Jan 27, 2009

Answering the Hardsides

Baptist Succession By David Burcham Ray

Section III - "From The Days Of The Apostles To The Present Time, The True, Legitimate Baptist Church Has Ever Been A Missionary Body."

"This declaration of Dr. Howell is fully sustained by historic facts. The opposition among Baptists to the mission work, is of recent date. But our Anti-Mission brethren tell us that they are not opposed to Bible missions, but only to the modern missionary system. Actions speak louder than words. If the modern Baptists, who claim to be the "Old School" or "Primitive" Baptists, have ever sent out a missionary, either to the home or foregin field, I have not been informed of the fact. What "Hard-Shell" church has ever employed a missionary upon the Bible or any other plan? They are emphatically Anti-Mission Baptists.

But were the ancient Baptists, up to the time of the separation, Missionary or Anti-Missionary? In his Letters to Dr. Watson, Dr. Howell says: "But it is particularly to the fact, that the Philadelphia Association, from our earliest account of it, was a missionary body, that I wish to call your attention. To place this beyond dispute, I shall quote a few items from the official records of that body." (Page 26)

"Again: Dr. Howell, in his Letters to Dr. Watson, has furnished us with the following valuable account of the missionary work of the old Baptists, not "Hard-Shells," of the old Charleston Association...it will be abundantly proved that the Anti-Mission brethren are the "New School" Baptists." (Pages 28, 29)

"From the foregoing reliable documents, and others which might be introduced, it is fully settled that the American Baptists, from the very first down to the Hard-Shell separation, were missionaries. And, instead of the Anti-Mission brethren being entitled to the appellation, "Old Baptists," by way of distinction, they are "a new fangled set of Baptists, never heard of until within the present century." So it is altogether a misrepresentation, to call the Anti-Mission brethren Old Baptists. It not only does injustice to the Regular Baptists of America, but it also tends to confirm the Anti-Mission brethren in their opposition to the spread of the Gospel, through missionary labor."

In regard to the names assumed by the Anti-Mission brethren, Mr. Benedict says: "Old School and Primitive Baptists are appellations so entirely out of place, that I can not, even as a matter of courtesy, use them without adding, so-called, or some such expression." (page 31)

"Elder Gayle recieved an invitation from the "Home Mission Society of New York" to ride six months through the state, and exhort the churches, to more diligence in this good work. This he did, and his labour was not in vain. But when the convention found, that there [was] murmering against their action, they sent out notice, [220] that if a better plan could be devised and pursued by the churches, they would fall in with it. After this the churches of the Concord, were called together and consultation held, on which the whole work of the Convention was assumed by the churches. But they failed and if my memory serves me, Dr. Watson who is the leader of the faction, acknowledged in the association, that the churches had failed to carry out their agreement. If it be the duty of Baptists "at all, to carry out and spread the gospel over the world, then it is by missionary operations or nothing, for the churches, the way they have gone on, will not more than keep the ground they have got, if that. What is the convention doing, that there should be such a fuss about it? Art. 5. "The convention shall devise and execute plans for disseminating the gospel in destitute sections of the state, and as far as practicable, supply such churches as solicit aid." Let any man bring a charge against this work, and support it by the scripture if he can. I now say to the opposing brethren once for all, bring your charge against this work, as stated in this Article, and support it by the new Testament. Then if the convention does not come down, go on as you now do, in splitting up the churches, and I will help you. But until you do that, I shall, vote that all who cannot yield to your tyranny, in binding conscience (yes, the Hardshells are a 'cult' as I have shown in my book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult" - SG), and whom you, throw out on that account, be put into churches where they can exercise the rights of Christ's free men." (Solitude, May 29, 1838. JAMES WHITSITT)


"An adjourned meeting of the Nashville Baptist Church was held, at their place of worship, on Monday afternoon the 18th June 1838, a large number of the members, and visiting brethren present, when the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously passed.

Whereas David Read, Harriet A. Read, Gilford Read, Elizabeth Read, George T. Stuhl, Benjamin R. B. Wallace, Samuel M. Allen, Thomas T. Harrison, and Susanna M. Paul, without having previously given us any intimation of their dissatisfaction with us, our faith, or proceedings- asking for letters of dismission, or taking any other Gospel steps, have, in a disorderly and unscriplural manner, withdrawn from this Church, and formed themselves, under the persuasions and guidance of a Mr. Washington Lowe, into another Church, and have drawn up and published a declaration [221] of nonfellowship with the Baptist Church. in this city, individually, and collectively, therefore

1. Resolved, That their names be erased from the list of members of this Church.

2. Resolved, That this Church still adheres to, and has never departed, in faith or practice, from, the declaration of principles upon which she was constituted.

3. Resolved, That these proceedings be published in The Baptist.

A copy -- Test T. L. BUDD, Clerk.

"It is proper for us to add to the record of these acts of the Churches, at Mill Creek and Nashville, a few remarks by way of explanation.

It will, doubtless, be asked why the Churches have adopted the unusual plan of publishing their proceedings in these particular cases. We answer, because these persons published their accusations, and it was believed by the Churches that it was necessary to disabuse the public ear. That it may be seen what has been charged against these Churches, we will transcribe a part of their manifesto, to which they set their "hand and seal."

"Whereas the undersigned, heretofore and up to the present time members of the Baptist Church in Nashville, and at Mill Creek, in the vicinity of Nashville, respectively, against whom no charge for disorder or immorality exists (??) have ever held the doctrine and opinions generally entertained by the old order of Regular or Predestinarion Baptists; and have ever, heretofore, and still do, at the present time, claim to be of, and to belong to, no other than such; and whereas we believed the Churches aforesaid to be such when we joined them; and whereas we find the said Churches no longer maintain the doctrine of the Old Baptists aforesaid (!!) but have made great and manifest departures therefrom, in that the said Churches (or the leaders and influential members thereof) are now merged in the Baptist State Convention, and engaged in the various other money missionary or human institutions of the day, for the purpose of having the Gospel preached to every creature, or individual, the ministry improved by Theological Schools, and the whole world regenerated by means of money, or human exertions based on money, and its corrupting influence; and whereas we cannot believe in the divine afficacy of such things, nor fellowship, [222] those who are engaged therein, believing such course and principles to be unwarranted from the Word of God; and whereas from the aforesaid causes and reasons, after long forbearance" -- and so on, continues the preamble. Therefore Resolved, that we do hereby separate and withdraw, ourselves, our membership, and fellowship, from the aforesaid Churches &c. &c. -- and several other resolutions."

There is nothing in this rigmarole against which these Churches wish to defend themselves, but the imputation that they "no longer maintain the doctrine of tho Old Baptists." That we believe "in the divine efficacy" of money to convert sinners, no one will credit for a moment, who has common sense. This, and a great deal more slang of a like kind is mere ill natured gabble.

The reason of the publication of the Constitution of the Church at Mill Creek, and which is the same, word and letter, upon which the Church in Nashville was established, was that these nine members have declared in the above document, against one hundred seventy, in this city, and five, against upwards of three hundred at Mill Creek, that "the said Churches no longer maintain the doctrine of the Old Baptists" &c. If they mean by "Old Baptists," the obscene doctrine of Daniel Parker, who is the Father and Patriarch of anti-effortism in Tennessee, and which is not twenty years old, these Churches plead guilty to the charge; or even the doctrine of their beloved brethren Greatrake, Osborn &c., who have been so lately preaching here and writing books, which they have published for the edification of the faithful, we have nothing to say. But if they mean the doctrine which has been maintained by the Baptist denomination time immemorable, the statement is not true, and to make this appear is the object of the Churches. How stand the facts. The Constitution adopted by the Mill Creek Church forty years ago, yet remains untouched. She still strenuously maintains it, and we do the same thing.

When the Church in Nashville was constituted this same Mill Creek declaration was adopted by her, Recently the Church purchased a lot upon which she is now building a meeting house. To be secure in the possession of the property our legal advisers thought it necessary to insert our declaration in the deed, and they believed it essential that we should he a little more specific. We accordingly drew up and adopted, for this purpose, an instrument containing [223] the same doctrine, precisely, but a little more extended, and particular, which is embodied in the deed of conveyance. But let it be remembred that in doing this we did not cancel the old constitution. That remains exactly as on the day the Church was constituted by Elders Whitsitt, Vardeman &c., and is still in full force. Well, then, what is the testimony by which they prove that we "no longer maintain the doctrine of the Old Baptists? It is, forsooth, in their own language? -- "That the said Churches (or the leaders, and influential members thereof) are now merged in the Baptist State Convention, and engaged in the various other money missionary or human institutions of the day, for the purpose of having the Gospel preached to every creature, or individual &c." In other words these Churches have commited the crime of being active friends of missionary effort, and the spread of Bible knowledge generally; they have, as have Baptist Churches in all ages, thought it their duty to show their faith by their works. For this offence they say -- "We do hereby separate and withdraw ourselves, our membership, and fellowship, from the aforesaid Churches." To all which we say, Amen. The expulsion of the authors of this publication was, as every one will see, a matter of course. We wish it, however, to be distinctly understood that we did not expel these persons because they differed from us in opinion, in doctrine or practice...some of them but a few months since, almost outstipping any of us in missionary zeal, and others having been baptized but a short time, although they say in their published charges: -- "After long forbearance, hoping a change for the better might take place, we find ourselves unwilling longer to endure and live under such a state of things as we have long laboured under." -- Neither did we exclude them for joining another Church, or any thing else of a similar nature. All this, in an orderly manner, they had a right to do, without inclining censure from us. If they had condescended to ask for letters of dismission to join any other Baptist Church, or to have formed themselves into one, they would have been granted to all, so far as Nashville was concerned, with one exception, most cheerfully. The specific reasons of their excommunication are stated in the proceedings published above -- the publication of false [224] statements, the violence and disorder of their departure, declarations of nonfellowship &c. the Churches published the names of these offending members, we answer that they are all subscribed to their own published documents, and we suppose there can be nothing discourteous or repulsive to them in our following, in this matter, their own example. After all, we must say, in conclusion, our commisseration is very much excited in favour of these people, notwithstanding their billigerant attitude, and the unnatural assualt they have made upon us. That the Churches as well as ourself pitied much more than they blamed them, was a general declaration of the members, at the time, and is apparent from the fact that, in all their proceedings, they used the softest language they could command.

They did not write the denunciations against us that they subscribed, and permited to be published. A great majority of them cannot justly be charged with the crime of trying, to any extent, to form letters with a pen, and could not, therefore, be expected to comprehend the import of what they, by the incessant dunning of designing men, under the garb of Old School preachers, were finally induced to sanction with the signature of their names &c. Greatrake, Lowe, Osborn, Watson
(I hope to have information on these Hardshell leaders in upcoming chapters in my book on the Hardshells - SG), and about a dozen others, of the same stripe, have, after protracted labours, led them into the dilemma in which they now find themselves. These gulled and deluded men and women excite, therefore, in the minds of those who know the circumstances of their case, not indignation, but sincere compassion. Let us be perfectly understood. That they are obscure, and without cultivation, or worldly influence, is no objection to them as Christians. Many of the most devoted and worthy christians are of this class, and whose attainments in spirituality we can never hope to reach. Had they been persons possessed of a knowledge of men and things, they would, perhaps, have 'excited other feelings, for "where much is given, much is required," but unfortunately they as all here know are simple credulous people and consequently, so much the more liable to be deceived, and led astray; whatever of indignation, therefore, our bosoms may feel, should terminate not upon them, but the misguided demagogues who have made the instruments of their mischievous purposes."

See here

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