Chapter 34 - Romans 10 (Cont.)
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," Sovgrace.net)
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."