Dec 31, 2006

Patterson Postscript


As stated previously, I think there may be a possibility of one Hardshel (sic) that would debate you. In addition to that, I would say there would be quite an interest and perhaps quite a number of Primitive Baptists that would attend the debate. Is there any possibility that you would debate Elder Eddie Garrett? He is a Hardshell. Would you do it?

I did check out your situation with Primitive Baptists in North Carolina. It is not a pretty picture according to the elders in the Bear Creek and especially according to Elder Newell Helms. An elder in Kernersville, E.W. Hooven said...and I quote, "Answer not a fool according to his folly." So there you have it. This concludes our discussion.

Jeff Patterson"

I have decided to post the above e-mail I got from Elder Jeff Patterson (after I sent him my final e-mail). I have no intention of communicating further with him, but since I have posted his other statements, I thought I would post this one also together with my comments.

In regard to a possible debate with my father, Elder Eddie Garrett, Sr., a leading Hardshell, I have several things to say, and not only because of the above e-mail but also because Brother Ross ask me about doing the same a few months back.

First, dad and I debate these things all the time over the phone. Why do we need to make it public? The very verse that is most used to uphold debating says, “debate thy cause with thy neighbor and him alone.” Secondly, it is too awkward and not something I feel would be productive of any good, nor glorifying to the Lord. Thirdly, I do not believe it would be showing proper honor and respect to my father to debate him publicly. Fourthly, his age and health are not conducive for it. Fifthly, it is my firm belief that the Primitive Baptists have relied too much on dad to debate their cause over the past forty years. Their history is filled with men who debated their cause. It is only neo-Hardshells, other than dad and Elder Tolley, and a few others, who are cowards, who attack the Arminians and Missionaries in the regular preaching but never give their opponents opportunity to defend themselves. They practice “hit and run” tactics. I give my dad credit for having the spiritual guts that the modern Hardshells lack. He has been willing to defend his beliefs in debate with those he preaches against, but all other sickly Hardshells are content to take “pot shots” at their enemies and castigate them when they try to defend themselves against the onslaught! Finally, dad can get a copy of this book and attempt to answer it, can he not? Cannot any of you Hardshells who read this? When I threw out the challenge to debate, it included the challenge to take up pen and answer the arguments! Brothers, are we not in an electronic age? Why can’t Patterson just write an rebuttal to all that I have written? If all my arguments, evidences, and proofs are so untenable, then it ought to be easy for any Hardshell to come forward with clear refutations, correct? And, why is it, that I still do not have, after asking it many times, the evidence that the Hardshell position on gospel means was the view of the Baptists prior to the 1800's? Would it not be easy for them just to provide the historical records? Also, why can't one of you younger Hardshells come forward and give old dad a break and do some debating?

Dad puts the modern Hardshells to shame. Yes, I firmly believe he went into a heretical cult when he left Brother Ross and the Ashland Brotherhood in the mid 60's. Before he became a Hardshell he believed what the Old Confessions said (as did Elder Bradley and others). He believed in gospel means, absolute predestination, premillenialism, and other truths he now denies. This grieves me. But, I am glad that God had mercy on me and delivered me from this cult.

Next, Brother Patterson “insinuates” many things, just like the great insinuator himself. Elder Newell Helms is my ex father in law. He is a leading Elder in the Bear Creek Association here in North Carolina. My daughter told him a couple months ago that I was writing this book against the Hardshells. I don’t think he took it very well. I had hoped that he and some of the other local Hardshells would have attended the debate I had with Pat Donahue of the “Church of Christ,” but he nor they came (but they did in 1993, after I had left them and held a debate in Monroe). So, I think I have alienated further their affections.

I was a member of one of the churches of the Bear Creek Association in the late 70's and early 80's and regularly preached in their churches. I did this till I took pastorship of two non-associational churches in eastern N.C. I then moved my membership to one of those churches. I remained there till my wife and I divorced. At that time I was given a letter by them (I did not feel like preaching any longer, especially in this area – I wanted to go on sabbatical) to move my membership to another Primitive Baptist Church. I never placed that letter anywhere. My ex was excluded from the church her father pastors, however, for marital infidelity. So, what this brother insinuates in his e-mail is false, besides being a clear case of backbiting and spreading malicious gossip. What did Elder Helms say to Elder Patterson? What can he say? They can all read the book and get the facts.

Besides, I left the Primitive Baptists, coming to see, by the grace of God, their several grave errors in doctrine and practice. That is why I am writing this book. I spent so many years in this group, have had a brother ordained an elder also for them (but who left also), as did my sister. God delivered us all from this cult. I traveled far and wide among the Hardshells. I know their beliefs and their oddities and can well write about them. Who is to say that this is not what the Lord wants me to do? I will therefore not stop but continue to expose the grievous and damnable heresies of this group.

As far as Elder Hooven is concerned, I know him also. But, does this not substantiate what I said earlier? Hardshells are good at taking “pot shots” and then running away! They are good at “hit and run” tactics! Everyone is free to see it for what it is. Anyone else want to speak up for the Hardshells? Can anyone offer a different apologetic than Elder Patterson?

Hardshell Correspondence

The following is the e-mail correspondence I had with Elder Jeff Patterson of the "Primitive Baptist Church". He initiated the correspondence in response to my "open challenge" to debate the issues respecting Hardshellism.

"Hello Steve,

I don't know if any Primitive Baptists are willing to take you up on your challenge, but I believe a fellow named Crosby could handle you quite well. His website address is

His sight (sic) is much better, more informative and persuasive than your and Ross' blog-sights. From listening to some of Crosby's sermons I really believe he could trounce you and Ross both together. I really don't think the two of you would have much of a chance. Lovetruth"

Here is my first letter to Jeff.

Dear Brother Jeff:

It was good to hear from you. It has been many years since we have seen or talked, hasn’t it? I hope you are doing well. Do you associate with Elder Bradley?

I want to respond to your e-mail and do hope that you will be pleased to communicate further.

You say – “I don't know if any Primitive Baptists are willing to take you up on your challenge.”

Yes, and one must question the reason for this, right? I do not think that the first Hardshells nor the leading ones of the 19th century would be characterized in this manner. Modern Hardshells may not want to debate their history and heresies but they only show how unlike they are to their founders and forefathers, yes?

If I were still a Hardshell, I would not have ignored someone writing against them, as Bob Ross and I have done, but would have engaged them in debate, as would Elder Daily or Elder Cayce. I think it was Elder Tolley, one of my old fathers in the ministry, who said, “Primitive Baptists have debated every denomination who has issued a sincere challenge to debate their differences.” Is that not true any more?

Of what are the neo-Hardshells afraid?

You then say – “but I believe a fellow named Crosby could handle you quite well.”

I do not know this man nor his church. I notice that he and his church do not call themselves “Primitive Baptists.” Why is this?

Are you in fellowship with him and his church? With what “faction” is he and his church in league? Would the Hardshells here in Monroe (Bear Creek Association) support him if he came to debate here at the seminary and Baptist Churches with which I am connected?

Are you speaking for him? Do you plan to contact him to see if he will take up the challenge I have published in my blog?

There is only one way to see if Crosby can handle such a debate, is there not? Why don’t you contact him to see if he will come to Monroe the coming year to debate the propositions I have published?

I do not think you are a prophet in the matter of how such a debate would conclude. I do not have any doubt that there is a Hardshell in all the world who can overcome the avalanche of Scripture and historical records that refute Hardshell false teachings on the new birth, predestination, perseverance, etc. But, bring it on!

Hoping to hear from you soon, I am,

Yours in Christ,

Stephen M. Garrett
Emmanuel Theological Seminary (Monroe Campus)

And here is a short follow-up e-mail I sent.

Dear Jeff:

I will add this to my previous e-mail.

On Crosby's web site, he says these things:

"Without Scripture, we cannot know Jesus Christ."

I suppose then his view of the new birth is that one does not come to know Christ?

He says further, on his web page,

"Are there any established church creeds to which you hold? We hold to the Bible, as the Holy Spirit leads us to understand it. But if you want to see some historical Baptist creeds with which we find much agreement, we recommend you look at these two:

Old London Confession of 1646 (Second Edition)
The Midlands Baptist Confession of faith of 1655

Who believes the Old London Confession, you Hardshells or Baptists as myself?
Who are the true “Primitive” Baptist?

In Jeff's next e-mail response he simply says "no" in answer to the question as to whether he associates with Elder Bradley. I have since found out that Jeff is with the conservatives who have opposed Bradley and the "liberal movement."

He then writes:

"I stated "I don't know if any Primitive Baptists are willing to take you up on your challenge" because of the person and not the challenge. You are an excluded member of the Primitive Baptist Church. You are basically unknown and have very little influence on other people. Why debate an unknown? What profit would there be in it, except for some type of mental exercise."

And then further, he says:

"Crosby is not a Primitive Baptist, I believe he is a disciple of Conrad Jarrell and Ben Mott. While I don't know of any Primitive Baptists who will debate you, perhaps he will."


"Sound PBs have no fellowship with Crosby. I sent him your challenge via email. I really don't know if he will take you on. Crosby is an intellectual and gifted in making arguments."

Here is my response to the above.

Dear Brother Jeff:

I was a little surprised by the contents and spirit of your latest correspondence. You say:

“I stated ‘I don't know if any Primitive Baptists are willing to take you up on your challenge" because of the person and not the challenge.’”

Is that a personal attack? Why then did you even write to me suggesting a debate? What kind of a person will the Hardshells debate? Give me the criteria, okay?

You seem to be under the impression that I am out eagerly looking for a debate with the Hardshells. My challenge to debate the Hardshells still stands, but it does not represent an eagerness to do so without any conditions. I think I have written that I would myself not debate just anyone in the Hardshell Denomination. The person would have to meet some qualifications. I have listed some of those to you. That person would need the support of the Primitive Baptists to the same extent that I have support from the Baptists with whom I am in fellowship.

I also will require that any would be debater of Hardshellism first give some attempt at answering just a little of what I have already written against Hardshell history and heresies. Why not try to answer some of those “Hardshell Buster Questions”? Instead of a debate, why don’t one of you Hardshells come forward and just try to answer what I have already written?

I am busy enough already. I plan to have over a hundred chapters in this book on Hardshellism before it is finished and put into book form. Besides this I teach in a seminary and have other books and essays that I am heavily involved in writing. So, I am not looking for ways to fill my time. I expect to have at least another debate this coming year.

Brother Jeff, you next say:

“Your are an excluded member of the Primitive Baptist Church.”

Where do you get your information? Is this not another example of how Hardshells can twist and distort history as well as Scripture? For your information, I left the Hardshells here in North Carolina in good standing, with letters to move my membership to another Primitive Baptist Church and I have more than fulfilled that in finding the true Primitive Baptist faith.

Next, you say:

“You are basically unknown and have very little influence on other people.”

Who are you to know all this? How could you possibly know the extent of my name being known among the Hardshells? How do you know how much influence I have on other people? Are you a prophet or psychic? But, I do hope that more of the Hardshells will come to know my name, once they have had a chance to digest the book I am writing. I fully believe I really have no need to debate orally any Hardshell. Rather, just let any one of them answer the book!

You then say:

"Why debate an unknown? What profit would there be in it, except for some type of mental exercise.”

If you cannot think of another reason, then I pity your mental powers, my brother. If you cannot think of another kind of “profit” from such discussions, then again I have sorrow in my heart for you. Again, forget the oral debating – JUST ANSWER THE BOOK! I think this book, together with the writings of Brother Ross (who is very well known, by the way), give you Hardshells plenty to think about, much to stimulate you all in “mental exercise.”

You then write:

“Crosby is not a Primitive Baptist, I believe he is a disciple of Conrad Jarrell and Ben Mott. While I don't know of any Primitive Baptists who will debate you, perhaps he will.”

I remember both the Elders you mentioned, from my early days as a Hardshell. Yes, they are renegades, especially in that they deny the eternal sonship of Jesus Christ. So, they are of course not “primitive” on that point, right? But, you agree that their view that men are born again apart from any knowledge of Christ or through the gospel, is “primitive,” which I have proved is not the true primitive Baptist position as expressed in the oldest confessions. I have a standing challenge for any Hardshell to come forward and produce one document that sets forth Hardshell views on the new birth prior to the 1800's. Why don’t you, Jeff Patterson, simply do that for them?

Why do you want another non-Primitive Baptist to do your debating? Are you joking? Are you wasting my time? Playing games? What is your motive in this correspondence? What are you seeking to accomplish?

You then write:

“Sound PBs have no fellowship with Crosby.”

And just what criteria do you use to judge what it means to be a “sound” or “primitive” Baptist? My challenge was to debate Hardshells who claim to be the “original” Baptists on the point relative to whether the Holy Spirit uses the means of gospel preaching to regenerate his elect. And, before any actual oral debate, why not first take a stab at just answering in writing what I have thus far written regarding Hardshells distortions of history and Scripture?

You next say:

“I sent him your challenge via email. I really don't know if he will take you on. Crosby is an intellectual and gifted in making arguments.”

Well, surely he can read well, and can look over the almost forty chapters that I have already written and give his time to refuting it. Can he not? Are you not just saying simply this – “ignore what Steve Garrett is writing”? Do you think that tactic will work very long?

I have visited Crosby’s web site and yes, he does have a nice web site. He wins hands down on that score. Take it for what it is worth. But, I have already cited a couple things from his web site’s confession of faith, which show that he contradicts the Hardshellism he spouts elsewhere in some of his sermons. He contradicts himself frequently in the sermons I have heard and the writings I have read already from his mouth and hand.

Brother, I don’t care if Crosby does not “take me on,” if by that statement, you mean an oral debate. Why does he not just first try and “take me on” relative to what I have already written? He has a web page. Is he not just as gifted a writer as a speaker? Can he not put his argumentation skills at work in writing as well as in oral sermons?

About Crosby being an “intellectual” and “gifted in making arguments,” that really matters little, in the end, doesn’t it? Why are you saying such things as these? What are you insinuating? What are you trying to accomplish with me? Do you just want to condemn me by ad hominem arguments and do you not have any desire to “win me back” to Harshellism?

Again, yours for the truth’s sake, and in Christ Jesus our Lord, I am, truly yours,

Stephen M. Garrett
Asst. Professor at Emmanuel Theological Seminary (Monroe, N.C.)

Copy: Bob Ross

In the latest e-mail Jeff writes these words:

"Steve, Let me speak frankly and please answer truly.

Did you receive baptism when you claimed to have found "the true Primitive Baptist faith".

If not, then the baptism you currently have is from the so called "Hardshell Cult" you are writing against.

If you have received baptism from the group you state as "the true Primitive Baptist faith", then what was the purpose of the letter of good standing?

You ask for my motivation. I will tell you plainly. I was hoping, as the Apostle Paul set the Pharisees against the Sadducees, that you and Crosby would lock horns and give the PBs a little rest. I wish you no ill. I do wish you would remove your blog-book from the internet for it is an embarrassment. Especially to you. While you may pride yourself in your shallow arguments that beguile unstable souls, those arguments are no match for many an elder within the gates of Zion. Frankly, I believe the fear of the Lord has left you and that God has turned you over to a reprobate mind. Anyone who writes so vehemently and spitefully against the church of the living God will answer for it...either in time or in eternity. It is doubtful that anything I say will cause you to lay aside your rancor against the saints in light.

I am not writing you because I am concerned about your soul or have a desire to see you restored as questioned in your reply. I believe we both understand you are where you need to be....on the outside of the church. If you think you are still a member of the Primitive Baptist faith and order, then name the Primitive Baptist Church with whom you take the communion of the Lord Jesus Christ and I will send them some excepts from your diatribe. And again, please answer the questions concerning your baptism or baptisms...whatever the case may be."

Here is my response.

Dear Brother Jeff:

You say, “Let me speak frankly and please answer truly.”

Brother, I have been answering “truly,” but you admit you have not been “frank” with me. What do you think that says? You have never even addressed me as “brother.” I find that very ironic. First, because most Hardshells would say that I have evidence of being “born again” by my faith and works, would they not? If they can call idol worshiping heathens “brothers,” because they have been “regenerated,” why not me? Second, are not even “erring brothers” still to be addressed as “brothers” and not “treated as an enemy”? (II Thess. 3:15) Third, are not those who are “weak in the faith” still called brothers? (Romans 14) Does this not show the state of your heart my brother? Does it not show that you approached me as an “enemy” who “cared not for my soul”? How did this fulfill the holy command to “love” and “edify” your “neighbor”? (Rom. 13:10; 15:2)

You write:

“Did you receive baptism when you claimed to have found "the true Primitive Baptist faith". If not, then the baptism you currently have is from the so called "Hardshell Cult" you are writing against. If you have received baptism from the group you state as "the true Primitive Baptist faith", then what was the purpose of the letter of good standing?”

It is obvious from your statements above that you are guilty of two unsound and heretical doctrines, namely, “Landmarkism,” and “Patternism.” Bob Ross has written a book against the former and has treatises on the latter that completely overthrow these two doctrines. Besides this, you show how you are not a truly “Primitive” Baptist in believing that the credibility of baptism depends on who is the “administrator,” a thing which the first London Baptist Confession of faith (1644 & 1646) both denied was the case. The Scriptures clearly teach, and so did the first Old Baptists, that anyone can baptize a believer, and it does not have to be done by the authority of a church, although this is preferable. My baptism is not valid because of who administered it, but because I was immersed as an expression of my faith and allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. Had anyone baptized me, instead of my father, it still would have been the same with the Lord and me. That is what Gill, Keach, Kiffin, and the truly Old Baptists believed. So did John Bunyan. Yes, I admit, many Baptists have been, traditionally, “Landmarkers,” and have imbibed the Catholic and episcopal idea that the sacraments depend an “authorized” clergy to “administer.” But, sound Baptists, like Gill, did not take this view.

Do you realize that I can prove, by your own arguments along this line, that your own baptism is not valid? Can you show the “genealogy” of your baptism? If we could prove that someone in the chain of administrators was not a valid or authorized baptizer, then would that not nullify every baptism after that error? Can you answer that?

Jeff, I am with a group of Baptists who believe the Old London Baptist Confession of Faith. I am with those who believe what all Baptists believed prior to the rise of the Hardshells in the 1820's and 1830's. That makes the group I am with more “Primitive” and more “Original” and more “Old” than you who erroneously and arrogantly call yourselves that! So, does that answer your question?

You then say:

“I am not writing you because I am concerned about your soul or have a desire to see you restored as questioned in your reply.”

Again, this admission of yours speaks volumes! You are clearly outside the Spirit of Christ, not having his mind or heart, and so I see no reason to converse further with one with such a spirit. “You know not what manner of spirit you are of”! (Luke 9:55)

Next, you write:

"I believe we both understand you are where you need to be....on the outside of the church.”

Brother, that is nothing in the world but wishing my damnation. What a spirit! I am lost if I am outside the church, doomed to eternal destruction.

You next write:

"If you think you are still a member of the Primitive Baptist faith and order, then name the Primitive Baptist Church with whom you take the communion of the Lord Jesus Christ and I will send them some excepts from your diatribe. And again, please answer the questions concerning your baptism or baptisms...whatever the case may be.”

I have answered all the above.

You say you want me to “give the PBs a little rest.” Brother, I do not plan on letting up one whit.

You then say, “I wish you no ill. I do wish you would remove your blog-book from the internet for it is an embarrassment...Especially to you.”

I think the previous statements show that you do wish me ill, so this is a glaring contradiction. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Remove it? Yes, you would like that, right? And why? because you care about me being embarrassed? Do you really care that much for my reputation after having impugned it? You are slick, are you not? Brother, my exposing of the hypocrisies of the Hardshells in their heresies is an embarrassment, but not to me, but to those who, like you, arrogantly claim to be the “original” Baptists in spite of all the evidence to the contrary!

Now brother, I thank you for your correspondence but believe it has now come to the point where I must leave you to yourself and to the Lord and now not allow you to distract me from my work in the Lord.

I do plan on posting our correspondence in my blog.

Yours in Christ,

Stephen M. Garrett

Dec 25, 2006

Another Open Challenge To Debate

I have a standing invitation in this blog to debate any leading Hardshell on the stated propositions. I now offer this second invitation to all Arminian Baptists, including the Hardshell's "twin brother," the "Campbellites." I have just finished (October) my debate with Pat Donahue of the Huntsville, Alabama "Church of Christ" (see his web site for the audio of this debate, at, on the topics of "once saved always saved," and on "unconditional election"). I have also just finished listening to the recent debate between "Campbellite" Larry Hafley (Baytown, Texas) and Baptist brother, Ken Brandenburg and have corresponded with both Larry and Ken on my overview of the discussion.

Here are two propositions I am willing to affirm in debate.

1. The Book of Romans teaches the five points of Calvinism.

2. The Book of Galatians teaches the doctrine of once saved always saved.

I would insist on a rule disallowing citations from any other books of the Bible. We must stay in these books alone to prove our doctrines. If the Book of Romans does not teach the system known as "Calvinism," then I cannot read plain English.

I will let all know when I get a taker on this.

Emmanuel Theological Seminary (Monroe, N.C. campus), which I am connected with, together with both Crossroads Baptist and Fellowship Baptist Churches, of Monroe, have agreed to sponsor an annual debate.

Will any of the Hardshells and Campbellites come forward?

Oct 28, 2006

Chapter 36 - Pray For Salvation Of Your Children?

I believe it is inconsistent for the Hardshells, in their "anti-means" views about regeneration, to pray for the salvation of their unregenerate children. They do not believe that the gospel and word of God, the truth, are "means" in the new birth, arguing that no human means of any kind are used. But, that would exclude the prayers of humans too, would it not? You would expect it to be against the creed and practice of the Hardshells to pray for the salvation of the lost, for then their prayers, by their "logic," would become "means," human means, and that can never be, at least for neoHardshells. Yet, what do we find in many cases? We find Hardshells praying for the salvation of their children! We find the old Hardshells, like Grigg Thompson, calling upon his concerned mothers and fathers to pray to God to regenerate their children. Why do this if you do not believe in such "means"?

Elder John Watson

"It was through Him that an affectionate and believing mother hoped and prayed that the lost might be found; that the brand might be plucked from the fire. That prayer--as elsewhere stated in this work was heard and answered by Him who had in mercy prompted it. The prayer was the gift of grace--Rom. 4:15; enabling a distressed mother to trust in God for the salvation of her son under all the adverse circumstances of his case." (Old Baptist Test, page 31)

Watson believed in both the means of gospel preaching and the means of prayer in the salvation of the elect. He believed that the prayers of his mother for his salvation were "means" in his regeneration and conversion.

Notice these words from Elder Grigg Thompson, from the close of some of his sermons.

"It is a creation, and a creation work is above the power of the creature. No power but that power which gave being to the world can give being to this new creature. It is not born of the flesh, or of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God; John, i, 13. Human means, or instrumentalities, with all the ordinances and service of the church must forever fail, and can not, in whole or in part, produce this new creature."

And further:

"This doctrine drives despair from the mind of the Christian in regard to his unregenerated children and friends, and emboldens him to carry them to the throne of mercy in his prayers, knowing that where means and instrumentalities must forever fail, God can perform the work."

"Consistency Thou Art A Jewel!"

Surely the average Christian can see the great inconsistency in these views. This "leading light" in Hardshellism, this "founding father," believed that salvation and regeneration were, in one instance, performed without any human means, such as the preaching of the gospel by God sent men, but he, in another instance, believes that God moves upon mothers and fathers to pray for the salvation and regeneration of their children! Why can one be a "means" and the other not? I ask all Hardshells to come forward and tell us how they stand on this issue. Do you pray for the regeneration and salvation of your lost children? I try to remember my days as a Hardshell. Did I pray for the salvation of my unregenerate friends and family?

I believe I did do so, but 1) I did not see the inconsistency in it as I do now, and 2) I did not pray with the "fervent spirit" of a soul winner who believed in human means (under the direction of the Holy Spirit).

Thompson said further, in his sermon endings:

"You may see no encouraging indications in your children or friends toward God, or spiritual things; nay, possibly they are haters of God, and persecutors of his children, they deride and hold in scorn the humble disciple of Christ. This, indeed, is sad, and very sad, but remember that the work of grace is from above; God can new create them, and command the light to shine in their hearts to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of the Lord can breathe upon the dry bones and make them live; it can subdue the proud and stubborn heart, and make it willingly yield itself to God, and delight in the things it now hates. Thy heart may now be sad, tears of grief may stream from thy eyes, as you realize their sad condition, and your inability to change their hearts, or snatch them from their awful fate. But God can make thee rejoice; oh, he can turn all thy sad groanings into sweetest songs over thy most hopeless friend or child. As the father of the prodigal, thou mayest yet say, "This my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry;" Luke, xv, 24.

Dear brother or sister, these difficulties are with men, and not with God. He can speak, and the dead live; he works the regeneration, quickening, conversion, and faith in the sinner by the same power which raised up Christ from the dead, and will subdue all things unto himself. Let the truth drive despair from your heart, and cause you with boldness to come to a throne of grace in their behalf."

(From "The Primitive Preacher," section titled "A New Creature")

Here is what is inconsistent and unacceptable in the above words of Thompson.

First, notice that Thompson defines "regeneration" as an experience that gives sinners "...the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." How is this anything akin to the modern Hardshell definition of "regeneration"? The modern Pb will say there is no "knowledge" of Christ or gospel truth implanted in the mind in "regeneration"! They will all now say that the sinner learns nothing in "regeneration" for it is all on the "unconscious level." Does Thompson's definition of "regeneration" apply to the "regenerated infant" or to the "regenerated idiot," or to the "regenerated heathen"? No, it does not.

He says, "Human means, or instrumentalities, with all the ordinances and service of the church must forever fail, and can not, in whole or in part, produce this new creature." Is prayer not a "human means"?

He said again, in a sermon ending:

"I see a sister weeping; I know her, and can understand the meaning of those tears that flow so freely from her eyes; her heart is burdened; she feels that her sorrows are more than she can bear. I can look into the face of the daughter, for whom those tears are flowing, floating upon the stream of time to the ocean of eternal destruction and misery, thoughtless and unconcerned. For you those tears are shed; for you those prayers are rising up to the throne of mercy. 0, blessed Jesus! was thy sympathizing heart moved with compassion at the tears of bereaved sisters at the grave of a dead brother, and wilt thou not hear the cries of these thy saints, whose hearts are broken with grief, as they look upon their beloved ones dead in sin, and realize in their hearts that thou alone canst give life to the dead, and break the fetters that bind their captive souls, and set the prisoners free? Thou canst save; thy word is spirit, and it is life. My dear brother, you tremble like a leaf shaken by the wind. I know thy feelings, I can read thy heart; for I, too, have shed the tear of sorrow, and drank the bitter dregs you are now drinking. 0, how sad it is to feel and know that our words can not reach or move the hearts of those we love!" ("Abiding In Christ")

I can testify that I have not heard a single modern Hardshell pray for the lost in this manner. They manifest no such prayers for the unregenerate in their church meetings. Again, it must perplex one to read how Thompson
can believe in such prayers to be divine means to regenerate the lost, but not the preaching of the gospel!

He again preached to his hearers, saying:

"Our tears and prayers can never wash your sin and guilt away; none but Jesus can save from sin, cleanse the guilty sinner, and save him from sinking down into the pit of endless woe! and all I can do is to close this feeble address with the humble prayer, God be merciful to sinners." (Ibid)

Again, all this is the height of inconsistency. If the prayers of the saints are means in regeneration, then so are their words, when they are the words of Christ, which, whether spoken by himself, as in his earthly ministry, or by his servants today, they are indeed "spirit and life."

Oct 27, 2006

Chapter 35 - Parable of The Sower & Seed

Elder Grigg Thompson

"But the objector to our views will say, "Jesus has taught us in the parable of the sower and the seed, that we should sow the seed broadcast, and it, falling into the human heart, brings forth a crop of holy fruits, such as faith, love, and obedience to the laws of Christ, and is the means of re-begetting, or regenerating the soul." But we answer that the seed has no power to prepare or fertilize the soil. If it fall on stony ground, or among thorns and thistles, it can not prepare the ground for its reception, and will perish because it can not prepare and fertilize the soil. Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but God must give the increase, or prepare and fertilize the soil that the seed may grow and bring forth fruit, as lie did the heart of Lydia that she should hear and obey the words of his servant. No sensible husbandman sows his seed in unprepared ground, expecting the seed to prepare the ground and bring him a crop. We are not the husbandman, and can not prepare the human heart for the reception of the word; but it is our duty to sow the seed broadcast, for we know not what heart the Lord has prepared for its reception. We are to sow the seed in the morning, and to withhold not in the evening, for we know not which is to prosper, or whether both alike is to be good. We are not of that people who were never called to preach to sinners. The command we have received from our King is, "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." But we are nowhere commanded to prepare their hearts to receive it, but he that can prepare their hearts has promised to be with us always. With this promise, we go sowing the seed, and leaving the event with him who can prepare the heart for its reception, and fertilize it so that a crop can be produced, to his honor and glory."
(From "The Primitive Preacher," chapter on "The New Birth")

There are a number of interesting remarks made here by Elder Thompson. Two of them will be taken up in forthcoming chapters. He mentions how he is going to preach the gospel "to sinners," unregenerate sinners. I will enlarge upon this in future chapters dealing with "Addresses To The Lost," and in the chapter dealing with "Evolution In Hardshell Doctrine." He mentions too the "Great Commission" as being one that gives him his authority for so preaching, and I will deal with this too in the chapters dealing with the "Great Commission." For now I wish only to deal with his remarks against the "gospel means" position, wherein he says that the "heart must first be regenerated, or have life, before it can receive the seed of the word of God."

I can endorse most of what Elder Thompson wrote above. No believer in gospel means believes that the word of God is required in all the "preparatory work" of God on the heart prior to one's "hearing" the word of God. There are many "providential means," as the Old Baptists spoke about, whereby the person was "prepared" for the preaching of the gospel. We do not deny that much "preparatory work" is done in the heart, mind, and life of a sinner, before he hears the saving gospel, before the seed finds depth of lodging in the soil of the heart, but we do deny that the heart of the sinner is yet regenerate, is yet fully renewed. We deny that a heart, without seed, is a "habitation of the Spirit of God." Until that "seed" has been sown in that prepared heart, there will be no "life" or "fruit."

How far will Thompson carry this analogy? Does the entrance of the "seed of God" in I Peter 1:23 not "begat" life? Certainly all Hardshells will admit this. They will deny that the "seed," in that passage, is planted by the means of gospel preaching, but they will not deny that the "seed" in that passage is the "seed of God" himself, metaphorically speaking, and that its entrance into the heart makes the soil good! So, Thompson's "logic" would not apply to the "seed of God."

If seed, of any kind, cannot possibly, in any sense, "prepare" or otherwise change the nature of the soil, then what of the passage in I Peter 1:23? Does the seed of God, that "incorruptible seed," entering the heart, beget life? Does the entrance of that "incorruptible seed" not change the soil (heart) and prepare it? Thompson's "logic" clearly does not apply in this case, does it?

Let me ask the Hardshells some questions along these lines, relative to the parable of the sower and the seed.

1. "Is there "life" in the soil without seed or water?"
2. "Is there any "fruit" from or in soil that is without "seed" or "water"?
3. "If there can be no "fruit" nor "life" in soil that is without "seed" and "water," then how can such soils (hearts) be said to be "alive"?
4. "Why would God prepare hearts for seed and yet have no one sent to sow seed in them?" How can he make the heart change from a desert wilderness to a delightful garden without both cultivating and seeding the soil?
5. "Since faith and repentance are immediate "fruits" of regeneration, how can "fruit" come from soil that is without water and without seed?"

There can be no fruit, no faith and repentance, in soil that has not had seed planted. To speak of "regenerated infants" and "regenerated heathen" having a "sub-conscious faith," a "seed faith," counters all the argumentation put forth by Thompson above, for the fruit of faith implies some kind of seed being planted.

Many Hardshells believe that all four of these different types of soils represent four different kinds of regenerated people! Cayce believed this, arguing that since one of the soils (one that was not good), corresponded to one who had "believed," even though it was only "for awhile," therefore they could not be said to have been unregenerate. Though the "belief" was temporary, Cayce and other Hardshells will argue that this proves that not only the good soil heart, but shallow ground hearts too, represent born again children of God! After all, some of them will argue, they all, in some way, "received" the seed!

Elder C. H. Cayce

"We do not wish to set our views up as a standard...On this parable of the sower we do not agree with many of our brethren. They may be right and we wrong. This makes us fearful of expressing our views...We are aware that many of our brethren hold the position that the hearers denominated as the "wayside," the "stony places," and the "thorns" were all unregenerated, and that the hearers called the "dry ground," and these only, were children of God. We know that there is a preparation of heart that is necessary in order that the preaching of the gospel be of spiritual benefit to anyone." (Editorials, Vol. I, page 132)

And again:

"But we do not think these represent three classes of unregenerate and the good ground, and that only, represents the regenerate. This would give us three classes of unregenerate and only one class of children of God. All God's children, according to this view, would be a fruit-bearing class. It is true they all have that faith that God gives, which is called a fruit of the Spirit, but they do not all bear fruit in the sense of this parable, for the fruit bearing here, we think, is in rendering obedience to the Saviour. Notice the Master's explanation of the parable. Verses 18 and 19, "Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside." Many of the Lord's dear children hear the word of the kingdom and do not understand it. They get many precious crumbs, perhaps, from the experimental truths the servant of the Lord proclaims, but when the minister begins to apply these same truths in a doctrinal way they cannot understand it, and the wicked one catcheth away that which was sown in their hearts. Many of God's dear children, too, are not in the way, but are by the way--hence way side hearers. "These received seed by the way side." Mark the expression, the statement of the Saviour, "they received seed." Then remember Paul says "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God." Thses received seed." (Pages 132, 133)

Well, he goes on in his writing to show how, in his view, each of the various hearers were all "born again children of God," arguing that they all had "received" the word.

But, before I overthrew these views, let me cite one more leading Hardshell "apologist" on the parable.

Elder Lemuel Potter

"On the parable of the seed he claimed (Elder Pence whom he was debating on the question of gospel means) that the life-germ was in the seed and not in the ground in which it was sown, and that it was often the case that the gospel came to men in word only, and that in such cases the seed did not contain the life-germ in it. That this was the case where the seed fell by the wayside. He argued that the result of sowing the seed depended upon the condition of the seed sown instead of the ground in which it was sown. He also added that the result of sowing depended in a measure on the sinner giving the gospel a favorable hearing, which I claimed is as rank Arminianism as I ever heard a man utter: "Depends entirely on the action of the sinner at last."" (An Account of Elder Potter's Affirmative Arguments and Elder Pence's Reply)

And again:

"I further argued that in the case of the parable of the sower, Matthew 13, where some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air caught them away, others into stony places, and, because they had not much earth, they sprang up, and when the sun was up, because they had no root, they withered away, and that others fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked them, - that this seed was the gospel preached, and if it was the intention of the Lord to change the condition of the ground by sowing the seed in it, it was a complete failure; because in all three of the cases mentioned, the seed left the ground in the very same condition in which it found it. "Other fell into good ground," which ground, of course, was good before the seed fell into it, so the seed could not have made that ground good."


I have noticed how both Campbellites and Hardshells, cousins that they are, both err greatly on this parable. I asked my dad the other day about the evolution in Hardshell views on this parable. I told him that the first Hardshells, like Thompson, believed that only the good ground hearers were the children of God. That is the really Old Baptist position, one you will find advocated by 17th and 18th century Baptist writers. Dad assured me that today's Hardshell all agree that all four of the soils represented children of God. I told him that such a view was new, that the first Hardshells did not take this view. He did not want to acknowledge this, but it is a fact nonetheless.

I just had another debate with a Campbellite preacher and the parable of the sower and the seed was discussed. I took the view that only the good ground hearers were regenerated children of God. My Campbellite opponent argued that at least one of the other three was a child of God, the shallow ground hearers, because they "received the word with joy," and "believed for a while."

Obviously, however, the word "but" shows that only one of the four hearers had an "honest and good heart." "But he that received seed on good ground...out of an honest and good heart..." The other hearers did not have honest and good hearts. How then could they be regenerated? Especially when men, like Thompson, argue that this good heart is regeneration? Did the other hearers have good and honest hearts? No! How many soils were good? All? No! Only one had a good and honest heart and received the word unto salvation.

"Lest They Should Believe And Be Saved"

"Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved." (Luke 8: 12)

They had "received" the word, but it was sown on the heart, not in the heart, and they did not believe nor were they "saved" who "received seed" in this manner.

Those who received seed on shallow ground, though they believed for a short time and brought forth some kind of fruit, yet they are clearly not children of God, for they do not have good and honest hearts.

It is also clear that none of the good ground hearers fell away. Only the other type soil hearers "fell away." What did John say about the matter?

"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." (I John 2:19)

Those who "fall away" then show that they were never truly saved to begin with.

The parable of the sower and the seed does not prove, as the Hardshells imagine, that men are born again before they hear or receive the gospel and they have departed from the faith of the Baptists on this parable.

Here is what Hardshell patriarch Elder J. R. Respass wrote about this parable.

"Brother B.B. Stallings, of Humbolt, Tenn., writes us that some people in his section use this parable to teach the doctrine of "falling from grace;" but to our mind it teaches the opposite doctrine, or rather the absolute necessity of grace in the salvation of sinners. The Jews were well acquainted with sowing wheat and barley. They knew from experience that it was necessary to have the ground broken by the plowshare to raise it; and that, therefore, the Saviour was telling the truth when he taught them that grain sown by the way or road-side would be unfruitful, because men would walk on and tread it down, and the fowls would devour it; and that seed sown on stony, hard and unbroken land would yield nothing; because, though it sprang up quickly, it could take no root, and that when the hot sun necessary to its maturity should shine upon it, that it would be scorched, and soon wither away. They knew, also, that seed sown among thorns, in a briar patch, for instance, would make nothing, because the thorns would choke it. All these things they knew from natural experience as farmers or husbandmen. They knew that the land must be enclosed or fenced, cleared of thorns, bushes and briars, and be broken up before the seed was sown; enclosed from the fowls and the tread of men; cleared of thorns and briars that would choke it; and broken up so as to absorb and retain moisture, and the roots have depth of earth to strike down into the moisture when the hot sun poured down upon it. But, like people now, they did not perceive the truth when applied spiritually. No sensible Jewish farmer would have undertaken to make a crop of wheat otherwise than as taught by the Saviour in this parable. Nor would he have undertaken to break his land until the first or "former rain" was sent by the Lord upon it; because the land, especially in that country, by the dry, hot summer sun grew, like the sinner's heart, very hard, so that it could not be broken until softened by the first rain. But land softened by the rain, broken by the plow, enclosed from the fowls and cleared of thorns, and sown, will be unharmed by the fowls, the feet of men, the cares of the world or the heat of the sun, and will yield thirty, sixty and one hundred fold. Any thing short of this thorough preparation will be fruitless. So in the way-side, stony and thorny ground hearers the Saviour shows the lack of grace, rather than the falling from it. And another thing perhaps he taught, and that is, that the fault was not in the seed sown, or the word preached, but in the sinner's heart. "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life."--John v. There were many of these kind or hearers in the Saviour's day as well as in this; and doubtless the Saviour spoke the parable for the comfort of his people then and his people now; that they should not be discouraged when they should see many, who had received the word with a temporary joy, turn back for love of the world, its honors or riches, or to escape persecution; that they should know that such professors had not received the word in a contrite and broken heart, and hence they neither understood it nor kept it. He asked his true disciples when many so-called disciples went back and walked no more with him on account of his hard and unpopular doctrine, "Will ye also go away?" but they answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life."--John vi. Thus the hot sun of trials and persecution that withered up the shallow letter hearers, only caused his good-ground hearers to take deeper root in Christ, making them feel more and more the necessity of Christ in their salvation; and thus they brought forth an hundred fold, whilst the others brought nothing to perfection. This briefly, Brother Stallings, is our understanding of Christ's teaching in the parable of the sower."

I think he doubtless reflected the view of his fathers, of the truly Old Baptists, for he himself was a fairly old man when he penned the above commentary. He says that three of the four kinds of hearers were lost and without the grace of salvation. He also believed that all the good ground hearers would persevere and bring forth fruit and grow. Again, that is the Old Baptist position. (The Sower -- Matt. XIII - Written by John R. Respess in the GOSPEL MESSENGER, Butler, Ga., May 1885)

Sep 29, 2006

Chapter 34 - Romans 10 (Cont.)

Having considered the view of Elder Grigg Thompson, I will now examine three other views from three leading PB's. Elder Cayce and Elder Daily were both 3rd generation Hardshells while Elder Gowens is 5th generation. I will take up each viewpoint and show the error in each.

Elder Claud Cayce says:

"So, then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."--Verse 17.

The word here is the speech of God. God speaks to the sinner who is dead in sins, and by the power of that speech the sinner is made alive in Christ, made alive from the dead. This gives the ability to hear His word, the ability to hear gospel preaching. Gospel preaching does not give life, but the giving of life by the power of God's speech--"the voice of the Son of God"--gives one the ability to hear the gospel. Then by gospel preaching they may be delivered from the darkness of ignorance. They may be saved from false doctrines and false ways."
(Cayce's Editorials, Volume 5, pages 123, 124)

Again he writes:

"Elder Stegall makes the word of God in verse 17 the written or preached word. This is not correct. The Greek word is ramah, and means the speech of God. The faith the apostle is here treating of comes by hearing. But how does hearing come? How does one get the ability to hear? The unregenerate do not have that ability. In speaking to unregenerate sinners Jesus said, "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word."--John 8:47." (Volume 6, page 156)

This view is not hard to overthrow. Obviously the "faith" that "comes by hearing the word of God," is belief in Christ, a belief in his death and resurrection, a belief in the "glad tidings." The phrase, "faith comes by hearing" connects with the question, "How can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" The idea clearly expressed by Paul in the above passage is that this "faith in Christ" and in the "good news" comes by the preaching of the word of the "glad tidings." The "hearing" in the passage is, therefore, clearly NOT a "direct speaking" of the Father, or Christ, to the sinner. "Preachers" are mentioned in the passage! "How beautiful are the feet of them..."

Paul identifies the "word" that begets "faith" as being "the word of faith which we preach." It is not the "word of faith" that Jesus himself personally preaches! Yet, as I showed in a previous chapter, the famed preacher Elder R.H. Pittman, spoke of Jesus being the "preacher" who preaches the gospel to the elect among the heathen! Others, like Pittman, as I have said, in a further attempt to uphold the idea that Christ preaches the gospel directly to sinners, in regeneration, will argue that the gospel that was "preached to Abraham" was preached to him "directly by God," as proof for their position. I have already shown, however, the "absurdity" of that position also.

I will show how it was a famous saying of Elder Daily, in his writings, preaching, and debates, to call interpretations he did not agree with, "absurd," using his oft cited logical rule of "reductio ad absurdum," to demonstrate the supposed "absurdity" of his opponent's "reasoning" and the reasonableness of his own. But, more on him and that after I have finished reviewing the interpretation of Elder Cayce, one of the past great leaders of the Hardshell denomination.

If Christ is the one who is doing the "preaching" directly, and that begets the "faith" and "belief" mentioned in the passage, then why does Paul cite the words of Isaiah that says, "How beautiful are the feet of them who bring glad tidings?" Would he not say, "How blessed are the feet of him (meaning Christ, not preachers) who bring the glad tidings"? The plural "them" rather than the singular pronoun "him" shows that it is not the "direct preaching of Christ" but the preaching of the messengers of Christ. When they preach the gospel their speech becomes the speech of Christ, as I have clearly shown in previous chapters, from the Bible.

When Paul asks, "How shall they believe in him without a preacher," he is not asking, "How shall they believe in him without Jesus preaching directly to them."

What is it that is involved in this "believing," this "coming to faith"? Is it not to "believe" in the "glad tidings," in the death and resurrection of Christ, in "his righteousness" alone for salvation and justification? What Hardshell today will say that men come to know these things by Christ preaching them directly to the sinner himself? Will they say that all these things are "taught" to the sinner "in regeneration" apart from the gospel? Then, ought not the missionaries to the heathen always find them already believers in the gospel? Why has this never been the case? Then how could Paul even speak of a whole region where Christ is "not known" and "not named"? (See Romans 15:20-22)

It is very contradictory for the Hardshells to always speak of the "regeneration of the infant" as "logically" precluding gospel faith and understanding, and yet they continue to put forth "interpretations" on passages, like the one above, in which the sinner is "taught" many things "in regeneration," yea, even the gospel! Will they say that the sinner has the gospel preached to him in his heart by Christ directly and then say "the infant is regenerated like the adult"? Does the "regenerated infant" have this "faith" created in his heart by this "direct speaking" of Christ? Again, one can see how contradictory are the Hardshells in their descriptions of what it means to be "regenerated." In one breath they can speak of regeneration as being without consciousness, without coming to any kind of teaching or knowledge, yea, even without faith, repentance, and conviction of sin, and then in another breath, speak of it as being one where the whole gospel story is personally preached to the heart of the sinner! They really cannot agree with themselves on what it means to be regenerated, and it makes one wonder how many of them are regenerated, seeing they cannot agree on what it is.

It is clear too that Cayce wants to have it both ways in Romans 10; he wants to make the coming to faith a work of the grace of God in regeneration, but then he wants to make the "salvation" a temporal salvation from errors in doctrine. If it is a "time salvation," then why is he insistent on making the "preaching" the "direct speaking" of Christ? Cayce was a leader in the "Conditionalist" faction and so he does not believe that being "converted" and coming to "gospel faith" is a part of regeneration nor an irresistable work of God as in regeneration. He seemed to want to argue it both ways, at times, anyway that would seem to win him points in a debate, like any good Sophist.

Now let me give the views of another leading Hardshell debater.

Elder John R. Daily

"We are requested to write on Romans 10:13-15. The first verse of this passage reads, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." This declaration is found in two other places, viz., Joel 2:32, and Acts 2:31. It does not say that none will be saved but those who call upon the Lord's name. If no one else will be saved, then all who are unable to call upon his name will be lost; such as infants, idiots, insane persons, and heathen who never heard of his name. This is not written to exclude these classes from salvation, but for the encouragement and comfort of all who call upon the name of the Lord, assuring them that they shall be saved. Their calling upon his name is not a condition of their salvation, but a sure sign or evidence of it. This promise affords great comfort to every penitent sinner who is made to call upon the name of the Lord. It places them all among the number that shall be saved in heaven."

Elder Daily makes several serious errors in interpretation here and gives us several non-Biblical propositions in his commentary on the passage in Romans 10. Before I cite him further, I want to deal with what he has written in the above.

Reductio Ad Absurdum - Universalism

Elder John R. Daily had at least one, maybe more, debates with the "Universalists," in his day (late 1800's, early 1900's). He did not believe in "Universalism," though he had to fight elements of it within the Hardshell Church. Yet, ironically, if one accepts as true the propositions he affirmed (above), then Universalism must follow logically. The great Baptist Anti-Hardshell, H. Boyce Taylor, has pointed this out in his debates with the Hardshells and his writings against them. They make all men not "responsible" and not worthy of "just" condemnation by God, thus all are safe and saved. Let me cite what he said again from the above.

"It does not say that none will be saved but those who call upon the Lord's name. If no one else will be saved, then all who are unable to call upon his name will be lost; such as infants, idiots, insane persons, and heathen who never heard of his name."

Daily plainly affirms that those who are not able to hear must be saved by God or God is not just to condemn them. Since God is just, even by his admission, then all must be saved who are not able to hear the gospel! Yes, I realize that he is talking about the ability to hear and understand from a physical standpoint, and not specifically about spiritual inability to "hear." Yet, the proposition he lays down must be applied to both cases, if true. If the "infant" is BOTH physically and spiritually "unable" to "hear" the gospel, and God is not justified therefore in damning the infant for his physical inability to "hear" that word that would save them, why can the same "logic" not apply to adults who cannot savingly "hear" the gospel? Yes, their inability is not physical, like the infant and the idiot, but it is nevertheless an "inability." So, if he "reasons," (which he does), that one cannot be condemned for a physical inability, then he also has no restraint left to keep him from affirming that spiritual inability also renders God unable to "justly condemn" any, thus "Universalism" is the "reductio ad absurdum"!

He said further:

"This is not written to exclude these classes from salvation, but for the encouragement and comfort of all who call upon the name of the Lord, assuring them that they shall be saved."

Not only is it the view of Daily and the Hardshells that infants and idiots, and most of the heathen, those who either never had opportunity or who could not physically hear the gospel, and therefore could not "call upon the name of the Lord," nor "believe in him," were nevertheless "born again," but even people who have heard the gospel and rejected it, and who refused to call upon the Lord Jesus Christ, are people who, they argue, Paul did not mean to "exclude" from those "classes" of people who shall ultimately "be saved." I have also previously shown, from many Scriptures, that this view is against the plain teachings of the Bible and a "damnable heresy."

I do not see how any honest reader of the word of God can say that the "salvation" mentioned in the passages above, from Joel and Paul, was not restricted to those who "believe in Christ" via the gospel that announces him, and who thereby "call upon his name." It stands out very clear - "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." I affirm that this language does in fact restrict salvation to those who hear the gospel, believe it and call upon the name of the Lord announced therein. When we read, in the Apocalypse, "Whosoever's name was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire," (Rev. 20) does this not "exclude" all who's names are written therein? When Christ says, "Whoever comes to me I will give them rest," does he not "exclude" all those who do not come to him? By Daily's "logic" it would not eliminate these other classs, who, for one reason or another, whether it be physical or moral, do not come to him! If I say, "whoever has blue eyes will be allowed to enter," it is clear that I exclude all others who do not have blue eyes. So also when the Bible says, "whoever calls upon the Lord will be saved," he excludes those who do not call upon him in faith.

Daily wrote further:

"These evidences are manifested through the preaching of the gospel. The preaching of the gospel does not bring them from death unto life, it only calls forth the evidences of this work. Rain will cause living grain to sprout and grow, but not dead grain. The growing is only an evidence of the life the grain possesses. So the preaching of the gospel brings out and manifests the evidences of spiritual life in the case of God's people who hear it. In this sense "faith comes by hearing." Ability to hear comes by a hearing ear being given. Ability to hear does not come by hearing the gospel, for then it would be necessary to hear the gospel in order to become able to hear it, which is an absurdity."

These were his continuing comments upon explaining the passages in Romans 10. There are two main arguments to deal with in responding critically to what Daily wrote above. The first argument I could perhaps deal with better in the next chapter, where I will deal with the parable of the sower and the seed from a Hardshell perspective, but I will go ahead and deal with it here. I have already, in a manner, dealt with this kind of "logic" in earlier chapters, where it was said that "food cannot be a means in giving life," nor "water," and other such "arguments" from "human logic." Here Daily gives us another dose of that good old Hardshell "logic" by arguing that since rain water does not "give life," then the gospel also does not, since rain water is a type of gospel preaching. Life must be in the soil first, and the rain only brings out the life already inherant in the soil.

But, this just is all false reasoning. There can be no "life" without the "water of life." Plants are not created and life is not generated from either soil or seed without this water. In the Bible the heart (mind) is often viewed as soil for the "sowing" of gospel truth and knowledge, the "seed," knowledge and truth both being viewed as "seed" and "water." There is no "life" in soil without either seed or water. Soil may be a readied environment for the production of life, but it will never become life nor produce life till there is both water and seed in it. There is no such thing as "living dirt" without "seed" and "water." How far do the Hardshells want to carry their "logic"?

Besides all this, the Scriptures themselves speak of rain coming down from God and being the means of producing life.

"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater." (Isaiah 55: 10)

"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." (Hosea 6:3)

"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you." (10:12)

"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." (Hebrews 6:7)

"He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth." (Psalm 72:6)

"And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing." (Ezekiel 34:26)

In all these passages, the coming of rain is compared to the coming of the Lord himself. How then can this not be a means of giving life? Does the coming of the Lord to a sinner not give him life, just as the coming of rain? Seeing that the Lord will "rain down righteousness" and send "showers of blessings," making the hill of the Lord into a living blessing, how can Daily put forth such perverted "logic" and expect us to follow it rather than the Bible and the its plain and express teachings?

Now, to his second main argument from the citation given above. He said:

"Ability to hear comes by a hearing ear being given. Ability to hear does not come by hearing the gospel, for then it would be necessary to hear the gospel in order to become able to hear it, which is an absurdity."

The best way I know to overthrow this reasoning is to write the passage as Daily sees it.

"Ability to hear does not come by hearing the voice of Christ, for then it would be necessary to hear the voice of Christ to become able to hear it, which is an absurdity."

The only difference is the equivocation of the terms "gospel" for "voice of Christ." I have repeated this argument before and will now repeat it again. This argumentation of the Hardshells make it absolutely impossible for even God to raise the dead, make water give life, the dead to hear. The dead do not have, by honest admission, "ears to hear," nor an "ability to hear," at the time the Lord himself speaks his own word to the heart of the sinner. So, in this view, the dead hear without any ears! Their own "logic" would force them to say that God must give the dead ears before even he can speak to them! It will become a never ending circle in such a case. Why cannot he give them ears at the same time he calls upon them to hear?

Also, what about such Hardshell "argumentation" in the light of this passage from Isaiah?

"Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see." (42:18)

According to the logic of Daily, God is calling upon men to do what they cannot do, a thing he thinks is "absurd"! God is calling upon those who have no ability to see to see! He calls upon those who have no ability to hear to hear anyway! But, Daily says they cannot be called upon to hear who do not have ears first given! Yet, if they already had ears to hear, before the Lord calls upon them to hear, how could they be styled "deaf"?

Daily, in his continued commentary upon Romans 10, said:

"Jesus said to some of the Jews, "Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word." Though he preached to them, his preaching did not make them able to hear. Those who did hear his word, then, had ears to hear and hearts to understand. They understood his speech and believed in him when they heard him preach. The difference between those who could hear and those who could not was produced by the impartation of spiritual life and hearing to the former by the Spirit."

Again, it is bewildering to see it argued, in one breath, that the "direct speaking" of Christ is what regenerates, and yet they can read the above where clearly the direct speaking of Christ is being resisted and rejected. They will argue that this passage teaches that the direct preaching of Christ cannot regenerate anyone, but that they must first be given ears (regeneration) before even the preaching of Christ can have any positive effect. I would ask them to tell us what is the difference between the direct speaking of Christ to these (and to the apostles in saying, "come, follow me," per Silas Durand) and his direct speaking wherein he gives ears and ability to hear.

It is interesting that Daily does not mention the concept of "time salvation" in all his "argumentation." Again, this did not become the "standard" interpretation till well into the 20th century. The further back one goes in looking at Hardshell views on Romans 10 will see that they believed it was talking about eternal salvation and that their views were attempts to harmonize anti means with the passage while still recognizing it as dealing with regeneration and eternal salvation.

Record Of Daily's Conversion

"The last day as dear Elder E. D. Thomas was delivering his soul-cheering
exhortation at the close, our young heart leaped with joy, and we fully believed in Jesus as our Saviour. The faith we that day had, our believing then in Jesus with such an assurance, came by hearing. All of God's children have many such experiences who enjoy the privilege of hearing the gospel preached. Their faith often comes with renewed power, and brings fresh joy to their hearts, as they hear the joyful sound. Their spiritual life, was not imparted to them by the preaching, they were not regenerated by that means, but after they received the life,
after their regeneration, they were repeatedly caused to believe through the preaching of the gospel. There must be preachers in order for them to hear the gospel preached. These preachers must be sent or called by the Lord."

So, he does not agree with Elder Grigg Thompson, but believes that Paul is saying that one must hear about Jesus through gospel preaching in order to come to believe on him or otherwise put trust in him. The day he came to believe in Jesus, he believes, was not the day that he was "regenerated," even though prior to this time he was not a believer in Jesus, had not confessed him, nor had he called upon his name. He did not yet have Jesus but he had "life"! John said, however, "whoever has the Son has life."

Elder Michael Gowens

"Romans 10 is not a "regeneration" passage, else one is forced to conclude that the human will is the decisive factor in the work of regeneration and that the entire work of the Trinity in the salvation of sinners may be nullified by one obstinate sinner." ("Born Again,"

Gowens reflects the overwhelming view of today's Hardshells when he says that Romans chapter ten is not talking about being eternally saved, about being "born again," or "regenerated." He will acknowledge that the chapter is talking about "conversion," but will say that "conversion," like "time salvation," is not necessary for "regeneration" or for "eternal salvation."

I could never accept the view that the "salvation" of Romans 10 was not talking about the same salvation as in the preceding and following chapters. All of Romans chapter 9 is clearing dealing with it. Why would he stop talking about eternal salvation and begin talking about some other kind of salvation, especially without a clue otherwise?

Paul begins this chapter by saying that he prayed so earnestly for the salvation of his fellow Jews, who had rejected Christ as the Messiah and the gospel, that he could wish himself were lost if it could mean their salvation. Would he say this about their "time salvation"? Would he say these things if they were already eternally saved and simply desiring their temporal improvement in knowledge? Who can believe such a thing?

Today's Hardshells will labor hard to prove that the ones Paul is praying for, though rejecters of Christ, were nevertheless people who had been eternally saved, "born again" and "regenerated," and that Paul is praying that they simply come to know that they are saved and why. But why would he wish himself eternally damned for their temporal salvation?

Paul also plainly says that the only ones who are saved by the righteousness of Christ are they who are not seeking it any other way than through Christ, and that the only way men can attain to the righteousness of God is by confessing Christ as their righteousness. Christ is positively not "the end of the law for righteousness" to any who do not believe! He is the "end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes," that is, believes in Christ and trusts in his righteousness, as opposed to those who are trusting in their own "works of righteousness." (Titus 3:5) To say, as do the Hardshells, that many of those who are unbelievers in Christ are also among the group that have Christ as their righteousness, is to completely convolute holy scripture.

To say that those who are "ignorant of God's righteousness," and who are "going about to establish their own righteousness," and who have deliberately chosen not to "submit to the righteousness of God in Christ," are saved by that righteousness anyway, is just shere corruption of the word of God.

It will be argued that they must have been "born again" because it says they "have a zeal of God," though one that knows nothing of Christ. They say it is a "zeal of God," not a "zeal about God," and therefore it means the zeal they have was given to them of God, and thus they must be regenerated for only the regenerated have zeal for God or a zeal of God. But, all this is faulty reasoning.

"All things are of God," even false zeal, so this does not prove anything. Plus, "zeal of God," does in fact mean all the same as "zeal about" or "zeal for" God. It is "religiosity." This kind of hermeneutics" has caused today's Hardshells to see any kind of religious devotion, be it to Allah, Buddha, or one of the other myriad of gods and goddesses, as evidence of having been "born again," of being one of the "elect."

Jesus spoke of those who, through religious "zeal" would put to death the Lord's servants, thinking all the while, like Paul himself before his conversion, that they are "doing God service." (John 16:2) Yet, even Paul's murdering the Christians is not, to some Hardshells, evidence that he was not already born again before his Damascus Road experience with the Lord. Some argue that his "persecuting the saints" was the result of this misguided "zeal of God," an "evidence that he was born of God's Spirit"!

They had a zeal of God, but it was not an evidence of eternal life. The Jews who cried "crucify him, crucify him," all acted out of a "zeal of God," yet it was no evidence of them being right with God.

Romans 10 is no place for Hardshells, and contrary to what Thompson, Cayce, Daily, Gowens, and all neo-Hardshells say, it still stands as a clear refutation of the "heresies of Hardshellism."

Sep 24, 2006

Chapter 33 - Romans 10 & Gospel Means

"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 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 SHALL THEY CALL UPON HIM OF 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? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? SO THEN FAITH COMETH BY HEARING, AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." (Romans 10:1-18)

It will take some time to deal with the correct interpretation of this passage of inspiration in view of the varied heretical views which the Hardshells have historically put forth on it. It is clear to me, as one knowledgeable in the history of the "Primitive Baptist Church," that there has clearly been an "evolution" in how this chapter has been "interpreted" since the beginning of the denomination. In this chapter and the next, I will show why I was lead to reject all the numerous and varied "interpretations" presented to me during my years with this denomination. I will overthrow all their false "interpretations" by an honest analysis of the passage, in conjunction with Baptist History and its traditional interpretation.

I lay it down here as a fact not to be denied, that all the Baptists, prior to the "rise of the Hardshells," interpreted this chapter as dealing with eternal salvation, with coming to faith in Christ, with both regeneration and conversion, and not to some supposed "time salvation" invented by the Hardshells. This uniformity in Baptist interpretation, historically, prior to the "rise of the Hardshells," shows that the Baptists all believed in "gospel means" in regeneration and in conversion and that the Hardshell "interpretations" did not exist. The "novel" and "hybrid interpretations" of the Hardshells, which assert that Romans chapter 10 deals only with a "time salvation," for those already eternally saved, is an "interpretation" totally unknown to Baptist writers prior to the "rise of the Hardshells"

I will begin with a look back to an "interpretation" of one of the "founding fathers" of Hardshellism. This founding father's view did not get taken seriously, however, by the Hardshells, for I never heard his view preached by anyone in the "Primitive Baptist Church" while I was in that denomination, and I am sure I heard, in one form or another, thousands of sermons. I also never heard or read anyone, among the leading apologists within the denomination, who had taken the view set forth below by Elder Grigg Thompson (who was the son of Elder Wilson Thompson, who, as I shall show in a later chapter, was one of the "three heads" of the "Anti-Mission Hydra," together with Elders Daniel Parker and John Taylor).

Here is what Elder C. H. Cayce said about interpretations that are not in keeping with Baptist tradition.

"We also hold that "Whatever is Scriptural." That is, whatever the Baptists have ever taught--whatever has been a distinctive doctrine of the Baptist Church--is Scriptural. If this is not true, then the Baptists have been wrong allo along the line; and if they have been wrong all along the line, then the Baptist Church is not the church of Christ." (Editorials, Vol. IV., pages 30,31)

We will see further, as we already have, that the Hardshells do not take interpretations on Scripture that are in accordance with Baptist views prior to the "rise of the Hardshells." They are therefore neither Baptistic nor Scriptural.

The following commentary by Elder Grigg Thompson is lengthy, but I feel I need to cite enough of his writing to allow the reader to understand fully his argumentation on the passage. I will thus give his treatise and will then judge its merits based upon Scripture and reasoning from it. I will high-light parts of his commentary of which I will being taking special notice.

Elder Grigg Thompson

"The last, and perhaps thought to be the most conclusive proof brought against us on this subject by our opposers is found in Romans, tenth chapter. It is contended that there our views are fairly met and squarely negatived. With a great show of triumph they will quote the text, "So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." That it is by hearing the word spoken by the preacher that faith is begotten in the heart of the sinner dead in sin, and he, through this instrumentality, is made a believer in Christ, and fitted for his kingdom.

We will now examine this text and its connection, and if all prejudice is laid aside, and we look at it calmly and rationally, I think all will see that it is one of the clear proofs of our position.

If you will read the epistle to the Romans, you will find that a large portion of it is in dialogue form; first, the epistle affirms the truth and then states the Jew's objection to it. To illustrate, it is said, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" This is evidently an objection brought against Paul's doctrine by the unbelieving Jew, and Paul responds, "God forbid; how shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?"

Again, the same objector would say," What advantage then hath the law? or what profit is there in circumcision?" And Paul responds, "Much every way; chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." You will find in a number of other places Paul states the objection of the unbelieving Jew to his doctrine and answers the objection, and the text under consideration is one of these objections brought by the unbelieving Jew, stated and replied to by Paul.

If you will look at the connection you will see that the apostle has been showing the difference between the law and faith; that the law belongs to this life, and only bestows temporal blessings; that "Moses describeth the righteousness, which is of the law; that the man which doeth those things shall live by them." "But the righteousness which is by faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)"

Faith is a fruit of the Spirit, and all who have it in their hearts believe that God has raised up Christ from the dead, and that he is our peace, who hath made both one, who hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, that there is now no difference between the Jew and the Greek, but that all that have this faith have access to God through Christ, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

To this the Jews would object, for they believed that there was a difference between the Jew and the Greek, or Gentiles, and that faith was the fruit of human arguments and teaching brought to bear on the natural intellect or mind of man, and without this knowledge was imparted by man, they could never believe or call on God.

They had no idea that this was a lesson that none but God could teach. Paul knew this, and in the 14th and 15th verses he gives us the Jew's objection in as strong terms as the Jew could give them, and here they are. "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? and how shall they preach except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good tidings?"

This objection Paul answers by saying, "But they" have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?" Faith will beget obedience, and Paul lets the objectors know that they had not obeyed, and that their disobedience was an evidence of their unbelief, as Esaias saith, "Lord, who hath believed our report?" The same prophet that the Jew quotes to sustain his position, shows that he is wrong; that faith does not come by the report or the preaching of the gospel, or all that heard it would believe. But the Jew responds,

"So, then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." The argument is, that there is no way for faith to come, but by words and arguments addressed to the rational man. It is the fruit of testimony, or evidence, and all the way that evidence can be brought to the mind is by words and arguments; but Paul answers firmly and positively, "But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth; and their words unto the ends of the world."

They have heard the gospel; it has been preached; "Their sound went into all the earth; and their words unto the ends of the world," and unbelief and infidelity still remains, and will remain until the arm of the Lord is revealed. For faith is not the fruit of words and arguments, but is the fruit of God's Spirit, and is begotten in the heart by the operation of God, and is produced by the same power that raised up our Lord from the dead.

But the Jew will contend, as all natural men do, that this doctrine will never do. There is no way to get faith, but by words and arguments. Any other position is foolishness and nonsense in the extreme, and it is preposterous to say that Israel is in unbelief. For says the Jew, "But I say did not Israel know?" Israel is not in ignorance. She has been taught, she has been instructed. To charge Israel with unbelief is unjust and false. But Paul is not defeated or driven from his position, but will meet them with Moses, by whom the law was given, and says, "First, Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not. I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hand unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." Words and arguments with the Jews have failed, for they have Moses and the prophets and the law, with the priests, their offerings and typical service; they have had the preaching of John the Baptist, Christ, and the apostles; they have witnessed the miracles and the mighty works that Jesus did among them, and they are still in unbelief, and are a disobedient and gainsaying people, and have persecuted and put to death the very men that came preaching the gospel of peace to them. It takes more than words and arguments to subdue the enmity and hatred of the carnal heart, and to give spiritual life and sensibilities to the natural man, the man dead in sin.

This Paul knew by experience, for he had heard them preach the gospel of peace. He had heard the eloquent and unanswerable appeal made by the dying Stephen, but words and arguments could not move him, and make a believer of him, until God revealed his arm, and by his mighty power subdued the hatred and murderous feelings of his heart, and revealed Christ in him and to him, and Paul would testify that it is " By the grace of God I am what I am." For if God's grace and almighty power had not interposed in his case, and changed the enmity, and hatred, and murderous feelings of his heart, he never would have been any thing else but a bloodthirsty persecutor of Christ and his people. Paul's case is not an exception.

All the sons and daughters of Adam have the same heart of hatred, and mind of enmity against God, are led by the prince of this world, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience. The fear of God is not before their eyes, the ways of peace they have not known. It is their delight to fulfill the desires of the flesh and the carnal mind. Nothing but the power of God can change the affections of their hearts, and make them love the things they once hated. A new life, new affections and desires, have to be begotten within them. They have to be made new creatures. The change is a great one, and is called a birth, a resurrection, a creation, and regeneration, and without this change no one can ever know or enjoy spiritual blessings or comforts in this world, or inherit and enter into the bright and endless joys of the upper world.

This (solemn truth stands as firm as the eternal throne. No other work will ever prepare the sinner to enter into, and enjoy the kingdom of God. 0, are we today living careless and thoughtless upon this subject? Time with us is swiftly passing by, and we are rapidly approaching the eternal world, with this truth, as it fell from the Savior's lips, sounding in our ears: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God." Dying sinner, these words are true. 0, may God give you to see it, and feel it in your soul, and may he, by his power and grace, work this change in us, and then we shall sing..."

Garrett's Analysis & Rebuttal

It is quite clear that Thompson did not go the route of making the "salvation" of Romans 10 to be a "time salvation." He reflects the traditional view that had been handed down to him from the 18th century Baptists.

What I admire about the view of Thompson, though wrong of course, was this very fact; he made the chapter to deal with eternal salvation while today's Hardshells do not. Elder Thompson began by saying:

"We will now examine this text and its connection, and if all prejudice is laid aside, and we look at it calmly and rationally, I think all will see that it is one of the clear proofs of our position."

Prejudice? We will see where the "prejudice" lies in regard to the interpretation of this chapter and these verses. I have already shown how the Hardshells violate the most basic laws of "hermeneutics." It is obvious that the "interpretation" set forth by Thompson is a "prejudiced" view of the passage. It certainly is "novel." He thinks Romans ten is a "clear proof" of the Hardshell position. This is laughable! Romans 10 destroys Hardshellism.

When a man takes a "novel interpretation" of a passage of scripture, one that no one else has taken before, he ought to see that he is, very more than likely, in error. He needs to be shown how he is taking an "interpretation" to a passage, rather than getting one from the passage, from an honest look at the passage. When Hardshells read this passage, and those like it, teaching gospel means in salvation, they are already opposed, in their minds, to what it teaches. So, rather than accepting it for what it says, they must invent some kind of "explanation" of the passage to make it mean what it does not mean. So, they "pre-judge" the meaning of the passage and the mind of Paul.

Thompson said:

"...the text under consideration is one of these objections brought by the unbelieving Jew, stated and replied to by Paul."

Where is there any indication from the passage in Romans 10 that shows that the questions, 1) "How shall they call upon him of whom they have not believed?" and 2) "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard," and 3) "How shall they hear without a preacher?" are "objections" by the Jews to some teaching of the apostle?

The view of Thompson has Paul opposing the view that people must believe in Christ before they can call upon him? Does he then believe that a person can call upon him in whom they do not believe? That is exactly the view Thompson is taking on the passage and it is absurd. Here is a man that is probably the best preacher the Hardshells ever had taking such an absurd position on a passage of Scripture! Does he then believe that one can believe in one of whom they have never heard? Yes, that is exactly the view he is taking! Again, it is absurd to find Paul arguing against the view that one must hear about a person before they can believe in him. Can one believe in Christopher Columbus without hearing about him?

Thompson believes that one can call upon the Lord in whom they do not believe and that they can believe without hearing, and that they can hear without a preacher, and that preachers can be sent without the Lord! He thinks the Jews are making these statements, as do the "Mission Baptists," and that Paul is disagreeing with them! I wonder why Dr. Gill and other Old Baptists never saw these words as the words of Jews and not the words of Paul? Who of them believed that Paul was denying, rather than affirming, these words?

Are there not other verses that say the same thing and which are not "objections" of the Jews?

Does not Paul say that he was a "minister by whom you believed," in writing to the Corinthian Christians? (I Cor. 3:5) Notice the record in Acts 18:8.

"And many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized?"

Did they believe before they "heard," as Grigg Thompson believes? Clearly they believe the gospel, after they hear it from a preacher, and then embrace the Christ it announces and proclaims, and thus they have a proper object for faith.

Thompson said:

"Faith is a fruit of the Spirit, and all who have it in their hearts believe that God has raised up Christ from the dead, and that he is our peace, who hath made both one, who hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, that there is now no difference between the Jew and the Greek..."

"Faith" can be possessed "in the heart," and one can also be a "believer," in heart, a "believer in Christ and his resurrection," according to Thompson, without ever hearing the gospel preached!

Then why preach? That is the obvious question, is it not? If Thompson and the Hardshells are correct, that men come to "believe in Christ" and "in the gospel" without preachers of the word, then there is no need to preach to anyone!

Again, then, according to this view, Paul would have found believers in Jesus in every place he went to preach! Also, the Pilgrims would have found many who "believed in Jesus and his resurrection" among the savage Indians!

Notice also how Thompson, a 1st generation Hardshell, affirms that all the elect who have been saved and born again, will come to faith in Jesus, though it be one that is in the form of an "inner secret" that the soul knows, unconsciously, but the external mind does not know. Again, this is all a bunch of nonsense. But, still, very few Hardshells today will affirm that one must come to have "faith in Jesus," come to "know him," for eternal salvation. Again, this is another example of "evolution" in doctrine and interpretation among the Hardshells over the past 190 years. In the next chapter I will examine the common interpretation given of Romans 10 and the verses cited, showing why it too is a false interpretation and one emanating from a refusal to accept, with an honest heart, what it teaches.

He says further:

"To this the Jews would object, for they believed...that faith was the fruit of human arguments and teaching brought to bear on the natural intellect or mind of man, and without this knowledge was imparted by man, they could never believe or call on God."

No, the text does not say "human arguments and teaching," does it? "Faith comes by hearing the word of God," and "word of God" is "interpreted" by Thompson as meaning "human arguments and teaching." Since when does the phrase "word of God" mean "human words"? If a man is allowed to change the meaning of words and phrases in this manner, then he can make the Bible say anything! This is corrupt hermeneutics.

What's Wrong With Words & Arguments?

One can see how Elder Thompson seems to think that any believer's "faith" cannot possibly be the result of "words" and "arguments." I know that he probably intends to fight the belief of his "twin brother," the Campbellites, against their idea of "word alone" "regeneration," but he has gone to an extreme himself in embracing the "Spirit alone" idea, and in divorcing the use of "words and arguments," in the presentation of the gospel, in bringing about faith, regeneration, and conversion.

It makes me wonder what Elder Thompson thought about these verses which emphasize the idea of "persuading" people by the use of "words and arguments." Does the Lord not say to all, "Come and let us reason together?"

"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." (Acts 26:28)

"Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God." (13:43)

"And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." (18:4)

"Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands." (19:26)

"Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences." (II Cor. 5:11)

I will be citing Grigg Thompson again in my chapters dealing with Addresses to the Lost," where Thompson addresses those who are lost and without faith, exhorting them, with argument, how they need to come to Christ and be saved (as in the end of the above citation). So, Thompson is hypocritical in this regard. He can decry all preaching of the gospel that uses "human words and arguments," as part of "exhortations to sinners," but then do it himself! He certainly gives many "arguments" in his writings to get non-Hardshells to "come to believe" in the Hardshell "faith." Yes, "consistency, thou art a jewel!"

One can look back in the chapter in which I dealt with John chapter 5 and see that Christ clearly gave forth "arguments" to the Jews who were refusing him, relative to their sins, especially the sin of rejecting him.

Dr. Gill On Romans 10

Ver. 14. "How then shall they call on him in whom they, have not believed?"

The apostle having observed, that whoever, Jew or Gentile, believe in the Lord and call upon his name, shall be saved; and that the same Lord was ready and willing to dispense his grace, without any difference to them; suggests, that it was therefore absolutely necessary, that the Gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; that it was the will of God it should be; that what he and others did, was by a divine commission; that they were sent by the Lord to preach the Gospel to them; that hearing they might believe, and so call upon the name of the Lord, and be saved; and therefore the Jews ought not to blame them for so doing, for there was a real necessity for it, since there can be no true calling upon God without faith, no faith without hearing, no hearing without preaching, and no preaching without a divine mission. The first of these is signified by this interrogation. Every man calls upon the God he believes in, and him only; this has been the practice of all men, in all nations; such as have not believed in God and Christ, do not call upon them; it is true indeed, there may be an external invocation of them, where there is no true faith; but then this is not calling upon them in truth and sincerity; as is their faith, so is their calling upon them; as the one is historical, the other is only external; there is no true invocation without faith, or any that is acceptable to God, or of any avail to men; for calling on the name of the Lord, as it ought to be practised in all religious worship, so it includes and every part of worship as done in faith:

"and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?"

the meaning is, that there is no faith in Christ without hearing of him; as it is in human, so in divine faith, there may be believing without seeing, but not without hearing; so we believe that there were such men as Alexander and Julius Caesar, and other persons now in being, though we never saw them, having heard of them, or had a report made of them, which we have reason to give credit to; so there may be, and is faith in Christ without seeing him with our bodily eyes, though not without hearing of him; for of an unheard of person, there can be no faith in him, because no exercise of thought about him."

So Dr. Gill, a much more learned one in the school of Christ than Thompson, did not see what the Hardshell sees in the passage. Yes, modern Hardshells have rejected this view of Thompson, affirming that the gospel is necessary to experience the "salvation" and "conversion" of the chapter. They have chosen to take a different apologetic approach, disconnecting the chapter from dealing with eternal salvation, but to a "time salvation," to a "conversion" that is not part of "regeneration" nor necessary to be saved in heaven.

Gill comments further:

"and how shall they hear without a preacher?"

or there is no hearing without, preaching; there may be reading without it, and this ought to be where there is preaching, to see that what is preached is agreeably to the Scriptures; but there is no hearing the word explained without preaching; explaining the word is preaching. There is no hearing of Christ, and salvation by him, without the preaching of the Gospel; the usual and ordinary way of hearing from God, and of Christ, is by the ministry of the word: this shows not only the necessity and usefulness of the Gospel ministry, but also points out the subject matter of it, which is Christ, and him crucified. They that preach ought to preach concerning the person of Christ, his offices, grace, righteousness, blood, sacrifice and satisfaction, otherwise men may hear the preacher, and not hear Christ."

Let the Hardshells produce writings, prior to "the rise of the Hardshells," who took the view of Thompson above or the modern view of the PB's that says the chapter does not concern eternal salvation. I affirm that they cannot produce such evidence. They are not Old Baptists for they deny what the Baptists have always taught about this passage in Romans 10. They have tried several various novel interpretations that would allow them to claim to believe it without giving up the Spirit Alone heresy, but they all fail, for the words of Romans 10 still remain, like a mountain of stone, withstanding all the assaults of the Hardshells against its clear teaching. It is a passage that has spurred all the missionary zeal and labor of every Christian since it was written. I pray it will continue to do so.