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.

Sep 23, 2006

Chapter 32 - Hot Shots Returned (7th Volley)

I trust that this will in fact be my final "Hot Shots Returned" series. I did not want to end it with six chapters, but thought seven would be better, seeing it is the perfect number, and denotes completion. Plus, the scriptures I deal with in this final chapter in the series need to be included.

Arise From The Dead

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. (or in the darkness) But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (Ephesians 5: 11-14)

Here is some of the argumentation that went back and forth between Elder Claud Cayce, one of the foremost Hardshell debaters of history, and the Campbellite champion, F. B. Shrygley, in their historic debate. After Shrygley introduces the above passage and uses it against Cayce and Hardshellism, Cayce responds, saying:

"Then he quotes Ephesians: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." A literal translation would be: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise up from among the dead." He is not talking to dead, alien sinners out yonder; he is talking to the church of God at Ephesus." (Cayce-Shrygley Debate, page 218)

And again, he continues:

"Members of the church of God at Ephesus were not alien sinners, were they? He said to them: "Awake thou that sleepest, and rise up from among the dead, and Christ shall give the light" --l-i-g-h-t, light; not l-i-f-e, life. Quite a difference, isn't there? Christ shall give thee light. It does not say Christ shall give you life. That is what he wants to find--a text that says Christ shall give you life on these conditions." (Ibid)

F. B. Shrygley's Reply

"My opponent says, in his exposition of Eph. 5:14, that those addressed were to "rise from among the dead" --that is, for God's people to come out from among the spiritually dead. But unfortunately for the gentleman's proposition, the very word "sleepeth" comes from the Greek word which literally means death. The word "sleepeth" means death in that passage. It is the same word translated "sleepeth" in this: "Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth." (Matt.9:24) Also: "Lazarus sleepeth." (John 11:11) We have the same Greek word in the following: "Even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." (I Thess. 4:14) I suppose he would try to have them sleeping among the dead. Now, I ask the gentleman to tell this audience whether or not these were dead who were said to be asleep. I demand that he answer this question, for this passage (Eph. 5:14) sounds the death knell of his doctrine."

And further, Shrygley adds:

"Then he made a great ado about light and life. Paul says: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (Eph. 5: 14) "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4) Light here is another word for life; hence there is no point in what he says against my position." (Page 227)

Cayce's response:

"Eph. 5:14. He says that the word "dead" --the word there which is translated sleep means dead. All right. In that verse there are two words which are translated different ways. One is translated sleepest, and the other is translated dead. He says: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." I am giving the King James translation. Now what does the word mean that is translated dead in that same verse? And what word is it? Now they are not the same words; and if the first word means dead, and the other is not like it, then it would read: "Awake thou that art dead, and arise from thy sleep." Now I don't think that is correct. Brother Shrygley, just tell me what that word means, and what it is--what the difference is between the two words. Are the two words akin? Are they any way alike?" (Page 240)

After these exchanges, F. B. Shrygley continues his argumentation on the above passage but adds nothing but simply emphasizes again that the command is to those who are asleep, dead, to arise from the dead. Cayce then adds these remarks.

"And so when he says, "Awake thou that sleepest," he is not talking to those that are in that dead state, as a corpse; but you rise up from among them, come out from among them. He says he has investigated, but he has not found a translation that reads that way. Well, let me see. Here it is in the Interlinear translation -"Wherefore he says, Arouse thou that sleepest (or the sleeping ones), and rise up from among the dead, and shall shine upon thee the Christ." That is the Interlinear translation. That is one translation. Wilson's Emphatic Diaglott says: "Awake thou the one sleeping, and arise thou out of the dead ones." Arise out of the dead ones. What does that mean but to rise up and come out from among the dead ones? But he told somebody that was asleep and had life to come out from among the dead ones. What are you doing over there? You have no business there. You are in the wrong place. Come out from among the dead ones." (Pages 302,303)

Shrygley then responds:

"Now let me state that on the matter of sleep and death, he started to say that I said that they were the same word. He misunderstands me. I said that two words meaning the same thing were sometimes used for double emphasis, and that sleep and death were used in the fifth chapter of Ephesians for that purpose, and that the same state is described by the two words. My Master said, "The maid is not dead, but sleepeth," and they laughed him to scorn. More than that, when he said, "Lazarus sleepeth," he used this word "sleep," but he used it in a literal sense to describe the state of death in which Lazarus was, and my contention is that he used the word "sleep" in Eph. 5:14 in a metaphorical sense to describe their spiritual condition. The reason the gentleman cannot take hold of this is because he cannot answer it. I say that the two words are different, but they describe the same condition, and when Paul said, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead," Cayce says it means arise from among the dead, and he sought to avoid the force of this position by introducing the word "among." My friend, you surely do not put Wilson down as the equal of the men that gave us the Revision. You certainly know more about this matter than that; but granting that it is "among," the contention I make is that the apostle describes the same state by "sleep" and "death" when he said, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead," and he does not get out of his difficulty by putting the word "among" in before "dead," for they were commanded to awake from sleep. I suppose if he had known that in time, he would have tried to twist something in before "sleep," to get it fixed, but it came too late on that." (Page 314, 315)

Gill's Comments

Ver. 14. "Wherefore he saith," - Either the man that is light in the Lord, who reproves the unfruitful works of darkness; or else the Holy Ghost BY Paul, who here speaks after the manner of the prophets; or God, or the Spirit, or the Scripture."

And again he writes:

"the words are spoken not to unregenerate men, for though they are asleep, and dead in sin, and need awaking out of sleep, and raising from the dead, yet they are never called upon to awake and arise OF THEMSELVES; such a sense would countenance the doctrine of man's free will and power, against the quickening and efficacious grace of God; but to regenerate persons, professors of religion, to whom the epistle in general was written; and who are spoken to, and exhorted in the context: awake thou that sleepest: the children of God are sometimes asleep, and need awaking; of the nature, causes, and ill consequences of such sleeping, and of the methods by which they are sometimes awaked out of it, See Gill on "Ro 13:11"."

He comments further:

"And arise from the dead"; - living saints are sometimes among dead sinners, and it becomes them to arise from among them, and quit their company, which is oftentimes the occasion of their sleepiness: besides, the company of dead sinners is infectious and dangerous; it is a means of hardening in sin, and of grieving of the people of God, who observe it; and by abstaining from their company, a testimony is bore against sin, and conviction is struck into the minds of sinners themselves; to which add, that so to do is well pleasing to God, who promises to receive such who come out from among them, and separate themselves from them: and it follows here as an encouragement, and Christ shall give thee light; for such who are made light in the Lord, stand in need of more light; and by keeping close to the word, ways, ordinances, and people of Christ, they may expect more light from Christ: they need fresh light into pardoning grace and mercy, through the blood of Christ; they want more to direct them in the way they should go; and they are often without the light of God's countenance; and they may hope for light from Christ, since it is sown in him, and promised through him; and he is given to be a light unto them, and he is the giver of it himself."

It can be readily seen, from such comments as above from Dr. Gill, why some have wanted to charge Dr. Gill with being, in some respects, the "father" of Hyper-Calvinism and Hardshellism. He certainly does take the view of Cayce on this passage, yet, with far less reason to do so as did Cayce. This is all very curious about Dr. Gill. He was no Hardshell, as we have clearly shown, but he could, at times, exhibit tendencies in the direction of Hardshellism. He is said to be the "father of Hyper-Calvinism"

I believe, ironically, that the Arminian Shrygley was correct in his analysis on the passage in Ephesians 5:14 than either Cayce or Dr. Gill. Dr. Gill, though holding to Cayce's view, nevertheless did not, as Brother Ross and I have shown, believe that sinners were regenerated apart from the means of gospel preaching. Where Gill erred, in his above comments, was in thinking that such a command to dead alien sinners, issued by the Holy Ghost, and as he admits, is issued "BY Paul," and the "prophets" in their regular exhortations and preaching, implies "Arminianism," saying:

"...yet they are never called upon to awake and arise OF THEMSELVES; such a sense would countenance the doctrine of man's free will and power, against the quickening and efficacious grace of God..."

But, where is it itimated that the call of dead sinners, by the Holy Ghost through Paul, to arise out of the sleep of death, implies that the sinners have the ability to respond? It is unlike Gill to argue this way, who elsewhere argued against the very line of argumentation he puts forth in this passage. Clearly Dr. Gill is primarily combating the idea that the coming forth from spiritual death and sleep is due to any power in the dead themselves. He errs in thinking that a general gospel command to repent and believe, or a command to be saved (born again, regenerated, resurrected from the dead, etc.), implies freedom of will and creature ability. It can be shown that Gill argued contrary to this in many other places. Why he found difficulty in making the dead in Ephesians 5:14 to be "spiritual death" and applicable to all men, is indeed perplexing, to say the least.

Clearing The Air On Eph. 5:14

Here are the points that carry the day, in my view, on the above passage and relative to the above commentary by the aforementioned writers.

1. The word "Sleep," though not the same word as "Death," is nevertheless used equivocably and interchangeably in the passage in question. They are virtual synonyms.

2. The command or call to "arise" is made to people who are "asleep" and who are "dead". They may therefore be termed the "Un-Risen."

3. The command or call was to the sleeping dead to "arise" to BOTH receive "light" and "life."

Besides, if this "rising up from among the dead" is a post regeneration experience, the Hardshell "conversion," is it not still, in such a case, the "work of God" that converts as regenerates? Why will the "Conditionalists" continue to spout the heresy that "conversion is not the "work of God," but the work of the child of God, one that he does "by his own free will and effort"? It seems that the Absoluter view on this matter is more in keeping with the Old Baptist Confessions and with the teaching of the first Hardshell founding fathers, and the "Conditionalists" are, therefore, the ones who have departed from the ancient Baptist faith on this matter.

I see this as a serious difficulty for the Hardshells relative to this passage. Even if we apply the "command" to those who are already spiritually resurrected and alive, is Christ still not calling, with his "word" and "voice," his living children to "come forth" in a "resurrection"? Even if one makes the "resurrection," experience alluded to in the passage, a "conversion" experience, to a post "regeneration" experience, then is it still not a case where a command, exactly like the one he makes in regeneration, is made? Does the passage then not show, by any honest admission, that the command to be "converted" is the same kind of command as given in the work of "regeneration"? Is God still not commanding a "resurrection," of some sort, to take place in both regeneration and conversion? Why then is one experience "irresistable" and "efficacious" and the other not, seeing the same language is used by God in commanding both?

Garrett's Interpretive Reading

"Rise up from the sleep of death, and be no longer therefore among the dead, and Christ shall shine upon you to give you the light of life."

You will then:

1. No longer be dead.
2. No longer be among the dead.
3. No longer be in darkness (of death).
4. No longer be un-risen.
5. No longer "walk in darkness."

Shrygley could have added these other weighty arguments against the Hardshell "interpretation."

1. The phrase "from the dead" or "out from the dead," never, in any scripture passage, implies that the ones being called forth are NOT themselves dead. I challenge any Hardshell who holds Cayce's view to show us one passage of scripture, besides the one in question, where the phrase is used to call forth living people from the society and place of the dead.

2. For instance, the same language is used of Christ, who also was both raised "from the dead" and "out from among the dead." So too is the same language applied to the coming resurrection of the just, in the first resurrection, who will likewise be raised "from the dead" and "out from among the dead." There is a clear distinction in the Bible between the phrase "resurrection of the dead" and "resurrection from (or out from among) the dead." The latter use shows clearly a special or eclectic resurrection where some are resurrected and others are not, but remain in the realm of the dead. What Hardshell will say that when Christ or the saints are said to "rise out from among the dead" that it does not mean that they are themselves "dead"? Show me an instance where one is said to be resurrected "from" or "out from among" the dead where the person was not himself resurrected from death!

Why are these born again, spiritually alive children of God, "among the dead" if they themselves are not dead? Where does "among the dead," in the Bible, mean "alive" and "not dead"? When one dies, he is dead and therefore in the realm of the dead, "among the dead." A man who is alive, therefore, is said to be in the "land of the living," to be "among the living," and therefore "not among the dead."

By the "interpretation" of Cayce, a child of God, who has been raised to spiritual life, is still sleep among the dead! What did "regeneration" do for him then? If he is still among the dead, in complete darkness, without any light, how can it be said he is alive and risen? It seems that Hardshell "conversion" CAN DO MORE FOR A MAN THAN CAN REGENERATION! Further, according to Hardshellism (Conditionalist), their "conversion" experiences, being their own authored work, and brought about after the manner described by Arminians and Campbellites, does more for a man that God's regeneration of him! Who can believe such a thing?

Married To Christ

"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7: 4-6)

Clearly this verse is talking about "regeneration." It tells us of three things that certainly results from the efficacy of "the body of Christ," from the efficacy of his death and atonement for sin, and they are signaled by the use of the Greek terms "hina," and "oste," and "eis."

1. Christ's death was in order that you "become dead to the law."
2. Christ's death was in order "that you should be married to another" (to Christ).
3. Christ's death was in order "that you should bring forth fruit unto God." (and fruit "unto life" in contrast to previous fruit which was "unto death")

Paul teaches, here and throughout Romans, that there is a demarcation line of salvation. Prior to salvation (or regeneration) certain things can be said about that person, and likewise, after salvation. Paul, in the above passage, says that the saints were, prior to the time when they were "married to Christ," as a time when they were "in the flesh."

When these Romans got saved, were born again, they:

1. Were no longer "in the flesh" but rather "in the Spirit."
2. Were no longer "married" to another other than Christ, no longer "married" to the law, to the world, to Sin and Satan, etc.
3. Were no longer "under the law" but rather "under grace."
4. Were no longer alive to the law," but now, in regeneration, have become "dead to the law."

The Hardshells are in another difficult place with these words and teachings of the Apostle. They cannot reconcile their "sub-conscious" idea of "regeneration," as it has been described thus far in this book, with the description that Paul gives of what happens in the new birth. In the above passage, it is obvious that being "married" to Christ is part and parcel of it. But, who can get "married" unconsciously? Who can "become married to another" without a choice and act of the will? It is an absurdity. Laughable it would be if not serious.

Regeneration Or Conversion?

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: BUT ye are washed, BUT ye are sanctified, BUT ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (I Corinthians 6: 9-11)

The farther one goes back in an historical study of Hardshellism's hybrid "interpretation" of key Bible passages, dealing with regeneration, the more he will see that the first Hardshells interpreted far more passages as dealing with regeneration than do modern Hardshells. There has been a clear and steady drift away from descriptions of regeneration, by the first Hardshells, for they clearly made it an experience of which the sinner is very much consciously aware, more like a "conversion experience," to the modern PB view that says that regeneration is wholly an unconscious experience.

So it is with the above passage of scripture. The first Hardshells believed that the above passage was talking about what took place in regeneration. Most of todays Hardshells will disagree with this, saying that it is a gospel salvation, a time salvation, a conversion experience apart from regeneration.

But, what always troubled me about the above passage, as a Hardshell, was the fact that this experience, whatever it was, absolutely and immediately changed the external conduct of the Corinthian Christians. But, modern Hardshell views will not allow that "regeneration causes, necessarily, any "great change" in a person.

Today's Hardshells will say that the "kingdom" that is "under consideration," by Paul, in the above passage, is the "visible church," or "the Old Hardshell Church," and not God's "eternal kingdom" that only the righteous enter, and which they all, truly and in fact, enter in the work of regeneration.

Neo-Hardshells do not want to make the above passage to deal with "entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," but to "the church that has adhered to all the correct truths on all Bible doctrine," the "Old Line Primitive Baptist Church." Why this reluctance to make it "regeneration" and to apply to entrance into heaven and immortal glory? Because they do not believe that living a righteous life is characteristic of the born again child of God! Rather, they believe that most of those who are "born again and "regenerated" "live like the Devil"!

The above verse is similar to this:

"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." (I Timothy 4:8)

It is a Hardshell leading premise that says that not one thing a person does in this life has any fruit or effect for the life that is to come after death and the judgment. The Bible, of course, everywhere, refutes this notion. Certainly the above passages refute it also. Clearly living godly brings reward promised to those who live godly, and this reward is not only, like bodily exercise, for a little while, but is good both for this life and for eternity. What we do does, by God's will and design, determined whether we go to heaven or hell. Did not Paul say, "If we sow to the Spirit we will of the Spirit reap everlasting life"? (Gal. 6)

Sep 22, 2006

Chapter 31 - Hot Shots Returned (6th Volley)

Regeneration - Freed From Sin

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being THEN made free from sin, ye BECAME the servants of righteousness." (Romans 6:16-18)

"But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (vs. 22,23)

This too was always a difficult passage of Scripture to deal with when I was an adherent to the Hardshell "Spirit Alone" and "Direct Voice Speaking" theories of "regeneration," where they disconnect the truth and the gospel from that experience and work. "Neo-Orthodox" Hardshell views on the "new birth" experience does not allow for the idea of any gospel truth being used as a means to effect it, nor for any truth being received or understood savingly in it by the sinner, but the above words of Paul absolutely refute such notions of the Hardshells.

Most PB's will say that this being "freed from sin," this being brought out of servitude to Sin and Satan, and being brought to servitude to Christ and his Righteousness, is what takes place in regeneration. They are correct to do so. It is the Baptistic view of this passage and chapter. It certainly fits the "context" to make it deal with eternal salvation and with what it means to "come to Christ." and to "believe on him." Yes, I agree that Arminianism is also refuted in the passage by the more correct reading that says, "into which you were delivered," denoting that the work of bringing us to gospel truth and faith was a work done in us, though by us, for it is, like all our works, that which God works in us by his grace and power. (See Isaiah 26:12, Philippians 2:13, Hebrews 13: 21)

Here is what Dr. Gill wrote in his commentary upon the passage. And, might I note here that this is the same commentary that the Philadelphia Association of Baptists, the oldest, and the mother of, every Baptist Association in America, recommended that every Baptist minister read and become fully familiar.

"...but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. By "the form of doctrine", is meant the Gospel, which is the "doctrine" of the Scriptures, of Christ and his apostles, and is sound and according to godliness...and "into which they were delivered", as it may be rendered, as into a mould; and so received the impression of it, and were evangelized by it: so such are who have a spirit of Gospel liberty, in opposition to a spirit of bondage; who live by faith on Christ, and not by the works of the law; who derive their comfort from him, and not from anything done by them; whose repentance and obedience are influenced by the grace of God, and who are zealous of good works, without any dependence on them. This form of doctrine was "obeyed" by them; by which is meant, not a mere obedience to the ordinances of the Gospel; nor a bare hearing of the doctrines of it, and giving an assent unto them; but an embracing of them by faith for themselves, so as to lay hold on Christ in them, submit to his righteousness therein revealed, and be willing to be saved by him, and him alone, in his own way; and this is the obedience of faith: the reason why faith is expressed by obedience is, because faith receives truth upon the veracity of God, and not upon the dictates of carnal reason; and is always more or less attended with external obedience to the will of God; and that is rightly performed only by faith. And this obedience did not lie in words, or proceed on mercenary views, and in an hypocritical way; but was "from the heart"; and was real and sincere: and good reason there is why a hearty, cheerful, and voluntary obedience should be yielded to t he Gospel; since it is from God; Christ is the substance of it; it is truth, and the word of our salvation."

The Old Baptist, Dr. John Gill, believed what all Baptists believed, as evidenced in their stated Confessions and Articles of Faith, prior to that time in Baptist history that Brother B. H. Carroll, Jr. called "the rise of the Hardshells."

By using the same Hardshell "logic" here, on this passage, that they use elsewhere, we would have to say that the Roman Christians were not "freed from sin" by Christ but by Paul and those who brought them that "form of doctrine"! They have argued that if Paul begat the Corinthians, then God could not have been the one who begat them. They have argued that if Paul saved sinners then Christ did not do it. They have argued that if Peter raises the dead, or Ezekiel, then it was not God who raised them. Really, if they want to be consistent, they must either 1) Make this freedom from sin and sin's bondage a "time salvation," a "conversion" experience (as they define it), and not to "regeneration," or 2) See that it is talking about regeneration, as Dr. Gill and the real Old Baptists, and convert from Hardshellism. Instead of being afraid that you just might save one of the non-elect (as if God needed you in this matter), or that one who is not regenerated may get into the church, why don't you just preach to sinners as did Christ, the apostles, and the truly Old Baptists, men like Leland and Gano, even like many of the first Hardshells, the founding fathers of your denomination, who preached evangelically to sinners? It is my hope and prayer that you will chose to be consistently right rather than consistently wrong, by choosing option #2 above.

I will be having more to say on some of these things further in later chapters.

What Kind Of Salvation Is It?

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep." (I Cor. 15: 1-6)

This passage is probably one of the two leading passages the Hardshells use to prove their theory of "time salvation," the other being I Timothy 2:15. They reason by first affirming that the salvation of the passage clearly is dependent upon those saved "keeping in memory" the gospel of Christ, and then asking the rhetorical question, "how can eternal salvation be dependent upon a man's ability to remember?" They will continue, saying, "That would condemn to hell all those Christians who forgot and lost memory." They will indicate that such an idea is both absurd and silly. They then think that they have opened up the way to say further, "Seeing it would be silly and absured to think the eternal salvation of the elect were in any way dependent upon their ability to remember things, then this salvation must obviously be a salvation in time, from temporal things, and not our eternal salvation from sin and death."

If these verses are in fact talking about our being regenerated, converted, and eternally saved, then Hardshellism is overthrown and shown to be a falsehood and grievous heresy. They know this, and because they refuse to accept what they clearly say, they give a strange or rare usage of the word "saved." They force their interpretations on such verses because their doctrine is contrary to it, that is, if words are taken in their ordinary usage, and in the same manner in which they are understood and defined in other places where those same words are used in the Scriptures. When a man diverts from the common ordinary usage of a New Testament word, and gives to it a rare or uncommon meaning, he better have good reason from the context for so doing. But, who ever said that Hardshell "hermeneutics" were sound?

Dr. Gill commented upon this passage, saying:

"It was the means of their salvation, and had been made the power of God unto salvation to them. Salvation is inseparably connected with true faith in Christ as a Saviour, and with a hearty belief of his resurrection from the dead, which is the earnest and pledge of the resurrection of the saints; and because of the certainty of it in the promise of God, through the obedience and death of Christ, and in the faith and hope of believers, which are sure and certain things, they are said to be saved already. To which the apostle puts in the following provisos and exceptions; the one is,

"if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you"; or rather, "if ye hold fast, or retain"; that is, by faith, the doctrine preached to you, and received by you, particularly the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead; for the salvation that is connected with it does not depend upon the strength of the memory, but upon the truth and steadfastness of faith: it is the man that perseveres in the faith and doctrine of Christ that shall be saved; and everyone that has truly believed in Christ, and cordially embraced his Gospel, shall hold on, and out to the end; though the faith of nominal believers may be overthrown by such men, as Hymenaeus and Philetus, who asserted, that the resurrection was past already; but so shall not the faith of real believers, because the foundation on which they are built stands sure, and the Lord has perfect knowledge of them, and will keep and save them. The other exception is,

"unless ye have believed in vain": not that true faith can be in vain; for that is the faith of God's elect, the gift of his grace, the operation of his Spirit; Christ is the author and finisher of it, and will never suffer it to fail; it will certainly issue in everlasting salvation: but then as the word may be heard in vain, as it is by such who are compared to the wayside, and to the thorny and rocky ground; and as the Gospel of the grace of God may be received in vain; so a mere historical faith may be in vain; this a man may have, and not the grace of God, and so be nothing; with this he may believe for a while, and then drop it: and since each of these might possibly be the case of some in this church, the apostle puts in these exceptions, in order to awaken the attention of them all to this important doctrine he was reminding them of."

This is no doubt the correct interpretation, the "reasoning" of the Hardshells notwithstanding.

If we say that Christians are initially saved by believing the gospel and trusting in his redemption alone for salvation, and then say to them that they are thus saved (kept and preserved) "if they keep in memory" the facts that they had burned into their hearts and memories by the power of the Spirit of God in the application of the gospel of Christ, SO WHAT? No one can erase what God writes upon the hearts of his people in regeneration. Impossible! It is written with non-erasable ink! Besides, Jesus positively identified our "keeping memory" his gospel with the work of the the third person in the beloved Godhead, the Holy Spirit, saying, "He shall bring all these things to your remembrance, whatsoever things I have spoken unto you." (John 14:26)

Conditioned Upon Obedience?

"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." (Hebrews 5:8,9)

Hardshells and other Hyper-Calvinists have gone to extremes in many areas of doctrine. This is true relative to this whole matter of whether "obedience" to God or Christ, in any sense, is a requisite to regeneration, or part and parcel of it, and whether salvation is, in any sense, "conditional." Of the latter question I will have a separate chapter later. Relative to the first question, who can deny that the above passage of inspiration limits "eternal" (not "time salvation") to those who have and do "obey Christ." May I not ask this all important apostolic question - "how shall they obey him who they have not heard?" If one must be described as one who "obeys Christ" to have any promise of eternal life and salvation, then how can it be advocated that many will have eternal life who never obeyed the Lord?

Some Hardshells will attempt to make the "obedience" of the above passage to refer to the "obeying" of one single command, the command, given "on the sub-conscious level," by the "voice of the Son of God," that says, "LIVE!" Or, it might even be three words, "Lazarus, come forth!" Or, it might even be a serious of instructions, as in the case when Saul heard the Lord speak to him on the road to Damascus. Or, it may even be a "speech," (per Cayce). But, this view has all been shown to be an invention of men, and contrary to all scriptural descriptions of that experience of rebirth, regeneration, and conversion, and of what it means to possess the faith of God's elect.

The Sheep continue, as I have shown, to hear the "voice of Christ," continue to live in virtue of it, continue to "follow" and to "obey" the Lord their Shepherd and so their entire lives, after regeneration and conversion, may be honestly described as one of loving obedience and faithful service to him who liberated them from their former master (Sin) and brought them into a union with him that is not severable.

This concludes, for the time being, my series of chapters on "Hot Shots Returned." Needless to say, I could have added many more verses of Scripture to these. But, I think the Hardshell heresy has been sufficiently assaulted and slain and to keep the volleys flying is not needed. If the above verses are denied, why cite more?