Mar 10, 2009

Acts 16: 31 & The Twins

Bob Ross wrote about the sects of Hardshellism and Campbellism, whom B. H. Carroll, Jr. called the "twins" of Alexander Campbell. His interesting comments are these:

"While on the idea of "similarities" between Campbellism and Hardshellism, consider the following:

1. Both were "born" in the early 1800's, apostatizing from "Calvinism."

2. Both systems obtained their "followings" primarily from Presbyterians and unstable Baptists.

3. Both held to a non-Baptist position on the new birth, Campbellism teaching the "Word alone" theory and Hardshellism teaching the "Spirit alone" theory.

4. Both had significant events in 1827 and 1832:

1827: First Campbellite baptism by Walter Scott "in order to remission of sins."

1827: Kehukee Declaration in opposition to missionary methods.

1832: Union of Campbellites and Stoneites as one "movement."

1832: Black Rock Address in opposition to missionary methods.

These are "watershed" events in the early development of both schisms.

5. Both were molded by magazines -- Campbellism by Campbell's Millennial Harbinger and Hardshellism by Beebe's Signs of the Times and Cayce's Primitive Baptist.

6. Both were adamantly opposed to the "mission methods" used to send the Gospel abroad.

7. Both attributed the most contemptible motives and purposes to those who were engaged in the missionary cause.

8. Both departed from the Baptist Confession of Faith in regard to the Gospel in the Effectual Calling of the elect to Christ.

9. Both, in the course of time, fragmentized over internal controversies and leaders (usually those who published magazines). "Patternism" produced "factions."

10. Both made a major issue over "instrumental music in worship."

11. Both became "exclusivists," claiming that they were the "only" church of Christ, they only held "scriptural" baptism, and they only practiced "scriptural" worship and church order.

12. Both adopted the "command, example, inference" hermeneutic.

13. Both developed a strong anti-premillennialist eschatology.

14. Both promoted the Pelagian philosophy that "command implies ability."

15. They both appeal to "logic" to set aside the plain statements of Scripture, denying that the power of the Holy Spirit accompanies the Gospel in the new birth." (slightly edited)

See here

These are fascinating insights by one of the best historians on the "Restoration Movement" and on the "Anti-mission Movement."

I can add some more items of comparison to this list. It is interesting to study the parallels and contrasts in these two movements.

Here are some additions to the list.

1. Both have departed from the truth in their interpretation of the parable of the soils.

2. Both will not simply tell a sinner "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16: 31)

I have written before about how both these sects have erred in their interpretations on the parable. The Campbellites make 3 of the 4 characters denominated by the various soils as being initially saved, but today's Hardshells make all four of the characters to represent born again saved people. The truth is, only the "good soil" represented genuinely saved people.

"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." (Acts 16: 31 NIV)

The Campbellites dare not say this to a sinner who asks them, as the jailer, "what must I do to be saved?" Why? Because he does not believe that faith alone will save anyone and they never give an invitation where faith alone is given as the condition of pardon.

The Hardshells dare not say to an inquiring sinner the words of the apostle either. If they say anything, they will say something like this - "you don't have to do anything. It's all been done for you. The fact that you are asking about how to be saved is proof that you are already saved."

A man can find out if he is sound in the faith by examining himself to see if his theology allows him to give such simple instruction and invitations in the way of salvation.


Bruce Oyen said...

Stephen, this was good. I especially liked the point you made at the end about Campbellites not being willing or able to give a simple Gospel invitation to one wanting or needing to be saved. I had to go through several of their "Bible studies" before I was considered ready to be saved. Of course, the focus was on their view of baptism instead of faith in Christ. This leads me to say this: it seems Campbellites don't really believe Christ alone is the mediator between God and men, for they insist that one who wants to be saved must be baptized by someone for salvation. So, the baptizer is a mediator between God and the baptizee.
One more point about your point concerning the simplicity of the way of salvation: Lordship salvationists, too, are hesitant to give such a simple appeal to someone in need of Christ. It seems Lordship salvationists want to take someone's spiritual temperature to make sure it is 98.6to prove the person is really ready to be saved. Just read john MacArthur's book, "Hard To Believe" as an example of this theology presented in clear terms.

Bruce Oyen

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Brother Bruce:

Thanks for your comment.

I believe the apostle called upon the jailer to believe in Christ as Lord as well as Savior, of course. That being said, I cannot endorse all that is said under the umbrella term "lordship salvation."

You were a Campbellite and I was a Hardshell. We both know by experience the errors of these sects.

God bless


Bruce Oyen said...

I agree with you. Have you noticed how the pendulum of error swings to extremes? For example, one extreme makes it too hard to get saved, like we see among "Lordship salvationists." Another extreme makes it too easy, like we see among what I think is called the grace movement. Some in this movement teach the dead faith in James is that of a real Christian, rather than that of a fake Christian.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Bruce:

Yes, I have noticed that! There is a tendency to go to an extreme when fighting an extreme. Alexander Campbell is a good case example of this.

Thanks for your comment.

God bless