimes by giving some kind of "lip service" to "spreading the gospel."

It is also true concerning their "preaching against" such decent things as "Sunday Schools," "Seminaries," "Tract Societies," "Protracted" or "Revival Meetings," "Bible Societies," "Temperance Societies," "Mite Societies," "Benevolent Societies," "Special Programs for the Youth," "Salaried Ministry," "Tithing," "Musical Instruments," "Choirs," "Special Singing," "Orphan homes," etc.

In "preaching against" all this, they must always be careful to say, "But this does not mean that we oppose education, preaching the gospel, the young, drunkenness, helping the poor and homeless or the orphans and widows, or music. No, we are all for these things," the Hardshell cautions!

It is no wonder that Hardshells have historically been known as "do-nothings," "anti-effort" Baptists, "antinomians," and such like.

They call this "persecution," and this is another evidence of them being a "cult." They develop the "cult mentality" of viewing themselves as the "hated" and "persecuted ones," and all this "for righteousness sake!"

But those accusations are anything but "persecution." They are just what "the average unbiased person" would imagine was the case upon listening to Hardshells "preach against" those things. The need for "appearing to be otherwise" is quite evident. It speaks also of "hidden motives" and of a "secret agenda."

Such is also a sign of a "cult." Actually, there is some good degree of secrecy among the Hardshells. But more of that later also.

Back to our subject at hand. To give you some idea of the Hardshell teachings on ministerial education, let me quote from Elder Griffin again. First, he says on page 160 of his history:

“We cannot fellowship your theological schools . . . We want God to send them and not man.”

Well, who said that those churches that have schools are opposed to God's sending preachers? Hardshells "misrepresent" those who promote theological training, create “straw men” and “red herrings”!

This is one of the Hardshell "tactics." Charge more on your "opponent" than that of which he is actually teaching. Paint him and his beliefs in a bad light. Build a "Straw Man" and fight with it while at the same time leaving me doubt as to who is the proverbial "Straw Man!" Attack the "motives" of those who promote "theological schools" and "missions."

This is what Griffin has done. Just because Baptists promote "preacher-training and education" does not mean that they don't covet God-sent men! Hardshell Griffin knows that! How can he "sit in judgment" on his brethren? Did not James say, "He that speaks evil of his brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge . . ." (James 4:11).

This "impugning the motives" of those Christian Baptists who promote "ministerial education," is evidence that you are "not doers."

But how did those first Old Baptists of Griffin's own state of Mississippi feel about the matter? Let us see.

In the 1817 "session" of the "Mississippi Association," a "resolution" was unanimously adopted, which read as follows:

“That this Association recommend and support a plan for raising a fund, for the special purpose of promoting the proper education of pious men called to the great and important work of the gospel ministry” (pg. 85, Griffin's History).

Notice that this was a "unanimous" vote. Where were the Hardshells? Asleep? Were the "Old Baptists" there?

Did those 1817 Baptists believe that they were "robbing God" of the right and privilege of sending preachers simply because they sought means to improve the education of those that they perceived had been "called" to preach? Were they usurping the authority of God? You Hardshells cruelly and unjustly accuse those Old Baptists!

Hardshells often argue that all theological education should come "before" a person's "call to preach," but never "after" it! Here's what Griffin says:

“If HE (God) wants a learned Moses, or a Saul of Tarsus, HE will have him qualified BEFORE HE calls them to HIS work” (page 160).

We find the same line of argument in Hassell's "history." But what does this "argument" say? Well, it indicates that the Hardshells have very few, if any, learned Pauls or skilled leaders like Moses!

Can you imagine such a crazy idea? What ignorance! Religious and ministerial training must always come "before" a man's call or else such education is "evil?" It seems to me that those who argue this "baloney" need some of that "ministerial education!"

Personally, I believe that, were Paul or Moses here today, they would more than likely be very unpopular among the Hardshells.

I also can testify of personal witness of the prevalence of ignorance among the Hardshell clergy. I'll try to give some evidence of that, which I, of course, attribute to their "going to extremes" in the area of "preacher education."

I have noticed that several of their more learned and eloquent of preachers (i.e. Bradley, Pyles, Darity, Bryant, etc.), in introducing the Hardshell denomination to would-be members, will invariably tell them that their old preachers may "butcher the king's English," but that they nevertheless preach ably, soundly, and with great success and popularity. Why the need for such an apology? To save some embarrassment? I think so. Do I believe that incorrect English keeps one from preaching Jesus? Of course not. But to "grow" and "improve" in the ministerial "calling," an improvement in grammar is essential.

The other evidence of widespread ignorance in the Hardshell ministry is seen in their wild and fanciful "interpretation" of various scripture passages. Already you see that ignorance in the "origin of Satan" issue that I wrote about earlier. Let me enlarge a little upon that as an evidence of that "lack of knowledge."

Hardshell Elder, S. N. Redford, said:

“A brother asked me to write and tell where the devil originated. Well, of all questions! I answer, I don't know. In fact, I have never been interested in the subject. If I have ever been called to preach, it was to preach Jesus, and not the devil. I don't think he is ever more happy than when God's people are talking about his origin or his personality. I could tell you what I have heard some Old Baptists preachers say about the matter [of course he could tell someone that! S.G.] Some say he was a fallen angel; others say God made him good and he turned to a devil. But all this is speculation, and is not worth the paper it is written on. The Bible is silent on the subject and so I expect to be, too. This I do know, that the Bible teaches God is the only self-existent being. Let us be silent where the Bible is silent.”

Reader, can you not see the ignorance, willful and otherwise, in this? This type of ignorance is common among the Hardshell ministry and denomination.

Elder Ralph Harris, present-day Hardshell editor of the “ADVOCATE & MESSENGER” periodical, says this of the question as to Satan's origin:

“He says that it is a "foolish and unlearned question" that "genders strife" and that he never intends to deal with it” (April 1990 issue).

What ignorance! Does he mean to tell me that it is "foolishness" to honestly inquire into a scriptural answer to the origin and being of the Church's chief enemy? If I had a pastor who said that to me, I would feel hurt, degraded and offended. I certainly would feel reluctance to ask any more questions! I also might shy from any serious investigation of many important things to know. I know that many Hardshells feel embarrassed by such things and would like to, as Elder Griffin stated, "hide" such things in "oblivion!"

Recall also, as an example of ministerial ignorance among the Hardshells, the case with their "interpretation" of the "Rich Man and Lazarus" and of their considering it to be so vital as to make it a "test of fellowship."

Needless to say, I could give many more such examples of ministerial ignorance, but this is enough. Remember that the Lord said that "his people were destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4:6).

Not only have the Hardshells gone overboard in ministerial support and education, but also in "times of meeting" and in the instruction of the people in general.

Some early American Baptists, because of a lack of preachers and because of the harshness of travel, mostly met only once each month. A preacher would often have a "circuit" and therefore preached at a different church each week along his "circuit." But when it happened that these hindrances were no longer present, many Hardshells, rather than meeting more often, continued to meet only once each month, holding their "tradition."

They also didn't favor meeting much more than that. They opposed "protracted" and "revival" meetings. Like Hassell said, those churches that meet "twice on Sunday" and have a "mid-week" service, are those "loose city churches!" Many of these one Sunday-a-month Hardshells think that meeting more often is just following the "Arminians" and "Missionaries!"

Opposing Sunday Schools has also had a devastating effect on the Hardshells. They not only have prevalent ignorance among the ministry, but also among the young and old within the general membership. Listen to present day Hardshell Elder, E. D. McCutcheon, and his comments about this ignorance and its effects:

“It becomes more apparent every day that a better system of teaching young children in the Primitive Baptist Church must be put into practice if we expect to keep a reasonable number in the church after they are grown . . . Sunday Schools are definitely not the answer, although such training could be helpful if we had enough Biblically qualified instructors to do the teaching. However, the stigma that has been placed on Sunday Schools because of the misuse by others precludes such use by Primitive Baptists. There has to be another way, a proper scriptural way to overcome the neglect of many years” (Glad Tidings Publication).

This is a Hardshell witness. It demonstrates again the damage done by the "extremism" that has historically characterized the Hardshells. Examples could be multiplied! Needless to say, it is self-evident that the Hardshells are "cultists" and "extremists" and "reaping what they have sown."

If you would like to have further information on the merits of Sunday Schools in defence against the "anti-Sunday Schoolers," write brother Ross for a copy of his editorial on the subject from years ago.

Chapter Six - Hardshell Hypocrisy & Peculiarities

This section of my analysis of Hardshell history, doctrine, and practice will reveal in more detail Hardshell “hypocrisy” and "peculiarities" in those areas. I have already exposed it somewhat in their “version” of Baptist “history,” and in their novel interpretations, and I will also expose it further, giving extended historical records that contradict those “revisionist histories,” further examples of novel interpretations, and of their gross violations of sound Biblical hermeneutics, (of which I have already given some examples and that the Hardshells are infamous for putting forth) and I will also certainly expose their hypocrisies and contradictions in Christian doctrine.

In the area of practice, I will take up the subjects of “Musical Instruments,” “Associations” and “societies,” “Weekly” or “Protracted Meetings,” “Sunday Schools,” “Bible classes,” “Church Discipline” (involving peculiar views on Divorce, Baptism, Church Exclusions, Closed Communion, terms of fellowship, etc.),

Musical Instruments

First, then, consider the Hardshell hypocrisy in the belief and practice concerning the subject of “musical instruments in the public worship of the church.”

The Hardshell doctrinal position on this matter is like the Campbellites, the Hardshell’s “twin brother,” namely, that it is “unlawful” for the New Testament Church to use instruments “in the worship service.” They argue that there is no “direct command” authorizing them. Like the “Non-instrumental” Campbellites, they argue that whatever is not positively enjoined by a “divine command” or “scriptural example” is “forbidden” and “taboo”, to be "anathematized," for and by the church. This reflects one of their many likenesses, as "twins." Both cults have accepted a false doctrine called “Patternism.”

But, let me ask the Hardshell (who might be reading this) for his “direct command” or “scriptural example” for his beloved “associations,” “tuning forks,” “hymnals,” “Union Meetings,” “Singing Schools,” “preachers meetings,” “council of churches,” “moderators,” “clerks” (both for individual churches and for associations of churches), “Primitive Baptist Libraries” and book “Publishers” and “periodicals,” etc.

I will not take time to present the Hardshell “arguments” against the use of music in the church or of choirs. They use the same worn out, hashed and rehashed, Campbellite “arguments” of the past and which Brother Ross has done a fine job thoroughly refuting in his book on “Campbellites, Cowbells, Rosary Beads, and Snake-Handling." He also refutes in an extensive way the errors of “Patternism.”

For myself I never was satisfied with the Hardshell position on that and just went along with the denomination. I saw all their arguments against it as being of little weight.

Hardshells say that instruments of music are “forbidden” for use in the New Testament Church, or for the public worship service. They affirm that such a use “stirs up animal emotions and appetites” in people, even citing Alexander Campbell in defense of their position (who said the same thing). They say, as did Campbell, that it is “worldly” and “carnal” in such a time and place.

However, they nearly all extol the level of joy received by those same musical instruments in private home worship. I have witnessed “singings” with a group of Hardshells in a private home where a piano, guitar, violin, banjo, etc., accompanied the singing of praise. God was praised and pleased in a private home, but such would suddenly become evil if they moved into the official church meeting house and did the same? That is laughable and only reveals their hypocrisy and prejudice and other social idiosyncrasies. People were edified in the one setting but not in the other? Can anyone give a sane reason for this kind of thinking, this kind of “logic”?

Many Hardshells also use instruments in “Church Weddings,” but not always without a “fuss.” But those that do, manifest again their “inconsistency.” In those wedding ceremonies, the church gathers in the meeting house for a "service" that is clearly religious in nature. At such services, the name of God is invoked, prayers offered, and homilies are given on the Christian view of marriage, and yet this is okay but in a little different setting it is all wrong? “Consistency thou art a jewel”!

They also sometimes have musical instruments in church “funeral services.” A sermon is preached, prayers are heard, and saints are present. It is also a public gathering. But, music is all right in this case. Ironic.

It is also noteworthy that though Hardshells oppose choirs, quartets, and special group-singing in the regular worship service, they nevertheless have those special groups to sing in homes, to the edification of the saints, and on records and tapes, but they become evil and unedifying when it becomes part of the official worship service? That is just "plain nonsense" and is the kind of “logic” and behavior one would expect from a cult.

They can find “authority” for their “pitch pipes,” “tuning forks,” but not for a “piano.” David could praise God with his strings and his harp but we cannot today? Where, in the New Testament was it ever voided? Forbidden?

Associations

Let me now show their “hypocrisy” in the area of “associations.” They claim to support only those things pertaining to the church that began with the Apostles. They are against seminaries and Sunday Schools because they are of “human origin” and arose “after the Apostles.” Well, this criteria also certainly condemns “associations”! But, doesn’t it all show how they “pick and choose” which “institutions of men” that they condone?

They also have been guilty of hypocrisy in violating the very principles upon which those very associations were established. One of those principles, a Hardshell one, ironically, outlaws their own associations! Another principle, often violated throughout Hardshell history, involved the "setting aside" of the rule and prohibition for associations not to “interfere in the internal affairs of the local churches,” or to “lord it over God’s heritage,” or to be a “Supreme Court” for the churches to bring their “disputes.”

But the fact of the matter is, in far too many cases, with Hardshells themselves testifying, the associations have become all of the above forbidden things. They have often served as a “catalyst” for trouble, strife, and division. They have often been the scene of endless controversy and of preacher and party competition.

Some Hardshells, like Elder Ralph Harris of Florida, have written against the “legality,” “authority,” and “profitability” of associations. He has, like others, warned of their danger and exposed their evil consequences. This has led many of brother Harris’s cohorts in Florida to change their name from “associational meetings” to “fellowship meetings.” However, they are still basically the same thing though called by a different name.

Concerning Hardshell “hypocrisy” regarding “weekly meetings,” just recall those statements by the first Hardshells that I cited earlier and who denounced as “iniquitous” those “protracted” and “revival” meetings.

They now do those things that they once condemned, only they call those same things by different names. They have had “conventions,” “councils,” “peace meetings,”“preachers meetings,” and other such things.

Here is what Gilbert Beebe wrote on the subject of Associations.

It is to us, at all times, a matter of no small joy, to witness a disposition on the part of our brethren, to examine the divine rule, and to inquire at the sacred oracle for the validity of every institution of our religious practice. The attention of several of our dear brethren, in these parts and elsewhere, has lately led to the subject of Associations, and it will be seen that the result of their investigation, thus far, has not produced a unanimity of sentiment on the subject. Some are of the opinion that the New Testament provides neither precept or example for them, and other some conceive that the assembly which convened at Jerusalem, on the question from the Antioch church, amounts at least to an example. We have listened with a good degree of interest to the arguments thus far brought forward, pro and con; and without designing to check the discussion of so important a point, we esteem it our privilege to offer our brethren a few remarks which have occurred to us, on the subject, in doing which we shall probably accord, in part, and in some things differ from all who have furnished us with their views.

In the first place we admit that what we call “Associations,” are, or are not divine institutions; they are, or are not directly and positively warranted in the New Testament. If from the Scriptures we can show them to be divinely instituted, and precept and example given for their observance by the church, then we must consider no church complete and independent, or walking in all the ordinances blameless, which do not stand in such connection associated with other churches; and if on a careful examination we find that what we denominate “associations” are not divinely authorized, we must admit (painful as it may be) that we have and do observe a religious practice, for which there is no “Thus saith the Lord;” and we may be subjected to the fearful interrogative, “Who hath required this at our hand?”

But to the merits of the question. Are they from heaven, or of men? We have failed to see with some of our bre­thren whom we love, that the assembly referred to at Jerusalem, furnishes the least testimony in support of what we denominate “Associations;” and if we can produce no other, or more tenable ground for them, we shall be disposed to give them up, notwithstanding our feelings are strongly, very strongly, enlisted in favor of them. Without going minutely into the comparison of modem associations, with the meeting at Jerusalem, we will observe a few particulars which to us present serious discrepancies. First, those who form our modern associations are Elders and brethren, sent by their respective churches, as messengers, or what is by far more exceptionable, delegates. [That churches have the right to send their messengers on lawful messages, is fully warranted by the practice of the primitive churches, but that she has the right to delegate her authority to messengers, committees, or to councils, is to us as absurd as that a married wife should have the right to transfer her relationship or privileges to another woman.]

The meeting at Jerusalem, was not composed of messengers, or delegates from the churches, but the apostles and Elders came together for to consider this matter. (Acts 15:6) And the whole church, not delegates from the church (see verse 22,) and the Holy Ghost, (verse 28). But our modern Associations are not composed of apostles, the Holy Ghost, and the whole church. The regulations of many associations of our acquaintance, restricts the churches in regard to the number of messengers to be sent. We have said this council at Jerusalem was not composed of messengers from churches represented in that meeting. True there were messengers (not delegates) present from the church at Antioch, but let it be observed these formed no part of the council, but were merely messengers of Antioch church, to the council and other messengers of their own company (verse 22) bore the message of the Holy Ghost, the apostles and elders and the whole church, to Antioch. How our brethren can make this meeting an example for modern associations, without involving the right of associations to rule in judgment, if not in legislation over the churches, we are unable to perceive; yet all our brethren agree that the churches are the highest religious body on earth, and contend earnestly for the independence of the churches.

Another discrepancy which we would notice as we pass; as being, in our judgment, no less formidable than the foregoing, is that the council at Jeru­salem was not, nor did it pretend to be, a constituted body, independent of, or separate from the church, having a written constitution and by-laws for their special regulation; and a body to be continued, and to hold annual sessions for business, to impose yokes and grant exemption from burdens, from time to time, as might seem good to them and their successors in all subsequent ages. The apostles, seated on the twelve thrones, for the express purpose of judging the spiritual tribes, the Holy Ghost, whose office it is to write the law of the new covenant in the hearts of the spiritual family, and the church, which is divinely empowered and qualified to judge angels, assembled as they were, certainly were in possession of power which would not become us, in what we call “associations.”

The wretched work of New School Baptist associations in arrogating such powers as were exercised by the council at Jerusalem, has very justly excited great alarm among our old fashioned brethren.

After what we have written our readers may suppose that we renounce associations in to to, but such is not the fact; for while we wash our hands from all such associations as we have described above, we hold most sacred and dear the association of the children of God, upon Gospel ground; and while we deny the divine authority of any constituted religious body, except the church of God, as such, we are prepared to show from the practice of the primitive saints, that it is proper, lawful and expedient that the saints should associate together, for social worship, for correspondence, for mutual edification and instruction in righteousness, and for the promotion of that christian fellowship and Gospel union which is like the oil which was poured on Aaron’s head, and like the dew of Hermon which descended upon the mountains of Zion, &c.

If any, or all of our associations have been led off from the simplicity of the Gospel track, let them correct the wrong, renounce it and flee from it. But to cease from “christian correspondence” among the churches which are in fellowship, would be to run into as great an error as that from which they attempt to fly. We should not contend for constitutions, or anything which would have a tendency to characterize associations as an organized, or standing body, apart from the church; yet we conceive that a full understanding of the terms of correspondence, or association, is essential, and should be agreed to, reduced to writ­ing and published in order to prevent, as far as possible, the amalgamation of heterogeneous materials in such religious assembles.

There can be no lack of Scriptural testimony that the primitive churches of Christ kept up a correspondence, and that the disciples were in a habit of mingling together for religious worship, and mutual edification, wherever, and whenever opportunity served; and such meetings we would call “associations.” They, however, being not so parliamentary in their forms of communicating with each other as modern pro­fessors are, could generally proceed to worship, or to edify, without waiting to elect by ballot a Chairman, or President (Moderator) and being minute men, could even preach an introductory sermon without being appointed for that purpose twelves months in advance!

The primitive churches on various occasions, sent messengers to deliver messages, contributions, &c.,, for them. It is therefore lawful for Old School churches to send their messengers to report their welfare, for the comfort of sister churches, and to bring back word of the prosperity of the cause, among such sister churches. Such messengers, when assembled with a sister church, may unite in worship, in preaching, and in the general improvement of all the gifts among them. Such a meeting we would call an “association,” and against such associations we conclude there is no law.

In the foregoing we have given some of our views on the subject. Our columns are open for the views of our brethren, judiciously written, on the same subject; we recommend moderation and free discussion. Let us prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.


Here is what a modern Hardshell had to say about Beebe's article on "Associations": (By Elder Gilbert Beebe, 1838)

"The above position advanced by Beebe, is, in general, the position that we hold to in our churches relative to the subject. Perhaps Beebe was too much alone to stand against the major trend in the development of the Baptists. The associations, and their chains of correspondence, continued to development in spite of his opposition, and that of others. James Osborn, very nearly as close to the Strict Baptist brethren as any minister in America during this same period, held basically to this same position. In most matters, Beebe influenced a great many of the Old School Baptist churches; but on the subject of associations, apparently he had his least success. Baptists had not had time to see the attendent evil associated with organized papacy among themselves.

Is it now possible many of us have learned by past experience that fellowship must be had on a better principle? We invite the readers to join our columns in discussing this subject in love and respect. If you wish to comment, please do."

(From www.geocities.com/elder_beebe)

All this confirms what I have been saying about Hardshell hypocrisy relative to their "Associations" and the violating of their principles of not having any institution that they cannot find a specific "thus saith the Lord" Beebe was in a "tight spot" on the subject of "Associations". "Associations" had been around in the Baptist family for hundreds of years. No one complained about them. But, when the Hardshells began to argue against mission organizations and seminaries, their leading argument was that they were "unscriptural," having no direct warrant, therefore wrong to participate in. But, this argument would come back to bite them when it came to their coveted "Associations". Would they be forced to "throw out the baby with the bath water?"

The Divorce Issue

On the subject of “divorce” and church “exclusions,” Hardshells have almost outdone themselves in being “hypocritical.”

Hardshells believe that to “commit adultery,” as a married person, is to commit, in some respect, the “unpardonable sin” or “sin unto death.” This is the “red letter” sin, worse than anything else, so far as church membership is concerned. A murderer can be forgiven and restored to church membership but not one who is guilty of what the Hardshells call “marital adultery.”

When I was ordained, I was asked, like many others, whether I believed that “regeneration takes one out of adultery.” If you say “yes,” then you are set aside as a “heretic.” If you say “no,” then you are ordained. It is that important.

Their “reasoning” is that only death and/or fornication constitutes grounds for divorce. If you divorce and remarry on some other grounds, then you are an adulterer and will continue as such until you either leave your present spouse and go back to your former, or else wait till the former dies!

When a Hardshell experiences a “non-scriptural” divorce, they generally will remain single and dateless, waiting until the divorced spouse commits adultery or begins to date first! This will allow them to get a church sanctioned divorce.

Generally, when a person joins a Hardshell church, the person is asked if he or she has been divorced. If yes, the person is further questioned as to whether it was for adultery or not. If the reason was not for adultery, then the person is denied baptism, church membership, and the Lord’s Supper.

Sometimes these petitioning members can’t locate their first spouse to ascertain “who committed adultery first”! In such cases, the church will generally, but not always, vote not to “take in” that person.

They do however encourage such rejected applicants to “support the old church” with their presence and money! Many times have I seen their churches occupied by such persons who do support the church and weep and cry. It makes me angry and sad at such evil practices. Denying church membership, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper to these is a great evil.

This practice is evil to the core, full of hypocrisy and deceit! It is stated by the Hardshell “historians” that the first Hardshell churches were determined to counteract the perceived “looseness” in “church discipline” among the “Arminian” or “Missionary” churches by “keeping up a strong discipline” and “preserving decency and order.” In order to execute this, they became super strict in their rules for retaining church membership. Some of these legalists have excluded people for the minutest of reasons, such as missing one church service “without a valid reason”!

So-called church discipline and the threat of exclusion have been used to keep folks in line and bring them into submission. It has led to “mental entrapment” and “phobias” of an evil kind. It is more evidence of their being a “cult.” “He shall have judgment without mercy on those who showed no mercy.” (James 2:13)

You can see from what has been said thus far, that the Hardshell “terms of fellowship” and “communion” are strict and severe, to say the least. “Harsh” would be a good word for it too. These Hardshells have drawn such a very tight circle around themselves and said, as it were, “come not near to me, for I am holier than thou.”

I know that when my wife and I separated, not one Hardshell came to counsel, comfort or help me in that time of loneliness and depression. The good old “Arminians” and “Missionaries” did however show me much more Christian love and concern. This revealed much to me.

My brother, Eddie K. Garrett, Jr., who too was a Hardshell preacher at one time, suffered the same kind of shunning when he and his first wife separated and divorced (though he had good reason). It is sad that in leaving the Hardshells he went to the Campbellites, then left them, to go to another cult, and now is almost an infidel. Sigh.

My sister Judy, also a former Hardshell, also experienced this same treatment when she and her husband separated and divorced (he is an ex Hardshell also).

The Lord’s Supper

As for myself, I am in some ways a “closed” and in other ways an “open” communionist. It is, in my opinion, open to some and closed to others. I believe the Hardshells have restricted it beyond measure and acted as though they were the Lord of the Communion table.

And you talk about “priestcraft” (as the Hardshells have done against the Missionaries and Arminians)! The Missionaries are “guilty” of this simply because they support Sunday Schools! That is the Hardshell accusation. But no, it is the Hardshells who are guilty of it. For it is they who claim “sole authority” to “administer” the Supper. Most Hardshells believe that only an ordained minister can baptize or serve the Lord’s Supper and that they authoritatively decide who can eat and who cannot. A church without a minister can’t even partake of the service? Friends, that is “priestcraft”!

Thank God that though the Hardshells may close their “communion” to some, God nevertheless “communes” and “sups” with them! (Rev. 3:20)

Beebe, in answer to the a query about John Bunyan, that great Old Baptist, as to whether he was a Hardshell, says "no." He gave as the reason Bunyan's views on "open communion." I am sure that Bunyan would be rejected too for his belief that God regenerates his elect by means of the gospel. I am happy to be alligned with the truly Old Baptists like Bunyan.

Peculiarism

Concerning Hardshell “peculiarities,” let me say that Hardshells claim that they are especially and particularly that “peculiar people” mentioned by Paul in Titus 2:11.

Any time some one outside of the Hardshell ranks makes a reference to some strange and unusual Hardshell custom, the Hardshells will say that they are, as Paul said, a “peculiar people.” To them, “peculiar” means weird, strange, odd, different, unique, and special. They try their best to live up to this definition!

However, “peculiar” does not carry that denotation nor connotation at all! That is Hardshell ignorance for you. Paul defines “peculiar” by adding “zealous of good works,” but the Hardshells oppose those! Spreading the gospel, benevolent work, tract publishing, preacher education, Sunday Schools, Bible classes, etc.; all these are “good works” which they all oppose! But of course, those are “evil works” to the Hardshells! “Good works,” to them, are such things as “excluding adulterers,” “preaching against” the above things, etc.

You judge for yourself, dear reader; are they “peculiar” as Paul defines it?

Chapter Seven: Time Salvation - A Novel Idea

"Secrecy" of some sort is a characteristic of a cult. Christians have their "secrets" (Psa. 25:14; Prov. 3:32), but the distinctive secrets of the Hardshell cult are not the secrets of God or of His kingdom.

Basically, religious secrets involve "special revelation" that the cult, and it alone, possesses. Christians have "special revelation"; for instance, the knowledge of Christ as being the Son of God (Matt. 16:16, 17). But the claimed "special revelation" of the Hardshell is nothing but the blindness of a heresy.

"Time Salvation"

Their primary "secret" revelation concerns the doctrine they call "Time Salvation." You have to be trained in Hardshell "dogma" to know all that the words convey. What the Hardshells believe the terminology, "Time Salvation," represents would never cross the average Bible reader's mind. You have to hear it from a Hardshell to be introduced to and informed in the meaning of its theological “jargon.”

Please understand that though all factions believe in "Time Salvation", yet not all believe in Conditional Time Salvation. This latter is peculiar to that largest faction of Hardshells, called the "Conditionalist" faction. It is not characteristic of the "Absoluter" side. These latter people condemn this doctrine. And in this, as anyone who knows Hardshell history will acknowledge, they are like the true Old Baptists.

It is interesting that many Hardshells adopt the Campbellite credal statement that says, "We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where it is silent," and yet they speak of their "Time Salvation." Hanks, in his Hardshell "history," says that the use of such "unscriptural terms" are not edifying, but rather divisive. He says:

"Scriptural expressions should be used on controverted points. Absolute predestination, eternal vital union, saved before the foundation of the world, conditional time salvation, eternal church, etc., are controverted and objectionable expressions which confuse brethren, and hence should not be used. Let all use scriptural expressions and labor to unify our people" (page 235).

I agree with Hanks that "conditional time salvation" is not a "scriptural expression." I also agree that such terminology is not only anti-scriptural but also "controverted and objectionable expressions which confuse brethren!"

It is an integral part of the Hardshell DEFENSE and APOLOGETIC, for their "Spirit Alone" and "No-Means Regeneration" theories, to get their opponents or would be "converts" to inbibe all the teachings involved in this doctrine of"Time Salvation."

Having been a Hardshell defender of such theories, I can see why this new doctrine had to be invented. But, the question every Hardshell ought to ask himself is this -- "Why is it that no New Testament writer addresses such a doctrine?" Also, "Why did none of the church fathers write about Time Salvation?" And, answer this question -- "Why did no Old Baptist, prior to Beebe and the rise of the Hardshells, use the Time Salvation argumentation against those who believed that the Bible taught means in regeneration?" You never read of anyone, prior to Beebe and the Hardshells, use any such kind of argumentation against the Arminians saying to them, "Oh, that passage is a time salvation, not eternal"?

What is the teaching of "Time Salvation?" Let me quote a few verses of scripture:

"He that believes and is baptized, shall be saved" (Mark 16:16).
"I declare unto the gospel and by which you are saved" (I Cor. 15:1).
"I have begotten you through the gospel" (I Cor. 4:15).
". . . the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation . . ." (Rom. 1:16).
". . . it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (I Cor. 1:21).
"What must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . ." (Acts 16:31).

All of these verses speak of "salvation." The normal, unbiased reader would have no reason to believe otherwise than that they were talking about being saved from sin, judgment, death and damnation. This is what constitutes the theme of the Bible. Man needs “salvation”; sin is what he is saved "from." He is saved "to" holiness, liberty, life and glory.

It is because of the general and overall Biblical use and emphasis of these terms (save, salvation, deliver, death, sins, judgment, damnation, etc.) that they are often used by speakers and writers without clarification. It is assumed that when a writer, in the Scriptures, announces his intention to discourse upon "salvation," he is talking about being saved from sin and condemnation. He does not need to say that he excludes other "kinds" of salvation, like from temporary evils such as starvation, drowning, sickness, etc.

When the jailer asked Paul what he must do to be "saved," Paul understood that he didn't mean saved from drowning or temporary problems, but from the awful judgment of God.

However, this is where the Hardshell objects. He says that the "salvation" being talked about by Paul and the jailer was NOT concerning "eternal" salvation from sin and death, but of some kind of "timely" deliverance.

So they allege that all of those verses just quoted are NOT talking about being saved, i.e. "born again," "regeneration," "created in Christ," "justified," "forgiven," etc. So, their position is, that the gospel "saves," but not "eternally," and not in the sense of "regeneration." It "saves" from a few tears and sorrows "in this life only," as they would say.

To them, many, if not all, of the Scripture passages that talk about "salvation" or being "saved" are NOT talking about "eternal" salvation or the rescuing of a man from "Hell." Rather, they believe that mostpassages speak of "time" salvation from many temporary dangers and problems.

The Hardshells manifest great purpose of heart and ingenuity in "interpreting" many "salvation passages," clearly dealing with eternal salvation and redemption, in a limited way and as dealing strictly with timely or earthly concerns. Why the necessity to do this? Because to interpret those salvation passages as dealing with eternal salvation would destroy their "anti-means," "Spirit Alone" teaching!

Reader, look at those passages that we quoted earlier. Don't they all speak of the "gospel" as being that "means" or "instrument" in salvation and spiritual birth? In all of them it is the same. We are saved "by" or "through" the gospel.

Hardshells must do one of two things in the face of such passages: they must either abandon Hardshellism and their anti-means position, or else find some way of "harmonizing" the anti-means position with those passages! What a situation! What a test! What a crossroads!

This is where a cunning and devilish mind "invented" a "new" doctrine, for the purpose of defending "anti-means" in the face of passages that clearly teach the use of them. It was "sophistry" at its best. It was invented to simply win an argument and not from an honest genuine conviction that Hardshellism is taught in the Scriptures.

What the Hardshells have done, with their emphasis on the presumed many occurrences of timely deliverances in the Bible, is to take the occasional use of a word and make it the general meaning of the word, turning things about, upside down, topsy turvy. They do this in many areas of Bible interpretation. I will give some further examples, but first I will deal a little more with how they take the occasional use of the word "save" and make it predominate.

Saved

The common meaning of this word, in scriptural usage, connects with what relates to eternal deliverance from sin and death. This is its predominant meaning, especially in the New Testament doctrinal epistles. In the Psalms, probably more than any other inspired book, do the Psalmists speak of various timely deliverancies (but, really, even these are connected and based upon eternal salvation), but still, even in these, it is eternal salvation that is predominant. Sometimes the words save and deliver do respect a deliverance from a timely affliction. No one will deny this, and the Hardshells recognize this, seeking to build upon it in trying to win other Christians over to Hardshellism.

If we grant that these words may sometimes NOT refer to eternal deliverance, then it might be also true that other passages, that were thought to be talking about eternal salvation, are actually talking about various time salvations from afflictions and sundry things.

It will become obvious to most who read this essay on Hardshellism, that these Hardshells, who have historically opposed any thing "new," i.e. "inventions," have themselves, ironically and hypocritically, introduced many new things under the Baptist and Christian name, at least in doctrine.

If one takes the word saved in mostly a timely sense, then one will, of course, do the same with those words that express the opposite idea of salvation, words like Perish Destruction, Damnation, etc. These words too must denote, not eternal punishment, something after this life, but only some temporal punishment. It is no wonder that the Hardshells have been plagued with the heresies of "No-Hellism" and "Universalism.", violating such a simple rule of Bible interpretation. Rare and occasional usages of words cannot be made to be the regular use of them.

The Hardshells do the same with the words Angel, Heaven, Hell. The word angel does sometimes, occcasionally, refer to human messengers, but the predominant meaning refers to that order of beings that are spirits, without bodies, of whom man is said to be "made a little lower." But, you listen to Hardshell sermons and the way they "spiritualize" and abuse all "hermeneutic rules" of sound Biblical interpretation, and you will see that they make angel to nearly always mean human messengers. They have a reason for doing this. As I have already alluded, the Hardshells have had much trouble in modern times with the idea that Satan was ever in Heaven and is a fallen angel therefrom. I will be saying more about this later in this book, but this adversity to teaching about the origin of Satan and the fall of the angels has caused those Hardshells, so opposed, to go to extremes and make every reference to angels as referring to human beings. Here again they have taken the erroneous step of taking the occasional usage of a word, in Holy Scripture, and given it the predominant place, all to suit their own ends. I will also later show how they are guilty of what is called "eisegesis." They read their interpretations into passages and words instead of getting them out of the passages and words themselves.

The words Heaven and Hell too are now mostly used to refer to other places other than the final abode of the saints and of unredeemed men.

The causes at work, historically, and which later provided this veritable "new revelation," "Time Salvation," will now draw our attention.

Gilbert Beebe probably was the first to come up with the novel idea of this "Time Salvation" way of arguing and interpreting scripture. He was the father of the view that Christ speaks directly to each heart, apart from the gospel, in what the Hardshells call that "still, small voice," a voice that those who hear it are not even aware. Bob Ross showed this in his writings, of which I will be citing in the next chapter, and enlarging upon. Beebe invented that idea to get around those passages of scripture that speak of the necessity of hearing and obeying the word of Christ for salvation. But, as I said, more on that later. Let me now introduce what the founding fathers of Hardshellism said about "Time Salvation."

Hassell on Time Salvation

"Q. Does the Bible teach that there is a conditional time salvation?

A. The Bible does not use this phrase, and, as its truth is controverted by some of our brethren, it would probably be best to avoid it. But it is certain that the Bible does teach that there is a salvation or deliverance here in time, which we ourselves are to work out (Philip 2:12; Acts 2:40; I Tim. 4:16); yet we can only do this as God works in us by His grace (Philip 2:12,13; 4:13; John 15:4,5; I Cor. 15:10). The cause of the most controversies is the affirmative of one part and the denial of another part of the truth.

Q. Do the Scriptures set forth both a time and eternal salvation?

A. No one except those who are willfully or unintentionally ignorant of the Scriptures deny this fact. Salvation is deliverance, and human beings are delivered from distress both in time and in eternity. Our eternal salvation is alone by the free grace of God through His atoning Son and renewing Spirit; and if we are here in time delivered from trouble in our obedience unto God, that very obedience comes from the grace of God (Isa. 26:12; Philip 2:12,13; Heb. 13:20,21).


These are the answers given by Hassell. They are taken from the writings of Elder R. H. Pittman and Copied from the "Gospel Messenger" and from the "Advocate and Messenger".

"Conditional Time Salvation"

"Is it a Bible doctrine? or Is it a recent heresy?"

By Elder James F. Poole

"The subject with which we differ here is not Time Salvation; it is Conditional Time Salvation."

"The advocates of Conditional Time Salvation habitually interchange the expressions, Conditional Time Salvation and Time Salvation, as if they were the same. We expect to show the differences."

"It was hatred of absolute predestination that gave rise to the putrid system of Conditional Time Salvation."

"Conditional time salvation is a very new doctrine, and can be traced back only to the latter part of the last century, and only in the United States. It has no identity in early history anywhere, and the New Testament is totally silent in its support."

"Conditional Time Salvation did not exist. As with practically all errors that invade the church, Conditional Time Salvation crept in slowly, insidiously, a seed here, a denial there, a question or suggestion about predestination..."

(www.the-remnant.com/conditional2.htm)

Elder Poole is correct on the history of this innovation in doctrine among the Hardshells. Elder Poole is on the "Absoluter" side.

Remember that the Hardshell denomination first began with a very loud and vocal minority within the Baptist denomination. It began with some "rumblings" here-and-there. Their first unifying principle – the "mission system," "method," or "plan," then being practiced by the Baptist denomination, was "evil" and "carnal" and contrary to the "divine plan" or sacred "method," i.e. the "scriptural" or "orderly" plan. This first unifying principle was similar to the Campbellite's first unifying principle, Thomas Campbell's "Declaration and Address." The Hardshells issued their "Black Rock Address" during this same period.

As brother Ross has also shown, the first Hardshells were not at first characteristically deniers of means in regeneration. In fact, they strenuously cleaved to a professed belief in the London and Philadelphia Confessions, which of course, teach gospel means. They were originally in opposition to mission "methodology." This is evident in men like Elder and Doctor, John Watson of Middle Tennessee. He, like others of the time, opposed much of the mission methodology of his day, but he nonetheless believed in gospel means and decried those anti-mission Baptists who were then beginning to embrace the radical view of "Spirit Alone" regeneration.

Those first "Anti-Mission Baptists, however, were finding it very difficult to win many to their cause and belief, because a belief in gospel means does in fact encourage and necessitate the spreading of the gospel in some way or another. There was also the popular belief in the duty of obeying the Great Commission with its command to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." It is difficult to preach too much against "missions" with those beliefs ingrained in the people.

Some of the first "Anti-Mission Baptists preached that there were "better plans." But these people still believed in means in regeneration and church missions. They weren't Hardshell in the sense of denying means in salvation. It was simply a question with them as to what method was the best. But some opposers of the "mission system" saw that, to be successful in the "war" with the Mission Baptists, they must attack the tree at its roots, i.e. the belief that the new birth involves the gospel and the preachers of it.

Thus you have Gilbert Beebe's statement or question, "Why talk about means to produce it?"

Doubtless, in this early period of the anti-mission effort, he was the first Hardshell to arise in attack of that sacred root. He can therefore lay claim to being the public "father" of Hardshellism.

In the creation and invention of this "new" doctrine of "Spirit without the word" regeneration, several classes of scripture passages that teach regeneration through the word, had to be interpreted in a non-traditional way.

That first class of passages speak of being saved, born again and converted by the "word," "voice" or "gospel" of Christ. Beebe first suggested a new way of dealing with that class of "means" passages: deny that they are talking about the "preached" or "written word," and contend that they are talking about some "mystical," "hidden," "subconscious" "voice" or "word" of God, and that it is totally unconnected with the actual recorded revelation. That was the ticket!

The next class of passages to deal with were those which speak of salvation coming through the "preaching" of the "word." Here came, as we said earlier, the invention of the "Time Salvation" and "Conditional Time Salvation" doctrines. In this, there would be, of course, the denial that any of that class of scripture was talking about "eternal" salvation or regeneration.

Connected with these denials came a "new" definition of what constitutes one as being Biblically "saved," "regenerated" and "born again." To Baptists, prior to the birth of Hardshellism, being "saved" (or "born again") was synonymous with "conversion" (the creation of faith and repentance). These were "evangelical graces" signaling the new birth and produced by the gospel. All of a sudden, these Hardshells had adopted a theory of "subconscious level" regeneration. A person could be saved and not even know it! In fact, he might never come to know it in this life! He may be unconverted, i.e. not a Christian, but yet still be "regenerated!" Thus the Hardshell premise became this: anything that the gospel produces in the elect cannot be necessary for their "eternal" salvation. When this is narrowed down, the only thing necessary for their "eternal" salvation or regeneration, was a belief in and love for a supreme being!

Hardshells today strongly assert the presence of "regenerated elect" among all religions of the world, from the idol worshiping Pygmy to the savage Indian. Hardshells see "evidence" of regeneration in the heathen's desire to worship anything! Therefore, Hardshells were forced into illogical, contradictory and unscriptural positions on the nature and necessity of "faith" for salvation.

Biblical faith, as the Confessions stated, and as the Bible clearly shows, is an "evangelical grace" which had the gospel and Christ as its object, and was therefore itself produced through the means of the gospel.

So Paul taught in Romans 10:14-17:

"But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent? . . . So faith comes from hearing what is heard, and what is heard is by the preaching of Christ."

In dealing with those passages which lay down the necessity of faith for salvation, the Hardshells were in another predicament. First, they resorted to their "Time Salvation" doctrine with some of those passages. In some instances, however, it was clear that faith was necessary for eternal salvation. Those passages were just too plain to subvert with the "Time Salvation" “formula” and hermeneutic principle.

The answer to that came when the Hardshells divined that there were, not only "two kinds" of "salvation" (one "temporal" and one "eternal"), but also "two kinds" of "faith," one which is necessary to salvation but not produced by means, and one kind that is not necessary but is produced by the gospel.

Whatever qualities the "faith" produced by the gospel had, the other kind of faith could not have. That became another premise to defend.

When it was narrowed down, the "faith" not produced by the gospel rejected Christ and His death, burial and resurrection. A person could have a "faith" without these qualities and still be saved!

Also, the "life" that a sinner receives in the new birth must be void of those things that the gospel produces. And again, narrowed down, this becomes a bare mystical principle of life, or some strange spiritual deposited "substance" that Hardshells generally call an "inner ability."

These are heretical views. In the new Hardshell vocabulary, "faith," "salvation," "regeneration," "new birth," "repentance," etc., all receive new and heretical definitions!

It soon became the leading job of the Hardshell Bible student to know when a passage was talking about "time" or "eternal" salvation, or when it was talking about necessary "faith" or unnecessary "faith," etc. To be able to do this, was to them, to be able to "rightly divide the word!"

There have been adverse consequences to all this departing from the faith. First, in the area of "conversion." In the Bible, this is the outward expression of the inward work of the new birth. They were inseparable to the early Baptists. Conversion was the production of faith, confession and repentance in sinners under the gospel.

The adverse effects on separating salvation in time from the eternal program are, "No-Hellism," "Anti-Premillennialism," "Non-Resurrectionism" and "Universalism."

The Hardshells have often had to battle the presence of "No-Hellism," or the denial of eternal punishment, because of their substituting "time" for "eternal" salvation in so many scripture passages. If the salvation in those passages is only temporal, then the judgment, death and damnation must also be temporal. This has led some from "No-Hellism" and "Universalism."

The preaching of "time salvation" for the obedient minority of the elect, in contrast to those "elect who are unbelievers," help to make a cult out of those who thought that they were of that holy minority. Thus they began to preach that they were the "elect within the elect!" They only, of the whole regenerated class, had been truly "converted" or "saved in time" by the gospel, and therefore entered "Canann's Land!"

They avow that they only preach the gospel and only Hardshells are saved by the gospel, converted. All other Christians may be regenerated and eternally saved, but none of them have been "saved" in time and therefore none had entered the visible kingdom of Christ, the "Old Hardshell Church."

In the area of "Time Salvation," the already regenerated person had to "get this salvation by himself," i.e. by his own faith and works. "Eternal" salvation was all God's work, strictly by grace and without means. However, "Time" salvation, on the other hand, was by your "free-will" and works, i.e. your obedience to the gospel. In the area of "Time" salvation, Hardshells are virtually Pelagian, Arminian, and Campbellite! This the "Absoluter faction" constantly points out to the "Conditionalist" faction.

This "new" doctrine, as I said, made a cult out of the denomination. It led them to glorify themselves as the "only ones" who were "saved," in the sense of "time" salvation. All other Christians were "lost" in this "timely sense!"

All this fits really well with the root of Landmarkism and Amillennialism. Combined with Landmarkism, it created the "Simon-Pure" mentality, i.e. the "we be Abraham's seed" or "we be the only ones" mentality. We only, they say, have "authority" and gospel "order."

It also fit well with Amillennialism's glorifying of the church of the present age. To the Hardshell, they, and they alone, are seated upon their thrones and ruling with Christ in "Mount Zion," "New Jerusalem," which is, to them, the "Old Church." I have heard many sermons that proclaimed the Landmark Hardshell cult as being "Canaan's Land" in terms descriptive of heaven and of the earthly millennial reign of Christ.

All this has also caused problems with the presence of the non-resurrection doctrine. To place all the emphasis on this life and state of things leads away from the literal interpretation of the word of God. In order to apply all the millennial passages to the Hardshell church necessitated gross "spiritualizing" and "allegorizing" of the sacred text.

For all these reasons, the "ecclesiology of the cult" is subtle, devilish, earthly and carnal. And on this we will have more to say shortly.

Let me first return to the more particular subject of the cult's "secret" revelation, i.e. "Time Salvation."

This "new revelation" of a "Time Salvation," with its attendant evils and adverse consequences, has helped to make the Hardshell denomination into a cult. For this teaching is peculiar revelation to the Hardshell few. This they admit; they even boast of it. They claim it as their peculiar revelation; no one else sees this!

It is ridiculous for them to claim the Old Baptists of John Gill's day as believers in all this. For the salvation, life, faith, regeneration and repentance of those Old Baptists was "evangelical" and well defined, and not like the Hardshell definition, which is vague, mysterious and unrecognizable! I will later show how ridiculous all this is in the light of the Holy Scriptures.

I've already shown how this "heresy" was born out of necessity from those "Anti-Mission Baptists who were later driven into extreme Hyper-Calvinism, i.e. into the position of the Hardshell "anti-means," "Spirit Alone" theory.

It is clear that the Hardshells took this position to the Bible and made it conform to their new man-made theory. This they did through violating all normal rules of interpretation. This has given wing to all sorts of fanciful interpretation and encouraged the practice of "corrupting" and "handling" the word of God "deceitfully." The art and ingenuity of the Hardshells were called upon to come up with "alternative interpretations" to those many passages which clearly teach, directly or indirectly, the necessity of means.

What this industrious and united effort produced were the innovations in theology of "Time Salvation" and "Spirit Alone" regeneration. These were ways of "getting around" the plain and obvious teachings of the word of God.

In teaching the doctrine of "Time" salvation, the Hardshells use many man-made illustrations. These Hardshell "parables," with their subsequent "interpretations," help form a part of the "logic" used by them to win proselytes to their cause. Let me quote from a Hardshell "elder" on the point. He says:

"Suppose I owe an hundred dollar debt down at the grocery store. I have no money to pay. I am burdened down with the thoughts of the debt. I have no peace because of my obligation to this debt that I rightfully owe.

Then one day, a man whom I regard as an enemy, goes down to the store and pays my debt for me. Now there are two things that it will take to cancel my debt.

First, the man who is to pay the debt must have one hundred dollars. Ninety-nine dollars will not pay the debt. Also, the grocery store owner must accept the payment.

Now, this all being done, the debt is cancelled. Also, this is all done without me, the debtor, knowing anything about it. Several days later I happen to be down at the store and the store-owner says to me: 'Mr. Garrett, your debt has been paid.' Now this would be equivalent to the preaching of the gospel. The man is telling me some 'good news.'

At this point, I will do one of two things. I will either accept or reject the message as being the truth. If I feel that the man is simply jesting with me and not telling me the truth, then I will continue to carry the burden of that debt. But, if I believe the message to be the truth, then I will be delivered (saved) from the burden of the debt . . . My coming to hear about the transaction and believing it did not have anything to do with the debt being legally removed. So it is with eternal salvation."
(Eddie Garrett in his written debate with Thomas Thrasher, pages 2, 3).

Here the author seeks to "illustrate" the Hardshell belief in what they call the "Two Salvations" of the Bible. In the story, the author wants to show how it is possible to be "saved" from a debt, without the knowledge or acceptance of the debtor. If that's possible, then so is it possible for one to be forgiven of his sin debt, even though he never believes it and even denies it! This then becomes the "proof" of the Bible teaching of "Two Salvations!"

But that "parable" has no divine authority. And the question must be asked of the Hardshells who adopt such an "illustration" -Where is "regeneration" in the "parable?" If the actual payment of the debt represents Christ's death and actual redemption, and if the debtor's believing the "good news" of its payment is "conversion" or "Time Salvation," then where is "regeneration?" Is it not, to the real Old Baptists at least, the same as "conversion," i.e. his coming to faith? If his coming to faith is not his inner regeneration, then where is it illustrated in the parable? When did the man's "attitude" change toward the payer of the debt? Was it not when he heard and believed the "good news?"


Chapter Eight The Spirit Alone Theory of Regeneration

Hardshells on the New Birth

The Hardshells cannot find their "Spirit Alone," "Anti-Means" doctrine in the Bible. They have no passage that says that "sinners are saved apart from the application of the Word of God." Though the Hardshells claim otherwise, the Bible clearly teaches that regeneration or the new birth is the work of the Holy Spirit operating through the Word of God, and that this work is the same as conversion.

Because the Hardshells believe that many are regenerated and do not even know it, they think that the gospel is simply designed to identify and inform the saved that they are already saved.

R. V. Sarrels, recent Hardshell "theologian," wrote the following in his book, “SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY”:

“Regeneration is a work of God in the human soul that is below consciousness. There is no internal sensation caused by it . . . God as Savior, though dimly perceived by the regenerated Pygmy, is as objectively real to him as this same God as Savior is to the most enlightened Christian. Whatever may be the Pygmy's degree of perceiving this matter, what all of this means to him as he thinks of the here and of the hereafter is of more value to him than ten thousand worlds. From the standpoint of a living, imperishable hope which bridges the grave and anchors the soul to the 'beyond,' what more could be said of the most enlightened Christian? If this matter is faced squarely and consistently, the conclusion (from Hardshell “logic” – SG) is forced upon us that regeneration, and therefore union with Christ, is not limited to gospel lands (page 349)." (Emphasis mine – SG)

Every Bible student should be in shock at such words, coming as they do from a man who professes to believe and preach the Bible. What he says is against Christ and Christianity.

First, his "regeneration below consciousness" is a wild concoction. He has absolutely no Bible in support of it. In fact, every instance given of regeneration in the Bible shows it to be false. It certainly wasn't true of Paul's regeneration! Paul was so fully aware of it, that he recalled all of the details of it. His regeneration produced a knowledge and understanding of the gospel and love for Christ. He knew who it was that spoke to him! He knew where and when it happened. He knew what the Lord said to him. But, Hardshells know nothing of the above.
Dear reader, if you can have salvation and not know it, then you can certainly lose it and not miss it!

Hardshells, as I have stated earlier, feel forced to separate "conversion" from "regeneration." They recognize that Biblical "conversion" (repentance and faith) is not something that is "below consciousness." But they affirm that "conversion" to Christ and any knowledge of the Christian religion are not necessary to be saved to Heaven, but only for being "saved" from some troubles in this life only. The heathen are unconverted, but this does not mean that they will be eternally damned! This is the Hardshell position.

Therefore, what I will demonstrate is that the scriptures refute this idea by "joining them together" (conversion and regeneration) and what is scripturally "joined together," let no Hardshell "put asunder." Hardshells will not deny that this issue is integral to their system, that is, to have conversion and regeneration distinguished as they do. Therefore, to show them as inseparable refutes the Hardshell "anti-means" position.

They acknowledge that conversion is by the means of the gospel. But regeneration, they say, is NOT by the gospel. The former (conversion) in NOT necessary to be eternally saved. The latter (regeneration) is, however. Thus, as I said, to show that conversion is the same as regeneration is to affirm the truth of gospel means.

Certainly there can be no doubt but that the truly Old Baptists, such as Gill, Kiffin, Keach, and the writers of the Baptist Confessions, all believed that conversion was as essential to eternal salvation as was regeneration and calling. Many of the articles of faith of many Hardshell associations and churches positively state that they believe that "all the elect will be . . . converted . . ." They will often say, "regenerated and converted . . ." So, though they may have used the term "conversion" and "regeneration" separately, yet it was understood that both were equally necessary.

In the writings of these Old Baptists, it is obvious that their understanding of the nature and causes of both regeneration and conversion was different from Hardshellism. They certainly didn't believe that regeneration was something that an idol-worshipping heathen experienced! They also didn't divorce, as the Hardshells do, the "hope," "faith," and "love" which regenerated people possess, from Jesus Christ and the Gospel! Sarrels believes that Pgymy's sincerity in his heathen religion, with his heathen idea as to who "God" is, and with his heathen worship of an imagined deity, and with his heathen "hope" and "faith" in the "after-life," is all the same God and religion as enlightened Christians!

Hardshells look at that heathen worshiper's interest in religion as "evidence" of true Bible "regeneration!" In fact, with many Hardshells, only the truly "atheistic" person will be damned. These would constitute the "few" non-elect.

The Hardshells adore this belief and call it "attractive." And, in a carnal sense, it is "attractive." You preach that "most people are going to heaven, and that few are going to hell," and that "there are saved people in all religions of the world," and I assure you that some will find that very appealing. It is all just a little short of "universalism," however. The world loves such doctrine.

Often the Hardshells speak of how "beautiful" this teaching of wholesale heathen salvation, without a conversion to Christianity, is to them. The only thing, according to Hardshell "theologians," that those non-Christian, yet "born again" people, get for their heathenish ways, is the loss of some joy in this life!

Also, Hardshells think that all this glorifies God, who they say, saves them "without any help from man." Or, "God has given the heathen to Christ," they say, and he did it "without Bibles, the Gospel, or a preacher."

How contrary all this is to what the really Old Baptists believed about the matter. For Griffin, in his "History," says that the first Baptists of Mississippi stated in a resolution that they should stir up themselves to "send the gospel to every human being, for it is God's method by which he will give to His Son the heathen for his inheritance, and the remotest parts of the earth for his possession" (page 100).

Also, the Hardshells never consider that the “arguments” they make on the heathen and about regeneration fall back into their faces when it comes to conversion. If it "takes away" from God's sovereignty and sole glory for Him to use "human means" and "human agents" in "regeneration," then why does it not do the same when He "converts" by means?

Hardshells contend that when God regenerates apart from means, it is by "grace" and glorifies God; but when God saves through means, then it is by "works" and degrading to God! That's Hardshell "logic!"

Hardshells erroneously believe that if "man" is a "means" in a "work of God," then man is the one who should get credit for the work! They often argue that God "would not suspend the eternal salvation of sinners upon any "act of man!" The very idea to them is preposterous. If salvation is contingent upon any "act of man," then it would not be all of God, and God could not therefore claim all the glory. This is Hardshell "logic!"

But they say this without much thought as to how this contradicts the fact that the eternal salvation of sinners was contingent upon using the means of a woman named Mary to bring Christ into the world, i.e. human means. They also forget that the nation of Israel was a "human means" for bringing Christ into the world. They also forget that it was the hands of wicked men (human agents) that God used to accomplish the death of His Son, and thus our redemption!

Thus, according to Hardshellism, because "human means" were involved in Jesus' birth and death, then it was not all of God that those events occurred, and brought our salvation! Our Baptist forefathers believed that, not only did God predestinate the salvation of the elect, but also all the "means" involved in it. Thus all the "human agents" become instruments or agents in the hand of the Lord. All this was clearly understood by Gill and the English Baptists in their talk of God being the "first cause" (or "efficient cause") and the human agent, or means, being "secondary" or "instrumental causes.

God is in all control of the means that he has ordained. Just as God used the "Assyrian" (Isaiah 10:5-15)) as a "tool in his hand" to accomplish his purpose, so God uses "Preachers" and "Evangelists" as "tools" in His own work of regenerating and converting sinners.

"How shall they preach except they be sent [of God]?"

God sends preachers of the word to where He wants them to go. He uses them in much the same way that He used the prophet Ezekiel to preach His Word to the "dry, dead bones" (Ezekiel 37). God raised those dead people by His power alone, as the efficient cause, but it was still through Ezekiel's preaching of the Word. God was the efficient cause and Ezekiel was the instrumental cause.

Because the Hardshells have an erroneous understanding of the Bible doctrine of "total depravity," they often reason that "means" are "useless." To preach the gospel to the "dead," is to them ridiculous. God must first give "life" to the dead, alone and without the gospel, before it is of any use to preach.

They pick up on verses that say that a lost man "cannot" seek, obey, believe, repent, hear, etc., and reason that it is silly to command them to do what they have no power to do! But this again is an example of faulty Hardshell "logic!" Apply that logic to the case of Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones! Was it "useless" and "silly" for Ezekiel to preach to those bones? From man's perspective, yes! From the Christian's perspective? No! Did Ezekiel's preaching to the dead "imply" that those dead bones had any ability in themselves to "hear" and "obey?" But I'm sure that, in any case, those resurrected in the valley by God and Ezekiel were nevertheless consciously aware that they had been quickened!

Brother Ross has dealt with the Pelagian argumentation, on the argument that a "command implies ability," as it relates to Hardshell apologetics, and I will be citing his remarks thereon in the next chapter where I will deal with Hardshell Logic on the new birth.

So it is clear that two of their main "arguments" in support of anti-means, have been completely overthrown. Their "logic" has been shown to be against the Divine Revelation. "Human agents" and "means" have been used by the Lord in the eternal scheme of redemption and the foolishness of preaching to the "dead" has been shown to be not so silly, but rather the actual fact of the case, as with Ezekiel and the valley of dead bones.

Hardshell "patriarch," Elder R. W. Thompson, says this about the Hardshell "interpretation" of Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones.

"These bones . . . were an evidence of a former life, and are far from representing unregenerate sinners, who are dead in trespasses and sins . . . If these dry bones represent any who have not been quickened by the Spirit, then there might be a reason for calling upon dead sinners to hear, believe and obey. As they do not, but do represent . . . Christians . . . If it should be claimed that Ezekiel was an instrument in the hand of God, to the accomplishing of this change, then I would say, He would only be such to those who were dead to their privileges and enjoyments; but were not dead to the fact, that they were God's chosen people highly favored . . ." (pages 1, 4 of THE HARDSHELL BAPTIST, 3/85).

If this statement from Thompson doesn't demonstrate the determination of the Hardshells to believe their theory no matter what the scriptures show to the contrary, then it cannot be so demonstrated.

The Hardshells know that the vision of the dry bones destroys their arguments against human means! So, what do they do? They affirm that those dry and dead bones represent living, regenerated children of God! If you can make "dead" to mean "alive," then you can make the Bible mean anything! Thompson also confesses that if the death of the bones is emblematic of the death of the sinner, then there "might be a reason for calling upon dead sinners to hear, believe, and obey!" He is going to hold on to his theory no matter what!

Dad printed this article in his paper and called Thompson's interpretation "the correct interpretation!"

HARDSHELL ERROR ON DEPRAVITY AS RELATED TO "MEANS"

As far as the heathen having anything akin to what the Bible calls "regeneration," I have shown that is a wild and devilish concoction.

Some Hardshells like the famed debater, C. H. Cayce, even affirmed that there was "no principle of justice" in God eternally damning a man for not believing the Gospel when he never had the opportunity to hear it." (See his debate with Campbellite F. B. Shrygley).

From a statement like that, it is evident that Cayce and the Hardshells are the ones that don't understand the Bible doctrine of "Depravity" and "Original Sin!"

Hardshells are often "challenging" those who believe in and support "means" to "explain" what happens to the "heathen" who "never hear the gospel." They do this in order to put the person in a position to either affirm universal heathen damnation or to affirm that some heathen, though gospel unbelievers, are nevertheless "saved."

The Hardshells recognize that many professing Christians are reluctant to affirm the damnation of all who have never heard the preaching of the gospel, so this is where the Hardshell prefers to start. But Paul, whom the Hardshells claim as one of them, boldly affirms that those who are without the Gospel, are "without God" and "without hope in the world" (Eph. 2:12). But Elder Sarrels says that those without the Gospel, like the Pygmy, "have as good a hope and knowledge of God as any "enlightened Christian!"

Paul affirmed that his being made a minister was all for the purpose that the "elect" among the Gentiles might have their "eyes opened" and be "turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan into God" and "receive the forgiveness of sins" and a "place" among the "sanctified by faith" (Act 26:18).

He also said that he "endured all things for the elect's sake, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ with eternal glory" (II Tim. 2:10).

This is not a "time" salvation, but one with "eternal glory." Paul recognized that he was a "means" in the hand of God in bringing salvation to the elect. He did not boast of it. He realized that he was being "used" by the Lord as a tool, and that he could no more boast than could a saw or hammer against him that uses them! (See Isaiah 10).

The "argument" and "logic" that the Hardshell applies to the Biblical doctrine of human depravity to "deduce" or "induce" his "Spirit Alone" theory, I will now further show to be faulty and against the plain revelation.

Hardshells argue that, since the "natural man" receives not and cannot know the things of the Spirit of God (I Cor. 2:14), it necessitates that he first be made a "spiritual man" (i.e. regenerated) before receiving the Gospel. This "logic" sounds good to the untrained ear.

First of all, even the Hardshells must realize that, in any case, the "dead" do at some point "hear" before they are made to live. Does the "natural man" not at some point "receive" something "spiritual" to make him spiritual? The way the Hardshells argue on the doctrine of "Total Depravity," you would think it impossible for even God to save them or to make them "hear!"

Hardshells say that the "dead" alien sinner cannot "hear," "receive," "act," etc. But is that true when God's own power goes forth to cause the "dead" to "hear," "live," and "move?" Though with man it is "impossible," yet with God it is "possible." The truth of the matter is, that among the numbers who hear the Gospel in Word, some hear it in "word only," while others hear it in under the Holy Spirit's power to regenerate and transform. The "Word Alone" regenerates no one; the Spirit applying the Word produces a new birth.

I Peter 1:23, 25 says: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God that lives and abides forever . . . and this is the Word which by the Gospel is announced unto you."

This is the Divine method. Our spiritual birth (regeneration) is "of" God and "by" His Word (i.e. the Gospel). Sometimes it is said to be both of God and of the word preached. It is only of the means in an instrumental sense. It is of God and of the gospel and of faith in it. Hardshellism is refuted by Peter. Just like those "dead bones" were raised by Ezekiel's preaching the Word, so sinners, Peter says, are "born again" by means of the "Word of God."

Hardshells argue uselessly that the "word of God," which Peter says is the means in the new birth, is Jesus, the "Living Word" (John 1:1, 14), and not the "written" or "preached" "word."

This is to be rejected because the scriptures are very careful to speak of regeneration and the new birth as being "of" (ek) God or Spirit, but "through" or "by" (dia or en) faith, the Gospel, the word, etc. The Hardshells would thus have Peter saying, "Being born again (of God) by Christ." But the Scriptures never speak of it in this manner.

The context also makes it clear just what Peter meant by the "word of God." Just prior, he said:

"Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit."

Soul cleansing (regeneration) is through means of faith in the Word announced in the Gospel! Also, just a few verses later, Peter says to "desire the sincere milk of the word" (2:3). This is the Bible, Gospel, and word of God and not Jesus.

John, it is evident, is the only New Testament writer to formally speak of Jesus as the "Word of God."

Hardshells refuse to see that Peter is against their "anti-means" position; they are going to believe in their theory, no matter what Peter says about it.

James is also against them, for he testifies as Peter, saying, "Of His own will beget He us with the word of truth" (James 1:18).

How do the Hardshells "get around" that verse? Some argue that the "word of truth" is a reference to Jesus; this is the same tactic that they used on I Peter 1:23. The difference here is that it is the "word of truth" rather than "word of God." The context of James chapter one makes it crystal clear that the "word of truth" is not Jesus, but the "written" or "engrafted word," which he says, is "able to save your souls" (1:21). Hardshells deny that this word of God is able to save a soul.

All this is far too much for a Hardshell to handle. It never left me alone, but was always staring me in the face during all my time in the Hardshell cult. Many other such passages also troubled me. But today I am happy to be freed from that spirit and effort that is determined to twist, distort, and pervert the plain meaning of Peter, James and Paul.

All these men proclaimed the Gospel as the method by which men come to Christ and are born again. Paul told the Corinthians that he had "begotten" them "through the Gospel" (I Cor. 4:15). He also said that he had "begotten Onesimus in his bonds" (Philemon 10).

All these verses speak of being born, born again, born of God, etc. It is all the same birth in Christ. Paul had begotten them and was their "father" only as a "secondary" or "instrumental cause," but not as the "first" or "efficient cause." Gill and the Old Baptists taught this position.

In like manner, Christians are said to "save themselves"-not as the "efficient cause," but as a "second cause," i.e. through believing and obeying the gospel. God's elect are moved by the Holy Ghost to obey in repentance and faith.

Hardshells have departed from what the early Baptists believed on means. The first Baptists believed that God had predestined all the "means" of salvation. A "means" is a "second cause," totally under the control of the great "first cause." The gospel and faith in it are "means" or "secondary causes."

Because there are "means," "conditions" and "second causes," does not make salvation weak or uncertain, as the Hardshells wrongly imagine. Rather, they are the fixed, determined, and therefore necessary "instrumental causes" of redemption.

Hardshells think that they stand upon the Old Baptist faith when they talk of believing in a Calvinistic tenet called "unconditional election" (or "salvation"). To them, "unconditional election" means "without means" or humans acting as "second causes." "Unconditional" to the Hardshell means without faith, repentance, and every other "evangelical grace!" But it is certain that no Old Baptist understood the term to mean what the Hardshells affirm.

All that they meant was that the faith, repentance, etc., were not the "moving causes" of God's choosing or saving, but the necessary means of executing this purpose and work of God. They certainly recognized that salvation was conditioned upon certain predestined acts and circumstances of the creatures involved.

The reader, in seeing what a base view that the Hardshells have on what constitutes Biblical regeneration and rebirth, can also see what a narrow view this leads them to take on the subjects of calling, perseverance, preservation, justification, and sanctification.

In the Hardshell definition of regeneration, what is it that is preserved and perseveres? What can that Pygmy, while worshipping and adoring his heathen god, know of sanctification and perseverance in Christ and the faith? What did that so-called regenerated Pygmy get in his regeneration that God would keep? Are their idolatries "evidence" of their union and holiness in Christ?

Actually, a Hardshell's idea of "preservation" is for God to keep that hidden, secret, unrecognizable "life" remaining in the person. Hardshells are serving "Anti-Christ" when they call heathen idolaters "saints!" They know nothing of what the Bible means by perseverance, calling, sanctification, etc. When they separate these things from the Gospel and conversion, they then take on strange or empty meanings.

Hardshells often promote their "Spirit Alone" theory by an appeal to "logic" or what is called the "Law of Bio-Genesis." This "law," to them, signifies that there is a universal principle at work, in all realms, that "Life must precede action." If there is any "action," then there is "life." The action is the result or effect of life. Thus they "reason" that since faith and repentance are "actions," they cannot but follow the giving of life and never be in any sense its cause. However "logical" this may sound, it is nevertheless a falsehood and against Divine Revelation.

The true law of "Bio-Genesis" is that "life comes from life." There is always action before birth, however the Hardshell may affirm otherwise. In the sowing of seed, which is necessary to birth and generation, action precedes birth! In Ezekiel's raising of the dead bones, the action of bones coming together preceded the receiving of life and breath. Also, in regeneration, the action of the Spirit on the human heart precedes the birth. Also, the action of conviction precedes the soul's reception of Christ (i.e. life).

But Hardshell "regeneration" and "life" produces no spiritual action! Sarrels said that it produced "no internal sensation!" No effects are necessarily produced under the Hardshell idea of the new birth.

Another favorite argument is made by the Hardshells who "reason" that since "faith" is a "fruit" of the "Spirit," it cannot therefore be in any way prior to, or a "cause" of, the new birth. Anything that follows regeneration, they wrongfully infer, cannot be necessary to salvation! This is absurd!

Even if the scriptures universally placed regeneration "before" faith, that would not preclude its necessity. Is it not at least a necessary and immediate "effect?"

Hardshells often reason that since the Bible is "food" (i.e. "milk," "bread," "meat," "water," etc.), it cannot be a "means" for giving "life!" This however is untrue. Christ made "eating his flesh" and "drinking his blood" essential for eternal salvation (see John 6:52-58).

Hardshell "logic" says that "food" is only for those who already have life. Granting this as true, solely for the sake of argument, does it disprove the "necessity" of such food for the "preservation" of that life? So, this argument falls back in the face of the Hardshell. For, though it would be granted that "food" may not be a "means" in giving life, yet it most certainly is a "means" in sustaining that life! So, though not a means in regeneration, it would be seen as a means in preservation and sanctification, and thus in eternal salvation.

Also, why do the Hardshells not get the gospel food out to those "regenerated heathen" so they can stay saved and not spiritually starve to death?

Hardshells suppose that a regeneration or rebirth that is subject to a lost sinner's eating and drinking, would be to make it all of free-will and works. This is evidently false, because God predestines the "means" of our salvation, just as he does the salvation itself. Also, the "earth drinks in the rain," but this is a necessity and not an act of choice (Heb. 6:7).

The scriptures sometimes speak of faith as following and sometimes as preceding regeneration. It is much the same way with the terms "faith" and "repentance:" sometimes one term is used first before the other in a sentence, while at other times the order is reversed. So with faith and regeneration, especially if we recognize that true Biblical regeneration includes conversion.

The reason why these terms are used interchangeably is because they are inseparable and integral to each other. Regeneration, in a Biblical sense, produces a conversion, necessarily and immediately. As much so as the giving of eyes instantly produces vision.


Chapter Nine - Hardshell Logic on Regeneration

Brother Bob Ross and I, in our discussions on Hardshellism in the early 1990's, often noticed the weird "logic" that the Hardshells often used to prove their heresies. We both felt like something ought to be written about what we both called "Hardshell Logic". Already, in the preceding chapters of this book, I have often referred to the "logic" of the Hardshells. In this chapter I want to repeat and enlarge upon those areas dealing with what is appropriately called "Hardshell Logic".

No Human Means

The Hardshells lay it down as a Biblical maxim of truth, an inspired proposition, about regeneration and salvation, that "God has not conditioned, or suspended, the eternal salvation of sinners upon any human means whatsoever."

Obviously, the Hardshells would love to find a verse of scripture that clearly says this; since they do not, they have created this proposition themselves from their perverted use of "logic."

Somehow, the Hardshells, in their "vain reasonings" (II Cor. 10:5), think that salvation would not be sure and certain, not effectual, if God used any kind of human means in any part of saving sinners.

We have already overthrown the validity of this proposition. First, I showed that the incarnation of Christ, a thing necessary for our eternal salvation, was dependent upon human means, including Mary, the nation of Israel, yea, even all the ancestors of Christ. Second, I referred to those who were guilty in putting to death our Lord and Savior, Judas, the wicked Jews and Gentiles, as being necessary means in bringing about the death of Christ. The death of Christ, like his incarnation, are both necessary means in our salvation. In both instances human agents were means in bringing about those means of salvation.

This does not mean, as the Hardshells falsely reason, that the scheme of salvation was now uncertain of fulfillment.

Brother Ross has also made this rebuttal to this Hardshell proposition:

"For example, the Bible was inspired by the efficient power of the Holy Spirit of God, yet every word of it was instrumentally penned by men. The Spirit used "means," therefore, to give us the inspired Word of God. The use of men as the instrumental "means" does not mean that the efficient power was of men. This might appear to be a contradiction according to the logic of men such as Daily who see contradictions in Dr. Gill, but in such minds the contradiction was born and died." (HISTORY AND HERESIES OF HARDSHELLISM, #2 [04/24--2006])

According to Hardshell "logic" God's giving us the Bible was something that may or may not have occurred. Since God used means in giving the divine breath of Scripture, therefore, it is of man! Because God used human means in giving us the divine revelation, therefore, according to Hardshell "logic," the divine revelation is an accident, yea, not even a revelation of God, but rather, a revelation of men.

So too, the incarnation and the death of Christ, seeing these events were carried out by human agents, were likewise not of God, but of the human agents themselves, and who, as such are to be thanked and praised, rather than God, all according to Hardshell "logic".

Recall too the case of Ezekiel and the "Valley of Dry Bones." (Ezekiel 37). Here was a resurrection, a creation of life, a birth of a living, breathing nation from "dry, dead, bones."

By Hardshell "reasoning" it was not God who raised up the dead in Ezekiel 37! The Hardshells "reason" that if man is involved, as a means or instrument, in creation, birth, and raising the dead, then it cannot be solely by the power of God!

When Elijah, Peter, Paul, and others raised the dead, was it God or the servants of God? Hardshell "logic" says that it cannot be of God, by his power alone, that creates, resurrects, births, etc., if he uses human means!

Of course too, the Holy Scriptures clearly teach that God uses human means in preaching and communicating his word to sinners, that word "which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). The Hardshells cannot refute these verses, only use the above faulty "logic" to try and overthrow what the Scriptures plainly teach us.

Think of all the times the words create, creation, make, etc. are used in the Bible. Are all human agents eliminated in God's work of creation, as the Hardshells reason? Let us look at some passages of Scripture.

"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Colossians 1:15-17)

Is there anything that God creates that he did so by human means? The Hardshells vehemently say no, but let us ask these questions in light of the foregoing words of inspiration dealing explicitly, as they do, with the subject of "creation."

Are there any thrones or dominions that God created through means? Who will affirm that God created every government without human means? Who created the nation of America? The founding fathers? Yes, in a sense (as second causes). But, did not God ultimately create America (as the first cause moving and controlling the second causes to his predetermined ends)? Did he do it through human means or not? What Hardshell will stand up and deny that God has created many nations, powers and authorities, many governments and ruling agencies, through human agents? But, that is what he must affirm as a "logical deduction" of his premise that "God does not use human means in creation."

Notice too that all "powers," whether they be authorities or forces, are the creation of God, even the power of evil.

God said he had used the prophets, the communicators of the words of God, the means of regeneration, to make and shape Israel into a nation. So the passage says:

"Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth." (Hosea 6:5)

It is by the prophets proclaiming the words of God that God used to make Israel. Here the human agent is nothing but a "hewing instrument" in God's hand. If we ask ouselves, "Who hewed the nation? God, the prophets, or both?" Hardshell "logic" would say that since God used human agents, therefore, the product cannot be the product of God, or by his power alone! So, they would have to say the prophets themselves hewed and created the nation, not God. Yet, the truth is, both hewed the nation. One was the efficient cause and the other was the instrumental or second cause, and only the First Cause is to be praised.

You simply cannot exclude anything from Colossians 1:15-17. Creation is not something that is limited to the six days when God created the material world. God has been creating ever since. He must have for the above passage to make sense. All thrones, dominions, principalities, etc., were not created during those six days. God is creating every day. Every time a person is born, he is a creation of God. Will the Hardshells deny this? I suppose they will because God creating me, Stephen Garrett, was by means of my mom and dad, human means. This makes me remember Hardshell preacher "extra ordinaire," Elder Sonny Pyles, who once said, in preaching on Hardshell "evangelism," "sheep make sheep." Does he not then go against his own Hardshell proposition that God never creates through human means and agents? But, back to my point.

God said, by Isaiah, "I create the fruit of the lips. (57:19) Here it is affirmed that praise to God, or what a man confesses truthfully, in regard to God, is the "creation of God." Does God use human agents, my Hardshell brethren, to create the praises of his people and their confessions of truth? Does he not use means to do so? Does he not use good preaching and singing to create those praises?

So, creation goes on, as the Bible teaches. As I said, every instance a child is born God has created a soul. Did he use human means? Of course. So too, every time a person is born again, he becomes a "new creation." (See II Cor. 5:17 & Eph. 2:10) Therefore, God's work of creation is an ongoing affair. So too we are aware of this by such plain statements as Revelation 4:11.

"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

"...are and were" speaks of creation presently ongoing as well as a past event.

One must be more than a little surprised that the Hardshells can't see the faultiness and unscripturalness of their "logic" and man-made propositions of "truth." For instance, the Hardshells acknowledge that their "conversion" to Christ, their "gospel faith," is not God's creation! Since man was used in their conversions and in the creation of their so-called gospel faith, therefore, by their own "logic," their conversions and their faith is NOT of God! Anything that has a creature as a means cannot be of God! If man is a means, then it is of the man, and not of God.

Now that I have given, in my own words, the Hardshell "logic" on the proposition that God does not use means in creation, resurrection, and birth, let me cite from Elder Michael Gowens, a leading minister in the Hardshell church. I met brother Gowens in 1976 when I was preaching in some Hardshell churches in Texas. I visited his home. His father was a Hardshell minister. Michael was a young boy but had a deep interest in theology even at that age. It would be great if the Lord could deliver him, together with other Hardshells, from their heresy. Today Michael has a web page, www.sovgrace.net. These citations are taken from his web page on his essay on "Regeneration." He pastors Lexington Primitive Baptist Church, founded by Elder Bradley with other Elders such as Paul Trautner, a long time pastor at this church. I visited this church many times, while I was a Hardshell, preaching for them several times.

Here is what Michael wrote on "BORN AGAIN - The Doctrine of Effectual Calling"

"In this essay, I will attempt to explain and defend the following principle of the doctrine of grace: Regeneration is immediate, i. e. without the use of means or media; consequently, regeneration precedes faith and conversion. Birth is the necessary prerequisite of belief, in the same sense that life must come before activity."

"Regeneration, new birth, quickening, effectual calling, and irresistible grace are synonymous theological terms referring to the work of the Holy Spirit in the radical transformation of the soul. When one of God's elect is "born of the Spirit' (Jno. 3:8), he is, at that moment, saved, personally and vitally."

"Regeneration is the personal application of the blood of Christ to the "inner man" so that the soul is cleansed, really and individually, from sin."

The Method of the New Birth

"So what is the method by which men are born again? It is nothing more or less than the sovereign and direct work of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration is immediate. God does not use the works of the sinner, on the one end, neither the efforts of the gospel preacher, on the other end, as either the basis or the method for imparting life to the soul."

"The New Testament writers develop three metaphors to describe the mysterious work of God, which is regeneration. First, as we have already noted, it is a birth (Jno. 3:3-8; Jno. 1:l 3; I Pet. 1:23-25; I Jno. 3:9; I Jno. 5:1). Secondly, it is a creation (Eph. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24), the Divine act of speaking into existence that which previously did not exist. Thirdly, it is a resurrection (Eph. 2:1; I Jno. 3:14; Jno. 5:24), the Divine act of giving life to one who is dead in trespasses and in sins. All three images demonstrate the immediacy of God's work of grace in the soul. Does the baby play an active role in his own birth, or is he a passive party in the work of external factors? What about creation? Did man help God in the creation of the universe or was creation the work of God alone? What about resurrection? Can man raise the dead to life? Does the corpse play an active role in his own resurrection? No, God and God alone is active. He is the only Creator. Just as the universe is the product of special creation, not evolution, so the work of God in the soul is a work of Divine creation, not spiritual evolution. Further, only God can give life to the dead. He and He alone has resurrection power."

I have heard hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sermons where this Hardshell apologetic was put forth in an effort to win people over to the Hardshell heresy called the "Pre-Faith Regeneration" theory. They will boldly assert that no means are used by God in creation, resurrection, and in birth, and therefore he does not use the gospel as a means in regeneration and in the new birth; and yet, both the Bible and science prove them wrong,

It is interesting that Brother Gowens says the same thing as Elder R. V. Sarrels, whom I have already cited (and will be citing further on in this book), in confirmation that "regeneration is below consciousness." Of course, Michael does not see that he says things about regeneration that contradict that premise. But, more on that too in later chapters. I will be citing Brother Gowens again in my continuing examination of Hardshell "logic" on the new birth.

Notice what Hassell said in answer to the question, "Does God use any means in regeneration?"

"None whatever, any more than He does in creation or in resurrection, for regeneration is a creation in Christ (which is all of God, Eph. 2:10; II Cor. 5:17,18), and it is a resurrection from the death in trespasses and sins, which God alone effects by His immediate and irresistible power (Eph. 2:1-10; John 5:25; Ezek. 16:6; Mark 5:41,42; Luke 7:14,15; John 11:43,44). It is being begotten or born of God, with which neither the person born nor any other creature has anything to do (John 1:12,13; 3:3, 5-8; I John 2:29; 5:1). It is a direct quickening by the Three-One God, the Father, Son, and Spirit (Jer. 31:33,34; John 5:21; 6:63). It is the giving of spiritual, eternal, and divine life by God to the sinner who was previously destitute of that life (Rom. 6:23; John 10:28; 17:1-3; I John 5:11,12)." (Elder Sylvester Hassell Copied from the "Gospel Messenger" and from the "Advocate and Messenger" Compiled by R.H. Pittman)

I have already overthrown this Hardshell "logic" regarding God not using means in creation, resurrection, and birth. I want next to address the argument that they make in regard to what they call "The Law of Bio-Genesis," or the principle that Life must precede action."

Life precedes action

Here is what Brother Gowens wrote:

"Birth is the necessary prerequisite of belief, in the same sense that life must come before activity."

Here Brother Gowens is upholding the "Bio-Genesis" argument. Sinners must be regenerated first, apart from means, before they can believe, repent, turn to Christ, etc. Why? Because there are Bible verses that say that? No, but because Hardshells are using human "logic" and applying it to the mysteries of God.

But, Hardshell views on regeneration say that life exists where there is absolutely no activity at all! That just won't wash either. Just as "faith without works (actions) is dead," so too "life without activity is dead." Remember that Sarrels said that regeneration "produces no internal sensations", or no activity! We cannot say, dogmatically, which came first, faith or life, faith or repentance, for the scriptures put them in reverse order. This, combined with the overall commentary of the apostles and New Testament writers, tell us that they occur simultaneously, or as I said earlier, you cannot have one without the other. You cannot have life without faith, nor can you have faith without life. So too we say that one cannot have faith without repentance nor repentance without faith.

Notice these words of Jesus to some who were clearly "dead in tresspassess and sins," and needed life.

"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5:40)

If the Hardshell theory were true, Christ could not speak thusly but would have to say, "And you will not have life that you may come unto me." Coming to Christ precedes the obtaining of life. "Coming" is a verb, and denotes action. So too do we read in Isaiah 45:22: "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." It is similar to Numbers 21:8.

"And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live."

Notice that salvation, the "shall live," is the result of the action of "looking." In the teaching of Christ, this "looking" corresponds to our believing in Christ and seeing him upon the cross, the anti-type of the pole set up by Moses in the wilderness. In the preaching of the gospel people see Christ "set forth" and "crucified." (Gal. 3:1) They see him, his sufferings and death, and they look in faith to that atonement, trusting in it, and are thereby changed and born of the Spirit. The Spirit works through the word in bringing men to Christ. I will have more to say later, in a separate chapter, on "Coming To Christ," wherein I examine Hardshell teaching about what it means to "come to Christ."

Command implies ability

Brother Ross wrote:

"Pelagianism held that God bestowed on man the "capacity for his will and work" and that man's capacity, or ability, "come from God alone." This "capacity" was "implanted in us by God," according to Pelagius, a fifth century British monk after whom this school of thought is named.

While Hardshellism is certainly not Pelagian on the matter of man's nature in relation to the effect of the Fall of Man, it has adorned the old Pelagian concept of "command implies ability" in a new garb, format, or "package." What Pelagianism says of man in his natural state, Hardshellism merely shifts to man in a supposed "regenerated" state, before faith.

Basically, this is the same view being advocated by some today who called themselves "Reformed." They have the sinner "capacitated" with an "ability" prior to faith so as to be "enabled" to become a believer. They therefore say "regeneration precedes faith," for it is allegedly necessary for the sinner to be "alive" in order to have the "ability" to believe.

In effect, this logically denies that the power of the Word of God is suficient, in the hands of the Spirit, to resurrect the "dead" sinner, as illustrated by Ezekiel's dry bones (Ez. 37). It makes faith the act by the "regenerated" sinner's "ability" rather than the creative gift of the Holy Spirit.

CAMPBELLISM, the "twin" of the Hardshells, in essence also holds to Pelagianism and is more in line with pure Pelagianism on the natural state of man, as Campbellism denies inherited depravity. But Campbellism holds, in common with Hardshellism, the basic, practical theory of Pelagianism that "command implies ability."

In both Pelagianism and Campbellism, man naturally has the capacity and ability from the Creator to do whatever is commanded, the fall of Adam notwithstanding. In Hardshellism and in the "Reformed" camp, man is similarly endowed by God, but not naturally; according to the Hardshells and the Reformed, this ability is imparted in what they regard as "regeneration" which allegedly capacitates the person with the "ability" to believe. Faith is consequently the act of the "regenerated" person's "ability," and is not the creative work of the Spirit in using the Word of God to raise the "dead."

The practical application made by Hardshells of various commands, such as repentance and faith, is consistent with the Pelagian theory that the command implies the ability to fulfill the command.

Logically, then, according to Hardshellism, the "dead alien sinner" is so disabled that he must have "life" implanted in him so as to capacitate the sinner with the ability to obey the commands. This is their rationale for denying that the Gospel is to be addressed to "dead alien sinners."


Then again, he continues:

"The case of Ezekiel's "dry bones" in chapter 37 does not imply the ability of the dead, dry bones to hear and respond to the preaching Ezekiel. Rather, the design of this scene is to focus on God's power resting upon or accompanying His preached Word.

The case of Lazarus' being commanded to "Come forth" from the dead did not imply ability in dead Lazarus (John 11). This case demonstrates that God's Word, accompanied by His efficient power, can raise the dead thru His command.

The case of the man with the withered hand being told to "stretch forth thine hand" did not imply ability on his part (Matt. 12:13). This again shows that God's power rests upon His Word and has creative results.

The case of the Law as defining man's moral responsibility does not imply man's moral and spiritual ability to comply. Though man is fallen and is under the influence of his depravity, he is nonetheless responsbible to be righteous."


I don't see how I can add anything to this rebuttal of Brother Ross. It is so cogent and completely overthrows the Hardshell "logic" on this idea that God would not command men to repent if they did not have the ability to repent. Does God not still command all to keep all his commandments? Does this imply that they are able?

The truth is not best expressed by saying that "God must first give the ability to believe before we can believe," but by saying, "God must make us penitent, make us believers, make us obey his commands, must cause us to obey the words "come to me," "receive Christ," "be converted," "give me your heart," "believe the gospel," etc.

The Hardshells are forced to affirm that God does not command any dead sinner to life, through the gospel, that he does not command them to "hear Christ," or "believe in Christ," "repent of your sins," "give your heart and life to God," etc., because he is depraved and cannot do that. But, again, as Brother Ross has shown, they are wrong in inferring that a command implies ability to comply. Did Ezekiel speaking to the dead bones imply that they had ability to obey?

The Hardshell can preach the law to the dead sinner. He can tell him, "Do not lie," and "love the Lord your God with all your heart," but he cannot tell the sinner to believe, repent, confess, and obey Christ?

No justice in damning heathen

Recall that it was Elder Cayce, in debate with the Campbellite Shrygley, affirmed that there was "no principle of justice" in God eternally damning a man for not believing the Gospel when he never had the opportunity to hear it."

Of course, I have heard all kinds of arguments like this regarding the heathen and those who die not having heard the gospel. It is ironic too that Cayce claimed to believe the Old London Confession of faith to be representative of Old Baptist doctrine, saying that those who had left belief in that confession could not be properly called Primitive Baptists.

Here is what the Baptists who wrote the confession believed about the case of the heathen who die without hearing the blessed gospel.

Chapter 20: "Of the Gospel, and of the Extent of the Grace Thereof"

"1._____ The covenant of works being broken by sin, and made unprofitable unto life, God was pleased to give forth the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman, as the means of calling the elect, and begetting in them faith and repentance; in this promise the gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and [is] therein effectual for the conversion and salvation of sinners.

2._____ This promise of Christ, and salvation by him, is revealed only by the Word of God; neither do the works of creation or providence, with the light of nature, make discovery of Christ, or of grace by him, so much as in a general or obscure way; much less that men destitute of the revelation of Him by the promise or gospel, should be enabled thereby to attain saving faith or repentance.

3._____ The revelation of the gospel unto sinners, made in divers times and by sundry parts, with the addition of promises and precepts for the obedience required therein, as to the nations and persons to whom it is granted, is merely of the sovereign will and good pleasure of God; not being annexed by virtue of any promise to the due improvement of men's natural abilities, by virtue of common light received without it, which none ever did make, or can do so; and therefore in all ages, the preaching of the gospel has been granted unto persons and nations, as to the extent or straitening of it, in great variety, according to the counsel of the will of God.

4._____ Although the gospel be the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace, and is, as such, abundantly sufficient thereunto; yet that men who are dead in trespasses may be born again, quickened or regenerated, there is moreover necessary an effectual insuperable work of the Holy Spirit upon the whole soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual life; without which no other means will effect their conversion unto God.


Here Cayce is in disagreement with the Old Baptists of 1689. Those Old Baptists believed that salvation was not possible for those who died without the "outward means" of grace, the gospel and words of promise concerning Christ, the means of "begetting in them faith and repentance.

"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." (Ephesians 2:12)

What "time"? The time when they were "dead in tresspasses and sins." (2:1) It was also a time when they were unbelievers.

"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power..." (1:19)

The context makes it clear that the demarcation line where a person becomes alive spiritually, who was previously dead, is the same time one becomes a believer, who previously was an unbeliever. I do not know a single Hardshell who would say that the faith of Ephesians 1:19 is not necessary to salvation. They would allow that this verse is speaking about regeneration, using this verse to prove the doctrine of "irresistable grace" or "effectual calling."

"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints..." (1:13-15)

This faith or belief in Jesus came through the preaching of the gospel. It was this means by which God "quickened" them. Prior to hearing and believing the gospel, according to Paul, the heathen are "without God and without hope." They are "dead in sins," while in unbelief. Paul clearly puts coming to believe in Jesus, by the gospel, as all the same as being resurrected from the dead, receiving hope in God.

According to the "logic" of Cayce,, all the heathen will be saved! If it is not "just," he affirmed, "for God to damn any heathen who died without hearing the gospel," then all such heathen will be saved, born again, or else God is not "just"! Not only have Hardshells preached that some of God's elect are among the heathen, and who nevertheless are "born again" sometime before they die, and go to Heaven, but now their "logic" is forcing them to say all the heathen are saved!

The Hardshells now are no longer opposed simply to mission methods, or any lawful preaching of the gospel to any who have not previously heard it, but they are now advocating not preaching the gospel to anyone! By their "logic" they could insure the salvation of all by keeping the gospel from being preached!

Cayce is against the Old Confession that he says is the criteria for judging whether one is truly Old Baptist!

Cayce, the greatest defender of Hardshell "logic" and "heresies," believes that all the heathen who die without the gospel must be saved or else God is not "just!"

The Hardshells have many errors in their understanding of the first point in Calvinism and in the Doctrines of Grace, that of Total Depravity. Brother Ross has shown their error on the Pelagian idea that a "command implies ability." I have tried to add to his well written rebuttal. I too have shown how the Hardshells, like Cayce, have erred on the doctrine of "Total Depravity" They demonstrate that error when they say that "God would not be just to damn any heathen who died without hearing the gospel!"

Here is what Brother Gowens said about the relationship between Hardshell views on "Regeneration" and "Total Depravity."

"The Gospel-means position does not adequately satisfy the tension between Total Depravity and the act of believing. Because man is totally depraved, he does not have the ability to believe. I Corinthians 2:14 says, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned." The context of I Corinthians 2 describes two different types of people, "the natural man" (v. 14) and "he that is spiritual" (v. 15). Because the natural man has no spiritual capacity ("neither can he know them"), he cannot grasp the spiritual message of the gospel. The spiritual man, on the contrary, has the ability to discern spiritual things (v. 15). Paul clearly establishes the principle in this passage that a change of nature must precede the ability to receive the gospel. Spiritual life must be given before one can understand the "spiritual thing" which is the gospel."

Brother Ross and I have already overthrown this "carnal reasoning" and faulty "logic." But, I want to repeat, with greater emphasis, a rebuttal argument I presented in an earlier chapter, on this Hardshell "argument."

But, even in the Hardshell scheme of regeneration, dead people do hear the words of Christ before they are made alive!

The Hardshell says that the dead cannot hear. Yet, they also teach that the dead must hear to be regenerated. They have no problem putting "hearing" before life when it comes to the words Christ himself speaks to the dead, but not those same words he speaks through the preacher of the gospel! I will deal with this other novel idea of the Hardshells, the "Direct Speaking" theory of regeneration, under a separate chapter. Brother Ross has dealt with this novel theory extensively and I hope to cite his remarks and extend upon them.

Did the dead bones in Ezekiel 37 not hear the words of God, through Ezekiel, BEFORE they came to life?

Have I also not shown that coming to Christ PRECEDES regeneration? Do not the Hardshells themselves acknowledge that is what the Scriptures say? "Hearing" and "Coming" both precede the receiving of "LIFE"! They say this order is okay, does not violate their "Law of Bio-Genesis." Why not? What makes the difference? In the one case, they say, Christ is doing the speaking, directly, not through a medium or spokeman, and so in such a case "hearing and "coming" can precede the reception of life! Notice that the Hardshells affirm that the sinner has ability to hear the words that Christ speaks directly to the sinner, but not words he speaks indirectly through the preacher, like Ezekiel?

Food Not A Means In Giving Life

The Hardshells argue that it is impossible for food and water to be means of giving or imparting life. It is another example of their use of "logic" to support their theories on regeneration. Let me address that "argument" next.

"The gospel is food for the hungry soul, the bread of life, the means by which believers "taste the good word of God" (Heb. 6:3)." (Gowens)

Though Michael did not argue much from that, in his essay on the "New Birth," yet he would subscribe, as all Hardshells do, as I have stated the argument.

Now, who can deny, in the natural and physical realm, that a man must be alive before he can drink? But, is that true in the realm of omnipotence, in the realm of the supernatural? Let us apply that "carnal logic" to some passages of Scripture dealing with the metaphor of eating and drinking, and other such figurative language, to see if it is always the case that one cannot eat or drink in order to live.

First of all, let us notice that the Scriptures associate the hearing and receiving of God's words of revelation and promise, with eating and drinking.

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts." (Jeremiah 15:16)

Brother Gowens cited Hebrews 6. There those who are saved, born again, wrote Paul, are said to have "tasted (eaten or drunk) the good word of God and the powers of the age to come." Eating those words, which are often compared to "bread, water," and "food," in the Scriptures, does give "life."

The Scriptures often speak of people, in dying, "tasting death." It also speaks of "tasting the grace of God." (II Peter 2:3) The latter could easily be called "tasting life," for the words of Christ are life. (John 6:63)

Those "dead in sins" are able to "drink in iniquity," they are able to receive the words of falsehood and unbelief, but can they not, by the power of the Holy Spirit, drink in righteousness, eat the word of God, and live thereby?

Now notice the entirety of the passage in Hebrews.

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned." (6:4-8)

The earth is made to "drink water" and this is equivalent to the earth's "receiving blessing from God." All this is said by Paul in the context of being born again and regenerated. It is in drinking in the "water of life," and eating the "bread of life,"
that men "receive" life, a superlative "blessing from God."

The earth passively receives the rain, drinks, and life is produced in the earth by means of drinking that life giving water. That metaphor destroys the above Hardshell "logic" that says a man must be alive first in order to drink.

Notice Revelation 22:16, 17.

"And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

"Water of life" can mean nothing else but "life giving water." The Hardshells do not believe in such a thing. Yes, they will argue, on the above passage, that those being invited to drink the water of life are people who are already alive, their "thirsting" being "evidence" of "life."

Could it not be that people are "thirsty", in the sense of this text, because of sin? Is not our "barrenness," in our relationship to God, one of dire thirst? Did not the "Prodigal Son" exclaim, while in the hog pens, "I perish from hunger"? Are not all sinners dying of thirst and spiritual starvation? Do they not all need to eat and live?

Notice these words of Jesus:

"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." (John 6:27)

"Labour not for the food which perishes" is all the same as saying, "labor not TO EAT the food which perishes BUT DO LABOR TO EAT that food (gospel) whose nourishment and benefit is UNTO life everlasting."

This just goes against Hardshell "logic" that says one cannot eat in order to life.

Also, I recall the scene at "Jacob's well," in John 4:10,11.

"Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?"

And further:

"Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw." (vs. 13-15)

Drinking here comes before the receiving of life. So much for Hardshell "logic."

Notice further these words from John 6.

"Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not (have not eaten the bread). All that the Father giveth me shall come to me (eat this bread, believe on me, drink in my words); and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth (receives me, takes me in, like one who drinks in water and takes in food) on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." (vs. 31-40)

These verses equate eating Christ with receiving Christ, coming to him, and with obtaining life thereby. Again, all this flies in the face of Hardshell "logic"; in this matter of affirming that food and drink, the words of the gospel, cannot be a means of imparting life, they are just thinking carnally.

Notice these words of Paul.

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.." (II Cor. 2: 14-17, New KJV)

Notice how the gospel has two different effects upon people, depending upon whether they are elect and effectually called by the Spirit using the gospel, called in this passage the "fragrance (aroma) of Christ." This gospel or aroma of Christ, has life in it, for it is the "aroma of life." But, it not only has life but it does in fact actually give life. The Hardshells wrongly imagine that the gospel can neither have life nor give life, they are therefore opposed to what Paul teaches us in this passage. I will say it again, not only is the gospel possessed of life giving power, but it actually gives life, "life UNTO life," (KJV) as the text clearly says.

Now, on the other hand, the same gospel, to those whom God has not chosen to salvation, when hearing the gospel, without the attending power of the Holy Spirit, becomes "toxic." They esteem the gospel as being what it is not, an "aroma of death." What they imagine is detrimental to them is really the only remedy for their sinful malady. It becomes to them, an "aroma of death unto death."

Is it in accord with "human logic" to believe that the dead can be brought to life by "smelling salts"? We use strong aromas to arouse those who are unconscious, and the word of God, wrote Paul, is able to give life by its supernatural aroma, to those who receive the gospel, not in word only, but in the Holy Spirit.

I have also pointed out how this "argument" on the word of God being food and water, and cannot therefore be a means of giving life to the dead, that this really solves very little for the Hardshells. They still have this imagined heathen unbeliever, to whom God has supposedly given spiritual "life," without the gospel food, in need of that same "gospel food" in order to preserve his "life" and salvation! So, why are the Old Hardshells not more missionary in taking "gospel food" to those spiritually starving souls around the world, who need the "nourishment" of the Hardshell gospel? You got to give credit where credit is due, "honor to whom honor," and so those Hardshells who are supporting "mission work" (sponsored by the churches, and not "boards")in sending money and other kinds of support to "mission work in the Philippines and in Africa, Hardshells like Elder Bradley and Gus Harter, are to be encouraged. I only wish they would go a little further, or in Bradley's case at least, come back to what you use to believe and preach. The same with dad. You missionaries who left the Old Baptist Confession and the historic position of the Particular Baptists, ought to renounce Hardshellism and come back with fresh zeal to preach the gospel to all men, calling upon them to repent and believe the gospel or be eternally lost. But, I will speak more on this "mission work" in the later sections of this book.

The Scriptures use many metaphors and words to describe the work of saving sinners. Hardshells focus in on a few that they think, by the use of their human "logic", proves their "anti means" position. We have pointed these out, those figures and words being, birth, resurrection, creation," etc. But, the Hardshells err in refusing to see that salvation is also a "conversion," a being "made a disciple," being "taught of God," a "making covenant" with God, being "justified," "turning to God," "set free," "enlightened," etc., all which would show the involvement of the will of man in salvation, his coming to Christ involving his understanding, will, and the very seat of his affections and cognitive abilities. These figures of regeneration and salvation do not suit the purpose of the Hardshells, which is to convince all that regeneration is on the "sub conscious level."

In the next two chapters I will also continue my look at Hardshell "logic", dealing with these "arguments" that are all based upon human "logic."

1. Infants are regenerated and therefore regeneration occurs apart from means.

2. Idiots are regenerated but not converted, so also everyone else.

3. Regeneration through means would make saviors of men who preach.

4. Salvation would be based upon money if regeneration is by means.

5. Most professing Christians would be lost if salvation is by knowing truth.

Brother Ross was in agreement with these remarks on Hardshell "logic."

“Hardshellism defends its theory on the grounds of carnal "logic" (see Sarrels' Systematic Theology, page 328). And on the grounds of purely physical logic, without a consideration for Divine Revelation, who can deny their "logic" that the "dead" must be made alive BEFORE they can give any evidence of life? Who denies that you won't get a "dead fish" to bite the bait?” (HISTORY AND HERESIES OF HARDSHELLISM, #6 [05/11--2006)


Chapter Ten - Hardshellism & The Infant & Idiot

This chapter really is but a continuation of Hardshell "logic" though I have titled it as concerns their "argumentation" on these two exceptional cases of sinners who need to be saved. In the next chapter I will continue to address reasoning on regeneration as it relates to these three remaining "arguments" from the Hardshell "arsenal."

1. Regeneration through means would make saviors of men who preach.

2. Salvation would be based upon money if regeneration is by means.

3. Most professing Christians would be lost if salvation is by knowing truth.

But, before that let us look at their armumentation and "logic" as it relates to sinful infants who die in infancy and concerning "idiots," those without "cognitive ability."




Michael Gowens wrote:

"It seems to be the rule that most people are unaware of the moment when the new birth occurred. Although many trace their new birth back to a certain date or time, such dates generally mark the moment when the person first understood the gospel or first committed himself to the Savior in gospel obedience. If so, the date to which the individual has attached significance as the date of regeneration is in fact the date of gospel conversion, a separate event entirely. To say that regeneration is a Divine mystery is to say that there is more to it than we can understand (Yes, Michael, and so you should quit applying "human logic" to understand it). Such mystery should prompt a spirit of reverential awe and worship from our hearts. Thirdly, the text teaches that everyone who is born again is born again in precisely the same way ("...so is every one that is born of the Spirit..."). Arminianism requires a separate method of saving sinners in different circumstances. For example, it requires one method to save the unevangelized heathen, another to save the infant that dies in infancy, another to save the mentally retarded..." (From his essay on "Born Again" at http://www.sovgrace.net/born.htm)

I used to argue this stuff myself when I was a Hardshell. Here are the type statements that Hardshells make on the infant and the "logical deductions" that they make and attempt to get others to accept.

"If the infant is regenerated directly by the Spirit, working alone, and not through the means of the word or gospel, then so is everyone else, for everyone is born again is precisely the same manner."

"If the infant is not born again by a decision to follow Christ, by believing and repenting, then so is everyone else."

"If one must believe and repent to be saved, then the infant cannot be saved."

Before I address this argumentation more particularly, let me cite from the London Confession on Faith of the subject of the salvation of infants who die in infancy.

Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

._____ Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.


( Romans 8:30; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:10, 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14; Ephesians 2:1-6; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:17, 18; Ezekiel 36:26; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:27; Ephesians 1:19; Psalm 110:3; Song of Solomon 1:4 )

3._____ Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

( John 3:3, 5, 6; John 3:8 )

Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith

1._____ The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened.


( 2 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 2:8; Romans 10:14, 17; Luke 17:5; 1 Peter 2:2; Acts 20:32 )

4._____ Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men that receive not the Christian religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.

Chapter 15: Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation

1._____ Such of the elect as are converted at riper years, having sometime lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their effectual calling giveth them repentance unto life.


(Titus 3:2-5 )

All this clearly shows that the Old Baptists, who wrote the first confessions, believed that God did regenerate and save infants who died in "infancy." Most Baptists have held to this view. This does not mean, however, that the Baptists believed that infants were saved in precisely the same way as adults. This is an error of the Hardshells. These Old Baptists were very clear to state that the salvation and regeneration of infants was NOT precisely as adults. The "ordinary" way of regenerating sinners, those who are not infants, is "by his word and Spirit." In the case of infants, they allowed that "conversion" was unnecessary, that in such cases God regenerated without means, without the preaching of the gospel; And, in that sense, for whatever it is worth to the Hardshells, God does regenerate without means. This, said the Old Confession, was God's "extraordinary" way, not the only way.

The Hardshells err in making God's "extraordinary" way the "ordinary" way. They are not in agreement with the Old Baptists for they do not believe that God saves and regenerates the adult by the means of the gospel. The infant may be regenerated without a conversion, without an enlightenment, without faith in Christ, without conviction and repentance of sin, but not the adult.

I endorse the sentiment of the Old Baptists that God does work "through means," "ordinarily," but he is "free to work without them."

Does this mean that the Old Baptists believed that heathen peoples who had not heard of Christ, could be, like the infant, regenerated without conversion, without faith and repentance, without the gospel? Absolutely not.

Rather, they said this:

"...much less can men that receive not the Christian religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess."

The truth is, the modern PB's do not believe what the Baptists of this confession believed about regeneration. We can agree with the Hardshells on the regeneration of some infants, but we cannot agree that the adult is regenerated in the same manner. Shortly I will quote at length from the great H. Boyce Taylor, a leading opponent of Hardshellism, on this point of "infant salvation" and will also give various views of leading Baptists on this area of discussion. But, before I get into all that, let me cite another PB on the matter of infant salvation as it relates to the salvation of adults.

"29. Do Primitive Baptists preach infants in Hell?

Answer: No, the doctrine preached by Primitive Baptists is the only message which leaves any hope for infants, the feeble-minded, and the heathen, most religious groups preach that one must hear and understand the gospel, actively obey the gospel, and manifestly believe on Christ, in order to become a child of God. But the great message of grace which is so firmly believed and preached by Old Baptists, declares that one may be a recipient of the mercy of God without hearing the report of it through the gospel and even without fully understanding what has taken place in his heart. If infants, the feeble minded, and the heathen must hear the gospel preached by man and actively repent and believe the truth, then there is no hope for them. But since salvation is by the sovereign grace of God through the work of His Son, we know that He will save His own regardless of their circumstances in life (Rom. 8 :34-39; Rom. 11 :28; II Tim. 2 :13, 16-19)."

"The scriptures teach certain infants have experienced spiritual birth (Ps 8:2, Ps 22:9, Mt 11:25, Mt 21:16, Lk 1:15, Lk 1:41) even though infants are incapable of receiving the preached word. However, the scriptures offer no support to the theory that infants are spiritually quickened by means other than adults. Indeed, the opposite is suggested (Mk 10:15). Nor do the scriptures teach a different scheme of spiritual quickening for those in Old Testament times. There is but one method of spiritual quickening that can be common to all; namely, by direct operation of the Holy Spirit."

"Jesus taught that those dead in trespasses and sins would be quickened by the power of his voice (Jn 5:25-29). In this same context it is taught this voice will also raise the bodily dead at the end of time. A man can give the words of Christ but not His voice, and as Christ will not use man to raise the bodily dead, neither does He use man to raise the spiritually dead.

If it were the purpose of the gospel to accomplish spiritual birth in natural men, then the gospel should be most urgently directed toward the nonspiritual. In fact, this is not its principal direction in the scriptures (2Thes 3:1-3, Rom 15:31, Acts 18:9-10).

Though certain of the elect may be deprived of the natural faculties or circumstances necessary to receive the preached word (2Sam 12:18-23, Mt 9:37-38, Rom 15:30-31, 2Thes 3:1), such considerations do not limit the power of God to directly reveal His Son in the hearts of all the elect (Mt 11:25, Mt 16:17, Mt 21:16, Lk 1:15, Lk 23:39-43, Jn 5:25, Jn 5:38, Jn 6:37, Jn 6:44-45, Gal 3:8, Heb 8:10-12).

VII) Revealing Gospel - The purpose of the gospel is to bring those quickened by the Spirit to the intelligible discovery of the Lord Jesus, and transform them to the example of His life, in both truth and works, that God may be glorified thereby.

Though the Spirit produces life without the means of the preached word, it is the gospel which brings this life and immortality to light (Rom 1:16-17, 2Tim 1:9-10).

The gospel establishes believers in truth, convicts them of their sins, and leads them to repentance (Ps 119:9-11, Acts 17:30-31, Col 1:3-6, 2Tim 3:16-17) that God may be glorified, both by their profession and works (Mt 5:16, Acts 13:48, Rom 15:8-9, 1Cor 6:20, Philip 2:9-11, 2Thes 1:12, 2Thes 3:1).


(Abstract to the Doctrine of Salvation as Advocated by The Primitive Baptists, http://www.pb.org)

The ablest Baptist theologians have insisted that the case of the dying infant is shrouded in mystery. It is not something that is clearly revealed in Holy Scripture, as is the way of salvation. Most of these Baptist spokesmen have all insisted that one cannot build their whole scheme of salvation, as the Hardshells do, based upon the exceptional cases of infants who die in infancy, or idiots. The reason for this is quite obvious. There are too many difficulties with the whole question. For instance, how do we define "infant"? Is a child an infant till what age? 12 years? The passages that Hardshells use to try to prove that infants and adults are regenerated the precise same way do not prove this, and in fact, as I will show, these passages prove TOO MUCH for the Hardshells.

It is interesting, seeing the case of infant regeneration is so fundamental to the Hardshell argumentation and apologetic, on the new birth, to prove that sinners are regenerated prior to and without the prior conditions of faith and repentance, that none of the apostles and New Testament writers argue such a highly esteemed "argument." Would their "logic" not have greater weight if they could find their premises and propositions in the Bible? Where do the New Testament writers argue for "unconditional salvation" by this manner? Where do they reason, saying, "since infants are saved without means, so is everyone"? If it is such a great "argument," one to help prove Hardshellism, which, they say, was taught by the New Testament writers, why do we not see it argued by the apostles?

John 3:8 does not say that infants and adults are saved "precisely" the "same way." But, I will address that later. Yes, all are saved alike, infant and adult, by the power of God. When God saves through means, it is still by the "power of God." In both cases it was "by the Spirit of God." The only difference, besides the "metaphysical" aspects, is that God used means in the one case but not in the other, besides that, it is the same. The only other difference concerns whether the infant, dying in infancy, has only "original sin," or is old enough to have committed personal sin.

Many Baptists believe that those infants that die with only Adam's sin, and no personal transgressions, like a new born, go to Heaven because they believe "original sin" was atoned for on behalf of every single man. No man goes to Hell because of "original sin." So, though they need regeneration, they don't need conversion, nor repentance and faith in precisely the same way that adults.

These Baptists will argue that certain Scripture passages, dealing with the coming Day of Judgement, all indicate that those who will be judged and condemned are people who have committed personal transgressions, and therefore, such infants are absent before that awful "Judgement Bar."

In arguing against the belief that faith and Gospel repentance are essentials to regeneration, justification, sanctification, preservation, salvation, etc. the Hardshell will argue that such a teaching not only "damns the poor helpless heathen" for "no fault of his own," but also "damns all infants who die in their infancy, and all idiots and imbeciles," who likewise are incapable of being "outwardly called by ministry of the Word." These supposed consequences of the "means position," say the Hardshells, make the means position "absurd" and "untenable." No system of salvation, they affirm, can be true if it excludes the salvation of infants and idiots. That is one of their major premises.

It is safe to say, most Hardshells believe that the "majority" of the elect are regenerated in infancy. This is why, in explaining their own "religious experiences," they will speak of "always" loving God, yea "from their earliest remembrance." They say this because they believe that they were regenerated in infancy, in the deep and dark recesses of the soul.

Doubtless this belief in infant regeneration originated among the Paedo-Baptists, particularly those who believed baptism was a necessary means to remove "original sin" and to "regenerate." But the Hardshell argues on something that the Bible never clearly affirms, i.e. the wholesale "regeneration of all infants." But, it is clear, that the Old Baptists of the confessions believed such "elect infants" were "exceptional" cases at best, and though not through the "ordinary means," yet mysteriously regenerated in an "extraordinary way." The "exception" does not, however, nullify the "rule." Nor does an "extraordinary" means nullify the "ordinary" means.

Hardshells bring up the supposed regeneration of John the Baptist, while yet in his mother Elizabeth's womb. He is said to have "leaped for joy" at the "salutation of Mary" and was "filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb." Hardshells affirm that all this was John's "regeneration." They next insist that it was by the "Spirit Alone" and without the means of the Gospel, faith or repentance. Finally, they affirm that all are born again like John the Baptist, because, "God only does it "one way."

But the Old Baptists of the Confessions did not agree with this Hardshell "logic." They did assert both ways!

God works through means, ordinarily, was the faith of those first Old Baptists. But, they also affirmed that God was "free to work without them whenever He so chose."

But returning to the case of John the Baptist. Did he not respond to and hear the "salutation" of Mary, which was, in essence, the "good news?" Did Mary not announce the Gospel in her salutation? Again, it is of the Spirit, yet it is still by or through the Word proclaimed!

But, this supposed "regeneration" of the Baptist was nothing like the "regeneration" of which the Hardshells speak. Was this experience of John the Baptist "without any internal sensation"? Was it "below the level of consciousness"? No, no, no! John, "leaped for joy." That supposes conscious awareness! The miracle here was not that God worked apart from means but that he REGENERATED AN INFANT THROUGH MEANS, a thing the Hardshells say is not possible!

If the Hardshells are going to pick an example of infant salvation apart from the preaching of the good news, they better find another one! But, they do try to come up with another example. It is the case of David being "made to hope while he was upon his mother's breast."

"But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly. " (Psalm 22:9,10)

The Hardshells cite this verse to try and prove that King David, like John the Baptist, was also born again while an infant. But, here again, this case, like that of the Baptist, PROVES TOO MUCH FOR THE HARDSHELLS. Was this regeneration "below the conscious level?" How can one have an unconscious hope? John could not "leap for joy," unconsciously; so neither can David "hope" without consciousness of what it is that is hoped for.

David was no doubt taught the Holy Scriptures by his godly mother and father from the moment of birth (like Paul said to Timothy, "and from a child you have known the Holy Scriptures..."). He no doubt spent 2-5 years "upon his mother's breast," if that is a reference to his time spent as a "suckling." It may refer to even more years if it simply means "enjoying mother's lap and bosom." I sat in my mother's lap for a long time, not as a suckling, but to enjoy her fellowship and embrace, the warmth of her love. I am sure that David's mother taught him the word of God just like we begin to teach babies rhymes, ABC's, and how to say words and form thoughts.

David's language is similar to Paul, who said, "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace..." (Gal. 1:15) David says, "I was cast upon you from the womb...you made me hope on my mother's breast."

Now, there is no example where an infant was regenerated without the means of the word of God. Does it happen? It may. David's son died, and believed that he would "go to him." (II Sam. 12:23)

As I said earlier, this area of study is very difficult. Why? Because the Bible does not say anything specifically about it. All we do, as Bible students, on this topic, is make inferences and deductions, upon certain passages. But, we have no clear cut scripture anywhere that specifically says, "ALL WHO DIE IN INFANCY WILL GO TO HEAVEN," Nor, do the scriptures even clearly define "infant" for us, which it would, it seems to me, if this was a clearly revealed and serious doctrinal point. Can I prove that some have been regenerated, miraculously, while still in the womb, or as a suckling, or as a very young tot? No, I do not have a single scripture that would clearly substantiate it. I can only infer or surmise that what John the Baptist experienced was his "regeneration." I can only speculate that what David meant by "hoping" upon his mother's breast was his "regeneration."

Hardshells, like Cayce, often argue from the words of Christ, that "except you be converted," and "become as little children," "you cannot enter the kingdom," or from the words, "except you receive the kingdom as a little child you cannot enter therein." (Matt. 18:2-5).

They argue that such verses support the "Spirit Alone" or "anti-means" position, because, they say, it affirms that infants do "enter the kingdom" and are "converted." And further, that "adults" are "converted" and "enter the kingdom" just as the infant.

All of this argument flies in their face, however, for the text is talking about "conversion," something that Cayce and the Hardshells affirm is NOT "regeneration!" But now, since it seems to suit their case, conversion becomes regeneration!

But since it is talking about "conversion," something that the Hardshells confess belongs to the Gospel only, then it certainly couldn't have been infants of days or weeks! The context of those passages make it clear that they were "toddlers" and not babes. For Christ spoke of the saints as encouraging such to "come to Christ" and of not "offending" them. This does not describe a newborn. All Christ was affirming, was that the disciples needed the grace of "humility" (repentance) to be saved. This humility is exemplified in "toddlers," though not in newborns.

Hardshells are "grasping for straws" in such argumentation. Hardshell argumentation along this line reflects again how deeply they appear to be in error on the doctrines of "Original Sin" and "Total Depravity." They not only think it unjust and unfair for God to damn the heathen who have never heard, but also of any infant or idiot. However, God is just to damn these classes of men who sinned in Adam.

The Hardshell I cited earlier from www.pb.org, said:

"The scriptures teach certain infants have experienced spiritual birth (Ps 8:2, Ps 22:9, Mt 11:25, Mt 21:16, Lk 1:15, Lk 1:41) even though infants are incapable of receiving the preached word.

I have shown his statement above to be absolutely false. He said, "infants are incapable of receiving the preached word. I have shown that this is not true, that "with men this is impossible but with God all things are possible." I contend that the statement made by Brother Gowens, that men are unaware of the time that they are born again, come to know the Lord, is not in accordance with the sacred record. King David certainly was aware of when it was that he came to have hope in God, for he recalls it, telling of both when and where it was. So too, John the Baptist was so aware of what was going on that he "leaped for joy" when "hearing (and understanding) the salutation of Mary." So, how can it be true then that the infant is "incapable of receiving the preached word." Is that true when the power of the Holy Ghost attends that word?

Hardshells, like Cayce, often argue from the words of Christ, that "we must be converted," and "enter the kingdom as a little child" (Matt. 18:2-5).

They argue that the statement, "as a little child," means, "in precisely the same way as the infant." Again, they are trying to use the exceptional cases of infant regeneration and make them the standard for everyone else. They think that if they can prove the regeneration of infants, then they have greatly given weight to their Hardshell system of salvation, to their "Spirit Alone" or "anti-means" position, their "Direct Speaking" views of the effectual call.


John Calvin writes:

"But how, they ask, are infants regenerated, when not possessing a knowledge of either good or evil? We answer, that the work of God, though beyond the reach of our capacity, is not therefore null. Infants who are to be saved (and that some are saved at this age is certain) must, without question, be regenerated by the Lord. ...Many He certainly has called and endued with true knowledge of Himself, by internal means, by the illumination of the Spirit, without the intervention of preaching." [John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Vol.11, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmanns, 1962), p. 541,542]

Again, many theologians, including Baptists, believe as John Calvin and the Old Baptist believed and expressed in the Old Confession. Again, for whatever it is worth, many would agree with the Hardshells on the fact that infants are regenerated apart from the means of preaching.

Let me now cite from Taylor on this line of argument, on the infant, that is made by the Hardshells.

"The third heresy of Hardshellism and the one which is the tap root of nearly all other heresies, which they teach is their enmity to the gospel. They do not preach the gospel. They deny that the gospel is to be preached to the lost. They affirm in debate that adults are saved without the gospel as truly as infants.

They teach the unheard of, unnatural and unscriptural notion that a child can be born of a father without a mother. They say that infants and adults alike are born of the Holy Spirit and without the Word of God. The Missionary Baptist, who says the heathen can be saved without the gospel, is a hardshell heretic and ought to be disciplined by his church for the worst of heresies. Heresy as to how men are saved is the worst of heresies and the man who says the heathen can be saved without the gospel is a heretic as to how men are saved.

The Lord Jesus told Nicodemus: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). The new birth is one birth of two elements. The water is a type or symbol of the Word. Eph. 5:26: " That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." Campbellites say men are born of the Word without the Spirit; Hardshells say they are born of the Spirit without the Word.

Both are alike heretical as to the new birth. If any difference, Campbellites are less dangerous than Hardshells, for they do believe in preaching the Word to sinners. And if Christ is preached by them to sinners the Holy Spirit may occasionally enable a sinner to see Christ and lay hold on him. That is never true of Hardshellism, for they never preach Christ to sinners. Both Campbellites and Hardshells are heretical on the new birth; and since men cannot be saved without the new birth neither Campbellism nor Hardshellism, in their unadultered form, ever saved any sinner. Men are not saved by the Spirit without the Word nor by the Word without the Spirit. They must be born of the Word and the Spirit, if they would enter the kingdom of God. Hardshellism has no place for any such Scriptures because it denies that the Word has anything to do in the salvation of the lost.

We have called attention to the heresies of Hardshellism on the doctrine of God's sovereignty, election and the plan of salvation. They are as fatally heretical as to man's free agency as they are on God's sovereignty. In their teaching that men and women are saved in this land and in heathen lands just like infants are, they deny human responsibility and accountability. An intelligent man is no more responsible for his own acts, according to Hardshellism, than an idiot or an infant. "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt 12:36,37). If, as Hardshellism teaches, infants and adults are saved exactly alike, then no man is responsible for his own sins or his disrespect or disobedience to God's law or his rejection of Christ or his damnation in hell. The logic of Hardshellism is can't-help-it-ism. If, as Hardshellism teaches, adults and infants are saved exactly alike, the judgment is a farce; for adults are no more accountable for their deeds than infants are. But if, as the Bible teaches, both in heathen lands and in lands where the Bible is preached, God "who will render to every man according to his deeds" (Rom 2:6) then Hardshellism is a lie and men will be damned for their own sins and not for Adam's sin, nor because they can't help it. They will be punished every man for his own deeds. And as God "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent, because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:30-31) by the Lord Jesus; therefore adults and infants are not judged, condemned or saved on the same basis and Hardshellism is a lie. Infants who die in infancy are all saved because Christ bore the Adamic sin for all Adam's race. "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" ( Jn. 1:29). Adults will be judged and condemned for their own sins. Those who are saved will be saved because they heard, repented and trusted in the Son of God, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (I Peter 2:24). That is why the Master commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature. Adults cannot be saved without hearing the gospel and believing in Christ. God said so in Rom.10:11-14: "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Growing out of the Hardshell notion that infants and adults are saved in exactly the same way are a whole brood of deadly, soul destroyed heresies. If infants and adults are saved alike, then God can as justly send infants to hell as adults, and that is why the two seed Hardshells as well as John Calvin said there would be infants in hell a span long. If infants and adults are saved alike, then if all infants will go to heaven, all adults will go to heaven, too; and Hardshells who teach Universalism are logically in line with this theory. Some infants in hell or all adults in heaven is the logic of Hardshellism. The only way around that logic is two seedism, which teaches that some men are children of God and some are the children of the devil from all eternity. Of course if that is true there is no necessity for preaching the gospel to anybody; for the saved are already saved and the lost are already damned. But that hell born lie denies these fundamental Bible doctrines: universal, hereditary depravity; the necessity of Christ's atonement; the necessity of the new birth; the work of the Holy Spirit; the need of preaching the gospel; evangelical repentance and saving faith; a just judgment seat of Christ, etc., etc. But that isn't all. If adults and infants are saved exactly alike, then men are not accountable to the government for their violations of law any more than infants are. The logic of Hardshellism would do away with law and courts and prisons and make every man, like a baby, a law unto himself; and this whole world would be a Russia ruled by a lawless mob. Hardshellism is the enemy of both law and gospel. It would logically destroy both. And the so called Missionary Baptist who does nothing for missions is as truly an enemy of Christ and the gospel as Hardshellism."
(Bible Briefs Against Hurtful Heresies By H. BOYCE TAYLOR, Sr.)

Brother Taylor makes several good points here on the Hardshell argumentation on the infant. One of the best points concerns the fact that Hardshell views have a person being born without a "mother!" Since they are so keen, in their "logic," to make everything in the figure of birth to match perfectly with the work of regeneration, where God is clearly the one who begets, or fathers, the elect in their new birth, where is the mother, Hardshell? Is it not as Elder Pyles said, that "sheep make sheep?" The "mother" is none other than the Church, other Christians, who have been used by God, as a means, in bringing to life dead sinners.

Chapter Eleven - Saved By Money?

A leading Hardshell "argument" says this:

If sinners are saved eternally by the preaching of the gospel, then that would base salvation not only upon humans, but upon money!

That too is a rediculous idea, an absurdity to the Hardshells, and they do all they can, apologetically, to convince others that the basing of salvation upon preaching makes it based upon money and cannot therefore be correct.

This scheme, they argue, makes it possible to "calculate" the "cost per soul," in dollar amounts. For instance, they will often cite figures from a mission organization that says, "Our missionaries required $100,000 dollars last year and we have 100 souls won to Christ"; then they will say, that calculates out to $1000 per soul! But the Bible says, "Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ..." (I Peter 1:18)

The Hardshell argumentation continues, with loudness, forcefulness, with zeal and an air of superiority (like they are smarter than the Mission Baptists, who are not able to see, as they do, the seeming contradiction in missions for salvation and the above words of Peter), arguing vehemently that the above text says our salvation is not accomplished "with" silver and gold, that is, "not by means of money." Since men require money to go, their going to preach the gospel cannot be a means in salvation (redemption) or the above words of Peter are false, and salvation would become "dependent" on things other than God. Again, we are given another good dose of Hardshell "logic."

How how shall I begin to deal with this type of "logic"? Well, let us see if their premise is corrrect, the one that says basically this:

"Our eternal salvation cannot have any means that involve money in any sense." Why not? They will say that God's doing so puts the heathen in a helpless condition, dependent upon missionaries and preachers, and make saviors of men, and takes glory away from God. But, it is a false conclusion to say that because God has made certain acts of men, both saved and unsaved, to be a means in the plan of salvation, then salvation is uncertain, haphazard, and outside the sovereign control of God, and takes away from the glory due only to God.

This is similar to the other false premise I dealt with in the preceding chapter on Hardshell "logic", the premise that affirmed -- "No aspect of eternal salvation can be certain if based upon any kind of human means."

Let me cite an example from Hardshell "historian" Sylvestor Hassell, and from his "Bible Commentary" that he has included in his book, "History of the Church of God." Keep in mind that this citation is over a hundred years old.

"It is estimated that, of the two hundred and fifty million people in India, one million are Christians; and that, of the one thousand million called heathen in the world, two millions only are Christians. Mr. Bainbridge reckons the actual pecuniary cost of each home convert at $550, and of each foreign convert at $320 or less. Others calculate that each foreign conversion costs $1,000, but that each home conversion costs more.

A recent number of the New York “Examiner” (a publication which claims to be the leading “Missionary” Baptist paper of the world) says that, during the year 1884, it cost $592.03 to make a Pagan an Episcopalian; $248.14, a Congregationalist; $234.91, a Presbyterian; $117.91, a Methodist; $72.88, a Campbellite; and only $37.05, a Baptist; so that the average cost of Protestant conversions being $203.91, the conversions of Pagans into Baptists cost but one-sixth of the average.

In connection with such calculations, how deeply impressive the language of the Apostle Peter in the eighteenth and nineteenth verses of the first chapter of his first epistle!"
(Chapter 10, emphasis mine)

And now hear another echo of this famed (or perhaps, infamous) Hardshell "argument" and "apologetic." It is from none other than the famed debater and Hardshell "advocate", Elder John R. Daily. The citation is quite lengthy but well said by this Hardshell "defender of the faith." I will then show the flaws in the argumentation of Hassell, Daily, and Potter.

"They (Mission or Gospel Means Baptists) are induced to believe that the money they send actually results in the salvation of heathens. The whole scheme stands upon a financial and human basis. Unsupported by the Bible and unknown to the church for more than seventeen hundred years, this Missionary Idol has been reared and stands today as the golden calf to which the people are bowing, and to which they are giving the praise of the salvation of sinners. As proof of this read what was declared in Elder Potter's debate with Throgmorton:

"The heathens are dying at the rate of a hundred thousand a day, and sinking down to hell, because of the neglect of the church in her duty." At this rate in one month of thirty days 3,000,000 heathens go down to an endless hell because the people who could send the gospel to them do not do it. In one year, at the same rate, the enormous number of 36,000,000 heathen are eternally lost for want of the gospel. They are lost because the gospel does not reach them, because the preachers do not take it to them. Preachers do not take it to them because the people do not give them their money. The money causes the preachers to go, their going is the cause of the gospel reaching the heathen, the gospel is the cause of their salvation. The great cause in this series of causes is money, and the causes that follow are the works of men. Mr. J. R. Graves, a New School editor of the "Tennessee Baptist," said in 1860, "any organization which has for its foundation a money basis is unscriptural."

What has the death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ to do in the matter of salvation according to this theory? Simply nothing. Christ may have died for a sinner, may have been exalted as his advocate, and yet that sinner will sink down to endless torment if money and men be not employed, for upon these hinges his eternal salvation! The theory we are now considering supposes it impossible for the Spirit to regenerate a sinner where the gospel is not preached. In a conversation with a New School Baptist minister we asked him if all who never hear the gospel preached will be lost. To this question he gave what was intended as an evasive answer, saying, "I am not going to say they will all be lost, but I have no authority to say any will be saved who never hear the gospel preached." While he thought to escape the conclusion he knew I would force upon him if he took the stand that they would all be lost, he unwittingly admitted that to be his position. For if he had no authority for saying that any will be saved who never hear the gospel preached, he believed they would all be lost though he seemed afraid to say so. Now if they are lost it is without any chance of being saved, which all Arminians declare to be unjust. Also they are lost because of the disobedience of those who are "enlightened," who could have taken or sent the gospel to them if they would have done so, which is adding injustice to injustice. This is the heresy which was introduced into the Baptist church by the leaders in this new movement, causing those who were in favor of standing by the old landmarks to declare non-fellowship for them, which resulted in a division into what became known as Old School and New School Baptists. Which of these two is the primitive denomination? Is it those who have introduced and adopted the new order of things, or those who are contending for the old doctrine and practice? Our brethren in fellowship know which is, and our New School brethren know also."


(From an article titled "Missionary or New School Baptists". Zion's Advocate, Vol. 40, No. 8, August 1901. www.carthage.lib.il.us -- Emphasis mine)

Now, who cannot but admit that this "line of reasoning," upon first hearing, might "sound good"? It certainly relies less on "logic", however, than it does on an appeal to human rationality and sentimentality (pathos), to depraved man's intuitive sense of what is "just" or "unjust" for God to do or not do. People do feel "pity" for the lost, for those who have not heard the "glorious gospel of Christ," who "had no chance to be saved."

It is more than a little ironic that Daily, within the same citation, given above, speaks of the Hardshells as being the truly "Old" or "Primitive" Baptists, and then speaks as he does for the heathen peoples, as an advocate for the salvation of those who do not know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I cited earlier what the truly Old Baptists believed about the state of the heathen who die without the means of faith. They are all lost and "without hope." That is their stated position from the confession, as I cited earlier. Daily is deceitful, like his brethren were who did the "hatchet job" on the Old "London Confession of Faith," in his day (1900), in Fulton, Kentucky, when they came together to discuss and "reaffirm their belief in the London Confession of Faith," BUT with their explanations attached, which is, as I shall show in later chapters, and as Brother Ross has shown, and even some Hardshells candidly confess, is nothing but a "torturing of the English language," trying to make that Old Confession say what it absolutely does not say. They handle this Old Confession of the Baptist faith like they do the Holy Scriptures, twisting and distorting plain and unequivocal statements in the Bible.

For the length of the writing above, from Hassell, Daily, and Potter,to formally state the "argument" proper, did you see any Scripture citations to prove the point they wanted to make? Seeing this is such an important point, a veritable piller in the Hardshell"doctrinal foundation," and supposedly of the Bible, why is there only one passage of scripture cited? (the one in I Peter 1:18, and which I will address shortly)

Here are the falsehoods that are stated in the above citations, and which I will rebut.

1. "The theory we are now considering supposes it impossible for the Spirit to regenerate a sinner where the gospel is not preached."

2. "The whole scheme stands upon a financial and human basis."

3. "Unsupported by the Bible and unknown to the church for more than seventeen hundred years."

4. "Now if they are lost it is without any chance of being saved, which all Arminians declare to be unjust."

5. "This is the heresy which was introduced into the Baptist church by the leaders in this new movement..."

6. "...this Missionary Idol has been reared and stands today as the golden calf to which the people are bowing, and to which they are giving the praise of the salvation of sinners."

7. "What has the death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ to do in the matter of salvation according to this theory? Simply nothing."

What I am going to show is that it is false to say that our eternal salvation does not in any sense depend upon men and money.

Money (or its equivalent) was involved in getting Christ from the cradle to the cross. Money was involved in getting Christ crucified. All the money and goods that Joseph and Mary spent to raise Christ, to send him to school, to buy him food and clothes, was that not all made necessary by the will of God? Did not the money that Christ himself gave to the temple, his own tithes and offerings, as a law abiding Jew, part of the law he had to keep in order to become perfect and be "without sin"?

Notice these words from Luke.

"And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance." (8:1-3)

Many of the followers of Jesus supported the ministry of Jesus. His traveling about "throughout" Palestine required financial resources. Yes, he could have gotten by without any financial support, for he could "turn stones into bread," and get money from the mouth of a fish, BUT he chose to be supported by money from his followers. Can we not say that this money was used by Christ to fulfill his mission? If Christ went to a village and regenerated a sinner, even by speaking directly, without preachers, was it not still the case that this financial support by "many others," besides the three named female supporters mentioned by Luke, was still a means in bringing Christ to sinners so he could speak directly to them? Christ could have gotten around miraculously, as did the prophet Elijah, who was often instantly transported by the Spirit of God, and so too, as it seems was Philip the Evangelist (See Acts 8:39), but Christ chose to get around like other people, by human means and money.

Even the Hardshells must admit that their conversions to Christ are based upon money. They will have to admit that their churches are "money based" too. Why? Because it requires money to have a building in which to worship, to print song books, to support the preacher and the poor saints, etc. So, though they will say it is absurd to think that our eternal salvation can include "men and money" as a means yet they will have to admit that the same arguments they use here can apply to their own "making disciples." If we add up the cost of a particular Hardshell church for a year, then divide that number by the number of converts, then we too can "calculate" the "cost per soul," and so they have the same supposed difficulty in regard to their coming to be converted, to know Christ, to come to have their "gospel faith."

"Based upon men and money" is in essence, "based upon men." What does "based upon" mean? If God uses a means to accomplish an end, is that end then "based upon" that "means"?

These Hardshell advocates say that a belief in means for regeneration "...supposes it impossible for the Spirit to regenerate a sinner where the gospel is not preached." But, do not the Hardshells have the same "problem" here? Cannot I not say of the Hardshells, relative to their beliefs concerning conversions, that their view thereon likewise "supposes it impossible for the Spirit to CONVERT a sinner where the gospel is not preached?"

It is also not true that we, who believe the Scriptures clearly teach regeneration and faith by the means of the preached word, affirm the "impossibility" of God regenerating men without means, as the Hardshells teach. No, as John the Baptist said, "God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." (Matthew 3:9) Is God making children out of stones? No, but he is able! He too is able to regenerate without human means, of course, but the question is, "what saith the scriptures?"

One can see how not only do the Hardshells err on such doctrines as "Election," "Regeneration," "Perseverance," "Faith," etc., but also on
"Predestination" and the "Sovereignty of God." They seem to think that God does not control men and their means, including their money. They have departed from the faith of the Old Baptists, for they wrote, in the Old Confessions, that "NOT ONLY had God PREDESTINED the salvation of the elect, but also had PREDESTINED ALL THE MEANS THEREUNTO." Those "means" were the the gospel and word of God, and the lessor or intermediate means, such things as are naturally required to keep men alive and in order to provide them with the material means they needed to travel and preach.

Why do these same Hardshells, who argue this point, not have a problem with realizing the fact that all the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul required money and means, and must therefore confess that every convert of Paul to Christ, by the gospel, was in some sense, "money based?" Why is that not a problem? Why do they make regeneration so important, so important that even God dare not risk using "human means?" Why do they argue that "in basing regeneration on means, God is thus giving the whole redemption scheme over to chance and indeterminate means? Why do they argue, on one hand, that "God would not base the "regeneration" of his elect, its success, on human means and agencies to carry out his will in "regeneration," but "conversion", coming to "know Jesus," on the other hand, they must admit, has nevertheless based the "conversions" of the elect upon them? Does God value so little the "converting" of his people then, Brother Hardshell, that he would suspend conversion upon "means and money?"

Hardshell soteriology places little importance on "conversion," making "regeneration" to be the all important matter. But, why is their idea of "regeneration" more important than their idea of "conversion"? It seems to me, if you understand how they define these terms, it ought to be the other way around. Let me enlarge upon that.

According to Hardshell descriptions of what happens when a soul is regenerated versus when he is converted, one cannot imagine putting more importance upon the former than on the latter, as the Hardshells do.

Let us give the attributes and characteristics of these two experiences.

Hardshell Regeneration

Hardshell Regeneration has a so-called life, but it is unrecognizable. It has "no internal sensations" connected with it, "no conscious awareness," nor any change of mind, nor any new truths apprehended (enlightenment), no conviction of sin nor penitance of heart, no knowledge of the true God nor of Jesus and his atonement for sin, no freedom from sin, nor willing obedience to the Lord; In fact, it lacks every evangelical grace! A "regenerated man," according to Hardshell soteriology, has no spiritual activity! He has no evangelical hope, no love for or knowledge of Christ, no fellowship with the Apostles and their doctrine, no prayers offered in Christ's name, thus still an idolator, etc.

Conversion, on the other hand, by any honest admission, does far more for a person than their so-call regeneration.

Notice these words of Paul:

"Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." (Philippians 1:15-18)

To "preach Christ," especially to those who have never heard of him, even for the first time, ought to be the foremost aim of every preacher and Christian. Yes, some do it for evil reasons, impure motives, but who can deny that God does, in spite of this, make that gospel effective? Is it not also true that though an unregenerate man may contribute money to a preacher, we ought to rejoice that the money was used for good, for spreading the message of Christ, the means of begetting faith and life, rather than on something base?

Again, notice these words of the Apostle.

"And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved." (II Cor. 12:15)

Paul "spent" his own money and labors to bring the gospel to the elect. The early Christians at Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, and other Gentile cities all owed their conversions and salvation to the labors spent by the Apostle Paul. Was Paul simply sent to convert people but not to regenerate them? Was he sent simply to "save" a few elect ones from some "timely burdens and trials"? Listen to these verses.

"But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, THAT they may receive forgiveness of sins, and (that they may receive) inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith (thus through preaching and preachers -- Romans 10:13-17) that is in me." (Acts 26:16-18)

"Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." (II Tim. 2:10)

So Paul "labored," and was "spent," in order that the glorious gospel of Christ be preached and sinners called to Christ and salvation. So too did other Christians also "spend" time and money so that the message could go into all the world. What was the end of all this? To be saved simply from timely ills? No, absolutely not. Look at the passages I cited. Any honest Hardshell must admit that the terms used in these passages to describe the salvation experience that resulted from Paul's preaching the gospel cannot possibly refer to anything but eternal salvation.


"And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace (the grace of giving, the evidence of which consisted in monetary contributions from the church at Corinth), which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." (II Cor. 8: 18-21)

Second Corinthians chapters eight and nine ought to be looked at as a whole and compared with Hardshell teaching regarding giving money for the support of missionaries, poor saints, and other honest and good things. I have selected the above portion only, but the entirety of both chapters will answer many of the things Hardshells say about the evil of money being used in the service of God.

Paul's use and administration of the funds given to him was used "for honest things." Certainly the "preaching of the gospel to every creature" is such an honest and good thing, is it not? Was the use of money an evil thing, something that degraded his glorious salvation? No, no, no! Paul said his administration of the money given to him was "administered by us to the glory of the same Lord." What greater "glory" is there than the "glory" the Godhead receives from "redemption"? So, if Paul says that the money used by him was used to the glory of God, it is so because it was a lessor means in bringing the benefits of redemption to the elect.

Paul pointedly asked this question to the Church at Corinth, one that ought to be asked just as pointedly to the Hardshells who are against preaching the gospel to all men.

"What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?" (I Cor. 14:36)

Missionary Baptists, like Spurgeon, took the gospel and word of God to others, as far as they could, always saying, like Isaiah, "here I am, Lord, send me" (Isa. 6:8), not like the Hardshells, to whom the word has only come to them, but has not gone out from them.

Now, let me enumerate those errors I mentioned earlier, from the writings of Hassell, Daily, and Potter and recap my rebuttal.

Impossible?

The first falsehood I rebutted was -- "The theory we are now considering supposes it impossible for the Spirit to regenerate a sinner where the gospel is not preached." I showed this to be totally unfounded and a brash judgment.

The next falsehood I overthrew was -- "The whole scheme stands upon a financial and human basis." I showed that, although money is involved as a "lessor means," in some aspect of salvation, but I showed that this does not interpret out to mean that salvation stands on anything other than omnipotence, or make the means ineffective, or uncertain. If the Hardshells could come back to the Old Baptist position on predestination and divine sovereignty then they too would not see their argumentation here to be of any great weight or moment.

The next falsehood denied is the statement -- "Unsupported by the Bible and unknown to the church for more than seventeen hundred years."

I have already overthrown this in my earlier chapter on "Hardshell History," but I hope to do some again in later chapters on the general history of missions in church history. Needless to say, this is a totally unfounded statement, having no factual proof. Missions and mission organizations have been present during those "seventeen hundred years."

The next falsehood I addressed was -- "Now if they are lost it is without any chance of being saved, which all Arminians declare to be unjust."

I addressed this in my former chapter on Hardshell "logic", citing Elder Cayce's statement to Shryggley. No, it is not the "Arminians" who say that God is unjust to damn those who died without having a chance to be saved, but IT IS THE HARDSHELLS WHO AFFIRM THIS! Ironic, is it not? Why would the "Arminians" be so laborious in mission work if they believed that the heathen were all already saved?

The next falsehood said -- "This is the heresy which was introduced into the Baptist church by the leaders in this new movement..."

Yes, and I have shown how baseless is this statement. I have repeatedly said to the Hardshells -- "Produce any document, prior to 1800, from a church or association, that expounds Hardshell views on regeneration." There have been no takers, nor do I expect any. Yet, they will continue to spout the lie that what they preach on regeneration is what all Baptists believed prior to 1814!

The next falsehood that came from the above named famous Hardshells was -- "...this Missionary Idol has been reared and stands today as the golden calf to which the people are bowing, and to which they are giving the praise of the salvation of sinners."

I too have shown how false is all this, showing how it is the height of folly for the Hardshells to say 1) Mission Baptists, because they use their money to support those who take the glorious gospel to every creature, are therefore idol worshipers and 2) Mission Baptists, because they use their money to support those who take the glorious gospel to every creature, are therefore giving praise to creatures rather than God. No, Hardshell, giving money for such "honest things," is not idolatry, but "covetousness is idolatry." (Col. 3:5)

The last falsehood was contained in these words -- "What has the death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ to do in the matter of salvation according to this theory? Simply nothing."

Again, I showed this was another baseless charge.

Now, what can I say about the passage in I Peter 1:18?

Certainly the price of redemption was none other than the "blood of Jesus Christ." "Silver and gold" were involved in various "redemptions" in the Old Testament. Men could be redeemed and ransomed from slavery by the payment of money. That money typified the price Christ would pay to liberate sinners from the bondage of sin, in order to "ransom" his elect "from the power of the grave." (Hosea 13:14) This passage is not saying that money is not involved, in any sense, but only that the payment of the sin debt was made by the death of Christ.

Finally, in this chapter, I want to look at Romans 10:13,14, and ask every Hardshell to acknowledge the strength of Paul's question, "How can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?"

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"

It was the Apostle Paul who affirmed that hearing the gospel was necessary for coming to faith in Christ. He is the one who expressed the view that men could not be saved unless they hear the gospel. He is the one who expressed the view that men could not hear the gospel unless they hear it from a preacher. So, my brother Hardshells, you need to take your "logic" to these verses and see how they answer all your objections.

This chapter will end my look at Hardshell "logic". I think I have shown how they err in their application of such to the word of God. They ought to simply accept what the Scriptures plainly teach and quit trying to figure it all out by the use of human logic.

In my next chapter I will be dealing with what the Hardshells believe about Faith.

Chapter 12 - Hardshells On Faith (A Primer)

I have already addressed the Hardshell idea of "Two kinds of salvation in the Bible," and the reason for their invention of such a concept, showing that it was invented as a "way of getting around" those Scripture passages which teach against the Hardshell theory of "Regeneration without the word (gospel)," or their idea that the "gospel and the salvation it produces is not dealing with eternal salvation." If the Hardshell finds a passage that says that one is "saved" by believing the gospel, he arbitrarily assigns the passage to a "timely deliverance" rather to an eternal one. On the other hand, if he finds a passage that makes "salvation" seem to depend upon God alone, without means, then such a passage will be talking about eternal salvation.

The Hardshells do this with many passages of Scripture besides those that use the term "salvation." They do the same with other passages that use words like faith, repentance, sanctification, conversion, birth (begetting), obedience, life, forgiveness, etc.

The Hardshells not only insist on "two kinds of salvation" in the Bible, but also two kinds of faith, two kinds of sanctification, two kinds of births, two kinds obedience, two kinds of following Christ, two kinds of repentance, two kinds of hearing Christ's words, two kinds of life, two kinds of forgiveness, etc.

I always felt convicted by the Lord in this kind of Bible "interpretation." It is clearly a case of "eisogesus." In taking the Hardshell premise to the Bible, I was to apply that premise to every salvation passage, regardless of what the context might say. To the Hardshells any passage that connects "salvation" with "faith" and with "believing truth" and "believing the gospel" MUST be interpreted in such a way that it will be shown NOT to be dealing with regeneration or with eternal salvation. It is certainly not handling the word of God "honestly" or with an "honest heart." It is rather a "corrupting" of the word of God, a handling of it "deceitfully." (See II Cor. 2:17 & 4:2)

The Hardshells constantly preach that to "rightly divide the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15) involves being able to precisely see which passages of Scripture speaks of "time salvation" versus which ones speak of "eternal salvation," and to be able to decide which passages speak of "a faith which IS necessary for eternal salvation," and which passages, on the other hand, speak of a "faith which is NOT necessary for eternal salvation," but only for a "time salvation," or a "gospel salvation." Which passages speak of a "timely sanctification" versus those that speak of an "eternal sanctification" (one necessary for eternal salvation)? Which passages speak of a "time forgiveness" versus those that speak of an "eternal forgiveness"? Which passages speak of a "conversion" that is "regeneration" and which "conversion" passages are speaking only of a "time salvation"? Well, if you can do that, like the Hardshells, then you are fulfilling the apostolic command to "rightly divide the word of truth"!

If a passage speaks of a sanctification that God does, and in which there seems to be no means or conditions attached, then the passage can be taught to mean that sanctification which IS a necessary adjunct of election, regeneration, and eternal salvation. If a passage speaks of our being "begotten," and it seems to be done by God without any mention of means, faith, or any evangelical obedience, then it will be "categorized" (or "pigion holed") as dealing with the new birth or with regeneration. On the other hand, if if it is a "begetting" or "birth" which has faith and gospel preaching involved, then the passage will be "interpreted" as dealing with some other kind of figurative birthing and begetting that will have to deal with timely deliverances, and not at all to the new birth or to regeneration, or with anything eternal. I plan to have a later chapter where I sum up the numerous examples of the "eisogesus" that the Hardshells have demonstrated in the previous chapters, expanding upon their violation of sound Biblical Hermeneutics, and to be titled, "Hardshell Hermeneutics."

Two Kinds Of Faith?

My dad wrote, in an article titled, "FAITH," wrote the following:

"Relative to the Doctrine of Faith, we again must understand that there are two kinds of faith. This is clear in the scriptures. Again, Elder T. S. Dalton made this so very clear in the famous Mount Carmel Church Trial of many years ago in Virginia. He said this on the witness stand in answer to the following question: "You believe that God given faith is essential to the salvation of God's people, do you not?" Elder Dalton answered: "I will say this, that there is a belief produced through the preaching of the Gospel and there is a belief of the sacred truth of God; but that belief which is produced through the preaching of the Gospel is not a necessary adjunct in the eternal salvation of the sinner. But there is a faith that is implanted by the Spirit of God in the soul of every man that will ever enter Heaven, and no man will ever go to Heaven without that Divine eternal faith by the Spirit of God." ("Faith," from "Studies in Bible Doctrine," page 6 - emphasis mine)

Dad then adds these comments:

”Now here it is clear that Elder Dalton believed in TWO kinds of faith. This has ever been the position of Old Line Primitive Baptists. The Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). This verse says that the faith under consideration is “a gift of God.” This means that it is not of the creature. It is supernaturally given. It is not worked up by man. But someone may object and ask about dying infants. First, let me say that I believe all those dying in infancy are of the elect of God. God implants a faith in these infants as he did John the Baptist. See Luke 1:15 and 1:44.

The question that was asked by Elder Dalton was -- "You believe that God given faith is essential to the salvation of God's people, do you not?"

Elder Dalton's answer left the distinct impression that the faith produced through the preaching of the Gospel was NOT a God given faith! They actually preach this awful stuff. They say that the "faith" that one "receives" (by "implantation") is "God given and God created," but the "faith" they get "through the gospel is NOT "God given" and NOT "God created."

They really have no other choice than to say that their faith in Christ, through the gospel, is NOT God's creation. Rather, they believe that this "gospel faith" is something that they have created themselves, by their own free will and abilities. As I have said, the teaching of the Hardshells on "gospel salvation" is no different from what their "twin brother" teaches about salvation in general!

Continuing on, dad adds this commentary to the above words of Dalton:

”All of these verses prove that there is a faith that is implanted in us supernaturally when we are regenerated. No one will go to heaven without this faith. The preacher has nothing to do with this faith.”

And again he adds these remarks:

”But there is another kind of faith spoken of in the Bible that does come through the gospel.”

He then cites Romans 10:17 and says,

”Just what kind of faith is under consideration here? There is no question in my mind but that he has reference to a DOCTRINAL faith or a CREED faith. The only way that you and I know about the birth, death, burial and resurrection of Christ is through the word of God. When we believe this we have a doctrinal faith.”

And then he writes:

”The salvation, which is of the creature, is not regeneration, but a salvation of those already born of God...Men believe only as they have been given the ability. God gives the ability in regeneration to believe the gospel. This is proven in I Cor. 3:5. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” This shows that God gives the ability before the gospel makes a believer.”

And then he says:

”The Bible teaches that a child of God may quit believing with this second kind of faith that is of the creature.”

”And that his faith may be overthrown. This is not talking about that faith that is supernaturally implanted in regeneration; for that can never be overthrown. But he is speaking of the faith that is of the creature being overthrown.”

The Hardshells have not been uniform in how they handle the numerous passages that make faith essential to regeneration and to eternal salvation. If you ask them, individually, "Do you believe that one must believe in Christ to be saved?" you will get different responses. Most of today's Hardshells will not give a clear positive yes to the question, but will rather deny that faith in Christ is necessary for regeneration and for eternal salvation. Others, however, will try to avow that people can actually "believe in Jesus" on the "sub-conscious level!"

The Hardshells have a hard time with the subject of faith. This subject bothered me the whole time I was with the Hardshells. The Bible, and especially the New Testament, places such am emphasis on faith. Later I will look at several passages of scripture and seek to apply Hardshell "logic" to them on this subject of faith.

Faith involves belief. The question must be asked of the Hardshells, What is it that a regenerated person believes when he is given this "implanted faith" in "regeneration"? To this pertinent question one will not get a uniform response from the Hardshells.

Some will argue that these regenerated souls will, by this "implanted faith," come to believe one or more of the following things (consciously).

1. A Belief in God or gods (Creator or creators)

2. A belief that they have sinned against God or the gods and deserve to be punished. This belief involves a sense of shame, guilt, and fear of coming judgment.

3. A hope of deliverance in the after life by some means.

And then, of course, as I indicated, some will want to try and say the "regenerated heathen" will have a soul belief in "Jesus," on the sub-conscious level, although they will not know that they believe. Yes, I admit, this is really silly.

Now, the question must be asked of the Hardshells -- "If you can believe that God can cause a man to come to the above beliefs, why do you think he cannot cause one to believe more than this?" You might say, "Because it takes the communicating of an intelligent message to create any additional kind of "belief" (or "faith") than this." Answer this then;

If one of God's purposes in "regenerating" the elect is to "teach" them, to bring them to some "beliefs", then why does he not just go ahead and teach them who he is (for "he who comes to God must believe that he is..." Heb. 11:6), so that they will not remain heathens, and worship false gods, but rather worship the "God of Abraham," the God of the Hebrew nation and prophets?

Why does he simply teach them that some god exist, but no more? Why does he teach them that they are guilty sinners who will suffer in the afterlife but does not give them some good news to believe? Why bring them under deep conviction and fear, and into despair of soul, by making them believe these things, and yet not also make them believe in his plan of salvation, the only thing that will relieve those fears? Is God dependent then, brother Hardshell, on man to teach them more than the bare things enumerated above? It seems to me that your own "logic" and argumentation turns around on you.

It seems to me, if such were the case, that God would do better to "regenerate" such heathen right before they die, rather than in infancy (the Hardshells say that most of the elect are "regenerated" in infancy and that most, if not all, of the heathen are elect and saved). The Lord could save all such elect heathen many years of carrying around that proverbial "burden over his debt," years in which were spent in spiritual despair, with no known remedy available through the gospel, by just waiting till a few moments before death to "regenerate" him and give him this "faith." My friends, God does not bring a man under conviction of sin with no remedy revealed.

Let me repeat what dad wrote earlier and make some comments about it. He said:

"The Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). This verse says that the faith under consideration is “a gift of God.” This means that it is not of the creature. It is supernaturally given. It is not worked up by man. But someone may object and ask about dying infants. First, let me say that I believe all those dying in infancy are of the elect of God. God implants a faith in these infants as he did John the Baptist. See Luke 1:15 and 1:44.

According to the Hardshells, "regenerating faith" has these separate qualities and characteristics.

1. It is "supernaturally given."
2. It is a "a gift of God."
3. It is "not of the creature."
4. It is "implanted by God."

According to the Hardshells "gospel faith" has these separate qualities and characteristics.

1. It is NOT "supernaturally given."
2. It is NOT a "gift from God."
3. It IS "OF the creature."
4. It is NOT "implanted by God."

So, as I said earlier, they are forced to admit that their faith in Christ, his atoning death, his coming again, his salvation, is not the "creation of God," but their own creation! It is something that proceeds from themselves, not from God, by their own admission, by their own perverted use of "logic."

Any person who reads the Bible honestly knows that the above views of the Hardshells, regarding the "faith that comes by hearing the words of God," is rank heresy. They credit themselves, not God, for the faith they have in Christ, by the gospel. They credit themselves for having produced, by their own will and works, this faith in the message of Christ.

Wrote Sarrels:

"...in perhaps the vast majority of cases the elements of conversion–repentance, faith, and justification–may be present only embryonically..." (Systematic Theology, page 369)

"The more advanced intellectual Christian concepts about all of these progressive steps which unfold in the believer's experience do not prove that these do not exist embryonically in the obscure, yet spiritual, exercise of the quickened soul in heathen lands. The child of God, be he heathen or cultured, may not understand all that is woven around his life in God, yet in germ all is there. (See Rom:2:14)

What a wild concoction is this Hardshell definition of faith! Here is a man who has "faith," is a "believer," and yet only because he has "embryonic faith"! It is there, this "faith," secretly hidden somewhere in the man's soul, they say, but what is it, according to Hardshellism? It is simply some "metaphysical" "substance," like a "dormant seed," some "germ", or like some kind of "spiritual deposit," something they call an "inner ability," yet without much more further elaboration or definition.

Sarrels wrote:

"Just what God does to the soul substance to fit it for eternal life, we do not know." (Page 344)

This is an interesting confession by this Hardshell apologist. It seems hypocritical, in a sense, seeing that he and other Hardshells seem to know so much about the "metaphysics" of the new birth, their "logic" opening up to them the "mysteries" of the new birth.

But, then, in another sense, it does seem fitting to say that he and the Hardshells do not have the foggiest idea about what it means, Biblically, to be born again and regenerated. They have so divorced regeneration from conversion that it becomes, in essence, a bunch of nothing. Regeneration does very little for a man. It does not change anything about him, does not produce any activity of the soul, it being all something unconscious with him. So it is understandable that Sarrels and the Hardshells would acknowledge that they do not know what God does to the soul in regeneration.

Where is the Biblical evidence for all this baloney that they put forth about "faith?" Where do the Biblical writers distinguish between "embryonic faith," and "gospel faith?" Brother, the only kind of faith there is, in the Bible, is that "faith that comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17)

I have an open challenge for any Hardshell. Show me one passage of scripture that identifies a man that has "faith," and yet who never heard the word of God! Can you do it? Name the Biblical person. Show us the Bible passage. You can no more find a passage that points to a man with "faith," who is a "believer," and yet who has not heard the gospel and word of God, than you can find a Hardshell church prior to the 1800's.

Let us look at the "faith" of Ephesians 2 and see what kind of faith is being spoken of. First, let us look at the entire context, a thing most important to do in Bible interpretation, and see if we can discern something about this "faith" that IS necessary to be eternally saved."

"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
(1:13-2:10)

There is no indication anywhere in this lengthy context to indicate that the "hearing," "trusting," "faith," "believing," was anything akin to what the Hardshells mean when they speak of "implanted faith." On the contrary, what the Ephesians "heard" to make them "believers," and to create "faith" in their hearts, was not the "direct speaking of Christ," apart from the gospel, but as Paul said, their faith came because they "heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation".

As I have said, Hardshells have a hard time with two key verses in this lengthy Ephesian passage. First of all, the entirety of both chapters concerns only with what relates to eternal salvation. Election and predestination are introduced, in chapter one, as the ground of our salvation. Then, in verses 19,20, he says,

"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ..."

What "belief" is this except what the context indicates? It is a "belief in Jesus," a belief that absolutely comes only one way, and that is through the preaching of the gospel. (Romans 10:14-17) It was not a "belief" that they had until they "heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation." It was a belief produced by the gospel. And yet, the problem for the Hardshells lies in the fact that this "belief" (1:19) is "created" by God. But, this is not what the PB's believe about "gospel faith." Yet, this passage says that God creates faith, creates a belief in the gospel, a belief in Christ! So, God does "create faith" through means, both the spiritual means of the word of God and the human messengers God sends to communicate that word. So, the Hardshell argument and premise that says that God does not create through means is shown to be false, a position that Paul did not uphold, as seen from what he wrote to the Ephesians.

Also, this faith that is created by the irresistable power of God, being the same power that was exercised in bringing up Christ from the death. But, what is it that is created? It is this "faith"! And, not only does he identify the creation of faith with irresistable power but he also likens it to a resurrection. The Hardshells do not have a problem with the idea of regeneration being a resurrection. In fact, as I have shown, they try to make "logical" arguments, based on the analogy, saying that resurrection and creation cannot be performed by God through creature means. I have shown, however, that this is utterly false. This passage too shows their premise and "logic" to be false. God is creating the faith of the Ephesians, a "gospel" and "saving faith," by the use of means, by the preaching of the word by Paul and others.

Furthermore, he equates this coming to "believe in the Lord Jesus," with being resurrected, born again, called to life, etc. Yet, this is not Hardshell teaching! They do not associate coming to faith in Christ and in the gospel and word of God with it, as Paul obviously does. When a man has come to believe the gospel, he has passed from death unto life, and by no less power than raised up Christ from the dead.

Paul will continue to speak of the Christian being "resurrected" (or "quickened"). But, let it be kept firmly in mind, as Paul leaves the 1st chapter (no chapters in the original too, remember), that this "quickening" of the Ephesians was a word used to describe their "conversions" to Christ "BY the gospel."

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."

There is no question, that if a man follows the context, and has nothing to read into it, that he will easily discover that this being quickened from the dead was equated with coming to faith in Christ Jesus by the gospel. When "life" is begotten in the soul of a sinner, faith is also begotten. John says that our "faith," like our "life," is "begotten." (I John 5:4)

Coming out of spiritual death involves coming out of unbelief, coming to understanding, becoming a convert to Christ, evangelically turning away from sin, etc. Paul certainly did equate being resurrected to life in Christ with a change of belief, a change of conduct, and a change of heart. Yet, the "spiritual resurrection" that the Hardshells talk about does very little for a person, in fact, nothing.

So, they not only have a difficulty with the quickening of 1:19 being connected with coming to gospel faith, but they have a problem when we come to 2:8 where Paul says we are saved "THROUGH faith."

They dare not make this passage, nor the one in 1:19 refer to something other than regeneration and eternal salvation. But, they see that faith and belief are attached. What do they do? Do they give up their anti means heresy? No, they create this wild idea that a man can have "faith" and not know it, having a "faith" that is some kind of "metaphysical spiritual goo" that somehow has changed the person dramatically, when in reality, it has not changed him at all.

This faith of Ephesians 2:8 cannot be any other thing than the faith of the context and it is faith in the Lord Jesus and faith in the gospel concerning him. People who refuse to see are willfully blind and stubborn.

In my next chapter I will look at some pertinent passages dealing with faith and its connection with regeneration and salvation and apply Hardshell "logic" and "interpretation" to them. I will also deal with a few more things in greater depth. It will be a second chapter on the Hardshell understanding about the Bible doctrine of faith.


Chapter 13 - Hardshells On Faith (Conclusion)

The Hardshells do not believe that "faith" in Christ is a means in salvation. Hardshell "patriarch" and "debater," S. A. Paine of Texas, said, in opposing the Bible teaching on "faith":

"If it is by faith, it is also by works . . . If by faith, it must be by a perfect faith, or we have a perfect effect (salvation) suspended upon an imperfect cause or condition. If faith is made perfect by works, and a perfect faith is a condition of salvation, it follows that works is [sic] also. But the Bible declares it is not by nor of works, therefore the theory of faith as a condition cannot be true" (WRITINGS OF S. A. PAINE, page 20).

Oh! what glorious Hardshell "logic!" This all sounds familiar. I believe I've heard that "line of reasoning" before. Who was it? Yes, it was the Hardshell's "twin brother," the "Campbellite." They also argue that since salvation, justification, sanctification, preservation are "by faith," then it must be by a "perfect faith," one with "works." But here they are, using their brother's "logic" to prove that salvation, if it is "by faith," must then be a "faith mixed with works"!

Paul had a different idea, however. He said that a man is "justified by faith without the works of the law" (Rom. 3:28). He also affirmed that justification was to "him who works not, but believes" (Rom. 4:5), and that "the law is not of faith" (Gal. 3:12).

From Paine's statements and argumentation on "faith," given above, it is obvious that HE DOES NOT BELIEVE THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT WE ARE SAVED "BY FAITH." Oh yes, I know, he will spout that his "time salvation" is what is under consideration in any passage that speaks of being "saved" by "faith," and they will teach exactly the same thing about their "time salvation" as the Campbellites teach about eternal salvation.

Eternal salvation, according to Paine, is not in any sense "by faith." Other Hardshells will not argue this way, however. As I said, Hardshells are not uniform in how they argue on this matter of the connection of "faith" to "eternal salvation."

The Hardshells contradict themselves much on the subject of "justification" and "salvation" being "by faith." Many divorce the experience of being justified "by faith" from having anything to do with being "regenerated" or "eternally saved." It is enough, they say, that you have been justified "by grace" or "by blood" to be "eternally saved." Justification "by faith" is only in the "conscience" of the believer, and not in any actual atoning sense or "before God."

"Justification by Faith" becomes equivalent, to the Hardshell, with his "Time Salvation" ideology and to his narrowly defined idea of "conversion."

The Hardshells contradict themselves in their interpretation and handling of Paul's Roman epistle. They sometimes have Paul talking about "eternal" salvation and then sometimes about "time" salvation. They twist and distort the words of Paul, who, throughout Romans, speaks of only one salvation and of its means and consequences.

The Hardshells not only reject the instrumentality of faith in regeneration, conversion, justification, and salvation, but also of evangelical and/or Biblical "repentance." That so-called "regenerated" Pygmy in the bondage of heathendom, who, according to Sarrels, has a "regenerated heart" and "renewed nature," and who has been "sanctified," either has undergone a hidden and unconscious "repentance" or else none at all! But, I will deal with their ideas on "repentance" in a separate chapter.

Michael Gowens wrote:

"So what is the method by which men are born again? It is nothing more or less than the sovereign and direct work of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration is immediate. God does not use the works of the sinner, on the one end, neither the efforts of the gospel preacher, on the other end, as either the basis or the method for imparting life to the soul. Faith is the gift of God in regeneration (Eph. 2:8). What does that mean? It means that the sinner responds to the life giving voice of the Lord Jesus Christ (Jno. 5:25) like Lazarus responded to the command of Jesus in John 11. It is an involuntary response, below the level of consciousness, a perfect obedience to the Divine imperative of Jesus. The Lord God is the active cause; the sinner is the passive recipient. This is irresistible grace! The gift of faith enables the newborn soul to function in the spiritual realm, an ability he did not have prior to his quickening (Jno. 3:3b,5b; I Cor. 2:14). It also gives the individual the ability to believe, or, if you please, "ears to hear" (Rev. 2:7,11; Pro. 20:12; Mt. 11:15). The gospel is, subsequently, addressed to the regenerate (Acts 2:39; Acts 13:16, 26), for the unregenerate cannot believe (Jno. 8:43; Jno. 10:26; Rom. 3:10-18). Before an exploration of the purpose of the gospel in relationship to regeneration, let's further develop the concept of the immediacy of regeneration." (http://www.sovgrace.net/born.htm)

"Faith is the gift of God in regeneration (Eph. 2:8)." Yes, it is Michael, and I have shown that the context of the first two chapters of Ephesians identifies the "faith" and "belief" as that which God produces through the preaching of the gospel. Also, this expression about "implanted faith," the saying -- "God gives it "IN regeneration" ought to cause all sorts of problems for the Hardshells. How is that?

They argue that coming to "faith in Jesus" (gospel faith) must be an effect of "regeneration," and cannot occur simultaneously, for the effect must always follow the cause in respect to time. Well, why do they not argue this same way on this "implanted faith"? This "implanted faith" that God gives "in" regeneration, does it come at the same time as the "life"? Is this "implanted faith" not also an "effect" of regeneration How can that be? Does not all your argumentation in trying to prove that "faith" must follow regeneration not also apply to this "implanted faith"? Must it not, by your own "logic," also follow the giving of life? Should you Hardshells not rephrase your statements on this "implanted faith" in its connection to regeneration (as in Eph. 2:8), and quit saying that God gives this faith "in regeneration" and say rather, "God gives this faith after regeneration, just like gospel faith"?

The faith of Ephesians 2:8 is a means, for it is "through" faith, or "by means of" faith. Faith, in this passage, cannot be that which is an effect of salvation. The Hardshells can feel the weight of this on their mental shoulders. They think they successfully deal with it by saying that the "faith" of Eph. 2:8 is not a "faith" produced by the gospel but one that God "gives in regeneration." But, faith, in such a case, is still belief, still action on the part of the one being saved, so how has this solved anything for the Hardshell?

This "implanted faith," that God creates in the soul when he creates "life" in it, did he create them at the same time? Was one the cause of the other? Did God's regenerating them cause them to have this "implanted faith"? I am sure every Hardshell would have to admit this, reluctantly, for this has been his "logic" that he has used against the idea that "gospel faith" can be a cause of, or occur simultaneously with regeneration. By their own "logic" even their "implanted faith" cannot occur before or simultaneously with regeneration. They cannot accept what Paul says in Eph. 2:8 that our salvation is through faith. The view of the Hardshell would have Paul rewrite Eph. 2:8 to read as follows:

"For by grace are you save in order to faith." So, their statements on Eph. 2:8 are a "dodge", for they do not believe that faith, any kind, precedes or comes simultaneous with regeneration.

How does Michael interpret the "faith" of the passage? He said:

"What does that mean? It means that the sinner responds to the life giving voice of the Lord Jesus Christ (Jno. 5:25) like Lazarus responded to the command of Jesus in John 11. It is an involuntary response, below the level of consciousness, a perfect obedience to the Divine imperative of Jesus."

I would like to ask Michael, -- "Which came first? Hearing the voice or responding to it?" Also, was he "alive" when he "heard" but before he "responded"? Also, how can a man "respond" on an "unconscious level"?

Let me cite Sarrels on this line of argument:

"If, therefore, as Dr. Shedd avers and as we believe, man is not conscious of the act of the Holy Spirit by which he is made a new creature in Christ Jesus, then conversion, of which man is certainly conscious, must come either before or after this act of the Holy Spirit. Hence conversion, which involves both consciousness and voluntariness, must be distinguished from regeneration with respect to fact, and separated from it with respect to time. This factual distinction and chronological separating compel us to grant anteriority to the one or the other, to regeneration or to conversion. The very nature of the case makes it impossible for them to be reduced to absolute simultaneity. If conversion results from regeneration, then regeneration precedes it both logically and chronologically...Clearly the Bible puts regeneration ahead of both conviction and conversion." (Page 311, 312, emphasis mine)

"If conversion results from regeneration, then..."

The faulty logic of Sarrels, relative to whether regeneration is the cause of conversion, and MUST therefore precede it, lies in the fact that he does not see how BOTH regeneration and conversion are equally effects of the same cause, the "act of the Holy Spirit."

The Hardshells err in saying that "regeneration is the cause of conversion," or in saying, "conversion is an effect of regeneration." No, regeneration is not the cause of conversion, but both regeneration and conversion are equally effects of the work of the Spirit through the word. Therefore, they can both occur simultaneously, because they are both equally the effects of the same cause, and not that one is the cause of the other.

This "chronological separating" and "granting anteriority," this metaphysical "splitting hairs", might seem like insurmountable "logical arguments" to the Hardshells, but it actually turns against them. You can take all the arguments they make to prove that "gospel faith" must always follow regeneration and apply it to what they say about God "implanted faith" and use it to show that they really do not believe that any kind of "faith" is a means in the new birth, so that all their attempts to try to "explain" passages that put "faith" as a "means" are futile and "dodges."

Besides, the Hardshells have another serious difficulty with this idea of "implanted faith" being given by God to everyone who is born of the Spirit, including the infant still in the womb. Most Hardshells, as I said, believe that this "faith" is defined as a "belief in some deity," one against whom they have "sinned," and have some kind of "hope," etc., (even though they contradict all this by saying all this is on the "sub-conscious level"). But, does the "regenerated infant" "believe in God?" How have they helped themselves with their novel invention regarding the "faith" that is necessary for "eternal salvation?" So, as I said, it is simply a "dodge" for the Hardshells to say that the "faith" that is necessary for "regeneration" is some kind of "belief in a god," or "deliverance from atheism." Again, how have they explained how an infant can have "faith" and "know" God?

I have heard them argue from the words of Christ, "you believe in God (the Father), believe also in me," (John 14:1) that a belief in God comes in "regeneration" but a "faith in Jesus" comes in "conversion." "Faith in God" is given and taught by God in "regeneration" but Jesus is only taught by the gospel. Based on this text they affirm that one can have "faith in God," thus giving "evidence of regeneration," even though they as yet do not have faith in Jesus. This is all absurd however and against the Scriptures. Before responding to this in more depth let me still press this question to the Hardshell who argues this stuff, "DOES THAT REGENERATED INFANT IN THE WOMB BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER?" How have you helped yourself with all this argumentation? Don't you see how it comes back to haunt you?

Also notice what Jesus said the reception of "eternal life" entailed.

"As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, AND Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:2,3)

Having "eternal life" is expressly defined as not simply knowing the Father, or some pretended deity, but in knowing the "true God" of Israel and in knowing Jesus Christ. There is no way that Hardshells can do away with this verse that defines what it means to "have eternal life."

Another serious error in this line of argumentation on "faith" concerns how they exalt knowledge of the Father (or "god" simply) over knowledge of the Son. The knowledge of the Son they admit is dependent upon the preaching of the word and gospel, but the knowledge of the Father is not.

"Regeneration" reveals God (the "Father" and "Creator"), but not Jesus, but "Conversion" they say is the only medium of revealing Jesus. So, my brother Hardshell, God has valued the knowledge of himself so important as to teach this directly, without means, or his preached word, but the knowledge of his Son is so dependent? Friends, Hardshell "logic" is not worth its weight in salt.

Sarrels wrote:

"What sort of logic must a theology create for itself which would make God limit this divine teaching to gospel areas when he does this teaching without the use of the gospel, or of any other means outside of Himself? Why should it seem a thing incredible that God should, by this teaching which he does without any agency outside of Himself, infix in the newly quickened soul the inclination toward the right, however faintly it may be understood by his child who does not have the gospel to bring his life and his blessed immortality to light?" (386)

These Hardshells cannot get away from their perverted use of "logic," the applying of human standards to the workings of God. I might ask Sarrels, were he here today, "What sort of logic says that God limits the knowledge of Jesus to places where only the gospel is preached?" Why does God value the knowledge of himself as Creator, Ruler, Savior, Helper, etc., so much that he communicates this knowledge without human means but the knowledge of Christ is restricted by him to human means?

The truth is that God has chosen to use his word and gospel to teach men about himself. The" word of truth" is used by him to teach men that "knowledge" which is necessary to salvation. In fact, it is an interesting question to pose to the Hardshells on this point. IS THERE ANY KNOWLEDGE AT ALL THAT COMES TO A SOUL AT THE MOMENT IT IS REGENERATED? If you want to see people squirm, become agitated, and unable to come to a clear and unified answer to a simple question, just ask the above question to a group of Hardshells. Of course, some will speak of certain "beliefs" and "convictions" that come by the "new birth," and others will speak of "sub-conscious knowledge, innate knowledge," etc., but they will all have difficulty with this question. I do plan to show in a chapter how the Hardshells interpret what it means to come to "know God." Also, on what it means to "come to Christ," to "hear Christ," and his "voice," etc.

Some Hardshells will try to take the road of men like Sarrels and say the faith they have involves no kind of belief at all, but simply refers to some kind of spiritual substance deposited in the soul and of which a man is not aware. Of course, this definition of "faith" has absolutely no support in the Bible but is a "doctrine of demons."

Some Hardshells try to use Paul's mention of the "spirit of faith" in II Cor. 4:13 where Paul wrote:

"We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak."

Some want to say the "spirit" of faith" is this "embryonic faith," this "dormant seed," and so make a distinction between faith and the "spirit" of faith, the one necessary to the other. This too, however, is a wild concoction. One of the founding fathers of Hardshellism took a different view on this passage.

Elder Samuel Trott wrote:

"A word on faith; faith is a fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22, and so the spirit is called the spirit of faith, because we have no true faith, without it; see II Cor. 4:13, “We having the same spirit of faith," &c. This faith is peculiar to God’’s elect, Tit. 1:1, because the gospel by which faith cometh and which is the word of faith, and which reveals the righteousness of God to faith, comes with power and the spirit, only to the elect, although the word be preached to all. See I Thes. 1:4,5, “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God; for our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” Christ taught the same where he said, “Ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep, as I said unto you, my sheep hear my voice,” &c. The faith of God’’s elect has Christ and his righteousness for its object, and so its object is our justifying righteousness, and so faith as to its object, is our justification; for in this sense Christ is called faith, see Gal. 3:23,25, and so faith is declared to be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, Heb. 11:1, the substance, as to its object, and an evidence to the soul of its interest in that object" (Select Works of Elder Samuel Trott
pgs. 316 –– 323)

Here Trott, being a first generation Hardshell, would not see his descendents (2nd, 3th, & 4th generation Hardshells), develope their later stranger and more developed views on "faith." It is an interesting area of study to see the progression of thought on "faith" and "regeneration" from the first Hardshells to those of the present day. The many years of debating and defending Hardshellism have forced later generations of Hardshells to revise and hone their views on these doctrines and on pertinant passages of Scripture dealing with them.

This verse in II Cor. 4:13 is a verse that later generations of Hardshells found to be of use to them in supporting their novel ideas on how there can be a "faith" that is "implanted in regeneration" and yet really not have "faith" in the normal sense of the word. They invented terms like "embryonic faith," "seed faith," "implanted faith," etc.

No, the "spirit" of faith" is as Trott said, a reference to the one who creates gospel faith, the Holy Spirit. It does not refer to some "metaphysical spiritual goo" that later produces what the Bible calls faith.

Sarrels wrote:

"We raise these final and disturbing questions: Although God must open the sinner's heart to make it receptive of the truth (Acts 16:14), and although God must, as a matter of necessity, do this without the use of the truth, why does God not open sinner's hearts where the truth is not preached? Why does God limit his work of opening hearts and changing natures to areas where the truth is preached, when he does not use the truth to open hearts?" (Page 336)

And again he writes:

"No sound theology denies the universality of the innate knowledge of God's existence. However vague, or even distorted, this innate conviction may be, all sound theology must maintain that it is there. Tuition cannot put this conviction in the constitution of the human soul. It may, indeed it can, bring this conviction out into bolder relief so its possessor may better understand it, but tuition cannot infix this conviction in the rational nature of man. Only the Creator could have done this. If theology can and must hold the innate knowledge of God's existence is creatively inwrought in the spirit essence of even the most backward races, though imperfectly perceived by them, why can theology not consistently hold that people among these same backward races may have the stamp of eternal life inwrought in their spirit essence, and may feel that in some way they are in vital relation with a protecting Reality whom they love and reverence, and whom they hope finally to see? That all of this may be poorly understood by these backward, undeveloped races argues not against their having it any more than their vaguely understanding their innate knowledge of God's existence argues against their having this knowledge. The theology we hold, and which has shaped the thought structure of this work, teaches that regeneration, and therefore union with Christ, is solely the work of God, and that it is performed in the hearts of his purchased possession all over the world." (Page 348, 349)

And again:

"Hence, we hold that as every natural unsaved person has an innate knowledge of the existence of God as Creator and Ruler, every spiritual or saved person, however low he may be in the scale of civilization, has an innate knowledge of the existence of God as Savior and Helper. Creation produces an intuitive conviction of the existence of God as Creator in the soul essence of the natural man, and re-creation produces an intuitive conviction of the existence of God as Savior in the soul essence of the spiritual man." (Page 349)

Well, as I said earlier in this work, the Hardshells do not have uniform views on "faith." This proves it. Here Sarrels says that a "belief in God" (though barely understood or accepted by the one possessing it) does not come from regeneration (or the new birth) but from man's first or natural birth. I am not disagreeing with that, but only showing some of the contradictions in the views of Sarrels and those like him, who confuse the matter even more for those trying to find out what is the Hardshell beliefs on "faith."

Sarrels says that "regeneration" only increases the natural born "faith," leading it not only to have the natural view that "God" is a Creator, Ruler and Reality, but now have a "spiritual" knowledge of God in the roles of Savior and Helper.

Interestingly this view has the "regenerated infant" coming to knowledge of God as Creator and Ruler by his natural birth and God as Savior and Helper by the "new birth." Yet, they still cannot say all this out of one side of their mouths while saying out of the other, "regeneration and the knowledge of God is below consciousness," without evidencing the worst of contradictions and hypocrisy. Nor should they continue to rhetorically ask in bold interogatives, of those who believe in means, to "explain how an infant is able to believe and repent?" Why? BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE WHAT THEY THINK THEY DENY! They argue that it is impossible that "regeneration" and "salvation" be based upon faith, repentance, and gospel conversion because the infant is not able to believe and know things. But yet, here we find them arguing that they can have inner beliefs about God from both the natural birth and instantaneously from the new birth. So, their own "regenerated infant" who cannot believe or repent nevertheless is found believing many things! I will turn the question on them and ask them to "explain" how one can believe in God on the sub-conscious level and how they can believe anything as infants?

Regenerated Heathen's Faith

Sarrels wrote:

"...and all that we have said concerning the state of unregenerate man, must be placed the known fact that all over the world there are worthy, moral men who have never, with their lips, made known that God has touched their hearts. We must remember that actions speak louder than words. Perhaps many of these men have not consciously understood the meaning of the work of God which, almost certainly, has been performed in their hearts. The Gentiles of Rom. 2:14,15, were doing "by nature"--echonta phusei--the things contained in the law; that is, they were acting out the good which had been infused in their hearts by the working of God...This was not something natural to them as the result of the natural creation, it was according to an infused nature or disposition that they fulfilled the demands of God's righteous law. Paul did not declare "another God" to the Athenians of Mars' Hill. He declared unto them the very God whom they were worshipping--ignorantly. Since regeneration is a work performed in the soul below consciousness, why is it not possible, yea even certain, that God has worked in the lives of morally refined men who may never have given evidence, by word of mouth, that God has done this? God saves infants (Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:41), and from the very nature of things, they cannot understand at the time what has taken place in their lives. When viewed in the perspective we here propose, the fact that there are good men everywhere who have not publicly professed Christ does not conflict with the Scriptural emphasis on the dreadful reality of sin." (pages 330,331)

This is unbelievable from someone who claims the name "Baptist." The idea that mere natural goodness and morality are evidences of regeneration is so against everything that Baptists have always believed about the true "evidences of regeneration," which are evangelical faith in Christ and repentance of sin. Sarrels wants us to believe that men who have some natural goodness, some conformity to God's moral law, who are "refined,"are thereby known to be the children of God, born of the Spirit, and washed in the blood of Jesus! I say it is preposterous and is so against what the Scriptures define as being "regenerated" and "born again."

The citation above by Sarrels shows how the Hardshells use Scriptures in any way that suits them, at a given moment, in an argument. This passage in Romans 2:14,15, which speaks of the Gentiles "doing by nature the things contained in the law," Sarrels would use elsewhere to prove that men are "naturally born with the intuitive knowledge" that God is "Creator" and "Ruler," but now, such a passage will be used to prove that this "by nature" is referring to a "work of grace," to "regeneration."

Others have used this passage from Romans 2:14,15 to try and affirm that Paul is teaching that the Gentiles were showing evidence of having been "regenerated" even though they did know the truth, the word of God, nor the gospel. That is absolutely not what Paul is referring to, but rather to that truth regarding epistemology that all knowledge, especially of the moral law of God, is written in the nature of man. Notice that it is not the "work of grace written in their hearts" that is manifested in the heathen "who know not God," but "the work of the law."

Also, this "law" that is "written in the heart and nature" of man, involves a man's thinking and understanding. But, Hardshells do not believe that "regeneration" does anything to a man's "thinking" or "understanding" in "regeneration," for it is all on the "sub-conscious level."

It is also nothing short of blasphemy for any Hardshell to affirm that "Paul preached the exact same God to the Athenians that they already believed in"! They were "worshipping the true God, just ignorantly"! They were worshipping the "true God" although his name was wrong, and nearly every description of him was different from the God of the Old Testament!

And again Sarrels writes:

"None of the systems of conditionalism can consistently accept our view that clean, honest, upright men who may never have publicly professed Christ are almost certainly children of God...It seems to be a case of pure unreason to suppose that these men who love the good and the pure and who perform worthy deeds are in the same category with those men who "love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil" (John 3:19). These good men, though they may never have made a public profession of faith in the Lord, are certainly not to be classed with the haters of God. We simply cannot place such men among the enemies of righteousness and the deliberate rejecters of God. "The fruit of the Spirit...is goodness." (Gal. 5:22)

Again, it really takes a heretic of the worst sort to be able to argue in such a fashion as to make those in heathen lands, who do not know anything about the God of the Bible nor the Lord Jesus Christ, "good" and "regenerate," the "friends of God," just as much as the believer in Jesus.

But, the Bible teaches that no prayer will be heard and answered that is not prayed in the name of Christ and faith in him. It also teaches that there is no "faith" except that which lays hold upon Christ. Even Hardshell "founding father," Wilson Thompson, said that the "faith of God's elect "had Christ and his righteousness for its object." Then, how can the heathen have the "faith of God's elect"?

Wrote Sarrels:

"The more advanced intellectual Christian concepts about all of these progresive steps which unfold in the believer's experience do not prove that these do not exist embryonically in the obscure, yet spiritual, exercise of the quickened soul in heathen lands." (Page 386)

Where is this definition of "faith" in the Bible? Where is there any hint that "faith" that is created by God in regeneration is some unformed "embryonic" spiritual substance? Why don't these Hardshells simply cite a passage of Scripture that says, plainly, that people are "born again apart from any knowledge of the word of God," or of the true God, or of Christ? Why don't they just cite some verses that say clearly that gospel faith and repentance are NOT necessary for salvation instead of using their so-call logic to prove it?

Brother, a man who has this kind of "faith" that the Hardshells talk about has no "faith" at all! All the attempts by the Hardshells to give a definition to "faith" that will allow that heathen idolators are regenerated and know God (or Christ) is all "vanity and vexation of spirit." To say that people can have "faith" and not know it, that they can have "faith" below the level of consciousness," is not a 32nd cousin to what the Bible talks about when it talks about saving faith.

I have shown in previous chapters that the views of the Hardshells on "regeneration" and "faith" shows that, by their definitions, these are a bunch of nothing. Notice these words of Sarrels:

"The regeneration of man changes his soul essence. Faculties, affections, and dispositions are not personla entities, and are therefore not subjects of regeneration. God regenerates man, not his attributes or properties." (Page 342)

And further:

"God regenerates the man, not his faculties, affections, or disposition. Man, not his attributes, is the subject of regeneration." (Page 358)

Recall also from my previous citations from Sarrels that he believes that "regeneration produces no internal sensations," or "no activity" in the soul!

How can he say this in one breath and then in another argue so vehemently that the whole of the words "regeneration" and "faith" denote nothing more than God giving the soul an "inner ability"? Does "ability" not reside in the "attributes" of a man's "soul?"

If you take away from the soul "faculties, affections, dispositions," and "attributes," etc., what do you have left? Nothing! They strip, in their deformed theology, every Biblical characteristic of "regeneration" and "faith," and they do it too on the word "soul."

Brother, I would not give you a "red cent" for such views of things. To tell me I have a "faith" that does not believe in the true God, one --that I can have and not even know it, that I can have the "faith of God's elect," and yet not know Christ or the true God of Israel, is absolutely heresy of the worst sort.

Sarrels also wrote the following:

"If it be maintained that though man participates in the work of regeneration, he contributes nothing to it, we reply by asking: If man contributes nothing to the work of regeneration, why is it necessary for him to participate? Participation without contribution is unthinkable."

"Participation without contribution is unthinkable." It may be "unthinkable" to those who are bound by Hardshell "logic," but it is not to those who have no bias in thought. Certainly a man can "participate" in that which he does not "contribute." A man can participate in the benefits of a will, as a beneficiary. Certainly every Hardshell must be forced to confess that the word "participate" is used in the New Testament, sometimes translated by the word "communion" or "fellowship." We are saved by our "participation in the body and blood of Jesus," as Paul taught in I Corinthians 10:16,17. How can a man be saved who does not "take part" in Christ? Jesus said to Peter, "If I wash you not, you have no part with me," that is, "no participation in me." (See John 13: 8) The word "communion" denotes the "union" of two things, and so our "communion" with Christ respects our vital union with him and of the fact that we "participate" in and share his life and righteousness.

He then writes further:

"But it must be noted that God does not, from a purely arbitrary standpoint, refuse to let man share as an agent or as an instrumentality in his regeneration. "With man this is impossible" (Matt. 19:26) Regeneration is a creative (re-creative) work (Eph. 2:1); and no creature, whether it be man or angel, can regenerate, assist in regenerating. So, unless the Creator God regenerates man without any human participation, no man will ever be regenerated." (pg. 329)

I have already absolutely overthrown this reasoning in my earlier chapters. The raising of the dead bones in Ezekiel 37 destroys all this "vain reasoning" by Sarrells and the Hardshells.

I will also show in a future chapter what the Bible says about the relation of man's "will" is to "regeneration." The Hardshells totally divorce the will of man from the work of regeneration. They will do this, generally, from one side of their mouths, while from the other side saying that "regeneration" is what is being spoken about when the Psalmist says, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." (Psalm 110:3) But how can this refer to "regeneration," my brother Hardshell, if the "will" does not participate or is not in any way involved it it?

The Hardshell "hermeneutic rule" regarding any passage that connects faith with salvation, as I have shown, is to put those verses into one of two categories. If the passage clearly speaks of eternal salvation or of regeneration, then they will ascribe the "faith", of the passage to a "faith" that is unconnected with the gospel. If, on the other hand, the passage does not clearly use terms that would clearly identify the salvation as being "eternal," then they will say it is some "time salvation" from a temporal evil.

The only way to really fully overthrow this argumentation is to go into each passage and show how 1) The "faith" in the passage is "faith in Christ, one that must come through the preaching of the gospel and 2) The salvation in the particular passage is one that is clearly dealing with "regeneration" and "eternal salvation."

In answer to a written question sent in to Hassell, that asked What is the difference between faith and grace?, he wrote:

"Faith is belief, and grace is favor or gift; it is of God's free favor or gracious gift that we, in our hearts, believe in His Son as our Saviour (Rom. 4:16; I Cor. 12:3; II Cor. 4:6; Gal.5: 22; Eph. 1:19,20; 2:8,9; Philip 1:29; Heb. 12:2). (Elder Sylvester Hassell, Copied from the "Gospel Messenger" and from the "Advocate and Messenger" Compiled by R.H. Pittman)

This is really quite interesting. I owe this inconsistent statement, by this Hardshell "founding father," to the newness of the Hardshell "movement." Today's Hardshells will not affirm what Hassel here said about "faith." He did not believe that the "faith" that saved, that God created in regeneration, was divorced from the knowledge of Christ. He would argue that the heathen have Christ revealed to them on some mystical level, by Christ "directly speaking" to them.

Beebe also believed as did Hassel. Of course, Beebe believed in "Absolute Predestination of all things," and so believed that all our "good deeds," every kind of "faith," be it "implanted" or given "through the gospel," yet it was just as certain that the elect who heard the gospel would be made to embrace it.

In fact, this is discernable from the fact that Beebe breaks down the "new birth" into "stages" "steps," or "phases."

Beebe wrote:

"Regeneration, as we understand it, like generation, involves the begetting, conception and birth, of that which is generated, In the order of regeneration, or the development of the children of God, no intermediate agencies are employed, no system of means can bring forth the promised seed...When a sinner is thus quickened, the incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever, is implanted in his heart, and the evidence of this implantation is first given by a sense of the purity and holiness of God, and the spirituality of his law, contrasted with a sense of guilt, pollution and just condemnation of the person to whom this communication is made, and consequently a struggle for deliverance."

And then continuing, he wrote:

"Now all this conviction, contrition, lamentation and distress, is the legitimate consequence resulting from life implanted, and indicates to all who know experimentally the way of life, that the poor sin-burdened soul is drawing near to the time of his birth, or deliverance. He who has thus arrested him, and brought him to a sense of his lost and helpless estate, will perform the work in his own time, but the burdened soul must wait until ““God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shines in [not into] his heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”” ——2 Cor. iv. 6.

Or, as Paul relates his own experience, ““When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me.””——Gal. i. 15. Then by the revelation of Christ in us the hope of glory, the way of salvation through him is brought to view, the burden of guilt is removed, the blood of Christ is applied, the demands of the law are canceled, the curse is removed, the prison doors are opened, the captive is delivered, the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, old things are passed away; behold all things have become new; a new song is put in his mouth, even praise unto God, the gospel pours its joyful sound into his quickened ears, his goings are established and he is a new creature, the old man of his corrupt nature is subdued, not dead, that which is born of the flesh continues to be flesh, and only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John iii. 6.)


"What we have written are our views, and what we have understood to be the views of the Old order of Baptists, from the days of John; but if we are mistaken in our views, (and we are liable to be) or in any part of them, we hope that our brethren will in all christian kindness point out to us the more excellent way."
(Middletown, N. Y., September 1, 1857. Editorials of Gilbert Beebe Vol. 4 Pgs)
(http://www.asweetsavor.150m.com/beebe/regen.html)

Clearly Beebe did believe that the "birth" of the child of God was not completed till one was brought to believe in Jesus and have "gospel faith." It is when "the way of salvation is brought to view" that the "quickened" sinner is brought to full faith and has his "guilt removed" and the "blood of Jesus applied."

Again, Elder Gilbert Beebe wrote in 1838:

"And we are not only assured that faith is not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God, but we are also told that Jesus Christ is both the author and the finisher of faith which is unto life.

Another inspired apostle, treating on the origin and power of the gospel faith, informs us that it is born of God, and that it overcomes the world. ““For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.””——1 John v.4
(NEW VERNON, N. Y., July 22, 1838)

Beebe, as Brother Ross has shown was one of the first, if not the first, to put forth the novel idea that the "word" that "regenerates" the dead sinner is that which Christ himself speaks to the soul rather than that word that is being communicated by his messengers. But, I will deal with that yet in another chapter in greater depth.

Still, no Hardshell today will accept Beebe's view that "gospel faith" completes the birth of the Spirit and is created by the irresistable power of God. No, today's Hardshells, except some of the "Absoluters," will say that their "gospel faith," is not as the "Conditionalists avow, a creation of their own, a product of their own free will and work, but is the sole creation of God. According to Beebe it is "gospel faith" that insures our overcoming the world, hence our eternal salvation. Yes, Beebe may have said other things at other times that contradict this, but he does allow that the first stage of birthing is the "begetting," done without means, but he does say that "gospel faith" is God's creation and that which insures our perseverance.

Wrote Wilson Thompson:

"...and so faith, though one of the first fruits which the Spirit produces in the soul, can afford no comfort to the soul until its eye is directed to Christ, and his blood and righteousness, which the gospel reveals to it, nor even then will it afford comfort to the soul..." (Wilson Thompson, Unknown date -
http://www.asweetsavor.150m.com/thom/free.html)

This is interesting in view of the Hardshell position that many "heathen", who know not God or Christ, and yet who, according to Hardshellism, have been given some kind of "faith." It goes back to the question I asked earlier about "why God did not teach the "regenerated heathen" more than he does?" Thompson admits that this "implanted faith" "can afford no comfort to the soul." The only "faith" that brings comfort to the soul is the gospel that points the eye to Christ and his righteosness by the gospel! According to Hardshellism the "faith" God gives in "regeneration" only brings sorrow and grief and God leaves him there in that condition! And, no Hardshell seems all that concerned with taking the gospel to these supposedly regenerated heathen who have a faith that is causing grief and despair but who need a gospel that begets the faith of hope and joy.

Brothers, the only "faith" the Bible knows anything about is the kind that "fills you with all joy and peace in believing," (Rom. 15:13) rather than terror and guilt.

The Bible teaches that we "believe unto life" (See John 20:30; I Tim. 1:16; etc.) We also "repent unto life" (Acts 11:18). Faith and repentance are predestined "second causes" to our receiving life and salvation.

C. D. Cole wrote:

"As to regeneration and faith, a plausible argument may be made in favor of the priority of either. For example, if we turn to "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (#Joh 1:12,13), it seems natural to suppose that those who believed in Christ were those who had been born of God. So also according to the correct rendering of #1Jo 5:1, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is (has been) born of God." Some use this passage as it reads in the Common Version, "is born of God, "to prove that faith is prior to regeneration, because the means of it; but the argument fails in view of the fact that not the present, but the perfect tense is used in the original- -"has been born of God." But if we turn to #Ga 3:26, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, "the obvious view is that we become God's children by faith, or, in other words, that faith is instrumental in effecting regeneration. We see, therefore, that there may be a plausible argument on either side of the question."

(http://www.homestead.com/sglblibrary/files/Defdoc2/DEFDOC2.P2.12.htm)

T. P. Simmons wrote:

"Christ, objectively revealed to the mind and heart is the ground of faith. This is implied throughout the Bible, and it is unmistakably taught in Rom. 10:11-17. We read there that "faith cometh by hearing," and we find also there the question (implying an impossibility): "How shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard." The Bible knows nothing, absolutely nothing, about a so-called secret faith that can exist apart from knowledge of Christ, such as some Hardshells teach." (http://www.pbministries.org/Theology/Simmons/chapter25.htm)

Now let me look at some verses in the Bible dealing with the relationship of faith to salvation and apply Hardshell "logic" and hermeneutics to them.

"Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:4 & Romans 1:17)

How does this "embryonic faith" that a man does even know he has, and which produces no certain change in his thinking and behavior, become the means of such a man "living" by it? Not only is faith instrumental in our receiving life but also in its preservation. But, Hardshells deny that faith, as the Bible defines it, plays any part in either regeneration or preservation in Christ.

"And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." (Acts 15:9)

The Hardshells do not believe that the cleansing of the soul from the pollution of sin, by the blood of Christ, the "washing of regeneration," (Titus 3:5), is done with faith as a medium, and yet the Apostles had a different idea. All the Hardshells can do, with such passages, is to try and make the purification a "timely" washing totally unconnected with anything having to do with regeneration or eternal salvation. Yet, the context of this passage absolutely deals with eternal salvation. The reasons for this are these:

1. The whole "council" concerned what pertained to eternal salvation. In Acts 15 we are told that "there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter." These are they, wrote Luke, “came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."

Were they discussing "time salvation"? No, I do not know a single Hardshell who would say that this was the matter of the first council.

2. The answer that was given to this mighty question was, "But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they." And then again they said, "put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." What kind of "purification" was this? Does the context not connect it with eternal salvation? Yes, and so it refers to the cleansing of the soul in regeneration. But, this salvation and purification were brought about "by faith." It is clear too that the "faith" they are discussing concerns the faith of the Gentile Christians, which had as its object the Father and Son and that was produced in them by means of the gospel.

Jesus said, "Now you are clean through the word I have spoken unto you." (John 15:3) David asked, "How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed to your word." (Psalm 119:9) The Church of Jesus Christ, the body of his elect, are said, by Paul, to be "sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the word." (Eph. 5:26)

"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:21)

Here "faith" is directed to Jesus Christ in conjunction with "repentance toward God." Hardshells do not believe it is their duty and privilege to exhort men to repent and have faith in Jesus. Their preaching is unlike that of the apostles in the Book of Acts.

Beebe wrote about this gospel faith in Christ.

"The Scriptures instead of representing faith as a creature of ours, expressly define it to be the gift of God. Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, that we should believe on him. "We are bound to give thanks unto God always for you, brethren, beloved of God, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." And we are not only assured that faith is not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God, but we are also told that Jesus Christ is both the author and the finisher of faith which is unto life." (Middletown, N.Y., February 15, 1858.
Editorials of Gilbert Beebe, Vol. 4 Pgs 60 –– 65)

Notice that Beebe cites Philippians 1:29 where Paul says:

" For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake."

Notice that it is not a belief in any kind of deity or god, but a belief in "Christ," the Messiah and Savior. Hardshells are forced to admit that faith in Christ and his work as Messiah comes only from hearing the gospel. (How can they not? Paul says, in Romans 10, "HOW SHALL THEY BELIEVE IN HIM OF WHOM THEY HAVE NOT HEARD? AND HOW SHALL THEY BELIEVE WITHOUT A PREACHER?") But, the "faith" that comes "by the gospel," they will nearly all say, is not something God "creates," for he does this through human means, and "creation" cannot take place through human means, and so they acknowledge that their "gospel faith" in Jesus is not the creation or gift of God, as, they say, is their invented idea about "implanted" or "embryonic faith."

But the "faith," according to Paul, that is God's creation, is a faith in Christ, a faith in his person and work, and that such faith and knowledge comes by the Spirit through the gospel.

In commenting upon John 5:4 Beebe wrote further:

"Another inspired apostle, treating on the origin and power of the gospel faith, informs us that it is born of God, and that it overcomes the world. ““For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.””——1 John v.4."

Gospel faith? How then can the Hardshells argue that this gospel faith is not necessary for eternal salvation? If the world overcomes believers, which it would do did they not have this faith, would they not be lost? How can we win the victory and obtain salvation except that we have this gospel faith?

Beebe said further:

"This faith, being born of God, must be animated by the life and immortality and power of God. It is vital, but its vitality is of God, and not of the creature, hence it can and does overcome the world...the faith of God’s elect, being born of God, and his special gift, has a divine power over his children in whom its divine power is developed; they cannot exercise it, but they are exercised by it. On the other hand the faith of the gospel brings those who are born of God unto the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God."

Well amen brother! This term, "faith of God's elect," is difficult for the Hardshells, and they will not generally make "gospel faith" to be that "faith" which all the "elect" possess (how could they and still be Hardshells?), as do some of the older Hardshells, but will rather follow the modern apologists, like Sarrels, and say that the kind of "faith" that all the "elect" have, in "regeneration," is that "metaphysical goo" I mentioned earlier.

Acts 26:18

"To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

This verse was one that helped pulled me out of Hardshellism. It is as clear as the noonday sun that Jesus was, in making Paul a preacher of his gospel, also constituting him as a means in bringing about the calling and justification of believers. How do they handle this verse? How can they not see that being "turned from darkness to light," and "from the power of Satan unto God," and "receiving the forgiveness of sins," and "inheritance among the holy," all connects with "eternal salvation?" Also, the verse clearly says that we are "sanctified by faith that is in me." Men are not made holy nor saints until they have come to possess that faith that Jesus says is "in me." Jesus said, "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth" (Jno. 17:17). The Hardshells may do all they can to keep this soul cleansing word from the world, but others will take it. There is no cleansing apart from the word of Christ, from his truth.

Let me give you one of the better "takes" on this verse from Brother Gowens. He writes:

" In what specific terms does the gospel deliver the believer? Acts 26:18 suggests at least five ways. First, it delivers them from ignorance to understanding - "To open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light" (v. 18a). Secondly, it delivers them from Satan's power, that is, from his strangle-hold upon their lives - "and from the power of Satan unto God" (v. 18b). The individual who comes to gospel understanding has a resource in the truth that equips him to "stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:10), to "resist the devil" (Jas. 4:7; l Pet. 5:9), and to "overcome the devil" (Rev. 12:10). Thirdly, it delivers them from the pressing bondage of guilt - "that they may receive forgiveness of sins" (v. 18c). It brings a peace to the heart and the conscience that nothing else can provide. This peace of conscience, this justification by faith (Rom. 5:1), such as the Publican received in Luke 18, may very well be the dominant utility of the gospel. Fourthly, it delivers them from a life of lonely selfishness into the warmth of Christian fellowship with other believers - "that they may receive an inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith" (v. 18d). Fifthly, it delivers them from spiritual immaturity to a life of growth and progressive conformity to the image of Christ -"sanctified by faith that is in me" (v. 18c). The gospel is spiritual food for the believer's growth (I Pet. 2:2). God, through the gospel, can transform attitudes, mend broken relationships, encourage the downcast, comfort the bereaved, strengthen the weak, and change the lives of those who hear. The gospel is heaven's powerful resource for living the Christian life." (From his essay on "Born Again," and from PART III, "The Purpose of the Gospel" - http://www.sovgrace.net/born.htm)

That was a fairly good job about telling us about how the gospel and faith in it does about everything you can imagine except regenerate a man. According to the view of Gowens a man can be without all this, without forgiveness of sins, without sanctification, without any inheritance among the saints, without pardon from his guilt, etc., and yet he is "regenerated"! As I have repeatedly said, the Hardshells have conversion and gospel salvation and faith doing so much more for a man than "regeneration," so that he is a better man if he gets "converted." Without this "conversion" by the gospel, of which the verse in Acts is describing, he is still "under the power of Satan" and not yet "under the power of God," he is still in sin and under guilt, having not yet received pardon and forgiveness, but it really doesn't matter in the end if he is "regenerated."

Here is what the famed Elder Lemuel Potter said about this verse in his debate about means in regeneration (a debate I will be citing from extensively in a later chapter).

"Acts 26:16, to deliver from the power of darkness, and to open their eyes, and turn them from the power of satan unto God, etc., had no allusion to the work of regeneration, whatever, but that regenerated people in the state of idolatry, or under the influences of false religions, were in darkness; and they were blinded, and that the gospel was to be preached to them, in order to open their eyes, and to get them out of that darkness, and bring them to understand the truth, that Jesus is the only Savior of sinners; and realize that their sins were forgiven when the blood of Jesus Christ was shed on the cross, that they now are capable of enjoying an inheritance among them that are sanctified, which means an inheritance among other saints. My expression of the matter is, that they may enjoy the privileges of members of the Gospel church."

(http://www.carthage.lib.il.us/community/churches/primbap/Potter-Pence1st.html)

Again, it is absolutely stubborness to not see that the descriptions given in the passage in Acts is unrelated to eternal salvation. A man is just trying to uphold a position that is clearly against the passage in Acts because he is wedded to his man made doctrine.

And then Gowens writes again:

"The effectual call is a call to eternal salvation; the gospel call is a call to repentance and faith (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 17:30; Acts 20:21; Acts 26:20). The effectual call is a call to sonship; the gospel call is a call to discipleship. God speaks directly in the effectual call; God speaks through men in the gospel call. The effectual call is always obeyed; the gospel call is frequently disobeyed, shunned, and resisted. The effectual call is a creation; the gospel call is a communication. The effectual call is directed to the dead; the gospel call is directed to the living. The effectual call is an internal call; the gospel call is an external appeal. The effectual call produces life (2 Tim. 1:9); the gospel call produces light (2 Tim. 1:10). The sinner responds involuntarily in the effectual call (like Lazarus). The gospel call, however, calls for a voluntary, decisive response ("...harden not your hearts" - Heb. 3:15). The conclusive testimony of Scripture is that the effectual call precedes the gospel call and that the effectual call gives a man spiritual life, while the gospel call gives a man knowledge and understanding. This distinction between regeneration and gospel conversion is essential." (Ibid)

In seems odd that in the commentary on the verse in Acts that the "gospel" has so much power to do all the things enumerated in the verse and acknowledged by Gowens should be followed by such commentary as is exhibited in the above quotation. In one side of his mouth this "gospel" has such transforming power and then in the other side it has no power at all. Why can't these brethren simply acknowledge the truth expressed by the Old Baptists in the London Confession of Faith? The "Gospel Call" is what is made effectual when it is attended simultaneously with the "internal call" of the Spirit, who takes the words of Christ and applies them savingly to the regenerating and transforming of the soul.

Look at the picture these apologists have painted of the difference between regeneration and conversion and see which one really "transforms" the soul, which delivers him from sin. Michael Gowens even said that the gospel had the power to "Deliver the Believer from the Practice of Sin." Yet, we are told in I John 3 that whoever "practices sin is of the devil." Those who are "born of God" do "not practice sin." So, how can one get the power not to sin, according to Michael? By the gospel!

Well, here are two chapters on the Hardshell views on "faith" and I am not finished. This is such an important chapter. What is left to look at on this topic I will try to sum up in a later chapter, with extensions, or incorporate the rest into another chapter on another related topic.


Chapter 14 - Hard-Shell Busters

(First Cracking)

1. Are all men commanded to repent of their sins and turn to God in the Bible?
2. Does this imply ability in them to do so?
3. Does God create Repentance?
4. Does God create Repentance through the preaching of the gospel and word of God?
5. Are Repentance and Faith gifts of God?
6. If Repentance and Faith come through the preaching of the gospel, then do they cease to be God’s creation or “of God”?
7. Does it cease to be a “gift” if God communicates it through the preaching of the gospel?
8. Is the gospel worthy of all acceptation?
9. Can one have Repentance and Faith without knowledge and understanding?
10. Can one Believe and Repent on the sub-conscious level?
11. Is there such a creature, in the Bible, as an “Impenitent Believer”?
12. Is there such a creature, in the Bible, as an “Penitent Unbeliever”?
13. Is there such a creature, in the Bible, as a “Regenerated Unbeliever”?
14. Is there such a creature, in the Bible, as a “Regenerated Impenitent”?
15. Will all the elect “come to repentance”? (II Peter 3:9)
16. Will this “coming to repentance” occur at the same time when one “comes to life”?
17. Do all God’s commands, in the Bible, imply ability to obey them?
18. If they do not imply ability, then why is it argued that the commands to “believe,” “repent,” “turn to God,” “be converted,” etc., imply such an ability?
19. Are there any “internal sensations” produced by the new birth?
20. How can a man be a “new creation” if his mind is not changed? Or his will, affections, & understanding?
21. Since “all things become new” in the new birth, would this not include new thinking, new affections, new desires and dispositions, new activities?
22. If Repentance and Faith are “effects” and “fruits” of regeneration, are they automatic and necessary effects and fruits?
23. Does Regeneration change a man’s course and conduct? Necessarily?
24. Is a “hard heart” penitent or impenitent?
25. Is a “soft heart” penitent or impenitent?
26. What is meant by the Lord “writing his word upon the heart” in regeneration?
27. If God use human means as an instrument in this writing, does it cease to be God’s writing?
28. Is the Bible God’s writing? God’s revelation?
29. Did God use human means to “create” the Bible?
30. Does it cease to be his “gift” and “creation” since he use human agents?
31. Does the use of human means in giving the Bible mean the Bible is the creation of man?
32. Is a penitent and contrite heart, and the turning of the heart to God, characteristic of that “new heart” given in regeneration?
33. What kind of Repentance does the “regenerated infant” experience?
34. What kind of Repentance does the “regenerated heathen” experience?
35. The Faith that God creates in regeneration, what does it Believe?
36. Does God write his words upon the heart through the gospel?
37. Is “gospel faith” begotten by God or the preacher?
38. Were the Corinthians, in being “begotten” by Paul (I Cor. 4:15), not begotten by God?
39. Since “begetting” is a “creation,” did Paul then not “create” the gospel faith of the Corinthians?
40. Is it possible for the “begetting” of I Cor. 4:15 to be both “of God” and “of (by) Paul”? If not, why not?
41. Is Paul excluding God in the above “begetting”? If so, how?
42. Is Paul saying that he is the “efficient” or “lone cause” in the above “begetting”?
43. Is it possible that Paul could call himself their “begetter” because he was God’s instrument? If not, why not?
44. Is it true, as Elder Potter said, that “enlightening the understanding” is part and parcel of regeneration?
45. The sinners that Paul said that he “saved” by the gospel, did this mean God did not save them?
46. When Jesus told the Apostles to “make disciples” does this mean they were not made by God?
47. Is it a true proposition that God “creates” nothing by human means?
48. Is a “resurrection” a “creation” of life?
49. Is “birth” a “creation” of life?
50. Was Ezekiel not a means used by God to “create life,” to “raise the dead,” to “beget” a nation? (Chpt. 37)
51. Did Ezekiel or God raise the dead?
52. Must it be an “either or” answer?
53. Is it possible for it to be said that God raised the dead as the “efficient cause” and Ezekiel as the “instrumental cause”?
54. Was Mary, the mother of Jesus, a human means in bringing Christ into the world?
55. Were human means (agents) used to bring Christ to the sacrifice of the cross?
56. Can a man go from being an unbeliever to a believer without being “converted”?
57. Can a man be regenerated without being converted?
58. Does the possession of eternal life not consist in knowing the true God and Jesus Christ according to Jesus’ words in John 17:3?
59. Since heathen peoples have no knowledge of the true God and of Jesus Christ, how can it be said they “have eternal life”?
60. Will those who “obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” suffer eternal torment?
61. Name one person in the Bible who had Faith, and was a Believer, and yet who clearly never heard of the word of God?
62. Name one clear example of a “regenerated infant,” in the Bible, who did not hear the word of God?
63. What Hardshell church has ever sent out missionaries to the heathen?
64. What Hardshell church has ever supported or helped to translate the Bible into non-English languages for the benefit of the elect among the heathen?
65. Where is there any proof of any church who existed prior to the 1800's that believed Hardshell views on regeneration, faith, repentance, and salvation?
66. Does the London Confession of Faith support Hardshell views on the gospel, regeneration, faith, repentance, and salvation?
67. Can a man be an “Original” or “Old School” Baptist who denies the London Confession on those points?
68. Did the Fulton Convention endorse or not the London Confession?
69. Did they “interpret” the document honestly?
70. Did Peter raise the dead?
71. If Peter raised the dead, then why is it said that God does not use means in raising the dead?
72. Was money used to perfect the manhood of Christ?
73. If the “direct voice speaking” of Christ is what regenerates, why was every soul who personally heard Christ speak, heard his voice, not regenerated?
74. Does one “come to Christ” for life or does one have life in order to “come to Christ”?
75. Does the dead first hear and then live, or do they live first and then hear?
76. Is it possible to have a birth without a mother?
77. Who is the mother in the new birth?
78. Are infants regenerated only but not converted?
79. Is “circumcision of the heart” regeneration?
80. Does God ever command people to be regenerated?
81. Why did God say to some, “make you a new heart” and “circumcise your heart”?
82. Does God’s commanding the above imply ability to obey those commands?
83. Are all men commanded to believe in Jesus and the gospel?
84. If all men are not commanded to repent and believe, then how would it be sin not to repent and believe?
85. Do the Hardshells regularly call upon all to whom they preach to repent, come to Christ, be saved, believe, obey, etc.?
86. Is “love shed abroad in our hearts” that which takes place in regeneration?
87. If so, what does the new born soul love?
88. Can a man love an object of which he is unaware?
89. Is it part of the work of regeneration to bring one to “know God”?
90. Can one “know God” on the sub-conscious level?
91. Does “knowing God” not indicate that something is known about God?
92. If regeneration is a work of God “teaching” his people (John 6:45), what does he teach?
93. Can one be taught on the sub-conscious level?
94. How can it be reasonably argued that faith, when said to be God’s “gift,” means “God created,” (Eph.2:9) but when “gift” is used for post regeneration experiences, like for gospel faith and repentance, it no longer means that?
95. Are the elect few and the reprobate many?
96. Will the majority of the human race be saved?
97. Is God the author of your gospel faith?
98. Is God the author of your repentance?
99. Must Christ be revealed to a sinner to be regenerated?
100. Can a sinner have Christ revealed to him and he not know it?
101. Can a man have the inner witness of the Spirit and not know it?
102. Is your “time salvation” the work of God or man?
103. Is the gospel the power of God?
104. Since it is argued from John 3:8 that every child of God is born again in the exact same way, in every respect, then should not every child of God be saved miraculously as was Paul?
105. Since John the Baptist heard the “salutation” (of the good news of Christ’s birth) of Elizabeth and “leaped for joy,” how can it be said that the gospel was not involved in his supposed “regeneration”?
106. Can a man “hope” unconsciously or without the understanding?
107. What was it that David “hoped” for while “upon his mother’s breast”?
108. Is it truthful to say that God created a person through their parents?
109. Is there any spiritual grace that is not given from above?
110. Is it truthful to say that God has “worked all our works in us”?
111. Is it possible for God’s work to be our work, and vice versa?
112. Did it take glory away from God for him to use Ezekiel to raise the dead instead of doing it without Ezekiel?
113. Can something be conditional and unconditional at the same time, yet in different senses?
114. Would it be Scriptural to say that regeneration is conditioned upon the sinner responding to the voice of Christ?
115. Would it likewise be Scriptural to say that it is, at the same time, conditioned upon the Lord, one condition being dependent upon a prior condition?
116. Does stating conditions imply ability to meet them?
117. Are there not passages that put eternal salvation in a conditional form without implying human free will and ability?
118. When a man meets the conditions in the Bible for pardon of sin, can he say he met those conditions by his own power and will, or by God’s?
119. Is it possible that the Bible teaches that God unconditionally chose us to a salvation based upon conditions he has predestined we meet by his power and grace?
120. When David says, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,” was he referring to regeneration?
121. If to regeneration, then the will wills something in regeneration?
122. What does the soul will (choose to believe or do) in regeneration?
123. Why has the “hollow log” doctrine been a problem for Hardshells in their history?
124. Why has the doctrine of “absolute predestination” been a problem in such history?
125. Why has the doctrines of “No-Hellism” and “Universalism” been a problem in such history?
126. Is the Church of Christ not ordained to be a missionary institution?
127. Are ministers sent out by churches?
128. Do churches have any control over where their preachers go and preach, especially relative to foreign countries?
129. If a preacher feels a call to go to a foreign country to preach the gospel, should he seek support from his home church?
130. In such a case, would that church be obligated to support him?
131. If it would be right for that church to support him in his call, would it be right for that church to receive donations from other churches to help that work?
132. Can a church, apart from a preacher in its membership, have a burden to see the gospel preached in foreign lands?
133. Or, is a church limited in what it can do in mission work relative to the desires of its preacher members?
134. If a church does feel burdened to send the gospel to a foreign land, but has no preachers as members of their church, can it nevertheless pray God to send them a preacher to send on their behalf? If not, why not?
135. If a preacher is burdened to go to a foreign country and preach the gospel, is it wrong for the church to promise to send him stipulated amounts?
136. What Hardshell church has ever sent out a missionary to preach the gospel?
137. What Hardshell Elder has acted upon a burden to go to a foreign country and asked for support from his home church?
138. Is it a sin for an ordained Elder to go to religious schools? If so, why?
139. Are the only ones who are to teach in the New Testament only ordained men?
140. Are Associations in the Bible?
141. Have Associations existed throughout the history of the Baptists and Church of Christ?
142. Where were musical instruments condemned in the New Testament?
143. Where in the New Testament are the Old Testament’s use of musical instruments voided?
144. Did John Gill believe the “anti-means” position?
145. Did Elder John Watson believe the “anti-means” position?
146. Is everything “new” in the church a sin?
147. Which faction in the Primitive Baptist Church the “true church”?
144. Do any Hardshells today endorse Wilson Thompson’s views on the Trinity and the human nature of Christ?
145. Will each Hardshell faction tell us who is the oldest Baptist forefather they would recognize as “sound in the faith”?
146. Did John Leland believe the London and Philadelphia Confessions of Faith?
147. Did John Gano endorse the same?
148. Who, prior to Gilbert Beebe, or Wilson Thompson, endorsed the “Direct Voice” theory of regeneration?
149. Does a regenerated man “love” God?
150. Can an idolater “love” God?


More to come, the Lord willing.


Chapter 15 - Hardshells on Repentance (A Primer)

If you ask 100 Hardshells of the present day if one must "repent" to be "saved" or "born again", 99 will say "NO", perhaps even everyone of them.

All Hardshells, to my knowledge, would say that "repentance follows regeneration" and is not therefore a part and parcel of regeneration. Some will say that repentance, though following regeneration, nevertheless plays a part in the regenerated person becoming completely "born." Recall my citation from Beebe where he separated the new birth into three phases, regeneration being the first.

Beebe and some others of his brand would likewise put repentance between regeneration, or initial "begetting," and the final delivery (birth) of the spiritual newborn. Some will acknowledge the necessity of "faith" and "repentance" for a person to be "born," but not regenerated.

There are some who will try to make some kind of repentance to be "created in regeneration," but it will be a "repentance" that is stripped of everything integral to it, as is their idea of the "faith" that is part of "regeneration," that "embryonic faith" of Sarrels.

Those who will allow that some kind of "faith" and "repentance" are connected with "regeneration", will define the terms "faith" and "repentance" in such a way as to totally divorce them from anything the Spirit produces through the word of the gospel. What kind of "faith" and "repentance" is it that does not come through the gospel? What kind of "faith" and "repentance" can an idol worshipping, "born again heathen," or a "regenerated infant," have as part of their "regeneration"?

I have already dealt at length with what the Hardshells say about "faith" and will now address what they teach about repentance. Many of the same arguments used to overthrow their views on "implanted faith" can likewise be used to overthrow their strange views on "implanted repentance" (a rare view, but still one that will be argued if they are pressed in debate).

One further thing needs to be said at the outset here on how the Absoluters (or non-Conditionalist) and the "Conditionalists," or promoters of "Conditional Time Salvation," explain post regenerative activities. Absoluters would say that "repentance," "gospel faith," yea, every "good work," is as much the "work of God" as is "regeneration" itself (a view I agree with wholeheartedly).

The Conditionalists of course would deny such, arguing that from the moment of "regeneration" onward, the child of God is on his own, operating by "his own power and free will." The Absoluters , on the other hand, would deny this. Of course, the Absoluters reflect the view of the Old Confessions of the Baptists and the view of this author.

There would be less to argue about with the Absoluters ; And, it ought to be easier to lead these people out of the error of the Hardshells on regeneration and relative to their "anti-means argumentation." The Absoluters would repudiate the idea of those Hardshells who say that their "gospel faith" and "repentance," though the product of God through human means, are their own works, and not the "works of God" in them, or are not God's gifts sovereignly given.

Before I cite some Hardshell sources on the subject of repentance, let me give some preliminary information on what I believe to be a truthful analysis of what the Scriptures teach on this subject.

A writer says:

"Etymologically, repentance means a change of mind. The English word comes from a compound Greek word: metanoeo. The Greek noun nous means mind. The Greek verb noeo tells what the mind does: it thinks or considers. Then the Greek preposition meta, when connected with noeo expresses the idea of a change. And so metanoeo (repentance) means to consider the past, to think back and change the mind. It is afterthought as opposed to forethought. In repentance the sinner is occupied with his past record before God.

If one should feel that it is minimizing a great truth to define repentance as a mere change of the mind, it is enough to say that in the Bible the mind includes what we mean by the heart; it includes the affections as well as the intellect. And remember also that gospel repentance is a change of mind toward God about sin. The carnal mind is enmity against God, and to change the mind from enmity to love for God is no small change. It is as difficult as it is to raise the dead or create a world. This may cause one to ask, How can a sinner repent since a stream cannot rise higher than its source? The answer is obvious: we cannot repent except by Divine grace. The New Hampshire Confession says, "Repentance and Faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God." This plain statement finds ample support in Scripture. Paul writes that "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth" (#2Ti 2:24). "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins" (#Ac 5:31); "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life" (#Ac 11:18). We should preach the duty of repentance and at the same time, pray for God to give repentance."

The Divine order, when repentance and faith are used together, is repentance and faith; not faith and repentance. In repentance the sinner takes the place of a sinner; in faith he takes Christ as Saviour. In repentance one sees himself as a sinner before God; in faith he sees Christ as Saviour from the wrath of God. In repentance one is sick of sin; in faith Christ is precious. In repentance the sinner is helpless; in faith Christ is mighty to save. In repentance there is sorrow for sin; in faith there is joy for salvation. In repentance the sinner distrusts himself; in faith he trusts the Lord Jesus Christ. A man who reversed the Divine order, and put faith before repentance, once asked the writer to explain how one could repent toward God who did not first believe there is a God. This question revealed the man's idea of faith. To him faith was simply the belief in the existence of God, something the devils also believe "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (#Jas 2:19). Of course, one must first believe there is a God before he can repent towards God, but this is not the faith that saves. In saving faith there is an element of trust---trust in Christ Who put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."

Our Lord said, "Repent ye, and believe the gospel, "thus putting repentance before faith. To urge an impenitent sinner to trust Christ is like urging a well man to take medicine, or like begging a rich man to beg for alms. Repentance is the effect of seeing oneself as he really is: ruined, guilty, undone, and in danger of hell. Repentance is the effect of seeing sin in its true colors. The natural man, morally speaking, is color blind; sin appears attractive and entrancing. The natural man has a ruined taste; he calls sweet bitter and bitter sweet; he confounds good and evil; he is all mixed up on the question of right and wrong. Repentance is caused by the withering work of the Holy Spirit, Who takes-the sword the word of truth-and slays man's natural self-esteem and self-righteousness, causing him to cry, "What must I do to be saved?" (#Ac 16:30)."

Repentance involves two facts: the fact of sin and the fact of grace. If a man is not a sinner he would not need to repent, and if God is not gracious it would do no good to repent."


(Emphasis mine, http://www.homestead.com/sglblibrary/files/Defdoc2/DEFDOC2.P2.9.htm)

I believe the above citation is an accurate description of what the Bible teaches, in a nutshell, about that "repentance" that is "unto life."

Beebe on Repentance

"That repentance which is unto life and is connected with godly sorrow is the gift of God...; it proceeds from a godly principle implanted in the heart, and which cannot possibly flow from an ungodly source. Any sorrow or repentance that could come from an ungodly sinner's heart, or from any sinner's heart before a godly principle is therein implanted, would be like the fountain from whence it emanates - ungodly. We search the law and gospel both in vain to find this obligatory repentance which is in so great demand among all the legal work-mongrel tribes of the Arminians. We do not wonder that our dear brother's mind has been puzzled and perplexed to bring the obligation of repentance upon unregenerate sinners. We might as well speak of their obligation to remit their own sins as to procure their own repentance, seeing Christ alone is exalted to be a Prince and Savior, for to give, both the one and the other unto Israel. It would be equally as proper and scriptural to speak of their obligation to be saved, to go to heaven, and to make themselves sons and heirs of God. But, does man's inability to repent, or to believe, or even to keep from sinning, relieve him from his obligation to do so? Certainly not, if it can be found that such obligations are upon him. Now the sinner is one that has sinned. Sin is the transgression of the law; but where has the law under which the unregenerate sinner is held, either required him to repent or believe the gospel? The law truly forbids him to transgress, and holds him answerable for every transgression. Sin, not a want of repentance or faith, is what the sinner is condemned for." (http://www.geocities.com/~mikekrall/grace/graceind.html)

And again he said:

"true gospel repentance, if it be not the work of God, and the gift of God, it is all delusive and vain."

Needless to say, there is much to say, in response, to what Beebe wrote about repentance. Let me first cite those parts of the above that represent both the teachings of Holy Scripture and of the teachings of the Old Baptists of the Old Confessions.

"That repentance which is unto life and is connected with godly sorrow is the gift of God."

"Conditionalists," who argue that gospel "repentance" and "faith" (which occurs only in few of the "regenerated" class) are works done by their own "free will," and not by the constraints of grace, cannot consistently (in the view of the Absoluters, nor myself) call them "gifts."

Such Hardshells are inconsistent and contradictory. They are willing to admit that the Scriptures do abundantly teach that both "faith" and "repentance" are "gifts" sovereignly and irresistably given. But, how can it be consistently argued that "gift," in verses like Ephesians 1:19 & 2:9, mean "passively received by irresistable power," and yet "gift" no longer means the same thing when it speaks of "gospel faith" and "repentance"?

Beebe was an Absoluter. He was willing to say that the "repentance" and "faith" that came through the gospel were "gifts" of God as much as any "faith" or "repentance" intimately connected with "regeneration."

I agree, as I have said, with Beebe and the "Absoluters" on this point. I do disagree with him and them however when he and they place "regeneration" before "repentance," and when he has people presumably going for a long time who are "regenerated" but who have not yet come to "repentance" or who are not yet "fully born." I think Beebe is restricting the term "regeneration" in the same way many in the "Reformed Theology" camp do, making the term to refer to some narrow part of the transforming effects of the Spirit's work in bringing one to a state of union with Christ and salvation. Dr. Gill said that much of the debate on this matter will inevitably be determined by whether one is using the term "regeneration" in a very narrow and restricted sense to the initial effects of the moving of the hand of God, or rather to the entirety of the work of bringing a sinner to a saved state in Christ.

There is only one use of the term "regeneration" in the New Testament that directly connects with the work of salvation (Titus 3:5), of the new birth, and so, in this debate, most "Reformed Theology," I believe, restricts the term in a way that the New Testament writers do not. I rather think, as is proper, to think of "regeneration" as encompassing the entire work of transforming the soul into the image of Christ. Viewed this way, it must include changing the mind and heart from unbelief and impenitence to faith and repentance and confession of the same.

If regeneration consists in such a transformation in thinking, feelings, dispositions, and in such activities as the soul is made to make, such as being made to "hear," irresistably being "convinced" of sin, or powerfully "convicted," being effectually drawn to "faith," and "repentance," then it is superfluous to talk about "ordo salutis" and such like. From the perspective of this broader definition of the term "regeneration" such questions as, "does faith produce regeneration" or "does regeneration produce faith," are like asking "does regeneration produce regeneration"? I think it is more proper to refer to "faith" and "repentance" as parts (or aspects) of "regeneration" rather than "fruits" or "effects" of it. Faith and Repentance "accompany salvation." (Hebrews 6:9)

Here are some things I have trouble recognizing as truthful to Scripture, the Old Baptist Confessions, or as consistent with what Beebe said previously or wrote elsewhere.

"...it (repentance) proceeds from a godly principle implanted in the heart."

What is objectionable about this? Well, let us ask, "What does he mean by "godly principle implanted in the heart" that precedes the act of repentance? "Godly principle"? What is that? The Hardshells are very good at coming up with these vague terms, new theological jargon, for their strange and unorthodox views on regeneration and salvation. I suspect that Beebe's "godly principle" is nothing else but some of that "metaphysical goo" I have written about previously. A man must be given this "inner ability," this metaphysical "spiritual substance," before things can "proceed from it."

Whether it ever automatically (or never) "proceeds" from that "heart" that has this "implanted" stuff that Beebe calls a "principle," is a point of contention between the "Conditionalists" and the "Absoluters."

Oh what great Bible explainers are these Hardshells! Does what Beebe writes clear things up for Bible students or does it just "muddy the waters" even more? I am sure most of the "Absoluters" would say that repentance and gospel faith proceed rather soon, even necessarily and automatically, while others would not.

The next thing I find objectionable and unscriptural in the citation given above from Beebe, is where he says:

"Any sorrow or repentance that could come from an ungodly sinner's heart, or from any sinner's heart before a godly principle is therein implanted, would be like the fountain from whence it emanates - ungodly."

What is objectionable in this statement? Again, Beebe is trying by his "Hardshell "logic" to prove that one's heart must first be made "godly" before it can repent. The problem here is very simple. He fails, as do many others in the "Reformed Camp," to see how that the "godly principle" that is "implanted" in "regeneration" is nothing else but REPENTANCE ITSELF! Given that definition, then Beebe's former statement would have to read like a tautology, like this:

"Repentance proceeds from repentance implanted in the heart."

I ask these questions - "What are the constituent elements of regeneration, conversion, or the new birth?"; And, "what is the change wrought in a man by the work of regeneration?"

If faith and repentance are not terms to describe the change wrought in regeneration, if they are not integral to the "life" given therein, then what terms do the Scriptures use to describe "regeneration"?

Beebe has, theoretically, a man "regenerated," with a "godly principle" (whatever that is), with a "godly heart," but who still is impenitent! He has a "new heart," theoretically, but this "new heart" has not yet repented! His "new heart" is thus still "hardened." How can an "impenitent" heart be a "soft" heart? How can an "impenitent" heart be characteristic of that "new heart" created in regeneration? If this "new heart" is still impenitent, then how can it be called, in all respects, a "NEW" heart? It would still be the old hard and impenitent heart.

This is how these Hardshells and Neo-Hardshells represent Biblical "regeneration." Does the "new heart," that God gives in "regeneration, lack penitence? Yes, according to the corrupt soteriology of the Hardshells!

There are several characteristics or aspects of regeneration, but faith and repentance are the two leading terms used. We read of being "enlightened," but that, essentially, is connected with "faith" and "repentance," and so again only describes an aspect and characteristic of what it means to be "regenerated" or "born again." We read of being "converted," even along side the word "repent." (Acts 3:19) But again, how is a man changed if he has not not been regenerated in his thinking?

Again, I just want to nickname these Hardshells, like Gilbert Beebe, "spiritual metaphysicians." They are "metaphysical hairsplitters" that would put to shame those who argued, in the "Dark Ages," over "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin." In some respects they even resemble the ancient "Christian Gnostics," their "mystical" views on topics like "regeneration," and "preacher education," and on "preaching grace," being similar to them and other such groups like the Quakers.

Beebe applies that good ole Hardshell "logic" on "regeneration" and its relationship to "repentance" (the change of the heart and mind), saying that if God did not "first make the heart "godly" before it "repented," then the "repentance" would be proceeding from an impure heart." (Paraphrase) Oh, is that not glorious logic?

How has this line of reasoning solved anything? Do we not speak of regeneration as being "life from the dead"? Would that not be similar to saying, "purity from corruption"? Why is it incorrect or unscriptural to think that "repentance" does not spring, by the power of God, from intial death and corruption, from initial impenitence? The mind and heart are changed in regeneration, not exchanged.

According to this line of reasoning such would be impossible, even for God, to perform. The problem still remains, however, since there is still this "regenerated" soul (hypothetically) who has not yet repented (although he may have some kind of ill defined "godly principle" that some will call a kind of inward unconscious "repentance"). By this view of things the term "regeneration" has been so "watered down" ("corrupted"?) and so narrowed and restricted that the term "regeneration" has come to mean practically nothing except what is vague and incoherent.

The next objectionable thing that Beebe says, from the above citation, is:

"We search the law and gospel both in vain to find this obligatory repentance..."

Beebe disagrees with many Hardshells on this point, however, both of his own day and of this day. First, let me cite C.B. and his son Sylvester Hassell on whether it is the duty of all men to repent.

In answer to the question, "Who are "the all-men-everywhere" whom Paul says in his discourse at Athens "God commands to repent?" (Acts 17:30), Hassell answered, saying:

"The whole world of human beings, the whole human race, whom Paul says, in the next verse, God will judge by Jesus Christ. God is the same since the fall of man that He was before, and His holy law, which requires all His intelligent creatures to love and worship Him exclusively and supremely, is the standard of all creature obedience, and cannot change, even if man, by his own will and sin, has rendered himself unable to obey that law. If a man owes another a thousand dollars, and is not able to pay him a cent, he owes him just the same. Ability is not the limit of obligation. If it were, no human being would be under any obligation to God; for no human being in the present state can spiritually and perfectly fulfill any commandment of God. All men should be told, as Christ told His hearers, that "unless they repent they will perish." (Luke 13:3-5).

Hassell wavers not, as did Beebe, relative to this matter of whether all men are commanded to "repent," even though they are "not able to do so" in themselves. However, Hassell replies as follows to the question, "Is repentance a part of regeneration, or is it an afterwork?":

"It is the subsequent fruit, in man, of the previous work of Divine regeneration." (Ezek. 36:24-32; Zech. 12:10-14; Acts 5:31; 11:18; II Cor. 7:10; II Tim. 2:25)

(Elder Sylvester Hassell Copied from the "Gospel Messenger" and from the "Advocate and Messenger" Compiled by R.H. Pittman)

If Hardshells seem to recognize the truth (which destroys Pelagianism) that "a command does not imply ability," why does Beebe say the following contradictory things?

"But, does man's inability to repent, or to believe, or even to keep from sinning, relieve him from his obligation to do so? Certainly not..."

"...the obligation of repentance upon unregenerate sinners...We might as well speak of their obligation to remit their own sins as to procure their own repentance..."

"It would be equally as proper and scriptural to speak of their obligation to be saved, to go to heaven, and to make themselves sons and heirs of God."

"To call on dead sinners to repent and believe the gospel implies ability in them to do so."

"True repentance which is unto life and needeth not to be repented of, must proceed from life. If the repentance be spiritual it proceeds from a spiritual source, and must be preceded by the quickening Spirit of God." (Editorials –– Volume 4 pgs 41-46)

But, why can't he see that the "source" for the purity and holiness given in regeneration is not first and foremost the human heart, but the heart of the Holy Spirit?

How can Hardshells consistently say that "commands do not imply ability," and then turn around and say that they do? Brother, you will find all kinds of inconsistencies in Hardshell theorizing and in their "hermeneutics."

Let us look at some of the Biblical imperatives and commands given in the Bible and apply the Hardshell "logic" of Beebe and others like him.

Biblical Imperatives

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and MAKE YOU A NEW HEART and a NEW SPIRIT: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” (Ezekiel 18:30-32)

Here God tells them to do what they cannot do of themselves. And yet, what does Beebe say?

"...the obligation of repentance upon unregenerate sinners...We might as well speak of their obligation to remit their own sins as to procure their own repentance..."

"It would be equally as proper and scriptural to speak of their obligation to be saved, to go to heaven, and to make themselves sons and heirs of God."

I suppose God and Ezekiel spoke "improperly" by Hardshell "logic"? He told them to regenerate themselves! Of course, I agree that only when the Spirit attends such words do they become effectual.

Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.” (Deut. 10:16)

Here God tells them imperatively to "circumcise your hearts." Does that imply ability in them to do so? When we are "circumcised in heart," can we not say that God did it in one sense, and we did it in another? Is it not much the same way in Exodus where it is said that both God and Pharoah "hardened" Pharoah's heart?

And again God says to the general populace through Jeremiah:

“Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.” (Jer. 4:4)

Again, these are commands of God to the people to save themselves. If the PB's are going to continue to say that such commands imply ability, then they will end up taking all these verses and try to apply them to some "timely circumcision," or the "creating" of the new heart, that they are commanded to do, to something divorced from regeneration and eternal salvation.

“Learn to do well.” (Isa. 1:17)

Is this a command only to believers, only to those already regenerated? Are not lost sinners commanded to "learn to do well?" Is it not part of regeneration to be "taught of God"? (John 6:45) Regeneration is nothing but God making the words above, given through the preacher, effective in the hearts of the elect.

The same prophet utters God's message to the people, saying to them,

“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil.” (Isa. 1:16)

Will the Hardshells continue to spout this nonsense, saying that such commands can only be applied to regenerate people because such commands "imply ability to keep them"?

I might ask those Hardshells who reason that "gospel commands imply ability," - "DOES IT DO THE SAME IN THE PRECEDING VERSES I CITED FROM EZEKIEL & JEREMIAH?" Does "circumcise your hearts" and "make you a new heart," imply that they had ability? What will you PB's do now, invent "two kinds of" "circumcision of the heart"

And notice these words of Paul:

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Eph. 5:14)

Here is a command for dead sinners to "arise from the dead." Now, I will deal with this verse in greater depth later in a separate chapter, and will be citing the famed Hardshell debater, C. H. Cayce. He would deny that this is a general command to all men to be saved, to come up from the grave of sin, receive Christ, and be regenerated. He would say that the command was addressed to those who were not dead, but really "alive," but were only "among the dead." He tries to argue this from the Greek use of the word "ek" (or "out") and from the fact that the passage says "Christ shall give thee light," not "life." But, then again, if Cayce's view is correct, then it should say, "Awake you who sleep (in death) and arise from the darkness, and Christ shall give thee light."

But, the truth of the matter is, coming out of death involves receiving the "light of life," as Jesus said.

"Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12)

And John says, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (1:4)

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to some:

“Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40)

This verse is very troublesome for the Hardshells. All the "Conditionalists" will insist that this verse proves that are "two kinds of salvation in the Bible or else there are contradictions in it." Is that so? They will argue that since "commands imply ability," therefore those commanded to "save themselves" must already have ability to do so, an ability they could not possibly have from their natural states, and so they use that Hardshell "logic" to infer that these people "must be already regenerated" and therefore (ergo) the "salvation" in the passage "must be a "time salvation," and not an eternal one."

But again, if as they say, in one breath, that "commands do not imply ability," why do they reason so? But, if they "forget" about that and say, in commenting on the words of Peter above, that such words "imply ability", they are just nothing short of grossly contradictory and blind.

God tells everyone, every sinner, in emphatic and the imperative mood, to - “Return to the Lord.” (Psa. 90:3; Isa. 55:6)

Again, is this not salvation? Is this not a command that no one can obey by himself, by his own free will and ability? Still, the point that is against Hardshellism is that all are commanded to do as these verse command, and they do not imply ability to obey them. However, when the Holy Spirit is present to bless such words, to make them effectual, they impart an ability and an immediate positive and effectual reponse.

“Seek Ye the Lord.” (Isa. 55:6)

Again, Hardshell "logic" would say that God was only saying this to people who had ability, to those who are already regenerated. But, all men are under obligation to do as the Lord commands, and to do so, in faith and by the power of God's word and Spirit, it will be done and issue in salvation.

“Call upon the Lord.” (Isa. 55:6)

For what? Certainly salvation would not be excluded. Paul said, "for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Rom. 10: 13) This calling upon the Lord, do we only admonished the saved to do this? Are not all men owed the warning to do so?

Will the Hardshells continue to spout this nonsense, saying that such commands can only be applied to regenerate people because such commands "imply ability to keep them"?

And then notice these two evangelical commands given to everyone to hear.

“Look unto me and be saved.” (Isa. 45:22)

Again, those are commands that the natural man cannot meet, and the fact that he is commanded to do them does not prove they are able to do so, even as the Hardshells are willing to admit at times when it suits their purpose. Here he positively commands people to "be saved." "Be regenerated." "Be risen from your death in sin." "Come forth from the grave of iniquity." I can say that to every soul as an "ambassador," as one who "beseeches" in Jesus' name. Yet, those words alone will not regenerate. The Campbellite view of "word alone" will not work. Neither will the "Spirit alone" view of the Hardshells accord with what the Scriptures teach.

“Be (ye) converted.” (Acts 3:19)

Again, this is a command to be internally and externally conformed to Christ. Does this imply ability? Absolutely not? The Hardshells need to throw this Pelagian concept into the bottomless pit.

As I said, Hassell and most PB's will affirm that all men are, in some sense, commanded to repent of their sins. But, Beebe, on the other hand, seemed reluctant to affirm such. He said:

"...if it can be found that such obligations (to repent) are upon him." (ibid)

And then he asks:

"...but where has the law under which the unregenerate sinner is held, either required him to repent or believe the gospel?"

I think the numerous verses I have cited already answers his question. I also think one can see it clearly implied in the law's command to love God with all our heart and soul. Certaily a soul that loves God will want to come in humble sorrow to him when he has sinned and seek forgiveness, right?

He then says:

"The law truly forbids him to transgress, and holds him answerable for every transgression."

But again, would the law not also obligate him to seek the forgiveness of the one against whom he has sinned? Yes, such repentance would not obligate God to forgive but it is sitll obligatory upon sinners to seek God's forgiveness when they sin and the law both says this and implies it.

Beebe says further:

"Sin, not a want of repentance or faith, is what the sinner is condemned for."

Can you believe that? Perhaps he has never read such verses as these.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." (Matt. 23:23)

If "faith" and "mercy" be included in the teachings of the law, and of the Old Testament generally, then certainly too would be "repentance."

And, from the same context, Beebe said other these things I find objectionable.

"Is there any obligation devolving on a graceless sinner making it his duty that God shall give him either faith or repentance? How absurd!"

Who argues that? Who affirms such? Again, this is typical Hardshell tactics, to create "straw men."

On a PB web site, a Hardshell answers the question, "Do Primitive Baptist ministers preach "repentance?" He says:

"Yes, but not as a means of eternal salvation. Real repentance is a fruit of the work of grace in the heart. "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." (Rom. 2:4). Paul said, "God ... now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." (Acts. 17:30). The first Baptist preacher preached repentance. (Matt. 3:2). To those whose hearts were touched and "pricked" on the day of Pentecost, Peter said, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you." (Acts 2:38). But there is much so-called repentance that is insincere, people who draw nigh to God with their lips while their heart is far from him. (Matt. 15 8). (R. H. Pittman, from www.pb.org/pbdocs/pittman.html)

There you have it again, a man can be regenerated and saved and not have a penitent heart, but still have a cold, unconvicted, hard, and impenitent heart and yet he is still on his way to heaven! And worst of all, as I have shown, they actually have this "new heart," that they admit is what is given in regeneration, lacking penitence and conviction of sin! Absurdity of absurdities!

Elder Harold Hunt (whom I know personally) wrote:

"God, through his goodness, leads his children to repentance (Rom. 2:4), grants repentance, gives repentance (see Acts 5:31 and 11:18), but does not repent for them. Someone has well said that true repentance means to be sorry enough to quit doing what is wrong, but it also means to start doing what is right."

Did you notice that caveat? "But does not repent for them"? He means that the fact of whether the elect ever "repent" or not is not by sovereign will and power but by their own "free" wills and by their own power. Some of God's children may never repent! He says this hypocritically for he will argue elsewhere, as all the PB's do, that the "faith" in Ephesians 1:19 & 2:9, being a "gift," means that it is something that God makes the quickened sinner believe, irresistably; but then, on the subject of God "giving" "repentance," it does not mean that God "gives" it in the same way. "Consistency thou art a jewel!"

And again Hunt says:

"Inward teaching must occur before the outward instructions are of any benefit." (emphasis mine)

Why can they both not occur at the same time? Why cannot one be the means of the other? Cannot God's word reach the heart and very depths of the soul? Is that all that Elder Hunt's teaching does, give only "outward instruction?" If he preach "with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven," would that "outward instruction" not become internalized and be made to transform the soul? Why "mystify" this whole matter?

He says again:

"Repentance not only means turning away from evil and worldly things, it means turning to the Lord; turning to his word for guidance."

But, the "regenerated man" of Elder Hunt who has a "new heart," and a "new nature," has not turned in his heart to the Lord!

But he does get some things right in the following citation, taking the view of Hassell over that of Beebe.

"All men everywhere are commanded to repent: "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent." (Acts 17:30.) Although only, "Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of (II Corinthians 7:10) all men are under obligation to keep the commandments of their creator, who made them through their father Adam, even though they may be destitute of spiritual life. The lack of this spiritual life in no way lessens the responsibility to keep the moral laws of God. The fact that the wicked have no ability to keep the moral laws does not in any sense relieve them of the obligation to keep them; neither does the fact that they are not led to repentance set them free from the requirement to repent."

Well, amen, amen! But, then he goes off "half cocked" on his learned tangent about how "repentance" is not connected with that "new heart" nor with the "work of regeneration" that God performs "through his word." He says further:

"This proclamation was not a proposition that if they would repent and believe the gospel they should be saved for doing so, for that would suppose that a bad tree could bring forth good fruit, without first being made good, which Christ says is impossible (see Matthew 7:18)."

But again, instead of looking at "faith" and "repentance" as being "fruits" of regeneration," or fruits of the tree, they rather should see that faith and repentance are aspects and characteristics of the new heart God gives to his elect in regeneration, being the "part and parcel of regeneration." Faith and Repentance are part of the tree.

Hunt writes:

"...equips them for repentance, but is not going to repent for them. Those to whom he does not grant repentance in this world will have no desire for it until they face the judge before the great white throne; then there will be no place for it..."

(Harold Hunt - http://www.paradisepbc.org/Articles/sonshiptodiscipleshipchpt12.htm)

Did God not "equip" their "wills" to will properly? If they never will to come to God, how can it be alleged that they were "equipped" by God to do so? Is there no "equipment" for the will of the regenerated one?

How contrary is all this to the truly Old Baptists!

In the Circular Letter of the Philadelphia Association , published in 1789, we read:

“Mere legal repentance originates in self love …but repentance which is UNTO life and salvation has God for its Author, and does NOT arise from the power of free will...but from the grace of God as the efficient, and the operation of the Divine Spirit as the impulsive cause...this repentance is WROUGHT in the hearts of God’s people to their edification, etc.” (Hassel's History, page 567)

I agree with these remarks by Calvin:

"In one word I apprehend repentance to be regeneration, the end of which is the restoration of the Divine image within us." (Bk 3, Ch 3, Sec 9)

Amen, Brother Calvin! If he does not uphold what I have been saying (and Brother Ross also), then I cannot understand plain words.

And again he writes:

"Repentance...a renewal of the divine image in us." It is "not completed in a moment, but extends to the last moment of life." (ibid)

Again, amen! Why can others in the "Reformed Camp" not see this?

Calvin says further:

“testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Acts 20:21). Here he mentions faith and repentance as two different things. What then? Can true repentance exist without faith? By no means. But although they cannot be separated, they ought to be distinguished." (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.iv.iii.iv.html)

Due to the length of this subject, and to make it easy in writing this work, I am dividing this topic of "Hardshells On Repentance" into two chapters. So, like the topic of "Hardshells on Faith," this will be the "primer."

In the next concluding chapter on this subject, I will cite more from Hassell and other Hardshells, more from Calvin, extend arguments introduced in this chapter, list new proofs against the views of the PB's on the subject of repentance.

I will also be looking at some key verses of scripture relative to repentance and will show how they annihilate the remaining "pillars" of Hardshellism, such as II Peter 3:9.


Chapter 16 - Hardshells On Repentance (Conclusion)

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9)

Hardshells, in their defenses of "Calvinism," relative to this verse, and against the "Arminian" interpretation, will argue that the "us-ward" of this passage refers to believers, to the elect. That is well and good. I am not denying that such is perhaps the correct interpretation. But, there are problems for the Hardshells in arguing this way on this passage. It is much the same type problem that they have with Ephesians 1:19 & 2:9.

Most "Conditionalists" will say that "repentance" is a post regenerative work, and by no means certain for the elect, for only a very few of the elect, of those who come to be "regenerated," ever come to "repent" of their sins. They recognize that the Scriptures put "repentance" with "gospel faith," and so they cannot consistently make these things integral to "regeneration" without undermining their "Anti-Mission" sentiments and their "Spirit Alone" view of "regeneration," without making the gospel a "means" in regeneration. Means are used in creating repentance, and this they will acknowledge, but Means are not used in "regeneration"; ergo, repentance is no part of regeneration. And, if repentance is no part of regeneration, then the "new heart" received in regeneration lacks penitence and is still hard and in love with sin. That is the reductio ad absurdum of their view on this subject.

The problem they have? Peter affirms that it is the "will of God" that all the elect "come to repentance." So, while they will affirm, when in debate with the Arminians, that it is not God's will for any non-elect to "come to repentance," yet they must admit that it is his "will" that all the "elect" "come to repentance"! Also, "come to repentance," is connected with coming to faith and so we could just as well read Peter as also saying, that the elect "all come to gospel faith," and that they "all come to be regenerated and receive the new heart of the new covenant."

Tell me Brother Hardshell, do all the elect "come to repentance" or not? Just count on it, this question will be in the next chapter on the "Hardshell Busters," and will be part of the "second cracking."

From the sources I have cited it is clear that they do not believe that all the elect will "come to repentance." Their supposed "regenerated infants" do not experience "repentance." Their supposed "regenerated heathen" do not know what it is to "repent and turn to God," for they have no idea who the true God is, outside of the word of God. As they "cannot believe in him of whom they have not heard," so too they "cannot turn in penitence to him of whom they have no knowledge." Can they? Do not the PB's realize this? Is that not why they are forced to exclude the penitent and contrite heart from the "new heart" that sinners receive in the "work of regeneration?"

Again, Hardshells argue differently on II Peter 3:9 depending on whether they are talking to those, as myself, who believe there are "means" in the "new birth," who believe that "coming to repentance" means all the same as "coming to life in regeneration" or whether you are talking to those Arminians who say the verse means God wants every human being to "come to repentance"?

They are as the Sophists, taking one position on the verse one time, just to win an argument, but then taking a different view to win an argument with a different group on a different point at a different time. They do this on several verses. On some occasions they will argue that "command does not imply ability," but then they will, on other occasions, argue the very reverse, saying that "commands do imply ability"!

I agree with what Brother Ross has shown is the teaching of B. H. Carroll. relative to the relationship of faith and repentance to regeneration.

Wrote Brother Ross:

"B. H. Carroll, in his "Interpretation of the English Bible," Volume 10, page 287, gives what I call "CARROLL'S IMPECCABLE SYLLOGISM," which no Hybrid Calvinist can refute."

"Every one born of God has the right to be called a child of God.

But no one has the right until he believes in Jesus.

Therefore the new birth is NOT COMPLETE WITHOUT FAITH."


"B. H. Carroll did not hold the "pre-faith regeneration" theory, as can be clearly seen from his discussion of Regeneration on pages 285-288 of chapter 10 on the Four Gospels, Interpretation of the English Bible, Part 1, Volume 10 of the 17 volume set, Broadman Press, 1913 edition published by BP in 1947.

Carroll not only shows the unscriptural nature of this idea, but even states that it is "philosophically impossible" to hold to the idea that one is regenerated "before the subject is penitent and believing"
(page 286).

Carroll goes on to say, on page 288:

"The Holy Spirit then is the agent in regeneration and the instrumental means of regeneration is the Word of God, or the preaching of Christ and Him crucified, yet the power of the Spirit does not reside in the word as inspired, but the agency is positive and active in the use of the Word."


"Dr. Carroll says, "There is, first of all, a direct influence of the Holy Spirit on the passive spirit of the sinner, quickening him or making him sensitive to the preaching of the Word. In this the sinner is passive. But he is NOT A SUBJECT OF THE NEW BIRTH WITHOUT CONTRITION, REPENTANCE AND FAITH."

"Carroll closes this chapter by saying -- "REGENERATION CANNOT BE COMPLETE WITHOUT FAITH" (page 294)."

(http://calvinistflyswatter.blogspot.com/2006/07/gene-m-bridges-falls-down-on.html)

This is what I have been affirming thus far in my chapters on faith, repentance, and regeneration. It is what Calvin believed too, as I have shown, and will yet show in greater detail. A man is not regenerated till he has been made both a believer and a penitent before God, turning away from himself and his own works, and trusting completely in the Lord and his grace.

Hassell writes further:

"...grace does all the work of salvation, even working in the sinner all his good will and all his good works, so that he shall go at last into the Divine presence as a poor, helpless beggar, a poor, lost sinner, saved by grace alone from first to last, and shall be thus prepared to give God all the glory of his salvation." (Church of God, page 398)

The majority of the PB's are "Conditionalists," and they would not endorse this statement by Hassell, nor of others like Beebe, who said the same thing, but would teach rather that God does not make his children obey him after regeneration nor does he create all their good works in them. Only the "Absoluters" acknowledge the truth of what Hassell wrote in the above.

Hassell's error is not in seeing that gospel repentance and faith are the results of the sovereign work of God, like regeneration, but in affirming that coming to faith and repentance is not part and parcel of what it means, biblically, to be "regenerated" and "born of the Spirit." The work of creating a penitent heart and soul is the work of God IN regeneration and it does not cease to be "his" work because he uses his own word and human messengers.

And again, on "repentance," he attacks the "Semi-Pelagians" and the "Arminians," for believing "that salvation is conditioned on the repentance and faith of the sinner, the Scriptures just quoted so plainly and unmistakably declare that repentance and faith are themselves the gift of God and the work of God's Spirit in the heart..." (ibid)

I will have a later chapter will I will try to clear up some of the muddied theological waters on this matter of whether, and in what sense, salvation is conditional and unconditional. Over time, in the history of the church and of Christian theology, words take on "connotations," and men can become timid about using such words (or phrases) for fear of being misunderstood or associated with a group with whom they wish not to be identified. When we say that it is necessary that the elect be called, regenerated, brought to faith, repentance, and life in Christ, how is this like (or unlike) saying salvation is conditioned on the elect being called, upon them believing and repenting? Does saying that salvation is conditional imply that we can meet those conditions without divine grace, without God having chosen us to receive salvation by those means?

Next, Hassell cites a Methodist author approvingly on these words:

"While repentance is, strictly speaking, the act of man, it is nevertheless also in another sense the gift of God. Without the grace of God first given, no man will repent or turn to God. The Holy Spirit supplies light to the understanding, quickens the emotions, and so seals Divine truth upon the conscience that the sinner not only SEES, but FEELS his spiritual danger. Regeneration, or conversion, or the new birth, or the new creation, or becoming a new creature, is the work of the Holy Spirit, by which a change is wrought in the heart of the believer; it is the implantation of the love of God in the soul by the operation of the Holy Spirit. The efficient cause of regeneration is the Divine Spirit, for no man can turn himself unto God. It proceeds by enlightening the judgment through the word of truth or the gospel of salvation, and impressing that truth upon the understanding so as to subdue the will and reign in the affections." (398, 399)

Who can disagree with this? One must wonder why Hassell could say all this and yet say things in other places about regeneration in which he makes it devoid of everything he enumerates above. He does call "regeneration" a "conversion," something that 5th generation Hardshells of today will not do. I suppose Hassell covered himself, as did Beebe, by saying that "it proceeds..." But, like Brother Carroll said, regeneration is not regeneration if it excludes gospel faith and repentance. How could it and be that new heart" of the new covenant?

Hassell writes further:

"...the most thorough and elaborate Methodist work of the nineteenth century, makes the following plain and strong scriptural statements: "The author, as well as object, of true repentance, is God (Acts 5:31)." "Christian faith does not spring from the NATURAL working of the human mind; it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8), and is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit through the word of the gospel and the free grace of Christ (Rom. 10:17; I Cor. 1:21)." (pg. 399)

Very good, then Brother Hassell! Your problem, and those who agree with what you have written, is that you divorce this experience of "repentance" from having any part in "regeneration," from being integral to what it means to come out of the "death of sin" to the "life" of Christ. These err in not seeing that it is impossible to have that "new heart" of the "new covenant," without "penitence" and its qualities and essential characteristics. Why do they so divorce repentance from regeneration? Because they accepted the "anti-means" position, and holding on to it forced them to put repentance outside of the experience of regeneration, because repentance comes through the word and gospel of God!

Hassell then quotes these words approvingly, again from a Methodist source:

"An evangelical repentance is a godly sorrow wrought in the heart of a sinful person by the word and Spirit of God, whereby, from a sense of his sin, as offensive to God and defiling and endangering to his own soul, and from an apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, he, with grief and hatred of all his known sins, turns from them to God as his Savior and Lord." (ibid)

Is it not a shame that Hassell could not see that this wonderful transforming experience of "repentance," which he describes (with Methodist help), is actually the chief part of regeneration and to leave it out, as he does, because of his "Spirit Alone" heresy, is to make regeneration into a bunch of nothing! No wonder the PB's have had so much trouble with what is called the Hollow Log Doctrine, of which I will have much to say in an upcoming chapter.

And again Hassell writes, citing further his Methodist source:

"The very circumstances which rendered the new covenant necessary, take away the possibility of there being any merit upon our part; the faith by which the covenant is accepted is the gift of God; and all the good works by which Christians continue to keep the covenant originate in that change of character which is the fruit of the operation of His Spirit." (ibid)

"Faith by which the covenant is accepted"? That is not PB doctrine! "ACCEPTED?" How do Hardshell views on "regeneration" reflect that statement? Do their articles of faith on "regeneration" not go directly counter to those words? Also, their weird and unorthodox views on "perseverance," a subject I will deal with later in a separate chapter, do not allow for the truth of the words of Hassell (above) where he says, "all the good works...originate in that change of character which is the fruit of the operation of His Spirit." God, by their own admission, is not the "author" of their good works (except for the Absoluters), but rather their own creations. They teach that most of the elect do not persevere in grace and holiness. Why? Because, they say, God does not make you do good works, but will only give you the ability, but whether you have the will and power, or actually do them, is up to you. No wonder, under this view of things, very few persevere and most fall away.

And again Brother Hassell writes, citing the same sources with approval:

"True and saving faith acknowledges on earth, as it will be perpetually acknowledged in Heaven, that the whole salvation of sinful man, from the beginning to the last degree thereof, whereof there shall be no end, is from God's freest love, Christ's merit and intercession, His own gracious promise, and the power of His own Holy Spirit."

After citing all these quotations from Methodist sources, Hassell says:

"If these pointed declarations do not contain the essence of the Bible doctrine of grace, known as Paulinism or Augustinianism, then it does really seem that human language has no meaning." (ibid)

It is a shame that 90% of Hardshells do not today agree with Hassell on what he says about God "giving" repentance. And, as I said, it is a shame that those 10%, the Absoluters, do not see that God has ordained that the elect all come to faith and repentance through the gospel and that this will constitute their regeneration.

Hassell writes further:

"Though man has fallen and become unable to obey the commandments of God, the nature and law and requirements of God are unchanged and unchangeable. The gospel addresses of the Scriptures are addressed, we believe, to gospel characters——to those persons who have spiritual life, hearing, needs and appetites. These limitations are either directly expressed or implied by the circumstances. Even the letter of the word, where there is any fullness of narration, and the dictates of common sense teach this important fact. Inspired men could, far better than we, read the hearts of those whom they addressed; and they addressed hearers of different characters, and therefore used sometimes the imperative and sometimes the indicative mood. God’s under-shepherds are directed, not to create, but to tend the flock."

Again, he, like other PB's will say that "commands do not imply ability, only obligation." They repeat it often, as if they are grounded on that point. But, if one keeps reading after them, he will see them soon doing an "about face" and saying, in regard to all "gospel commands," such as to "repent" and "believe," or to "be converted," that they all "imply ability."

I will have time in another chapter to refute these words, from the above citation, relative to the "addresses of the gospel." He said:

"The gospel addresses of the Scriptures are addressed, we believe, to gospel characters (to those already regenerated) ——to those persons who have spiritual life, hearing, needs and appetites. These limitations are either directly expressed or implied by the circumstances."

I totally deny this observation. I deny that every "gospel address" in the Bible is spoken to those who are already born again. In the preceding chapter, where I cited those commands of God to the people wherein he commands them to "make themselves a new heart," to "circumcise their hearts," and to "make their hearts penitent before God," etc., do they not clearly pertain to regeneration? How can anyone say that the command (imperative) to "make you a new heart" is addressed to those who already have a new heart? That is silly. It will be an interesting chapter in which I will look at what the preachers of the word, in the Bible, had to say in their preaching to the unregenerate.

In preparation for that chapter, let me just throw out another Hardshell Buster question here. "WHAT DO YOU HARDSHELLS HAVE TO PREACH TO PEOPLE WHOM YOU KNOW TO BE LOST?" Do you have any commands for them? Do you have any message of condemnation or of hope to give to them? Tell us that, will you? Or, better yet, chew on this matter awhile yourselves, and may God help you all to see the absurdity of all your "vain reasonings."

And again Hassell writes:

"The imperative mood has no more power than the indicative mood, in the mouth of a preacher, to awaken the dead to life. No language or labor of man, and no fact in creation or providence, independently of the Divine Spirit, has the slightest efficacy to take away the sinner’s heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh. I do not deny that the minister may at times have a Divine persuasion that some of his hearers are spiritually alive, and that he may not then properly address them in the imperative mood." (Hassell, Chapter X THE DOCTRINE OF GRACE, AND MISSIONS)

There are of course, in this citation, things of which an "amen" is warranted, but there are other things that deserve attacking and overthrowing.

Recall that in the last chapter I cited several Biblical "imperatives" (and there are many more) that clearly put regeneration as the thing being commanded. People are commanded to make themselves a new heart, to "save themselves," to "rise up from the grave of sin." Yet, the PB's do not agree with what I showed was clearly the case from Scripture. They are against the Bible in what they argue and affirm on this matter of Divine "imperatives" and their part in the work of regeneration and perseverance. God commands his elect, through the gospel, to "rise up out of sin," to "come to Christ," "to live." When those imperative words are attended by the working of the Holy Spirit, they are made effectual to produce regeneration with all its constituent aspects.

Conviction

Conviction of sin, contrition, a humbled soul, are elements of Biblical repentance. There is both a "turning away" and a "turning to" in repentance. The "turning away" is repentance proper, and the "turning to" is the essence of faith.

The Hardshells put conviction and contrition for sin as another experience that does not occur in regeneration (majority opinion) but is rather a post regenerative experience and one that comes only to those who hear and respond favorably to the gospel (on their own, without God, by their own free will and effort). Again, let me cite Sarrels on "conviction."

He writes in his "Systematic Theology":

"The relation of Conviction to Regeneration. Conviction, like Conversion, is the action of man, or perhaps more accurately speaking, the experience of man, which results from regeneration. It is not, as is generally claimed, a preparative of regeneration. Always and necessarily it follows regeneration. The quickened person in conviction sees himself not as he actually is but as he would be without the grace of God." (Sarrels, Page 309)

But, he still has this "gap" in time where the person is supposedly possessed of a "new nature" and a "new heart," and supposedly has Christ and the Spirit dwelling within him, but yet who knows no contrition or "convincing of sin," no "turning of the heart" from sin to God! Can you believe that a man can write a "Systematic Theology" and say such things?

He says further:

"We hold that conviction is impossible for the sinner while he is still dead in sin and enmity against God." (Page 310)

How is this "impossible" for God? Yes, I grant you, by human logic, that such is "impossible with men." There is no disagreement there! Yes, true deep conviction will end in complete transformation of soul, but to deny that even unregenerate men may come under some kind of conviction under the preaching of the gospel is to deny what is plainly revealed in Scripture. Judas repented, and so did Esau. Those who were ready to stone the woman caught in adultery each left, one at a time, "beginning with the eldest," each being, in one degree or another, "convicted in their consciences." They were not all "regenerated" by this "conviction" nor did it give "evidence" of it.

Jesus said:

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove (convict) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me." (John 16:7-9)

Here we are told that the "world" will be "convicted" and "reproved." Does he not do this "through" the gospel? Are there not non-elect and non-regenerated people in this world that the Spirit will "reprove" of sin? Does he not include, within this "world," those who "believed not on me"? He "convicts" those who ultimately become believers, but he also "convicts" those who do not become believers. I admit that in the one case the "conviction" is not "unto salvation" or "unto life," that it was not intended to issue in salvation but rather intended to increase condemnation. But, where would the increased judgment be if there were no "conviction" of any kind?

Sarrels writes further on the subject of "conviction."

"He who is convicted of sin can see himself to be a guilty sinner in the sight of God, and perceives that his own righteousness is as “filthy rags.” He rightly understands that he has no merit of his own upon which God can justify him. Conviction has brought him to know how guilty and helpless he is. He knows and feels that if he is ever justified it can be only through the mercy of the God against whom he has sinned...this broken, penitent wretch–wretch in his own sight, but not in God’s sight–with empty hands, is ready to turn to God. This whole series of experiences by the quickened person–for conviction is not a single experience–is definitely a preparative of the next vital and gloriously terminating experience of conversion." (Page 311)

How he can say all this, as a "Conditionalist," in the light of verses like Philippians 1:6 is bewildering. Paul said:

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

But, does Sarrels believe that all the elect, all the regenerated, will come to be "convicted," come to the end of that "series of experiences," that culminate in "conversion"? No, he does not. He believes that only a very small few whom the Lord "regenerates," and to whom he gives spiritual "life," will find that work reach its "end," will reach its "final completion," for they will not all be converted!

Besides, he will argue that this initial work of "regeneration," the first experience in the "series," is all the "work of God," while the later "experiences" in the "series," like "conviction" and "conversion," are not the sovereign work of God, as is the first experience in the series, but is rather the work of the child of God himself, using the "ability" that God gave him, but not "compelled" to do so by any "grace abiding" in him, or out of anything resulting from the new heart given in regeneration. This is just all against what Paul wrote to the Philippians.

He wrote again, saying:

"Although this turning to God is a voluntary action of the quickened soul, it is nevertheless an action which God leads the soul to make (Phil. 2:13). It is in the plan of God that he would take the work which he begins in conviction and perform it–epitelesei, bring it to a successful end–so that conversion is a realized fact." (Page 311)

Again, Sarrels is no different from the Arminian he abhors! He does not believe that all the elect come to conviction, repentance, and gospel faith! He denies the very text he cites! He would use (if he were alive) that same passage to prove to the "falling from grace" crowd, that this passage proves eternal security. But, on the other hand, he does not believe that God completes the series of experiences in all the elect!

He writes further:

“...and since it is needful that the believer come to know about the reality of Christ’s saving righteousness in his soul, God has arranged, through the medium of Justification by Faith, or through the believer’s consciously receiving Christ by an undivided faith, to bring into the believer’s heart the experimental knowledge that Christ is his Savior. The believer’s receiving Christ as his personal Saviour does not make Christ his personal Savior, for no one but a quickened person can, with a living faith, receive Christ.” (Page 313)

Again, how can he not at least come to the view that all of those whom God "regenerates" (without the word, supposedly) will come to evangelical faith and repentance before they die? (A view of some Baptists) He must either do that or stay in opposition to what Paul says in Philippians 1:6.

Calvin wrote:

"The term repentance is derived in the Hebrew from conversion, or turning again; and in the Greek from a change of mind and purpose; nor is the thing meant inappropriate to both derivations, for it is substantially this, that withdrawing from ourselves we turn to God, and laying aside the old, put on a new mind. Wherefore, it seems to me, that repentance may be not inappropriately defined thus: A real conversion of our life unto God, proceeding from sincere and serious fear of God; and consisting in the mortification of our flesh and the old man, and the quickening of the Spirit. In this sense are to be understood all those addresses in which the prophets first, and the apostles afterwards, exhorted the people of their time to repentance. The great object for which they labored was, to fill them with confusion for their sins and dread of the divine judgment, that they might fall down and humble themselves before him whom they had offended, and, with true repentance, retake themselves to the right path. Accordingly, they use indiscriminately in the same sense, the expressions turning, or returning to the Lord; repenting, doing repentance."

(http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.iv.iii.iv.html)

Calvin and Carroll have truly expressed the correct Bible views on this subject. It is also the view of the Old Baptists of the London and Philadelphia Confessions. It is not, however, the view of the overwhelming majority of Hardshells.

Calvin said further:

"God indeed declares, that he would have all men to repent, and addresses exhortations in common to all; their efficacy, however, depends on the Spirit of regeneration." (ibid)

That is the correct view, one I am defending herein, and one that is in opposition to Hardshellism.

Calvin also says:

"Wherefore, in this regeneration, we are restored by the grace of Christ to the righteousness of God, from which we fell in Adam....And this restoration is not accomplished in a single moment, or day, or year." (ibid)

Now I know the Hardshells will clamour over this statement. They would never allow that "regeneration" occurs in any more "length of time" than it takes to "blink the eye." It is instantaneous. God speaks life to the dead and they live instantly. I do not think that is always the case, but of that, I will address elsewhere. Certainly Calvin did not believe that the giving of life in regeneration was always instantaneous.

Here is what Elder John Watson said in his "Old Baptist Test," on page 178.

"When repentance is given, we bring forth fruit meet for repentance; when faith is given, we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and when we are kept by the power of God, we persevere; and those who are created in Christ Jesus unto good works will perform them."

Again, that is real Old Baptist doctrine. What the PB's spout today is not truly the primitive faith of the Baptists.

Notice these words from the preaching of Jesus:

"Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee." (Matt. 11:21-24)

I will be referring to this sermon of Christ again in a later chapter where I deal with the questions the Hardshells bring up relative to the heathen who they say died without any means of salvation and how this is unjust. The sermon above will relate to that issue. It will also relate to another argument that the PB's make about the supposed absurdity in believing that salvation is available only through the preaching of the gospel. This other argument says that in such a system "the devil wins more than God!" It has been argued several times by them in debates and it too will be addressed before this book is completed.

First of all, the sermon does show that repentance is necessary to keep from being judged and condemned in the day of judgment. No repentance means no salvation. That is what Jesus taught.

Now notice these words of Paul:

"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God...If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (Hebrews 6:1,6)

I have discussed this passage of Scripture many times with my brother PB's relative to whether one can lose their salvation. I don't think that any of them can deny that the passage clearly connects "repentance" with being saved and born again. Repentance and faith are the very foundations of our spiritual life and the very essence of our regeneration.

Jesus also came to "call sinners to repentance." If the Hardshells say this is not "regeneration," or not the "effecutal call," then they have the problem of reconciling the "direct voice" regeneration theory with Christ calling sinners, himself, in his day, to repentance. Did they all repent whom he called to repentance? Or, will it be argued that the "call to repentance" by Christ does not connect with regeneration. Either way they go on this point they are in a maze of contradictions.

Chapter 17 - Hardshell Busters (Second Cracking)

Second Cracking

151. Is it “casting pearls before swine” to preach to the gospel to all men?
152. Did Jesus or his apostles preach the gospel to any whom they knew were unregenerate?
153. Does the wrath of God abide on everyone who rejects Christ and his gospel?
154. Are all Biblical imperatives to be taken as indicatives?
155. Does the will of the regenerate man stay liberated?
156. Do all the elect persevere?
157. Must one persevere and endure to the end to be saved?
158. Does preservation include perseverance?
159. Do you agree with what the London Confession said on perseverance?
160. Where is the Bible verse that speaks of unconscious faith and repentance?
161. Where is the Bible verse that speaks of unconsciously knowing and believing in Christ?
162. Was Elder J. M. Thompson right when he said that the “bones” and “death” in Ezekiel (37) “represented living children of God”?
162. Is Conversion (Time Salvation) God’s “gift”?
163. Is Conversion God’s “work”?
164. Where is there a case of regeneration in the Bible without conversion?
165. Are all theists and monotheists saved?
166. What is the difference between the faith of devils and the faith of God’s elect?
167. Is “penitence” a part of the “new heart” God gives in regeneration?
168. Can one be loaded down with burden and care and not be regenerated?
169. Is all human burden and care a result of sin?
170. Can a wicked unregenerate man suffer famine and thirst of soul due to his sins?
171. Do gospel commands imply ability?
172. Do legal commands imply ability?
173. Do you encourage infants to come to Christ?
174. Is the “conversion” of “little children” of Matthew 18:3 “regeneration?”
175. Are these “little children” newborns or toddlers who are old enough to come to Christ?
176. Where in the context of Eph. 1 & 2 is there indication that the faith or salvation is unconnected with the gospel?
177. Does being “quickened” (Eph. 2:1) change a man’s “course”?
178. Does being “quickened” (Eph. 2:1) change a man’s behavior from ungodliness to godliness?
179. Does being “quickened” (Eph. 2:1) stop one from any longer walking “according to the prince of the power of the air”?
180. Does being “quickened” (Eph. 2:1) stop one from “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind”?
181. Does being “quickened” (Eph. 2:1) change the “walk” of a person?
182. How is one “regenerated through faith” (Eph. 2:8,9)?
183. What percentage of the term “saved”, in the New Testament, is talking about “eternal” salvation? What part about “time” salvation?
184. Which is the predominant usage?
185. From what is a child of God being “kept” from in his “preservation”?
186. Is it possible for one who is “dead to sin” to “live any longer therein”?
187. Are the good works of Christians their own works or the works of God in them?
188. If God has “worked all our works in us” (Isa. 26:28), then how we say that our works are our own and not the work of God?
189. How many New Testament passages are talking about the new birth or regeneration? More than 12?
190. How many New Testament passages talk about “eternal” destruction and perishing?
191. How many New Testament passages talk about only a “temporal” destruction and perishing, unrelated to eternity?
192. How many proof texts do you have to prove eternal punishment?
193. If every child of God is regenerated “the exact same way,” then why are not all regenerated in infancy?
194. Is the “salvation” of Isaiah 49:6, Acts 13:47 & Acts 26:17,18 eternal salvation?
195. Are the preachers of the gospel in the above verses not ordained means of bringing that salvation?
196. Did those who were washed in regeneration (Titus 3:5) continue to live as they did in verse 3?
197. Does the salvation and regeneration of this verse indicate that they were saved from the things mentioned in verse 3?
198. To be saved from the things mentioned in verse 3, would one not need to be converted?
199. What is it that is regenerated and renewed? Is the mind and understanding excluded?
200. What is the effect of having the Spirit of God “shed on us abundantly” in regeneration?
201. Can a man have the Holy Spirit shed on him in this manner and not know it?
202. What is the “whereunto” of II Thess. 2:14 referring to?
203. Is a “belief of the truth” part of the salvation we are elected to obtain?
204. Does the “whereunto” not refer to the salvation that is in or through the belief of the truth?
205. Does this gospel calling not pertain to eternal salvation?
206. What is there in the context of this passage that indicates a temporal salvation only?
207. Do all the elect hear the “words” and “voice” of Christ?
208. When the Spirit convicts a regenerated person and tells them they are condemned, is the Spirit telling them a falsehood?
209. Where are the passages in the Bible that show that “faith” is not cognitive and lacks belief of truth?
210. If a man worships a false deity, is this evidence of regeneration?
211. If a heathen feels like he is a worthless wretch, is that evidence of salvation?
212. Are all who confess that they are ungodly sinners, regenerated?
213. Seeing that conviction of sin is a post regenerative experience, is it experienced apart from knowledge of word of God?
214. What is the difference between the convicting experience of one who knows not the word of God and one who does?
215. Is there any “cognition” at all in regeneration?
216. Where are the examples in the Bible of regeneration without cognition?
217. What is learned in regeneration and conviction, without the word, that the natural man is not able also to accept and understand?
218. What is learned in regeneration and conviction, without the word, that the devils do not know and believe?
219. If a belief in God’s existence is known by natural men, then how can it be an evidence of regeneration?
220. Seeing that conversion is such a life transforming experience, why would God not devise a method whereby all the regenerated could experience it?
221. Is it just for God to damn the heathen for not believing the gospel even when they never heard it (as Cayce argued)?
222. Are all men obligated to “seek God”?
223. If all men are obligated to “seek God,” would this not also mean seeking the truth of the gospel? If not, why not?
224. Could part of “seeking God” include the obligation to act as the magi and go to where is the gospel, to seek out Christ in the world?
225. Can God then not condemn the heathen for not seeking out the true religion in the world?
226. Is all the obligation on the missionaries to take saving truth TO the heathen or is not also an obligation upon the heathen to SEEK OUT the missionaries of truth?
227. Would it not then be just for God to condemn the heathen for not knowing the truth?
228. Would that not make Cayce’s argumentation wrong?
229. Has God ever told the dead to rise?
230. Does he say this in and through the gospel and word of God?
231. Has any prophet or messenger of God told, on behalf of God, the spiritually dead to rise from spiritual death?
232. Is any post regenerative experience irresistible?
233. Can some post regenerative experiences be through means and yet be irresistible?
234. Does the use of means exclude irresistibility?
235. Can something be based upon an act of the creature and still be based upon grace?
236. What is the condemnation for the unbeliever of Mark 16:16?
237. What is the “end” of those who obey not the gospel?
238. Is becoming the “epistle of Christ” (II Cor. 3:3) the work of regeneration?
239. Are the ministers of Christ not the instruments of the ink used in II Cor. 3:3?
240. The heart table upon which Christ writes, is it a hard heart or a soft heart?
241. What laws or words does God write upon the heart in regeneration?
242. Does God’s use of Paul in regeneration prove the sufficiency is of Paul?
243. Does a minister not minister the Spirit in regeneration?
244. Since a minister ministers the Spirit to sinners and that Spirit gives life, then does the minister not function as a means?
245. Is the “ministration of condemnation” by the letter of the law, eternal?
246. Is the “ministration of the Spirit and of righteousness” to eternal justification?
247. Since where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberation (II Cor. 3:17), and since the Spirit is present in the word preached, is there not liberation through the word?
248. How are God’s words and laws written upon the heart in regeneration different from the laws written upon the nature of all men?
249. Where in Matthew, Mark & Luke is regeneration discussed?
250. Where is regeneration discussed in the epistles?
251. Is it possible for a “good tree” to not bear “good fruit”?
252. Can a tree be “good” without any good fruit?
253. When Jesus told the unregenerate hypocrites to “first clean the inside,” was this a reference to regeneration?
254. If not, to what then does it refer?
255. Does this command to clean the inside imply ability to do so?
256. Was the “inside” of these people clean by regeneration?
257. Was the Pharisee in Luke 18:11,12 a regenerated man?
258. Was he a “justified” or a “condemned” man?
259. Did the publican receive justification by his contrition, repentance, & confession?
260. If the condemnation of the Pharisee is eternal, why is not the justification of the publican not eternal?
261. What is it that the “believer” of Rom. 1:16 & I Cor. 1:18 believe?
262. Is there any part of the Bible addressed to every man?
263. Does the Devil damn more than God saves?
264. If yes, does this mean the Devil has more effective means of damnation that God has in salvation?
265. Does the Devil degenerate more than God regenerates?
266. Must God save more than the Devil damns for God to be successful?
267. If the Devil damns more than God saves, does that mean Satan is more powerful?
268. If more people believe error than truth, is error more powerful than truth?
269. What was the error of those who believed in the “hollow log” doctrine?
270. Where is “embryonic faith” taught in Scripture?
271. Was Paul regenerated before his conversion on Damascus Road?
272. If Paul was both regenerated and converted at the same time, and he is a “pattern,” and “all are regenerated exactly alike,” would not all experience regeneration and conversion at the same time as did Paul?
273. Are the phrases “forgiveness (remission) of sins” chiefly talking about time or eternal forgiveness?
274. Does the word “heart” exclude the man’s mind and thoughts?
275. What filth is on the soul of one in the womb that needs cleansing?
276. Is the cleansing of Eph. 5:26, which is “by the word,” an experience peculiar to all the members of the church?
277. What is the “word” in the above passage?
278. Is the “church” in the above passage the body of all the elect?
279. If the word of God is able to cleanse post regenerative sin in the believer, why can it not do the same in an unbeliever?
280. If “good seed” is sown into “good ground,” will it always produce fruit? If not, why not?
281. Can a man be wicked in his regular thoughts and have a “good heart”?
282. What does it mean to have the “mind of Christ”?
283. Do all the elect have this “mind” by regeneration?
284. Can the mind be anti Christ and still be the “mind of Christ”?
285. If those “in the flesh” “mind earthly things,” do not the spiritual minds “mind spiritual things”?
286. Does the spiritual man reject the gospel and spiritual things?
287. Does Romans 14:46 not say that perception creates reality?
288. Is the will active in coming to Christ?
289. Can regeneration be both passive and active?
290. What does a man have after regeneration that he did not have before?
291. What is the nature of the “ability” God “gives in regeneration”?
292. If “life and immortality” is only evidenced by the gospel (II Tim. 1:10), then can those who know not the gospel be said to show evidence of life and immortality?
293. If regeneration (life & immortality) is manifest in the heathen, how is it only “brought to light” only “BY the gospel”?
294. Can “life and immortality” be manifest in people apart from the gospel?
295. Does not Paul say that “life and immortality” is only manifested in and by the gospel?
296. Is it not obvious that it is the subjects of “life” and “immortality” that are revealed by the gospel rather than simply revealing who is the elect or “regenerated”?
297. Do those who “know not the gospel” know anything about “life and immortality”?
298. Who is the oldest Hardshell forefather to preach modern Hardshell views on II Tim. 1:10?
299. The “following” of Christ’s “voice” (John 10), to what does this refer? To regeneration only or to the entire life of the sheep?
300. Does a sheep continue to hear the “voice” of Christ after regeneration?
301. If so, is that “voice” any less effectual AFTER regeneration as it is IN regeneration?
302. If that voice is continuously heard by the sheep throughout their lives, what is that voice continually saying?
303. Can anyone who does not eat the “bread of life” be saved and have eternal life?
304. How does one “eat” the bread of life?
305. How does one “eat” the flesh of Christ and drink his blood?
306. Does “coming” precede reaching Christ for life?
307. Is the person “coming” dead till he comes fully (reaches) Christ?
308. What does it mean to “die in your sins”?
309. Will those who deny that Christ is the “I AM” (or in the Messiah) “die in sins”?
310. What Biblical evidence is there that “coming to Christ” is on the sub-conscious level?
311. Of what does the “nature” of a thing consist?
312. The presence of the “divine nature,” in what does it consist?
313. What are the constituent parts of the “soul”?
314. Is only part of the soul regenerated? If so, what part?
315. Must a “natural man” act in accordance with his nature?
316. Must a “spiritual man” act in accordance with his “divine nature”?
317. If a man with a depraved nature “cannot cease from sin” (II Peter 2:14), why is it not true that a man with a divine nature “cannot cease from righteousness”?
318. Was John Gill right on his views on John 5:25?
319. Who argued in favor of the view that many heathen were regenerated, prior to the rise of the Hardshells among the Baptists?
320. Does the London Confession allow for the salvation of those who have not the gospel?
321. Who, prior to the rise of the Hardshells, advocated “embryonic faith” and “non-cognitive faith” and “unconscious regeneration”?
322. Is anyone other than “Primitive Baptists” “converted” and “saved in time”?
323. The “conversions” of Hardshells under the “Missionaries” and “Arminians,” were they “of” God or “of” men?
324. Was the “gospel” preached to the antediluvian peoples who perished in the flood?
325. Did those antediluvian peoples who rejected the gospel and perished in the flood, go to hell?
326. If Noah could preach the gospel to the unregenerate in his day, why is wrong to do so today?
327. Do you “warn the wicked”?
328. If so, what is it of which you warn him?
329. If you warn the wicked, do you also point a way of escape for the danger?
330. Do you attempt to “persuade” all men “to become Christians”?
331. If it can be said that the Sodomites “would have repented” had they had the means of seeing Christ perform miracles, why is it wrong to say, “the Heathen would have been saved had they had the gospel preached to them”?
332. Is it Bible “faith” that does not have the true God as its object?
333. Can one have “faith” in the Father and reject faith in the Son?
334. Where is the Bible evidence for the “faith of God’s elect” to not have Christ as the object of the faith?
335. Where is the Biblical evidence to show that “coming to Christ” means something other than “believing on him”?
336. What does Christ say to the heart of a man in regeneration? What words? Are the words always the same to every person?
337. Was there ever a person to whom Christ “spoke” but who was unaware of Christ speaking to him?
338. When a “convicted sinner” ask you “what must I do to be saved,” what do you answer?
339. Why are repentance & remission of sins joined together by Christ? (Luke 24:47)
340. Why are repentance and conversion joined together? (Acts 3:19)
341. How are the sheep “gathered” and “brought”? (John 10) When does that happen in the lives of the elect?
342. Has anyone, in the New Testament, “brought” people to Christ?
343. Were any of these people regenerated by their being brought to Christ by others?
344. Is it impossible that this “gathering” and “bringing” be done by human means?
345. What is it that the “evil heart” does not believe? (Heb. 3:12)
346. What is it that a “good heart” believes? (Heb. 3:12)
347. Is there any other kind of “faith” in the Bible except that which is “TOWARD our Lord Jesus Christ”? (Acts 20:21)
348. In being “called” in regeneration, what is it that one is called from and to?
349. Is there any evidence in the New Testament of someone being “called” and not knowing it?
350. What does it mean when Peter spoke of God “taking out from among the Gentiles a people for his name”? (Acts 15:14)
351. Was this “taking out” by the means of the ministers of the gospel (per the context)?
352. Do you preach and say the same things to unregenerate men as did Christ and the ministers in the New Testament?
353. Is the gospel addressed to the elect only or to all men?
354. Is it right for every child of God to say, “Here am I Lord, send me?”
355. Does not John 17:18 show that all the elect are “sent out” by Christ?


Chapter 18 - Hardshells on Conversion

In this chapter I will be extending many of the things I have said in previous chapters on regeneration, faith, and repentance. I have shown how the modern PB's do not believe that all the elect will be converted, because they do not believe that "regeneration" and "conversion" are essentially the same, but believe one can exist without the other. This, of course, is not the view of the truly Old Baptists. All the confessions of faith of the Baptists, prior to the "rise of the Hardshells," believed that all the elect will not only be "regenerated" but also "converted." Even many Hardshell churches today have old "articles of faith" which say that "all the elect will be "converted."

KETOCTON PRIMITIVE BAPTIST ASSOCIATION ARTICLES OF FAITH

Adopted at organization of the Ketocton Association August 19, 1776, and reaffirmed by this Association exactly 200 years later, August 19, 1966."

Under Article #8 this old confession says:

"That those that are redeemed by Christ, are in due time called to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus - embracing Him as the only way to God and Savior of poor sinners. This effectual calling is accomplished by the agency of the Holy Ghost operating in a free, irresistable and unfrustrable manner, by which the understanding is enlightened and the will subjected to Christ. Hence the scriptures testify that they are made willing in the day of His power. This eternal change or new birth in the soul is wholly ascribed to the Power of God; for it is said of the regenerate, they are begotten of God, quickened of God, born of God - all expressive that it is the Lord's work, and He is entitled to the praise." (www.oldschoolbaptists.com/comh/ktart.html)

Under #7 of an old Primitive Baptist article faith, it is said -- "We believe that God's elect shall be called, converted, regenerated, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost." (A Set of Old School Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith - The Primitive Baptist Unity Website - home.hiwaay.net/~klhall/articles.html)

So, here are existing "Primitive Baptist" confessions that teach counter to modern Hardshell views on Conversion. The brethren who wrote the original articles of faith in the first churches in the Ketocton Association, like William Fristoe, believed what article #8 says, but modern so-called "Primitive Baptists" do not believe what they still profess to believe! I will have more to say about this in later chapters where their history is once again taken up and discussed. It is foolish for them to claim to be "Original" Baptists and yet do not believe what the Confessions say about faith, repentance, justification, regeneration and the new birth, the condition of the heathen who do not hear the gospel, etc. It is as Brother Peck said, "an arrogant claim without foundation." I too will have more to say about Brother Peck in later chapters.

Under the title "As to Articles of Faith," Hassell wrote:

"These are not held to be essential to the existence of a church, but of much importance to its order and stability. The churches composing the Kehukee Association, as well as all others in America, perhaps, of like precious faith, have articles enrolled, which are occasionally read for the instruction and benefit of the members in their church meetings. Primitive Baptists stand by their Articles; they read them, they believe them to be true, and they preach the doctrine contained in them; and hope that themselves and their successors will continue to do so even to the end of the world. And this they do with great pleasure, though well aware that such a course is disapproved by nearly all other professed Christians in America. While some denominations have creeds more or less orthodox, yet is is lamentably true that they are almost universally disregarded by the ministers and members of nearly all the religious sects and societies in the land. Evidently the tendency for the last hundred years, especially in the United States, has been to leave the ancient landmark of salvation by grace and move in the direction of salvation by works." (Hassel's History, page 836, 837)

But, it has been shown that "Primitive Bapists" do not believe their old confessions and articles of faith, so this is all fanciful belief. Did Tolley and dad stand behind the old confessions or did they not rather try to distance themselves from it?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REGENERATION AND CONVERSION?
By Elder Hoyt Simms (Modern Hardshell)

"Conversion is a spiritual or moral change attending a change of belief. It means to turn from one belief or course to another. Regeneration is a change in one's nature by a spiritual birth, which gives one an inner spiritual nature. Jesus spoke of this to Nicodemus when He said, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). Conversion played a great part in the history of the early church as converts were made through the Gospel; that is, people were influenced or persuaded by the Gospel to turn to Christianity as a way of life. It is basically the same today.

Too often conversion and regeneration are confused. They are not the same. Conversion is a change in belief or the course of one's life. Regeneration is a change in one's nature. The means of conversion is primarily the Gospel. The means of regeneration is solely the work of God's Spirit and because of the distinct nature of the two, regeneration must come first. They may be experienced simultaneously, but even then the cause or means of each remains distinct as indicated above. Regeneration makes children of God; conversion causes children of God to become Christians. Regeneration brings people into a saving relationship with God; conversion then brings them into a serving relationship to Him."


(http://www.oldlinemessenger.homestead.com/files/ SOME_QUESTIONS_AND_ANSWERS_ABOUT_PRIMITIVE_BAPTIST.htm)

A man need not be a Christian to be "regenerated"! Where is there a single verse of Scripture that teaches such an idea? There ought to be several plain passages of Scripture that teach such a thing. Where are those verses of Scripture?

From the above commentary by Simms it is obvious that he sees "regeneration" as not causing a man to "change his beliefs" at all! If a man "believes" he is not a sinner, that he is as good as the next, and then he is "regenerated," according to Hardshellism, he will still believe that! Why? Because "regeneration" does not change belief! A man can "believe" that God is an elephant and Hardshell "regeneration" won't change that at all! Who can believe such nonsense?

How he can say all this in view of Ephesians 2:1-5 is beyond me to comprehend. All the Hardshells will acknowledge that these verses are clearly talking about "regeneration." Yet, what is it that this "quickening" does in the life of the Ephesians? Did it change their "course"? If it did not, then were they still, after this "quickening," "walking after the course of this world"? Hardshells, like Simms, will say that "regeneration" does not change a man's "course"! Paul said it did and would! I will take what Paul said about it and so will every really sound Old Baptist.

Hardshell "Theologian," R. V. Sarrels wrote (again, from his "Systematic Theology"):

"The issue in this whole matter, however, turns upon the question of logical priority, upon which is antecedent and which is consequent: that is, whether regeneration precedes conviction and conversion, or whether these precede regeneration. There is no way to bring cause and effect so close together that they are chronologically indistinguishable. The whole aim here by Shedd and Dr. Strong, and of practically all other theologians who deal with this question, is to dispose of the time element so completely and effectively that cause becomes conditioned upon effect, rather than effect upon cause. Dr. Shedd, though seemingly inconsistent in setting up the regeneration-conviction-conversion syndrome, truthfully states in another place that, "Conversion is that action of man which results from regeneration." (Dogmatic Theology, II, 529) (From page 361, 362, of Sarrels "Systematic Theology")

But, if regeneration and conversion are both "effects" of the same cause rather than the cause or effect of the other, then does not this line of argument become chaff before a gust of wind? Where does the Bible say that "regeneration causes conversion? Where do the New Testament writers distinguish between the two and argue for the "logical" or "chronological order" of one over the other and who make it a crucial point of doctrine?

Again Sarrels writes:

"All efforts to dispose of the time element in the regeneration-conviction-conversion picture and reduce these to absolute simultaneity must forever fail. The crux of this problem is to establish anteriority in this work. If life is logically antecedent to action, then it is impossible that action, itself a consequent, could be related causatively to that which is its antecedent. Until he is regenerated, man is dead in sin, and the cancellation of the chronological ingredient from this equation, if it could be done, would not and could not make action antecedent to life. No amount of literary effort can so effectively dispose of the time element in this formula as to give logical anteriority to either conviction or conversion...neither conviction nor conversion comes ahead of regeneration, or the giving of life, for it is impossible that that which is caused could stand ahead of that which caused it." (page 362)

But again, where is the passage that says that regeneration causes conversion? That would be like saying that regeneration causes regeneration, or quickening causes regeneration, or regeneration causes new creation, etc. Again, there is a separate cause producing both regeneration and conversion, two aspects of the same experience.

Under "A Critical Study Of Conviction," Sarrels writes further:

"In the restricted sense that we here use the term conviction, it means a decision reached with respect to the justness of God's condemnation of sin. The process of conviction may be gradual, or conceivably quite sudden, yet in whichever case, the result is the same. The convicted person is brought to feel his own guilt and helplessness, and to put his seal of approval of God's act in condemning him. The term, therefore, connotes introversion, the directing of the interest inward. It is the objectifying of one's self in analysis and appraisal. But conviction is no mere psychological process. It involves the seeing one one's self as a sinner justly condemned by the God against whom one has sinned, and the realization that without the grace of God one's doom is certain. Dr. Hodge states with great meaning that "every soul truly convinced of sin is brought to feel and acknowledge, (1) That he is guilty in the sight of God, and justly exposed to the sentence of his violated law. (2) That he is utterly polluted and defiled by sin...that his heart is not right, that sin exists in him as a power or law working in him all manner of evil. And (3) That he can make no atonement for his guilt, and that he cannot free himself from the power of sin. (Systematic Theology, II, 273) (page 363)

Can anyone then know any of this without the gospel and word of God? How can one be convinced of all these things, of all this truth, if it is not by the gospel? Do those supposed "regenerated heathen" know all this? They know the true God against whom they have sinned? They know of his atonement for sin? All this apart from the gospel? Where is this taught in the Bible?

Also, if the Holy Spirit convicts those who are already born again, already washed, cleansed, forgiven, sanctified, and "freed from sin," then does the Holy Spirit not convince such of a falsehood when he convinces such a one that they are condemned and unclean?

Listen to Elder Sarrels on this point:

"Conviction is impossible for the unregenerate man. How can the unregenerate man, still dead in sin and hostile to God, act contrary to his nature and move in agreement with God? How can the unregenerate man be convinced that his estimate of values is wrong?" (ibid)

So, only the regenerated, cleansed, and justified man can be convicted, right? Of what does the Holy Spirit convince the person? That he is condemned, unclean, a sinner bound in sin? Yes, that is what the Hardshells will admit. Then, I ask you, does the Holy Spirit not convince a man of a falsehood when he tells him he is unclean, unholy, and condemned? Does he not lie to him when he tells him he needs to be clean when he is already clean?

If I meet a man who has just been regenerated, cleansed of his sins, will the word of God have any cleansing power for him? Will there be anything to cleanse by the word?

Sarrels says again:

"True conviction is exclusively the experience of the quickened or regenerate man. Like conversion to which, under the working of the Holy Spirit, it leads, conviction results from regeneration. He who is convicted of sin sees himself to be a guilty sinner (BUT IS HE REALLY?) in the sight of God, and perceives that his own righteousness is as "filthy rags." He knows and feels that if he is ever saved it can be only by the grace of God. With no righteousness of his own to plead, this broken, penitent wretch--wretch in his own sight, but not in God's sight--is ready to turn to God." (ibid)


Did you notice that? "Not in God's sight." In other words, the convicted soul is not really what the Holy Spirit is convincing him that he is! One senses that Sarrels felt the weight of such a "reductio ad absurdum," for he writes in closing these words.

"...the quickened person in conviction sees himself NOT as he actually is, but as he would be without the grace of God." (ibid)

Can you believe that bunk? A man under conviction is being convicted of only hypothetical sin! He is not being convicted of actual sin! The Holy Spirit is telling the convicted soul a lie when he tells him he is lost and condemned! The Holy Spirit lies when he convinces such an one that they are unclean and in need of pardon and justification! Unbelievable!

On John 16:8-11 he writes:

"...this statement reveals to us the work of the Holy Spirit in effectively convicting and converting." (364)

Then again writes:

"No one could reasonably claim that the Holy Spirit will convict every person in the world. There must be some sort of restriction or limitation placed on the term "world" in this text. We seem forced to conclude, moreover, that as many as are embraced in the term will actually be convicted of sin. There can be no reasonable question about the effectiveness of the Spirit's work in convicting the "world," all the "world" embraced in the text. Christ says the Holy Spirit "will convict the world."" (ibid)

He says that the "world" is the "Jacobic world," meaning the elect. But, if this is so, what of his "Conditionalism"? Here is a post regenerative work that God will without fail do for all the regenerated. Not many "Conditionalist" will say that God does anything irresistably in the life of the believer "after regeneration." If a man is convicted after regeneration, it will be by the free act and power of his own will, not because God's grace lays constraint upon him to do so, but because, as I said, everything after regeneration is done by the free will obedience of the regenerated soul.

You will not get a uniform answer on whether this "convicting work," post regeneration, comes solely by the gospel and word of God, but I suspect most will affirm that conviction does take place in the hearts of heathen who are supposedly "regenerated" but who do not know anything of the truth of the gospel or word of God.

Sarrels then says:

"Those who claim that the convicting work of the Holy Spirit is limited to gospel areas are hard pressed when they make the term "world" have a universal application." (pages 364, 365)

There you have his view that conviction of sin is something that those who know nothing of the Bible or its God, or its Messiah, do experience that conviction that is taught in the Bible. It is absolutely absurd. Yet, I have myself heard sermons where some Hardshell heretic was trying to talk about some kind of conviction of sin that the Indians talked about. But, such was nothing more than the Indian expressing some view of the afterlife and some fears and hopes in regard to it. It is an absolute "cunningly devised fable" that tries to make man's natural fears of his sins and of the afterlife the product of the convicting work of the Spirit in regeneration! It really does not deserve an answer but I have said enough already in dispute of such an idea that it deserves no more time.

True conviction of sin has God, the true God of the Bible, as the object against which one has sinned. True conviction brings true repentance and faith in God, and these cannot be had except through the gospel.

He wrote further:

"Under conviction of sin there are three things which the Holy Spirit brings home to the heart of the quickened person:

1. The fact of sin.
2. The nature of sin.
3. The desert of sin."
(page 365)

But again, he has a person "regenerated" who has not yet been convicted of sin and who therefore is, while "regenerated," still not cognizant of the fact of sin, or that he is a condemned sinner, and is still not aware of the nature and desert of sin! Again, where is this baloney in the word of God? This is an invention of men!

Then he writes:

"We here give some attention to a matter mentioned earlier in this chapter: Since we hold, (a) that God, without the use of the gospel as a means, regenerates his loved ones in heathen lands as well as in cultured lands, and, (b) that in all of these lands, both heathen and cultured, the Holy Spirit performs his convicting work, we make the following differential observation: As the innate knowledge of God's existence, or First Truths, may exist in only faintly discernible ideas about the Supreme Being, and may range from this all but dormant and little understood stamp of the Maker to the highest and most enlightened concept of God's existence, so the facts connected with conviction--and conversion--may begin with the faintly dim ideas about sin, righteousness, and judgment, about repentance, faith, and justification, and range from this to the most advanced intellectual concepts concerning these progressive steps in the experience of a believer in gospel lands." (pages 365, 366)

A man who has "dormant" and "little understood ideas" about God, sin, and condemnation, has not been convicted, no matter how much the Hardshells try to show otherwise by their infamous Hardshell "logic." Again, where is this in the word of God?

Sarrels goes on to say that the person being convicted is also "convicted of righteousness," and "convicted of judgment," and then says:

"This person, having been brought to understand "the exceeding sinfulness of sin," and his own responsibility for this sin against God, now understands that he is a sinful, guilty person justly exposed to the judgment of God's violated law. He knows "If his soul were sent to hell, God's righteous law approves it well."" (368)

God taught him all this without ministers of his word? Where is there any evidence of this in the Bible or in the history of heathen and pagan nations?

He writes again:

"Before we pass on it might be well to note that not every convicted person understands all that is involved in the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. Still, all is there. No one understands all about nature, yet all is there to be understood." (ibid)

"No one understands all about nature...yet"? Yes, but a man under conviction has more than faint views about his lost condition and of the God against whom he has sinned and with whom he has to do. And, if he comes to God, he must believe in him, the true God, and not just in any false god.

Sarrels writes again, saying:

"We believe Dr. Strong pretty well states the view of all schools of Conditionalism on the subject we are here discussing when he says conversion is "the obverse side of...regeneration" (Systemative Theology, 831). The obverse side of a thing is its counterpart or complement. Conversion, he says again, "is the human side or aspect of regeneration" (ibid, 829). Dr. Shedd says, "Evangelical faith is the particular act that unites the soul to Christ (Dogmatic Theology, II, 532). Dr. Mullins says conversion is "The turning of a sinner from his sins unto Christ for his salvation" (The Christian Religion, 377). As a sort of final touch here, we quote Dr. Strong again, "If a person is ever regenerated, it must be in and through a movement of his own will" (Systematic Theology, 830). And both Luther and Calvin held that the act of faith, which includeds or implies conversion, precedes regeneration. So at the very bottom of the regeneration and conversion questions neither the older Calvinism nor the Reformed Theology differs from Arminianism." (368)

That is an ignorant statement and one not a 32nd cousin to the truth. Those who believe that God saves and regenerates through the means of his preached gospel are not, by this fact alone, to be considered "Arminian." And, to believe that the elect are "called by the gospel" does not in any way mean that this calling to faith and repentance is the sinner "meeting conditions" by his own free will initiative and power. This is just more misrepresentation from the Hardshells.

Sarrels then says:

"...in perhaps the vast majority of cases the elements of conversion--repentance, faith, and justification--may be present only embryonically, an analysis of these elements brings us to a fuller appreciation of the conversion experience." (ibid)

Again, it is an attempt at "Sophistry" to try and speak of people having "faith," "repentance" and "justification" in a "non-cognitive" manner, on the "sub-conscious level." There is no foundation for such a view in the Scriptures. It is a novel idea, a human invention. It is ironic that these heretics who have traditionally decried "human inventions" have "invented" so many novel ideas in Christian doctrine.

Where in the Bible is there evidence that a man is "converted" in this manner of which the Hardshells speak?

Sarrels writes again, saying:

"Faith implies and involves: 1. Faith in the existence of the holy God. "He that cometh to God must believe that he is" (Heb. 11:6). While the consciousness of sin and guilt implies an experimental conviction of the existence of the holy God against Whom the sin is committed, it also implies a faith in this God and a trust in him. The unregenerate man is self-centered. He believes in himself and trusts in himself. When this man is quickened and brought under conviction he no longer believes in himself and no longer places trust in himself. Quickening, or regeneration, changes his center of gravity." (370)

Notice how he tries to put "regeneration" and "conviction" together, implying that a man does "learn" something in "regeneration." This is the same man who has consistently said that "regeneration" was "not cognitive" but on the "unconscious level." But here, when he speaks of "faith," he speaks of what a man is "conscious" of, of what he "believes." But, given what he has said in the previous citations (and those to follow) he does not believe that "conviction" is a part of "regeneration."

He writes further:

"Every regenerated person, in some measure of understanding, has a "hope as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and that entereth into that within the veil" (Heb. 6:19). This hope, this hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2), bridges the grave and links God's child to eternity. However far, by reason of biological background, tuition, or weaknesses of the flesh, one may wander from the path of truth and righteousness, or however little one may ever have known about these, the hope that when this life is over he will be free from all the hurtful things common to life here makes him "hold on his way."" (page 423)

This view of things is not anything even near kin to what our Baptist forefathers believed about either regeneration or conversion or faith. They certainly did not believe that any non-Christian had any hope of eternal life. To affirm that any idol worshipping heathen who does not know the God of Abraham and his Son Jesus Christ has the same hope as Christians is the worst lie ever told and very damaging to the cause of the Lord and of his gospel.

He continues with his anti Christian sentiments, writing:

"In the final count there is absolutely nothing of more concern to God's child than that at the last he will be at home with God, and to be "persuaded that He is able to keep that which has been committed to Him against that day" (II Tim. 1:12)." (ibid)

This is some "persuasion" that the elect experience in Biblical regeneration? You have got to be kidding! What has an idol worshipping heathen who does not know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ committed unto the Lord his life? How dare any Hardshell take such a verse and apply it to some unconscious experience or to some experience of a heathen's devotion to a false god!

If this supposed "regenerated heathen" really "loved" God, would he not seek out the Messiah for that which his supposedly regenerated heart" is longing? I think that I can say with Paul that such a "persuasion comes not from him who calls you," but from the underworld. (Galatians 5:8)

He says again:

""We have the mind of Christ," says Paul (I Cor. 2:16)...However embryonic this mind of Christ may be in one's conscious life, even among civilized people, or however indistinct and distorted this may be in saved people who have no knowledge of Christ in the gospel sense, the mind of Christ is there; as something absolutely native to the new creation, it is there in every person on earth. Paul did not preach ANOTHER God to the men of Athens who had gathered on Mars' Hill; he preached to them the very God WHOM THEY INGNORANTLY WORSHIPPED." (Ibid)

I have already cited part of this before to show how absurd and anti Christian are the views of the Hardshells. I have also stated how they are no different from the Freemason philosophy and theology. It is indeed very ironic. They have historically opposed the "Masons" with great zeal but their belief relative to "saved people in all religions," is no different than what the "Freemasons" teach. Their "brotherhood" also will encompass anyone of any religion who simply professes belief in some "god," some "higher power." The way the PB's explain the brotherhood and family of God's elect, relative to their common faith and salvation, is no different from "Freemasonry Philosophy."

Paul absolutely did not preach the same God to the Athenians. He preached to them a God that they did not worship. To "worship" God Almighty "ignorantly" is to "worship" another in his stead.

In commenting upon the words of David, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed" (Psa. 57:7), Sarrels says:

"Research in the field of psychic phenomena has brought to light the amazing potential resident even in backward races. And in these subconscious regions God works in implanting this same fixedness of heart which David had." (Page 424)

It is blasphemous to claim that the heathen, who "know not God," and who are "without hope," would have the same fixedness of heart upon "God" as did King David! And to try to prove that people have this heart fixation upon the Lord without cognitive awareness of it is ludicrous. These Hardshells have so much going on with people on the supposedly "sub-conscious level." They can believe and repent on the sub-conscious level, they can be convicted on the sub-conscious level, yea even be converted, know Jesus and the gospel, and even persevere in the faith of Christ all in a manner in which the person is totally unaware! Who hath heard such things?

And again Sarrels writes:

"Pure reason leads us to hold that God's child, who in his heart has been brought into vital union with Christ, should in fellowship with him and in step with him move on to the victorious end." (ibid)

Again, here is a man who is "regenerated" and "knows" and "loves" God on a level of which he is not even aware! It is a far-fetched and fantastic idea and has no Biblical support whatsoever. This becomes clear if you read these Hardshells, like Sarrels, who rarely cite a verse of Scripture but keep saying, "Pure reason leads us to hold" such and such a view of things. They will cite their speculations and deductions from metaphysical fields of science and say "Research in the field of psychic phenomena" teaches us so and so. They need to throw "human logic" and the carnal reasonings of their natural minds out the window and accept by faith what the Scriptures plainly teach and quit trying to take their view to the Bible and hack and hew on it till it is made to conform to their man-made theorems.

Concerning the view that "the gospel is God's appointed means to reach and save the unregenerate," he says it is "essentially Pelagian," which is an utter falsehood. Since he argues that "commands imply ability," it is he who is Pelagian. (ibid)

Sarrels writes again, saying:

"Not only does this view limit salvation to areas where the gospel is preached; it actually limits salvation to those who believe the gospel and obey it. (As the Scriptures themselves do!) The Moslems, the Buddhists, the Brahmans, and all other non-Christian adherents, even in gospel lands, are according to the strict sense of this view doomed. Not only this--strictly interpreted and applied, this view would exclude Jews and Unitarians, and, by some, even Catholics, who do not believe what is preached (like the gospel?) as some religious groups would present the matter. These are hard facts which need to be placed before the world. For reasons which are but briefly alluded to in some parts of the work, but developed more fully in other parts, we hold that God, despite the teachings of man, saves his chosen people all over the world." (page 434)

Yes, he and his Hardshell heretics can believe that Christ and gospel rejecters are saved but we will just take what the Bible says about. Paul said:

"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, (like the heathen) and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." (II Thess. 1:7-10)

Did Paul "limit" salvation to those who obeyed the gospel? Did he allow for the salvation of non-Christians as Sarrels? No, he did not. Neither did Jesus. Jesus said:

"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24)

The God of the Hardshells may be the same God as the Athenian idolators, and as the worshippers of Buddha, or Allah, or of some other false deity, but not the God of Christians.

He writes these words next:

"This view makes God's system of operations to be less efficient than Satan's system of operations. No one denies that Satan carries on his work all over the world without the use of documents, preachers, or witnesses. Out in slum districts, in gangland's hide-outs, in vice centers, and in areas of the world where the Bible is unknown, this arch enemy of God is driving day and night to further his cause. And Satan does this by working directly and immediately in the hearts of men." (ibid)

Can you believe that such argumentation comes from a professing minister of the Bible, and of the Lord Jesus Christ? Yet, he is not alone in this "line of argumentation." I have seen it argued vehemently in debate by the Hardshells. The famous debater Claud Cayce, certainly argued this regularly. So did the famed debater John R. Daily. They even used charts to get the point across, arguing that the "means" method of calling the elect to salvation made the Devil more successful than God! But, does this "line of argument" really help them any at all? Can this same argument not be turned back on them? Do they not believe that "conversion" only takes place through the gospel? Do they not teach that this is God's method and means to bring the knowledge of Christ to those elect who have been regenerated? Well, is the Devil not "converting" more than God by their own argumentation? Silly boys, come, reason better than that!

Besides, let us pay close attention to these words of Christ about the ancient cities of Tyre and Sodom.

"Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee." (Matt. 11:20-24)

When Brother Carey began to stir up the Baptists brotherhood relative to their duty of "preaching the gospel to all men," with the purpose of saving souls, saving the elect whom God had predestined be called by that means, the "Hyper-Calvinists who were present within the Baptist' ranks began to take umbrage at the language Carey and others used to stir up the people to give of their money to support the missionaries. The "Hyper-Calvinists thought it was blashemous to suggest that one of the elect would not be saved if the people did not send missionaries.

I will be citing more along this line in a later chapter, but let me just first reply here by referring all to the words of Christ just cited. Can I not legitimitly say, as Christ himself, that some in Sodom and Tyre would have been saved had they had the means of seeing the miracles of Christ? Christ says these "would have repented," would have been saved, would not have been destroyed and bound over to eternal judgment, had they simply had the same external means as did those to whom he preached.

If such can be said, then it can also be said that many people went to Hell, people who "could have been saved, had they had" the external means of the gospel of grace. So, this "line of argument" may "sound good" to those who want to believe things based upon their own "carnal reasoning" and perverted "logic," but to those who know the Bible, these "mental meanderings" of these Hardshell heretics are known to lead into the deepest darkness of error.

Again we hear our famed "apologist" write:

"Certainly our objections here are not against preaching the gospel of Christ in all the world. (Oh God forbid that anyone should get that impression!) But when it is claimed that this gospel is meant to serve an end which it cannot serve, and which God never intended that it should serve, then we must register a solemn protest. (Is that what it is? Since the Baptists have believed this throughout their history, where is all this "protest" prior to the "Hardshells"?) The gospel of Jesus Christ has meant more to this cold world than any other message ever proclaimed by man, but it does not do, it cannot do, that which is done only by the recreative or regenerative power of Almighty God. It is inconceivable to us that a loving, merciful God would hinge the destiny of a lost world on a haphazard system to be executed by inattentive, careless, and often indifferent men." (ibid)

Well, brother, God is the one who is in control, ultimately, of the whole affair. Did not Paul end by saying, "how shall they preach except they be sent?" Will God not be sure to send the gospel where it needs to be preached so that his elect may be gathered and called to life in Jesus his Son? But, I would ask Sarrels, "has God not suspened conversion on that system you just called "haphazard"? And, does the spreading of that converting word, does it not depend upon those whom God sends, in some degree? Hardshells are infamous for "arguing from both sides of their mouths" on matters.

Before closing this section I want to cite some from the works of that great Old Baptist, Dr. John Gill.

Dr. Gill wrote:

"2b1. First, I shall consider the various parts of faith in Christ, or what is requisite to constitute it.

2b1a. Knowledge of Christ is necessary to the exercise of faith on him, for "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" and if they have not so much as heard of him, they cannot know him, and consequently cannot exercise faith upon him; and "How shall they hear without a preacher" to make him known unto them? #Ro 10:14. When our Lord put the question to the man who had been blind, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God? he answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?" upon which Christ made himself known unto him, "Jesus said unto him, Thou hast seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee"; his eyes had been opened to see him, and his ears now heard him, and both being true in a spiritual sense he immediately expressed his faith in him, saying, "Lord, I believe", and as a proof and evidence of it, "worshipped him", #Joh 9:35-38. Previous to faith in Christ, as a Saviour, there must be knowledge of the want of him; as such a man must be made sensible of the sinfulness of his nature, and of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and of the just demerit of it, and of the miserable state and condition it has brought him into, out of which none but Christ the Saviour can deliver him; and therefore he then applies to him as the apostles in distress did, saying, "Lord, save us, we perish!" #Mt 8:25 he must be made acquainted with his impotency to save himself; that his own right hand, his works and services, cannot save him; that if ever he is saved it must be by the grace of God, through the blood and righteousness of Christ, and not by them; he must have knowledge of the fulness and abilities of Christ as a Saviour; he must have seen him full of grace and truth, as having all the fulness of the blessings of grace in him suitable to his wants, whose redemption is plenteous, his salvation complete, he being made everything to his people they want, and able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him; and he being just such a Saviour they need, and his salvation so suitable to them, they that know his name, Jesus the Saviour, put their trust in him; and the more ready they are to do this, as they are fully convinced there is no other Saviour; that salvation is in him, and in none else; that it is in vain to expect it from any other quarter from the works and services of the creature, and therefore determine upon it they shall not be their saviours; but say, with Job, "Though he slay me yet will I trust in him--he also shall be my salvation!" #Ps 9:10 #Job 13:15,16. Hence knowledge being so requisite to faith, and included in it, faith is sometimes expressed by it, #Isa 53:11 Joh 17:3 both in spiritual knowledge and special faith, eternal life is begun, and with which it is connected; and so knowledge and faith are joined together as inseparable companions, and as expressive of the same thing; "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us", are firmly persuaded of it, #1Jo 4:16 and some of the strongest acts of faith in the saints have been expressed by words of knowledge; "I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c. I know in whom I have believed", &c. #Job 19:25 1Ti 1:12."


And further:

"2b1b. An assent unto Christ as a Saviour, enters into the true nature of faith; not a bare naked assent of the mind to the truth of the person and offices of Christ; that he is the Son of God, the Messiah, Prophet, Priest, and King, such as has been yielded to him by men destitute of true faith in him, as by Simon Magus and others, yea, by the devils themselves, #Lu 4:34,41.

"Of all the poison, says Dr. Owen {4}, which at this day is diffused in the minds of men, corrupting them from the mystery of the gospel, there is no part that is more pernicious than this one perverse imagination, that to "believe in Christ" is nothing at all but to "believe the doctrine of the gospel!" which yet we grant is included therein.''

Such a proposition, that Christ is the Saviour of the chief of sinners, or that salvation is alone by him, is not presented merely under the notion of its being "true", and assented to as such, but under the notion of its being "good", a suitable, acceptable, and preferable good, and to be chosen as the good part was by Mary; as being both a "faithful saying" to be believed as true, and as "worthy of all acceptation", to be received and embraced as the chiefest good. Faith is an assent to Christ as a Saviour, not upon an human, but a divine testimony, upon the record which God has given of his Son, and of eternal life in him. Some of the Samaritans believed on Christ because of the saying of the woman; but others because of his own word, having heard him themselves, and knew that he was indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world: true faith, in sensible sinners, assents to Christ, and embraces him not merely as a Saviour of men in general; but as a special, suitable Saviour for them in particular: it proceeds upon Christ's being revealed "in" them, as well as "to" them, by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him as a Saviour that becomes them; it comes not merely through external teachings, by the hearing of the word from men; but having "heard and learned of the Father", such souls come to Christ, that is, believe in him, #Joh 6:45 not the doctrine of him only, but in him himself."


And further:

"2b1c. Knowledge of Christ as a Saviour, and an assent unto him as such, is attended with love and affection to him; faith works by love, love always accompanies faith, at least follows it; Christ is precious to them that believe; they love him, value him, prefer him, to all others as a Saviour; (Gill did not believe that there were heathen who had faith in Christ in the manner the Hardshells teach) and every truth respecting Christ is not "barely assented to", but as they receive Christ, they receive the "love of the truth" with him."

And then again these good words:

2b1d. "True, spiritual, special faith in Christ includes in it a dependence on him, trust and confidence in him alone for everlasting life and salvation; it is a soul's venturing on Christ, resolving if it perishes it will perish at his feet; it is a resignation of itself to Christ, a committing its soul, and the important welfare and salvation of it into Christ's hands, trusting him with all, looking to him, relying on him, and acquiescing in him as the alone Saviour. All which will more fully appear by considering,

2b2. Secondly, the various acts of faith on Christ, as described in the sacred Scriptures.

2b2a. It is expressed by seeing the Son; this is one of the first and one of the lowest acts of faith, and yet eternal life is annexed unto it; "This is the will of him that sent me", says Christ, "that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life", #Joh 6:40 it is a sight of the glories and excellencies of Christ's person, of the fulness of his grace and righteousness, and of the completeness and suitableness of his salvation. It is a looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, a view of him as altogether lovely, the chiefest among ten thousand. Faith is a light struck into the heart of a sinner whose understanding was darkened, yea darkness itself, till God commanded light to shine in darkness; by which, though first but glimmering, he sees himself a sinner, miserable and undone, without a Saviour, when Christ is held forth in the gospel to be looked at by him; that is a glass in which he is to be beheld, and where he is openly set forth crucified and slain for sinners; and so is the hope set before them, both to be looked at and to be laid hold on by them, who was typified by the brazen serpent set upon a pole by Moses, for the Israelites bitten by the serpents to look at and live, #Joh 3:14,15. And not only sensible sinners are directed to behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, as John's hearers were by him; and are encouraged by the ministers of the word, who show unto men the way of salvation, to look to and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved; but they are encouraged by Christ himself; who says, "Behold me, behold me", to a nation not called by his name, "look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else!" #Isa 65:1 45:22 which sight of him fills their souls with love to him, as the most lovely and amiable one, with eager desires after him, and an interest in him, signified by hungering and thirsting after his righteousness, and panting after his salvation. And this sight of Christ by faith is nigh, and not afar off; now, and not hereafter; and for a man's self, and not another; he looks to him not merely as a Saviour of others, but to him as a Saviour and Redeemer suitable for him."


(His By Grace--"John Gill: A Body of Doctrinal & Practical Divinity-Practical Book 1, Chapter 6")

From all this it is evident that Gill's understanding of "saving faith" is far different from the understanding of the Hardshells. They might like Gill in some areas, and some of the uninformed might think Gill is a Hardshell, but one can see from the above citations that Gill rejected Hardshellism.

Here are the passages where we have the word "converted" used.

"For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." (Matt. 13:15)

I asked in my last chapter, in my "Second Cracking" of the "Hard Shells," where in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke is "regeneration" discussed. There was a reason for that question. I do not think any will find it discussed at all in these gospels. The above might be an exception. But, it is neo-Hardshells who reject the word "conversion" as referring to "regeneration." As I have said, the first generation Hardshells did not take that approach on the word "conversion."

But, in the "conversion" of the text above, they have ears, eyes, and a heart, but they need to open them and come to "understand" in order to be saved and converted. So, will they not say that this verse is not talking about "regeneration"?

"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (18:3)

Again, this verse has been so abused by the Hardshells, especially in debate with their adversaries. They have tried to find a verse that upholds their idead that every child of God is regenerated in precisely the same way so that they can get one to believe that all adults are regenerated like the infants. But, there are some problems here. The neo-Hardshells do not believe that the word "conversion" can be applied to "regeneration." They would therefore have to agree with many of their Hardshell forefathers. But, it is clear that this verse is not talking about an unconscious coming to Christ, something that supposed "regenerated infants" experience. It is connected with mental understanding, with humility of thought, and such is not the case with infants in the womb nor of an experience that is non-cognitive.

"That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them." (Mark 4:12)

Notice here that "conversion" is connected with pardon of sin, with a change of understanding issuing in perceiving truth. So, the PB's will not make this verse to refer to regeneration. Again, you will probably find that they have no verses in the first three gospels that talk about what they call "regeneration."

"But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Luke 22:32)

Conversion does take place after initial conversion and regeneration, for we are, as God's children, in constand need of change, of reform, of conforming our thinking and lives to the Lord and his word and Spirit. So, though it does not always speak of initial regeneration, still the idea of change in the heart, mind, and understanding is integral to the word. The very idea that "conversion" could be on the sub-conscious level is preposterous and not in keeping with the meaning and import of the word.

"He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them." (John 12:40)

Again, similar to what was said in the first three gospels, where conversion is connected with eyes being opened, ears hearing, the mind perceiving and the heart understanding. It is connected with saving knowledge, as Gill stated.

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19)

This is a difficult verse for the Hardshells. Here repentance and conversion are both commanded, are both intimately connected with what it means to be pardoned, to have our sins blotted out. What do they do here? They will of course say that the forgiveness of sins is a temporal parental forgiveness that has nothing to do with eternal salvation. But, they are simply rebelling against the text.

"For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." (28:27)

Again, the same idea as in the other verses. Nothing here intimates that one can have "embryonic conversion," or any other non-cognitive experience.

"Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (James 5:20)

This too is another verse that shows that "conversion" is somethings that continues in the life of the believer as part of their sanctification and of their continuously being transformed and conformed to the glorious image of Christ.

"Is Faith Necessary"

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."--Eph. 2:8,9

"The questions posed, is faith necessary, might seem to some to be a strange and ridiculous one. The average Sovereign Grace Baptist would speedily answer in the affirmative. However, there has arisen a movement which denies the necessity of faith in the elect of God. Many of our dearest brethren don’t see this basic, beautiful truth. Hardshellism has replaced gospel preaching as well as the commission. Hopefully, this short article shall put an end to the debate so far as the Word of God is concerned.

Our text verse is a rather familiar one amongst our brethren. We do not deny that God has a chosen people. In fact, we affirm that He has a chosen people who must, and will be saved. They are referred to as “the elect of God” (Col. 3:12), the “chosen of God” (I Pet. 2:4), “the sheep” (Mat. 25:33), and other various names. Salvation is received totally because of the grace of Almighty God. We can do absolutely nothing to obtain or merit eternal life. However, according to our text verse, an elect is saved by grace through faith. This is where hardshellism parts with the historical teaching of Baptists and with the Word of God. Faith is necessary. It is the gift of God, but, nevertheless, necessary, as we shall see. God’s people are a people of faith.

In Jhn. 3:16, we read that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I realize this verse is quoted by the religious world and used in the depths of Arminianism to try and prove that God loves every individual without exception. I emphatically deny that teaching, but, do not deny the inspiration of this verse and thus, the practical application. Therefore, we can obviously see from this passage that the promise of everlasting life is here made to whomsoever “believeth in him.” Again, in Jhn. 3:18, we read, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Again, the promise of eternal life apart from condemnation is here made to him “that believeth.” On the other hand “he that believeth not is condemned.” This tells us that it is not according to God’s way of working to save people into unbelief. Our duty here is to read the Scripture and rely on it for guidance. This portion of Scripture teaches that believers in Christ are saved. How does this portion of Scripture line up with the Bible as a whole? We shall see, for Scripture must interpret Scripture.

In Jhn. 5:24, John is inspired to write these words: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Once again, the Holy Spirit affirms that blessed promise of everlasting life unto Him “that heareth my word, and believeth.” Here, death is, in one sense, the natural state into which man is born. Man is brought into this world “dead in trespasses and sins”(Eph. 2:1). In this state, man is lost and deserving of the death of the eternal lake of fire. In this condition, man has not been “born again”(Jhn. 3:3). On the other hand, the believer is said to be passed from the state of “death unto life.” Life is representative of man’s condition after he has been brought to faith. This man has been “quickened” (Eph. 2:1) and “born again” (Jhn. 3:3). God didn’t, however, quicken this man into unbelief. This would contradict the fact that only the believer is promised eternal life. If the believer has “passed from death unto life,” the unbeliever then has not.

Acts 15:9 reveals of the Gentiles, that God “put no difference between us(the Jewish believers) and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” Here, the Lord is the One who purified the heart. This is in the Lord’s hand. How does He do it would be our question? He purifies the heart by faith. The “love of God is shed abroad in our hearts” (Rom. 5:5) WHEN He quickens us. Before men’s hearts have been purified, they are without faith. Men have faith because it has been freely given to them by God. Faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). The faith, however, is necessary. This is God’s ordained way to work. God was not limited in His knowledge or ability to work another way. Notwithstanding, this is the way God has chosen to carry out His ordained and perfect will. If God has ever worked another way (which I do not believe He has), it is not recorded within the pages of Holy Writ.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”--Rom. 3:24-28. Here we have another passage which supports the fact that faith is God’s ordained gift that He gives to His children for whom Christ died. In this passage, we are said to be justified by faith. In the scope of eternity, we are justified because Christ paid our sin debt on the cross at Calvary some two thousand years ago. However, in time, we are justified by faith. The Lord is said to be a “justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” There is no room to deny what Paul was inspired to write. We are not justified by works of the law, for we cannot keep the law. But, Christ, who fulfilled it is our “propitiation through faith in his blood.” Is it not wrong then to tell the world to believe in Christ? Is this not what Paul told the Phillipian jailor(Acts 16:30,31)? Paul realized it wasn’t in his power to save. He also realized that Christ had given His churches a commission to evangelize the world with gospel preaching.

The believer in Christ is an overcomer. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God--I Jhn. 5:5. How can we deny this? We are promised that we have and will overcome this world if we believe on Christ. Here is not stated that the elect overcome the world. That would be a true statement if it did. But, more to our inept understanding, the Lord simply says, “he that believeth Jesus is the Son of God is he that overcometh the world.”

Hardshellism says that a man can desire Christ as much as he wants to, but, he can’t come if he’s a non-elect. This type of thinking mixes truth with heresy. Surely a non-elect can’t come to Christ. However, he will never yearn for the saving power of the blood of Christ. He will not see himself as a sinner in need of a Savior. Those who do see this are the elect of God and will come. Hardshellism and the priesthood of the church heresy generally declare(if not by doctrine, by practice) that those outside of believers in the doctrines of grace are lost. There is absolutely no scriptural warrant for any such belief. There are many babes in Christ who know him, but, lack a knowledge of true doctrine. Anyhow, we do not know who the elect are. We do not have the power to distinguish.

In seeing that faith is essential to salvation, we then should pose the question, “How does the Lord impart faith to His elect?” We will affirm, as have our Baptist forefathers, that He does it through the gospel message. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God”(Rom. 10:17). This is not to give ability to anyone apart from the working of the Holy Spirit to believe the gospel message. It is asserted, however, that the Holy Spirit works through the gospel to impart faith to His elect people. There is no salvation apart from believing in Christ. This point has been sufficiently stated. However, faith must have an object. Nobody has faith in “nothing.” Faith has the object of Christ and His salvation. Therefore, when the gospel message is preached (read, taught, heard, witnessed, etc.), the Holy Spirit distinguishes between the elect and non-elect and grants faith to His sheep.

In II Ths. 2:13,14, we read, “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul here states, through inspiration, that these were “from the beginning chosen,” as are all of God’s saints. He also shows the necessity of the “sanctification of the Spirit”, or quickening, or regeneration. However, he uses the conjunction “and” to show that the “belief of the truth” is equally as vital. Then, in the following verse states, “Whereunto He called you by our gospel.” This is God’s overall plan summed up in this passage. He has a chosen people whom He will call to belief in Christ through the preaching of the gospel. There is no gap of any time frame between regeneration and believing in Christ. This would conclude that man could be a regenerated unbeliever, and this is a contradiction of terms. When the Lord calls, or regenerates, one of His own, He supplies him with the faith necessary to be saved, through the gospel message that he has heard.

“Knowing brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only(as it does generally to all who hear it), but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance:”--I Ths. 1:4,5a. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth”--Jam. 1:18a. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”--Eph. 1:13. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”--Rom. 1:16,17. These verses should suffice our need to prove that God saves His elect by drawing them by His Spirit through the gospel message.

Now, some would say, “But, you are limiting God. You are taking away from His glory.” To this, we turn to I Cor. 1:21, which says, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” In this verse, we have explained the reason God saves His people by bestowing faith to them through the gospel. The reason is because it pleased Him to do so. I am not limiting the Lord in saying He works this way. God could have saved His elect any way He desired to do it. That was by the foolishness of preaching. Does God work in ways that aren’t pleasing to Him? Does He change? To both questions, we answer in the negative. God always carries out His well pleasing will.

In conclusion, to answer our original question, “Is Faith Necessary?”, we conclude that it is. “Without faith it is impossible to please” God(Heb. 11:6). Therefore, God grants faith to the recipients of His Sovereign Grace through the gospel message as it pleases Him to do so."


(http://www.sovereigngrace.net/isfaithnec.htm)

Chapter 19 - Coming To Christ

"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5:40)

"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." (6:35-40)

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life." (vs. 44-48)

"But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." (vs. 64-66)

What does it mean to "come to Christ"? Certainly, as the Hardshells admit, it is a coming to "life," as Christ said, "you will not come to me that you might have life." I have already pointed out the inconsistency of this phraseology of Christ, if the Hardshells are right, who should have said, "and you will not have life that you might come unto me." I have also pointed out how this verse destroys their carnal reasoning in saying that "life must always precede action," for obviously the coming (verb, action) precedes reaching Christ and life. As I have said before, the way the Hardshells argue on their idea that "ability" must first be given, i.e. life, before one can come to Christ, they make it impossible even for God to speak to, or command the dead to do something.

Furthermore, they are forced, by their aberrant soteriology, to make this "coming to Christ" something on the "sub-conscious level." How a man can read the passages above, paying close attention to the context, and come up with such a notion is truly bewildering, if not bewitching. The "coming to Christ" is absolutely equivocated to mean "believe in Christ." It is all the same as "learning" the truth about Christ from the Father. Everyone who reads these passages on coming to Christ sees that it is all the same as believing in Christ, everyone except the Hardshells, of course who make this coming to Christ to be totally unconnected with believing and trusting in Jesus for salvation. They say this and then have the gall to say that they are careful to interpret by the context.

I am so tired of hearing Hardshell apologists talk about how they are the ones who "go by the context" of passages in their hermeneutics. Only they, they constantly affirm, "rightly divide the word of truth." Yet, as I have shown, and will continue to do, they absolutely ignore "context" and place their theorems into the Bible by twisting and distorting the sacred words of truth. Brother, show me anywhere in this "context" where the "coming to Christ for life" is any other thing than what the "context" shows and as Spurgeon said and I also have been affirming.

Here is what Spurgeon said it means to "come to Christ."

"To whom coming."—1 Peter 2:4

"To whom coming." Coming to Christ does not mean coming with any natural motion of the body, for he is in heaven, and we cannot climb up to the place where he is; but it is a mental coming, a spiritual coming; it is, in one word, a trusting in and upon him. He who believes Jesus Christ to be God, and to be the appointed atonement for sin, and relies upon him as such, has come to him, and it is this coming which saves the soul. Whoever the wide world over has relied upon Jesus Christ, and is still relying upon him for the pardon of his iniquities, and for his complete salvation, is saved."

"So I shall take the text, then, this evening thus:—These three words describe our first salvation, describe the life of the Christian, and then describe his departure, for what even is that but to be still coming to Christ, to be in his embrace for ever?"

(C. H. SPURGEON, "Coming to Christ" At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. On Lord's-day Evening, June 17th, 1868.)

A writer wrote the following informative remarks about "faith" and its relation to the gospel of John.

"While there is one condition for salvation, John may represent that condition with figures of speech designed to illustrate the response of faith.

Look. In 3:14-15 the anticipated response is to look upon Christ and His work for eternal salvation, as the Israelites looked upon the serpent on a pole in the desert for their physical salvation (Numbers 21). The point of the illustration is the simple look of faith.

Hear. Similarly, John uses hearing to represent believing. More than the physical sense is involved. To hear is to listen, but also to accept as true, as we understand with the colloquial expression, "I hear you." Belonging to Jesus as His sheep is conditioned upon hearing His voice of truth (10:16, 27), as also is obtaining eternal life (5:24). The unbelief of the lost is due to their not hearing God’s word (8:43, 47).

Enter. Speaking metaphorically of Himself as the door to the sheepfold, Jesus also pictures the response of faith as entering the door (10:9). To enter correlates with faith in that both express one’s trust for protection from the threat of the enemy.

Feed. The notion of feeding on Christ (6:57), including eating His flesh and drinking His blood (6:54), is another analogy of the faith that obtains eternal life, as is clear in 6:35 and 6:47. This is similar to the drink of living water (eternal life) offered to the Samaritan woman (4:10, 14). To eat and drink is to appropriate or receive something upon which life depends. There is no work or merit associated with these activities. Rather, the benefit is from what is appropriated, which corresponds to the object of faith, which is Christ.

Come. Another metaphor for faith is expressed by the word come. In 5:40 coming to Christ obtains eternal life. In 6:35 come is equated with both eating and believing. Coming, drinking, and believing are used synonymously in 7:37-38 as the condition for salvation. To come is to trustingly approach Christ for help. It entails no human merit or effort.

Receive. Another word that may represent faith is receive. The promise that any who receive Christ will become children of God is closely linked to believing in 1:12. Believe appears to be in apposition to receive here in order to explain it. In 1:12 to receive is to welcome or accept as true the person or words of Jesus Christ (3:11, 32-33; 5:43). This is in contrast to those who "did not know" and "did not receive" Jesus as the Christ in 1:10-11."


(www.faithalone.org/journal/1996i/Bing.html)


John Bunyan

Here is what the Baptist John Bunyan said about what it means to "come to Christ."

Come and Welcome To Jesus Christ Or, A Plain and Profitable Discourse on John 6:37. Showing the cause, truth, and manner of the coming of a sinner to Jesus Christ; with his happy reception and blessed entertainment. LONDON, 1681. Published seven years before John Bunyan's death.

WHAT IT IS TO COME TO CHRIST

"FIRST, I would show you WHAT IT IS TO COME TO CHRIST. This word come must be understood spiritually, not carnally."

"The coming, then, intended in the text is to be understood of the coming of the mind to him, even the moving of the heart towards him. I say the moving of the heart towards him, from a sound sense of the absolute want that a man hath of him for his justification and salvation."

"To speak to the first, that it is a moving of the mind towards him. This is evident; because coming hither or thither, if it be voluntary, is by an act of the mind or will; so coming to Christ is through the inclining of the will. "Thy people shall be willing" (Psa 110:3)."

"This, then, is the coming to Christ, even a moving towards him with the mind."

"So that to move in thy mind and will after Christ, is to be coming to him."

"Coming to Christ is attended with an honest and sincere forsaking of all for him. "If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26,27)."

"By these and the like expressions elsewhere, Christ describeth the true comer, or the man that indeed is coming to him; he is one that casteth all behind his back; he leaveth all, he forsaketh all, he hateth all things that would stand in his way to hinder his coming to Jesus Christ. There are a great many pretended comers to Jesus Christ in the world; and they are much like to the man you read of in Matthew 21:30, that said to his father's bidding, "I go, Sir, and went not." I say, there are a great many such comers to Jesus Christ; they say, when Christ calls by his gospel, I come, Sir; but still they abide by their pleasures and carnal delights. They come not at all, only they give him a courtly compliment; but he takes notice of it, and will not let it pass for any more than a lie. He said, "I go, Sir, and went not;" he dissembled and lied. Take heed of this, you that flatter yourselves with your own deceivings. Words will not do with Jesus Christ. Coming is coming, and nothing else will go for coming with him."

He says further:

"And believing and coming are all one."

And again:

"And let me add over and above, that for a man to come to Christ for life, though he comes to him for nothing else but life, it is to give much honour to him.

1. He honoureth the word of Christ, and consenteth to the truth of it; and that in these two general heads. (1.) He consenteth to the truth of all those sayings that testify that sin is most abominable in itself, dishonourable to God, and damnable to the soul of man; for thus saith the man that cometh to Jesus Christ (Jer 44:4; Rom 2:23; 6:23; 2 Thess 2:12). (2.) In that he believeth, as the word hath said, that there is in the world's best things, righteousness and all, nothing but death and damnation; for so also says the man that comes to Jesus Christ for life (Rom 7:24,25; 8:2,3; 2 Cor 3:6-8).

2. He honoureth Christ's person, in that he believeth that there is life in him, and that he is able to save him from death, hell, the devil, and damnation; for unless a man believes this, he will not come to Christ for life (Heb 7:24,25).

3. He honoureth him, in that he believeth that he is authorized of the Father to give life to those that come to him for it (John 5:11,12; 17:1-3).

4. He honoureth the priesthood of Jesus Christ. (1.) In that he believeth that Christ hath more power to save from sin by the sacrifice that he hath offered for it, than hath all law, devils, death, or sin to condemn. He that believes not this, will not come to Jesus Christ for life (Acts 13:38; Heb 2:14,15; Rev 1:17,18). (2.) In that he believeth that Christ, according to his office, will be most faithful and merciful in the discharge of his office. This must be included in the faith of him that comes for life to Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1-3; Heb 2:17,18).

5. Further, He that cometh to Jesus Christ for life, taketh part with him against sin, and against the ragged and imperfect righteousness of the world; yea, and against false Christs, and damnable errors, that set themselves against the worthiness of his merits and sufficiency. This is evident, for that such a soul singleth Christ out from them all, as the only one that can save.

6. Therefore as Noah, at God's command, thou preparest this ark, for the saving of thyself, by which also thou condemnest the world, and art become heir of the righteousness which is by faith (Heb 11:7). Wherefore, coming sinner, be content; he that cometh to Jesus Christ, believeth too that he is willing to show mercy to, and have compassion upon him, though unworthy, that comes to him for life. And therefore thy soul lieth not only under a special invitation to come, but under a promise too of being accepted and forgiven (Matt 11:28).

All these particular parts and qualities of faith are in that soul that comes to Jesus Christ for life, as is evident to any indifferent judgment.
(YES, BUT THE HARDSHELLS ARE NOT INDIFFERENT AND UNBIASED INTERPRETERS!) For, will he that believeth not the testimony of Christ concerning the baseness of sin, and the insufficiency of the righteousness of the world, come to Christ for life? (AGAIN, THE HARDSHELLS WOULD HAVE TO SAY ALL THIS IS WRONG! THEY SAY MILLIONS "COME TO CHRIST" WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN JESUS!) No. He that believeth not this testimony of the word, comes not. He that believeth that there is life anywhere else, comes not. He that questions whether the Father hath given Christ power to forgive, comes not. He that thinketh that there is more in sin, in the law, in death, and the devil, to destroy, than there is in Christ to save, comes not. He also that questions his faithful management of his priesthood for the salvation of sinners, comes not."

(acacia.pair.com/Acacia.John.Bunyan/.../Come.and.Welcome/First.5.html)

Of course, all this is just not what the Hardshells believe about what it means to "come to Christ." I know they will come up with different kinds of "coming to Christ," one in a "timely sense," and another in an eternal sense; they will do this to "get around" any difficulties in a "context" with their views. But, there is simply no way one can honestly read the context of John 5 & 6 and not see that "coming to Christ" means all the same as "believing" in Christ.

Hardshells will affirm that John 6:37 is talking about "regeneration." All the elect will be made to "come to Christ" for life and salvation. But, they err in disconnecting this "coming to Christ" with belief and trust in him and his word.

Here is what A.W. Pink wrote about the matter of what it means to "come to Christ."

"Now the motions of Divine grace work through the apprehensions of faith in the understanding, these warming and firing the affections, and they in turn influencing and moving the will. Every faculty of the soul is put forth in a saving "coming to Christ": "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest"—be baptized (Acts 8:37). "Coming to Christ" is more immediately an act of the will, as John 5:40 shows; yet the will is not active toward Him until the understanding has been enlightened and the affections quickened. The Spirit;

First causes the sinner to perceive his deep need of Christ, and this, by showing him his fearful rebellion against God, and that none but Christ can atone for the same.

Secondly, the Spirit creates in the heart a desire after Christ, and this, by making him sick of sin and in love with holiness.

Third, as the awakened and enlightened soul has been given to see the glory and excellency of Christ, and His perfect suitability to the lost and perishing sinner, then the Spirit draws out the will to set the highest value on that excellency, to esteem it far above all else, and to close with Him.

"...the sinner is not saved when his understanding is enlightened, and his affections fired: there must also be the act of the will, surrendering to God and laying hold of Christ.

The order of the Spirit’s operations corresponds to the three great offices of Christ, the Mediator, namely, His prophetic, priestly, and kingly. As Prophet, He is first apprehended by the understanding, the Truth of God being received from His lips. As Priest, He is trusted and loved by the heart or affections, His glorious person being first endeared unto the soul by the gracious work which He performed for it. As Potentate, our will must be subdued unto Him, so that we submit to His government, yield to His scepter, and heed His commandments. Nothing short of the throne of our hearts will satisfy the Lord Jesus. In order to do this, the Holy Spirit casts down our carnal imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and brings into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), so that we freely and gladly take His yoke upon us; which yoke is, as one of the Puritans said, "lined with love."

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44).

This "drawing" is accomplished by the Spirit: first, in effectually enlightening the understanding; secondly, by quickening the affections; third, by freeing the will from the bondage of sin and inclining it toward God. By the invincible workings of grace, the Spirit turns the bent of that will, which before moved only toward sin and vanity, unto Christ. "Thy people," said God unto the Mediator, "shall be willing in the day of thy power" (Psalm 110:3)."


"The relation between our understanding being enlightened and the affections quickened by God and the resultant consent of the will, is seen in Psalm 119:34,

"Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart."

"The sure result of regeneration, or the bestowal of understanding, is the devout reverence for the law and a reverent keeping of it in the heart. The Spirit of God makes us to know the Lord and to understand somewhat of His love, wisdom, holiness, and majesty; and the result is that we honor the law and yield our hearts to the obedience of the faith. The understanding operates upon the affections; it convinces the heart of the beauty of the law, so that the soul loves it with all its powers; and then it reveals the majesty of the law-Giver, and the whole nature bows before His supreme will. He alone obeys God who can say ‘My Lord, I would serve Thee, and do it with all my heart’; and none can truly say this till they have received as a free grant the inward illumination of the Holy Spirit" (C.H. Spurgeon)."


(A.W. Pink, "Studies on Saving Faith," PART 3, CHAPTER 9 "COMING TO CHRIST WITH OUR THE WILL")

From Dr. Gill:

"2b2b. Faith is a motion of the soul unto Christ; having looked and gazed at him with wonder and pleasure, it moves towards him; this is expressed by coming unto him; "He that cometh to me", says Christ, "shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me", which explains what is meant by coming, "shall never thirst", #Joh 6:35 which coming to Christ is upon an invitation given, encouraging to it; not only by others, by the Spirit and the bride, who say "come", #Re 22:17 and by the ministers of the word; "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come!" and who, through the gospel trumpet being blown with power, and the sound of it attended with efficacious grace, they that are "ready to perish" come, #Isa 55:1 27:13 but also by Christ himself, who says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!" #Mt 11:28 such souls come, being influenced and powerfully wrought upon by the grace of God; "All that the Father giveth me", says Christ, "shall come to me"; efficacious grace will cause them to come, will bring them to him, through all discouragements, difficulties, and objections, and which are all removed by what follows; "and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out", #Joh 6:37.

This coming to Christ as a Saviour, or believing in him, is owing to the Father's teachings, instructions, and drawing; "No man can come to me", says Christ, that is, believe in him, "except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him", draw him with his lovingkindness, and through the power of his grace, and of his divine teachings; "every man therefore that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto me"; yea, this is a pure gift of his grace, "therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me except it were given unto him of my Father", #Joh 6:44,45,65 and such souls come to Christ in a view of the blessings of grace, of righteousness, and strength, peace and pardon, salvation and eternal life; these are the goodness of the Lord, they flow unto him for with great eagerness, swiftness, and cheerfulness."


Dr. Gill continues, in his views, which run counter to the Hardshells:

"2b2c6. The grand and principal act of faith, or that by which it is more frequently expressed is, receiving Christ; "as many as received him, even that believe on his name", #Joh 1:12 where receiving Christ is interpreted of believing on him. Christ is received, not into the head; for not all that say Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but into the heart; for it is with the heart man believes in the Son of God unto righteousness; and in it Christ dwells by faith. A soul made sensible of its need of Christ and his righteousness, and of salvation by him, comes down from self-exaltation and self-confidence, and "receives Christ joyfully", as Zacchaeus did."

(His By Grace--"John Gill: A Body of Doctrinal & Practical Divinity-Practical Book 1, Chapter 6")

Jesus affirmed that all the elect, those whom the Father had "given" to him in covenant, before the foundation of the world, would "come to me." By this coming they will be made to live spiritually, being brought out of death in sin. Every elect person will be drawn by the Father. Drawn to what? Drawn to Jesus Christ, drawn to faith in him. That is what the context absolutely shows and the Hardshells are simply blind and deceiving themselves to disassociate "faith in Christ," as they do, and a "coming to him" spiritually and savingly with the mind and understanding, with their ideas about "regeneration."

Who teaches that all the elect will be brought to faith in Christ? Not the Hardshells. Who teaches that all that the Father gave to Christ will be drawn to Christ in their hearts, minds, and in their understanding? Not the Hardshells. Who teaches that, in regeneration, the Father "teaches" people about his Son? Not the Hardshells. Who teaches that this teaching of the Father produces in the mind of his elect faith in Christ? Not the Hardshells. Who teaches that the elect "learn" something in regeneration, in this "coming to Christ"? Not the Hardshells.

They have no right to be called either "Primitive" or "Baptist" with these heretical views.

I will again challenge all the Hardshells to show me any proof from Scripture that the "coming to Christ" that is connected with the new birth is on the "sub-conscious level" and unconnected with that "faith in Christ" that comes "by the gospel." I do not want your "carnal reasonings," I want Scripture citations that say that "coming to Christ" is as you all define the phrase. I also will keep the inspired words of Paul before you constantly, who said, rhetorically, an in order to stir up the brethren in their missionary work, "how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And, how shall they hear without a preacher?"

If you, in your "vain reasonings," come up with some kind of "faith in Jesus" that does not come through hearing the message of Christ proclaimed by a messenger, it is not the "faith of God's elect." Paul is against all your "metaphysical speculations," and against all your vain attempts to make those in heathen lands, who have not heard the gospel, possessors of "faith in Christ" and people who have "come to Christ" on some "mystical" "non-cognitive" manner. Bunk!

Again, this "coming to Christ" is, as the Baptists I have cited above aver, a "mental" act," and an "act of the will," that fulfills the words of the Psalmist who said, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."

Michael Gowens wrote:

"The primary issue at stake might be defined by the question, “Does God employ the use of external means in the eternal salvation of sinners? Is grace mediated to the sinner through human agency? Does the church play an instrumental role in eternal salvation?” Those answering in the affirmative were loosely and informally termed “means” Baptists, and those responding in the negative were labeled "antimeans" Baptists."

And again he writes:

"The position that Christianity, whether through the preaching of the gospel or the receiving of the ordinances, is the medium (or means) of salvation must necessarily answer the question, “How were men saved prior to the age of the Church?”

Yet again, the “means of grace” view would deny salvation to everyone who is unable to process propositional truth. If the mind must receive and affirm the basic facts of the gospel message as the instrument of personal salvation, then how might those who are cognitively incapacitated to process rational thought be saved?


And again:

"Those who affirm the “external means of grace” position tend to explain these cases in terms of “exceptions to the rule”. Deceased infants, people with...some form of brain injury, are extraordinary cases and God has provided an exception (so they say) for them. But I wonder how such an argument squares with John 3:8, a verse that plainly teaches that everyone who is born again is born again the same way. I suggest that every sinner that is saved, whether he possesses intellectual capacity or not (and whatever his age or level of personal maturity) is an extraordinary case of God’s amazing grace."

It is absurd and illogical to say that everyone is an "extraordinary case." To say "extraordinary case" implies that there is an "ordinary" case. If what Gowens said is right, then all the elect are saved in an "ordinary" way and none in an "extraordinary" way! Now, seeing he claims to be an "Old" and an "Original" Baptist, why is he diametrically opposite, in his sentiments above, on the infant and the idiot, to what was believed by the English and American Baptists, as expressed in the London and Philadelphia Confessions of Faith? Did they share his view? Did they believe that everyone was regenerated precisely alike? NO! They even used the terms Gowens abhors, "ordinaray" and "extraordinary"!

Also, why not answer those "Hardshell Buster" questions dealing with this topic? If all are regenerated the same way, why would they not all either be born again in infancy or born again as Paul on the Damascus Road?

Also, why cannot the Spirit AND the Bride both say "come" to the heart of the sinner? Why cannot both be said to speak this divine imperative which is the cause of sinners coming to take the "water of life" and living therby? Why does the Spirit saying "come" exclude the Bride saying the same? Can the Spirit not say that in unison with the Bride? In such a case, would the Spirit not be the Father in the birth and the Church the Mother? Oh yes, but Hardshells have no "mother" in this birth, even though they make everything in the natural birth to apply in the spiritual birth. The calling of the Spirit is the efficient cause but the calling of the Bride is instrumental in it. Yea, the Spirit speaks through the Bride, speaks through the messengers of the gospel that he sends.

He writes further:

"Our insistence that the saving work of Jesus Christ is directly applied by the sovereign and immediate work of the Holy Spirit begs the question, “How, then, should such passages that speak of human instrumentality and the use of means be interpreted?” I answer, they should be interpreted in terms of means by which the child of God is equipped to live the life of Christian discipleship.

But, you do not tell people to interpret by the "context," but simply tell them to apply your man-made rule that says, "any passage that has conditions or means attached is not eternal (regardless of the context) and any passage that does not seem to have conditions or means attached may be safely interpreted as dealing with regeneration and eternal salvation."

That is a clear case of taking non-Biblical premises and propositions to to the Bible rather than acquiring them from the Bible. Let me ask the Hardshells to produce their "premise" from the Bible. Where is it said, no salvation that depends on means or the wills of the regenerated is not eternal salvation"?

Gowens writes further:

"Scripture plainly teaches that people are brought to believe in Christ through the agency of gospel preaching: “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed?” (1 Cor. 3:5); “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (Jno. 17:20; cf. Eph. 1:13; Jno. 1:7). We do not deny that the child of God is brought to evangelical faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by means of the preaching of the gospel. It is the gospel that spells out the details of our Lord’s identity as the Son of God, the incarnation, virgin birth, vicarious death, bodily resurrection, glorious ascension, heavenly session, and triumphant return. These great facts are not known apart from God’s special revelation in the gospel."

In view of the above, I ask; how can they "come to Christ" for "life" without "believing on him" in the manner laid out in the gospel of John? Gowens admits that one can be an "unbeliever," one who does not "know" Christ, nor has "come to him" with the heart, mind and understanding, and yet who is nevertheless "regenerated" and has "life." Yet, "he who does not have the Son," wrote John, "does not have life." (See I John 5:12)

He admits that God uses his ministers of the word to "create" faith in Christ. Does this take away from this being God's "creation"? Is "faith" not "begotten" of God according to John? (5:4)

Here is a striking statement from Gowens:

"The sinner does not come to Christ to get salvation."

(See his article "Born Again: The Doctrine of Effectual Calling")

Can you believe that a man who professes to believe the Bible would say that? Is that not against what Christ taught in the passages cited at the outset of this chapter? I know that Gowens would admit that the "coming" of those verses relates to "regeneration." He is one who also argues that only PB's interpret correctly on the uses of the word "saved" in the Bible. They argue that "context" tells them "when" to interpret a verse as relating to "temporal salvation" and which to "eternal salvation." I have shown already how this is but wishful thinking for they mutilate "context." They certainly do it here in John 6 for obviously "coming to Christ" is equated with "believing" on him, on his words, on "learning" from the Father.

He says again:

"The effectual call is a call to eternal salvation; the gospel call is a call to repentance and faith (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 17:30; Acts 20:21; Acts 26:20). The effectual call is a call to sonship; the gospel call is a call to discipleship. God speaks directly in the effectual call; God speaks through men in the gospel call. The effectual call is always obeyed; the gospel call is frequently disobeyed, shunned, and resisted. The effectual call is a creation; the gospel call is a communication. The effectual call is directed to the dead; the gospel call is directed to the living. The effectual call is an internal call; the gospel call is an external appeal. The effectual call produces life (2 Tim. 1:9); the gospel call produces light (2 Tim. 1:10). The sinner responds involuntarily in the effectual call (like Lazarus). The gospel call, however, calls for a voluntary, decisive response ("...harden not your hearts" - Heb. 3:15). The conclusive testimony of Scripture is that the effectual call precedes the gospel call and that the effectual call gives a man spiritual life, while the gospel call gives a man knowledge and understanding. This distinction between regeneration and gospel conversion is essential."

All this is well and good so far as it goes, but to say that the "effectual call" does not happen in conjunction with the "gospel" call is against the Bible and the Old Baptist Confessions of Faith. Let me cite the old circular letter written by that real Old Baptist, Elder John Gano, on behalf of the Old Philadelphia Association.

“The Circular Letter of 1784, written by Elder John Gano, is upon the tenth chapter of the Confession of Faith–“Effectual Calling.” Under the sub-section, dealing with “Its Efficacy,” he writes:

“It is effectual to bring the subjects of it to a piercing sense of their guilt and impurity."

But, the Hardshells do not believe that those who are effectually called "sense" anything! Recall that Sarrels says that regeneration "produces no internal sensations." Gowens says no "belief" of any kind is connected with it!

Gano continues, saying:

"The mind is deeply convicted...the soul is affected with a view of its sinfulness and malignity of sin in its nature, as entirely opposed to the holy law of God; hence arises an abhorrence of sin, as vile and odious, and a sense of its demerit as deserving eternal death. This call produces a consciousness of the absolute impossibility of our contributing in the least towards a recovery from this wretched condition, and destroys all confidence of help in the flesh. It is a call to Christ, and gives a view of Him in His suitableness and ability as a Savior; the merit of His obedience and sacrifice, and the treasures of His grace are all suitable are all brought into view, which creates desires of an interest in Him, and resolutions of looking unto and relying wholly upon Him for salvation; at the same time cordially acknowledging desert of rejection from Him, and yet strengthened to rely entirely upon and surrender all unto the disposal of Christ; setting to our seal that God is true; believing the record He has given of His Son, which is eternal life, and that this life is in His Son. The changes produced are from darkness to light, from bondage to liberty, from alienation and estrangedness to Christ to a state of nearness and fellowship with Him and His saints.” (Hassell, page 564, 565)

Now it is easy to see that Gowens' views on "effectual calling" are not in keeping with the first Baptists in this country believed. Gano represents the beliefs of the Baptists of his time. I could also cite at length here the writings of John Gill in his "Body of Divinity," wherein he states that the "internal" and "external" calls are both required to bring about the "effectual calling," both "regeneration" and "conversion."

According to Gowens a man who has been "effectually called" has NOT been called to either "faith" or to "repentance"! Also, according to what he wrote above on the distinctions between the "gospel call" and the "internal call of the Spirit," a man who is "called" to "faith and repentance" has not been "called to salvation" thereby! According to him the "call to sonship" is not a "call to discipleship." A man then may be a "sheep" and yet never do any "following" of Christ! We see how far removed his view of the call of God through the gospel and the power of the Holy Ghost is from that of Elder Gano and the real Old Baptists.

If one will study this matter a little more deeply he will see that one cannot have "come to Christ" who does not "come after him." There is initial "coming," as when the sheep first here the "voice" of the Shepherd, but they do not stop hearing that voice! Rather, they continue to hear it! And, they also continue to "follow" the "voice of the shepherd." Will our modern Hardshells say that they are no longer hearing the "voice" of Christ? And, if they say they do, in what manner are they hearing that "voice" post regeneration?

It is interesting too that the citation giving the writing of John Gano in the circular letter was from Hardshell "historian" Sylvestor Hassell. Even more interesting is the fact that Hassell again does what he is accustomed to do in his "history." He stops his citations just short of sentences which go contrary to him and his Hardshell views. Here is some from the rest of Gano's circular letter that Hassell conviently left out (in brackets).

"I. The call. This is an act of sovereign grace, which flows from the everlasting love of God, and, is such as irresistible impression made by the Holy Spirit upon the human soul, as to effect a blessed change. [This impression or call is sometimes immediate, as in the instance of Paul and others; though more ordinarily through the instrumentality of the word and providence of God.]" p. 227
(Baptist History Collection CD 1.0 from Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. & sent to me by Brother Robert Vaughn)

The following is on "Biblical Hermenuetics" from Gowens.

"For instance, the verb "to save" in Ephesians 2:8 refers to salvation from sin in the basic theological sense. If that definition, however, is inserted into another verse, say, I Timothy 2:15 ('Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing...'), a contradiction emerges between the two verses, for Ephesians 2:8 teaches that salvation is by grace and I Timothy 2:15 teaches that salvation is in the process of parenting. Does 1 Timothy 2 refer to the same kind of salvation as Ephesians 2? Obviously not. The salvation of 1 Timothy 2:15 must be interpreted in terms of its immediate context."

I will have occasion in upcoming chapters to examine Brother Gowens' and his Hardshell brethren relative to whether they do properly "interpret" the Scriptures, whether they in fact "rightly divide the word of truth" as they claim, and whether or not they interpret "strictly by the context," and whether their overall "hermeneutics" are sound or not.

What is there in the "context" of John 5 & 6 that leads one to think that "coming to Christ" is not done with the mind and the understanding, that it is not connected with faith in Christ and his gospel message of salvation? If one paid close attention to the "context" he would not take Hardshell view on what it means to "come to Christ" for "life" and "salvation."

Here is what Elder Samuel Trott, Hardshell founding father, wrote about "faith" and "salvation" and about "coming to Christ."

"That the dead faith, cannot be the faith which is of the operation of God, I think every child of grace will admit. Of course, it can be nothing more than an exercise of the natural mind. The living faith has, as already noticed, a controlling power over the mind, bringing it with all its powers into submission, to the will of God; it is still nothing but a dead faith. It has no spiritual life, and therefore produces no spiritual action, nor makes any true application of the consolations of the gospel."

Here it seems that Trott believed, like the Philadelphia Confession, which he endorsed (at least till he became an anti mission Hardshell), what all sound Baptists believe today. He says that "faith" is the product of the "operation of God." This faith controls the mind, and brings the mind, the heart, and the will into submission to God.

This is not what today's Hardshells believe about "saving faith," or "living faith," the faith God creates in the hearts of all his elect. He also believed that this "faith" produced "spiritual action." That certainly is contrary to modern Hardshell views on "regeneration" and on that kind of "faith" that comes with it. They rather believe that there are "no actions produced" or incited in the work and act of "regeneration." Trott also believed, at least in this citation, that the "faith" that is "alive" is one that has had an "application of the consolations of the gospel" made to it.

I consider the above remarks very contradictory and can only owe the reason to the fact that his views, like his cohort Beebe, were evolving and so in a state of flux for awhile. Today's 5th generation Hardshells are more precise in their remarks on faith, repentance, conversion, and regeneration. However, they say less that is truthful. I lay this to the fact that the closer back the Hardshells go in their attachment to the Old Confessions the nearer the speak the truth about these things. The further the Hardshells have gotten away from those old Confessions the less their language is correct on faith, repentance, and the new birth. They began to take "reactionary views" on these topics so they could "put teeth into" their opposition to missions.

He says further:

"Many of the children of God, at this day, I have no doubt, go for years, without any special exercise of this living faith; other than in its exercise towards the one great object which is necessary to their being known as believers, namely: its exercise in apprehending the blood and righteousness of Christ, as our plea at the throne of grace, and the ground of our hope of acceptance with God. But the inquiry may further be made, Whence is this living faith, and how is it brought into exercise? It is a spiritual exercise, as before shown, and can therefore be the actings only of the spiritual life of the believer."

He says:

He seems to be caught in a trap here in his explanations about "faith." He at first wants to say a person has "faith" but who has not yet "exercised it." I have heard this argued by modern Hardshells too. He also does not want to say a man has "faith" without that "faith" having an "object." So he says:

"...the one great object which is necessary to their being known as believers, namely: its exercise in apprehending the blood and righteousness of Christ..."

Here he seems to intimate, like modern Hardshells, that one can have a "dormant" kind of "faith" until the day when the Lord is pleased to bring it forth from its hidden state of dormancy" by the gospel. He seems to do as does Beebe and split up the experience of the "new birth" into "stages," as in natural birth.

He says:

"But the Holy Ghost, who knoweth the will of God, knoweth when to call forth the exercises of faith to apprehend Christ as our salvation, Faith must have an object to be believed, set before it. The word of God is the proper object of faith. And by the word of God, I do not understand the scriptures, as such, although they are the proper standard by which to know what is the word of God; but I mean by it, the special application of some portion of scripture to us as a promise, a command, a consolation, or as instruction in doctrine or practice, so that we receive it as the word of God, entering our hearts with power. Now as the scriptures are thus applied by the Holy Spirit, faith is called forth and we believe. Thus when the revelation of Christ Jesus is made to the regenerated person, then he believes, and cannot before. And thus when it is the pleasure of God to bestow some special blessing upon any of His children, He gives them to ask for it in faith frequently, and when we so ask we have the assurance of His hearing us, and therefore of receiving what we ask. See I John 5:14,15."

Here he seems to mix the new Hardshell ideas with those which he was taught from the Old Philadelphia Confession. He seems to believe that the gospel only "calls forth" a dormant kind of "faith" in someone who is "regenerated," but who has not yet had that faith directed to a proper object. Yes, he is contradictory in the above statements. How is that? Well, first he says that for "faith" to be "faith," it MUST HAVE AN OBJECT. Yet, if that is true, what object does that "dormant faith" have before it is called forth in the gospel and given an object?

He writes further:

"This righteousness is our justification, faith is the eye to which it is revealed, and the gospel brings it to view; thus the gospel is called the word of faith, Rom. 10:8; and faith cometh by hearing this word; see verse 17, “So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Here Trott seems to take the view that the "coming" of this faith, by the gospel, is its coming forth from its dormant state. I have heard this view expounded before. Elder Tolley held this view. All God's children have this dormant seed faith in their souls in regeneration and then when the gospel is preached, it is called forth, made to "come" out of the person and attach itself to Christ and the gospel. But, that is not what Romans 10 is talking about. When Paul asks, "How can they believe in him of whom they have not heard," he is affirming that a man cannot have faith, in any sense, until he hears the means God has ordained for creating that faith.

He continues, saying:

"The gospel is sent to men as sinners, lying in the ruins of the first Adam, lost and condemned under the sentence of death; and proclaims and reveals the righteousness of Christ, as the justification of the ungodly; A word on faith; faith is a fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22, and so the spirit is called the spirit of faith, because we have no true faith, without it; see II Cor. 4:13, “We having the same spirit of faith,” &c. This faith is peculiar to God’’s elect, Tit. 1:1, because the gospel by which faith cometh and which is the word of faith, and which reveals the righteousness of God to faith, comes with power and the spirit, only to the elect, although the word be preached to all. See I Thes. 1:4,5, “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God; for our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” Christ taught the same where he said, “Ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep, as I said unto you, my sheep hear my voice,” &c. The faith of God’s elect has Christ and his righteousness for its object, and so its object is our justifying righteousness, and so faith as to its object, is our justification; for in this sense Christ is called faith, see Gal. 3:23,25, and so faith is declared to be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, Heb. 11:1, the substance, as to its object, and an evidence to the soul of its interest in that object; by faith really as to its object, CHRIST."

Again, if Christ be the only proper object of faith, then a man has no faith if Christ be not the object. It is admitted that Christ can only be known by the gospel. So, only those who have heard the gospel have the faith of God's elect, the faith necessary for regeneration and eternal salvation.

Trott writes further:

"We see that faith is a fruit of the Spirit, and its office is to lead the soul to Christ, and as an eye to view the righteousness of Christ revealed to it in the gospel, and as a hand to take hold on that righteousness, and build the soul on it, as a sure foundation, and cause it to rejoice in God through Christ, Now men do not feel their condemnation properly until they are quickened by the Spirit; but as soon as they are made alive they begin to feel and see, and so faith is one of the first fruits of the Spirit; it views the excellency of the divine character, and the beauty of holiness, and begins to pant for the living God.

Again, what Old Baptist cannot accept this? But notice how he spoils all he says above we these next words following the above:

"Although the awakened sinner now has faith; its eye is not directed to Christ, but he now sees the glory and justice of God, and the purity of the law, and by the law he has a knowledge of sin; and so he begins to abhor himself and repent; he looks at himself in his fallen state, in relation to the first Adam, and sees that he is a condemned criminal; he reads the law, it sentences him to death and condemnation, and as he is wedded to a covenant of works, and sees not his relation to Christ, he begins to try to reform and keep the law, and work for life; and however long he may work under this legal persuasion, he finds but a poor reward, and at length he finds that all his plans are thwarted, and he is like the woman in the gospel that had spent all she had with physicians, and had got nothing better, but rather grew worse. Now the quickened sinner sees what he is in himself, and in relation to the first Adam, and that in this relation he is condemned to death, and can never be justified by any work or sacrifice in his power; all his hopes of obtaining salvation by the deeds of the law, gives up the ghost, for sin now appears exceedingly sinful, and it takes an occasion by the commandment to slay the sinner, who is ready to say, the commandment is holy, just and good, but I am carnal, sold under sin. Sin works by that which is good, and the sinner dies to all hope of ever being justified by any works of his own, and as if cut off from every other refuge, he cries, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” His expectation being cut off from everything else, he looks to God only, and falls as a pensioner on his mercy and grace, filled with the deepest sense of his condemnation, and the impossibility of being justified by the works of the law. This is his state as he stands in himself, and in relation to the first Adam, and this he clearly sees; but here the gospel reveals to faith the righteousness of God, and by faith the soul views his justification complete in the blood and righteousness of Christ; not that his faith hath justified him, but by faith he sees that which was a truth before he saw it; and his soul seems to melt like wax into the depth of humility, and yet he rejoices, he is amazed at the matchless grace of God, is almost ready to wonder he never saw this before; the fulness of Christ engages his confidence, and the sentiments of the soul is, “In the Lord have I righteousness and strength, he has become my salvation.” Now all this comfort flows from the evidence which faith bears to the soul, of its interest in and relation to Christ the second Adam; and from this view of his relation to Christ, in his death and resurrection, he builds his only hope for salvation in Christ, and this building is what is called the faith of reliance; and so it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” To live by faith is to live relying on Christ, looking to Christ, and trusting in his righteousness, faithfulness, and truth. Faith as an act, has nothing in it to comfort the soul, but it brings all its comforts from its object, and so faith, though one of the first fruits which the Spirit produces in the soul, can afford no comfort to the soul until its eye is directed to Christ, and his blood and righteousness, which the gospel reveals to it, nor even then will it afford comfort to the soul, unless it views the relation in which the soul stands to that righteousness; for we may have strong faith in Christ, as one able to save, and yet have no comfortable assurance that he will save me; as the man in the gospel had a strong faith in the ability of Christ, and said, “If thou wilt thou canst make me clean,” but when faith views him, “The Lord our righteousness,” the soul can rejoice, and say, “In the Lord have I righteousness.”

From: SIGNS of the TIMES: Vol 13 (1845)

Select Works of Elder Samuel Trott
pgs. 316 –– 323

It is a shame that Trott and Beebe did not recognize that God not only begets but brings to complete development, to complete birth, by the gospel, all the elect. He seems to intimate that by saying that "faith in Christ," which is by the gospel, is the "faith of God's elect." Modern PB's will not say that gospel faith is the faith that all God's elect will be brought to possess.

Now let me cite some verses dealing further with "coming to Christ" and "coming after Christ."

Time or Eternal Salvation?

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28-30)

On this passage let me cite the Old Baptist Dr. John Gill:

"Ver. 28. Come unto me,....Christ having signified, that the knowledge of God, and the mysteries of grace, are only to be come at through him; and that he has all things relating to the peace, comfort, happiness, and salvation of men in his hands, kindly invites and encourages souls to come unto him for the same: by which is meant, not a local coming, or a coming to hear him preach; for so his hearers, to whom he more immediately directed his speech, were come already; and many of them did, as multitudes may, and do, in this sense, come to Christ, who never knew him, nor receive any spiritual benefit by him: (LIKE THOSE "REGENERERATED INFANTS OR HEATHEN?) nor is it a bare coming under the ordinances of Christ, submission to baptism, or an attendance at the Lord's supper, the latter of which was not yet instituted; and both may be performed by men, who are not yet come to Christ: but it is to be understood of believing in Christ, the going of the soul to him, in the exercise of grace on him, of desire after him, love to him, faith and hope in him: believing in Christ, and coming to him, are terms synonymous, Joh 6:35. Those who come to Christ aright, come as sinners, to a full, suitable, able, and willing Saviour; venture their souls upon him, and trust in him for righteousness, life, and salvation, which they are encouraged to do, by this kind invitation; which shows his willingness to save, and his readiness to give relief to distressed minds. The persons invited, are not "all" the individuals of mankind, but with a restriction,

all ye that labour, and are heavy laden; meaning, not these who are labouring in the service of sin and Satan, are laden with iniquity, and insensible of it: these are not weary of sin, nor burdened with it; not do they want or desire any rest for their souls; but such who groan, being burdened with the guilt of sin upon their consciences, and are pressed down with the unsupportable yoke of the law, and the load of human traditions; and have been labouring till they are weary, in order to obtain peace of conscience, and rest for their souls, by the observance of these things, but in vain. These are encouraged to come to him, lay down their burdens at his feet, look to, and lay hold by faith on his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; when they should enjoy that true spiritual consolation, which could never be attained to by the works of the law.

And I will give you rest; spiritual rest here, peace of conscience, ease of mind, tranquillity of soul, through an application of pardoning grace, a view of free justification by the righteousness of Christ, and full atonement of sin by his sacrifice; and eternal rest hereafter, in Abraham's bosom, in the arms of Jesus, in perfect and uninterrupted communion with Father, Son, and Spirit."


I do not think any Hardshell will endorse what Gill here says.

He writes further upon the taking up of the "yoke of Christ."

"Their sense I take to be this, that a man must first make a profession of his faith in the God of Israel, and then live conformably to his law: agreeably to this, Christ exhorts such persons who come to him for rest and happiness, to profess their faith in him, to embrace the doctrines of the Gospel, to submit to his ordinances, and to walk according to those laws, commands, and orders, which he, as king of saints, has made, and requires obedience to: so those who come to him for life, and believe in him, as the Saviour of their souls, though they are not to trust in, and depend upon any duties performed by them; yet they are not to sit still, or lay aside the performance of good works, or live a licentious course of life, but are always to be doing the will and work of their Lord. And this he calls "his yoke", in distinction from the yoke of the law of Moses, and of the traditions of the elders." (Commentary on Matthew)

How contrary are these views to the following expressed by Beebe on the same passage.

"We have received a communication from the north, over the signature, “A Friend of Truth,” desiring our views in regard to what are called the invitations of the gospel; whether they are addressed indiscriminately to sinners or exclusively to the quickened children of God. We learn from the letter that some of our esteemed brethren are differing seriously on the subject. Such passages as Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” etc. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” The marriage of the king’s son: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Also the first and eighth of Proverbs. Some brethren take the position that these are invitations to sinners indiscriminately, and others contend that these are invitations addressed only to the children of God.

In giving our views we beg leave to differ, very respectfully, however, from both parties. We deny that there are any invitations, either in the law or gospel, to saints or sinners. We think that a little reflection on the subject will satisfy all honest inquirers after truth that it would be altogether incompatible with the eternal perfections of Jehovah to issue invitations to any of His creatures.

First. We will remark that none of the communications from God to men are anywhere in the Bible called invitations, and it is therefore speculative and idle to argue theologically a position or question which has no scriptural foundation, and therefore, like the endless genealogies and questions about the law, which the apostle warns us against, is only calculated to gender strife, but cannot edify or comfort the family of God.

Second. An invitation is a complimentary request or message from a party having, and claiming to have, no authority to enforce the request, or message, which concedes to the party invited the undisputed right to respectfully decline the invitation, leaving it entirely optional with the party invited to accept or decline without transcending his right.

Third. All those who have been brought to a saving knowledge of God will admit that He speaks the word, and it stands fast; He commands and it is done. “Where the word of a king is, there is power,” and God is the King eternal, and the word that proceeds from Him shall not return unto Him void of the work whereunto He hath sent it. Even the carnal Jews perceived that our Redeemer spake as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Should the writer of these remarks receive a card of invitation from the President of these States, or from the Governor of New York, the fact of its being an invitation guarantees the right to accept or decline without involving a wrong or a crime in doing either. But should either the President or Governor, as chief magistrate of the nation or the State, send an authoritative message to any citizen, summoning him to be or appear at any place, that message would be clothed with all the authority and power of the magistrate from whom it issues; but it could not be regarded as an invitation, because it does not concede to the party to whom it is addressed any right to decline or disobey its authority.

Will any of our brethren contend that when the God of heaven peremptorily says to the seed of Israel, “Seek ye my face,” that they have a right to disobey or regard it only as a mere invitation? If He says to them, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else,” does this imply that the people thus addressed have the same right to decline it as an invitation to obey it as a sovereign mandate from the throne of God? Since God has commanded men to look to him for salvation, have they a right to look anywhere else for that salvation? If there be any authority implied in the address it destroys the nature of the invitation. Indeed, we cannot, without detraction from a proper sense of the eternal power and majesty of Jehovah, entertain the preposterous idea that He deals in invitations to any of His creatures in heaven, earth or hell. All His words are big with power and high in authority; He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will, and submits nothing to the volition of any of His creature’s wills. But in regards to the passages referred to, they bear the impress of His divine authority; they can none of them be disregarded or disobeyed. The passage referred to, Isaiah 45:22 is a sovereign command to the seed of Jacob scattered to the ends of the earth, to look to Him for salvation, because He is God, and beside Him there is no Savior. All who looked anywhere else, or to any other being, or to themselves, for salvation, were not only guilty of disobedience, but also of idolatry.

The passage, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,” etc. is sufficiently clear and explicit. It is addressed to all who labor and are heavy laden, and to no others; and whenever and wherever these words are applied by the Holy Spirit to any poor, laboring, heavy laden sinner, that sinner will as surely come to Jesus as it is sure that the dead will rise when the voice of God calls them forth. The dead neither labor nor are they heavy laden, they slumber unconsciously in their graves; and all men are dead in sin, and as destitute of spiritual vitality until they are quickened by the Spirit, as the body of Lazurus was of natural life before Jesus raised him from the grave. But as soon as a sinner is quickened by the Holy Ghost he becomes a laborer, and is burdened with a heavy weight of guilt, and such are called to Jesus and find rest to their souls in bearing His yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light. To take the yoke of Jesus is to come under His law, to be baptized in His name and be yoked together in communion and fellowship with His disciples in all the privileges of the church of God. But are the unregenerated called to be baptized and identify themselves with the church of God? Philip did not so understand it when he said to the Eunuch, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” (Acts 8:37) None but believers are called or commanded to be baptized and come under the yoke of Jesus, for they must first be delivered from the yoke of Moses, the yoke of bondage."


MIDDLETOWN, NY
MARCH 1, 1863

He writes again in a separate article in discussing the question of "universal invitations in the gospel."

"An esteemed and dear friend who has long been held in captivity among the New School Baptists, has recently withdrawn from their communion, writes us that there is still one point of difference in which she cannot yet feel satisfied that the Old order of Baptists are right, and that is the point which we are now discussing; namely, that our pastors confine their addresses to the churches, or in other words, do not preach the gospel to sinners..."

And again:

"First, we will correct a misapprehension of the position and practice of the ministers of our order. While we believe and preach the gospel, as Christ and his apostles did, wherever a door is open for that purpose, openly addressing our preaching to every one within the sound of our voice, the gospel which we preach discriminates between the living and the dead. It is a savor of life unto life, to those who are quickened by the Holy Ghost, and a savor of death unto death, to them that perish. It is "to the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." And if our preaching is not a savor of death unto death to the ungodly, and a stumbling block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Greeks, and if it be not a savor of life to the quickened, and if it be not to them that are called, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God, then it is not apostolic preaching. Who ever knew an Old School Baptist to refuse to preach the gospel to any but saints? We cannot search the hearts or try the reins of those to whom we preach; but the word which we preach makes the discrimination; for it is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:12,13. The gospel which we preach is good tidings to the meek; but if any part of our audience are not meek, it is not gospel, or good tidings to them. All who have an ear to hear, are more than welcome to hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. But if any have not hearing ears, the preachers cannot supply them; for the hearing ear and understanding heart are of the Lord. The Son of God alone has power to cause the dead to hear his voice and live; for the words which he speaks to them, they are spirit, and they are life. Therefore his sheep hear his voice, and he knows them, and they follow him; for he gives to them eternal life, and they shall never perish. He, and he alone has power over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him. All this the Old Baptists preach to every creature. But we do not give the children's bread to any but the children, nor do we give what belongs to the dogs to the children."

This article is from "Signs of the Times," -February 15, 1869.

Hardshells lay down this proposition, another one they take to the Bible rather than getting from the Bible.

Hassell writes:

"Though man has fallen and become unable to obey the commandments of God, the nature and law and requirements of God are unchanged and unchangeable. The gospel addresses of the Scriptures are addressed, we believe, to gospel characters—to those persons who have spiritual life, hearing, needs and appetites. These limitations are either directly expressed or implied by the circumstances. Even the letter of the word, where there is any fullness of narration, and the dictates of common sense teach this important fact. Inspired men could, far better than we, read the hearts of those whom they addressed; and they addressed hearers of different characters, and there­fore used sometimes the imperative and sometimes the indicative mood. God’s under-shepherds are directed, not to create, but to tend the flock. I cannot conceive what benefit can be supposed by a believer in sovereign and efficacious grace to be derived from universally and untruthfully extending the comforting spiritual addresses of the gospel to those declared in the Scriptures to be dead in trespasses and sins—Christ expressly forbids that pearls should be cast before swine (Matt. 7:6). Unless the Spirit of God first come and impart Divine life and light to the hearer, such addresses will be forever and totally vain. The imperative mood has no more power than the indicative mood, in the mouth of a preacher, to awaken the dead to life. No language or labor of man, and no fact in creation or providence, independently of the Divine Spirit, has the slightest efficacy to take away the sinner’s heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh. I do not deny that the minister may at times have a Divine persuasion that some of his hearers are spiritually alive, and that he may not then properly address them in the imperative mood."

Every Hardshell upholds this proposition as given by Hassell in the above citation:

"The gospel addresses of the Scriptures are addressed, we believe, to gospel characters—to those persons who have spiritual life..."

Certainly John Gill did not take this view in regard to Matt. 11:28-30. The Old Baptists who wrote the first Baptist Confessions also did not take the view of Hassell and the Hardshells on "gospel invitations."

I will be showing the unscripturalness and how un-Baptistic are the views of the Hardshells on the "invitations" given in the Bible to the lost when I get into the chapter on the addresses and preaching done to the lost in the Bible.

But, I deny, as did both Gill and Fuller that such invitations as given in Matthew 11:28-30 are "to those who are already saved and regenerated."

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." (16:24-27; See also Mark 8:34 & Luke 9:23)

As I said earlier, to come to Christ is as much the work of God as is coming after Christ, of following him. As the elect do not cease hearing the "voice" of Christ after regeneration, but continue to hear and follow it, so those who have come to Christ will continue to come to him the rest of their lives and will not fail to follow after him. The sheep want to be near the Shepherd and will not feel safe away from him.

The above is a difficult passage for the Hardshells. There is no reasonable way to make the consequences of not following Christ, in the above passage, anything less than eternal condemnation. A man "loses his soul" by not "coming to" and "following Christ." Conversion is necessary for salvation.

"And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." (Mark 10:13-16)

I know the Hardshells want to make these "young children" infants newly born, but they cannot be such because they are described as being old enough to be encouraged to "come to Christ" and of being old enough to be "forbidden" of doing things. A young child receives the kingdom just as every adult, through faith in Christ and in the gospel.

"Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." (10:21)

Yes, I know, the Hardshells will try to say that this rich young ruler was already saved and born again, but just did not know it. I wonder, however, why Christ did not simply tell him that? When the ruler asked, "what must I do to have eternal life," Christ should have said, if he were of the Hardshells faith, "your asking that question proves you already have eternal life." And yet, Jesus connected the obtaining of eternal life with "coming to" him, with "taking up the cross" of a disciple, and "following" Christ as one of his sheep.

"My sheep hear my voice AND THEY FOLLOW ME." This "following" and "voice hearing" is not something that happens only upon initial regeneration, as most Hardshells will affirm, but is characteristic of the life of the believer from regeneration till death.

"And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:23-27)

Again, this is not what Hardshells teach. A man does not even have to be a Christian to be a born again child of God! He may follow some other Savior other than Jesus and yet he is still one who it can be said, came to Jesus! Brother, you put that "logic" in a bird and it will fly backwards. Those who reject the gospel invitations to come to Christ and follow after him, to be his disciple, will not have eternal life, will not sit with Christ and sup with him throughout the ages of eternity. They will not inherit the kingdom of God, the place where this sumptious feasting will take place for those who have come to Christ for salvation.

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)

Here it is a coming to God rather than to Jesus. But, really, it is all the same experience. One who comes to God comes to Christ and it is impossible that it be any other way. Yes, I realize that Hardshells do not believe this, but rather believe that one can "come to God" but not "come to Jesus." It is an absurd idea and so opposed to what Jesus constantly taught in the gospel of John. One cannot come to the Father without coming to the Son, and vice versa.

"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Rev. 22:17)

I have already commented upon these words of Christ and spoken of what they teach to us. This "Bride" is our "mother" for we are begotten by the gospel that the Church of Christ has continued to proclaim. The Church and its ministers are "messengers" and "ambassadors" of Christ and so they, with power and authority, "speak in Christ's room and stead," as if Christ himself were speaking. That is what Paul taught about true messengers of the gospel. When they say to men, "be you reconciled to God," it is as if Christ himself were saying it to men himself.

The "thirstiness of soul" in this passage is not an evidence of spiritual life. John Gill did not believe such, nor did the Old Baptists prior to the rise of the Hardshells. Men suffer daily perishing of soul from their sins.

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet." (John 7:37,38)

There is no way that any Hardshell can honestly affirm that everyone who was present at this great Jewish feast were born again children of God. I don't think any will even attempt to make that case. But, if all to whom he spoke, at this feast, were not born again children of God, then Christ's invitation to come to him was universal.

It is ludicrous to think that he is inviting to come to him those who have already come to him, who have already eaten and drunk of Christ, who have already received the Spirit. It is very clear to all unbiased minds that the invitation of Christ is to all to come to him for salvation and eternal life.

Chapter 20 - Direct Voice Speaking (Historical)

In this chapter I will deal with another novel idea relative to the "Primitive Baptists." I have already mentioned their novel idea about "time salvation." I have shown that this was an "invention" in doctrine, in Bible "interpretation" relative to soteriological passages of scripture, and that it was created out of necessity in order to deal with those numerous passages that connect "faith" and "gospel means" with salvation. Thus a passage that connected "hearing the gospel" (or word of God) with the creation of "faith" and for "salvation," would need to be reworked and re-edited and shown to deal not with "eternal" salvation but with only some "temporal salvation"; thus, by "interpreting" certain passages in that manner they could thereby deny to them any connection with "eternal" salvation. By referring a host of scriptures that have historically been interpreted as dealing with "eternal" salvation to some "timely deliverance" they helped to inoculate (at least in their own minds) themselves against the charge of being "opposed to preaching the gospel." By this novel idea the Hardshells now had a "sophisticated" defense of their aberrant "Spirit Alone" views of "regeneration." If one interprets the words saved, salvation, deliverance, in their normal, ordinary, predominant, and scriptural usage, he will discover that they are overwhelmingly a reference to eternal salvation.

The novel idea of "time salvation," though suitable enough for some passages of scripture, in "getting around" their clear support of gospel means, yet it was not sufficient for every passage. These other passages, with their obvious prima facia support for gospel means, had to be dealt with by another method other than pigeon holing it into the "time salvation" category.

So, in those passages that speak of being "saved" and "born again" by "hearing the word" or "voice of God," or "voice of Christ," and where the result is clearly "life," from "spiritual death," as in John 5:25, another kind of method of "interpreting" them had to be formulated, another way of "getting around" them had to be invented in order to show that though they seemed to teach the instrumentality of the word of the gospel, they did not do so in fact. This other novel idea has come to be called the "DIRECT VOICE" or "DIRECT SPEAKING" method of regeneration.

This is a new idea among the Baptists and it seems to have been an idea first formulated by Hardshell founding father, Gilbert Beebe. Here is what Brother Bob Ross wrote about the matter.

Ross on Beebe

"Gilbert Beebe (1800-1881), editor of the Signs of the Times magazine, the foremost Anti-mission periodical following the 1832 split, was perhaps the first one -- at least, one of the first -- to propagate this new theory of "direct speaking" regeneration. He says:

"The word of the Lord, which is Spirit, and which is life, which liveth and abideth forever, is that by which regeneration is affected; not MERELY by the Scriptures in their LETTER, not reading or preaching them, but the words which Jesus himself SPEAKS to the individual persons who are made to hear and live." [Compilation of Editorial Articles, Vol. IV, pages 21, 22].

This theory gives precedence of power to the spoken words of Christ, which He supposedly speaks directly to the individual. Notice that the "speaking," according to Beebe, PRECEDES the "hearing" and the "life." This would mean that Christ speaks to the "dead alien sinner" BEFORE the sinner is "alive." Therefore, the Word of Christ is addressed to the "dead," yet the Hardshells object to the Baptist position that the Gospel, or Word, is to be preached to the "dead," and is accompanied by the Holy Spirit in pursuance of God's sovereign purpose in effectual calling.

This means that the INSPIRED written Word of God does not have the same power of the Holy Spirit in, upon, or with that Word to the same extent as the Word spoken by Christ has power!

Claud H. Cayce, editor of The Primitive Baptist in the first part of the 20th century, would represent the view of the "conditionalist" faction of Primitives, or "Old Schoolers," when he says:


"Sinners receive eternal life, are regenerated, just one way. The Lord SPEAKS to them as He did to Saul of Tarsus when he was on his journey from Jerusalem to Damascus, and when He SPEAKS to the dead sinner he IMPARTS LIFE. He regenerates the sinner. 'The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life,' says the Redeemer." [Selected Editorials From The Primitive Baptist, Vol. I, page 194].

According to the Scriptures, Jesus preached the Gospel (Luke 4:16-21). Is the Gospel a part of the "WORDS" spoken by Christ which are "SPIRIT" and "LIFE"? Is this not the SAME Gospel that was preached by Peter, Paul, and the Apostles -- the "Words" of Christ which are "SPIRIT" and "LIFE"? Is not this SAME Gospel recorded in the Scriptures by the INSPIRATION of the Holy Spirit? Is not this Gospel "the WORD that goeth forth out of My mouth" (Isa. 55:11)? Is this Word void of spirit and life in its SPIRIT-INSPIRED WRITTEN FORM?

Evidently, the Hardshell doctrine is that the Gospel is "spirit and life" when Jesus personally speaks the Word, but the Gospel is void of "spirit and life" in its SPIRIT-INSPIRED WRITTEN FORM!


If Jesus speaks this Gospel DIRECTLY to the dead alien sinner, then it is "spirit and life;" but when Peter and Paul spoke the SAME Gospel in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit which was "sent down from Heaven" (1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Cor. 2:4; 1 Peter 1:12), this SPIRIT-INSPIRED WORD which proceeded out of the mouth of the Lord (Matt 4:4) does not have "spirit and life," according to the Hardshell theory. The only time this Gospel has "spirit and life," according to the Hardshells, is when Jesus Himself speaks it directly to the dead alien sinner! When preached by Peter and Paul it was only to "comfort" those who had already been regenerated -- that is, if Hardshellism is true.

We believe the fact is, this is merely a distortion of the experience of Paul, misused by Hardshells in their effort to convince themselves and others of their notion that the Holy Spirit of God does not bless the Gospel to the dead alien sinner in producing the new birth. We who have been born again under Gospel preaching do not have the same identical experiences, but we do know something about how it was that we became Christians. We hardly had the type of experience that Paul had, nor that the thief on the cross had, nor that Simon Peter had -- and I have yet to meet a Christian who claims such an experience. We don't believe the Lord speaks directly to the sinner, but we do believe that the SAME GOSPEL comes to us in the SAME POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT that the Gospel came to Paul. Whether it is spoken by Jesus, by Peter, by Paul, or read in the Bible, it is the SAME WORD OF GOD that is blessed by the SPIRIT OF GOD and it produces the NEW BIRTH.


This is the Old Baptist doctrine of our Confessions. This is the true primitive Baptist Gospel."

(From HISTORY AND HERESIES OF HARDSHELLISM, #6 [05/11--2006)

Brother Ross writes further:

"In the course of these chapters, it will be noted, Hardshells have no Baptist writings prior to the 1800's which affirm the type of doctrine they believe as to the New Birth, Effectual Calling, the Work of the Holy Spirit, and the "Place of the Gospel," or the Truth, in relation to the Spirit's work."

(From HISTORY AND HERESIES OF HARDSHELLISM, #2 [04/24--2006] - some emphasis mine)

Thus, from what has been written above, we have a definition of what is the theory of "Direct Voice" and from one who seems to be the first, or one of the first, to promote this new and novel idea on what it means to hear the "word" and "voice" of Christ in salvation. There are really not that many passages of Scripture where this new interpretation was viewed as needed. The Hardshell idea of "time salvation" was sufficient for most passages talking about "gospel means." But, there were some other passages where it could not be made, honestly, to deal with "time salvation"; Such passages as John 5:25, where being "raised from spiritual death" is the result of "hearing the voice of the Son of God," could not be "gotten around" with the "time salvation" tactic. So too with passages that speak of the "word of God" as a means in "regeneration," and where the "time salvation" tactic would not work successfully, they would then use the tactic of the "Direct Voice" or Direct Speaking" of Christ.

Brother Ross completely overthrew, from the Scriptures, and from common sense reasoning from it, that the Hardshell novel theory about hearing the word and voice of Christ is fraught with absurdities and contradictions, and with propositions that are untenable and not according to the Scriptures nor the Old Baptist Confessions of Faith.

I will be enlarging upon his refutation in this and the next couple chapters. I will first discuss further the "History of the Novel Theory," look at some key verses relative to the application of the theory, and mention some of the after effects of this new idea for other areas of bible doctrine, such as the false doctrines dealing with "eternal vital union," or to the "eternal children" doctrines, to the "Hollow Log" theory of "regeneration," to "Universalism" and "No-Hellism," to "soul sleep" and "non-resurrection" heresies. Besides this, they also developed a mystic, psychic, metaphysical, and emotional views relative to the leading, teaching, and guiding of the Holy Spirit.

"New Age" and "Gnostic," and other "mystic" Christian groups, like the Quakers and Shakers, or the "New Lights" of the 18th and 19th centuries, all emphasized the "direct speaking" of the Holy Spirit to individuals and therefore played down any importance given to the ministry of the word in the role of "teaching" people the doctrines of the Lord. Each individual, it was believed, by the Holy Spirit, was free to follow their own "private interpretations" of the Bible, each having their own promise of "inspiration" and of the "direct speaking" of the Lord and Holy Spirit.

Of course, no Baptist will deny that the Lord and his Spirit speaks directly to the heart of people. But, what is denied is the idea that this "speaking" does not involve words that are cognitively understood by the one to whom the words are spoken. When the Lord "speaks" to the heart and mind of a person he "communicates truth," and "imparts knowledge and understanding."

History of the Doctrine

Both Brother Ross and myself have challenged the Hardshells to produce the proof of anyone prior to Gilbert Beebe who espoused the heterodox view of "Direct Voice" or "Direct Speaking" of Christ. None have yet produced the evidence! Some, however, rather than giving us the "names" and the "proofs," say such things as these.

From Elder C. C. Morris:

"Some few years ago, a man (Brother Ross?) raised a question about whether there was “any writer among the Baptists who taught the view of "direct voice" or "direct speaking" regeneration before Elder [Gilbert] Beebe....”

By his question the man implies that Elder Gilbert Beebe, along about the year 1832, is the one who originated the doctrine of “direct regeneration.” It is not our intention in this article to prove such a writer or writers existed before Elder Beebe and to name them, but rather it is to prove the ancient, widespread, and accepted proclamation of the doctrine of regeneration without the “benefit” of human help. In so doing, the answer to this man’s question should be apparent.

Also, it has been falsely said, “There weren’t any who believed in the direct operation of the Holy Spirit before the Hardshells came along. In their opposition to Missions, the Hardshells concocted this new doctrine.”
(I think this latter citation is a reference to my writings)

Either the ones who perpetuate this falsehood are ignorant of history, or they would deliberately deceive those who are, or both. In the next few pages, we propose to look into some historical truths about the doctrine of immediate regeneration, hoping our understanding will be enlightened by the light that comes only from Christ Himself."

Is it not striking that this Elder did not simply give Brother Ross and myself the answer we want? Why did he not just cite another Elder, prior to Beebe, prior to the rise of the Hardshells, to prove we were wrong? He states that we are wrong in our charge, but he does not give us the evidence that we are wrong! If we are so wrong, where are the citations of Baptists prior to Beebe who believed as he on the "Direct Speaking" theory?

If we are "ignorant of history" then why does he not cite the sources? He does go on to cite from a work to try and prove that some Anabaptists and others perhaps believed as he does (which he does not even prove), but he never produces one historical proof that any prior to Beebe believed the "Direct Voice" view, and certainly not among the Baptists.

He said: "It is not our intention in this article to prove such a writer or writers existed before Elder Beebe and to name them."

Why not? Why not take a few minutes and name them? Who is really the "deceiver" here? Anyone with enough sense to lick a postage stamp can discern that this Elder does not have any "historical proof" that the Baptists, prior to the Hardshells, believed this new novel and aberrant view of what it means to hear Christ for salvation.

After trying to prove that there were some possible heretics among the Anabaptists who believed in "immediate" regeneration without means (which he does not do), he says:

"As we find in every century an extensive, unbroken chain of believers in the virgin birth of Christ Jesus, His deity, His effectual blood atonement, and His literal bodily resurrection, even so we find in every age those who believed in regeneration by the Holy Spirit without human intervention. The fact that many denominations besides the Old Baptists held to this doctrine of regeneration without human means or instrumentality does not militate against its truth, any more than such a fact could be used successfully to argue against the deity of our Lord, His virgin birth, His blood atonement, or His bodily resurrection.

When we cite the beliefs of the Anabaptists and the Mennonites, we are not necessarily tracing Old School Baptist “perpetuity” through them, as though we of necessity are their modern descendents and counterparts, nor are we saying that we necessarily have any other particular point in common with them. Rather, for now, we are pointing out as straightforwardly as possible that down through the ages, the belief in the Holy Spirit’s direct operation in regenerating His elect has always been far more common and widespread than our doctrinal opponents suppose or will admit."


(Elder C. C. Morris - http://www.the-remnant.com/backissue10.htm)

Again, he gave no long list, or chain, of those who have believed Hardshell ideas on the new birth and gospel means. Why claim there is such a "chain of witnesses" and then not gives us some names in that chain? Why not cite some Baptist sources? Why not cite the London and Philadelphia Confessions? Why not quote some leading Elder in the 1700s, like John Gill or John Gano? Why not some some pre-1800 association minutes or circular letters?

Let me now cite another Hardshell who trys to say the same thing, without any evidence whatsoever, saying that there have been great men down through the ages of the church who held Hardshell views on the new birth.

Sarrels wrote:

"The view we hold with regard to this fundamental doctrine is not new, nor, we hasten to say, has it ever been without a witness. Across the centuries it has been firmly held and consistently defended by men who in the main were unaccredited by the scholarship of the world. Here and there, like monuments in distant lands, these fearless sentinals have stood in defense of the everlasting truth...however, these voices in the wilderness, with their labors little noticed and their names seldom recorded, have left their mark on Christian civilization. We thank God for the privilege of standing where these immortals stood, of defending the unpopular but glorious doctrine which they defended, and of sharing in some small measure the hardships which they endured." (Systematic Theology, page 305, 306)

Let us ask ourselves these questions in view of the above writing.

1. Why did Sarrels and Morris simply not give us the "names" of all these great "immortals"? If their "names" have been "seldom recorded," why not take the time and RECORD THEM!?

2. How can you decry, in one breath, the fact that these esteemed "immortals" have been "little noticed," and then not give us their "names"!? Why not give us their writings that supposedly support Hardshell views? Unbelievable!

3. If these supposed people are the "great sentinels" of "this fundamental doctrine" of the Hardshell church, surely the Hardshells would want to record their "names" and to perpetuate their writings! And yet, what do both these Elders do? They do not produce the evidence that they say exists in such abundance!

Now let us hear from another Hardshell Elder on this point.

Elder Gowens writes:

"Most discussions of the 1832 separation," writes Elder Gowens, "within Baptist ranks focus on the practical issues dividing the two camps, i.e. mission societies, Sunday Schools, and various parachurch organizations. It is true that the Black Rock Address said very little about doctrine. Its focus was primarily practical. I suggest, however, that beneath the legitimate complaints they highlighted concerning some of the practical innovations of their day, a deeper theological chasm was developing. Successive history reveals that this underlying doctrinal disagreement concerned what is known as the “external means of grace” question." (Christ, the Only Mediator By Michael L. Gowens, sovgrace.net)

Again he writes, saying:

"The primary issue at stake might be defined by the question, “Does God employ the use of external means in the eternal salvation of sinners? Is grace mediated to the sinner through human agency? Does the church play an instrumental role in eternal salvation?” Those answering in the affirmative were loosely and informally termed “means” Baptists, and those responding in the negative were labeled “antimeans” Baptists." (ibid)

He says also that the most important issue, however, in the great division, was a "...theological issue." (ibid)

Again, it is very interesting that Gowens does not cite any sources to prove his statements regarding history along this line. Also, as Brother Ross has clearly shown, the issue was absolutely not a theological one at the outset, but one that dealt strictly with mission "methodology." Gowens seems to acknowledge that this is what the historical record shows. But, what does he do? He simply makes an assertion, a speculation, saying that "underneath" the verbal and written discourse about the "causes" of the division, there was something else that was the greater or "real cause" of the division. What was that? Gowens says it was a disagreement over the doctrinal issue of "means." This is something I am sure that Gowens and his Hardshell friends WANT DESPERATELY TO BELIEVE, but which simply is not true, nor is there any historical evidence to prove it to be true.

He said, "The primary issue at stake was whether God used the preaching of the gospel as a means in the new birth." Was it? Why does he not cite the writings of the first Anti-Mission Baptists to prove that point? He already admits that the Black Rock Address does not mention this doctrinal point! How then can he claim that in 1832 the Hardshells were "declaring non-fellowship" against those who believed in gospel means? Give us the evidence for this unfounded assertion! It is clear that the gospel means view was not the original issue. It is also a fact that many people who were in the "anti-mission" party were not Hardshell on the subject of means in the new birth! John Leland, for example, was against many of the things that the Black Rockers condemned, but there is no evidence that he believed in the "Spirit Alone" view. He had accepted the Philadelphia Confession all his preaching life, so why would he not believe what it said on regeneration and gospel means? Certainly his evangelistic preaching style shows he was not in line with the Hardshells, for he called regularly upon sinners to repent and believe.

John Watson, whom Hassell and other Hardshells claim, was truly against "mission boards," and against many of the new mission "methods," but he opposed vehemently those in the "anti means camp" who were Hardshells, saying they were "apostates from the Old Baptist faith," as expressed in those confessions, in their belief that faith is not produced by the gospel and was not a means in regeneration. So, it is wrong for Gowens to suggest that from the very outset the opponents of many of the new mission schemes and organizations, to mission methodology, were all opposed to the historic Baptist view that the preaching of the gospel is God's means in producing faith and repentance in regeneration.

Gowens suggests that the controversy started because the "New Schoolers" came along and started preaching gospel means! He says, like nearly all Hardshells, that all Baptists prior to 1832 believed Hardshellism and "no one believed in gospel means till the "New School Baptists" came along! They say such things without the least shred of evidence to support it, however, as is very clear from their remarks above.

Ironically, it is just the other way around, as Brother Ross and I have been showing (and other Baptists before us also), for all Baptists prior to the "rise of the Hardshells," believed what the London and Philadelphia Confessions of Faith stated on the matter! So, it is a flat lie and historical distortion to affirm that the Baptists did not believe in gospel means in regeneration till they, the "New Schoolers," came on the scene! That is an outright falsehood! It can be easily disproven by the facts.

No sir, even Hassell admits that every Baptist church in the 1700's and into the 1800's accepted the Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith! That Confession of Faith is very clear in its belief that the word of God is a "means" the Spirit uses to save and regenerate the elect. The reason why the first Hardshells did not speak out against the doctrinal view of "gospel means" position was twofold.

First, they would not have had such a widespread support in their umbrella group of "antis." Some of those first "anti" groups were opposed to a list of things, such as Sunday Schools, Seminaries, musical instruments, and other such things, but who, nevertheless, like Watson, did not believe in the "Spirit Alone" or "Direct Speaking" view of "regeneration." Someone, in the first half of the 19th century could believe in gospel means and yet still be viewed as part of the larger "anti" movement due to their opposition to one or more of these things. Not all the first "antis" were equally opposed to the same things. They were a "loosely knit group" at the beginning. Soon, men like John Watson could no longer be identified with it, however, when it forsook the confessions and became identified with doctrinal extremism and "do-nothingism."

Second, their own views were still being formulated in regard to the new idea that the "word of God" is not involved in the creation of faith and in the work of regeneration and conversion. I am sure the first Hardshells vied with each other for who could come up with the best "alternative explanations" to formerly understood passages that Baptists have traditionally believed supported the confessional view on gospel means. This novel idea of Elder Beebe seems to have "carried the day" with regard to that certain class of passages that connect hearing Christ's "word" and "voice" with the reception of spiritual life.

Gowens writes again:

"Baptists have historically disagreed with Cyprian’s dictum. They insist that the Lord Jesus Christ, not the “church”, is Himself the “one Mediator between God and men” (1 Tim. 2:5)— the only means by which the salvific benefits of the covenant of redemption are dispensed. They understand the instrumental role ascribed in the Bible to the Word and Sacraments to be a disciplinary (that is, in respect to discipleship), not salvific (that is, in respect to salvation), role— viewing these “means” as pastoral resources for the nurture of disciples, not instruments by which the merits of Christ are applied to individual sinners. They do not believe that “grace” is applied through the “church” and its various functions, but directly and immediately (that is, without the use of means or media) by the Holy Spirit. They affirm that Christ actually procured salvation by His death, so that the gospel is a declaration (or proclamation) of a specific and objective fact, not a general invitation or free offer. Good works give evidence of grace— they are not conditions to final salvation." (Ibid)

When Gowens says -- "Baptists have historically disagreed" about the instrumentality of the word of God in giving regenerating grace, he is again wrong. What he does, by a writing "sleight of hand," is to tie the belief that "sacraments" are not means of regenerating grace with the Hardshell view that the word of God is not a means for the same. Again, why does he not just cite those Old Baptists from the 1600's and 1700's to show that they did not believe the word of God was a means of grace? It is really unbelievable how these Hardshells say things about "history" that has absolutely no proof therefrom.

Also, Gowens uses another tactic, one I have mentioned before. He builds a "straw man," telling people that the Mission and Means Baptists believe that Christ is not the one and only Mediator! He says that those who believe in gospel means make a meditor out of the word of God and the preachers of it! I guess men like John Gill were too ignorant not to see such a grave mistake?

The use of means by the Mediator does not take away from the Mediatorship of Christ! To suggest that it does is to build a "straw man" to fight with and to use "sophistry" and make arguments based upon human logic and understanding rather than upon the word of God.

He writes again, saying:

"Sometimes, the pressure to conform to more popular standards has spawned controversy among the Baptists themselves. Hassell speaks of John Brine and John Gill, two eminent Baptist ministers of the 1700’s, who rejected Andrew Fuller’s emphasis on the universal and free offer of the gospel, focusing in their preaching instead “on the Divine purposes, and on the Bible fact that salvation is of the Lord.” Consequently, Gill and Brine were stigmatized as “selfish, hardening, refrigerant, soporific, hyper-Calvinistic, Antinomian” and blamed for the growing “indifference [among the churches] to the means of grace”." (ibid)

It may be true of the above men that they went overboard, relative to what the Bible teaches about gospel commands and invitations, but, both Gill and Brine believed that God used the preaching of the gospel to regenerate and call his elect out of sin and death! Yes, Hyper-Calvinism did exist before the Hardshells came along. But, it was always kept in check by an able clergy and a sound confession of faith.

I will have more to say in later chapters about this "pressure to conform" about which Gowens speaks. He ought to read what Elder John Watson had to say about this "pressure." I felt that "pressure" all the time I was in the "Primitive Baptist Church." There is always the fear of being accused of being an "Arminian," of being an "Absoluter," of being "Missionary," etc. Elder Bradley and those Hardshells today who are getting involved in "missions" and "preacher education" and "Bible Classes," know the kind of "pressure" Gowens is talking about and about which I too am not unfamiliar. But, there will be more in later chapters on this too.

Gowens writes again:

"Thompson published two books, “opposing Fullerism”—Simple Truth and Triumphs of Truth.

Sylvester Hassell said that these works “brought upon himself [Thompson] much persecution”. He summarizes Elder Thompson’s convictions about the “means” question as follows:

“In regard to the use and effect of the preached gospel, Elder Thompson held, with the majority of Old School Baptists, that it is not the means of imparting spiritual life to the dead sinner; that as no means can be used to give life to one literally dead, even so no means can be used to give eternal life to those who are dead in sins; that, as all temporal means are used to feed, nourish and strengthen living subjects, and not dead ones, so the preaching of the gospel is the medium through which God is pleased to instruct, feed and comfort His renewed children, and not by which he gives life to the dead sinner whom the Spirit alone can quicken; that the gospel is the proclamation of good tidings of great joy to those who have a hearing ear and an understanding heart to receive it, and to these it is the power of God unto salvation, saving them from the false doctrines of men, and feeding and making them strong in the truth.”"
(ibid)

I have that placed marked in my copy of Hassell's "history" about Wilson Thompson. Notice that Hassell does not cite Thompson himself on the issue of means but simply tells us what he, Hassell, believes were the views of Thompson. Am I denying that Thompson believed what Hassell said he believed? I don't know for sure. The writings of Thompson on the topic are few. I will be writing further upon Thompson in later chapters, but I can prove that he believed in gospel means when he was first ordained to preach. So, it becomes then a question as to "when" Thompson forsook the Old Baptist Faith as expressed in the Philadelphia Confession that every church of which Thompson was a member endorsed. Consider also that we have seen how Hassell does not always get his facts straight about what certain preachers believed. He is also infamous for his "half quotes" from sources, leaving out pertinent information in an attempt to mislead and deceive his readers.

Gowens writes further:

"Controversy is frequently the fire that refines theological precision, and Thompson spoke very precisely. He wrote the following in his 1825 work entitled Triumphs of Truth: "The prisoner in the dungeon can only know that he is justified by the judge in court by some messenger who may be sent to him, with the tidings of it; and however long he may disbelieve the message, it cannot make it untrue, because the fact does not depend for its truth upon the prisoner's faith, but is a truth before he believes it, as certainly as afterwards, and his faith adds nothing to the truth of the fact, but only to his comfort in the enjoyment of a knowledge of the fact. So justification is a fact before faith, and faith adds nothing to it, but only believes the fact as it is declared in the gospel..." (ibid)

But, this does not mitigate against gospel means. What Thompson wrote about "justification" does not exclude the view of "gospel means" in "regeneration." Actually, John Gill said similar things relative to "justification" and "faith," but he did not believe Hardshell views thereon, nor on the purpose of the gospel. In fact, the only place the Hardshells attempt to cite from Gill in an attempt to get the learned Doctor to conincide with their heretical views, they will cite what he says about God being the "efficient cause" and the death of Christ the "legal grounds" of our "justification."

Certainly the placing of faith in the righteousness and death of Christ does not add anything to the fact of what Christ has done. Surely the Hardshells can quote something from Thompson that is much more clear to the precise point than this, can they not? Certainly we are not "justified by faith," viewed as an independent act of our wills. But, "justification by faith" is the receiving of that justification, the actual liberation from the bondage of our legal condemnation. That, however, is precisely just what Richardson and the Old Baptists believed but which todays so called Old Baptists do not!

Gowens writes further:

"Of course, Thompson’s distinctions are more antiquated than 1825, but he wrote more distinctly than Baptists had written for some time previous because of the resurgent threat that the “means” theory now posed to orthodoxy. He was by no means, however, the first to make such distinctions. In 1647, for instance, Samuel Richardson published an essay entitled “Justification by Christ Alone” in which he argues against the concept that any aspect of eternal salvation, be it legal or vital, is by external means. Richardson wrote to affirm “that we are justified by Christ alone and not by our believing” and to set forth “the true place of faith in salvation as an evidence of interest in Christ but not a joint-partner with Christ”. To the potential objection some would make to his position, namely, that “God has decreed the means as well as the end, and faith is one of the means,” Richardson says:

“We grant God has decreed the end and the means, and whatsoever God has decreed shall unavoidably come to pass. But we deny that faith is any means of our Redemption, Justification, or Salvation. Nothing but the Lord Jesus Christ is the means of our salvation. There are means that are necessary to the revealing and enjoying the comfort of it, as the Holy Spirit and ministers to reveal it and faith to receive it; also, there be fruits and effects of the love of God, as faith, love, and obedience to Christ… yet these are no means of our salvation.”"
(ibid, emphasis mine)

Where is the clear statement that the gospel and word of God have absolutely nothing to do with creating faith and bringing about the new birth?

But, Samuel Richardson endorsed the London Confession of Faith of 1644, which clearly upholds gospel means. His fellow laborers, Kiffin, Keach, Spilsbury, and Knollys believed in the means of the gospel and that those who died without hearing or believing it were lost and without hope. They also believed like Gill that "justification" is not on the grounds of our faith as a reward, but that faith is the medium by which justification is experimentally realized.

The following is from Hardshell Mark Green:

"The fact that Richardson's article carries an Introduction by the well-known William Kiffin [1616-1701] indicates the respect his peers held for him.

Additionally, Richardson's name appears as one of the signatories on the 1644 London Confession. Had he lived, it is likely that Richardson's name would also have appeared with Kiffin, Knollys, Keach, and other venerables on the 1689 Confession."


Here is a citation from that same writing by Richardson:

"The taking away of sin, as Isa. 53, the destroying of sin, we call pardon. In time we know it and enjoy it. Do you call the manifestation of pardon, pardon? It shall be manifested to all the elect."

Is that Hardshell views? Do they believe that ALL the elect will have pardon revealed to them, that they come to know forgiveness experimentally and really in the soul? No, they do not. Only a few of the elect, the PB's say, will come to know experimentally this pardon and forgiveness.

So, some Hardshells are thinking they have a friend among the first Baptists in Richardson. Do they? Have I not already shown how he was in agreement doctrinally with Kiffin, Spilsbury,Keach, and Knollys? Did not all these men write the Old Confessions and write in favor of the gospel means position? Yes, of course. But, let us hear another modern Hardshell who also wants to claim Richardson as one of their forefathers.

"Richardson's view of the role of Faith is representative of the Particular Baptists although there was a degree of diversity among them in their explanations and descriptions. For these English Baptists, the Gospel is a declaration of objective truth. Regarding the role of Faith, Richardson says, "Now the work of faith is, to assent to the truth of this testimony, and receive it." Although the article being reviewed was written over 350 years ago, Primitive Baptists of today have no difficulty identifying with Richardson in his arguments against the Objectors." (home.sprynet.com/~eagreen/sr_review.html)

So, what can we say about Richardson further? Let us cite some of his other remarks that don't get quoted by today's Hardshells.

"This was spelled out in Article V which spoke of the fallen and sinful nature of humankind: "Yet the elect, which God hath loved with an everlasting love, are redeemed, quickened, and saved, not by themselves, neither by their own workes, lest any man shoud boast himselfe, but wholly and onely by God of his free grace and mercie through Jesus Christ." And while the gospel was to be preached to all people, the death of Christ brought forth salvation and and reconciliation "onely for the elect". Underscoring the helplessness of humans in achieving salvation, the confession stated that "faith is ordinarily begot by the preaching of the Gospel...without respect to any power or capacitie in the creature, but it is wholly passive being dead in sinnes and trespasses, doth beleeve, and is converted by no lesse power, then that which raised Christ from the dead." These Calvinistic Baptists of seventeenth century England believed that the grace of God came freely and required no preparation on the part of the individual."

And again:

"Onely...alone the naked soule, as a sinner and ungodly" person received Christ as crucified, dead, buried, and risen again."

(mercer.edu/baptiststudies/classic/baptist_classics_London_Confessio)

"The older brethren claimed that the redemption of Christ quickened the inner man, renewed the mind and delivered the physical man from the old man, from the dominion of sin, from the law of sin and death, and the practice of sinful ways. Sin still remained, but not as a dominating way of life. Now, Jesus Christ, and His newness of life dominated. Because the elect were redeemed by this unconditional, sure and certain redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ, it was unthinkable that any of the elect would fail to profess Jesus Christ and serve Him in the ways of the New Covenant. And, yet, they recognized that there were exceptions and these exceptions belonged to the secret things of God."

(victorian.fortunecity.com/dadd/464/confession.html)

Richardson writes further under this heading:

"The Mystery of Justification by Christ Alone"

"This mystery of Christ is a great mystery. Oh meditate and dive as deep as you are able into this mystery. The benefit will be great and sweet. The more I am exercised herein, the more I see into it and enjoy justification by Christ alone, and more clearly see our believing cannot justify us. Yet I deny not but the power to believe is from the Spirit, Who is the life of motion in faith. The life of faith is the life of Christ as I have treated elsewhere; what faith is, and what it does, and wherein it differs from presumption, etc. God hath given faith in His to know, assent and believe the Truth, Heb. 11:3, Acts 28:24. This encourages us to go to God for all we need, Acts 26:18. This enables us to suffer for Christ, Heb. 11. This enables us to conquer enemies, Eph. 6:16. It makes our afflictions easy to bear. It enables us to obey, Rom. 15. It helps us to cleave to God, Acts 11:23, and to His word, Psal. 119:30, 31. This helps us to hope in His mercy, Psal. 147:11. Faith causes us to depend upon Jesus Christ alone for life and salvation. What more necessary and useful in this life than faith? There is a light in faith, and as our blind eyes and dark understandings are enlightened, Eph. 1:18 and 5:13. So, accordingly, we are filled with the fullness of God, Eph. 5:19."

Again, what I have highlighted above is not in accordance with Hardshellism.

Under the title "Faith Is Not The Cause," he writes further:

"That faith or any thing in us is not a cause, means, or condition, required to partake of the Covenant of Grace, justification or salvation, but only fruits and effects of the Covenant." (William Kiffen)

The above citation had Kiffin's name attached to it though it is in the body of the work by Richardson. Kiffin did write the introduction to this work by his friend Samuel Richardson.

What Kiffen and Richardson believed and were avowing was the fact that these things were not the moving causes for God choosing us but are the fruits of election. But, they believed they were all sure fruits of unconditional election and that all the elect would be brought to "believe in Christ" and to a "confession" of him.

Richardson said:

"Faith and Christ go together, where one is present, the other is present also."

That is not Hardshell doctrine!

www.peacemakers.net/unity/JustificationbyChristAloneSR.htm

Back to Elder Gowens. He writes further:

"The controversy continued between the “means” and “anti-means” schools
throughout the nineteenth century, spawning debates on the topic, “Who are the
original Baptists?”. Elder Thomas P. Dudley, pastor of Bryan Station Church, near Lexington, Kentucky, from 1825 to 1880, complains that missionary societies were unknown in Baptist circles prior to that day, “yet their advocates presume to tell us they are Old School Baptists”. In the kind of unambiguous candor that seemed to characterize the pioneer preachers of yesteryear, Dudley writes:

“Experience and observation of more than fifty years have satisfied me that where Andrew Fuller’s system, attempting to harmonize Divine sovereignty and human free agency, a general atonement and special application, salvation by works and salvation by grace, prevails, it has only widened the flood-gates of error, making the preacher the instrument, and the preached gospel the means, of the eternal salvation of our apostate world. I, however, have not so learned Christ. [emphasis original]”"
(Christ, the Only Mediator By Michael L. Gowens)

Yes, but Gowens is simply citing one of the Hardshell forefathers when he cites Elder Thomas P. Dudley His father, Elder Ambrose Dudley, and a founder of the Bryan Station Church, all believed in gospel means, all accepted the Philadelphia Confession of Faith as the standard of orthodoxy!

Elder Gilbert Beebe wrote:

"Regeneration, as we understand it, like generation, involves the begetting, conception and birth, of that which is generated, and in both cases, implies that that which is so generated had a seminal existence in its progenitor before its manifestation by generation; as Levi was in the loins of Abraham when Melchizedek met him, and as we all as natural men were in Adam the day he was created, and as the spiritual seed was chosen and preserved in Christ Jesus before the world began. In the order of regeneration, or the development of the children of God, no intermediate agencies are employed, no system of means can bring forth the promised seed, as was demonstrated in the case of Hagar and Ishmael; it is the immediate work of God himself. “Of his own will begat he us, with the word of truth.”—James i. 18. How, by the word of truth? Jesus saith, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”—John vi. 63. In the preceding chapter Christ testified of the power of that word which is spirit and life, by which the children of God are begotten, quickened and born; saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.”—John v. 25. But will all the dead be thus quickened by his words which are spirit and life? No, for he says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice.”—John x. 4, 27-30."

Again he writes:

"The word of the Lord, which is Spirit, and which is life, which liveth and abideth forever, is that by which regeneration is affected; not merely by the Scriptures in their letter, nor reading or preaching them, but the words which Jesus himself speaks to the individual persons who are made to hear and live. Hence Peter could say, “To whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”— John vi. 68, 69. Until this word, which is spirit and life, is spoken by Christ himself, who is the quickening Spirit, or life-giving Spirit, to an individual, that individual is in a state of alienation from God, dead in trespasses and sins, and utterly beyond the reach of any power, short of that which is in Christ, to quicken him. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” When a sinner is thus quickened, the incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever, is implanted in his heart, and the evidence of this implantation is first given by a sense of the purity and holiness of God, and the spirituality of his law, contrasted with a sense of guilt, pollution and just condemnation of the person to whom this communication is made, and consequently a struggle for deliverance. The ear is now opened to hear the thunders of Sinai, and the eye is made to see the justice of God as a sin avenger; a brokenness of heart that he or she, as the case may be, has been all their lifetime in open rebellion against so holy, just and righteous a God, who has followed them with his mercies all their days. A sense of his goodness leads them to repentance, contrition and humble acknowledgment of their guilt. Now the quickened and awakened sinner becomes burdened with the load of depravity, which they vainly try to put away from them; an effort is made to reform; a resolution is formed to sin no more; tears flow in anguish of spirit, and prayers are offered for pardon; the sinner is pricked in the heart, and cries out, Men and brethren, what shall I do? But all that he can do for himself, and all that kind, sympathizing friends can do for him, does not ease his pain or lighten his burden. At length he concludes there is no hope in his case, he sees that all his efforts, cries and tears, have been unavailing, and all hope of salvation seems to be shut out from his view."

He continues:

"Now all this conviction, contrition, lamentation and distress, is the legitimate consequence resulting from life implanted, and indicates to all who know experimentally the way of life, that the poor sin-burdened soul is drawing near to the time of his birth, or deliverance. He who has thus arrested him, and brought him to a sense of his lost and helpless estate, will perform the work in his own time, but the burdened soul must wait until “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shines in [not into] his heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” —2 Cor. iv. 6. Or, as Paul relates his own experience, “When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me.”—Gal. i. 15. Then by the revelation of Christ in us the hope of glory, the way of salvation through him is brought to view, the burden of guilt is removed, the blood of Christ is applied, the demands of the law are canceled, the curse is removed, the prison doors are opened, the captive is delivered, the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, old things are passed away; behold all things have become new; a new song is put in his mouth, even praise unto God, the gospel pours its joyful sound into his quickened ears, his goings are established and he is a new creature, the old man of his corrupt nature is subdued, not dead, that which is born of the flesh continues to be flesh, and only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John iii. 6.) And, as in the flesh there is nothing good, so in the spirit, there is nothing evil. That which is born of the flesh is corruptible, because it is born of corruptible seed, but whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Here then the christian finds in him, two men, which are called the old man and the new man. (Eph. iv. 22-24; Col. iii. 9,10.) Outward man, and inward man, (2 Cor. iv. 16,) and the hidden man of the heart. (1 Peter iii. 4.) The old, outward man, is called the flesh, because it is born of the flesh; but the new, inward, and hidden man of the heart, is called spirit; because it is born of the Spirit."
(Editorials of Gilbert Beebe, Vol. 4, Middletown, N. Y., September 1, 1857)

The above views by Beebe is not the view of but few among today's "Primitive Bapists." It seems that others held the same view as did Beebe relative to the work of "birthing" the children of God, it having three separate "stages." It does seem that Elder Samuel Trott shared Beebe's view. He was a frequent writer in the "Signs Of The Times" magazine.

Where he is contradictory in his above remarks is in his saying that means were not used in any of the three stages of the "birth." Yet, if you look at what the finished product is, the completed "developed" and "delivered" child of God, he is a gospel character who has been made to believe certain things that are only known by the gospel. He did affirm however that all the initially "begotten" ones will all be brought to a full birth! And, that full birth involves the gospel, for it is a time when the gospel is "poured into the soul," as Beebe wrote.

Here are some other statements by Beebe on this subject.

"The new man being born of God, must live on that bread which comes down from heaven, but the old man being of the earth earthy, must have its sustenance from the earth, until it returns to the dust of the ground from whence it was taken; for dust it is, and to the dust it shall return."

If a born again child of God must live on that bread from heaven, then is the gospel and word of God not a means in preservation and thus in eternal salvation?

But, it is established, historically, that Beebe was one of the first to introduce the idea that the hearing of the "voice" and "word of God" (I Peter 1:23 & James 1:18) was a Direct Speaking" I will be dealing with these verses in my next chapter where the "Direct Voice" view is looked at from the Scriptures. Where is the citation from Thompson about the "direct speaking"? What I have been able to ascertain, he believed that though the Spirit spoke oftentimes apart from the preaching of the gospel, yet is was still a case of the Spirit applying words of truth previously heard by the individual being addressed. But, as I said, I will be saying more about Thompson in later chapters.

Beebe writes again:

"We have endeavored to give our views on the subject proposed by our brother, and in doing so, to trace the generation of the children of God, as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation; which are born, not of a corruptible seed, but of an incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. What we have written are our views, and what we have understood to be the views of the Old order of Baptists, from the days of John; but if we are mistaken in our views, (and we are liable to be) or in any part of them, we hope that our brethren will in all christian kindness point out to us the more excellent way." (ibid)

I believe it is very clear, from the above citation, that Beebe and his other contemporary Hardshells were not yet fully united in their views, which were still evolving, on the subject of regeneration. Why else would he say, "We are liable to be mistaken in our views"?

He writes again:

"...then it follows that all mankind will assuredly be saved; the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ would then be nullified, inasmuch as sinners uninterested in that atonement can and will be quickened by the Holy Ghost..."

Here Beebe clearly implies that it is a false view to believe that anyone who is "uninterested in the atonement of Christ" are, in any sense, "quickened by the Holy Ghost."

Then, in a clear attack upon the Missionary and Means Baptists, he says the following:

"They can possess no adequate idea of the Spirit, or of its work, who suppose that the number of the quickened shall be in proportion to the amount of means employed by mankind, or that protracted meetings, anxious benches, submission chairs, benevolent religious societies, (so called,) or any other human inventions, can change the sovereign course of the Eternal Spirit from any of those on whom it has listed, or engaged to apply the atoning blood of Jesus experimentally, or add one to the number of those originally “ordained to eternal life."

Yes, that may be true relative to "human means" but it is not true of those divine means, such as the gospel and word of God, or the Bride of Christ, saying to all sinners, "Come!" But, I have already answered this argument in a previous chapter when I showed that the number of the elect are in direct proportion to the means God makes available to them in his providence. Remember my remarks on the miracles of Christ being unavailable to the Sodomites and to the Tyreans, and thus their condemnation was sealed by the unavailability of those means?

No sound Baptist at the turn of the 19th century, who believed the Old Confessions, asserted what Beebe and the Hardshells imply is believed by those "Mission Baptists" who still abide by the Old London and Philadelphia Confessions.

He writes again:

"If, then, we admit the sovereignty of the work of the Holy Ghost in the new birth, why talk about the use of means to produce it? If it depends on the performance of conditions, or the use of means on our part, then the Holy Ghost ceases to be a sovereign in the work, and all must turn at last upon the pivot of works, and our bible must be forced to read, It is of him that willeth, and of him that runneth, and not of God that sheweth mercy. Could any thing be more absurd? Away with these yea and nay systems of the present day, which, like the Baptist Repository, will on one page tell us that regeneration is the sovereign work of the Omnipotent God, and anon, insert upon the other that souls may be rescued from a burning hell by the efforts of men and the use of mone..."

Beebe shows the same error in judgment that his heirs have shown ever since on this important issue. Had they spent more time reading Gill, Kiffin, Keach, Spilsbury, Knollys, Fuller, and others of our Baptist forefathers than they did in fighting over everything in the world, then they would have no doubt been better fortified against being so far removed from the faith of the Baptists and of the Holy Scriptures.

Beebe seems to think that the Holy Spirit using the preaching of the gospel somehow takes away from God's sovereignty. This is something that the really Old Baptists never once thought was the case. They rather saw the elect coming to faith in Christ by the gospel as an evidence of the sovereign working of God's power. They did not see any inconsistencies in this view as did Beebe.

He writes further, saying:

"That the Spirit is irresistible in this work, we call to witness the experience of (not those mushroom converts, of human means,) but all such as have passed from death unto life, and know the Lord Jesus, and the power of his resurrection. The child of God will tell us, I was an enemy to God by wick-ed works; I was in love with sin, an enemy to holiness; there was no fear of God before my eyes. In short, I was dead in trespasses and sins; but about mid-day, O king, a light shone around me, and I heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Yes, says the poor soul,, I was suddenly arrested, an awful trembling shook my frame, I felt myself undone, my sins in all their magnitude rushed in order before my afrighted eyes; loud peals of thunder from Mount Sinai caused me to tremble exceedingly, and quake, while vivid flashes of divine wrath taught me the dreadful reality, I am a sinner. There is a hell, a burning lake; I feel it this moment in my very soul. Whither, O whither shall I flee from the wrath of God? If up to heaven I direct my course, God is there. I dread to meet him. O ye rocks and mountains, shew pity and fall upon me; hide, O hide me from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. In this condition, the poor wreteh will not require knives or lancets, anxious benches nor arminian task-masters, to persuade him to “agonize.” We risk nothing when we say that such a soul will testify that the Spirit’s work upon the heart is irresistible. The Spirit having thus quickened the man, the vital principle implanted is manifested by a struggle for deliverance, (like a baby begotten but still in the womb?) for light, for freedom; but all in vain he prays; the heavens are as brass, the earth is as the dust; his prayers are shut out. He flies to the law, but

“Justice cries with frowning face,
This mountain is no hiding place;
He reads; the promise meets his eye,
But cannot reach his case.”

Thus burdened with guilt, and pressed down with wo, he sinks, despairs and dies. Here let us leave him one moment, (for we cannot help him; his case is desperate; no eye can pity, no arm can relieve him,) while we enquire, Dear reader, if the quickened sinner be thus helpless, thus destitute of power, if he that is made alive by the quickening power of the Holy Ghost, and slain by the law, can do nothing, what canst thou do? What can that poor soul do who has never been quickened, nor made to feel one spark of any thing more than totally depraved human nature? Now let us look back, and enquire what has become of that poor soul we left in the valley of death. Behold he is raised from the dead! The same irresistible Spirit which brought Jesus again from the dead, has raised him up. He is a new creature; old things are done away. He is no longer an arminian, no longer a work-monger; he is stripped of his filthy rags; he is clothed, and in his right mind. Lo, he sits at Jesus’ feet: his feet are placed upon a rock, his goings are established, and a new song is in his month. He no longer sings, Do, do, do, but he sings, It is done, it is finished. “The Lord has taken me out of an horrible pit,” &c. But whence this glorious change? He that brought to the birth, gave strength to bring forth. Hence the soul was, and is delivered; the Spirit applied the cleansing blood of the Lamb; and he is washed and made clean; the Spirit gave him eyes, and he saw Jesus; the Spirit gave him faith, and he embraced him as his Savior, his Lord and his God."


You can see how far the Hardshells have come in their "evolutionary ideas" about the new birth! Today's PB's say that the person being born again is not even consciously aware of the fact! He does not learn anything! Yet, according to Beebe a person who is fully born of the Spirit of God is "no longer an Arminian"!

It seems to me that the first Hardshells did not so divorce the experience of conversion from regeneration. Beebe even mentions the word conversion and explains it in such a way that it cannot be anything other thing than a gospel experience. He even has this fully born and delivered soul at the feet of Jesus and in his right mind! Can the Hardshells find anyone in heathen lands who have experienced this without the gospel?

He writes further:

"If this position be not correct, there must be some case or cases where the work of the Spirit has proved ineffectual. We call for such a case to be produced. Where has the Spirit ever wrought ineffectually in any case? Such an example, we bless God, cannot be found; and if there could, it would make all heaven shudder; for the very instant that the Holy Ghost fails to accomplish any thing which it has undertaken to do, that moment he ceases to be God, ceases to be omnipotent, immutable and perfect. If there is any thing which the Holy Ghost cannot effectually perform, we speak with reverence, he cannot be omnipotent. But he was omnipotent once, when he spake the world into existence; hence there must have been a change, and he is no longer immutable."

But, I would ask, is God not omnipotent in the blessing of his word as it is preached by his sent messengers?

(The above citations are from the Editorials of Gilbert Beebe, Volume 1, Pages 96-104)

The above citations are taken from the first volume of his writings in the Signs of the Times. So, we have what his early views were on this subject. Now let us take some citations from this patriarch in his later writings.

"But while it is conceded that the saints of all ages are personally and experimentally subjects of the new birth, as defined in the foregoing remarks, it is held that the Scriptures in no case apply the word regeneration to this birth. The word regeneration occurs but twice in the Bible, and in both instances it is believed to be applied to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as the Head and embodiment of his church."

Then again:

"In the doctrine thus far stated, we apprehend no serious disagreement among Old School, or Bible Baptists. Where the word regeneration, as used but twice in the Scriptures, is applicable to this circumcision of Christ, and crucifixion of the old man, baptism into death and resurrection of the church in Christ in new immortal life, or to the personal individual experience of the children of God, is the question on which there may be some difference of opinion."

And once more I quote:

"Let us now inquire, is this death and resurrection of Christ, and of his church in him, set forth in the light of a regeneration in the Scriptures? Generation, whether natural or spiritual, is understood to involve begetting, conception and birth, by which the life of the progenitor is brought into manifestation in a posterity. Generation cannot be applied to the eternal Godhead, for that is underived, unbegotten, self existent and eternal; but it is applied to Christ in his mediatorial identity, as the Son of God and Head of the church."

"To our understanding this begetting from the dead in him who from the dead has the pre-eminence as the first born of the dead, is called the regeneration, in which all the chosen of God are redeemed from that corruptible nature which they received by their natural generation, and by the resurrection of Christ begotten again to a lively hope to eternal life and to an incorruptible inheritance and immortal glory."

In all this language it is clear that Beebe has added to his views as expressed when he was younger and first started the Signs of the Times. He still is holding to the three stages to the birthing of the children of God, but now he sees that "regeneration" refers to the resurrection and the begetting of Christ from the grave of physical death, and then secondarily, by vicarious representation of the elect in Christ. By this view then "regeneration" is not something experienced by the person being "born again" or "quickened." It is a legal and positional matter. I do not wonder, therefore, that some of his brethren were having difficulty over this matter. I know that Elder J.M. Thompson accused Beebe, about this time, of believing in the "eternal children doctrine" and also of believing that regeneration "produced no change in the person," which was the position of the believers in the "Hollow Log" doctrine believed. This became a serious issue and matter of discussion for the Hardshells from 1840-1880. But, I will have more on that in a separate chapter.

Beebe writes again:

"That Christ was begotten and born from the dead is so clearly stated in the word as to forbid all controversy on the subject, and that he was raised up as the embodiment of his church, as his body, as a perfect man, the fullness of him that filleth all in all, and perfectly filling up the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, Head and body, and all his members, is confirmed by its exact conformity to the prophecy of Isaiah. “Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children (Isaiah 66.8)."

Again, he wants to try to speak of only representative resurrection and begetting, by the mystical body of Christ, when Jesus was raised and quickened from the dead. I do not have a problem with that, nor do the Baptists, but that he implies that this was all there is to "regeneration," and that it is totally divorced from what is received and experienced by the quickened soul in the new birth, then not only J.M. Thompson, but myself too would have a problem accepting.

He writes again:

"Viewed in her identity with Christ, the church which is his body was not left behind when he arose from the dead; the doors of death were opened, and the portals of immortality were entered. Death and the grave were vanquished, and he who was delivered for our offences arose for our justification. The church of God is redeemed; the law holds no further dominion over her; her life is now with Christ in God, and she sits with him in heavenly places, and all his redeemed must in due time follow him experimentally in this regeneration. With him on the cross, and in the tomb, they shall all be in experimental fellowship with his sufferings here, and participate in his glory hereafter in a world without end."
(Middletown, N.Y. July 15, 1867. Editorials Volume 7 – pgs. 43 – 50.)

The following citation will reveal that Beebe's views, as I intimated, did not "sit well" with many of the Hardshells of his time.

"Recently some difference has been obvious in the views of brethren in regard to the scriptural signification of the word regeneration, as used in the New Testament; some holding that it is, and others that it is not, the same in signification and application with what is called the new birth. Some applying the word regeneration to the resurrection power of God which brought again from the dead the crucified body of Christ, and in him the resurrection life and immortality of all his mystical body and members, from under the law which was the ministration of death, into the resurrection life and immortality of the Son of God."

And again:

"Now, as a birth, either natural or spiritual, always implies a generation, because without generation there can be no birth; and whatever is born is the development of that which was generated, it is not strange that the two terms have been thought by many to mean one and the same thing. Such indeed had been our view for years; but as we now conceive, because we had not been led to closely investigate the subject until it was presented for consideration by some of the brethren. Here let us observe that those who take the position that the terms regeneration and the new birth mean one and the same, and that both apply to the experimental quickening of the children of God, do not deny that all the saints are redeemed and quickened together with Christ, and raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Nor, on the other hand, do those brethren who apply the word regeneration to the quickening of the whole elect family of God by the resurrection of Christ hold with less tenacity the vital importance of the new birth, as it has always been held by the church of God, in its personal application to all the saints in their individual experience, in being quickened by the Spirit, and born into the liberty of the sons of God.

While, so far as we understand them, we agree with our brethren that the regeneration which is mentioned but twice in the Bible, in both cases refers to the reproduction from death of the whole mystical body of Christ, by his resurrection, we at the same time hold, as we have ever held, that every member of the body of Christ must experience the new and spiritual birth, of which Christ spake to Nicodemus in John 3:3-10.

Still in perfect harmony with that vitally important sentiment, we also believe that Christ in his incarnation took on him the seed of Abraham, and that all who are Christ’s are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise; and that they were so identified with him in his assumption of our flesh, that when he died, they were legally dead with him; and when he arose from the dead, they were quickened together with him, and they were raised up together, and made to sit together in the heavenly places. The whole church, as the body of Christ, was buried with him by baptism into death, regenerated, or reproduced from death, by the resurrection life of his resurrection; so that in like manner as they were buried with him into his death, they were raised from the dead with him to newness of life; married and identified with him in resurrection, or regeneration life. How else can it be said we are quickened, and raised up together with him; that we are risen with Christ, and dead to the law by his body? How else shall we understand that we are raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, to walk in newness of life? Raised up from under that law which holds dominion over a man as long as he lives; being by that law crucified with Christ, dead with him to the law by his body, and regenerated in a new life, and reproduced in a new relationship, over the which the law of wrath and condemnation has no dominion. And being thus risen with Christ, now instead of continuing to seek for righteousness by the works of the law, or for those things which belong to the legal dispensation or worldly sanctuary, we who are risen with Christ are instructed to seek those things which are above, even in the heavenly places of the regeneration, which are the heavenly places of the spiritual kingdom, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."


"Hence it is said that God hath begotten us again to a lively (or vital, immortal) hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance which is (like the seed by which this immortality is generated) incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away. Is it heresy to call this regeneration? Redeemed from the generation of the earthly Adam, reproduced in the life and immortality of the second Adam, which is the Lord from heaven, our relation to earth, to the flesh, to the law, to sin, corruption and death is dissolved and we are identified with the risen Savior in his resurrection life, is not this regeneration?"

"But, in other words, was not that life which quickened and resurrected the crucified body of our Lord, the same resurrection life of which we are made experimentally the partakers when we are born again? If so, was it not communicated to the whole church of God, in her spiritual Head, when he was raised from the dead? If not, at what period was it communicated from God the Father, through Christ, the Mediator, to his mystical body and members? But why apply the terms generation, regeneration, begetting and birth, to this reproduction of the church in her spiritual life? Because the Bible uses terms which, in our judgment, fully warrant us. That his resurrection was a regeneration will appear from the record. He was begotten in the flesh by the Holy Ghost, conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary, and that holy thing which should be born of her should and was called the Son of God. Thus by generation he was made flesh, made of a woman, made under the law, that in this flesh he should be put to death. In his resurrection divine inspiration has used similar terms. “Thou art my Son. This day have I begotten thee (Psalm 2:7).” And in Acts 13:32, 33, these very words are applied to the resurrection of Christ. “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise made to the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” If these Scriptures, together with those which declare him to be “the first begotten of the dead (Revelation 1:5);” “The first born from the dead (Colossians 1:18),” do not imply a regeneration, then we are at a complete loss to find words in our language to express the idea. Generated, in being made flesh, circumcised, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, and begotten again from the dead, and born from the dead, in immortal life, over which death hath no power; and to be known no more in the flesh, but to be known henceforth as the Resurrection and the Life of all his members."

"But, admitting the application of the term, to the resurrection of Christ from the dead, some may ask why we include it in the regeneration of the church."

Yes, that is indeed a good question! Again, I think these first Hardshells were trying to find ways of defending their Hardshellism, and some of these new interpretations had to be "tested" and some did not "pass muster."

He writes further, however, saying:

"Blessed God, who hath begotten us in this resurrection regeneration, “to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance which is incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away; reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time."

"Now, brethren, does this doctrine of resurrection regeneration alarm any of you? Examine it closely, carefully, and prayerfully, and compare it with the Scriptures and with your experience."

Well, I do not doubt that not only this teaching of Beebe on what the word "regeneration" means, especially in Titus 3:5, caused considerable "alarm" but also other untried new and "innovative interpretations" of passages bearing upon the "means question."

He says further:

"Do you really think the Head of the church was begotten from the dead at one time, and the body and fullness of Christ at another?"

Yes, I do! And so too do most Hardshells who will reject Beebe's teaching in this area. Certainly the theological turf was very fertile, in the mid to late 1800's, for the blossoming of "hybrid views" on faith, repentance, the word of God, the voice of Christ, and of "regeneration," "begetting," and the "new birth."

"But, say you, Jesus arose from the dead eighteen hundred years ago; and our birth transpired but recently. True, but can you ascribe it to anything short of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ? Had he failed to have risen from the dead, could you have been born again?"

Again, he wants to agree with his Hardshell brethren who insist that the term "regeneration" is not a word used in reference to the quickening of Christ from the dead, but to the experience of the "new birth."

"Paul declares to us the gracious purpose of God in quickening, and raising us up together (or simultaneously) with Christ; and it is “That in the ages to come,” for in order of time, ages are required for the development of this regeneration, and the personal development of that people, who, being already regenerated in Christ, shall be born of his resurrection life and spirit; yet all this shall certainly be accomplished in the one day, in which God will make up his jewels, and in which a nation shall be born."

Again he has this work of birthing the elect as a process with distinct stages. But, he relies upon the fact that whether they are all personally regenerated, they are all regenerated vicariously in Christ.

He writes further:

"One further consideration. Our Lord Jesus Christ is expressly called the Only Begotten of the Father; how then is it possible for us to be brought into the vital relationship of sons of God, unless we were begotten and regenerated in him, as sons of God, and heirs of immortality?"

He then says, "Hereafter, we propose to treat on the new birth as taught in the word and experienced personally by the saints."

(Middletown, N.Y September 1, 1868. Editorials Volume 7 – pgs 249 – 258)

One can see from the date of these latter citations that Beebe had been still formulating strange views on the "new birth." Why? Was it not to try and make a case for Hardshellism that could withstand attack?

Elder Samuel Trott wrote the following on the "new birth."

"In accordance with brother Woody’s wishes, I forward my answer to you (Beebe) for publication in the Signs, if you think it proper to publish it...Brother Woody, in replying to your enquiries, in order, if possible, for me to make my views plain, I wish first, if I can command language to do it, to explain myself on one important point connected therewith. The point is this: that a person, one who exists as an individual being, may have a distinct nature from what he before existed in, superadded to him, so as to be made to exist in that distinct nature, without destroying his former personality, and yet changing his personal relations into conformity to his new nature, or new birth; for since the creation of Adam and Eve, I know of no way in which an individual existence in nature is produced but by a birth. Many brethren seem not only entirely indisposed to admit the correctness of such an idea as the above, but also to allow me and others to believe it. But if the above position, in substance, is not correct, I am ignorant, and must remain so, of the testimony of Scripture concerning both the new birth and the incarnation of Christ; as well as concerning His spiritual headship."

He says further:

"I now come, brother Woody, to give you my views, briefly, on the new birth, as to what it is. Regeneration, as I hold it, is the implanting in an individual, or adding to his mind, that incorruptible seed which Peter speaks of, even the spiritual seed of Abraham, which is Christ, Christ in you, and which is that life that was in the Word, which is the light of men; for Christ is the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world John 1:9. Hence this individual sees his relation and accountability to God and to the law, and sees his sinfulness as he never saw or felt it before, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. He sees this as the natural man cannot see it, for the law is spiritual. And he so sees and knows the reality of these things, that he cannot shake off or drive them from him as he could former impressions, which arose from mere fleshly views, or a natural conscience. The reason of this is, that whilst the implantation of this seed is of God, and of God only, and not through any instrumentalities of men, the seed itself being life and light, quickens the mind and conscience to such a sense of the reality of these things, that the individual feels himself as standing before a heart searching and rein trying God; and in the ultimate view of this, and of the purity of the law, all his goodness and doings are turned to corruption, and he falls helpless at the footstool of mercy, or at the feet of that God against whom he has sinned. Being thus stripped and killed by the law, he is prepared to be married to another, even Christ, or brought to view in his relation to a crucified and risen Jesus.

The new birth I understand to be the being born again of the incor­ruptible seed by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever. Whether by the word of God in this text is understood the essential Word, who is God, or, as is frequently intended by the word of God, that which God DIRECTLY speaks or communicates to a person, is immaterial, for both ideas are true. For Christ said, “Verily, verily I say unto you, The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live” John 5:25. This person being, as we showed, dead, killed by the law, is now made to hear the voice of the Son of God, the proclamation of pardon and salvation through Christ’s atonement. And every child of grace knows that it took something more than the power of man to make him hear; that it came with the power and as the word of God; and he already having Christ or the seed of life in him, he is enabled to receive, believe and rejoice in that word, and feels himself standing in a new relation to God, no longer a condemned and banished one, but a pardoned, justified one; has peace with God, and is enabled to cry Abba, Father; that is, he feels that God is his Father. Thus in the new birth there is a striking correspondence to the natural birth; to each there is a seed implanted, and then a quickening by which life is manifested. And when the natural child is brought to the birth, the sorrows of the woman in travail, the fetus being broke loose from that by which alone it had been hitherto nourished, strongly represents the agonies and the killing by the law belonging to the second birth. But then there is a contrast in the births. In the first birth the child comes into the world in the image of Adam, an alien from God and subject to pain, disease and death, as the fruits of depravity and condemnation. In the second birth, he comes into the kingdom of heaven, where grace reigns through righteousness; has communion with God as a Father through Christ; stands manifested as one with Christ; and having a common interest with all the members of Christ’s body, in all that Christ accomplished by redemption, in all the promises of God, and in that inheritance which is reserved for the saints in light.

I now come, brother Woody, to your second point of enquiry, namely: “What it is that is born again?” If by this enquiry, you mean what is the production of the new birth? I answer, the “New man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” Eph.4:24. This new man I believe to be Christ in you the hope of glory; for Paul said, It was Christ that lived in him. See Col. 1:27 & Gal.2:20. But I presume that your enquiry relates to that which has been the matter of discussion in the Signs formerly. I therefore answer, our Lord said, “Except a man be born again;” and I know not what right I have to suppose He did not mean as He said, did not mean the man. In conformity to this I say, in reference to brother Woody’s being born again, that it is brother Woody himself in his whole person that was born again. And here is the application of the position with which I started, namely: That a distinct nature may be superadded to a person so that he shall actually exist in that new nature, without destroy­ing his former personal identity, or his former existence. This I illustrated in the case of the Word being made flesh. So I understand that a spiritual nature called life has been superadded to brother Woody by the spiritual seed being implanted, and he being brought to the birth, by his being brought to live the life he now lives in the flesh, by the faith of the Son of God, that is, as before God. Yet his individuality is not changed, it is Davis S. Woody, his old man or nature is the same as it was before, his rational powers the same. And yet his personal relations by the new birth are altogether changed. He no longer belongs to Adam’s family, but to Christ’s; is a living member of Christ’s body; is not under the law, but under grace; is not of the world, as Christ is not of the world; is not under condemnation, but in a state of justification; although he feels the work­ings of depravity in all he does, it is no more he that does it, but sin that dwells in him. He is, in a word, a son of God, and a joint heir with Christ to glory; although he has in the old man all the elements that would constitute him a child of hell if still standing in his relation to Adam and under the law.

In reference to the idea that the principles laid down by brother Dudley
(the Dudley mentioned earlier in connection with the Bryan Station Church) favoring the non-resurrection notion, I will say that so far as I have under­stood brother D., I know of no material difference between his views and mine in relation to the new birth. And the views I have above advanced as to what is born again are the only views, in my estimation, consistent with the idea of the resurrection of the bodies of the saints to glory. For I cannot believe that whatever is not born again of God can ever enter heaven to participate in the glory of Christ. Whilst what ever is born of God through Christ, the only begotten of the Father, must partake with Him in glory. Hence if I believed that only the souls of persons were the subjects of regeneration and the new birth, I must believe that only their souls enter heavenly glory. But believing as I do, that it is the man that is born again; that after the second birth he exists personally in a spiritual life, whilst he retains all that in which he before existed as a natural per­son, and in which he still exists in his fleshly life, and therefore believing that his whole person was represented by Christ in His atonement, I must believe that in his whole person, soul and body, he must enter glory, as a member of Christ’s body, and as a trophy of Christ’s redemption and of His conquest over death. And I can see nothing in this sentiment concerning the new birth that can favor the non-resurrection notion."
(Centreville, Fairfax County, Virginia, July 27, 1853. S. Trott. From: SIGNS of the TIMES: Vol.21 (1853) Writings of Elder Samuel Trott pages 404 - 409)

Again, notice the date on the writing. I believe that Trott too was evolving in his views, but he still had enough former understanding, like Beebe, from being taught in the Old Confessions, to make "regeneration" not much different from the "conversion" experience that today's Hardshells apply to a strictly gospel experience.

Before I close this chapter and go to a more doctrinal look at the "Direct Voice Speaking" theory of "regeneration," I want to include a few more things relative to the teaching of the Hardshells on this subject, showing particularly how their views were still evolving and in a state of flux and transition.

Elder John R. Daily wrote:

"The gospel is not intended to give spiritual hearing to those who are deaf to its sweet teaching. The preaching of Jesus himself failed to do this. He said to the Jews, "Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my words." In another verse he tells them that none hear God's words (gospel) except those who are of God; that is, those who are born of him. Those who are born of God, then, did not hear the gospel in this sense before they were born of him. Hence the gospel was not a means by which they were born of God." (J. R. Daily, The Gospel. Zion's Advocate, Vol. 40, No. 7, July 1901.)

But, my question is, why did not all those who heard the "voice" Christ regenerated and raised spiritually from the grave? It seems to me that their view on the "personal spoken words of Christ" as having "life" and "Spirit," would regenerate all who heard his personal voice. That is indeed a strange saying in view of Hardshell theology. "Cannot hear my words (my voice)"? I know the Hardshells will say that the dead alien sinner cannot hear the words of Christ in the gospel, because they are not personally spoken by him directly to the sinner, but now, on the other hand, they are saying that these dead cannot hear that personal voice?

The following are some questions and answers from Hassell and Pittman.

Q. Are regeneration and obedience produced by the same kind of process?

"A. According to the Scriptures, they are not. Regeneration is declared by John to be "not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12,13; 3:3,5,6,8; I John 2:29). While in obedience to the commandments of God, the will of man is always represented to be involved, God commanding and commending for obedience, and forbidding and condemning for disobedience (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:16-19; 4:7-12; Exod. 20, 35; Deut. 22, 23; Josh. 24:15-24; I Kings 28:21; I Chron. 38:9: Eccles. 12:13,14; Isa. 1, 19, 20; Ezek. 18, 30; Matt. 16:24,25; John 5:40; II Cor. 8:12; Rev. 22:17); but the will to obey the Lord comes from the inworking and powerful grace of God (Psalm 110:1-3; Phil. 2:12,13; Heb. 13:20,21)."

From the above it is clear that the Hardshells do not include obedience and the involvement of the will in regeneration. They will say this in one breath and turn around and affirm that Lazarus "obeyed" the command of the Lord to "come forth" and say that the passage in the Psalms that says, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power" as referring to what is experienced in regeneration. It is simply a case of more contradiction and inconsistency.

"Q. Will any persons be saved unless the gospel is preached to them?

"A. While it is true that the ministry is to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, as the Spirit of God may direct them, and as the providence of God may open the way to them, and it is the duty of other members to help them on their way after a godly sort, and those to whom they minister in spiritual things should minister to them in carnal things, as the Scripture teach, it is at the same time true that all the elect and redeemed people of God, both infants and adults, will be saved. (Psalm 33:12; Isa. 35:10; 45:17; 53:11; Jer. 31-34; Matt. 1:21; 11:25-27; 16:16,17; John 5:25; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; 17:1-3, 24; Rom. 8:28-39; I Cor. 1:26-31; 12:3; Eph. 1:1-14; I Pet. 1-5; Rev. 5:9,10). Jesus is the Great Preacher, and, by His omnipresent Spirit, He preaches His gospel savingly to His people (Isa. 61:1-3,10,11; Luke 4:16-30; Heb. 2:11,12; Psalm 110:3)."

That is unbelievable! I have heard some Hardshells try to argue that since the scriptures say that God "preached before the gospel unto Abraham," that therefore he personally appears to those in heathen lands who have never heard the gospel and preaches it directly to them! The above is another example of such a view. Is it not fabulous? I guess Paul did not know anything about all this, for he says, "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?"

"Q. How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent? Does this mean that there is no salvation in heaven where there are no preachers to preach?"

"A. No. Paul was defending the preaching of the gospel, to the Gentiles. And remember, there is a gospel faith - a belief of gospel truths, separate and distinct from the faith of God's elect. The saving faith of God's elect may exist in those who never hear or understand the preaching of the gospel. Infants, idiots, the deaf, and millions cannot be reached by the preached gospel, and surely there is salvation for them. However, there is need for the peached gospel, and a belief of gospel truths is proof that such believer "hath everlasting life." The right living and right preaching of a minister also saves from false ways and false doctrines. In this sense they cannot believe and cannot be saved without the preacher, and there cannot be preaching unless one is sent to preach. P."

The P at the end of the above citation shows that it was written by the younger Elder R. H. Pittman, an admirer and follower of Hassell. But, I have already so thorougly shown all the above to be so against both the Scriptures and the Old Confessions that I need not rehash it.

"Q. Does God use any means in regeneration?"

"A. None whatever, any more than He does in creation or in resurrection, for regeneration is a creation in Christ (which is all of God, Eph. 2:10; II Cor. 5:17,18), and it is a resurrection from the death in trespasses and sins, which God alone effects by His immediate and irresistible power (Eph. 2:1-10; John 5:25; Ezek. 16:6; Mark 5:41,42; Luke 7:14,15; John 11:43,44). It is being begotten or born of God, with which neither the person born nor any other creature has anything to do (John 1:12,13; 3:3, 5-8; I John 2:29; 5:1). It is a direct quickening by the Three-One God, the Father, Son, and Spirit (Jer. 31:33,34; John 5:21; 6:63). It is the giving of spiritual, eternal, and divine life by God to the sinner who was previously destitute of that life (Rom. 6:23; John 10:28; 17:1-3; I John 5:11,12). It is the free gift by the Three-One God of Himself to all His loved and chosen people, to dwell in and with them forever (Gen. 15:1; Psalm 48:14; 73:26; John 3:16; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:25-27; Titus 2:14; John 6:51,58; Col. 1:27; Ezek. 36:21-38; Zech. 12:10; 13:9; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,5; 2:17,18; John 7:37-39; 14:17; II Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:18-22). The Lord Jesus Christ, our only Master, commands us to call no man on earth our father, that is our spiritual father, for one is our Father who is in heaven (Matt. 23:8-10). Therefore, when the Apostle Paul calls himself the father of the Corinthian Church (I Cor. 4:15), he means, as he himself explains his language, not their spiritual, but only their ministerial father (II Cor. 3:3), the minister by whom, or under whose preaching, they first believed the gospel, even, he says, as the Lord gave to every man; he was, under God, the founder or planter of that church (I Cor. 3:5, 6) and it was sinful "carnality" for them to say that they were "of him" (I Cor. 3:4). Christ declares that only they who are of God (that is, as explained by the Greek lexicons, "born of God") hear God's words (John 8:47) ; only they that hear the voice of the Son of God live (John 5:25) - indeed, He Himself is their life (John 11:25; 14:19; Col. 3:4). "God, according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again or regenerated us unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible," etc. (I Pet. 1:3-5). Believing in Christ as the Son of God and our Saviour is not a part, but an evidence of our regeneration (John 1:12,13; 6:47; I John 5:1)."

But again, I have already addressed most of this argumentation. If they take this logic to the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37 they will be overthrown.

The following is an interesting question relative to this whole debate over whether the "hybrid views" of the Hardshells are new or old.

"Q. Have Baptists always denied the use of means in regeneration?"

"A. In careless expressions some Baptists have advanced this error, but the same men, when taking into consideration the entire teaching of the Scriptures on this point, have, in their more exact expressions, repudiated it."

What an answer! Deceitful too. How can what the Old Baptists who wrote the London and Philadelphia Confessions be styled "careless expressions"? Where in the world are those "more exact expressions" that supposedly spout Hardshell views on faith, repentance, regeneration, and conversion? It is more assertion without the least bit of evidence. It is a habit with the Hardshells to do this.

Q. Was Nicodemus a regenerated man?

"A. I think that his coming to Christ for instruction and his tender love for Him after His death (John 3:1-15; 19:39-40) prove that he was."

I have heard this question debated by the Hardshell faithful many times during my time with them. It is my opinion that the majority believe that he was indeed already regenerated when Christ spoke to him. There are reasons why today's Hardshells do not want to make Nicodemus a lost man when he is first addressed by the Lord Jesus. First of all, they do not believe in telling anyone that they need to be born again. Plus, if they did meet someone whom they were convinced was not born again, they would have nothing to say to him.

The above view about Nicodemus is different from Grigg Thompson who said:

"The man to whom the Savior addressed this language was a ruler among the Jews, and of the Pharisees, a religious sect among the Jews, who were very strict in their religion, and he, being a ruler among the Jews, was, doubtless, taught in all their religion. His religious training and character had not prepared him for the kingdom of God, hence Jesus said to him, "Ye must be born again."

Who it is that must be born again. It looks like there could be no difference of opinion on this point, for Nicodemus was the man addressed, and evidently the man that must be born again. Jesus says, "Ye, the man I am talking to, the fallen sinner of Adam's race, ye must be born again." And Nicodemus evidently so understood Jesus, for he said, "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"


I do not think many Hardshells will agree with Grigg Thompson. Rather, I think they would be afraid, due to that "pressure" about which Gowens spoke. Thompson says further,

"...it was Nicodemus to whom he was talking, and Nicodemus, the Pharisee, he meant. If not so, why should he say to Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again?""
(From His article "THE SECOND BIRTH")

(Hassell & Pittman, "Questions and Answers")

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