Jan 22, 2009

Birth of Refined Hardshellism

Elder John R. Daily responded to the charges of Elder E. H. Burnam where Elder Burnam accused some of his Old School brethren with advocating new doctrines, the idea that regeneration occurrs apart from means and that faith is unneccessary for eternal salvation.

Elder Burnam's credentials as an Old School Regular Baptist can be substantiated and his statement about the novelty of the new ideas about faith and means, are quite interesting.

Daily's Editorial on Burnam's Charges


"This heading is given in quotation marks to an article in "The Old Paths" from the pen of E. H. Burnam, intended as a criticism of statements made by Dr. (Elder) Waters in Zion's Advocate for June, 1890 and June 1891. It seems that a former effort had been made thro' the same paper to overthrow the position taken by Dr. Waters, but we presume E. H. B. was not satisfied with that and so attempted it again. Very well, Elder, you can make another trial if you wish, for unless the former attempt was much more successful than yours above referred to, the Doctor's position is not in the least injured by the assault.

First, Eld. Burnam says, "It was left to the last quarter of the 19th century to give birth among the Old Order of Baptists to the notion of regeneration without faith, or that it is not necessary that one should exercise repentance, faith, or any spiritual gift, in order to be saved, a heresy than which none more pernicious was ever put forth by any professing to be followers of Christ." From this statement it is logically inferred that Eld. B. believes that one must "exercise repentance, faith, and other spiritual gifts," in order to his own regeneration. If he believes this he believes regeneration to be conditional on the part of the regenerated; that the unregenerated sinner must, while in a state of unregeneracy, exercise repentance, faith, and other spiritual gifts, as a result of which God will regenerate him. Observe that he calls "repentance" and "faith" spiritual gifts. If they are spiritual gifts the Spirit gives them.
(Daily here misrepresents the view of Elder Burman - SG)

The position of the Elder seems to be that the Spirit gives these graces to the unregenerate sinner, and then leaves him to exercise these gifts as a condition of his regeneration. (It may "seem" that way to Daily, but it is not what Burnam taught - SG) Right here we beg leave to join issue with Elder B. This is the great dividing line between us and the Arminian World and ever has been, and we enter a denial that "it was left to the last quarter of the 19th century to give birth to the notion of regeneration without faith," or rather before faith. Birth was given to that notion by divine inspiration. Jesus says, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things" (Matt. 12:35). "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness" (Rom. 10:10). In regeneration the heart is changed and thus caused to possess a good treasure. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them" (Ezk. 36:26-27)."

See here

The original article by Elder Burnam was titled - "Regenerate Sinners Saved - Faith or No Faith" in Zion's Advocate, August 1898 (Vol. 37, No. 8)

I am not going to respond to Daily's feeble effort to prove regeneration "before" and "apart from" faith, but what I have mainly wanted to do, in these citations, is to document the historical observation of Elder Burnam.

I have thus far found, in my historical research into the history of the anti-missionaries, of the Hardshell Baptists, the statement of Elder Burnam to be true.

The view that is now predominant among "Primitive Baptists" is the one that Elder Burnam says began in the last quarter of the 19th century. I challenge any Hardshell historians to come forward with proof to refute the testimony and charge of Elder Burnam.

It was not the first generation of Hardshells and anti-missionaries who invented and promoted the "Spirit alone" view of regeneration, wherein they denied the use of means (gospel), but it was the 2nd generation of them. It was not till after 1860 that the minority faction of "Spirit Alone" began to dominate, with spokesmen like S.F. Cayce and his son C. H., and Lemuel Potter and his protege, John R. Daily. But, more on this in future writings. These men, with others, "refined" their Hyperism and is what mostly remains today among those who call themselves Primitive Baptists.

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